An Austrian comrade on the “New International”

Our reply to the main points is contained in the second article on "Towards the New International", now appearing in our Italian magazine Prometeo and that will be translated in the IC 20

Dear comrades of PCInt., CWO and IBRP! Dear M.!


In my last letter I criticized the attitude of the IBRP in relation to the other currents of the communist left or "proletarian camp", which shows itself in the last section of the text "I rivoluzionari in fronte alla prospettiva verso la guerra e la situazione del proletariato", with the title "Quelle avanguardie?". You write that "certain organisations of this camp" - it seems to be an attitude of the IBRP to not mention the names of the criticized organisations, why?? - have put themselves outside of the process of constructing the communist world party, because they have alienated from the work method and perspective which are indispensible for the future revolutionary party, because of their pretended mechanistic or idealistic attitude which unables them to analyse the capitalist reality of the present period. I called this attitude sectarian. You (M.) called me up to explain my position.

First I want to hold on here: When I criticize some some of your attitudes and conceptions - I nevertheless share your principal positions and work. I want to deal hear with two questions:

  1. your attitude towards the other organisations and currents of the Communist Left ("proletarian political camp")
  2. your conception of an international organisation today, of international coordination and centralisation of revolutionary forces in different countries, how it expresses itself in the IBRP.

I refer to:

  1. your document citated above, "I rivoluzionari in fronte alla prospettiva verso la guerra..." - last part ("Quelle avanguardie?")
  2. your article "Verso la Nuova Internazionale", in: Prometeo serie VI, no. 1 - last part ("Il BIPR e il Partito Internazionale")


The different currents of the Communist Left (the organisations of the IBRP, the organisations of the former ICP-Programma and the ICC) come from the same experience of defending revolutionary Marxism against the Stalinist counterrevolution, they hold the same perspective of proletarian revolution and communism, they hold the same strategical principles (rejection of bourgeois democracy, recognition of the former Soviet Union and Eastern bloc as a state capitalist system and imperialistic bloc, recognition of Stalinism as a bourgeois counter-revolution, rejection of the existing unions as defenders of capitalism, critique of antifascism, necessity of the influence of the comm. party in the workers’ struggles in order to lead these struggles on the path of revolution, refusal of nationalism and to a certain extent of the support of national liberation movements by proletarian revolutionaries, rejection of the support of one of the fighting imperialist camps in capitalist wars = revolutionary defeatism...). Certainly, there are differences in giving reasons for these programmatic and strategic principles (e.g. the decadence theory of the ICC), and there are some differences in the analyses of the present situation (for example the valuation of the historical course - war or revolution). But the programmatic and strategic principles remain the same. It is absolutely senseless and renouncable when each of these currents or groups proclaims itself as the only basis for the future party. Everybody can proclaim it, this is not difficult, but only the real process will show it.

Why this attitude of exclusivity, when we can see that - I allow me to remind you - just your organisation (the IBRP) and the ICC share the same experience of a (critical) approach to the positions of Lenin and "Leninism" - in opposite to "Bordiguism" - and so hold the same or very similar positions in many questions (analysis of the degeneration of the Russian Revolution and question of relationship state - communist party under the conditions of the dictatorship of proletariat: refusal of equating "dictatorship of the proletariat" and "dictatorship of the party"; union question: refusal of the perspective of the emerging of proletarian trade unions in a future process of class struggle, principal valuation of any form of trade unions as counterrevolutionary, pro-capitalist institutions; question of national liberation movements: the refusal of the recognition of these movements as progressive in the decadent or imperialist epoch of capitalism, against a critical support of these bourgeois movements).

Your exlusive position is renouncable and to a certain degree ridiculous especially in the situation of today, which is characterized by an an absolute political and ideological dominance of the bourgeoisie and its supporters and the weakness of the revolutionary proletarian camp which is almost without influence in the class. Proclaiming oneself as the only element of the process towards the party and excluding the other groups from this process means the absolute separation of a tiny camp. It seems that you overestimate your forces. On the contrary, solidarity and cooperation between the currents of the communist left, against the bourgeoisie, against the huge stream of bourgeois ideology is necessary, without hiding the differences behind a false unity.

I ask you also: Proclaiming yourself as the only factor in the party building process and excluding the other currents is a change in your attitude. Why did you consider these currents 5, 10 and 20 years ago as a part of this process? Why did they belong to the "political proletarian camp" then, while you reject this conception / category today? (Prometeo VI/1, p.11) Whether the ICC nor the follower groups of the ICP have changed their positions, methods and attitudes. So you should explain why they suddenly have ceased to be part of the process, why suddenly the "political proletarian camp" does not exist any more. It seems to me that there is no basis for the change of your attitude.

In the article "Verso la nuova Internazionale" in Prometeo VI/1 you give an explanation which does not convince:

D’ altra parte sarebbe per lo meno strabiliante che crisi di ciclo del capitale, revoluzione tecnologica, implosione del blocco imperialistico sovietico e il complesso di fenomeni economici e sociali che la borghesia riassume nello stupido termine di globalizzazione, tutto ciò lasci invariato il quadro delle avanguardie rivoluzionarie reali o presunte e addirittura conservi solo in quel campo le potenzialità di costruzione del partito. Al contrario tutto ciò ha "messo fuori gioco" una gran parte delle vecchie costituenti il "campo politico proletario" e al contempo ha fatto, e farà ancor più, emergere nuove avanguardie che - svincolate da vecchi schemi rivelatisi inefficaci a spiegare il presente e a da qui progettare il futuro - si accingono al compito di costruzione del partito, sulla base della stretta aderenza al metodo della critica dell’ economia politica e del materialismo storico e ai principi dell’ internazionalismo proletario.

This is no explanation. I don’t understand why developments like the "electronic revolution" or the collapse of the Russian bloc should have...

thrown a big part of the former parts of the "proletarian political camp" out of game, out of the party building process.

You draw only abstract parallels: Because there have been many changes in the relations of the imperialist blocs, in capitalist economy and society, there must be changes in the "proletarian political camp"...


But now to the second point, your conception of international unification of revolutionary forces in the IBRP, pointed out in the article from which I cited already above, "Verso la nuova Internazionale". First you write about the experiences of the First International - I find this part of the article very interesting - and you draw the lessons (insegnamenti) of it.

La nuova Internazionale non dovrà neppur lontanamente essere una Federazione di partiti, più o meno indipendenti e con "politiche" differenziate sulla basi di una pretesa differenza di situazioni nazionali. Perciò e più corretto parlare di Partito Internazionale...

Then, in the last part of this article, you show the consequences of these lessons for the process towards the international communist party today ("Il BIPR e il Partito Internazionale"). This part begins with false assertions:

You assert that the IBRP is:

  1. the first existing form and
  2. the only possible form of coordinating and centralisation of revolutionary forces maturated in the political battles in the different countries.

In questo senso si e costituito il Bureau Internazionale per il Partito Revolutionario come prima forma di coordinamento e di centralizzazione fra organizzazioni maturate nelle battaglie politique condotte a scala nazionale... e a scala internazionale...
Il Bipr si e costituito come l’unica possibile forma organizzativa e di coordinamento, intermedia fra l’ isolato operare di avanguardie in diversi paesi e la presenza di un vero Partito Internazionale...

p. 11

These assertions are not true, and I am astonished that your readers believe in such lies - excuse me of expressing me so openly. I have to remind you of other forms of coordination and centralisation within the Communist Left: the International Communist Party / Partito Comunista Internazionale (Bordiguists) before the dissolution of this formation in 1983, the ... - perhaps you will laugh now - the ICC, the GCI etc. All of them were / are international organisations or "international forms of coordination and centralisation" of revolutionary communist forces in different countries!

Further below in the article you explain your organizational conception of coordination and centralisation of revolutionary communist forces in different countries, with other words: the organizational principles of the IBRP. First I have to say that I see a break between the lessons you draw from the experiences of the 3rd International and your explanation of your conception of international organisation today (IBRP). The article falls into two pieces. You do not derive the conception of the IBRP as a coordinating an centralizing federation of several national revolutionary organisations (in opposite to an international centralized organisation with national sections) from the lessons you draw from the experiences of the 3rd International at the end of the former part of the article (p. 11), in which you show the lack of centralisation, the tendency to federalism, despite of all attempts of centralisation, as a weekness of the 3rd International (inherited from the 2nd International), for example when you say that:

the new International must not only be a federation of more or less independent parties, with different politics on the basis of a pretended difference of national situations. So it is more correct to speak of an International Party.
La nuova Internazionale non dovra neppur lontanamente essere una Federazione di partiti, piu o mono indipendenti... Percio e piu corretto parlare di Partito Internazionale.

p. 11

So I ask, why you write in an article about "The New International" a longer historical part, with lessons, when you cannot found your specifical conception of international organisation for today (IBRP) - which is a new conception - by the historical lessons.

You write that the IBRP is not the Party and so cannot be organized like the future international party. So the IBRP is an alliance (federazione) of national revolutionary organisations, instead of an international party organisation with national sections and the parts of the IBRP are not national sections.

I am not convinced of the necessity and advantage of the application of such a special form of organisation (alliance/federazione of national organisations) for an international organisation in the phase before the world party. The IBRP has a precise platform, the organisation which are members of the IBRP support the principles and positions held in this platform. So these member organisations are already politically unified. Why can’t they join to one single international organisation then and change into national sections of this organisation? By what can you justify the existence of different organisations which are theoretically and politically already unified - with own platforms (CWO, PCInt. ...)? You create an unnecessary, artificial contradiction between the theoretical-political and the organisational level, a contradiction which complicates the political work and produces losses of energy. For example: Why do you edit two theoretical magazines in English - ICR and RP? Which causes do you have to publish a certain article only in ICR or in RP? Are there really differences in the political attitude brought forward in these articles? And when new groups are emerging, which aim to join the IBRP and with which you discuss, you don’t need to institutionalize this process of political approach into a kind of federal organisational form (IBRP). You could discuss with such groups as a unified international organisation until the point of political agreement - then this group will dissolve and its members will enter into your international political organisation.

I also cannot see that the construction of national sections in other countries (where you still don’t exist) should be artificial and that the comrades who have united themselves in a national section of an existing international organisation should stand outside of the real political and social processes of this country, as you write.

Non si costruisce una sezione nazionale del partito internazionale del proletariato creando in modo piu o meno artificiale in un paese un centro redazionale di pubblicazioni redatte altrove e comunque al di fuori delle reali battaglie politiche e sociali del paese stesso.

Prometeo 1, p. 12

Existing as a national section does not mean to publish only articles written otherwhere, but publishing articles written otherwhere is also useful and necessary. I don’t understand your reservations. The form of organisation, the fact whether the comrades of a country are unified in a national section of an international organisation or in an own organisation joined to an international organisation (like the IBRP) has no effect on the influence and activity of these comrades. (There are examples.) The influence and activity within the "real political and social battles of the country" depends on other facts:

  1. the objective situation (crisis, class struggles, consciessness in the class...) which allows (or allows not) the revolutionaries to have a certain influence in parts of the class,
  2. the number of revolutionaries, the size of the organisation,
  3. the correctness of evaluations and positions,
  4. the energy, will and ability of the revolutionaries for political work and intervention in the class!!

Besides, when you are speaking about "artificial national sections" "outside of the real political and social battles of the country" - your phrasing pretends that the revolutionaries today are able to stand in the middle of the class struggle, having much influence in the class and heard by masses.

partecipando alla battaglia politica della locale organizzazione internazionalista in seno alla locale sezione di proletariato...


But the truth is that the revolutionaries today have only a very little influence in the society and in the class, they are standing at the edge, and the main work is to reach the tiny minorities (your "nuclei") which are open for communist positions, in order to form revolutionary caders with them for the battles of tomorrow. I am sure that you share this evaluation.

But back to the IBRP’s conception of international organisation. I have pointed at it further above: Your conception of international coordination is no the only possibility. All other currents of the Communist Left - the former ICP / "Bordiguists", the ICC, perhaps the GCI... (which you, of course, do not see any more as parts of the Communist Left or of the political proletarian camp) - apply the centralised form of international organisation, with other words: they have established themselves as single, organisationally unified international organisations with national sections. And - I am sorry, I have to say it here - they are not less successful than you, on the contrary, when we look at the the number of national sections or organisations.

So, from my point of view, proclaiming the IBRP’s organisational principles as the only possible forms of centralisation and coordination between national communist forces in this period (before the existence of the World Party) has no basis and is a wrong position.


Solidary greetings,