Report on NWBCW Paris

The first meeting of the committee took place in December. 30-35 internationalists met and were able to discuss the drive towards generalised war and our possible responses. The meeting was split into two parts. The first dealt with the international situation, and the second asked what the committee could do about the war.

We must note first of all the number of attendees given that another meeting of other internationalists was taking place close by, as well as the trains being on strike. It has been a long time since we have seen such a meeting of revolutionaries in Paris. Naturally, the meeting reflected the heterogeneity of its participants, which was to be expected given the state of the internationalist milieu, composed as it is of people who had not spoken to each other for a long time. In itself, the meeting was already a noteworthy event, and a success. It is a sign that anxiety and questions about the political situation are at the forefront of many minds.

The Drive to War

The presentation was focussed on several points which were addressed briefly in order to leave more room for discussion. The points of the presentation were generally accepted and developed by the meeting.

Point one – the gravity of the general situation characterised by:

  • An extremely serious economic crisis masked by the war and Covid;
  • An environmental crisis;
  • The proliferation of viruses in industrial farms, and the repercussions on the population;
  • A food crisis leading in turn to a crisis of migration from poorer regions;
  • And above all, for the first time since the Second World War, the current conflict implicates the great imperialist powers: Russia, and the USA and NATO.

Point two – this means that it is an imperialist war affecting the great powers. During the Cold War, aside from the Cuban episode, the great powers of the USA and the USSR were not involved in direct confrontation.

Point three – the war in Ukraine is the tree that hides the forest. The goal of the USA through this war is to get all of its allies lined up, in order to then turn against China, which China has understood very well while remaining in the background for now.

What has the USA already gained from this war?

  1. Reinforcing NATO. The European army so dear to Macron is in bad shape, and will not see the light of day in the short term.
  2. Weakening the EU on all counts, in particular militarily and economically. We have observed the scramble for gas and the competition between the various European states. The country that has the most to lose in this latest economic maelstrom is the pillar of Europe: Germany. Its economic model is dead, since almost half of its energy comes from Russia and much of its industry is linked to China: the factory of the world and the principal buyer of its machine tools.
  3. Reinforcing NATO with Sweden and Finland at a time when Arctic maritime routes are becoming strategically significant.
  4. An attempt at reining in Turkey, which has been playing its own game throughout this period.
  5. Weakening Russia and pushing it back into the arms of China. In this case, Russia would be swallowed up by China. There could be an alternative hypothesis: Russia could return to the lap of the USA, to gain greater room for manœuver in the American camp.

Point four – the drive to war can only intensify.

The USA has pulled out of Afghanistan, where they had nothing more to gain. In fact, they are now attempting to fix all the related problems in the world, like the Iranian question, in order to pursue a policy of surrounding China more decisively.

  1. The USA has built an alliance in Asia-Pacific for security, the Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue), a group for cooperation between India, Japan, Australia and the USA. It was initiated in May 2007, but was restarted more seriously in 2017.
    However, since then, the USA has also created AUKUS, which has a much more military character in opposition to China. This contributed to the reinforcement of interrogations in India on the policy of the USA as an ally. In fact, the announcement was accompanied by a delivery of nuclear submarines to Australia, thus breaking a contract with Naval Group (a French enterprise) signed in 2016, which laid out the plans for the sale of twelve conventional submarines. The French diplomacy hoped to play their own game by regrouping the Asian countries that wanted to avoid military confrontations between the USA and China. France was rewarded handsomely for that sale of submarines to Australia. The message from the USA was received loud and clear: “those who are not with us are against us.”
  2. Today, this is no longer enough. A new “Indo-Pacific” alliance has been formed, regrouping the USA, the UK and Australia: AUKUS. Some experts have called it a “new Monroe Doctrine”(1) for the Indian Ocean. India no longer has a voice of its own, it has been shelved in the “strategic area” of the Indian Ocean. The USA has already come under fire when the Navy conducted a Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of India without the consent of New Delhi in April 2020.
    The USA, the keystone of AUKUS, reaffirmed with it their determination to contain China. France cannot but see a new weakening of the EU here, which was advocating a policy of conciliation between the great imperialists. We can still see Macron’s distortions in the face of the aggressive policy of the USA today.

Point five – obviously, the above is the ideal scenario for the USA. World imperialist war between the nuclear powers is risky. Nuclear weapons are supposed to serve as a deterrent. It seems that this is no longer the case, since there have now notably been talks of nuclear tactics that could be less dangerous; we are dancing on the brink of horror!

There could however be one other scenario that might allow for a halt to the rise in tensions. Naturally, the growing competition between China and the USA is not solely military. It has an important economic dimension; we have spoken elsewhere of economic warfare between China and the USA. This would be a repeat of the Cold War policy of containment of the USSR. China, if suffocated like Russia, could then no longer militarily keep up.

Point six – why this change in strategy by the USA towards war? Because China would have a military power equal to that of the USA by 2050 according to its objectives. Between now and 2050, the Chinese army could definitively overtake the American army. Time is ticking for the USA.

With generalised war rapidly approaching, it is urgent that internationalists organise against world war. Ultimately, only revolution can put an end to capitalism which, though dying, can still be deadly.

We are bolstered by the need of the bourgeoisie to develop the military economy, which will put pressure on workers and mobilise them as a result. This is what the states are afraid of: our strength. We are already seeing how workers are being attacked all over the world, and how they are beginning to feel it on their own skin.

It would be errant to judge the situation based on the class struggles of today. Faced with intensified production of arms, the workers’ reactions will be quite different; besides which, the states will shield themselves against their populaces (with the police, etc.). For us, it is necessary to create defence networks in case we are forced into clandestinity (e.g. see Clara and Pavel Thalmann during the Second World War(2)).

Now more than ever, we must reaffirm that only the working class can put an end to this barbarism. Hence the only slogan on the agenda: revolution to bring down the system and put an end to the war once and for all.

After a very open and interesting discussion during which there were no great divergences in analysis, we moved onto the second part of the discussion, that is, the propositions of the NWBCW committee. Why committees? Because, as we have seen above, the political situation will be increasingly marked by imperialist war in the foreseeable future. Let’s not be immediatists! If in the past the committees did not manage to respond to the situation, it is because the drive to war was not yet so evident; this is no longer the case today.

The Bases for Creation of an NWBCW Committee

Based on the legacy that the internationalist workers’ movement has left us in its struggle against the two imperialist powers, the minimum basis for cooperation is summarised by the following points:

  1. Against capitalism, imperialism and all nationalisms. No support for any national capitals, “lesser evils”, or states in formation.
  2. For a society where states, wage-labour, private property, money and production for profit are replaced by a world of freely associated producers.
  3. Against the economic and political attacks that the current war, and the ones to come, will unleash on the working class.
  4. For the self-organised struggle of the working class, for the formation of independent strike committees, mass assemblies and workers’ councils.
  5. Against oppression and exploitation, for the unity of the working class and the coming together of genuine internationalists.

Revolutionary minorities must act now to prepare the way for the wider international class movement of tomorrow.

During the discussion it was acknowledged that alongside propaganda and denunciations of the war by all the means at our disposal, there is a whole host of other practical actions we may take (press, appeals, public meetings, demonstrations, etc.), and for inspiration for this we need look no further than the actions of internationalists during the two imperialist world wars.

We remember that during a period of extreme famine in Greece in 1942-3, the population looted food stores in the face of the threat of Stalinists, who hoped to snatch them up for the Resistance. The KDEE (Internationalist Communist Union) and Stinas were able, with the consent of the masses, to distribute the seized food to feed the population.

We remember the aid for German deserters provided by the GRP-UCI (Groupe révolutionnaire prolétarien - Union des Communistes internationalistes) and the RKD (Revolutionären Kommunisten Deutschlands), just as the CNT-AIT do with the Olga Taratuta Initiative, and the support to Assembly in Ukraine and KRAS in Russia. The RKD worked with groups like the Quakers, who never betrayed them. Because it is not necessarily our task to manage cases of desertion in detail. We must know how to make use of the skills of specialist organisations which act professionally in these matters.

Finally, we remember those actions that played a more typically central part of the workers’ struggles, like the general strike in which the PCInt participated extensively in Northern Italy in 1943, or the GRP and others at Renault in France in 1944.

A general discussion of disagreements allowed the meeting to clarify what we all understood the creation of NWBCW committees to mean.

An appeal was launched for wider reflection on these questions. In conclusion, a number of comrades present declared themselves willing to participate in the committee or to be kept informed of its initiatives. Nobody assumed the right to mock, criticise or dismiss them. They are valiant militants of our class who are getting involved in the class struggle, and we commend them.

We have no illusions in the prospects of immediate success or the development of these committees in the coming months. However, we know not to judge things on a day to day basis, lest we should fall into immediatism. We know that as the war escalates and intensifies, such committees will become more and more necessary. Our slogans are to be understood in the context of the whole of the new era on the horizon, which profoundly alters our political knowledge.

This does not mean that we are ceasing our propaganda and our actions (those of the ICT or others outside the committee) in workplace and social struggles. On the contrary, we will see more and more of a need to link economic and social struggles with the struggle against the war, since the bourgeoisie, having already claimed our sweat, will then claim our blood. In this context, we cannot turn our backs on any proletarian internationalist force that may appear. Instead, we call them to join us in the herculean task of tomorrow against the imperialist war.

Bilan et Perspectives
23 January 2023


(1) The Monroe Doctrine (2 December 1823) stipulated that Europe must be driven out of America, which would become the territory of the USA alone, which in turn would not intervene in European affairs.

(2) Combats pour la liberté, La digitale, 1997.

Thursday, February 2, 2023