The ICT's differences with the ICC

  1. Zanthorus
    Zanthorus
    I PM'd the user Jock to elaborate what differences the ICT has from the ICC apart from on the question of decadence, and he requested I start a thread so that the ICC users can see what is being said about them.

    So yes, I would like to know what the actual differences are between the ICT and the ICC. From my (Admittedly outside) perspective, they seem quite minimal really.
  2. Madvillainy
    I pm'd someone who is close to the ICT and this is what he though the main differences were:

    Crisis Theory/Decadence: The difference is the ICC defend a Luxemburgist understanding of capitalist crisis (saturation of world markets, over-production etc). Whereas the ICT understand of economic crisis is is derived from the tendency for the rate of profit to fall. ICT reject eh ICC's Theses on Decomposition.

    Party: While both are for a world communist party and say they are not the party. ICT see the point as being to build groups with political activity oriented in their national setting. They reject as premature the ICC centralisation at an international level, also another difference is that the ICT seek to organise unemployed workers and factory groups. ICT also reject the Theses on Parasitism.

    Period of Transition: ICT oppose the existence of a state in the period of transition. However both agree that Soviets, assemblies etc are the forms workers political rule takes. ICT call this a semi-state. Whereas the ICC say that because of the existence of other non-exploiting strata there will the emergence of a state.

    Unions: While there are nuances in there analysis of Trade Unions, they essentially agree. The main difference being the ICT do not reject on principle being members of Trade Unions and doing political work inside them.
  3. Android
    Android
    Quote Originally Posted by Madvillainy
    I pm'd someone who is close to the ICT and this is what he though the main differences were:

    Crisis Theory/Decadence: The difference is the ICC defend a Luxemburgist understanding of capitalist crisis (saturation of world markets, over-production etc). Whereas the ICT understand of economic crisis is is derived from the tendency for the rate of profit to fall. ICT reject eh ICC's Theses on Decomposition.

    Party: While both are for a world communist party and say they are not the party. ICT see the point as being to build groups with political activity oriented in their national setting. They reject as premature the ICC centralisation at an international level, also another difference is that the ICT seek to organise unemployed workers and factory groups. ICT also reject the Theses on Parasitism.

    Period of Transition: ICT oppose the existence of a state in the period of transition. However both agree that Soviets, assemblies etc are the forms workers political rule takes. ICT call this a semi-state. Whereas the ICC say that because of the existence of other non-exploiting strata there will the emergence of a state.

    Unions: While there are nuances in there analysis of Trade Unions, they essentially agree. The main difference being the ICT do not reject on principle being members of Trade Unions and doing political work inside them.
    I guess I should own up this was my very brief and rather superficial outline of the differences.

    It is a question I've been asked by quite a few people who are interested in the politics of left communism. Hopefully members of the respective group will comment.
  4. Leo
    Leo
    Crisis Theory/Decadence: The difference is the ICC defend a Luxemburgist understanding of capitalist crisis (saturation of world markets, over-production etc). Whereas the ICT understand of economic crisis is is derived from the tendency for the rate of profit to fall. ICT reject eh ICC's Theses on Decomposition.
    Well, there still are in the ICC comrades who say that the economic crisis is is derived from the tendency for the rate of profit to fall and from what I hear some comrades in the ICT who still defend a more Luxemburgist conception.

    Party: While both are for a world communist party and say they are not the party. ICT see the point as being to build groups with political activity oriented in their national setting. They reject as premature the ICC centralisation at an international level, also another difference is that the ICT seek to organise unemployed workers and factory groups. ICT also reject the Theses on Parasitism.
    I think the difference here, which might as well be the main difference and the reason why there are two separate organizations, is that the ICT has a (or the?) party in Italy and comes from that tradition while the ICC doesn't think it is possible to build a party or the party in one country. Both organizations certainly are for the world communist party and both don't consider themselves to it.

    Period of Transition: ICT oppose the existence of a state in the period of transition. However both agree that Soviets, assemblies etc are the forms workers political rule takes. ICT call this a semi-state. Whereas the ICC say that because of the existence of other non-exploiting strata there will the emergence of a state.
    From my understanding of it actually, and I might be wrong but this is what I gathered from an ICT comrade I met, the disagreement here is the ICT interpreting the ICC as arguing that a single party shouldn't rule the state as meaning communists shouldn't take responsibility in the state. Both, however, would call it a semi-state I think. As far s I am aware of this was, more or less, why the ICC ended up expelled from the 4th Conference of the Communist Left.

    Unions: While there are nuances in there analysis of Trade Unions, they essentially agree. The main difference being the ICT do not reject on principle being members of Trade Unions and doing political work inside them.
    I think here, the ICT would reject doing political work inside the unions, and the ICC would not oppose militants being members for necessities either conditions-wise or rules-wise. So the differences here are even milder. Basically, as far as I am aware of, in practice it manifests more as the ICT trying to set-up small communist factory union-groups while the ICC focuses on setting up broader political discussion groups when possible and drawing people encountered from the workplaces of militants there.

    The differences in my opinion are indeed minimal, both organizations are dedicated and sincere revolutionary organizations, and if there isn't the ground for a single organization there are grounds for joint work. Why there isn't any joint work, or enough of it anyway, can't be blamed on either one of the two organizations alone. The ICC has for years tried to work with the former IBRP, but also had problems with its approach possibly. The ICT now to me give the impression that they are at least more open to joint work, but the ICC doesn't seem to be responding to it enough. Things need and in the future will have to get better in this respect. And this is coming from an "inside" perspective.
  5. Android
    Android
    Leo, thanks for that post it was helpful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leo
    Well, there still are in the ICC comrades who say that the economic crisis is is derived from the tendency for the rate of profit to fall and from what I hear some comrades in the ICT who still defend a more Luxemburgist conception.
    Wasn't aware that comrades within the ICT defend a Luxemburgist perspective, although I remember being telling that in the period before the outbreak of the current crisis, there were comrades in the CWO who had minority position on this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leo
    I think here, the ICT would reject doing political work inside the unions, and the ICC would not oppose militants being members for necessities either conditions-wise or rules-wise. So the differences here are even milder. Basically, as far as I am aware of, in practice it manifests more as the ICT trying to set-up small communist factory union-groups while the ICC focuses on setting up broader political discussion groups when possible and drawing people encountered from the workplaces of militants there.
    Yes, I was not as precise there as I should have been. Quote below is a post of mine on a previous thread from a while back on this question.

    As far as I understand the difference between the ICC and ICT (shared by others) regarding whether their members join trade union or not. Is largely a difference over strategic orientation versus tactics. ICC militants don't join trade unions because they believe that their anti-union position is made clearer. Whereas the ICT approach is based on the tactical consideration of whether there is a possibility for individual militants to use union membership to further their anti-union perspective. But I wouldn't call it a 'inside and against' approach because they don't have a general rule that members join trade unions like platformists and trotskyists or on the hand don't join (ICC).
    I hope to get back on some of the other stuff later.
  6. Jock
    Jock
    I have never ever known anyone in the ICT or its predecessors anywhere or at any time to hold a Luxemburgist perspective or indeed the ICC's "saturated markets" view (which is not the same position as Rosa Luxemburg though we did write a critique of Luxemburg once thinking the ICC shared her views which they do not. See http://www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2...-rosa-luxembur

    The ICC have never replied to this article in the 35 years since it was written. Much more to say on the differences but will return later.
  7. Devrim
    Devrim
    Quote Originally Posted by Madvillainy
    Crisis Theory/Decadence: The difference is the ICC defend a Luxemburgist understanding of capitalist crisis (saturation of world markets, over-production etc). Whereas the ICT understand of economic crisis is is derived from the tendency for the rate of profit to fall. ICT reject eh ICC's Theses on Decomposition.
    I personally don't think that economic disagreements are reason enough to have separate organisations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Madvillainy
    Period of Transition: ICT oppose the existence of a state in the period of transition. However both agree that Soviets, assemblies etc are the forms workers political rule takes. ICT call this a semi-state. Whereas the ICC say that because of the existence of other non-exploiting strata there will the emergence of a state.
    Nor different theoretical ideas on the period of transition.

    Quote Originally Posted by Madvillainy
    Unions: While there are nuances in there analysis of Trade Unions, they essentially agree. The main difference being the ICT do not reject on principle being members of Trade Unions and doing political work inside them.
    As Leo pointed out, I don't think there is that much difference here. I think that there is a tendency in the ICC to be a little 'moralistic' on union membership. Yes, communists can't organise through unions, but I don't think that it means you can't be members. Nobody advocates organising through insurance companies, yet many people have life insurance. I think that unions can offer individual protection to people in a very limited way, for example they can get a lawyer if you are accused of some misdemeanour.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leo
    I think the difference here, which might as well be the main difference and the reason why there are two separate organizations, is that the ICT has a (or the?) party in Italy and comes from that tradition while the ICC doesn't think it is possible to build a party or the party in one country. Both organizations certainly are for the world communist party and both don't consider themselves to it.
    I think the reason that there are two separate organisations is because of historical reasons, and the fact that sectarianism hasn't allowed such problems to be overcome.

    It would be interesting to hear the ICT clarify on the Italian issue you raise though. If the ICT is for the party, why does their Italian section call itself a party now? Is the name just a historical remnant?

    The PCInt was formed in 1943, and the tradition that the ICC draws from, the GCF, considers it to have been premature. Certainly though, the comrades in the PCInt had reason to think it was time to declare the party. There were large scale struggles in Italy, the war was coming to a close, and there was reason to expect revolutionary upheaval to follow the was at least in that it had followed the previous one.

    Those who expected the war to turn into a civil war were, unfortunately, mistaken. Personally I agree with the ICC analysis that the PCInt was formed prematurely. I don't think that it was a 'voluntarist' move though. I think the analysis of the conditions was wrong. We can all make mistakes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leo
    ]the ICC doesn't think it is possible to build a party or the party in one country
    I don't really understand what you mean here. Both organisations are for an international party. Personally I think that the process of forming a communist party is not just the transformation of existing organisations into a party, but a process of maturation and combination, which has its base in the class struggle itself. Of course the party won't be proclaimed internationally in every country at the same moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leo
    From my understanding of it actually, and I might be wrong but this is what I gathered from an ICT comrade I met, the disagreement here is the ICT interpreting the ICC as arguing that a single party shouldn't rule the state as meaning communists shouldn't take responsibility in the state. Both, however, would call it a semi-state I think. As far s I am aware of this was, more or less, why the ICC ended up expelled from the 4th Conference of the Communist Left.
    I think it was actually on the party question.

    Devrim
  8. Leo
    Leo
    The PCInt was formed in 1943, and the tradition that the ICC draws from, the GCF, considers it to have been premature. Certainly though, the comrades in the PCInt had reason to think it was time to declare the party. There were large scale struggles in Italy, the war was coming to a close, and there was reason to expect revolutionary upheaval to follow the was at least in that it had followed the previous one.

    Those who expected the war to turn into a civil war were, unfortunately, mistaken. Personally I agree with the ICC analysis that the PCInt was formed prematurely. I don't think that it was a 'voluntarist' move though. I think the analysis of the conditions was wrong. We can all make mistakes.
    The thing is that there are roots and reasons of mistakes. I don't know whether the PCInt of these days was voluntaristic, as I wasn't there to observe their organizational practices - some of what I've read about it does seem to imply that they were a bit like that though. I think at the root of this mistake was, basically, thinking that the party can be formed based entirely on the analysis of the national situation of one country, in other words, without taking into consideration the situation of class struggle in other countries.

    I don't really understand what you mean here.
    Well, obviously the comrades think that the Internationalist Communist Party of Italy can exist without the world party existing, hence the existence of the PCInt in Italy. Had they thought that a name change, for whatever reason, was necessary, they would have changed that name too as they changed the IBRP into the ICT. However;

    It would be interesting to hear the ICT clarify on the Italian issue you raise though. If the ICT is for the party, why does their Italian section call itself a party now? Is the name just a historical remnant?
    Indeed.

    Both organisations are for an international party. Personally I think that the process of forming a communist party is not just the transformation of existing organisations into a party, but a process of maturation and combination, which has its base in the class struggle itself. Of course the party won't be proclaimed internationally in every country at the same moment.
    I think it will be formed and proclaimed on a world level this time rather than national parties getting together to form the international as it went down with the third. Of course, sections can grow stronger etc. or might develop in some countries only after some time, but as I said I think it can only be formed and proclaimed as the world party.

    I think it was actually on the party question.
    The party taking power, actually. I tried to express it in a less superficial way though

    I have never ever known anyone in the ICT or its predecessors anywhere or at any time to hold a Luxemburgist perspective or indeed the ICC's "saturated markets" view
    Nor have I - I simply said I heard that there were comrades who defended a similar analysis. If it's wrong, it's wrong.

    I do know however that there are comrades in the ICC who defend say that the economic crisis is is derived from the tendency for the rate of profit to fall. I personally think this is a good thing, and completely agree with Devrim that economic disagreements aren't reason enough to have separate organisations.
  9. Jock
    Jock
    Too much to answer here. Our comrades in BC as we call the PCint tend to dismiss these issues as "archaeology" (and in some senses they are right). Personally I think they have sold themselves short by not making more of the fact that the PCInt was the biggest communist left party after the KAPD collapsed in the twenties and the Italian Left was ousted from the leadership of the CP d'I. To answer the first point though the title PCInt is a historic hangover (our comrades sign their leaflets more frequently as "the Internationalists of Battaglia Comunista". Why do they not abandon the title? For the simple reason that a tthe moment there are several INTERNATIONAL Communist Parties in the Bordigist camp but only one INTERNATIONALIST Communist Party which is not Bordigist. If they did abandon the title PCInt the next Bordigist micro-split would immediately claim it and the confusion would be even worse than it is today. However the comrades do not look back but forward to the World Party of the Proletariat which the ICT believes will come about as Devrim describes it.
  10. Jock
    Jock
    I should also add that Damen did not found the PCint just because mass strikes were happening in Northern Italy at this time. He recognised that there were similar movements developing elsewhere (unfortunately none coordinated). But he also wanted to lay down a marker against imperilaist war and when Stalin formally announced the dissolution of the Comintern in 1943 (as part of the price of the wartime alliance with the US and UK) Damen saw this as a useful time to try to win away communists from the Stalinist ranks. The whole policy of the PCInt in the period after Togliatti's PCI was formed in 1945 (significantly it was no longer the Communist Party of Italy (of the Left in 1921 - called so because it was part of an international) but the Italian Communist Party (or a national party). I think it is hard to call this formation voluntarist in that it had about 5000 members by 1947-8. Compare this with the GCF which MC (later founder of the ICC) once told us (at the Third International Conference) was a group of 4 in Marseilles in 1945. MC's perspective was not only that it was too soon to form the party because it was a period of defeat. Damen replied that period of defeat or not the need for a political organisation of the class in the era of imperialism was permanent. MC then concluded (at the Korean War's outbreak) that World War Three was on the cards so he dissolved the GCF and went to Venzuela. He came back for 1968 to proclaim that the period of defeat was over. BC said the situation remained the same as when he had left. There is some irony in all this as since then the ICC have had a much more immediatist perspective of the possibility of revolution than the ICT and it predecessors. I believe this is at the root of the differences (and they are sustained by the difference in economic theory - the saturated markets schema is absolutist (ergo crisis is here and revolution must follow) whereas the notion that the rate of profit (based on the law of value) is variable allows for expansion and contraction. This sense of urgency on the part of the ICC has also had some unfortunate outcomes in terms of relations with other organisations. Hopefully these are being put behind it.
  11. devoration1
    devoration1
    MC's perspective was not only that it was too soon to form the party because it was a period of defeat. Damen replied that period of defeat or not the need for a political organisation of the class in the era of imperialism was permanent.
    Yes, a political organization of revolutionary militants is necessary regardless of period. However, the party is different from a revolutionary organization; the party is a particular form of organization only applicable during periods of advancing and open class struggle, especially in pre-revolutionary situations. I was under the impression that both the ICT and ICC shared a close conception of the class party?

    The new party completely abandoned the lessons of the Italian Left Fraction in Exile; it did not assimilate the French and Belgian exile fractions and their theoretical advances to form the bases of their party (which was a big reason why many of the French and Belgian comrades did not join the PCInt in 1943-1945). This is the root of the GCF- to carry on the work of the most advanced sections of the left fractions, of Bilan, Octobre, etc.

    Unfortunately, the mass membership of the PCInt in the 40's and 50's was based on a poor regroupment and membership policy, a lack of hard fought theoretical acquisitions, which led to the split in 1952, massive reduction in membership and finally the implosion in 1982 in the International Communist Party(s).

    MC then concluded (at the Korean War's outbreak) that World War Three was on the cards so he dissolved the GCF and went to Venzuela. He came back for 1968 to proclaim that the period of defeat was over. BC said the situation remained the same as when he had left.
    So both were wrong. World War III was not in the cards, and new generations of workers resumed the class perspective and open class struggle similar to the pre-counter-revolutionary era.

    The focus on economic theory is puzzleing; especially since the ICC has published documents from majority and minority groups within their organization that differ on the underlying economic laws of capitalist crisis. Even if one stuck solely to the theory of a saturation of markets, it is hardly by nature absolutist. The bourgeoisie has proven to be more resiliant than anyone thought; the introduction of state capitalism, massive credit schemes, standardization of fiat money, etc show the capability of capital to carry on in crisis (not in perfect health, but carry on nonetheless).
  12. Devrim
    Devrim
    Quote Originally Posted by Leo
    Well, obviously the comrades think that the Internationalist Communist Party of Italy can exist without the world party existing, hence the existence of the PCInt in Italy. Had they thought that a name change, for whatever reason, was necessary, they would have changed that name too as they changed the IBRP into the ICT.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jock
    To answer the first point though the title PCInt is a historic hangover (our comrades sign their leaflets more frequently as "the Internationalists of Battagle Comunista". Why do they not abandon the title? For the simple reason that a tthe moment there are several INTERNATIONAL Communist Parties in the Bordigist camp but only one INTERNATIONALIST Communist Party which is not Bordigist. If they did abandon the title PCInt the next Bordigist micro-split would immediately claim it and the confusion would be even worse than it is today.
    I suspected as much. I think that really to go on about it as if there was some kind of political point here is just nit-picking.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leo
    I think it will be formed and proclaimed on a world level this time rather than national parties getting together to form the international as it went down with the third. Of course, sections can grow stronger etc. or might develop in some countries only after some time, but as I said I think it can only be formed and proclaimed as the world party.
    To be honest I think that this formulation is, well, a bit idealistic, and doesn't relate to the process that I would imagine in any way. What you seem to be proposing implies that one international organisation, at some point, decides that the moment is right and declares itself to be the party. on an international level. I see the party as something that will be built through a consolidation of class forces, and different organisations, many of which won't exist at this moment. The coming together of these organisations and the construction of a party will of course be something that happens at a different rate in different countries, and the premature deceleration of a world party by one political organisations could well be something that would have a negative effect on the process. Conversely a 'late' deceleration could mean that there were already real communist parties in existence. Maybe you are looking for the 'Goldilocks effect' and getting it 'just right'.

    More to the point though, I don't really think that a disagreement on this sort of thing is in any way crucial as you wrote:

    I think the difference here, which might as well be the main difference and the reason why there are two separate organizations, is that the ICT has a (or the?) party in Italy and comes from that tradition while the ICC doesn't think it is possible to build a party or the party in one country. Both organizations certainly are for the world communist party and both don't consider themselves to it.
    I think that to have two different organisations that are differentiated on the details of the process in which a future party might be formed are absurd. If I am right then there must be other reasons.

    Quote Originally Posted by Devoration1
    So both were wrong. World War III was not in the cards, and new generations of workers resumed the class perspective and open class struggle similar to the pre-counter-revolutionary era.
    I think that this is a very important point. Whatever errors of judgement and analysis the PCInt might of made, they can only be as bad as deciding that WWII was about to start and leaving for Venezuela. The point though isn't to dwell on the mistakes, of both sides, sixty years ago, by people who are all now dead, but to move forwards in a spirt of open discussion and not point scoring.

    Devrim
  13. internasyonalista
    internasyonalista
    Quote Originally Posted by Devrim
    I think that this is a very important point. Whatever errors of judgement and analysis the PCInt might of made, they can only be as bad as deciding that WWII was about to start and leaving for Venezuela. The point though isn't to dwell on the mistakes, of both sides, sixty years ago, by people who are all now dead, but to move forwards in a spirt of open discussion and not point scoring.
    Devrim
    I agree with this. Revolutionary organizations and personalities made mistakes, and some are major ones. What is important for the current generation is to learn from their mistakes, and most importantly from the mistakes of our organization (whether it is ICT or ICC, or whatever revolutionary organization).

    And for me openness for fraternal discussions and debates could hasten to move forward. Point scoring between revolutionary organizations is not favorable for the consolidation of the class for political combat and should be criticize.
  14. Jock
    Jock
    Devoration1 is just repeating the MC self-justification mantra re the early years of the PCInt which split in 1952 when the (weak) post-war wave of international class struggle faded (under the impact of the restructuring of the capitalist state by social democracy (both by CPs and Socialist parties). It was only then that Bordiga started to chip away at the original premises on which the party was built. And yes a real party will have a lot more members who are not as clued up as the most committed (thus leading to problems and mistakes (of which the PCInt themselves are the main source of evidence for). It would be interesting to know what gains Bilan had made that the PCInt abandoned as the ICC book on the Italian Left (at least in its original French version as written by Bourrinet) shows that the PCInt made a programmatic quantum leap in identifying the USSR as state capitalist, spotting the nature of unions today and supporting Rosa Luxemburg's position on national liberation etc. Bilan was even divided in 1938-9 on the party issue between "partyists" and "wait and see-ers". But as I said earlier for our comrades in the PCInt all this is "archaeology" - the important thing is what we do now and Devrim is right. The question is to understand what we are doing today.

    On the issue of the party Leo makes a number of errors re what happened in the international conferences which I would like to clear up (with the hope this can move us all on). I will try to find his originals and quote so I don't get it wrong inthe next post.
  15. Jock
    Jock
    "I think it was actually on the party question. The party taking power, actually. I tried to express it in a less superficial way though " Leo

    The stuff being written about our view onthe party is getting a bit off beam. Inthe first palce the ICC were not at the 4th International Conference as they had already refused the seventh criteria which the ICC rejected at the Third Conference. This criteria was drawn up by BC and asked that people adhere to the idea that the party not only leads the proletarian revolution but also "guides the proletarian power itself". This does not mean that the party as a body takes power but it does mean that communists fight for delegation inthe class wide bodies which are the real power. Damen had already laid down the view that "the proletariat does not delegate its power to anyone not even its class party" so it could not be in contradiction with that (but this question is not easy). The reason the criteria was proposed was that the ICC in all three conferences seemed to be divided between councilists and those nearer to those who argued for a real role for the party. Years later the ICC split and the ones who were "centrist to councilism" left to form the External Fraction (today IP). I have since that time said to several ICC members that they could now agree to the criteria and they have replied that they could but they opposed it on the grounds of what they percieved to be a deliberate attempt to exclude them from the conferences. Now we have the situation where both groups are for the party but the ICC sees its current organisation as the precursos of the party whilst we say we are not that party which will be built on the struggles of workers as they come to combat capitalism and thus turn today's tiny minorities into real class weapons. I think this is the fruitful ground on which to discuss.

    Just one additiional point Leo the PCInt was present in at least 4 countries before 1952 so the conception was not to have a national party (hence its title).
  16. Leo
    Leo
    I suspected as much. I think that really to go on about it as if there was some kind of political point here is just nit-picking.
    I don't think so. The term "Party" means something, it is not just a name. If the PCInt does not see itself as the party, they shouldn't call themselves as such. Also, I've read some articles in English translated from Italian going on about Party discipline and so forth, party written with the capital P and all and I suspect that there are many other articles in Italian written in the same spirit. I am not convinced by the argument that the next-Bordigist mini-split would take that name either. First of all, I don't think there are than many Bordigists around anymore, second, I haven't heard of a new recent split and third, even if there is a new split, I would imagine it would still claim the name International Communist Party, as it is the traditional name of the Bordigist current. I don't think they would take the name Internationalist Communist Party as they would, I imagine, identify it with the Damenists even if the Battaglia stops calling itself a party. And lastly, if the name of an organization does not reflect what the organization is, and more importantly what the organization sees itself to be, then on principle it needs to be changed regardless of who would take the name or not. I am not going on about this to lay into the PCInt, I am simply trying to highlight that this is big enough a difference at least now for the ICC and the ICT to be separate organizations. I don't think this issue should be played down though, and I don't think pointing it out is "nit-picking" in any way.

    What you seem to be proposing implies that one international organisation, at some point, decides that the moment is right and declares itself to be the party.
    No, it doesn't. I am saying that it can be called the party in a meaningful way, that is it can be called the world party, only when and if different organizations, that is different international organizations as well as different local or regional organizations etc. come together and proclaim it internationally. In the current situation, without such international regroupment, I don't think any local or regional organization will be capable of fulfilling the task of the vanguard party. This is a lesson of the German Revolution, of course.

    Devoration1 is just repeating the MC self-justification mantra re the early years of the PCInt which split in 1952 when the (weak) post-war wave of international class struggle faded (under the impact of the restructuring of the capitalist state by social democracy (both by CPs and Socialist parties). It was only then that Bordiga started to chip away at the original premises on which the party was built.
    I don't think it is really fair to blame only Bordiga for the split, or in fact to accuse him of "deviating" from the original line. To my knowledge, there were contradictory positions within PCInt on very basic questions, that is the national question, the union question and the parliamentarian question more or less from the beginning (I think these differences came out in 1945 during the first congress of the party - they probably didn't exist in the initial group set up by Damen but I don't think the organization could have grown nearly as strong without the new Fraction in Naples and the influence of Bordiga's name either). There was a big controversy on the question of participating in elections several years before the split (in fact the PCInt participated in elections in 1946 and 1948 didn't it?), and those who were to become the Bordigists were to oppose participation, and on this they were, in my opinion, absolutely right. On the question of the unions and especially on the national questions, the Damenists were very right. However, I remember reading this quote from Vercesi on the general situation of the thousands of militants in the new party:

    The Italian Party is for the most part made up of new elements, without theoretical formation — political virgins. The old militants themselves have for 20 years been isolated, cut off from any developing political thoughts. In the present situation the militants are incapable of dealing with problems of theory and ideology. Discussion can only disturb them and will do more harm than good. For the moment they need to walk on solid ground, even if it’s made up of old positions which are now out of date but which have at least been formulated and are comprehensible to them. For the moment it’s enough to group together those who have a will to act. The solution to the great problems raised by the experience between the wars demands the calm of reflection. Only a ‘great mind’ can approach them fruitfully and give them the answers they require. General discussion will only lead to confusion. Ideological work can’t be done by the mass of militants, but only by individuals. As long as these brilliant individuals haven’t arisen, we can’t hope to advance ideologically. Marx and Lenin were such individuals, such geniuses, in the past. We must await the arrival of a new Marx. We in Italy are convinced that Bordiga is such a genius. He is now working on a whole series responses to the problems tormenting the militants of the working class. When this work appears, the militants will only have to assimilate it, and the Party to align its politics and its action with these new developments.” (http://en.internationalism.org/ir/03...eader#_ftnref2)

    Also, I think the position on the partisan movement was a bit dodgy: "Concerning the partisan, patriotic struggle against the Germans and the fascists, the party denounces the maneuver of the national and international bourgeoisie, which, with its propaganda for the rebirth of an official state militarism is aiming to dissolve and liquidate the voluntary organizations of this struggle, which in many countries have already been attacked with armed repression. These movements which don't have a sufficient political orientation express nevertheless the tendency for local proletarian groups to organise and arm themselves to conquer and maintain control in local situations, and thus to take power." (http://en.internationalism.org/book/export/html/3136)

    I remember hearing the story of some new PCInt members wanting to celebrate the "liberation" of some town, and one of the old militants of the Italian fraction asking them, embarrassed of the situation, not to carry the banners of the party while doing it.

    But as I said earlier for our comrades in the PCInt all this is "archaeology" - the important thing is what we do now
    Certainly, but obviously we can't say history is not important and simply "archeology" - we have to learn from it, we have to analyze every single mistake ever made.

    On the issue of the party Leo makes a number of errors
    Obviously, since I wasn't there - however this is my basic understanding of it. In fact I tried to base what I wrote on this on what you have said in regards to it as much as what the comrades in the ICC have told me.

    The stuff being written about our view onthe party is getting a bit off beam. Inthe first palce the ICC were not at the 4th International Conference
    Yes, I made an error here, I was referring to the 3rd International Conference.

    as they had already refused the seventh criteria which the ICC rejected at the Third Conference. This criteria was drawn up by BC and asked that people adhere to the idea that the party not only leads the proletarian revolution but also "guides the proletarian power itself".
    And this is the point I made about the party taking power. I am obviously not saying that the ICT conception is one of the party taking power like the Bordigists are arguing for.

    This does not mean that the party as a body takes power but it does mean that communists fight for delegation in the class wide bodies which are the real power.
    But doesn't the party aim to take power as a body as a result of such process? Surely, if the party fights for delegation in the class-wide bodies and it fully succeeds, it will become a ruling body, no?

    the ICC sees its current organisation as the precursos of the party
    I don't think this is really true. The ICC has been arguing in its press, in its theoretical reviews etc. for years that a single organization can not form the party and there isn't a single precursor of the future party. Really, the press of the ICC is full of such arguments, and many appeals made to the former-IBRP as well as other revolutionary organizations for this or that kind of joint work can be found in the ICC website.

    whilst we say we are not that party which will be built on the struggles of workers as they come to combat capitalism and thus turn today's tiny minorities into real class weapons.
    So does this mean the ICT does not defend this position anymore: "the Bureau is the only intermediary form between the present situation of isolation and dispersion of revolutionary vanguards and the future international party of the proletariat" (http://www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2...he-proletariat) ?

    If so, this is indeed very good news.

    Just one additiional point Leo the PCInt was present in at least 4 countries before 1952 so the conception was not to have a national party (hence its title).
    Well, I know that the PCInt in France was smaller than the GCF (initially three members according to the book on the Italian left if I recall correctly). I know that there was the Belgian fraction which I think had less than 50, perhaps less than 30 or 20 even. I don't know the fourth and I am genuinely interested. Was it the old American nucleus of the Italian fraction? I always wondered what happened to the New York Federation of the Communist Left.

    The point still sort of remains in my opinion though.
  17. Marion
    Marion
    My very limited personal view is that there are interesting theoretical differences between the ICT and ICC that are important and worth discussing.

    However, what I would find particularly interesting is knowing from the ICC and ICT not simply what their differences are, but what their political differences are that necessitate there being two separate organisations and why. I feel that certain elements of this discussion (e.g. certain economic issues that Devrim mentions) are important, but not sufficiently key to understand why relations are not closer or two separate organisations exist (beyond the divergent heritages of the groups).
  18. Zanthorus
    Zanthorus
    Calling itself a party while not regarding itself as such is not exclusive to the PCInt. The CPGB does not regard itself as the party, but it continues to use the name CPGB in order to avoid it being taken by Eurocommunists and the Morning Star brigrade. And yes I know the CPGB are the left-wing-of-capital and blah blah blah I don't really care.

    I think that thinking that some stupid dispute about using the apparently sacred word 'Party' is enough to have two seperate organisations arguing with one another is both hilarious and depressing since it's exactly this kind of rubbish that makes other people think Left-Communism is some kind of ultra-puritan cult.

    Here's something a lot of people seem to forget: The Communist Left didn't leave the Comintern of it's own volition, they had to be forced out. The differences between the Left and Moscow were practically the difference between revolution and counterrevolution. Now, eighty to ninety years later, the political descendents of the left are forming seperate organisations because of some dispute over the use of the word 'party', which is barely even used by the accused organisation any more.

    And up next on the comings and goings of socialists sects: Left-Communists split over wether or not diet coke tastes better than pepsi.
  19. Jock
    Jock
    Leo

    If you deny that the ICc sees itself as the prefiguration of teh wrold party you must talk to Alf who announced at the Birmingham Midlands Discussion Forum (April 2009)that the ICC was the precursor of the future party. And I know that your French comrades think that the only task today is to make the ICC bigger as the rest of the CL is not worth anything, being full of parasites (ex-ICC members) and opportunists (the ICT). I know too that there are ICC comrades who don't share this view and you are possibly one of them but the official view is not encouraging of dialogue (other ICT comrades say I was putting it mildly).

    I think it would be good to look a the detail of the PCInt experience between 1945-51 since it was a proper party (though inadequate according to our comrades). I told you when we last met that they did not stand for parliamentary elections but for the local council elections (I am not 100% sure of this) but by stnading in council elections they were given the right to address the workers int main squares in twons across Italy. Thye did not stand to win seats (although looking at the Italian local papers in Calabria - which is way south of Naples - I found that they won votes that would have made all the parliamentary leftists (and the BNP!) here green with envy. They could do this because Italy had no settled regime (it was moving from a monarchy to a republic). I am not arguing if this was right or wrong (I don't know enough yet) but I think it would be more fruitful to discuss how a party of that size dealt with the situation they found themselves in rather than try to use history to say one tradition was more pure or more authentic than another.

    I am though in despair when you simply dismiss the fact that the Internationalist Communist Party tried to have branches in countries outside Italy as not being sufficient proof of its internationalism (yes the fourth country I had in mind was the US).
  20. Jock
    Jock
    Oh and one more thing. I did not blame Bordiga for the split but the material circumstances of the reflux of the post war strike wave. The ICC suffered the same when the resistance of the 1970s gradually collapsed and they were left with comrades who demanded a new policy (the 1981 activist split identified with the comrade called Chenier being the most obvious). And communists today are divided because the class movement is weak. The opportunity is opening for a new set of discussions as the resistance to the crisis becomes more international and more striking (no pun intended!).
  21. Leo
    Leo
    My very limited personal view is that there are interesting theoretical differences between the ICT and ICC that are important and worth discussing.
    Certainly.

    Calling itself a party while not regarding itself as such is not exclusive to the PCInt. The CPGB does not regard itself as the party, but it continues to use the name CPGB in order to avoid it being taken by Eurocommunists and the Morning Star brigrade. And yes I know the CPGB are the left-wing-of-capital and blah blah blah I don't really care.
    Well, they are actually the Provisional Central Committee of the Communist Party of Great Britain, which they admit doesn't really exist anymore.

    Of course they are small off-shot of a split from the Turkish Communist Party, which was based in Britain (İşšinin Sesi) and got really lucky to grab a nationally well-known name for their organizations. They've got reasons to continue to use the name.

    I think that thinking that some stupid dispute about using the apparently sacred word 'Party' is enough to have two seperate organisations arguing with one another is both hilarious and depressing since it's exactly this kind of rubbish that makes other people think Left-Communism is some kind of ultra-puritan cult.

    Here's something a lot of people seem to forget: The Communist Left didn't leave the Comintern of it's own volition, they had to be forced out. The differences between the Left and Moscow were practically the difference between revolution and counterrevolution. Now, eighty to ninety years later, the political descendents of the left are forming seperate organisations because of some dispute over the use of the word 'party', which is barely even used by the accused organisation any more.

    And up next on the comings and goings of socialists sects: Left-Communists split over wether or not diet coke tastes better than pepsi.
    Words sometimes have meanings though, and they have different meanings for different classes. Had it not been for the meaning of the term "party" for the working class movement, the term would be in essence not different from terms such as nation, race, state, army, trade-union, parliament etc. and would be rejected by the revolutionaries along with these terms. So lets presume, an organization called the Internationalist Communist Nation? What about the Internationalist Communist State? The Internationalist Communist Parliament? Would it be hilarious to point out that those words mean something, that actually go contrary to the principles of internationalist communism?

    The reason we don't think of all the bourgeois parties when the word party is because it has a specific meaning in the workers' movement. It is not because it has a "sacred" meaning or whatever, it is because the term means something to us. And it is because the use of the term, in turn, points out to your understanding of it. What I am saying is not that the two organizations are separate over the use of the term party but because they have different conceptions of the party. I see the PCInt as a serious and honest revolutionary organizations, and think that they would actually change the name of their organization had they found it unfitting for their general conception of the party, as the IBRP itself changed its name to the ICT which marked a serious change of policy in regards to the question of centralization. I personally know Jock and I quite liked him when I met him, but as I said, I am not convinced by the reasons he gives for the maintenance of the name. We can see the impact of this in practice: over the years, despite obviously some problems, WR and CWO managed to do joint work for numerous occasions. I don't know of any similar examples between Rivoluzione Internazionale, the ICC section in Italy and the PCInt. Why do you think this is? Could the PCInt seeing itself as the party in Italy all these years have contributed in this? If the position has changed, very good, then the comrades should change the name and explain their reasons for it. Yet things don't go away by down-playing them or ignoring them, and we don't learn by ignoring what we did in the past anyway - if this is the case, I think the comrades of the ICT will have to do and will actually do what they did on the question of centralization on the question of the party as well.

    What is actually depressing is the low level of joint work between two organizations. What is necessary now is the improvement of relations between the two organizations, which means the two organizations discussing with each other, and engaging in joint activities and interventions. Saying that they shouldn't be separate organizations and that they don't have any real differences doesn't really contribute to moving the relations forward. A possible future merger can only come as a result of an organic development of relations though, it can't be forced on to the two organizations.
  22. Leo
    Leo
    If you deny that the ICc sees itself as the prefiguration of teh wrold party you must talk to Alf who announced at the Birmingham Midlands Discussion Forum (April 2009)that the ICC was the precursor of the future party.
    He posts here too, of course, and I am sure can explain himself and what his thoughts on this debate.

    And I know that your French comrades think that the only task today is to make the ICC bigger as the rest of the CL is not worth anything, being full of parasites (ex-ICC members) and opportunists (the ICT).
    I was talking to one about the whole thing just before seeing this post, and he certainly doesn't think anything as such.

    I know too that there are ICC comrades who don't share this view and you are possibly one of them but the official view is not encouraging of dialogue (other ICT comrades say I was putting it mildly).
    Well, since the Argentine affair (that is for the last 5 years), I am aware that the way the ICC approached the former-IBRP has been considerably less open compared to what it used to be (that is for the first 30 years of the ICC's existence). The comrades were really upset and traumatized by this affair. Hopefully, however, the policy will become more open towards the ICT in the future, and will seek dialogue again. And is the ICT seeking dialogue with the ICC now?

    I told you when we last met that they did not stand for parliamentary elections but for the local council elections (I am not 100% sure of this)
    Yes, I checked: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partito...ernazionalista

    It seems in the 1946 elections the PCInt got 24.420 votes, and 0.11% of the votes nation-wide. In the 1948 elections, they got 20.736 votes and 0.08% of the votes nation-wide.

    I am not arguing if this was right or wrong (I don't know enough yet) but I think it would be more fruitful to discuss how a party of that size dealt with the situation they found themselves in rather than try to use history to say one tradition was more pure or more authentic than another.
    Well, I am not doing this. I am saying that the participation in the elections was wrong, and on this question those who were to become Bordigists were right. On the national question Damen and Stefanini were right. On the trade-union question Damen was right compared Vercesi and Maffi, but Stefanini and Danielis even more accurate than Damen even (yeah i've read up on the history of the PCInt a bit since we've met - still wondering what happened to the Autonomous Federation of Turin though).

    I am though in despair when you simply dismiss the fact that the Internationalist Communist Party tried to have branches in countries outside Italy as not being sufficient proof of its internationalism
    Oh I am not in any way saying that they weren't internationalists, quite the contrary they were internationalist revolutionaries. The Bolsheviks too were internationalist revolutionaries, yet theirs was a Russian party. I am talking about the question of the party, and whether it can emerge in one country alone or not.

    Oh and one more thing. I did not blame Bordiga for the split but the material circumstances of the reflux of the post war strike wave.
    But hadn't quite irreconcilable positions emerged by the time of the split?

    By the way, always fun talking to you Jock, hope you're doing well.
  23. Jock
    Jock
    Leo

    Thanks for that. I had not read this before. I read the Italian Wikipedia which was quite amusing (since it not only spelled Bordiga's name wrong "Amedeo" instead of Amadeo but wote about it as "Political parties of the past". It also has Acquaviva as a fomer PC d'Int leader which is the first time I have seen that and I suspect is also an error but will have to check it.

    Someone Italian has added a comment suggesting that they change the tense of the verb since the PCInt is not only still in existence but that it is actually the oldest communist party in Italy (presumably since the PCI was only formed after 1945). The extract shows that BC did stand in the elections for the Constituent Assembly (putting up candidates in order to get a public platform in every town) but also (which I was not sure about) in the 1948 Assembly elections. I saw figures in newspapers for local elections in Calabria which was engulfed by a wave of agricultural labourers land seizures after the war in which a party member, Ciccio Maruca palyed an important role but I don't know much more than that.

    However I wish you would stick to your argument. You stated I blamed Bordiga for the split. I said I blamed the material situation. Now you are saying that Bordiga was at fault all along! The point is that Bordiga's opposition (which began in 1948 in earnest gradually gathered support as the class struggle died down and the state was re-established. As usual you always get one faction that wants to follow the retreat of consciousness of the class instead of defend its gains up to that point (the same thing happened to the Comintern after 1921 and only the various lefts tried to prevent it adopting opportunist positions).

    Re the Turin Federation, it was reformed (although how I don't know how but it was still operative when we first met BC in 1977). The document that the ICC always quotes which reports the 1948 Congress (in Firenze I think) is bizarre since it ends with the speech of Danielis criticising the behaviour of the young members of the Torinese Federation ... and that is it. Somone must have replied but I think that the document was never finished. I once asked our late comrade Mauro (Stefanini - whose father was present) why and he did not know either. I don't even know why it was published by BC (I don't think the Bordigists ever published it but have not checked) in that format. I am now making myself curious but as I said I think it would be useful to study this more to learn from the issues of the time and mistakes made by a genuine communist left party in a constantly shifting international situation. It could certainly prepare us all better for what might lie ahead.

    Cheers Leo
  24. Leo
    Leo
    Thanks for that. I had not read this before. I read the Italian Wikipedia which was quite amusing (since it not only spelled Bordiga's name wrong "Amedeo" instead of Amadeo but wote about it as "Political parties of the past". It also has Acquaviva as a fomer PC d'Int leader which is the first time I have seen that and I suspect is also an error but will have to check it.
    On the elections, the same figures appear on the wiki pages specific to the 1946 and 1948 elections, and also in the new version of Bourrinet's book on the Italian left (possibly also in our version as well but I don't have one to check it there unfortunately).

    The spellings of Bordiga and Bordigism at times get so absurd in English as well.

    Someone Italian has added a comment suggesting that they change the tense of the verb since the PCInt is not only still in existence but that it is actually the oldest communist party in Italy (presumably since the PCI was only formed after 1945). The extract shows that BC did stand in the elections for the Constituent Assembly (putting up candidates in order to get a public platform in every town) but also (which I was not sure about) in the 1948 Assembly elections. I saw figures in newspapers for local elections in Calabria which was engulfed by a wave of agricultural labourers land seizures after the war in which a party member, Ciccio Maruca palyed an important role but I don't know much more than that.
    Yeah, I remember reading that the PCInt was quite strong in Calibria.

    However I wish you would stick to your argument. You stated I blamed Bordiga for the split. I said I blamed the material situation. Now you are saying that Bordiga was at fault all along!
    Wait what? No I'm not saying anything as such. I am saying that neither Bordiga nor Damen can be blamed by the split, I don't see anything in what I said implying that it was Bordiga's fault. I actually agree with this analysis MC made of the new party: This new party is not a political unity, but a conglomerate, an addition of currents and tendencies which cannot fall co show themselves and cash. This present armistice can only be very temporary. This elimination of one or other current is inevitable. Sooner or later there will be a political and organisational demarcation.(Internationalisme no. 7)

    The point is that Bordiga's opposition (which began in 1948
    Yet weren't the opposing viewpoints on key issues present in the 1945 congress?

    Re the Turin Federation, it was reformed (although how I don't know how but it was still operative when we first met BC in 1977). The document that the ICC always quotes which reports the 1948 Congress (in Firenze I think) is bizarre since it ends with the speech of Danielis criticising the behaviour of the young members of the Torinese Federation ... and that is it. Somone must have replied but I think that the document was never finished. I once asked our late comrade Mauro (Stefanini - whose father was present) why and he did not know either. I don't even know why it was published by BC (I don't think the Bordigists ever published it but have not checked) in that format. I am now making myself curious
    Yes, I am myself very curious about the whole thing. I presume you've read this article: http://en.internationalism.org/ir/20...ference#_ftn14 and it has a note about the Autonomous Section of Turin: A "Correction" published in Internationalisme n░24 points out the presence of the "Autonomous section of Turin" of the PCI (ie. the "Partito Comunista Internazionalista" not the Stalinist CP). The section wrote in particular to correct the impression given in the report of certain of its positions: the Section "has declared itself autonomous precisely because of its disagreements on the electoral question and on the key issue of the unity of revolutionary forces". I really wonder what happened to them.
    think it would be useful to study this more to learn from the issues of the time and mistakes made by a genuine communist left party in a constantly shifting international situation. It could certainly prepare us all better for what might lie ahead.
    I absolutely agree with this.

    Cheers Jock
  25. Jock
    Jock
    As afar as I am aware any differences in 1945 were not due to Bordiga but to the two tendencies which came back to Italy. I am told the Vercesi was even threatened with a gun in the Congress. Bordiga, I think (and I have to re-read all this as I read it all 25 years ago) tried to get the Platform altered in 1946.

    I think that the difference between a real party and a group is that there have to be different currents in the party (and the party has to allow these to "breathe"). If the party was so riddled with opportunism as MC made out then why did it not split until 1952? MC would be more credible if he had joined it and fought for his position within it (as the late Ian Hebbes once wrote to me).

    Are you clear that the electoralism was not to win seats but merely to use the opportunity the elections gave for communist propaganda (by putting up on the electoral list the PCInt could use the town square for meetings)? It was probably the last occasion when it was worth it.

    The source for the quotation about the Autonomous section is the ICC themselves so I don't know any more about that either. All I know is that there was a federation (there still is a group) in Torino in 1979.
  26. consider the ant
    consider the ant
Results 1 to 26 of 26