The Brown Masquerade

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Anonymous
The Brown Masquerade
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The Internationalist Communist Tendency (formerly the International Bureau for a Revolutionary Party) has given publicity to nationalists by publishing the Platform of nationalists on its site...  Read more:http://eretik-samizdat.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-brown-masquerade.html

commiegal
Is their any evidence to back

Is their any evidence to back this up since I often read the CWO's website and have been in correspondence with one of their members, I've seen this around the internet but I have only seen it from one source and I don't want to believe such a serious accusation until I've seen more evidence for it.

LoneLondoner
Brown masquerade and evidence

We don't want to reply to this at length for the moment, since we are still investigating the question, so we will limit ourselves to a few remarks:

  1. We think the accusation is a serious one, especially in view of the situation in what passes for the "left" in Russia. This is indeed, as the article suggests, marked by an infiltration of "ethnic" or even downright fascist ideas (so we have "national Bolsheviks" and "ethnic anarchists").
  2. We know the comrades who have written the article, and we have complete confidence in their good faith.
  3. commiegal asks for evidence, which is fair enough: that said, the article itself provides a good deal of evidence in the form of quotations and references to websites. Admittedly these are in Russian (it could hardly be otherwise), but Google translate can almost work miracles these days, so you can get the gist of what is being said if you follow the links.
  4. As far as the ICT's role in the business is concerned, we have written to ask for their reaction, and would prefer to wait for their reply - on this thread if they wish - before saying anything about this.
     
Heretic (not verified)
An interesting fact

An interesting fact. After the publication of our criticism, nationalist allies of the IBRP (ICT) closed their site, and now create new content. We did a lot of links to their original site, and it was irrefutable proof, that  the political friends of the IBRP (ICT)  cooperate with the nationalists and the Nazis.  They deleted all the materials that confirmed their nationalist essence. This is an attempt to continue the deception. We are very sorry that the IBRP (ICT) helps nationalists, who are the enemies of the proletariat.

jk1921
ICT

Heretic wrote:

An interesting fact. After the publication of our criticism, nationalist allies of the IBRP (ICT) closed their site, and now create new content. We did a lot of links to their original site, and it was irrefutable proof, that  the political friends of the IBRP (ICT)  cooperate with the nationalists and the Nazis.  They deleted all the materials that confirmed their nationalist essence. This is an attempt to continue the deception. We are very sorry that the IBRP (ICT) helps nationalists, who are the enemies of the proletariat.

 

What is the ICT saying about it all?

LoneLondoner
Our view of the "Brown masquerade" and the ICT's part in it

In a previous post we said that we preferred to await the ICT's reply to our mail before commenting on their role in this affair. Since then, we have had a brief exchange of mails and received from the ICT a copy of their reply to "Heretic", and we feel it is time to comment.

First of all, it is necessary to take account of the peculiar political context in Russia. This is marked by the strong presence of fascist groups, whose attacks on immigrants in particular go unchecked by the police because they are essentially in line with the ultra-nationalist policy of the Russian state and the Putin ruling clique. But this is not all: since the 1990s, we have also seen the development of groups which label themselves Bolshevist or anarchist, but which also defend the idea of "Russian ethnicity", or even the supremacy of the "white Russian race" or of a new "Russian empire". One such grouping is the "National Bolshevik Party".

This may sound bizarre to West Europeans today, but it is hardly new: the Nazi party's full name was after all the NSDAP, or National Socialist German Workers' Party.

Given the extreme confusion reigning in Russian politics, it seems to us that the first duty of internationalists – and especially of those outside Russia whose traditions lie in the communist left and to whom Russian internationalists should be able to look for support – is to be absolutely unambiguous about the incompatibility between nationalism and socialism, which are the expressions of the bourgeoisie on one side and the proletariat on the other.

Having said this, what are the facts of the situation?

As we write, the levcom.org site is undergoing a complete rebuild and the incriminating links in Heretic's article have disappeared. It remains to be seen whether these articles will be placed on the new version of the site.

Several points in Heretic's article are clearly true and verifiable, however:

  1. Marlen Insarov has spoken to a meeting of the Wolnica group, and considers the "people of the nationalist and democratic environment" to be "our allies and friends" (Google translate of http://komuna.org.ua/?p=523 cited by Heretic).
  2. The Wolnica group's political platform is undeniably fascistic and anti-Semitic, for example: "We stand for a socialist nationalism that seeks to free the working people against all forms of social oppression. The class struggle is an objective factor, which was not invented by the "insidious grandson of Rabbi Marx," and there all over the world history." (Google translation of the Wolnica platform at http://volniza.info/?p=10712).
  3. Marlen Insarov is a member of the GKM group: "Marlen Insarov is a member of the GKM but he is based in Ukraine and the bulk of the group are in Russia. If you look on their website there are articles signed by him. However they deny that he is the main inspiration of their group (which they claim is the internationalist communist left from Bordiga onwards). They say that they criticised quite harshly his "National Bolshevist" past. They said if he repeated them he would be expelled." (ICT letter to the ICC of 20/04/2013, which we quote with the ICT's agreement).

One could begin by asking whether "quite harsh criticism" is an adequate response to someone who has in effect crossed class lines by seeking alliances with openly fascistic groups. We would expect something a good deal more robust from a group that claims to identify with the Italian Left (one can only wonder what Bordiga himself would have to say about allowing such an individual into one's own organisation).

What about the ICT's own reaction?

In our view, this has not been without ambiguity. In their letter (undated) to Heretic, the ICT treated the matter of Insarov's new friendships as if it were nothing more than an unfortunate tiff between fellow communists: "If we recall correctly, you and he were once collaborators who produced good communist left texts together.  Unfortunately we also know only too well that in political life anyone who splits with someone else often justify their splits by exaggeration of the supposed political crimes of their former comrades". We leave it up to our readers to decide for themselves whether Heretic is "exaggerating".

Then, in their first letter to us on this issue (13/04/2013), the ICT tell us that they insisted that the GKM "should either have no connection with Marlen Insarov (...) or should issue a rebuttal of his past activities in relation to the groups mentioned in VB's article.", which suggests that they have decided to treat the issue more seriously. So far, no such rebuttal has appeared on the levcom.org web site or anywhere else as far as we are aware, and until it does our view is that the GKM should be treated with some circumspection.

We would also take issue with what the ICT describes as their policy of "openness":  "we always put any document received from unknown international groups on our site, or in our press, precisely so that the whole world should know what is being claimed by whom so that they can be scrutinised" (ICT letter of 13/04/2013). But the ICT's web site is not just any old library of texts with no coherent political line: leftcom is not libcom. The ICT is one of the two surviving international organisations of the communist left and as such its web site adopts a definite political line. Whether the ICT likes it or not, when they publish another group's document without any critical comment then they implicitly endorse that group's credentials. This is all the more the case when they preface the GKM's platform on their own site with the following: "They have been long-time followers of the internationalist communist left so we welcome their formation and look forward to a positive dialogue and cooperation in the future".

According to the ICT: "our current view is that the GKM (which was formed only in June last year and is made up of very young people) is neither nationalist nor homophobic (an accusation we put ourselves from reading their site using Google translate) but is ambiguous to the point of opportunism on the latter issue".

We can only hope that the ICT is right and that Heretic is wrong with regard to the perspectives for the GKM: that these young people will succeed in disengaging themselves from the morass of opportunism, confusion, and worse, that is rife in Russia. But a precondition for that will be an ability to be absolutely clear about who is on the side of the working class and who is not. In our view, nothing less will do than a robust and public rejection of Insarov and his collusion with fascistic populism. And the ICT who is in contact with them has a clear responsibility in this respect.

baboon
Form

Unfortunately the ICT have some form in taking dubious elements for their word as "communists" and thus being a source of confusion across class lines. It's up to them to pronounce clearly on this latest "slippage".

I noticed that the ICT has a meeting in London a week before the ICC's on the same question. Nothing to stop them doing this of course but it looks a bit odd.

radicalchains
Willing to compromise?

baboon wrote:

Unfortunately the ICT have some form in taking dubious elements for their word as "communists" and thus being a source of confusion across class lines. It's up to them to pronounce clearly on this latest "slippage".

I noticed that the ICT has a meeting in London a week before the ICC's on the same question. Nothing to stop them doing this of course but it looks a bit odd.

 

In the same pub no less, will the ICC discussion be a tragedy or the farce? Why have two separate near identical discussion topics within such a short space of time in the same place? Should there be some coordination between groups, organizations and individuals within the "thin red line"? 

Alf
coordination

There should indeed be coordination but the reality is that there is not. We shall be raising this at the meeting. 

Fred
communist idiocy

There is a relevant comment by comrade markyhaze on the leftcom website at the moment: not exactly on this topic but on what exactly are the differences between the two left communist groupings, which markyhaze finds difficult to work out (I sympathize) and thinks may only serve to confuse further the milieu.  http://www.leftcom.org/en/comment/13664#comment-13664.  

 

For myself, it strikes me as utter lunacy that leftcom should be having its meeting in the same pub a week before the ICC holds theirs.  Isn't this a stupid  waste of resources?  Doesn't this make it appear - QUITE WRONGLY AND FALSELY - that the differences between the left communist groupings are so enormous that their meetings having to be carefull sanitized against each other?  We mustn't taint each other, is the message conveyed to sympathetic followers. If the communist left really wants to piss everyone off, and further set back the development of communist consciousness in the working class, then they must be congratulated on the excellent way in which they are doing it. The bourgeoisie will be delighted. But they always win don't they? 

 

LBird
Needle stuck?

Fred wrote:
We mustn't taint each other, is the message conveyed to sympathetic followers. If the communist left really wants to piss everyone off, and further set back the development of communist consciousness in the working class, then they must be congratulated on the excellent way in which they are doing it.

Isn't this the same point I've been trying to make on other threads?

Whilst every Bolshevik-type group/tendency/current/party has its own 'program' which is sacrosanct, every Bolshevik party has a 'special' access to a 'consciousness' which neither other parties, nor the class itself, has the same access, then this situation will continue.

Such are the meagre fruits of Leninism for the proletariat. If both the ICC and the ICT know the 'truth', then separate meetings are inevitable.

Perhaps a little less 'political organisation certainty' and more 'class curiosity' is required. I'm ever more convinced, from years of discussions, that the ideology of 'uneven consciousness'* is destructive of class consciousness, and that those Communists who join such organisations that support this ideology actually damage their existing level of consciousness.

[* the theory of 'uneven consciousness' has nothing to do with the claim that the class is uneven. Everyone accepts that. The problem is that the theory which has the name of 'Uneven Consciousness' implies that the proletarian political organisation necessarily has a more even consciousness. This is palpably untrue, as anyone who has been in one of these organisations can testify.]

My apologies for raising this issue, yet again. If the ICC has had enough of my thoughts, please send me a pm and I will voluntarily desist from posting. I already know that this will be a popular decision, according to some contributors.

Fred
I don't think it's the same

I don't think it's the same point at all, LBird.  I am  very sympathetic to both ICT and ICC and am pissed off that they can't get their act together in the same way that the Bolsheviks did prior to 1917.      They (the ICC and ICT) have similar programs as far as I can tell - just like the Bolsheviks had a program - and certainly don't have "special access" to a "consciousness" restricted only to them. Don't be bloody daft!  The same "consciousness" is open to you and me, and anyone who's curious about the state of society and how to change it.  It's a working class consciousness, generated by the class itself, and first given some formulation by the Communist League in 1847, and given further elaboration on a scientific basis by various communist organizations since then. And these further  elaborations are not alway dry and dusty as you and  some similar thinkers on eg.red- marx like to claim. Try reading "The Civil War in France" or the " Critque of the Gotha Program". Theres nothing to object to at all in their scientific and Marxist approach to the analysis of significant events in proletarian history; and, far from being dry and dusty they are models of highly organized and scientific thought in action. We might all learn helpful lessons in the laying out of ideas from them.  But I dare say it'll be possible to find some boring quote from one of them to prove me wrong! 

 

 

How on earth can the idea of the uneven development of consciousness - even if it's  mistaken which it isn't - act to further restrict the development of consciousness?  This doesn't make sense. First of all, according to your rule LBird, uneven development doesn't exist anyway  and so is incapable of having any effect on anything.  Secondly, it's precisely an "uneven" development that allows further growth. If we all sprang out of Marx' and Engels' heads with our consciousnesses already fully developed, no further development would be possible. How boring! Incidentally neither Marx nor Engels had a fully developed consciousness in 1847, witness the changes they made to the Manifesto as the class began to mature. Witness the changes they made to their conclusions to the "Civil War in France" on the basis of further rumination given to what the class had actually done in the  Commune.  Consciousness, class consciousness, is constantly changing, but not always for the better. Though we hope. 

 

And I don't see that the idea of "uneven consciousness" implies that the party must have a better or more "even" type. And what the heck does "even" actually mean?  Does it mean "equal amount"? If so, I doubt very much whether the comrades in the ICC and ICT have equal and/or "even" amounts of class consciousness at all. Why should they? They're all different people. Even if in communist organizations. Just because you join such an organization doesn't mean automatic homogenization of the brain, or wherever consciousness finds its home. 

 

 

So I guess that what you have said LBird is palpably untrue. And, as far as I know, you have no experience of being  in a communist organization at all, so you can't claim to have experienced what you say: that the Rev. Organization always lays claim to a greater "evenness" in this field. As I understand it your experience is of LEFTIST organizations, which are founded on a deliberate and misleading interpretation of the Bolshevik party, designed to mystify and confound their working class members.  We can take the "evenness" of their class consciousness for granted. It's bourgeois, dictatorial and exploitative. 

LBird
Relationship coming to an end?

Fred wrote:
I don't think it's the same point at all, LBird.

You're entitled to your opinion, Fred.

As for the rest of your post, it's what I (resignedly) expected from other posters, here.

Fred wrote:
So I guess that what you have said LBird is palpably untrue.

I should put together an argument for you, Fred, but, frankly, I can't be arsed.

These opposing positions are our repective 'hard cores', and we should be able to discuss our differences, to illustrate why we disagree.

This process doesn't involve one side having the 'truth', but should involve exposing the differences between those opposing arguments.

I think that I've come to the conclusion that my politics are not those of the ICC and its supporters. That doesn't mean I'm 'right' and you're all 'wrong', but means that we have a different philosophical starting point.

MH
All this talk of ‘hard cores’

All this talk of ‘hard cores’ unfortunately seems to illustrate your whole approach to ‘debate’ as some sort of contest to the death between mutually irreconcilable positions. It doesn’t appear to admit the possibility that - just maybe - you simply don’t yet sufficiently understand the positions the ICC actually defends. There’s nothing wrong with simply saying, “you know what, before we go any further I think I need to read a bit more about left communism and its views on class consciousness before I feel confident I know what your position really is”? I mean, good grief, it was long enough before you realised the ICC wasn’t a councilist organisation! Now apparently it’s irredeemably ‘Leninist’. You seem to be curiously resistant to actually reading texts comrades suggest to you, but why not read the ICC’s pamphlet on this subject, reflect a bit, and then maybe we can have a more fruitful, less frustrating, conversation?

LBird
Hanging on by fingertips

MH wrote:
I mean, good grief, it was long enough before you realised the ICC wasn’t a councilist organisation!

I know, more fool me!

MH wrote:
You seem to be curiously resistant to actually reading texts comrades suggest to you...

I'm really getting fed up with the constant lies being told about me. First Fred, with his accusations about 'uneven consciousness', when in my preceding post to his, I actually said that everyone accepts the class' consciousness is uneven. But he obviously didn't bother to read what I wrote.

Now you, when in another thread I printed off, read critically and started to engage with comrades about the ICC text 'The Organisation of Revolutionaries'.

I've also bought a book recommended by the ICC, Rovelli's The First Scientist, and found that it actually agrees with my views on science, rather than those of the posters here.

MH wrote:
...but why not read...reflect a bit, and then maybe we can have a more fruitful, less frustrating, conversation?

Because, now, in my opinion, it's the ICC and its supporters who need to 'read and reflect'. As you can tell, I'm entirely frustrated already, after many attempts to engage in debate (as opposed to being lectured to).

Bloody councilists, eh? Must be my 'uneven consciousness'/inability to read/refusal to listen/counterrevolutionary temper/objective stupidity/low IQ/etc.

Has it ever dawned on the ICC that this might be what the process of the class developing its consciousness will look like? That is, the political organisation being taught by the class, and not the other way round?

No, I didn't think so.

baboon
engage in debate

I don't want to "engage in debate" with L Bird if his engaging in debate is an example of engaging in debate.

What do comrades think about the subject matter of this thread. It's very specific and it holds lessons for revolutionary organisation that are more profound than "why can't we all get together".

LBird
Final note

baboon wrote:
I don't want to "engage in debate" with L Bird if his engaging in debate is an example of engaging in debate.

Right! That's it, comrades, I'm off.

Just a public note that the ICC haven't banned me. I've freely chosen to leave.

MH
Apologies

LBird wrote:

MH wrote:
You seem to be curiously resistant to actually reading texts comrades suggest to you...

I'm really getting fed up with the constant lies being told about me. First Fred, with his accusations about 'uneven consciousness', when in my preceding post to his, I actually said that everyone accepts the class' consciousness is uneven. But he obviously didn't bother to read what I wrote.

    

Well I was actually thinking of your reaction to Alf on the ‘Freud’ thread. You did, in one post on the ‘Differences’ thread, begin to raise questions about the Organisation of Revolutionaries text. I apologise, I missed this, but there’s a lot more to that text and a lot more to discuss. (And I see Demogorgon is still waiting for your considered reply at the end of that thread.)

 

baboon
L Bird

I don't want to derail the essence of this thread any more than it has been already but you've been welcomed by the ICC and specifically asked by them to  stay and discuss on this forum and comrades of the ICC, and others, have fully engaged in discussions with you showing great patience. I've noticed lately that your posts have contained more and more personal insults yet no one on here, least of all the ICC (whom I do not speak for) has made the slightest suggestion about banning you - on the contrary - and yet you duck off leaving that ambiguity hanging in the air. Leaving before you were banned when no-one had any intention of banning you - what a martyr to the truth you are.

jk1921
Fred, perhaps the exchange

Fred, perhaps the exchange with LBird here is an illustration of why the ICC and ICT have such trouble overcoming their supposed "differences" and coordinating. Nobody understands the "culture of debate." The ICT think the entire idea is an ICC diversion, while even the ICC has trouble figuring out what it means concretley and putting it into practice. I don't think this is evidence of some kind of fatal "Leninist" flaw of these organizations, rather it is more likely the result of decades of isolation and the continuing struggle to reclaim past acquisitions. As for LBird, on a personal level, I can understand his frustration, but I think the ICC (as the coordinators of this forum) have been more than fair and tolerant. Despite recurring epithets and namecalling and an approach to debate that sounds more like professing than discussing, the ICC has continued to encourage the comrade to participate. It has even appeared to me at times like the ICC has prioritized the exhange of ideas over the feelings of its militants and contacts.

As to the substance of the thread--I suspect that the difficulties of the Russian milieu reflect the very painful experiences of the working class in that country. The attempts to marry Marxism with some kind of nationalistic slant are not new--it was a problem in the German Revolution, but I wonder--given the agenda and the style of the bourgeois clique that has been in charge in Russia the last fifteen years--if there isn't a little more at work here. The Russian state--going back to Tsarist times--has a long history of creating "workers' organizations" in order to discredit them. I am not accusing any particular group or element of anything, but the the entire situation strikes me as very odd. Of course, I think we know very little of the real situation with the milieu in Russia. It seems incredibly difficult to follow and keep track of.

LBird
Unfortunate misunderstanding or Bolshevik inbreeding?

baboon wrote:
Leaving before you were banned when no-one had any intention of banning you - what a martyr to the truth you are.

Actually, it was meant as a tribute to the ICC for providing me with the freedom to post here, even when I was clearly opposed to many of its positions.

But your response has merely confirmed my fears, about how my political arguments are being increasingly characterised. I'm not sure if it's personal dislike, consciously political, or just philosophical incest.

My guess is the latter.

MH
I am markyhaze...

Fred wrote:

There is a relevant comment by comrade markyhaze on the leftcom website at the moment: not exactly on this topic but on what exactly are the differences between the two left communist groupings, which markyhaze finds difficult to work out (I sympathize) and thinks may only serve to confuse further the milieu.  http://www.leftcom.org/en/comment/13664#comment-13664.  

     I don't think it's blowing my deep cover to reveal that I am 'markyhaze' on leftcom...  Unfortunately I came late to the thread, having stopped checking the forum a while ago due to the lack of life on it. Generally I find the level of discussion on it pretty depressing anyway. But it was a genuine query; if they now see themselves merely as one of the nucleii of the future party then what is the difference with the ICC on this question? It seems to be more one of emphasis, talking more about the party as a 'special weapon' forged by the class, bringing the historic programme to the workers' struggles, etc. If I can't see the difference how can the wider milieu be expected to?  And do indeed ICC comrades see substantive differences here? If not, how can we proceed?                                                                                                               

mhou
Quote:As to the substance of

Quote:
As to the substance of the thread--I suspect that the difficulties of the Russian milieu reflect the very painful experiences of the working class in that country. The attempts to marry Marxism with some kind of nationalistic slant are not new--it was a problem in the German Revolution, but I wonder--given the agenda and the style of the bourgeois clique that has been in charge in Russia the last fifteen years--if there isn't a little more at work here. The Russian state--going back to Tsarist times--has a long history of creating "workers' organizations" in order to discredit them. I am not accusing any particular group or element of anything, but the the entire situation strikes me as very odd. Of course, I think we know very little of the real situation with the milieu in Russia. It seems incredibly difficult to follow and keep track of.
There was a similar type of scenario involving accusations of 'collaborating' or enabling fascists in Eastern European anarchist groups (I recall at least a couple threads on Libcom about this). Someone asked on RevLeft whether or not 'Strasserism' is a real political phenomenon or just the invention of a few quacks online. It would seem that 'Strasserism', as it existed in the 1930's-1940's as a Nazi reaction to Hitlerism ('Black Front' or something?) is not a real phenomenon today- but some of the ideas that animated it, as well as elements of the 'national bolshevism' circa 1920's RSFSR-Weimar Germany that jk mentions, are echoed in contemporary extremist groups in the former Soviet/People's Republics. It shouldn't be surprising that there are blurred areas, or people who had in the past had associations with these quasi-Strasserist/NB ideologies and sects, particularly since they probably receive little attention (repression) from the state as well as their growth since 1991. Hopefully they can openly break from their past (rather than trying to erase and bury the evidence it happened) with the  help from established communist organizations. Either way, the spirit of Heretic's response is admirable and well put together to keep the efforts of communist organizations in the best traditions of the workers movement.

Jock
On the GKM

I had not noticed this thread before but if anyone is really interested this is now on our site.

 

http://www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2014-03-04/the-problem-of-nationalism-and-the-gkm-group-of-communist-maximalists

Alf
national anarcho bolshevik social revolutionaries

This is a very important question. The national anarcho bolshevik social revolutionaries - the anarchist and left communist wing of the new right  - have also been causing major problems for the KRAS, who are genuine anarchist internationalists, as well 

 

http://www.libcom.org/forums/news/statement-denouncement-attacks-against-member-kras-iwa-so-called-mpst-group-08042013?page=1

baboon
An important question

Heretic's link on the libcom website on the thread "The Brown Masquerade" to the text of "Eretik", dated May 30, 2013, related to the GCM, should be read in this context. The ICT calls this text "hysterical" which is not the impression that I get from itl. The ICT response linked to above should also be read, not least from sources that it researched informing it of the dubious nature of the GCM and its support for "ethicities" and other nationalist tendencies. The ICT have a tendency to take on and publicise the views of groups or individuals that call themselve communist or internationalist who appear anything when the surface is scratched. I don't think that the response of the ICT adequately answers  the detailed critques of "Eretik". All very murky.

Leo
Leo's picture
To be honest, I think the ICT

To be honest, I think the ICT owes Eretik a an actual apology since they themselves have no choice to admit that the Eretik group was basically fully correct. I can't say I'm surprised by the attitude toward these comrades in the ICT text though.

Why is it so difficult for an organization to admit that it was wrong? Why does a text written about an error have to keep insisting on how its authors were right even when they were wrong?

Jock
ICT on Eretik

On the contrary I think Vlad's modus operandi in this not only was wrong but actually delayed our response.   When Vlad first announced to the world that GKM was not what it claimed to be he did not initially inform us but put it on another left communist website.  The first text he wrote was sent to us by a sympathiser followed some weeks later by him directly sending it to us.  By this time we had already put the accusations to the GKM who denied that they were headed by Marlen Insarov, denied that they had given any support to nationalists and that everything Vlad said was motivated by hatred that they had formed a real group which was not just a couple of academic bloggers.  As our account makes clear we did not accept this but told the GKM they would need to prove the error of Vlad's accusations.  We then wrote a personal letter to Eretik and asked Vlad to engage more with the GKM to find out more closely if they were still under the influence of his former comrade now turned nationalist. His response was not to reply to us but to write the Brown Masquerade which he sent to everyone but ourselves.  In it he tells a direct lie - that WE in the ICT altered the platform of the GKM. Our letter makes clear that all alterations were done by the GKM themselves without even our intervention. This twist made us wait longer for the GKM to reply. We wrote to them in September 2013 saying that this had gone on long enough and that they had to denounce Marlen Insarov's past and clearly dissociate themselves from such policies.  They did not reply and we have had no contact since.  Our final response (originally written in early February was prompted by events in the Ukraine where (using google translate) we were able to see that they were fully "Insarovist". [Yesterday I saw via a nother google translation on facebook) they are now supporting the Maidan and calling for "Long Live the Ukrainian Revolution!]. We have never accused Vlad of any political crime either privately or publicly but he has, through a hysterical "guilt by association" line of argument, arrived at the conclusion that we have abandoned internationalism and collude with neo-Nazis and proclaimed this to everyone without contacting us. That seems to me to be a more serious need for an apology.

Were we wrong to put up the GKM Platform?  It has always been our policy to publish everything we get and that is something we have to review but there is no simple answer here.  The alternative might have been to have been strung along in a private exchange by the GKM for years and then become more deeply involved with them before getting any clarification.  By putting the document in the internationalist domain we have at least got a public discussion from the beginning (for which we thank Vlad Bugera once again, despite his antagonistic methods) and a resolution. 

BTW Fred I learned yesterday that the next CWO public meeting in London is fixed for April 26 (we have tried to liaise with WR over these things in the past and last summer's cock up was no-one's fault).  As I recall though we went to their meeting and they came to ours (but better planning would mean that more people would have been in one room at the same time).

Theft
Theft's picture
leftism

Further evidence of the decay of the ICT into petty bourgeois leftism.

http://www.freecommunism.org/ict-closet-nationalists-or-simply-incompetent-fools/

petey
"Now many will see this as

"Now many will see this as simply a honest mistake from a group made up, mainly of old men with little understanding of the internet"

stopped reading there.

MH
Extremely serious allegations

Theft wrote:

Further evidence of the decay of the ICT into petty bourgeois leftism.

http://www.freecommunism.org/ict-closet-nationalists-or-simply-incompetent-fools/

The linked article accuses the ICT of being “in league with nationalist groups” and concludes it is “in the enemy camp”, ie. the ICT is now a bourgeois group.

This is an extremely serious accusation. The ICT and its constituent groups have a long and sorry history of opportunism towards dubious and even outright bourgeois groups, eg. the radical Maoists of the “Communist Party of Iran”, and I’ll leave it to other comrades to comment on the accusations regarding the Greek group, but so far I haven’t seen anything that would justify consigning a group of the Communist Left to the camp of capital in this way.

Nor am I impressed by the way these accusations have, in effect, been dumped on the doorstep of this forum without any attempt to engage in discussion, by someone who afaics has not posted here for the last 4 years...
 

Demogorgon
Old men who don't understand the internet

This is a personal post.

I'm not going to comment on the allegations made in the post because, as MH has noted, they are extremely serious and are a matter for the ICC to comment on as an organisation, not via individual militants.

What disturbs me is the point highlighted by petey: "Now many will see this as simply a honest mistake from a group made up, mainly of old men with little understanding of the internet."

The apparent "generation gap" in the communist left milieu and the hostility and suspicion between generations is something that is starting to disturb me. The material basis of this problem is that the working class has not created a robust generation of revolutionaries since upsurge in class struggle between the 60s and 70s. This is a product of the proletariat's inability to develop the political aspect of its struggle in that period and the defeats it began to suffer from the 80s onwards. This has weakened the communist left, contributing to its growing isolation from the class and certainly poses the question of its long-term future.

Those new comrades that have appeared seem to have found it very difficult to assmilate themselves into the existing organisations of the communist left or build anything of significance outside of them either.

This failure - and I want to emphasise this - can only be seen as a failure of the entire class. It is not the "fault" of the young or the old. I find this contempt for older revolutionaries deeply concerning (not to mention offensive). This generation, whatever their failings (and there have been many), were responsible for excavating the communist left from the rubble of the counter-revolution and many put themselves at physical risk to do so.

The only way my generation (I was born in the same decade as the ICC) learned about the communist left was because of the battles the "68 generation" fought on my behalf, discovering and reproducing texts, analysing them, writing about them and propagating them as best their meagre resources allowed.

Similarly, the function of the "new" generation is not to act as passive recipients of the "wisdom" created by the older revolutionaries. The "68 generation" worked to synthesise the disparate positions of the Italian, German, Dutch and British Lefts. It wasn't simply a passive, monastic copying of sacred texts! Revolutionaries today, along with those to come, have a great work to do in pulling together the enormous contributions made by previous generations ... but also learning from their mistakes.

Let us also consider that this sort of reactionary, petit-bourgeois prejudice is in complete conformity with the current ideological campaigns of the ruling class, especially in Britain.  Remember the vitriolic campaign denigrating "old people" for supposedly voting Brexit; an older generation supposedly irredeemably racist, sexist, illiberal, etc. A bit like white working class youth supposedly is. See also the campaigns against the "baby boomers", the rich home owners with their pensions who've supposedly stolen the future from their grandchildren. A bit like the migrants taking our jobs. Just as with the "migrants", the "refugees" and the "asylum seekers" before them, the ideological ground is being laid for brutal attacks on the old.

Any concession to this process is profoundly anti-communist.

These attacks have already begun with increasingly brutal treatment of the old in hospital, social care and retirement homes. It has its complement in the increasing use of prison to deal with a generation of young people more-or-less permanently excluded from the workplace.

Consider also, the long-term implications of the wedge being driven between the young and the old will be. Older generation are our last living link with the history of our struggle. In an era characterised by low class struggle, with many young (and not so young) revolutionaries never having had the experience of being on strike, on a picket, or even having a regular job, it is in older generations that rests the experience needed to inform our future struggle.

If the proletariat is unable to synthesise the experience of all its components, across gender, racial or generational barriers it will never be capable or worthy of throwing of the shackles of capitalist exploitation.

jk1921
I support Demo's post

I support Demo's post generally and am also concerned about the wider ideological campaign that is becomming quite fashionable blaming all of the current political and social problems on "old people." This has even gone so far as to include allegations that the so-called "Baby-Boomer" generation are at their core a sociopathic force (In fact, there is even a new book with a title to that effect).

At the same time, I think we need to recognize that generational tensions, misunderstandings and downright hostilites are a real phenomenon today and are not without a material basis. It is true that there are many vulnerable seniors that have suffered tremendously as a result of the bourgeoisie's austerity measures--and this suffering will only get worse in the period ahead (i.e. the Trump administration's plans to cut "Meals on Wheels"--a program that modest as it is actually helps keep vulnerable old people alive).

However, it is also true that there is a generation or two (or maybe and a half) of the working class whose formative experiences of the world occurred in the period of "Keynsiano-Fordism," the decline of which has produced a form of political consiousness markedly different (in the aggregate) from the generations that are coming after them. This is a reality that the proletariat will have to confront and find a way through for the communist project to remain viable. We can't adopt the fatalistic, and ultimately destructive, approach of just waiting for the old people to die. If the answer to the politcal problems we face is to await the new day when these generations are gone, then there is no reason not to support the austerity measures of the bourgeoisie in order to hasten their demise. That of course is morally reprehensible not to mention practically rregressive for the development of the communist perspective for all the reasons Demo mentions.

Link
Theft's allegations against the MDF for your consideration

I was not sure whether to reply to Theft’s post above but following the responses above, I think I should clarify that, just prior to posting his criticisms of the CWO on this forum, Theft (an ex-member of the MDF) suddenly announced he was also refusing to discuss further  with the MDF despite the fact that we have chosen a topic for the next meeting to reflect his concerns - this appears to be  basically because nobody has simply agreed with his adopted views of rape apologism etc.  

He has cut off all email contact with the MDF and in doing so has called participants in the MDF  ‘middle cunts’ (??) and ‘scum of the earth’. 

You can draw your own conclusions on the strength of his political arguments from the approach he has taken.

baboon
I agree with the posts of MH

I agree with the posts of MH and Demo and Link's point needs to be taken on board I think.

The generation division has been played up by the British bourgeoisie for about a decade now beginning with the attack on "unaffordable" pensions that were becoming a "burden on society". The scope of the attack widened out as Demo says above and continues with the move to end the state's "triple lock" penion guarantee, i.e. an insiginificant yearly increase given the real cost of living. The reality, which several studies have shown, is that the older generation with a little extra money coming in tend to use most of it to support their children and grandchildren. The anti-CPE struggles in France, elements of the "Arab Spring" and demonstrations by students in Britain were part of the answer to this attack that hasn't gone away.

I've read all the stuff above but can't find the "old men and the internet" quote. My eyes are not great (age-related) so could someone point me in the right direction please?

petey
it's in the linked article,

it's in the article linked in post 29, first sentence after the link in that article.

baboon
Thanks Petey, I see it now.

Thanks Petey, I see it now.

jk1921
Probably worth a new thread

Probably worth a new thread on the generational solidarity issue, but here is an anecdotal story that happened this past weekend: Watching Bill Maher with others at a social gathering; one of the guests was the libertarian commentator Andrew Sullivan--who recently wrote a piece about the protest against the appearance of Charles Murray--one of the authors of the Bell Curve, which argued for a racial component in intelligence--at Middlebury College. You can read Sullivan's piece here: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/03/is-intersectionality-a-religion.html.

Essentially, Sullivan sees these "no-platform" actions that attempt to shut down a controversial speaker before they have even had a chance to defend their views as a form of totalitarian religion, in which the protesters attempt to stomp out an idea they have a prior decided is a heresey, rather than engage in a democratic process of debate in which the correct ideas ultimately triumph. In other words, young people today do not appreciate fundamental democratic norms like free speech and this does not bode well for our future. Sullivan's take was generally agreed with by Maher and his other guest, former Democratic Congressman Barney Frank--all of whom are over 60.

This discussion was treated with jeers and derision among my social peers (not exactly a bunch of millenials mind you, but a slightly younger crowd than Maher and his guests): People said things like, "These grumpy old men represent a dying generation," and "Get out of the way, dinosaurs." I am not making this up. Obviously, these generational tensions are a real social phenomenon; the task for us would seem to be figuring out when they represent a real material point of difference and when they are an ideological diversion. Of course, it is probably they case that it can't be seperated out so neatly most of the time.