Critique: The Erring Ways of the ICC on Inter-Imperialist Relations

«The war in Ukraine has the “merit” of delimiting well the internationalists from all those who take the cause of one of the two camps in presence. By its positions on this conflict, the International Communist Current (ICC) is part of this “third camp” as Pierre Lanneret called it in his review of the revolutionary positions during the Second World War. (1) But this conflict has still another “merit”: that of testing the theoretical foundations of the analyses in presence. Now, on this plan, the war in Ukraine illustrates the gaping incoherences of the “analyses” of this organization of which it tries in vain to put back together the pieces in a “framework” article entitled The significance and impact of the war in Ukraine (2)

In pursuit of his critique of the foundation of the ICC’s theories and analyses, C.Mcl. has advanced a brief synthesis of his previous critiques, focusing on a central question regarding the present exacerbation of inter-imperialist tensions and confrontations in and over Ukraine: whether it constitutes a step in the reconstitution of antagonistic imperialist blocs and alliances in view of a renewed drive towards a worldwide war (as many within the internationalist camp estimate), or whether the conclusion of such a dynamic is, as it where, effectively precluded by a supposedly dominant tendency of “everyone for himself” (as the ICC tirelessly defends).

In anticipation of an integral, verified translation, we present the conclusion of this critique, which we find most important for its global analysis and estimation of the present war and the dire perspective it opens up to humanity.

The Editor, July 9, 2022.

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

New Discussion Contributions

We present the reply to “In Defense of Historical Materialism” by Aníbal (Forum Inter-Rev, Spain) in our supplemented translation. It sets forth what the latter regards as his main difference with C.Mcl. – whether capitalism has started its entry into decadence at the beginning of this century (as C.Mcl. argues) or it has arrived at its historical apogee (which Aníbal holds); it further proposes a series of topics and questions for further discussion, and finally points out some more objections and criticism.

The editor, May 31, 2022.

 

On the text by C.Mcl. “In Defense of Historical Materialism”

Aníbal, January 26, 2022 (Revised and supplemented version of May 28)

 

Two Internationalist Statements for May 1st

Hereafter we present two internationalist statements that have been released or circulated at the occasion of this year’s May 1st:

1. War, Poverty, Crisis and Disease: The True Face of the Capitalist System

by ‘No War but the Class War’ Liverpool. Dating from the end of March, this leaflet has again been brought to attention at the occasion of May 1st, documenting the approach by the internationalist action committees that, among others, have been called for by the ICT. In addition, the setup of these committees is explained by “What Are We Fighting For?”

2. Russia, Ukraine, NATO: Pimps of Death

is an anonymous leaflet that attempts to situate the war in Ukraine, denouncing all imperialist rivals who clash in and over Ukraine and highlighting the latest evolution – the current exacerbation of the barbarism of this war.

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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 War in Ukraine is just a Chapter of the Permanent Imperialist War

Introduction Article of I Quaderni dell’Istituto Onorato Damen Nº 1 (April 2022)

“A new dramatic front of the permanent imperialist war has opened in the heart of Europe. At the dawn of February 24, 2022, the Russian armed forces have unleashed their firepower against Ukraine, bombing the main cities of the country and invading the Ukrainian territory from several fronts with hundreds of thousands of soldiers. A war that in the plans of the Russians probably had to last only a few days, given the disparity of the forces in the field, whose prolongation [however] dangerously risks to widen, dragging the whole of Europe into the vortex of the conflict. This is the future that the capitalist system envisages for us, a future made of wars, generalized misery and increasingly precarious living and working conditions.”

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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.

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‘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

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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.”

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No to the Imperialist Mobilization around the War in Ukraine!

An international leaflet by ‘Le Prolétaire – Proletarian’ (March 8, 2022)

The following statement treats the, foremost, humanitarian campaigns that are permanently waged in the Western hemisphere, notably in a Europe that has to cope with a massive influx of refugees, mostly women and children, elderly and “foreign nationals”, who escape from the war in Ukraine. There is a real concern among the populations in Europe with those desperately displaced who often not only have fled from their homes, but most tragically also have left their relatives and friends behind, of whom the adult men are drafted into the Ukrainian military. The leaflet attempts to lift the veil of democratic humanitarianism that the ruling classes in the West throw over the grim reality of a barbaric inter-imperialist carnage they are deeply co-responsible for.

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On the Russian (and American?) Invasion of Ukraine

I.O.D. on the war in Ukraine and the proletarian perspective (March 4, 2022)

Overcoming their initial surprise by the Russian state’s assault on Ukraine since last Thursday February 24, I.O.D. has resumed their analysis, and has issued a formal statement on the tangle of interests involved in this worsening conflagration. It goes well beyond any rhetoric about the indubitable Russian culprit versus the “reasonable” rest of the “international community” (minus some distinct renegade states), as a perpetual media campaign in the Western hemisphere will have it. Trying to shed light on the questions: who profits from the crime? and: what is the international situation heading towards? it provides a brief balance sheet of the imperialist contentions and shared interests implicated at world level, and formulates the dire stakes this poses, eventually for the survival of humanity.

Secondly, a concise critical assessment of the situation the world proletariat and its political minorities find themselves in, is set forth, issuing a call for their renewal: to go beyond “the same [old] theoretical and organizational framework of the Third International”, by “taking note of the many changes in the organization and in the international division of labor” since the times of the October Revolution of 1917, in order to proceed to a new systematization of all the elements inherent to the condition of the modern proletariat” in view of “building a new communist party on a world scale.”

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