Open letter to the John Gray website

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In your guidelines to your website, you say that its aim is to “link to any site or document which we feel relates, in whole or in part, to discussion about communism, or to discussion based on a ‘communist perspective’, taking communist in the sense defined in the statement on the homepage for the site. (1)

We use the word ‘communism’ as shorthand despite the likelihood that it will confuse some people who will think that we are talking about the so-called ‘communist’ countries or the communist parties associated with or supporting those countries because we don’t have a better word. The political currents we feel a degree of affinity with have called themselves many sorts of things libertarian communists, anarchist communists, left communists, autonomists what could broadly be described as the ultra left”.

We note that your list of “journals, organisations and projects” you are linked to includes the ICC. But while, as far as we can see, all other journals, organisations and projects are presented in a neutral or positive way, the ICC alone is given an extremely negative definition as an “absurd new age sect which employs a conservative form of left-communist discourse to promote itself as a political community

We would like to know why you have chosen to single us out in this manner. We also think that if you are going to make such serious accusations, a minimum of explanation or argumentation is called for, especially considering that many people will have only heard of the ICC through your website, and could easily be put off investigating our own site by such a description.

The labelling of authentic communist organisations as “absurd sects” is not limited to your website, nor to the plethora of publications some of which are advertised in your list whose main activity consists in denigrating precisely the organisations which descend most directly from the historical communist left. These are mere offshoots of the bourgeoisie’s grandiose world-wide campaign about the ‘death of communism’, which is aimed at proving not only that communist society is an “absurd” utopia, but also that there could be nothing more ridiculous than revolutionary militancy. In such a view, participating in collectively organised communist activity is the precise equivalent of joining “absurd sects” like the Moonies or the Jehovah’s Witnesses. In this sense, it seems to us that your attack on the ICC falls directly into line with this campaign.

In any case, we await your reply.

Yours for communism,

The ICC, March 2001

(1) The homepage describes communism as “a society without money, without a state, without property and without social classes. The circulation of goods is not accomplished by means of exchange: quite the contrary, the by-word for this society is ‘from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs’” a definition which we obviously agree with.