“This is a rebirth, a renaissance!” These words, spoken by Alan Woods, leading theoretician of the IMT, encapsulated the mood at a recent meeting of our International Executive Committee (IEC) in Italy. A significant stratum of workers and youth are reaching out to grasp the banner of communism with both hands – we must turn decisively outwards to meet them by building a Revolutionary Communist International.
World perspectives: crisis and radicalisation
Our bold new turn flows from the objective situation, outlined by Alan in the opening session on world perspectives. The capitalists lurch from crisis to crisis at every level – political, economic, social, and military – while inflation gnaws at the wages and living standards of the masses.
Amidst this turmoil, Alan explained that we should not overestimate the rationality of the capitalists. To quote Lenin: “a man at a cliff’s edge does not reason.” The ruling class is staggering from one blunder to another. In 2022, we saw US President Joe Biden, that creature of the Cold War era, drag Ukraine into an unwinnable war with Russia. Last year, he gave full-throated support to Israel’s genocidal war in Gaza. And now, the US is launching new airstrikes in the Middle East and is rattling sabres at Iran. A wider Middle Eastern war would be disastrous, yet the imperialists are drifting towards one.
Drawing a comparison with the Titanic, Alan conceded the captain of that ill-fated vessel at least did not see the iceberg approaching, whereas “Biden and his advisors can see the iceberg on the horizon, and shout: full steam ahead!”
As the world burns (figuratively and literally) the masses despair of their leaders. Every poll in every country reveals a thorough hatred of all pillars of the establishment: from politics, to big business, to the press. Meanwhile, the labour movement has begun to stir from its slumber in Britain, France, the US – even in countries like Germany where it has been dormant for decades.
This major shift in consciousness follows a period where left reformist trends (the Corbyn and Sanders’ movements, SYRIZA, Podemos, etc.) have been tested to destruction. “In every single case, they aroused enormous expectations and hopes,” Alan said, “only to be dashed.”
Reformism – even ‘socialism’ – are therefore viewed with suspicion by the most radical layers of workers and youth. As attested by the success of our ‘Are You a Communist’ campaign, for today’s class fighters, nothing but communism will suffice.
“In all countries thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, probably millions of young people have accepted ideas of communism… Real communism comes from gut instinct, the need to fight and change things. These new layers call themselves communists – they haven’t read the books, but that’s what they are! They don’t need convincing.”
Reaching this growing vanguard of workers and youth was the watchword of this IEC meeting. By winning these instinctive communists to our ranks, Alan concluded, “we will build a powerful communist international. A serious force not simply to observe and comment on events, but able and willing to participate in the developing class struggle in all countries.”
Imperialism and Palestine
Biden’s blunders coincide with the relative decline of US imperialism on the world stage, creating space for rivals such as Russia and especially China to carve out their own spheres of influence. All of this was thoroughly dealt with in a separate session on imperialism.
Laying out the facts and figures, Jorge Martín from the International Secretariat (IS) illustrated that, since transitioning to capitalism, China has developed into the world’s second imperialist power. It is now challenging the US in high-tech sectors like supercomputers and electric vehicles; securing new markets, allies, and trade routes to export its capital; and clashing with the West over strategic questions like the sovereignty of Taiwan. Meanwhile, Russia has used its large industrial base and considerable military might to outmanoeuvre the West, in Syria and now in Ukraine.
The division and redivision of the world represents a key factor in perspectives, preparing future instability. It is imperative that communists have a clear perspective on the question of imperialism, starting with the objective situation, and taking Lenin’s masterful analysis as our theoretical framework. A document explaining our position, drafted in 2016, was overwhelmingly endorsed at this important meeting.
We also discussed Israel’s bloody war in Gaza, which has become a focal point for the world class struggle. It has thoroughly exposed the western imperialists, who constantly issue sermons about “democracy and rule of law”, while aiding, arming and abetting the slaughter of thousands of Palestinians. The situation has enraged the masses worldwide; and our comrades have come under widespread attack from the bourgeois state for our solidarity with Palestine, and calls for a revolutionary solution.
The meeting unanimously voted to ratify an IMT statement, issued shortly after the 7 October Hamas attack, clearly stating that communists stand on the side of the oppressed, and reject the rancid hypocrisy of our imperialists. Intifada ‘til victory: revolution ‘til victory!
A highlight of the week, showing the potential for a stormy growth of the forces of communism everywhere, came with back-to-back commissions on two sections of the IMT in countries where communism once seemed very remote indeed: the USA and Switzerland. Yet the US and Swiss comrades have taken huge strides forward in the last period.
Tom Trottier from the leadership of the US section outlined the deep contradictions of US capitalism, where despite the ruling class bragging of economic recovery and stability, the masses see no evidence of it in their wages or living conditions.
With Biden facing some of the worst popularity polls in recent memory, and Donald Trump trouncing all opposition in the Republican primaries, another ‘School of Trump’ seems inevitable after the 2024 presidential elections. This will not usher in ‘fascism’ as the liberals and reformist scaremongers claim, but rather polarise and radicalise American society even further. A vacuum on the left leaves the field wide open for communism to grip the minds of workers and young people in these conditions.
Comrade Antonio Balmer gave a taste of the real mood amongst millions of Americans by reading out a message to our US website from a young worker, who has now been recruited:
“I hate capitalism with every fibre in my body, I’ll be damned if this vile system is going to drag me down with it, and if it does, I’m going to die fighting it… I need no convincing, just the means and further education.”
This, Antonio said, “is the new kind of American that history has produced!” We have received thousands of similar messages from enraged and self-sacrificing young communists-in-the-making.
The comrades have shaken up their organisation from top to bottom to connect with this layer, dispensing with any passivity or routinism. Based on these methods, the US comrades are confident of reaching 1,000 members this year.
If the idea of communism catching on in the USA once seemed far-fetched, in wealthy, ‘neutral’ Switzerland, it may have appeared downright impossible. And yet Dersu Heri from the leadership of the Swiss section described our astounding advances in this country, where we have grown by 60 percent in just six months.
Dersu explained that this growth was based on a layer of comrades won through the ‘Are You a Communist?’ campaign: “The psychology of these people is like that of soldiers waiting to be mobilised for class war.” These new fighters are brimming with the urgent need to build, and immediately become our best recruiters: boldly raising communist slogans in their colleges, on the streets – and even on the tram!
Our profile has also been boosted by the bourgeois press, which launched a vicious smear campaign against our comrades’ slogans of intifada and revolution in the Middle East. Rather than being cowed, we went on the offensive, launching demonstrations and meetings across the country, including a rally in Bern that was attended by hundreds at short notice.
This audacious attitude and fighting spirit have been key to the comrades’ success in attracting the boldest class fighters. Our aim everywhere is precisely to merge with this layer, to make conscious, organised Bolsheviks of them, and turn them into a decisive historical force. All we need to do is arm them with the correct theoretical tools, and provide them with the widest possible scope to take initiative and build.
As part of this turn, the comrades are launching the Revolutionary Communist Party: a spearhead for the new generation of Swiss communists in the fight against capitalism.
End of our prehistory
The last leg of this historic IEC began with an inspiring session on finances, the crown jewel being the unveiling of our new international headquarters in London. This office stands as a literal monument to the Bolshevik spirit of sacrifice of our members, which will free us from dependence on capitalist landlords.
Hamid Alizadeh of the IS then introduced an organisational report, which was quite unlike anything we have ever heard at a gathering like this. What it really revealed is our prehistory finally ending. Our old methods – based on reading circles at universities – have been rendered obsolete by the objective situation. All over the world, we are making a bold outward turn: aiming to conquer every street, workplace, and classroom for communism.
Our rate of growth (almost 40 percent in the past year) is above anything we have seen before. Having crossed the 5,000-member mark in October 2023, we rocketed past 6,000 comrades across the globe in January 2024. The British comrades were the first to cross the 1,000 threshold – but given the levels of growth in last year in sections like Italy (25 percent, to 515 comrades), Canada (70 percent, to 668 comrades) and the USA (85 percent, to 630 members), they will not be alone for long!
Several smaller groups have seen explosive growth and are well on the way to becoming full sections. For instance, the comrades in Ireland have swelled by over 380 percent since January 2023, from seven to 34 members.
Meanwhile, our websites, podcasts, and videos amass millions of views every year. Our publication house, Wellred Books, has seen the best year in its history, and is set for another record-breaking year, with copies of In Defence of Lenin, a new biography by Rob Sewell and Alan Woods, flying off the shelf as part of a year-long #LeninLives campaign to commemorate the centenary of the great revolutionary’s death. It is no exaggeration to say that we are the world’s foremost source of communist theory, news, and analysis.
Towards the Revolutionary Communist International!
We must comprehend the character of the period we have entered. The mass reformist parties are dominated by the right wing; the Stalinists and sects are in crisis; the left reformists in many countries have been smashed because of their vacillations and betrayals; and there is a deep vein of radical workers and youth ready to embrace communism. The situation is crying out for a new point of reference.
In recognition of this, several sections – including Switzerland, as mentioned, along with Britain, Sweden, Denmark, Canada and Germany – have taken the historic decision to launch new Revolutionary Communist Parties, and a number of other sections are preparing to do the same.
Dialectics teaches us that at a certain stage, historical development reaches a turning point. When it does so, we cannot cling to the past and to old methods of work, but must enthusiastically embrace the future. In many parts of the world, we are becoming a focal point, and we need to present ourselves as such. “We are in the middle of a dialectical leap; a qualitative shift,” as Hamid said in the concluding remarks of the organisational report: “We are looking at becoming a real force, vying for the advanced layers of the workers and youth.”
Therefore, the International Marxist Tendency must refound itself anew to meet a changed world. We are dispensing with our old banner, and will reforge a new Revolutionary Communist International (RCI): a beacon under which today’s generation of communists can assemble.
Amidst rapturous applause, the meeting unanimously endorsed a proposal on this bold and necessary step. We have resolved to call an extraordinary world conference in the summer, open to all communists ready to join us in the fight, where this new International will officially be formed.
We call on all comrades of the International to make preparations now: discuss, spread the word, and digest the meaning of this new profile. We are no longer swimming against the stream: the tide of history is at our backs.
“Audacity, audacity, and yet more audacity!”
In his closing remarks, Alan noted an entirely new mood at this leadership body. On the one hand, he explained, this is an “objective reflection of a change of the whole situation.” Never have we seen such widespread hatred of the status quo, nor so fundamental a crisis of the old order.
“This is something that we have predicted in our perspectives for decades,” Alan said. “But now it is no longer a perspective. It is a fact. A palpable fact that everyone can see and feel.”
On the other hand, there is a subjective question about the stage through which our International is passing. Alan explained that every political party is a living organism, which must pass through an embryonic stage. For a revolutionary party, this is a stage of “small circles, which breeds a small circle mentality, characterised by informal methods.”
But such methods become an obstacle to development. “Either they are discarded, or the organisation is destroyed. We have long passed the stage of small circles. All sections are growing fast, and new methods and a new psychology is demanded.”
To illustrate this new attitude, Alan highlighted the work of a single comrade in a small Welsh town called Port Talbot, where the vital steel industry has been all-but destroyed, and now big layoffs are planned at the last remaining steelworks.
In the face of the ‘business-as-usual’ methods of the official trade union, this young worker comrade, supported by surrounding branches, took the initiative to call on workers to strike and occupy the steelworks, and announced a public rally. The comrades have thrown themselves into a life-and-death struggle for the entire town. No matter the results, this is an example of the psychology demanded of every comrade in the International.
Methods like these will put the British comrades of the (soon-to-be) Revolutionary Communist Party on the map, and set an example for the kind of Revolutionary Communist International we need to build.
In his conclusion, Alan called on the comrades to adopt the immortal slogan of Danton:
“Audacity, audacity and yet more audacity! On that basis we will win.”
Forward to the Revolutionary Communist International!
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