I understand from Alf that he's been banned - can I ask why?

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mikail firtinaci's picture
mikail firtinaci
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Apr 6 2011 10:16

wow that is really horrible. I could not believe that libertarian communist comrades would ever ban a left communist for giving links -i.e. for trying to defend, discuss or promote left communist ideas-. In Turkey the state is banning books even before they are published and jailing the authors, claiming that those books by certain socialists are promoting terrorism... But unfortunately even the Turkish state has a more reasonable argument in this comparison.

About the discussion on the link my opinion is this: I can't understand how a person can defend his idea in a better way than giving references to the sources best describing the background of his/her idea. I think this is also beneficial for the person criticizing that opinion, because that way it will be enabled for the critic to see the whole chain of reasoning that he is against. So for whoever want to criticize ICC, I think what Alf does is an invaluable support. Because he is providing all the assumptions, argument, historical and theoretical reasoning in an orderly and clear way by providing a simple link. What is the spamming part in this?

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Demogorgon303
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Apr 6 2011 10:37
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There are 889 links to the guardian, and 865 links to the icc site.

However, of the links to the guardian, these were posted by a total of 197 unique users, compared to 107 for internationalism.org, so the same number of links have been posted by just over half the number of people.

I'd actually be interested on my stats, because I am (or used to be) a prolific linker (although not so much to ICC stuff - I think).

I haven't been on libcom recently. Like most ICC people I have other tasks that take up my time and a whole host of personal issues that have pretty much killed my capacity to post here consistently.

I'm truly astonished there are 107 people linking to our site. The number of ICC members with the time to do libcom is pathetically small. Most manage to do a post every now and again with some notable exceptions (like Alf) who manage to post regularly. This is part of the problem, I think - given pressure of time, it's always tempting to give a link rather than write a proper post.

Mike Harman
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Apr 6 2011 11:08
Demogorgon303 wrote:

I'd actually be interested on my stats, because I am (or used to be) a prolific linker (although not so much to ICC stuff - I think).

It's you with the 57 links to each site.

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I'm truly astonished there are 107 people linking to our site.

Note that this includes links in quotes (and no I'm not going to try to figure out how many of those there are, that's a lot harder than a straight count). So if someone quotes an ICC person, and the ICC person's post has a link in it, then it gets counted.

Mike Harman
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Apr 6 2011 11:11
mikail firtinaci wrote:
wow that is really horrible. I could not believe that libertarian communist comrades would ever ban a left communist for giving links -i.e. for trying to defend, discuss or promote left communist ideas-. In Turkey the state is banning books even before they are published and jailing the authors, claiming that those books by certain socialists are promoting terrorism... But unfortunately even the Turkish state has a more reasonable argument in this comparison.

Yes it's just like jailing people in Turkey. You do realise this is a temp ban and he'll be back by the end of the week?

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About the discussion on the link my opinion is this: I can't understand how a person can defend his idea in a better way than giving references to the sources best describing the background of his/her idea.

When you say references, I think of footnotes. Footnotes are there to support an argument - if I handed in an essay that consisted only of footnotes, then I'd not be surprised if it was handed straight back.

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 6 2011 12:07

"political apartheid"
"Turkish state banning books and jailing the authors"
"in touch with reality"

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Apr 6 2011 12:22
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When you say references, I think of footnotes. Footnotes are there to support an argument - if I handed in an essay that consisted only of footnotes, then I'd not be surprised if it was handed straight back.

then again footnotes may be very related or unrelated to an argument or direction of an essay. It may be supportive or not etc. When Alf puts a link to a related discussion on which he or certain other ICC members have already stated a position, a link can also serve a similar purpose as a footnote right? From that point of view it is something contrary to spamming but maybe even a respect for others that -who may not be interested with the text- can pass over without bothering to read longer statements or quotations...

In the end from my point of view this banning issue seems to be rather than an objective criterion on giving links, is all coming down to a subjective negative attitude on ICC. After all there are a lot of texts by other left communists -even by Bordiga!- even in the library (which is a very useful and good by the way - expression of an open attitude by libcom which I love)

petey
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Apr 6 2011 12:45

i see that my post on the other thread opposing alf's tempban has been banned.

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Apr 6 2011 13:14

I have to say that it's starting to get tiring responding to a series of posts, only one of which so far has addressed any of the points which I've made. It just seems like going over old ground.

ronan.mcnabb wrote:
As far as the ICC's 'intervention' goes I don't really see what the problem is, they participate in a discussion forum in order to put their politics across and to that end they post links to their website that are usually related to the discussion.

This is exactly the point. It's not a discussion, it's the pushing of a line. Now you can say that this is what everyone does but I wouldn't agree. There's a qualitative difference with the ICC in that discussions with them have a tendency to become about them and their line rather than the issue at hand. This is the result of participating on a forum just to put your politics across. This got really bad a while ago and we warned them. They've behaved better since but, as I said before, old habits die hard and we're mindful of it returning to the old ways..

mikail firtinaci wrote:
I can't understand how a person can defend his idea in a better way than giving references to the sources best describing the background of his/her idea.

As Mike H said, to defend an idea with a reference you first have to present an idea.. not just present the reference in lieu of the idea.

mikail firtinaci wrote:
When Alf puts a link to a related discussion on which he or certain other ICC members have already stated a position, a link can also serve a similar purpose as a footnote right?

But if my memory serves me right, neither thread had been posted on by ICCers previously, nor was it said "in addition to that, you might like to read this".. it was just a blurb about the text with a link to it.. in fact, this is very often the case. So admittedly, while your fair enough hypothetical situation is indeed fair enough, this is not the reality of how the ICC have tended to post on libcom.

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Apr 6 2011 13:23
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It's you with the 57 links to each site.

Hardly excessive over the time I've been here. I suspect you'll find my links to the Telegraph much, much higher than both ...

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Apr 6 2011 13:52

I think that the first thing to recognise is that the people who run Libcom can essentially do what they like with their own propaganda organ. Basically it is up to them. If they told us how to run the ICC's Turkish publications and website, we might well listen, and if they had good suggestions might well implement them, but ultimately we would decide.

It is their choice how they run it, and ultimately who they allow to post, and who they don't allow to post for either political or board functioning reasons.

Both of them are valid reasons to ban somebody, and I would totally understand if, for example, they banned people whose politics they felt contravened the 'ethos' of the board. I believe that this has been done in the past with members of right-wing groups.

People in the ICC see, what we obscurely refer to as, 'internationalist anarchists' as comrades. We have to understand though that this feeling is not always mutual. For us the most important designating criteria is internationalism, but for many anarchists it is the 'libertarian'/'authoritarian' divide. Rata puts it very clearly:

rata wrote:
Moderators made clear what is the reason for temporary ban, but even if the reason is what you say it is, what is the problem with that? Why libertarian collective wouldn't prevent authoritarian grouping from using its infrastructure for promotion?

On the stuff about board management, I think that the stuff about the links is pretty much a complete red herring. Yes, it is in the guidelines, and yes, they have been clearly contravened. For me I don't see links as at all problematic. Secondly the stats themselves seem quite bizarre:

Mike Harman wrote:
Demogorgon303 wrote:
I'm truly astonished there are 107 people linking to our site.

Note that this includes links in quotes (and no I'm not going to try to figure out how many of those there are, that's a lot harder than a straight count). So if someone quotes an ICC person, and the ICC person's post has a link in it, then it gets counted.

Of course there are not over one hundred members of the ICC on here linking to our site. As everybody is surely aware there aren't even 100 members of the ICC in the UK. I reckon that in the years that I have been here, there have been probably less than ten members of the ICC who have posted here, from the Turkish section myself, Leo, and Mikail (no longer a member), from the English section Alf, Miles, Demogorgon, and Melmoth from the English section, from the Phillipines Internasionalista, and a guy from the Spanish section once. There may be a couple more, but I don't remember them

Basically then even if there were a problem with links then less than 10% of the 'serial-linkers' to the ICC site are members.

There is a problem though, and it goes beyond 'dislike' for the ICC, which I think we have to acknowledge does exist, and as members of the ICC except at least a certain amount of blame for some of the things that have caused this.

The problem as I see it is that some threads, which could be interesting run of into long diatribes, which have no connection with the subject, but are instead about the ICC. Other posters (and admins) on this thread perceive something similar:

Ed wrote:
It would have been better to put forward an argument, summarise or pull out key points or facts that seem relevant to what others have said. That would be a contribution to the discussion, from which the discussion could've gone forward. The only place that saying "we wrote this article, you guys should read it" takes a discussion is to the merits of said article, in this case turning the thread into yet another thread about the ICC line on an issue. This happened in the past and ICCers were warned, a return to that kind of behaviour is what we don't want. If the ICC members go a long time without doing that then that's cool, but considering how bad the behaviour was for a time I think it's fair enough that we're taking a more cautious approach..
Khawaga wrote:
I almost never ever read links, so no-one is forcing me. But a link is kinda like bait. I might not bite, but someone else bites. Bam! All of a sudden someone has an issue with what the ICC wrote in an article or some historical minutae that they diasgree with which leads to derailment. Presto you get a thread yet again bashing ICC and the ICC defending themselves. This used to happen a lot, less so no after the moderation policy was tightened. We're all better for it.

I don't think that this is caused by links. As I see it there are three causes to it;
1) ICC members droning on about something so much that it comes to dominate the conversation.
2) People antagonistic to the ICC using one comment by an ICC member on a topic to launch into a tirade about the ICC.
3) ICC members rising to the bait when anybody says anything critical about the ICC and getting dragged into long exchanges over whatever is thrown at them.

I also feel that it is something that we ourselves need to deal with as it doesn't make us look at all good. That said, it is not all our fault, and we aren't the only guilty parties here.

Devrim

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Demogorgon303
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Apr 6 2011 13:55
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This is exactly the point. It's not a discussion, it's the pushing of a line. Now you can say that this is what everyone does but I wouldn't agree. There's a qualitative difference with the ICC in that discussions with them have a tendency to become about them and their line rather than the issue at hand.

What exactly is this qualititative difference and can you give concrete examples demonstrating where we "push a line" and others where we engage in a discussion?

Quote:
This is the result of participating on a forum just to put your politics across. This got really bad a while ago and we warned them. They've behaved better since but, as I said before, old habits die hard and we're mindful of it returning to the old ways..

Again, concrete examples seem called for if only to educate us in where we've failed.

I'm not trying to be provocative; learning how to discuss is vitally important for the working class and we should try and understand the best ways to go about it.

Android
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Apr 6 2011 14:22
Ed wrote:
This is exactly the point. It's not a discussion, it's the pushing of a line. Now you can say that this is what everyone does but I wouldn't agree. There's a qualitative difference with the ICC in that discussions with them have a tendency to become about them and their line rather than the issue at hand. This is the result of participating on a forum just to put your politics across. This got really bad a while ago and we warned them. They've behaved better since but, as I said before, old habits die hard and we're mindful of it returning to the old ways..

Yeah, I do think on a political forum, people for the most part don't participate with unformed views on a particular subject. So I don't see a problem per se with ICC posters linking to material off their website as I don't think admins do either. The issue is the practice of some posters who on occasion just post links with a short blur which doesn't contribute much to a discussion.

There was certainly a tendency a while back for an inordinate amount of threads to become about the ICC, but this wasn't solely the fault of ICC posters. For ages there was also a pattern where ICC posters who posted on a thread were meet with tedious comments that were abusive and certainly don't contributed to any worthwhile discussion in my opinion. I don't mean criticism of the ICC's politics and practice but rather personalising a discussion to be about them. Well at least that is how I remember it.

Edit - had only read Ed's post when I was typing.

Spikymike
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Apr 6 2011 14:27

Devrim seems to have made the better balanced of the contributions here.

From the facts stated I suspect Alf may have inadvertantly stumbled into this 'posting links' error.

Still, with a bit of luck, we can keep this thread going until Alf's temporary ban has ended when he can come back and contribute himself, so keeping yet another thread about the ICC going still further!

I mean let's go for it - the Guiness Book of Records is waiting!

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Apr 6 2011 14:55
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It is their choice how they run it, and ultimately who they allow to post, and who they don't allow to post for either political or board functioning reasons.

It seems to me the debate is not on whether libcom admins CAN OR CAN NOT ban anyone but WHY they do as such.

In that sense I believe it would be as horrible if ICC banned anybody from libcom on its own FORUM because they are giving links to libcom. Unfortunate for the ICC not many libcommers are discussing and giving links to libcom in ICC forums actually...

Personally I give libcom links to every other online forum I write - including facebook etc. Ironically I have been called as spammer in a turkish forum because of giving too much links to Libcom, arguing it as a very successful and good site...

petey
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Apr 6 2011 14:52
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
Apologies petey, that happened when I locked the thread as it was a duplicate. It's back now.

not that it was the most substantial contribution, but thanks

ronan wrote:
there was also a pattern where ICC posters who posted on a thread were meet with tedious comments that were abusive and certainly don't contributed to any worthwhile discussion in my opinion.

this was the more serious problem imo. i've had my share of laffs at what i consider the ICC's doctrinaire manner, but they're only presenting the position they've worked out, and if it's phrased differently/better elsewhere why not link to it? their members, though, are the only ones who have consistently avoided abusive responses to the posts of others - impatient sometimes, but not nasty, and that counts for alot in a milieu where the numbers are low enough that every participant should be encouraged to stick around until they find whether their politics are compatible. if i want to read insulting supercilious shit i can read free republic.

somewhere above an admin (i think, tho' i can't remember who said it) seemed to suggest that the linkage boosted the ICC websites numbers, or something - is this really an issue?

Intifada1988
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Apr 6 2011 18:07

this thread is ridiculous

without saying much, it's obvious to me people in positions of power/authority on the boards are not in agreement with the ICC which is fine.

however, a link is a link. it's a tiny amount of space on the website or in the post area. Long quotes...that's one thing. But banning "excessive" linking? Get the fuck out of here...THATS WHY THEY MADE HYPERLINKING...so you can be excessive.

Admin: Why not just move/split "thread deviations" into a new thread? Oh wait because that would be more "free advertising" wouldn't it?

It seems to me if you all were actually worried about link spamming you'd make a daily limit on users or something. But back to my original point...stop using the excuse that the ICC is spamming to cover up the fact you don't agree with their members having outstanding activity on these boards. So what if they wish to intervene here more so than others. I say we commend that. Plus the literature is miles better than any ISO bullshit. Whats the real reason you are complaining (JK, everyone else)

And since were on stats I'd like to request some. How many posters actually post links? Any/every link. Like what's the percentage per poster? So the hell what if I wanna put an ICC link at the end of my posts. You don't have to click it

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Apr 6 2011 16:29
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The notion being voiced here that new-comers will be in danger of being groomed by them bad peoples if they get tempted in by an ICC link is bloody silly. Whatever their faults, the ICC doesn’t suck in the gullible innocent - they are not Trots.

Way to interpret something completely off the mark. All I was arguing was the people would just stop reading threads when they have to go through pointless minutae that a lot of ICC discussions end up. It would just turn them away from discussion period. I think people can clearly see through crappy recruitment attempts, though tbh it took me some time to see through the bs of the ICC to begin with. Though I did get PMs quite early from an ICC member (can't remember who) when I first signed up for the site asking me about "my position" on various issues. I remember thinking that was a bit weird.

Harrison
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Apr 6 2011 17:15
mikail firtinaci wrote:
It seems to me the debate is not on whether libcom admins CAN OR CAN NOT ban anyone but WHY they do as such. .

its the tyranny of structurelessness isn't it. if libcom admins didn't do these various things this site would become a bit crap

plus i think the clue is in the word 'Libertarian' really. libertarian communism certainly overlaps with left communism (council communists etc), but it has its differences.

the point is that the admins are making sure this site remains pluralistic, and largely libertarian. this i am happy with. i don't want to have argue the fundamental basis of my politics, i joined this forum to interact with likeminded people and debate finer issues rather than "is state capitalism inherently bad for revolution" which i ran into pretty early on thanks to ICC, despite the fact that wasn't the question i posed.

tbh i think Alf's temporary banning was more a warning to the whole ICC. anyway i look forward to having Alf back, as he contributes interesting stuff to discussions.

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Apr 6 2011 17:27

I have been posting on different forums for about five years now I think and have been an admin on one of these forums for several years - incidentally a forum known to include many posters as well as moderators and administrators who are in favor banning lots of members, and who every now and then have discussions on whether this or that poster should be restricted, suspended, banned etc. And in all the years I've spent as a part of the said sites decision making body, never have I witnessed anyone even suggest something as utterly absurd as suspending a member because s/he posts links to his or her organizations website.

Of course the libcom forum and the libcom website in general which it is a part of belongs to a certain group of people, that is the libcom collective. Accordingly, the libcom collective, both juristically, in that they are or one of them is, the legal owner of the website, and practically in that they are running it, have the absolute freedom to suspend, ban, restrict, mock, humiliate, trash the posts of etc. whomever they wish, and for whatever reason they have. This is rather obvious. Similarly, the libcom collective has the power of closing down the open forum or kick out whoever they dislike or disagree with while keeping only those who they like or agree with, and then if they want they can say "love it or leave it" to anyone who protests. This too is an obvious fact. The libcom collective is in a position which makes it possible for them to do all these.

Whether you can run an open political discussion forum for the discussion of these or those political ideas, however is something else. I personally don't think it is possible to run a political discussion forum like this and think that what is termed on another forum "the witch-hunt mentality" is what ends up killing open discussion in these forums, and thus ends up killing the forums themselves eventually.

In case the libcom collective is interested in running an open political discussion forum, I would like to remind them that in such a forum, members of political organizations are, in general, expected to appear and start making posts, and give links to their organizations website in order to create discussion on their ideas. Members of an open discussion forum are completely entitled to do this. A poster can only the considered spamming if s/he is consistently posting the exact same thing again and again - in which case what the admins generally tend to do is erase the replicate threads/posts and privately warn the user. An overwhelming majority of forum users who get banned for spamming are spam-bots, and the term generally applies to people making repeated posts on issues unrelated to the general topics to be discussed in the forum. In other words, it would be accurate to describe Alf's posts as spam had he been trying to sell viagra - not when he is posting political links.

This sort of forum administration is what turns a discussion forum into a locker room. The admins are of course completely free to act as they wish, although I do, not as a member of the ICC myself but as an admin of another political discussion forum, find it utterly absurd. Personally, on the other hand, I have been arguing that a lot of the ICC comrades posting on this forum would be better off on other forums where it is the very basic positions to be defended in the open rather than whether the ICC was right or wrong on this or that totally irrelevant incident which happened thirty years ago, or whether someone got pushed or not during a split and so on. That, of course, is another matter though.

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Apr 6 2011 18:10
Intifada1988 wrote:
Whats the real reason you are complaining (JK, everyone else)

THE TRUTH

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Apr 6 2011 18:18

Yes, yes mock people who criticize, that is a very mature and self-confident way to deal with their arguments and administer a forum. I'm sure its gonna make all the criticisms go away.

Intifada1988
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Apr 6 2011 18:18
Khawaga wrote:
Way to interpret something completely off the mark. All I was arguing was the people would just stop reading threads when they have to go through pointless minutae that a lot of ICC discussions end up. It would just turn them away from discussion period. I think people can clearly see through crappy recruitment attempts, though tbh it took me some time to see through the bs of the ICC to begin with. Though I did get PMs quite early from an ICC member (can't remember who) when I first signed up for the site asking me about "my position" on various issues. I remember thinking that was a bit weird.

Way to troll. I'm not sure what you have against the ICC, frankly I don't care about that petty bs.

I saw another member in an earlier thread refer to the ICC as a "pedo(philiac)" group? Like for real?

For the record, my contact with the group has never been like anything like that. I was never approached by any senior members through "pms" or anything like that. In fact, looking for an alternative to RCP/ISO/PLP type groups and reading deeper into theory I saw them at the forefront of the left com milieu, at the least organizational. You all should respect that, not throw dirt on the name

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Apr 6 2011 18:23
Leo wrote:
Yes, yes mock people who criticize, that is a very mature and self-confident way to deal with their arguments and administer a forum. I'm sure its gonna make all the criticisms go away.

well it doesn't seem to matter how many times it's clearly explained, people seem intent on ridiculous hyperbole (Turkish prisons!!!11) and conspiracy theory (what's the SECRET AGENDA???1111). this has been discussed to death, it's a really run of the mill moderation, following warnings, following extensive previous discussion over a number of months (/years). At least nobody's mentioned NAZI GERMANY yet though, tbf.

gypsy
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Apr 6 2011 18:31
Intifada1988 wrote:
Khawaga wrote:
Way to interpret something completely off the mark. All I was arguing was the people would just stop reading threads when they have to go through pointless minutae that a lot of ICC discussions end up. It would just turn them away from discussion period. I think people can clearly see through crappy recruitment attempts, though tbh it took me some time to see through the bs of the ICC to begin with. Though I did get PMs quite early from an ICC member (can't remember who) when I first signed up for the site asking me about "my position" on various issues. I remember thinking that was a bit weird.

I saw another member in an earlier thread refer to the ICC as a "pedo(philiac)" group? Like for real?

No if it was for real Steven.- Would have joined!

Harrison
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Apr 6 2011 18:31
Joseph Kay wrote:
At least nobody's mentioned NAZI GERMANY yet though, tbf.

next you'll be sending library articles to digital gas chambers *shakes head disapprovingly*

radicalgraffiti
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Apr 6 2011 18:30
Leo wrote:
I have been posting on different forums for about five years now I think and have been an admin on one of these forums for several years - incidentally a forum known to include many posters as well as moderators and administrators who are in favor banning lots of members, and who every now and then have discussions on whether this or that poster should be restricted, suspended, banned etc. And in all the years I've spent as a part of the said sites decision making body, never have I witnessed anyone even suggest something as utterly absurd as suspending a member because s/he posts links to his or her organizations website.

revleft (i think thats what you mean) isn't really a serious communist website though.

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Apr 6 2011 18:44
Intifada1988 wrote:
Way to troll. I'm not sure what you have against the ICC, frankly I don't care about that petty bs.

Wasn't aimed at you. It was a response to post #27. As you can see, I didn't even quote your post at all.

In any case, I've got not that much against the ICC per se but for a pretty long time I was fed up with lots of threads devolving into discussions about the ICC, their policies or whatever. It frankly turned me off a lot of discussions that I initially was very interested in. Thing is, that has happened so much recently and as far as I can tell it's not because ICC members or sympathizers have stopped posting. They appear to have taken the admins warning/suggestion to heart.

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Apr 6 2011 19:08

JK:

I just made the analogy with turkish state because it comes strange to me to ban someone for giving links to articles from a left communist site. The analogy is exaggerated because I really don't understand why you are making it such a big deal. Otherwise I respect you and your political perspective.

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Apr 6 2011 19:14
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people seem intent on ridiculous hyperbole (Turkish prisons!!!11) and conspiracy theory (what's the SECRET AGENDA???1111).

You are mocking the criticisms to reduce them to the absurd. To my knowledge (although of course I may be wrong since I don't follow libcom that closely) no one else has been suspended for posting political links here before which might lead people to think that the real reason is the not at all secret bias against the ICC on libcom. Similarly, suspending a member because he was sharing the articles written by his organization can be interpreted as censorship.

Of course this is the internet, libcom is not like a Turkish prison and it is not a part of a secret conspiracy against the ICC - however it is not your critics who are saying that libcom is like the Turkish prisons, or that there is a secret conspiracy against the ICC - it is you who are putting these words into their mouths, you are twisting what is being said instead of responding.

Quote:
revleft (i think thats what you mean) isn't really a serious communist website though.

Having lots of posters who are new to politics and who have lots of questions, doubts and confusions does not make a forum any less serious. If anything, it makes it more worthy to participate in. While fundamentally I do recognize the positive role of the libcom, especially its news and library, I personally think that the revleft forum is far more significant on an international basis than the libcom forum, especially with the increasing locker room atmosphere of the latter.

Caiman del Barrio
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Apr 6 2011 19:22

One down, two to go!

(Fuck reading the rest of this thread, Libcom should either delete the forums or ALL of the ICC...)