Readers' letters

90 years after Kronstadt: a tragedy that's still being debated in the revolutionary movement

The discussion on the ICC’s French internet forum has been particularly animated and passionate these last few weeks around a tragic event: the bloody crushing of the insurgents at Kronstadt.

Ninety years ago, in 1921, the workers stood up to the Bolshevik Party demanding, amongst other things, the restoration of real power to the soviets. The Bolshevik Party then took the terrible decision to repress them.

A participant in this forum debate called Youhou sent us a letter which we warmly welcome and which we publish here below. She makes both the effort to synthesize the different points of view coming out of the posts and to clearly take a position.

How Should Revolutionaries Intervene in the Class Struggle?

The following text was written by a young militant who has been in discussion the ICC for some months now and participated in the Days of Discussion conference last spring. The text describes the author's efforts to grapple with complex issues pertaining to the union question and the intervention of revolutionaries in the struggle.

Ecological crisis: myth or real menace?

We have received an interesting letter from a comrade in Spain who asks about the reality of the ecological crisis.The comrade asks whether we are facing a grave ecological crisis, or whether, on the contrary, it might be a media show to make us accept austerity measures and poverty under the pretext of ‘saving the planet'.

Correspondence on Chavez: The need to defend class positions

Dear Comrades.I read with much interest your debate with EK on the question of Che, national liberation, Stalinism etc. This seems to me to be a crucial question at the moment particularly amongst leftists and from what I see, in Latin America with the rise of left-leaning governments in Venezuela etc...

Che Guevara: Myth and Reality

A few months ago, we received two messages about Che Guevara form a comrade called E.K.  We are publishing the letter we sent to him in April, and using this opportunity to complete and elaborate on our responses to certain questions. We are making this correspondence public because, as EK himself said, "we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of his death in combat."

In defence of the Russian Revolution, internationalism is not negotiable

Ninety years on from 1917 we are publishing an extract of correspondence on the degeneration of the Russian revolution. An essential part of our defence of the Russian revolution is to draw a clear class line between the revolution and the Stalinist counter-revolution which abandoned the internationalism that the Bolsheviks had based themselves on.

Correspondence: National and democratic demands yesterday and today

We have recently had an exchange of correspondence with a reader in Quebec which has led us once again to present our view not only of “national liberation” struggles, a subject we have dealt with at some length in our publications, but also of “democratic demands” in general which we have not previously dealt with in a specific, developed text on our part. To the extent that the arguments we present here have a general import and respond to a real questioning within the working class, especially because of the influence of the parties of the left and far left, we thought it would be useful to publish large extracts from this correspondence.

Indignation against the misery of the working class

The following account was sent to us by a sympathiser who works in a privatised ‘public utility’. It was inspired by a similar article which appeared in our French paper, Revolution Internationale, describing the situation faced by teachers at the beginning of the new school year. The article provides a clear analysis of the combined dirty work of the bosses and unions, but it does so with real anger and indignation.

Understanding the decomposition of capitalism

The recent article ‘Anti-terrorism: pretext for state terror’ in WR 296 was useful in that it brought together some thoughts I have had regarding the centrality of the revolutionary party in the struggle for a communist world. For me it is important to stress how the decomposition of bourgeoisie society combined with each national capitalism’s drive to increase its share of surplus value, not only in the UK but across the world, leads to measures which strengthen the repressive functions of the capitalist state.

Correspondence on Comportment And Class Struggle

We welcome letters from readers and regularly publish them alongside our response in the press of the ICC with the aim of generating discussion around our work and political positions. We recently received a letter from Germany, which deals with the question of human behavior and in particular, comportment. How we behave with others is a central aspect of social life, of what it means to be human. The letter conveys that its author is not merely dwelling on general problems of being human, but is especially interested in the question of social comportment. What are the preconditions for the proletariat developing its own specific class forms of behavior, which can live up to the final goal of its struggle – communism? This letter makes it perfectly clear that our reader has not just posed major a question but that he has gone a step further and has begun to provide an answer. Below we publish extracts from the comrade’s letter followed by extracts of our response.

Understanding October 1917 and the factory committees

The defence of the October revolution has always been a central duty for revolutionaries. The task takes on renewed importance con­fronted with the international campaign about the ‘death of Communism’, since the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. This defence is not confined to combating the official lies of the bourgeoisie. Since 1917 Communists have also had to defend the revolution and the Bolsheviks against the attacks of anarchists and modernists, who, while claiming to support the revolution re­gurgitate the capitalist lies about Bolshevism leading to Stalinism.

In support of the ICC's struggle against parasitism and opportunism

Visitors to our internet site will be aware that in the recent period the ICC has had to confront a slanderous and shameful campaign mounted by the so-called Internal Fraction of the ICC (IFICC) and the Argentine Círculo de Comunistas Internacionalistas. One avowed purpose of this campaign has been to isolate our organisation and to discredit it in the eyes of all those who identify with the Communist left. The excerpts of letters that we publish here, are a clear demonstration of the failure of this campaign

Correspondence: Solidarity with the ICC against parasitism

Prior to its September public forum in Paris on anti-globalisation (see the article on page 8 of this issue, based on the presentation given at the meeting), the French section of the ICC called on other sections, as well as sympathisers of the ICC, to attend this meeting to express their solidarity with the section, which is one of the two most directly confronted with the presence of the parasitic group that calls itself the Internal Fraction of the ICC . As we explain in more detail in our article 'The ICC does not allow snitches into its public meetings', published on our website as a supplement to WR 267, the ICC, having excluded these elements from the organisation at our last international congress, took the decision to bar them from our public meetings as well. In our view, the activities of this group constitute a danger not only to the ICC but to the whole milieu of proletarian political organisations. In particular, its constant use of personal information and innuendo about members of the ICC on its website and in its bulletin puts it on the same level as that of informers and provocateurs. Closing the doors of our meetings to them is thus an elementary act of self-defence. This view is reinforced in the letters we print below. They come from three of our sympathisers in the UK, two of whom were able to attend the meeting in person, where they met members and sympathisers of the ICC from a number of countries.

Correspondence on the Bali Bombing

We are publishing here an item of correspondence received from a comrade who read our article How Australian imperialism benefits from the Bali massacre from World Revolution 259, November 2002. This article is reprinted below and our reader's comments appear in red.

Our reply on the Bali Bombing

Thank-you for your critical comments on the ICC article 'How Australian imperialism benefits from the Bali massacre', from World Revolution. This letter responds to your criticisms, point-by-point. Please pardon the length of this letter; the questions you ask actually touch on matters of immense importance to the working class. For this reason, it was necessary to respond in some length - and to therefore take some time responding to you.

Correspondence: anarchism, marxism, and the 'death of communism'.

We are publishing here a contribution from a comrade who describes it as "an attempt to clarify to myself why I broke with anarchism (or more specifically libertarian communism, having been a member of the Anarchist Federation)". We think that the text speaks for itself and will be very useful for many others who are currently seeking a way towards the clarity of communist positions.

Overproduction at the root of capitalism's crisis

The following is part of correspondence that has been continuing for some years.

Dear ICC,

I am perplexed by what seems to be a contradiction in your politics. On the one hand Marxists argue that only communism can release the full potentials of production to meet the needs of the working class of the world, yet argue that there is a glut of markets following capitalist over-production. Of course there is overproduction of some things and under-production of others, but even so, has capitalism already reached its giddy limit of possible production or not? If greater production is still possible within all the evils of capitalism, would it be more persuasive to argue for equitable distribution of the current over-production, to get back by and to the working class what is being withheld from it?

Correspondence on Crisis Theories and Decadence, Part 2: Our reply

Bukharin, Raya Dunayeskavya and other critics of Rosa Luxemburg cited by the comrade, say that she was wrong to look for external reasons for the crisis of capitalism.  However, the world market and the pre-capitalist economies are not external to the system: they are the environment for its development and confrontations...

Correspondence on Crisis Theories and Decadence, Part 1: Our reply

The economic convulsions and avalanche of job losses that are sweeping over workers throughout the world and principally in the most industrialised countries are casting a clear shadow of doubt over the endless propaganda about the “good health” and “bright future” of this social system and generating a justified concern about the future.
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