Internationalist Communist Tendency rape and resignation

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Craftwork
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Oct 4 2016 20:52
Internationalist Communist Tendency rape and resignation

My Resignation from the CWO/ICT - http://www.freecommunism.org/my-resignation-from-the-cwoict/

After much thought and reflection after the 6 monthly meeting I have
decided to resign from the Communist Workers’ Organisation/Internationalist Communist Tendency (CWO/ICT).

A number of issues have finally led me to this decision.
The Turkey article nonsense around the word “old” and nonsense, along
with the over reactions whenever disagreements appear like on the
Paris bombing and also the Italian translated article around Dallas
and Baton Rouge, has lead me to believe that the CWO/ICT is to stuck
in its ways to be dragged into the 21 century, while it has clearly
moved forward on some things, Facebook page/internal bulletin, this is
simply tinkering. The fear expressed because someone disagreed
publicly (on a private email list for member and friends of the
CWO/ICT) with the article written by a Italian comrade on Turkey is
totally baffling.

The Canadian rape affair

The fact that after 11 months without a single public comment being
made by ICT or any section on the “rape crisis” within the Canadian
section (GIO) isn’t simply bad, but beyond the pale. The shrieks in
the meeting when I dared to suggest the Canadian section (3 people)
should be dumped, along with the idea I have heard a number of times
that it’s just the feminists trying to stir up trouble, suggests the
ICT doesn’t either understand or take seriously the question of rape.
The fact that a member of the GIO with a past history of rape came
into the organisation without it being publicly know is not a form of
positive rehabilitation and even then, who is deciding whether someone
is rehabilitated or not? He then went on a speaking tour in the UK and
still nobody other than the GIO knew about his past. The fact that no
public apology has come from the GIO or the the International Bureau
(IB) of the ICT since it found out in November 2015 and also no public
comment from Alexis either for that matter is disgusting. Not to
mention the fact that he is still a member of the organisation.

No revolutionary organisation is ever perfect, but a public statement
should have been released straight away under the circumstances at the
very least and by breaking off relations with the GIO until it either
withered away, dissolved or sorted itself out, however nothing has
been done. In a email to a EC member back in April when I first heard
some of this I wrote,

“further to my email and rereading the international report and the
stuff on Facebook (which is all still there, i never noticed it before
now) dating back since Feb. The group needs to put out a statement
asap on this situation, as it is no longer acceptable to have some
sort of resolution on the matter before commenting. Rehabilitation
takes more than just saying sorry, it means being fully transparent
all the time. The fact that Alexis came here and did a speaking tour
and failed to mention whatever he did in his past, is a total breach
(odd that the other didn’t think to mention it, but the blame lies
with Alexis first and foremost) of transparency and at odds with the
idea rehabilitation.”

For all the above there is still much good stuff in the ICT, but it
won’t move forward until it can deal with the above and I am not
sure if the ICT can do that at the moment. For my part I will continue
with my page/website and other projects while promoting a
internationalist left communist outlook.

Cheers

Mark

Spikymike
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Oct 5 2016 11:13

A bit shocked by this. Although sympathetic to the ICT/CWO I have never had sufficient agreement with them (or traditional Left communist theory and practice more generally) to consider joining, unlike other close comrades such as Mark. I'm glad that Mark has drawn attention to his reasons for resigning which seem valid on the face of it but that this has not caused him to abandon his political commitment and his promise to continue his activity in person and through his website. Hopefully comrades in the CWO will find the courage and resolve to deal with the issues Mark has raised fairly and effectively as we can ill afford to lose the few organised genuinely communist voices around.

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Craftwork
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Oct 5 2016 16:24

Believe it or not, but there was some controversy over this public statement on Facebook.

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Khawaga
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Oct 5 2016 16:46

Good on your for leaving, but also for trying to fight rape culture first. That was more or less the same reason for why my comrades and I left Common Cause (also Canada). That org is luckily no longer in existence anymore.

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Craftwork
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Oct 5 2016 16:51

(that's not me, btw; I'm just sharing it, since I came across it on FB)

Spikymike
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Oct 5 2016 17:52

I dare say the we can expect some response from the ICT or the remaining Canadian members in due course but the ICT is not the centralised organisation which some might expect for a communist international.

ajjohnstone
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Oct 7 2016 12:06

If some socialists/communists in Canada are in search of a political home, there is the Socialist Party of Canada, even if it is just for a bit of comradely ideological sparring over coffee or a beer smile

Autumn socialist discussion meetings in Toronto – see:

https://web.facebook.com/Toronto-Branch-Socialist-Party-of-Canada-112083...

E-mail for Toronto Branch spctorontobranch@gmail.com

(no more shameless promotion on this thread, i promise)

Burgers
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Oct 7 2016 14:48

I would be careful what you wish for ajjohnstone.

Cleishbotham
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Oct 12 2016 16:04

http://www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2016-10-11/communist-workers%E2%80%99...

Spikymike
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Oct 14 2016 09:51

OK so could the ICT/CWO have dealt with the problem that arose with their Canadian affiliate better - that is to say quicker and more publicly - from the start. Well maybe as Mark argued they could, but this statement does at least attempt to deal with the complexities of the situation (which others in our milieu have also faced with difficulty) in some detail and in recognition that they need to learn lessons from it. Mark in his concluding paragraph above noted that ''..there is still much good stuff in the ICT'' but expressed doubts about the ICT/CWO's ability to learn and move forward. The CWO statement goes a long way to answering that positively, even if relations between them and Mark have inevitably been soured by the friction arising from Mark's public resignation and their rather irritated response to it. Other issues around the free flow of critical discussion in and between organised groups in our milieu will remain problematical in to-days digital age but let's hope we can all eventually move forward in a more open an honest atmosphere of political debate and principled co-operation where that is practical, (though not helped by ajj's foolish opportunistic intervention on this occasion!).Of course I still have my own disagreements with the ICT/CWO but am able to express them best as a sympathetic 'outsider' - maybe Mark will find that is also the most pragmatic way forward.

olive
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Oct 17 2016 17:49

Question: Did the GIO comrade commit rape or not?
From what we’ve heard here in Canada, the case was thrown out of court.
Yes, that’s a bourgeois court. But nonetheless one would think more examination and evidence would be necessary. If you have more information, it would be welcome.
Don’t forget that accusations of rape have been a party-favorite of the state, most notably in the US directed against the black population in general, and militants, in particular, as away of discrediting struggles and reinforcing racist divisions (any defense of those accused would be denounced as a defense of rape) This also serves to disguise the real sources of ‘rape culture' and 'gender inequality’ the capitalist property and consequent power relations which permeate every aspect of everyday life.

Flint
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Oct 17 2016 18:38
olive wrote:
that’s a bourgeois court. But nonetheless one would think more examination and evidence would be necessary. If you have more information, it would be welcome.
Don’t forget that accusations of rape have been a party-favorite of the state, most notably in the US directed against the black population in general, and militants, in particular, as away of discrediting struggles and reinforcing racist divisions (any defense of those accused would be denounced as a defense of rape)

Knowing nothing else about the situation, I think it is highly unlikely that government of Canada sees the Canadian section--Groupe Internationaliste Ouvrier (GIO) of the International Communist Tendency as such as threat as to orchestrate a rape claim. Come on now.

Communist Workers’ Organisation Statement wrote:
In March 2013 the GIO (which at the time was effectively 2 people) admitted a comrade (A) who confessed to having been accused of rape in 2011 when he was 17 years old but the police had not pursued the charge as the young woman who he admits he “hurt” had gone to bed with him and not specifically withdrawn her consent. Whatever the truth of the matter we know who would have been more traumatised by the event and our sympathies are with her.

Three people including one accused rapist. The allegation existing from 4 years ago, and the accused rapist is now 21 (rather than 17).

Its incredulous that the state cares enough about this irrelevant groupuscle to bother with fabricating a charge.

olive
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Oct 17 2016 23:08

In fact, I replied to this post earlier (shortly after it was posted, though my reply was not published on the original blog site). The intent was to advise caution until all the facts are known: “From what we’ve heard here in Canada, the case was thrown out of court. Yes, that’s a bourgeois court. But nonetheless one would think more examination and evidence would be necessary. If you have more information, it would be welcome.”

I was very much in the dark about the details, and I think the CWO has made a good start in clarifying what in fact happened and its causes.

As for ‘groupuscles’, from what I know, "A" was actively engaged in the student movement, which brought down the Quebec provincial government in 2012, mobilizing massive demonstrations – a few of which numbered 2-3 hundred thousand in size! I don’t know the level of engagement of the comrade, but you can be sure that the state has been using every means possible to discredit, deter, and dis-aggregate those engaged in the struggle, to prevent a re-occurrence.

radicalgraffiti
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Oct 18 2016 00:26

given how often people will default to defending rapists, as can be seen here, it seems unlikely that the state would regularly use accusations of rape as a tool to disrupt organisation. We do know how ever that many undercover cops are sexually abusive and that rapists etc are damaging to organising, and false aligations are rare. So it would be better tactically for the state to make sure abusers joined organisation they wished to disrupt and make it difficult to kick them out.

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Oct 18 2016 01:23

Olive, I think you are severely overestimating A's importance to the student movement. That was organized by thousands and in any case the Quebecois govt passed a number of laws to suppress them; they don't need to trump up any rape charges.

Sad fact is that sexual assault and harassment is frighteningly common in activist communities.

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Devrim
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Oct 18 2016 09:47

These aren't 'accusations', fabricated by the state or otherwise. The guy admitted to it.
Devrim

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Steven.
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Oct 18 2016 10:53
radicalgraffiti wrote:
given how often people will default to defending rapists, as can be seen here, it seems unlikely that the state would regularly use accusations of rape as a tool to disrupt organisation.

Exactly. Unfortunately Olive is just being a rape apologist, using absolutely barmy conspiracy theory as a cover. Especially as in this case, the rape allegation pre-dated the individual becoming a militant by four years, so does Olive really think the Canadian state has some sort of Tom Cruise pre-crime predictive unit to work out who might be a bit of a lefty, then fabricate a rape allegation, then persuade the person to basically admit that they did something sexually harmful, to bring up years later when the person joins a group of two other individuals hoping to overthrow the state to stop the group reaching the critical mass of three people, at which point it would of course reach critical mass and become an existential threat to the state and capital?

Or maybe he was just a sexual abuser when he was 17.

Burgers
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Oct 18 2016 14:57

All the info on the two cases (only one is mentioned in the CWO/GIO statement) from 2011 have come from the person and not from either of the two women who went to the police on two different occasions and who may or may not have different stories. olive's says "the case was thrown out of court" which is the first time I've heard court even mentioned.

It should also be pointed out that allegations have been made since the person joining GIO,

DigitalSocialist
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Nov 30 2016 22:26

Is it correct that the Internationalist Communist Tendency are left communist? Left Communism is different from Trotskyism?

I think it is fair to say rape apology culture is not exclusive to Trotskyism although of course there is already well know rape apology within Trotskyist Organisations such as Workers Revolutionary Party (now defunct) and the SWP.

But as Female Anarchists have pointed out to me on Social Media:

Quote:
"Just as there are Brocialist (Sexist Male Socialist) there are also
Manarchist (Sexist Male Anarchist)"

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Khawaga
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Nov 30 2016 22:40

Rape culture is as rampant in anarchism as it is in rest of society. I've witnessed that first hand in Common Cause in Canada (the org is now disbanded).

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Nov 30 2016 23:19
Khawaga wrote:
Rape culture is as rampant in anarchism as it is in rest of society. I've witnessed that first hand in Common Cause in Canada (the org is now disbanded).

Not to derail, but is this why Common Cause disbanded?

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Khawaga
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Dec 1 2016 01:05

Nope. They did not have enough self insight to do that. The branch I was member of left in major part because of it. CC disbanded a few years later for reasons unknown to me.

Burgers
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Jan 5 2017 17:03

A timeline of events from inside the ICT
http://www.freecommunism.org/a-timeline-of-events-inside-the-canadian-se...

Quote:
A Timeline of Events Inside the Canadian Section of the ICT Regarding Rape.
Jan 4, 2017 by Communist
Following my resignation from the CWO/ICT UK I hoped they would take on board some of the points I made, but instead they decided to make personal attacks, talk about enemies of Marxism and other such nonsense.
To be clear this timeline is not aimed at saying whether or not Alexis has committed further acts of sexual violence (rape) or whether or not he is a reformed person. What is clear is that he failed to stand by his agreement when he joined the GIO, of being honest and open with everyone he came into contact with about his past.
The ICT has failed to quickly and publicly deal with the situation in a honest and open way instead (14 months and still no clear statement), choosing to keep the problem behind closed doors amongst a small group of founding members and only react to events beyond their control.
All the information below has come from posts on social media, emails and internal CWO/ICT documents. Further details and events may have been missed or come to light in the future. Likewise a response to the CWO statement on my resignation is being worked on.
MS
2011
First two events quoted from a CWO Executive Committee (EC) and International Bureau (IB) member JS, It should also be pointed out this is only Alexis’s side of the story, but is taken as fact by the ICT. Only the first event is mentioned in the GIO statement.
“Just to be clear the comrade has not admitted to rape in the legal bourgeois sense but under the influence of ecstasy and alcohol to have “hurt” a girl. His version of the story is that he and another 17 year old went on picnic (with alcohol) and then started taking each others clothes off. Realising they had no condom they went back to his mother’s house where they went to bed but the women appears to have changed her mind (which is not abnormal) but was too scared to tell him. He blacked out under the influence of the drug and when he woke the next morning she was gone. A few weeks later she reported it as rape to the police but because she had not explicitly withdrawn her consent they said the act was consensual. Good enough for the bourgeoisie but not good enough for us. A second woman who he had slept with that year (2011) heard about the first case and also reported him to the police but when questioned admitted they had consensual sex but “I did not like his attitude”.”[1]
On the Libcom forum someone called Olive claiming to be from Canada has suggested it went as far as going to court.

2012
Quebec student struggle against tuition fee hikes Alexis is involved.

2013
Alexis joined GIO in March 2013 after telling them of his past. R is reported as having said that as long as he criticised it and told everyone about it then there was such a thing as rehabilitation.
A had also been a member of other political organisations before joining GIO, including an anarchist group.
November and December Alexis is living in Edinburgh (UK) and does a speaking tour of the UK on the Student strikes in Quebec. At no point does he bring up his past.

2014
“A covering letter by him [Alexis] was also sent in 2014 to members of a political group in Ontario (Common Cause) to try to clarify the matter” [2] They refuse to have anything to do with the GIO.
JS visits Canada and nothing is mentioned about A’s past.

2015
“Some actions have been carried out against our group and against one member in particular.”[2] Very unclear as to when, how many actions, or by who, or whether it was organised or not, but JS says that someone had a tampon put in their drink.
September GIO hold a meeting about A’s past but things aren’t resolved.
November Alexis attends the International Bureau (IB) in Rome and tells the IB about his past. The IB doesn’t produce minutes for the general membership to hold it accountable and so what was discussed with A will never come to light.
From GIO statement dated August 2016 “We have already expelled a member for a case of domestic violence” the date (2015?) of when this happens is unclear as neither the GIO or ICT publish any statement and is only mentioned in passing in GIO statement.

2016
January long standing GIO member R resigns on Facebook and attacks A with a number of posts both in English and French. A quote from just one,
“As long as the coward and abuser is associated to the ICT, all is lost in Canada. If an ICT delegate comes here, he or she will meet dozens of witnesses. End of story. But for now, we have no majority. D’s self induced mission that he meet to confirm for a second time all of Alexis victims is unacceptable. Many of those women accepted to speak to me with difficulty. I spoke to them finally because I am known. I think in total we have dozens of cases, It is known throughout Canada. Daniel has demanded that he meet for a second time all these women, because I COULD be lying… I told him, I have known you for 40 years. I am saying the truth. If you do not believe me, that is sad, but I am not going to impose all these women to a second interrogatory to please you imbeciles. If you do not believe me on such a tragic issue, we are done. Well, we were done. It is a tragedy.”[1] It should be pointed out that English isn’t R’s first language, also there are claims that R’s didn’t know what he was says at the time by JS. However R still stands by them.
7th of April it is mentioned in the internal International report. In a bizarre twist it is then suggested that Alexis to take disciplinary measures against R once he has “cleared” his own name, because of the way in which he resigned and made public that Alexis had raped someone and that further allegations exist. Like the ICT has any say over ex-members.
8th of April I write to a senior member of the EC/IB and founding member JS, saying that a public statement needs to be put out straight away, but nothing happens.
GIO plan a meeting for the end of April to sort the “mess” out. The ICT will issue a statement on the outcome (this never happens). “In June [GIO] they issued a statement in French which we have translated to sit alongside this one. The ICT delayed its publication because we considered it was not robust enough and hoped to get it further amended. It is a brief announcement of where they currently stand.”[3] Where was this Statement issued as it never appeared on the website.
Contact J won’t join GIO while A is a member. CWO, EC and IB member JS states “in my view J is the best comrade in Montreal.
24th September 6 monthly CWO meeting in Sheffield. CWO member blames feminists for causing trouble. I suggest GIO should be expelled and am shocked that this is still going on, but become a full member of the CWO.
October 4th I resign from CWO/ICT stating “After much thought and reflection after the 6 monthly meeting”[4] and put the resignation on my website.
October 11, 2016 CWO publish a statement attempting to downplay the reason for my resignation and therefore downplaying the seriousness of the whole crisis.
They also publish GIO statement now dated August 2016 at the bottom of the page, this statement wasn’t published anywhere till October 11th.
Only a week later and after saying “Each affiliate has its own way of working in the geographical area they live in. That means the International Bureau is a coordinating body and cannot instruct an affiliate on how to act”[3] the ICT changes their position and write to GIO saying disband or we will disaffiliate you.
October 22nd GIO Statement appears in French, but is removed after only a week.

2017
January, The silence from the ICT is deafening, GIO statement is not translated into German or Italian and no ICT statement has appeared even though I’m accused of “pre-empt[ing] any statement the ICT was preparing on the problem of the GIO”[3]

[1] Facebook posts
[2] GIO statement
[3] Statement on the Resignation of MS
[4] My Resignation from the CWO/ICT

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Khawaga
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Jan 5 2017 17:19
Quote:
“A covering letter by him [Alexis] was also sent in 2014 to members of a political group in Ontario (Common Cause) to try to clarify the matter” [2] They refuse to have anything to do with the GIO.

That's fucking rich given Common Cause's own shitty record on rape culture and sexism. At this point in time, we (as in the former London branch) refused to have anything to do with CC.

Burgers
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Jan 5 2017 22:47

Yeah, I thought that was a bit odd. Did CC have members in Quebec?

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klas batalo
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Jan 5 2017 23:16

I'd assume it is because he was a former member of UCL, and they were effectively sister organizations.

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Khawaga
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Jan 6 2017 00:10

No, CC was only in Ontario. As Klas points out, UCL is the Quebecois platform-ish organization.

Cleishbotham
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Jan 6 2017 11:30

http://www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2017-01-06/ict-statement-on-the-disso...

Burgers
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Jan 6 2017 16:47

http://www.freecommunism.org/a-quick-comment-on-the-latest-ict-reaction/

Quote:
A Quick Comment on the Latest ICT Reaction.

The ICT have reacted again to things beyond their own control, producing this statement ICT Statement on the Dissolution of the GIO (Canada) however not surprisingly it does contradict there previous statement in many areas and they make a complete U-turn in five days, (See here Communist Workers’ Organisation Statement on the Resignation of MS and the Crisis in the GIO) from one minute defending Alexis and the GIO, to then telling them to disband, yet they are more than happy to attack me for taking 10 days of long and difficult reflection before I resigned and the fact that I have been fully open about it being a mistake for me to have become a full member. It is also very worrying they try and further discredit the GIO with Stalinist style politics, yet in June 2014 while JS was doing a speaking tour in Canada he said in a email “Great meeting last night with lots of lively contributions from all comrades. The work they (The GIO) are doing here is putting the rest of us to shame.”
Further points of interest to note, why didn’t the ICT make a statement back in Nov 15 about N and about A (exposing N for what he is and saying we are investigaing rape charges against another member, why wasn’t A suspended back in Nov 15 when they found out about all of this at the IB meeting in Italy? Why did it take 6 months before some of the information reached CWO members in April 16? Because R had already made it public? Why was the CWO still defending A and the actions of GIO in October 2016?
The reality is that without my public and R’s resignation nothing would have ever been made public and maybe not even the general membership would have found out.
The ICT can talk all it wants about oppression of women and make quotes from its publications, but it is the actions of the organisation that show it’s real side, the silence, the attempts to cover it up, rape apologist statements from it’s members, the denial, the Stalinist style attacks aimed at discrediting those that dare to speak out, it’s cult like leadership style where the same 2-3 people run the organisation for 40 years and everything is done at the top behind closed door and therefore making any claim to elect (rubber stamp is a better description) the EC and IB member a farce.
This is not the actions of a communist organisation, but those of a decaying sect!

Spikymike
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Jan 7 2017 17:40

It is frankly difficult for those of us sympathetic to the politics of the ICT/CWO but not members and not party to all the detailed internal discussions of the different sections and the specific individuals involved (mostly referred to by initials) to fully appreciate the full story behind all this. It may be as Burgers claims that it was the resignation of a member of the CWO and certain members within the former Canadian section (and Craftwork posting it up here) that prompted a more public declaration of the ICT's internal organisational efforts to deal with the unresolved problems in the former Canadian section but it seems from the outside, reading both sets of accounts in the more detailed linked texts, that the matter was in the end addressed as it should and that some lessons at least have been learned by the ICT in the process. If there are still internal problems with the way that the ICT/CWO functions then they would not be alone in that amongst our tiny struggling communist political groups. In the process there have been some personalised attacks from both sides that if understandable are best avoided.