Against Exploitation, Crisis and War:

It’s Time to Organise

We live in an increasingly dangerous world. Capitalism is in its deepest crisis for 80 years. The falling rate of profit has led to a worldwide stagnation in investment. Its effects are visible everywhere. This includes the ecological destruction of the planet which increasingly threatens the future of life on earth itself.

Around the world, governments have attacked the living standards of the working class non-stop, in a failed attempt to reduce the debt burden called forth by financial speculation.

Simultaneously, the economic crisis has led to acts of aggression and warlike conflicts in many regions of the globe. Whether in the South China Sea, the Middle East or Ukraine — everywhere the imperialist powers are flexing their muscles in anticipation of an open conflict.

War and Growing Barbarism

It appears that we are in an embryonic phase of a global war. In the meantime, the front line of the imperialist conflicts runs through every location, as the bombings of the last few months in Brussels, Baghdad, Beirut, Istanbul and Ankara have shown. The terrorism of Islamic fundamentalism is an expression of the conflict between imperialist powers, and/or those who want to become such. Initially sponsored and supported by the USA against the Soviet Union and certain Arab nationalist regimes, IS then found favour with the oil monarchies of the Arabian Peninsula and enjoyed the silent complicity of Turkey. Nevertheless, it escaped the control of its backers and now plays its own game on the international chess board.

Today, IS is the central reference of all the fundamentalist forces. It may be conducting an assymetrical war, but the same logic lies behind IS’s bombs as its "Western”enemy has made its own. While the latter butchers defenceless shepherds and peasants with the most modern weapons of warfare, IS busies itself in killing defenceless people on their way to work by using more rustic brutal methods.

But the aim and content are the same. The sole difference is that one side hides its aims by affirmation of democracy, while the other relies on an especially reactionary and obscurantist version of religion. But these are merely two sides of the same coin. Both are based on the exploitation and holding down of the working class, in the particular form of Islamic fundamentalism by resorting to mediaeval forms of repression. But, although Islamic fundamentalism stinks of putrefaction, it finds sympathy among proletarianised immigrant youth.

Growing up in the miserable suburbs of big cities, exposed to almost daily racist discrimination, they live a life characterised by unemployment, precarity and low-wages.

It is a bleak life, without hope of change. The experience with state capitalism, which, to the joy of all reactionaries, masqueraded as “communism", and the bougeoisie’s massive propaganda campaigns led to all kinds of mystifications and confusions. Social dissatisfaction and frustration are deep-seated, but a social alternative is for many scarcely imaginable, let alone tangible. The "Arab Spring“, which initially awoke great hopes, led to no positive improvements. In this climate of socially empty existence, powerfully-funded fundamentalist propaganda found fertile ground among some youth. It dangled before them the prospect of a life once more given meaning, albeit an outrageous and destructive one, as cannon-fodder (against themselves and others) for the economic and strategic interests of one of the most reactionary segments of the world bourgeoisie. This shows dramatically how, given the absence of an organised political reference point in the working class, the anger of broad parts of the proletariat can be seized by the bourgeoisie and used against the proletariat inside intra-bourgeois conflicts.

War, Misery and Migration

War increases the importance of an essential characteristic of proletarian existence which has already always been there: migration. Throughout the entire history of its development, the working class has been a class of migrants, a class of people who have been forced to leave their homes to sell their labour-power wherever capitalism needed it. This was and is the only alternative to hunger and misery in a social system in which only submission to a merciless law of profit makes life possible.

In addition to these "traditional" migrants there is the millions of people who are trying to flee horrific imperialist wars. They end up in the hands of unscrupulous human traffickers. If they make it to the "rich" countries, they are forced to work in those sectors where exploitation is especially brutal, wages especially low and working conditions especially hard. They are held hostage by racist residence conditions, which are a powerful weapon in the hands of the employers, keeping the migrants down and weakening the ability of the class as a whole to fight. For this reason, a few capitalists play the humanitarian and welcome the migrants. Others, on the contrary, who, of course, do not reject the exploitation of migrants, make a scapegoat of them for social misery. Their strategy is to stoke up the rampant anxieties and hysteria among those in society, but also in the class, who are unsettled by the crisis and, because of the lack of a tangible political and social alternative, are completely disorientated. In this situation, right popularist, nationalist and neofascist propaganda can be unleashed almost without hinderance against the "migrants”and the "Moslems“, representing them as enemies of national culture and values. It is a stitch-up, which now too often works perfectly, especially in these economically poor times with their great social dissatisfaction and political confusion. Divide and rule — that has always been one of the essential organisational principles of capitalist society.

Imperialist War or Proletarian Revolution?

We know from our daily experience as workers, whether fully employed, in precarious part-time work or unemployed, what counter-tendencies the ruling class puts into place against us, in order to put the brakes on the crisis of their system: reduction of the costs of production (insecurity, flexibility, redundancies and mass unemployment, competition among workers for jobs), the transfer of production to where labour-power is cheaper, cuts in pensions and public spending, in education, in public health services and in public commuter transport. In short, cuts in indirect and deferred wages, where these still exist. This class war of the rich has, however, not yet called forth an adequate response of the working class.

The financialisation of the economy, which expresses itself in unprecedented financial speculation, is equally a symptom of the great problems of the world economy and an attempt to circumvent these problems. They seek to sell us the idea that money can be made out of money, and the production process can be omitted.

The huge heaps of enormous riches in tax havens on the one hand, and the brutal intensification of exploitation on the other, both expose the corrupt and thieving character of capitalism. The continual dismantling of social provision and the increasing destruction of ecological resources makes one thing completely clear: the further existence of capitalism is incompatible with the survival of the working class, and even humanity and the sheer existence of this planet.

Our chief enemy is in our own country! It is "our" bosses and capitalists who are exploiting us and burdening us with a life in misery. But every state, every nation, every political force which in any way whatsoever participates in war and/or the preparation for future wars, is also our enemy. For the working class there is only one way out of the fateful spiral of crisis and war — rejection of every nationalist ideology, international solidarity, common class struggle for its own interests. The only war worth fighting is the class war against the exploiters. For a society without exploitation, repression and racism. A society in which the means of production are socialised and are no longer in the hands of state or private capitalists. A society in which production and distribution are in harmony with humanity and nature, in which "the free development of everyone is for the free development of all."

Towards a World Working Class Party

As a global system, capitalism can only be fought and overcome internationally. This demands an organisational framework, the construction of a political organisation, with an international structure and roots. Such an international and internationalist communist party is not an instrument of domination, and definitely not an electoral machine. It is equally a place for political reflection and the point of departure for the attack on the ideology, political rituals and political forms of this society. Without a communist programme anchored in the class, every strike, every revolt, every uprising will inevitably be absorbed by the forces of this society, as the experiences of recent years have been sufficient to show.

The working class has no Fatherland and the same is true for the organisation of communists. The first step towards a real break with capitalism starts with the international political regroupment and organisation of revolutionaries. The ICT’s goal is to contribute to this process. We do not claim to be the “Party”or even the only kernel of one but we believe we have a major contribution to make along the lines of the theoretical and political acquisitions of the Communist Left which has guided our analysis and our involvement in the class struggle. Our strategic goal now is to make a start and to break the present condition of isolation and fragmentation of internationalist forces. The domination of capitalism includes the entire planet and penetrates every domain of life. But this domination can be challenged, if we understand how to deploy, in the daily struggles against the state and capital, that weapon that is necessary to resist the rule of bourgeois ideology: a world party of socialist revolution. It is time to organise!

May Day Statement of the Internationalist Communist Tendency 2016

Battaglia Comunista (Italy)

Communist Workers’ Organisation (UK)

Gruppe Internationaler Socialistinnen (Germany)

Groupe Internationaliste Ouvrier/ Internationalist Workers’ Group (Canada/USA)

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Comments

Yes, it is quite clear that the ICT is not the party needed by the workers of the world, but if a world party of socialist revolution is widely thought by the proletariat to be needed urgently, then why not go ahead and found the WPSR, to give a lead and provide all who agree with a practical way to start registering their views, by joining something definite, rather than continuing to flounder in elaborate uncertainties ? Hopefully a rapid advance could be made, without needing the palaver and paraphernalia of bureaucratic procedures of formalised 'membership' and so on, but that wouldn't rule out the possibility of having within it a 'fighting fivehundred' sort of component, as was in the Trotskyist Anti Nazi League many years ago.

It is not as simple as you think. First there has to be a wider revolutionary consciousness in the working class before any new organisational steps can be taken. Otherwise any calls for "a party now" are just voluntarist. We work within the class and within any movement which has the potential to challenge capital but we remain tiny. Currently there is little sign of a wider class movement which could sustain a revolutionary organisation but that won't halt our activity and our theoretical contribution. To thus call for a world party of the proletarian revolution now would be ridiculous although it would be healthier if more organisations and individuals did enter into serious discussion about it.

This is a questin I find quite difficult.

I think that any party is going to be based essentially on positions we already have, I doubt it could deviate much.

Perhaps it would involve quite a lot of tolerance, insisting only on a few points;

1 No supprt for any bourgeois faction.

2 No party member to take a role in bureaucratic organisations (trade unions)

3 The rule of the working clas is the rule of the class wide councils.

The ICC criticise the decision to found the PC Int in 1943, but I think that when there is no other party which is authentically communist, then there is no reason not to found a party.

However even though I cannot really see why it is wrong to found a small weak party with limited geographical presence and with little chance of immediate influence, nor can I say it is correct.

I cannot see that a party based on correct theoretical perspectives regardless of size can have a negative impact.

However, I can also see that a rush to declare a party is no real gain for the revloution and the pre party organisational forms are adequate.

As I say, I claim no great vison in this regard, I do not think it is a terribly important question.

The words 'geographical presence' seem to me to prompt focus. Nations aren't just going to go away, however much the ICT insists that they should. To argue that there cannot be any real socialism without getting rid of nations and or nationalism altogether hardly seems valid, at least to me. Things will need to change, and will anyway, where workers actually live, fortunately or unfortunately. I must drop out of commenting now, as my home is cluttered with political paperwork. My contributon to planetary existence will be to shred it. Cheers and thank you for time spent.

Despite capitalism’s tendency towards globalisation, huge scale production and distribution, the division of the capitalist class by geography; nations and imperialist blocs, remains one of the most dangerous aspects of the current situation, in no way overcome by the global character of the economic power capitalism is unleashing. The division of the capitalist class in competing imperialist blocs could well be the end result of the human story, the last chapter of such a division being the war which really does end all wars.

And no doubt the working class and intermediate strata largely share the perspective of the bourgeoisie; they are dominated not only by force of arms but also by the ideas the bourgeoisie is able to propagate given its economic superiority.

The possibility of a non-capitalist world, where there are no rival competing bourgeois entities backed by state force is the essence of revolutionary consciousness and as such is necessarily the consciousness of the minority, the class conscious revolutionaries who have broken with the dominant ideology.

The struggle to generalise this perspective, class consciousness, revolutionary communist consciousness is not simply a battle of ideas fought on paper. It depends on the combativity of the working class in its material confrontation with a capitalist class constrained to encroach upon its conditions of life. This is the terrain in which the ‘’seed’’ of revolutionary consciousness can be planted and grown.

For sure, the spontaneous struggles of the working class will not immediately start with a perspective that the only solution to the human conundrum is a classless, stateless global society. This perspective will have to be introduced by revolutionaries who, whatever their origin, combine forces in order to have an impact which otherwise would be negligible. That combination is revolutionary organisation, a party, a global revolutionary party.

“Within the framework of the party, and of the workers' organisations in general, Bolshevism insisted upon a rigid centralism, implacably warring against every taint of nationalism which might set the workers one against the other or disunite them. While flatly refusing to the bourgeois states the right to impose compulsory citizenship, or even a state language, upon a national minority, Bolshevism at the same time made it a verily sacred task to unite as closely as possible, by means of voluntary class discipline, the workers of different nationalities. thus it flatly rejected the national-federation principle in building the party. A revolutionary organisation is not the prototype of the future state, but merely the instrument for its creation. An instrument ought to be adapted to fashioning the product; it ought not to include the product. Thus a centralised organisation can guarantee the success of a revolutionary struggle—even when the task is to destroy the centralised oppression of nationalities." (Trotsky, The History of the Russian Revolution, pp. 890-1.)

Aurora (en)

Aurora is the broadsheet of the ICT for the interventions amongst the working class. It is published and distributed in several countries and languages. So far it has been distributed in UK, France, Italy, Canada, USA, Colombia.