The necessary criteria for a political debate

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Internationalis...
The necessary criteria for a political debate
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The necessary criteria for a political debate

Correspondence with Klasbatalo from Canada in three parts. The texts point out, «Klasbatalo» because of its limitations is not capable to do an internationalist critique of its past. To read the texts, please visit the site of Internationalist Voice. Issues that were raised in the correspondence included:

  • Criteria for a political debate
  • Religious or Communist confidence
  • Formation of Fraction
  • The influences from the dominant class
  • Parasitism
  • Values and principles of Proletariat

Web site: www.internationalist.tk

E-mail: [email protected]

Communist Revolution or the destruction of humanity!

Fred
Rather than plonking this

Rather than plonking this down on the ICC's website, without any accompanying explanation, why didn't Internationalist Voice tell us directly what their criteria for political debate are, and then those could have been discussed? I went to their website, but couldn't find anything there about this. Maybe my fault. The stuff I did find contained articles from both ICC and ICT, and material produced directly from the Voice was like reading the ICC's own writings. Is Internationalist Voice trying to cozy up to the ICC? If so, for what purpose, and what does the ICC feel about this? If the ICC thinks there's something radically wrong about the Voice's theory, class positions, or practice, then maybe we could be told what this is, and then discuss that - if there's anything to be discussed. Don't let's forget that The Culture of Debate, how to revive and conduct it after a break of many years, is high on our agenda and something we seek to achieve. So it's disturbing when something from Internationalist Voice suddenly turns up on this forum, but appears to be ignored. Is there an explanation?

jk1921
Might this be considered

Might this be considered political spam?

Alf
Spam?

I don't think it's spam. I think Internationalist Voice is sincerely internationalist. We haven't said much in response, it's true, and this is a failing on our part; but it hasn't been entirely ignored: I posted saying that the article on the Hekmatists was important, but needs a better English translation. 

Internationalist Voice should take note of jk's question however. What is lacking in its contributions is an engagement to go beyond posting links and to take a more active part in the discussion on this discussion forum.  

Alf
On collective posts

When the ICC in the Uk first starting posting on libcom, we had a collective signature -  wld_rvn or something similarly ugly. Libcom opposed this and said that people should sign in as individuals, not groups. Although we initially argued against this, I think they were correct (although they haven't always kept to this policy). A real discussion needs the individual nuances and differences between comrades to be aired. This doesn't mean that group statements on a forum are not sometimes called for.  Perhaps Internationalist Voice could consider this as well. 

jk1921
Ok, I agree with Alf's posts.

Ok, I agree with Alf's posts. They are sincerely internationalist, but they seem to have a certain aloofness about them. Not sure if this is intentional or not.

Fred
Internationalist Voice seems

Internationalist Voice seems to have a lot of trouble (ie debate) with the Klasbatalo group. (Arent they the group who write in Russian?). Klasbatalo has said that the ICC went over to the bourgeoisie because it suffered splits and schisms. (This is not a joke or mischief-making, they actually said it.) This might be a good reason for left-communists not to want to talk to Klasbatalo. But Internationalist Voice seem sincere enough, and sincerely left communist and internationalist. A big problem for me with them, is their not-so-good English, which is not-so-good in that particular way whereby you can't be sure you know what they really mean. This is a great pity. And perhaps it's a reason they don't actually post personal statements and replies on this forum, and explains why they seem aloof.

But I think they ought to try anyway, don't you? Staying closeted is no solution, and practice makes perfect etc. Have a go!

Internationalis...
How English speaking “internationalists” contribute to the value

How English speaking “internationalists” contribute to the values and principles of proletariat!?

Thanks to all comrades that replied to this issue.

Our policy is to spread our political positions, only through the internationalist milieu. Therefore we inform about our new texts only in the forum of the ICT and ICC. Perhaps we should publish our texts in the libcom, Revleft and etc also.

Regarding to our principles, we cannot reply to the left of Capital. When Ahmad Farsi a national leftist in this site accused us that we lie, we never answered. In fact, whole of his life is a lie.

It is true that we have deficiencies in English language and also it is true that on this site attention on what we write is smaller. When we write about:

  • Lessons of the Protests and Strikes of the Petrochemical Industries
  • Advancing in anti-immigrants and Internationalist Positions

“Internationalists!?” in this site lose their ability to talk and become silent. For these “internationalists!?” strike of the most important part of the proletariat is not important, they have other interests!

We begin with comrade Fred. He without reading any texts of us came with accusation and he wrote “Is Internationalist Voice trying to cozy up to the ICC?”

If comrade Fred had read some texts of us would see that we have also criticized the ICC in the class consciousness, role of revolutionary organizations, lack of clarity about councilism, mechanical analyze of events in Iran (“Two movements, two perspectives, intensifying of the class struggle is the only alternative”) and etc..

We do not have the leftist perception or worse yet the racist notion that some militants from London, Paris and Rome would produce theory and principles to all in the world. We have Communist beliefs, that is, at the same time as we learn from Proletarian Political Milieu, in the same way we try to contribute to its development as well, including the ICC.

Comrade Fred continue the same attitude, in the case of Klasbatalo and says "Arent they the group who write in Russian?” If he had only read part one of the correspondence, would see that they wrote: ”I am a member of a Communist Left group named Klasbatalo which is based in Montreal, Canada”. They don’t write Russian.

Comrade Fred writes:” Klasbatalo has said that the ICC went over to the bourgeoisie because it suffered splits and schisms”. As long as we know they have not said this. They wrote to us, which is published in their site too:” It’s worth noting that in Klasbatalo we recently clarified our policy for intervention in the PPM. Like you, we believe that an attack against the ICC and the ICT is an attack against the whole proletarian political milieu. These two organizations are the main inheritors and guarantors of the revolutionary program”.

Comrade Fred continues to talk without knowing anything about our relation with Klasbatalo and says that “Internationalist Voice seems to have a lot of trouble (ie debate) with the Klasbatalo group.”

If you had the slightest notion would see that we have no problem with these comrades but we are not talking just to talk, we have intentions of our discussions.

Comrade Alf notes us that:” Internationalist Voice should take note of jk's question however” A few years ago in a Trotskyist forum, a “councilist” individual claimed that "The ICC has been created by the CIA." ICC in consultation with a militant of the Internationalist Voice, decided, not to answer. This time we without consultation with the ICC decide don’t answer jk’s claim. In less than 5 hours, he has changed its position; spammers became internationalist (4 hours and 29 minutes). This show how stable is the accuser.

“The class which has the means of material production at its disposal has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. ... hence among other things rule also as thinkers, as producers of ideas, and regulate the production and distribution of the ideas of their age: thus their ideas are the ruling ideas of the epoch.” [The German Ideology - Karl Marx]

That basic stuff (influences from the dominant class, values and principles of Proletariat and etc..) lets unpleasant to some, only show the amount of influence from the dominant class.

If we refrain of those individual who only talk, the double morality of comrade Alf is painful. He is behaving as a politician, not as a revolutionary. Would not be good if comrade Alf replied to the criticism that has been directed to his political positions and political practice? Comrade urges us “to take a more active part in the discussion”. Should we write about values and principles of Proletariat!?

Interesting is that these “internationalists” talk about “The culture of debate”!

We are going to publish this text both in English and Persian in our site. Persian speaking should know how English speaking “internationalists” contribute to the values and principles of proletariat.

Long live the Values and Principles of Proletariat!

Alf
On Spam

I don't understand why i am accused of a double morality here, perhaps Int Voice can explain. But I should have made it clearer why I said that Int Voice should take note of jk's question. On libcom, for example, groups or individuals who only post links are treated as spam and are often banned. I myself was banned for a while and accused of spamming because I posted a few links without taking part directly in a discussion,although I had taken part in many other discussions on libcom. I didn't agree with libcom on this issue, of course, (and a number of others disagreed with their decision, not only ICC comrades). I also don't agree that someone should be considered spam merely because they do nothing but post links. It depends on the intention of the poster. Spam, to me, means using a site merely to advertise your wares on a purely commercial basis, usually pretending to take an interest in the discussion. Even if a proletarian group, which exists to defend class positions as widely as possible, did nothing but post links to articles, I would not consider it spam.

The point I was making, however, is that if Int Voice were to do nothing but make links, some contributors to this forum would see this as spam, and in any case they could make a much more effective contribution if they took a more direct part in the discussion. Which Int Voice has now done, although I think the accusations made in the post are not at all appropriate or accurate. 

jk1921
That's Ok Alf--they seem to

That's Ok Alf--they seem to think I am not entirely stable. Its this type of crap that makes people really hesitant about posting on forums.  I understand English is not the first language here, but could the comrades not see that this was posed as a question and not an accusation? Isn't figuring out what is spam, i.e. how to intervene and how to debate part of the tasks before us?

Fred
Thank you for your comments

Thank you for your comments Internationalist Voice, and I'm sorry to have upset you. But I do visit your site, and I have myself got into trouble for providing a link to Klasbatalo material which other people on this forum said was all in Russian (it wasn't of course - and I was only teasing them in referring to Klasbatalo as "writing in Russian" in the post above) though a little bit was. About "cosying up". You put stuff on this site and frequently get no response. This disturbs me, because I wonder why you're ignored. After all you express great admiration and appreciation of both the ICC and the ICT, on your site and regard yourselves as part of the communist left. I think ( suspect) you come on this forum looking for a positive response from the ICC, which you don't get, and thus I asked - more to get an answer from ICC than you - if you were not "cosying up" meaning 'looking for love!' or, in your terms, looking for support. And why shouldn't you? The sooner the separated bits of the communist left join up surely the better? If I'm wrong about
this I expect someone will correct me.

About Klasbatalo. There are three replies to letters from Alex of KLB on your site. This is a bit from one. "We choose the first from your list “IFCL (ex-Internal Fraction of the ICC)” that you have been in discussion. We
don’t recognize neither external nor internal fraction of the ICC. Formation of a fraction means that the current (in this case, ICC) has completely gone to the bourgeoisies’ terrain. The actions of these people (“IFCL”) have been discrediting of the International Communist Current ..." Fred made a complete cock-up of understanding this, as you have rightly pointed out. At first I thought Klasbatalo had said that splits from the ICC meant it had gone bourgeois. A ridiculous idea. Now I don't understand at all what the sentence ending with the words "bourgeoisies' terrain" actually means at all.

"Comrade Fred continues to talk without knowing anything about our relation with Klasbatalo and says that “Internationalist Voice seems to have a lot of trouble (ie debate) with the Klasbatalo group.”

Being Comrade Fred I only know what I read, and it seems I can't even be sure of that. But you do appear to have "trouble" with Klasbatalo, looking at your correspondence with them on your site, but so what anyway? All I know is that the revolutionary groups produced by the class up till now, need to get their act together if we're ever to get anywhere. The irritation, anger and resentment that turns up and muddies the pool is really something we can do without, and is often nothing more than storms in teacups. Or so it seems to me who doesn't really know anything about it! It's just too easy to be the cat with the ruffled fur, and always ready to scratch.

So yes, Internationalist Voice, the culture of debate is vitally important to us workers now, and it has been severly fractured by the long counter-revolution, which requires us to be careful in trying to restore it. So when you publish your text on the Persian site I hope it isn't going to convey mistaken, and misunderstood ideas to a wider audience. Long live the values and principles of the proletariat, and let's be sure we propagate them and not something else. If I have done anything to further the latter, through careless talk, then I'm sorry indeed.

Internationalis...
Politician or Revolutionary!

Politician or Revolutionary!

Thanks again to all comrades that replied to this issue. A lot of issues have been taken up in this post that are very important (Formation of Fraction, Parasitism, influences from the dominant class, values and principles of Proletariat and etc) but in this post, we will only reply to the post of comrade Alf.

We have said “The double morality of comrade Alf is painful. He is behaving as a politician, not as a revolutionary” and he has written:”I don't understand why i am accused of a double morality here, perhaps Int Voice can explain.... I think the accusations made in the post are not at all appropriate or accurate.” 

We are responsible to explain.

Comrade Alf says “the accusations made in the post are not at all appropriate or accurate.” Which accusations? Why you don’t talk concretely which “accusations” do you mean? Why you could not list these “accusations” point after point? Why?

After clarification on Fred's post. We wrote:

“Comrade Alf notes us that: ’Internationalist Voice should take note of jk's question however’ A few years ago in a Trotskyist forum, a ‘councilist’ individual claimed that ‘The ICC has been created by the CIA.’ ICC in consultation with a militant of the Internationalist Voice, decided, not to answer. This time we without consultation with the ICC decide don’t answer jk’s claim.”

In the above paragraph he notes us to something and we note him to another thing. It is ok here. After the above paragraph, we quote a paragraph of Marx and write a paragraph of ourselves, and then we come to following:

If we refrain of those individual who only talk, the double morality of comrade Alf is painful. He is behaving as a politician, not as a revolutionary. Would not be good if comrade Alf replied to the criticism that has been directed to his political positions and political practice? Comrade urges us “to take a more active part in the discussion”. Should we write about values and principles of Proletariat!?

Comrade with a sleight of politician clutch to “spam”, “libcom”, “jk” and etc to elusive of answering to the main question. And we repeat again. Would not be good if comrade Alf replied to the criticism that has been directed to his political positions and political practice? Comrade urges us “to take a more active part in the discussion”. This is painful double morality of comrade Alf, of course painful for us, not for him. He urges for something that avoids self.

We urge comrade Alf to reply to the above question and we promise to publish his text both in English and Persian. You are absolutely free for yourself, write what you want. Translated by us.

Internationalist Voice

Fred
Hi camarade. I went to the

Hi camarade. I went to the link you give and found Klasbatalo's proposal for a web site where the various groups of the communist left could discuss openly and air their grievances. There is also a post there from Devrim (nice to come across him again) saying that if the groups only discuss as groups then, given their past history over the last thirty years, nothing much will be achieved. He suggested a web site where left-Coms can discuss as individuals, and thus be freed from the need to defend their own particular branch of left-Com. We'll have to wait and see what happens. But it's cheering to find some personal posts on this thread at last, where people are actually starting to say what they think. Let's have more!

There is one ghost I would like to settle, camarade. "Klasbatalo is indeed a canadian based internationalist communist group. Of course, none of us speaks in Russian. I really don't know from where comrade Fred took this one...!" Now while its true that I (Fred) do mess up a lot on this forum, on this occasion it wasn't me. If you go back and look at the relevant thread (it's the one following eretik's statement about communist revolution) you'll find two other comrades spinning the Russian fable, and one even calling for a translator! And jk is quite correct. There are right and wrong ways of going about discussing things, and we should all remember that. Let's encourage the culture of debate. Long live the values and principles of tbe proletariat!

Fred
Internationalist Voice and Klasbatalo

Alf wrote:

I don't think it's spam. I think Internationalist Voice is sincerely internationalist. We haven't said much in response, it's true, and this is a failing on our part; but it hasn't been entirely ignored: I posted saying that the article on the Hekmatists was important, but needs a better English translation. 

Internationalist Voice should take note of jk's question however. What is lacking in its contributions is an engagement to go beyond posting links and to take a more active part in the discussion on this discussion forum.  

The real question though, Alf, is why the ICC hasn't said much in response, and why posts and statements from Internationalist Voice have languished on the ICC forum for so many weeks just ignored. You agree that they are Internationalists. Does this not therefore mean that they should be treated with respect as fellow comrades, and as fighters for the proletarian cause? However, you admit that this is a failing on the part of the ICC, which perhaps is too busy and has a lot of things on it's plate at present.

The long statement from eretik on the forum was also left languishing for a long time, and this led eventually to the fiasco of some ICC supporters trying to dismiss it, and the connections it gave to the Klasbatalo site, on the grounds that "it's all Russian". This was another "failing" but I suppose it's preferable to just being dismissed as "spam"!

I think it has to be an encouraging sign that comrades elsewhere want to communicate with, and debate with the ICC, and the communist left, with which they clearly identify identify themselves. It should be something to rejoice over, not to shrink from. And now at last Internationalist Voice has gone beyond the posting of links and do show signs of a willingness to take an active part on this forum. Is it an indication of the widening of class consciousness, and the spreading of the idea that the capitalist crisis is in need of an international proletarian response? I hope so.

baboon
On the culture of debate

I don't think it presumptuous of me to say that the ICC welcomes anyone to this discussion site expressing concerns, opinions, disagreements no matter how much or how little they know about politics. The discussion is the important thing. I don't though think that there's any place on here for personal attacks on individuals such as the one launched above by IV.

jk1921
Communicate?

Perhaps its illustrative that the first time IV ventures beyond links on this forum, its to engage in a series of rather vicious personal attacks against posters--one of whom was trying to defend them.

We have a long way to go in the milieu when it comes to shoring up the culure of debate it seems.

Fred
mutual trust

jk1921 wrote:

Perhaps its illustrative that the first time IV ventures beyond links on this forum, its to engage in a series of rather vicious personal attacks against posters--one of whom was trying to defend them.

We have a long way to go in the milieu when it comes to shoring up the culure of debate it seems.

As you say jk, we have some way to go before we can trust each other enough to open up and really debate. All the more reason to keep trying. Int.Voice was put on a wrong footing, and on the defensive, by being ignored for so long - hence the so-called "vicious personal attacks", though they don't strike me as all that vicious or all that personal. It depends how you look at it. If you're expecting a vicious personal attack, you'll probably find it. Vicious attacks between contending left communist organizations used to be the order of the day not long ago, and the subsequent blood-lettings have rather devastated some of these organizations and individual militants. The proletariat cannot afford this kind of destructive behavior anymore, not when there are signs of a recovery in our struggles. We should all be emphasizing the goal we have in common. The destruction of the bourgeosie and it's system of exploitation. It's the bourgeoisie we should be criticizing and fighting, not each other.

Instead of resenting IV for it's attacks, we should be asking ourselves why exactly they feel that this is the way to proceed. Maybe they think they are following the example of the ICC and ICT, in looking for holes to pick at in the tiresome procedure of finding faults with each other; and if this doesn't work (maybe there are no real faults to find) then we are left with only the personal attack. But in reality we ought to be all supporting each other, and helping each other to get over our difficulties: like a lack of confidence, feelings of inadequacy, suspicions that we are not saying the right thing in the right way, fears of rejection, or of not being welcome, or of not being smart enough or clever enough with words, or of laying ourselves open to some criticism we were not able to anticipate, or even of not being worthy.

Given the paucity of our forces at the present time, given the immensity of the crisis, I would say that anyone and any organization capable of seeing the situation as it is, and understanding what needs to be done, and appreciating what communism truly is and the lessons of past proletarian struggles, should be welcomed with open arms as fellow comrades; despite any blemishes, wounds or faults they have, as a result of being born into and living under capitalism. We can nurture each other into something better, through good honest proletarian solidarity.

jk1921
Sure Fred. I think we need to

Sure Fred. I think we need to understand why communsits have had such a hard time with the culture of the debate in the past. Lenin was not exactly kind to the left communists and some of the left communists were pretty vicious in their attacks on others as well. Were these aberations or is their something deeper that explains why this approach to differences seems to constantly reemerge?

 

Fred
Thanks camarade for your

Thanks camarade for your response. I am delighted to hear that what I called "troubles" is in fact nothing more than a fraternal debate. I'm all for that, and believe we all need as much fraternal debate as we can get. As to "the culture of debate" well it is rather a fine sounding phrase but there's nothing "spiritual" about it as far as I know, and "culture" in this context means not much more than the "practice" of debate, as in "when it comes to proletarian organizations talking freely and openly to each other, and trying to trust each other, and not to misread or misunderstand what's being said... Well, we 're all rather out of practice and have lost that particular culture." Just as some of us may have lost the "taste" for theory, because of the gap between the last revolutionary wave and now. And, as you say, debate can involve a clash, and can involve criticism, and these are not easy things for the thin-skinned to deal with. This is because we are out of practice in proletarian debate, and have lost its culture blah blah etc.

I agree with you that there has been overreaction to some of tbe things IV said. And I much appreciate that you said to jk that, as he had asked you a question, "I thought it was worth to clarify." And later: "Well for me, there's not that much to say about "IV's comments". But since you asked me the question, I guess it is politeness to answer you and I'll try my best to sort of answer you." This is debate in practice camarade, and it's excellent that you are doing it; for, far from being "trendy" and all the rage, in my opinion we don't get enough of it on this forum, where matters are much more likely to be ignored, cold-shouldered, or left to die, than tbey are to get a response. Generally speaking that is. No doubt I have over- stated the case.

And then there's jk's point about Lenin not being kind to left-communists, and left-communists being hard on others. Were these "aberrations" jk wonders, and asks if there's something wrong here. Or could it be jk that these were actual serious debates about actual serious issues. Jk refers to "this approach to differences" and I think he has in mind "vicious personal attacks." For me a vicious attack means Kronstadt, or the brutality used against the oil-workers in Kazakhstan. This is awful stuff. But serious hard debate, aimed at clarifying matters, might get a bit savage or even a bit personal in a verbal way, and things later to be regretted might be said. But is this not the the stuff of politics, and certainly of revolutionary politics? What I think jk is fearful of, in wanting to temper debate ( if I may put words in his mouth) is a return of all the awful things associated with "parasitism" , and the break-away groups from the ICC, and the possibly unfortunate nature of those "debates" and their very unhappy repercussions. But that was all a long time ago, and doesn't need to happen again, and doesn't mean that debate should be stifled or controlled within limiting parameters - except for trying not to make very personal attacks - or that we should fear it.

So I welcome the responses from camarade, IV, jk, baboon, and Alf, and hope there'll be more from others, and more discussion too, and that the criteria for debate will be clarified and the growth of revolutionary organizations furthered.

jk1921
Thanks to camarade for

Thanks to camarade for responsing and for clarifying that he/she is intervening as an individual and is not speaking for Klasbatalo per se. Camarade suggests that IV did not mean to imply that I was "mentally unstable." Fine, but why would IV even bring this issue up at all? Why do they imply that it is some kind of negative that my position would develop as a result of discussion and even more so that it developed so quickly? Isn't this exactly what discusssion is supposed to accomplish? What exactly were they implything there?

BTW, there is nothing to prevent internationalists from being spammers. But this would necessitate a more thourough discussion about just what "spam" is and if it, as a concept, has any place in the milieu. As Alf has indicated, this is not the first time this issue has been raised.

I don't accept however that the rejection of IV's labeling of Alf as a "politician and not a revolutionary" is exagerated. This is the exact type of langauge that has been used before in the workers' movement to render one's opponent "the other" and thus deprive their voice of any legitimacy. No, I think it is IV's comments that are exagerated. But to be fair, camarade does say that IV's comments about Alf were rash. I would go further than that and say they reflect a certain attitude towards  opponents and differences that is simply unhealthy and reflects a deeper cultural problem within communist politics itself.

Further, I think camarade seriously underestimates the importance of the development of a culture of debate. Klasbatolo has criticized the ICC's turn towards working with international anarchists. In many ways I think, it is the very lack of a real culture of debate and the poor relations between the various groups of the communist left that are in part repsonsible for why so many in the young generation are attracted to what they see as the more open, less rigid and hostile cutlure of anarchism. Developing the culture of debate is above all about learning how to bring the younger generations into the communist left milieu. Dismissing this as cowering to the sensitivities of people with "thin skin" seems as mistake to me.

I think that it is precisely the hostility of previous debates-such as those between Lenin, Luxemburg, Gorter and Lenin, etc. that we need to try to avoid. This approach betrays a certain " fundamentalist certitude" about ones positions that--above basic class line positions--is sheer hubris to claim to have today.

 

 

Fred
On another thread on this

On another thread on this forum, Internationalist Voice is asking for support. On yet another thread the ICC is asking for support as well, and says this: "There is no hiding the fact that the forces of the ICC are extremely limited in comparison to the enormous responsibilities we face. We are seeing the worldwide emergence of a new generation looking for revolutionary answers to the crisis of this system, but it is essential for those who sympathise with the overall aims of our organisation to connect with the ICC and make their own contribution to its capacity to act and to grow."

Speaking for myself camarade, I wouldn't find it more fun, or even more worthwhile, to discuss with an anarchist rather than with someone committed to the communist left. And the "culture of anarchism" seems pretty hostile too jk if postings on lib com in response to left communism, and some libcom posters persistent failure to grasp the need for the party, on the grounds that the Bolsheviks were all bad, are anything to go by. Nor do I think, camarade, that the ICC is being pushed towards anarchists just because they talk to a few who seem interested in left communist ideas. The notion that all anarchists are bourgeois is as mistaken as the idea that tbe Bolsheviks were all bad, and that therefore we do not need the party.
Left communism is not a collection of ready-made ideas, rules and dogmas waiting to be applied. It is not rigid. It allows its adherents to use their brains for the furtherance of the proletarian project - as they see fit, after open debate - while bearing in mind all the mistakes made and lessons learned from working class struggles in the past.

It is true that there are at present difficulties between the groups of the communist left, among whom it seems very easy for what some would see as small differences to present themselves as giant mountain peaks impossible of conquering. All the more reason, camarade, for quiet calm deliberations in the form of debate. Through debate and discussion we get to find out what comrades really think, feel and mean about matters; rather than being left to jump to uninformed conclusions on the basis of what we heard they had said from somebody else; or as a result of what we mis-read somewhere in our hurry to find something to pick a fight over. That's not smart at all, and certainly not cool. In fact, looking for disagreements and areas in which to pick holes deliberately, is the way of the bourgeoisie not ours. The culture of debate which we have to consciously re-build, is one in which we start by acknowledging what we share in common: a belief in the need for a successful proletarian revolution. Then we have to decide how best to contribute to this; how to overcome our differences, how to join and work together, how to resist pressure from the bourgeoisie's ever present ideology which can cause petty grievances, jealousies and irritations, to take precedence over the need for solidarity and communist clear sightedness. And much more of course, that I don't know about yet.

I agree with you, camarade, that the ICC does not want to waste its time discussing with the bourgeoisie, but then I don't think it does. And if you think it does then you ( or Klasbatalo) should engage with it in serious discussion to find out why; rather than using your wrong ( in my opinion) assumption as an excuse for joking and having fun at the ICC's expense. For while I sympathize with the tendency to satirization, and have been guilty too, in this particular case it only benefits our class enemies.

So thank you camarade for posting on here, and please post more and IV too. The more we all talk the better it may get, and we may all learn to become more tolerant of each other's faults and more understanding too. The revolution is everything.

ernie
discussions with the internationalist anarchists

 

First welcome comrade carnarade to our forum and thank you for trying to help clarify the questions and issues involved in this discussion. We hope that you will be able to participate in our other discussions as well.

In response to your questions:

Do you imply that it is the younger members within the ICC that push this organization towards anarchists?

Or do you simply imply that it is the difficulties to work with others communist lefts groups that push the ICC towards anarchists?

Do you imply that it is the younger members within the ICC that push this organization towards anarchists?

Yes some of the newer members of the organisation did push us to confront the lack of clarity in the way we had been presenting anarchism ie what did we mean by "official anarchism"? What about the anarchist who defend proletarian principles such as internationalism? This certainly lead us to a more developed understanding of our position on anarchism. However, even before these newer comrades raised these questions we had already been participating with internationalist anarchists (which is one of the things that stimulated comrads to ask about the official position). We now have a much more systematic and developed understanding of the need to try and establish relations with the internationalist anarchists.

As for the second question, we did not take up discussing with the internationalist anarchists because of the difficulties discussing with other communist organisations. There certainly have been difficulties in such discussions, and we are certainly aware of the need to overcome such difficulties.

The efforts to develop our discussions with the interantionalist anarchists also has to be place in a wider context of the emergence of a number of internationalist groups around the world and our understand of the need to develop relations with such groups.

I hope that clarifies things a bit

Fred
The relevance and excellence

The relevance and excellence of the article "The Culture of Debate" cannot be overstated. The appearance of a new generation of students and pupils in 2006, asking questions of a very different kind from those asked by young people in 1968, shook up the ICC. These newcomers were apparently shocked by the lack of fraternal debate between the sparse groups of the communist left. The ICC says they thought debate should not be seen as a "luxury" but as absolutely essential, and inter-generational too. No sending of the elders to extermination camps for them, as was demanded in 1968! The ICC wondered where this new concern for serious discussion came from, and concluded it was the much worse, and greater crisis of the capitalist system in 2006 than the gentler and just emerging crisis of 1968.

The article also looks back to Bilan, and the French and Italian left communist organizations surviving at the height of the counter-revolution, and their insistence on and belief in the culture of debate as vital to proletarian political life, and the growth of consciousness. Bilan maintained that class consciousness develops collectively, and that no particular party, tradition or organization should therefore seek to claim a monopoly of it. What this means, the ICC concludes, is that without continual discussion and debate conducted fraternally, in public, and on an international scale, the growth of class consciousness cannot be furthered at all. Thinking about this I conclude that it might even stagnate.

The point is made that the development of consciousness through the vehicle of open and frank debate, can always be disrupted by the intrusion of the bourgeois way of life in the midst of which we all live and suffer our deformities as a result. This means that, instead of the search for clarification, which is at the heart of the proletarian endeavor, obfuscation of ideas, confusion, competitiveness and violence creep in to destroy the goal of proletarian unity and solidarity. This can lead to crisis and degeneration in a proletarian organization. And the ICC now believe, says this article, that it was this, and the refusal to discuss at all - despite claims that the ICC had become monolithic and even "stalinist" - that lay at the root of the problems the organization endured a decade ago, and which resulted in splits and schisms, and the loss of several militants.

Altogether this article about the important issue of proletarian debate, is very well worth reading. But it's long. I have only talked about its first half. The second half looks into the history of the development of debate, discussion and the exchange of ideas, as this is a significant part of the growth of human intellectual skills, and consciousness. There is no doubt that the extended practice of proper debate today among organizations of the working class will contribute to the dissemination of revolutionary ideas. So let's take this on board.

Fred
I wanted to include this

I wanted to include this quote from "The culture of debate" in the above post, but forgot.

"If revolutionary organisations are to fulfil their fundamental role of the development and spreading of class-consciousness, the cultivation of collective, international, fraternal and public discussion is absolutely essential. It is true that this requires a high level of political maturity (and also, in a more general way, of human maturity). The history of the ICC is one illustration of the fact that this cannot be gained overnight, but is itself the product of a historical development. Today, the new generation has an essential role to play in this ripening process."

There's a few indicators for debate/discussion we can get out of this. Like the emphasis on maturity, both political and human. Neither type may have much to do with age! The ICC is certainly no new kid on the block, and yet has suffered quite a lot at history's hands, in the process of maturing. And the new generation: in seeing the necessity for political debate and discussion, are showing their own human maturity at an early age; and acknowledging the political necessity to work together despite perceived differences, which have to be overcome in a mature manner.

jk1921
To Camarade: No, I am not a

To Camarade: No, I am not a member of the ICC. I do not know precisely what has moved the ICC to have a more open attitude towards international anarchism, although Ernie offers a explanation. I do think that the culture of anarchism seems to mesh much better with the overall approach to political questions among the younger generation. Your point is well taken that left communists should not change their positions simply to appeal to a wider audience--this would of course be opportunism. But as I wrote in my previous post, I generally doubt the degree to which we can approach political debate with the aura of arrogance that has characterized the workers' movement in the past. It is simply not appropriate to carry on in such a manner anymore. This of course does not mean we need to put the fundamental class line positions into question, but it does mean, I think, that we need to have a more open attitude to exploring questions upon which there is no firm consensus. I don't think the ICC has shied away from confronting its differences with the ICT etc. but the relationships between these groups is so poor that it is often doubtful what more can be accomplished.

To Fred: I agree that there is nothing fudamental about anarchism which makes its approach to debate any less nasty than what we have seen in the past on the workers' movement. The approach to debate on LibCom is often characterized by dismissive sarcasm, when it isn't open hostility and as a result I stay away from it. But the point is that anarchism is sufficently diverse that it is possible to take what one wants from it, craft a personal identity and not have to deal with the kind of frustrating impasse that has characterized the left communist milieu for years. In the anarchist milieu it seems that large differences can often be safely ignored (even if this isn't always the case), while left communism is characterized more by the "narcissism of small differences," which many in the young generation find totally off putting.

The culture in general is more and more characterized by forms of "value pluralism" that we are finding it very hard to react to. Our old ways of approaching debate and differences just do not hold water anymore. Of course, this begs a bigger questions of where do the pathologies lie: with the culture embraced by the younger generations or with the left communist organizations? Some of both? Is it even possible anymore to go on as prophets of certainty in a pluralistic world or is it is the pluralism that is a reflection of captialist decline and which needs to be confronted? Big questions, few clear answers.

d-man
specificity

I don't see here yet an opinion about the question of Internationalist Voice put to Klasbatalo, about the necessary criteria for debate. This is what IV wrote to Klasbatalo (for the third time):

http://internationalist.ueuo.com/en/texts/Klasbatalo3.htm

Criteria for a political debate

Quote:
We asked you. What are your criteria for a political debate with a circle, group or a political current? And you replied.

“For us, the basic criteria “for discussing with a circle, group or a political current” are pretty basic – support for the revolutionary overthrow of world capitalism, the dictatorship of the proletariat (understood in its full sense), the need for the party, general adherence to the main points of communist program, and a serious approach to elaboration and application.”

These criteria can be found in the radical phrase part of the left of capital (Stalinists, Maoists, Trotskyists etc) and a concrete can be Worker Communist Party of Iran. Even if you have improved these positions in the correspondence with the IWG, but the most important question is, how these positions are applied in reality? Which roles play the narrator of these positions? How applying of these positions contribute to clarity within the Proletarian Political Milieu?

You have been in discussion with a long list of groups without saying anything about the “discussions”, or even worse you have no balance sheet of these “discussions”. Why you have not been able to establish a long term relationship with these groups? Such balance sheet would help others in the Political Milieu in their orienteering to avoid the same mistake and also would show a serious methodology of you.

The question for the ICC can be constructed as; how does it approach discussion with anarchists, what are the goals of this debate, does it try to convince anarchists of anything, if so what exactly, etc.

So what are these discussions about, what has come of them, in what direction do they move, and what is the balance sheet?

 

 

 

 

jk1921
Discussion?

Good questions, d-man. To what extent are discussions between two tendencies--both of which are convinced the other is wrong on many fundamental questions even possible? Doesn't a fruitful exchange between these tendencies imply developign a level of openess and an attitude of humility towards the "truth"? Otherwise, it seems the goals of "discussion" are ultimately only instrumental. What exactly do we mean by "discussion"?

d-man
Quid est veritas?

I think that the most important question of I.V., and by the way, there's nothing wrong about instrumentalising (or applying, if this sounds less evil to the Kantian philosopher ) one's positions when discussing historical/current events within the PPM, namely how does it contribute to clarity for ourselves? - does show great humility. Further, when claiming to hold or want a discussion there is a responsibility. I think what I.V. means about the role of the narrator, is that the narrator should participate in it and give it direction. Instead of talking about debate, really debate! So this means choosing a good subject, state and defend a position with arguments (or attack one), do it openly to all, and I have some 5 other criteria which I made, but they slipped my mind.

Alf
I'm in the ICC

I'm in the ICC.

Fred
I am in neither the ICC nor

I am in neither the ICC nor the ICT. But on May 4 I asked if the ICC thought there was something wrong with Int.Voice and if so what? But got no answer. Then, on May 12, Camarade queried IV's comment about Alf "behaving more like a politician than a revolutionnary" and went on: "But I wonder, why comrade Alf is not trying to defend himself and than prove that he is not behaving like a politician with arguments? Instead, he's he just turn down the debate by saying that IV cannot say something like this, that this is not a good way to discuss. Don't get me wrong here. I'm not saying that you're wrong to say that it's not the way to discuss, but defend your positions at least!". But there's been no answer. Could it be that an answer was looked for as a sign of good faith, if nothing else? Instead Alf "turned down the debate" says camarade, and expresses a little exasperation. Maybe it's not a big issue for Alf, but it has been raised by both IV and camarade and could have been answered. If we are trying to re-discover the know-how of working class debate, then maybe we have to put up and smile in the beginning, with things we don't particularly like being brought up. But we have to start somewhere, don't we? And at the moment we only have the bourgeoisie's model for debate, which is all irritation, personal attacks and point scoring.

I take d-man's point about actually debating rather than just talking about it - a point seconded by Javadi I think - and jk's too when he asks what exactly is meant by "discussion"? Curious that he feels the need to ask. And what, by the way, were
d-man's 5 other criteria?

Alf
Difficult to respond

To be honest, I was hoping the discussion could move away from the more negative aspects of IV's posts. And in any case, IV's second post about me acting like a politician doesn't add any further arguments: 

"Would not be good if comrade Alf replied to the criticism that has been directed to his political positions and political practice"

The problem is, I still don't know what the criticisms are, or what political positions or practice are being criticised. Further down, IV writes:  

"Comrade with a sleight of politician clutch to “spam”, “libcom”, “jk” and etc to elusive of answering to the main question. And we repeat again. Would not be good if comrade Alf replied to the criticism that has been directed to his political positions and political practice? Comrade urges us “to take a more active part in the discussion”. This is painful double morality of comrade Alf, of course painful for us, not for him. He urges for something that avoids self".

I still don't know what the main question is.  And why is it an expression of "double political morality" to urge IV to take a more active part in the discussion?

Fred
I hope IV are going to reply

I hope IV are going to reply to Alf, and camarade as well. But I too am not sure what question IV is asking. However, I can see why they think a discussion about "spam" "lib com" etc. is just an evasion of the real issue, whatever it is. In my probably uninformed opinion I think IV is looking for encouragement and support from the ICC, and they're not getting any. Why not? Does the ICC believe that IV is not a proper proletarian organization, or not something worth taking seriously as to further discussion? If they do then why not say so and get it over with? If there wasn't so much sexy shadow-boxing, and general negativity being used for self-protection, going on, perhaps ICC, IV and Klasbatalo have more in common than at present appears.

jk1921
Fred, Alf already said that

Fred, Alf already said that he thought IV were "internationalist." The bigger question here is that of comportment. Is it appopriate for a group from the milieu to repeatedly post links to their publications on another group's forum w/o ever engaging in real discussion there?

Alf, i think the discussion did start to turn away from the negative aspects of IV's attacks by broaching the question of the nature of debate and discussion themselves. I think some of the points raised by camarade are important, i.e. the notion that the entire discussion about the "culture of debate" is an overblown reaction to people with "thin skin." I don't agree with him, but I think it is enlightening that there are elements in the milieu that simply do not think these questions carry the same importance as the ICC does. Why not? Is it because they are seen as a form of veiled opportunism? A way of cozying up to anarchists by avoiding the fiercest confrontation of ideas out of fear of alienating them with harsh words?

D-man, by saying "the debate becomes instrumental" what I meant was what happens in bourgeois politics where there is no real exchange of ideas. Each sides' goals for engaing in discussion is not to develop a shared base of knowledge, but to convice the other side of its a priori absolute truth and if they can't be convinced denigrate and dismiss them. It seems to me real debate requires a certain openess and humility about the truth that has often been lacking in the history of the workers' movement. Each group has often acted as if it has unique acess to the fundamental truth, as if the Hegelian world spirit speaks through them or something. I think today's cultural and sociological realities problematize such an approach and those groups that cling to it might find themselves mostly irrelevant to the younger generations.

Alf
positive and negative

jk, I agree that the discussion had already moved on beyond the issue of IV's accusations and me defending myself. It would be much better to get on with the discussion about what the culture of debate really means in practice, and about our approach to the internatinoalist anarchists. 

Fred
I completely agree with you

I completely agree with you jk, when you say: " It seems to me real debate requires a certain openess and humility about the truth that has often been lacking in the history of the workers' movement. Each group has often acted as if it has unique acess to the fundamental truth, as if the Hegelian world spirit speaks through them or something. I think today's cultural and sociological realities problematize such an approach and those groups that cling to it might find themselves mostly irrelevant to the younger generations." This is well said.

And I agree with Alf that we have moved ( are moving?) beyond IV's accusation and Alf's personal defense againstvit. I hope IV, Klasbatalo, and camarade can agree too, and we call all move forward.

Internationalis...
The following explanations are necessary.

The following explanations are necessary.

Unfortunately, the discussion does not keep to the topic that was subject to this issue and instead to discuss:

  • Criteria for a political debate
  • Religious or Communist confidence
  • Formation of Fraction
  • The influences from the dominant class
  • Parasitism
  • Values and principles of Proletariat

Discussed other points. Therefore we did not get an opinion about the necessary criteria for debate, but a lot of other diskussions. This issue was not a discussion between Internationalist Voice and any comrade. Internationalist Voice uses other channels for discussion and discusses only those who accept the following:

  • Recognition of Marxist doctrine and methodology such as the theory of the proletariat.
  • The recognition of the October Revolution as a proletarian revolution.
  • Reject without any reservations the left of capital: Stalinists, Maoists, Trotskyists and official anarchists etc represents the political apparatus of capital.
  • The unreserved rejection of state capitalism and self-management.
  • Recognition of the necessity of the historic Internationalist Communist Party, the indispensable weapon for the victory of the Communist Revolution.

Hope everyone distinguishes between discussion, correspondence, posts in forum and etc. Internationalist Voice has made only a few explanations and defended by itself which was subjected to unpleasant treatment. Unfortunately we were not able to contribute to the "discussion" in the forum because do not keep to the subject. Worse yet, was seen as a debate between the Internationalist Voice and comrade Alf. Despite we have directed some criticism to the comrade Alf; we respect him because of that he is a militant of Left Communism that fighting for the Communist Revolution. We called him always comrade. But we don’t have religious confidence. All of these means that our desire reduce to contribute to the forum.

Comrade Alf writes: ”The problem is, I still don't know what the criticisms are, or what political positions or practice are being criticised.”

If comrade Alf had read only part 3 of the correspondence with Klasbatalo(which the discussion is about) would see, which positions of him have been criticized. Your practice has been criticized last time 15 March 2012, you have got it.

Finally clarify for Fred; please do not make the same mistake as you did on Klasbatalo. Recently we have published an appeal with title: “Support Internationalist Voice!”
We hope everyone who is against wage slavery, exploitation, capitalism ... on the way and some supports the Internationalist Voice.

***********************************************************************

Dear comrades!

Thanks for your letter. Your letter is not in line with a critical review that we hopped but so far has been in order to justify the practice and acts of the «Klasbatalo», unfortunately, this indicates that «Klasbatalo» because of its limitations is not capable to do such critique. The critique that could be in line with to progress of Internationalist positions not only in the North America but also lead to strengthen of Internationalist positions in the other part of the world. From our perspective the practice and acts of the «Klasbatalo» has not been in the direction of contributing to the clarity within the Proletarian Political Milieu, but to more confusion. Therefore we put conditions to begin discussion with you and we are also seriously in our demands, and we repeat again:

“The precondition for a political debate with you is that you put your practice on serious criticism and publicly reject the actions of groups like “IFCL” and contributing to the strengthening of the proletarian values and principles.”

 

Since the content of this correspondence can serve to strengthen of the Internationalist positions, therefore, we need to clarify the following explanations:
 

Criteria for a political debate

We asked you. What are your criteria for a political debate with a circle, group or a political current? And you replied.

“For us, the basic criteria “for discussing with a circle, group or a political current” are pretty basic – support for the revolutionary overthrow of world capitalism, the dictatorship of the proletariat (understood in its full sense), the need for the party, general adherence to the main points of communist program, and a serious approach to elaboration and application.”

These criteria can be found in the radical phrase part of the left of capital (Stalinists, Maoists, Trotskyists etc) and a concrete can be Worker Communist Party of Iran. Even if you have improved these positions in the correspondence with the IWG, but the most important question is, how these positions are applied in reality? Which roles play the narrator of these positions? How applying of these positions contribute to clarity within the Proletarian Political Milieu?

You have been in discussion with a long list of groups without saying anything about the “discussions”, or even worse you have no balance sheet of these “discussions”. Why you have not been able to establish a long term relationship with these groups? Such balance sheet would help others in the Political Milieu in their orienteering to avoid the same mistake and also would show a serious methodology of you.
 

Religious or Communist confidence

You wrote:

“While we acknowledge the problem of the “weakening of proletarian values and principles” as of primary importance in the general sense, here, for example, we can cite the ICC’s sometimes opportunist adaptation to anarchist currents, contrasted with their lack of discussion and debate with other elements of the communist left – notably the ICT”

First and foremost, we must point out that the development of the working class is not linear; therefore working class gives to rise of different political revolutionary currents. Of course attempt must be progress towards convergence, but this attempt must be very natural.

Our confidence to the revolutionary organizations is not a religious confidence but a communist confidence. This means, we do not believe that what these organizations say is hundred percent correct, but what we stress is that these organizations have a proletarian nature and defense the proletarian positions.

Contrary to the impatient petty bourgeoisie attitude, we tried to learn from the historical experience of the proletariat. After the first congress of the communist party of Iran in early 1920, in a coup attempt by Bolsheviks, 12 of the 15 member of the central committee elected by the first congress of the party, including Avatis Soltanzadeh were dismissed from the leadership of the party. The reason for this was, none progressive evaluation of the national bourgeoisie in Iran by Avatis Soltanzadeh because he believed that directly communist struggle and attempts in line with the World Revolution should be order to the day [Soltanzadeh was a great internationalist, executed by communist killer, Stalin]. This opinion was not confirmed by the Political Bureau of the Caucasus and Azerbaijani Bolshevik; they had illusion about the progressive role of the national bourgeoisie. Soltanzadeh has never been questioned the proletarian nature of Bolsheviks, he never tried to establish a fraction but through the texts exposed the destructive consequences that this policy will be play in the Iranian Political milieu and the class movement of the proletariat.

We believe internationalists in general and especially the International Communist Current in the events of 2009 in Iran played a passive roles. The introduction of the ICC to our text published in their site with title “Class struggle is the only alternative for working class” was a mechanical analyze of events in Iran. Our text, “Two movements, two perspectives, intensifying of the class struggle is the only alternative” was a critique to the introduction of the ICC from an Internationalist perspective. More than two years of events in Iran proves the correctness of our analysis. We have also criticized the ICC in the class consciousness, role of revolutionary organizations, and lack of clarity about councilism and comrades promised to reply us.
 

Formation of Fraction

First you describe a brief and correct history of the fraction that we are agreed, you wrote:

“However, the necessity of factions is born out by the history of the communist workers movement, where the necessary rise of factions played an enormous role in the clarifications and the final emergence of revolutionary organizations such as the Bolsheviks, Spartacus bund, the Italian Communist left, etc. Don’t forget that the banning of factions in the Bolshevik party at the end of the civil war was one of the final blows against the proletarian revolution in Russia, as well as a major political blow against the whole revolutionary wave of the twenties. As such, the right to form factions must be defended.”

And you continue:

“‘fractions’ develop to challenge an organization’s main trajectory or orientation, either away from established praxis or fighting for a return to a core position(s) previously discarded.”

From the above correct description, suddenly you pulls completely wrong conclusion and this is extremely dangerous act. You wrote as following:

“We’ve had extensive contact with FICL / IFFIC and…the FICL is indeed a genuine fraction”

Formation of a fraction means that the current (in this case, ICC) has completely gone to the bourgeoisies’ terrain. What do you have to prove your claim? Either you will prove that the ICC is a counter-revolutionary current then can be formed fraction or you must criticize your past well, otherwise your claim will not be serious. We also wrote before these fugitives from “Left Communism” never fought within the ICC.
 

The influences from the dominant class

“The class which has the means of material production at its disposal has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. ... hence among other things rule also as thinkers, as producers of ideas, and regulate the production and distribution of the ideas of their age: thus their ideas are the ruling ideas of the epoch.” [The German Ideology - Karl Marx]

For us Left Communism is not only some “Political Positions” but also the principles and values of the proletariat. We have stressed that influence of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois ideologies is the main enemy not only to the working class but also to its political currents. You do not mention to the influence of the dominant class, which has created enormous problems for the working class. Thanks to this influence working class provides concessions of its class identity and considers the "immigrant" worker, its class brothers and sisters, in Tehran, London and etc causes of its unemployment, misery, less salary and etc.

The majority of those who voted to the "Marine Le Pen" the leader of The French National Front in the recent presidential elections in France were from the working class of French. Why parts of working class choose the worst of the gangsters (the most anti foreign gangster)? In which city of the country you live; worker, who was born outside Canada's borders, was stabbed and his forehead has been paste "Go home!"
 

Parasitism

We stand on what we say, write or translate. We have translated the texts that we believe are important for the Iranian Political Milieu. If a critique from an internationalist perspective would be directed to what we have written, said or have translated, then we should take a stand. But first, what you have said on this point:

“For us, though, the ICC’s concept of parasitism has no roots within the Marxist corpus and has more in common with bourgeois notions of copyright and intellectual property, than with revolutionary critique…We sincerely hope that the ICC, as well as yourselves, will discard its use.”

We see only an allegation, not a serious political criticism. We have told before and we repeat again, we believe a serious criticism of the practice of the Klasbatalo, will not weaken the Klasbatalo, but also will strengthen the Klasbatalo and this in its turn will also contribute to the strengthening of the proletarian values and principles. For the last time we urge you to such criticism.

Internationalist Greetings
Internationalist Voice
29 April 2012

 

 

Fred
Alf said: "jk, I agree that

Alf said: "jk, I agree that the discussion had already moved on beyond the issue of IV's accusations and me defending myself. It would be much better to get on with the discussion about what the culture of debate really means in practice, and about our approach to the internatinoalist anarchists.".

I'm not sure that talking about how to talk (sounds very bourgeois) is going to take anyone very far on this thread now; and as Int. Voice have reminded us we're supposed to be discussing the criteria for debate. However, I don't feel up to saying anything about that, because I see it as an inter-organizational issue at heart, and am in no position to talk about "parasitism" or fractions. As to "religious or communist confidence" - not sure what this means- I have no confidence in religion at all and don't see how any serious militant could. This doesn't necessarily apply to the wider class at the moment, however, as comrade Lenin once explained.

But I am very relieved to read that both Int. Voice and Klasbatalo affirm the need for the constitution of the party at sometime in the future; the ICC's curiosity about some anarchists had me worried. If some anarchists claim to be Internationalists, and this is verifiable, does this make them okay wirh the ICC - or just some members? Does "Internationalism" by definition imply the need for an international organization, presumably
centralized (?), which might be regarded by some as actually being the party under a different name? (As the ICT keep affirming, we need the "party" - though you can call it what you like.).

I apologize to Int.Voice for straying off the subject of this thread, which I'm sure the ICC will get round to dealing with soon. But discussions and clarifications about "anarchism" and about the coming need for the Party are vitally important too, as I'm sure you will agree.

d-man
criteria

Besides not showcasing one's willingness to debate, but actually bring up a concrete subject, state and defend/attack a position and hold it openly to all, my criteria for political debate include further; no presuring to "do something", knowledge of Marxist fundamentals, give (Marxist) actually informative literature and the last criteria is keep it comradely but not too comradely.

Marin Jensen
Debate or FAQ?

I just thought I would say a word about Fred's concern that the ICC leaves things unanswered. He puts it down to our being too occupied (true - we simply are not enough to do everything we want, including following and posting on forums, even our own), and to not wanting to discuss with people outside the ICC.

Actually, this is not really the reason. Our original idea when the forum was created was for it to be a place for free debate, open to anybody who wanted to take part. In other words, it aims to be not just for ICC sympathisers, still less just for ICC members, but anybody who is ready to discuss proletarian politics and abide by the basic rules of the forum (which basically come down to mutual respect).

So we never had the intention of "answering" everything on the forum, because we just don't see it like that. We keep an eye on the forum, and we try to ensure that nobody initiates a discussion without getting some kind of response, whether from us or from somebody else. But if a discussion develops without getting us involved, then we don't necessarily feel that we have to dive in. Sometimes we do if we think the question is particularly important, or if we feel we have something to contribute that nobody else has said already. But it's not systematic.

Fred
the culture of the forum

I'm not very persuaded by what LoneLondoner says. This is not a public forum - although the "public" are welcome - it's the ICC's forum. I think that people who post on here believe themselves to be sort of addressing their remarks to the ICC, and anticipating some sort of organizational response/approval/rejection!/ correction etc. People come on here as part of a learning experience, for clarification, to develop their ideas, and to "test" these ideas out against the authority of the ICC (like it or not you are an Internationalist-Communist authority and are seen as such) and as such you can't abdicate your responsibility for what goes on here by saying 'it's just a place for free debate' as if you were just some type of libertarian anarchist group.

For instance. On May 22 Int.Voice raised a number of questions with you. One was about "parasitism"! Now, either they shouldn't have brought up this question on the forum, but done it "privately" (though doesn't the ICC say somewhere it believes this sort of thing should be done
publicly?) or they need to be answered. If you don't want to answer them you should say so, but don't just ignore them, it creates a very poor impression. I see this forum as a part of the culture of debate - the ICC says this "culture" is of vital importance. Now it may be that the bulk of tbe ICC's efforts towards this debate take place elsewhere. But a bit of it takes place on the forum too and can't just be left in limbo.

Furthermore, you place your articles on here, and invite discussion. It says "DISCUSS" at the top of the articles. But who is a discusser actually discussing with? The person who wrote the thing, or some third party as yet be discovered? Of course some posters merely comment and don't require any response.

It could be that when the forum first started there was less ferment in the revolutionary and proletarian milieu than there seems to be now. So that while LoneLondoner's remarks, and some what laissez faire attitude to the forum (if we feel like taking it seriously we will, if we don't we won't) may have been okay say 15 years ago, it may not be suitable now.

baboon
debate/discussion

Obviously the ICC can't answer every question posed on here but I tend to agree with the post of Fred above.

jk1921
I agree with the basic points

I agree with the basic points Fred makes also, but also agree with Baboon that it is not practically feasible to answer every point or question all the time. Still, it takes a certain amount of "political courage" to pose questions and discuss on an internet forum that is open to anyone in the world to read. Before, if a question received no response, it could be chalked up to "lack of forces," but now one might have the sense that their question wasn't particularly important enough. I can see where that could get discouraging after a while. 

Alf
Support for the idea of a public forum

I think this is a public forum, or it should become one. I think that if someone poses a question and it's answered by Fred or Jk with clear political analysis, that is just as good as a comrade of the ICC answering it - better in the sense that it means that more comrades are taking up the responsibility to pass on the flame of revolutionary ideas.  If a question is posed explicitly to the ICC, that's another issue, and I don't think we are evasive when this happens. 

As I understand it though, Fred thinks that the fact that we haven't replied to Int Voice's post of May 22, which mentions parasitism, is an example of us being evasive. In this particular case, it seemed to me that Int Voice was writing about the debate they had had with Klasbatalo rather than posing a question to us.

Experience - above all on internet forums - has indeed shown that parasitism is a question which is very difficult to debate in a rational manner. But while we are cautious about it, we are not evading the issue. It's good that Int Voice agrees with our conception of parasitism - very few in the milieu today do, and it's not unaninmous within the ICC.  But I am not sure that this is the main focus of this particular thread. 

 

baboon
clarification

I think that's a good precision by Alf; it's not a question and answer session for the ICC. I think that discussions generally have been positive on this forum with everyone involved; the question is to keep it open and fluid.

The ICC has a position on the question of parasitism and it's there to be discussed.