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The Internationalist Communist Tendency is a political international whose member organisations identify with the Italian left communist tradition. It was founded as the International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party in 1983 as a result of a joint initiative by the Internationalist Communist Party (Battaglia Comunista) in Italy and the Communist Workers Organisation (CWO) in Britain. Its other affiliates are the Internationalist Workers Group / Groupe Internationaliste Ouvrier in the United States and Canada, and a small French Section.
There were two main reasons for this initiative. The first was to give organisational form to an already-existing tendency within the proletarian political camp. This had emerged from the International Conferences called by Battaglia Comunista between 1977 and 1981. It was grouped around the following political precepts:
The second was to act as a focus for organisations and individuals newly-emerging onto the international scene as capitalism's deepening crisis provoked a political response. In the event, the first decade of the Bureau's existence has hardly been one of a massive revival in the class struggle. On the contrary, workers' response to increasing attacks by capital have in the main been limited to sectional conflicts, even if militant (such as the British miners' strike of 1984-5 or the on-running struggle of Spanish shipyard workers) and have as a result been defeated. International capital has thus been given a breathing space in which to restructure at the cost of millions of workers' livelihoods, increasing austerity measures, worsening conditions of work and the terms for the sale of labour power.
In this context, it is not surprising that there were relatively few newcomers to proletarian politics during the Eighties. Many who did make an appearance later disappeared as political isolation overwhelmed them. Nevertheless, despite the unfavourable objective situation, the organisational existence of the Bureau has been consolidated. As well as sharing responsibility for worldwide correspondence and where possible organising face-to-face meetings and discussions with the political elements with whom the IBRP come into contact, the IBRP has issued several international statements and distributed them in various languages at crucial points over recent years.
Finally, the Bureau exists as a specific and identifiable tendency within "the broad proletarian camp". The IBRP define this as those who stand for working class independence from capital; who have no truck with nationalism in any form; who saw nothing socialist in Stalinism and the former USSR at the same time as recognising that October 1917 was the starting point for what could have become a wider world revolution. Amongst the organisations which fall within this broad framework there remain significant political differences, not least over the vexed question of the nature and function of the revolutionary organisation. The IBRP's framework is as follows:
In 2009, the organisation renamed itself as the "Internationalist Communist Tendency".
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