The Internationalist Communist Tendency (ICT) and Klasbatalo are pleased to announce that from this point on Klasbatalo has become the Canadian affiliate of the ICT.
This will be no surprise to those who have been watching the steady growth in our relations over the last two years but our contacts with the original nucleus of Klasbatalo go back slightly further. In 2015 one of the comrades who formed the new group first contacted us with a view to joining our previous Canadian affiiate, the Groupe Internationaliste Ouvrier (GIO). At this time though the GIO was wracked by a crisis of its own making which we described in our announcement of its dissolution in January 2016 (this can be found at leftcom.org). We thus advised the comrade to hang fire and await the outcome of our discussions with the remaining element of the GIO and, when we finally announced the GIO’s demise, he set about contacting other left communists in Montréal, some of whom had been in the GIO for a brief time after its foundation.
As Klasbatalo themselves wrote in an earlier letter,
"… the path of the Communist Left has been particularly painful in Canada. The comrades who formalized it in Quebec, mainly in Montreal, then had a very summary idea of the positions of the Communist Left, its strongest tendency and the best established then being that of the Internationalist Workers Group/Groupe Internationaliste Ouvriere (affiliated to the ICT)."
But, unknown to the ICT at the time, the GIO in Canada was dominated by personalism rather than political clarity and they soon felt compelled to leave it. The ICT were told that this was for “personal reasons”. The struggle to establish Klasbatalo has not been an easy one.
"Three of our members lived through the schism – which divided the Quebec “Communist Left” for more than 15 years in Montreal – by participating in both the Internationalist Workers Group and by adopting to a certain extent the policies of the ICC. We have therefore learned a great deal from this experience by meeting again in the summer of 2017 to deepen and clarify the journey we have taken for more or less 15 years within the “Communist Left”."
The comrades have not only had to reject the dangerous and sectarian behaviour of one political adventurer whose focus was simply on attacking other communist groups, but have also had to deal with the misinformed calumnies and misrepresentation of other groups of the Communist Left. Hopefully, the latter may now be a thing of the past, but these trials have only helped Klasbatalo to clarify what it stands for and what it rejects.
The Canadian experience has been equally “painful” for the ICT and after the dissolution of the GIO we resolved to examine what went wrong. As we wrote in January, 2016:
"We as a tendency have however also to draw the lessons of this experience. The ICT has never set out to create clones of itself. The ICT is the coordinating body of groups which are centralised around a common platform but which have considerable freedom to work in their own areas with whomever they think are contributing to building a revolutionary proletarian organisation. [By this we mean one which is autonomous of social democratic/state capitalist and trades union elements which seek to integrate the working class into capitalist society by posing as “socialist” but who are actually intent only on reforming a system which is long ceased to be useful to humanity.] Our aim is for constituent groups to contribute to the development of revolutionary theory and practice as they participate in the class struggle wherever they live, obviously starting from the perspective of the communist left. This the GIO did sporadically but, as our recent discussions have revealed, tended to go with the movement too often in a sort of left populist way and did not always make their own distinctive and revolutionary contribution. This is a typical danger of any new political nucleus and can only be overcome by a consistent effort to collectively clarify what the political basis of left communist politics means."
It is for this reason that the discussions and cooperation between ourselves and the comrades of Klasbatalo have taken some time. Our demands of every potential affiliate remain the same. As we recently wrote to one potential applicant,
"For us the process is governed, not by time, but by fulfilling the criteria that we believe necessary for any healthy addition to our overall international strength. These remain:
1. Political agreement with the Platform of the ICT
2. A basic statement of positions – i.e. a Platform
3. A set of organisational rules which define the behaviour and operation of communists within the said organisation.
4. An organ of intervention, however infrequent in publication, which is a tool for intervention in the wider working class.
5. A practice which attempts, however difficult the situation, to reach the wider working class and become a force in any future struggles to guide the class towards a political response to the capitalist crisis and its consequences."
These axioms were the basis of the discussions between the ICT and Klasbatalo and we are pleased to announce that not only have Klasbatalo fulfilled all these criteria but last November their delegate to our International Bureau meeting participated on the same basis as any other delegate of an ICT affiliate. With the issue of the first number of their political broadsheet, Mutiny, in May, and with their agreement to make further minor changes to their Platform (which arose out of our mutual discussions), the final steps in the process are complete. We are very happy to welcome Klasbatalo as our affiliate in Canada. As we always say to potential affiliates, you do not join the ICT, you help to create it. We are not fantasists and are well aware that we are still at the beginning of a long struggle to widen the reach of the Communist Left inside the world working class but here we have another step in that direction. Klasbatalo will now participate fully in the process of greater coordination of our work and updating the basic instruments we use to reach out to others. We look forward, not only to a long and happy association but also to the day when we will all be able to concretely participate in creating a real International of the revolutionary working class.
Internationalist Communist Tendency
6 July 2019