International Communist Current
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The International Communist Current (ICC) is a Left Communist international organisation. It was founded in 1975, and has published an international quarterly in English and French from that date. Subsequently, a Spanish edition has also been made available.
One of the key figures in the formation of the ICC was Marc Chirik, one of the founders of the Palestinian Communist Party at the age of 13. Arriving in France in 1924, Chirik was expelled from the French Communist Party shortly afterwards, at the same time as Albert Treint, and with latter participated in the short-lived "Ligue Communiste". In 1935 he joined the "Bilan" group of the "Italian Fraction of the Communist Party" based in Paris. Mobilised briefly during the "Phoney War", and imprisoned by the Germans after the collapse of the French armies, Chirik managed to escape to Marseilles where he spent the rest of the war. In 1941, under the difficult and dangerous conditions first of the Vichy regime, then of the German occupation, Chirik was one of a small group of militants from the Italian Fraction, who had escaped to Marseille and managed little by little to renew contacts with others in Belgium and Paris.
In 1942, a "French Fraction of the Communist Left" was formed alongside the Italian Fraction, with Chirik's encouragement. Disagreements with the majority of the Italian Fraction as to how to react to the uprisings in Italy at the end of World War II led Chirik to join the French Fraction in 1945, the latter transforming itself into the "Gauche Communiste de France" (Communist Left in France) in the same year. The GCF was to publish a newspaper (L'Etincelle) and a theoretical review (Internationalisme) between 1945 and 1952. In 1952, the GCF (fearing an outbreak of a new world war as a result of the conflict in Korea) decided to disperse its handful of militants around the world, and Chirik left France for Venezuela; with his departure, the GCF went into decline and disappeared.
May 1968 and the formation of "Révolution Internationale"
It was not until 1963 that Chirik was able to form around him a new group, essentially made up of students, which began to publish Internacionalismo in 1965 and developed correspondence with other groups around the world, notably News and Letters in the USA, and the short-lived "Mouvement pour l'instauration des conseils" created in Toulouse in 1968 and which began publishing Révolution Internationale in 1969. The group quickly achieved a certain notoriety. The Situationist International, however, criticised them for intellectual dishonesty. In 1970, Chirik returned definitively to France and joined the RI group.
The early 1970s was a period of intense discussion amongst a whole series of groups in the process of rediscovering the heritage of what was known as the left Communism. RI took an active part in the process, participating regularly in the meetings of Informations et Correspondances Ouvrières. In June 1972, a conference in Clermont Ferrand decided on the merger of RI, the "Cahiers du Communisme de Conseils" from Marseille, and the "Organisation conseilliste de Clermont Ferrand".
Foundation of the ICC, 1975
International discussions took place between RI and several other groups: World Revolution, a break away group from Solidarity in Great Britain, Internationalism (USA), Internacionalismo (Venezuela), and Accion Proletaria (Spain) led to the formation in 1975 of the International Communist Current, which published the first issue of its International Review in April 1975. The following year, a minority faction of the Communist Workers Organisation joined World Revolution (UK).
In 1976, the ICC held its first international congress; among the participants was Jan Appel, a veteran of the German Revolution and the 1920 Ruhr Uprising. In the years that followed, contact was also opened up with Onorato Damen of the Partito Comunista Internazionalista in Italy, and with Cajo Brendel of Daad en Gedachte in the Netherlands.
In 1981, a group of members, mostly based in Scotland, split from World Revolution (UK) to form the Communist Bulletin Group.
Political positions and intervention
The ICC claims to have created a "synthesis" of the different elements of the Left Communist tradition, in particular those targeted by Lenin in his famous Left Wing Communism, an infantile disorder: against participation in parliament or the trades unions, and against "entryism" into the Social Democratic, Labour, Communist or Trotskyist parties. However, at the same time, they reject Councilism saying it "expresses a movement away from the conceptions of revolutionary marxism".
The "Basic Positions" published on the back of every ICC publication define the organisation's activity as follows:
- "Political and theoretical clarification of the goals and methods of the proletarian struggle, of its historic and its immediate conditions.
- Organised intervention, united and centralised on an international scale, in order to contribute to the process which leads to the revolutionary action of the proletariat.
- The regroupment of revolutionaries with the aim of constituting a real world communist party, which is indispensable to the working class for the overthrow of capitalism and the creation of a communist society."
From the beginning, the ICC attached considerable importance to the republication and critique of texts from the workers' movement. Over the years, it has published a number of books and texts including:
- A history of the British Communist Left
- A history of the Russian Communist Left (recent issues of the International Review have included a previously unavailable complete edition of a document by Gavril Myasnikov)
- A history of the left wing of the Turkish Communist Party
The ICC's conception of practical activity within the day-to-day struggles of the working class was set out in a "Reply to our critics". The organisation's French section was heavily involved in the steelworkers' struggle in 1979. In November 2010, the ICC joined people advocating the use of "legitimate force" to stop a rise in tuition fees at British universities to mobilise school children. At least one ICC member attended a planning meeting of the Education Activist Network campaign group.
The ICC continues to publish its theoretical quarterly International Review in English, French, and Spanish.
It publishes regular agitational articles (in its printed press and/or on its web site), in the following languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, Turkish, Tagalog, and Portuguese.
It also publishes less regularly, or occasionally, in Russian, Hindi, Bengali, Korean, Farsi, Japanese and Swedish.
It has also published basic texts in Greek, Finnish, Chinese, and Hungarian.
- Pierre Hempel, Marc Laverne, p16.
- Vie de Treint, http://www.collectif-smolny.org/article.php3?id_article=292
- Hempel, p35
- Hempel, p59
- Smolny presentation of Internationalisme http://www.collectif-smolny.org/article.php3?id_article=521
- Bourseiller, p206
- On libcom, http://libcom.org/library/internationale-situationiste-12-article-4
- Bourseiller, p458
- Recollections of my time in Solidarity Accessed 14 January 2012
- Bourseiller, p463-464
- Contribution to a history of the revolutionary movement: Introduction to the Dutch-German Left accessed 14 January 2012
- Authier and Barrot's La Gauche Communiste en Allemagne mentions the critique of Daad en Gedachte published in the second issue of the International Review http://en.internationalism.org/node/2511
- Cited in Spartacus educational resources: http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/TUbsp.htm
- Cited in Pirani, Simon. The Russian Revolution in Retreat, 1920-24. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
- Bourseiller, p479
- Loveys, Kate; Harding, Eleanor (22 November 2010). "Student militants to picket school gates over tuition fees". Daily Mail. London.