Communiqué on the ICC section in Turkey

41 posts / 0 new
Last post
ICC
Communiqué on the ICC section in Turkey
Printer-friendly version

The members of the ICC's section in Turkey have recently announced their decision to resign from the organisation. The ICC considers that these resignations are completely premature since they have been preceded by no in-depth discussion on any divergences of principle which could justify an organisational separation. The ICC's aim is therefore to convince the comrades to withdraw their resignations and to continue the discussion within the organisation.

Fred
Turkish Comrades

I welcome the ICC's statement above.  

But I admit I know nothing about this matter or anything of the comrades involved.  However, I am convinced that all the communist comrades in question, in so far as and because they must all in fact be committed to the proletarian cause and to the understanding of and need for proletarian revolution, must inevitably  have much more in common with each other than they have in differences. 

To further disrupt and splinter one of the few proletarian organizations that exist at this time, is an act of extreme idiocy it seems to me, like a sadistic act of self-harm, and plays right into the hands of our merciless enemy the bourgeoisie.  Isnt it enough that they, our suppressors,  immolate their victims in fiery furnaces to further terrorize and inhibit the growth of class consciousness in those they exploit, without joining in ourselves with acts of self-destruction?    

I am quite prepared to believe that the ICC is a difficult organization to belong to and stick with, and has no shortage of infuriating faults. It can probably border on the unbearable I should think. But it is more or less all we've got and we can't afford to lose it can we, or reduce it to nothingness?  In addition, it doubtless isnt easy to try and change it from within given its longevity among other things!  

But TURKISH COMRADES please try.  Don't give up. Don't further diminish our proletarian know-how by going it alone, because that won't work either.  What good are isolated comrades?    

I can imagine that thoughts of further "in-depth discussion" about "divergences of principle" with ICC  stalwarts may lack immediate appeal. But please think very  carefully before throwing in the towel. 

Redacted
Support the milieu

I support the ICC's statement, but at the same time have the strong feeling the Turkish comrades are not just some rash twenty-somethings acting in a "premature" manner. This kind of language is at least percieved as part of the problem. The ICC knows this, but still chooses to risk writing in the voice of the "robot center" it so vehemently rejects.

Can we just "in-depth discussion" our way into communism? It's a serious question.

We should all wait for the official statement from the Turkish comrades before saying much more. This includes the ICC. These kinds of posts (including this one) aren't going to help the situation.

 

 

Redacted
The timing on the part of the

The timing on the part of the Turkish comrades really couldn't have been worse for the ICC. This must be adding incredible psychological weight on the brains of its militants, and other comrades. Let's try not to "freak out" because there is still a lot of work ahead. Stay relaxed and vigilant. Cheers and solidarity to all revolutionaries.

radicalchains
Well said Fred, I don't agree

Well said Fred, I don't agree with you about the "idiocy" part or your harsh criticisms of the ICC, never having been part it. 

Jamal,

 these resignations are completely premature since they have been preceded by no in-depth discussion on any divergences of principle

If this is the case I can't agree with you either. I don't think age etc has anything to do with it. Of course there could be important other differences or reasons for them to leave. A concern is that they could have thought it was worthless to stay in and organise around their differences.

It strikes me at this stage they may have thought something was fundamentally wrong with the organisational side of things and I'm guessing how this relates to practice. Reading between the lines of Leo's posts on Libcom.

I'm not sure what you mean by: adding incredible psychological weight on the brains of its militants  

People leave organisations, they splinter etc It's not uncommon and the ICC have their own history of this like all other groups. Equally someone might say ICC militants are not rash twenty-somethings.

However, I do agree with your last sentances. I would add, there is no reason for 'gossip' and we should wait patiently for any further statements or writings from the ICC and ex-Turkish section.

 

 

 

Redacted
This "gossip" environment is

This "gossip" environment is as much a result of "internal bulletin" culture as it is isolated, non-affiliated comrades trying to figure out what is going on...and being told to wait months and months for any reasonable explaination.

By no means can I speak for other comrades but basic logic entails if the Turkish comrades have left the ICC, they don't view their resignations as without "divergences of principle".

radicalchains
I think the point here is

I think the point here is about principled disagreement though, (which should include) discussion within whatever org you are in, writing documents, bringing it to the attention of the org as a whole etc If this wasn't done or couldn't be done for whatever reason then there is a problem. 

Which is different to people leaving then discussion and documents being produced after the fact (which is what has been hinted at by both parties).

Fred
trying to figure it out

Jamal wrote:

This "gossip" environment is as much a result of "internal bulletin" culture as it is isolated, non-affiliated comrades trying to figure out what is going on...and being told to wait months and months for any reasonable explaination.

 

I agree with what Jamal says above. "Trying to figure out what is going"  on can become a major occupation of anyone spending much time on this forum.  But I take radicalchain's censure on board and apologise for uncalled for use of the word "idiocy" in my post above.

My criticism's, such as they are, stem from my love  and respect for the ICC and not from any longing to be "harsh" or offensive. I want the ICC to grow and prosper; for comrades to speak out and be heard and for the proletariat to take charge of the planet and all  its life. To further all this, surely we need more involvement in more open discussion by all comrades not less, and more informed critical critiques not less? 

jk1921
One person's "principled

One person's "principled disagreement" is another's "premature split" it seems. Obviously, more facts are needed in order to make up one's own mind.

What does "internal bulletin culture" mean?

Finally, I have to take some issue with Fred's implication that isolated comrades are useless. Isolation is of course a relative thing, and generally speaking isn't a good thing, but prior generations of comrades have persevered through conditions probably worse than what we face today.

Redacted
What does "internal bulletin

What does "internal bulletin culture" mean?

Cherry-picking discussions, debates, disagreements and news to keep private among members. Restricting the free transfer of information between left communists. I understand some of the problems with "transparency" but with the milieu the way it is, and with many left comms not active in organizations, I don't think left comm orgs are helping to foster a culture of revolutionary thinking and debate by keeping all the specific troubles and problems hidden from one another. The implications of these problems are always wider than they seem for the milieu at large.

LoneLondoner
Why internal bulletins, what principled differences?

Jamal raises three questions which I would like to take a stab at:

  1. "Divergences of principle". When you join the ICC, you do so on the basis of its Platform (published on this site) and its Statutes (which we don't publish, but which are in effect part of the Platform: there is an article on the historical context of our Statutes which you would probably find worth reading). This leaves room for pretty substantial areas of disagreement within the organisation on both major questions (the nature of capitalist decadence for example, or the nature of ethics), and less significant ones (what is the significance of the Indignados movement for example). As long as there are no disagreements with the Platform or the Statutes, then we expect differences to be discussed and resolved in the normal course of the ICC's internal life. If necessary they are resolved by a vote where the majority decision holds. If they are not resolved then the discussion continues. So that at any one time there is a great deal of debate going on within the ICC, in its meetings and in its bulletins, and of course that means that a lot of the time there is a minority and a majority on many questions. All this is part of the normal life of a revolutionary organisation and should not be a reason for a split. The only principled reason for a split is a split on principles, if I can put it like that.
  2. Why internal bulletins? Well, first of all the "gossip culture" and "internal bulletin culture" are diametrically opposed. Our internal bulletins are precisely the means for political debate between comrades world-wide, absolutely the opposite of gossip. In fact generally, for us, they are the jewel in the ICC crown (even if they sometimes make heavy reading), into which we pour huge energy in translation especially. So why internal? Quite simply, because being in an organisation is not the same thing as not being in an organisation. Internal bulletins contain a lot of information which must perforce remain internal: the doings of sections, meetings with contacts, reports and resolutions from the different central organs (see what the cited article has to say about discretion concerning the organisation's affairs). They are also a place where comrades can debate freely knowing that they are speaking among comrades - which is not necessarily the case when a debate is in public. Moreover, we think we have a responsibility when we publish texts or articles, to make sure that they are clear and comprehensible: that after all is the specific role of a revolutionary organisation, to contribute to the clarity of the working class. Inevitably, in the middle of a debate there is much that is confused or even just plain wrong, so debates only get published once it is clear what the argument is, and if necessary when it is clear what the different positions actually are. That way, we hope, they contribute clarity not confusion.
  3. Finally, on language. This is an ancient chestnut and I can't really see why it keeps coming up. Many of the comrades in the ICC are not writing in their mother tongue, a lot of what we write is translated (and translation is an art in itself). Our main purpose is to be clear, and understood. If the language is sometimes a bit stiff, or infected with idiomatic turns of phrase from a couple of other languages - well, I would expect internationalists not to bother too much about that and to make allowances.
jk1921
Agree

LoneLondoner wrote:
  1. Why internal bulletins? Well, first of all the "gossip culture" and "internal bulletin culture" are diametrically opposed. Our internal bulletins are precisely the means for political debate between comrades world-wide, absolutely the opposite of gossip. In fact generally, for us, they are the jewel in the ICC crown (even if they sometimes make heavy reading), into which we pour huge energy in translation especially. So why internal? Quite simply, because being in an organisation is not the same thing as not being in an organisation. Internal bulletins contain a lot of information which must perforce remain internal: the doings of sections, meetings with contacts, reports and resolutions from the different central organs (see what the cited article has to say about discretion concerning the organisation's affairs). They are also a place where comrades can debate freely knowing that they are speaking among comrades - which is not necessarily the case when a debate is in public. Moreover, we think we have a responsibility when we publish texts or articles, to make sure that they are clear and comprehensible: that after all is the specific role of a revolutionary organisation, to contribute to the clarity of the working class. Inevitably, in the middle of a debate there is much that is confused or even just plain wrong, so debates only get published once it is clear what the argument is, and if necessary when it is clear what the different positions actually are. That way, we hope, they contribute clarity not confusion.

I have to agree with LL. I am not sure where the phrase "internal bulletin culture" comes from, but it hardly sounds like something meant to defend the practice. I think behind the issue of the internal bulletins is the larger issue of the need for a revolutionary organization seperate from the broader class itself. What is the point of having an organization if it doesn't have an internal life? Should we just forget the headaches involved in building an organization and do everything out in the open--perhaps on Internet forums? I think the issue of internal bulletins serves as a euphemism for the question of the necessity of a revolutionary party itself. That discussion is perfectly legitimate, but lets call it what it is.

Redacted
I do not disagree with you

I do not disagree with you guys. My question is should sympathizers and other left communists be so seperated from the organization? Jk...I would assume you get the internal bulletins...some don't

Alf
members and non-members

The ICC' s rules on this point are quite clear: internal bulletins are for members not sympathisers. The organisation can of course decide to make certain texts from the bulletins available to sympathisers according to the circumstance (such as invitation to congresses, for example). 

radicalchains
Communist Bulletin Group will be along shortly ;)

jk1921 wrote:

LoneLondoner wrote:
  1. Why internal bulletins? Well, first of all the "gossip culture" and "internal bulletin culture" are diametrically opposed. Our internal bulletins are precisely the means for political debate between comrades world-wide, absolutely the opposite of gossip. In fact generally, for us, they are the jewel in the ICC crown (even if they sometimes make heavy reading), into which we pour huge energy in translation especially. So why internal? Quite simply, because being in an organisation is not the same thing as not being in an organisation. Internal bulletins contain a lot of information which must perforce remain internal: the doings of sections, meetings with contacts, reports and resolutions from the different central organs (see what the cited article has to say about discretion concerning the organisation's affairs). They are also a place where comrades can debate freely knowing that they are speaking among comrades - which is not necessarily the case when a debate is in public. Moreover, we think we have a responsibility when we publish texts or articles, to make sure that they are clear and comprehensible: that after all is the specific role of a revolutionary organisation, to contribute to the clarity of the working class. Inevitably, in the middle of a debate there is much that is confused or even just plain wrong, so debates only get published once it is clear what the argument is, and if necessary when it is clear what the different positions actually are. That way, we hope, they contribute clarity not confusion.

I have to agree with LL. I am not sure where the phrase "internal bulletin culture" comes from, but it hardly sounds like something meant to defend the practice. I think behind the issue of the internal bulletins is the larger issue of the need for a revolutionary organization seperate from the broader class itself. What is the point of having an organization if it doesn't have an internal life? Should we just forget the headaches involved in building an organization and do everything out in the open--perhaps on Internet forums? I think the issue of internal bulletins serves as a euphemism for the question of the necessity of a revolutionary party itself. That discussion is perfectly legitimate, but lets call it what it is.

I think it's a euphemism not for the necessity of a revolutionary organisation but the nature of said organisation. Now, this might be irrelevant but I was recently reading the ICC Wiki entry and it says most of the original founders were students. This is sure to have had an impact on how the organisation was set up and the way it functions. I don't know if it's something that has been explored or reflected upon. The private internal culture also may be reflected in the public culture especially over a longer period of time i.e an organisation can become increasingly insular and cut off from discussion outside, other groups, workers in general etc 

baboon
Agree with jk about the

Agree with jk about the internal bulletins of the ICC being a large part of the organisation. It's ridiculous about everyone having immediate access to bulletins and internal discussion. On the other side of the political question laid out by LL above is a practical one - how could such a thing possibly be produced? There's also an underestimation here of the importance of this discussion site which, many times, has found its way into articles, positions, etc., of the ICC.

Redacted
The ICC being monolithic?

The ICC being monolithic? Ridiculous.

Non-members participating within the organization? Ridiculous. Inconceivable.

This is a problem.

Amir1
to jamal

Jamal wrote:

The ICC being monolithic? Ridiculous.

Non-members participating within the organization? Ridiculous. Inconceivable.

This is a problem.

how do you know? we are following the writing and read them carefully thus we participating with own way.
Demogorgon
Problem?

"This is a problem."

Why? Do you think the organisation needs a boundary between members and non-members? What do you think that boundary should be?

 

Redacted
I think the ICC was created

Wasn't the ICC was created with the intention of bringing together left communists across the globe who believed in a common set of basic positions and principles - what were the boundaries back then?

There's so many different, fractured groups today in the milieu, does the ICC see itself as having worked its purpose in comparison to 40 years ago?

Demogorgon
"Wasn't the ICC was created

"Wasn't the ICC was created with the intention of bringing together left communists across the globe who believed in a common set of basic positions and principles - what were the boundaries back then?"

The ICC has always defended Lenin's position that there is a clear line between members and non-members. One of the boundaries is that internal bulletins are for members only, as elucidated by Alf earlier on this thread.

"There's so many different, fractured groups today in the milieu, does the ICC see itself as having worked its purpose in comparison to 40 years ago?"

Of course not. What's that got to do with handing out internal bulletins to non-members?

Redacted
If everything is an internal

If everything is an internal bulletin, and everything has to be first discussed exclusively within the ICC, without the rest of the milieu - no matter the issue, the circumstances or time constraints, almost ceremonially - what's the reason for not taking the whole group underground?

MH
two related issues

Jamal wrote:

Wasn't the ICC was created with the intention of bringing together left communists across the globe who believed in a common set of basic positions and principles - what were the boundaries back then?

There's so many different, fractured groups today in the milieu, does the ICC see itself as having worked its purpose in comparison to 40 years ago?

Hi Jamal, I think there are two related answers to your question; yes the ICC at its foundation saw itself – as it does today – as a ‘pole of regroupment’ for revolutionaries ... and it also saw its own positions as providing the clearest programmatic basis for the future party, to be debated and discussed, for sure, but not compromised on.  

At the same there was (is) a need for common action, eg. on the vital issue of imperialist war, on the basis of “a common set of basic positions and principles”. Hopefully such common action (sadly very rare) would lead to a process of clarification, but it doesn't follow automatically.

I don't think this has changed. 

The milieu was pretty fractured forty years ago btw, what with the Bordigists and the councilists; maybe there was just more (over?) optimism that everyone would come together on the crest of a rising wave of class struggle…

Redacted
The ICC absolutely is a

The ICC absolutely is a discussion circle. It's a collection of many discusison circles. How does the ICC "intervene" in the milieu, how does it intervene in workers struggles? By discussing.

Guess what? I tried to join the ICC! You know what we did? We discussed. We discussed for a year, then a year and half...then we had discussions about our discussions...then I was sent the statutes and told we must discuss them.

When we "intervened" during the Occupy movements what did we do? We announced...that we were having a discussion. We had that discussion and for those interested we discussed how to keep the discussion going and when we might be able to discuss again.

What are we doing now? Discussing? What does the ICC do in it's literature? Discusses.

If you email someone in the ICC - they'll probably have to discuss it with other comrades and get back to you to discuss it later.

Demo mentions "handing out" out internal bulletins to non-members. I know for a fact the ICC will and does hand out internal bulletins to non-members "of a certain ilk". There is an issue with what is being handed out and whats not. If we all need to join the ICC to have a good revolutionary debate or discussion, what's the point in having a revolutionary party?

Redacted
Let's do a quick google

Let's do a quick google search on internationalism.org:

"Discuss" = 11,500 results

"Discussion" = 3,820 results

"Revolution" = 5,410 results

"Communism" = 1,710 results

From this data we can say that the ICC talks about discussion 283.1% more than revolution, and 895.9% more than communism, at least on internationalism.org.

Demogorgon
"The ICC absolutely is a

"The ICC absolutely is a discussion circle."

This is wholly foreign to the ICC's conception of revolutionary organisation and the development of class consciousness.

"The goal of a discussion circle is the political clarification of the individual participants. The framework of discussion is a common one, corresponding to the collective nature of the working class. The direction and pace of political clarification however, vary according to each person. Since a circle is not an organisation regrouping with a political platform, a circle is not a permanent or stable entity. Rather, it is a moment of political clarification, allowing the militants, through participation in a collective discussion process, to find out where they stand politically in relation to the major questions of proletarian politics and in relation to the already existing historical and international currents of the marxist proletarian milieu..."

A discussion group is a space for people to come together to discuss working class politics. It is bound together solely by a will to discuss not by individual or even collective political positions. It should be open to people of all political persuasions. A local discussion group I helped organise many years ago included left communists, an anarchist, social democracts with strong green leanings, semi-trotskyists, an individual with a weakness for semi-fascist conspiracy theories and interests in some very strange occult nationalist ideas, and people with no fixed political positions at all. All were attracted by the simple question "is there a revolutionary alternative to capitalism?".

A revolutionary political organisation is constituted on a different basis. Its aim is not individual political clarification but the development of the consciousness of the entire class and the propagation of the communist programme. Its members thus adopt a clear communist programme, and an agreement about the goals and method of the organisation.

It aims to be the most developed expression of class consciousness within the class. While individual clarification is the aim of a discussion circle, for a revolutionary organisation such clarification is both a product of the organisation's wider work and a means to further that work. As such, its theoretical output must be of the highest quality. Everything it produces must work towards that aim. That output is not the product of any one individual (or even several) but a collective product of the whole organisation. This is why its output is thoroughly discussed before being issued. An article that doesn't provide clarity for the class has failed to serve the purpose of the organisation.

This doesn't mean that the organisation itself doesn't engage in discussion with the wider class. It discusses with other organisations, individuals, and obviously attempts to engage with the wider class. But it does so not with the aim of self-clarification but with the goal of stimulating the wider consciousness of the class. Naturally, this doesn't preclude the organisation from developing and even changing its positions as a result of this wider discussion.

(I am, of course, describing what the ICC aspires to be - too often it falls short, but that's another discussion!)

There is thus a vast gulf between the function, structure and method between a discussion circle and a political organisation.

"Guess what? I tried to join the ICC! You know what we did? We discussed. We discussed for a year, then a year and half...then we had discussions about our discussions...then I was sent the statutes and told we must discuss them."

The aim of integration discussions is to fully explore a would-be militant's understanding and commitment to our programme and rules of functioning. It's not done for its own sake.

"Demo mentions "handing out" out internal bulletins to non-members. I know for a fact the ICC will and does hand out internal bulletins to non-members "of a certain ilk". There is an issue with what is being handed out and whats not."

As has already been said, the regular, automatic distribution of internal documents to someone outside the organisation would be a serious violation of our statutes. This doesn't preclude providing specific texts (or a whole issue where giving one text isn't practical) to individuals with a close relationship with the organisation where this is done with the specific aim of developing a discussion on a particular question or to facilitate work we've asked them to do on our behalf.

While section meetings and congresses are also internal affairs, we also sometimes invite close sympathisers and even other organisations to participate in them when we feel it will push forward our purpose of building a communist presence in the wider class or help us to develop our positions.

But these are the exceptions (and always done with careful consideration) and not the rule.

Amir1
  Maybe this is one of  key

 

Maybe this is one of  key issue that turkish section integration not fully explore of icc programme!

Amir1
  Maybe this is one of  key

 

Maybe this is one of  key issue that turkish section integration not fully explore of icc programme!

jk1921
Centralism

Amir1 wrote:

 

Maybe this is one of  key issue that turkish section integration not fully explore of icc programme!

 

Maybe. I think its rather illustrative though that the entire section withdrawls. How often has that happened? I can certainly see individual comrades having differences and problems that make resignation necessary and even the right thing to do, maybe several at the same time, maybe even a majority--but an entire territorial section? The only thing I can see that explains this is that the integration process itself was faulty. In any event, there is a real failure of centralism here........

MH
two brief points

radicalchains wrote:

Now, this might be irrelevant but I was recently reading the ICC Wiki entry and it says most of the original founders were students. This is sure to have had an impact on how the organisation was set up and the way it functions. I don't know if it's something that has been explored or reflected upon. The private internal culture also may be reflected in the public culture especially over a longer period of time i.e an organisation can become increasingly insular and cut off from discussion outside, other groups, workers in general etc 

The ICC has actually written quite a lot about the negative influence of the student movement on the revolutionary organisations that emerged after May 68, most recently in the report on the Extraordinary Conference, although this relates more to the impact of the degenerating petty bourgeoisie on questions of revolutionary morality than on discussion as such. We may learn more as the ICC analyses the nature of its most recent crisis in more depth.

jk1921 wrote:

I think its rather illustrative though that the entire section withdrawls. How often has that happened? I can certainly see individual comrades having differences and problems that make resignation necessary and even the right thing to do, maybe several at the same time, maybe even a majority--but an entire territorial section? The only thing I can see that explains this is that the integration process itself was faulty. In any event, there is a real failure of centralism here........

Yes, I notice in the Report on the Extraordinary Conference that there is a reference to tendencies towards ‘superficial organisation-building’, which may – or may not – relate to this. If so it points to opportunism.

Redacted
Demo where is the quote at

Demo where is the quote at the top of post #28 from?

Demogorgon
The quote is from WR 207

The quote is from WR 207 which is not actually available online. However, it is quoted in at least two articles about discussion circles that are:

https://en.internationalism.org/worldrevolution/200412/699/contribution-history-midlands-discussion-group

https://en.internationalism.org/inter/156/discussion-circles

 

Redacted
So the ICC is not a

So the ICC is not a discussion group - it's an international collection of discussion groups with a platform and "historical relevance"?

Demogorgon
As far as the ICC is

As far as the ICC is concerned, a discussion group doesn't have a platform and doesn't intervene in the class. Once a group begins to do these things, it is essentially becoming a political organisation. This may be a positive or negative things depending on the circumstances.

Just because the ICC discusses internally and externally does not make it a discussion group. Dogs bark, but it doesn't mean everything that barks is a dog.

Redacted
Demo, I'm not trying to be

Demo, I'm not trying to be vapid, these distinctions just seem semantical. What activities does the ICC engage in other than discussion? When it "intervenes in the class struggle", doesn't that essentially amount to pulling workers into discussions? Thereby forming new discussion circles and so on and so forth. The usefulness of the distinction between a discussion group and a political organization that's not the revolutionary party confuses me.

radicalchains
Jamal

Jamal wrote:

...the distinction between a discussion group and a political organization that's not the revolutionary party confuses me.

This is the crux of it really and a very good question Jamal! I was actually thinking myself recently what makes a "current" or 'trend'....and in what situation does it either combine (or go it alone) to form a party and what will the difference be?

I don't see the ICC as a discussion group no matter how many discussions they actually have though for the answers already given. I'm more interested in the differences between the ICC and a future party. 

Demogorgon
"Demo, I'm not trying to be

"Demo, I'm not trying to be vapid, these distinctions just seem semantical. What activities does the ICC engage in other than discussion? When it "intervenes in the class struggle", doesn't that essentially amount to pulling workers into discussions? Thereby forming new discussion circles and so on and so forth. The usefulness of the distinction between a discussion group and a political organization that's not the revolutionary party confuses me."

Your reply doesn't even mention the other crucial difference I - and the ICC text - pointed out which is that a revolutionary group has a platform: a definitive statement of political positions which is drawn from the lessons learned from the workers' movement. The ICC (indeed, the entire communist left) condemns the unions, for example, as bourgeois organs within the working class. For us, this is a historic lesson, a fundamental fact of life in decadent capitalism. When we go to a picket line during a strike, or a mass meeting, and condemn the unions we are making a very specific claim. Obviously, we discuss the question with workers but it's not something where we're going to say, "actually, mate, you may be right". In other words, the aim of the discussion is to convince the other workers that we're right, not for us to gain clarity on the union question.

That is also the distinction between intervention and pure discussion. Intervention is propagating a specific view within the working class, an attempt to alter the trajectory of the development of consciousness. It is based on the conception that one progagonist has already achieved a more advanced state of consciousness than another.

A political group obviously does continue with discussion-proper, i..e. discussion for mutual clarification on questions which it (or the wider class) does not yet understand. But that is not its sole function and those discussions are based on expanding the group's capacity for intervention.

For a discussion group, discussion is its sole function. A discussion group has no political positions. It cannot intervene because it has nothing much to say collectively. Although it expresses an attempt by the class to become conscious, it is not properly a proletarian group because it does not defend clear proletarian positions (or any position). Its discussions are solely internal, around mutual clarification usually on basic class questions (all the members of a proletarian political group, by contrast, have clarity on the basic questions).

On the question of a political party, there are probably others who can articulate this better than me but here goes anyway. Of the political organisations of present, the ICC is probably the largest. And has absolutely no influence whatsoever in the working class, most of who don't even know it exists. Most of those that do think it's a collection of nutters. The same goes for the ICT. In fact, even if the entire communist left got together and produced a collective statement on some particular question, the idea that this would change the development in consciousness in the wider class is simply absurd. In terms of the "course of history" or the class consciousness of the global proletariat our influence is zero. Zilch. Nada. Bugger all.

Moreover, even such a collective statement is a pipedream in today's environment because the inability for the proletarian organisations of today to reach anything like a real cohesiveness in terms of understanding many of the intermediate questions that confront the class today is sadly lacking. Today's revolutionary movement is tiny and fragmented.

A party, on the other hand, has now grown to the point where it has reached a kind of critical mass and actually has influence in the wider class. The class is aware of it, it has the capacity to actually influence the development of class consciousness in the wider class even if only sometimes in a small way. At decisive moments, its actions can advance (or retard if it makes serious mistakes) the class struggle, even if only in a small way.

As an organisation, it unifies the vast majority of revolutionaries who share a communist platform. Its existence indicates that the consciousness of the entire revolutionary movement has reached a certain level of cohesion on the intermediate questions of revolutionary positions (how to organise, how to intervene, etc.). It is an expression of the dialectical principle that once a certain quantity is achieved a new quality begins to emerge. And the emergence of a party in decadent capitalism would also indicate that the class as a whole is beginning to shift towards a revolutionary consciousness, opening up the real possibility of a revolution.

This is why the ICC doesn't believe that "the party" can be formed by a pure act of will or declaration. The party (like the revolutionary organisations that precede it, and the discussion circles that precede them) is the product of a historic process taking place within the whole working class. Even if the entire communist left unified tomorrow (however amazing that would be!) that still doesn't necessarily mean the party is here, even if a significant step towards it had been taken.

Amir1
you missed to talk about

you missed to talk about counter- revolutionary as stalinist and others....

have we discussion  convincing them or while we exposre their position our consciousness increase

how deal with them.

Demogorgon
Revolutionary organisations

Revolutionary organisations don't discuss with bourgeois organisations in any sense, our is aim is to expose their counter-revolutionary nature. This doesn't preclude discussing with individuals with bourgeois positions, to persuade them of the communist point of view (again, this is properly seen as intervention rather than mutual discussion). Such individuals cannot be part of a revolutionary organisation but should be welcomed in a discussion circle.

Redacted
Demo - have you somehow

Demo - have you somehow missed post #35? I acknowledged the nuances well before your last post.

My questions are about the usefulness of all these distinctions. So kinda of in response to radicalchains as well, I understand the distinctions perfectly fine. It's the usefulness of these dinstinctions in this period I'm calling into question.

The concept of "tactical unity" is useful. We often say we're not just going to wake up one day and, *poof*, communism. It's a change in the collective consciousness, in peoples fundamental values and principles. Quality over quantity, correct?

So when we're not talking about the revolutionary party aren't we just further atomizing ourselves by using these restrictive definitions of political organization? Statements like "discussion groups have no political positions" and "neither should they try to be, political organizations themselves" (ICC 2010) are kind of bullshit really, because what it amounts to is the ICC being able to determine who is and who isn't a legitmate political organization. One could view all organizations that aren't the revolutionary party illegitmate - don't you kind of have to in a sense?

The ICC, the ICT, other groups...we may not share a common platform...but we could probably share a half platform. At the very least there are a good number of core principles that guide us all, as will have to guide all workers, in order to ever have shot at revolution and communism. To acknowledge our lack of effectiveness in intervention, our fragmentization, etc. and to then turn around and bolster all these restrictive frameworks and definitions, is really confusing to me. Are we cutting our noses to spite our faces?

Demogorgon
"Statements like "discussion

"Statements like "discussion groups have no political positions" and "neither should they try to be, political organizations themselves" (ICC 2010) are kind of bullshit really, because what it amounts to is the ICC being able to determine who is and who isn't a legitmate political organization."

It may sound a little didactic, but I think the concern of the ICC is that the process of developing class consciousness represented by a disucssion group is not retarded. Discussion groups have a unique role to play that cannot be duplicated by revolutionary organisations as I've already tried to elucidate - they create a space where workers can discuss politics systematically but without being forced to take up political positions before they're ready.. When a discussion group transitions into a revolutionary organisation it can no longer perform the function it had previously. Worse, it may try to be both a discussion group and a political organisation and end up failing at both.

So when a discussion group starts making this transition, we have to ask ourselves is the emergence of a new political group really worth the loss of the discussion group. This might be a good thing, of course. In a country that lacks an authentic communist voice, all revolutionaries would welcome the emergence of a new group. But where groups like the ICC or ICT already have an established presence, the emergence of a new group around the same fundamental principles is not really very useful. It might be useful if the new group has a new theoretical innovation which the existing groups don't defend. And it would be useful (necessary even) if the old groups have become sclerotic, opportunitist or otherwise useless or dangerous to the class struggle.

This, of course, might be the case but that's a whole other discussion which I'm not getting into here.

"One could view all organizations that aren't the revolutionary party illegitmate - don't you kind of have to in a sense?"

I don't understand what this means?

"The ICC, the ICT, other groups...we may not share a common platform...but we could probably share a half platform. At the very least there are a good number of core principles that guide us all, as will have to guide all workers, in order to ever have shot at revolution and communism. To acknowledge our lack of effectiveness in intervention, our fragmentization, etc. and to then turn around and bolster all these restrictive frameworks and definitions, is really confusing to me. Are we cutting our noses to spite our faces?"

I seem to recall that we discussed the problems of regroupment in the milieu a while ago. I don't propose to open up that can of worms here. But I really don't see how having clear understandings of what the different functions of the different organs produced by the proletariat is a barrier to regroupment which seems to be what you're saying?

A clear understanding of the different nature and function of these various organs (in particular, the distinction between organs of mass struggle and political organisations) is one of the most important acquisitions the revolutionary movement has made! It is the foundation for the ICC position on the party not taking power; the importance of organs of mass struggle being open to all workers; the fact that those same organs of mass struggle cannot exist permanently outside revolutionary periods without being transformed into unions; and so-on-and-so-forth. Such a "restrictive" framework is actually fundamental to the ICC method! Of course, I suppose the "usefulness" of the framework depends somewhat on how far you agree with those positions.

Nonetheless, the ICC approaches the question of discussion groups in the same way: that they have a clear and distinctive role in the development of the class struggle. That is why the organisation welcomes them when they emerge and has put some considerable effort into supporting their development and defending their autonomy across the world, in spite of our rather tiny resources.