Ideological Campaigns Yesterday and Today

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Ideological Campaigns Yesterday and Today
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The whole question of the success the bourgeoisie has had in manipulating the "Charlie Hebdo" situation into an attack on class consciousness and reinforcing the ideology of democracy reminds me of a framework for examining these sorts of ideological campaigns that appeared in Point 21 in the Resolution on the International Situation from the 12 Congress:

In this context, it is also necessary to mark the very sharp difference between the ideological campaigns being used today, and those used against the working class in the 1930s. There is a point shared by these two kinds of campaigns: they are all based around the theme of the 'defence of democracy'. However, the campaigns of the 30s:
  • were situated in a context of a historic defeat for the proletariat, of an undisputed victory for the counter-revolution;

  • had as their main object the mobilisation of the proletariat for the coming world war;

  • had a real trump card at their disposal, the fascist regimes of Italy and Germany, and were thus very real, massive and clearly aimed.

By contrast, today's campaigns:

  • are situated in a context in which the proletariat has overcome the counter-revolution, has not been through a massive defeat which has put into question the historic course towards class confrontations;

  • have as their main aim that of sabotaging a rising tide of consciousness and combativity within the working class;

  • do not have a single target but are obliged to call on disparate and sometimes circumstantial themes (terrorism, the 'fascist danger', paedophile networks, corruption of the legal system, etc), which tends to limit their impact both in time and place.

It is for these reasons that while the campaigns at the end of the 30s succeeded in mobilising the working masses behind them in a permanent way, those of today:

  • either succeed in mobilising workers on a massive scale (the case of the 'White March' in Bruxelles on 20 October), but only for a limited period (this is why the Belgian bourgeoisie resorted to other manoeuvres afterwards);

  • or, if they are deployed in a permanent way (the case of the anti-Front National campaigns in France), they don't manage to mobilise the workers and serve mainly as a diversion.

The specifics have changed in the 15 years since, but I still think this is a useful starting point to consider the impact of today's campaigns and whether the permanent ones (especially around immigration, etc.) have gained more weight. This may also feed into radicalchains' concerns about the prominence we give these campaigns in our analyses (which are also our ideological counterstrikes).

That was an interesting read.

That was an interesting read. It seems the ICC has entered another period "of debate on the question of the way the organisation functions...[a] struggle to recover its unity and cohesion." Alf and other militants have stated this more than a few times over the past couple of years. The "preiod of internal reflection", etc. Hopefully this one doesn't last for four years.

My question after reading the link is this; has the proletariat overcome the counter-revolution? The text states today's working class has not been through "massive defeat". Does the proletariat need to experience a "massive" defeat to be massively defeated?

A proletariat with no historical perpective or sense of self - how is this different from defeat?

"My question after reading

"My question after reading the link is this; has the proletariat overcome the counter-revolution? The text states today's working class has not been through "massive defeat". Does the proletariat need to experience a "massive" defeat to be massively defeated?"

A very important question.

I think the answer is situated in the framework of decomposition. Historically, the bourgeoisie has been able to maintain the upper hand in the sense that it has prevented the proletariat from rediscovering its own revolutionary perspective. At the same time, it has not managed to defeat the class in the sense of enrolling it in a decisive way behind its own political objectives.

Because the bourgeoisie cannot, in these circumstances, offer any cohesive ideological project around which to orientate society other than implementing the crisis, pervasive but piecemeal militarism, etc. and the proletariat can't either everything tends to fall apart, we end up with a slow disintegration of both classes along with the rest of society. That disintegration can absolutely destroy the proletariat - we can already see the disastrous impact of the various catastrophes in the Middle East which have both physically and ideologically decimated the local proletariat for decades to come.

I'd also point, as another example, how the "modernising" wing of the bourgeoisie in the Middle East (Nasserism, Ba'athism) which looked to national development, education, etc. as a mobilising force in bourgeois politics has retreated in the face of the growing Islamic death cults of ISIS/ISIL, etc. Even people like Hamas look almost progressive (in bourgeois terms of course) these days! We see the same deterioration in bourgeois ideology in the West. The mainstream parties are more and more looking like what they really are: different wings of an unofficial (but real) One Party State that all share more-or-less the same ideology (faux neo-liberalism, unofficial despotism, etc.) while conspiracy theorists, Christian and Islamic fundamentalists, racists, die-hard Stalinists and eco-warriors foam at the mouth at the periphery.

Fragmentation seems to sum up the social order at both the material and ideological level and in my opinion, it's no accident that in that environment the development of rational, useful discussion within and between the main internationalist currents in the working class (such as they are) seems more and more difficult.

So no, in today's environment, the class doesn't need to be "massively defeated" in order to be effectively erased as an historic force, a process which is already well underway. The question is whether the counter-tendencies that stimulate the authentic response of the class can become powerful enough to overcome the general trajectory of this society.

I think what I was wondering when I opened the thread is what can the implementation and impact of the bourgeoisie's ideological campaigns tell us about where we are in that development.

ICC members in Turkey

ICC members in Turkey have left the organization - so Leo says on libcom. Is this  another defeat for the working class? 

Let's wait for the statement

Let's wait for the statement Leo mentions. Definitely a defeat for the ICC. Man, what is going on?

mikail firtinaci
That is shocking news indeed.

That is shocking news indeed. Is ICC planning to publish something about this?

In solidarity


ICGL have joined the thread

ICGL have joined the thread on libcom with their sanctimonious and slanderous "texts". Solidarity.


thanks mikhail for expressing solidarity. We will reply but we will not do so immediately. 

mikail firtinaci
Hang in there comrades!

Hang in there comrades!

a kind of defeat, i'm

a kind of defeat, i'm surprised if leo doesn't think he has good reason to exist the icc, but he's probably going to over emphasize things to make a point. i'm surprised too, leo seemed like a good character and not about to try and destroy a party cos he's not happy being a member.

I am not sure why it is so

I am not sure why it is so shocking......

i guess cos it suggests

i guess cos it suggests something is quite wrong

mikail firtinaci
it came shocking because I

it came shocking because I did not expect it.

me neither, seeing as i asked

me neither, seeing as i asked him like 6 months ago if he was stll in the icc and he replied he had no intention of leaving. i read it as ever, at the time IIRC, but militants can sound awkward sometimes.



Not sure Leo's up for destroying anything

From Leo's statements on LibCom and elsewhere on the web, I'm not sure he's going to be on a wrecking mission. He's been very clear that he wants nothing to do with the IGCL's attempts to smear the ICC which he described as 'ridiculous'; and he took someone to task for suggesting that his wish for the ICC to have success in its political endevours was less than genuine. I've taken his (so far brief) statements as pointing to 'principled disagreement'.


Sadly there have been some who have been crowing at this setback to the ICC. A very unedifying sight.

My belated solidarity with

My belated solidarity with the ICC, despite my differences and my tone on this forum at times I recognise the organisation as a vital weapon and educational resource in our fight for communism. I hope those that left don't give up the fight. I wish both all the best for the future, hopefully the parting of ways can be amicable.

Well, if the split is based

Well, if the split is based on "principled disagreement," its not clear to me why this would necessarily be a set-back for anyone--perhaps more a moment of clarification for the Turkish comrades, the ICC and the milieu as a whole (Perhaps that last part is a little wishful thinking?).

Bitter Lake

We'll have to wait and see on that. But I share your optimism. I don't quite know where to post this and don't want to start yet another thread. Adam Curtis new film

Bitter Lake:

It starts with the words:

 Increasingly we live in a world where nothing makes any sense. Events come and go like waves of a fever. Leaving us confused and uncertain. Those in power tell us stories to help us make sense of the complexity of reality. But those stories are increasingly unconvincing and hollow.

(If you cannot watch the film and want to try searching on Google watch Bitter Lake. I'm sure it will be streaming or downloadable in no time. Someone will probably put it on youtube in due course as well. I've seen most of his other films on there.)