The IBRP

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Alf
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Dec 5 2006 10:21

Thanks for clearing that up. I'll leave the point on Kronstadt at the moment because I would prefer to re-read the more recent article.

I don't think your point about MC is quite accurate. The decision taken in 1952 was not to dissolve the group. MC went to Venezuela with the aim of maintaining contacts with the elements left in France, but you have to remember the context - one of triumphant counter-revolution in which numerous groups were disappearing or declining. The GCF, which had always been a small group numerically, did not survive the pressures of the time. But let's also recall that the split in the ICP in Italy took place in the same year and this was also a product of the difficulties of the period. Neither was it completely off the wall to consider that the world was moving towards a third world war at that point.
It's true, nonetheless, that it was a mistake to see the war as imminent. However, MC was not politically inactive for very long. By 1964 the Venezeulan group Internacionalismo had been formed, bringing in very young elements who were the 'heralds' of a new period. And it was to the credit of MC and the Internacialismo group that they were able to see the return of the open crisis of the system in 1967 and predict the revival of the class struggle. The events of May 68 and the Italian Hot Autumn of 69 confirmed this prediction. The opening of the new period was something that the 'established' groups of the Italian left, by contrast, had great difficulty in recognising.

Leo
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Dec 5 2006 20:55

Well, in periods when the revolutionary struggle had declined, old revolutionaries had been purged and the class struggle itself almost got lost, it is but natural to expect individual persons who are experienced revolutionaries and who had seen and participated in revolutions and class struggle to be influential in the shaping of groups and this was indeed common after the rise of Stalinism. Trotsky had his "opposition" against Stalinism around him, Bordiga had the International Communist Party which was a fairly big organization as I recall. Later on, Munis had FOR and heck Castoriadis had the "Socialism ou Barbarie" around himself. ICC had people like Marc Chirik who was very influential and I think Jan Appel was present in the first congress and to think of it, I would have enjoyed being in that congress so much! If I recall correctly, Onorato Damen was influential in the Italian group Battaglia Communista which was to be the backbone of the newly formed IBRP a year after his death.

The main thing is, in my opinion, keeping up the organization after the departure of an influential individual, and I think the ICC managed to work this out. Besides there is no cult of personality or anything like that, so criticizing an organization on the basis that in was influenced by an old revolutionary whose name doesn't even show up properly in the web-search engines might be a little sectarian.

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OliverTwister
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Dec 6 2006 01:33

No, I think that the number of organizations which have splintered off from the ICC over the years are evidence that things were centralized a tad bit towards one personality.

Blackhawk
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Dec 6 2006 05:59

There is a common thread in the growth of all revolutionary organizations. Young militants attracted to revolutionary politics tend to cluster around great personalities, often inheriting their failings as well as their strengths. The GCF was smaller and more isolated I believe. While this can allow for the formation of a unique perspective on the course of events it can also lead to problems. Marc Chirik didn't just influence the ICC he was one of the principal animators of the organization.

The ICCs view of the events in France '68 heralding a new period of renewed class struggle, rather the ICC the events as the end of the historic period of counterrevolution. BC was hesitant to see the events that way. In more recent times the ICC started speaking about capitalism decomposing and rotting on its feet, as a new phase. Announcing new phases of capitalist evolution is something the ICC has done more than any other left communist organization that I know of. The IBRP is critical of that view of the events of '68.

There was a split in '52 in Italy but understood that that had more to do with Bordiga who never officially joined the PCInt, decided that they needed to return to the earlier positions of the communist left in Italy, just forgetting the lessons of the intervening decades, back to when he was still leader of the PCdI. This split wasn't really related to what happened with the GCF at that time.

On a final note saying that the IBRP was flirting with this IFICC group isn't wholly accurate. The IFICC made contact with a couple groups on their own, one of the ICPs and the IBRP. They made contact with outside groups in order to make them aware of their position in relation to the ICC and their aims in forming a fraction within it.

Battlescarred
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Dec 6 2006 10:03

"an old revolutionary whose name doesn't even show up properly in the web-search engines"
Google for Marc Chirik and you get 9 pages of hits.

Leo
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Dec 6 2006 12:34
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Google for Marc Chirik and you get 9 pages of hits.

But there is no detailed information about him whatsoever! It is just his name being mentioned in other articles, and most of those articles aren't in English.

Battlescarred
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Dec 6 2006 14:22

Learn to speak French (for starters)

Leo
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Dec 6 2006 15:35
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Learn to speak French (for starters)

Je parle Français (pour les démarreurs), mais cela est sans pertinence tongue

Anyway, I know there is a novel about the MC in French but even in French I didn't find anything autobiographical.

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Alf
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Dec 6 2006 16:20

I flicked through the 'nine pages' of references to MC. Some are about him, others about the Hebrew letter chirik, others about the chemist Paul Chirik and so on. Some are from ICC articles. You could piece together some information from these texts, but Leo's point was surely that comrades like MC, like other genuine revolutionaries and internationalists who lived through some of the most dramatic events of the 20th century, are hardly given any recognition by the scribblers of the ruling class.

Lurch
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Dec 9 2006 12:00

Leo wrote

Quote:
Anyway, I know there is a novel about MC in French but even in French I didn't find anything autobiographical.

A bit off thread, but for the record, the novel whose main character features 'Marc' is Planete Sans Visa by Jean Malaquais (Wladimir Malacki - see libcom history section) and a translation was published in English as World Without Visa by Victor Gollancz Ltd in 1949. V difficult to find these days.

baboon
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Dec 9 2006 12:30

Hello Blackhawk,
seeing this site is called the IBRP, what was your final position on the dodgy element of the Nucleo that you were flirting with in Latin America

mic
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Dec 11 2006 09:32

Hi all, I'm with Battaglia Comunista (IBRP). It seems to me that differences between ICC and IBRP are not very clear.

For those interested, I suggest this document:
The New International will be the International Party of the Proletariat

I think it points out very well the daviation of the ICC (not only from marxism but from reality), and the main reason why we criticize the ICC:

Quote:
The ICC, which we have defined from time to time as the idealist wing of the class movement, in keeping with its nature, not only has not revised, but has insistently repeated its schemas which we can resume thus:

* Until 1968 the historic defeat of the proletarian movement, signalled by the counter-revolution in Russia culminating with participation in the war behind the imperialist powers, made any revolutionary activity unthinkable. (Thus also the formation of the P.C.Internazionalista in Italy was accused of being an opportunistic operation).
* 1968 signalled the end of the counter-revolutionary period and opened the new course towards revolution (later corrected to the "generalised struggle between classes"): the proletariat no longer exists in a condition of defeat, and has returned to the slow and subterranean maturation of its consciousness, clearly something to which revolutionary minorities must fundamentally contribute.
* Though capitalism has entered its period of crisis and of decadence, it cannot instigate its classical solution, war, because the proletariat is strong and is not willing to fight; thus the chaos of "decomposition" has come to dominate.

More in the document.

Thanks for this very interesting forum, which I noticed only few days ago. Ciao. Mic

baboon
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Dec 11 2006 12:40

hello Blackhawk and welcome mic.
This section is headed the IBRP and that's generally what we are talking about at the moment.
What I'd like to ask the representatives of the IBRP - there are two of them now - is about the imposter who was working within the Nucleo in Argentina a couple of years ago. This is a vital question because it is one of organisation and solidarity (or the lack of it).The Nucleo's so called "break" with the ICC, much trumpeted by the IBRP, was nothing other than the invention and lie of one particularly articulate, dubious individual who said he was talking on the Nucleo's behalf. This was a blatent lie and one that the IBRP immediatlely swallowed without checking anything and republished it. When the other members of the Nucleo denounced this element and his lies it took the IBRP some time to reluctantly respond. When asked by the ICC to publish a disclaimer by the ICC on its website, to its credit it did. To fully clear the matter up the ICC asked the IBRP to publish a statement from the Nucleo, which it did not.
Months afterwards, and possibly up to today, part of the IBRP's website, the part belonging to Battaglia Comunista, maintains a link with this individual and his ficticious group.
Can the comrades of the IBRP say what the situation is today regarding this character and what have they learned from this episode?

mic
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Dec 11 2006 14:18

I also noticed there was a discussion about Kronstadt (which is quite natural, on a libertarian site). I wouldn't like to annoy someone by returning on the issue, but you may find this citation interesting:

Quote:
However, it is one thing to say that all internationalists at the time supported the crushing of Kronstadt and another not to draw lessons from it. Whilst Trotsky could still write in his biography of Stalin in August 1940 that the suppression of Kronstadt was "a tragic necessity" today we can take a rather longer look at its historical lessons. Here we cannot look at Kronstadt in isolation. As it turned out, whichever side won was a victory for the counter-revolution. However, whilst the defeat of the Kronstadt sailors was a defeat for soviet power inside Russia, the prospect of international revolution still lay open and this was the critical factor in the opinions of the revolutionaries of the time.

The real problem lay in the fact that the Party was the state. The lesson is that Party has to be the party of the international proletariat whatever its members do inside the soviets of a particular territory. It may be in the future that there will be occasions where party members clash again in a revolutionary situation due to material privation, as in 1921, but the Party of the future as a body will be international. And this does not just mean in spirit. It will not be physically tied to one territorial entity. If soviet power means what it says then the soviets in each territory may vote for Party delegates and remove them but the Party itself stands only for the programme of international proletarian revolution. It is not the state nor does it wield state power even in the temporary workers' state of the transition from capitalism to communism. For revolutionaries at the time the young workers' state had survived a critical moment. For us, with the benefit of hindsight, we can see that whatever happened at Kronstadt the counter-revolution was on the march. We are still suffering the consequences of that today.

From: 1921: Beginning of the Counter-revolution?

About the Nucleo, we discussed with them.

Ciao. Mic

baboon
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Dec 12 2006 12:33

Mic, that's not good enough.
Both the ICC and the IBRP come from the Communist Left tradition. Their positions on the state, the unions, imperialism, national liberation and the class struggle are very similar. In the face of the onslaught led against the working class at the moment and the generalisation of imperialist war, it is instructive that the first post of the IBRP wants to emphasise the differences between us.
Your answer on the "Circulo" is not good enought mic.
Two years ago, 3 declarations came from an Argentinian group calling itself the "Circulo de Comunistas Internacionalistas", all violently attacking the ICC. This "Circulo" claimed to be the "continuator" of the Nucleo Comunista Internacional, a group of elements breaking with leftism who were holding fraternal discussions with the ICC for a year (from late 2003) researching positions of the Communist Left. Part of the positions taken up by the NCI was a statement denouncing the so-called "Internal Fraction of the ICC", a split from the ICC on the basis of wounded pride, thievery and slander. The "Circulo", the apparant "continuator" of the NCI, suddenly and subsequently published a declaration of solidarity with the IFICC (2.10.04). A second declaration of the Circulo of 12.10.045, "Against the nauseating methods of the ICC" appeared on the IFICC and IBRP websites.
It turned out that this "Circulo" (which also used the name "collective") was one individual with links to stalinism and leftism, a fraud and imposter with access to the internet and passwords that the comrades of the NCI didn't have. He blatently lied about everything. When the NCI studied the 3 declarations of the "Circulo" in their name (sent to them by post by the ICC) - who said it was speaking on their behalf - they denounced this "Circulo" as "(consisting) of lies and shameful slanders heaped on the ICC" (NCI declaration, 27.10.04).
Into this murky world of the "circulo" or "collective" of one lying inddividual and his thieving cohorts of the IFICC, enters the IBRP. This "party of the proletariat" then proceeded, without any rudimentary checks or the least expression of proletarian solidarity, to recirculate the lies of the "Circulo".
The IBRP is a group of the Communist Left, but its eagerness to embrace anyone with an axe to grind against the ICC, let alone the dubious "unanimous" and "collective" individual troublemaker of the "Circulo", leaves it wide open not just to the penetration of bourgeois ideology, but to that of the real, practical and murky forces of the bourgeois state. Underlining this weakness, and expressing it, is the opportunism of the IBRP.
It's not enough to say that you talked to this individual mic. The important point for the working class is what lessons have the IBRP learnt from this episode?

nastyned
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Dec 12 2006 13:21
mic wrote:
... discussion about Kronstadt ... whichever side won was a victory for the counter-revolution

Ah, so whilst the ICC try to support both sides at Kronstadt the IBRP support neither!

Battlescarred
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Dec 12 2006 13:23

You've put your finger on it!

mic
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Dec 12 2006 14:35

It's not a matter of better intentions or better programs, on one side or the other. Russia was deprived and isolated. Without a revolutionary wave coming from the rest of Europe, Germany in particular, the courageous Russian proletarians were condemned. Sad but true.

That's the reason why we're called "internationalists".

The document can be read easily, and you'd find your answers without doubt.

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Dec 12 2006 14:49

Hi Mic

Welcome to the boards! I'm a sympathiser of the ICC but I'm very happy to see another Left Communist organisation appear here!

mic wrote:
It's not a matter of better intentions or better programs, on one side or the other. Russia was deprived and isolated. Without a revolutionary wave coming from the rest of Europe, Germany in particular, the courageous Russian proletarians were condemned. Sad but true.

I agree that the isolation of the Russian Revolution is the root material cause for its degeneration, but I don't think we can ignore that the errors of the Bolsheviks had a very serious consequence for how the revolution degenerated.

It was trying to understand the lessons of Bolshevism's successes and failures that animated the Communist Left (especially in Bilan from which the ICC and IBRP trace their common descent) in the 30s.

In this sense, "better intentions and programmes" do matter unless we think the actions of the Bolsheviks at Kronstadt are an irrelevance!

More importantly, we have to understand what happened to the Bolsheviks and Russia so we can know how to respond should a similar situation arise in the future. We may see isolated workers' bastions appear and communists have a responsibility for drawing the lessons of how to defend them.

nastyned
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Dec 12 2006 14:54
Demogorgon303 wrote:
We may see isolated workers' bastions appear and communists have a responsibility for drawing the lessons of how to defend them.

You could start by not volunteering to help kill them.

mic
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Dec 12 2006 14:59

Ok, you're right! Let me re-type:
It's not simply a matter of...

About your other issues, they're the key points! I agree with you lessons should be drawn, and that's what we tried to achieve in our document.

Ciao. Mic

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Demogorgon303
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Dec 12 2006 15:04

Revol68

The side that the Left Communists took in Spain was quite clear - that of the working class. Bilan called for workers to make a revolution against both Franco and the assorted liberals, Stalinists, and so-called Anarchists in the Republican Government. They also risked their lives to go to Spain and militate to workers on that basis, dodging both fascist and Stalinist death-squads.

They did this in spite of their understanding that the Spanish Civil War was an imperialist war and was another step towards a new World War, and that it was highly unlikely that workers would be able to prevent it.

Leo
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Dec 12 2006 17:07
Baboon wrote:
Both the ICC and the IBRP come from the Communist Left tradition. Their positions on the state, the unions, imperialism, national liberation and the class struggle are very similar.

I think this is a very important point. Not just with the ICC and the IBRP, but also with other Left Communist groups. Yes, ICC and IBRP has theoretical differences, but they are not fatal differences. Both organizations hold communist and internationalist positions. Such theoretical differences can really be dealt from within an organization. After all, if I'm not mistaken both the ICC and the IBRP state that revolutionaries should have stayed in the Communist International until 1926 (I might be wrong about the exact date - it's not important) and try to oppose the rising counter revolution from within the party. However it does seem a little ironic when two organizations who hold the same positions on most important aspects of communism are so bitter and competing. Obviously ICC and IBRP coming together is no magical solution to the current situation, but it would be an important step. After all, one strong and united left communist international would be at least more appealing to young left communist groups, like us in Turkey and I think it would contribute to the development of the left communist movement of today. The truth is, left communism is too weak to be divided, yet unfortunately we're all shattered into little pieces! In the current situation, a newly emerged left communist group faces the threat of splitting up over which side to support: ICC or the IBRP! I do anxiously wait for the formation of a left communist international. Until then, I hope ICC and IBRP at least cooperate instead of competing, because if it reaches further levels, such competition is bound to damage the left communist movement. It is also important to remember that if frontism is on one side, sectarianism is on the other and both should be avoided. An organization can't be formed by individuals who have identical views, what matters is the communist and internationalist principles. All the rest will, hopefully, follow.

Ahem, after my "fantasies" of a united and strong left communist international, I think it's time for me to get back to reality, that is my actual work in Turkey.
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...
...
Oh, but there was one more comment I wanted to make, and this one goes to Revol for his petty spamming

Revol wrote:
Just when you thought the IWA was stuck in the swamp of sectarian paranoia and self importance.

God bless the ICC.

Revol wrote:
fuck me the IWA is a bastion of sanity and fraternity compared to the crazy world of left communist sects.

Shut up.

Leo
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Dec 12 2006 17:52

This comment has been moved here.

Leo
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Dec 12 2006 18:03

This comment has been moved here.

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Demogorgon303
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Dec 12 2006 18:14

This comment has been moved here.

Leo
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Dec 12 2006 18:18

This comment has been moved here.

Leo
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Dec 12 2006 18:56
Quote:
So I'm asking you what you thought of the Insurrection, the lines were drawn, whose side would you be on.

I would be on the side of workers in Kronstadt.

lem
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Dec 12 2006 23:50

Arf. *cough* can anyone point me in the direction of a 1917 "communist" thread. I've been drinking, but I nearly get the jokes tongue

mic
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Dec 13 2006 14:54

Marx defines the proletarian power as a semi-state as it aims at removing the differences among social classes, and not at preserving social privileges.

Nevertheless, in some sense, it's still a state, as it reserves the monopoly of use of violence to satisfy the interests of the dominating class. After winning its revolution, proletariat will be the dominating class, and history proved proletarians organize their power through the soviets.

But, revol68, you cannot believe that after a revolution some sort of violence is not needed, against the old privileged classes. In this sense, the proletarians need a state.

Proletarians also need a program to change society. Society won't be totally different, and free, the morning after the revolution. The party and its activity, expression of the more advanced and conscious part of the class, will be needed after the revolution even more than before.

But the point here is: the state and the party must not be confused.