The IBRP

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redtwister
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Nov 23 2006 23:04

Hey OT (again),

I don't know diddly about the IBRP. Haven't gotten around to them yet. I know the Internationalist Perspective folks from international discussions around the concept of decadence and I know the ICC from them. I ran into the ICG accidentally around a year ago, or less, and have found them theoretically much more coherent (then again, they are not Bordigists and reject that title).

I saw some issues of the IBRP stuff back in the late 1980's, but back then I was a Trot in the US section of Lutte Ouvriere, so it was like speaking a completely different language.

I try to never underestimate how conceptual differences make talking with other people extremely difficult even when the terms are nominally the same. Once you leave add terminological differences, it gets crazy.

In other words, I will look into them now and see if it makes more sense than it did.

Cheers,
Chris

ernie
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Nov 24 2006 00:05

redtwister, a very interesting post. It is good to hear from the perspective of someone who has broken with Trotskyism. The point about conceptual differences is illuminating. I don't think this is just a question for those breaking from Trotskyism, but also for many coming across the Communist Left for the first time who have been influenced by Anarchism, we can appear like crazies.For those of the Communist Left it underlines the vital importance of being able to explain and defend our positions etc as clearly as possible and bearing in mind these conceptual differences. It also means that we have to be aware that we can also let conceptual differences obscure what is really being said.

nastyned
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Nov 24 2006 09:54

Yes, that's right, it's all because of language that left communists look like crazies. Not at all because you act like a loony cult.

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Demogorgon303
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Nov 24 2006 10:39

Of course, what really matters isn't political positions it's how much we like someone. It doesn't matter whether people have spent years struggling to build up a political presence in the working class or whether they spend time running after the Trots to support unions, etc. Those kind of things don't matter. What's important is that the people you meet make you feel warm and fluffy inside.

Battlescarred
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Nov 24 2006 11:01

No, that's a caricature of what people were saying. The ICC have an internal culture based on sacrificial militantism , "Dead Men on Leave" style Bolshevism so that anyone who meeets them is usually appalled by their arrogant, humourless behaviour.
The ICC has turned into a cult, whereas the CWO at least haven't completely degenerated into cultism.
It's not a question of feeling warm and fluffy, it's actually being appalled at meeting so much unpleasant behaviour from people in the same group.

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Demogorgon303
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Nov 24 2006 13:03

Firstly, all the accusations of being a "cult" just doesn't wash. Although I'm quite close to the ICC now, that has not always been the case. I've had my fair share of disagreements with them, shouted at them, insulted them, etc. If they were so dogmatic as you claim I doubt they would have bothered continuing discussion with me.

I don't think they're any more "arrogant" than anyone who has strong opinions on a subject. As for humourless, I didn't realise it was the function of revolutionary organisations was to be some kind of comedy club. Although personally I've seen at least one occasion where a comrade made a contribution to a discussion that was both politically profound but also had people in stitches.

Finally - and most importantly - you use "sacrificial militantism" as some kind of perjorative. Do you think a willingness to put aside immediate, personal desires for the good of the working class is a bad thing? Being able to sacrifice oneself for the whole is the essential element, not only of working class solidarity, but of all human society! The antimony of this, the reactionary egotism of the bourgeoisie and petit-bourgeoisie, obsessed with being king of their own little castle is endemic in modern society so it's no wonder people find the idea of self-sacrifice a little strange.

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madashell
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Nov 24 2006 13:14
Volin wrote:

That is the best thing in the history of everything, ever grin

Battlescarred
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Nov 24 2006 13:58

"Finally - and most importantly - you use "sacrificial militantism" as some kind of perjorative. Do you think a willingness to put aside immediate, personal desires for the good of the working class is a bad thing? Being able to sacrifice oneself for the whole is the essential element, not only of working class solidarity, but of all human society! The antimony of this, the reactionary egotism of the bourgeoisie and petit-bourgeoisie, obsessed with being king of their own little castle is endemic in modern society so it's no wonder people find the idea of self-sacrifice a little strange."
Yes, I do to your question, but not at the expense of losing your humanity, and as before, you caricature. Because I dare question the notion of sacrificial militantism, then I must be the opposite- a "petty bourgeois egotist", which quite frankly is not true.
Get out a bit more.

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Demogorgon303
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Nov 24 2006 16:04

I'm going out tonight actually, it'll probably be good for me wink

Your comment about humanity is particularly interesting though. What humanity do you think the proletariat is allowed in this society? To paraphrase Marx, our class is the ultimate concentration of inhumanity with every form of individuality stripped from us. The so-called individuality we're offered in this society is a sham limited to choices we make in Burger King and the desire for individual emancipation is a futile dream.

The role of revolutionary organisation is not to preserve some imaginary facade of "humanity" but to arm the proletariat so we can destroy capitalism. These attacks on the ICC concerning such total irrelevances are simply a distraction from that aim.

Battlescarred
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Nov 24 2006 16:14

Oh you poor sad Bolshevik clown, do you think you'll ever get a look in with the working class?
Anyway off now to induge in petty bourgeois egotistical drinking and eating

alibadani
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Nov 24 2006 16:42

I always felt that the ICC would appeal more to those like myself who were former Trots. They don't have the anti-Boslhevism disease that anarchists suffer from.

It's hard to believe that anarchists have always had these ideas. The idea that self-sacrifice is wierd? How on earth can that EVER appeal to workers in struggle? Isn't that what workers do every time they struggle, the whole solidarity thing? I thought that was pretty basic. Or maybe solidarity is wacko.

rebelworker
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Nov 24 2006 17:02

None of the Anarchists I work with think self sacrafice is "weird".

Im not sure where you get this idea from but there you have it.

In fact a good chunk of the folks in NEFAC are ex trots, myself included.

petey
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Nov 24 2006 17:31
Demogorgon303 wrote:
These attacks on the ICC concerning such total irrelevances are simply a distraction from that aim.

this comment is really bad for the stereotype, you know
oh and that IBRP logo really is great

alibadani
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Nov 24 2006 17:36

rebel I sure hope you're right. I was referring to the silly criticism that the ICC are wierd, that they are a cult etc. They all seem to agree with each other in thier interventions, and they seem rather dedicated to militant work. From this it is assumed that members and supporters of the ICC are drones with no lives. A lot of this comes from some folks who seem to live on libcom BTW.

The point is that much of the criticism of the ICC is just the repetition by radicals of mundane bourgeois ideas, almost verbartim. The idea for example that Bolshevism, apart from bieng evil, is just loony and cultish. This is common bourgeois stuff, that anarchist regurgitate as if it were some radical insight.

The more I study anarchism the more bewildered I am by the fact that there are actually people out there who are well versed in marxism and yet are anarchist. It boggles the mind.

Leo
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Nov 24 2006 17:45
revol68 wrote:
Demogorgon303 wrote:
I'm going out tonight actually, it'll probably be good for me wink

Your comment about humanity is particularly interesting though. What humanity do you think the proletariat is allowed in this society? To paraphrase Marx, our class is the ultimate concentration of inhumanity with every form of individuality stripped from us. The so-called individuality we're offered in this society is a sham limited to choices we make in Burger King and the desire for individual emancipation is a futile dream.

The role of revolutionary organisation is not to preserve some imaginary facade of "humanity" but to arm the proletariat so we can destroy capitalism. These attacks on the ICC concerning such total irrelevances are simply a distraction from that aim.

lol

Wow, Revol68, you completely refuted the argument, I mean I can't believe in my eyes lad, that's a terrificly good job, way to go!

lol!

Battlescarred wrote:
Oh you poor sad Bolshevik clown

I rest my case...

Leo
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Nov 24 2006 17:48
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Look forward to meeting you before too long, Leo!

=) So am I Alf!

Leo
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Nov 24 2006 18:26
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yes Leo because it was meant to be a refution, or rather it was me laughing

So I have noticed.

You notice that this is a discussion board, right? Maybe watching tv might be a better idea for laughing instead of posting on a web forum.

Quote:
It's like someone getting indignant when you call them abit anal retentive and they counter this with a list of precisely one hundred and one reasons why they are not, complete with bullet points and footnotes.

I'm assuming that you think they should counter anarchists who call them "inhuman robots" by calling the anarchists "crazy teenagers"? Yeah, It is so funny that they are actually trying to defend themselves in a clear-headed and civilized manner!

Maybe you're better of watching tv when you want to laugh mate...

Oh, and if you now start babbling about left-communists hating tv as well, tv is on right now and soon I'll go watch a short comedy program. It's just that I don't try to use a discussion as a place to laugh at other, just as I don't try to engage in political discussions with my tv.

petey
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Nov 24 2006 18:44
revol68 wrote:
yes Leo because it was meant to be a refution, or rather it was me laughing becaise the ICC can't help but reinforce peoples image of them even when they are arguing against it. It's like someone getting indignant when you call them abit anal retentive and they counter this with a list of precisely one hundred and one reasons why they are not, complete with bullet points and footnotes.

grin

lem
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Nov 25 2006 04:17
Quote:
Finally - and most importantly - you use "sacrificial militantism" as some kind of perjorative.

I thought that solidarity was supposed to come from people having the same shared experiences, not an ethical critique. Besides which, being self-sacrificial is not the mature form of ethics (according to psyhologists, maybe they're bourgeois) and it can give you cancer.

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OliverTwister
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Nov 25 2006 06:02

Well I think most people could gain a lot in the short-term if they were scabs - (not) crossing a picket line for most people is a moral action, not an economical one.

I'll post more on this thread later.

I know the ICC's take on the IBRP's politics, and I feel like I gave a decent summary in my first post. I'm curious to see Devrim's, Redtwister's, Leo's, even Alibadani's take on the IBRP's politics and approach.

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Devrim
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Nov 25 2006 06:14

We really don't know much about them, Oliver. As I said be fore I have never really met them, and I haven't read much of their stuff. We did write to them again, and they replied, but didn't say much.
Devrim

Leo
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Nov 25 2006 07:28

Well, I have to admit that I am a little disappointed at the shortness of IBRP's replies to us. They agree with us and with the ICC on the basic and most important positions, and I was never really interested in reading long theoretical debates about disagreements between them and the ICC. I don't really know how big they are nor do I know much about their activities, they publish a lot, but I don't even know if they organize meetings.

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OliverTwister
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Nov 25 2006 07:34

What use is theory which isn't aimed towards action?

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Felix Frost
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Nov 25 2006 23:45
alibadani wrote:
The idea for example that Bolshevism, apart from bieng evil, is just loony and cultish. This is common bourgeois stuff, that anarchist regurgitate as if it were some radical insight.

The original Bolsheviks were a counter-revolutionary menace. Bolsheviks today are just loony and cultish.

And, yes, I think basing your politics on self-sacrifice is bound to be a dead end, and is one of the reason why political groups so often degenerate into semi-religious cults. Those who rely on causes have yet to make their own life into a cause worth fighting for.

Quote:
The more I study anarchism the more bewildered I am by the fact that there are actually people out there who are well versed in marxism and yet are anarchist. It boggles the mind.

Reading Marx was in fact one of the main influences for me becoming an anarchist. What in particular do you find so mind-boggling about it?

alibadani
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Nov 26 2006 11:02

To Felix,

I obviously strongly disagree with you about the "original Bolsheviks." They represented, in their organisational principles, a leap forward in party-building.

Perhaps it can be said that many "bolshevik" groups have become cultish and loony etc. My point is that this simply doesn't apply to the ICC. No sign of any degeneration IMO.

You are indeed one of those mind-boggling cases. Answer this question Felix. Were there any anarchists in feudal Japan, or ancient Athens, or renaissance Florence? If so who were they?

About the IBRP and thier politics. I like them. In fact the IBRP's Pamphlet on Trotsky and Trotskyism was the very first left communist text I ever read, and helped trigger my break with Trotskyism. I can't comment about how more or less dogmatic they are than the ICC. They have been wavering a lot on decadence so I guess that makes them less dogmatic by some standards. They are however a bit sectarian. They originally wanted to fuse with World Revolution back in the 70's but didn't because of the most minor disagreement on the exact dates when the Bolsheviks crossed the class line. Others have mentioned thier refusal to do some joint work on pamphlets with the ICC. In this regard they act like the uber-sectarian Bordiguists.

The IBRP isn't really an international party. In fact there are still only two sections of the IBRP, the CWO and Battaglia who however maintain separate platforms. They are not a party but a confederation. Oliver is wrong about their other "sections". These are affiliated groups or groups "close to the IBRP," or groups "constituted on the positions of the IBRP" not sections. (Check out the IBRP's Platform) One reason I gravitated towards the ICC and away from the IBRP was because the ICC seemed to be building what Lenin had wished with the Comintern: a world party of revolutionaries. Also, the ICC answers my e-mails.

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Felix Frost
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Nov 26 2006 14:21
alibadani wrote:
Answer this question Felix. Were there any anarchists in feudal Japan, or ancient Athens, or renaissance Florence?

No, and no Marxists either. What's your point?

ernie
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Nov 26 2006 17:24

Hi
Battlescarred, you say

Quote:
No, that's a caricature of what people were saying. The ICC have an internal culture based on sacrificial militantism , "Dead Men on Leave" style Bolshevism so that anyone who meeets them is usually appalled by their arrogant, humourless behaviour.
The ICC has turned into a cult, whereas the CWO at least haven't completely degenerated into cultism.
It's not a question of feeling warm and fluffy, it's actually being appalled at meeting so much unpleasant behaviour from people in the same group.

How do you know this: personal experience, your wishfullment fantasy of what we should be, etc? It is hard to discuss such statements without knowing what they are based on?.

ernie
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Nov 26 2006 17:58

Hi
Battlescarred, in response to your idea that the ICC internal life is based vision of sacrificial militantism, both demogorgon and leo have made important replies already. Here i would like to develop upon them because the question of what communist militancy is, is crucial.
First and foremost, the ICC rejects the idea of sacrificial militantism as being a leftist conception and nothing to do with communist militancy. For the ICC communist militancy is not a sacrifice, a chore or suppression of human needs: far from it, by militating in a communist organisation we consciously seek to do all we can to help free humanity. Yes militancy is not a question of militating for ones own self-interests, to gain position, recognition, but that is not a sacrificial idea:

Quote:
We are in the service of the organisation, not the other way round. In particular, the latter is not a sort of clinic to heal the ills, notably psychological, that its members may suffer. That does not mean that becoming a revolutionary does not help to put the personal difficulties which everyone has into context, if not to overcome them altogether. Quite the contrary, becoming a fighter for communism means that one gives a profound significance to one's existence, far superior to that which other aspects of life may give (professional or family success, bringing up a child, scientific or artistic creation, all satisfactions which everybody can share and which anyway are denied to the greater part of humanity). The greatest satisfaction that a human being can experience in life is to make a positive contribution to the good of his fellows, of society and humanity. What distinguishes the communist militant and gives a sense to his life is that he is a link in the chain that leads to emancipation of humanity, its accession to the “reign of liberty” a chain which continues after his own death. Thus what each militant may accomplish today is incomparably more important than what the greatest genius could do, such as the discovery of the cure for cancer or an inexhaustible source of non-polluting energy. In this sense the passion of his commitment must allow him to overcome and go beyond the difficulties that each human being encounters.

The question of organisational functioning in the ICC/[url=http://en.internationalism.org/ir/109_functioning]
This understanding of the nature of militancy is under constant pressure from the weight of bourgeois society. This means that there has to be a constant struggle to defend this understanding.
There is a constant pressure of bourgeois ideology and its worship of 'individualism',of basing all activity on what it can give me? how can I benefit? Seeking to use one's militancy to gain social recognition or to gain influence in an organisation. Opposed to this bourgeois vision of militancy:

Quote:
The proletarian vision is otherwise. Because it is a historic and the last class of history, its vision tends to be global and in the latter the diverse phenomena are only aspects, moments of a whole. That's why the proletarian militant is not conditioned by: 'what position do 1 occupy', nor motivated by any individual ambition. Whether it is writing, theoretical questions, or typewriting, printing a leaflet, demonstrating in the street, or selling the paper that other comrades have written, it's always the same militant, because the action he participates in is always political and whatever the particular activity, it comes from a political choice and expresses his sharing of this unity, to the political body: the political group

. (MC 1980, in a footnote to the above text) (Comrade MC was a founding member of the ICC who experienced the Russian revolution and been a militant since that time)
Battlescared, do you think this is a sacrificial militantism of militancy? If so could you explain why?

ernie
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Nov 26 2006 18:54

Revol68 you say

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i see little point in caring much about groups like that, i mean even if they had the bestest politics in the whole wide world, so what. I mean if I want to read theoretical and historical stuff i'll buy some books, journals and magazines eg aufheben. I mean at least that way the theory isn't stifled by a party line or the pretence of being aimed towards action.

So Books, journals and magazines e.g. not towing a party line! So they are the products of free floating individuals and groups who defend no particular theoretical framework! Yes they may not be the product of a 'party' but they still are putting forwards a position.
Now you may wish not to nail your colours to the mast of any organisation, and one certainly should not do so if you are not convinced by their politics. But then to accuse groups such as the ICC of "pretence of being aimed towards action" when you consciously rejects any form of organised action is somewhat contradictory.
You also offer no evidence of the ICC's 'pretence', just an off hand assertion. We are more than willing to discuss any weakness in our activity because we want to strengthen it, so please let us know what we are pretending to do.

alibadani
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Nov 26 2006 19:05
Felix Frost wrote:
alibadani wrote:
Answer this question Felix. Were there any anarchists in feudal Japan, or ancient Athens, or renaissance Florence?

No, and no Marxists either. What's your point?

My point is that I want you to explain why that is. Marxism claims to be a product of the proletarian struggl; its highest theoretical expression so to speak. Thus there couldn't have been any marxists before there was a modern proletariat. Based on the anarchist texts I've read there is no reason why there were no anarchists in fuedal Japan etc. (Please correct me if I'm wrong). Why does anarchist thought appear when it does, where it does?