In all small political groups, there are occasional episodes of dysfunction; Internationalist Perspective is not immune from this and,indeed at our annual conferences over some years, all of our members have voiced such concerns and we tried to get to the roots of the problems. The dissatisfaction felt about the quality of our collective work is shared and, if we want to suggest a major cause, it is linked to the general difficulty in being able to carry out revolutionary work in the present phase of capitalism’s development. We won’t here go into that general matter, but we do want to describe some recent difficulties.
In International Perspective 57, dated Fall/Winter 2012, we published the first part of a text entitled ‘International Perspective and the Tradition of the Communist Left’ (IP&LCT). It was presented as a draft text and the brief introduction to it declared an intention to adopt such a document at our next conference which was to be held mid-2013. In Internationalist Perspective 58/59, dated Winter 2013/2014, the introduction to parts 2 and 3 of this document stated that:
“In a series of three texts we developed our critique of the Communist Left and, at the same time, spelled out our own views on the questions they confronted and which still confront us today, ranging from theoretical to practical: how can we understand social reality, history, the periodization of capitalism, crisis and revolution. … …
At its conference last summer, IP collectively discussed, amended and approved the three texts. IP does not have a platform, but this series is the most comprehensive exposition of our positions since ‘The world as we see it in IP#27 (1994) (readers who compare the texts will notice our considerable evolution since then).”
However, towards the end of 2013 it became apparent that there were widely disparate views about the status of this work. For some, IP&LCT was a landmark in the exposition of our positions but for others the document constituted only a discussion text. How these two perspectives co-existed for the several years during which time the document was re-drafted by several comrades (and discussed thoroughly at the 2013 conference) is still a mystery to us all – and one we must solve. So, for the avoidance of doubt, we have to say that the statement that this series is a ‘comprehensive expositions of our positions’ is wrong and that IP&LCT cannot be regarded as the view of IP as a whole. So, we continue to discuss. Sadly, one of our comrades has resigned during the period when we were becoming aware of the differences within us.
This difficult situation has brought several repercussions. On the negative side we are no longer capable of producing Internationalist Perspective in two languages – so we shall no longer publish the French review. Perspective Internationaliste 58/59 was the last one. For now. We have, however, decided on some actions to move our work forward:
We have recognised the need to have a reference text to provide a coherent exposition of our shared views. Discussion has begun and we would hope to have it agreed at our next conference mid-2015.
The website will become the principal means of publishing our work. It is currently being rebuilt (long overdue) and we aim to have it live by the end of this year.
We are trying to get to the bottom of the dysfunctions that have affected our work. Although not the underlying cause, our dispersion has created difficulties (we have four native languages and seven time zones between us) and we shall try to be very conscious of the state of our various discussions.
We believe Internationalist Perspective has made a worthwhile contribution to the development of Marxist theory and has endeavoured to intervene in social struggles to the degree we could. All of us in Internationalist Perspective wish to continue with this activity.
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