WR 18th Congress: Sympathisers’ comments
"I was very impressed with the depth of both discussions" (NM)
KT, a former member of the ICC, said we "can't overstress the importance of the ICC and within it of WR. It's been nearly two decades since I was at a congress. The situation has changed but also the organisation, the depth of references and the fraternal spirit, the desire to bring out differences in a spirit of inquiry. I wish the Congress success for the rest of its work".
DG said: "First I would like to thank the ICC for inviting us to the Congress. This demonstrates that there is a real will to open itself up to the outside. The debates I have seen in the International Review are also examples of this. There has been a change in the organisation. This is having a definite effect on contacts, but also on those who are against the ICC... One of my old colleagues told me he has been reading the Decadence pamphlet online. He is making the effort... He thinks we need more accessible texts. This poses a challenge to the ICC."
Eddie wrote to us shortly after the congress:
I appreciated being invited to the Congress and welcome its very positive work. Through the discussions I got a sense of the challenges ahead for the class struggle in all its aspects and the necessity particularly for revolutionaries to remain patient and maintain a level course within deepening and wider activities. There were many elements raised in discussions, disagreements confronted openly, but mainly I thought nuances in understanding the development of the situation; how the crisis develops, how that relates to a proletarian response.
The importance of Britain as an experienced capitalist nation is and will be a factor in the development of the class struggle and this further underlines the role of the British section of the ICC.
The meeting and its preparation showed that there are many elements to the development of the economic crisis and a class response, a response that has to be seen first and foremost internationally, both within the two elements themselves and in relation to each other. There's no mechanical relationship between crisis and response and there are many possibilities. The sequence and speed of events are unpredictable and necessarily relative. But the expression of the crisis over this last year has been dramatic, fundamental and shaken the bourgeoisie to the core. I think, on a scale of things, that this is a more important development than 1989, in that its contradictions are being expressed in the citadels of capitalism around the same time... What is clear is that the effects of the unfolding crisis on the working class are already profound. It appeared to me a couple of weeks ago that the bourgeoisie, at its highest levels, was afraid that the whole system, banks - including all accounts, trade, payments, bills, etc, was about to implode and collapse. That wouldn't have been useful for a deep working class response. But the expression and direction of the crisis and the bourgeoisie's overall lack of control over capitalism's contradictions (attenuated somewhat by state capitalism) indicates that events are unfolding at a more profound level: wage and social wage cuts, loss of housing, jobs, pensions being completely undermined, the very concept of a future under capitalism has to be posed more starkly for the working class..."
DG made some comments on the culture of debate in a discussion a few weeks later:
"Many comrades have read Lenin, who was often very withering, and this approach turns off the new generation. When I first wrote to the ICC it was about the polemic with the IBRP on the 1980s. The political content was spot on, but the tone was very negative. The reply to Aufheben is the same. There seems to be a change in tone [in the] Open Letter to the IBRP or the letter to Loren Goldner...There can be some organisations that look stable but internally are rotten (such as the German Social Democratic Party before 1914), whereas the Bolsheviks had many debates and divergences. It makes you wonder how they managed to lead a revolution! The discussions in the Bolsheviks showed the connection between discussions in the class and those in the party. It's similar to the ICC. When the class was quiescent the ICC was static. Now there is discussion within the class, this is reflected in the organisation. It shows the proletarian character of the ICC."