Topic: Capitalism, Crisis and War – What is to be done?

This section presents discussion contributions on the topicality of Capitalism, Crisis and War vs. the proletarian alternative, and notably on what initiatives to take apropos of the current exacerbation of military barbarism in and with regards to the war in Ukraine.

It starts with ‘War of Imperialist Capitalism: What to Do and What not to Do’ by the animator of the Inter-rev Forum (Spain), one of the protagonists of a “third call“, alternative to the ‘joint statement’ by the ICC and others, and to the ‘call for action’ of the ICT respectively.

We continue with a “comment” by the initiators of the aforementioned initiative on our blog article The ICT’s Call for Action – Two Kinds of Criticism, and our reply to it.

This section will be updated to include further contributions and references on the topic. We invite our readers to send in their propositions by e-mail, whether written by themselves or signalling contributions of interest written by others (Please consult the Colophon for the modalities).

The editor, May 1, 2022.

Capitalism, Crisis and War – What is to be done? Discussion Contributions

The ICT’s Call for Action – Two Kinds of Criticism

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.

Continue reading “The ICT’s Call for Action – Two Kinds of Criticism”

‘Controverses’: Internationalist Positions on the War in Ukraine

The following statement of the Forum for the Internationalist Communist Left is completed by an updated review list of internationalist statements and analyses produced both by political groups and individuals from diverse backgrounds and tongues. We recommend readers with a mastery of foreign languages, especially of Spanish and/or French, to consult it, as it provides a somewhat broader scope than the selection we present on this site in English. We also would like to encourage readers with language capabilities to contribute crafting proper English translations of the most interesting texts, that may appear both at Controverses and here.

The editor

Continue reading “‘Controverses’: Internationalist Positions on the War in Ukraine”

War in Ukraine: A Salute to Proletarian Internationalism from Argentina

Against Capitalist War!

(La Oveja Negra, March 13, 2022)

In support of the internationalist statement issued by KRAS in Russia at the outset of the military assault on Ukraine, the group around ‘La Ovaja Negra’ (“the black sheep”) in Argentine published an excellent reply underlining the old adagium of the international workers’ movement: the proletarians of the world have no country to defend! We present this statement in the translation by Internationalist Perspective.

Continue reading “War in Ukraine: A Salute to Proletarian Internationalism from Argentina”

War in Ukraine: An Internationalist Voice from Russia

An interview with KRAS – IWA by Grupo Moiras (Spain)

Grupo Moiras is an anarcho-feminist group in Spain inspired by the ‘Mujeres libres’ of the Spanish Civil War. KRAS is one of the rare groups in Russia, from the anarcho-syndicalist milieu, who has defended a proletarian internationalist position for years. The interview presents the groups’ view on the character and stakes of the present war in Ukraine, on the contradictory positions that divide anarchists in Ukraine, most of whom are siding with the Ukrainian bourgeoisie and its army against the Russian military invasion; on the difficulties of anyone in Russia who tries to protest against the war in face of the military censorship and the brutal state repression of the Putin regime, and on the difficulties of the anarchist milieu in particular.

Continue reading “War in Ukraine: An Internationalist Voice from Russia”

Topic: Has Capitalism entered its Decadence since 1914? (V)

Understanding the Decline of a Mode of Production

(Link, February 28, 2022)

The elaborate reply by C.Mcl. ‘In Defense of Historical Materialism – A reply to Link and Aníbal’, (1) has incited one of the protagonists addressed to a first response that we publish integrally here: Understanding the Decline of a Mode of Production’, by Link.

This first part focuses on “the theoretical issues and criticisms raised by C.Mcl., because these issues are key to an understanding of Marx’s historical materialism”, which he esteems is a rather unilateral one with the latter. According to Link, both the relations and the forces or production have an impact on the decline of a mode of production, not just the one that C.Mcl. believes” – i.e. the production relations. There is no question that economic decline as a product of internal contradictions can be and is a feature demonstrated in a period of decadence, but to argue that economic decline is the only factor that demonstrates a mode of production is decaying is a rather narrow, dogmatic approach.”

Continue reading “Topic: Has Capitalism entered its Decadence since 1914? (V)”

Putin’s Assault on Ukraine: Internationalist Statements and Analyses

In this post we list a collection of internationalist statements against the war in Ukraine and analyses of its wider significance and stakes for the working class internationally, notwithstanding their variety and inevitable differences in points of departure or conceptions.

We share the concern voiced at the Forum for the internationalist communist Left: “Given the seriousness of the international situation, the weaknesses and the dispersion of the internationalist-revolutionary milieu, it goes without saying that we will support any common position along the lines of the ones we have listed below. Indeed, if there is a paradox to be underlined on this level, it is that each of the groups below brandishes proletarian internationalism loud and clear – which is excellent … but they are withdrawn into themselves and quite incapable of speaking with one voice!”

As not all texts referenced here are yet available in English, this post is subject to updates  when they become available. Incidentally a translation of ours has been added on a follow-up page. Suggestions and proposals for internationalist statements are welcome.

The editor, March 5, 2022.

(Last updated: April 17, 2022, Listing closed)

Continue reading “Putin’s Assault on Ukraine: Internationalist Statements and Analyses”

Topic: In Defense of Historical Materialism (Part II)

Discussion of Historical Materialism

A Reply to Link and Aníbal – Continued

(C.Mcl., February 2022)

«In general, the dominant historiography “explains” history, the birth and disappearance of civilizations, by the action of “great men”, the fight for ideas, the triumph of certain religions, geophysical factors, external invasions, natural disasters, etc. In short, everything except the recognition that societies are crossed by internal evolutionary dynamics. And if certain historical currents are clearly more interesting insofar as they evoke economic factors or conflicts of interest between social groups, it is never in order to derive a key to the evolution of societies. The reason is simple: if this is the case, capitalism could, like all previous societies, also be crossed by an internal dynamic and not be eternal!

It is quite different for Marxism, if it does not neglect any factor, whether internal or external – even the struggle for ideas, the genius of great men, the influence of certain geophysical factors, etc. – it puts forward three essential elements that articulate them in a hierarchical and coherent whole: (1) societies evolve; (2) their evolutionary dynamics are above all based on issues around material factors (especially economic ones) and (3) factors that are carried and defended by social classes with antagonistic interests. In other words, it is mainly spurred on by the confrontation of the latter (the class struggle) that societies evolve, that is to say by an evolutionary dynamic internal to societies.»

This is the second and last part of an exhaustive reply to contributions and interrogations on the question: Has Capitalism entered its Decadence since 1914? that have been published on this site. The available chapters and paragraphs can be accessed via the hyperlinks below.

Critical comments and contributions are welcome. Please observe the modalities mentioned in the Colophon.

Henry Cinnamon, February 25,  2022.

Update:

The translation has been completed. The final two chapters: 6. What are the Real Changes in 1914? and 7. Conclusion have been added on April 9, 2022. 

Notice:

The first part of this reply can be read online here. It can be freely downloaded for offline reading as well: A Free Retriever’s Digest’ Vol.6 Nr.1 Supplement (February 4, 2022)

Continue reading “Topic: In Defense of Historical Materialism (Part II)”

Topic: In Defense of Historical Materialism (Part I)

Discussion: A Reply to Link and Aníbal

(C.Mcl., January 2022)

This is the first part of an exhaustive reply to contributions and interrogations on the question: Has Capitalism entered its Decadence since 1914? that have been published by ‘A Free Retriever’s Digest’.

With this contribution we hope to advance a discussion within proletarian internationalist milieus, and those of the communist lefts in particular, that we esteem of major importance: to achieve a solid appreciation of contemporary capitalism in its historical trajectory, based on the scientific approach of Marx and Engels.

Our translation has been proofread both by the author and the contributor it specifically addresses. We thank Link for his genuine support. Source references have been included in footnotes and with the graphs. Unless mentioned otherwise, quotations from Marx and Engels have been translated directly from German language editions.

Critical comments and contributions are welcome. Please observe the modalities mentioned in the Colophon.

Henry Cinnamon, January 31,  2022.

Notice:

This contribution is freely available for offline reading as well: ‘A Free Retriever’s Digest’ Vol.6 Nr.1 Supplement (February 4, 2022).

Continue reading “Topic: In Defense of Historical Materialism (Part I)”

Topic: Has Capitalism entered its Decadence since 1914? (IV)

Over the last summer, one of the participants in the discussion on this site has engaged in an exchange at the ICC’s online forum apropos of the character of economic growth (“Growth as Decay”). As he has defended the position and questionings put forward in his text Is Decadence an Economic Phenomenon?, (Link, May 17, 2021), we have asked the author for a brief appreciation of this exchange. His summary can be read in the remainder of this post, on page 2.

In a new discussion text: What are fetters on the productive forces? the latter develops his views on the criteria for discerning whether a historical mode of production is in its ascendancy or in its period of historical decline in a more explicit way. He does so in reply to other contributions on this site, and specifically to C.Mcl’s., in which he seems to miss a due appreciation of the profound transformations of capitalism’s mode of functioning since the beginning of the 20th Century (for instance monopolies, imperialism and state capitalism). The text puts in question a way of conceiving the transformation of the relations of production from “forms of development” of the “forces of production” into their “fetters” – to use the terms of Marx in 1859 – that the author considers as more or less ‘purely economic’, or “economistic”, and which he regards as the underlying, common ground of most adversaries in this controversy, notably of both the ICC and C.Mcl. The text argues that rather factors ‘exterior’ to a mode of production’s core dynamic need to be taken into account to explain its ascendancy or decline.

We hope these new contributions lead to critical reflections and replies by our readers and contributors.

The Editor, December 12, 2021.