Stinas and Castoriadis


Arturo Peregalli, "Contro venti e maree. La seconda guerra mondiale e gli Internazionalisti del "Terzo Fronte". Grecia: Aghis Stinas e l'Unione Comunista Internazionalista", Colibì, Paderno Dugnano, 2002


This study by Arturo Peregalli about the Internationalist Communist Union and its main representative, Aghis Stinas, should have been the fifth chapter of a larger work whose completion was prevented by the premature death of the author.

The initial project had the provisional title Against winds and tides. The Second World War and the internationalists of the “Third Front” [1] , and aimed at the study of those small political formations that refused to support one imperialist camp against the other, raising instead – as Lenin and the communist left did during the Great War – the flag of revolutionary defeatism, of class struggle and the fraternisation of the international proletariat in the battle against the bourgeoisie of their own country and any other belligerent country.

During the course of the Second World War almost the whole of the prole­tarian movement – it would be useless not to recognise it – suffered opportun­istic influences and deviated to policies that are clearly a submission to the interests of capitalist preservation. [2]

This is absolutely true. However, small groups of revolutionaries managed  to keep a firm position, rejecting the diktat that imposed the choice between the “fascist” camp and the “democratic” camp – which Russia decided to join, once the digression of the alliance with Germany (1939-41) was over – and instead identifying the causes that sparked off the war in the dynamic of world capitalism, which they had to oppose without leaving the terrain of the class struggle.

These people who kept the flag of the communist revolution flying then, although they were constantly pursued, imprisoned and murdered by the forces of both camps, are today almost unknown and forgotten, even by those who defend their positions.

The formations of the “Third Front” mostly originated from two historical tendencies of the international workers’ movement.

The first was those who opposed, from the very first moment, the degeneration of the Russian revolution, the first victorious and then triumphant course of Stalinism in the Soviet union and, as a consequence, in the Communist International, which had been reduced to a compliant instrument of the Russian state: the Italian Communist Left. This was represented abroad by the Italian Fraction of the Communist Left [3] , the Fraction Belge and the Fraction Française and what was left from the German KAPD and the Dutch councilist left [4] .

The other, more modest, tendency was formed by the fractions of the Trotskyist move­ment who opposed the order, adopted by the Fourth International, to defend the Russian “degenerated worker’s State” in the war, and refused to support the war effort. To this tendency belonged, without any contact between them: Aghis Stinas in Greece, Grandizio Munis in Mexico and, following a different course, Henk Sneevliet and the Marx-Lenin-Luxemburg Front (MLL Front) in Holland [5] .

This internationalist line was also followed by anarchist fractions (more or less organized) and the extreme left of European socialism.

This research would also have focussed on France and on other European countries besides Italy (the Author had already examined the Internationalist Communist Party [6] ).

In France where, during the years between the two wars, many other opponents of nazi-fascism and alleged Russian socialism had sought refuge, as well as the Italian Fraction and the Fraction Française de la Gauche Communist, there existed two form­ations coming out of official Trotskyism  – the Revolutionäre Kommunisten Deutsch­lands (RKD) and the Organisation Communiste Révolutionnaire (OCR) – and the Groupe Révolutionnaire Prolétarien (GRP), that later became, in the Spring of 1944, Union des Communistes Internationalistes (UCI), with a clear councilist orientation [7] .

All these political groups considered imminent, once the conflict was over, a class-oriented and revolutionary resumption on a broad scale and they were counting upon the reoccurrence of a situation similar to the one that had shaken bourgeois Europe at the end of the First World War on the tide of the Russian revolution. But they hadn’t reckoned either with the excessive power of Stalinism and the subjection of the west­ern proletariat to its politics, nor with the “iron heel” that the United States, the new dominant power, was about to impose on the “Free World”. The totalitarian co-owner­ship of the planet would carry on functioning for many years.

Only Amadeo Bordiga had understood how deep and detrimental the counter-revol­ution had been and, therefore, how long and laborious would be the course towards a class-oriented resumption of the proletariat, (a resumption that, by the way, still hasn’t happened …). The difficulty of the work that must be done is synthesised in these words:

Here the question is how we will put together again all the terms of the doctrine of the class struggle as concerns the crucial causes that act on factors in the balance of forces, something that I am trying to do with difficulty every time that I send you something. [8]

This is not to underestimate the effort of those who fought, often sacrificing their own lives, against the imperialist war and who refused to submit to partisanism. Their lesson and their struggle concern the direction of the historical continuity of the revoluti­onary movement and belong to the, present and future, generations that will make communism their flag.

As we said at the beginning, the greatest part of the research done by Arturo remained at the planning stage.

The only chapter that the author could finish is the one on Stinas. Despite a modest fame in France at the beginning of the nineties, when his “memoirs” [9] were published, this revolutionary is still practically unknown in Italy. That’s why the publication of an essay dedicated to him is useful.

[1] The title was an intentional reminder of that of the book written by Pierre Lanneret, Les internationalistes du “troisième camp” en France pendant la seconde guerre mondiale (Éditions Acratie, La Bussière, 1995), which examined the internationalist groups in France during the Second World War which defended rigorous class-oriented and internationalist positions. “Third camp” (or “Third Front”) also means “Proletarian front” against the two imperialist fronts involved in the war.

[2] “The perspectives in the post-war era with regard to the Platform of the Party”, Prometeo, no.3, October 1946.

[3] That had published in Belgium, till the end of the war, Promoteo, Bilan and Octobre.

[4] An important text on the council left: Philippe Bourrinnet, Αt the origins of council communism. History of the Dutch Marxist left.

[5] Sneevliet, along with others of his comrades, had been executed by the nazis in 1942.

[6] Arturo Peregalli, L’altra Resistenza. Il PCI e le opposizioni di sinistra 1943-1945 [The other Resistance. The ICP and the left oppositions 1943-45], Graphos, Genoa, 1991.

[7] Arturo was very interested in closely examining this period of the revolutionary movement in France, but the lack of a sufficient documentation of the positions of these groups prevented him from carrying out an exhaustive research.

[8] Letter of Amadeo Bordiga to Ottorino Perrone, 13 June 1948 (Archivio Perrone, ULB, Bruxelles).

[9] A. Stinas, Mémoires. Un révolutionnaire dans la Grèce du XXeme siècle, Paris, La Brèche-PEC, 1990.