The riots in Britain and capitalism’s dead-end

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A.Simpleton
The riots in Britain and capitalism’s dead-end
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: The riots in Britain and capitalism’s dead-end . The discussion was initiated by A.Simpleton.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

A.Simpleton
'This gigantic criminal enterprise called Capitalism'

Never better described .

I did start a new thread re : Class Consciousness just now ...but ...I bet it get's little or no response .

Why ? Because it isn't 'sensational' enough : there's no 'action' in it : even the Revolutionary Milieu prefers The Sun to the FT :@} ....not you guys ..I mean .....'us'.....

" ...the working class was absent as a class ..." again : an utterly accurate phrase from your article : and I really think that what I posted about the Klasse an sich / Klasse fur sich transformation is very very important here : especially in the light of your 'decomposition' articles - which at least helped one contributor to understand that the ICC has actually already done the ground work on ALL of this .

OK I could blather on but....

One request for clarity : do you agree that the physical/geographical dispersal of The Revolutionary Class adds to the uphill struggle towards Class Consciousness ?

I mean even in service industries the atomisation is complete :

No longer is there a Klasse an sich in a certain sense ( thousands of workers close to each other ) : yet of course there still is in another sense .

But this 'diaspora'( differing naturally due to uneveness of development ) is surely another obstacle to Class Consciousness ?

*****

The Mass Strike : so powerful and igniting is simply logistically a dinosaur ?

your clarity as always appreciated

AS

N
Good article

Comrades, you have made a good analysis of events in the UK. Completely agree with you.

Beltov
A brief point...

A brief point...

Re: "are the riots part of the broader 'social revolts´?" On the whole, no. They are an act of desperation and not on a 'class terrain', if everyone understands what we mean by this. (We can expand on this, if necessary). If we recall that capitalism is 'comfortable' with its own alienation, that it is a society of every man for himself, then this explains why the bourgeoisie can turn such expressions of decomposition to its advantage with such ease.

On the other hand, the examples of history show that the working class is the only class of order. At the moment when the Winter Palace was stormed in 1917, the peasantry in the army began looting the palace. It took the Bolshevik workers to insist that they ceased. During the Seattle general strike in 1919 the workers maintained the strictest discipline and concern for order and solidarity with the most vulnerable sectors of the population. There are many more examples that could be given.

That being said, there is no such thing as a 'pure' class struggle, and the recent social revolts in Europe and the Middle East have expressed many negative and positive aspects. History is such a messy thing...

Beltov
Also...

Also, riots in the UK doesn´t mean the working class in Britian is dead, lost. The riots in France in 2005 were followed quite quickly a year or two by the struggles against hte CPE. Yes, decomposition is corrosive of solidarity and class identity, but it acts mainly at the level of the social superstructure, whereas the economic crisis hits the base - hence the working class full on - offering the perspective of struggles in which solidarity, class identity and solidarity can develop.

AS - glad to have you back on the forum. I get the strong sense that you are posing questions to which you already have some of the answers ;) We'll get back to you on that...

jk1921
Hmm, interesting that nowhere

Hmm, interesting that nowhere in the article nor the discussion does the term "lumpenproletariat" occur. Is this concept at all useful for understanding what happened? How relevant does this idea from the Marxist canon remain today?

Demogorgon
Lumpenisation

I think it would have been inappropriate to use a rather obscure, technical term in an article aimed at a general audience who (hopefully) might also include people who don't usually read "leftie" stuff, let alone ours! We do mention lumpenisation (in connection with permanent, mass unemployment) in the original Theses of Decomposition.

Regarding the concept itself, the "classic" description of the lumpenproletariat comes from the Manifesto: "The “dangerous class”, the social scum, that passively rotting mass thrown off by the lowest layers of the old society, may, here and there, be swept into the movement by a proletarian revolution; its conditions of life, however, prepare it far more for the part of a bribed tool of reactionary intrigue".

In the Eighteenth Brumaire: "decayed roués with dubious means of subsistence and of dubious origin, alongside ruined and adventurous offshoots of the bourgeoisie, were vagabonds, discharged soldiers, discharged jailbirds, escaped galley slaves, swindlers, mountebanks, lazzaroni, pickpockets, tricksters, gamblers, maquereaux [pimps], brothel keepers, porters, literati, organ grinders, ragpickers, knife grinders, tinkers, beggars — in short, the whole indefinite, disintegrated mass, thrown hither and thither, which the French call la bohème".

I think the difficulty is that processes of decomposition have widened the zone of transition between the lumpenproletariat and the proletariat proper. For example, a large contingent of workers now regularly use recreational drugs on a casual basis which causes them to regularly associate with a criminal underworld on the basis of a commercial relationship that (for some) has become almost normalised. Just as petit-bourgeois ideology penetrates the working class via its interaction with that "class" in "respectable society", so too does the drug trade act a vector for other antisocial tendencies to enter into working class thought.

Another example is the vast growth of digital "piracy". Leaving aside the dubious moral arguments employed by the powers that be against it, the fact remains is that many young people have not been properly socialised into a correct understanding of property relations. They see it, it's free, they take it, they don't see it as "stealing", they simply don't understand the framework that says it could be. The rejection of capitalist values is, of course, nothing to be mourned in itself but the problem is that they're decaying in the absence of any clear alternative from the working class. The decomposition of bourgeois morals thus leads to the decomposition of all morality and, with it, one of the major axes around which class consciousness (of which proletarian morality is a component) is built.

This certainly needs further reflection and thought in relation to both decomposition and the ethics discussions the ICC had a while back.

KT
Back to the Future

Fine food for thought there, Demogorgon. I’ll try and digest it. Also from, Beltov: the distinction between the way decomposition hits the superstructure, but the crisis eats at the base of capitalism... and I thought I had read thoroughly or ‘understood’ previous texts about decomposition. Far from it.

In fact, so many issues raised (by Shug, Kinglear, AS, Baboon, JK et al): issues about class consciousness, about the role of revolutionary organisations, about the ICT, about the uneven development of capital, the effects of decomposition and the perspective of the mass strike...

AS asks the question: does it really take something ‘spectacular’ if ephemeral like the UK riots to galvanise these discussions? As if Tunisia, Egypt, Libya or Israel wasn’t enough? Like the dizzying unfolding of the economic crisis, or on-going imperialist tensions or examples of workers’ struggles don’t raise the same issues? Immediatism and localism: bad things.

But back to the ICC’s statement on ‘The riots in Britain and capitalism’s dead-end’. I’ve tried to give it a few hours reflection. To see if I’ve really grasped its approach, content and perspective. To see if I really do, deep down, agree. In between time, I’ve been reading the usual suspects – bourgeois press, ICT, RevLeft, Libcom ... Talking to folk as well.

Conclusion:  the statement’s correct in its structure, approach and perspectives

Two key issues: first, denounce the hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie which is ramping up austerity and repression, two elements which fostered the riots in the first place. This is necessary because these elements (contrary to the riots themselves) are both constant and increasing.

And the other, not a new one, is address the content of riots in general and these of the last week in particular. Do they express, for a moment, a struggle against capital, a re-appropriation of value by producers separated from their products? Do they signal a method of struggle which points the way forward for the proletariat and which weakens the bourgeoisie? Do they show in practice what our attitude should be towards other strata (peasants or petti-bourgeois: shop-keepers, etc)?

No-one yet on this site has argued that this is the case. But elsewhere (on Libcom, on RevLeft) there’s a fundamental argument being made in favour of such conceptions, in defending the recent riots as positive expressions of the proletarian struggle (and not just by ‘anarchists’).

At whatever low a level, I can’t separate an agreement with positions from the need to defend them in practice: either on the street or in discussions (internet or otherwise). It’s ‘easy’ here, on a site where, overall, we’re in agreement. I’m back off ‘out there’. I’m armed, not just with the ICC’s statement, but by those of the ICT, of SolFed and of Alarm which, to a lesser or greater degree, go along with our viewpoint. That in itself is both remarkable and encouraging. But aside from mainstream bourgeois modes of thought, we’ll find many others in our milieu who violently disagree.

jk1921
Ha, funny that Marx included

Ha, funny that Marx included "organ-grinders" among the lumpenproletariat. I think Demogorgon makes some interesting points that require future discussion, in particular the question as to why in the most developed countries the frustration over austerity has often taken the form of violent urban riots, wheras in Tunisia, Egypt, etc. they have been much more an expression of "social revolt," with limited rioting and looting? Is it the deeper illusions in a possible democratic transition in the latter instances, whereas in the "old democracies" the illusions of the democratic state have been shot through, leading to the sort of decline in socialization Demo describes? What is the perspective for the future then on the global level?

Beltov makes a particularly evocative suggestion when he says decomposition affects the superstructure whereas the crisis eats at the base. Doesn't decomposition reflexively act on the base as well, such as when certain bourgeois factions start to lose focus on the overall interests of the national capital and propose economic policies that actually make the crisis worse? The way Beltov describes it, it seems there is actually a conflict between decomposition and the crisis. Crisis moves the working class to struggle, but decomposition prevents the working class from finding its class terrain. But there has to be an overall trajectory though, doesn't there? Can we draw a balance sheet of the extent to which decomposition has already eroded the class perspective? Or is this not a fruitful way of approaching the issue?

 

 

kinglear
What a spectacle on Sky tv,

What a spectacle on Sky tv, of the police brutally splintering somebody's front door, then screaming and bursting it open. Quite terrifying! Aferwards a suitably hooded youth was brought out and led away. Surely this was staged? A film crew was present. Presumably the folk inside had been warned what would happen, and told not to open the door the better for the drama. This was terror at the State level. Those smashing the door were state agents not rioters, though the actions were similar. The function of this drama, is to scare not just would-be looters, but the working class as well. Decomposition may be taking it's toll on the working class, may be reducing it's chances of making a stand, but the bourgeoisie are taking no chances that this is the case. The vicious response to the riots, the eviction of whole families from their council flats because one of their children was involved in the troubles (I though this sort of response was confined to North Korea), the threat to control social media, the adoption by the police of Gestapo like behavior (in the broad daylight of summer) and Cameron's determination to tolerate no challenges to state rule, are aimed at the working class. What might be regarded as the over-response of the bourgeoisie, is proof of the yet untested power of the working class. The class itself may be unaware of it's power, but the bourgs know that they are unlikely to get away scot free with their austerity measures. And so they are demonstrating their strength in advance.

The ICC's theses on Decomposition doubtless elaborate an appalling truth. To set against this however, we have the slow underground maturation of proletarian class consciousness. The proletariat may have been absent from the riots, but it will clearly have observed the reaction. Let's hope it's learning from the experience and taking it's measure of the response of it's class enemy. Do not despair Comrades. All is not yet lost!

d-man
comparisons fwiw

Decomposition aside, the obvious comparison is indeed to the 2005 riots in France. There was a big debate at the time in France and the ICC spend time on it as well, so to bring back to mind : en.internationalism.org/icconline/2005_suburbs

en.internationalism.org/ir/124_paris_argentina

 

baboon
Good point above from d-man.

Good point above from d-man. Despite a certain "drama" involving waiting for WR's position on the riots, d-man shows that the ICC already has a position on "the riots" - particularly the first text that he links to because I think that the second has certain weaknesses in linking social revolt directly to the question of dead-end riots. I think that the position of WR above clarifies and nuances this somewhat in that social revolt doesn't have to be negative for the working class whereas these riots certainly were. There are obvious links in the riots of France in 85 to those in the UK now, the only major difference lying in the level of looting which is related to the establishment of large chain stores close to deprived areas which wasn't the case in similar neighborhoods in France, resulting in more widespread destruction of local areas.

I think that there are clear links between the development of the economic crisis and decomposition and don't necessarily think that there's been a decomposition in bourgeois morality as demo says above - I don't think that the bourgeoisie has ever had any real morality (see Marx below).

A couple of times jk has made the point about the different aspects of events, the weakness of the riots in the UK and France opposed to the relative strength and positive nature of the social revolts of Tunisia, Egypt, etc: I think that this  lies in the weaknesses of the latter states, whereas the pressure cooker outbursts in the UK and France are a result of the strength of the state. This is evidenced in the better organised British and French bourgeoisies taking full advantage from these riots in order to strengthen their own grip - it's a pure class reaction, a coherent capitalist state reaction to the "disorder" in the first instance but, more importantly, to the need to strengthen the state and the forces of reaction for what it clearly sees is "trouble ahead". This explains the showpiece repression pointed out by kinglear above, the over-the-top "acceptable" repression and its build up for the future. Another point that kinglear is correct on, that is also important for this discussion, is that the working class is "unaware of its power". What's the reason for this? In the UK and France it is undoubtedly the trade unions and the left which are a constant weight on the working class taking up its prime role in the struggle and these structures are obviously stronger in the western democracies where, as well as keeping the working class divided and impotent, they constantly reinforce some elements of capitalist democracy.

On the question of the "lumpenproletariat": In the chapter of Capital on Capitalist Accumulation, there's sub-headings "Progressive Production of Relative Overpopulation or an Industrial Reserve Army" and "Different Forms of Relative Surplus Population. General Law of Capitalist Accumulation", where Marx refers to the "tatterdemalion", or slum proletariat, which he further divides into three categories. I think that this analysis is very much valid here and, again in relation to jk's question, the richer the country the worse the degradation and poverty of the masses, the larger the industrial reserve army and all this taking place within "absolute general laws of capitalist accumulation" (which only worsens in times of crisis and is somewhat attenuated in times of recovery - we know that the latter will not come as it did in the the nineteenth century).

Demogorgon
Generally agree with Baboon

Generally agree with Baboon about the differences between the developed world and the less developed countries, although I think we can probably deepen our understanding of this.

Don't agree about the bourgeoisie having no morality. This only has meaning if we accept morality in some abstract sense, which I believe Marx was generally scathing about. This is the class that gave us the slogan "liberty, fraternity, equality", freedom from slavery and serfdom ("city air is free air"), freedom of religion etc. Certainly in its ascendent period, the bourgeoisie was a progressive force against the feudal order and this surely had a "moral" component.

Naturally, this doesn't preclude a certain cynicism in ruling class ideology and its ethics. This is the case for all ruling classes, but I don't think we can say there has been no moral component to social life since the advent of class society! Also, the bourgeoisie's ability to stick consistently to its own ideological (and moral) principles is stretched to the limit in decadence because decadence is precisely the period when bourgeois ideology ceases to become a useful axis around which to orientate society's intellectual and ethical life.

Marx makes the point very strongly in his writings, however, that even when the bourgeoisie does apply its morality consistently the proletariat is still disadvantaged. He points out, for example, that the working class is paid a "fair" price for its labour, but it is nonetheless an exploited class. Just as the proletariat is the first class which can lay claim to a consistent class consciousness, it is also the first revolutionary class that can lay claim to a fully consistent morality.

On decomposition, JK says "The way Beltov describes it, it seems there is actually a conflict between decomposition and the crisis. Crisis moves the working class to struggle, but decomposition prevents the working class from finding its class terrain".

This is correct. Decomposition is a real threat to the working class precisely because it undermines the subjective conditions for the class struggle: collective struggle, solidarity, theoretical clarity.

"But there has to be an overall trajectory though, doesn't there? Can we draw a balance sheet of the extent to which decomposition has already eroded the class perspective? Or is this not a fruitful way of approaching the issue?"

This is part of the problem. Decomposition is itself a product of the social stalemate between the bourgeoisie and the working class that evolved during the 80s. You could say that it is in essence a lack of a clear trajectory, in that neither bourgeoisie nor proletariat were able to fully impose their response to the deepening crisis. (You might find it helpful to read more about conception of the "historic course", which will help this make sense!)

Given the lack of clear trajectory, it's hard to determine exactly what's happening. In general, our position is still the one we had when we wrote the Theses: although decomposition is a very serious threat, the working class still has the capacity to make the revolution. However, the longer the stalemate goes on, the greater the chance that the working class will be so drowned in the effluent of this dying society that it may lose this capacity. We also think that we're in a period where the working class is attempting to respond to the crisis, although I think it's fair to say that different comrades will focus on the different positive and negative aspects and accordingly some may be a bit more cheerful about it than others!

jk1921
Everyone is making good

Everyone is making good points. I think I agree with Demo on the morality issue, but this needs further discussion. Cameron sure is making a lot of hay on the issue of "morality," though using it in a particularly vitriolic fashion to brand the rioters "pure thugs," etc. and even talking about the prescence in Britiain of over 100,000 "problem families." What is that supposed to mean? Whatever it means, it would seem to foreshadow a massive combination of repression and austerity as the state takes advantage of the riots to--as Kinglear points out--cut entire families off of social assitance and evict them from council housing.

On the latter point, however, there seems to be some differences emerging within the UK bourgeoisie with the Libdems somewhat sheepishly arguing this will only make the problem worse. Labour seems to be even more gunshy at the moment, prefering to try to use this crisis to score political points, rather than play the role of a real "left in opposition." What are the effects of these riots on the political crisis of the UK bourgeoisie, especially coming out of the News International crisis (WR we are still waiting on your statement on this!) ? How unified is the UK bourgeoisie at the moment on how to respond to these riots? How will these riots affect the broader working class' ability to respond to the austerity that is going to keep coming?

Did any rioting spread to Scotland or Wales or was this a phenomenon of the English cities? If so, why?

 

miles
 In fact, to elaborate a bit,

 In fact, to elaborate a bit, after the 81 riots (I'm reliably informed by comrades around at the time) the state apparently did pump some money into the areas seen as deprived - what hope is there today that the government will pump anything into those areas at all? None whatsoever, I would have said.

In terms of how will the riots affect the response of the working class in the future: well, we'll have to see what happens come the autumn when the next round of strikes is supposed to happen. Will the police feel greater carte blanche to physically attack workers? Here's a question for the anarchist / libertarian milieu - What about the so-called 'black bloc'? At the March demo, where they attacked fortnum and mason etc... plenty of workers disassociated themselves from them, whilst some others (including a few I know) just laughed it off as 'a bit of fun'. How would such things be viewed now in the light of recent events?   

radicalchains
I posted a comment last night

I posted a comment last night with some links to media I thought were insightful, perhaps it got stuck in the spam filter or someone decided not to publish it?

jk1921
Well its official now. Obama

Well its official now. Obama in Iowa yesterday: "There isn't anything broken with America that we can't fix, except our politics." So, politics is broken, but not American society! Well, that's reassuring, I suppose. Still, the various bourgeoisies are spending a lot time selling the theme that something is broken lately! What does this portend? Nothing good for the working class, I think.

KT
radicalchains

I've had stuff here disappear into the ether. Think it's cock-up rather than conspiracy! I've found it more fruitful to hit the "reply" button and then post. Perhaps you could try again (I know it's a pain) ....

Jock
Agreement

I have had difficulty refinding the commetns but earlier posters made several gratifying comments re the ICT's statement on the riots.  Ther is some difference of opinion on the ICT mails but most are pleasantly suprised that the ICC's first comment is not greatly different from ours.  Everyone of us who commented had expected and ICC response that it was "all down to decomposition" but instead we find a materialist analysis which most of us agree with.

Ironic therefore that Baboon should then criticise our statement for not mentioning decomposition when we were relieved to find that the ICC had not done so either!  After 40 years of capitalist stagnation it is not surprising that social disintegration is taking place but I won't abuse the hospitality of the site by writing a long piece on how the two differing perspectives have developed.

One final correction on the aptly named A  Simpleton. Our postion on decadence is not the one he quotes (out of context) which was from an article written by a comrade as  part of our debate on it.  The final text "The meaning of decadence" gives our actual position.  Let's debate these rather than polemical inventions.

radicalchains
Regarding whether people were

Regarding whether people were calling events social revolution, no I don't think I've heard that but "revolution" and "insurrection" have been used sparingly.

There are many videos especially on You Tube of the riots, including such apoliticism as fighting police and attacking bourgeois journos including the state media. However I thought the following perhaps lesser known media has been insightful. I'm sure some of these you will already be aware of as some have been doing the rounds on the net.

https://youtu.be/biJgILxGK0o - Darcus Howe, a West Indian Writer and Broadcaster with a voice about the riots.

https://youtu.be/aIr0ES-gwhc - Turkish and Kurdish Community Activists give a press speech with regards on going riots in Britain.

https://youtu.be/jqA9-QGhvZs - UK RIOTS DEBATE IN CLAPHAM

https://youtu.be/Jg1c6ZY5jFc - Sky Speaks To Looters

https://thecircleda.com/ - 10th August 2011 (London Riots Special) - 2nd August 2011 (Police Vs Anarchists) worth a listen as well.

baboon
Welcome Jock's comments, and

Welcome Jock's comments, and just to be clear that I did not criticise the ICT statement for not mentioning decomposition - no more than I would criticise the ICC position for not mentioning "decomposition". What I did say was that one could see the ICT's position as explaining decomposition, in this case applied to the sense of the riots. I welcome both statements and that seems to me to be the point: a convergence of a deeper analysis from a profound examination of dramatic events. A rose is a rose by any other name...

jk1921
So ICC sympathisers are

So ICC sympathisers are excited that the ICT's statemement seems to indicate an appreciation of decomposition even if a different word is used, while the ICT is relieved the ICC's statement didn't put everything down to decomposition? My head is spinning. Still the expressions of agreement on the analysis of the riots is encouraging. Still,  Its not clear to me how "materialism" became the measuring stick of left communist analysis rather than "Marxism." I welcome Jock's comments here as well and support the ICT's openess to discuss. There does appear to be an ad hominen against AS in there though that we could probably do without.

Demogorgon
Materialism vs Marxism

Still, Its not clear to me how "materialism" became the measuring stick of left communist analysis rather than "Marxism."

A reasonable question. Basically, the ICT think we in the ICC have idealist analyses regarding the evolution of the class struggle and the social situation in general. As Marxism is a materialist method (albeit dialectical) this is a pretty damning indicment of our theoretical positions as it's tantamount to saying our method isn't Marxist at all. We've often described the ICT's position as "mechanical materialism", basically saying they don't understand dialectics which is also rather damning for a Marxist.

To those uninitiated in the long history of our polemics, it probably seems pretty bewildering that two organisations can look at the same phenomena, describe it in more or less identical terms, but then say they disagree! However, there are genuine differences in method at the root of this and the disagreements are not trivial because they do have consequences for how we examine social reality and intervene with it.

For those interested in developing a relationship with either or both our organisations, I'd recommend you read some of the polemics from both sides. You'll learn a fair bit about methodology and, if nothing else, should hopefully learn from the mistakes on both sides.

Lazarus
Related debate on ICT site
jk1921
Its as if the ICT has

Its as if the ICT has elevated "materialism" above "Marxism" itself as the key to understanding social reality. Its first instinct in evaluating a statement is to determine if it is "materialist" enough, regardless of how well it explains what is happening. Of course, we know from the history of the workers' movement that "materialism" in and of itself is not enough: a certain book by Pannekoek--for all its flaws--comes to mind. I agree with Demo that these differences in method often lead to different conlusions, but oddly in this case they haven't. Doesn't this mean one side is moving closer to the other on the methodological level (regardless of how much they protest they aren't), which I think is what Baboon was trying to point out regarding the ICT's statement.

Lazarus
Marxism is materialist.

Marxism is materialist. However there is no automatic link between material conditions and
consciousness. I think this is a huge aspect of the division between ICC/ICT. The ICT
recognises that class consciousness is not generalised to the extent of anti-capitalism by the crisis or the struggles, but is dependent on the presence of the revolutionary party.

Thus the working class outside of the revolutionary process, without the party beacon shares the ideas of the dominant class.

As dialecticians w are aware that development is characterised by sudden explosions rather than linear gradual progression. Our acknowledgement that the working class in the main ha not developed revolutionary consciousness , that the bourgeoisie have the upper hand, that the forces of communism are meagre does not mean that a rapid turn around is not on the agenda.
As dialecticians we should regard the explosive nature of class struggle and class consciousness to be perfectly feasible and not at all contradictory to a realistic (hence not idealist, but materialist) acknowledgement of the pitiful state of working class consciousness at the moment. It is not a despair fuelled by decomposition.

A.Simpleton
Aptly named indeed Jock :@{

You are absolutely right : guilty as charged : apologies .

I hope you can see from some other submissions that I can do better : ironically in my Torturous Polemics comment ( back on the old thread : which also hints at the subtext of my moniker ) I say to Baboon :

' ...  do you get the feeling that there is almost a taboo on agreement ? just thinking out loud '

and 

'I... don't know about you but I am quite content to be 'educated'

And then there I am later , dishing out gratuitous facetiousness using a second hand quote having not read the context ( you're spot on ) : i.e. doing exactly what I rail against myself elsewhere : standing on thin ice using little but semantics and logic : I deserved the correction .

The upside is that I have just spent several hours reading I.C.T literature ...that is , when I finally found the relevant sites ...... after first googling  I.T.C .....

Aptly named indeed

AS

A.Simpleton
Urgently seeking expansion : reply to Beltov

Thank you for your welcome ,

You write in positive mode :

" Yes, decomposition is corrosive of solidarity and class identity, but it acts mainly at the level of the social superstructure, whereas the economic crisis hits the base - hence the working class full on - offering the perspective of struggles in which solidarity, class identity and solidarity can develop. "

I thirst like a man lost in the desert thirsts for water for an expansion of how this develops before I either :

a) lapse back into the armchair of my lethargy, bewildered and jaded .

or

b) run to the open arms of a 'beacon party' who will soothe my fevered brow with the 'new vista' of 'spreading class consciousness from a central office'

( Please excuse the surely allowable mild sarcasm :@})

AS

kinglear
"But there is an alternative.

"But there is an alternative. The re-emergence of class identity, the reappearance of the class struggle, can be discerned in the massive and inclusive movements in Tunisia, Egypt, Spain, Greece or Israel. These movements, with all their weaknesses, give us a glimpse of a different way of fighting: through street assemblies where everyone can have a voice; through intense political discussion where every issue can be discussed; through organised defence against attacks by police and thugs, through workers’ demonstrations and strikes; through raising the question of revolution, of a completely different form of society, one based not on dog eat dog but on solidarity between human beings, not on production for sale and profit but on the production of what we really need."

Thank you for pointing out "a different way of fighting". It's very important to have actual indications as to how we can do this put forward. We are a bit out of practice. The excellent Verizon article makes similar suggestions too. But there's something more, though difficult to express. Through discussion in which everyone is encouraged to "have a voice" and through self- organization against the various bourgeois gangs, we start to unveil an alternative reality which is there before our eyes though we can't yet see it yet. In this capitalist way of living (I won't call it a society!) we don't have a voice, we are unaccustomed to expressing our selves, let alone revealing our innermost thoughts and feelings, and we are repressed and shy of approaching anything near true solidarity. Yet the possibility is there but hidden. As we start to open ourselves to each other, in the informality and security offered by assemblies, and vitally through our own organization of strikes and demonstrations, we will start to discover who we are and the enormous power we have. We will thus reveal the real movement ( the movement towards the new communist society that this capitalist system is so heavily pregnant with) that we already embody. But I fear i may start to sound like a metaphysical looney so will stop. Or is this just another sign of the generalized lack of class confidence? I dont know. Doubtless someone will tell me!
,

baboon
I welcome the text of

I welcome the text of analysis on the riots and agree with the, mostly, measured reflection that took place on libcom with Solfed, I think, saying they were an expression of capitalist decomposition. What is more important than the word is the analysis and position they took and the Deptford initiative was very positive. There was another, latter position posted as "A Group in London" (anarchist I think?) which was also very positive overall. There were still a few blindly cheering the riots on as part of the class struggle as well as grand theories constructed elevating theft to the negation of commodity production. As both the ICC and ICT say, this is a reflection of capitalist ideology of each for themself and therefore a division within the working class.

Contrary to what Jock says, it not at all ironic that I criticised the ICT statement for not mentioning (the word) decomposition, because I did not. I said that the word (decomposition) could have been used in the de facto exposition of decomposition of the ICT, as the analysis says, and this was after I welcomed and supported the ICT's position and its analysis. I think that it's important for revolutionaries to say when they agree with other's positions and not manufacture disagreement where they don't exist.