Comments on the ICC Platform

5 posts / 0 new
Last post
Comments on the ICC Platform
Printer-friendly version

Perhaps this could be a thread for any comments or discussion of the ICC Platform?


6. The Proletarian Struggle Under Decadent Capitalism

(The penulitmate paragraph says):

..."In fact the political tendencies who continue to advocate their use only do so in order to tie the working class to its exploitation, to undermine its will to fight."


This reads as if the tendencies you refer to are consciously behaving counter-revolutionary. Is this correct? Do the ICC think an organisation like The Socialist Party in England and Wales are consciously sabotaging the working class for example for their own benefit?


7. The Trade Unions: Yesterday Organs Of The Proletariat, Today Instruments Of Capital

(Sixth paragrapgh):

"Because the unions have lost their proletarian character, they cannot be 'reconquered' by the working class, nor can they constitute a field of activity for revolutionary minorities."


Firstly, what is "proletarian character". Secondly, if I've read Lenin correctly in Infantile Disorder his arguments are not concerned with gains or reform as reasons to be working as communists in unions.


"Only the generalization and radicalization of these (wildcat strikes etc) struggles can enable the class to move from the defensive terrain to the open and frontal assault on the capitalist state; and the destruction of bourgeois state power necessarily involves the destruction of the trade unions."


What period is this talking about, in general or during a potentially revolutionary period? If the former it seems like a complete reliance on spontaneity.


8. The Mystification Of Parliament And Elections

(Paragraph four):

..."no other result except the corruption of the political organizations who undertake such activities and their absorption into capitalism"


Some examples?


(Last paragraph):

..."the disastrous results of such tactics show that they are profoundly bourgeois."




That's enough to be getting on with I think, but I'm sure there will be more.




good idea to have a 'platform thread'

I agree with this proposal - the thread could be used for a lot of different questions regarding the platform (which are a 'granite base' for our activities, but not tablets of stone!).


I will respond very briefly to your comments/questons, and invite others to join in.


Does the left wing of capital consciously sabotage the struggle? I would say the degree of consciousness depends on the degree to which the parties of the left are directly implicated in running the state. With the Labour and Stalinist parties acting in government or as an official opposition it's pretty clear. Slightly different for the Trots because they are still based on the idea that they are offering a 'revolutionary' alternative. There again it depends on how far up in the hierarchy you have reached. But even if the majority of people in groups like the SPEW or SWP think they are working for the revolution, it would not be accurate to say that there is no consciousness in the way that they sabotage the struggle, however distorted it is. For example, in the way the SWP manoeuvres to manipulate and control the movements it is involved in.

'Unions have lost their proletarian character': it means that the trade unions are no longer working class organisations but have been integrated into the state. Agree that Lenin's concern is not whether unions can win reforms, but the need for communists to be 'where the workers are'. The issue for us is fundamentally that because of the role unions play in the struggle, it is not posible for communists to be union officials and act in a communist way, even at the lowest level (shop stewards etc). 

The open and frontal assault on the bourgeois state is certainly not a spontaneous act. It needs the working class to be organised and centralised in soviet-type organs, and communist organisations or parties will have to exert a decisive influence within them. If we are talking more generally, or about the movements that prepare the revolution, we are talking about a passage from 'spontaneity' to organisation - to extend and the control the defensive struggle, workers will again need to be increasingly organised through assemblies, strike committees etc. 

Parliamentary opportunism played a key role in the absorption of both the social democratic and Communist parties into the state apparatus.  There are some clear examples of the negative results of 'Communist' electoral politics from the revolutionary wave, such as the disaster of the 'Workers Governments' in Germany in the early 20s.  


But that goes for other

But that goes for other left-communists too, right? 

some of the most dangerous would be those that vacillate, at the most key times, between left-communism and other dangerous ideologies. There are probably illustrations of this from the past, I guess one of the most obvious was Mussolini, if I remember rightly he was actually on the left before he turned. But the conscious attempts at sabotage by groups with some idea of what they are doing is a real concern for sure.

Rather blindly, I was purely

Rather blindly, I was purely thinking of parties which run for election nowadays. SPGB, SPEW (in fact I was especially thinking of the old Militant Tendency at the time who were in local government in the 1980's?), SWP etc not ones which have been in government coalitions or otherwise. That's a lack of historical knowledge and naivety on my part. I'm just coming to the end of Hayes' book on the British Communist Left. It has been very instructive indeed. It really makes me wonder why so many parties continue in the same old manner which has cost the workers movement so dear. I wonder if some of it is complete ignorance of history and failed tactics or a complete rejection of the lessons? I suppose this is where the question of consciousness comes in and are they retarding the struggle knowingly or for their own personal gain. Of course bourgeois ideology is a constant threat which must not be over-looked. Also, I think it is quite common for a lot of so-called socialists to think very narrowly about their party and not the international class. Hopefully I can say more when I am better versed in the subject.

Just a quick edit to say: Don't the criticisms of elections and parliaments in the manner they are couched in the platform give a lot of credence to anarchist principles? Though of course I am aware so-called anarchists have entered governments. On unions I think there is a stronger argument for the original organisation, development of combativity and winning reforms under ascendent capitalism.


red flag
The unions

Like the recognition that unions are part of the problem and will need to be defeated by workers struggles.  However with June 30th coming up I see that thousands of workers are going to be flocking to the unions in the beleif that the unions will genuinly fight the austerity cuts.  For revolutionaries we need to be able to weather this storm of reformist expectations and be patient for workers to become dissilousned with the unions.  This may take a while but it will come.