Somebody on libcom responded to a claim that the ICC had at least COHERENCE going for it, whatever else it lacked, by interpreting "coherence" as meaning the ICC is MONOLITHIC. I think we have to pay some attention to this, and not just dismiss it. One of the complaints made about the ICC is that it doesn't discuss what its thinking about enough, but tends only to present its final thoughts, its conclusions, for public consumption. This means a reader can only agree or not agree with what's said because the process of discussion, and arriving at the conclusions presented is actually over: at least for the ICC. Thus monolithism appears to be born.
The ICC continually advocates "the culture of debate" but it can be difficult to discuss with someone who has already considered and made up his mind on a subject (albeit temporarily) if you yourself are not clear on what exactly you think about the said subject and are trying to feel your way around. The other's personal clarity on the subject can appear not as coherence but as dogmatism or a wholesale rejection of your attempts to work out what you think for yourself. This can cause you to dismiss what the other is saying as "just your opinion", "you think you know everything" or "you're not always right" and an opportunity for useful expansion of consciousness is thus lost. I suspect the ICC suffers a great deal from this sort of response, especially from younger people, witness some of the posts that turn up elsewhere on the Internet in response to ICC "clarity". I'm not saying ICC doesn't have clarity just that having it and appearing to use it like a blunt instrument, which is how it comes across to some in an initial interaction with the ICC, is extremely regrettable.
I don't know what the solution is to this difficulty, if it is a difficulty. And other comrades may think it a trivial issue. But wasn't Lenin always repeating the slogan "patiently explain and explain patiently". Perhaps he realized the dilemma for someone who has sorted out what they think and why they think it in trying and wanting to react with others who haven't reached that point yet. Do you just bombard them with your completed thoughts - like a ready-made - or have to find an educative process through which to lead out and develop an inherent consciousness waiting to be unveiled in those who are on the way? Isn't this what Socrates was supposed to be good at?
Wasn't there an example of what I'm trying to talk about recently on this web site? I should have looked it up before beginning this post.. Comrade jk suddenly came up with a very concise presentation of the type of "substitutionism" theorized and practiced by Gramsci and his followers. Demogorgon lauded the concise clarity of the statement. But to anybody not already in the know, or who hadn't followed the thought processes and motivation behind what was now being presented, because these processes were not included or elaborated, the marvelous post was like a knock on the head. Now you may say "well, at this point, its your job as a follower of the ICC's forum to go away and read up on Gramsci. Don't be lazy!" But perhaps I am lazy. Perhaps I want the comfort, the luxury of other comrades trying to help me understand. Perhaps I don't always want to be an isolated individual pursuing knowledge on my own. Perhaps I'm looking for a solidarity of purpose and a solidarity in the process of coming to consciousness. After all, we are communist comrades, not bourgeois intellectuals in the pursuit of science. Shouldn't we all be helping each other as best we can? But then you may say: we already do.
I hope I have explained myself sufficiently well. But have my doubts.