Welcome to Klasbatalo as Canadian Affiliate of the Internationalist Communist Tendency

The Internationalist Communist Tendency (ICT) and Klasbatalo are pleased to announce that from this point on Klasbatalo has become the Canadian affiliate of the ICT. This will be no surprise to those who have been watching the steady growth in our relations over the last two years but our contacts with the original nucleus of Klasbatalo go back slightly further. In 2015 one of the comrades who formed the new group first contacted us with a view to joining our previous Canadian affiiate, the Groupe Internationaliste Ouvrier (GIO). At this time though the GIO was wracked by a crisis of its own making which we described in our announcement of its dissolution in January 2016 (this can be found at leftcom.org). We thus advised the comrade to hang fire and await the outcome of our discussions with the remaining element of the GIO and, when we finally announced the GIO’s demise, he set about contacting other left communists in Montréal, some of whom had been in the GIO for a brief time after its foundation.

As Klasbatalo themselves wrote in an earlier letter,

"… the path of the Communist Left has been particularly painful in Canada. The comrades who formalized it in Quebec, mainly in Montreal, then had a very summary idea of the positions of the Communist Left, its strongest tendency and the best established then being that of the Internationalist Workers Group/Groupe Internationaliste Ouvriere (affiliated to the ICT)."

But, unknown to the ICT at the time, the GIO in Canada was dominated by personalism rather than political clarity and they soon felt compelled to leave it. The ICT were told that this was for “personal reasons”. The struggle to establish Klasbatalo has not been an easy one.

"Three of our members lived through the schism – which divided the Quebec “Communist Left” for more than 15 years in Montreal – by participating in both the Internationalist Workers Group and by adopting to a certain extent the policies of the ICC. We have therefore learned a great deal from this experience by meeting again in the summer of 2017 to deepen and clarify the journey we have taken for more or less 15 years within the “Communist Left”."

The comrades have not only had to reject the dangerous and sectarian behaviour of one political adventurer whose focus was simply on attacking other communist groups, but have also had to deal with the misinformed calumnies and misrepresentation of other groups of the Communist Left. Hopefully, the latter may now be a thing of the past, but these trials have only helped Klasbatalo to clarify what it stands for and what it rejects.

The Canadian experience has been equally “painful” for the ICT and after the dissolution of the GIO we resolved to examine what went wrong. As we wrote in January, 2016:

"We as a tendency have however also to draw the lessons of this experience. The ICT has never set out to create clones of itself. The ICT is the coordinating body of groups which are centralised around a common platform but which have considerable freedom to work in their own areas with whomever they think are contributing to building a revolutionary proletarian organisation. [By this we mean one which is autonomous of social democratic/state capitalist and trades union elements which seek to integrate the working class into capitalist society by posing as “socialist” but who are actually intent only on reforming a system which is long ceased to be useful to humanity.] Our aim is for constituent groups to contribute to the development of revolutionary theory and practice as they participate in the class struggle wherever they live, obviously starting from the perspective of the communist left. This the GIO did sporadically but, as our recent discussions have revealed, tended to go with the movement too often in a sort of left populist way and did not always make their own distinctive and revolutionary contribution. This is a typical danger of any new political nucleus and can only be overcome by a consistent effort to collectively clarify what the political basis of left communist politics means."

It is for this reason that the discussions and cooperation between ourselves and the comrades of Klasbatalo have taken some time. Our demands of every potential affiliate remain the same. As we recently wrote to one potential applicant,

"For us the process is governed, not by time, but by fulfilling the criteria that we believe necessary for any healthy addition to our overall international strength. These remain:

1. Political agreement with the Platform of the ICT

2. A basic statement of positions – i.e. a Platform

3. A set of organisational rules which define the behaviour and operation of communists within the said organisation.

4. An organ of intervention, however infrequent in publication, which is a tool for intervention in the wider working class.

5. A practice which attempts, however difficult the situation, to reach the wider working class and become a force in any future struggles to guide the class towards a political response to the capitalist crisis and its consequences."

These axioms were the basis of the discussions between the ICT and Klasbatalo and we are pleased to announce that not only have Klasbatalo fulfilled all these criteria but last November their delegate to our International Bureau meeting participated on the same basis as any other delegate of an ICT affiliate. With the issue of the first number of their political broadsheet, Mutiny, in May, and with their agreement to make further minor changes to their Platform (which arose out of our mutual discussions), the final steps in the process are complete. We are very happy to welcome Klasbatalo as our affiliate in Canada. As we always say to potential affiliates, you do not join the ICT, you help to create it. We are not fantasists and are well aware that we are still at the beginning of a long struggle to widen the reach of the Communist Left inside the world working class but here we have another step in that direction. Klasbatalo will now participate fully in the process of greater coordination of our work and updating the basic instruments we use to reach out to others. We look forward, not only to a long and happy association but also to the day when we will all be able to concretely participate in creating a real International of the revolutionary working class.

Internationalist Communist Tendency

6 July 2019

Monday, August 5, 2019

Comments

If I got it, the GIO was just the French name of the IWG. If this is so, then I believe the IWG no longer exists, since in early 2017 you announced that the GIO (ie =the IWG) dissolved itself. However, I still see IWG (alongside Klasbatalo) listed as active associate of the journal Intransigence, and also from this leftcom site I get the impression that IWG is still active.

Anyway, I have sent a couple of submissions for the Intransigence journal to the addresses of both Klasbatalo and IWG, but neither have responded (this was more than 2 weeks ago, and meanwhile 2 follow-up emails I sent were also left unanswered).

I have almost given up patience to receive a reply (I had sent the submissions already in late 2018 to some people on the editorial board of Intransigence, but apparently they left the board since). I understand Klasbatalo now also has another journal, Mutiny. I don't know if you will continue Intransigence. If not, I would like to submit the piece(s) for the leftcom site (if that is possible, how do I proceed?).

Noa

We are sorry to hear you have had no response. It is not in our tradition but it maybe because those emails are being directed to the wrong place and we'll check that out. Re Intransigence, we know the comrades (who include Klasbatalo and the IWG) intend to produce another one along with other comrades who are not members of the ICT. If you email your submissions to uk@leftcom.org then we will pass them on (which is no guarantee of acceptance, of course). Re the IWG it had two branches, one in the US and the other in Canada (which as you rightly said was the English version of the GIO). Today the US branch not only exists but we are happy to say is expanding with comrades in several different parts of the USA. It has just produced a new edition of its broadsheet Internationalist Notes which will be up on the site soon. We think Klasbatalo intend to continue to support both Intransigence (which is not a printed journal) and Mutiny.

Greetings to Klasbatalo’s Affiliation to the Internationalist Communist Tendency

We welcome the membership of the group Klasbatalo of Canada to the ICT [1]. In fact, it objectively strengthens not only the ICT but also the Communist Left as a whole. First, it is important to quickly clarify to some uninformed readers the subtleties of the development of the Communist Left in Canada. They may remember the original Klasbatalo of the 2000s; the one that had dissolved in 2013 at the same time as the International Fraction of the Communist Left (ex-IFICC) to form our group, the IGCL. Initially, this new Klasbatalo was reformed – more or less formally – by comrades who had resigned from the IGCL in 2014 and 2015. Rightly, and responsibly – we even encouraged it in its time – they contacted the ICT as the article tries to explain. Subsequently, other comrades joined the group to begin discussions with the ICT for their membership. We can regret that the use of the name Klasbatalo may lead to confusion, especially since the comrades do not make any critical assessment of the Klasbatalo of the 2000s, nor do they position themselves in relation to its history and its impact on the Canadian and especially Montreal milieu. Do they claim it? And if so, to what extent? On what positions? What political weaknesses? Nevertheless, their membership in the ICT is in itself a step forward in the fight for the party.

We hope to be able to develop fraternal relationships, especially since we are present in the same city as the comrades, Montreal. This would break with the sectarian and opportunistic policy, sometimes even directly provocative and hostile, that the former ICT group in Canada, the IWG, had pursued against us at the time. Our understanding and practice of international regroupment – which, we repeat once again, must be articulated around the ICT – turns its back to any spirit of competition or rivalry with it, particularly to win members. However, very often in North America, it tends to consider the question of grouping only from the perspective, at the least reductive, of the accession of new members to its own ranks, which leads it to consider any open and public debate aimed at breaking politically with leftist positions and clarifying the positions of the Communist Left as a whole as superfluous. This can only weaken the forces and militants who join it in the long term. In the past, this lack of political rigour in the integration of new members had left the door open for the IWG (...) "to go with the movement too often in a sort of left populist way and did not always make their own distinctive and revolutionary contribution" according to the ICT itself. To be precise, its former group in Canada adopted "too often" leftist, Maoist-type positions, interventions and practices with which its main members had never really broken and against which we had warned the ICT at the time.

To date, Klasbatalo version 2 completely ignores the existence of the IGCL in Montreal when we could jointly develop a political space and dynamic of the Communist Left as a whole. For example, and despite our invitations, it refuses to participate in our public meetings. Similarly and more importantly, the ICT article does not report the content of the discussions on the platform before the integration. While it points out that the discussion required "to make further minor changes to [Klasbatalo’s] Platform" – a platform never published to our knowledge. What were these changes? Secondly, are there two platforms, one of the group and the other of the ICT? If so, why? And what are the differences between the two? There is no doubt that the report of these discussions could serve as a reference for other circles or individuals and ’open’ the debate to the proletarian camp, in particular to its components that are part of the struggle for the formation of the party, to its partidist forces.

Our past experience with the IWG and the weaknesses of the ICT’s intervention in regroupment encourage us to be vigilant and critical from the outset. We would not want the mistakes and abuses of various kinds that the ICT and its former group in Canada had experienced to happen again. On several occasions, it criticized us in internal correspondence for interfering in what was none of our business. However, the politics and the future of the main organization of the Communist Left today are also our business. Not only because this policy, via the IWG and... the beginnings of this 2nd Klasbatalo, has had various direct negative practical consequences on our own existence in Canada, but also and especially because the proletarian camp, the party in the making, is at stake as a whole. The life and proper functioning of the ICT is also our business and should be that of all those who really fight for the party.

So, greetings to Klasbatalo! Critical greetings, but fraternal greetings.The IGCL, September 2019

Revolutionary Perspectives

Journal of the Communist Workers’ Organisation -- Why not subscribe to get the articles whilst they are still current and help the struggle for a society free from exploitation, war and misery? Joint subscriptions to Revolutionary Perspectives (3 issues) and Aurora (our agitational bulletin - 4 issues) are £15 in the UK, €24 in Europe and $30 in the rest of the World.