The ICC's 'Jury of Honour' from Zeta Reticuli

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mciver
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Jun 24 2010 00:39
The ICC's 'Jury of Honour' from Zeta Reticuli

Quote:
Knightrose, as I say, this isn't the place for taking this any further. mciver has made some very serious accusations against our organisation and denigrated individual comrades in a way which should not be accepted here. He also says we are running away from this question. Others clearly accept his version of the events which took place in 1981.
In the past workers' movement, which had a better understanding of the necessity for solidarity among revolutionaries, accusations of this type were dealt with in a collective body in which more than one organisation of the movement took part. We have referred to this as the jury or court of honour, although the name is secondary. We think this practice would still be valid in today's movement.

Alf, post 42, June 13 2010, Acronyms

Yes, this may just need a new thread. Let's name it The ICC's Jury of Honour from Zeta Reticuli. Why will hopefully become clear below.

Alf's post above is phenomenally fatuous. Does he expect anyone to submit to his hilarious pantomime? A jury of what? Say again? Should Ingram and Tuinév of the ex-CBG be on the honourable dock as well? How about Chénier? And JJ, who avoided one like the plague in Paris? And who plays Yagoda and Vishinsky? Perhaps Alf can employ a medium, to invoke the presence of an honourable Chekist, maybe even Chirik is on call, he was after all the main judge and executioner at the 1981 shindig. But as I suggest below, he didn't believe in the 'jury of honour', except as light support artillery. In contrast, brute force and intimidation worked, always have. 'Juries of honour', too risky and the 1968 generation was unruly and treacherous. They didn't obey easily and talked back. And Chirik knew his old peers only too well, they had their own opinels to sharpen. It was better to form his own special squads when needed, his own troop of baboons, fuck the 'jury of honour'.

Last December Alf demonstrated his generous restraint against 'serious accusations', on an amazingly cynical thread where the content was the very serious accusation of 'parasitism'. The impudence is startling:

Quote:
We have been holding off this thread for a while in the interests of the restraint that Berrot mentioned earlier. That doesn't mean that we won't be answering some of the posts which make some very serious accusations against us, in particular Cleishbotham's and the most recent one by Cassady, but we don't want such answers to generate a lot of unproductive heat, and are thinking about the best way and place to reply.

Alf, post 185, Dec 5 2009, The Question of Parasitism

Well, let's have some answers now, maybe even some serious, productive heat?

Alf complains that JM is making not only serious but very serious accusations against his apparat, and of denigrating 'individual comrades'. But these are not my 'comrades', so why should I be deferential to such worthies if they behaved contemptibly? So cut out the whingeing, prove where and how the facts mentioned are false or incorrect, and I'll admit where I'm wrong. But this is my post, I'll ask the questions now.

Let's start with Chénier. If he wasn't a 'state agent' why do you still claim he was? Why do you still lie? This slander is in the Theses on Parasitism on your site, this is the text that you proudly recommended to yearzero on November 2009, thread The Question of Parasitism. This proves that the Theses are as valid to you as when they appeared in 1998. They may not be part of your 'Platform' yet but so what? A position paper from the highest Zentrale isn't something for the memory hole. It may even become a platformic 'class line'.

Give me PROOFS. State the FACTS, not intuitions from shamanic states, not sophistries like 'oh yes, but agents do infiltrate groups'. To which one can retort: and how do you know that Chirik himself wasn't an 'agent'? So, where is the proof that Chénier was a provocateur and spy? You have had nearly 29 years to produce the evidence, where is it?

The other serious question for now: What was Chirik's intention for his second foray to my home, on the night of Friday 6 November 1981? He didn't come alone, but with three carloads of mandrills. But there was nothing else to cart off from Klara or JM, so what did he want? A surprise shindig? But what type, we had no music equipment left, so no salsa. Also, I didn't see a female in the troop, but maybe JA, disguised as a baboon? Were you lying low inside one of the cars as well? Could you kindly tell me who visited me the first time, when JM's stuff was stolen, and give me a list of those who came the second time? I have a bill to send them, interest payable if you don't mind, all in stirling, no euros.

Another question here, how am I 'denigrating'? I have opinions about people, after witnessing their actions. Tough if you don't like it. We have different standards, obviously. You arrogated to yourself the right to recover your corporate property, but equally I had and have, the right to protect myself, and extend my solidarity as well to the victims of your violence. Why is this difficult to grasp? A law for yourself but not for your opponents? Why the huff and puff about 'honour' 'denigrations' and bullshit like that?

The 'direct action' that still thrills Alf was about 'might makes right', a campaign to intimidate. Chirik most certainly wasn't going to waste time with 'juries of honour' to protect his turf. Did he propose one in September 1981, when the tendencies of Lille-London-Manchester seceded with the equipment they used? I don't think so. The 'jury of honour' stratagem was dug out only after the burglaries, and, after he died, big time to target JJ in 1995-97 as the annex below demonstrates. It has never worked, and Chirik didn't use domination techniques that didn't work. As you well know, he was mentored by Albert Treint, the rabid Bolshevik- Zinovievite, and those types didn't mess about, regardless of what they preached in public. The ridiculous 'jury of honour' is the invention of Fabienne or any such genius-fabulist, and you are a peddler of her sadistic and infantile rites.

There was, however, someone who seriously proposed a 'jury of honour' to deal with the slanders of 1981. That was Chénier, but this is something never mentioned by your apparat. In October 1981, before the burglaries, Chénier's group proposed a version of a 'jury of honour' -- a 'jury of peers', when faced with the despicable slanders from Révolution Internationale and the ICC:

Evidemment notre organisation n'est pas insensible à la accusation portée contre un de ses membres. Afin de que tout le milieu révolutionnaire puisse juger de la validité ou non de cette accusation nous invitons chaque groupe révolutionnaire à venir consulter sur place toute la correspondance du camarade Chénier depuis 1975 (moment de sa rupture avec L.O), toutes ses archives politiques, tous les bulletins internes du CCI où le camarade Chénier a développé ses divergences de façon responsable et disciplinée, tout le courrier échangé entre la section de Lille et les organes centraux du CCI. De la même façon nous demandons à chaque groupe d'exiger du CCI la publication de toutes les preuves qui l'ont amené à invoquer un passé trouble et louche de Chénier. Cette mise au point est envoyée aux groupes suivants: PCI (Programme), FOR, PIC, Combat Communiste, Volonté Communiste, Eveil Inrternationaliste, GCI, Groupe Karl Liebknecht, Union Prolétarienne, CWO, Battaglia Comunista, Nucleii, Il Partito Comunista, News of War and Revolution, ainsi qu'a toutes les sections du CCI pour information.

Chaque groupe devra tirer la leçon du comportement du CCI et comprendre que la systématisation des méthodes utilisées par ce groupe marquerait le milieu révolutionnaire dans son ensemble.

Groupe Communiste L'Ouvrier Internationaliste

Translation:

Evidently our organisation is not indifferent to the accusation aimed against one of its members. In order that the whole revolutionary milieu can judge the validity or invalidity of this accusation, we invite each revolutionary group to come to us and examine on site the whole correspondence of comrade Chénier after 1975 (when he split with Lutte Ouvrière), all his political archives, all the internal bulletins of the ICC where comrade Chénier presents his divergences in a responsible and disciplined manner, and the whole correspondence between the Lille section and the central organs of the ICC. Equally, we request that each group demands from the ICC the publication of all the proofs that led it to invoke the troubling and shady past of Chénier. This statement has been sent to the following groups: PCI (Programme), FOR, PIC, Combat Communiste, Volonté Communiste, Eveil Inrternationaliste, GCI, Groupe Karl Liebknecht, Union Prolétarienne, CWO, Battaglia Comunista, Nucleii, Il Partito Comunista, News of War and Revolution, as well as to all the sections of the ICC for their information.

Each group must draw the lesson of the behaviour of the ICC, and understand that the systematic use of their methods will leave its mark on the entire revolutionary milieu.

Communist group Internationalist Worker

The ICC never responded to this call for what could have been a credible 'jury of honour', the only one perhaps in the sorry history of 'left communism'. This is the reason why the ICC ignored it completely. The apparat was planning their infamous November raids in paranoid secrecy, without bothering to call for the magical 'jury of honour' now invoked by Alf. Why invite meddling pussies to my blitz probably chuckled Chirik. He knew that the other groups 'wouldn't have understood' the need to defend the organisation' in his unique Zinovievist manner. But Chirik was right, there was no need to fear any interference from honorific rivals, simpletons and humanists. Indeed, the non-response to the Internationalist Worker call by most of the groups listed was predictable.

But some of the responses to the ICC's defamation campaign (the first big one against the future parasites) were a bonus. Munis of the FOR, prone to spread sinister intrigues, mumbled that there was perhaps something to the 'state agent' bit. Bérard, the modernist avatar of 'Une Tendance Communiste', by then a dissolved ICC split pilloried by the apparat in 1975, opined that 'where there is fire, there is smoke', revealing he had smoked one too many. To my knowledge (I stand to be corrected), NONE of the above groups rejected and denounced the ICC's malignant Stalinist slander, with the ruthlessly honest exception of News of War and Revolution, and the CBG, who denounced the slanders like lions, in the best, and rare, tradition of communist intransigence.

The call by the Chénier group became even more critical after the raids of early November 1981, but again the rackets didn't respond. They either thought they would behave similarly (or had) against their own oppositions or that they had more to gain as a corporate racketeering network, competing as usual but under the restraining rule of I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine.

It seems that Chirik thought of calling for a 'jury of honour' in November 1981, when the raids failed to recover one typewriter then floating around in London. The apparat had looted JM's personal effects hoping to have 'ransom' leverage against this evasive machine, and with the aid of the CWO, it perhaps thought that the pantomime might work. The promo focus was to be on 'the principle of not ripping-off your organisation'. But JM didn't play ball and the 'jury of honour' petered out instantly and most dishonourably. It would have been fun though, to witness a 'jury of honour' called by gangsters who defamed oppositionists as 'state agents' and ripped-off individuals when it benefitted the gangsters. O tempora o mores! There is no doubt in my mind that if the apparatchiks had recovered all their purported material during the first raids of early November, it would have never entertained the 'jury of honour' stunt.

More than 10 years later, the ICC's aborted call for a 'jury of honour' against JJ (1997-98) didn't teach Alf a lesson. Last December, Cleishbotham of the ICT accurately exposed the sham of this 'jury of honour':

Quote:
Having read the JJ dossier we declined to take part in a jury of honour on JJ (who left the ICC after months of pressure - another piece of evidence of his obvious guilt, according to the ICC). The real reason for this battle of the clans was the fight for leadership of the ICC after the death of the founder. It was the least political of all the splits...

Post 143, December 1 2009, The Question of Parasitism

As to my 'denigration' of individuals, or the organisation as a whole, those are my views, they are the product of experience, not exaggerations caused by 'trauma'. You have some chutzpah, you condoned looting my personal effects, including my typewriter, and then you feign surprise at the response. What do you expect? You even tried to force your way into our home a second time, with what can only have been violent and criminal intentions. Have you ever pondered on what could have been unleashed? But your self-righteous waffle blinds you to the real implication of your racket's actions.

As I have stated before, it doesn't matter that the violence you dished out happened over 28 years ago, you have never apologised for your actions or withdrawn the defamations against not only Chénier but against the CBG, JJ, RV, SK, etc. I don't think you ever will, you have invested huge resources intimidating oppositionists. Following your logic, the struggle against parasites would be the sharpest form of the class struggle in this long pre-revolutionary period. If you are, as your omnipotent delirium claims, one of the great secretions of the proletariat, and if this indispensable guarantee of humanity's survival is threatened by parasites, then their utter defeat and destruction is the primary task of revolutionary minorities. In fact, this is the only real form of 'class struggle' open to you, one that fits your size and existence, apart from your thankless 'interventions in the class struggle'. It is certainly more fun, like a proletarian Call of Duty, Warfare Against the Parasites for Playstation 3. But that's fine, gaming is preferable to new bagarres, especially when one is an OAP!

The Leninist delusion about your indispensable role in history traps you into acting like you have. Spouting commonplaces about Freud or pontificating about Ethics has never saved a racket from monolithic implosion. Can't see how a 'jury of honour' will save the day. For starters, who will be the 'jury'? You have always failed to collect suitable rubber-stampers, what makes you think you'll succeed this time? Also, the 'accused' have to go along with the pantomime, and not even a hounded and depressed JJ accepted that. True to form, if the accused reject your sham, they automatically reveal their guilty nature! Just like European witches in the 15 and 18 centuries. For the stunt to work, your targets must share your sham that there's an 'impartial jury' out there, representing 'the movement' as you care to define it. Where would you find such accommodating creatures? And what would this 'movement' be? A collection of organisations that not long ago were abused as swamp creatures, left of capital and even parasites. That's why I propose Zeta Reticuli, because maybe only the elusive little greys will accept your invocations.

The text below is the Annex to Rackets by Palinorc, from another site.

The text has not been edited except that the split of the ICC's Lille section in France, of around 8 members, the above mentioned Internationalist Worker, formed in September 1981, was unfairly described as a 'racket' by the author. But this group dissolved in the spring of 1982, a few months after the 1981 raids. It should be said that the Internationalist Worker/L'Ouvrier Internationaliste, did not become a racket. But two of their ex-members bought their way back into the racket. One of them redeemed himself by obsequiously spreading sex-lies about Chénier. This is in memory of those who didn't come back, like Blaise, and Christian, and young Eric. I hope they are well.

Lastly, the text uses 'ultra left' to mean the more precise term 'left communist'.

Annex to Rackets (2001)

Below, a letter from 1997 dealing with a grotesque pantomime. The ICC, a well-known ultraleft racket (called ‘apparat’ here) had expelled one of its leaders and was proposing a ‘trial’ called a ‘Jury of Honour’ (!) to confirm his expulsion. All the material used here was obtained from their public press and the writer offered these comments to a friend, who isn’t a member of any racket. The case displays the full pathology of a political racket. The letter has been slightly edited. The case wasn’t unique. All leftist and ultraleftist rackets display similar paranoia and uncontrolled spite. On a historical level, the case is interesting also because it shows the racketeering activities of Luxemburg and Lenin, two revered icons of leftism and ultraleftism, and the complete integration of the German SPD, before 1914.

Dear friend

On the question of JJ and the ‘Jury of Honour’ proposed by the apparat. It took me a few readings of the article ‘The Jury of Honour, a weapon for the defence of revolutionary organisations’ (WR 201, p. 4) to make some sense of what they’re saying. A few thoughts on the question.

JJ’s expulsion means that a trial has already taken place within the apparat and that he was found ‘guilty’. So why an additional trial? The apparat presents the ‘Jury of Honour’ as its response to JJ’s rejection of the apparat’s charges. The apparat claims that the ‘Jury of Honour’ is a traditional procedure of the ‘workers movement’ (citing the cases of Azev and Radek), and insists that JJ must appeal and submit to this new tribunal.

The lecture continues: "When a militant is the object of serious accusations, he has the duty and responsibility to show the loyalty of his engagement by making an appeal to a jury of comrades charged with leading an in depth inquiry into his trajectory and actions. Any member of a communist organisation [but JJ is no longer a member] who, faced with these accusations, refuses to defend his militant communist honour can only give credence, through his attitude of capitulation, to the suspicions which weigh on him..." (ibid).

One would have thought that the whole point of appealing was to request to a superior court to review a decision of a lower court. Does the apparat consider itself a lower court of any sort? Hardly, so it will NEVER be bound by any unfavourable decision of this ‘Jury of Honour’. To avoid surprises, it will carefully screen, with right of veto, the composition of this tribunal (because sympathisers and contacts hardly exist nowadays, most having become ‘parasites’, who will be the jury?) The CWO might agree to participate. After all, they proudly assert: "In the past we have supported the ICC against its various splitters..." (RP 5, p. 19). But I doubt that the IBRP, their sponsors, will accept this role, unless they can use it as a forum to deflate the ICC, accusing it of ‘councilism’.

An appeal is motivated by a desire to undo an injustice. From what we read, it doesn’t seem that JJ wants to return to the apparat. Neither did he propose this ‘Jury of Honour’ and it appears that he has refused to participate in it. In any case, the apparat hasn’t said that JJ could be re-instated if the ‘Jury of Honour’ clears him of the ‘charges’. The apparat is convinced of JJ’s ‘guilt’, which is why they expelled him, so his claims of innocence would be pointless then as now. I note that JJ’s lack of co-operation won’t dampen the apparat’s persistence. Anyway, need we say it, this proposal is not motivated by the concern for an ex-member’s good name (how chivalrous, and beside the point, are these allusions to ‘honour’ and ‘loyalty’).

The apparat has another agenda: "... the necessity to appeal to a Jury of Honour (or Revolutionary Tribunal) is not imposed solely to safeguard militants or for the moral health of the organisation. This political process equally constitutes a weapon for the defence of the proletarian political milieu faced with disturbing elements, whether agents of the state or simple adventurers acting on their own account." (ibid). Thus the apparat reveals the underlying motivation – the ‘Jury of Honour’ is another tactic in the strategic campaign against ‘parasitism’. In passing, it will aim at further slandering JJ, together with those who ‘don’t understand the dangers of parasitism’. To go back to the original accusations against JJ. In their articles on JJ’s ‘case’, the apparat doesn’t quote from any Masonic document written by JJ, or cites testimonials from anybody. Yet he’s accused of constituting "... a secret network of adepts of Masonic ideology." (ibid) There’s an internal dossier on JJ – an ex-member, L, was offered to see it. The stuff must be pretty riveting, as the apparat hasn’t published any of it. Furthermore, it’s not mentioned if JJ’s Masonic ‘adepts’ were also expelled. Interestingly, the recent RP (5) asserts that "...at least a dozen other members of the organisation have resigned..." (p. 19). In the latest WR, it’s stated that "JJ rejected the arguments given for his exclusion, notably the conscious and deliberate character of his actions, by attributing to the judgements of the ICC a ‘collective delirium’ and an ‘interpretive (sic) paranoia’". This suggests that JJ did try to defend himself. It’s never too late, bravo for JJ!

The 1981 Chénier case established important precedents for the ‘defence of the organisation’ (although these go back to Marx & Engels, and Jacobinism). In 1981, the apparat also called for a ‘Jury of Honour’ to justify its gangster raids, but the other apparats smelled a rat and kept their distance. When Chénier’s new group, L’Ouvrier Internationaliste, responded with a call to form a tribunal to clear Chénier’s name and judge the apparat’s actions, the apparat rejected participating in it out of hand. Only the apparat has the historic right to organise trials, raids and expulsions.

To the apparat, trials aren’t there to establish the truth, but to punish. The accused is automatically guilty, because in the apparat’s vision, ‘the truth’ invariably belongs with the apparat’s leading Torquemadas. A trial is about dishing out ‘penalties’, like in an auto-da-fé. Before I comment on the examples given by the apparat, of Azev and Radek, let’s not forget that these two weren’t expelled from of their organisations before the verdicts. Therefore, there’s no analogy with JJ’s case. This holds true also for Malinovsky, who, contrary to what the apparat claims, did face a party trial in June 1914. In fact, he craftily requested a ‘Jury of Honour’ to clear his name! A commission was formed, chaired by Hanecki, with Lenin and Zinoviev as members. The commission sat for weeks and reached no conclusions as WW1 intervened. Even in 1916 Lenin continued to believe in Malinovski’s innocence and corresponded with him. So much for the value of a ‘Jury of Honour’.

I won’t comment much on the case of Azev, whose party, the SRs, were never part of the ‘workers movement’ in spite of the apparat’s assertion. Still, it’s the only case cited where a ‘Jury of Honour’ seems to have uncovered an agent provocateur. Nevertheless, a careful reading of the apparat’s version suggests a ‘Jury of Honour’ more interested in protecting one of its ‘own’ – Azev – against the external evidence of Burtsev the ‘fellow traveller’ (soon to become something like a ‘parasite’). Azev was finally exposed not because of the ‘Jury of Honour’ but through the perseverance of Burtsev and the denunciation of Azev by an ex-Director General of the Tsarist police.

In the case of the Okhrana agent Malinovsky, the apparat pontificates: "This responsible attitude of the SRs, consisting of convoking a Jury of Honour faced with the accusations against Azev, unfortunately wasn’t shared by Lenin in 1914 when faced with the case of Malinovsky. When Malinovsky was suspected of working for the Okhrana, the Bolsheviks proposed treating his case in front of a revolutionary Tribunal. Lenin rejected this on the basis of a totally subjective belief that Malinovsky was a militant entirely devoted to the cause of the proletariat." (ibid). As I write above, this description of the events is false.

The ‘Radek case’ is particularly important for the apparat’s case. Unfortunately for the apparat, its version of what happened is riddled with half-truths and slanders against Radek. Once more, their intellectual and moral debasement is confirmed: "This jury [in Radek’s case] did not have the mission of clearing a militant suspected of being a state agent, but of penalising [!] the political behaviour of Radek within the Party." (ibid). In reality, Radek had to endure FOUR such ‘juries of honour’– two set up by the SDKPiL Luxemburg-Jogiches apparat and another by the SPD apparat. The fourth, held in Paris, cleared him of all charges.

According to the apparat, the 1911 SDKPiL-nominated commission in the ‘Radek case’ "led to nothing". By this they mean that the ‘Jury of Honour’, finding the evidence inconclusive, didn’t pronounce Radek guilty. He had been accused, the apparat says, of stealing "...the clothes of a comrade,...of books belonging to the Party library...and...money." The apparat claims that Radek "ended up admitting having stolen the books and clothes..." There’s no evidence presented that Radek admitted this. When the Luxemburg-Jogiches apparat saw that the commission they had set up didn’t deliver the goods: they dissolved it and set up a Party ‘Revolutionary Tribunal’ which predictably found Radek guilty in less than two weeks.

To throw some light on this affair I had to go back a few years in Radek’s life. According to Radek’s ‘Autobiography’ (1925?), he moved from Krakow to Switzerland in the autumn of 1903, "leaving unpaid debts." (Georges Haupt & Jean-Jacques Marie, Makers of the Russian Revolution, London 1974, p. 363) No other admission of possible wrongdoing appears in that autobiography, written when Radek had fallen from power in Bolshevik Russia. In 1903 he was 18 and still not a member of the Polish SDKPiL, which he joined in Zürich as an émigré member in 1904.

Radek’s previous mentor, the national socialist Emil Häcker of the PPSD, had publicly accused Radek of theft in September 1910. It seems that he was echoing claims of this sort made in Warsaw in 1908 against Radek. It’s not clear by whom or theft of what. The interesting thing is that Rosa Luxemburg, Jogiches and Marchlewski, the de facto Berlin executive of the SPKPiL, indignantly defended Radek against the charges. (Peter Nettl, Rosa Luxemburg, abridged edition, London 1969, p. 354). Häcker’s attacks were echoed by the notorious Polish antisemite Niemojewski, a rabid baiter of the SDKPiL. In 1910, it was honourable to defend Radek against charges of theft.

However, a year later, Radek’s luck changed radically when he sided with the dissident Warsaw organisation of the SDKPiL – Hanecki, Malecki, Leder, Unszlicht et al. Unszlicht was slandered by allusion as an agent provocateur by Luxemburg-Jogiches, proving that slander is another ‘weapon for the defence of revolutionary organisations’. Indeed, the ICC against Chénier tested this weapon in 1981. (After 1917, as Chekist under Dzerzhinsky, Unszlicht used his turn to similarly terrorise people and, progress in history, shoot them as well.) But back to Radek. At this time, 1912-13, he wrote Meine Abrechnung (‘My Reckoning’) refuting the charges, but I’ve not seen it and ignore if an English translation exists.

In May 1912, as the ‘Jury of Honour’ mulled over the Radek question, Jogiches formally declared the Warsaw organisation disbanded (!) Malecki and Unszlicht were delivered to another ‘party court’ (who knows on what charges, probably as ‘troublemakers’ or ‘provocateurs – isn’t it the same?). I ignore what this eminent tribunal decided. Fed up with their overloaded schedule of ‘Juries of Honour’, the Warsaw dissidents formed a separate SDKPiL Opposition Party (the two factions reunited in 1916).

It’s obvious that Radek was made a scapegoat by the Berlin SDKPiL, and his supposed irregularities used to undermine his faction in Warsaw. The truth or falsity of the charges wasn’t the point (the accusers took them to be truthful when suitable). What took precedence over questions of truth was the factional needs of the Berlin SDKPiL apparat.

To poison matters further, Luxemburg-Jogiches couldn’t forgive Radek for having ‘betrayed’ them. Radek had been their protégé, but had the temerity of publicly criticising Marchlewski, one of the SDKPiL Egocrats. After this, the paranoiac and vindictive animosity shown to Radek by Luxemburg probably pushed Radek to break with the Berlin SDKPiL. Acting as ‘la grande dame’ of the left, she couldn’t sit in the same restaurant table with others if Radek was present, and called him a ‘political whore’ in a private letter to the Zetkins. In 1918 she had to be persuaded to shake Radek’s hand when he re-appeared in Germany as a Bolshevik envoy. "Luxemburg was judged by her allies to be irresponsible at times, even ‘pathological’" comments Stanley Pierson (Marxist Intellectuals and the Working-Class mentality in Germany 1887-1912, Cambridge, 1993, p. 254). Her loathing for Radek certainly backs this up. Nettl, Luxemburg’s able biographer, politely opines that "She was clearly unfair to Radek." (opus cited, p. 317)

The split in the SDKPiL developed when the Warsaw dissidents got tired of the despotic behaviour of Jogiches. He was rude and treated his comrades with open contempt (we’ve mentioned already his mania for ‘Juries of Honour’). At one point he even threatened Luxemburg, his former lover, with a gun (Robert Service, Lenin, A Political Life 2, London 1995, p. 27). These ‘small personal incidents’ make one think that Stalinism had a robust gestation period in the 2nd International, including in the left, and many ‘resolute revolutionaries’ would later become – without apparent inner conflict – devoted torturers and genocidists. From the evidence, Jogiches was an ideal candidate for this role. That this possible evolution was cut short by the SPD’s bloodbath in which Jogiches tragically achieved martyrdom shouldn’t blind us to his prewar behaviour.

Lenin was also instrumental in the rift between the SDKPiL factions, as he consistently supported the dissidents against Berlin and defended Radek. He saw from early that they were potential allies against the Mensheviks in the RSDLP. Similarly, Pannekoek, Knief, Thalheimer, etc, defended Radek unconditionally against the 1911-12 charges. It’s so clear – as it was then – that only when Radek changed factions were the old charges revived and thrown at him.

Radek was accused of: stealing a coat (or ‘clothes’) in Krakow (in 1902?), books (how many?) from comrades or from a Party newspaper library (it’s not clear which, or both?), a watch, 300 rubles belonging to the Warsaw unions (in one source this becomes ‘several hundred’), failure to pay party dues and of diversion of party funds. According to Nettl, he admitted the theft of the books and the clothes (or was it ‘the coat’?). But Nettl offers no evidence for this (opus cited, p. 355).

Radek insistently denied stealing money, although the admission about his unpaid debts in leaving Krakow suggests that there was an issue there. But maybe he paid his debtor(s) later, as this issue wasn’t raised by anyone (unless by unpaid debts Radek meant a coat?). In view of all this confusion, Nettl rightly observes that "The case deserves further study, especially in view of Radek’s later eminent position in the Russian party and his influence on German left-wing affairs." (opus cited, p. 355) But for the ICC apparat the ‘lesson’ about the ‘Radek case’ is about "juries of honour as weapons for the defence of revolutionary organisations". The use of ‘Juries of Honour’ in the ‘Radek case’ doesn’t prove anything of the sort. Possibly the only tribunal that was fair to Radek was the fourth, held in Paris. But as Lenin seems to have been very influential in it, one cannot ignore the factional dimension.

But let’s return to 1911-12. As it turned out, the Berlin SDKPiL apparat, mainly Jogiches, wanted Radek to be expelled also from the German SPD. For his personal disloyalty, Radek had to become a pariah everywhere. Especially in Germany, where Radek was then active. Never mind that he supported Luxemburg’s politics. He had been unfaithful, and that demanded a blood atonement, at least symbolically. If Aztec chest surgery, or a Mauser, weren’t available, then an expulsion was the next best thing. Luxemburg was prepared to side with the executive of the SPD (Ebert & Co) to punish Radek. In so doing she blindly undermined the position of her own allies – the left in Bremen and many other German leftists who supported her. But her wrath towards Radek also had a factional dimension. It was she who proposed to Jogiches that the dissident Warsaw Committee be slandered as being "...in the hands of agents provocateurs; that names cannot yet be named [an old ICC trick!] but the CC [the Berlin executive] is on their track;..." (Elzbieta Ettinger, Rosa Luxemburg, A Life, London 1978, p. 177).

Astounding behaviour on the part of Luxemburg! There is indeed a ‘Luxemburg Legend’ that she was above this filth, that she had scruples and personal integrity. The reality is more complex. Obviously she learnt nothing from the slanders spewed at her comrades Kasprzak and Warszawski (Warski) in 1896 by the social patriots of the PPS. Both were accused of being Okhrana agents (Nettl, opus cited, p. 60). A ‘Jury of Honour’ cleared Warski and a SPD commission cleared Kasprzak in 1901. There’s no doubt that these slanders were the common fare of the prewar revolutionary apparats. Which may explain why real spies could do their job so well – the revolutionaries had become impervious to the repetitive and meaningless charge. The ‘Jury of Honour’ so praised by the ICC apparat was seldom an effective weapon. Real spies were hardly exposed by these pantomimes. But they served as useful propaganda exercises for the factions involved.

In 1912 the SDKPiL Berlin apparat, possessed by the ‘party spirit’, approached Ebert’s SPD executive (the same people who would vote for war credits in 1914 and murder Luxemburg and 30,000 German workers in 1919), informing them that Radek had been expelled from their Party. The SDKPiL had no hesitation in divulging Radek’s real name (Sobelsohn): "The German executive was officially informed of the decision [Radek’s expulsion from the SDKPiL] on 24 August [1912] ...in doing so the Polish Central Committee used Radek’s real name and thus broke his pseudonym; according to him his departure for Bremen ... was due to the danger from the police in the capital." (Nettl, opus cited, p. 355) The SPD executive doesn’t appear to have minded this provocative ‘lapse’ and didn’t rebuke the SDKPiL for potentially delivering an outspoken foreign militant to the Prussian police.

At the annual SPD Congress in Chemnitz (September 1912) the Radek case received an enormous amount of attention. As is common when tribal bloodlust for scapegoats is aroused, Radek was baited and ridiculed. In his ‘Autobiography’ Radek remarks, slyly pointing at Stalin’s régime: "Citing my expulsion from Polish social democracy, the German leadership announced that it no longer considered me a member of its Party. At the Chemnitz party Conference, it played an excellent trump card: it derided this obscure personage of foreign extraction [a Jew of all things!] who dared to accuse the German CC of corruption." (Haupt & Marie, opus cited, p. 368)

As Radek recalls, the SPD apparatchiks had strong reasons to go after his blood. They wanted to crush the left (‘lance it’ as Ebert had said in Göppingen) and this was an ideal opportunity. Radek was a vocal and merciless critic of their revisionism, and he had embarrassed Ebert personally during the recent ‘Göppingen incident’. But too many decent SPD members, of left and right, criticised the executive’s treatment of Radek at the conference, and a second ‘Jury of Honour’ was appointed to investigate him. This German ‘revolutionary tribunal’ reported to the 1913 Jena Congress of the SPD. It’s not clear if Radek was present at Chemnitz, or ‘helped the SPD’s Jury of Honour with their enquiries’ or attended the Jena Congress, just as it isn’t clear if he attended the previous SDKPiL’s ‘investigations’. As I don’t have access to the conference proceedings or reports of the ‘Juries of Honour’, his presence can’t be confirmed. I have tried to establish what Radek said at these trials in his defence (having studied law, he probably defended himself well). But this is not possible at the present time.

The specialist librarian H. Schurer comments on what happened at Jena: "A decision was reached that any member of a fraternal party expelled for dishonourable conduct should be ineligible for membership of the German Party. The ruling was to be applied retroactively to Radek and, on the basis of this specially created lex Radek, the culprit was solemnly expelled from the SPD, despite the protests of his friend Pannekoek. (H. Schurer, ‘Radek and the German Revolution I’, Survey, London 1965, p. 62).

At Jena, Luxemburg voted against the measure of automatic expulsion because at last she saw that it set a dangerous precedent for all critics of the German executive. She realised that Ebert & Co had outmanoeuvred the SDKPiL by throwing Radek’s expulsion back on their court. As Radek’s biographer, Warren Lerner, observes,"By this resolution, the Executive Committee declared in effect that Radek had never been a member of the German Social Democratic Party, and thus spared the Congress the necessity of voting to expel him. The resolution embarrassed the SDKPiL, since it put the onus for the expulsion on them and clearly implied that only by their petition could Radek be granted continued membership in the SPD. Since Rosa Luxemburg had no desire at this time [or ever] to help Radek, she did nothing and the ex-post-facto statute automatically brought about his expulsion from the SPD." (Karl Radek, The Last Internationalist, Stanford 1970, p. 30)

But something more far reaching than the ‘Radek case’ had unfolded at Chemnitz in 1912. Pierson writes that "...the radical Marxists, led by Pannekoek and Lensch, suffered crushing defeats in their challenges to the party’s policies on imperialism and its electoral treaty with the Progressives. Afterward Pannekoek conceded that the revisionist point of view, now supported by the orthodox Marxists [like Kautsky], had triumphed on all the critical issues." (opus cited, p. 253) For the ICC, this defeat isn’t mentioned – the ‘lesson’ for them is the commendable persecution of Radek by the magistrates of the ‘party spirit’. Imperceptibly the apparat sides with the Eberts, the Müllers and the other power-servers of the SPD, precisely the state functionaries who would crush all oppositions from 1914 to 1919.

Thus, the ‘crushing defeat’ of the left, supposedly a forefather of the ICC apparat, is ignored in its account of the ‘Radek case’. Even more grotesquely, the ICC justifies Radek’s expulsion with two trumped-up charges never raised in 1911-1913: that Radek was expelled "...above all because of his trouble-making, in particular exploiting on his own account the dissensions within Social Democracy" (ibid). The apparat doesn’t bother to explain in what way Radek was a ‘trouble maker’ [after all, he considered himself a revolutionary, so this shouldn’t be surprising]. Neither do they explain how Radek was ‘exploiting’ the ‘dissensions within Social Democracy’. Was he diverting Party funds? Or, to take a cue from the apparat’s recent incursions into pop psychology, was he flattering his id? Or his ego? These idiocies feed its current ‘anti-parasite’ phobias, projecting them into history. As it’s doing with the ‘struggle against Bakunin’. Thus critics are: 1) ‘trouble-makers’ and 2), ‘parasites’, because they act for ‘their own account’.

Incidentally, the ‘dissensions’ can be subsumed into ONE, namely the conflict between revisionism-social patriotism and ‘revolutionary Marxism’. As a result of the ‘Juries of Honour’ in the crucial years 1912-13, Radek, one of the most hard-hitting publicists of the isolated prewar German left, was effectively weakened if not silenced. Small details no doubt, which pale in insignificance in front of the ‘Juries of Honour’ on the eve of the first imperialist war. Considering the apparat’s obsessions with ‘lessons’ and ‘traditions’, this blindness is remarkable.

Also not mentioned is that Radek refuted the charges after his expulsion in the mentioned My Reckoning. As said before, after Jena, Radek assembled another ‘Jury of Honour’ in Paris, called the ‘Paris Commission’ "...which absolved him of all the charges, and he also gained the support of Lenin, Trotsky and Karl Liebknecht." (Haupt & Marie, opus cited, p. 380) It seems that this trial was actively supported or organised by the Bolsheviks.

Mehring, protesting at how Radek had been treated, stated that Social Democracy should at least "...guard the moral existence of its members...with the same legal guarantees which bourgeois society has thus far maintained unbroken for all its members, including the working class." (mentioned in Carl Schorske, German Social Democracy 1905-1917, Harvard 1955, p. 256)

Fortunately for Radek, the Bremen leftists protested the decision of the SPD executive and continued to provide Radek with an outlet for his writings in their paper. Had they not done this, his financial situation would have been worse. These leftists were no worshippers of ‘Juries of Honour’ set up for repressive reasons.

Shurer confirms that "Early in 1914, the traditional court of honour appointed in such cases by the various wings of the Russian and Polish marxist movements sat in Paris and decided unanimously in favour of Radek. Among the judges was Lunacharsky. Lenin and Trotsky made additional separate statements in his favour. Normally the whole case would have gone back to the German party for reconsideration of its earlier decision, but the outbreak of the war stopped this. For the great majority of German socialists, Radek remained a marked man." (opus cited, p. 62)

In 1912 Lenin refuted Luxemburg’s account of the ‘splinter’ group in Warsaw [which Radek supported]. According to her the dissidents had broken discipline and the whole thing was the work of ‘agents provocateurs’. This was baseless, but like the ICC’s slander against Chénier in 1981, it was designed to obscure any ongoing political and theoretical clarification. Lenin knew this and therefore ignored the SDKPiL’s ‘Jury of Honour’ against Radek. Of course the apparat doesn’t mention Lenin’s attitude in the ‘Radek case’. They either truly ignore his position or conceal it. Maybe the latter, as they criticise Lenin for his laxity regarding Malinovsky, preparing the ground for saying that this was a Lenin weakness, his inconsistency towards the ‘Jury of Honour’. But Lenin wasn’t inconsistent. When it suited him, he played the ‘Jury of Honour’ card well and knew his facts, which can’t be said for the ICC.

It’s noteworthy that the mentioned WR article is not a signed article but one carrying the ICC imprimatur. It stems from its highest cabal, expressing its vision and morals. Well, the lack of historical accuracy is abysmal. But only academic parasites would dare point out such things.

In 1919, Rosa Leviné-Meyer had a conversation with Radek in which he explained what happened in 1911-12: "A nasty incident nearly wrecked his political life. He was accused of embezzling 300 marks [see how the rubles transmigrate]... from Party funds. The chief plaintiff was Leo Jogiches. Radek told me without any bitterness that Jogiches might have been prompted by a desire to rid himself, or the Party, of a troublesome opponent. Perhaps it was something in between. A hapless mistake, very probable in an underground movement which makes it quite impossible to keep documents and receipts, threw suspicion on the unfortunate Radek. The matter was cleared up in the end but Radek went through a terrible ordeal..." (Inside German Communism, London 1977, p. 201)

It seems that Radek was indifferent to money and sloppy in financial dealings. On a personal level, he was considered a bohemian and a cynical intriguer by some. Those perceptions were used by apparatchiks who wanted to defeat him politically. But they were too lazy and malevolent to use upfront political debates. They opted for the easy option of smears and ad hominem attacks. Like today, they hid their manoeuvres behind ‘the defence of the organisation’. In his booklet What Revolutionaries Should Know About Repression, Serge observes that it’s usually the opportunists, the cowards, the tired and self-serving bureaucrats that go for such sewer-material. It should be said that Serge’s booklet is also apologetic of apparats – when they engage in repression and Chekist terror, it’s for the benefit of mankind. (Victor Serge, Ce que tout révolutionnaire doit savoir de la répression, Maspéro, Paris 1970, p. 52)

Under the Bolshevik régime Radek became a fanatical supporter and apologist of state terror, serving Stalin well after Trotsky was defeated. Poor Radek played the victim as the victimiser in all his political life. The roulette ended tragically when he perished in the gulag:

"The story has it that sometime in 1939, one such pack of the Revolution’s monsters [the thousands of orphaned children called the bezprizornii] cornered Karl Radek in the prison yard. He was far from history now. The killing winter was all around him and he was alone with the revolution’s wretches, nameless. Someone flung him to the ground [Radek was 54 then]. Then, following the impulses by which they lived, the bezprizornii were all kicking together, smashing out the brains of this brain-proud man against the tundra. Nemesis the goddess is fierce. Fierce – and ingenious."

So writes Stephen Koch in Stalin, Willi Münzenberg and the Seduction of the Intellectuals, London 1995, p. 145.

Still, I prefer other gods to Koch’s Nemesis. The Hebrew god, if I’m correct – and when he’s in a playful mood – protects all the persecuted, whether they be evil or unfair, and even against just and good men, if they be persecutors. Inspired by this god, the memory of Karl Radek deserves to be protected when he was being persecuted, and that happened in 1911-13.

jooball
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Jun 16 2010 15:36

Is the Court of Honour where all the baboons and mandrills show their big red bottoms to each other?

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jef costello
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Jun 16 2010 17:56
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Any member of a communist organisation who, faced with these accusations, refuses to defend his militant communist honour can only give credence, through his attitude of capitulation, to the suspicions which weigh on him.

Pistols at dawn.

Boris Badenov
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Jun 16 2010 22:08

I may not give two shits about the ICC and their obscure self-policing measures, but mciver's post is actually interesting from a historical POV. I think it should be posted in the library (the part about Luxembourg/SPD/Radek etc., not the rant against the ICC).

knightrose
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Jun 17 2010 14:39

That's because, if I recall correctly, McIver was one of the group who founded WR in Britain after he and they split from Solidarity.

nastyned
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Jun 20 2010 22:00

I think that is their policy, when ingram appeared they all went very quiet.

Wellclose Square
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Jun 20 2010 23:52

An eloquent silence?

Samotnaf
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Jun 21 2010 04:18

From the ICC, silence is golden.

... in the naked light I saw
Ten people maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing texts that voices never share
And no one dare
Disturb the sound of the ICC

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Devrim
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Jun 21 2010 05:34

What is there to say? I generally only comment on things if I have read them. I couldn't be bothered to read this.

Devrim

Yorkie Bar
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Jun 21 2010 11:54
Devrim wrote:
What is there to say? I generally only comment on things if I have read them. I couldn't be bothered to read this.

Devrim

Don't blame you.

mciver
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Jun 24 2010 00:59

Not surprising, Devrim et al have nothing to say. These sordid events happened 'before his time' so he washes his hands. Amazingly, he admits that his racket

Quote:
... must have destroyed or demoralised many people who were involved in it in its time.

Post 27, April 14, 2010 Theory Thread Why are some communists considered to be to the left of others?

But never mind, this is in the past, why open old wounds? We of the thin red line mutually forgive our crimes and misdemeanors to face today's really important tasks. Reviving ancient bad things is a navel-gazing luxury, and some oppositionists weren't such saints either. The important thing is that in some miraculous way, a racket cured itself and it's now a healthy secretion. The criteria is that Devrim joined, and that's good enough for all the incumbent. Ignorance is often bliss. Life must go on, regardless of the allegations (lies?) of irrelevant and embittered petty-bourgeois (let's go easy on 'parasite' for now).

Be this as it may, the narrative and interpretation of these events weren't written for the ICC's la-di-da one liners. The ICC's lack of response is immaterial. They can't reply -- they never did to Ingram -- and if the Politbureau tries, it will be with the usual ad hominem attacks. It will not be a counter-narrative and interpretation based on facts. Hopefully, my account will be useful for those who are thinking of trusting or joining 'left communist' rackets in these perilous times. In addition, the material may be of use to future students and historians of political sects. As I claim, an in-depth analysis of political rackets is well overdue.

But Devrim's lack of curiosity in his own racket's past is ominous because it confirms the general process of delusion and apologetics common to all domination. He reveals a profound lack of interest in what history contains -- he couldn't be 'bothered', he asserts, thinking that people will be impressed by this ignorant one liner. Some little pilot fish may be, but generally such retorts only reveal a clique clinging onto self-preservation and borrowed-time.

I would claim that there's a close link between this ignorant lack of interest in microcosmic events, and those of a macrocosm. By the latter I mean, for example, events (among many others in the 1920s) that happened in Kemalist Turkey. Loren Goldner describes some dramatic events involving Bolshevik Realpolitik. This is during Lenin's and Trotsky's reign.

The article is

'Socialism in One Country' Before Stalin, and the Origins of Reactionary 'Anti-Imperialism':
The Case of Turkey, 1917-1925

http://home.earthlink.net/~lrgoldner/turkey.html

The piece is important because Goldner exposes early Bolshevik complicity in the destruction of Turkish militants and revolutionaries by the Kemalist state:

Quote:
The following article had its origin in a “Letter to the Editor”, ca. 2001, to a Trotskyist group, inquiring about a commercial treaty signed by the Soviet Union with Kemalist Turkey in March 1921, a mere two months after 15 leading Turkish Communists were murdered just off the Turkish coast. Those who ordered and those who committed these murders were never identified and are the basis for numerous theories, but everything points to some person or persons in the Kemalist movement, up to the highest levels. What interested me was of course not a murder mystery but the fact that the Soviet Union entered into an alliance with a government that was patently killing and jailing pro-Soviet communist militants, and said and did little or nothing about it. That dynamic was of course familiar to anyone acquainted with post-1945 world history, ... but here was the same pattern only four years after the Russian Revolution, i.e. in a period when almost everyone, myself included, thought that the dominance of Soviet national interests over “proletarian internationalism” really emerged into full view only with the triumph of Stalin and “socialism in one country” in 1924.

Some years later I began an e-mail correspondence with a Turkish comrade, during which I inquired about the 1921 episode and to what extent it still figured in the historical self-awareness of the Turkish left. In due course I received a remarkable pamphlet answering my initial question, and more. For it emerged that the January 1921 murders and March 1921 treaty were merely one, very dramatic episode in a much longer and more complex process of ebbs and flows of the Soviet-Turkish relationship, and the intimately linked fate of Turkish communists during those shifts.

Not long after I first read this pamphlet, the group to which my Turkish correspondent belonged joined the International Communist Current. Not my crowd, of course,...

On my last day in Istanbul, the chance discovery of a small bookstore on an obscure side street led me to the second source without which this article could not have been written: Paul Dumont’s Du socialisme ottoman a l’internationalisme anatolien (1997), 500 pages of detailed history of Turkish communism of a quality (generally, political judgements aside) I would like to have for the major Western countries with which I am more familiar. ...

I knew next to nothing about Turkish history before this encounter and I still know very little. But I went to the lengths I did because if the tale these Turkish comrades have to tell is true, it represents a theoretical bombshell for the international revolutionary movement, such as it is, today...

Unfortunately, Goldner focuses on Dumont's book and not on the 'remarkable pamphlet' dealing with the murder of Turkish Bolshevik leaders and the March 1921 treaty between 'Soviet' Russia and the genocidist Turkish Leviathan. What exactly is this 'theoretical bombshell for the international revolutionary movement' is not revealed by the tantalising Goldner. But even if this was a hell of a Daisy Cutter, one can be sure that the apparatchiks in Turkey are well protected from any explosion in their 'unbothered' bunker. In other words, no matter how despicable and treacherous the Bolshevik regime was, as admitted by the apparat on the one hand, it was still a 'proletarian organ' on the other, as it massacred sailors, workers and peasants at around the same time (Kronstadt, Petrograd, etc) that it flattered the Turkish executioners. Just like the ICC crimes of 1981 and later didn't disqualify their 'communist' claims, the massacres and Realpolitik of early Bolshevism/Comintern don't tarnish their 'communist' nature.

It's probable that the ICC section in Turkey haven't 'bothered' to read this 'remarkable pamphlet' written by one, or some, of their members. And if they have, it obviously made no difference, as those murders of 1921 were also 'before their time' and born-again Bolshevism now lives, purified, in the ICC. As a Japanese proverb says, even the head of a sardine can be worshipped; the main thing is to have faith.

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mikail firtinaci
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Jun 24 2010 01:06

dear mciver;

I only want to say something about your over simplistic "discussion" (this is the most optimistic way to put it) on the complex relation between turkish CP, bolsheviks and kemalism. Your "comments" are very unfotunate because they reflects a tendency inside "ultra-left" to judge history from ivory towers. Unfortunate because bolsheviks even in 1921 were not a monolithic whole as their hasty critics from afar tend to portray them today. Turkish cp was closely controlled by muslim commusariat of nationalities under Stalin and Sultangaliev - the right wing nationalist pan turkist. The leader of the murdered cp was a very close collaborater of Sultangaliev - who was to be expelled from the party around 1923. They had a very close sympathy towards the kemalist regime. Though there were various raports coming from turkey that showed the machivellianism and janus face of the kemalist regime and various warnings from the Bolshevik party central commity, the leadership of the turkish cp still sailed to turkey probably hoping to join in with the kemalists in their "anti-imperialist" fight, gaining a few seats as a minor partner in the government. This delusion might be strenghtened by the wrong international policies of comintern. However, it was not comintern that killed these communists. On the contrary it was kemalist regime, the nationalist elements inside russia and the turkish cp's own nationalist adventurism.

There are lots of lessons in all these to all communists. But the first and foremost one is; first read before speculating and never use the dead comrades to hurt the living ones...

Wellclose Square
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Jun 24 2010 02:06

mikail firtinaci is being slightly disingenuous when he says that

Quote:
However, it was not comintern that killed these communists. On the contrary it was kemalist regime, the nationalist elements inside russia and the turkish cp's own nationalist adventurism.

As mciver (quoting Loren Goldner) states:

Quote:
Those who ordered and those who committed these murders were never identified and are the basis for numerous theories, but everything points to some person or persons in the Kemalist movement, up to the highest levels. What interested me was of course not a murder mystery but the fact that the Soviet Union entered into an alliance with a government that was patently killing and jailing pro-Soviet communist militants, and said and did little or nothing about it.

It's easy to point to the 'janus face of the kemalist regime', as mikail does, in his apologetics for the complicity of Bolsheviks in the past in the murders of 'pro-Soviet communist militants' (shortly before, as it happened, the Soviet Union entered into an alliance with said kemalist regime). It's also easy to point to the 'mistaken' policies of the Comintern in hoping to join the kemalist 'anti-imperialist' fight. But, I think you know your apologetics are a smokescreen to disguise not only the complicity of Bolsheviks in the past, but also the complicity of Bolsheviks in the present in either turning a blind eye to, or actively collaborating in the - albeit, less deadly - repression of communist militants.

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mikail firtinaci
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Jun 24 2010 09:13

wellclose;

What I only say is the issue is more complicated than it is portrayed. But the idea that comintern in 1921 betrayed the turkish CP does not mean to say much. The alliance with Kemalist though being gravely wrong should be seen in the civil war context. I also do not agree with the comintern policies of expelling KAPD in the second congress etc., or the Bolshevik policies like banning of fractions inside russia etc. In one sense my sympathies lies with miasnikov rather then lenin in the inter-party disputes. However the arguement that the Bolsheviks were "all" evil and who object to this are "apolgetic" is a bit crazy. It sounds like something that is possible to hear from a 1950's cold war era Amerikan historian. Yes comintern was absolutely wrong for many things but it was still a battleground for various tendencies. Yes the bolsheviks were quickly getting degenerated after the revolution but there were counter tendencies inside the party struggling against this too. This complexity should be explained but it can not be done with inquisition terms like absolute good or evil.

a small note about turkish cp leaderships murder in the hands of Kemalists; my studies on the topic led me to think that Suphi and others sailed to turkey on their own without not listening to Comintern much. The strongest military leader at the time in Turkey who was also an ally of Kemal -Kazım Karabekir- told the turkish communists that he was sympathetic to the Bolshevik cause and invited them. The leadership of turkish CP fooled themselves with this. Also there are evidences that sultangaliev co-operated with certain anti-bolshevik turkish nationalists -such as Vahidov- and probably wanted to form an alliance with Kemalists. Hence he wanted the CP to go to Turkey. However Comintern was not that fool and they send a warning to the TCP saying that Kemalists can not be trusted. But turkish cp sailed to turkey anyway.

I know various coppies of documents or at least english translations of these to prove my case. My conclusion is that The bolshevik party did not have ultimate control on everything, that various groups inside the party could act rather autonomously and this increased the hands of turkish and panturkist crazy anti-imperialists who infiltrated to the party. But there were tendencies inside the turkish minorities -in russia at least- and inside the Bolshevik party against this adventurist nationalists.

Wellclose Square
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Jun 24 2010 11:38

mikail.

I accept your argument that the situation was very complicated, but to play up the issue of the 'adventurist nationalism' of the leadership of the Turkish CP rather evades the more substantive issue of the Soviet Union's own accommodation with the Kemalist regime in the wake of those murders. What you appear to be saying is, "Oh well, it doesn't really matter - they weren't proper communists anyway". Whatever the credentials of the victims, the Soviet Union's deal with the Kemalist regime reveals very early on a propensity - reaching its nadir in the Nazi-Soviet Pact - to deal with nationalists and capitalist states, in a way consistent with the state capitalism to which the Bolsheviks adhered. No Stalinist aberrations here - the tendency was already present, and remains so among Bolshevik re-enactment societies.

By the way, your comparison of my arguments with what one might hear from a 1950s American cold war historian sounds like an interestingly late manifestation of the Stalinist amalgam technique.

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mikail firtinaci
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Jun 24 2010 12:24
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What you appear to be saying is, "Oh well, it doesn't really matter - they weren't proper communists anyway".

this is harsh wellclose. What I want to point out is the tragedy of what has happened.

Quote:
Whatever the credentials of the victims, the Soviet Union's deal with the Kemalist regime reveals very early on a propensity - reaching its nadir in the Nazi-Soviet Pact - to deal with nationalists and capitalist states, in a way consistent with the state capitalism to which the Bolsheviks adhered. No Stalinist aberrations here - the tendency was already present, and remains so among Bolshevik re-enactment societies.

We have a saying in turkish goes like "comparing apples with pears". Let us the documents speak for themselves. Here the -Bolshevik party- central committee resolution on turkey prior to 4 december 1920;

Quote:
"The line of central committee approved today is as follows: Do not trust the kemalists; do not give them arms; concentrate all efforts on Soviet agitation among the turks and on the building in Turkey of a solid Soviet party capable of triumphing through its own efforts".

source: pipes, The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive (1996), pg, 121. Document 64

This is just before the sailing of Turkish CP leadership to Turkey. At the time there was a strong communist sympathy towards Bolshevism among the turkish workers. In fact there were even autonomous working class zones controlled by pro-bolshevik groups such as Eskişehir which was a crucial city. However Suphi and the leadership in Baku -in Azerbaijan under Soviets' rule- tended to co-operate with the Kemalist leadership. That was a fatal mistake. If they have acted totally independent from the Kemalists aiming a proletarian revolution in turkey they might have more chance. But this was obviously not their own "fault". This wrong strategy was strengthened by the right wing communists such as Sultangaliev, who converted Suphi to socialism himself and who was arguing for an independent turkish national autonomy in Tatar regions and who argued that the vanguard of the revolution was the muslims not the western proletariat etc. This guy was -as I said- to be expelled from the party, and in the regions that right wing turkic national-bolsheviks were active in Russia -such as Kazan- there were also a strong anti-nationalist left-communist movement.

Anyway, there was a continous clash and conflict inside the party over these matters unlike Stalin's era, and the party was not fighting for "great russian patriotism" but the world revolution. A majority of the party might have been wrong in the ways and means but that does not mean that they were evil.

Quote:
By the way, your comparison of my arguments with what one might hear from a 1950s American cold war historian sounds like an interestingly late manifestation of the Stalinist amalgam technique.

don't take it personal. Sorry if I offended you.

mciver
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Jun 26 2010 01:07

Mikail Firtinaci

Thought you left the ICC months ago. I see you meant bodily, like an OBE in reverse. Still, good to hear that you are in one piece, no thoughtcrime to worry about, and you returned the internal bulletins. Yes?

Thanks anyway for your comments on the history of the Turkish CP and their relation with the Bolshevik régime. Unfortunately it's too late to convene a 'Jury of Honour' around such events. It seems that your comments revolve too much around the history of that period and the nature of Bolshevism. I don't think this is the appropriate thread for those subjects. But if you have some replies to my questions above, well then, yes, though I won't blame you if you also belong to the 'before my time' brigade. Yet you seem to have informed yourself seriously on the ins and outs of the early Turkish CP, and that's certainly 'before your time'. Like 90 years ago. And Devrim whinges about a mere 29! He should follow your lead, (not exiting as well, that would be asking too much).

However, why do you imply that I claimed that the Comintern killled Turkish communists in 1921? I know that the warlord Kemal Attatürk was in charge of that job. But his ally, the Lenin régime, wasn't innocent of similar crimes. The Leninists had been killing workers and peasants by the cartloads in the Red Terror and Civil War already. And Kronstadt/Petrogad was suffering military/Cheka repression as the Bolshevik régime signed a commercial treaty with Kemalism in March 1921. Do you dispute any of that?

I also can't follow you when you say that one should first read before 'speculating'. Fine, but about what? Who has been speculating? I'll re-read Goldner's informative contribution (though no 'theoretical bombshell', naughty Loren) just to make sure I haven't missed anything. The content of the material doesn't seem to be that new, EH Carr, Gruber and others deal with aspects of this period.

Who is using 'dead comrades' to hurt the 'living ones'? Are you claiming I do? First, let me say the ICC are not my 'comrades', if that's what you mean by 'living' ones. How can zombified baboons be my friends? But your apologetic vision of Bolshevism justifies the extermination of hundreds of thousands of people. Duping, exploiting, repressing and killing people left right and centre is a 'mistake'? To suggest that, to me, the Bolsheviks are 'evil' is both banal and ridiculous, as if human history could be explained by Christian Manichaeanism. Yet malignant human destructiveness does evolve in history, as part of repressive and alienating social structures.

To return to Goldner -- there are no riveting quotes from the ICC pamphlet Left Wing of the Turkish Communist Party, 1920-1927. Do you know what is Goldner alluding to? Could you open a thread on this? WHAT 'theoretical bombshell'?

I'm happy in my 'ivory tower', thanks. You should try one for yourself, as long as your door has strong hinges and you care to use ONLY your own laptop.

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mikail firtinaci
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Jun 24 2010 19:07
Quote:
Thought you left the ICC months ago. I see you meant bodily, like an OBE in reverse. Still, good to hear that you are in one piece, no thoughtcrime to worry about, and you returned the internal bulletins. Yes?

Is this your usual style of entering a debate?

Quote:
However, why do you imply that I claimed that the Comintern killled Turkish communists in 1921? I know that the warlord Kemal Attatürk was in charge of that job. But his ally, the Lenin régime, wasn't innocent of similar crimes. The Leninists had been killing workers and peasants by the cartloads in the Red Terror and Civil War already. And Kronstadt/Petrogad was suffering military/Cheka repression as the Bolshevik régime signed a commercial treaty with Kemalism in March 1921. Do you dispute any of that?

Partially. There was no monolithic bolshevik party till its final liquidation in 1930's. While there was a "cheka" repression there was also an opposition to that, inside the party even in the sovnarkom. Even the existance of the cheka was a continous source of tension even among the leadership. the life of Dzerzshinsky -the infamous leader of the Cheka- reflects that tragically. Here is an anectode;

"on the occasion of a New Year celebration on 31 December 1918 at the Kremlin, attended by Communist Party leaders; Dzerzhinsky got terribly drunk and went round weeping and beseeching Lenin, Kamenev, and others to shoot him on the spot: ‘I have split so much blood that I no longer have any right to live. You must shoot me now’"

pg 252 - Leggett, George. The Cheka: Lenin’s Political Police. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981

anyway the Cheka leadership always complained about the party press' opposition and criticisms hurled against them. At one point the Cheka's paper was even closed down because one of the local chekists defended torture in the name of the revolution. - By the way the crimes of Cheka was not only Bolsheviks'. The cheka military detachments were initally formed by left SR's and there were anarchists inside the Cheka too. The key here is to understand the atmosphere that led to the formation of the Cheka - which is an other debate...

Anyways; This inter party opposition to open degeration gave way to the formation of healthy elements like Miasnikov's worker's group which was not a minor group. Recent studies show that they were not marginal.

Quote:
To return to Goldner -- there are no riveting quotes from the ICC pamphlet Left Wing of the Turkish Communist Party, 1920-1927. Do you know what is Goldner alluding to? Could you open a thread on this? WHAT 'theoretical bombshell'?

If the bombshell is implicitly the arguement that the Bolsheviks defended Kemalists even letting the turkish CP leadership to be murdered, I believe this is incorrect. By the way I am not the writer of the ICC pamphlet. You should directly ask this Devrim or Leo...

Quote:
your apologetic vision of Bolshevism justifies the extermination of hundreds of thousands of people. Duping, exploiting, repressing and killing people left right and centre is a 'mistake'? To suggest that, to me, the Bolsheviks are 'evil' is both banal and ridiculous, as if human history could be explained by Christian Manichaeanism. Yet malignant human destructiveness does evolve in history, as part of repressive and alienating social structures.

Before criminalising the whole Bolshevik party for the brutalities and murders carried out in Russia one should explain why the majority of the Party was also physically destroyed just before the end of 1930's. Kronstadt is open murder and counter-revolution - no doubt about that. However there were still elements resisting it, and probably there were lots of Bolsheviks who really believed that it was a white plot - excluding the leadership at least. I know that it is an easy answer to call bolsheviks as janus faced bastards but this does not answer the central question; how the revolution could kill its own children?

Wellclose Square
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Jun 24 2010 19:08
mikail firtinaci wrote:
Quote:
Wellclose Square wrote
Quote:

What you appear to be saying is, "Oh well, it doesn't really matter - they weren't proper communists anyway".

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this is harsh wellclose. What I want to point out is the tragedy of what has happened.

I'm sorry you thought that harsh, mikail, it just appeared to be the most reasonable distillation of what you seemed to be saying about those people, even as you failed to acknowledge the actuality of the alliance between the Bolsheviks and the Kemalist regime and the important questions that raises about the nature of the Bolshevik regime. Your focus on 'a continuous clash and conflict' within the Bolshevik party reflects, perhaps, an unwillingness to address those questions. You prefer to suggest 'a majority of the party might have been wrong in the ways and means' - a way of pointing to the mistakes of individuals, rather than the social nature of Bolshevism itself. To engage with the social nature of Bolshevism (Otto Ruhle and Paul Mattick come to mind as at least two who have done this) does not entail describing anyone as 'evil', as you seem to imply.

I wasn't offended by your comparison with a 1950s cold war historian, mikail. Just amused.

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mikail firtinaci
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Jun 24 2010 19:13

About "lenin regime"s allignment with Kemal;

I do not want to speculate on it but propably after the death of TCP leadership and in the face of the Civil War, maybe the right wing mentality have prevailed and supporting kemalists against Britain seemed a sound idea, as a lesser evil. I should add that this does not mean that I would agree with such an idea. I am just trying to understand before passing on judgements, that is all...

Wellclose Square
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Jun 24 2010 19:21
mikail firtinaci wrote:
About "lenin regime"s allignment with Kemal;

I do not want to speculate on it but propably after the death of TCP leadership and in the face of the Civil War, maybe the right wing mentality have prevailed and supporting kemalists against Britain seemed a sound idea, as a lesser evil. I should add that this does not mean that I would agree with such an idea. I am just trying to understand before passing on judgements, that is all...

I think this confirms that what we have to deal with is not individuals making mistakes or having disagreements over policy, but the social relations which allow such political alignments to be formed - the social relations of capitalism.

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mikail firtinaci
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Jun 24 2010 19:21

thanks for reading suggestions Wellclose, I will certainly look at them. Still just as Mciver said, a 90 years have passed since the revolution. We should be able to look at the issue with a more calm perspective. We should not let the burgeois mentality of "red murderers" prevail in our understanding of the Bolshevik party. I was thinking that way. But as much as I studied on the issue, I tend to think that the counter revolution in Russia has a much more complex process of development than it was perceived.

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mikail firtinaci
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Jun 24 2010 19:22
Quote:
I think this confirms that what we have to deal with is not individuals making mistakes or having disagreements over policy, but the social relations which allow such political alignments to be formed - the social relations of capitalism.

agree.

Wellclose Square
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Jun 24 2010 19:32

I was going to edit my previous post, but I might as well say it here. This thread seems to have drifted slightly from the original post, so my thoughts about Bolshevism (if I can be arsed) will appear elsewhere. (Anti-Bolshevik Communism by Paul Mattick (London: Merlin Press, 1978) might be worth a look, mikail, and there must be plenty of Ruhle online).

mciver
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Jun 24 2010 21:50

Mikail

Is this your usual style of entering a debate?

No, only with people I like. You don't sound like a schlemiel, you bother about reading.

Agree with Wellclose Square's replies. He's courteous, not harsh as you think, and he reads and reads, knows what he says. I'm a disrespectful cunt, to quote Devrim, not the same.

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Devrim
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Jun 24 2010 22:41
mciver wrote:
I'm a disrespectful cunt, to quote Devrim, not the same.

I didn't call you that at all.

Devrim

mciver
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Jun 28 2010 08:21

Apologies to Devrim. True, you never said it!

A feeble explanation: I was trying out a bit of shamanic remote viewing: somehow got an Alfa Papio with a really bad attitude, snarling and fuming at disrespectful parasites. This got muddled up with another viewing:

Quote:
To clarify

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I was so cunted last night I can't even remember how I got home
This is an adjectice.

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I don't cunting know.
This is an adverb.

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christ you and Serge should start a cunting Esperanto colony or something.
This is an adjective.

which I think you wrote in http://libcom.org/forums/libcommunity/favourite-english-swear-word-21042006?page=1, and I must have remembered it vividly.

But that's no excuse, I know, cunt as noun is missing, so it got shoehorned in my viewing, showing that remote viewing doesn't work, or that I'm useless at it.

Now a little coda, in the same vein:

In 1981 I wondered if Chénier had been targeted by an ICC shaman using remote viewing, as the top apparat in Paris kept promising all and sundry that they were almost there, that their frantic 'investigating' would soon expose this 'spy' and 'provocateur', that the nailing evidence would soon surface, so not yet, camarade, soit patient! Alf trounced on all skeptics (early parasitic prototypes), bleating that he 'trusted' his comrades in Paris 100%, who 'knew what they were saying'.

I for one concluded, after a few months, years and then tenners, that the remote viewing, if in place, had showed rien-nada, and that the top apparat, shamans and all, were faking it. Or maybe the viewing had involved another galaxy by mistake, like Orion. Quite a way from the Sécurité mainframes. Still, the apparat should have retracted the defamations and apologised to Chénier et al. As we know, they never did.

So, sorry again for my faux pas about you, my almost slanderous claim. Even if in England cunt can almost be an endearment as some suggest, the point stands, one must never assume that fabrications, or remote viewings of 'police spies', represent the truth.

Caught you -- you bothered to read again!

mciver
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Jun 26 2010 01:54

Still no official comment from the apparat, on the first post on this thread.

Mikail's and Devrim's comments don't count, as they don't touch on the issues raised by the 'Jury of Honour' mythology and Mikail is not there or is in an OSE (out of soul experience). And, although 'before my time' isn't a serious militant stance -- that could be said about anything in history, and it undermines the Marxian-Terencian homo sum, humani nil a me alienum puto, it's not fair to aspire that they know the relevant details of 1981 and later. Zentrale and main shaman Alf do know, and they won't tell.

But that doesn't matter one iota (the lack of reply I mean, not Mikail's possible states). History has moved on and perhaps a certain 'jury' of sorts did come and went, unnoticed. So this thread should sleep, I hope.

Samotnaf
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Jun 26 2010 05:33

mciver - if your experience is to have a more than fairly narrow esoteric interest, it seems more useful to analyse and critique the reasons you were in the ICC (and Solidarity, which i was briefly in, before them) and remained there for so long: what is this need for a family with an apparent opposition to this world, with its us and them, inside and outside, mentality which creates a hierarchy, treating other groupings with similar lines and labels as political allies at the top, the as yet neutral masses in the middle, and others - that they see as rivals with different labels from them ("anarchist", "situ", councilists, etc.) - at the bottom. This "inside/outside" mentality isn't just confined to political groups, though they have the pretension to be linked to history, but is conditioned since birth in the family, the team spirit, and is developed in very different ways in cults, gangs, Trade Unions, Women's Institutes, etc. Why this need for hierarchical security? - a security which, in the name of providing the individual with protection actually undermines individuals and the development of their own strengths and community of mutual self-interest against this world.

Maybe you've analysed some of this somewhere else - but I haven't seen it (if so, give me the link if it's online).

The ICC, like most organisations (I distinguish between on the one hand, organisations which organise the organisation and , on the other hand, organising specific tasks and activities) never see the masses as individuals, never see themselves as individuals, capable of determining the conditions of their own existence through conscious choice, as capable of making a revolution ...Hence the stupid determinism of the "inevitability " of revolution which used to exist (but has to be modified nowadays in these pessimistic times because clearly history hasn't turned out as being as "inevitable" as was thought), the idea that "the working class has no choice". Which was present in Marx's determinism, developed even more rigidly amongst the Bolsheviks and was clearly there in Trotsky's aggressive contempt for those outside the party - "you're mere individuals, but we - we are the future", he once (at least once) said (or something like that - I'm quoting from memory).

The ICC are only important as symptoms of a general malaise, and your obsession is partly because far too many people give them some credibility on libcom, treating them with an inordinate respect they certainly don't deserve, and partly because you haven't - as far as I can see - really contributed to an opposition to the present - the past weighs like a nightmare on your brain.

mciver
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Jun 27 2010 12:17

Samotnaf

I agree with your general comments about icy sea (that's funny!) and your insights about the 'inside/outside' mentality and the general malaise that needs hierarchy, denying individual needs.

I think what you say is true and important, and that you should show how these trends have different developments in 'cults, gangs, Trade Unions, Women's Institutes, etc.' For example, the political racket form/gang is not the same as a religious cult, but from what you say, and I agree, share many underlying motivations and practices. The rather sketchy although vital contributions of Camatte/Collu, Adorno/Horkheimer, can be supplemented by the work of Bion and other analysts.

You ask me for analyses I would identify with. In this context, there's the critique of Rackets at http://www.left-dis.nl/uk/rackets.htm But this study is insufficient, it lacks a rigorous inter-disciplinary attempt at using value categories, integrating them with psychoanalytic ones to create a coherent understanding of the inner worlds of the Winston Smiths and Julias of our times. And, perhaps more urgently, of the needs of the O'Briens and Charringtons. These latter types lead political rackets like the ICC and leftist sects. Indeed large/smaller corporations and Leviathanic organs require and train them as well. They are symbiotic, the Smiths and the O'Briens. But we remember Winston warmly, not as 'Smith'. At least I do. And Julia doesn't even need a surname, just a beautiful name. The weak ones always perish, even as willing or unwilling accomplices.

However, I don't share your seemingly simplistic acceptance of 'making revolution' . I don't know what this would mean. These are insights that are not explored (of course how could they on a post like this), like the following rejection and implicit advocacy: "...- a [hierarchical] security which, in the name of providing the individual with protection actually undermines individuals and the development of their own strengths and community of mutual self-interest against this world."

You seem to accept the monadic individual as 'he is', individuals with inherent strengths that could be freely developed, through struggle (but what kind?), also within communities of mutual self-interest, against this world. Can you define and elucidate these communities of mutual self interest in more detail? Would small units of mutual self-interest be the basis for our free individuality? Presumably they will provide individuals with 'protection'? Why would this be needed, and of what kind? Yet I dispute that we as individuals in this historical period are as neatly contained as that, and that striking out 'against this world' will unleash our hidden individualised humanity. Perhaps my view of the social individual is quite different. Here I would share many of fort-da game's concerns.

This doesn't mean pessimism, but an awareness that theory tends to lag behind social reality. I fear that the social reality of our times is as yet unassimilated, and that this is highly ambivalent if true. It's grounds for a relaxed optimism for an emancipated future (still to be defined, the vision is blurred) OR for a grim realisation of end days. Great literature today can hint at this all-so-human crossroads, Cormac McCarthy's The Road for example.

On another note, I regret to say that I won't engage in the spectacular pseudo self-analysis you request. You should do it yourself first, to see what's the template. I hope you don't take this personally, but I distrust the 'let it all hang out' deliria of the 60s, as I don't see the point. These 'confessions', prompted by ersatz lay priests-therapists, were always repressive and idiotic. They are cheap public moments of self-debasement, something normal in the racketeering spirit, so it surprises me that you believe in them, or imply that they have any 'political' or therapeutic value. On the contrary, they would be narrowly esoteric in the fullest sense.

Best wishes

Samotnaf
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Jun 26 2010 09:02

Thanks for the reply (most of which i agree with as far as it goes) - will respond when I have time, which I don't have much of at the moment, particularly as there are 2 other threads that need a lot of thought and effort in replying to which are constantly at the back of my mind, plus so many other things in my life. So don't hold your breath....

all the best -
Sam