The publication of these discussion texts is obviously very interesting in the context of earlier criticisms of the 23rd Congress resolutions on this forum and the debate on the balance of class forces, with the ICC’s response to my own critique.
I don’t want to comment in detail on the latest texts. I don’t think I agree with everything comrade Steinklopfer says and I don’t disagree with everything the ICC says in response; the format of comments on amendments makes it difficult sometimes to see the main lines of argument, but I do want to make a couple of points to start off a discussion.
First, this internal debate confirms that disagreements were raised at the congress itself about some of the same issues raised by close sympathisers and ex members of the ICC, and that disagreements have continued to be expressed about positions adopted by the Congress inside the organisation.
Second, these disagreements go well beyond an analysis of the international situation to include the balance of class forces, the ICC’s position on decomposition, perspectives for the future and, underlying all of these, the question of the Marxist method.
Some of these disagreements have a marked similarity with my own critique of the positions adopted by the 23rd Congress; specifically:
- that the ICC’s emphasis, as part of its position on decomposition, on the tendency towards chaos and the near impossibility of blocs re-forming, risks underestimating the danger of a new global imperialist war in the current period, in particular of a confrontation between the US and China;
- that the ICC’s position on decomposition underestimates the significance of the partial defeat of the post-‘68 upsurge of struggles that took place in the 1980s and the resulting change in the balance of class forces prior to the fall of the Stalinist regimes.
This doesn’t prove of course that either I or comrade S is correct!
Following on from this, it's worth pointing out that neither the ICC nor comrade S refers to the critical balance sheet of strengths and weaknesses drawn up at its 21st Congress in 2015. One of the specific weaknesses identified was the organisation’s slowness to recognise the setbacks suffered by the workers’ struggles in the 1980s and its underestimation of the effects of globalisation/neoliberal policies (see Report on Class Struggle). The 23rd Congress continued to insist that the regression in the revolutionary perspective of the workers’ struggles only began in 1989, ie. with the fall of the Stalinist regimes.
To return to my first point, the ICC’s earlier response to my own criticisms and the issues raised by comrades on this forum must now be seen in the context of the wider disagreements expressed within the organisation at the Congress itself and after, so I think the political significance of these disagreements, and how we should characterise them, is one issue for discussion, and in this context I certainly think comrade S’s criticisms of the ICC’s method, as expressed in the congress resolutions, are as important to consider as disagreements on imperialism and the balance of class forces.