To IFFIC June 21, 2010
We are always very happy to hear from you, even if it’s somewhat difficult to respond as thoroughly as we’d like. It’s neither neglect, nor certainly any lack of interest on our part; it’s time, rather, that is not always on our side. There are only a few of us, as you know, and all of our energy these past weeks has been spent preparing for our presence at the Montreal Anarchist Book Fair. Though we are not part of that political current, it is always interesting to set foot, make contacts, exchange ideas, and to defend Marxism.
In any case, rest assured – we’ve put aside the idea of an interventionary journal. The fact is that we were struck from the start by the logistical and technical difficulties of such a project. We still see the idea as relevant, although unfeasible with the scant resources of such a small group. It’s that our priority isn’t solely to debate with diverse organizations on issues of the Communist Left – actually, we also hope to intervene as “actively” as possible within our class. We realize, of course, that debating with other groups is part of a larger debate within our class. However, this debate must also be taken directly to the class, and not only to its organizations. Unfortunately, we seem to see most groups who claim Left Communist heritage, sinking into the most primitive forms of sectarianism. It’s not a sect that we need for the proletariat, but a party!
Also, we fully share your concerns about the circumstances that seem to entangle our current and would like to remedy this state of affairs. We therefore agree when you say that: “Today, It seems wrong (for example and simply by way of explanation) to stick to the plan of “redressing the ICC” and to claim to want to re-establish it in this objective, in order to support the minority comrades of the Fraction (that’s been our motivation for “keeping in the background”). The problem is, rather, how you apply it and whether it is worth the effort. In fact, we think that it’s no longer how you stand as the Fraction that will help the ICC out of its impasse, or even an entire opportunist and sectarian current within the Communist Left. It might be best to pull as many members as possible, those who are still more than a bit lucid and dynamic, rather than try to breath life back into the ICC, itself; for after ten years of debating without an inkling of major change, maybe it’s time to adopt another tactic. In fact, not only does the Internal Fraction remain External, but furthermore, this political stagnation they’ve imposed on you – in which you have been “obliged” by the force of events to soak up as a Fraction – after a decade it has certainly not helped your group to see its way clear. In fact, today you find yourselves as part of a split, but when troubles come, they don’t happen as isolated events.
Thus, as with several other groups at the moment – and despite criticisms it has made on the absence of real discussions within the ICC – the Fraction has unfortunately given a pathetic example that it isn’t in the position to better explain its divergences. This adds another element of confusion for our class.
We believe it is always necessary to critique certain political and organizational positions of the ICC as it stands now; however, the ICC doesn’t have the exclusive right to mistakes, political setbacks, opportunism, sectarianism and internal difficulties. The evidence lies in, among other things, the politics of “turning a deaf ear” that the ICT practices with regard to us and, to quote you, in the “exclusion and confusion” that they are going through. These critiques and the balance sheet that you must make of IFFIC will prove necessary for the ensemble of organizations coming out of Left Communism. We’re eager to hear from you on this subject as well.
The ICT as a pole of regroupment
Now, we are curious about your position on this subject: Do you still consider the ICT as a pole of regroupment?
First of all, remember that the IBRP – now the ICT – never wanted to consider itself as a pole of regroupment for groups and for individuals coming out of Left Communism, and is even critical with regard to the use of this term. Also, even though we are always ready to work with them politically, we don’t consider them the pole of regroupment that we would have hoped for in the past. We know, that although the organization contains the most members numerically, this is no indication that its program is best for our class, and that they make fewer political mistakes. Moreover, and contrary to the ICC which plays out all of its psychodramas in front of the class, the ICT seems rather to conduct politics of silence and secrecy. For us, the pole of regroupment (the embryo of the future international party) must be able to conduct a clear politic in bringing the debates before the class, no matter what mistakes or defeats it gathers. In this sense, the ICC in the time of Chirik appears more honest. Now, how can a so-called pole of regroupment (ICT) lose some of its members in Italy without any mention of it in its press? How can it keep silent about something that should be brought to light before the class to avoid any element of confusion and to keep the proletarian program free and clear of any misunderstanding? And what about the public silence of all the affiliates of the ICT on the opportunistic behaviour of the GIO? Their politics of “mise au point” (setting the record straight) regarding us reflects this tendency of shutting up anyone who might tarnish their image. This isn’t bitterness; it’s just a sad report. Their sectarian attitude toward an Austrian group is just as open to criticism.
Common distribution IFICC, ICM and FGCI and political discussions
So, you don’t agree with the contents of the tract, “The Working Class of Greece shows us the way!” Why not?
In our case, we find that the missing call for the proletarian party – the guide to the class struggle beyond simple economic demands within the framework of capitalism – was a grave oversight. This didn’t prevent us from disseminating it widely (2600 copies). Yet, in the tract, “Les enjeux des luttes en Grece”, that you signed with the other groups, there was the same omission regarding the international party. Furthermore, it would be interesting to know the number of copies that the groups disseminated, or was it only diffused on the Internet?
Regarding the proposed discussions between IFFIC and us on State capitalism and the current assessment of the class struggle, put forward by one of us in Paris, it should be mentioned that the ICM never confirmed this proposed discussion. In the past, exchanges between IFFIC and us took up to 70% of our time. We have had to meticulously weigh our every word so as not to not receive a leftist epitaph. This caused us to neglect our own debates as to an eventual platform, even though our exchanges with other groups came from Left Communism.
Comrades, we are not against political exchanges with other left communist organizations; but the fact is that we are a very small group that does not share the politics of IFFIC, of the ICC, nor of the ICT. You have to take into account that not all groups from the Communist Left are at the same level of formation. The dialectic is, after all, the principle force of Marxism. What’s more, political organisations do not all consist of experienced militants or those able to commit up to 100% of their time to militancy – In fact, even within an organization, there may be militants who work up to 60 hours a week, work more often than not physically and mentally exhausting. This is the case for us, actually. As we are in the unfortunate situation (by a rise in general struggles of the working class), in which militants will be called upon to put in much more time. For the small group that we are, it is important that all can participate in political efforts. This is partly why we’ve been late in our replies – that and the fact that we have not been militants of the Communist Left for several years.
In autumn, we also intend to set aside a space on our blog for divergent points of view within the ICM – not that there is any danger of us splitting, but rather to prevent it, and to provide an outlet to a minority point of view if there is one.
The following extract of the article, “Il est minuit dans la Gauche Communiste”, from the Journal Controverses April 2010, inspired us with this idea.
1-… whereas in half the time, during their period of existence (1903-21), the Bolsheviks were traversed by a multitude of tendencies and fractions (these having positively animated their political life, having been freely provided with the material means in order to defend their positions, in the party and publicly, across all its own particular organizational structures.
 A few days after this writing, we found on the ICT’s response in English on its website: the « Istituto Onorato Damen » A Small Clarification http://www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2009-11-07/the-“istituto-onorato-damen”-a-small-clarification in the article Point à la ligne of the “Istituto Onorato Damien" http://www.leftcommunism.org/spip.php?article180.
 Obviously we welcome this publication [From Nationalism to Internationalism], first because it’s a voice from the Communist Left that expresses itself before the class, but also because this booklet is, from a methodological point of view, an example of a political break, fully realized, with a current of the extreme left of capital – something which wasn’t done by some people (you know who I mean) who will end up paying one way or another, one day or another.
For the Fraction, Jonas March 13, 2008
Note from icm: The ’some people’ that Jonas means, is a long time militant of the IWG.