I'm from Poland and I recently got interested in theory of the communist left. I mean, Italian one, I already subscribed to council communism before.

I don't fully agree with all the ICT's positions (I have doubts concerning the role of the party- perhaps due to my anarchist and later councilist "background"), but overall you seem reasonable and not sectarian, contrary to, well... some other left-communist organisation. Your view on the October Revolution also seems to be more complex and adequate than simplistic explanations laid down by anarchists ("Bolsheviks were just power-hungry red Jacobins") and many councilists ("it was bourgeois revolution from the start").

I was surprised to see some of your texts translated to Polish. Did you happen to have a Polish comrade? In Poland, communist left is virtually unknown. Communists in Poland are mostly Trot sects and Stalinist dinosaurs from the Communist Party (who mourned Kim Jong-Il). There are some people inspired by councilism and autonomism, but as far as I know all of them remain at the periphery of the anarchist movement (and Pannekoek and all are basically presented smugly as "Marxists who admitted the superiority of anarchism", or at least that's my impression). As for anarchists, commies are also a minority among them.

I wonder if there's any chance for openly communist group to gain any significant support here. Political climate in Poland is unfriendly towards radicals. Right-wing dominates political discourse to such extent that even the proper social democrats are outside of the parliament. Because of the post-WWII history (also Polish-Bolshevik war), everybody has a knee-jerk reaction to a word "communism" (or "socialism", but "communism" is obviously worse). Hardcore economic liberals label every kind of interventionism or social benefits as "socialism" (and their views are really popular amongst those who show any interest in politics). Trying to explain that socialism/communism is neither a totalitarian and militarist state, nor high taxes and welfare state, is like talking to a wall (I know that's what people think everywhere, but here it is taken to another new level). If you can't break down the barrier of prejudices in a personal conversation, what about convincing the whole mass of workers?

Okay, enough of this. If you wish, I can help you by translating some stuff (even if I will be the only Pole that will read it...). If I happen to have a time to spare I can also write something about major events here. That's all I can do.

Best regards



Thanks for writing although I don't know whether you meant it to be in the public arena of our forum. However we welcome your comments. You have understood where we are politically very well. For us the councilists have identified teh aprty as the CAUSE of the counter-revolution when in fact it substituted itself for the class in the process as the revolution failed. Obviously the fact that the party which began as the most revolutionary at the time ended up carrying out the counter-revolution gives material support for this theory. We could not have had a worse defeat and we are still paying for it. However we now recognise the errors of social democracy (even in the radical form of Bolshevism. For us the working class as a whole makes the revolution but in the course of it it has to forge the tools to finish the job. Obviously these are mostly class wide organs like councils etc. But the material organisation of class consciousness before then takes the form of a political association or party. This party rules no territory, is not a government in waiting and operates with one aim only - to spread world revolution. In any one area it can only lead the way but cannot make socialism itself as that is the result of a transformation of human beings on a mass scale in the course of a real revolutionary process. Certain individuals may kick this process off but only when it has seized a mass of people can it become really trnasfornational. You have also guessed right that we have no affiliated organisation or even one member in Poland but the translations were done by a young comrade who had lived in the UK for some time. I just checked on on average they have each been read by 2000-2500 people so unless you have been a serial reader then there must be more interest out there than you might think! Naturally we'd welcome any new translations and look forward to carrying on the discussion.

I know that you don't believe in party overthrowing capitalism and class society in the name of proletariat, if you did I wouldn't be here. However, you wrote that party should not limit its role during revolution to a mere propaganda, but should fight for sustaining communist programme. I assume this means just active participation of militants in councils, but at first I had doubts concerning what would it mean in practice. But, what's more important is that ICT believes that workers need a party to develop proper class consciousness, that such consciousness can't arise from their daily struggles. But doesn't this contradict the Marxian conception of communism as "real movement" as opposed to an ideal or utopian scheme coming from the outside of the working class; or 1st thesis on Feuerbach in which Marx criticises bourgeois materialism for disregarding "sensuous human activity, practice"? (great, now I'm dabbling with philosophy...) And well, I know that ICT has no affiliated organisation in Poland, I would know about it ;) Well, migrant Polish worker was what I was placing my bet on.

P.S. where should I send translations? Also, how about translating the FAQ? I've noticed it's only in English, and I don't know whether it's due to simply that there was nobody to translate it or for some other reason.


Thanks for getting back to us and sorry about the delay in response. Ironically we had a meeting at the weekend in Newcastle which was attended by several students, one of whom was the offspring of Polish immigrants. Naturally he was an anarchist as you would have predicted.

We liked your reply to our overlong and obviously unnecessary explanation of where we stood re organisation and your question about how our theory will work out in practice. Your explanation of it is as good as ours. We content ourselves for the moment saying that individual members will be delegated by their local bodies and thus remain responsible to them. If this clashes with the internationalist perspective of a continuously extending world revolution then either our members have to step down or they choose to continue as delegates but no longer as members of an internationalist revolutionary organisation. The real social, economic and political forces on the ground will be the decisive factors here and we cannot in any case do anything if the objective circumstances decree another counter-revolution.

We are obviously agreed on class consciousness. Re the FAQS they are not in English but machine translated from the Italian. Native English speakers would have a hard time to follow them. We have always meant to correct them but other priorities have meant we have postponed it. Now you have raised it we will look at it again but if you are able to crack the code and make it coherent in Polish we would be very grateful.

On the practical question send your email address to uk@leftcom.org and then we'll send you emails you can use for direct communication.

Internationalist greetings


Gepetto said:

"Trying to explain that socialism/communism is neither a totalitarian and militarist state, nor high taxes and welfare state, is like talking to a wall (I know that's what people think everywhere, but here it is taken to another new level). If you can't break down the barrier of prejudices in a personal conversation, what about convincing the whole mass of workers?"

Of course it is difficult everywhere to talk about communism but I can only imagine how much more difficult it must be in a country like Poland. However, if communist revolution rested on convincing every or most workers' of what communism really is and to desire it we would never see it.