This contribution is being posted on the ICC’s and the CWO’s discussion forums.
I have been trying to get used to internet based discussion in the recent couple of years. Im gradually getting over the problems of being too worried about being absolutely correct when I write something. I have contributed on both the ICC’s and the CWO’s forums and engaged in interesting discussions even if I cant always manage to get responses to what I feel are key issues. I guess that’s the nature of group discussion whether face to face or not anyway.
What I have noticed is that members from neither group engage in discussions on the others forum. Is this an agreed practice?
It is clear that the internet is changing discussion and indeed intervention.. Both the ICC and the CWO organisations have discussed how to respond to the emergence of electronic communication and have geared themselves up to change from printed media to internet based interventions. The ICC appears to have forsaken public meetings as a discussion point and embraced the hosting of an internet forum as the main means of external communication alongside its press.
As an old fart, I still find face to face discussion important but I am aware of the need for change here. Nevertheless I am concerned that this may diminish the opportunity for discussion between the 2 groups. If their public meeting are being reduced, then where is the opportunity for members to discuss, influence and get to know others perspectives? I have seen members of both organisations engage in fruitful and comradely discussion after the main part of meetings has ended – all without fear of crossing organisational lines!! This is however happens purely by chance, yet I see this contact as very important. All are left communists after all and there are not that many to ignore points of contact.
Having said this I do recognise that printed and internet discussion raises problems of whether what is being said represents individuals views or the organisation they belong to and I don’t quite think this has been solved on internet forums.
To facilitate contact discussion between the groups, is there some way of agreeing how to enable individuals to contribute to all groups forums. Ok, you will want to keep certain discussion formal and to representative of organisation but there must also be scope to discuss individual without the fear of crossing those organisation lines.
Is it not possible for both organisations to simply agree that members can contribute as individuals to each other discussion forums? Otherwise the informality of internet discussion is likely to keep posing more and more problems of this nature in future and is likely to inhibit discussion between the groups.