News of our death is greatly exaggerated…

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Fred
News of our death is greatly exaggerated…
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: News of our death is greatly exaggerated…. The discussion was initiated by Fred.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

Fred
Death defying

Quote:
Some of our readers may feel that the polarisation of the ICC around its internal crisis and on fighting against the police-type attacks aimed at us is the expression of a kind of narcissistic lunacy or of a collective paranoid delirium.
 

So, with quotes from Mark Twain and  The Three Musketeers - well at least they were French -  the ICC lives to fight another day.  Or does it?  Imagine my paranoid delirium when I noticed the throw away remark on another thread confirming the discovery by radical chains that the ICC's French section no longer has a web site! Have the parasites finally triumphed?  Isn't the collapse of a web site in itself a kind of death?  Not exaggerated at all in this case! So what's  really going on?  

I have tried to follow the ins and outs of the fight with the parasites, and the brou-ha-ha around the woman in the French section who was wrongly accused of something never explained,  but can't.  This in itself  is a bit depressing. But to be assured in such confident and jolly terms that you the ICC are not really dead and everything's okay again now, and comrades who had been doubters have now returned rejoicing to the fold,  somewhat chilled the blood.  After all  the ICC is hardly known for jollity and humorous quips and this in itself can be construed as suspicious. 

So I don't know what to make of it all, or what I have identified wrongly I hope as the slow  asphyxiation of this  forum. 

ISIS and the rest of the bourgeoisie just go on triumphantly moving from mayhem to murder, and confusion to chaos. Nothing can stop them. We could perhaps. But where are we?  If we don't start responding soon wont it be too late? 

So I don't know whether to laugh or cry over the denial of the death of the ICC and understanding anything gets more and more difficult. 

 

Alf
French website

Fred, dont assume too much. the French website still goes on as you see from a click, but there's no longer a forum in french and Spanish. 

I understand that it is not easy to understand the crisis we have been through from this first article but there is a lot more to say. We also think it's a crisis which affects the revolutionary movement as a whole,though in different forms. 

Redacted
I want to echo some of the

I want to echo some of the things Fred has pointed out. Especially the part that questions "the brou-ha-ha around...something never explained".

 

A.Simpleton
Rebuilding trust

**

Again the ICC rings true-to-Marx and true-to-the-proletariat. The article is published only when thorough and proper process including extraordinary measures has been observed and is completed: not as some hasty PR job within the milieu to 'keep its profile up' like some bourgeois chancer. For me, this in itself is first proof that resolute effort continues to be expended to preserve those very ICC principles described in the content which thereby have been upheld through a threat despite the damage done.

The article then clearly and accessibly describes: the specific harm (no less than death threats) and the victim: the reason why the casualty was singled out (resolutely defending position and strategy against dangerous error)  the structure, nature, of the harming agents: the historical roots of this tendency and specifically relevant parallels from the revolutionary organisational history-we-learn-from. This is a second proof of principle. The same level of thorough analysis is applied to an internal crisis as is consistently applied to the global class struggle without . 

I am not a member: it is not my task to offer contributions about the thousands of resolutions that a revoulutionary organisation has taken over thirty five years woven into its structure, fabric, decisions, prioritisation. Note I say it's not my task rather than 'it's not my place' or 'I do not have the right' and here's the thing -I did first write 'it's not my place': but I stopped, thought about it, it's not just semantics. 'It's not my place' allows room for something misleading to arise : the sense of a servant having to keep his allotted place, which in turn then might be ridiculously magnified by a prejudiced perception,viz: that the ICC has something to do with the 'existence' of this 'place' (which doesn't exist) them 'up there' and me 'down here': and then oh watch it slide like shit off a shovel! down the snake to:' The ICC is "aloof, dictatorial, exclusive blah blah.

Now to use this hypothetical example could itself seem to be ridiculously paranoid ' imagined the whole thing' etc. No . What I have depicted with an apparently 'silly' semantic example is an allegory for the way in which misrepresentation, gossip, more gossip, gang gossip, agenda based selective 'evidence' collecting, throw in a few baseless titbits 'He was seen travelling home on the same bus as the girlfriend of a suspected car thief' works from nothing to a destructive force. Deliberately sparked but with its own momentum as well. 

We know this from the obscene, inflated arrogance of the bourgeois gutter press: which goes through bins, hacks murdered children's phone records, sets up entrapment stings.These methods of smearing are rightly described in the article as bourgeois methods and they have been put to use in this attack on an organisation which from inception has represented and still represents the diametric and qualitative opposite . I now understand more clearly what LoneLondoner meant.  Whether the false accusers, leakers, gossip-mongers, contagion-spreaders, were 'comrades' within gone bad or imposter-comrades gaining a foothold within and affiliated/ the agents of a bourgeois political party with a bourgeois agenda, they can be treated the same ie: as the same enemy.

And let's remember that the ICC for a decade has resolutely continued to describe, warn against and denounce the modus operandi of a process which was actually in process.I must honestly add that to my chagrin, I never paid much attention to 'parasitism' :Oh it's just another 'ism': you know how 'they' love their 'isms': it's all exaggerated: self-centred stuff: Such disinterest I can now see was wrong but shows how without being aware of it as that, the tone of the ificc undermining campaign viz:'the ICC are exaggerating the threat ' had settled effortlessly in perception. You can't exaggerate a death threat: and it was used.

That utmost effort and vigour - again a proof of principle imho - was turned by the deliberate sleight of hand of the unprincipled. Secrecy, exclusivity, clannishness: these are surely fabricated monsters projected onto the core ICC. Fabrications of the actual secretive, exclusive clan.The 'evidence' against the victim was considered by a jury of peers not to be evidence at all. And I note that again care and proper process was used to distinguish between proactive provocateurs and those whose error was more omission than comission. The article nonetheless pointed out that all comrades are urged to recognise that this omission, 'passive agreement' which could be I imagine even just getting on with what appears more pressing work, this neutrality is not neutral.

In these critical circumstances, which included the sowing of distrust - a truly pernicious and intangible enemy, I think the ICC's actions have been as considered and resolute as their words especially within the wider contex of the beleagured class.

AS

 

jk1921
It is true that crises are

It is true that crises are not necessarily fatal, but in order for something to really be a "crisis," musn't it pose the possibility that it could have been fatal? Was that really the case here? I think this goes to a deeper problem of how we use the concept of crisis in the Marxist tradition. If something goes on for fifty years is it really a crisis or just a new state of affairs, function by dysfunction, etc.?

In this case, the ICC has now been dealing with allegations about this particular comrade for over a decade now. The article doesn't explain it, but are we to conclude that these new allegations are from a completely different group of people who were not connected to the original group that formed the EFICC? How are we to understand that this one particular comrade is again at the center of a new round of allegations? The article appears to suggest that this one comrade is an example of true militant commitment and behaviour and this keeps generating distrust, and I suppose jealousy, from other comrades who have given into immediatism and opportunism? Is this right? The dynamic is a bit unclear here as are the implications for the ICC as a whole. Why does the ICC keep engendering this kind of suspicion and distrust within its ranks? What does this say about the overall health of the ICC?

Still, I think this points to deeper issues of the very nature of a revolutionary organization that attempts to maintain itself within capitalist society. Can a revolutionary organization really ever function "smoothly" in this context? Or are these kind of chronic problems of functioning in some sense inevitable--moments of capitulation to the existing society, countered by moments of clarity and "regeneration"?

Nevertheless, it seems likely that the kind of moral and intellectual struggle the article talks about can't go on forever. Its true that the proletarian struggle can't be reduced to economics alone, but its also true that moral and intellectual struggles don't emerge out of thin air and it seems likely to me that they can't be sustained forever without some kind of boost from "material circumstances" that gives them new life--a new wave of class struggle, giving rise to a new generation of militants that adopts militancy because they are convinced it is necessary. I fear that once the Generation of '68 is gone, if there is no new round of struggles that organically give rise to a new generation of militants, the actual death of the ICC and indeed the entire milieu itself, is certainly possible—if not likely.

And this is where the article was a little disappointing: It says nothing about the wider problems of the ICC--the collapse of sections, the inability to sustain activity with contacts, etc. Did the problems surrounding this comrade in France require the ICC to virtually abandon its contacts, as appears to have largely happened? Was it necessary to "solve" this problem first before carrying on with other parts of its work? But if the revolutionary organization is truly an alien body within capitalist society, it seems unlikely that these kinds of problems of functioning can ever be truly resolved. If we wait until they are "fixed" before getting on with things, then we will be waiting forever. As the article states, the idea of a "smoothly running" organization is really an illusion. There are always tensions and problems given the weight of capitalist social relationships, ideology, etc on everyone who has to live under capitalism, including militants.

Redacted
Still totally in the dark.

Still totally in the dark. Outside of the issues regarding the functioning of a revolutionary organization, which are hugely important issues as the article points out, there's little to take and grow from here.

Alf
Crisis

The comrades are right to pose questions about our internal crisis and I hope that we can answer them, but this will take some reflection on our part so again we ask for patience. In this respect I particularly appreciate the post by AS for its clear expresson of solidarity and of confidence in the method of the ICC. 

Jk is right to point out what might not have appeared so clearly in the article: the same comrade most vilified  - to the point of being accused of being a state agent - by the IFICC in the 2001 crisis (and again the subject of particular attacks in the ex-IFICC's recent 'appeal') was again the subject of a kind of scapegoating within the ICC a decade later and, despite all the investigations and texts which had refuted these allegations and exposed the profound degneration of those who were accusing her in 2001, the organisation fell asleep and allowed this new campaign to emerge in a more insidious way a decade later. The article (written in continuity with the findings of the Jury of Honour) again links this, above all, to the comrade's intransigence about the defence of the ICC's principles, not in an abstract sense but in response to certain opportunist slidings that developed in our external intervention as well as in our internal functioning. The fact that this repetition could take place in an organisation that seeks to draw the maximum of lessons from its own historical experence, as well as from the experience of the workers' movement, was deeply shocking and the clearest proof of the depth of the 'moral and intellectual crisis' we have spoken about. And while Jk is also right to see that, as an alien body in capitalist society, such crises are to some extent unavoidable, this doesn't at all obviate the necessity for a permanent struggle against the pernicious influences of the existing order and its ideology within our own ranks. At certain moments, this struggle will be so intense that it will oblige us to retreat from certain of our external activities, although it has never been our intention to 'abandon' our contacts. On the contrary, we need their support and solidarity more than ever.  

Redacted
So Alf, just to be absolutely

So Alf, just to be absolutely clear, there will be public (non-internal) material published about why the comrade was vilified and scapegoated, about the details of these "oppurtunist slidings", what issues were in question that lead to this turmoil, etc?

Still left out in the cold trying to figure out what issues lead to the vilification, scapegoating, death threats, etc. Keep in mind I've only been in contact with the ICC since 2009, so unlike the other comrades in this thread I got nothing from the past (2001-02?) to go on here. "Oppurtunist slidings", possibly regarding interventions, is the most detailed description I've heard.

I would love to pledge support and solidarity, and I do in regards to the points about the revolutionary organization laid forth in this article, but without knowing the actual theoretical differences and issues at hand here I think that's an unfair request, especially for the "unintiated".

baboon
Agree with many of the points

Agree with many of the points made by AS and jk21 above - particularly the very solid post by AS and his reference to the analysis of parasitism in the workers' movement. I don't have any more information about these events than anyone on here but I don't think that it's helpful to talk about the "initiated" in relation to a question, though with limited information, that's important for the whole working class. "There's no smoke without fire" is one of the weapons of the attackers of the ICC - see Victor Serge as referenced. I think that we should also be wary about the idea that an open resurgence of class struggle would clarify and in some way solve the problems of revolutionary organisation. Unless fundamental issues are confronted a resurgence of struggle could make these problems worse - we've seen in 82 and again, the last few years according to the text, problems of activism around intervention. I agree with jk and Alf that "smooth running" is something that doesn't happen and that these problems are in many ways unavoidable. And in regard to wanting "smooth running" over all else the text shows that this expression was part of an avoidence of the real problems.

I was well aware of and very much against the personal attacks on this particular comrade when I was in the ICC. It was shocking and deplorable and this scapegoating was a cover for other political positions and ambitions. I was surprised that they were continuing for this long. I should imagine that they have been fed from the outside by the IFICC but the real vector, as the text says, is gossip and the cliquish gossip culture that stays hidden in corners and maybe tolerated in exchange for "smooth running". It's a certain vector for quite insidiously spreading distrust. "Why does the ICC keep having these crises?" is a question raised above and the short answer is that it is a revolutionary organisation existing within the decomposition of all thing capitalist. I feel that this precious and precarious existence must be affecting all revolutionary elements.

But what's positive here is that the ICC has confronted the crisis head on and, in very difficult circumstances, has shown its organisation at work in, without overestimating any all-time solutions, what looks to be a successful extraordinary meeting representing the whole organisation.

jk1921
Hyperbole

Alf wrote:

At certain moments, this struggle will be so intense that it will oblige us to retreat from certain of our external activities, although it has never been our intention to 'abandon' our contacts. On the contrary, we need their support and solidarity more than ever.  

A bit of hyperbole on my part, but I think it does speak to a palpable sense of frustration that some of us feel at times. Of course, not knowing more details about what actually happened its hard to form an independent judgment about whether or not this matter was so grave as to warrant "retreating from certain external activities." So was this really a "crisis" or not? Was there really a chance that the ICC might have disappeared as a result of this matter?

But, this still leaves a lot unaddressed regarding what many probably perceive as a broader organizational "decline" of the ICC that is not really connected to this particular issue with the comrade in France. I suspect some will say that this is used as an excuse to not address these broader issues--you know, the things Devrim talks about when people ask him about the ICC--a kind of organizational atrophy caused by the failure, inability, however you want to put it, to link up with the younger generations and transmit the lessons, etc. etc.

jk1921
Fair point

baboon wrote:

I think that we should also be wary about the idea that an open resurgence of class struggle would clarify and in some way solve the problems of revolutionary organisation. Unless fundamental issues are confronted a resurgence of struggle could make these problems worse - we've seen in 82 and again, the last few years according to the text, problems of activism around intervention. I

A fair point and I wonder if the issues around immediatism and opportunism that the French comrade was reacting to had to do with just this--a kind of activist approach to the myriad of contacts, etc. that sprung up in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis (that was a genuine crisis!)? The article doesn't really explain that point. I wonder if the "retreat to the inside" might have been a bit of an overcorrection of these tendencies, but I am just speculating now.

But still, I think in the last instance that the broader problems facing the ICC and the milieu as a whole won't be surmounted, surpassed, etc. without a broader resurgence of class struggle that presents new circumstances that require immediate concrete solutions for these problems to fit the needs of a movement on the upswing. Its not that the organization can't make any progress on these issues in the meantime, but eventually we are going to run up against the demographic limits of the Generation of '68 and that is a problem that no moral and intellectual struggle can solve on its own.

jk1921
Death Threats

Just specifically on the issue of death threats: That is, of course, totally unacceptable. However, I am left befuddled trying to compehend exactly what kind of political differences would move sincere communists to threaten a comrade's life? Leaving aside the possibility that the people who made these threats weren't ever "sincere communists," the obvious answer is that they weren't really "political" differences at all, but intense emotional conflict generated by the sense of losing something one has come to define their existence by--being so immersed in the organizational life that there is little "outside" with which to give one the needed perspective to realize that threatening someone's life, whatever the organizational stakes, represents a capitulation to the perverse ethics of the very society one ostensibly opposes.

I suppose the ICC then has to ask itself what is it about its internal functioning that is generating these kinds of perverse emotions in some of its militants? Of course, those who hate the ICC will use these events as evidence of its moribund nature, that it can never be made whole again, that no matter what it does these problems keep coming back. Some will probably, in a process of reductio ad Stalinium, suggest that this is proof that no matter how hard an organization professes to represent an alternative to Stalinism, reality will always tell a different story. This would all of course be an easy excuse for not confronting the difficult problems of organizational functioning, but these problems still need concrete solutions. Still, I bet many who read this will wonder if any of this is, at the end of the day, worth enduring death threats for?

Fred
In an article entitled

post deleted. Fred. 

     

Alf
death threats

Just to be clear: the death threats were not part of the recent internal crisis. They were made against an ICC militant by an element of the IFICC some years ago. 

Redacted
I just wanted to quickly say

I just wanted to quickly say that after some advice from a comrade and some deeper though, I understand a little clearer the nature of this situation. It was never my intention as a non-member to "know the ins and outs" of the ICC's internal business. It was naivity and also general curiousity in regards to the political issues not mentioned in this article.

Cheers and solidarity!

baboon
Hatred

I think that one of the lessons, ongoing lessons, of this business is the need for open discussion where political positions or misunderstandings are clearly confronted. I think that curiousity, questions, concerns about detail are understandable and necessary but belong in a wider framework of a primary defence of revolutionary organisation.

One thing that I can't explain is the blind, visceral hatred of the ICC that exists, to one degree or another, in many of it ex-elements. Hempel, who puts himself up a the sole spokesman of the revolutionary proletariat, has openly said that he would work with the cops against the ICC - which in effect is what he has been and will continue to do. Maciver, another whose soul had been eaten away by an irrational hatred of the ICC - something that he has displayed publicly in spades for all to see. On libcom there is generally an instinctive hatred of the ICC and all who support it that comes from the elemental antipathy that anarchism feels for marxism but this hatred from ex-members and the cliques around them goes beyond this. And this hatred in all its glory festers and breeds the "no smoke without fire" idea that itself feeds into the wider milieu.

With regard to the ongoing abuse of one member of the ICC going back decades then I think that this is expressive of a deeper problem that questions the defence of revolutionary organisation and its functioning. The text on the betrayal of German Social Democracy on the WWI page is full of pertinent points around this discussion. The unbelievable attacks on Rosa Luxemburg from grown men that called themselves marxist. The ongoing cattiness and bitchiness of the content of their remarks in the campaign against her which were really against an instranigent defence of marxism and method. And the perfect vector for these attacks on Luxemburg weren't of course open discussion and confrontation of positions, but the private gossip networks, the cliques influenced by outside elements, the insidious development of unoffical and caustically-loaded lines of communication.

They might dress it up, poncify it with high sounding phrases, but one of the major motor forces of the actions of the ex-members of the ICC is pure hatred and revenge and in this work they do the work of the state by undermining solidarity by arousing similar base feelings among other elements of the revolutionary milieu who feel that as small and relatively insignificant that it is, the ICC is "too big for its boots and needs to be taken down a peg or two". That's unsaid of course by those other elements of the milieu who, rather than expressing support,  keep their own agenda close to their chest. And outside of these elements, among the wider milieu and even around the ICC, further distrust and suspicion is sown. It's the work of anti-working class forces.

baboon
"Why oh why..."

A short while ago, under pressure from the spread of imperialist wars, I briefly flirted with the idea of “why, oh why can’t the ICC and ICT bury their differences and put up a joint internationalist front?” But such a position, a “common sense” position, tends in its naivety towards opportunism because the ICT, and its former embodiments, the CWO and the IBRP, has consistently tried to help undermine the ICC in fighting off these attacks: by looking the other way, by stoking up the “no smoke without fire” slander and by it itself complicit in an attack on the ICC with the use of a very dubious element. The ICT has, as far as I know, never clarified its position regarding this element and his role in the Argentinean Circulo. There can’t be any solidarity with someone who says it must your fault if you are getting attacked and, for good measure, helps to stab you in the back.

There’ s been enough publicity about the role of the state in infiltrating and undermining forces that it sees as a threat – even innocuous ones – for us to know for sure that revolutionary forces would not be exempt from this. The naivety of the milieu on this question was in part shown by the defence of a cop-trainer by “libertarian-communist” elements on libcom in his membership of a so-called “revolutionary organisation” (and just look at the detail from the archives of the Okhrana a hundred years ago). The ICC took a clear position on the libcom issue as was its responsibility. This sort of naivety in the democratic state spreads wider through the milieu leading to a position where the theft of ICC material and information is condemned in some terms but basically it’s a problem internal to the ICC and an “agnostic” position is put forward rather than a defence of revolutionary organisation against the activities of the state or against those that de facto act as elements of the state.

I was in the ICC when a spate of attacks on the comrade mentioned above broke out for the second time. There were really nasty comments, abuse, made against her and the fact that these have persisted underground and fed from the outside shows the interest of the bourgeoisie in trying to undermine the ICC. There was no political jealousy or rivalry here such as one might extend to the ICT for example but a continuous programme of lies, slander and gossip. And just to repeat any of the gossip – much of which I’ve forgotten – is to feed it and keep the appetite for it alive. It’s not confronted in open discussion of course but flourishes in the dark, in the shadows and – as we can clearly see – has been fed from the outside and to the outside along with information about the ICC and its organisational functioning that will be of interest to the bourgeoisie.