A New Development for the International Bureau

The text which follows was drafted by the comrades of Battaglia Comunista for a European meeting of the Bureau held in Parma last May. We were unable to translate it in time for our last issue so we are publishing it here. The meeting gave us the opportunity to welcome the delegates from the Gruppe Internationaler Socialistinnen which had adhered to the Bureau in February (for a report on this, see Revolutionary Perspectives 46). The need for this meeting had actually been foreseen for some time. The Bureau has in the last few years expanded both its adherents, and its international contacts with groups and individuals, in many countries around the world. The meeting also gave us the opportunity to re-evaluate our perspectives and our organisational framework. In light of our perspectives the meeting fully endorsed the contents of the draft text. As a Bureau we are agreed that capitalism entered its imperialist phase at the end of the nineteenth century. (1) This is the phase of the “parasitism and decay of capitalism” (Lenin) in which monopoly capital and state direction have been brought into play by the constant centralisation and concentration of capitalism. To say that capitalism has entered its imperialist or decadent phase does not of course mean that it is at death’s door as a mode of production. More static modes of production such as ancient society in Roman times took centuries to develop all the contradictions which led to their demise. We can only guess at how long capitalist decadence will last given that capitalism is a much more dynamic society which could mean that its contradictions will develop more rapidly or it may mean that it will have the material capacity to stagger on for centuries.


Our more immediate perspectives are taken from our understanding of where those contradictions currently lie. The meeting confirmed that we remain in the phase that opened with the devaluation of the US dollar (1971 and 1973) - the signal event which marked the end of the post-war boom, or as we call it, the third cycle of capitalist accumulation. That this third cycle has not ended in a third imperialist war does not mean that the global capitalism has solved it, nor has it entered a new pacific phase, as the various wars that have erupted since the collapse of the Eastern Bloc at the end of the 1980s confirm. We undoubtedly live under a more “managed” capitalism but this management only extends to trends and policies which can spread the crisis out over time rather than resolving it by creating a new value base from which accumulation can once again begin. Neither the massive increase in exploitation of the working class, nor the equally massive process of financialisation which has allowed the old financial centres to draw the surplus value of the planet to its banking houses as revenue, have brought about a new round of accumulation on a world scale. On the other hand, neither has the unprecedented global restructuring of the world working class brought about a continuous collective struggle to achieve a better mode of production which can exist without starving and strafing billions of the world’s population.

Our Tasks

Our task is neither to lament at the current low level of class struggle nor be taken in by constant capitalist cries that “progress is being made”. Our task is to continue to prepare for the next inevitable revival of the working class and its fight against exploitation. The revival of working class resistance is inevitable because the demands for increased exploitation of capital know no boundaries, and even if the situation is difficult today capitalism is preparing far worse tomorrow.

In this context the meeting re-dedicated the Bureau to acting as a focus for all who recognise that the only way the sparks of consciousness brought about by the fight against capitalist contradictions is for them to forge a permanent political organisation, which for want of a better word, we call the party. We should repeat here that we do not see this party as a ruling body but a political guide which fights for the communist programme in any class-wide bodies produced by the fight against international capital. The party is not a government and is not tied to any geographical area but will be a world party dedicated only to the political fight for the liberation of the overwhelming majority of the world’s population - the working class.

The Bureau itself has never claimed to be that party nor even its immediate precursor. We see ourselves as contributing to the process of the appearance of such a party. This will emerge out of an increasingly conscious struggle against capitalism and for communism, a stateless, classless and moneyless society in which the freedom of all will be guaranteed by a common collective activity.

The Bureau was conceived to deal with a problem which was that we wanted to participate in the process of forming a politically centralised world party of the working class but we did not want, by our very existence, to prematurely close that process. We have thus hitherto hesitated to create any central organs and relied rather on a common bond of trust and discussion. This still exists, and has become even stronger in the last three years, as we have made the effort to fill the gap left by the untimely death of our inspirational comrade, Mauro. (2) However such a process is a little clumsy when dealing with immediate emergencies for which statements are required, or for dealing with enquiries from individuals and groups about our work. In the light of this the meeting agreed to set up what was referred to in the document as a sort of “secretariat”. In the event the meeting rejected the name (partly on its unhappy precedents, partly because it does not correspond to our purpose) but instead set up a liaison committee between the various affiliated organisations. Its purpose will be to respond swiftly to international issues on behalf of the Bureau. It will have responsibility for correspondence and discussion with other groups, organising delegations to places where we have been invited, coordinating the preparation of international statements, as well as preparing and organising international conferences.

This did not end the discussion on organisational matters. The meeting discussed other issues, from whether the Bureau was a satisfactory name to the need to have a new system of financing our work, but such questions remain ongoing and will, no doubt, be discussed in the new committee and amongst members of the IBRP in general. The new committee was elected by the meeting, subject to the approval of all the adhering organisations which was subsequently achieved.

International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party, August 2008

(1) Our more developed position on decadence can be found in the text Refining the Concept of Decadence adopted by the whole Bureau in September 2005 and printed in Internationalist Communist 23. It can also be found on our website in various languages.

(2) See also In Memory of Mauro in Internationalist Communist 23.

Revolutionary Perspectives

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