All around the globe, capitalism's growing economic crisis is presenting the working class with a series of attacks on its living standards and posing some fundamental questions for the present and the future.
Today, if you walk the streets of the towns and cities of Britain it seems that a permanent feature of city centres are desperate people, young and old, squatting in shop doorways begging for change...
We are publishing a contribution from one of our sympathisers, Mark Hayes, which criticises a number of formulations contained in the resolutions from our recent 23rd international congress, together with an initial reply to the comrade’s critcisms. As we say at the end of the reply, “it is the duty of any revolutionary organisation worth its salt to shine the starkest possible light on the reality of the challenge facing the proletariat. We are convinced that the analysis we are developing is best equipped to do this, but this discussion will certainly continue. We are still at the beginnings of fully understanding all the implications of the unfolding period, and criticism and debate is the only way to develop the clearest way forward for our analyses of the world situation”
Over a hundred years ago Frederick Engels stated that, if left to its own devices, capitalism would lead society into barbarism and ruin. Today, we can say that this is already happening and that if unchecked it will continue to do so and drag us down with it. The following article examines two important examples.
We publishing these extracts from a recent exchange of correspondence with a young reader in Arizona, focussing on the question of elections. In the original message sent by this comrade, he said he was in general agreement with our platform, which he considered to be “thorough and detailed”. However, he expressed one major disagreement: against our “rigid anti-parliamentarianism” he argued that communists can use elections “strictly as a platform to gain public attention”.
As this article was being finalised, the US experienced two more mass shootings on the weekend of August 3rd. These events underscore the deepening crisis of bourgeois social life and demonstrate that the bourgeoisie is itself experiencing an increasing loss of control over society, more and more unable to construct a shared civic narrative that binds the population together in a common identity, however mythical.
We live in a society which makes the very terms “democracy” and the “people” empty of meaning. We live in a capitalist society based on the exploitation of one class by another. The exploiting class holds the vast bulk of wealth in its hands, and the state, political power, is there to guarantee its privileges, as are the means of ideological domination such as the press, the TV, and the mainstream social media. The following article argues that In such a society, the “people” is a term used to hide these class divisions and “democracy” serves to mask the monopoly of power held by the ruling class.
In the first part of this article, we recalled the circumstances in which the Third International (Communist International) was founded. The existence of the world party depended above all on the extension of the revolution on a global scale, and its capacity to assume its responsibilities in the class depended on the way in which the regroupment of revolutionaries from which it arose was carried out. But, as we showed, the method adopted in the foundation of the Communist International (CI), favouring the largest number rather than the clarification of positions and political principles, had not armed the new world party. Worse, it made it vulnerable to rampant opportunism within the revolutionary movement. This second part aims to highlight the content of the fight waged by the left fractions against the political line of the CI to retain old tactics made obsolete by the opening of capitalism’s decadent phase.
Anyone who claims to belong to the communist left has the responsibility to know and to make known the history of this component of the workers’ movement, its origins in reaction to the degeneration of the parties of the Communist International, and the different branches which compose it (the Italian left, the German-Dutch left etc). It is above all important to draw out very precisely the historic contours of the communist left and the differences which separate it from other left currents of the past, notably the Trotskyist current. This is the object of the present article.
Eighty years ago, one of the most important events of the 20th century, the Spanish Civil War, came to an end. This major conflict was at the heart of the world situation in the 1930s. It had been at the centre of international political attention for several years. It would provide a decisive test for all political tendencies claiming to be proletarian and revolutionary. For example, it was in Spain that Stalinism would play a part, for the first time outside the USSR, as the executioner of the proletariat. Likewise, it would be around the Spanish question that a decantation would take place within the currents that had fought against the degeneration and betrayal of the communist parties in the 1920s, a decantation dividing them into those who would maintain an internationalist position during the Second World War and those who ended up participating in it, such as the Trotskyist movement.
There is no question that the present system is dragging humanity towards an environmental catastrophe. The wave of protests organised by Youth for Climate, Extinction Rebellion, the Green parties and the parties of the left are presented as a way forward. But those who are currently following their lead should ask themselves: why are these protests being so widely supported by those who manage and defend the present system? Why is Greta invited to speak to parliaments, governments, the United Nations?
The series we are publishing on the radical differences (class differences) between on one hand the left and extreme left of capital and, on the other, the small organisations which claim the heritage of the Communist Left, has so far had three parts: an erroneous vision of the working class; a method and mode of thought at the service of capitalism and a way of functioning that is against communist principles. This fourth part is given over to the moral question in order to demonstrate the abyss that separates the morality of the parties which pretend to defend the exploited and the proletarian morality that any real communist organisation has to practice.
The formation of a new government in London under Boris Johnson does not resolve the political crisis and the power struggle within the British ruling class which became a dominant factor in the political life of that country since the Brexit Referendum of June 2016. On the contrary: with the appointment by the Conservatives of Johnson as their new leader and Prime Minister, this crisis has reached a new stage, the power struggle a new degree of intensity.
This series has denounced the least visible part (the hidden face) of the organisations of the left and extreme-left of capital (Socialists, Stalinists, Trotskyists, Maoists, official anarchism, the 'new' left of Syriza, France Insoumise, and Podemos). In the first article of the series we saw how these organisations negate a working class that they pretend to defend, in the second we unravelled their method and way of thinking. In this third article we want to analyse their functioning, the internal regimes of these parties and how their functioning is the very negation of all communist principles and constitutes an obstacle to any movement towards these principles.
The ICC adopted the Theses on Decomposition more than 25 years ago. Since then, this analysis of the current phase of society has become a key element in our organisation's understanding of the evolution of the world. The following document provides an update of the Theses on Decomposition with regard to the evolution of the world situation during the last quarter century, and especially in the recent period.
In the context of the impact of decomposition on the life of the bourgeoisie, this report focuses more particularly on the difficulties faced by the bourgeoisie with the rise of populist currents and on the way in which it tries to react to this. It will therefore not deal directly and centrally with the history of populism or with more general issues such as the relationship between populism and violence.
Decomposition and populism
The ICC has not discussed a report on the life of the bourgeoisie since its 17th congress in 2007.
An article written by a close sympathiser which uses the marxist method to try to get to the roots of the American Civil War, a momentous event which still has an impact on contemporary capitalism, and the class struggle, in the USA.
“In the United States of America, every independent workers’ movement was paralysed so long as slavery disfigured a part of the republic. Labour in a white skin cannot emancipate itself where it is branded in a black skin.” (Marx)
Capitalist society, in the final phase of decline, is giving birth to a whole variety of "identity crises". The atomisation inherent in the system of generalised commodity production is reaching new levels, and this applies both to social life as a whole and to the reactions against the increasing misery and oppression spawned by the system.