On April 6, two different initiatives have been launched by groups claiming to defend proletarian internationalism from a left communist perspective: A “Joint statement” about the war in Ukraine by the ICC, I.O.D. and two other groups, and a “Call for action” by the ICT with the slogan “No war but the class war” respectively. Very rapidly both have been rejected in an “unwelcome response” on the ‘Left-Wing communism’ site, which alternatively proposes to organize a debate themselves.
As a project aiming to contribute to open discussions among internationalists ‘A Free Retriever’s Digest’ does not support any attempt to circumvent an open discussion about criteria of adherence (for instance by asking for the adoption of a list of – apparently certified – internationalist groups, organizations, forums, etc.). Moreover, it does not support confining such a call to adherents of the historical communist left, thereby excluding groups from different backgrounds like for instance KRAS-IWA (Russia) and Internationalist Perspective (USA, Canada), in spite of their internationalist stance on the war in Ukraine. Instead, we are of the opinion that the latter provides a sufficient criterion to take up contact for an open debate in the spirit of the Zimmerwald movement.
We consider the call by the ICT as currently best approximating an initiative to gather proletarian internationalists in a broad sense, notwithstanding differences of approach and analysis, as for instance on a certain activism that appears in its main slogan. The following exchange at Pantopolis between what we’d term a position of critical support versus one of rejecting the ICT’s initiative virtually out of hand seems of interest to us for showing the reasons involved in these two very different attitudes.
The editor, April 22, 2022.
What to say? What to do?
(Pantopolis, April 11, 2022)
We publish this call of the Internationalist Communist Tendency (ICT), a public call “FOR ACTION” (1) addressed to all groups situated on the terrain of internationalism, that is to say of the struggle against the imperialist war and for the class war, in other words the struggle for the definitive elimination of capitalism from the surface of the Earth.
Conscious that the Russian-Ukrainian conflict is part of a most serious crisis of capitalism, the most important one since 1929; that in the present military conflict – for the moment confined to Ukraine – the Western imperialist countries, members of NATO, and Russian imperialism trying to attach itself to the chariot of Chinese imperialism, are confronting each other, the ICT underlines that it is a major step towards the third world war.
In the face of this fast approaching danger, the ICT calls the revolutionary milieu to form committees of revolutionary struggle against war and capitalism.
“[Capitalism means war and it is capitalism that has to be stopped.] We therefore propose to set up “No War but the Class War” committees wherever we exist and invite individuals and groups who oppose all nationalisms and recognise that the only war worth fighting is the class war to end capitalism and its bloody imperialist conflicts to participate in them. This will allow today’s scattered revolutionary minorities to combine their forces and take the message of our need to fight back to a wider working class.” [Point 10 of the ICT’s Call for Action]
According to the way they are presented, these committees would serve as intermediary, semi-political bodies between organs of proletarian struggle (strike and struggle committees) and organizations of internationalist revolutionary regroupment.
This implies selection criteria for an unambiguous adherence to such committees. On this point, this call for action – or rather to REACT to the current passivity of the proletariat – remains unclear.
During the First World War, Committees for the resumption of international relations were formed in order to re-establish links between the meager existing revolutionary forces, links that were broken by the definitive betrayal of social democracy. These nuclei of revolutionary resistance met in Zimmerwald and Kienthal. In Zimmerwald, it should be remembered, the representatives of internationalism fit in four horse carts.
These nuclei relied on significant working-class minorities who refused to go to war and who, from 1915 onward, made their voices heard through protest strikes, from Germany to Russia, that increasingly took on a political character.
For the existence of anti-war committees to correspond to a deep historical movement – otherwise their artificiality would make them deflate like simple balloons – two factors are necessary:
1. the occurrence of large mass movements (mass strikes) against capitalism and its state in each major country of world imperialism (European Union, United Kingdom, Russia, United States and Canada, China, India, the industrialized countries of Asia, Latin America and Africa, the Australian island-continent). Faced with the stakes of a third world war, perhaps in the short term, only the massiveness and simultaneity of workers’ reactions can make world imperialism and its different national components back down (temporarily, moreover).
2. A proletarian mass struggle without radical political perspectives (to seize political power by destroying the capitalist state apparatus, its police and its armed forces) would be condemned to nothingness.
The ICT’s call emphasizes the importance of the organization question, both of the working masses and of their internationalist political expressions. It rightly emphasizes the vital need to organize, or “perhaps to reorganize”, after too long a period of passivity of the world proletariat.
For a fruitful discussion to take place on these “No War but the Class War” committees, two questions arise with acuity:
1. What form can the political organization of the proletariat take, in nuclei and in parties, whose finality can only be the seizure of power in order to put an end to capitalism?
2. Will the workers’ councils (but also sometimes the soldiers’ councils), which had been the revolutionary form adopted by the proletariat from 1917 to 1921, still be the “finally found form of power”, in order to gather millions and millions of proletarians on the five continents?
The emergence of a mass organization of the proletariat in order to destroy the whole of capitalism is the burning question of the 2020s. It must be resolved quickly if the road towards the third imperialist world war is not to be opened soon.
This call of the ICT only underlines the great delay of the internationalist forces throughout the world in the face of the only real historical stake: either a war of extermination of part or all of humanity or a world revolution whose magnitude can only really be measured by its extension on the five continents.
The internationalist forces are unfortunately very weak, often dispersed, sometimes eaten away by the most hollow sectarianism. They will only be able to find a capacity to confront each other, to regroup, even to unite, if – here and now – the proletariat wakes up from its long sleep and becomes this sole global giant capable of breaking the chains of slavery that clutch the surface of the earth.