Monday, August 31, 2009

Proposal for an online discussion forum within the Communist Left

The purpose of this virtual exchange forum would be to encourage discussion between groups of the communist Left, so that these groups:

Participate in strengthening the foundation of the proletarian camp by setting up a permanent meeting place for a fraternal exchange of ideas;

Contribute to the clarification of the communist program with regard to the struggles of today’s working class;

Attempt as far as possible to bridge the gap between various elements not so much as to put aside differences between its participants, but in order to eventually be able to intervene within the struggles of the working class

We also hope that the mere presence of such a meeting place will engender a clearer definition of what constitutes the proletarian camp in the 21st century, rooting out any outside elements that would confuse the class that is ours. The class that produces the surplus value can indeed defend its immediate interests; but only a revolutionary minority united around an internationalist class party can instill class-consciousness in the working class in order to guide the struggles in a revolutionary direction.

Since in general the Communist Left is very low in number and divided on certain questions, its intervention in the class is minimal and dispersed – sometimes with serious differences, of course; but sometimes with the same political point of view or with minor differences. We think that a place of theoretical debate and practice could be a step toward greater unity and clarity of the proletarian political program.

Also, different groups of the CL have already suggested such a forum for debate.

IBRP [New name Internationalist Communist Tendency]

« From its formation the two organizations which founded the IBRP have made it clear that the Bureau did not claim to be the international party of the proletariat but neither are we a mere academic discussion circle. It follows from this that the activity of the IBRP, in total coherence with its Platform and its own strategic aims, has always aimed to encourage discussions between different groups at an international level, concretely aimed at the rebuilding of a real revolutionary international party. The entire activity of the IBRP, though not claiming to be the party nor the original nucleus of the future party has been taken up with the theoretical and political debate with other groups. International correspondence in various languages, meetings and discussions with elements who have contacted us and the publication of an English review Internationalist Communist (unfortunately now suspended for financial reasons) have been for many years our daily work.» 25 Years of the Bureau: Balance Sheet and Perspectives, May 2008


“In this particularly difficult situation for our class, we can only observe and deplore not only the weakness of communist minorities but especially the sectarian isolation endured and maintained by these groups and organizations in the proletarian camp.

What the class needs – and only its communist vanguard are in position to provide, and moreover it’s their responsibility – is guidance, clear political reference points, definite objectives indicating the sense of its struggle and the real stakes involved.

To engage in struggle, to go on strike, the working masses essentially have no need of communist minorities; this it can and does manage on its own. However, to lead the struggle in such a way as to turn the balance of forces in its favor; to avoid the pitfalls and the inevitable traps set by the bourgeoisie, its left apparatus and its unions; to comprehend the magnitude of the situation and the depth of the issues, the communist minorities are indispensable and historically it is for this specific task that the class has given rise to them.” La bourgeoisie à l'offensive tous azimuts ; le prolétariat en ordre dispersé. (The bourgeoisie in an all out offensive; the proletariat in scattered array.) Bulletin #47 26/07/2009)


“For a sect, dialogues with others obviously have no purpose. "We don't agree! We don't agree! We're not going to be convinced!" Why can't revolutionary organizations convince other revolutionary organizations through debate? They can, because it's only the sects who refuse to question their own certitudes.

How did all the revolutionary regroupments of the past come about if it's impossible for anyone to convince anyone else through debate?” Sectarianism, an inheritance from the counter-revolution that must be transcended - International Review no.22 - 3rd quarter 1980

“ … the politicization of the proletarian struggle is linked to the presence of a communist minority within its ranks. The fact that the internationalist milieu is still very weak indicates the distance the working class still has to travel in order to engage in revolutionary struggles and give birth to its world class party, an essential organ without which the victory of the revolution is impossible” 18th ICC Congress: Resolution on the International Situation - International Review no.138 - 3rd quarter 2009

Of course these quotes are not exclusive but reflect the urgent need of a forum for practical and theoretical discussions considering the scale of the current crisis and a struggling working class without any revolutionary political orientation for the long term that is to say communism. It is important, for instance, to take stock of struggles in Greece and in Guadeloupe, to study the consequences of the growth of state capitalism in the current and future struggles of the working class, etc.

Proposals for basic criteria to participate in this meeting place:

· Acknowledgment of the dictatorship of the proletariat

· Acknowledgment of the necessity of an international working class party

· A minimum of intervention in the class (e.g. drafting and dissemination of leaflets)

It goes without saying that internationalism is a criterion but we believe it is included in the first two criteria and that only the international working class struggle can lead to victory over capitalism.

For the moment we are sending out invitations to the IBRP, OPOP (Brazil-Workers' Opposition, the ICC, Pcint (Proletarian) and to IFICC.

Possibly other groups (and /or individuals that match these criteria could be added.

We hope, through this forum, to see groups of the CL evolve fraternally toward a relative homogeneity – wherever possible – or to see them break away from the proletarian camp should discussions arise with concepts completely foreign to the interests of our class.

This will be an internal tool for groups of the CL. The implementation of texts will be accessible only to participating groups, this restriction to prevent leftist groups from confusing or hampering the discussions. However, the site would be open for all to read, and thus the conscious elements of the class. Admittedly it is restricted to Internet access, but let us not forget that its primary purpose is for groups of the CL.

The texts should be published in English and French. The responsibility for translation lies with the groups participating.

Obviously, this is a proposal. We hope it will be discussed and possibly modified by the participants proposed. The CIM will not set up this website. In the event of your agreement, we await the proposals of a new site or an addition to the current one.

Internationalist greetings

Internationalist Communists Montreal (ICM)

1 comment:

  1. I would like to comment on the idea of a forum for discussions between the groups of the communist left.

    To me, it seems that this proposal is focused in the wrong direction. I think that the different groups and organisations already have the possibility of being able to discuss with each other via there own web pages. If these organisations were really serious about developing a discussion, it would in fact be an easy thing to do. In fact the very existence of comment sections like this on websites gives us this possibility today, which we can use, unlike in the past, without having to use resources printing articles in our press.

    I think that the very fact that the sort of forum that you envisage doesn't exist is not the thing that prevents this sort of discussion from taking place. Rather the fact that there is no will for this sort of discussion to take place is the reason that this sort of forum doesn't exist.

    The groups of the communist left are riven by the traumas from their history in the last thirty years. I don't think that the blame for a lack of a dialogue can be placed at the doors of any one group, but neither do I think that any of those groups are blameless. To look at the list of groups that you have sent this proposal to, I really can't see them putting aside these differences and agreeing to co-operate on a project like this. This, unfortunately, is the position that we find ourselves in today.

    Personally I think a forum for those who identify as left communists whether members of these organisations or not would be a much more useful thing, a place not for the organisations to discuss as organisations, but for the members of those organisations and others to engage in discussion.