On Organisation

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Obviously possible

This can obviously be done, since Jamal, aka Redacted, has indeed deleted his own posts. We don't propose to change that.

Whether it is considered honest is another matter and would depend on circumstances.

jk1921
OK, makes sense.

OK, makes sense.

Fred
Motivation, human nature and maturity

Motivation is a tough nut to crack. Isn't it a bit like "human nature"? The bourgeoisie ensures through the maintenance and hegemony of its bourgeois political psychology syndrome that everyone thinks that "motivation is all" - that is motivation as personal private property and "individualised" - and that "human nature" equates with the merciless competitive atmosphere of capitalism in full swing.

Well  we've dealt with human nature before so let's think about motivation. Where does motivation come from.  Is it something you're born with or is it acquired?  Let's assume it's acquired. So where do you get it from?  From the ruling dictatorship of course. You're not actually a free-wheeling individual as you are conditioned to believe you are with your own personalised motivations,  but you generally acquire the correct motivations  via  the bourgeois political  psychology syndrome (BPPS). This tells you generally how you ought to behave and what and how you should think.  The BPPS has as subsets the general prevailing ideology, religion, culture, education, the market, money making, wage labour  and so on. All of this is maintained by the dominant political  psychology which is the essential superstructure to the political economy it helps preserve unchallenged.

But if motivation is at the root of everything as many say it is, then how do we escape its conditioning grip? The answer is through class consciousness.  Not through an individualised consciousness, but through class consciousness which alone offers escape from imprisoning cultural. psychological  and political chains.  This is because awareness of class is an advance on the limited awareness of self available  under the auspices of bourgeois political psychology. 

What does this mean for a Communist Organization? For an individual comrade it means surrendering the precious entity of a highly personalised motivatory, cognitive and emotional intelligence  for the expanded class consciousness of the proletarian revolutionary organisation, which is a great advance. 

This can present problems and difficulties for individuals schooled into bourgeois political psychology and its mind set. This includes nearly all of us I suppose. Because it is possible to embrace communist political theory while being secretly ruled by the political psychology of the bourgeoisie.  And it must be noted that a major side effect of political psychology is to prevent any maturing of political thought  and emotional responses such as to keep the victims (all of us just about) in a condition bordering on  childish submissiveness. This can be to such an extent that we are reluctant to question ourselves, or anyone else, or examine  our own thought processes and motivation. 

This means that problems can arise in a proletarian revolutionary organisation, and among its milieu, when the demands of the organisation as a whole rub up against the expectations of individual militants. For some of these may remain victims, or partial victims of bourgeois political psychology with its embedded insistence on "the freedom of the individual", a primitive understanding of "equality" and various other aspects stemming from Romantic Idealism. 

So now for a non-sequitur. 

Those of us who as individuals feel from time to time neglected, or abadoned by the ICC, should try not to let it get us down. We are parts of a greater whole.  Solidarity does not require us to long for the encouraging pat on the back as a sign of good work done, for we are working towards the establishment of a society where such gestures, sweet as they are, will no longer be understood as as essential markers of the usefulness of our contribution.  Maturity, specially communist maturity, is all. 

baboon
Demo's post, 136.

Demo wrote above: "Let's assume that X hates the ICC and truly wants to see it destroyed and employs a whole series of critiques in order to do so. While the individual's hatred may be entirely irrational and their aims reprehensible this, in itself, speaks absolutely nothing to the validity of the actual arguments they employ. Just because X "hates the ICC" doesn't automatically mean he's wrong when he says the "the ICC are <insert criticism of choice>". The arguments must be dealt with on their own terrain. The question of why comrades make the arguments they do is, in many ways, a separate question."

 

I was somewhat reluctant to raise this issue but I think that it's important for us to clarify the issue. I think that the elements that we've seen expressing irrational hatreds and reprehensible aims against the ICC, i.e. wanting to destroy the organisation, wanting to grass certain members up to the authorities, wnating to sow dissent and suspicion, frustrations from wounded pride, etc., have, in the main, a great deal to do with the validity of the actual arguments that they present. I do agree that arguments have to be answered on their own terrain (e.g. the ICC is this or that) but I don't think that the questions can be separate.

Demogorgon
baboon wrote:I think that the

baboon wrote:
I think that the elements that we've seen expressing irrational hatreds and reprehensible aims against the ICC, i.e. wanting to destroy the organisation, wanting to grass certain members up to the authorities, wnating to sow dissent and suspicion, frustrations from wounded pride, etc., have, in the main, a great deal to do with the validity of the actual arguments that they present.

Let us imagine the fictional Generic Organisation for Communism (GOC). Kevin leaves GOC denouncing it for its Stalinist tendencies and goes about trying to discredit the organisation. We may assume, based on the evidence of his behaviour, that Kevin wants to see GOC destroyed. GOC denies Stalinism and announces that Kevin cannot be trusted because his avowed aim is to destroy the organisation. So is Kevin wrong?

Not necessarily. We still have no idea whether GOC is Stalinisist or not. Without examining the evidence, we are in no position to decide whether Kevin or GOC are correct about the Stalinist nature of GOC. GOC may argue that Kevin has a vested interest in lying because he wants to destroy them but Kevin can counterargue that GOC has a vested interest in lying about being Stalinist because being Stalinist is inherently undesirable.

Things get even worse if we consider that it's possible that destroying a Stalinist organisation might actually be a legitimate aim. But even if we assume that destroying Stalinist organisations is a legitimate activity, that doesn't prove that GOC actually is Stalinist. Kevin's motivations may be admirable but he may still be mistaken about GOC.

Given that we have no way, in this scenario, of determining the truth behind the Stalinism of GOC, we have no way to assess which side is telling the truth. This is why "appeal to motive" is a false way of arguing. It doesn't deal with the evidence.

Worse, it assumes some sort of agreement on the legitimacy of the motive claimed. GOC's protestations will have no effect on those who already think (for whatever reason) that destroying GOC is a legitimate aim. It may actually make Kevin seem more credible to those people (assuming they don't understand logic, of course).

As to why Kevin has taken this course of action, it could be for all sorts of reasons. It may be because he's mentally unstable; it may be because someone in GOC insulted him; but it may also be because GOC actually is Stalinist!

Of course, a comrade's behaviour can be confronted and challenged in its own right. I think the way you mix up motivations and behaviours in your piece shows the danger of conflating these issues. Sowing suspicion and grassing people are obviously unacceptable behaviours. To that we can add lying, slander, false accusations and no doubt we can come up with more.

But wanting to destroy an organisation is not, in itself, an illegitimate aim. It depends on the organisation. If the GOC really had become Stalinist, the sooner it was destroyed the better. The question then becomes how you go about "destroying it". If we work from the basis that sowing suspicion, grassing, lying, slander etc. are unacceptable behaviours, then it would, in fact, be unacceptable to treat even a Stalinist organisation like this.

jk1921
Evidence

Demogorgon wrote:

baboon wrote:
I think that the elements that we've seen expressing irrational hatreds and reprehensible aims against the ICC, i.e. wanting to destroy the organisation, wanting to grass certain members up to the authorities, wnating to sow dissent and suspicion, frustrations from wounded pride, etc., have, in the main, a great deal to do with the validity of the actual arguments that they present.

Let us imagine the fictional Generic Organisation for Communism (GOC). Kevin leaves GOC denouncing it for its Stalinist tendencies and goes about trying to discredit the organisation. We may assume, based on the evidence of his behaviour, that Kevin wants to see GOC destroyed. GOC denies Stalinism and announces that Kevin cannot be trusted because his avowed aim is to destroy the organisation. So is Kevin wrong?

Not necessarily. We still have no idea whether GOC is Stalinisist or not. Without examining the evidence, we are in no position to decide whether Kevin or GOC are correct about the Stalinist nature of GOC. GOC may argue that Kevin has a vested interest in lying because he wants to destroy them but Kevin can counterargue that GOC has a vested interest in lying about being Stalinist because being Stalinist is inherently undesirable.

Things get even worse if we consider that it's possible that destroying a Stalinist organisation might actually be a legitimate aim. But even if we assume that destroying Stalinist organisations is a legitimate activity, that doesn't prove that GOC actually is Stalinist. Kevin's motivations may be admirable but he may still be mistaken about GOC.

Given that we have no way, in this scenario, of determining the truth behind the Stalinism of GOC, we have no way to assess which side is telling the truth. This is why "appeal to motive" is a false way of arguing. It doesn't deal with the evidence.

Worse, it assumes some sort of agreement on the legitimacy of the motive claimed. GOC's protestations will have no effect on those who already think (for whatever reason) that destroying GOC is a legitimate aim. It may actually make Kevin seem more credible to those people (assuming they don't understand logic, of course).

As to why Kevin has taken this course of action, it could be for all sorts of reasons. It may be because he's mentally unstable; it may be because someone in GOC insulted him; but it may also be because GOC actually is Stalinist!

Of course, a comrade's behaviour can be confronted and challenged in its own right. I think the way you mix up motivations and behaviours in your piece shows the danger of conflating these issues. Sowing suspicion and grassing people are obviously unacceptable behaviours. To that we can add lying, slander, false accusations and no doubt we can come up with more.

But wanting to destroy an organisation is not, in itself, an illegitimate aim. It depends on the organisation. If the GOC really had become Stalinist, the sooner it was destroyed the better. The question then becomes how you go about "destroying it". If we work from the basis that sowing suspicion, grassing, lying, slander etc. are unacceptable behaviours, then it would, in fact, be unacceptable to treat even a Stalinist organisation like this.

 

I think Demo is right that any critical person would evaluate the evidence before reflexively jumping to a conclusion, but the question remains how to conduct that evaluation. For some people, it may be a more or less perfunctory exercise based on years of experience with the parties involved. For others, it may prove more diffcult as it might appear like a clash of absolutes, leading to a paralysis and a tendency towards a "pox on both your houses." The ICC statement of solidarty with the ICT explains why it had confidence in the ICT against its detractors (even though it says they do not even know who these detractors are) based on years of experience with the ICT and its long history as part of the communist left. Is this the best method? Or is there some overcompensation here based on the ICT's less than uncompromising defense of the ICC in the past? Regardless, not everyone is going to be able to react so quickly and with such firm conviction.

As to whether or not it is legitimate to destroy a Stalinist organization--in the sense of exposing it in front of the proletariat it is, but I don't think that the methods Demo describes above would ever really be truly effective in this. Even if such a campaign led to the death of a particular organization wouldn't another simply slide in to fill the political space it occupied? These are not methods of the proletariat--the ICC is right about that, even if it seems like in any given instance there will be little consensus about just what methods are really being employed by the various parties. 

slothjabber
Thanks Demogorgon

I'm glad you're continuing to post sense of this thread. I think you're right, psychologising the actions of people who criticise the ICC a dangerous game, as it is all too easy to psychologise in the other direction; and you are quite right, that if someone judges that an organisation no longer serves a useful purpose for the working class, is in fact an obstacle to the working class developing its consciousness and combativity, then yes, it is indeed a legitimate aim, indeed a duty, to work towards the destruction of that organisation.

 

At which point I suppose one has only the evidence of one's senses to go on. Is the organisation pursuing an orientation that seems to an observer to be useful, or harmful? In this case the past doesn't matter; the GOC could have begun as a terrible organisation, and actually improving, developing towards genuine revolutionary politics - in which case, its survival would be a good thing. Or could have been a genuine organisation of the working class that is rapidly degenerating, in which case its history is unimportant, it needs to be destroyed. It's only the current perspective that is important - with the caveat that the current perspective allows for the possibility of recovery of an organisation in decline.

 

So, is this hypothetical GOC in decline? If so is that decline terminal or correctable? If it's terminal, Kevin I think must be right. If it's correctable, Kevin might still be right (theorising, perhaps that correction is a possibility that will be rejected by the GOC), or his actions may be premature. Or is the GOC actually improving? In this case Kevin must be a wrecker, in one form or another. But what if Kevin and the observer (and the GOC) are all genuine in their appreciation of events, but still come to different conclusions? Kevin sees the GOC as fatally flawed. The GOC thinks it correcting itself. The observer thinks that the GOC is in decline but that there is the possibility that the GOC may correct its course.

 

Some people are just wrong. Not because they're bad, not because they're invested one way or the other in either the preservation or destruction of the organisation, or even invested in termianl fence-sitting; but because they judge the same evidence differently.

 

 

 

jk1921
Pat on the Back

Fred wrote:

Solidarity does not require us to long for the encouraging pat on the back as a sign of good work done, for we are working towards the establishment of a society where such gestures, sweet as they are, will no longer be understood as as essential markers of the usefulness of our contribution.  Maturity, specially communist maturity, is all. 

And until we get there Fred, we are still human individuals with a desire to know that our work, or just our prescene, is valued. As such, is a pat on the back from time to time asking too much? Maybe a simple acknowledgement that you are there would be enough.

 

 

jk1921
Psychologizing

Psycholgizing one's opponents is very popular in the broader political culture today. There is a recent book, "The Republican Brain," which basically argues that right-wing and left-wing people think differently. They have different "cognitive styles." Of course, right-wing people have the wrong cognitive style: they crave authority, are impervious to evidence, desire closure are closed to experience and when people give them empirical evidence that their beliefs are wrong--they only dig in and express their mistaken beliefs with more vigour. Today, the right-wing has achieved "epistemic closure" driven by "confirmation bias" in which they only see he evidence that favours their already deeply held beliefs. Counter- evidence just doesn't exist. Its dismitssed as a ploy, a scam. Its falsified and invalid on its face, because it contradicts the already accepted truth. Of course, its this iron clad certainty in their beliefs that gives the right-wing its political power. The left, humbled by its "openess to experience," comfort with ambiguity and obsessive-compulsive desire to re-examine its beliefs in the face of empirical evidence, simply can't compete on the political level. There is probably a lot of validity in this analysis, but can it help us understand what is going on inside the proletarian milieu today?

Fred
Your second post today jk is

Your second post today jk is very interesting. I would agree with it overall. To my amazement though I find that you do too. 

I think what you call "the validity" of this analysis might indeed help us understand what's going on in the proletarian milieu  today - notice I said "might".  However, should anyone be foolish enough to try and do that  on this forum they'd probably end up  being accused of "psychologising" (which is one of the deadliest accusations that can be levelled  at someone who fancies himself a Marxist so I gather). So I'll give it a miss today.

Regarding your earlier post jk...For myself I have always loved and respected you and would dearly like to give you a real pat on the back in person. And Jamal too. In fact jk, when you withdraw from this forum, as you have done occasionally, I miss you very much and long for your return. I am being serious. 

I am also aware  that I can get carried away when posting and go foolishly over the top. 

But I remain mystified by slothjabber's post above, and am tormented by its final paragraph.  

 

Pierre
Je suis Kevin

As a point of clarity, is it true the Turkish section was banned from leafleting at one point? If so, how is that not a form of censorship that the ICC is guilty of? Secondly, is it true the Turkish section was not being allowed to translate material themselves and that it was under close scrutiny?

What comrades call my "individualized disappointment and rejection", temporary insanity, schizophrenia, etc. is most probably a direct result of finally being notified (by Pale Blue Jadal, not the ICC) that I was essentially rejected as a militant by the ICC and don't have a chance of ever becoming an ICC militant unless I abandon my principles and positions.

Frankly I was fuckin' pissed after having spent 80-90 hrs or more, essentially every other weekend for about 15 months, discussing with your organization about things you all wanted to talk about in the hopes of becoming a member. This might be hard for the ICC militants here to empathize with, especially given the orgs positions on "personal investments", etc.

And after reading, reflecting and disagreeing with, for example, large parts of the articles on function and functioning from IRs 29 & 33, as well as certain parts of the statutes I was privy to, I was essentially ignored afterwards. For disagreement.

At the very least wouldn't it be fair that the ICC is now obligated to spend the same time dicussing with me on issues I'd like to discuss? Why is it individualist to want to integrate the ICC to me and my positions to some degree, especially if I'm convinced they are worth defending?

Mikail asks "Why do people who are close [supporters] or ex-members express the same frusturations over and over again"?

This question points to a problem with the functioning of the organization. This question is not a justification for why the ICC is or isn't monolithic.

The ICC is the strongest, largest  and most unified group on the comm left. It's no surprise people stay close by it. But it's a sticky trap sometimes, because militants who would otherwise be spending their time debating their ideas with other militants are putting them up against the lithmus test of "the ICC".

And the child-parent thing I do not find troubling. Because just like the ICC and younger militants, the child can, does and will have to become the parent, and the parent the grandparent. Sometimes the student becomes the master. If our theoretical swords are sharper, we will show you how and why. If not we vanish into obscurity. History is the real arbitrator. The recognition of revolutionary orientations as correct is a good kind of recognition to be seeking.

I agree with the whole platform of the ICC minus point 16. But I've found myself increasingly isolated into these forums over the past 4-5 years due to my emerging "extracurricular" political orientations and my points of disagreement with the ICC and other existing left communist organizations. Suddenly I'm an ageist, a racist, etc., but those were honest criticisms I leveled about the demographic makeup of the ICC leaders.

In 2009, the old US section and it's close supporters were a bouqet of people. I met all kinds of different people, speaking different languages, from different countries. All left communists or sympathizers. Most importantly I was introduced to real working class militants and discussion for the first time. Jerry was the first ICC militant I met. I was poor, he flew me out there, as soon as I got there he bought me some hot food.

But by 2011 when I finally got around to posing my integration (barely twenty keep in mind), I increasingly found myself being lectured for lengthy, lengthy periods by mysterious European men-of-a-certain-age about the histories and traditions of the workers movement. It was interesting, and they were good at talking. But I had serious questions these lectures were not helping rise to the surface. There were no real "discussions", you know with interuptions and whatnot, happening during the integration "discussions".

We tried to include the Mexican comrades but it never worked on a regular basis. So for most of my integration A.K. was the only woman present! How would Rosa Luxemburg have felt about that? Besides AK, we were all men and mostly caucasian. Why am I racist for pointing that out? It troubles me that jk (not an ICC member), who was there with me almost every discussion, cannot step in and here and back me up on this. My integration process was monolithic in more ways then one.

At the very least you have to agree the aesthetics are confusing if not misleading. Flown out to a big city to meet a cornacopia of people as a first impression, but called and lectured by different and very British sounding European men for my "integration" into their organization. How would you like me to feel about that? Completely safe and trusting?

The ICC operates on a need-to-know basis. This is no secret. And apparently comrades like me posing integration needed to know very little, because speaking of seeing shadows, I was kept in the dark totally in regards to problems within the ICC and with it's detractors. I still don't understand the little fights, the parasitism thing, and don't care to and I'm sure ICC militants will step in here and insist they are big important working class battles that must be sorted out.

Others will assert, as they already have, the bourgeois nature of our "casualness" for simply not wanting to get entangled in this shit. It's like the ICC ran into a pub, picked a fight, and wants to prove ourselves by fighting, too. And when we refuse this we're immature, impatient and casual. Not defenders of the working class. Deserters. Whatever.

In the case of Kevin, you have totally misunderstood him and left out large parts of his story. If Kevin and his whole geographical area was being neglected by the GOC who magically have plenty of resources for internal debate and introspection, we'd be a little closer. If the GOC started pushing Kevin away for trying to figure out what and why all this was happening, we'd be a little closer. If Kevin's experience with the GOC shaped and continues to shape him politically, but away from the GOC's conception of the revolutionary organization, we'd be a lot closer.

There is a discontinuity between the way certain comrades are insisting they have all the courage in the world for admitting they're wrong yet we never see that reflected in the ICC as an organization. An organization which has statutes about dissenting opinions from what I've heard and relentless hounds splinterers. On the subject of working to kill the ICC, wishing it was dead, casually walking away, defending it to the death and everything in between it,let me remind you of a point from the ICC's own literature:

"[the revolutionary organization]...is constantly being reborn, growing, expanding, and inevitably creating the organ that it needs."

and another:

"All these points imply that the militant does not make a personal 'investment' in the organisation..."

Fred
I doubt jk that right-wing

This is a reply to a post by jk which I wrote before seeing Jamal's post which appeared later. 

 

I doubt jk that right-wing and left-wing people think differently in terms of how the thinking process functions ( please note however, many people  from both ends of the bourgeois political spectrum don't actually appear to indulge in the thinking process, which is viewed as dangerous radicalism, at all) yet their phony complex  ponderings as to the differences between their own bourgeois political parties and what they stand for  (it's simple really: just the perpetuation of bourgeois rule!)  leads them to prefer one side to the other when it comes to the mystical process of making a vote.

Talk of "cognitive style" and the like is the product of silly bourgeois psychologising of the most idiotic kind designed to make real psychology look bad and to make the authors of such pretentiousness a quick buck, the bourgeoisie being a mug for such twaddle.

Isn't it generally becoming accepted that the bourgeoisie as a class don't think and don't encourage it in others or in their educational systems. What they have instead, as you rightly point out jk, is "accepted truths" and "iron clad certainty". From a psychologising point of view we might say they're "cognitively frozen". This applies to both left and right, though the left is "humbled" and open to doubts occasionally as you explain so well. 

As a class for itself, the proletariat is spared all this nonsense and has no truck with bourgeois democracy at all, or the bourgeois mode of thought.  Instead we have class consciousness and Solidarity.  These new and creative manifestations of minds and bodies working in unity,  allow us to escape the traps of isolation, solitude,  and dogmatic iron clad certainty; and indeed further, to escape the distortion  and unhealthy imaginings and psychological sicknesses that so plague the ruling class, its adherents and victims, trapped in their psychotic prisons. The dictatorship of the bourgeoisie has become a gaol house for the mentally bewildered, which can include us all. And only the proletariat can break down the gates. Rather like the storming of the Bastille signalled a key moment in the French Revolution. 

The proletariat has a new and an as-yet-to-be-explored manner of thought and communal way of reaching decisions.  A new and genuine democracy of thought.  A "cognitive style" and  way of life indeed, beyond the grasp of the bourgeoisie's iron clad and individualised brains.

But, to answer jk's question. Well I haven't!  I doubt any of this helps us understand what's going on in the proletarian milieu today. Sorry! 

slothjabber
On psychologising

Fred wrote:

...

I think what you call "the validity" of this analysis might indeed help us understand what's going on in the proletarian milieu  today - notice I said "might".  However, should anyone be foolish enough to try and do that  on this forum they'd probably end up  being accused of "psychologising" (which is one of the deadliest accusations that can be levelled  at someone who fancies himself a Marxist so I gather)...

...But I remain mystified by slothjabber's post above, and am tormented by its final paragraph.  

 

 

I would say that psychologising critics of the organisation is indeed a deadly accusation at one who fancies himself a Marxist, as it was the technique the Stalinists used to fill mental hospitals with their critics. 'We do not have to answer criticisms of the organisation, because the criticisms are a result of the personality disorders of the critics, not any problems with the organisation'.

In other words, 'if you don't like what I do, that's your fault for being mad, not my fault for being an asshat'. This is where your psychologising approach gets us, I think, so I will refrain from adopting the same pop-psychology analysis of your defence of the organisation. But psychological explanations exist in abundance for what could equally be personality disorders connected with defence of an abusive partner, 'trauma bonding' or whatever. Physician, diagnose yourself.

As to the trauma that my final paragraph is causing - perhaps that's a good thing. If it stops you assuming that anyone offering any criticism of the ICC is necessarily suffering from wounded pride, pathological spite or deep-seated psychological trauma, good. Criticisms should always be taken seriously. You may find Kevin repugnant for a variety of reasons. That doesn't necessarily mean that his criticisms of the GOC are wrong. Sometimes a crisis of faith is associated with discarding beliefs one has held over a long time. If those beliefs don't match reality, it's probably positive that one abandons them, however painful the process might be.

Link
Whilst the discussion in the

Whilst the discussion in the thread has moved on somewhat I want to come back to some of the responses to my little provocations earlier and I think in the end it returns to the issues raised above of political discussion.  In fact I took them as a challenge.  KT and others are right to suggest I have not dealt with the issues from the break up of WR in that I don’t make clear statements.  I went away and thought about things and sat down and wrote notes about what I could say to explain. 

In the end I have decided that this is not the place for a review of my personal history or what others did at that time – take me to the pub and buy me a drink.    Suffice it to say  that I cannot justify myself politically in the events of the early 80s.  I ran away from WR and I went further and for much longer than I thought or should have done. I cannot defend my response, I didn’t cope well and I cannot justify my lack of contribution to events and to the discussions at that time.  I do today though still count myself as a left communist but I certainly do not think of myself as anything other than a poor excuse for a  revolutionary.  Whilst I don’t expect to be joining any organisation again (weightwatchers aside) , I am here though and I contribute to discussion as I can.

I did learn during my time in the wilderness about the beautiful clarity (thanks Fred cos I sure that phrasing must be your influence) and strength of the materialist class understanding of society and the concept of ascendency and decadency of societies.

From my experience,  I am also very particularly aware of the limited reach and influence of left communism in the working class because having lost touch and despite knowing it was out there, when I did start looking again, I was not able to trace any  publications from organisations and even the emergence of google and the internet in the late 1990s failed to generate me links to left communist organisations.  It wasn’t until about 2008 that I actually hit related links on an obscure American search engine. 

I was first of all impressed by the body of work to be found, the internationalisation, the range of organisations that called themselves communist and the open internet discussions that I found.  The first meeting I attended, in Birmingham of all places, was organised by the MDF and contained representatives of the ICC, CWO, IP ex CBG.  Clearly some tensions in the air but what a wonderful thing to behold.  In my continued naivety, to see so many left communists together, I felt a real progression had taken place.  At the time it was even being stated that not all disagreements in the workers movement were due to bourgeois ideology!

So to today.  I do not believe the ICC is monolithic or against discussion; this forum and the discussions that unfold are themselves evidence of that.   This does not mean that I agree however with how it reacts to ex-members and other organisations in the working movement.  But even if the ICC was avowedly monolithic, so what - it would still be part of the workers movement.   Whatever the organisation has or has not done, it continues to exist and its member represent a genuine and communist platform and contribute to the workers movements as whole.  Surely this applies to all organisation in the workers movement andthe common ground that we see between organisations should stand for something.

Members of the ICC can openly state that the organisation’s current situation (crisis?) means they need to and are reviewing its history.   But currently it seems to me that perfectly valid idea is leading the ICC  to feel that it is appropriate behaviour in the workers movement, to harshly condemn those they want to criticise, under the guise of  polemic, and but complain when others do the same about it that they under attack, they demand that everybody trumpet their defence of the ICC from attacks by ex members and others and to demand others join in the ICCs own verbal aggressiveness.  In other words it is leading to an exacerbation of those poor relationships in workers movement – both towards those that you want support from and those you want support against?  Is this really the best strategy in the face of criticism/attack from within the workers movement and to the inevitable attacks from bourgeois society?

OK I am naïve.  I would like everybody to get on all the time and that’s not going to happen.  But why is the workers movement riven with such derision and scorn for others, with such petty antagonisms and with such distrust for fellow left communists?  Why are not all left communists embraced simply because that’s what they are?

I think its in Trotsky’s 1905 how he talks about the strength of social democracy in Petrograd as that time in terms of both its core membership of a few hundred but also of the many more outside the organisation that were actively in support.  That will be the case in a future revolution too.  Us lone wolves may not, and I would admit this, be suited for organisational discipline, but I assume we do have a role to play.

KT particularly challenged me to face up to things and it may be that I haven’t done that well enough for him, but now I want to return a challenge. 

I expressed my concern about the future direction of the ICC and I guess of the workers movement as a whole.  I feel in tune with concerns expressed here by many about the fragmentation in the workers movement.  I cannot jump up and down reciting Defend the ICC when the expectation should be for solidarity across the whole workers movement.  I am not going to take the view that the ICC is entitled to call for everyone to Defend the ICC and label as sectarian those that don’t chant the right phrase as though the ICC is arbiter of these things.   

I remember a several years ago, Ingram contributing on Libcom I think and going on about the ICC and the events of the early 80s and somebody rounding on him and telling him to give it a rest, forget the past and look to current events.    

So my challenge to KT and others who dare to say that they have the true understanding of those events of the past is to either justify politically this overt animosity you like to display today about others’ past behaviours, is this really the appropriate strategy to develop the workers movement,  OR put it aside and discuss politically with the likes of Shug the CWO and the ICT, IP and IFICC. 

The really should be the key question, what platform do they defend.    I don’t mean forget the differences of political analysis but address them as political issues without the venom for the perceived past iniquities.  And i must apply this to all organisation not just the ICC therefore. Left Communists of any sort are rare enough.  Come the revolution us isolated individuals, if we are still left communists,  will be active in the same events.  That KT means both the likes of you and Baboon and Shug and Devrim and many others.

If I may address an issue raised by Mikhail because I was quite worried by his description of people seeing communist organisations as competing football teams.  Not any analogy I liked at all but on thinking it over, I don’t feel responsible for this situation.  I am faced by a range of organisations in the workers movement, that is simply reality and I don’t think it’s possible for  ‘supporters’ to deal with this.   Mikhail you are right, I don’t want to see them as competing football teams.  But on reflection I feel that it’s the organisations themselves that generate that scenario.  They just should not persistently squabbling over whether the ball crossed the line in 1966 and which bastard made the wrong call!   I raised issues about current organisation but the focus of the responses somehow want to return me to the 1980s, its not irrelevant but it just shouldn’t be the focus.  Mikhail, I am afraid I can only say that it is and must the organisations that can change their relationships with one another and its their responsibility for the existence of the football game you correctly criticise.  The responses of the organisation to the actions of the IGCL was raised in the text by the Turkish comrades so it is clearly a matter for debate and it isn’t in itself a class line, its a strategic decision.

Fred
Thank you slothjabber

Thanks for your reply slothjabber.  (I am beginning to wish I knew who "Kevin" is.)

Aren't "personality disorders", your term, just "psychological" problems with a different name?   

I still don't understand you closing paragraph post 48 above. Does it make sense? 

As far as I know I haven't done any critical psychologising of critics of the ICC - I did openly express resentment of Devrim saying he wished the ICC was dead - but have aimed most if not all of my psychologising at the bourgeoisie, who are insane and a collection of freaked-out paranoid loonies.  

But given that "psychologising" is such a meaningless and tiresome business in your view, why does it bother you so much?  My understanding of it is that the proletariat, by establishing the rule of consciousness in place of ideology, may well bury clinical psychology for ever along with the bourgeoisie who need it most. 

And I agree that we should abandon those beliefs we hold that don't match reality, as you rightly suggest. 

LBird
Kritical Kevin

slothjabber wrote:
You may find Kevin repugnant for a variety of reasons. That doesn't necessarily mean that his criticisms of the GOC are wrong.

Je suis Kevin!

Fred
My very own comrade Kevin

My own beloved LBird!! So you are the mysteries Kevin. I am amazed. Well you of course yourself never cease to amaze! But for someone to have suggested publicly that I find you REPUGNANT ....well it's outrageous and slothjabber must be having a headache to even think it. (I'm being polite about the headache.) 

So Kevin (may I call you Kevin, just this once?) to say I find you "repugnant" is absolutely untrue. Maybe repetitive at times, but that's all. But then we all have our little faults and idiosyncrasies do we not? 

Love to Kevin from Fred. 

LBird
Koy Kevin

Fred wrote:

So Kevin (may I call you Kevin, just this once?) ... I find you ... Maybe repetitive at times, but that's all. But then we all have our little faults and idiosyncrasies do we not? 

Repetitive, little faults and idiosyncracies? Perhaps. We're just like our organisations, eh?

Fred wrote:

Love to Kevin from Fred. 

You cheeky little devil, you! Or is it the new proletarian organisational method? Seduction, interaction, mutual respect and life-long relationship, rather than one-sided suitor certainty, a quickie, and acrimonious divorce?

It might yet catch on, Fred!

Fred
Primrose Hill

LBird wrote:
 You cheeky little devil, you! Or is it the new proletarian organisational method? Seduction, interaction, mutual respect and life-long relationship, rather than one-sided suitor certainty, a quickie, and acrimonious divorce?

It might yet catch on, Fred!

 

Excellently  said oh bird!  I'm all for seduction (mental as well as physical) interaction based on mutual respect and life-long relationships of a sincere kind.  "Quickies" are never satisfactory at heart and marriage isn't my cup of tea. I don't know what the unmarried  Engels would say though, cruising up and down Primrose Hill. 

LBird
Kevin and Fred remain unconsummated

Fred wrote:

I don't know what the unmarried  Engels would say though, cruising up and down Primrose Hill. 

Engels thought that he knew best, what 'material conditions' obtained for relationships, and his descendents remain unmarried to the proletariat.

slothjabber
aims and methods

Fred wrote:

Thanks for your reply slothjabber.  (I am beginning to wish I knew who "Kevin" is.)...

 

According to Demogorgon's example, an ex-militant of the General Organisation of Communists, who now criticises it.

 

Fred wrote:
...

Aren't "personality disorders", your term, just "psychological" problems with a different name?   ...

 

My point, which I was obviously completely failing to get across, is that if the method or insight or whatever it is supposed to be in post 121 is reliable, then the psychologising can be applied in the other direction. If the critics of the organisation behave in that way because of their psychological quirks, then by the same token, the defenders of the organisation do so because of their psychological quirks. Perhaps the unrequited love you feel for the ICC, untested by anything as sordid as actually joining the organisation, is merely the result of loving from afar and putting the object of your affection on a pedestal; unable to admit your goddess has feet of clay, you strike out at those who dare to criticise, by turns J. Alfred Prufrock and Mr Hyde. Or perhaps, like Timothy from 'Sorry', you are so infantalised by the overbearing parent called the ICC that you are incapable of existential action. Perhaps the defenders of the organisation are exhibiting the symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome or some such disorder, defending the organisation that has been abusing them, like the battered partner who says 'he only does it because he loves me...'.

 

It's up to you in the end how you want to explain your behaviour and that of the other defenders of the ICC, but explain it through some such mechanism you must; if the actions off the critics are explicable as the result of psychological disturbance, so must be the actions of the ICC's defenders.

 

I agree with Demogorgon however, that it's not a useful method.

 

Fred wrote:
...

I still don't understand you closing paragraph post 48 above. Does it make sense? 

...

 

slothjabber wrote:

...

Some people are just wrong. Not because they're bad, not because they're invested one way or the other in either the preservation or destruction of the organisation, or even invested in termianl fence-sitting; but because they judge the same evidence differently.

 

It makes sense to me, except for the typo of 'termianl' for 'terminal'. But I shall try to explain it in different words. I will use, again, Demogorgon's example of Kevin, an ex-militant of the GOC who comes to the conclusion that the GOC is no longer an organisation that is of use to the working class. There is of course also the GOC itself, whose militants and supporters consider that it is of benefit to the working class. And there is another observer to this drama, let's call her Mary, who is trying to decide who is right.

 

Mary, Kevin and the GOC all come to different conclusions. The GOC decides that it needs to correct errors in its own functioning, and is indeed working to do that; Kevin decides that the GOC is finished for the working class; Mary decides that some of Kevin's criticisms are valid but thinks that the crisis of the GOC can be corrected.

 

They cannot all be right. In fact, the three positions are mutually-exclusive; the GOC cannot be all three of improving, declining but with the possibility of improvement, and definitively finished for the working class. At most, only one of them can be right. Is it useful for Mary to assume that either or both Kevin and the GOC are mad or lying? Or, just that they have come to different conclusions based on their perception of events and dynamics?

jk1921
Mutuality

Fred wrote:

Your second post today jk is very interesting. I would agree with it overall. To my amazement though I find that you do too. 

I think what you call "the validity" of this analysis might indeed help us understand what's going on in the proletarian milieu  today - notice I said "might".  However, should anyone be foolish enough to try and do that  on this forum they'd probably end up  being accused of "psychologising" (which is one of the deadliest accusations that can be levelled  at someone who fancies himself a Marxist so I gather). So I'll give it a miss today.

Regarding your earlier post jk...For myself I have always loved and respected you and would dearly like to give you a real pat on the back in person. And Jamal too. In fact jk, when you withdraw from this forum, as you have done occasionally, I miss you very much and long for your return. I am being serious. 

I am also aware  that I can get carried away when posting and go foolishly over the top. 

But I remain mystified by slothjabber's post above, and am tormented by its final paragraph.  

 

 

Thanks Fred. The feeling is mutal--even when we disagree.

jk1921
Tactics

slothjabber wrote:

Some people are just wrong. Not because they're bad, not because they're invested one way or the other in either the preservation or destruction of the organisation, or even invested in termianl fence-sitting; but because they judge the same evidence differently.

This is true of course, but I think it is also true that some people are wrong, because they are cognitively closed to empirical evidence contrary to their deeply held beliefs about the world and others are wrong because they value ambiguity and "fence sitting" as ends in themselves and look down on anyone who takes a firm position on anything as an "ideologue." The problem is in real debates, regardless of how much one might suspect someone of being either of these things, it is next to impossible to prove and--as Slothjabber rightly points out--the second you do it you are going to get it thrown back in your face. "The ICC's critics are paranoid......No, the ICC is paranoid." Of course, the fact that this tends to get us nowhere tacticaly in the debate does not mean that such statements are in themselves wrong.

baboon
I think that there's such a

I think that there's such a thing as proletarian morality that the ICC has defended and deepened from the workers' movement nd I wouldn't want to mix that up with "psychologising".

Fred
slothjabber wrote: My point,

slothjabber wrote:
 My point, which I was obviously completely failing to get across, is that if the method or insight or whatever it is supposed to be in post 121 is reliable, then the psychologising can be applied in the other direction. If the critics of the organisation behave in that way because of their psychological quirks, then by the same token, the defenders of the organisation do so because of their psychological quirks. Perhaps the unrequited love you feel for the ICC, untested by anything as sordid as actually joining the organisation, is merely the result of loving from afar and putting the object of your affection on a pedestal; unable to admit your goddess has feet of clay, you strike out at those who dare to criticise, by turns J. Alfred Prufrock and Mr Hyde. Or perhaps, like Timothy from 'Sorry', you are so infantalised by the overbearing parent called the ICC that you are incapable of existential action. Perhaps the defenders of the organisation are exhibiting the symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome or some such disorder, defending the organisation that has been abusing them, like the battered partner who says 'he only does it because he loves me...'.

 

It's up to you in the end how you want to explain your behaviour and that of the other defenders of the ICC, but explain it through some such mechanism you must; if the actions off the critics are explicable as the result of psychological disturbance, so must be the actions of the ICC's defenders.

 

The trouble is slothjabber that you're not really saying anything. If I'm a mess then so are you. To change your wording in the last sentence above a bit. "If the actions of the critics are explicable as the result of what they think, then so must be the actions of the ICC's  defenders." True!  So what? 

I don't know how you know my love for the ICC is unrequited, but how about your resentful dislike? Is that unrequited too?  Joining the ICC isn't sordid at all. But I have lived at the other end of the planet for almost 50 years so the question of joining has never arisen. I know about J.Alfred Prufrock and Mr. Hyde but don't see how they fit in to your argument and have never heard of Timothy from "Sorry" so cant comment. 

But your statement  "you are so infantilised by the overbearing parent called the ICC that you are incapable of existential action" is a winner. You clearly know a lot more about psychology than you are letting on. But of course this statement reveals a lot more about you than it does about me. You are really talking about yourself and your unhappiness with the state of the communist left. You feel let down, abused, battered and  confused.  But you are not alone and I sympathise. 

But consider this for a moment slothjabber.  With all our defects,  we people posting on here, are part of the working class.  We have an enemy of the vilest and most dangerous sort. The ruling class. The bourgeoisie.  They are engaged relentlessly in the progressive destruction of humanity and the planet too.  So why do we few comrades  who can see this and talk about it spend so much time in pouring boiling oil and vitriol over each other rather than focussing our criticisms and  attacks on the enemy?  Does it really matter all that much that I am infantilised by the ICC as an overbearing parent?   Doesn't it matter much more that millions of real infants are starved both of food, health care and education by overbearing capitalist governments around the globe, and that one of the few organisations that can see this and say it out loud is our overbearing parent the ICC. 

It seems to be a legacy from Marx himself that mlitants today may feel they have to act as critical critics as proof of their allegiance and capabilities.  Some do it better then others.  But notice this. By and large Marx limited his criticisms to the bourgeoisie and their epigone: to Proudhon; Louis Napoleon's 18th. Brumaire; the Gotha Program - in so far as it slipped into the bourgeois mode of thought.  He didn't spend hours criticising working class comrades like Dietzgen, Engels or Heine, because he appreciated them AS BEING ON THE SIDE OF THE WORKING CLASS  despite flaws and human error, and the side you are on is what matters above all.  Why do we engage in  nit-picking away at holes in other comrades' points of view rather than helping each other to understand better what we're doing  and work in solidarity for the unity of the communist left rather than its dispersal into ineffectual  self-hating cliques? Shouldn't we sort out our priorities? 

 

jk1921
When the morning comes....

Fred wrote:

It seems to be a legacy from Marx himself that mlitants today may feel they have to act as critical critics as proof of their allegiance and capabilities.  Some do it better then others.  But notice this. By and large Marx limited his criticisms to the bourgeoisie and their epigone: to Proudhon; Louis Napoleon's 18th. Brumaire; the Gotha Program - in so far as it slipped into the bourgeois mode of thought.  He didn't spend hours criticising working class comrades like Dietzgen, Engels or Heine, because he appreciated them AS BEING ON THE SIDE OF THE WORKING CLASS  despite flaws and human error, and the side you are on is what matters above all.  Why do we engage in  nit-picking away at holes in other comrades' points of view rather than helping each other to understand better what we're doing  and work in solidarity for the unity of the communist left rather than its dispersal into ineffectual  self-hating cliques? Shouldn't we sort out our priorities? 

The problem Fred is that not everyone agrees about who is on the side of the working class at any given moment. One day's comrade is the next morning's dangerous class enemy, for some. Of course, sometimes, this might be true.

 

slothjabber
once more unto the breach, dear comrades...

Fred wrote:

...

The trouble is slothjabber that you're not really saying anything. If I'm a mess then so are you. To change your wording in the last sentence above a bit. "If the actions of the critics are explicable as the result of what they think, then so must be the actions of the ICC's  defenders." True!  So what?

...

 

Once again, I have failed to get my point across.

 

In this situation, I tend to assume good faith, unless I have a very good reason not to. So, I will assume that it's because I'm not being clear enough, rather than because you're deliberately misunderstanding or suffering some emotional trauma. With that in mind, I will try to explain again.

 

There are several 'ifs' in what you wrote and I quoted above. One particular sentence is "If I'm a mess then so are you". But, my post was merely there to point out what I see as the failure of your method of analysis. I haven't said that you're a mess, I've said that if the method you've applied to those who have criticised the ICC is valid (explaining behaviour as a result of emotional disturbance), it also must be valid for those who defend the ICC. You seem to have already decided that anyone who has any criticism of the ICC is 'a mess'. I'm merely pointing out that an analysis which delivers results along the lines of 'people who disagree with me must be emotionally disturbed' (as I said earlier, the justification the Stalinists used for filling mental hospitals with their critics) can be turned back on you and generate the same results. It's not a useful method.

jk1921
Just read over the ICT's

Just read over the ICT's Statement in relation to the attacks by its ex-militants. In the comments, one member seems to attempt to downplay the attacks, seemingly arguing that the ICC's suggestions (made to the CWO) that the ICP were "Bordigist" and "sclerotic," were actually more serious threats at the time. First, I didn't know that being called "Bordigist" was a slander. Second, if the ICC did make these statements does that necessarily mean it was motivated by a desire to "slander"? Doesn't slander imply some malicious intent to portray some individual or group as something you know its really not? Slander seems a very loaded word that implies some knowledge of the ICC's intent. Maybe they were just wrong? Or maybe they were actually making valid criticisms?

baboon
Paranoia

The ICT statement says that these attacks on it are "very serious and disgusting", they are "senseless accusations", showing "cowardice", "betrayal" and lies, etc. There is a "systematic" and "studious smear campaign". The seriousness and similarities with attacks on the iCC are obvious  - but not to everybody especiazlly those that have a vested interest in playing them down. Cleishbotham for example follows a comment on the seriousness of these attacks ("systematic") by implying that they are unimportant remarks from "a few disgruntled ex-members" and attacks the paranoia of the ICC. He should possibily be attacking the paranoia of the statement of his own organisation.

Dredging up the questions of Bordigism and scheloritism raised by the ICC donkey's years ago is especially pathetic given the seriousness of the present situation for working class organisation. Scelotarism was an analsysis that, amongst other things, looked at the danger of the time to a valid proletari organisation of locking itself up in a fortress mentality holding onto its "invariant" positions. But that's entirely secondary now to the present dangers involved in attacks on working class organisation. Cleishbotham dismisses the "paranoia" of the ICC and says that this is his  last word on the subject. It won't be the last word of parasitic elements though and the state agencies that the ICC has discovered they are quite happy to use.

ernie
the danger of bourgeois ideology

This is a post by the ICC

 

We think it is necessary for us to remind those comrades who are criticising the ICC for so-called  “psychologizing” of those criticising the organisation (something these comrades offer no evidence of) that the ICC as a Marxist organisation does think that the question of behaviour and motivation is a fundamental aspect of the marxist understanding of the organisation question. Comrades appear to be surprised that we seek to understand behaviour within the dynamic of( the weight of bourgeois ideology on the working class and its revolutionary organisations. Comrades imply that this is some new manifestation of the problems in the ICC. Some of the those comrades criticising us for this are new to the ICC and may not have read all the texts of the ICC on the organisation question, but other comrades have known the ICC for a long time, so it is rather surprising that these comrades have not understood that the ICC defends the Marxist analysis of the constant danger of the penetration of alien ideologies and behaviours into the organisation and the class as a whole. We have hardly hidden this analysis. We would thus suggest that a better way of developing this discussion is for comrades to address themselves to the written positions of the organisation, and not rather vague ideas about how the ICC is psychologizing those who criticise it. Comrades may very well disagree with our analysis of the organisational question, but at least we could have a discussion of what the ICC says on these question and not on comrades’ vague assertions We do not ask comrades to blindly agree with us, but what is necessary is that we are very clear on what we disagree on.

The central texts on the organisation question are;
- Report on the function of the revolutionary organisation, IR 29 1983
-Report on the structure and functioning of the revolutionary organisation, IR 33 1983

- Orientation Text 2001: Confidence and solidarity in the proletarian struggle, Part 1
International Review no.111 - 4th quarter 2002
15-Oct-2002
- Orientation Text 2001: Confidence and solidarity in the proletarian struggle, Part 2
International Review no.112 - 1st quarter 2003
15-Jan-2003
- The question of organisational functioning in the ICC
International Review no.109 - 2nd quarter 2002
27-Nov-2004

That’s a lot of material to read, obviously. Probably the one which is most directly relevant to this discussion is the one in IR 109.

Pierre
Expecting the basic positions

I am expecting the basic positions of PBJ to be out very soon, and I'm hoping Pale Blue Jadal will break through the framework it has been characterized under by the ICC, represented in the article from IR 109.

I think it's a mistake to think that PBJ are just another "tendency" which the ICC can use to simply add another few bulletin points to the aforementioned article.

In my opinion, this is the wrong position to take by the ICC. I would recommend from a theoretical perspective to stop this trajectory now, stop trying to to hurl PBJ into one dusty drawer labeled "petite-bourgeois" and "discontent-ist" before you've even seen their platform.

Otherwise, whatever comrades are left in the ICC at that time will have to continue writing more material on the question of organizational functioning within the ICC. This may not be a bad thing.

Devrim or Leo or whoever else are not Chenier, nor are the rest of the Turkish comrades, who I think will finally deliver to the ICC the substantive criticisms it asks for in the IR 109 article. Nor is the Turkish ex-section the Spanish section of 87-88 mentioned in the IR 109 article. There are also serious problems with the comparison of the ICC to the IWA and the RDSLP, true organs of the working class, which I think oddly-or-not tie right into the points about "delusions" the ICC accuses breakaway groups of forming in the article.

There's a lot more to say about this--inlcuding but not limited to the failing of other left communist orgs, like the ICT--but I hope to find a more progressive place to discuss with left communists, reflect and write at soon.

baboon
I'm making no comment about

I'm making no comment about the position of the comrades in Turkey until I see the ICC response to their text.

 

What I will comment about is the post of Rowntree, a previous member of the parasitic Communist Bulletin Group, who posted on another thread here on April 19 last regarding the position of the ICT on the ICC's statement of solidarity. Rowntree, as far as I know (I may be wrong) has posted very little on here regarding the class struggle, the role of the bourgeosie, the communist perspective, etc., but in his post on April 19, he gave a very clear and precise position of the ICT - a group that he apparantly doesn't belong to. When this latter was pointed out by Alf two days later, Rowntree suddenly sweared and declared that he was not representing the position of the ICT at all and all he said was purely his own work. A couple of days later, it was manifestly clear that Rowntree had indeed clearly expressed the views of the ICT (as subsequently expressed by Clieshbotham) on the rejection of the ICC's solidarity. Now I don't know what's going on here but I do know that the ICT have, in the past, kept its dealings with some elements under close wraps and never explained their relationship despite being asked to do so. And some comrades have the nerve to call the ICC, which eventually publishes everything, "secret".

 

Rather than make stories up, or constantly drop little slanderous innuendos against the ICC into various posts, let's take up the eminintly positive suggestion of Ernie above and discuss what the ICC actually says about the defence of the organisation - Jamal for one is not interested in doing this as he has made clear above so unfortunately we proceed without him.

 

The text on organisational functioning referred to by Ernie is based on the ICC's discussions and positions taken from its Extraordinary Conference in Spring 2002 and it contains a whole wealth of material that looks at the question of proletarian organisation and its defence since the IWA. Looking at the depth of this text we can see the complete irrevelance of "psychologising", a process that is both open-ended and a dead-end. at best, as far as communist organisation is concerned.

 

The text, which I'm not going to repeat as it can be read, gives a history of organisational problems and their persistance within revolutionary organisation and attempts to go to the root of the problems. The text gives constant reference points and begins by saying that it hopes that it can be a reference point for all revolutionary groups. From the IWA, to the Martov/Lenin, Menshevik/.Bolshevik clarification the text continues up to the political/organisational problems of the ICC since its very beginnings. The suggestion is that, while not wishing for them, organisation problems are an inevitable part of the struggle to hold and develop a revolutionary organisation within capitalism. And, while there's a difference between the "professional" revolutionary organisations of the past and now, the same essential political lessons apply even if they are further complicated by the effects of ambient decomposition.

 

It is the incursion of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois ideology that brings in the destruction of organisation, not least the spirit of the circle, of personal rather than political affinities, clans and cliques. There is also the aspect of "wounded self-love" that puts these affinities above the political needs of the organisation and specifically above the elected central organs. Centralisation is also on the agenda for the attack from these bourgeois and petty bourgeois forces where centralisation - an essential aspect of revolutionary organisation, is equated to a "monolithism" which is oppsed by a sort of each against all "federatlism" - a loose open ended relation. This federalism poses policies of local autonomy and local developments (these don't necessarily exist in one place - they are general dangers for the organisation) against the centralisation of the whole. These local developments are de facto opposed to any organisational centralisation and favour developments of circles, clans and cliques. It's this penetration of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois ideology that has been the constant theme of attacks on and the undermining of revolutionary organisation.

 

There's a lot more to say about the text but it's probably best to read it.

jk1921
Personally, I find Ernie/the

Personally, I find Ernie/the ICC's post above quite confusing. I went back over the thread and I can't find were anyone actually said the ICC was "psychologizing," its critics or that this was a new manifestion of the problems in the ICC. If someone could show me where this was said, I would appreciate it. As best as I can tell, the entire discussion of this issue was sparked by a post Fred made that attempted to explain Devrim and Jamal's behaviour by reference to the psychology of one who has come to hate the thing he used to love. Fred's protest to the contrary notwithstanding, that is textbook "psychologizing."  Moreover, it is far from "vague." It names names and proposes a particular psychological diagnosis. The ensuing discussion did contain some hypotheticial references to exchanges between supporters of the ICC and critics attempting to illustrate the potential problems with this mehod, but I think its clear from the context that these were hypothetical examples.

However, over and above this mischaracterization of the discussion, I find the passage where the post attempts to call out people who have known the ICC for a long time for not understanding it quite unecessary. What does this add to this post? It seems almost an attempt to publicly shame the ICC's own sympthathizers. This despite the fact that one of the most ardent critics of "psychologizing" in the thread and the person to actually use the term first is actually an ICC member! This seems a glaring omission in the post. This is all very disappointing. All the more disappointing in that it appears to get the facts wrong. The ICC seems to be the one seeing shadows now. There is a lot of that going on right now.

baboon
The ICC could be forgiven for

The ICC could be forgiven for thinking that it can't win. There are frequent comments on here, and elsewhere, for its lack of direction on its own forum, for not being "present" enough. When it gives a direction, with emphasis - so what - then it's "disappointing". There's a whole ambiance of psychologising in the discussion on organisation and it's expressed in posts above. The main text that Ernie refers to tackles the question of "psychologicising"

Fred
the Party spirit

As someone who must share some of the "guilt" for invoking the unwelcome presence of "psychology" on this thread I am not ashamed but won't probably do it again in a hurry.  That doesn't mean I was "wrong", only perhaps over-eager. 

But let us turn our attention to the article in IR 109, referred to by Ernie in his post above and by Jamal too. It is an excellent article full of good things. I quote a couple of paragraphs. 

 

Quote:
Precisely because it overcomes individualism, the party spirit is capable of respecting the personality, and the individuality, of each of its members. The art of the construction of the organisation consists not least in taking account of all these different personalities so as to harmonise them to the maximum and allow each to give his or her best for the collectivity. Clanism on the contrary crystallises precisely around a suspicion towards personalities and their different weights. This is why it is so difficult to identify a clan dynamic at the beginning. Even if many comrades sense the problem, the reality of clanism is so sordid and ridiculous that it takes courage to declare that "the Emperor has no clothes".How embarrassing!

As Plekhanov once remarked, in the relationship between consciousness and emotions the latter play the conservative role. But this does not mean that Marxism shares the disdain of bourgeois rationalism for their role. There are emotions which serve and others which damage the cause of the proletariat. And it is certain that its historic mission cannot succeed without a gigantic development of revolutionary passions, an unswerving will to victory, an unheard of solidarity, selflessness and heroism, without which the ordeal of the struggle for power and of civil war can never be withstood. And without a conscious cultivation of the social and individual traits of true humanity a new society cannot be founded. These qualities are not preconditions. They must be forged in struggle, as Marx said.  

I note in particular the phrase "suspicion towards personalities and their different weights", a product of what the ICC calls "clanism"; ; and also the assertion that Marxism doesn't share the disdain for the emotions affected by bourgeois "rationalism". 

That individual comrades in  the ICC itself may not always been able to practise what it preaches with regards to personalities, their emotions and  motivations,  doesn't invalidate what the ICC has to say about them in writing such as that quoted  above. 

Sometimes I think we are all unnecessarily a little hard on each other in pressing our claims to be heard. Maybe we should ease up a bit and bear "the party spirit" in mind more often, even though without the party as yet.  If we don't do this then aren't we just aiding the bourgeoisie in preventing the Party from ever attaining any reality at all?  And won't the various fractions of the Communist Left remain at loggerheads for ever? 

Alf
in the meantime

Some of the ICC comrades who participate on this forum will be otherwise engaged for the next week, but an absence of posts doesn’t mean that we are not reflecting and talking to each other about this and other discussions, and how to assist in their development. We will certainly be back before long. In the meantime, we can say that we welcome the work done by Fred in highlighting the most relevant passages from the text in IR 109, which deal precisely with the ‘subjective’ dimension that is key to the present discussion– behaviour, emotions, etc.  We hope comrades will comment on these passages and on the text itself.

slothjabber
Thanks JK

... I'm actually glad you don't understand ernie's intervention either. I thought it was just me and I had missed something. Imagining things that aren't there is certainly a worrying sign. I do at least have some evidence that it's not me who is imagining things. Or perhaps we share a delusion, JK? perhaps Fred will be along soon to tell what the cause is; or maybe it's some members of the ICC who are seeing things after all?

Of course, there's no recognition either from the ICC and its supporters that this methodology of psychologising is a method of Stalinism, which they are very keen to condemn in their critics. Though, Demo does say that in his opinion - and I absolutely agree with him - Fred's method is not a road to go down.

The problem of the ICC's method here, or maybe more accurately its supporters' method, which seems in great part to revolve around the notion that 'if you are not with us you are against us' is that when it gets it wrong, the result is to force everyone to be against the ICC. I'm for the ICC when it's right, and I'm against it when it's wrong - and I reserve the right to make the decisions about what I consider 'right' and 'wrong'. I have defended the ICC for many years from accusations that it's a paranoid Stalinist cult. It really doesn't help that defence when some of its members and some of its sympathisers act like one.

Fred, you're wrong. Your method is disgusting. Not "wrong" in quotes but actually wrong. It's a method of slandering opponents that has no place in the workers' movement. How you have the gall to use it in a thread in which the ICC complains of its militants being slandered by enemies of the organisation I have no idea. It is a method that Stalin used to suppress his opponents. You are behaving like a Stalinist. Do you understand that?

baboon
Anyone can think and write

Anyone can think and write what they like, but accusations of "stalinism" are out of order in this discussion in my opinion.

 

Link made a post a while ago supporting the ICC but his post was interspersed with the same old slanders against the ICC: that it was a monolithic sect in that it was secretive, tolerated no dissension and held a grip on its contacts to the extent that it forbade them to read any other political positions. Some support.

 

Jk takes umbrage, not for the first time, because it's been suggested that for the purposes of a clear discussion we base ourselves on a pivotal text on organisation. As before when a text was suggested to him, jk, for some reason, doesn't think that this is good enough. It's a similar position to Jamal on libcom who rejects the text because while being absolutely relevant in my opinion, Jamal sees it as belonging to the past and not applicable to a discussion on organisation today. To be frank, I've seen more genuine solidarity with the ICC's predicament from some individual anarchists on libcom than from others on here who proffer their "support".

 

We;ve talked about the class struggle, or lack of it, having an effect on organisational questions and it does but it's not mechanical. For proletarian organisation we are in an unprecedented position but much of the existence of revolutionary organisation is in unprecedented circumstances. There are plenty of strikes going on all over the world (there was an unofficial walk-out of different workers at a hospital in Cornwall a couple of days ago) but these are generally controlled by the unions. For forty years the ICC (and others) has existed within capitalist society and this is bound to take a toll. Fred above points to the relevance of the IR 109 article in this respect.

 

 

Pierre
I wasn't here yesterday to

I wasn't here yesterday to say this. But happy May day and cheers to all the comrades.

The ideal situation would be for the ICC to enter an unprecedented period of growth and real proletarian debate and discussion.

baboon is correct in regards to me feeling much of the ICC's texts are "dated". Much of it isn't though. I agree with almost the whole platform.

Maybe the elder comrades "read me" during our integration discussions and saw early I was too "anti-centralist". Can I then blame them for not wanting to integrate me into a centralist organization?

Probably not, but being that I'm politically opposed to the centralist form of organization in a group thats NOT the party during times that are NOT overtly revolutionary...I'm forced out of organizational cooperation based on principle.

Edit: By the way for anyone that cares I've started a blog. I think it's a healthier way of engaging in serious political discussion on the web if one can even do that. But hey that's geographic isolation for you, right?

baboon
The question is very

The question is very practical as well as theoretical: do we want and support the development of an international and centralised revolutionary force? Does the working class want and need such a force? Of course it does because without a class party it will not make a successful revolution. In its contribution to the development of an international, centralised revolutionary organisation the ICC has had some considerable experience and it has, over many years, thoughtfully and rigoroously laid this bare - much to the contempt and abuse of many of its ex-members and other elements of the miliue. But what you read is what you get and compare this for example with the ICT apparantly shutting down a discussion on attacks on revolutionary organisation on its own website after just one post.

The existence and defence of an internationally centralised revolutionary organisation will always, increasingly, be open to accusations of "Stalinism" and the like. There are plenty of disagreements and debates to be had in and around the ICC but it's neither stalinist nor monolithic - it's centralised and it has rules and statutes of functioning.If there's an agreement on the eventual need for a proletarian party there's no need to go back to square one but look at the experience of the ICC;. If there are any better suggestions then they should be formulated..

slothjabber
broad brushes

baboon wrote:

The question is very practical as well as theoretical: do we want and support the development of an international and centralised revolutionary force? Does the working class want and need such a force? Of course it does because without a class party it will not make a successful revolution...

The sub-question, however, which is somewhat skirted over, is whether or not the ICC is or can be part of that future class party. If you assume that any centralised international organisation is better than no centralised organisation, you're rather avoiding the questions of whether at the moment the centralised international organisation is necessary, is harming other positive developments, is actually playing a negative role in the current situation. These questions also need to be examined.

baboon wrote:
...

The existence and defence of an internationally centralised revolutionary organisation will always, increasingly, be open to accusations of "Stalinism" and the like. There are plenty of disagreements and debates to be had in and around the ICC but it's neither stalinist nor monolithic - it's centralised and it has rules and statutes of functioning.If there's an agreement on the eventual need for a proletarian party there's no need to go back to square one but look at the experience of the ICC;. If there are any better suggestions then they should be formulated..

The question is not whether the ICC is a Stalinist organisation - that, to me, whould mean 'does the ICC support the notion of Socialism in One Country?' - that's an absurd suggestion.

The question is whether the tactic of ascribing psychological flaws to critics of the organisation was a tactic of the Stalinists.

 

So straight question baboon: did the Stalinists use the tactic of ascribing psychological flaws to critics of the government of the USSR?

- No: in which case my description of Fred's behaviour is not appropriate.

- Yes: in which case my description of Fred's behaviour is appropriate.

You chose.

 

 

Pierre
Re:

baboon wrote:
Do we want and support the development of an international and centralised revolutionary force? Does the working class want and need such a force?

No.

"We" don't. This is the minority position in the milieu now.

Left communists want to work towards an international party by building and networking cadres NOT by being under the strict military command and discipline of the IS of the ICC which sees itself as the RSDLP or some swell-headed shit.

We also don't need to be ''tried' by the ICC (in its press or in discussion), which tries to sully, or absorb, every left communist group it talks to.

baboon
Jamal clearly suggests that

Jamal clearly suggests that the ICC is a stalinist type organisation "under the strict military command and discipline of the ICC..." The ICC's detractors generally default to accusations of "stalinism".

Yes, I think that the stalinist regimes attacked its opponents using psychological methods, also various forms of torture, brainwashing, terror and execution. To be honest I didn't understand much of what Fred wrote on pyschological elements which reinforced  my opinion that this element is a complete dead-end for this discussion and Fred clearly gives the framework for this to go forward in the text in IR 109.

I don't think that the defence and development of communist positions - which the ICC has undertaken for decades, as much if not more than any other group of the communist left - can posssibly be considered as "harming other positive developments and playing a negative role". The ICC defends all the main positions of the workers' movement and in this sense alone will be part of the future development of international revolutionary organisation. The exact details of the constitution of a class party I don't know.

 

Pierre
Did not say that at all. Let

Did not say that at all.

Let me just go ahead and disarm that whole situation by saying I do not consider the ICC or its militants Stalinist. Rigid and monolithic, yes, Stalinist, no.

slothjabber
perspectives

baboon wrote:

...

I don't think that the defence and development of communist positions - which the ICC has undertaken for decades, as much if not more than any other group of the communist left - can posssibly be considered as "harming other positive developments and playing a negative role". The ICC defends all the main positions of the workers' movement and in this sense alone will be part of the future development of international revolutionary organisation. The exact details of the constitution of a class party I don't know.

 

 

None of know the details of the constitution of a class party. That's a given.

 

You may not think that the ICC could possibly play a negative role in the development of class consciousness. Other people disagree. The question is, are these people to be treated as wreckers, liars, deluded, or as comrades who have a different perspective on the situation? Are they even all the same? Certainly, some may be lying or deluded wreckers. But is everyone? In other words, do you think it is possible to have honest criticisms of the ICC? Instead of trying to engage with criticism there seems to be an attitude of 'those who are not with us are against us'. This, I think, is part of the problem.

baboon
I was wrong when I quoted

I was wrong when I quoted Jamal above as saying "under the strict military command and discipline of the ICC". What he actually said was "under the strict military command and discipline of the IS of the ICC". For all intents and purposes it's a stalinist slur.

 

Sloth you're entitled to your opinion - though I'm not sure what it is because you seem to refer to "other people" a lot.. But if anyone has arguments or criticisms of the ICC, let's see what their political positions are. And the general call for solidarity with the ICC sloth, is because the organisation (as others) is under attack from elements of the capitalist state.

Pierre
I did not intend or purpose

I did not intend or purpose that statement to be a stalinist or Stalinst slur. Cheers

KT
It's old, it must be useless....

I write as a sympathiser of the ICC, definitely not one of the "others” who think the organisation is an obstacle to either the regroupment of revolutionaries or the development of theory and intervention. I agree with the recent posts of Baboon defending the organisation against such suggestions. I think this website which is an on-going repository of both theory and intervention spanning some 40 years is just one manifestation – though not necessarily the major one - of the important role which the ICC continues to play. The premature, immature (my opinion) exit of comrades in Turkey does not alter that reality one iota.

Jamal wrote that the ICC was monolithic and rigid. That’s not entirely correct. There are widely published differences of view expressed on the state in the period of transition, on the economic underpinnings of capitalism’s decadence, on the reconstruction period following World War Two ... there are published discussions on psychoanalysis, on the evolution of humanity in pre-history, on other issues which represent the views not of the organisation as a whole but of individuals or currents within it – they are contributions to a wider debate. The ICC is indeed rigid in the defence of class principles, class lines, which include not involving the police in the affairs of the proletariat, nor stealing from the proletariat, nor threatening to kill members of proletarian organisations – in short, rigid against the use of violence within and between organisations of the working class.

So no, Sloth, quite clearly not everyone who criticises the ICC should be treated as wreckers, liars, or the deluded. Just those who adhere to the practices outlined above. Those who waver, who try to reconcile proletarian positions with such incursion of bourgeois ideology and practice into the ranks of the working class, who try and mediate, they have traditionally been called centrists. It’s not an insult, it’s a political categorisation.

Jamal may or may not be right in his opinion that the ICC is in a minority of proletarian organisations which ‘believe’ in an internationally centralised way of functioning in the image of the class with no property or fatherland that gave rise to it (1). The ICC is certainly one of the very few to exist, in practice, in such a manner. But being in a minority has never been a problem for communists.

What should be said, in response to those who think an internationalist approach to organisation is outmoded, or has failed (really?), is that a federalist, localist structure, an echo of earlier days in the history of the workers’ movement (and that of the petty bourgeoisie) is no cure for ‘monolithism’. Just take the recent example of the ‘federalist’ ICT: while one part of the organisation was denouncing the most severe attack on it since the 2nd world war, another was downplaying the situation, describing it as just the activity of two or three ex-comrades.  Which was it? We’ll probably never know. The thread has been wiped from the ICT’s website. Silence is monolithic. And federalism didn’t hinder it, on the contrary.

There’s a certain amount of attention on this thread (much of it somewhat abstract) about how to deal with bourgeois organisations (Stalinists, for example), proletarian organisations which are degenerating and how do you tell if they are and what should you do about it? There’s discussion about how it is “right”, or necessary to destroy bourgeois organisation. They – bourgeois, proletarian, and degenerating proletarian bodies - are all put on the same level. But no-one has defended the “old” proletarian notion that our political, minoritarian organisations are precious, that you don’t just abandon them, that you fight for your ideas within them, try and convince your comrades that they’re wrong in order to turn them around and, if the worst comes to the worst, to make political arguments which will contribute to the creation and strengthening new or future organisations, not to just ‘save yourself’ and hope to set up something new, when you’ve decided what that might be as an afterthought.... The 'easy come, easy go' attitude towards working class political organisations, characterised by MH earlier as 'casual' can also be called 'councilist'. 

(1) Forgot to mention in an earlier intervention about the difficulties affecting the entire proletarian milieu this from Internationalist Perspectives  

http://internationalist-perspective.org/IP/ip-texts/to-our-readers.html

 

 

 

slothjabber
between what and what?

baboon wrote:

...

Sloth you're entitled to your opinion - though I'm not sure what it is because you seem to refer to "other people" a lot.. But if anyone has arguments or criticisms of the ICC, let's see what their political positions are. And the general call for solidarity with the ICC sloth, is because the organisation (as others) is under attack from elements of the capitalist state.

 

My position is that the ICC is in trouble, but is not yet definitively lost to the proletariat. If that weren't my opinion, I probably wouldn't be here, I'd be elsewhere, doing something more important and ignoring the drama as being irrelevant.

 

KT wrote:

...The ICC is indeed rigid in the defence of class principles, class lines, which include not involving the police in the affairs of the proletariat, nor stealing from the proletariat, nor threatening to kill members of proletarian organisations – in short, rigid against the use of violence within and between organisations of the working class.

So no, Sloth, quite clearly not everyone who criticises the ICC should be treated as wreckers, liars, or the deluded. Just those who adhere to the practices outlined above. Those who waver, who try to reconcile proletarian positions with such incursion of bourgeois ideology and practice into the ranks of the working class, who try and mediate, they have traditionally been called centrists. It’s not an insult, it’s a political categorisation....

Perhaps I am adopting a centrist position. It's not the first time my behaviour has been characterised thus. ICC members have accused me of 'playing Trotsky' before. But the assumption has always been from the ICC that it is playing the part of the Bolsheviks rather than the Mensheviks. I'm not certain this is the case. I'm certainly not aware that I'm temporising between the ICC and any individual or group that is involved in "involving the police in the affairs of the proletariat... stealing from the proletariat... threatening to kill members of proletarian organisations". Perhaps if KT knows something I don't, it should probably be revealed for all our safety.

 

KT wrote:

... no-one has defended the “old” proletarian notion that our political, minoritarian organisations are precious, that you don’t just abandon them, that you fight for your ideas within them, try and convince your comrades that they’re wrong in order to turn them around and, if the worst comes to the worst, to make political arguments which will contribute to the creation and strengthening new or future organisations, not to just ‘save yourself’ and hope to set up something new, when you’ve decided what that might be as an afterthought.... The 'easy come, easy go' attitude towards working class political organisations, characterised by MH earlier as 'casual' can also be called 'councilist'. 

...

 

I'm sorry, I just don't think this an accurate portrayal of comrades who are fighting for the ICC to be a useful tool of the proletariat. You don't see it because you don't believe that combat is necessary. But it is happening.

 

KT
Who, what, when, how?

Sloth wrote:

"I'm sorry, I just don't think this an accurate portrayal of comrades who are fighting for the ICC to be a useful tool of the proletariat. You don't see it because you don't believe that combat is necessary. But it is happening."

OK: just who is fighting for the ICC to be a "useful tool of the proletariat"? I see the ICC reacting to its own difficulties because it publishes long texts about them, the analysis it's made and the measures it's taken, etc, so we can all participate, criticize, etc.

But who exactly are these other "comrades" fighting for the ICC? What are they saying? Why isn't the ICC a "useful tool" now? When did it cease to be?

 

slothjabber
me for one

Those of us who think that the ICC is on a negative trajectory but isn't lost and can reform itself. I'm one. There are others, who can speak for themselves if they like.

MH
slothjabber wrote: Those of

slothjabber wrote:

Those of us who think that the ICC is on a negative trajectory but isn't lost and can reform itself. I'm one. There are others, who can speak for themselves if they like.

The ICC itself has hardly hidden the fact that it has recently gone through a crisis, and a serious one at that; we don’t yet know whether it considers this is now over, but the Report on the Extraordinary Conference describes it in some detail and I for one feel that its seriousness was not suffficiently grasped by posters on this forum at the time.

A crisis is obviously a bit different to a ‘negative trajectory’. It suggests something more permanent that has developed over time.

So when did this negative trajectory start? When did those now identifying it warn us all that the ICC was on it? And what action did/do they propose to change this trajectory?

Secondly, are other organisations in the proletarian milieu on the same ‘negative trajectory’ or is the ICC alone? We now know the ICT has been facing attacks for some time. KT also links to a statement of ‘Internationalist Perspectives’ describing its recent difficulties.

Libcom, the anarchist milieu – is there anyone out there actually in rude health and growing vigorously? Or are we talking about some kind of wider and deeper problem, in which case we ne need a framework which puts the ICC’s problems in the context of the absence of mass struggles, the depth of capitalism’s crisis, the length of the period of decomposition…

If there are some comrades emphasising the need to defend the ICC in the current situation, it's not because they are uncritical fans but maybe they think the situation the proletariat finds itself in is way serious, and that, frankly, if such a significant organisation as the ICC (along with the ICT) go under, this would not be some opportunity to clear the decks and start anew, but a very serious indicator of the whole class’s weakness today.

 

Crisanto
Agree with MH

"A crisis is obviously a bit different to a ‘negative trajectory’. It suggests something more permanent that has developed over time.

So when did this negative trajectory start? When did those now identifying it warn us all that the ICC was on it? And what action did/do they propose to change this trajectory?" - MH

Agree with MH.

I am very much interested to know what is now the 'negative direction' of the ICC. And also 'how to help' the ICC return to the 'right direction'.

What I see until now is only the ICC in the proletarian milieu that is brave enough to let the 'public' know not only that it is in crisis but more importantly exerting all efforts as a whole to go to the roots of its crisis, and link these to the whole situation and history of the worklers movement.

However, it is undeniable that there are people (serious supporters or not, and even some ex-members like the ones in Turkey?) who do not like what the ICC is doing to solve its problems. That's why I said above that I'm interested to know their proposals how to help the ICC and perhaps the other communist organization also like the ICT? Or its just the ICC in the 'negative trajectory' while the others are not?
 

baboon
Let's leave aside

Let's leave aside Slothjabber's ethereal "others" for the moment and ask him to give us his analysis of the ICC's "negative trajectory".

slothjabber
how to start?

MH wrote:

slothjabber wrote:

Those of us who think that the ICC is on a negative trajectory but isn't lost and can reform itself. I'm one. There are others, who can speak for themselves if they like.

...

So when did this negative trajectory start? When did those now identifying it warn us all that the ICC was on it? And what action did/do they propose to change this trajectory?..

 

That's what we're doing. Are you criticising us for not having done it sooner? We raised disquiet with the ICC when we became aware of things that concerned us. Or, because I don't see why I should speak for anyone else here, I raised concerns with the ICC when things that concerned me came to light. How, if we are identifying it 'now', can we have already warned everyone?

 

I raised concerns at the time of the Gezi Park protests and Brazillian events that the ICC was too eager to see these as positive, when I (and the Shadowy and Aetherial Others, probably but not certainly) saw them as being increasingly 'democratist'. The ICC did start to change its viewpoint; but I remember being rather chided that I hadn't noticed.

 

Last year, I (and at least one of the Shadowy and Aetherial Others) learned that the ICC thought that we had 'moved away from it and towards the ICT' - and that this seemed to be a problem. We didn't hear this from the ICC, but from a third party. Firstly, it seems to me that if the ICC was concerned about this it could have contacted us and asked our opinions, instead of giving its opinions to someone else. Secondly, even if it were true (at the time neither of us thought it was; I rather think that the ICC moved away from us) then what would actually be the 'problem'?

 

One thing I only realised recently (a couple of weeks ago) was that the ICC no longer has a US section. I thought the centre was just rubbish at putting 'Internationalism' on the web. I know that in the past sympathisers have helped out to get material on the web - I've done it myself. I also know that some of the ICC militants from sections in Europe were helping the US section with internet -related stuff. As I know some of them have left the organisation, I assumed that the workload had temporarily overwhelmed the 'hands at the pump'.

 

But 'Internationalism' has ceased publication. The US section has disappeared. That is a section that predated the formation of the ICC by several years, a group that came out of Raya Dunayevskaya's News and Letters group, if I haven't got my trainspotting wrong. When the ICC added sections in the Phillipenes and Turkey some years ago, there were fullsome articles written about how this was a great stride forward for the working class. Where is the article about how the end of a group that lasted more than 40 years (and contributed important texts such as the 'Thesis on the State in the Period of Transition') is a massive body-blow? I must have missed that. Maybe if the ICC had been honest about what was happening in the US, we could have been having this debate 2 years ago. Maybe if the ICC had said that it had managed to alienate a generation of young militants in the couple of years before that we could have been having this discussion 5 years ago. Anyone remember the heady days of 2010, when the ICC had a dozen US sympathisers under the age of 25?

 

The first thing I would propose is to attempt to engage with the class. Try to re-institute forums and meetings. The idea that the forum and website will be the main way the organisation communicates - I think it's terrible. Yes, printed papers cost money. Yes, organising meetings takes bodies prepared to hold them and places to meet. But we're not yet at the stage where at on a picket line or a demo or a meeting, someone just waves a phone at you and you download all the information they're trying to pass. The ICC doesn't even seem to understand how to make its website work. An organisation without a publication - or one that, in the case of WR has gone from 10 issues to 4 in a couple of years, and IR seems to have gone from quarterly to annually - an organisation that holds one meeting a year, and then delays it for 3 months, is barely an organisation at all.

 

Also, trying to understand why other organisations and individuals are so opposed to the ICC, and engaging with them any way. The ICC has burned a lot of bridges over the years. It needs to try and try again to repair them, or at least to be seen to be trying. I was peleased to see that members of the ICC did manage to get to a recent ICT meeting in London, and a good discussion took place, I thought. It was almost positive.

 

The recent case of the IGCL is instructive. I think the behaviour of the IGCL was reprehensible. It put them, if they ever had been 'inside' which is doubtful in my view, completely outside any framework of a proletarian political organisation. But when confronted with a baboon (I'm sorry baboon, but the image I have is a of a real baboon) flinging shit, the response of the ICC was to go into the baboon enclosure and fling it right back. That, I think, made people back away from supporting the ICC. And then the ICC demanded that other groups join in the shit-flinging. I don't think that was at all helpful.

 

Demanding solidarity from the ICT was a very interesting tactic. In the ICT's recent troubles - those with the GKM, much more serious in my view than the current rumours of gossip about members of BC - the ICC's response was a (cautious) 'it serves you right'. Readers can check how much 'solidarity' the ICC and its sympathisers showed the ICT by consulting this thread: https://en.internationalism.org/forum/1056/heretic/7018/brown-masquerade

 

Before the attacks on the ICC from the IGCL, the ICC didn't seem particularly concerned about solidarity with the ICT. After the attacks, it insisted on solidarity from the ICT. And then, it tried to make the BC gossip into the same thing as the attacks on the ICC. It isn't the same thing. It's not totally unrelated, but it's not the same either. I think the ICT was annoyed that the ICC seemed to be trying to co-opt the gossip about BC to its own campaign against the IGCL.

 

But, this isn't about the ICT...

 

MH wrote:
...

Secondly, are other organisations in the proletarian milieu on the same ‘negative trajectory’ or is the ICC alone? We now know the ICT has been facing attacks for some time. KT also links to a statement of ‘Internationalist Perspectives’ describing its recent difficulties...

 

I think, the negative trajectory I think is particularly concerning is specific to the ICC. IP's problems are different it seems to me, and the recent events around BC are sufficiently different in detail not to have too much connection. And as the ICT have made it very clear that they don't want to discuss the attacks on BC, I don't intend to discuss it behind their backs.

 

MH wrote:
...

Libcom, the anarchist milieu – is there anyone out there actually in rude health and growing vigorously? Or are we talking about some kind of wider and deeper problem, in which case we ne need a framework which puts the ICC’s problems in the context of the absence of mass struggles, the depth of capitalism’s crisis, the length of the period of decomposition…

If there are some comrades emphasising the need to defend the ICC in the current situation, it's not because they are uncritical fans but maybe they think the situation the proletariat finds itself in is way serious, and that, frankly, if such a significant organisation as the ICC (along with the ICT) go under, this would not be some opportunity to clear the decks and start anew, but a very serious indicator of the whole class’s weakness today.

 

No organisation is in rude health. The proletariat is weak - as you say in a very serious situation. This does not mean that there is no malaise specific to the ICC. One can still be run over by a bus while suffering from tuberculosis. The tuberculosis doesn't make the bus not-real. Thinking that there there is only one problem is, in my view, part of the problem. It makes solutions simplistic. It goes with the logic that says 'because some criticism of the ICC is unjustified, then all criticism of the ICC is unjustified'. As a method, that fails.

 

While, I'm sure, the ICC needs to understand what is going on, what is happening to the organisation, where its perspectives failed, it seems to me axiomatic that it cannot do this in isolation. There seems to be a move to retreat to a hilltop monastery and contemplate 'what went wrong'. The answer does not just lie in the minds of the militants of the ICC. They will not find the answer no matter how hard they think, no matter how much they  examine. Because the problems do not lie entirely within the ICC. They are problems of the whole proletariat.

 

But neither are the problems entirely to do with the low level of class struggle alone. There are specifics of functioning and analysis that seem to be specific to the ICC. And it is through debate and discussion that these problems will noted, analysed, dissected, and - I hope - solved. Not just the discussions of ICC militants, nor that plus the discussions of sympathisers, or that plus the rest of the Communist Left; they won't be fully solved until the whole of the class is discussing.

 

 

baboon
Slothjabber's text

I think that, stating the obvious, the above is a text from Slothjabber and it's a welcome contribution to the discussion. Sloth says that he doesn't want to talk for anyone else but does so regardless as references to "us" and "we" at the beginning of his texts show. There's a further reference to "rumours" that Sloth, and possibly someone else he says, heard about the ICC an approach that is againnot useful pointless for a clarification of the issues. Above is a text by Slothjabber and the general hope is that comrades will join the discussion under their own headings and not as some group of ghosts or on the basis of rumours that may or may not have been heard.

 

One substantial point made by Sloth is over the ICC's analysis of the Occupy movement, Gezi Park, Brazil, etc. I have no idea of internal discussions in the ICC at the time of this issue (or since) but it's clear from its website that the ICC had  many discussions and disagreements on this issue of "Occupy". It is possible that the group slightly overestimated the strength of this movement and for my part, I thought that it slightly underestimated the genuine anti-war movement in Turkey. But a bit of an overestimation, a bit of an under-estimation, discussion, disagreement, debate, I don't think that this shows the "negative trajectory" of the ICC - quite the contrary. And this seems to be the priority evidence of the ICC's "negative trajectory" for Slothjabber.

 

On the US section disappearing, then yes that's a problem and I do think that the ICC has too loudly proclaimed "great strides" in the past over certain integrations into the organisation. But again, is this an expression of a "negative trajectory", is welcoming new elements to the organisation of the class a clear sign of the organisation's degeneration? I think that is empty accusation particularly when Slothjabber ties it into the question of how the ICC "alienates" its contacts -. And as to increasing activity to overcome problems, the former just exacerbates the problems it's supposed to overcome - that lesson has been repeated in the ICC since the 1980's Your own attempt at increasing "activity" didn't come to much Sloth.

 

Most of the stuff that Sloth writes on the ICC/ICT relationship appears to me to be mostly supposition, rumour and gossip. I think that over the decades there has been a constant effort from the ICC to join forces - even on a formal level - with the CWO and the ICT. There have been stupidities here of course but in my opinion the ICT has maintained its current "hands off" attitude for decades. I can't and don't want to answer any questions about gossip around the ICT and all I know is that there is a position from the organisation itself on the attacks on it that are similar to those on the ICC. I also know that a discussion on this question on the ICT's website has been effectively halted after just one (interesting) post.;

 

I don't think that everything in the garden is rosy and that we don't have a struggle on our hands. But I don't think that any of the points of Slothjabber above address a question of a "negative trajectory" of the ICC.

Link
Out of the Ether?

I think I should contribute again to this discussion as it appears ive been outed as an ethereal being.  Now I know I have lost quite a bit of weight in the past year but I think ethereal is going a bit far even if I don’t see myself as important or admit as it did earlier to being a bit of failure.   Id prefer to have a physical presence really but perhaps it would explain why my some of my earlier contributions got so little response!! If you didn’t see them posts no 62,68,77,55,90,93, 118, 155.  I just looked back and they do exist, although not all are important true.

Firstly there is no planned campaign here cos that seemed to be the implication of  some of slothjabbers comments earlier but I do see myself in the middle of ICC and ICT and trying to find some common references.  Well in fact there are lots of common references but they seem to be easily ignored. Both organizations are equally important in the UK and if they have different things to say on some issues (including organizational ones), so what, that should stimulate discussion not calls for revenge and retribution.   The weakness and lack of coherence in the workers movement is undoubtedly due at root to the period but the lack of empathy between its various elements is down to the will of its constituent members and  perhaps the poor conduct the organizations themselves – all that is!!

I said earlier that the ICC is no longer a pole of regroupment and nobody took that up.  That isn’t the same as saying a negative trajectory but it is a negative step and I would have thought it is an important criticism.   I said I was concerned about the path of introspection being taken by the ICC and all I got was that introspection doesn’t always lead to madness. 

I do agree that with slothjabber that the time has come for the ICC when the way forward can only be seen by opening up to the workers movement rather than looking inwards and closing oneself off from what other organisations in the movement say.  It has just gone on for too long

I personally do not want to get involved in discussions of who said and did what and when to whom. That’s shit and there must be some way of putting all that stuff behind us – as much as possible anyway.  Everybody makes mistakes and are wrong at times; its time to focus on whether individuals or organization still defend the same platform, not how immoral they were in 19**.  Unless a judgement can be made that an organization is no longer part of the workers movement , then it should be accepted that there are 2 sides to a discussion/argument amongst comrades.   Its time to stop seeing  criticisms of the ICC as  showing a lack of support against attacks by the state or state agencies or organisations acting like state agencies and so on cos that is self justifying and it sure looks like paranoia from the outside.  Sorry Baboon because your last contribution is responding to slothjabber’s concerns but that is what you were clearly presenting earlier in this thread when getting uber-defensive about the ICC. Also I do think it absurd to say that the only the ICC makes any effort to join forces when it all too readily falls into verbal headbashings.   No organization is innocent here.

I personally do not want to make or express judgments about degeneration and being lost to the working class, I have seen too much of that and its crap too.  Without having neat solutions to offer,  I did say that perhaps the route the ICC has gone down regarding discussion and agreement is the problem because it does not appear to have coped well with keeping differences of opinion from becoming organization problems and becoming personalized.  Yes the ICC has been open about splits, but it appears  to the outside that too much of the political disagreement in the organization become polarized into massive breakups and the exaggerated and highly condemnatory language of the both sides only makes the situation worse.

 How can an organization keep generating such venomous splits when all sides still defend the same platform?  If the organization is looking inwards to understand its problems then that is the question to answer but I am not sure the answer is just inside.

And yes I do think there are more ethereal beings out there.  I know they are there cos they have contributed on this forum but its true I haven’t seen them in physical form.

Alf
in defence of Fred

Although we will certainly come back to the discussion about the ICC’s “negative trajectory”,  we think it’s important to support baboon’s reaction to Slothjabber’s accusations of Stalinism against Fred on the grounds of ‘psychologising’. And Slothjabber’s post no. 182 also contains the implication that the ICC is guilty of exactly the same kind of “Stalinist” practice:

“The question is not whether the ICC is a Stalinist organisation - that, to me, whould mean 'does the ICC support the notion of Socialism in One Country?' - that's an absurd suggestion.

The question is whether the tactic of ascribing psychological flaws to critics of the organisation was a tactic of the Stalinists.

 So straight question baboon: did the Stalinists use the tactic of ascribing psychological flaws to critics of the government of the USSR?

- No: in which case my description of Fred's behaviour is not appropriate.

- Yes: in which case my description of Fred's behaviour is appropriate.

You chose”.

The mixing up of references to Fred and the ICC in this post is rather characteristic of this recent accusation about resorting to Stalinist tactics, despite some comrades arguing that no one has actually accused the ICC itself of ‘psychologising’.

Two points in defence of Fred.

First, Marxism does not reject ‘psychologising’ in the sense that it accepts the need to integrate the insights of psychological theory, particularly in the attempt to move from understanding general collective motivations, founded on class,  to more individual ones. It was a feature of the early years of the Russian revolution to open the doors to Freudian psychoanalysis, both in theory and in practice. And it was equally a feature of the Stalinist counter-revolution that Freud’s entire school was condemned as idealist and reactionary. 

Secondly, Fred did not attempt to take his particular ‘character studies’ any further but responded to the ICC’s request to root the discussion in the ICC’s text from IR 109 on the organisation question, in particular as it relates to the need to understand ‘subjective’ factors such as behaviour and intention. So far, there has been no response to this text by Slothjabber or other critics of ‘psychologising’, except for a short post from jamal which included this sentence:  “Left communists want to work towards an international party by building and networking cadres NOT by being under the strict military command and discipline of the IS of the ICC which sees itself as the RSDLP or some swell-headed shit”. The reference to the RDSLP presumably being something to do with the text in IR 109, which tried to draw parallels between some of the ICC’s organisational crises and those of the Russian party in the early 1900s. When baboon called this a slur and an accusation of Stalinism jamal denied that this was his intention, but that doesn’t make his language of denigration any more acceptable.

Comrades may certainly disagree with the conception of the functioning (and the function) of the revolutionary organisation contained in the IR 109 text, but we think that a discussion about this and related orientation texts is essential if any real understanding of the ICC’s “trajectory” is to be achieved.

 

baboon
Just a few more words on the

Just a few more words on the question of the ICC's analyses of the Occupy/Arab Spring movement which, as far as I can see, is the main plank of Slothjabber's assertion of the ICC's negative trajectory: at the beginning of its life I think that there was a tendency in the ICC to overestimate the levels of class struggle and the immediate possibility of revolution. This was no big deal in itself and effected no negative trajectory. But the collapse of the eastern bloc in 1989 saw the ICC get a firm grip on its analysis of the class struggle and its potential, as well as the factor of the use the bourgeoisie made of the "victory of capitalism" in the disorientation of the proletariat and the enormous set back to the positive development of class struggle. I was in the ICC at the time and I can attest to the discussion, debate, divergences on the questions around the collapse of the eastern bloc as well as incomprehensions and disbeliefs over the issue. But an international and centralised discussion, along with taking positions on resolutions, clarified many of the issues for the great majority. From this the ICC developed its analysis on decomposition - I leave it to comrades to say whether or not this analysis from the early 1990's has been validated or not with time. I believe that it has been in the main.

 

The Occupy/Arab Spring movements that the ICC supported was generally correct in my opinion. The positive aspects of many expressions of this movement demanded support - not uncritically of course. The ICC's support for these movements was always hedged in qualifications about the needs of the struggle and wasn't it the ICC itself, in Spain and elsewhere, that denounced the democracy of bourgeois influences like the DRY on the Indignado's movement and so on? It's hardly the stuff of a negative trajectory. On the contrary.

 

Link has made a post of above that is from Link and is different from Slothjabber's. According to the first substantial point of Link, the ICC has been "closing in on itself" and it has to "open up" to the movement. - sentiments that anyone can be in general agreement with. But how is this to happen? My impression of Link's proposals is that this occurs by seeing that there are two sides to every argument, what's done is done. that it's a quesstion of six of one, half-a-dozen of the other and everyone has their faults. Not only do these sort of banalities not take us very far they actually contribute to the problems that have assailed revolutionary organisation from the beginning of last century and still afflict it today: the circle spirit. The working class is disarmed in front of such sentiments.

 

Of course the ICC can be criticised but this from political and organisational positions. In his original post of "support" for the ICC, Link pointed out its secrecy, monolithism and a cult-like shielding of contacts and then, after repeating these lies that circulate around the milieu, calls the ICC "paranoid". "Stalinist" Fred (anyone with the slightest acquaintance with Fred's posts will know that he has no Stalinist bent), the ICC's "military" discipline, its monolithism and sect-like lack of activity, are not particularly positive or helpful suggestions for the discussion - just insults really dressed up as political positions.

slothjabber
not my accusation of Stalinism

Alf wrote:

Although we will certainly come back to the discussion about the ICC’s “negative trajectory”,  we think it’s important to support baboon’s reaction to Slothjabber’s accusations of Stalinism against Fred on the grounds of ‘psychologising’. And Slothjabber’s post no. 182 also contains the implication that the ICC is guilty of exactly the same kind of “Stalinist” practice:

“The question is not whether the ICC is a Stalinist organisation - that, to me, whould mean 'does the ICC support the notion of Socialism in One Country?' - that's an absurd suggestion.

The question is whether the tactic of ascribing psychological flaws to critics of the organisation was a tactic of the Stalinists.

 So straight question baboon: did the Stalinists use the tactic of ascribing psychological flaws to critics of the government of the USSR?

- No: in which case my description of Fred's behaviour is not appropriate.

- Yes: in which case my description of Fred's behaviour is appropriate.

You chose”.

The mixing up of references to Fred and the ICC in this post is rather characteristic of this recent accusation about resorting to Stalinist tactics, despite some comrades arguing that no one has actually accused the ICC itself of ‘psychologising’...

 

Nowhere did I accuse the ICC of 'psychologising', nor of being a Stalinist organisation - and nowhere did I mix up Fred and the ICC, ernie's and baboons attempts to do so notwithstanding.

 

I did, however, say that Fred was adopting the tactics of Stalinism, precisely because of his psychologising. I also praised Demogorgon for trying to demonstrate that it wasn't a useful method. So; if the mixing up of Fred and the ICC is such a problem, I'd say, talk to ernie and baboon about it, because I've not done so.

 

Alf wrote:
...

Two points in defence of Fred.

First, Marxism does not reject ‘psychologising’ in the sense that it accepts the need to integrate the insights of psychological theory, particularly in the attempt to move from understanding general collective motivations, founded on class,  to more individual ones. It was a feature of the early years of the Russian revolution to open the doors to Freudian psychoanalysis, both in theory and in practice. And it was equally a feature of the Stalinist counter-revolution that Freud’s entire school was condemned as idealist and reactionary. 

Secondly, Fred did not attempt to take his particular ‘character studies’ any further but responded to the ICC’s request to root the discussion in the ICC’s text from IR 109 on the organisation question, in particular as it relates to the need to understand ‘subjective’ factors such as behaviour and intention. So far, there has been no response to this text by Slothjabber or other critics of ‘psychologising’, except for a short post from jamal which included this sentence:  “Left communists want to work towards an international party by building and networking cadres NOT by being under the strict military command and discipline of the IS of the ICC which sees itself as the RSDLP or some swell-headed shit”. The reference to the RDSLP presumably being something to do with the text in IR 109, which tried to draw parallels between some of the ICC’s organisational crises and those of the Russian party in the early 1900s. When baboon called this a slur and an accusation of Stalinism jamal denied that this was his intention, but that doesn’t make his language of denigration any more acceptable.

Comrades may certainly disagree with the conception of the functioning (and the function) of the revolutionary organisation contained in the IR 109 text, but we think that a discussion about this and related orientation texts is essential if any real understanding of the ICC’s “trajectory” is to be achieved.

 

 

It was not that Fred took it any further, rather that when Demogorgon (rightly, in my view, though of course Demogorgon and I could be wrong) tried to underline what a flawed method Fred was applyig, Fred's response was

Fred wrote:

As someone who must share some of the "guilt" for invoking the unwelcome presence of "psychology" on this thread I am not ashamed but won't probably do it again in a hurry.  That doesn't mean I was "wrong", only perhaps over-eager...

I disagree. I don't think putting "guilt" and "wrong" in inverted commas is good enough. I stand by my comment that it is a disgusting method that the Stalinists used to fill asylums with their critics. I'd go so far as to say it's a poisonous tactic that cannot but cause harm to attempts to have a serious political discussion, which is what we're supposed to be having.

Fred
reply to slothjabber

I put guilt in inverted commas because it's a sort of joke (Stalinists would expect me to acknowledge my guilt wouldn't they, after suitable torture?) and because I don't actually feel guilty but do have a suspicion that I was somehow supposed to admit the error of my ways. So I started off with pleading guilty to what I actually see as unproven charges ie. that  I psychologised comrades - which I don't believe I did - whereas I thought i only  did it to the bourgeoisie. 

I put  wrong in inverted commas because I dont think I was actually wrong, but might have been mistaken in writing in a certain way that was sure to get up some people's noses, and I should have born that in mind and been more responsible and mature and not done it.  Or, correction, done it more sensibly so that more comrades might have been able to follow what I was trying to say -  perhaps not very well -  and not just feel insulted, offended and pissed off. 

I put psychology in inverted commas because I know it's more or less a dirty word in parts of the communist milieu though I don't really understand why. After all everybody has a mindset don't they? We have a lot of assumptions about life, death and human society, but also have a whole strata of unacknowledged, nameless  and largely unconscious assumptions about politics and society that underpin much of our  thinking and motivate our  behaviour from behind the scenes so to speak. It's this "motivation from behind the scenes" aspect of political activity which I understand as being best labelled as constructing  "the personality" to use Marx's concept.  Or, personality being yet another word like human nature which has been savagely corrupted by the bourgeoisie, what we might call instead the individual or group psychology. 

That Stalin used psychology to put what he saw as his enemies in prison had never struck me before. I thought he just used good old lies, the bullet, and  Machiavellian manoeuvring. The latter of course might be construed by some as being psychology in disguise rather than a well-honed expertise in lying and deceit, but that is a matter of taste perhaps.  

In fact didn't Stalin himself and his henchmen,  applying to their victims what the bourgeoisie might call  psychology-as-a-punitive-measure,  like brain washing and sleep deprivation (typical bourgeois torture methodology), didn't they  suffer massive psychological disturbances themselves, as they tried to justify all their underhanded criminal  bourgeois behaviour in the name of communism;  and engaged in secret and manipulative  deals and personal deceits and distortions purely in the furtherance of their own personal bourgeois interests? Like the Ruling Class everywhere. 

How far can a human being travel from our HUMAN ESSENCE before distorting himself into a grotesque and crazed commoditised version of what a person could  be freed from exploitative society's agonising corrosives? 

So, this is my attempt at a reply to slothjabber after a long week of nursing bruises stemming from false accusations of Stalinism.

   And it should be noted finally, as Alf points out above, that Stalinism spent considerable time actually trying to discredit Freud and his school with accusations of idealism and of being reactionary. 

Pierre
Communism is Also a Movement to Go Forward

Even in a voyeuristic capacity, this discussion continually gets under my skin to such a degree that I feel like I'm forced to intervene on principle alone. Or, to code-switch to normal people language, this bullshit conversation is getting real fuckin redundant and is becoming a bottomless pit.

Who the fuck is "Fred"? Has anyone here met this person off-line? (RHETORICAL FUCKING QUESTION PEOPLE) "Monkey wrench" would be a much more suitable username.

I find their Internet presence extremely strange and odd, as well as oddly effective, especially on these particular forums. The constant flip-flopping between positions, the moving on and then returning to more spiteful aspects of discussion, the lack of attachment to any organization, the adamant defense of psycho-analysis which even real psychologists are critical over (yes, there are fake psychologists, like the ones who torture people).

Yet Fred has a constant insistence to defend the ICC in some very divisive ways. He claims to be a militant "admirer". What admirer defends organizations they've never been apart of to the point of actively trying to alienate people and concepts attached from it? Lately I really get the sense "Fred" is doing this with some unstated agenda.

I'm sure the response to this will be a confession of commitment to the working class and/or communist theory or organizations. Great for you Fred, we've all seen your very poetic diatribes against the bourgeoisie. Obama is pretty good at rhetoric, too.

For someone who claims they don't know how to use an iPad properly you're pretty savvy with libcom and other forums, eh?

I would purpose Fred pose his integration to the ICC. If he's against this I would kindly like to know why SEPERATE from the cop out of "oh I live in a land far, far, away." This is 2015 no land is far, far away. Unless you want it to be.

In regards to the psychologizing, paranoia, state security, the cops. If the ICC is legitimately concerned with these issues, I would like to respectfully request the removal or censorship of Demo's post #115 which draws into question a variety of issues, which by their very questioning risks the security of myself and all of you. I'm not sure if you do know how the web works, much less have any fucking common sense "Demogorgon". Quite the unique name there fella.

Demogorgon wrote:

I have the courage to stand by what I wrote and take responsibility for my mistakes.

Demogorgon wrote:

Put Up or Shut Up

Demogorgon wrote:

And if you're worried about the cops, well ... stop being a communist.

Don't worry, not even a conservative ICC elder ([b]with all due respect[/b]) like yourself could convince me of this. Unless of course, Demo is suggesting I become an anarchist, which doesn't sound too bad right now.

Alf wrote:
Comrades may certainly disagree with the conception of the functioning (and the function) of the revolutionary organisation contained in the IR 109 text, but we think that a discussion about this and related orientation texts is essential if any real understanding of the ICC’s “trajectory” is to be achieved.

Cheers.

For me the disagreement begins here:

Thesis 11 wrote:

Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.

The ICC into the 70's, 80's, and early 90's were responsible for literature which still had the capacity to "interpret the world" in very profound ways, especially in how it related to and informed the actions of workers and militants. Today the ICC has strayed far off path. It is no longer the theoretical powerhouse it must see in the mirror. The frequency of writing, and a random sampling of it, demonstrates this clearly.

The disagreement continues here:

Turkish comrades quoting Karl wrote:

Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality will have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things.

By this definition, if an organization isn't actively and effectively moving to abolish the present state of things, can it even be a communist organization?

Pierre
The reality is we need to

The reality is we need to figure out how to help the working class self-actualize. How much "adjusting" to this reality has the ICC been doing over the last two decades?

At the heart of this are these problems, among so many others-Central vs. network. Org vs. party. Now vs. tomorrow. Opportunist vs conservative. In a nutshell, does the ICC provide a faulty design in it's function and functioning literature?

jaycee
Jamal, what specifically do

Jamal, what specifically do you think has changed since the 90s that means the ICC has gone 'off the path'?

Fred
Hi Jamal. This is Fred alias

Hi Jamal. This is Fred alias Monkey Wrench.  I am bed-ridden with arthritis and can do little without help, even going to the bathroom which is nightmarish. Posting on the internet is about my limits as I can't use a typewriter or pen.

Rapidly approaching 80, any agenda I have will probably remain unstated now as it wouldn't make much difference anyway, to me or anyone else. I would be happy to try and integrate  into the ICC but have left it  late and travelling long distances to meetings  with the expense and all that, isn't really on anymore.  

You are right in saying that I am an admirer of the ICC and I have been  since the 70's.  That I've never got any further than admiration is due to various factors I won't  go into now. Thank you though for comparing me to Obama, which is a very slight improvement on being compared to Stalin. At least Obama hasn't massacred known communists like the Bolsheviks as yet, though doubtless he would if required too.

Im sorry you find my internet presence strange and odd - the reality is much worse - but flattered that you find it "oddly effective". 

Incidentally Jamal, "self actualise" is a term from the writings about personal psychology by Maslow! 

You seem to be pretty keen on censorship. At least I haven't started advocating that yet which is something. 

Goodbye for now. Fred. 

lem_
I won't pretend to have read

I won't pretend to have read this whole thread, I keep out of organizational questions mostly.

But while I sympathise (if only because I'm relatively unfamiliar with it) to an extent with Jamal's idea that the ICC's literature is no longer as cutting, I question whether this is a reflection of the alledged failures of the ICC, or a reflection of the state of things (of decay etc.).

What has changed since the 90s? Most fundamentally, technologies like the internet (haha) have transformed both leisure and work for at least some of the proletariat. Even in terms of workplace agitation and solidarity - workers don't need each other to get through the working day, quite as much.

 

I've wrtten some arty / punk / hippy pamphlets about this, because I see it as a cultural factor, something which threatens the class but on an individual level not as a class moving toward communism. Not yet, anyway.

If people are tired of waiting for struggle to come to the class then I would jumbly suggets that the robotics revolution might be a catalyst. Bascially, I don't think that's going to mean class consciousness is something different to what it was. Perhaps on an individual level, but globally - it's the same story of unemployment, war, social crisis. And the icc or communist organisation is here to respond to those universals, but the particulars of why they arise. By analogy (and sorry if it's a bad or offensive analogy) communists don't take sides in bourgeois wars - even when one nation seems to be the victim of imperalism, that doesn't change the role of the party or of communists.

Don't be an anarchist Jamal haha. If you feel that the ICC are not as theoretically advanced as they could be, then see if you can form a new left communist organisation or something :-) even if that's just a publication outlet, it's preferable to cherry picking theory based on whim. And anyway all the anarchists I ever met have been kinda doofuses.

lem_
i mean theory is a tool that

i mean theory is a tool that doesn't mean you set fire to the rest of your tool box when you need a hammer haha.

and if you consider the struggle of the communist left more than caprice, then you IMVHO have an obligation to yourself to not join the struggle as an anarchist !

 

as to my somewhat crude "doofuses" comment, i feel that the "anti authoritarian" personality is structured by the need to be singularly powerful... of course, on one level that is simply dandy, but as a political movement it is IMHO simply and very confused.

baboon
While Jamal continues his

While Jamal continues his search for "a more progressive place to discuss with left communists" (let's hope he finds it soon), his posts become more and more poisonous and disgusting. The latest accusations against Fred, who has become some sort of scapegoat on here, go to the point of suggesting that he is some sort of malevolent and destructive influence. I wouldn't begin to "psychologise" here about transference because I don't understand it but Fred's reply is eloquent enough. There's even an innuendo from Jamal that Fred is some sort of spy or deliberate troublemaker planted on here. Your attempts to sow suspicion and distrust are not entirely surprising Jamal, but you've gone well beyond the pale.

lem_
oh my everyone's fighting.

oh my everyone's fighting.

lem_
if i may make the humble

if i may make the humble suggestion that EVERYONE CHILL OUT.

 

we're comrades, aren't we? i've had doubts about the reliability of some people, e.g. LBird. i suppose this sort of namecalling is the flip side of an interest in right and wrong, ethics.

obviously an internet forum isn't the easiest place to figure out wtf is going on (see jamal's comment about infiltration), so we have to build our on-line communities based on mutual trust if not actual respect.

peacefully or whatever.

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