How you can help the ICC

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jk1921
How you can help the ICC
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: How you can help the ICC. The discussion was initiated by jk1921.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

jk1921
"There is no hiding the fact

"There is no hiding the fact that the forces of the ICC are extremely limited in comparison to the enormous responsibilities we face."

 

Is it ever the case that revolutionary organizations have an abundance of forces? It seems like there is something in the communist condition, which keeps the available forces from reaching what would be considerded "adequate" given the circumstances. Its like the saying "work expands to fit the time alloted for it." It seems like whatever forces a communist organization has, the tasks facing it will be slightly greater than its capacity to fufill them at any given time.

It does seem though like we need a better analysis of this issue of "lack of forces." Its true that left communist organizations, by their very nature, cannot put the same emphasis on recruiting and "growth for growth's sake." In fact, to bring in another thread, this very orientation was in large part the mechanism through which the degeneration of the communist parties took place at the end of the revolutionary wave. But is there a real problem today of "slow growth" in revolutionary organizations given the overall social situation that we need to address? If so, what accounts for it?

mikail firtinaci
jk 1921;I want to comment

jk 1921;

I want to comment only this point you made:

 

Is it ever the case that revolutionary organizations have an abundance of forces? It seems like there is something in the communist condition, which keeps the available forces from reaching what would be considerded "adequate" given the circumstances. Its like the saying "work expands to fit the time alloted for it." It seems like whatever forces a communist organization has, the tasks facing it will be slightly greater than its capacity to fufill them at any given time.

I feel like the organizations are today not only small compared to the tasks ahead. They look like even they are on the verge of extinction! So if expreed in quantitative terms the numerical situation today is somewhere between 0 and 1. 0 is a strange number. It signifies something that do not exist - so it is not a number like others really... Even its "discovery" and introduction came after the first emergance of the matehematics as a seperate field of science.    To make the analogy more clear it is maybe easier to pass from 4 to 5 but harder to go from 0 (nothing) to 1 (something). I don't want to say that today the communist left is meaningless - on the contrary it means a lot for me. However, what I am trying to say is the beggining is sometimes the most difficult.    Imagine that you are the only left communist in your town or even country; you do not know any left communist in person and you hardly have any political experience, a strike experience etc,. So in that situation how could you convince another person to join you? There are probably many comrades around the world today feeling a similar situation to that in their localities.Maybe, people who are feeling like 0 are even increasing recently, but it is still a 0 if you add all the 0s up.    I think the ICC is very very important and vital for the communists, especially because it is  (in my opinion) is the only possible organization that can be successful in connecting those who feel like 0 (quantitatively still "nothing" however many they are), into a solid web of "many many more" (at least "something").

jk1921
Something doesn't comport. We

Something doesn't comport. We are several years into one of the worst crises in the history of capitalism, there are various instances of the proletariat fighting back and yet the existing revolutionary organizations might be on the verge of extinction? It would wrong to assume a direct correspondence between broader social conditions and the health and vitality of revolutionary organizations, but the picture Mikhail paints underlies what might be a much deeper problem than a momentary lag. It seems to point to a real problem for the existing organizations to connect to current struggles and a younger generation of searching elements.

Fred
The ICC says it out loud and

The ICC says it out loud and bravely. "There is no hiding the fact that the forces of the ICC are extremely limited in comparison to the enormous responsibilities we face. We are seeing the worldwide emergence of a new generation looking for revolutionary answers to the crisis of this system, but it is essential for those who sympathise with the overall aims of our organisation to connect with the ICC and make their own contribution to its capacity to act and to grow."

The first way to start dealing with a problem is to admit it out loud. I welcome the fact that ICC no longer hides it's predicament. The answer comes largely in tbe next sentence: the worldwide emergence of a new generation looking for revolutionary answers. And then we are told what we need to do. We have to make our own contribution, however modest it may be. From each according to what they can do.

mikail makes an interesting point about ZERO. Are you a zero-person sitting in a zero-place? But lots of zeros=zero! Well at least there is something we zero guys can do, and that is come on to this forum and speak. The is the culture of debate, which we lost during Midnight in the Century, and the counter-revolution, but which we must now rediscover and recreate. It won't be easy. Bourgeois ideology has largely exterminated it, as the bourgeoisie now is busily engaged in exterminating just about everything from internet freedom to the natural world, and any signs of opposition.

As the Fool says to King Lear at the end of the play: "Now thou are an 0 without a figure." Don't let this happen to the Communist left and the ICC.

Fred
redmarx

Although rather disenchanted with what goes on on the RedMarx site, it is a great pity that ICC comrades seem to be refused the opportunity there to have any influence. Not vilified anymore, just ignored. I was told recently that RedMarx doesn't have any commitments to any existing left communist organizations, because that's not what the web site is there for. But a refusal to make any definite commitments is not something usually associated with communists, is it? Isn't it something more usually associated with liberals and the more "permissive" trends among the bourgeoisie? I only mention this in the context of "lack of forces" within the communist left, because it's very apparent - reading between the lines of the somewhat aimless sort of forum on redmarx - that there are communists posting on there, and what a waste it appears that their "radicalism" forbids them joining any existing communist organization. But perhaps they will one day? I hope so. Time's running out!

commiegal
I think that you need to

I think that you need to offer an option for ordering subscriptions etc online because a lot of people dont have chequebooks and so on any more and its a bit of hassle to go and get a postal order. When I emailed the ICC they said that they didn't have the option to subscribe online and I think they should do this :)

mhou
Quote:Is it ever the case

Quote:
Is it ever the case that revolutionary organizations have an abundance of forces? It seems like there is something in the communist condition, which keeps the available forces from reaching what would be considerded "adequate" given the circumstances.

I've been thinking the same thing for awhile (and trying to get at the root of it). I wrote a couple drafts of just stream of consciousness; trying right now to put together something more concise and structured.

A few things stick out to me when this topic is brought up in the press of communist organizations or in discussions. I think it relates to the question of the party in that it is the important task of communists- since we don't follow substitutionist or voluntarist activity

1) For some parts of left communism, the weight of Luxemburg. From this conception, the class party is something that is not formed until there is a bona fide revolutionary crisis- up until that point, the communist minority carries out the tasks of the party fraction; then afterwards, fraction work leads to forming the next International and 'party work' is undertaken (in this way the party is formed and acts as the party right at the historic moment it is needed).

2) The long period of time separating the generation that animated the Communist International and the Italian left fraction to the present gives more weight to a 'wait and see' approach: since the Italian left did not think the class party could be reformed even after the Comintern went over to the bourgeoisie, it becomes more difficult (seemingly) for contemporary communists to "pull the trigger"; in Bilan the Italian left specified that they thought the terrain for forming the next International needed to have 2 things: the end to the counter-revolution and a return of rising class struggle, and a moral bankruptcy in the official CP's; that the existing Communist Party's had to be exposed and lose their influence. In my view both of those things have happened in recent years, starting with the collapse of the USSR and the implosions in many official CP's (like the Italian party, the German party)

3) Given the relatively small numbers of communists who belong to existing organizations, despite material conditions or state of the class struggle, it seems inconceivable to form the next International on the back of such a minoritarian origin. The first 3 International's had membership and influence of hundreds of thousands to millions. There are some parts of the communist left that do embrace a minoritarian conception of the party (the PCI), but they too seem to be having the exact same difficulty as revolutionary organizations who don't claim to be the <b>the</b> party- PCI (Il Partito)'s English language website describes the task of members in the present day to be propaganda, developing ideas and developing cadre's/new militants (which is pretty much the same kinds of activities described as what the fraction-revolutionary organization does) rather than 'party work'.

4) Forming the party means liquidating existing organizations. This is a factor that I don't think is discussed enough, and it seems to be related to Camatte's later claims that all revolutionary groups and parties are 'rackets' (self-reinforcing and perpetuating). This relates back to the first 3 issues, in that the hard work of first the original communist left, then the Italian fraction in exile, then post-war left communists, took a long time to build and orient around. Forming the party would mean existing organizations (those that join the effort to build the party) would be liquidating their organizations- which, if the timing truly is wrong or factors haven't been anticipated, would mean a lot of work and activity and years of history would be badly interrupted or lost.

Quote:
I was told recently that RedMarx doesn't have any commitments to any existing left communist organizations, because that's not what the web site is there for. But a refusal to make any definite commitments is not something usually associated with communists, is it? Isn't it something more usually associated with liberals and the more "permissive" trends among the bourgeoisie? I only mention this in the context of "lack of forces" within the communist left, because it's very apparent - reading between the lines of the somewhat aimless sort of forum on redmarx - that there are communists posting on there, and what a waste it appears that their "radicalism" forbids them joining any existing communist organization

I haven't been to the site, but lack of direct commitment to an organization doesn't have to be a bad thing. A lot of communists (such as ones that post on this forum) are not members of an existing organization; there needs to be a bridge between 'the swamp' and joining an existing organization (which is a big commitment).

jk1921
Interesting points

mhou wrote:

1) For some parts of left communism, the weight of Luxemburg. From this conception, the class party is something that is not formed until there is a bona fide revolutionary crisis- up until that point, the communist minority carries out the tasks of the party fraction; then afterwards, fraction work leads to forming the next International and 'party work' is undertaken (in this way the party is formed and acts as the party right at the historic moment it is needed).

Yes, although I think the dynamic in Luxemburg's case was much different than what we face today. Luxemburg, the Spartacists, IKD, etc. were in the middle of a revolutionary situation in which Social Demcoracy continued to carry enormous weight. While the number of revolutionaries may have been much larger than what exists today, they were still dwarfed by the size of the socialist parties. Luxemburg thought that it was still possible to win over the best elements from social democracy (in particular the USPD) and perhaps save some of the party infrastructure for communism in the process. She didn't want to make a premature break and thus condemn the communist forces to "starting over" on the organizational level. History says she retained too much attachment to the social democratic idea of the mass party and thus waited too long to make a complete break, being forced by events that already had a logic of their own. But this is a much different context from what revolutionary minorities face today. Today, it seems the problem is mostly "objective." There just aren't enough militants for it to make any sense to claim to be a party or to even try to form one. There aren't enough militants because the working class isn't struggling at the level proporiante to the attacks against it for various and debateable reasons, but the issue is that there just aren't enough people. Moreover, there are no existing socialist organizations from which infrastructure can be "taken over."

mhou wrote:

2) The long period of time separating the generation that animated the Communist International and the Italian left fraction to the present gives more weight to a 'wait and see' approach: since the Italian left did not think the class party could be reformed even after the Comintern went over to the bourgeoisie, it becomes more difficult (seemingly) for contemporary communists to "pull the trigger"; in Bilan the Italian left specified that they thought the terrain for forming the next International needed to have 2 things: the end to the counter-revolution and a return of rising class struggle, and a moral bankruptcy in the official CP's; that the existing Communist Party's had to be exposed and lose their influence. In my view both of those things have happened in recent years, starting with the collapse of the USSR and the implosions in many official CP's (like the Italian party, the German party)

The old CPs may have lost much of their influence, but it seems to me like there are many other entities that fulfill the same function today--the unions, the anti neo-liberal global justice movement, Chavism, etc. They are diverse and vary by national context, but they are there. Won't there always be some political formation that will occupy the "left space" formerly held by the CPs? Also, it is unclear that the collapse of the USSR has so far helped class consciousness. Quite on the contrary, it has allowed the bourgeoisie to run a constant propaganda campaign about the "death of communism" that clearly continues to act as a damper on class struggle worldwide. Just the past week, we were treated to another round of it after the death of Chavez although this time they just replaced the word "communism" with "socialism." It seems the USSR and the Stalinist perversion of communism continue to exist, even if it is only as a ghost. But many people are afraid of ghosts.

mhou wrote:

3) Given the relatively small numbers of communists who belong to existing organizations, despite material conditions or state of the class struggle, it seems inconceivable to form the next International on the back of such a minoritarian origin. The first 3 International's had membership and influence of hundreds of thousands to millions. There are some parts of the communist left that do embrace a minoritarian conception of the party (the PCI), but they too seem to be having the exact same difficulty as revolutionary organizations who don't claim to be the <b>the</b> party- PCI (Il Partito)'s English language website describes the task of members in the present day to be propaganda, developing ideas and developing cadre's/new militants (which is pretty much the same kinds of activities described as what the fraction-revolutionary organization does) rather than 'party work'.

Yes, this is the vision of militant activity dominant in the left communist milieu today. But, I am curious why you see this as a "difficulty" rather than the appropriate strategy for objective conditions? And I am not quite clear how "party work" would be much different than this if we are to avoid substitutionism, voluntarism, etc. Wouldn't "party work" just be an extension of this kind of "fraction" work just on a larger and more unified scale? What would the party do that the fractions aren't already doing? Is it a matter of doing something qualitatively different? Something more than just a question of resources? Of course, this then might require a rethink of why it is not appropriate to form the party now. If its the same tasks, who cares how small it is?

mhou wrote:

4) Forming the party means liquidating existing organizations. This is a factor that I don't think is discussed enough, and it seems to be related to Camatte's later claims that all revolutionary groups and parties are 'rackets' (self-reinforcing and perpetuating). This relates back to the first 3 issues, in that the hard work of first the original communist left, then the Italian fraction in exile, then post-war left communists, took a long time to build and orient around. Forming the party would mean existing organizations (those that join the effort to build the party) would be liquidating their organizations- which, if the timing truly is wrong or factors haven't been anticipated, would mean a lot of work and activity and years of history would be badly interrupted or lost.

Camatte's thesis is hardly original. Its an extension of the ideas of Weberian sociology that organizations and bureacracies are necessarily conservative. Robert Michels applied this idea to his study of the SPD, attempting to show how its increasingly quietistic politics were rooted in its growing organizational weight in society. Of course, today's left communist organizations have no weight in society at all. There is nothing to protect that would necessitate the development of an organizational and bureacratic conservatism. Of course, this doesn't mean these things don't happen anyway, but perhaps we need another model to understand this. Perhaps, its less sociology and more psychology we need?

mikail firtinaci
a question to JK

JK why do you think this, There just aren't enough militants is a case for objective limitation? Don't you think this is actually a subjective limitation? Because by objective I tend to understand the international dynamics of capitalist development and crisis.

 

 

jk1921
Patience

Fred wrote:
Although rather disenchanted with what goes on on the RedMarx site, it is a great pity that ICC comrades seem to be refused the opportunity there to have any influence. Not vilified anymore, just ignored. I was told recently that RedMarx doesn't have any commitments to any existing left communist organizations, because that's not what the web site is there for. But a refusal to make any definite commitments is not something usually associated with communists, is it? Isn't it something more usually associated with liberals and the more "permissive" trends among the bourgeoisie? I only mention this in the context of "lack of forces" within the communist left, because it's very apparent - reading between the lines of the somewhat aimless sort of forum on redmarx - that there are communists posting on there, and what a waste it appears that their "radicalism" forbids them joining any existing communist organization. But perhaps they will one day? I hope so. Time's running out!

Fred, there are a few people of Red Marx who seemed to have had bad experiences with the existing left communist organizations, so take it with a grain of salt. But yes, the "refusal to make a committment" is a feature of the younger generations, I think. It doesn't fit their style, the ethos of consmerist techno-capitalism, where you can change your ringtone or avatar daily, to make a committment to one organization. What is the antidote for this? I suspect its an uptick in the class struggle providing the kind of perspective and clarity that moves people to make the kind of existential leap it sometimes takes to make a commitment. For whatever my differences with LBird in the thread on science, he is right that we can't always wait for science to tell us what the right decision will be before hand, sometimes we just have to choose. But before some of us can be ready for that emotionally, perhaps there needs to be some more direction in the class struggle that gives us hope? Be patient, the Indignados, Wisconsin, Occupy, etc. represented the first real wave of something looking like massive struggle as a result of the ongoing deep economic crisis. This wave is now in a total reflux. But it will come again and there will be a generation of people who now have the experience of this first wave to base themselves on. At least that's what I hope will happen.......

jk1921
Good Point

mikail firtinaci wrote:

JK why do you think this, There just aren't enough militants is a case for objective limitation? Don't you think this is actually a subjective limitation? Because by objective I tend to understand the international dynamics of capitalist development and crisis.

Good point. Its "subjective" in the sense that militants are supposed to be secreted by the working class in the course of the class struggle and they are not being secreted at anything like the level necessary to form a party. But its "objective" to the exisiting revolutionary organizations in that they simply cannot materially fulfill the function of the party without more people (and thus more dues money). They are having enough trouble just materially fulfilling the functions of a fraction today--bringing out a press, arranging conferences, travelling to meet contacts, etc. We have had a standing request for a Days of Discussion on the SMC issue for months now and nothing has happened.

radicalchains
Why don't the younger

Why don't the younger generations make a committment? I will try and answer. It's got nothing to do with ringtones.

Lack of confidence and suspicion. Why do I say this? Apart from obvious factors like the legacy Stalinism and the failure of current leftism, there is almost a break with history when it comes to the experience of struggle and workers as a class i.e history of working class struggle. Then there are all sorts of problems about what is struggle and what is leftism, opportunism etc Suspicion of leaders (and leadership), intellectual or otherwise is deep especially with ongoing examples such as the SWP crisis. But I think you're right it will only take experience of sustained and intense struggle for numbers to be forthcoming.

I have a question though. Do Left Communists see it as positive if leftist organisations were to become more democratic, open to genuine discussion, debate, a more educated level of militants etc or do you simply right these organisations off, class them as counter revolutionary and hope some militants can make a clean break?

jk1921
The latter

radicalchains wrote:

I have a question though. Do Left Communists see it as positive if leftist organisations were to become more democratic, open to genuine discussion, debate, a more educated level of militants etc or do you simply right these organisations off, class them as counter revolutionary and hope some militants can make a clean break?

Its the latter. Leftist organizations are by their very nature incapable of becoming more democratic, open to genuine discussion and debate, etc. For left communists, if the leftists appear to be doing these things, its always a trick to lure more people in and trap them in a political dead end. This doesn't mean, however, that these tactics might not backfire allowing a few more militants to make a clean break that would otherwise, but this would likely be counterbalanced by the people the leftists were able to suck in with their new facade of openess.

BTW, this has frequently been my personal experience with leftists--they always appear to be very willing to discuss with you, open to your ideas, even flattering, at first--but once they figure out that you are not going to be swayed to become a functionary of their organization, they quickly lose interest.

mikail firtinaci
ICC can not resolve the problem itself

ICC can not resolve the organizational problem itself. But that does not mean that it should solely focus on minimal organizational efforts; ICC should open itself to the wider milleu. In American case, there are groups like insurgent notes for instance. Even though these may not be open to a fusion or even debate and even though they are small I think they have a strong dynamism that should be taken into account. The way the icc should approach - i think- has to have two dimensions;

1- listen to these people's criticisms and help them to raise them, encourage them to be expressed in icc's own platforms. I believe icc has this maturity and patience but it is just lacking the initiative.

2- work with them and let these groups own dynamism lead the work. In the specific US context, icc is very weak but it should be stronger if it wants to be up to the tasks it sets for itself.

It is necessary for icc to clearly understand what the "new generation" of workers really want and understand as "organizational work" and what are the concerns and problems of the older generation. Both requires a serious active engagement and giving up the defensive posture. More then it is now. I believe if people see icc taking steps towards them, stupid hostilities from older periods can gradually be removed.

One practical problem hindering icc to grow is that compexity of icc's expectations are scaring some young people off. I know some young people around who are open to organizational work but who also do not really understand why it is so demanding in an abstract way and why it is so disattached from practical&daily issues. icc should address those people's problems in order to help them to organize. My impression is, the most serious problem is isolation. Overcoming isolation is the battle that each organization and each individual is giving now. In this fight icc can be very helpful. But it should talk less and listen more to do that. I know that icc is trying exactly to do that, but it is not enough.

Take internationalism for instance. It is almost dead. It can be turned into a journal of debate+propaganda+criticism. But it have to give up repeating the old slogans over and over again. Not that because they are wrong. But because if nobody listens to them they won't have any quality either. So maybe one way to revitalize internationalism maybe to use it as an instrument of criticism&assesment of various existing debates outside of the LC milleu even.

These are some ideas only.

 

jk1921
Lack of Forces

mikail firtinaci wrote:

2- work with them and let these groups own dynamism lead the work. In the specific US context, icc is very weak but it should be stronger if it wants to be up to the tasks it sets for itself.

Take internationalism for instance. It is almost dead. It can be turned into a journal of debate+propaganda+criticism. But it have to give up repeating the old slogans over and over again. Not that because they are wrong. But because if nobody listens to them they won't have any quality either. So maybe one way to revitalize internationalism maybe to use it as an instrument of criticism&assesment of various existing debates outside of the LC milleu even.

These are some ideas only.

I think this is why I said the problem of a lack of militants is an "objective one." Internationalism is almost dead because there is almost nobody left. Without divulging too much detail, advancing age, declining health and social decomposition have almost wiped it out. Despite Wisconsin and Occupy, there simply has not been enough militants secreted who are serious about joining an organization to make up for these losses. IIRC, the ICT doesn't fare much better on the North American continent and the IIRP and Insurgent Notes seem to publish very irregularly. This is despite the fact that there is, as you say, much that could be done with the small number of contacts that have emerged. But the situation is so grave at the moment that it is doubtful whether much more than something like the bare minimum is even materially possible without an infusion of new militants who take on organizational responsibility. Do we have to wait on the class struggle for this? Or could the type of re-focusing you describe act as some kind of "subjective" spur for growth? But still there remains the problem that there is only so much a handful of people can get done in a 24 hour day.

I should point out that not everyone sees this dilemna as a problem of "insufficient class struggle." Some think that it is a problem of the existing left communist organizations who just cannot make themselves relevant to the new generation. Its largely a communications issue. Devrim has often made this point, even going to far as to blame the language and terminology the left communist groups use for putting younger people off. I think there is some veracity to this, but that can't be the entire problem. If it were, it could be solved by taking a six hour Lakoffian seminar. I think the problem runs much deeper than that. It is a problem of insufficeint class struggle, all the subjective things Radical Chains mentions, but also a change in the entire nature of politicization itself that reflects and compliments the sociological changes we have discussed elsewhere. Simply put, young people today are not prone to the same kind of political commitments as the generation of '68. This seems like one of those pesky " objective facts" that keeps getting in the way--even if it is not immutable.

I am curious though, what are some of the "old slogans" you think Internationalism repeats over and over again? Is this a particular problem with Internationalism or is it the entire ICC, the entire communist left?

commiegal
you guys need to improve your

you guys need to improve your website, make it more readable and have an option for subscribing to world revolution and so on online, at the moment I dont have a chequebook and I dont really have the time to go to a post office and fill out a postal order. That would be one way to help the ICC because I really agree with a lot of what you say but there's no option to do this!

mikail firtinaci
by old slogans I mean

I think old slogans is not the best wording. But there is defintely an irrelevancy of tone. I think the problem is not simply the way things are phrased though. This is too simplistic. If young peoples attention is to get caught their problems and issues have to be addressed. One way to do that is to include in articles by them. Then they may be criticized.But most important, there should be a willingness to follow the debates in the wilder world. It is too simplistic to argue that if the people are not interested in ICC in particular there is no chance of winning them. icc should also show an interest in them.

For instance, I think in the west coast there is this new resurgent maoism issue. Goldner has written an article on this. See: http://insurgentnotes.com/2012/10/notes-towards-a-critique-of-maoism/

Why really some young radical people are tending towards maoist politics in US for instance? This may be an interesting debate. If some old article on mao and china is reproduced this will miss the question. Or is it simply decomposition? But why maoism in particular? Going into field, listening to people who are open to you in the west coast, etc., all these efforts are necessary to engage with this issue in its particularities.

I think the most important question is the question of isolation; both theoretically and practically. There is a paradox here which by simply repeating theoretical formulas can not be explained. Why so many young people are feeling isolated but at the same time showing a lack of trust towards organizations and organising. I think theses on decomposition is a good start, it shows icc is willing to engage with these issues at least. But these are not enough because I fear, comrade JK, that any explanation that does not grasp the hearth of this very complex issue may tend to turn into a "blaming the victim" position. Many young (and old and middle aged) people in occupy demos really showed a deep commitment and a great capacity for organization. Why these energies could not be channeled into an organizational effort?

Lack of an adequate propaganda is one thing for sure. But what are the reasons on the part of the occupiers? Is it solely anti-org 68 ideological relics? If so these need to be deeply understood.

Finally in the academic and popular scene there are some new tendencies developing discussions on communism and party from a new perspective intermingled with post-modernism sometimes. Jodi Dean is really interesting. But mostly people like Zizek are pretty much influecial. He may be a humbug. But obviously these young people are influenced by such ideas so their criticism is essential. There are many similar examples;  within the millieu there are communisation theories. There are all sorts of autonomists etc.

Engagement with those ideas are necessary if icc really wants to reach the new generations. It requires both a theoretical and practical engagement, an interest towards the concerns and life of the actually living proles. And this can not be done w/o first becoming conscious of this necessity and showing a willingness to engage.

radicalchains
What do you mean by "make it

What do you mean by "make it more readable" commiegal, I think it is one of the best sites around. Do you mean the format/style? What's the specific problem about it. When it comes to content and access to it I think it is excellent.

MH
the issue of political commitment and the future party

jk1921 wrote:

I think the problem runs much deeper than that. It is a problem of insufficeint class struggle, all the subjective things Radical Chains mentions, but also a change in the entire nature of politicization itself that reflects and compliments the sociological changes we have discussed elsewhere. Simply put, young people today are not prone to the same kind of political commitments as the generation of '68. This seems like one of those pesky " objective facts" that keeps getting in the way--even if it is not immutable.

I agree that this problem is much deeper, and that the level of class struggle lies at he heart of it, and I also think there's a risk of trying to find false or at least partial explanations and solutions for this, eg. the language we use. And while the lack of political commitment from young people is undoubtedly a factor, I'm wary of making too much of this, if only because you are trying to compare two quite different periods. For example, I think you can argue that it was easier for young people to make a political commitment in the post-'68 period, for all sorts of reasons; the crisis was not as deep, everyday life was not as eroded, there was a larger 'radical' student milieu, unemployment, though an issue, was not as deep, etc. I think it's also fair to say that apart from the 5-6 years after May '68 we've not seen a wave of young people joining revolutionary organisations, and if there are few today then surely it is linked to the same reason why we don't see massive levels of struggle; the seriousness of the situation, hesitations, lack of confidence in the working class as a whole?  Or is it, in fact, ringtones?smiley

I'm not being complacent here. I agree with the theses on decomposition that the current crisis could end in the 'mutual ruin of the contending classes'. Pesonally I think (hope) that the future eruption of the capitalist crisis will reveal the mortality of the system in such as stark way as to precipitate the development of a revolutionary movement. Whether in these circumstances there will be the time, let alone the influence of existing revolutionary forces, to organise a world communist party, is a valid question to ask.

The basic problem is we simply have no historical precedent for the current set of circumstances, eg. with regard to the size of revolutionary forces and the possibility of the future formation of the party; the only time a world communist party has been formed in capitalist decadence , in 1919, the circumstances were so different (I won't go over them all here) it is hardly of any use whatsoever, despite the contribution of the left fractions in the 30s.

 

 

  

commiegal
style

i mean the format and style mostly rather than the content, it's sometimes a bit hard to read. I agree the content is excellent, however I think some of the introductions to the ICC's views could be summarised a bit more with links to the more detailed documents, and more pictures added. Sorry that sounds really bad and I appreciate you have limited resources :)

jk1921
Agree

mikail firtinaci wrote:

I think old slogans is not the best wording. But there is defintely an irrelevancy of tone. I think the problem is not simply the way things are phrased though. This is too simplistic. If young peoples attention is to get caught their problems and issues have to be addressed. One way to do that is to include in articles by them. Then they may be criticized.But most important, there should be a willingness to follow the debates in the wilder world. It is too simplistic to argue that if the people are not interested in ICC in particular there is no chance of winning them. icc should also show an interest in them.

For instance, I think in the west coast there is this new resurgent maoism issue. Goldner has written an article on this. See: http://insurgentnotes.com/2012/10/notes-towards-a-critique-of-maoism/

Why really some young radical people are tending towards maoist politics in US for instance? This may be an interesting debate. If some old article on mao and china is reproduced this will miss the question. Or is it simply decomposition? But why maoism in particular? Going into field, listening to people who are open to you in the west coast, etc., all these efforts are necessary to engage with this issue in its particularities.

I think the most important question is the question of isolation; both theoretically and practically. There is a paradox here which by simply repeating theoretical formulas can not be explained. Why so many young people are feeling isolated but at the same time showing a lack of trust towards organizations and organising. I think theses on decomposition is a good start, it shows icc is willing to engage with these issues at least. But these are not enough because I fear, comrade JK, that any explanation that does not grasp the hearth of this very complex issue may tend to turn into a "blaming the victim" position. Many young (and old and middle aged) people in occupy demos really showed a deep commitment and a great capacity for organization. Why these energies could not be channeled into an organizational effort?

Lack of an adequate propaganda is one thing for sure. But what are the reasons on the part of the occupiers? Is it solely anti-org 68 ideological relics? If so these need to be deeply understood.

Finally in the academic and popular scene there are some new tendencies developing discussions on communism and party from a new perspective intermingled with post-modernism sometimes. Jodi Dean is really interesting. But mostly people like Zizek are pretty much influecial. He may be a humbug. But obviously these young people are influenced by such ideas so their criticism is essential. There are many similar examples;  within the millieu there are communisation theories. There are all sorts of autonomists etc.

Engagement with those ideas are necessary if icc really wants to reach the new generations. It requires both a theoretical and practical engagement, an interest towards the concerns and life of the actually living proles. And this can not be done w/o first becoming conscious of this necessity and showing a willingness to engage.

 

I agree with a lot of this. But in the end, today at least, I keep coming back to the concrete, objective issue that there are simply not enough forces to keep up the sort of activity you rightly describe as necessary. For example, there is a necessity for a left communist critique of Zizek's latest book on the movements of 2011--but to do this adequately, in a way that doesn't just repeat the old slogans, would require such a level of study and engagement with his work that it is difficult to see it happening anytime soon.

On victim blaming--I agree that it is not appropriate to dismiss the current impasse as only a subjective defect of the younger generations. But I also think it would be sticking our head in the sands not to see that there is a real cultural difference between the generation of '68 and today that might require a rethink of previous models of how people are politicized. These differences have a lot to do with decomposition and the development of a mode of subjectivity that reflects the forms capital has had to assume to negotiate the crisis--financialization, techno-consumerism, etc. There is a good article somewhere (I'll see if I can find it) about the disciplining effect on young people's politics resulting from the explosion of student debt. I do think Inter has attempted to engage these ideas, but once again there is only so much a few people can do.

mikail firtinaci
there must be some practical things

There must be something to be done. But first step is an open general meeting of all LC elements in US. We need to see our forces clearly, the possibilities of common work and a discussion on the tasks ahead. Even ICC can not initiate this it should participate this. JK do you know if we can organize such an effort?

mhou
Quote:I agree with a lot of

Quote:
I agree with a lot of this. But in the end, today at least, I keep coming back to the concrete, objective issue that there are simply not enough forces to keep up the sort of activity you rightly describe as necessary. For example, there is a necessity for a left communist critique of Zizek's latest book on the movements of 2011--but to do this adequately, in a way that doesn't just repeat the old slogans, would require such a level of study and engagement with his work that it is difficult to see it happening anytime soon.

I brought this up elsewhere- specifically, a balance sheet on the events of 2011-2012, or from the fall/winter of 2007-early 2008 and the onset of the latest crisis. I feel like we're missing the forest for the trees regarding the working-class response to the latest manifestation of the crisis of capitalism. During the wildcat strike wave in the 1960's and early 1970's, the equally tiny (though numerically much smaller than the existing left communist milieu and related 'orbit') Situationists put forward the idea to write a text called 'the wildcat strikers handbook', infused with councilist theory. Here and there groups associated with left communism or class struggle anarchism have approached the occupation-general assembly waves similarly- like the CNT-AIT leaflet on general assemblies that the ICC republished online in different languages, or the IWW's attempt to widely distribute their General Strike pamphlet during the Wisconsin events. But in both cases, it was a good start, but the follow through was flat footed. The GA leaflet largely concerns workplace centered or specific struggle centered GA's, the kind that occurred in parts of Western Europe- but not the kind of 'community GA's' or generalized GA's from Occupy and the Indignados; the IWW pamphlet and work during Wisconsin did bring the GS back into contemporary discourse for the first time since 1946, but it lacked nuts and bolts, was very general, and even broke with the IWW's own principles by asking union workers to go to their local and national unions for support (almost sounded like Trotsky's United Front logic or Lenin's Labour Party logic- we will expose the yellow workers movement by joining with them).

It wasn't May 1968. But it was a big departure from the status quo, it coincided with rises in strikes (union called, wildcat or strikes affecting more than 1,000 workers) in the US (I'd guess elsewhere too), demonstrated protest against the proletarian condition- even if it manifested itself in confused ways.

 

mhou
Quote:Yes, although I think

Quote:
Yes, although I think the dynamic in Luxemburg's case was much different than what we face today

I agree- but specifically the legacy of 'timing' of the formation of the party is still relevant, since it is still accepted as the framework for the formation of the party by groups and individuals. Luxemburg says the party is formed in the heat of a pre-revolutionary situation/revolutionary crisis; Bordiga says do it now (and prepare the organization for the pre-revolutionary situation/revolutionary crisis even if numbers are small and the kinds of activity are what non-Bordigists think of as 'fraction work'). This divides existing organizations- accusations of voluntarism on one side and Luxemburgism/councilism on the other.

Quote:
Yes, this is the vision of militant activity dominant in the left communist milieu today. But, I am curious why you see this as a "difficulty" rather than the appropriate strategy for objective conditions?

I think it is- but is not an exhaustive list of what we should or could be doing. A lot of un-aligned self described left communists seem to feel that way, but there's a lot of confusion about what geographically disparate individual communists can do outside of support or join an existing organization; regarding why people don't join existing groups, I don't think it's an issue of language. Other communists who identify with left communism that I've corresponded with are largely enthusiastic about figuring out what we could be doing, or why existing work should not be a 'limit' to activities. The events of 2011-2012 are a case in point- I think we all got caught off gaurd and confused about what to do, even though individuals and existing groups did participate in different ways to varying degrees.

Quote:
Won't there always be some political formation that will occupy the "left space" formerly held by the CPs?

Yes- there will be a left-wing of capital regardless of what happened/happens to the official CP's. But the role of the CP's (in the unions, reinforcing the system, mystifying workers a la France 1968 Italy 1969 etc.) is not being fulfilled by the extra-parliamentary or parliamentary left of capital. The classical worker's movement has been in crisis for 40 years; I think this crisis of the left of capital has removed the traditional roles by CP's and CP dominated unions- which fulfills what issue 1 of Bilan described: a time when the CP's were bankrupt, exposed and lost their power.

Outside of the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the USSR, I don't agree that the 'death of communism' campaign is as powerful or detrimental as has been described. While the organizations may have difficulty integrating younger generations of communists, this shows that the class is continuing to produce a communist minority- particularly evident since the latest manifestation of the crisis. We discussed this earlier, the subjective opinions and observations/anecdotes regarding an uptick in interest in communist groups and ideas. We may disagree on that, but we are agreed that there are communists that continue to be produced by the working-class, even after the Soviet Union fell.

Quote:
Wouldn't "party work" just be an extension of this kind of "fraction" work just on a larger and more unified scale?

Yes. But more than that- I think a centralized, international party of all communist militants who seek to animate the future International adds a creative dynamic that is less present in a homogenous revolutionary organization. A qualitative difference and quantitative difference, with a greater seriousness of purpose.

 

 

 

commiegal
I find it really interesting

I find it really interesting what you guys say about how the crisis affects the left (what you call the left of capital) as well as the bourgeoisie.

What do you do to take part in workers' struggles etc? Like for example if there was a strike at your workplace how would you put forward your ideas, would you do things like setting up a strike fund independent of the main union etc? How would you encourage people to take the struggle outside the unions, I read a lot about this from your website but how do you help people do this?

 

Demogorgon
My workplace is divided into

My workplace is divided into different job groupings that are "represented" by different unions. Group A's union called a strike. Now I'm in Group B. Even if I was in a union (I'm not), I wouldn't have been called out because I wasn't supposedly affected by the issues.

Regardless, I went to the union meetings, explained my situation and told them all I wouldn't be crossing the picket line and would join the strike instead. The union official responded by saying anyone not in the union had to go into work! Naturally, I ignored her little speech and turned up at the picket line on the day anyway.

I also passed a leaflet around my office explaining why I was joining the action. Although sympathetic, none of my colleagues joined me (even those actually in the striking union!).

I didn't announce myself as a communist, nor did I give great speeches about the coming revolution. What I did say at the post-picket meeting was that I was there because of basic solidarity: you don't cross the picket when your fellow workers are on strike.

What I did was a very small thing and I have no illusions about it having a lasting impact, even if several people thanked me afterwards. But it did show that it's the unions that actually enforce all the "anti-union" legislation.

commiegal
OK I'd be really interested

OK I'd be really interested as to how members of the ICC encourage people to strike without joining a union though because it's often the case that because unofficial strike action is not legal you can lose your job for doing it, or worse. Nonetheless in some workplaces it still goes on and can be more effective than strikes which are done through the trade unions.

Do you think this type of action will become more important as more and more people are pushed into part time and zero-hour contracts and union membership becomes increasingly irrelevant? Does the ICC ever "intervene" in those struggles from the outside or is it like each member takes part in struggles within their workplace when they're going on and encourages people to contact others?

mhou
The object is not to directly

The object is not to directly organize workers (in our own workplaces or in others)- no signing them up to a union or any other organization. Intervention means communist theory directs communist practice- like Demo wrote, the principles of left communism (that trade unions are organs of the state, that divisions based on job category or industry etc. don't matter, solidarity across all such boundaries is a means to support and hopefully extend the struggle) are behind those actions: not being a member of a union, supporting workers in struggle directly, trying to extend the struggle (and not try to 'lead' it), and draw lessons from it. The class struggle manifests itself in different ways every day, so there's no need to try and instigate manifestations of class struggle (it'd be substitutionism/voluntarist).

There were discussions on this forum earlier about the kinds of activities communists can, are, or should be engaged in, and some articles demonstrating it.

Here's a couple that the ICC wrote about direct experience intervening in the class struggle (which give a picture of what you're asking about):

ICC members intervening/engaging (I think the word 'engage' is a bit more accurate and has a better tone or connotation than 'intervene') in a large rail workers strike, and speaking during inter-union assemblies:

http://en.internationalism.org/wr/310/rail-interventions

ICC members posted in an article their post-intervention discussions after engaging with workers during the large (45,000 worker) Verizon strike in the US:

http://en.internationalism.org/inter/160/verizon-discussion

The idea is to provide solidarity, speak with workers involved and get a lay of the land, produce literature or propaganda (pamphlets, leaflets) which express communist principles and solidarity to pass out, etc.

 

radicalchains
Alf gave a really good first

Alf gave a really good first hand example in a previous thread about acting outside of unions here:

http://en.internationalism.org/forum/1056/alf/4691/nut-action-sixth-form-colleges

 

Enhance81 (not verified)
Important to note !

The Chavez Socialist party has like 6 - 8 million members, the ICC, has 140 facebook likes, the Chinese Communist Party is gigantic, the task the Communist Left has, seems impossible ! .... !

:-)

mikail firtinaci
there is a crucial difference though

Enhance81 wrote:

The Chavez Socialist party has like 6 - 8 million members, the ICC, has 140 facebook likes, the Chinese Communist Party is gigantic, the task the Communist Left has, seems impossible ! .... !

:-)

but there is an important difference though; ICC and LC in general consist of dedicated, enthusiastic and active militants whereas Chavismo never allows its members a different path from those of fat cat bureaucrats or foot soldiers. So the day the Left communism will merge with the working class will also be the day those fake socialisms will crumble.

Enhance81 (not verified)
Yes !

I can see how ICC, are more genuinely working class, unlike the Trade Union bureaucrats, who pay there self, a massive wage and are remote from the workers.

:-)

baboon
the unions

some response to commiegal:

The unions do appear more and more irrelevant to us today and one of the main "jobs" of the left of capital has been to continually breath life in these state organisations. The trotskyist organisations in Britain (and most of Europe) are basically sexist, continually haemorrhage members burnt out through disillusion or activism and fundamentally nationalist but, nevertheless, they've done a great job for the ruling class over the past 30 odd years in maintaining illusions in the unions, trade union ideology and the lesser-evil of the Labour Party. At the same time, the other great job that they've done, and continue to do, is to destroy class consciousness by taking the militants that approach them - in most cases from a perspective of some sort of critique of capitalism - and turn them into foot-soldiers for a state programme. The Trotskyist organisations have been one of the mainstays of the trade unions in their activity against the working class and also one of the greatest destroyers of any appearance of class consciousness.

If it's the case that the unions appear irrelevant to us today - implementing jobs cuts, signing up to wage cuts, policing flexibility, then this can change. I don't think that it's an exaggeration to say that the unions are holding the line for the bourgeoisie in the major countries of the west today (and where the workers are openly struggling, Greece, Spain, Egypt, etc., dividing them up) but a significant movement of the working class could see the unions radicalise very quickly and the trotskyist organisations are perfectly at home with rank and filism. There's no overall "plan" here, but in general, the unions have adapted to the "legalism" of the 90's and after but they can respond to class activity -  their role for the ruling class is to be adaptable and close to any development of class struggle.

As far as individual action goes within a workplace, demo gives an example above, and mine was to keep in touch with as many workers as possible to develop on common grievances and discussions. It depends on the circumstances but calling an unofficial strike could be dangerous (and rather hopeless) for an individual. Even trying to get a cross-union meeting together landed me in trouble with a friendly manager warning me that the union was after me. Nevertheless, I did work with and discuss with individual stewards and other militant workers in order to fight back short of a strike against some of the attacks. For the ICC over the past years, there has certainly been a more active engagement in different struggles. The essence is that the more workers involved on their own initiative against all the barriers the better. Even on a small scale the strikes at Lindsey a couple of years ago and the electrician's strikes last year show the weight and strength of the workers fighting outside of the union confines - even if those confines were still there to some extent.

commiegal
I can see why you say they

I can see why you say they are sexist but why do you say they are nationalist? Do you mean in their support of "workers' states" and for example islamic organisations etc?

baboon
no, more than that commiegal

Their nationalism and support for proto-nationalisms is shown in their general support, with all their qualifications, of Russian imperialism and its proxy wars during the Cold War. Underlying this is an anti-Americanism which is not at all alien to the British ruling class who, while as pragmatic as hell, harbour some resentments towards US imperialism. It also showed the SWP standing up for the "little guy" - armed to the teeth by Russia. Because of some of the sudden changes during the Cold War (devastating wastes of imperialism from the 40s to 1989 and the period of "peace and prosperity"we're living through now) where the proxies allied to a new godfather, the SWP for example got caught out on the wrong side and supported the US faction. But the fact that they were "critically" supporting any faction shows the emptiness of their "internationalism" and that they start off from the national framework.

As you suggest it's also evidenced in their support for Islamic organisations - something that is not only not alien to the  British bourgeoisie but intrinsic to its imperialist policy, and has been over many decades as the current situation in the Middle East attests to. The slogan about we were all Hamas now explicitly tries to tie the working class here to a faction of the Palestinian bourgeoisie and to its proto-state. The internationalism of worker to worker is trampled on in the support for a bunch of gangsters.  Along with the British bourgeoisie the SWP supports the Syrian "revolution" which is nothing but another expression of inter-imperialist butchery. The cutting edge of this revolution has become Al Qaida in Iraq, in Syria, easily provoking greater devastation from the embattled and murderous regime.

The trade unions are in general well-entrenched structures of the national capital, of the state. The enormous support given to the unions by leftist organisations, especially their "critical" support, is a major stay in the weight of bourgeois ideology on the working class and the function of trade unions as policemen of the working class is strengthened. Generally following the unions, leftism puts forwards its economic progammes for the national capital along the lines of supporting any "left-wing" perspective such as tax the rich, nationalise and so on. 

commiegal
OK, I've never been an SWP

OK, I've never been an SWP member. I've been a member of the organisation that left the Labour party after the split in the Militant Tendency for the last few years. I will say they are a lot better on internationalism than the SWP are. The same with their position on Israel and Palestine for example, calling for a federation of the Middle East rather than supporting Hamas.

I do honestly believe there are good people in these organisations and I have learnt a lot during my time in the party. However I do agree with you (well to be honest I think I agree more with the CWO's position on what ones attitude to the unions should be) as far as the unions are concerned and I'm becoming quite fed up with that side of things.

I think they do some stuff right, but they also do a lot of stuff wrong.

Demogorgon
It's important to distinguish

It's important to distinguish between the individuals within organisations and the organisations themselves. Most people join unions or what we define as leftist organisations because they are genuinely against capitalism or have a simple class reflex to defend themselves collectively.

The problem is that the ideologies they end up subscribing too are - despite their own intentions and beliefs concerning them - stand objectively opposed to the interests of the working class.

slothjabber
Nationalism abroad and at home

commiegal wrote:

I can see why you say they are sexist but why do you say they are nationalist? Do you mean in their support of "workers' states" and for example islamic organisations etc?

 

What you're referring to here can be seen as the 'foreign policy' aspects of nationalism - how leftist organisations push a particular foreign policy agenda (support for this bourgeois governement not that one, this armed group of freedom fighters not that one) - usually the one that is opposed to whatever the US government wants, but not always (the CPGB-PCC's support for NATO intervention in Yugoslavia in the name of 'consistent democratism' or something springs to mind).

 

There's another strand to it of course - what these organisations do at home. 'British jobs for British workers' was a slogan that the unions, the Labour Party and the BNP were agreed upon. I think the SPEW may also have participated in that one - http://libcom.org/forums/news/no2eu-british-jobs-british-workers-18052009 certainly suggests that's the case. When the sale of Rover to BMW was first proposed about 12 or 13 years ago there were loud calls to prevent a 'foreign' takeover of a 'British' firm, complete with car-workers waving Union Flags and placards calling on the government to intervene to 'Save British jobs'. This is pretty directly nationalistic; it treats the interests of British capitalism - the 'national interest' that is - as being identical with the interests of the working class in Britain.

commiegal
I don't think they did

I don't think they did support the British jobs for british workers slogan. That was one of the reasons why I joined in the first place. You can get them on a lot of things but not that imo.

David Stinnett_2 (not verified)
Generally speaking, I am not

Generally speaking, I am not a fan of parties, at least not in the political sense. Power structures tend to corrupt, simply due to it attracting those who will use it for bad. Maybe I misunderstand the idea of the party in the context you use it, but I tend to be in favor of a revolutionary organization that is an intellecual driver. People should listen because they want to, not because we have guys with guns on our side to make them, because then we are no better than what we are trying to over throw.

Instead of centralized party planing, dethrone the state and get rid of the power structures that allow capitalism to exist in the first place. This could happen in several ways, some more peaceful than others.

I'm more interested in what we can do now though, I like the idea of discussions between left communists. A big tent approach would be wise, because numbers seem to be our biggest issue at the moment. I personally have some anarchist leanings, and think that the anarcho-communists, the syndicalists, the council communists, ect. should be included just because it seems so useless for we to divide ourselves. We are ALL proletarians, and should all be able to come together, what's most important is that we are all equals.

I think there is a need for a fifth international, to exchange and further left communist ideas, this is the path because it leads to further discussion.

And I also stress the need for personal meetings among communists. This will build solidarity in the organization.

mikail firtinaci
I can't agree more to this

I can't agree more to this:

And I also stress the need for personal meetings among communists. This will build solidarity in the organization.

And we need to figure out a way to do just that. We need to overcome our isolation in order to be able to discuss the bigger questions like revolution and "leadership" or organization. How do you think we can start doing that David?

petey
meeting

mikail firtinaci wrote:

And I also stress the need for personal meetings among communists. This will build solidarity in the organization.

And we need to figure out a way to do just that.

it's hard. the desire can't always overcome weekly life. and i wasn't even the one doing most of the legwork to set it up (tip of the hat to the one who did).

so if anyone is minded to set up something on any regualr basis, be clear with yourselves on the way in about how often, how much time, purposes, etc. it can be done, but be honest on how much you can do.

David Stinnett_2 (not verified)
Well, thia forum provides a

Well, thia forum provides a great way for we of like minds to share our mutual feelings, and discuss.

The main issue could be distance, honestly. Even if I find a few people in the states on here, it does me little good if they are in california, which is the complete other side of the country from me in virginia.

Maybe if we could collect funds we could set up a central meeting on the country level?

Alf
excellent project

I welcome the fact that comrades are talking about the need to 'physically' get together. Petey is right to point out how much committment and energy this would require, so it would need a lot of careful thought. It might be better to start with regional meetings, for example. In the ICC we are more and more using skype to overcome gegraphical dispersal, so that is a possible way of bringing in comrades who are not able to be physically present.But I agree that 'physical' meetings would be a real step forward. But what it does need first of all is a core of comrades willing to put in the work of getting things off the ground; at the moment the ICC simply doesn't have the resources in the US to do this, although we would certainly give whatever support we could. A first step could be to find out how much general support there is for such an idea, by starting a discussion on websites like red-marx, libcom, the left communist group on revleft.... as well as writing to existing proletarian organisations (which is another discussion of course - there are quite a few differences on what are the contours of the 'proletarian camp').

David Stinnett_2 (not verified)
Skype didn't even come to

Skype didn't even come to mind. I agree that this would get around the direct need to physically be there, and regional meetings would be good too. I think it would be nice to give the whole organization a parrty structure, with voting on regional leaders and those regional leaders voting on organizational leaders, with everyone being directly recallable to the level under them, of course.

mhou
I don't know how others feel

I don't know how others feel about it, but I think democratic centralism is poison for an organization; same with democratic mechanism's (vote counting, hierarchy by design- democracy becomes the bureaucracy).

Annual meetings in a country like the US might be possible; if you set a date early enough (i.e a year in advance) people can get time off from work or make arrangements, that way planning could be arranged well in advance (for the number of expected participants). From conversations here and elsewhere, it seems that a lot of left communists are clustered in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic and on the other coast in the Bay area- I'd imagine that'd mean meetings in NYC and SF.

Fred
end of history

And that was the end of this very interesting thread. It was also the end of commiegal, David Stinnett_2 (not verified!),  petey, mikail firtinaci  (or so it seems),  slothjabber (sort of), Demogorgon (more or less) and eventually  jk1921.  "All my little chickens in one foul swoop" as Macduff commented on the slaughter of his family by Macbeth.  What went wrong?  Has the revolution been called off for lack of interest? Do most comrades think the working class has had it: is defeated and dead?   Or just that there is nothing that can be done?  

slothjabber
Reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated

I'm still here Fred. I saw commiegirl not so long ago, in June I think it was, at a CWO meeting in London (that neither the ICC nor any close sympathisers came to). Mikhail is still around too I think. As the last I heard Demogorgon was a member of the ICC, I'm sure he's around too.

 

There was a meeting just this weekend gone in Sheffield (part of the Anarchist Bookfair) that was delivered by the Free Communist and CWO at which there were probably a dozen people who identify as Left Communists, including two ex-members of the ICC. We're still here. Where are you?

Redacted
Can't wait for that audio

Can't wait for that audio Slothjabber! I'm still here, too, and I would have attended if I could. After all I'm just five million billion miles away.

Does your post imply commiegal now self-identifies as part of the milieau? Great news! Score one against Trotskyism

slothjabber
Don't read too much into it...

I'm not sure how commiegirl self-identifies. I do know that she was there talking to the CWO and a few others of us who turned up. She seemed keen to continue discussing and getting involved. I'm sure he hasn't 'gone away'.

 

As to the audio... Theft works in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform. I'm sure the audio will be available soon, though some people prefer texts, you know wink

Fred
Hi slothjabber.  I'm still

Hi slothjabber.  I'm still here, just about.  Stuck in my bed and  in my room and even further away from you, and where its  all  happening, then even Jamal. So I would love to have been able to attend.  

As to audios, being deaf I prefer texts.  Is "being around" all that matters? 

Theft
Theft's picture
This was pretty much the

This was pretty much the basis of the talk http://www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2014-07-16/their-first-world-war-commemorations-and-ours I should get a version of the audio out before I go to work, though the audio isn't that great due to background noise.

slothjabber
Being and nothingness

Fred wrote:

And that was the end of this very interesting thread. It was also the end of commiegal, David Stinnett_2 (not verified!),  petey, mikail firtinaci  (or so it seems),  slothjabber (sort of), Demogorgon (more or less) and eventually  jk1921.  "All my little chickens in one foul swoop" as Macduff commented on the slaughter of his family by Macbeth.  What went wrong?  Has the revolution been called off for lack of interest? Do most comrades think the working class has had it: is defeated and dead?   Or just that there is nothing that can be done?  

 

None of the above.

 

Is 'being around' all that matters? Well, it at least demonstrates that 1) the revolution has not been called off due to 'lack of interest', 2) 'most comrades' (at least, the majority of those listed above) don't apparently believe that the working class is defeated and dead; nor that 3) nothing can be done.

 

Posting on this board is not equal to the totality of people's engagement with the revolutionary milieu or the working class. Not posting on here might mean many things; among them are that people might be engaging in other activities related to revolutionary politics.