Report of a meeting held recently by the CWO

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Report of a meeting held recently by the CWO
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This meeting held in Manchester in April, was also attended by members of the ICC, some anarchists, and various individual unattached left communists. But it is the account of the meeting, written by Jock, which is so striking and so well worth reading, and (dare it be said) comes across as so positive about (a) improved relations between left communists and certain anarchists ( the clarity of the Birov group in Serbia is mentioned) (b) the gradual ripening of class consciouness and the continuing development of capitalisms's unstoppable crisis (c) the increasing urgency to think about the formation of the international party and (d) thoughtful ideas ideas about how that party today will differ from that of the Bosheviks - though their contribution in this vital proletarian understanding is not at all to be down-played, despite mistakes - and the part it will play in coming events.

I was very excited to read this article, and heartily recommend it. It is to be found here:

I hope the ICC doesn't find it a bit cheeky of me to "advertise" this report on their site - Internationalist Voice has placed things on this forum before - but it does seem to me that this is an important statement by tbe ICT, which effects us all, and could effect our proletarian future. Also, it would be nice to know what other readers on this forum think about this, and the chance it represents at last of a rosy dawn. At least I think it does : I hope it does? Fred.

Just to give a flavor of the

Just to give a flavor of the convivial and out-reaching hand of the ICT's report referred to above, a short quote.

"... today the Anarchist Federation carries in its paper an outline of revolutionary action and organisation that is not too distant from our own. Similarly we have read on the ICC website of a group called the Birov Collective which calls itself anarcho-syndicalist but it s ideas of syndicates are very close to ours of workplace groups as both are essentially political in character (this contrast with the Solidarity Federation in the UK) . Today the debate is not between Anarchism and Marxism but between revolutionaries from both camps and the traditional left which are all based on the restoration in one form or another of social democracy."


I agree that the CWO's account of the meeting is encouraging. There are still many scars left from the past, but there are signs that it may just be possible to work towards a much more healthy rapport between the two organisations.

Scars are not so bad, it's

Scars are not so bad, it's open wounds that favor further infection. Jock wrote: "Up to now communist have separated over issues largely of historical creation. Past errors have become current shibboleths. Rather than a source of understanding history has largely been a nightmare weighing on the living and magnifying differences which are hardly ever properly explored. Today we are on the edge of new situation and we need to re-examine our practices."

I'm not sure what he means by "historical creation" or "shibboleths" but it all sounds vaguely encouraging. But does decomposition render organizational rapport more difficult I wonder? And now, of course, in considering "healthy rapport" there may be more than two organizations to think about: what about, for example, Internationalist Voice, and Birov and other internationalist anarchist groupings? Isn't the proletarian milieu
beginning to extend itself?

on the brink?

A new article on the ICT website, which takes a slightly optimistic view of the current historical situation with regard to the development of the crisis and the chance of a proletarian response, ends with these words: "It may be like in 1917 that the outbreak will come out of the blue as the gnawing wretchedness of existence becomes too much to bear. However it comes, the whole history of humanity suggests that we stand on the brink of just such a period. It may not be tomorrow or next year. It may be further off. It will certainly be when some revolutionaries have written off the working class in their lifetimes but come it will."

Could it be that the ICT don't know about decomposition?

Fred, the ICT tend to reject

Fred, the ICT tend to reject decomposition as "idealist." I am not sure what the comrades are getting at in the quote there. Are they saying revolution is inevitable? That seems more than a little idealist.

re: Fred

Fred wrote: "I'm not sure what he means by 'historical creation' or 'shibboleths' but it all sounds vaguely encouraging."


Historical creation is exactly what it sounds like, the act of creating and recapitulating histories to tell ourselves.  A shibboleth is a kind of pithy insult, the employment of which is meant to convey contempt in such a way that only the parties conversing can make out a kind of meaning, and in most cases their meanings will be different.  The IV discussion contains a number of shibboleths; you can usually tell them when you see them.


As for encouraging, I'll be encouraged when I see the active rather than the passive voice employed in this kind of reconciliation talk.  "We could have done x, y, and z better" is a far cry from "mistakes were made".  I don't mean to imply who should be making a thorough and public critique of what, or that Jock specifically should have said something more specific.  It's just that the atmosphere right now is one of realizing we need to do better, and nowhere near the place where we can begin to make concrete steps towards doing so.

I think the atmosphere today

I think the atmosphere today is characterized by: "Oh my god, there is a new generation of people interested in these ideas, but our organizations' interminable conflicts threaten to make us irrelevant to them--yet, we have few ideas on what to do about it."

Zimmerwald--what exactly did you find to be the "shibboleths" in the IV thread?


The one that jumps to mind - from memory only, since the thread is long and I don't have the time to do more than skim it at this point - is the whole bit about Alf acting like a politician.  You or Fred could probably do a better job of identifying where that discussion veered into unproductivity, since you participated in it, than I as a fairly casual observer could.

Thanks Zimmerwald. Good to

Thanks Zimmerwald. Good to hear from you.