For the working class, the widest and most searching debate is essential to the development of its consciousness. A proletarian “culture of debate” is the heir to all that is best in the efforts of humanity to understand its position in the world. But it is also very different from the conception and norms of debate in bourgeois society:
- On the one hand, it cannot tolerate dogmatism, arguments from authority, the suppression of divergent views, lies or unfounded accusations
- On the other hand, it is also opposed to the “democratic” idea that debate is a market place where all ideas are equally valid.
For the proletariat and its communist organisations, debate has a militant aim: the defence, clarification and development of revolutionary positions and analyses. It necessarily involves the open confrontation of different views in order to arrive at a higher synthesis.
The ICC Forum is guided by these general perceptions. It is a means for the intervention of the ICC and for a serious discussion of its ideas, which will include the contributions of those who support these ideas as well those who disagree with them from within a general framework of proletarian politics.
It intends to be a discussion platform for comrades with a critical mind. Since discussing is more than making analyses and developing arguments, it also aims to be a place where one can pose questions, express doubts or formulate hypotheses. In the process of clarification, divergences do emerge.
The Forum is not intended to sweep divergences under the carpet, but to draw them out and examine their implications. At the same time, it should be said that the exaggeration of minor divergences, or even inventing them where they do not exist, is opposed to the process of clarification.
As an instrument for our intervention, the ICC forum differs not only from a petty bourgeois club which aims to go no further than the collection of disparate ideas, but also from a genuinely proletarian discussion circle which must follow its own dynamic, independent from any organisation.
As we explained in the document “A New Start for the Forum”, for too long this distinction was not made clear and the ICC has tended to neglect its own forum. But the ICC is now making an effort to exert an organised control of the Forum and this has been expressed by the creation of a Forum Team with a definite mandate.
The Forum Team aims to ensure that certain basic rules of debate are followed and applied. At the same time, it will intervene in discussions when necessary, both to respond to criticisms or questions, and to help steer discussions in a more fruitful direction. It may also restrict or merge threads in order to avoid repetition or a loss of focus in the debates.
Main rules of the forum
- No personalisation or “flaming”: personal insults or attacks will be deleted or blocked
- Participants are asked not to use the forum merely to advertise other blogs or sites
- Participants are asked to avoid creating an excessive number of new threads around the same or similar topics. If necessary, the Forum Team will merge threads which are dealing with the same basic issues
- No spamming. This is not a commercial site, and any advertising will be immediately deleted by the webmaster. This site is also protected by the Defensio anti-spam service. Comments posted on the forum will be scanned by Defensio, and may get diverted into a moderation queue
We ask comrades using the Forum to bring our attention to any infringements of these rules.
The ICC reserves the right to suspend or ban individuals who repeatedly flout the norms of comradely behaviour, as well as those who defend openly counter-revolutionary ideas (such as Stalinism), and parasitic groups or individuals whose sole aim is to denigrate the ICC or other revolutionary organisations.