The Curious Political Philosophy of Cody Wilson

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The Curious Political Philosophy of Cody Wilson
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I was bored on the internet the other day when I came across a documentary in my suggested links called Click. Print. Gun.

https://www.youtube.com/v/DconsfGsXyA

The short film mainly focuses on a 26 year old American called Cody R. Wilson. Cody, along with his partner, founded a company called Defense Distributed (and a supporting source repository, kinda like a "Wiki") which aims to develop 3D-printable weapons. So far their main focus has been on the lower recievers and magazines of modular assualt rifles, a highly controversial subject given the gun-control debate in the US.

Needless to say I felt pretty "meh" about watching it.

As I'm sure many could assume, it's not that hard to manufacture weapons out your home. Especially after a trip to your local hardware store. So if none of that made any sense to you, hear this---Cody has invented a way to print modular assualt rifle components using technology you can easily purchase (or lease) from ebay and other places on the internet, given the correct renumeration. That price tag for those 3D-printers currently hangs around $8,000 USD. But afterwards you could literally print a gun from your home computer. Pretty freakin' American, huh?

So anyways, at about the 6:22 mark Cody is shown assembling a rifle with some of his open source 3D-printed parts. I noticed a red and black book with a bearded old guy on the front, on the same counter top. Seemed like interesting coffee table reads, so after clicking the button to go full HD, I actually made out the title (thanks 1080p!). Introduction to Marxist Political Economy.

Hrmmmmm.

It was at this point I decided to Wikipedia they guy, and here's what I got. Cody Rutledge Wilson, born January 31, 1988, describes himself as an anti-statist and "crypto-anarchist", heavily influenced by the ideas of none other than "mutualist scholar" Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. I gotta admit after reading that I kinda laughed. This just keeps getting better.

So in addition to the documentary above which has over 8,000,000+ hits on Youtube, I found an accompanying podcast which delved much deeper into Cody's ideology, his political thought. You can find that link here:

https://www.youtube.com/v/aTYWGrfo-ao

In case you don't want to sift through this, I'll include a few major exerpts of Cody from the interview.

Redacted
"We believe in this

"We believe in this ‘post-political’, ‘trans-political’ moment. Engagement in standing politics is just a waste of time.”
 

(When asked about what aspects of society he was trying to “disrupt”) “There’s no ultimate object of scorn, that’s just, you know, baroque cynicism. There’s no one target. In fact, I don’t believe in--- So like, Foucault’s description of power is that power is actually diffused and all around us, and anonymous. I don’t believe there’s a cabal to attack, or some group of puppet masters. Really.”

“Yeah, I think I’m ‘dispositionally’ a libertarian. My attitude towards civil liberties is a libertarian one, but I don’t identify as a libertarian.”

“Nietzsche talks about what’s the revolutionary ethic, what does it mean?”

“Yes, you have to be almost fanatically devoted to just a negative form of action to do something like this, and in fact, it would take on some--- lifestyle. I still believe in equality of production, private property, things like that. I believe in mutual association.”

(When again asked about disruption, and also his financial security as portrayed in Click. Print. Gun.) “I’m not sure it’s that intentional. I’m happy to accept that. If it’s perceived as some kind of contradiction, fine. But, I believe in markets and not “Capitalism” with a “C”, if that makes sense.”

“I accept the Left definition of capitalism. Which is a kind of state propped institution of more or less imperial tendencies, tendency towards monopoly, and plutocracy. I don’t accept this social state of affairs.”

(When asked if he thought the Left was capable of blunting the aforementioned “tendencies” from within the capitalist framework) "It’s only that nominally. It’s only that spiritually. They think that’s what they’re doing. No they’re not. No, not at all. Not in the least. In fact progressivism has cast its lot with the fate of capitalism. What is the progressivist idea now? That we can share the fruits of capitalism. It’s not even reformist, to a major degree. You get some people saying, “Well let’s get rid of personhood for corporations.” They really believe that, well, we can actually make capitalism better and work with us all.”

“It’s middle class body and spirit, and that’s its problem. It doesn’t have a revolutionary goal. It doesn’t have a historical perspective, it does nothing but apologize for monopoly capitalism, and enable it.”

(When asked why political groups need a revolutionary program) “It’s not that you need one. But that we believe there are fundamentally inequalities that are built into this system, in fact, the one we live in is a totally unjust one.”
 

“I believe in social equality. I don’t believe for some reason, your status or otherwise, that you should have some hierarchy or some power over me.”

(When asked about determinism and idealism) “Even Marxism is in that same frame of mind. I’m not driving for a result. But, no, what I’m trying to say with that is everyone thinks so you have the difference of socialism from above, and socialism from below. Everyone thinks they can use their institution, their legislative process to engineer or one of the ways I put it is “counterfeit” more progress, by writing it down in paper or something.”

(Speaking about anarchists attempting to create their own communities outside of the legal grasp of the State) “There should be federalist experiments in free association and mutual cooperation. It’s like we’re coming right back into the 19th century now, where everyone was talking about this. I think there are macroeconomic trends…these states are simply going to have less power and it’s going to be interesting to see the way they fragment and the way they begin to have to interact with populations which now hold more cards for themselves.”

(Speaking about violent social upheaval) I don't want people to die. Why would I want people do die? It's not even a Leninist, "Well, you gotta break some eggs." That's not my attitude about it."

"Look, I respect Lenin and his place in history. But that's a callous attitude."

Redacted
Obviously from a left

Obviously from a left communist perspective he raises some very interesting topics. What interested me was that it seems he acknowledges that the "Left" (his words) is a reformist trap and sees right through it. He comes very close to suggesting capitalism is no longer an ascendent societal framework, given the right questions I wonder how he would respond differently.

You can also see his confusion regarding Marxism directly. He seems to acknowledge the bankruptcy of the Second International era ideaology but, like many self-described "Marxists" can't seem to take his Marxian critiques any further than that, never developing or discussion any thoughts on substitutionism, or the idea that socialism and the revolutionary communist ideology are products of the class struggle. Does he even accept the class struggle? Or do his comments about not believing "there’s a cabal to attack, or some group of puppet masters” reflect a rejection of the ruling class' political power over the working class?

At one point he even mentions $400,000, which many might recognize as an amount of net income, the line you have to cross to truly been in the top 15-20% of American society.

So anyways, I was thinking of writing him a letter suggestng he reject any other notions of revolution unless it's by the working class itself. But I wanted to get some other left communist perspectives on this before doing anything like that. So what do you guys think about the curious Cody Wilson?

Fred
I believe in markets and not "Capitalism"with a "C"

Well I think Cody Wilson's a god-awful mess of confusions and half-baked thoughts and wonder  why you Jamal find him interesting if you really do? 

 

Cody can see the society we've got is a disaster but so I guess can most people.  "You can have socialism from above and socialism from below," he says.  Well I suppose that's true.  But if he'd read enough, thought enough, talked to enough people who've been considering this for some  time, he might have said something like: you can have socialism from above - which would be state capitalism and as such totally phony socialism- or you can have socialism from below which might mean the actual abolishing of capital by the revolutionary proletariat.  But we don't actually know  what  he  means.  I doubt he knows himself, given his collection of ruptured sentences.  

The quote you give Jamal starting: "Even Marxism is that same frame of mind..." is gibberish.  The trouble is he's coming out with all these incomplete thoughts as if he's making them up, which in a sense he is, and doesn't realize they have a history and already exist in a more worked out form elsewhere which is what we call Marxism.  He's reinventing the wheel and it's coming out trianguler.  He is a very young man in the process of trying to think about social issues but not getting very far as yet.  He needs help.  Perhaps when you write him Jamal he will suddenly get everything in focus and sort himself out.  I hope so anyway. 

Otherwise he may get suicidally mixed up and shoot himself with his cardboard gun. 

Redacted
Hey Fred, I think I find him

Hey Fred, I think I find him interesting because he reminds me a lot of my peers, classmates, people my age in my area in general. Writing a letter to Cody would be writing a letter to all the people I've met and known with the same ideas. After all, who isn't at least partly a mess of thoughts and confusions? I know I am. The ICC talks about fostering a culture of debate, you know? And it's not often you hear this kind of discourse where I am. I guess I figured he could be a sort of platform, I don't know. To me it wouldn't be a complete waste of time. He has a lot of followers, maybe they are searching just like us all.

Another of my main motiviations in posting this is to try and understand the guys ideas in a more complete way. I wish jk was around I bet he could relate...

There are a lot of things Cody says that I think are worth responding to, even if just as an exercise in tought. "I'm not driving for a result." Who hasn't heard that before? Kinda councilist, no? I also think it's of some signficance that he reaches the conclusion that "progressivism has cast its lot with the fate of capitalism" but then goes on to say "these states are simply going to have less power." But this is wrong, these states are just going to have more power, and I don't understand why he doesn't see that. It scares me a bit because the guy seems pretty intelligent.

Redacted
Also do most people really

Also do most people really know society is a disaster? Or do they view this "social state of affairs" as the "end of history?"

Fred
Hi Jamal.  Thanks for

Hi Jamal.  Thanks for replying.  Maybe I was a little harsh on Cody! He's feeling his way forward.   And if, as you say, most people in this society view the current state of affairs as "the end of history" then isn't that the very "disaster" which I refer too.  Or is the end of history - meaning in bourgeois terms, the disappearance of  the threat that  communism USSR style posed to the  perfected capitalist system (lol)  - not appreciated as a potential apocalyptic "end of days" but as a  new beginning?  Yet even those blind  to the collapse of capitalism as a satisfactory and viable economic system no longer of benefit to humanity, must be aware of the threat of Global Warming?  This really could be the end of history!  Do they see capitalism as contributing  to this? Maybe not. 

Yes,  you are right.  We could debate with Cody and others.  After all its us who are the oddities not  Cody and his many mates and followers.  

If you really do intend to write a letter to Cody you could post it on here too, and suggest to  Cody that he visit this website, which after all deals with many of the issues which he  and hopefully millions of others, are in the process of formulating.  

What a pity it is that a website like this, with so many serious and attention grabbing articles about life today in a dying society, and with a lively forum,  which deals exactly with those very matters of concern to Cody, doesn't get visited by him and all the others trying to find answers, and find their way forward out of the fog. Can we engage them? 

Fred
selling the ICC's goodies

I was thinking if Cody Wilson came upon this website what would he make of it?  The opening page is a bit bewildering with an array of choices on offer.  Perhaps too many?  But what does a first time visitor need as a taster?  

Is it possible that there could be a button you press which offers say 5 of  " OUR MOST POPULAR ARTICLES ".    I mean  the ones that have been read most?  I'm assuming that having had most readers means that somehow they are particularly attractive and possible probably easy to access.  I hope it may mean they're  not too long as well. They could act as samplers for the  ICC's goodies. (Very market orientated this isn't it?).  It's just a suggestion. What do you think?  

Redacted
It is really a pity. At the

It is really a pity. At the very least I would like myself and everyone to write something critical of his ideas. I get the feeling he's missed out on the whole history of left communism.

By the way there are a few links similar to the kind you mentioned on the homepage. I found the platform to be the most eye opening when I was new to the milieu. The books on the various left communist histories in Europe are great too.

Redacted
Double post

Double post

Redacted
I think the counter

I think the counter productive aspect of ICC literature is that it's painfully obvious it's aimed at literati and communism geeks rather than searching working class people.

Marin Jensen
Actually it's not... our target audience

Jamal wrote:
I think the counter productive aspect of ICC literature is that it's painfully obvious it's aimed at literati and communism geeks rather than searching working class people.

The question of how we write and who we write for has been around ever since the ICC existed (and before... Rosa Luxemburg complained about the "wooden language" of the party press). But what do you mean by writing for "working class people"? There are plenty of groups who are trying to "reach out" by writing "for the workers": in GB you have the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party which is basically a kind of dumbed down populism, then there was Class War which did kind of comic book propaganda. Independently of their shit politics, their attitude towards the workers is shit: basically they are saying to workers, "yes you're dumb, you're right to be dumb, and we going to write dumb stuff for you". Our attitude is going to be different because we're saying to workers: "you have to make a revolution which will be the biggest, most complete overturning of human society since the neolithic revolution, we're not going to talk down to you because this is difficult and demands much thought".

Obviously we're not professional writers - nor professional translators. But remember: Marx wrote Capital with the idea that it would be published as a series of pamphlets for workers. When Engels came to Manchester, he was impressed by the level of interest among ordinary workers for philosophical and scientific subjects. The problem is not that we write for "literati", it is that the workers have lost the habit of struggle to possess scientific, theoretical, philosophical thought - and it IS a struggle.

Redacted
Correct, I completely

Correct, I completely understand that.

However it's the ICC who talks about the "organic break" this generation is faced with and I don't see any effort in the literature to remedy that.

Marin Jensen
A more fundamental point

A more fundamental point that I should have included. It seems to me that Jamal's post would imply (if you followed it to its logical conclusion, which I am not sure that Jamal does) that the spread of communist propaganda is entirely dependent on the "skills" of the communist organisation. If only we could write better, speak to the workers better... then the workers would understand and come over to our way of thinking and we would be on the way to rock & roll (I mean communism, or at least revolution).

However, in effect this inverts the relationship between workers and the class. Workers do not come in masses to communism because of the organisation, rather the organisation grows because the workers adopt a communist outlook. 

I express myself in extremes here, to get the point over: obviously we do not mean that the organisation simply has to wait for ripe fruit to drop into its lap - it has to play a dynamic role in the process. But there must be a process. If there is not, then no amount of effort on our part can compensate for the fact that the workers are not "looking" (to be concrete, no matter how brilliant our articles are, if nobody comes to the web site because they want to find out about communism... they will not be much use!)

Jamal wrote:

However it's the ICC who talks about the "organic break" this generation is faced with and I don't see any effort in the literature to remedy that.

Can you be more precise? What is it that is missing in our efforts to overcome the "organic break"? After all, this site contains theoretical and historical texts galore. But today's generation must be ready to overcome the organic break by its own reflection and study, just as the 68 generation had to.

Redacted
Oh gosh, here we go again

Oh gosh, here we go again haha. No, I don't follow that logical conclusion. And I think if anything your comment "we're not professional writers - nor professional translators" is more in that arena than anything I've said. If anything I'm questioning the function, quality and skill of interventions, not the individual or collective abilities of workers and/or left communists.

My confidence in the working class is as high as any other person on these forums. If I'm saying workers are stupid I'm saying that about myself, my family, my peers. So don't you worry about that old chap...

But aren't we getting back into the territory of the chicken and egg? Do you think the ICC is playing a "dynamic role" right now, comrade? If so, how so?

I'll add more on the organic break later. There is too much to say and I don't feel like typing an essay out at the moment. One thing I can say for now is that the 68 generation had way more to go on than us millenials.

Fred
68 and now

What Jamal means by "writing for working class people" LoneLondoner, is writing for people who don't have a lot of free time, are not accustomed to reading serious political tracts, have not been educated by the bourgeoisie to think for themselves or to think at all or to read critically,   and who suffer greatly the  ICC  says from "the death of communism" and now today from the bourgeoisie's non-stop celebration of wars past and present.  In these circumstances the theoretical and historical texts which are to be found on this site  in large numbers would not grab the attention immediately of a worker passing through by chance.  This is why I suggested a simplification of the sites opening page to include a button leading to "popular" texts.  Although this in itself is hardly going  to trigger the revolution.  

As to the 68 generation, they had it easy!  The economic recovery from the war,  a new generation born after the war, the massive international strikes,  the music, the optimism, and the general excitement.  It all produced some revolutionary groups though most have faded, and the revolutions anticipated in the 80's by some of the revolutionary groups didn't materialize. So the 68 stuff is long  since faded and gone. Just a memory. 

Today is different.  Perhaps though there is more reality afoot.  Wasn't 68 all slightly phantasmagoric looking back?  It all seemed too easy, but in fact there was very little in-depth class consciousness around on anything like the required scale.  it was a false dawn. 

Isn't the actual horrendous condition of the capitalist economy today, which the bourgeoisie can barely go on hiding  as they did in previous decades, and the obvious austerity,  a much more realistic state  of affairs facing the working class than the pay freezes and cut backs of the 70's and 80's?  And also now the USSR has gone: it can no longer masquerade as  communism.   And it isn't easy to strike anymore  these days because you could easily loose your job.  If you were considering  going on strike today you'd have to give it careful thought not just go along    with the crowd as in 68.  I doubt John Lennon could write a song called  "Revolution" today, because  the glib and joyful time when we  all  thought we knew what revolution meant, and what it entailed, and that it would all more or less happen by magic rather than through class consciousness, has been stamped on and crushed by capitalism itself.   If, as a worker, you wanted to take on the bosses for a wage rise these days, you would have to consider ultimately your future, the future of your relatives, and maybe even the implications of going on trying to live under the dying capitalist system.  In short, being alive and making decisions is no longer the simple matter it appeared to be in 68. No reforms are possible.  The only  way out is revolution.  

And of course we have an increasingly obvious decomposition of everything. This is bad. It'll destroy us if we don't stop it. Revolution is the only way in which we might stop it.  So decomposition is also good. We will have to face it or die.  

The stark choices facing the working class get starker by the minute. Socialism or barbarism is actually starting to mean something real and losing its status as a slogan. We are under threat and  even sentence of death.  

I don't know whether what I'm talking about relates to the "organic break" as understood by Jamal and LoneLondoner.  But when LL says workers are not dumb and shouldn't be talked down to as if they were, he's both right and wrong.  At the moment many workers are dumb because they see no way out.  If and when they rise up and strike in masses the dumbness will start to fade.  In the meantime workers are dumb but not stupid.  But neither have they had the education that revolutionaries have suffered from, and consequently the high- falluting attitude of "we won't talk down to you because you have to make a revolution that'll free humanity from aeons of exploitation etc. " is drivel. The lessons you as revolutionaries have learned from the working  class have to be returned to them in a manner they can accept and benefit from.    This is your job and your duty. Otherwise you're really wasting your time. 

LBird
How to understand, how to teach?

Fred wrote:
But neither have they had the education that revolutionaries have suffered from, and consequently the high- falluting attitude of "we won't talk down to you because you have to make a revolution that'll free humanity from aeons of exploitation etc. " is drivel. The lessons you as revolutionaries have learned from the working class have to be returned to them in a manner they can accept and benefit from. This is your job and your duty. Otherwise you're really wasting your time.
[my bold]

I couldn't agree more with you here, Fred.

But we have some difficult and complex ideas to 'get across' to many workers who haven't had the benefit of a 'critical' education. (In fact, I'd go so far as to say many university graduates now are not getting this benefit, because being 'taught to the test' for the purpose of 'getting a job' is not education, and certainly not a critical education.)

But all my previous attempts to simplify complex ideas (about, say, science, philosophy, or Marx's ideas in Capital), so that they can be understood by workers in their own terms, have not been met with pleasure by other Communists. This includes this site, but also others, like LibCom and the SPGB.

There seems to be a reluctance to translate complex or old meanings into a form which can be understood, now. I suspect this is because many comrades have spent years reading and trying to understand Capital, for example, and resent 'newbies' being given an easy way to 'get up to speed' with Marx's ideas.

But, I not only believe that this can be done, but that it must be done.

In my opinion, Capital (in the theoretical, non-historical parts especially) is difficult to understand, and Marx is a poor writer. I've struggled with it for years, over a number of attempts. I think I've got some grasp of the first three chapters, and I've tried to translate some ideas into 'easy-to-grasp' analogies, to give other workers a 'hook' into Marx's theories and concepts. Of course, there is no substitute for using this 'hook' to actually reading Marx's works, but without this simplified 'hook' I fear that we Communists will remain an unimportant, ineffectual minority.

I've been very lucky to have had the time, opportunity and education to struggle with Marx for years, but most workers aren't (and won't be) so lucky. I'd like to help others, but I don't hold out much hope, given the responses that I've had, so far, on the sites I have named.

Proletarian Dy
Any suggestion?

"The stark choices facing the working class get starker by the minute. Socialism or barbarism is actually starting to mean something real and losing its status as a slogan. We are under threat and  even sentence of death." - Fred

"The lessons you as revolutionaries have learned from the working  class have to be returned to them in a manner they can accept and benefit from.  This is your job and your duty. Otherwise you're really wasting your time." - Fred

I hope I understand the latest comments of this thread by Jamal and Fred. Otherwise I might be off-topic here.

It seems that the comrades' intention is something like this:

"For more than 40 years ICC and (even if all othe left-communist organizations combined) is still a very small organization and and still having lesser echo in the hundreds of millions of workers around the world. Yes left-communist positions are correct. But there is something very wrong in the approach, method and forms of transmision to hundreds of millions of the working class. They cannot understand us nor agree to what we say or write! Only a handful of retired workers mostlt from 1968 generation listen to us but not the young."

And then, relating this to decomposition and barbarism, the comrades seem to feel the urgency: "ICC must find a way as soon as possible" because "this is your job and your duty. Otherwise you're really wasting your time."

How about asking ourselves, "how can I help?" Any suggestions?

In my opinion, clarity is more important and immediatism is dangerous.

I will share an example: In the Philippines the "communism" of the maoists is very attractive to thousands of workers and young students because they defined "communism" as nationalism, love of country against foreign invaders. Tens of thousands of workers agree to the "communism" of the maoists because the people "easily" understand that "revolutionary violence" means forming a "Red army". Otherwise how can the workers fight the state? Their method of education and propaganda is very "effective" and "attractive": they have full-time organizers living in the communities of the peasants and workers, organizing them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They have cultural groups travelling around singing and forming concerts (very attractive to the young), transforming modern songs into "revolutionary" songs.

Maoists see the "urgency" by forming a "Red army" controlled by the "communist" party. They really understand what Fred said, "The lessons you as revolutionaries have learned from the working  class have to be returned to them in a manner they can accept and benefit from.  This is your job and your duty. Otherwise you're really wasting your time" with their own slogan "from the masses to the masses".

That's why because workers see the unions as their savior, maoists and other leftists factions formed their own unions, organize the workers to their unions. Because workers still believe in elections, leftists formed their own party so that the hundreds of thousands of workers could channel their votes to the "revolutionary" candidates.

In addition, anarchism also is gaining influence among the young in the Philippines with their "effective" method of "rebelling against all the authority" and propagating that the "only authority is yourself". This is very attractive to the young especially in the era of decomposition "eveyman for himself". Some anarchist boast this as "revolutionary individualism". Then their "method" of "going to the masses" is forming singing bands, concert, preaching vegetarianism and cooking food in the poor communities. The organization "Food not bombs" attracted many young people (even children!) because of this free food in slum communities.

Of course Jamal and Fred would certainly react that "That's not what we mean to be like the leftists!". I know that.....and I believe that your point is not that the ICC will act like a leftist.....

Then back to my question.....ANY SUGGESTION? Is there an easier way other than transmitting the lessons in the past to the workers in a deep and comprehensive theoretical elaboration of the workers experience for more than 200 years?
 

baboon
How can we help?

I think that there's a thin line between wishful thinking and despair, between optimism and pessimism. Fred ends the thread "How you can help the ICC" with a list of those apparantly lost to this website (and revolutionary politics?) which is sobering and gives pause for reflection. These elements have gone, possibly never to return - and this is not unrelated to attacks on the ICC and the weakness of the milieu in general, but I agree with Proletarian Day above in that we, outside the ICC, have to ask what we can do to help.

I think that at the beginnings of the ICC there was a great overestimation of the idea that the working class was ready for revollution and that this revolution was just around the corner. I don't think that the ICC was activist - there were clear activist elements that split under various guises - it had to take part in the struggles that were going on but I do think that there was a certain overestimation of the potential. The idea in the ICC that we were "running out of time" nearly forty years ago contributed I think to this overestimation. 

Next Thursday the unions in Britain have organised a one-day strike in protest against the attacks - attacks in the most part that they have agreed to and help implement. There appears little movement for this strike and it looks to be more of a case of the unions "doing something". Talk in the media about "further curbs on the right to strike" are not a coincidence. There have been nationwide demonstrations organised by the unions in Australia recently where the workers have suffered similar attacks to those in Britain. Very small numbers of workers turned out. In the main manufacturing of Melbourne just 20,000 and the unions didn't even bother to put a speaker up. In Adelaide where tens of thousands of jobs are going at GM, just 5000 demonstrators and in Sydney with its nearly 5 million population, a march of ten thousand. Barely a thousand in other major towns which must say something not only for the effects of the weight of the attacks on the workers but how they perceive the role of the unions.

LL makes a good point about the "process" of the class struggle and if there is no process going on then the role of revolutionary elements has to be to consolodate and maintain the lessons of the past. And, within the context of an intelligent bourgeoisie which applies more so to the heartlands but exists throughout, Proletarian Day is right that leftism is well-entrenched to give the lessons of marxism back to the working class in easily digestible and populist forms. And it's got nothing to do with the ability to read and being "well-read". On the libcom website are apparantly radical, extremely well-read and articulate people that call themselves "revolutionaries" but who beaver away in the unions and blatantly deny the reality of the world around them and call anyone who dares to describe that world in terms of a proletarian perspective as "a sect".

Marin Jensen
Yes.... and no

Fred wrote:

The lessons you as revolutionaries have learned from the working class have to be returned to them in a manner they can accept and benefit from.

That indeed is part of the point of this site. And as baboon says it is not a matter of "university education" - libcom is full of articulate garbage and some of the most complex texts on this site have been written by comrades without a secondary education much less a university one.

We MUST do our best to write clearly, straightforwardly, avoiding jargon and making sense of history. But if the workers are in a place where they cannot "beneft from our lessons", then no amount of brilliant writing can make up for this. I could not put this better than Proletarian Dy did in #18 - and await Fred and Lbird's response.

Marin Jensen
Chiche...

There is an excellent French slang word "chiche". This is used in situations where you have been doing your damnedest to get something difficult right, and a well-meaning friend comes along and says "Why don't you just do such-and-such? There's nothing to it".

At this point you reply "chiche", meaning: "Well if you're so good, do it yourself and we'll see how you get on".

Fred and Jamal are convinced that we ought to be writing something different, something easier for workers to understand. Well, we are always open to publishing articles written by other comrades with a view to better defending communist principles. So, "chiche!", comrades Fred and Jamal! Show us what you think should be done, and post it on this forum. 

Fred
Schizophrenia

baboon wrote:
 I think that at the beginnings of the ICC there was a great overestimation of the idea that the working class was ready for revollution and that this revolution was just around the corner. I don't think that the ICC was activist - there were clear activist elements that split under various guises - it had to take part in the struggles that were going on but I do think that there was a certain overestimation of the potential. The idea in the ICC that we were "running out of time" nearly forty years ago contributed I think to this overestimation.
 

In 68 there was a great feeling of hope but by 89 the class fell for the bourgeois fantasy wish  that "communism is dead" - with the demise of the USSR that is.  So what did the class achieve during these twenty years? Well, the emergence of some revolutionary  groups, but for class consciousness in general not a lot.  All of the struggles between 68 -89 tended to stay on economic ground and  to be trapped by trades unionism, and when the bourgeoisie announced the death of communism in 89 the class swallowed the lie hook,  line  and sinker. So, you might say, little was achieved.  The class had been pursuing reformism, under the tutelage of the Unions, at a time when reform was no longer  possible.

 

With the arrival of a new generation now, and with the death of reformism, despite the dismal state of the world, despite the grim reality of decomposition, should the class begin to rise up again today, perhaps there's a reason to be more hopeful.

 

 

Now.  On a completely different  issue: the matter of writing.  I have tried to write stuff for the  ICC but have been found wanting - there are a number of reasons why I am unable, mentally and physically, to engage with a serious ICC type article.  Jamal has also written articles for the ICC.  And it is a cliche response anyway to say of someone who makes criticisms: "well, if you think you can do better why not go ahead and show us."  In fact I am not criticizing the writing so much as the fact that it should be more widely read and reacted to.  Why doesn't Proletarian DY post comments on ICC articles rather than spend time criticizing Jamal and myself for daring to criticize ICC writing if that was all we did.  In fact I suggested a "button" leading newcomers to the site to a selection of ICC's  most popular articles.  But enough of this.  

 

Thinking again about Cody Wilson I thought of  Pannekoek  and his idea that the proletariat has a different way of thinking from that of the bourgeoisie.  I believe that this is visible in the  contorted  attempts at expressing his ideas that we see in Cody as given to us above by Jamal.  For instance:     "I believe in markets and not "Capitalism"with a "C", if that makes sense,"   which of course it doesn't.  Its contradictory. And persons schooled in the bourgeois way of thinking would dismiss it. But It is an idea that hasn't been fully worked out, and I suggest its a proletarian insight badly expressed. Cody wants "markets" but stripped of capitalism. Yet he knows this doesn't make sense. The "market" after all is the very essence of capitalism, and the two belong together. So why does Cody use the word "market"? Like many people Cody has had it instilled in him all his life that "the market = freedom" it is a fundamental tenet of capitalist economy. What Cody really wants is "the freedom to be" without the shackles of capital.  It sounds more like anarchism than communism.  But Cody is in the process of working  things our for himself, because you don't  currently get alternative modes of thought taught in bourgeois schools, only accepted ideas and cliches,  and the working class and its ideas and way of  thinking have continually to be reinvented  on an individual basis unless you have access to others who think similarly or access to a site like this one. This'll all change when we have mass strikes and solidarity again, when  this matter of switching modes of thought will be vastly simplified. 

 

In fact I wondered whether, having two modes of thought available, the one  contradicting the other, or at least in opposition to the other,  isn't tending to make schizophrenics of a number of us? Reading this post might provide evidence to some that in Fred's case this is certainly true! 

Redacted
The last few comments from

The last few comments from Baboon and LoneLondoner (both dues paying ICC members if I'm not mistaken) are perfect examples of the problem of discussing with the ICC.

For one thing, look at how quickly the "sobering" experience of not being able to engage searching elements and past sympathizers/members turned into paranoid accustations of being "not unrelated to attacks on the ICC."

We can forget all this "chiche!" bullshit when we have comrades using doublespeak in a way that I think would make Big Brother proud. By the way you can add Santiago, Devrim, Anna, Rico (and a few more I'm sure I've left out) to your list, Fred. Maybe soon Jamal?

Because in addition to the "organic break" my generation is faced with, there also seems to be a "mental block" of the older ICC militants preventing them from listening to anything the younger comrades are trying to say to them. For the last time, it's not about intelligence. It's about attention. You are not captivating any young workers with thick theoretical texts. No young worker in their right mind is going to do what I've tried to do and sift through 40 years of internal debates of the milieau in what little time off they have from breadwinning to try and figure out why society is so fucked up these days.

It's the ICC who talks about how direly they need to "pass the torch" to the younger generation, but the ICC is like an old bitter Grandma too caught up in her relatively meaningless grudges and squabbles to a write will before she dies. It's the ICC who talks about having confidence in the working class but turns around and says things basically have to be done this way because we're the most advanced element of the working class and we've theorized it so. It's the ICC who often says "we don't have all the answers." But guess what young worker, neither do you! It's only the ICC saying we have to save this Holy Ark of theoretical blah blah bullshit.

When Rosa Luxemburg gave us the ultimatum of socialism or barbarism, it was just that. An ultimatum. There's no point to "to consolodate and maintain the lessons of the past" when we have not secured a future. Socialism or barbarism to me means fight or die. But maybe the ICC with it network of '68ers see it's task differently? Sort of like and order of monks through a fastly approaching dark age? Jedi knights even? 

Why does the ICC call the process of joining and becoming a militant "integration?" But who is integrating who? I thought it was the class who integrates the revolutinary organization as a weapon in the class struggle? Well, that clearly ain't happening. I wonder why?

The point I was attempting to make before is not about simple vs. complex, triple distilled vs. watered down. It's about connecting at a deeper level than a computer screen, or a typewriter, or a woodblock. Once the comrades stop acting like they're 19 and realize they have no idea what it's like growing up in these times, under these conditions then maybe we'll get somewhere. Sure you can point out all the different ways society has changed since your precious days of revolution and joy and free love that would fit nicely into a little Venn diagram, but it's a different thing altogether to actually experience those differences first hand.

We're not like you, children of the revolution. We are children of social decay, of decomposing societies and interpersonal relationships, of terrorism. The last survivors of a zombie apocalypse worse than anything they could put on TV. Forgive the sense of urgency.

Redacted
"The tradition of all dead

"The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, costumes..."

Demogorgon
One point of clarification:

One point of clarification: Baboon is not a member of the ICC and hasn't been for many years.

As far as the discussion goes, I wonder if, what is fundamentally at issue here is a different vision of where class consciousness comes from.

The ICC has always argued that class consciousness is generated by the class as a whole, not by revolutionary organisations. The latter are products of the self-activity in the class. If that self-activity is at a low ebb, revolutionary organisations will be weak and fragmented, with low impact on the class. This doesn't mean ROs aren't important - this is why workers continually try to produce or maintain them - and they are a definite factor in the development of consciousness. At crucial moments they can tip the balance of the social situation.

But ROs are only a stage in the development of consciousness, an inevitable product of the fact that different groups of workers develop at different paces. They are not the aim of class consciousness, its origin, or its final product.

If, however, you take the view that ROs are, in fact, the source of revolutionary ideas then the concerns of presentation, propaganda, activism, reaching out to the workers (all of which are important) become wrenched out of their proper context. You don't necessarily have to hold this view formally. It is the logical underpinning of activism in all its forms.

Jamal, with respect, I think you missed some of the point of some of previous posts, especially Baboon's. He was effectively saying that the ICC has been where you are - i.e. thinking that the working class was "ready to go", it just needed the right political message with the right delivery to set it on the revolutionary path. I've been there too. So were Marx and Engels.

What happened every time was that all of us realised that the revolution wasn't around the corner and began to dig deeper into trying to really understand what was happening in the world. That was why Marx drastically reduced his organised political activity and spent decades writing Capital.

"We're not like you, children of the revolution. We are children of social decay, of decomposing societies and interpersonal relationships, of terrorism. The last survivors of a zombie apocalypse worse than anything they could put on TV. Forgive the sense of urgency."

I grew up in the 80s when entire neighbourhoods were being obliterated by the crisis, ways of life that had held for generations simply evaporating, with tidal waves of drugs hitting our estates and, most significantly, the very real threat of nuclear annihilation. I have a vivid memory of staring out onto the estate where I lived at around 10 years old and imagining what it would be like for everything I ever knew to be wiped out in seconds. So I understand that feeling of urgency all too well.

And don't forget, some of us might be a bit older than you, but we're still living in the same world you are: struggling to take care of aging parents as the social networks collapse, worrying about our children, trying to find work or afraid of losing the work we have.

We're all in same rather leaky boat.

mhou
Quote:We're all in same

Quote:
We're all in same rather leaky boat.

This combined with the difficulty of creating or maintaining the tradition of 'militantism' with small numbers over the mass geographic boundaries of the planet is an obviously difficult circumstance. The ease of communication afforded by the internet makes ideas more accessible but not the tangible, physical 'life' of an organization. Other places online are full of dissatisfaction and admissions of unworkable disagreements of relatively new people to socialist politics to the various point-and-click, join-online leftist groups (the CPUSA considers having new members 'Like' their articles on facebook and twitter = communist party work). "what am I supposed to be doing?" and a gut reaction that such activities don't amount to shit appears to be common.

Quote:
It's the ICC who talks about how direly they need to "pass the torch" to the younger generation, but the ICC is like an old bitter Grandma too caught up in her relatively meaningless grudges and squabbles to a write will before she dies.

Without trying to dredge up older discussions or change the topic, the boat  I'm in and seemingly others based on older discussions here and elsewhere is sympathy for left communism and existing left communist organizations. Maybe it has to do with the extreme accessibility to the nuances between various groups and historic traditions of the communist left that perpetuates the creation of sympathizers rather than traditional militants of particular organizations. It's far easier to debate the minutia of differences between PCInt-BC and PCI (Le Proletaire)'s positions on trade  unionism (or any other programmatic/theoretical/historical issue within the milieu) with members and sympathizers of multiple organizations online than it is to visualize a physical practice or militantism offline.

baboon
Jamal#s post

Like race, on of the ongoing divisions that the ruling class likes to play up, likes to play upon and constantly does, is the divisiion in bourgeois society of the generations of workers. The bourgeoisie have it in their blood to maintain and strengthen these divisiions. The proletariat on the other hand is one class and really shows its strength when its youth is a strong part of the movement - we've seen how important this is in some struggles where older workers have taken a lead in trying to protect the conditions of younger workers, we've seen it in strikes where old and young fight alongside each other and we've seen it in the world-wide protests of the last few years where youth and the retired have been on the streets together expressing solidarity and fighting for a future. Jamal's post above in my opinion tends to the reinforcement of generational division.. What the ICC writes, it writes for the working class. And whatever the age of ICC members or sympathisers, I'm sure that underneath Jamal realises that we live in the world, that we have friends, families, children and grandchildren and that we are not cut off and aloof from the problems of working class youth because these are the problems of the working class.

Following this, I gave an example above of the bright young things on libcom, much better read than myself, much more knowledgeable about Marx than I am, who call themselves "communist", who, in order to be accessible, work in trade unions - just like the trotskyist cannon-fodder - and help keep these overtly anti-working class organisations alive. The bourgeoisie are very happy that these youthful leftists are doing this. And when you try to discuss with them - get their "attention" on the condition of the working class and the world, which is what Jamal is demanding - they call you a "sect" or similar words to those of Jamal above: "sort of like an order of monks... Jedi knights even?" Workers won't understand what you're saying, they don't have a global  appreciation, we deal with the real world and you, they tell us, are a sect.  Not like us, we are accessible. We work in the unions, there are two sides to every story, we sign our support of internationalist statements but there are nuances, some sides are a bit better than others - it's "capitivating" drivel.

I was talking generally above about the present attacks on the ICC in relation to the period where the bourgeoisie has a freer hand. But in periods of rising class struggle there will still be interest in attacking and destroying any organisations of the proletariat, more so in fact.

So, we're told above, the issue is not "intelligence", understanding and for Fred it is being "widely read and reacted to". Unfortunately there is no formula that can come from a revolutionary organisation alone that can mean that its publications and postions will be "widely read and reacted to". One can make one's writing as accessible as possible but there is no formula, no magic words or phrases that can make such an outcome. It has to come from the class. For Jamal,  "it is about attention"; "convincing at a deeper level than words", "capitivation". I don't think that there's anything wrong with trying to connect with proletarian instincts but you have to use words. And it is not necessary to use the words of 40 odd years of discussion but certainly the fruits of those discussions (and those before). For example, I think that the question of war, the question of environmental catastrophe are fundamentally simple questions (there's a reason why the bourgeoisie in the  UK are running a morning, noon and night, 365 days a year campaign to put their own slant on the question of war and further obscure the question for the working class. But for some of the "communists" of libcom wars happen somewhere else and there's no real connection to the class struggle. And the danger of ecological collapse? Well, that could create a positive economic outlet for capitalism!

People have come and gone from the ICC's website and where have they gone to? Most I don't know but Slothjabber set up a fancy discussion site that hardly anyone goes on. Devrim is a giant amongst anarchist pygmies. Other ex-ICCers are actively plotting against it with leftist elements. Is the ICC and those that support it supposed to feel guilty about this or is their time better spent defending the positions of the working class and yes, making them more widely read and captivating. That depends on the working class tending to overcome its divisions, not the reinforcement of them.

webmaster
Where have they gone?

In answer to some of the questions about where have all the posters gone, perhaps it is worth mentioning that there are a fair few people who just connect to follow the discussions. Occasionally they post, often not. So comrades should not assume that just because they don't get answers they are not being read.

Redacted
In answer to the last

In answer to the last statement about my last question: just because goats are blue doesn't mean spaghetti and meatballs.

Redacted
Getting back on topic, why is

Getting back on topic, why is it that the hour long discussion Cody had with Vice...about capitalism, leftists, social decay, etc... has 90,000 views and we can barely keep a discussion going between all the various left communists out there?

In the same way the Occupy fiasco tended to move towards isolating itself, ICC members are doing the same thing because of what they deem to be leftist elements. You can't have an island of clarity in a sea of confusion. Overall to most folks things still seem very unclear overall.

Sure we can keep blaming material conditions, we can keep saying we have the answers which workers will come for when they need to. But time in and time out they haven't. Have they in Turkey? No. Have they in Spain? No. Egypt? No. The workers aren't looking for the holy grail of theory the ICC is looking to provide. They just want an end to all the bullshit. Shit some don't, some see themselves profit from it.

What distinction does the ICC have that makes it so special? Sure the literature is great but they are just the learned writngs of a handful of folks.  I've often wondered why doesn't the ICC just dissolve itself and go join the CWO or something or vice versa. I mean what is the point of all these organizations? Historical significance? The protectors of the lost ark someday to be recovered for truth and righteousness to spread through tout the land? Comrades can turn this into a generational thing too if they'd like but it's pretty obvious that's not the heart of the matter. The ICC is propping itself up just to prop itself up.

LBird
'Special' Materialism

Jamal wrote:
What distinction does the ICC have that makes it so special? Sure the literature is great but they are just the learned writngs of a handful of folks. I've often wondered why doesn't the ICC just dissolve itself and go join the CWO or something or vice versa. I mean what is the point of all these organizations? Historical significance? The protectors of the lost ark someday to be recovered for truth and righteousness to spread through tout the land? Comrades can turn this into a generational thing too if they'd like but it's pretty obvious that's not the heart of the matter. The ICC is propping itself up just to prop itself up.

I'm more and more convinced that this tendency has its origins in Engels' version of 'materialism'.

Put simply, if 'materialist science' tells us the 'Truth', then, even if only a handful of humans are using this 'method', then they, and only they, must have access to 'The Truth'.

This justifies the handful sticking to their guns, in the face of overwhelming disagreement by the class, who don't employ this 'materialist' method, and so can't be correct.

For my part, I think Marx was correct to stress the interaction of 'ideas' and 'reality', in a philosophical method of 'theory and practice'.

But, if human theory is involved in a method, then decision-making within that method must, in the end, be democratic.

However, this puts the 'handful materialists' out in the cold. It's the source of Lenin's 'party cadre' mentality.

I put my trust in the class, and democratic methods, both in politics and science.

If my 'faith' in the class is misplaced, so be it. In this case, Marx was wrong.

Redacted
Quick post to affirm that I

Quick post to affirm that I am not tag teaming with LBird and disagree with much of what he's said above. Democracy is a sham.

Baboon, and other older comrades, how is the position of focusing resources "to consolodate and maintain the lessons of the past" defendable? The class has absorbed the lessons of the past in it's own way. That way is different from the way the ICC would like.

Every time history repeats itself, the price goes up and the working class knows this cost.

Demogorgon
Jamal do you think the

Jamal do you think the lessons that the ICC has identified are the right lessons?

LBird
If not democracy, what?

Jamal wrote:

Quick post to affirm that I am not tag teaming with LBird and disagree with much of what he's said above. Democracy is a sham.

How else is the proletariat to make decisions, if not through democratic methods?

The notion that 'democracy is a sham' leads to minorities telling us 'The Truth', or relying on religious 'revealed truth', which cannot be gainsaid.

I put my faith in the proletariat. What else is there? 'Material' reality? God? Party? Priests? Ubermensch?

Marin Jensen
Meaning?

Jamal wrote:

Baboon, and other older comrades, how is the position of focusing resources "to consolodate and maintain the lessons of the past" defendable? 

Concretely, what else should we do, in your opinion? And I really mean, concretely.

Jamal wrote:

The class has absorbed the lessons of the past in it's own way. That way is different from the way the ICC would like.

What does this mean exactly? If the working class has "absorbed the lessons" and we are still in capitalism, what do you think this implies?

As for Cody, looking at the interview it strikes me how very American it is, and how unoriginal. Markets without capitalism! Old Proudhon must be chuckling in his grave. As for printing guns... that whole thematic is taken straight from AE Van Vogt's 1941 novel "The Weapons Shops of Issher" (you can even read it in PDF here: http://www.unz.org/Pub/ThrillingWonder-1949feb-00011). Should I be impressed that 8,000,000 people have watched it? It makes a social phenomenon certainly, but in a country of 300 million people where 42% of households own a gun, where there are more guns than people and where the NRA has 4.3 million members (http://www.statisticbrain.com/national-rifle-association-nra-statistics/), is this so extraordinary? To my mind, it says far more about the cultural mindset in the USA, determined by the history of the American revolution and the frontier, than it does about class consciousness in the world working class.

If we're sharing videos, I can't resist this offering: I read some Marx and I liked it (hilarious!). And I find this 18 year-old girl (who I've already posted I think) a good deal more thoughtful than Cody

 

MH
Thanks...

LoneLondoner wrote:

If we're sharing videos, I can't resist this offering: I read some Marx and I liked it (hilarious!). 

Thanks LL, that certainly cheered me up!

 

John Gaunt
Go Ahead

Jamal should follow his instincts and write to C Wilson. But he'll probably get more joy from Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen. 

baboon
"ready to go"

Just a point of clarification on Demo's post 25 above, a post I agree with in general, and the idea around the 70's and 80's that the working class was "ready to go".

I think that there is something of an art in trying to define exactly where the class "is" at any particular period  and this takes in elements that are outside the class itself but not outside the class struggle. As Demo says, it was difficult enough for Marx and the workers' movement and so it was for our predecessors of last century and clear periods of defeat, like those of clear periods of insurrection, can only be defined by political positions. The insurrectionary dynamic of the working class can be overestimated and underestimated. I thought that the ICC's clarification of a course towards class confrontations and away from the idea of "war or revolution" was an important one for the working class and one that is, in my opinion, still valid.

But I was part of a majority in the ICC that defended the idea of a resurgence of class struggle in 70's and 80's and I would still defend the strength of this analysis then today. You have to bear in mind, that in all honesty, while we were sincere in our tasks, a lot of the time we had no real idea of what we were doing.and this is why the organisational framework and it's defence is not a secondary question but a primary one. We weren't professional revolutionaries, came from all sorts of walks of life and backgrounds, generally united in a common purpose (though many weaknesses were bubbling beneath the surface) and we were learning as we went along. But again, it was the organisational framework (which was amateurish on occasions as well) based on the defence of clear political positions which was vital.

As a weapon of the ruling class Stalinism was weakening in the west as well as the east from the 50's on. Stalinist trade unions and a lefty sort of Labour Party was the main weapon against the working class in Britain and it was becoming a thing of the past. Contrary to what Fred (I think) above says, strikes and street protests were less and less comiing under the control of the unions around the 70's and 80's. In the steel strike of 79 there were masses of workers from other regions, including Scotland, on the streets of the Midlands. Thousands of them. Wildcats were the norm and contrary to the union-led strikes of the 60's, the tendencies here were towards solidarity and self-organisation. These elements were being expressed, with their own specifics here and there, in strikes all over the globe. It was a period of the resurgence of working class struggle. The unions were at breaking point but it was rank-and-file unionism that held the line. The Trotskyists stepped into the breach - as a nationalist party the SWP showed itself to be part of the national salvation - and frenetically threw their cannon fodder into a desperated defence of trade unionism. Rank and file unionism, against the then weakness of the working class in the face of this, was a weapon of the bourgeoisie. And the defence of rank-and-filism penetrated the ICC where it was dressed up as something else but which in reality dumped a cornerstone position of the group which was its anti-trade unionism. That itself represented an activist element which "sincerely" betrayed a position of the organisation.

Redacted
LBird, we all live in our own

LBird, we all live in our own "bubbles" and democracy is just a way to appeal to each individuals "bubble" without doing anything meaningful.

I learned this the hard way in my experience with the Occupy "movement." First we started decision making using this notion of "consensus," which almost always devolved down to a simple vote after even the smallest amount of meaningful discussion. Then from there we just started voting by a show of hands. Then some of us realized you can vote all you want, it's not going to mean shit if the things you are voting about just come back to support the framework of whoever has the upperhand in situation.

In capitalism, even under the illusion that the working class somehow shares political power with the ruling class, or can gain political power through the state, the ruling class still own all the warehouses, and the machines, and the music, and the food...you're just playing craps against somebody with loaded dice, man.

Democracy is a sham. It's a means of controlling people and doesn't have anything to do with ability and/or material need. It was created by rich men to control poor people in Greece, and even when the judicial/legalist elements of that society made it more "fair" (like for the brief period of sortition or allotment, "direct" democracy, in Athens) that only lasted a hundred years before a coup where the ruling class was able to wrestle all power back by force.

I'll bet it seemed like a peachy idea to the Paris Commune, too. I'm sure there was lots of talk about "democracy" and "people's power" and "the grassroot", and not robbing the banks and the armories and the machining factories and the railroad stations, etc. And that of course led to the brutal slaughter of over 20,000 workers.

I do agree that "Every cook can govern" but only after the state and social classes are no longer a part of human society.

Demo, I think the platform is great (for the most part, still have questions on the role of revolutionaries and to a much lesser degree decomposition) but theres a problem with the whole notion of "lessons" in a revolutionary context. We've discussed on these forums many times the problems with the educator vs. educated mentality. Who gives a lesson other than a teacher?

Can you imagine having a fully capable child who for reasons not understood can't wipe his own ass? Imagine that every time this child takes a shit, the parent (who learned how to wipe their own ass by some miracle) steps in and goes, "We must consolidate and maintain the lessons of the past" and procedes to wipe said childs bottom? How long is a paradigm like that sustainable? At some point the kid is going to have to learn to wipe their ass by themselves, am I right?

I think this analogy works right into what we are talking about.

So LL, what do I mean by "absorbed" the lessons (absorbed, secrete, fuck here we go...)? Well, the working class is very much aware of the shit-stain that is Stalinism, but in learning to wipe it's own ass it's gone a bit overboard and thrown the baby out with the bathwater. I'm done with the bathroom analogies, I swear. But hopefully you understand my points.

 

Redacted
And to address the other

And to address the other question..."Concretely, what else should we do, in your opinion? And I really mean, concretely."

Well, you've just made the first step.

I've been discussing communism with ICC militants for 7 years now and this is the first time anyone's asked me that and was genuinely interested in what I had to say about it.

1. Squash the beefs with the rest of the milieu!  The disagreements you have with them can be debated in one organization in a manner that will prove more honest and helpful than writing and posting  scathing attacks in WR or wherever .

2. The main content on the website should be informative videos and audio rather than text. Have the important texts easily navigable, and archive the old articles in one place. You guys are almost all British and have captivating accents and patterns of speech that would make these old archives rather enjoyable if they could be recorded. Theft definitely is quite a few steps a head of you with www.freecommunism.org.

3. Encourage workers to take action more often. This doesn't just mean instigating strikes. Workers should be encourage to express themselves politically as much as possible and in as creative a way as possible. I don't really see much direct conversation or feedback or interaction between the revolutionaries and the class, and without activities that encourage this how is it going to happen? There needs to be  a strong revolutionary "culture" before any revolutionary situations can manifest right? We should work harder to try and create that culture and have as many working people involved with it as possible.

LBird
No democracy means no class control

LBird, post #34, wrote:

Jamal wrote:

Quick post to affirm that I am not tag teaming with LBird and disagree with much of what he's said above. Democracy is a sham.

How else is the proletariat to make decisions, if not through democratic methods?

The notion that 'democracy is a sham' leads to minorities telling us 'The Truth', or relying on religious 'revealed truth', which cannot be gainsaid.

I put my faith in the proletariat. What else is there? 'Material' reality? God? Party? Priests? Ubermensch?

Jamal, post #39, wrote:
Democracy is a sham. It's a means of controlling people and doesn't have anything to do with ability and/or material need.
[my bolds]

Once again I ask, if not by democratic methods, how does the proletariat make political decisions?

It's a simple question put to Communists by workers: 'Democracy, yes or no?'

And while Communists don't immediately answer 'Yes', they'll remain isolated and irrelevent.

Any other answer is just bullshit: this is the lesson learnt by the proletariat during the 20th century.

If the class doesn't control its own political organisations (which can only be done through democratic means), the class remains powerless, whatever the 'organisation' alleges.

If you really want to find out why Communists remain in small numbers, Jamal, you should consider this issue more deeply.

Demogorgon
"Demo, I think the platform

"Demo, I think the platform is great (for the most part, still have questions on the role of revolutionaries and to a much lesser degree decomposition) but theres a problem with the whole notion of "lessons" in a revolutionary context. We've discussed on these forums many times the problems with the educator vs. educated mentality. Who gives a lesson other than a teacher?"

I think you're putting far too narrow emphasis on the word lesson, here. The class learns its lessons from its immediate and historic experiences but the problem is that, due to its contradictory situation in class society, the whole class cannot learn these lessons until a particular stage of development has passed.

This isn't a grand theoretical statement - althought it does have theoretical implications - it's a simple fact of life: the mass of the class does not have revolutionary consciousness at the moment. A small minority (i.e. revolutionaries) have something approaching it and that's pretty much it.

The ICC isn't saying to the class "look at the lesson plan we've drawn up for you", we're saying "these are the lessons of our class experience".

"Can you imagine having a fully capable child who for reasons not understood can't wipe his own ass? Imagine that every time this child takes a shit, the parent (who learned how to wipe their own ass by some miracle) steps in and goes, "We must consolidate and maintain the lessons of the past" and procedes to wipe said childs bottom? How long is a paradigm like that sustainable? At some point the kid is going to have to learn to wipe their ass by themselves, am I right?"

You state above that you learned from your experience in Occupy that democracy is shit. What are you going to about that? You can't do anything practical about it because the struggle that gave you that lesson is dead ... and there's no other struggle on the horizon for the moment. So you either do nothing or you can start thinking about why democracy is shit and think about better ways to do things the next time round. And when the next struggle comes, then you can say "we tried this last time, it didn't work, let's try something new". That, essentially, is what we try to do.

"the working class is very much aware of the shit-stain that is Stalinism"

I'm not so sure. Now that history has put some distance between us and the awful reality, I've come across quite a few young politicals that are drawn to Stalinism. I even found one at an Anarchist Bookfair who was prepared to openly defend the GULAG! He was as desperate as anyone I've met for an answer to capitalism and I've never encountered anyone with such an appetite for discussion ... but what had he latched onto? The very embodiment of the counter-revolution! So the idea that the working class has learned these lessons once-and-for-all is simply false.

"Squash the beefs with the rest of the milieu!  The disagreements you have with them can be debated in one organization in a manner that will prove more honest and helpful than writing and posting  scathing attacks in WR or whoever."

You can't just bring together people in one organisation when those people have very different ideas about how an organisation should function and what it should do.

However, I do agree the existing organisations are far too attached to what they consider their theoretical uniqueness and are far too insistent on theoretical unifomity within their organisations too. When you consider how many different tendencies existed within the Bolsheviks and compare it to the complete invisibility (to the outside) of minority positions within the ICC or the ICT it's really quite pitiful. Mind you, the Bolsheviks didn't hold back on the scathing attacks ...

"The main content on the website should be informative videos and audio rather than text. Have the important texts easily navigable, and archive the old articles in one place. You guys are almost all British and have captivating accents and patterns of speech that would make these old archives rather enjoyable if they could be recorded."

Now you're transposing your personal learning styles and mistaking them for a class issue. I hate audiobooks and I don't like video presentations. They make my head hurt. My partner is completely different - she loves infographics and spends hours reading about it. Is it a problem that we don't have more of that kind of thing? Definitely! Because, if for no other reason, there's a whole load of blind people out there who can't access our stuff.

But there is a serious resource issue. We can barely cope with maintaining the website as it is.

Even if we could put resource into those sorts of ideas, it raises another very important question. Before you can do eye-catching presentations on key topics, you need to understand those topics which means reading and thinking. Lots of reading and thinking! Or to put it another way: we could make a youtube video about Capital but it could never substitute for the real thing.

"Encourage workers to take action more often."

Why? If you think the class can learn on its own, why does it need encouragement to engage in struggles? More to the point, the working class doesn't need revolutionaries to push it into struggle - it can do that without a revolutionary in sight as almost every struggle since WW2 has demonstrated. If the class is not willing to struggle, revolutionaries are, to put it bluntly, utterly impotent to change that. You can't force people to fight. I wish you could because then I wouldn't be the only person in my office to join a strike every single time ...

LBird
Organisational purpose?

Demogorgon wrote:
You can't just bring together people in one organisation when those people have very different ideas about how an organisation should function and what it should do.

However, I do agree the existing organisations are far too attached to what they consider their theoretical uniqueness and are far too insistent on theoretical unifomity within their organisations too.

This is the contradiction that we're all trying to sort out, Demogorgon.

How can we have a 'disunited' organisation which demands 'unity'?

That is, one without 'theoretical uniqueness and uniformity' but which can 'function'.

I think that the key lies in defining 'what it should do'.

If its purpose is to help the class to actively self-educate, then differing opinions and advice are vital, because the class itself decides which line to take, from those offered. This allows the organisation to be 'disunited' in its 'theory', but still achieve its 'function', of helping the class to develop itself.

If its purpose is to provide 'political leadership' of its own, then 'theoretical uniformity' is inescapable, because it must appear 'united' in the eyes of the class, whose passive role is to follow the organisation's lead.

Demogorgon wrote:
If the class is not willing to struggle, revolutionaries are, to put it bluntly, utterly impotent to change that. You can't force people to fight.

This is good advice to all Communists, Demo!

Redacted
Demo you say that “the mass

Demo you say that “the mass of the class does not have revolutionary consciousness at the moment” and while I obviously agree with that, isn’t it also obvious that workers are aware that somethings not right? Are there not quite a few expressions from working class people that demonstrate this even if they are just reactions and not in the realm of revolutionary consciousness?

I think the ICC is saying something more like “these are the lessons we think we need to drive home in order for you to develop a revolutionary consciousness.” It’s not the ICC’s job of saying “let’s try something new”, it’s the working class’, and what the ICC is doing is pointing out a specifically defined framework, “lessons”, that it thinks the working class should follow and learn from.

I think anti-communism is an overhand punch against Stalinism whereas it just need a jab or two. The pendulum swung too far in favor of one direction and it’s inevitable it swings back to the other as people like the young girl and those two extremely bored fellows realize, “Hey this Marx dude was right about a lot of things. Where did it go wrong?”

And the ideas of where it went wrong might be different from the lessons the ICC is trying to give, and revolutionaries should respect that and see what lessons the working class ends up pointing out for itself.

“You can't just bring together people in one organisation when those people have very different ideas about how an organisation should function and what it should do.”

Why not? After all this isn’t “the party”, right? It’s just a “tendency” or a “current.” I don’t understand why you can’t do this at all. If one part of the organization is doing one thing, and another part doing something different, doesn’t that create wonderful points of debate that under the roof of one home would be much easier to talk about? Is there something the rest of the milieu is doing that the ICC deems counterrevolutionary? If so, what?

Demo my friend how old are you? You don’t like videos or audiobooks? What the hell man? You don’t enjoy a good documentary or a good podcast every now and then? I think these are just means to bringing to life the conversations like the ones were having now, in a way thats more widely available and more easily downloadable and digestible for people who don’t have the experience of discussing revolutionary ideas with revolutionary people. For example if you don’t know any revolutionaries, if there aren’t any where you live for hundreds of square miles, videos and recordings allow you to participate in a way you would never be able to.

I’m thousands of miles away from England yet when freecommunism.org posts youtube videos and recordings of the Midland discussion group I’m teleported there instantly. And with Skype and a large screen I could potentially take place in the discussion in real time and contribute to it directly. You don’t see any use in this?

Are you still typing on a typewriter?

You make it sound like I’m in the minority in terms of preferring this type of medium. I think the outburst of social media in the last decade pretty clearly shows us otherwise.

And to your point about capitali...If somehow there was a decent enough actor who could sit in a place that would have looked like Marx's office, in the character of Marx, and he just read Capital word for word in a german accent that would be even better than reading such a massive, dense volume. This would of course be a huge undertaking but I'm just pointing out that its possible.

Demogorgon
"Demo you say that “the mass

"Demo you say that “the mass of the class does not have revolutionary consciousness at the moment” and while I obviously agree with that, isn’t it also obvious that workers are aware that somethings not right? Are there not quite a few expressions from working class people that demonstrate this even if they are just reactions and not in the realm of revolutionary consciousness?"

Awareness that something isn't right is not a revolutionary consciousness, althought it is a necessary precursor. The problem is that, for the most part, workers are looking for reactionary solutions to their problems whether this is the next election, or stopping immigration, or looking to the unions, etc. As you say, there are some signs that there is potential to go beyond this, but the question is how can the class move forward and what is the role of revolutionaries in this process?

"I think the ICC is saying something more like “these are the lessons we think we need to drive home in order for you to develop a revolutionary consciousness.” It’s not the ICC’s job of saying “let’s try something new”, it’s the working class’, and what the ICC is doing is pointing out a specifically defined framework, “lessons”, that it thinks the working class should follow and learn from."

Why isn't it the ICC's job to say "let's try something new" in the sense of let's not struggle behind the unions, let's spread the struggle to other sectors, let's not get caught up in the traps of parliament or antifascism? Who on earth will say it if we don't? If it's not the role of revolutionaries to say these things when what's the point of being a revolutionary at all?

Earlier, you were saying we should "encourage workers to take action more often" but you don't want us to suggest the most effective way of taking that action? This seems contradictory to me (although I see you've edited that point since I last read it - and what you now describe is exactly what we're trying to do!).

"And the ideas of where it went wrong might be different from the lessons the ICC is trying to give, and revolutionaries should respect that and see what lessons the working class ends up pointing out for itself."

I don't understand what you're saying here. As far as we're concerned, we are an expression of the working class trying to learn from its experience. Nor do we think we're the only expression of that attempt, although obviously we think we're the clearest.

"I don’t understand why you can’t do this at all."

As I said above, there are many things which seem to be perceived as a barrier to closer integration in the milieu which should not be. Personally, I think the idea of delineating organisations on the question of our analysis of the world situation (economic crisis, imperialism, or state of the class struggle) to be utterly ridiculous. That's not to say they're not important - for example, if you think the class struggle is on the up you'd want a different sort of activity to those who think it's in the doldrums.

But the organisation question is a bit different. Take the ICC and the ICT. The ICC is trying to build a centralised organisation with indentical rules of functioning, etc. across the globe. The impression that I get from the ICT is that they don't see themselves as a global organisation, but as a collection of separate groups which have a great deal of lattitude in how they approach things.The ICT think what we're doing is premature, artificial and doomed to failure. The ICC think the ICT is working against the long-term aims of reunification by allowing grouplets to artificially maintain their own identities. (Disclaimer: my own understanding of this debate is barely one step above clueless, so please excuse any misrepresentation here.)

Now, I'm not getting into a debate here about which is right and which is wrong. The point is that it's very difficult to see how organisations with such different conceptions of how to organise can unify themselves just like that. Even with the best will in the world, it's just not that simple. And when you add in the fact that the ICT have done some things which, frankly, we think are downright dangerous (and I've no doubt they would say the same about us) it makes building any real unity incredibly hard.

Such profound disagreements cannot simply be waved away by a desire for unity. To do so would be just as dangerous as the current fragmentation of the milieu as the unresolved questions will simply explode at a crucial moment. This is exactly what happened to one of the Bordigist groups in the 80s.

"Demo my friend how old are you? You don’t like videos or audiobooks? What the hell man? You don’t enjoy a good documentary or a good podcast every now and then?"

That's right. Can't stand them. I can just about stomach a professionally made TV documentary, but even those I usually find shallow, slow and just plain boring. I almost always end up looking up what I'm watching on the internet, reading about it there, and learning far more. The not-so-professional attempts that saturate Youtube ...? Torture! And listening to someone read Capital? God, I'd rather piss glass. (On the other hand, this is genius!)

But as I said, that's my personal learning style. You can, of course, mock my personal preferences if you choose (typewriters were dead when I was in school, btw) but it's a pity you then chose to interpret this as some sort of policy decision on either my part or the ICC. I'm not saying using media other than text isn't worthwhile, far from it. If we had the resource there would be much more of it on the site. I can't see why we wouldn't welcome video contributions from sympathisers, just as we welcome text contributions. We've published several in the past.

In an ideal world, I'd love to see a wide-range of media on our site but the problem is that the ICC, at present, simply doesn't have the resources to be able to generate this sort of output, not in any quality way. Have you seen the site updates lately? We're being forced to cut back on what little we currently do - the idea of creating a quality video library as well is simply impossible for us at the moment. But you completely ignored this point.

Social media has, of course, exploded in the last decade. At root, it's not especially new though. Video and film has been around for nearly a hundred years. The fact you can watch it online doesn't make it fundamentally different any more than reading words on a screen is different to reading them on paper. What has changed fundamentally is the way that these media are now available to almost everyone and the speed with which distribution can be achieved.

But what's interesting is how, even now, established channels tend to stick with their strengths. Online newspapers focus primarily on text, with video as a sideline. Television news online presence has a surprising weight of text-based news (see, for example, ITV News, the biggest TV news organisation in the UK after the BBC). And where the subjects are complex, the serious stuff is still done via old-fashioned writing: take Naked Capitalism for example or Michael Roberts' blog on economics or Anti War.

So I don't think we're quite as stuck in the Stone Age as you seem to think.

LBird
Create and suggest

Demogorgon wrote:
Why isn't it the ICC's job to say "let's try something new" in the sense of let's not struggle behind the unions, let's spread the struggle to other sectors, let's not get caught up in the traps of parliament or antifascism? Who on earth will say it if we don't? If it's not the role of revolutionaries to say these things when what's the point of being a revolutionary at all?

This is precisely the 'creative' role of proletarian political organisation, that I've been arguing for: to produce and suggest new ideas to the wider proletariat, which is, as yet, not class conscious.

But, if this is 'the job of revolutionaries', then there is no need for 'theoretical unity' within the organisation. All sorts of sometimes contradictory suggestions can be given, because the role of the organisation is not 'to be right', but 'to be inventive'. The class will decide on the 'rightness' or 'wrongness' of ideas suggested to it.

This form of organisation would be attractive to workers coming to consciousness (unlike the likes of the SWP, etc., which stress obeying orders from the top, following old models of understanding, and a lack of criticism of the organisation itself), because they would join to engage in a 'hot-housing' process of learning, thinking, criticising and inventing, with like-minded (ie. Communist) workers.

I wish I'd been able to join such an organisation when I first 'came to consciousness': I made the (almost) fatal mistake of joining the SWP, which immediately attempted to 'fit the straightjacket' upon my thinking. It's still surprises me to think that I lasted almost two years in it.

The experience of many workers who've experienced what I have, is not just to leave the organisation, but to entirely reject (what they think is) Communism. Most Leninist/Trotskyist organisations have an excellent track-record of destroying class consciousness.

Redacted
I agree with just about

I agree with just about everything that LBird has said above, except for the last bit about Leninism.

I'm sorry if I'm not making sense at points and if I'm contradicting myself but I guess thats just the nature of thinking itself.

Awareness that something isn't right isn't revolutionary consciousness, no, but it's not false consciousness either. I would call it a critical consciousness, a group of processes that happen where flags start to go up and suddenly things are seeming very different from how you thought they were. If met with the right type of propaganda would you not agree Demo that this can very swiftly lead to the development of class consciousness? I don't get the impression that you do and I think from prior discussions LL doesn't think propaganda alone can do this, either. So what else then? Only workplace struggle? If that's the case we're totally lost.

I cannot accept the idea that all workers are reactionary. Or even the majority. Are we talking about the global working class here, or just the working class in Britain? Especially considering what few workers are even participaiting in these (reactionary) situations.

It shouldn't be the ICC's job to make these suggestions. Were back in the realm of wiping our childs bottom for them once again. They need to learn to do it themselves. They need to be given a critical method, not a revolutionary program. What do you mean who on Earth will say it if the ICC doesn't? It was the workers who pointed all this out in the first place! The ICC just "intervened" and then wrote it up all pretty and stuck it in IR. Who first said "let's not struggle behind the unions, let's spread the struggle to other sectors, let's not get caught up in the traps of parliament or antifascism"...WORKERS. The ICC merely observed this and regurgetated it as their own prescription. Did we forget this?

Why can't you encourage workers to take action without coercing them into a line of action? How are workers ever going to learn to struggle again if whenever they fail they have scapegoats to put the rest the blame with? "It was that Lenin guy! He suggested this!"

Then you go on to say "As far as we're concerned, we are an expression of the working class trying to learn from its experience. Nor do we think we're the only expression of that attempt, although obviously we think we're the clearest."

LOL!

This is my biggest problem with the ICC right now. You all behave as if you have some direct neural connection, some umbilical cord, going directly back to the working class. No such relationship exists! It's time to wake up to cold hard fact that 99.99999999999% of the working class has no idea what or who the ICC are and what type of arguements they're making. There's no back and forth between the ICC and the working class, it's a totally one-sided transaction. The ICC is NOT an expression or a secretion of the working class, if it ever was. That is a joke!

Remember when Marx and Engels said communists don't setup "any principles of their own, by which to shape and mould the proletarian movement?" Or did we forget that part?

And just for clarity, I didn't "edit" my post at all. I was falling asleep writing it on my phone and went back the next morning and added like three sentences to the very bottom without changing a word to the preceding post, for clarity. But LBird did a pretty nice job of summing up my thoughts on that question in the post above.

Also I ignored the bit about "resources" and how hard it is to run the website, etc. because it's really not. I would gladly volunteer to help. I know html, css, a bit of other programming languages. I've already designed a few of the graphics on the front page of the english language site and I'm willing and would be excited to learn php, or whatever else I needed to help maintain it.

But there's the problem of me not being an ICC militant, even after a year and a half of platform discussion, because of my disagreements with the ICC on the subjects of what we're talking about right now.

LBird
Contradictory thoughts is the normal state

Jamal wrote:
I agree with just about everything that LBird has said above, except for the last bit about Leninism.

I'm sorry if I'm not making sense at points and if I'm contradicting myself but I guess thats just the nature of thinking itself.

Give me 'self-contradiction' every time, over "mindless repetition of the 'correct' line"!

As you say, Jamal, it's the nature of 'thinking', as we all seek to systemise our thoughts, and drive out contradictory beliefs, of which we're often not aware, until another comrade points this out.

For example, the bit about 'Leninism', to me, contradicts your apparent agreement with me on the rest of my post. Don't bother to follow this up, if you don't feel like it, but perhaps be aware that some see connections between these issues.

Redacted
LBird you're not getting over

LBird you're not getting over on me with your little charming smilies...haha. I will gladly respond that  rejecting Lenin's legacy does way more harm than good. He was just like us, full of contradictions, and to me that doesn't mean we need to reject him outright.

Cheers, Jamal

Demogorgon
"Awareness that something

"Awareness that something isn't right isn't revolutionary consciousness, no, but it's not false consciousness either. I would call it a critical consciousness, a group of processes that happen where flags start to go up and suddenly things are seeming very different from how you thought they were. If met with the right type of propaganda would you not agree Demo that this can very swiftly lead to the development of class consciousness? I don't get the impression that you do and I think from prior discussions LL doesn't think propaganda alone can do this, either. So what else then? Only workplace struggle? If that's the case we're totally lost."

No, the right type of propaganda on its own cannot generate class consciousness. Unless you think every single revolutionary propaganda event from the year dot has been rubbish (which would require an explanation in itself), there must be more at work than getting the right headlines on your agitprop. Why did "turn the imperialist war into a civil war" fail utterly in 1914 ... succeed in 1917 ... fail again in 1939 ... and so on?

Class consciousness on a mass scale depends on a confluence of events and situations and moves in complex, contradictory patterns. Revolutionary action can play a role in pushing this forward and be decisive at certain tipping points, but it can't be the whole story or class consciousness would simply be the product of a few intellectuals.

Let's consider for a moment, the opposite of class consciousness: religion. Religion is not simply an intellectual product: it functions on deep psychological and emotional levels linked back to the structure of alienation. This is why religion cannot be eliminated by argument alone but by the transformation of society.

Class consciousness is similar in that it's not simply an appreciation of an intellectual problem (although this is certainly part of it) but a whole series of other issues as well. It directly confronts the entire weight of a society built on alienation and is, in many ways, fundamentally alien to the normal consciousness of bourgeois society which is our normal condition. That's why its so difficult to push it forward.

"Why can't you encourage workers to take action without coercing them into a line of action? How are workers ever going to learn to struggle again if whenever they fail they have scapegoats to put the rest the blame with?"

How on earth are we in a position to coerce workers to do anything? How is calling for the workers to spread the struggle, coercing anyone? I don't understand your point about scapegoating at all. Does that mean nobody should say anything about how to struggle in case they get blamed for its failure? If so, you're effecting preventing any discussion of how to struggle at all.

"I cannot accept the idea that all workers are reactionary. Or even the majority. Are we talking about the global working class here, or just the working class in Britain? Especially considering what few workers are even participaiting in these (reactionary) situations."

Where did I say all workers are reactionary. For one thing, I'm a worker and a communist. So are the majority of people in the ICC and the ICT. So are the majority of people on this forum.

But as for the majority of workers, sorry, but they nearly all either actively or passively accept bourgeois ideology. If they didn't, then we wouldn't be having this conversation!

"This is my biggest problem with the ICC right now. You all behave as if you have some direct neural connection, some umbilical cord, going directly back to the working class. No such relationship exists!"

Earlier, you said our platform was "great". Where do you think the platform came from?

"Remember when Marx and Engels said communists don't setup "any principles of their own, by which to shape and mould the proletarian movement?" Or did we forget that part?"

No, because we have no desire to take control of struggles or direct the class. And if you're going to quote Marx, do it in context: "Communists, therefore, are on the one hand, practically, the most advanced and resolute section of the working-class parties of every country, that section which pushes forward all others; on the other hand, theoretically, they have over the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly understanding the line of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement."

You also misquoted Marx as well. It actually reads: "[Communists] do not set up any sectarian principles of their own, by which to shape and mould the proletarian movement".

In order to prove your apparent point, you need to show how we're aiming to mould the movement in a way that corresponds to our "sectarian principles", rather than simply "pushing forward" the wider class and having "clear understanding" of the situation which the mass of the class currently lacks.

"And just for clarity, I didn't "edit" my post at all. I was falling asleep writing it on my phone and went back the next morning and added like three sentences to the very bottom without changing a word to the preceding post, for clarity."

The post changed since I read and responded to it. That's general regarded as editing and that was all that I meant.

"Also I ignored the bit about "resources" and how hard it is to run the website, etc. because it's really not. I would gladly volunteer to help. I know html, css, a bit of other programming languages. I've already designed a few of the graphics on the front page of the english language site and I'm willing and would be excited to learn php, or whatever else I needed to help maintain it."

I'm sorry, but this is simply another example of how you project your own personal attributes onto everybody else. You find it easy to do these things, but the majority of people do not. And it's not a generational thing - my work place is dominated by degree-educated people in their 20s but I am the one they turn to for basic (and I really mean basic!) IT support.

And it's not just about technical ability - it's also about the political capacity to grasp deep, complex subjects and being able to produce worthwhile contributions on them. That takes discussion, hard learning, reading, studying and all the rest. Not everyone finds that easy either.

"But there's the problem of me not being an ICC militant, even after a year and a half of platform discussion, because of my disagreements with the ICC on the subjects of what we're talking about right now."

I have no knowledge of those discussions. I'm just responding to what you've written in this discussion.

To be honest, I'm still not entirely sure what your actual disagreements are. You implied a general agreement with the platform earlier. Now you're suggesting you don't agree with parts of it. Sometimes you disagree with the way we intervene and want us to be more active and inventive - at other times you seem to think we're trying to impose a view on the class, as if we're saying too much and should let the class go at its own pace.

Maybe I've misunderstood what you're trying to get at, but so far it seems contradictory to me.

Redacted
The platform is great,

The platform is great, it's the framework of left communism. Although like I said before I have questions about the point 16, specifically the role of revolutionaries. I'm going to try and be as clear as I can now.

ICC Platform. 16. The Organization of Revolutionaries wrote:
"...revolutionaries can only exist as [an emanation of the class] by becoming an active factor in [the manifestation of class consciousness.]"

Are ICC militants an active factor in the manifestation of class consciousness?

Quote:
[To accomplish the manifestation of class consciousness the revolutionary organization] "participates in all the struggles of the class in which its members distinguish themselves by being the most determined and combative fighters"

Does the ICC participate in all the struggles of the class?

Quote:
"In the periods of intense class activity, these minorities have a direct influence on the practical course of events."

Ok, but why?

Quote:
"On the other hand, in periods of defeat or of downturn in the class struggle, revolutionaries no longer have a direct influence on the immediate course of history."

Ok, but why not?

Quote:
[The revolutionary organization must] "allow the widest and most searching discussion of all the questions and disagreements which arise in a non-monolithic organisation"

From my perspective people with disagreements (especially about the nature of the revolutionary organization) are not allowed to become ICC militants, otherwise I'd already be one.

Quote:
"...unity of action; in particular this means that all parts of the organisation must carry out the decisions of the majority."


So the whole of the working class is subjected to the majority opinion inside the organization? Isn't that one of the major ways how  the great revolutionary waves of the past have died? By not allowing the minority position (in that case of left communists) to influence the class?

Redacted
PS - There are nearly 800

PS - There are nearly 800 million websites on the internet. Let's assume one out of every ten of those were made by different individuals. So you're right Demo, clearly me and at least 80 million other people on this planet stand completely alone in our sacred and coveted abilities.

Fred
umbilical cords

Jamal said:

Quote:
 "This is my biggest problem with the ICC right now. You all behave as if you have some direct neural connection, some umbilical cord, going directly back to the working class. No such relationship exists!"
 

  Yes it does Jamal, and it is kind of "neural" too.  It is a new development in human evolution though we're only sitting at its edge just now.  Its most remarkable manifestation so far was surely in 1917-21 when the working class in a number of different European countries achieved a mental cohesion and  a consciousness of class, and of being alive together in a solidarity and close communion,  unseen on this planet before.  We can only imagine dimly what it must have been like. Bliss was it then to have been alive and experienced it. But we can do it again, if the appropriate circumstances allow.     One of these appropriate circumstances is accepting that the class secretes - as does an oyster in self protection secrete a pearl - the class secretes comrades  with an advanced understanding of their condition and place in society and relationship to the proletariat, which insight and understanding  is class consciousness. This consciousness, which is a new way of seeing and responding to the world, as Demogorgon touches on above, is also a joyous  achievement  and a liberation in its own right.     Members of the Communist League were among the first to realize its significance,  at the level of  consciousness that was available to them at that historic moment they lived in (we have discussed this before Jamal - the Eureka moment - you remember?) and the deepening of this working class consciousness through its critical application to the society around it produced continuing  advances for proletarian thought as a result of living through (a) the Paris  Commune and (b)  the revolutionary wave 1917-21.    The latter experience produced a surely unchallengeable lesson that without the advanced guard of the class organized cohesively and internationally together (the party?) the class will not be able to defeat the bourgeoisie and embark on building the new society. The Party is our major weapon in resisting the constant gnawing away at  the edges of consciousness that the false thinking of the ideological mode of thought, the product of alienation, the bourgeoisie's  way of thinking, constantly bombards us with. The Party may not succeed in this effort, but it is our only  hope.  For, as is suggested by comrades above, the majority doesn't have always to be right!     I suppose I've just repeated aspects of the ICC's platform.  But as I regard this Platform  as embodying to the best of its ability the fruit of proletarian struggle in the long application of its consciousness in the fight against  ideological thought, and the society in which this thrives, it isn't surprising.    But Jamal talked about "umbilical cords" and a major one of these has to be the communist succession that reaches back from today to 1847. I am merely trying to confirm as best I can that yes, there is such a biological connection and that to see it as "neural" or "umbilical" is not just a joke or a far-fetched simile, but hints  at the true nature of what it is we are trying to do, in yearning for the new society. 

Demogorgon
"Are ICC militants an active

"Are ICC militants an active factor in the manifestation of class consciousness?"

I'm not sure if this is a genuine question or you're just being sarcastic. Certainly, we try to be and that's the aim of all our activity.

"Does the ICC participate in all the struggles of the class?"

Where ICC militants are present in struggles i.e. their workplace goes on strike, or there's a local mass movement, we do our best to get involved. For example, when my workplace goes on strike I join the strike, distribute leaflets in my office encouraging other workers to join, go to the pickets, etc.

At a broader level, we try to intervene politically as an organisation by going to pickets where possible, attending mass meetings, demonstrations, etc. Our pitiful size means we can't always do this consistently, but we do our best.

Obviously the ICC is not a union or a struggle organisation, so it doesn't mobilise or organise workers in strike action (and we're quite explicit about that, we're not there to organise the working class) so our primary intervention is political.

"Ok, but why?"

Not sure what you're asking. Why we intervene? Or how can we have an influence at particular moments? Put simply, workers reach a point where they are receptive to revolutionary ideas. The practical elements of the struggle raise questions which only a revolutionary perspective can truly answer. A revolutionary organisation is the part of the class that remembers that perspective in most detail acts as a kind of memory bank for the rest of the class. By reminding the class what it's really fighting for, we can tip the balance to the class taking revolutionary action for itself.

"Ok, but why not?"

The opposite reason from above. In such periods, the class as a whole is ideologically and sometimes physically crushed. It engages actively in the ideology of the ruling class (the mass crowds cheering at the outbreak of WW1 for example). The class doesn't cease to exist and retains its potential to develop consciousness and take a revolutionary direction but these developments work independently of the will of revolutionaries.

"From my perspective people with disagreements (especially about the nature of the revolutionary organization) are not allowed to become ICC militants, otherwise I'd already be one."

Being an ICC member requires agreement with the platform and the statutes, which contain our vision of the function of the organisation. If you don't agree with that vision, then you can't join just as you can't join if you think parliament is a great idea or that Jesus Christ will save our souls.

The ICC's view is that its position on the organisation question is just as important as the points about parliament and unions, etc. While not at the level of a class line (if you defend parliament, you're on the side of the bourgeoisie - obviously rejecting our ideas about organisation doesn't put you in that camp!) they are, in our view, a fundamental part of what the proletariat learned during the rise and defeat of the revolutionary wave. They're not just something tacked on the end of the platform, an optional extra. They're fundamental to what we're about and if you don't agree it's difficult to see how you could help us build something that you disagree with. Or why you'd even want to, for that matter.

This doesn't mean you can't work with us, or criticise us, or both.

"So the whole of the working class is subjected to the majority opinion inside the organization? Isn't that one of the major ways how  the great revolutionary waves of the past have died? By not allowing the minority position (in that case of left communists) to influence the class?"

Eh? How is the whole working class subjected to the majority opinion of the organisation? All this is saying is that the opinion of the majority is the opinion of the ICC. For example, the majority of the ICC agree with the economic theory of Rosa Luxemburg - therefore, Luxemburgist economics is the position of the ICC. As most probably know by now, a very small number of members (including myself) disagree with this position. However, there have been several economic articles published which have been written from this alternative framework.

Now, I'm not at all saying that there isn't a problem with how we express minority positions. We present an almost monolithic view of the organisation which really isn't correct. I think this stems from the idea that we want to give the clearest possible position, which has some merit.

But as I mentioned earlier, this isn't the way that ROs have operated historically. Taking Luxemburg again, the party published Accumulation of Capital even though the majority completely disagreed with it and there were lively debates about it in the party press. Similarly, even at such a crucial moment as the Russian Revolution, the left communists around Bukharin in the Bolshevik party were allowed to publish their paper using party resources and agitate against Brest-Litovsk.

However, there's a difference between expressing opinions in opposition to a policy decided by majority vote (or whatever other mechanism is used) and actively refusing to carry it out. So, for example, even though I disagree fundamentally with Luxemburgist economics and am not required to defend it, that doesn't mean I can just do whatever the hell I want. I still have to distribute papers, articles, leaflets defending that position if that's what the organisation has decided to do. I shouldn't start producing my own outside the organisation.

I think it's fair to say the organisation has genuinely struggled with questions of how to manage minority positions over the years and has had different approaches at different times. Different comrades have different views on how much lattitude should be given to comrades expressing their personal positions. Some of the most trenchant defenders of keeping debate "in house" so to speak have minority positions themselves.

My personal view is that we should have more of our debates in public. Hence, I tend to be open about my disagreements on many things on this forum (e.g. economics, the relationship of the environmental question to decadence, the trajectory of the class struggle, etc.).

However, I think there are some things that we need to speak with a united voice on otherwise there's no real point to having an organisation at all.

Demogorgon
"There are nearly 800 million

"There are nearly 800 million websites on the internet. Let's assume one out of every ten of those were made by different individuals. So you're right Demo, clearly me and at least 80 million other people on this planet stand completely alone in our sacred and coveted abilities."

I have a professional interest in this question and I can tell you, without qualification, that the demand for skilled web-developers and designers outstrips supply, at least in the United Kingdom. I also see a shocking level of IT literacy among the young as well as the old, again in a professional capacity.

And, as I said above, it's not simply a question of the technical side it's a question of content. Anyone can write about politics ... but not everyone can write a good article, properly researched, with sound argumentation. There are those within the ICC who find writing really hard - as one comrade once said to me, "I avoid writing as much as I can".

I think the capacity to produce good quality video media is quite rare, just as being able to write poetry, produce music and art is, all of which are other viable forms of political expression which we don't do either. It's not that we don't understand the power - Rage Against The Machine had a profound effect on me when I was young. But the ICC is not brimming over with talented rappers either ... unless you count my efforts while driving and these days I'm more into Counting Crows anyway.

Redacted
Well it looks like we can

Well it looks like we can agree about something. Nothing like some Rage Against The Machine with your morning coffee.

 

Demo wrote:
I'm not sure if this is a genuine question or you're just being sarcastic. Certainly, we try to be and that's the aim of all our activity.

 

It's a genuine question.

The platform doesn't say revolutionaries can only exist as an emanation of the class by trying to become an active factor in the manifestation of class consciousness.

 

"Trying" implies a state in between doing and not doing. And as logic would have it, since trying is not the same as doing, are revolutionary organizations who try to do things an "emanation" of the class?

 

There are plenty of Maoists and Trotskyists and lifestyle anarchists who are "trying" as well.

 

This is class warfare. It's combat. I'm sure plenty of fighters "tried" no to get hit by Mike Tyson's left hook. How did that work out for them? In matters of consciousness and unconsciousness, socialism or barbarism, life and death, "trying" isn't enough.

 

Yoda wrote:
Do, or do not. There is no try.

 

A revolutionary organization trying or watching intently or wishing to participate in the struggles of the class (no matter how well intentioned) is not a useful emanation of the class, if it is one at all. Otherwise, like I said, the leftists (and everyone else trying) would be useful emanations of the class as well. And clearly they're not. They're just a waste of time, effort---revolutionary potential.

 

Demo wrote:
...if you don't agree it's difficult to see how you could help us build something that you disagree with.

Ouch, right in the kisser! I'm a left communist, too, remember? I thought we all were?

It's difficult for you to see that I want to help build the international party? Well lift the veil from your eyes my friend!

 

Quote:
Now, I'm not at all saying that there isn't a problem with how we express minority positions...I think this stems from the idea that we want to give the clearest possible position, which has some merit.

 

I can see the need to express the clearest possible position in the party once and if it comes, and maybe on a handful of very select issues in the present time...
 

Demo wrote:
... there are some things that we need to speak with a united voice on...

 

But in general stifiling this debate in the organization of revolutionaries and in the milieu that comes before the party is a terrible idea.
 

Demo wrote:
...this isn't the way that ROs have operated historically.

 

ICC Platform wrote:
The structure of the organisation of revolutionaries must...permit the fullest development in revolutionary consciousness within itself and thus allow the widest and most searching discussion of all the questions and disagreements which arise in a non-monolithic organisation...

 

Demo wrote:
We present an almost monolithic view of the organisation which really isn't correct.

 

Rage Against The Machine wrote:
Whatchya say whatchya say whatchya say, whaaat?
Demogorgon
"A revolutionary organization

"A revolutionary organization trying or watching intently or wishing to participate in the struggles of the class (no matter how well intentioned) is not a useful emanation of the class, if it is one at all. Otherwise, like I said, the leftists (and everyone else trying) would be useful emanations of the class as well. And clearly they're not. They're just a waste of time, effort---revolutionary potential."

By this logic, every failure of the working class to succeed in making the revolution is also a waste of time and effort. Was the effort of the Bolsheviks a waste of time? Or the way Luxemburg and Liebknecht attempted to provide a revolutionary perspective and got shot for it?

Let's break it down. 1st International - failed. 2nd International - failed. Bolsheviks - failed. 3rd International - failed. Every single expression of the Communist Left - still struggling to make headway in the class after over 50 years ... failed?

Every single previous political expression of the class has failed. Every single revolutionary movement of the past has failed. Does that mean they weren't worth the effort?

"Ouch, right in the kisser! I'm a left communist, too, remember? I thought we all were? It's difficult for you to see that I want to help build the international party? Well lift the veil from your eyes my friend!"

Did I say you weren't a left communist? Or that you didn't want to build the party? There are plenty of left communists who don't agree with our method of organisation but who still want to build the party. The problem is that we have a different vision of the party. It's like trying to build a house - if one lot is trying to build a bungalow and the other wants a 3-floor town house, it's damn hard to see how those groups can build a house together.

"But in general stifiling this debate in the organization of revolutionaries and in the milieu that comes before the party is a terrible idea."

Which debate is being stifled? If you mean the debate about how to organise, that's clearly not true: we're having it.

I'm not quite sure what to say about your selection of quotes at the end. Can you elaborate?

baboon
Organisation/Political positions

I don't agree with this from Demo above: "I think the idea of delineating organisation on the question of our (ie, the ICC's) analysis of the world situation - economic crisis, class struggle, imperialism - to be utterly ridiculous". Demo appears to contradict this in a later post but "utterly ridiculous" is pretty unambiguous.

I think that political positions to be defended and  positions on organisation are inextricabley linked. It's true that differences between the ICC and ICT are often very nebulous, decomposition for example, but in  my opinion these "differences" are sometimes manufactured in order to maintain one's own name on the shop front. But Demo seems to me to be generalising wider than the ICC/ICT "relationship".

During the splits in the ICC from the late 70's, early 80's, there were a number of factors involved including questions of organisation. But underneath all this were the questions being raised here today: How do we connect with the working class?; How do we have more influence over the struggle?, What's the right way to speak to the working class? Behind these questions was the idea that in order to connect, speak and influence we needed to have a more flexible approach to the rank and file union committees which, the argument went, were something of a positive development for the class struggle. One of the ramparts of the bourgeoisie against the development of class struggle was presented by a fair number of comrades as being a stepping-stone to more radical struggle. There was the point here of "how to connect" in the sense of a better intervention but this was lost in the immaturity of the discussion and the need to defend the organisation's own position on the trade unions. It was paramount to defend the organisation's position on the trade unions and not to fall into the traps of the bourgeoisie under the guise of being more "accessible" to the working class. It was an example, in line with the communist left, or the political positions of the organisation being central to the continued existence of a proletarian organisation..

Every revolutionary wants to "connect" to wider layers of workers and this can be done by individual comrades, as in the examples of Demo, and jointly within the workplace and generally by contributing to the work of revolutionary organisation. But in my opinion revolutionaries do not prepare and groom the class for revolution and this insurrectionary, revolutionary fervour must come from the class itself. That's what happened in the Commune, in 1905 and in the revolutionary wave from 1917.

Demogorgon
"I don't agree with this from

"I don't agree with this from Demo above: "I think the idea of delineating organisation on the question of our (ie, the ICC's) analysis of the world situation - economic crisis, class struggle, imperialism - to be utterly ridiculous". Demo appears to contradict this in a later post but "utterly ridiculous" is pretty unambiguous."

Ambiguity is the curse of clarity so apologies. What I meant was exactly this: "these "differences" are sometimes manufactured in order to maintain one's own name on the shop front".

"I think that political positions to be defended and  positions on organisation are inextricabley linked."

You don't say which ones. Again, ambiguity rules! For example, should a particular position on the economic question prove a barrier to regroupment? Or an analysis of whether you think the British bourgeoisie is pro-US or pro-European? These were the sorts of things I was thinking about (i.e. analysis of the world situation) rather than fundamental points about unions, nationalism, etc.

I'm not sure which positions you think are inextricably linked to the organisation question, but as I said earlier: "That's not to say [these analytical questions are] not important - for example, if you think the class struggle is on the up you'd want a different sort of activity to those who think it's in the doldrums."

Needless to say, I think there would still be a possibility of groups or individuals working together on some things even if they had radically different ideas about the trajectory of the class struggle (e.g. that old debate about whether the counter-revolution was over or not).

I'm certainly not saying every difference can be papered over, though. I'm simply saying that unless it's a point of principle involved, joint work or even regroupment can't automatically be rejected. Does that help?

Redacted
Demo you've listed all the

Demo before your most recent post you've listed all the ways communists have failed in the past, yet you don't think there is any need to explore new methods? I was not at all trying to say those efforts were totally in vain.

 

You don't think the tragic loss of life invovled with those events was a waste, or is at risk of becoming a waste, considering the state of the class struggle today? I feel the same way you do at a human level, I'm not a (completely) heartless bastard. But you don't agree there is some element of wastefullness when looking back on these events?

 

In regards to the party, I have no vision of what the party should or will be. That's mostly due to my own theoretical immaturity in that regard, I haven't discussed the party much at all with left communists (aside from the most basic points).

 

The scale and magnitude of the events you have listed are astronomical units away from anything the ICC has ever participated in.

 

Demo wrote:
Which debate is being stifled? If you mean the debate about how to organise, that's clearly not true: we're having it.

 

The debate on how to organize is very much an internal debate taking place inside the ICC and not very accessible to those outside of the ICC, the rest of us in the milieu.

 

The statutes you mention seem like a unicorn to me because I've always heard of them but never seen or read them (because they are only available to ICC members). You don't think this type of behavior is stifling the debate at all?

 

Demo wrote:
I'm not quite sure what to say about your selection of quotes at the end. Can you elaborate?

 

How many questions and disagreements are currently allowed within the ICC? Not much at all, and your comments above support that. I agree with you, and Devrim (based on his comments from years ago on this forum), and others in the milieu that the ICC is currently presenting a monolithic view of the organization. And I wanted to highlight that the ICC platform very explicitly states that this shouldn't happen in a revolutionary proletarian organization. What is the ICC doing to remedy this?

 

I'm concerned about the way that decadence is also affecting the growth of revolutionary organizations in this period. Why are our revolutionary organizations displaying some of the same sicknesses that decadent capitalism itself is displaying?

For example, I'm one of maybe five self-identifying left communists in the whole of the United States. The ICC doesn't view this as a problem? The pattern repeats itself, too. For example, I can't believe there were no ICC members in attendence at the meetings in Sheffield. Was this intentional?

 

baboon wrote:
...in my opinion these "differences" are sometimes manufactured in order to maintain one's own name...

I agree completely.

 

baboon wrote:
But underneath all this were the questions being raised here today: How do we connect with the working class?; How do we have more influence over the struggle?, What's the right way to speak to the working class?

...

There was the point here of "how to connect" in the sense of a better intervention but this was lost in the immaturity of the discussion...

 

Do you still see these questions as valid today baboon? Has the discussion matured any in your opinion?

With our numbers so few today are we not just individual comrades trying to "connect" with other workers on a deeper level?

 

 

Demogorgon
"Demo before your most recent

"Demo before your most recent post you've listed all the ways communists have failed in the past, yet you don't think there is any need to explore new methods? I was not at all trying to say those efforts were totally in vain."

The ICC is something new. It isn't organised on the same basis as the previous incarnations of revolutionary organisations. Nor is it the only expression of the communist left, all of which have tried different variations of organisation ranging from Councillism to Bordigism. None have made any more headway than we have.

Which leads us, in my mind to two possible conclusions:

  • Left communism is a waste of time and our ideas have failed the test of history; or
  • There is something fundamental holding back the spread of consciousness in the class.

As I am a left communist, I reject the first conclusion. I believe the fundamental positions of the communist left are still valid today. Therefore, I am led inexorably to the second conclusion.

"You don't think the tragic loss of life invovled with those events was a waste, or is at risk of becoming a waste, considering the state of the class struggle today? I feel the same way you do at a human level, I'm not a (completely) heartless bastard. But you don't agree there is some element of wastefullness when looking back on these events?"

It depends what you mean by waste. Obviously all these movements failed, but they also gave us lessons about what to avoid next time. Each iteration learned from the one that came before it. If another political current rises after ours, it will hopefully learn from our mistakes.

What I don't think was a waste was making the attempt. You can't sit back and wait until you've got everything right. The class (and its organisations) learn by doing. We have to try even if we can't guarantee success. There is no inevitability about the revolution.

How is it today that know that the party taking power is bad news? Because we saw what happened to the Bolsheviks! But until then, the entire Marxist movement (including its left-wing) was trapped in a social-democratic conception of party-power. How do we know the unions are bad news? Because we saw how the unions turned against the working class in 1918! It doesn't mean unions or parliamentary actions by the class were a waste of time.

"The debate on how to organize is very much an internal debate taking place inside the ICC and not very accessible to those outside of the ICC, the rest of us in the milieu."

I don't think that's true at all. There's been a debate between the ICC and the ICT on this question for decades, completely out in the open.

"The statutes you mention seem like a unicorn to me because I've always heard of them but never seen or read them (because they are only available to ICC members). You don't think this type of behavior is stifling the debate at all?"

The statutes are actually a shockingly dull read. In fact, the reason we don't publish them is because we're afraid that it may send contacts into an irretrievable coma. After the revolution, recalcitrant capitalists will be sentenced to read them ...

On a more serious note, no we don't want the entire world to know the exact inner workings of the organisation. But they are simply a series of rules delineating how various organs function, how they're composed, how and when we have Congresses, etc.

However, the principles behind them are embodied in the far more interesting texts here and here.

"How many questions and disagreements are currently allowed within the ICC? Not much at all, and your comments above support that."

You have no evidence on which to base that statement. And, as a point of clarification, I said the organisation presents a monolithic face to the world. I didn't say we were monolithic. The positions you see are the end result of many heated debates within the organisation.

"I agree with you, and Devrim (based on his comments from years ago on this forum), and others in the milieu that the ICC is currently presenting a monolithic view of the organization."

I'm not sure which comments from Devrim you're referring to, but I've made it quite clear that there are many different points of view within the ICC on many different topics. I've used my own differences as an example. My point is that although the organisation sometimes appears monolithic to the outside, it really isn't.

I'm not saying everything is perfect in the ICC but that touches on some other topics which I cannot discuss here other than to refer you to the final post by Alf on this thread.

"And I wanted to highlight that the ICC platform very explicitly states that this shouldn't happen in a revolutionary proletarian organization. What is the ICC doing to remedy this?"

Please quote the part of the platform that says we have to share our internal debates with the world? You may think this is a good or a bad idea (and there's disagreement in the ICC itself on this) but it's not a platform point.

Demogorgon
"I'm concerned about the way

"I'm concerned about the way that decadence is also affecting the growth of revolutionary organizations in this period. Why are our revolutionary organizations displaying some of the same sicknesses that decadent capitalism itself is displaying?"

You don't make it clear exactly what you mean here, but we are also concerned with the impact of decadence and decomposition within our ranks.

"For example, I'm one of maybe five self-identifying left communists in the whole of the United States. The ICC doesn't view this as a problem?"

It's an extremely serious problem. The low numbers are an expression of (a) the weakness of the proletariat in that country and its political immaturity and (b) the failure of the ICC to be able to regroup the few militants there are there.

It's no secret that the US section - which was always small - struggled when one of its members developed Alzheimers and another died suddenly. We are too small an organisation to absorb such losses easily - not to mention the human impact and grief those losses had on many of us.

Again, I don't want to say too much here, but several other comrades have also experienced life-changing events recently and have effectively been unable to participate in the organisation.

This has meant a massive amount of pressure on those who are left and it's been desperately hard for them.

"The pattern repeats itself, too. For example, I can't believe there were no ICC members in attendence at the meetings in Sheffield. Was this intentional?"

Yes, it was an intentional decision. We simply couldn't do it. Did we want to go? Of course we did and it wasn't an easy decision but it was simply unavoidable. We took the decision that one meeting (or even several) wasn't worth risking comrades' health or burning them out so completely they leave the organisation because of sheer exhaustion. Those are the sorts of choices we are being forced to make.

Redacted
Sorry theres a bit of

Sorry there's a bit of confusion, I was saying the ICC platform explicitly states the organization of revolutionaries should not become monolithic.

The late J. was the comrade who brought me close to the ICC, left communism in general, and away from the leftists I was involved with. He knew I wasn't in the financial situation to come on my own at the time and he personally bought me a plane ticket with something like three days notice. As soon as I landed, with less than $50 my pocket, he asked me if I had any hot food and we ended up getting subs and eating them in a park in Manhattan. I will never forget that.

Can you please send me A.K.'s email in a PM if you have it? I have been isolated from the rest US section for about two years. This is completely my own fault, as I have also had to deal with life changing events, including the deaths of my immediate family members and also the rest of my family moving back overseas.

Back with more in a few minutes, I need a chance to go over these links.

Pierre
This is the account I

This is the account I abandoned after my integration fell apart.

Redacted
I've had some pretty

I've had some pretty significant moments of clarity thinking about all that's been said in this thread (especially the last few comments from baboon, Demo, and Fred) as well as going over that literature.

 

I'm going to continue this discussion in a new thread commenting on those links you sent Demo. Thanks comrades.

baboon
Help

"Help" for me is not really the question here but clarification is. I thought that the blanket rejection of political positions as a form of revolutionary delineation, as expressed by demo above, needed clarification and demo has provided some. For me, the major questions of delineation are the unions, national liberation, nationalism and decadence and these positions have been distilled by communists from the world historical analyses on the questions of economic crisis, class struggle and imperialism.

If the question is some particular secondary nuances around these elements, for example the precise economic causes of decadence, the relationships of different imperialisms at particular junctures in time, then, if the fundamentals are agreed, I don't see that these should be any impediment to joint work or to being in the same organisation even

Having said this there are further nuances that tend to further confuse relationships between revolutionary elements. On organisation I would point to the opportunism of the CWO which has led it to lay down with some strange bedfellows - a phenonomenon which has more weight I think than it's ideas about capitalism's new technological revolution with the internet or its dismissal of decomposition while some of its articles describe it to a "t". Joint work is certainly possible if differences are only secondary but even here, in reality, between the ICC and the CWO such work doesn't exist and doesn't look like existing in the foreseeable future..Though this is an important question for the future.

radicalchains
It would seem to be joint

It would seem to be joint work with revolutionary orgs like the CWO are all the more necessary presently with the difficulties the ICC is experiencing, at a minimum some practical solidarity and that goes for other orgs in the milieu. There is a tendency to think "let's get our own house in order" then we can attempt to pursue joint work but that's upside down thinking.

baboon
Closer relations between the

Closer relations between the ICC and ICT would appear to be necessary but look as unlikely as ever. Certainly the ICC has made mistakes in this area but since being excluded from an international confernce for not recognising the leading role of the party (what an overblown manoeuvre that was by the CWO) relations became so bad that the CWO wouldn't even consider signing a joint fundamental statement against imperialist war - ie, specific wars, the Gulf, etc. As Demo says above to hide behind secondary differences, that are generally incomprehensible, is ridiculous but that looks to me they way that the "relationship" will continue.