Response to International Group of the Communist Left

Dear friends,

We would like to thank you for the letter that was sent to us, in moving forward in the debate and confrontations necessary for the regroupment of the Communist Left, we send you a response clarifying and addressing some of the comments you made on our revised points of unity. [1.]

First of all, it should be made clear: you refer to our points of unity as a “platform”, but it is not that, it is something simpler; it is the basic unifying positions that constitute our collective, but not a platform detailing our mid-term tasks, strategies for taking power, or our tactics for intervening in struggles. We do foresee adopting a platform, but our grouping is still developing a perspective and still in the stage of what you described as a ‘discussion circle’. With this clarification established, we can move on to addressing your comments on our formulations.

The contention on point 2 is that this phrasing is “unclear” and can leave a space open for concessions to leftism, bourgeois radicalism, etc. It is precisely the opposite case. “Overcoming” captures more what we were intending to mean than “replacement”. Perhaps we were trying to be too technical with terms, but we use “supersession” in the sense that Hegel or early Marx used it: a sublation, a determinate negation, a simultaneous preservation and cancellation of the thing. This is more precise than to say something like “abolish” capitalism, because there’s more room to have multiple meanings behind “abolish”. We don’t want to simply and purely “negate” capitalism like the anarchists do, we want to sublate/supersede capitalism. We want to preserve socialized production and cancel/negate private ownership of production. To say we want to simply “abolish” or purely negate capitalism can be interpreted to mean to cancel/negate both socialized production and private ownership, amounting to resorting to a more archaic mode of production instead of superseding into a higher mode of production.

We agree with your assertion regarding point 12 that the dictatorship of the proletariat must be established outside and against the bourgeois parliament or legislative bodies, but this doesn’t necessarily preclude the possibility of standing in elections on tactical grounds and doing so for purely propaganda purposes. If combative workers are mobilized onto the electoral terrain, it may be necessary for revolutionaries to stand in elections to attempt to pull the workers away from the electoral terrain and onto the proletarian class terrain. We do understand that, in this historical period, running in elections is rarely, if ever, a productive tactic for communists. However, to elevate our abstentionism from the level of tactics to the level of principles is to inhabit the ahistorical anarchist conception of the parliamentary question; our abstentionism is a tactical one. Even Amadeo Bordiga polemicized against the anarchist version of abstentionism in 1913. [2.]

In the rising phase of capitalism, communists ran for seats in the legislative bodies to pressure the bourgeois state to grant concessions to the proletariat through reforms; but in the declining phase, with the advent of state-capitalism, the executive body has overtaken the legislative body as the locus of political power within the bourgeois state, meaning there is no longer any use for communists to try to gain seats in any legislative body of the bourgeois state. This conceptualization can also be found in Marc Chirik’s early pamphlet on decadence theory: “In this (ascending) period, the state, even though it already tended to raise itself above society, was still largely dominated by interest groups and factions of capital who mainly expressed themselves in the legislative part of the state. The legislature still clearly dominated the executive: the parliamentary system, representative democracy, still had a reality, and was the arena in which different interest groups could confront each other.” …but in the descending period, “the legislature, whose initial function was to represent society, has lost any significance in front of the executive, which is at the top of the state pyramid.” [3.] We cannot win reforms that truly elevate the proletariat — it is only against the system of reformism and bourgeois “representation” that we propose the tactical possibility of using elections to denounce the sham that is their basis. We do not however believe this is a tactic that canjust be used at any point in time — it’s a tactic that must be used minimally and is only potentially useful during a period of real class combativity. Additionally, we ask the International Group of the Communist Left what their assessment is of the Internationalist Communist Party (Battaglia Comunista) running in the 1948 parliamentary elections in Italy? Do you sympathize more with the Bordigist faction that would eventually constitute into the International Communist Party (Il Programma), or do you agree with PCInt’s intervention in the elections?

There may be a misunderstanding with regards to what is being referred to in point 13. Let’s look at the section of the text that may be the cause of the confusion: “It is hypothetically possible for communists to collaborate with other communists who mistakenly believe that it’s possible for communists to build from the ground-up unions that still have the function they had in the rising phase of capital, but to work with those who unionize and intervene on the behalf of the existing union-apparatus is to amount to working with those who act on behalf of the state-apparatus.” This is an implicit reference to the Bordigist parties that believe it is possible to build “red unions”. We are simply not rejecting the possibility of working with other genuine militants who have confused positions on the role of the union-form in the decadent phase of capitalism. To address the hypothetical posed: What do we do if the union-bureaucracy is forced, for a brief moment, to advocate for the extension and unity of a struggle? We support the extension and unity of the struggle, of course. We do not, however, endorse the union-bureaucrats, and we keep ourselves very honest and clear regarding their nature as saboteurs of class struggle. As soon as the struggle intensifies outside the control of the bureaucracy, there is no doubt they will change their tune, and it would be foolish to abandon vigilance towards them just because today they are advocating for the extension of the struggle—tomorrow they will be its gravediggers.

Agreed that point 15 is vague. Communists do not make a fetish of pacifism and armed struggle will most likely be necessary. The point is that the revolution cannot be reduced to a military campaign, to the building up of a military force and the conquest of “workers’ territory” through military maneuvers.We would affirm that the formation of the Red Army during the Russian Civil War was a necessary decree for the Bolshevik Party, but also reflected the isolation of the Russian Revolution and not at all a policy to prefer in conditions that don’t make it an absolute necessity. We agree with the International Communist Current’s statement that the military terrain is “home ground of the bourgeoisie” [4.]. This is also why we would have agreed with the ratification of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty, because throwing the Bolshevik Party into a battle with the German Empire on the military terrain could have only meant guaranteed defeat and an even quicker degeneration of the revolution than what had, in fact, occurred.

To conclude our response to your letter, it should be noted that this is a positive contribution in the strengthening of ties between the groupings of the Communist Left and the progression of the ‘party-in-process’. In fact, Gulf Coast Communist Fraction perceives this letter as a contribution to the development of its own collective from a ‘discussion circle’ to a full political component of the future party.

Fraternally, Leigh O’Rourke and Antonio Lakhan of Gulf Coast Communist Fraction

  2. The “Bordigist” Current (1912-1952) by Philippe Bourrinet. 2014
  3. ‘The Proletarian Struggle under Decadence’ by Marc Chirikin International Review No. 23. 1980
  4. ‘Why the Alternative Is War or Revolution’ by International Communist Current in International Review No. 30. 1982

Joint Statement With Internationalist Voice: Escalation of Imperialist Tensions, Capitalism Means War!

In recent months, we witnessed the rise of imperialist tensions between Iranian and American gangsters in the Persian Gulf region. On the one hand, the US announced that it has received clear evidence that Iran is preparing itself to attack US forces in the Middle East. The US has been sending out USS Abraham Lincoln and at the same time deploying several B-52 bombers (the most feared bomber of history) in Qatar, sending new troops to the area and … on the other hand we witnessed numerous attacks in the region. Attacking Katyusha near the US embassy in the protected and green area in Baghdad, a mortar attack on the al-Balad Air Base, and American forces stationed for training Iraqi forces, an attack on Katyusha in western Basra, which houses international oil companies. There is sabotage on four ships in Fujairah port, an attack on two tankers in the Oman Sea, and this list was completed by shooting down a super-advanced US spy Drone by Iran on June 30 2019.

Both Trump and supreme leader of the Islamic bourgeois have emphasized that no war will take shape (notably with Trump’s decision to call off a strike). However, the irrefutable fact is that war is not the decision of the ignorant leaders, but the last resort of capitalism for its crisis. The economic boom of the 1950s and 1960s was the rebuilding of World War II devastation. The Metropolitan Capital first attempts to transfer the consequences of the crisis to peripheral capitalism or to rivals, and in the next step, it will resort to its last solution (warfare). Since conditions are not currently available for the global war, wars take the form of regional wars. All this is due to the fact that the working class retreats as a global class of its class identity.

Following the victory of democracy over state capitalism, the US was no longer able to apply its hegemony as it had during the Cold War. Therefore, it launched the wars in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq and so on, in order to preserve its hegemony in the new world order and to weaken its rivals. The US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the nuclear crisis in the Korean Peninsula is moving in this direction. The US departure from JCPOA is in keeping with its desire to preserve its hegemony, which is further underlined as the US re-emphasizes and reminds its rivals the European Union, China and Russia of its hegemony.

The confrontation and warfare between large and small gangsters is rooted in the upside- down capitalist system. In the era of capitalist decadence, the era of imperialism, the era of crisis and war, the effect of this rivalry between gangsters is to weaken each other. The bourgeoisie, through the fragmentation of our class and by encircling us with national borders, has persuaded us to line up behind them under the headings of America first, Iran first, France first, Russia first, China first, thus enabling them to continue to rule us. Of greater importance than a national identity is the fundamental property that is common across the globe, a common property of capitalist barbarism, that is, we belong to the working class and our property is being exploited and the production of surplus value is being extracted for capital accumulation. We belong to the exploited camp, we are siblings, whether we are in Tehran, in New York, in Jerusalem or in London. Our enemy is the bourgeoisie in our home.

This is why we condemn leftists (the left wing of capital) who cannot help but support national factions in imperialist conflicts under the guise of proletarian interests. We proletarian communists have nothing in common with those of the leftist milieu who participate in activist social events rallying in support of the Iranian bourgeoisie in the name of farcical “anti-imperialism.” There is no “anti-imperialist” underdog that can undermine the capitalist order in the epoch of imperialism as a world system.

Only the intensification of the class struggle can bring about an improvement in our living conditions and, by expanding the class struggle to other countries, can challenge the capitalist system. Only the advancement of the working class towards a communist revolution aimed at pulling down the miserable system of capitalism will deliver a world without imperialist tensions and without its wars around the world; a world free of nuclear weapons. This would be a world without war, class and wage slavery; a world that humanity deserves.

Down with the war!

Down with capitalism!

Long live the class struggle from Tehran to Jerusalem, from London to New York!

Gulf Coast Communist Fraction

Internationalist Voice

22 June 2019

Internationalist Voice:



Gulf Coast Communist Fraction:


Nuevo Curso on the Concept of Patriarchy and Women’s Oppression

Does Patriarchy Exist?

It is shocking that something as everyday and omnipresent as the oppression of women is argued in such far-fetched, often erroneous and often simply false or alienating ways. Why? If not so complicated. If it is before everyone’s eyes… and yet that, the invisibility of oppression even to those who seek to denounce it, is what shows that it is deeply embedded in the system of exploitation that articulates the society in which we live.

The problem is that feminism in the last third of the 20th century builds its discourse around “patriarchy”. The aim is to redefine the oppression of women as a form of exploitation prior to and simultaneous with capitalism. Thus patriarchy would be a system of co-exploitation. Only in this way can it propose a kind of permanent revolution in phases in which patriarchy should first be confronted, or in which, simply, the struggle against capitalism should be set aside because no overcoming of capitalism would produce anything other than exclusion if the sexual division of labor and the specific and systemic exploitation of women are not resolved first.

The operation is not easy because it requires a tremendous amount of historical leaps and the emptying of a few concepts. To begin with, patriarchy is a central part of the set of production relationships in slave production mode. It implied a form of material ownership over the whole of the productive unit – slaves, descendants, spouses – and a certain relationship with the territory. It can be argued that patriarchal relations were maintained, transformed, under feudalism and even survived with it in isolated and backward agrarian regions. But in the face of the old patriarchal relations, capitalism was not only revolutionary, but implacable, as the “Communist Manifesto” recalled. Why? Because in order for there to be surplus value, there must first be the possibility of converting money into capital, that is to say, the labor force must be a commodity that is freely bought and sold in the market. For this, the seller must be able to meet the buyer as people who exchange goods, to have -formally- “equal rights”. The worker must be “free”, that is, the owner of the merchandise he is going to sell and be willing to sell his labor force for a certain time as something separate from himself – if he sold himself he would be a slave and if his labor force did not belong to him by right he would be a servant. For all of which he must besides having no alternatives, be dispossessed of the means of production that would allow him to turn his labor force into commodities on his own.

Patriarchy or Capitalism?

How did feminism try to overcome this obviousness? By stating that the “housewives” of the different social classes carried out unpaid work under a specific patriarchal mode of exploitation. Capitalism would exist for men, patriarchy for women, in a sort of cumulative pyramid of systems of exploitation (modes of production), so that women did not have to attend to the class divisions and struggles of capitalism itself, but together – as women – regardless of the social class to which their families belonged, face patriarchy in order to liberate themselves by finally entering bourgeois society as equals.

For this they had to confuse human reproduction (having children), with the reproduction of the labor force in capitalism (maintaining the number, capacity and qualification of the labor force merchandise that is sold to capital) equalizing one and the other in order to make disquisitions on domestic labor from there that are deeply erroneous. Example: to defend that the oppression of women continues under capitalism so that capital can save itself from paying for domestic work. In reality, the total wage bill received by the proletariat is the reproduction cost of the labor force that capital employs. This cost of reproduction is independent of the sexual division of labour, it is simply the minimum that a state of technology, a cost structure and a correlation of forces between social classes can pay at any given time. In fact, historically, the incorporation of women into the salaried workforce, impelled by massive capitalization during post-war reconstruction in countries such as Spain, Portugal or Argentina, ended as it had begun: the total income of any working family arrived just enough to maintain the working capacity of its members of working age, including the cultural costs necessary to sustain a necessarily more skilled workforce.

Invisibilizing Oppression to Support the Idea of “Patriarchy”

The problem with the feminist approach is that the need to present as patriarchal the complex ideological fabric of women’s oppression leads it to invisibilize its most basic material consequences. An everyday example these days is the concept of “gender pay gap”. Originally it meant the wage difference for the same job between workers of different sexes. In other words, it was a measure of frank and direct discrimination… that state capitalism itself and its logic of grouping productive factors, especially labour, into monopolies, legally prohibited in all European countries. What is the wage gap now? The difference between the wage masses received by men and women taken as homogeneous groups over generations and classes. Although it serves to say that “women earn less than men”, most of the result is explained because the female workforce was incorporated later, is younger generationally and is therefore more precarious, in addition to the fact that in the cadres – the corporate petty bourgeoisie – and directors – the state bourgeoisie – there is still an evident sexification.

Recently Macron’s minister gave the headline that women earn 25% less than men in France. Why? Because class differences are not taken into account: in the high bureaucracy of the company and the state there are more men. If we compare salaries for similar positions and seniority, the difference is reduced to 9% in the French case. In Spain, when the type of work and seniority are taken into account, the average income has a gap of 13% which is mainly explained by the fact that after certain ages -which reflect the waves of incorporation of women into the work force and the cultural change- women work fewer hours even in similar jobs. If we look at workers under the age of 30, the difference in income is reduced to 4.7%, which corresponds to the difference, in favor of women, in postgraduate studies. It is not surprising that liberals join such feminism, it does not cost them anything to show that the more “flexibility”, that is to say, the more precarious working conditions suffer “equally”, the less “gender wage gap” there is going to be.

Does that mean everything’s okay? No, it just means that capitalism has intrinsically no need to sustain a specific exploitative regime for women. Patriarchy, as feminism defines it, is an empty ghost. And precisely because of this, it makes real oppression invisible.

Oppression without Patriarchy?

But if there is no specific system of exploitation of women, why does capitalism sustain persistent and undeniable discrimination? In order to understand it, we have to criticize -that is, demolish- some of the lies that capitalism tells about itself, what we call ideology.

Despite the chants to the virtues of “free competition,” capitalism has never known a competition such as that taught in secondary school economics and faculty. As we see every day in commercial warfare, trade laws, taxes… capitalist competition is a total war that only partially occurs in the “language of prices”. To create monopolies to blackmail millions to death, to impose commercial advantages through military force, to subject the weakest capital to greater burdens… are the day-to-day competition between capitalists. Of course, the same state capitalism that runs the chaotic and cruel daily global upsurge will teach us about wage competitiveness and how selfish and socially costly any of our protests are. But the truth is that even the poorest petty bourgeois know that “good margins” and “big business” are born of positions of strength normally endorsed by the state or sustained by the ownership of large masses of capital, not of competition in price and quality, but of the possibility of imposing exactions through the market. After all, capitalist freedom and equality are based not on competition but on those who only have the labor force having to sell it in the market, something that was not even originally “spontaneously” imposed. That is to say, real capitalism is a system of incentives to discrimination, without discrimination – let them tell it to migrant seasonal workers and their employers – there is no accumulation that allows the petty bourgeoisie to enter the game of big capital. That is real competition. So brutal that the state itself has to moderate it. That is why the existence of any pre-capitalist remnants or prejudices will be encouraged and adopted again and again to scratch an advantage by aspiring new entrants. That’s what the game is all about.

Capitalism “expands” by commodifying all social relations and all human activities; that total family income does not make it possible to make ends meet? that you can always make precarious your life a little more! Trade your “hospitality” through Airbnb and exchange your solidarity with neighbors in a time bank! That having children has become almost impossible for a generation of workers to sustain? No problem, having money that “outsources” its production by renting out the uterus of someone who has nothing more to offer in the market… Capitalism presents again and again the relations between classes as if they were relations between objects in the market, is in its essence as a total mercantile system. In that process, every facet of life is reified, commodified, reducing us in every dimension and moment of life to a thing, to an interchangeable and purely instrumental object. This is the essence of bourgeois morality, by the way: nothing in exchange for nothing, “there is no free breakfast”, the lives of others and with them one’s own, are reduced to mere instruments, to “goods”, goods to be possessed.

The essential in our species is social. Even in the most intimate -the perception- we are a construct, a product of the social relations that surround us. The supposed “identities” of all kinds are nothing more than expressions of the constrictions and conditioning factors with which the system disciplines us and makes us happy, discriminates against us and “privileges” us as an interested and malicious illusionist. “Identity” -national, racial, linguistic, sexual, gender or any other- is not what we are but the exaltation, positive or negative, of a categorization that only exists as glorification of an oppressive system. Identity is the oppression told by a seller of “experiences”.

Invisibilizing Women’s Oppression

For that system which is a real machine of excluding, commodifying, reifying and creating “identities”, effectively eliminating the oppression of women is strange, if not utopian. Why eliminate any concrete oppression when it is continually being created and is functional, even necessary as a whole, for the system? Oppression is so naturalized that it is otherwise insidious when it is not brutal. The idea of non-discriminatory capitalism is simply utopian and therefore reactionary.

On the other hand, the nucleus from which all oppression takes root is the creation of political identities from them, and it is difficult to think that a movement whose main objective is to convince us of our belonging to an inter-classist political subject (“women”) can ever question them. If ever asked why average female days are shorter, it will be to find again the ghost of the old patriarch preventing women from selling their labour force in the same quantity as men; if it denounces the absence of women in the artistic, literary and scientific pantheons with which the bourgeoisie epically relates its past, it is to vindicate an enlarged and “parity” pantheon, as if the creation and intellectual brilliance expressed by the interests and values of the dominant things had not been exclusive of the men of those same classes. The theory of patriarchy, pretending to be “more radical” than Marxism, makes exploitation invisible and trivializes the real oppression suffered by women throughout history. It is no coincidence that in the end the “anti-patriarchal” discourse, born to justify that “women”, regardless of the classes to which they belong, are part of an inter-classist political subject, reduces oppression to the terms in which the petty bourgeoisie feels it: asymmetry of sexes within corporate and political power and invisibilization of “talents”. Diluted, purified of its origin in the commodification and reification of each vital dimension, in feminist discourse sexual violence would appear in third place, related only as a final denial, murderous and humiliating, of “the feminine”. Thus, sexual violence slips to encompass any type of violence that a woman may suffer without the need to suffer it because she is a woman. Once again, it ends up being a true excuse for a capitalism whose daily life in all planes and dimensions -from war to commercial conflict to the exercise of political power and ending in the reality of labor- is one of daily and constant violence.

Nuevo Curso

Polemic from Internationalist Voice

Introduction from Gulf Coast Communist Fraction

We are pleased to introduce a polemic from an organization of Iranian comrades called Internationalist Voice. We welcome their correspondence and critical comments on our Fraction, and think they have made some compelling points that deserve serious consideration. Some of the comments made echo a letter sent to us from the International Group of the Communist Left, and we invite our readers to visit this text. For those who would like to access more of Internationalist Voice’s literature:

Gulf Coast Communist Fraction

Polemic with the Gulf Coast Communist Fraction: Weaknesses in the Understanding of the

Development of Capitalism


The fact that the Eastern bloc (Stalinism) was not pulled down by the working class, but instead competed with democracy in its collapse, points to democratic illusions in the working class, which somehow contributed to the perplexity of the class consciousness of the working class. The result is a rebound for the class struggle. The bourgeois ideologues have also evaluated the failure of the Eastern bloc as the logical outcome of any attempt to create a non-class society that leads to the gulag. Along with these, the left of capital, especially the radical phrase wing of it, plays an important role in channelling and deregulating the critique of the capitalist struggle by militants that are approaching the revolutionary goal. Despite these, in recent years, we have witnessed the orientation of circles, whether in the periphery of capital or in metropolitan capital, towards internationalist positions. There has recently been a number of orientations towards the communist left in the US, one of which is the Gulf Coast Communist Fraction (GCCF) [1]. Before proceeding with the discussion, along with our communist greetings, we send the sincerest congratulations to these comrades in the GCCF. Orientation towards the internationalist position in the pounding heart of capital is important.

When the US bourgeoisie, with its “America first” slogan, wants to put the American working class behind it, so that it can more easily advance its imperialist ambitions, the advancement of internationalist positions in the US becomes even more important. Given these conditions, these orientations will certainly not be without flaws or mistakes, and this is also quite natural. Since the growth of the working class is not linear, it gives rise to different political tendencies. In addition, given the irresponsible treatment of the main internationalist currents towards the circles that are approaching internationalist positions, the conditions for the formation of new circles with internationalist orientations are becoming more difficult. Therefore, the new orientations that will be formed will carry more uncertainties and ambiguities. Debate is vital, necessary and crucial for internationalists. The revolutionary movement cannot take any effective steps unless the internationalists play a dynamic role in the development of this movement. This is only possible through discussing and confronting different points of view within the proletarian political milieu.

Weaknesses in the Understanding of the Development of Capitalism

Let us look at the orientation of the GCCF towards internationalist positions. In our opinion, the fraction does not have a dialectical understanding of the evolution of capitalism, and a serious weakness of the fraction is in its understanding of the evolution of capitalism, the emergence of capitalism, and the role of the bourgeoisie in playing a revolutionary role in a particular period; in turn, the arrival of capitalism in its decadent era is visible in the positions of the fraction.

Before continuing the discussion, a brief explanation of the capitalist mode of production is necessary. The history of the capitalist mode of production, as in previous class systems, can be divided into two periods. The first involves the rise of capitalism, when the bourgeoisie played a progressive role in society, and productive relations were in the direction of the evolution of productive forces. The second period, the era of decadent capitalism, the period in which the bourgeoisie lost its progressive role, created a reactionary class, and the capitalist relations of production chained the hands and feet of the productive forces. It is worth mentioning that, with the advent of capitalism during its period of decline, the growth of productive forces has not stopped, but the growth of productive forces has become destructive.

Capitalism began to grow from the 15th century and played a progressive role in the evolution of productive forces. But, eventually, capitalism entered its decadent era and showed signs of a crisis. Capitalism finally resorted to its last solution and tried to respond to this crisis through global war. World War I was a period in the history of the evolution of capitalism, which showed that the bourgeoisie was no longer a progressive class, while the capitalist relations of production were an obstacle to the growth of productive forces, with the result that the era of bourgeois-democratic revolutions ended and the era of communist revolutions began.

The era of decadent capitalism means that the only programme is revolutionary and has an internationalist orientation and perspective, since the only social revolution that is possible is a global revolution. With the arrival of capitalism in its decadent age, the conditions of the struggle and the organization of the working class also changed along with the tasks of communists. Let us take a brief look at some of these issues.

Localism Versus Internationalism

First, let us see how the fraction presented themselves and evaluate their field of activity.

One the fraction writes:

“Our fraction seeks to be a presence of attraction for revolutionaries in the Southwest Florida region.”[2]

Localism is against internationalism. It is not a question of where physically the members of the fraction are on this planet; rather, the concern is that capitalism is a dominant global system and, consequently, the response of the working class to the bourgeois attacks is also global. Limiting itself to the south-west of Florida converts the faction into a local circle. The basic question is, if a militant from Japan, Afghanistan or Germany accepts the positions of this fraction, why cannot he not be a member of the fraction and advance the positions of the fraction thousands of miles away from Florida? Do the fraction’s comrades regard themselves as internationalists? Are comrades who are internationalists not interested in the fate of their class sisters and brothers in all parts of the globe?

Electoral circus and national movements

Were communists always opposed to elections and national movements? Comrades write about their positions in this respect:

  • “Communists oppose participation in electoral politics”[3]
  • “Communists oppose national liberation”[4]

In the age of rising capitalism, the communists were not only opposed to elections; if they could, they participated in them, in order to use the parliamentary tribune to advance their positions. It is possible to provide a list of the communists who entered parliament. They did so because there was no other possibility of imposing sustained reforms on the bourgeoisie. In the same way, communists did not oppose all national movements in the rising period of capitalism, because the global revolution was not the order of the day of the proletariat. Marx and Engels had the conditional support of these national movements. The Second International, in its Second Congress in 1896, recognized the full sovereignty of all nations.

After the arrival of capitalism in the era of decadence, the communists proclaimed that, in the age of the decadence and degeneration of capital, participation in electoral campaigns and the circus of parliament only served to strengthen the illusions of democracy. The capitalism of democracy and dictatorial capitalism are two sides of the same coin, which is capitalist barbarism. In the same way, they declared, in the age of decadent capitalism, that the antirevolutionary national liberation movements were against the class struggle, and that those fighting in the wars of national liberation were pawns in imperialist conflicts. This is because any new state that emerges will be an imperialist state, albeit a weak imperial state. In the age of decadent capitalism, capitalism is the dominant global system and the possibility of accumulating a surplus in absolute isolation is not possible; thus, the new state must integrate itself into the capitalist system which has now entered its imperialist era. The fact is that the Marxist definition of imperialism is based on a proper understanding of the development and evolution of global capitalism and the degeneration of capitalism. Imperialism is a way of life for the capitalist system in the era of capitalist decadence. Imperialism is not a specific policy issued by a particular state. It can only exist internationally.

Capitalism Is the Cause of All Misery

Capitalism smells blood, dirt and mud. Capitalism is the source of wage slavery, exploitation, and the alienation of human by human; in a word, it offers a real and terrestrial hell. Capitalism is the cause of all misery in the world. The fraction in terms of its positions writes:

  • “Communists support women’s and sexual liberation.”[5]
  • “Communists oppose racism.”[6]
  • “Communists support the decommodification of animals.”[7]

These could be part of the goals of bourgeois-democratic revolutions, or part of a programme of feminists and environmentalists. Is not the cause of racism the existence of a class society? Xenophobia is part of the superstructure of a class society and, with the formation of national states and nationalities, is the product of capitalist growth, which in turn has caused national pride. With the disappearance of the state, the existential context of racism will also disappear. Is capitalism not the cause of environmental degradation and animal destruction? Does capitalism only think about its own profits, without considering the atmospheric changes it causes through greenhouse gas emissions, carbon dioxide from fossil fuels, air pollution, groundwater pollution, soil and hundreds of other things?

Do Theresa May, Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel and other bourgeois women, who themselves are the organizers of the exploitation of the class of the proletariat, need the support of the communists? Should these organizers of wage slavery be placed alongside millions of working women, millions of wage slaves? The memories are still fresh of the invasion ordered by the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, in the Gulf War, which killing more than 100,000 Iraqi workers in military uniforms (At the time of the Gulf War, Thatcher was not Prime Minister, but she played an important role in the outbreak of Gulf War). The world of the working woman is alien to the world of the bourgeois woman. The world of the working woman involves double exploitation, double oppression, humiliation, inferiority, being beaten down with anger, choking back tears – in a word, the same terrestrial and real hell that upside-down capitalism provides for humanity. The real emancipation of women is possible only in a non-class society.

Unions Against the Working Class

The fraction in terms of its positions writes:

“The union-question was a significant point of contention among the members of our Fraction; some having strong unionist-sympathies, others identifying with the historical positions of the Dutch-German Left on unions, and the rest being neutral on the issue.”[8]

The internationalists adopt their positions, including in the specific case of trade unions, not on the basis of this or that union but on the basis of the growth and development of capitalism. In the era of growing capitalism, trade unions were real working-class organizations which fought for the interests of the working class, because it was possible to impose sustained reforms on the bourgeoisie, and the communist revolution was still not the order of the day.

With capitalism entering its decadent era, trade unions merged into the capitalist state and turned workers into cannon fodder in the first imperial war. Unions in 1919 played an active role in the bloody repression of labour uprisings. Since then, the history of unions throughout the world has become part of the capitalist state by managing sales of the workforce.

Anton Pannekoek, in his valuable work entitled World Revolution and Communist Tactics, wrote a century ago about the nature and functioning of unions, stating as below:

“Marx’ and Lenin’s insistence that the way in which the state is organised precludes its use as an instrument of proletarian revolution, notwithstanding its democratic forms, must therefore also apply to the trade-union organisations. Their counterrevolutionary potential cannot be destroyed or diminished by a change of personnel, by the substitution of radical or ‘revolutionary’ leaders for reactionary ones. It is the form of the organisation that renders the masses all but impotent and prevents them making the trade union an organ of their will. The revolution can only be successful by destroying this organisation, that is to say so completely revolutionising its organisational structure that it becomes something completely different.”

The left of capital

The fraction in terms of its positions writes:

“The ‘left-wing of capital’ is the opportunist co-opting of proletarian struggle, and degeneration into bourgeois-democratic politics.”[9]

This position is ambiguous, especially when comrades consider themselves to belong to the communist left. Historically and in terms of Marxism, “opportunist” refers to currents which do not adopt the right Marxist position or have broken free from Marxist positions and have not yet been 100% counterrevolutionary. The fact is that, with the outbreak of World War I, all social democratic parties, which at one time were labour parties, with the exception of the Bolsheviks and a handful of others in other countries, all joined the camp of capital. With the defeat of the wave of global revolution in the 1920s, the “communist” parties joined the capital camp forever.

The advent of the wave of world revolution – and, with it, those problems that challenged the advance of world revolution – prepared the material context for the communist left. The signs of the defeat of this wave of world revolution led to the isolation of the October Revolution, which soon showed signs of degeneration. The decadent process of the October Revolution had an impact on all communist parties and revolutionary currents. In such a context, the necessity for the existence of the communist left was more and more prominent. Internationalists from Bulgaria to Germany, from Russia to America, from Britain to the Netherlands, from Italy to … rose to defend communist positions. But, in three countries where the Marxist tradition was strong, namely, in Russia, Germany and Italy, the communist left turned out to be strong and coherent. In short, the reaction of the communist left was a global response.

Since then, the communist left has been the manifestation of Marxism. The left of capital, not “opportunist co-opting”, but as a bourgeois current, has tirelessly attempted to advance its bourgeois tasks. This tireless effort takes various forms, depending on the needs of capital, time and space conditions. The role of the left of capital, especially its radical phrase wing, is especially important to the bourgeoisie in channelling social protests and avoiding circles and militants oriented towards internationalist positions. In such a context, the internationalists declare that all left parties are reactionary: Stalinists, Maoists, Trotskyists and official anarchists (anarchists who have merged in the state of capital) etc. represent the political apparatus of capital.

The Role and Function of the Revolutionary Organization

The fraction has not published its positions in relation to class consciousness and the revolutionary organization; but, in its introduction, it has provided an accurate understanding of the form of the organization of revolutionaries when the class struggle is in a defensive position, that is, the form of the fraction. The comrades have rightly pointed out that the fraction is a minority of the class. Even the International and Internationalist Communist Party will also include a minority of the class. The power of the labouring class will be exercised through the workers’ councils, which will include the majority of the class. The comrades have not explained how they have come to this understanding, because, during the growing period of capitalism, the mass parties were labour parties working for sustained reforms, while the communists’ task was to organize the working class. Look at the parties of the Second International, for example. With capitalism entering its decadent era, the form of organization of the working class also changed. No longer did it impose sustainable reforms, but social revolution was the order of the day.

In the era of capitalist decadence, revolutionary organizations may only take the form of revolutionary minorities, whose task neither is to organize the working class nor take power in its stead, without being a form of political leadership, or a political compass, where revolutionary organizations’ political clarity and influence on the working classes are the fundamental elements for the implementation of a communist revolution.

Despite this true understanding, we see a kind of ambiguity in the functioning of the faction in its organ. The blog of the fraction, which is in fact the organ of the fraction, is more like a debate bulletin than an organ for interference in the class struggle and preparation for the international and internationalist Communist Party. What is the criterion and principle of the fraction to publish texts in its organ?

We are not only not opposed to the bulletin of the debate, but we feel it is a necessity. After the internationalist conferences held in the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was no conference, discussion bulletin, serious cooperation etc. in the proletarian political milieu. The necessity for such discussions and even theoretical contradiction is more than ever before. But the bulletin of the discussions should not interfere with the function and duties of the fraction. This should not replace the functions and duties of the faction. As bourgeois ideologues attempt to smear communism, and in the context where the political apparatus of the left of capital is trying to offer a capitalist-friendly image of communism, the necessity of the existence and functioning of the faction as an internationalist current in the defence of the communist programme, albeit in absolute isolation, is crucial.

Last Word

In this essay, we briefly pointed out some weakness of the faction in its understanding of the evolution of capitalism and the consequences of this weakness for the basic positions of the faction. If necessary, in the future, each of these topics will be examined separately. The weakness of the faction in its understanding of the evolution of capitalism has affected not only its basic positions but also its function. Will the faction overcome these weaknesses and, as an avant-garde to the proletariat, will it both engage in everyday interference in the class struggle and be involved in the formation of an international and internationalist Communist Party? The future will mark this path; we wish the best of success to the comrades in the class struggle.

Firoz Akbary

1 May 2019


[1] The contact information for the GCCF is as follows: · Blog: · Email:



[4] As source 3

[5] As source 3

[6] As source 3

[7] As source 3


[9] As source 3


Nuevo Curso on the Union Question


We present the translation of this article that indirectly addresses our theses on the union question and the critical comments on our theses offered by the International Group of the Communist Left. We understood our original theses on the union question to be transitionary for the political development of our organization, and have come around to agreeing with IGCL’s critique that our theses were confused, self-contradictory, and even weakens a revolutionary understanding of unions. Therefore, we post this translation as being a point of reference, along with the criticism by the International Group of the Communist Left, for Gulf Coast Communist Fraction to reorient our positions on trade unions.

Gulf Coast Communist Fraction

Trade Unionists or Revolutionaries?

In Spain, in Mexico, in Argentina… in Iran, everywhere we are seeing what superficially looks like a rebirth of “grassroots” unionism, accompanying the resurgence of class struggles and strikes. Many times, not always, dressed as a return to “revolutionary unionism” or anarcho-syndicalism. What does it mean? Where does it go?

The trade unions are the monopolistic sellers of labor force in the epoch of state capitalism, our epoch. Like all specialized sellers of a particular commodity, their interest is to sell it “as best as possible”: more expensive where possible, in bulk contracts, etc. But above all, like any other monopoly – from steel to telecommunications – its main interest is the preservation of the system that gives them meaning. That is why they crush us with the fact that without profits there are no more salaries, that our needs must be subordinated to the results of capital. A fundamental part of the state mechanism for fixing the prices of our work, the unions can negotiate certain more or less temporary increases and early retirements in the reconversions… as long as they bury the combativity and nobody protests in the moor that the capitalist crisis leaves in its wake. No one has fought the workers’ struggles more fiercely and effectively during the last century. It is not a question of leaders, it is their interests as a structure. The unions have no more possibilities of “reconquering” than the Ministry of Labor or the electric companies.

The unions are wholesalers of labor force. Their interest is to sell it “as best as possible” but above all to keep the system that gives them meaning. No one has fought the workers’ struggles more fiercely and effectively in the last century.

Against this experience, which has been present in all generations of workers for more than a century, small groups of workers appear again and again, who realize that in order to meet collective needs they cannot count on a state structure. They are groups advanced in the workplace that realize that participating in that union parliamentarianism that is the “union elections” and their “works councils” is a trap and that it is necessary to “unify the struggles of the workers in order to win. That is to say, they intuit that there is no other perspective than the mass strike organized not in the union way but through assemblies and committees elected and revocable by it. Among other things because most of them are precarious and have fresh union assemblies, which always or almost always leave out temporary, subcontracted and irregular. It is these kinds of groups that we have seen lead the mass movements in Matamoros and Iran.

They are not trade unions because they do not behave as such and their actions are not approached from the trade union logic. But if they define themselves and understand themselves in this way, when the struggles loosen up, everything will push them to sustain themselves by entering the business of “representation”, that is to say, to be part of the management of the work force… and to integrate into the union monopoly. It happened a thousand times in the 70s, 80s and 90s with the “grassroots unions. Some ended up as corporate unions, others as screaming or postmodern versions of the majority unions. The case of anarcho-syndicalism in Spain is illuminating. From the outbreak of the CNT at its congress in Valencia in 1980, the day labour unionism and the “autonomous” movements inspired from Italy we have, decades later, a well-integrated trade union centre in the works councils, another that enters through the back door, a nationalist party, several corporate unions and a postmodern union more interested in spreading feminist identity than in organising the struggles. No, it was not the way forward and there is no room for complacency: there is no union that has managed to resist… being a union.

This is not a new phenomenon at all. In fact, it began with the first world carnage that marks the moment when capitalism becomes a scourge for Humanity. The unions then take sides in the war, in which they serve as recruiters and organizers of militarized production. They are decisive when it comes to dragging the social-democratic parties into “national union” with “their” bourgeoisies and the vanguard of reaction against the revolution. No, Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebcknecht and the Berlin insurgent workers were not massacred by some “fascists” who did not yet exist, as leftwingism tells us; they were massacred by the paramilitary bodies organized by the unions under the orders of a social democratic government that was the first in the world to give the vote to all women.

In the middle of the war, when the voice of the internationalists is being fiercely repressed, “factory committees” appear, small militant groups in Great Britain and France that organize the struggle against the war from the workshops: the “shop stewards” movement and the revolutionary trade unionist groups of Monatte and Rosmer. In 1920 both movements participated in the second congress of the Communist International. The British are represented by Tanner, the Frenchman Rosmer who summarizes the debates in his indispensable memoirs of that journey: “For a number of delegates, it was the question of the political party itself that was raised in the first place: until now they had never belonged to a political party and all their activity was carried out within the workers’ organizations. This is what Jack Tanner said from the rostrum. He explained how, during the war, the Show Stewards Committees had developed, the new importance they had acquired by opposing the policy of the tradeunionist leaders who were deeply committed to the warmongering policy of the British government. The hard battle they had fought, not without risk, during the war, had naturally led them to give the factory committees a revolutionary program and to adhere, from its inception, to the October Revolution and the Third International. But their action had always taken place outside the party, and to a large extent against the party, of which certain leaders were the same men against whom they fought in the trade union struggles. Their own experience of the past few years had only strengthened their trade union convictions: the most conscious and capable minority of the working class was the only one who could guide and guide the mass of workers in the daily struggle for their demands as well as in revolutionary battles. It was Lenin who responded to Jack Tanner, saying in essence: “Your conscious minority of the working class, this active minority that must guide your action, is none other than the party; it is what we call the party. The working class is not homogeneous; between the top layer, this minority that has reached full consciousness, and the category that we find at the bottom, that which has no notion at all, that in which the bosses recruit the scabs, the strike breakers, there is the great mass of workers who must be able to drag and convince if we want to win. But for that the minority must organize itself, create a solid organization, impose a discipline based on the principles of democratic centralism; then we have the party.”

Trade Unionists or Revolutionaries?

Jack Tanner opted for unionism… and ended up recruiting and organizing war production in the next world carnage. Rosmer embraced party militancy and was a valuable militant in the fight against the Stalinist counterrevolution and a loyal comrade to the end. There is no middle way. The militant organizations that we see emerging at this time in the workplaces will have no choice but to be accendrarse. The reason lies in the very essence of the class, its universal character, its centralism, so different from the centralism of the state and the bourgeoisie.

In our time there can be no difference between “immediate struggles” and revolution. As Lenin himself said, “under every strike hides the hydra of the revolution”. And precisely for this reason it is not possible to pretend to “specialize” in a moment of class struggles when what we see, today, in Matamoros or Iran, is that the struggle of the workers of a company, city or sector cannot triumph without extending, without becoming an affirmation of the class as a political subject, and that this affirmation goes nowhere if not precisely from there, from the organization that can only emerge from the fusion of assemblies of struggles.

New Course

French Communist Left on the National and Colonial Questions

These recent translations of the French Communist Left on the national and colonial questions can be found originally published on the latest issue of A Free Retriever’s Readers’ Digest:

Continue reading “French Communist Left on the National and Colonial Questions”

Nuevo Curso on the Origins of Fascism

“Fascism has become a political insult. It has been emptied of meaning to encompass any authoritarian development, and has been associated with the most splenetic right. It is a mistake that disarms us.”


We present below an English translation of Nuevo Curso’s investigation into the class character of fascism and its historic origins.

Gulf Coast Communist Fraction

Continue reading “Nuevo Curso on the Origins of Fascism”