The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: Marxism and Conspiracy Theories. The discussion was initiated by jk1921.Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!
Nice job this with this article. Although, I did notice it tried to stay away from the thorny 9/11 Truth question and its expression in the ICC.
I think that there are elements of the bourgeoisie that are growing deeply concerned by the growth of this type of obscurantism. Even if it helps prevent a more serious questioning of the capitalist system itself, it is also contributing to a kind of ideological balkanization of society complicating the bourgeoisie's ability to construct a generally accepted national narrative around which it can lead society. Its a real symptom of decomposition.
As I said in another thread, in the U.S. there may be some truth to the idea that the right-wing is actually working to make the economic crisis worse for their own factional purposes, but this is a far cry from actually having "engineered" the crisis. As the article says, this gives the illusion of a ruling class in "total control" of the economy--something, regardless of how totalitarian its political system becomes, that is beyond the bourgeoisie.
What about the popular idea of "disaster capitalism"?--the idea that states and corporations look to create disasters from which they can profit, i.e. Katrina, etc. Some have aruged that the 2008 financial crisis was just such a disaster, created by financial captial in order to create the conditions for a massive dispossession of wealth. How do we respond to these arguments?
I thought it was very good as well, precise and to the point.
jk, what do you mean by your second sentance and can you give an example? I think you are right about sections of the ruling class try to construct a general narrative but also other sections go in for conspiracy e.g the Japanese MP who started preaching "9/11 was an inside job" in government.
What do you mean by "ideological balkanization"?
Just out of interest what do people think the general narrative of the British and American ruling class is?
I especially like the line Thatcher came out with during the Poll Tax protests, something like:
"Any violent demonstrations are really the negation of democracy. People can demonstrate peacefully, that is their right. But violence is really anti-democratic." (she says with a near comical grin)
Except of course the Poll Tax was violence...on the exploited class.
Is the 'Democratic Society' still the narrative, I think it has broken down more recently due to the wars and now austerity plus a bit of corruption (expenses) the latest narrative seems to be slightly colonial, off to Libya to save the poor from a despot etc
RC, I was referring to several articles published in the ICC press that argued that the U.S. bourgeoisie knew 9/11 was coming and let it happen--the LIHOP theory in 9/11 Truther jargon. This article really didn't acknowledge this.
"Ideological balkanization" just means the splitting up of society into a number of different camps between which little dialogue is possible. This process has infected U.S. society and even the ruling class itself the most in recent years, but it seems to be a general feature of decomposition.
It's nice that everyone is enjoying this excellent article, and nice that people have suggestions for the ICC with regard to satellite and Internet radio. But what happens if the ICC or WR disappear. Will anyone care, or be sorry? Yes, of course they'll be sorry and deeply upset. Yet here we have Alf, on another thread, on this website now, saying that these very things we love and care about are "threatened with extinction". Yes, with extinction! What a loss this will be to us readers of the ICC. What a loss to those of us who get on this forum and love to make our points. And what a loss to the proletariat that one of its very few revolutionary organizations should just up and disappear; just when capitalism is in it's deepest crisis ever, and just when more and more people are looking for guidance and ideas and desperately need to hear what communist organizations have to say, even if they don't know it yet. Yet nobody seems to care that the ICC or WR are threatened with extinction, or at least they haven't said so yet. The ICC has flown the communist flag for 35 strenuous years. It has a number of sympathizers internationally. Is this not the time to rally round our communist organization(s), to defend the only real gain the proletariat has made since 1975? We can't just sit back and let it go. Or can we? It's certainly easy as I know to let others do all the hard work, to think "well, they're doing a good job, they can manage. They don't need me They don't want me!" But maybe they do. Maybe they don't like to admit being overstretched. But maybe too, this is the time for communists and revolutionaries to stand up and be counted. Maybe it's the time for commitment.
It would be really nice to read what other visitors to this forum-which-we do-not-want-to-lose think about this matter. Silence isn't always golden.
Let's give Beltov the final word. "There's plenty of things we'd love to do, but at the end of the day it's all time consuming, and there are so few of us. What we need is for more sympathisers coming forward to volunteer their time and resources (and more sympathisers asking to join the ICC!) so we can work collectively to put these ideas into practice. To paraphrase Kennedy, "Ask what you can do for your class"!".
This may not save anything from extinction, and of course we don't know all the details, or what exactly Alf meant when he said it. But there is clearly a crisis, and all of us should give some serious thought to this, and reconsider our relationship to the revolutionary organization, or even try and join it!
Hi Fred. I very much welcome your solidarity and concern and above all your call for the sympathsiers to take a more active part in supporting the work of the organisation (although many are already doing this in various ways). I didn't mean to create the impression of an immediate danger, but a longer term one, linked to the more general threat posed by the decomposition of the system. Remember I was also having a go at people who go on and on about how small and weak we (the communist left in general) are without seeing some of the more positive signs of a re-emerging revolutionary movement. But shouldn't this be on the 'Organisation' thread?
Fred says "And what a loss to the proletariat ", well that may be true but the problem currently is that the class does not know the ICC exists let alone agrees with any of what it is saying. It is also I believe (I may be wrong of course) that it is also another factor which puts people off, it is a style of hyperbolic language. And I think my point is the reality whereas yours is rather subjective. Also, and this is not really aimed at you, the whole general tone of language especially in disputes which I have mentioned in the organisation thread is excessive and harmful. Perhaps it is a legacy from the likes of Lenin that can be dispensed with?
To show the extent of how Fred's post comes across, as I started reading it I thought it may be a sarcastic post from someone who has a very negative attitude towards the ICC.
I owe apologies to various people for putting my comment above on this thread, rather than on the "On Organization" thread, where it would be better placed, as Alf points out. I was upset, panicked, and screwed up. I'm so sorry, and relieved that comrades aren't angry about it but are exercising tolerance. You are right to point out, radicalchains, that I am perhaps over- subjective. What can I do!
With regard to "what a loss to the proletariat", just because the wider class doesn't know about the ICC, doesn't mean that it's disappearance - or the disappearance of any communist organization - wouldn't constitute a great loss for the class and horribly prejudice the future against us.
But I suppose these remarks shouldn't be on this thread either. Let me out!
If you visit the website AUCPB of the current Russian Stalinists and read the article 'The Collapse of Imperialism is Inevitable', by the Secretary of the CC of the AUCPB, of August 2011, you will probably groan.
I've tried to forget what radical chains said above, but it's got up my nose and I can't. He says " the problem currently is that the class does not know the ICC exists let alone agrees with any of what it is saying. It is also I believe (I may be wrong of course) that it is also another factor which puts people off, it is a style of hyperbolic language. And I think my point is the reality whereas yours is rather subjective". It's true that the class does not yet know the communist left exists, but that doesn't mean that it's disappearance, or the ICC going extinct, won't constitute a massive, perhaps irretrievable blow to the class. (Does "irretrievable blow" smack of hyperbole? I hope not. The disappearance now of our tiny communists minorities could be a fatal blow to our chances.) But what really irritates is rc's claim to "the reality" ( meaning 'I am right') as opposed to Fred's "rather subjective" attitude. (meaning 'you are wrong'). I'm not sure what reality is for rc, but am pretty confident that it will be at heart a subjective matter, like it, or know it or not.
And finally: would the proletariat agree with any of what the ICC is saying, if it knew? Well I certainly hope so. For isn't the ICC a proletarian organization, produced, secreted by the class itself as part of it's coming to consciousness? If the class should fail to agree with what the organization says, in its platform essentially, rather than in it's internal disputes, then something would be terribly wrong, and we should all tremble. Well at least I would, subjectively so to speak.
Further to the point that the class doesn't know about the communist left, and the communist organizations that the class has already produced, the following quote is relevant.
"Even if they are part of the same unity, and interact reciprocally, it is wrong to identify class consciousness with the consciousness of the class or in the class, that is to say, its extent at a given moment." (see IR 42)
Not the easiest of quotes I will admit. It's from an article about the subterranean development of consciousness, and why it's crass to reject this understanding, as to do so just undermines the whole of Marxism! ( But I can't give the link on an iPad. Sorry.)