The Question of Parasitism.

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petey
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Nov 24 2009 16:04

list of parasites, with brief definition that may clarify discussion:
http://en.internationalism.org/taxonomy/term/247

Yorkie Bar
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Nov 24 2009 16:13
petey wrote:
list of parasites, with brief definition that may clarify discussion:
http://en.internationalism.org/taxonomy/term/247

Oh brother...

~J.

nastyned
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Nov 24 2009 18:01

That's a cracker. And I'd forgotten about the ICG. I don't know much about them, apart from hearing they're even madder than their parent organisation. Are they still considered to be left communists?

Leo
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Nov 24 2009 18:37
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Is that some kind of Masonic code?

No but its code, it means shoot Red Marut.

... It's a proverb you idiot.

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Red Marriott
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Nov 24 2009 18:43
Leo wrote:
No but its code, it means shoot Red Marut.

You might increase your chances of hunting me down if you learned to spell my name right.

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... It's a proverb you idiot.

My use of satire obviously was a bit above your head, moron.

Leo
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Nov 24 2009 18:46
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You might increase your chances of hunting me down if you learned to spell my name right.

Nice mockery of the spelling of those who speak english as a second language.

I don't even care though.

Quote:
My use of satire obviously was a bit above your head, moron.

I don't really understand why some people on libcom are so obsessed with the lame "jokes" they make on the internet. Is it because you fellas don't have real friends to joke with or something?

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Red Marriott
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Nov 24 2009 18:51
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I don't really understand why some people on libcom are so obsessed with the lame "jokes" they make on the internet. Is it because you fellas don't have real friends to joke with or something?

Leo's self critique, I think.

Quote:
Nice mockery of the spelling of those who speak english as a second language.

You've been posting here for years; you had to read my post with correct spelling to reply to it; 'Ret' is not an English name, so it's no more familiar/easier to spell for anyone else. So don't try and play the persecuted minority card.

Edit; it also has only 3 letters to get right...

Cassady
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Nov 24 2009 19:03

It is unfortunate that this thread has culminated in a stream of ridicule because there is actually a vital issue for revolutionaries at stake here - how can we deal with differences and disagreements which are inevitably part of the necessary process of clarification. No single organisation at this point (if ever) can possess the holy grail of absolute clarity. Particularly in the present period when ALL organisations are extremely tiny and isolated from the mass of the class. Debate, within and between organisations, is vital to us all but is stopped in its tracks when disagreements are regularily characterised as the product of an alien incursion from agents of the bourgeoise - police agents, masons et al.

Alf's last intervention doesn't really address the point instead labouring mightily to prove something that we are all aware of anyway. We are all aware that revolutionary organisations will at some point be targets of state infiltration. It is implausible, however, that almost every disagreement within the ICC for the past 20 or so years can be so characterised. I don't possess detailed knowledge of every split but as a former ICC member and ex-CBG I am in a position to pass judgement on the Chenier affair. It bears repeating that despite many promises from the central organs NO evidence to support the accusation that he was an agent of the state was ever produced.

Also the comrades who split from the ICC and formed the CBG were not ever, despite repeated assertions by the ICC. a part of his tendency; we never had discussions with him; we never had correspondence with him. Nor were we ever party to the thefts and break-ins which both parties indulged in. This fact was known to the ICC since an actual member of his tendency, who was party to the thefts, very quickly rejoined the ICC and presumably enlightened them about our non-role in these events. Despite this the ICC has coninued for almost 30 years to smear us with these false allegations. The oath of loyalty which was demanded of all members at the height of the increasing hysteria and paranoia was the eventual trigger for our split.

This cannot be the way forward. The ICC remains at the heart of the revolutionary movement but until it can come up with a better way to deal with disagreements it is always going to be hamstrung.

nastyned
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Nov 24 2009 19:15
Cassady wrote:
It bears repeating that despite many promises from the central organs NO evidence to support the accusation that he was an agent of the state was ever produced.

What are the central organs of the ICC? Is this the like a central committee?

Leo
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Nov 24 2009 20:28
Quote:
Leo's self critique, I think.

Surprising that you can think.

Quote:
You've been posting here for years... So don't try and play the persecuted minority card.

While actually it was actually a typo and firefox actually corrects misspellings, I don't expect you treating differently if this was the first post I made here.

Quote:
To be fair, it's a name, that was on the post you were replying to.

To be fair I as stated don't even care.

Nor do I care about what cynical, lame and inactive web rats like Marut says. When it comes down to it, actual militant activity, actual militant life, even for anarchists, is so much more serious where I experience it than doing nothing but posting on the net and being concerned with the intellectual and funny side of things. He can grow up, come up with real arguements about the icc rather than lame web jokes, and then he might deserve to be taken seriously a little bit.

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Honesty23
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Nov 24 2009 19:53

I have heard that the International Communist League generally known as the Sparts' founder was heavily involved in Freemasonary and infact believed that he was the reincarnation of Robert the Bruce. There was a website dealing with this made by someone sympathic to both Trotskyism and Freemasonary.

I have also read somewhere that the Anarchist Federation in France is very much a Freemasonic affair.

Wasnt Bakuin a Freemason?

Im not sure how seriously the below link should be taken but its worth reading.

http://www.stewarthomesociety.org/pit.htm

Wellclose Square
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Nov 24 2009 20:09

nastyned wrote:

Quote:
I'd forgotten about the ICG. I don't know much about them, apart from hearing they're even madder than their parent organisation. Are they still considered to be left communists?

I don't know about now. (BTW, I think GCI trips off the tongue better, otherwise it sounds like some inoculatory jab, but you've got to speak French or Spanish for it to make sense...). The local rag I was involved in got sent a complimentary copy of their paper, Communism, about 1984/85. It was obviously translated into English leading to some slightly cumbersome prose, but the illustrations of that and later issues could be good, drawing on Franz Masereel woodcuts and a series of 'stick people' cartoons (showing tableaux of 'revolutionary situations' and 'capitalist barbarism'). That first issue we got had the article which was largely uncritical of Sendero Luminoso. I did admire the way they'd publish in different languages (Hungarian, Kurdish, Arabic, etc.), but there seemed to be something slightly 'manic', almost apocalyptic, about their writing. It's something of a revelation to read that they split from the ICC.

Cheers, Alf, for explaining the context of 'the subterranean maturation of consciousness' in one of your earlier posts.

baboon
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Nov 24 2009 23:32

I think that it's an enormous exagerration for Cass to say that, according to the ICC, parasitic elements are the result of state interference. In fact the ICC is saying in the vast majority of cases, it is not. Even the case of one very dubious individual, who wreaked havoc in the ICC, certainly fitted into the parasite category but there was no "smoking gun" linking him directly to the state. But the fact that parasitic elements come from within make them all the more dangerous and any revolutionary organisation has to defend itself. Any revolutionary organisation today, any workers' organisation or collection of militants fighting for the working class will attract parasitic elements. Someone above says that healthy bodies don't have parasites but it's exactly that potential that attracts them.

Secret, sect-like organisations are parasitic, as are clans, cliques and the old pals act. These groupings within groups are themselves open to manipulation as well as undermining the whole organisation. It was the case with some of these individuals were adventurers and others saw the ICC as their own and saw themselves as a leadership. Their separate existence can be parasitic both inside and outside the organisation. The whole issue was discussed internationally in the ICC, massive translations and bulletins, discussion, delegation and voting. Without a doubt the ICC made many mistakes and looking back we can also see that the expression of parasitism was an expression of the immaturity of the organisation. But we live and learn. The main point is that the ICC fought against its different expressions (as it saw them in the majority) and tried to draw the lessons from its experience. Parasitism will be a danger for any working class organisation.

Yorkie Bar
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Nov 25 2009 12:51
Cassady wrote:
The ICC remains at the heart of the revolutionary movement

Fuckin' lol.

baboon wrote:
Secret, sect-like organisations are parasitic, as are clans, cliques and the old pals act.

Right, now we're getting to it. So, the things that you've randomly grouped together under this bit of political swear-wording include:

*)Any sub-group deemed to be "sect like"
*)Anyone who wears tartan and/or carry massive swords
*)Anyone who is in a "clique"
*)Anyone who is friends with other members of the organisation, and has been for some time

It's pretty obvious that these could be applied, at a stretch, to almost anyone in any organisation. Hence my characterisation of it as a stick to fight internal faction-fights with.

~J.

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Farce
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Nov 25 2009 13:10
nastyned wrote:
That's a cracker. And I'd forgotten about the ICG. I don't know much about them, apart from hearing they're even madder than their parent organisation. Are they still considered to be left communists?

Is it not the ICG who take the line that AIDS is a capitalist conspiracy?

Yorkie Bar
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Nov 25 2009 13:51
Farce wrote:
nastyned wrote:
That's a cracker. And I'd forgotten about the ICG. I don't know much about them, apart from hearing they're even madder than their parent organisation. Are they still considered to be left communists?

Is it not the ICG who take the line that AIDS is a capitalist conspiracy?

Fuck, what a bunch of nutters.

~J.

1ngram
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Nov 25 2009 16:36

The ICC is an unusual organisation. It is the only political organisation in the history of mankind that seems never to gave had a political split. There has never been any political disagreement within the ICC which has led to a principled decision by some members to leave the organisation and organise themselves separately. Every split from the ICC has been the result of "clannism" or "the circle spirit" or "the intrusion of alien ideologies" or "parasitism" or, on occasion, the result of the work of "agent provocateurs" or simply "police spies". That is a thought provoking record, if it is to be believed.

I addressed this issue back in 1996 in my "Open Letter" which has been quoted above on this thread and the whole of which is available here on LibCom. I deal there, in part, with the invention of "parasitism" by the ICC as a club to beat members and ex-members of their organisation but you don't have to believe me. Just, for example, go back and read in the pages of International Review their report on their Extraordinary Conference of 1995 which can be found here: http://en.internationalism.org/ir/110_conference.html.

It a long and sometimes rambling text dealing with the expulsion and categorisation of some members of the ICC in France as a "criminal gang" and as having acted in a manner akin to "agents provocateurs". Its worth reading through the whole thing to feel the sense of moral outrage that the ICC collectively attempt to foist onto their essentially Stalinist approach to these people. What is most amazing that, in line with previous factions, nowhere does the ICC give us any clue as to what the subject matter of the dispute that led to their leaving/expulsion actually was. One is left with the ICC's standard position - there were no political differences, since there has never been a split on any such political basis from the ICC - the people who left were imbued with the circle spirit, clannists, criminals, agents provocateurs. I don't think anyone with an ounce of sense can give any credence to this nonsense, more akin to a concept of heresy amongst religious fanatics than the cut and thrust of political debate which should enervate and enliven a proletarian organisation.

That leaves only two reasons for this kind of behaviour. Either the ICC is, as one poster has put it, "mad as a box of frogs" or they know full well what they are about. Like Lenin (see the CBG text "Another Look at the Organisation Question" here: http://cbg.110mb.com/organisation_2.pdf) they are consciously seeking to "criminalise" their critics in order to divert attention from whatever political points they are seeking to make, consciously lying about them. This is exactly the tactic Stalin used throughout the 20s and 30s against his political opponents. At the very least this is a hangover from the period of counterrevolution which the proletarian milieu simply must discard of if it is to move forward collectively at all.

Spikymike
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Nov 25 2009 19:45

In seeking to draw historical parallels on the issue of revolutionary organisation and its opponents the ICC should remember that it is not by any stretch of the imagination todays equivalent of the IWMA!

Yorkie Bar
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Nov 25 2009 19:52

The ICC is deffs the IWMA round II. And definitely not a cult. wink

~J.

baboon
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Nov 25 2009 21:47

You're not "getting to it" at all Big, You're getting further and further away. You are reduced to making things up that I've written in your post 75. No surpise there.

Sects, cliques, groups who think that the organisation is their property are a danger to any working class organisation and need to be fought against. The old pals act has a particular connotation that should be easily understood by anyone and doesn't mean that comrades can't have long-standing friendships both inside and outside of the organisation.

All the splits in the ICC were political. Organisation is one of the most political positions for any expression of the working class, ie, form and content. Political differences with splits from the ICC were discussed, before, during and after they happened world-wide where the ICC existed - and the majority pronounced. Some of these discussions were published by majority and minority in the external press before, during and after splits. Some minority members agreed and stayed within the organisation, some continued to express (secondary) differences, some left to set up their own organisations, others disappeared and others continued to fester in their own bitterness over decades seeing their only mission as attacking the ICC.

Minorities can be right and the majority can be wrong, but the question of parasitism was dealt with internationally through long and open discussion with all the issues put to and decided by the whole organisation. In the light of the betrayal of the working class over its history, then organisation is a primary political question for the future.

Yorkie Bar
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Nov 25 2009 21:58

I honestly can't believe this nonsense. What does it all mean? Apart from the obvious fact that counter-productive currents exist in all workers organisations, and clearly always will, until every worker becomes a perfect revolutionary, I'm at a loss as to what the term "Parasitic" could, even theoretically, signify.

~J.

Lurch
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Nov 26 2009 09:34

Try this little test, BigLLittleJ.

Look at what Ingram has written above. Look also at the ‘Letter from an ex-ICC member’ quoted by Farce on page 2 of this thread, that ‘ex-ICC member’ who is of course Ingram.

Then look at everything that Ingram has ever contributed on Libcom. Go on, try it.

Apart from two tiny posts on the mammoth Economics thread (one to rubbish Pannekoek’s economic theories, the other to link to an article by Revolutionary Perspectives), they are all attacks on the ICC.

Strikes and workers’ mass movements come and go, wars and massacres break out, the world economy crumbles: Ingram writes to badmouth the ICC. It’s been like that for almost 30 years!

Ingram is the best advert for and living proof of the ICC’s arguments about Parasitism. Without the ICC (and to a lesser extent, the CWO) he’d have no raison d’être. His activity is entirely parasitic on theirs. It’s – almost – laughable.

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Lexxi
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Nov 26 2009 09:44

Shit article is shit.

If you think an individual or a group's actions only ever revolve around criticizing your organization, then say so (their criticisms, of course, may be valid, and can't be equated with 'parasitism').

Writing 3,500 words on it says to me that you're almost as obsessed with their obsession with you than with their actual obsession with you.

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Nov 26 2009 11:44
Ret Marut wrote:
ICC wrote:
"At its April 95 11th International Congress, the ICC had to take the grave decision to exclude one of its militants, the ex-comrade JJ, for his destructive behaviour incompatible with belonging to a communist organisation, notably the constitution within the ICC of a secret network of adepts of Masonic ideology." [...]

... JJ’s secret propaganda for Masonic ideology (in particular among comrades who had recently been integrated into the ICC) was first discovered, in autumn 1994,...
http://en.internationalism.org/icconline/jury_of_honour_02

Why were Freemasons trying to infiltrate the ICC? Or, alternatively, why were ICC members turning into Freemasons? confused

I would have preferred it if somebody who had been a member of the ICC at the time had answered this, but as nobody has, I will try to address it as I think that it is important that it is answered.

I asked about the ICC about this a long time before I joined. Well you would, wouldn't you? I was told that they were not actually Freemasons, but were people who were interested in esoteric things, like for example someone we both know in London.

In which case, it is either a terrible piece of translation from a French article, or an example of using 'group speak' in public. Most people must read it as a direct reference to Freemasons, like you and I did. It is pretty poor in either case.

Spikymike wrote:
The problem with the ICC is its' arrogance in always assuming that 'it' is the organisation which through a process of 'correction' and 'self-cleansing' remains true to it's revolutionary principles and a sound, healthy organisation

But of course, if you are in any organisation, you think that you are doing the right thing otherwise you wouldn't be in it. People think what they believe is right otherwise they wouldn't believe it. The ICC admits that it made many mistakes. Maybe we should be more vocal and explanatory about what they actually were rather than just a bland "We made mistakes"

Spikymike wrote:
To the extent that ex-ICC factions have persisted in being focussed on the ICC for lengthy periods that may attest to something of worth in the ICC's politics if not its organisational practice. Since many of the ex-ICC factions have been made up of members who previously devoted so much time and energy to that organisation it is not so suprising that they have often felt bitter about the results of their past efforts and have taken time to reorientate.

.

Yes, certainly. I said as much in my analogy to a divorce, but for how long?

Spikymike wrote:
'Internationalist Perspective' survived to successfully do just that but sadly others gave up the struggle. They must take responsibillity for giving up but the ICC itself should share that responsibillity in my opinion.

Yes, the ICC went through some terrible periods, which I think not only damaged those who left, but also those who remained. Of course, we must accept some of the responsibility for these events, and for some of the damage it caused.

posi wrote:
does the ICC allow open permanent tendencies/fractions and if not why not

(because imho, not doing so will always mean that secret or informal ones exist...)

Yes...

ICC wrote:
10. The divergences which exist within the organisation of revolutionaries can give rise to organised forms of minority positions. While, when such a process gets underway, no administrative measure (such as the banning of such organised forms) can substitute for the most thorough-going discussion, it's equally important that this process is handled in a responsible manner, which implies:

*

that this organised form of disagreements is based on a positive and coherent position, not on a heterogeneous collection of points of opposition and of recriminations;
*

that the organisation is able to understand the nature of such a process; in particular, that it is able to understand the difference between a tendency and a fraction.

A tendency is above all an expression of the life of the organisation, of the fact that thought never develops in a linear manner but through a contradictory process of discussion and of confrontation of ideas. As such, a tendency is generally destined to be reabsorbed once a question has become sufficiently clear for the whole organisation to put forward a single analysis, either as a result of discussion, or as the result of new elements which confirm one view and refute the other. Furthermore, a tendency develops essentially on points determining the orientation and intervention of the organisation. It is not constituted straight away around points of theoretical analyses. Such a conception of tendencies leads to a weakening of the organisation and a dispersal of militant energies.

A fraction is an expression of the fact that the organisation is in crisis, that a process of degeneration, of capitulation to the dominant ideology, has appeared within it. Contrary to the tendency, which emerges a around differences of orientation on circumstantial questions, the fraction is formed around programmatic differences which can only result either in the bourgeois positions being expunged from the organisation, or in the departure of the communist fraction. Since the fraction expresses a demarcation between two positions which have become incompatible within the organisation, it tends to take on an organised form with its own organs of propaganda.

http://en.internationalism.org/specialtexts/IR033_functioning.htm

Waslax wrote:
Those would be how the ICC has related to the two left communist organizations which split from the ICC in the '80s (not that there may not have been others): the Communist Bulletin Group and Internationalist Perspective. Since I have never been on the inside of the ICC, I am unable to give specific examples of the theory's use to justify monolithism internally, and perhaps it has never been explicitly employed in this way, since the ICC usually seems to find other pretexts (accusations of 'freemasonry' or 'clanism', of holding secret tendency meetings, etc.) for either suppressing internal tendencies or excluding members, but I think the 'theory' of 'parasitism' is part and parcel of the same paranoid, conspiratorial, delusional perspective.

I wasn't a member at the time, and only joined recently. I will tell you if I think you are right after the next split. wink

Cassady wrote:
Debate, within and between organisations, is vital to us all but is stopped in its tracks when disagreements are regularily characterised as the product of an alien incursion from agents of the bourgeoise - police agents, masons et al.
...It bears repeating that despite many promises from the central organs NO evidence to support the accusation that he was an agent of the state was ever produced.

I don't think that that anyone was actually called a police agent, were they?

nastyned wrote:
What are the central organs of the ICC? Is this the like a central committee?

There is the congress which is the sovereign organ. Between congresses there are International Bureau meetings, and between IB meetings an International Secretariat, which runs things on a day to day basis.

Lurch wrote:
Look at what Ingram has written above. Look also at the ‘Letter from an ex-ICC member’ quoted by Farce on page 2 of this thread, that ‘ex-ICC member’ who is of course Ingram.

Then look at everything that Ingram has ever contributed on Libcom. Go on, try it.

Apart from two tiny posts on the mammoth Economics thread (one to rubbish Pannekoek’s economic theories, the other to link to an article by Revolutionary Perspectives), they are all attacks on the ICC.

Strikes and workers’ mass movements come and go, wars and massacres break out, the world economy crumbles: Ingram writes to badmouth the ICC. It’s been like that for almost 30 years!

Ingram is the best advert for and living proof of the ICC’s arguments about Parasitism. Without the ICC (and to a lesser extent, the CWO) he’d have no raison d’être. His activity is entirely parasitic on theirs. It’s – almost – laughable.

I think that this is quite pertinent.

Ingram, why don't we hear your opinions on things like the recent postal strikes?

Marsella wrote:
If you think an individual or a group's actions only ever revolve around criticizing your organization, then say so (their criticisms, of course, may be valid, and can't be equated with 'parasitism').

Writing 3,500 words on it says to me that you're almost as obsessed with their obsession with you than with their actual obsession with you.

It's a fair point. In my opinion the ICC was wrong to spend so much energy, and space in its press arguing against some of these groups.

Devrim

Lurch
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Nov 26 2009 12:27

Marsella wrote:

Quote:
If you think an individual or a group's actions only ever revolve around criticizing your organization, then say so.

That’s exactly what I meant. I thought that’s exactly what I said (except it’s not ‘my’ organisation – I don’t belong to it although I did many years ago).

Quote:
“Writing 3,500 words on it says to me that you're almost as obsessed with their obsession with you than with their actual obsession with you.”

If that’s all this particular organisation (the ICC) wrote about, then I’d be minded to agree with you.

It’s not and I don’t.

1ngram
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Nov 26 2009 13:23

Anyone who wants to examine my contribution to revolutionary politics over the past 30 years or so has only to look at the archive of Communist Bulletin here: http://cbg.110mb.com/ where they will find varied articles by me on a whole range of subjects from strikes, Middle East to regroupment during the Russian Revolution.

In LibCom I have strictly restricted my comments on the ICC to when I have been specifically attacked by them or when, as in this case, something I have already written is referred to or quoted.

And, by the way Devrim, yes, one person was specifically identified as a state agent by the ICC. Again read the pages of the Bulletin for chapter and verse on this.

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Devrim
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Nov 26 2009 15:06
1ngram wrote:
Anyone who wants to examine my contribution to revolutionary politics over the past 30 years or so has only to look at the archive of Communist Bulletin here: http://cbg.110mb.com/ where they will find varied articles by me on a whole range of subjects from strikes, Middle East to regroupment during the Russian Revolution.

In LibCom I have strictly restricted my comments on the ICC to when I have been specifically attacked by them or when, as in this case, something I have already written is referred to or quoted.

The last issue of the bulletin was about 15 years ago though. You may have wrote about a lot of stuff in the intervening time, but the impression that you give here is of somebody who only spends their time attacking the ICC.

1ngram wrote:
And, by the way Devrim, yes, one person was specifically identified as a state agent by the ICC. Again read the pages of the Bulletin for chapter and verse on this.

Maybe it would be easier if you pointed to a specific piece, or even just put up the relevant quote from an ICC publication.

Devrim

petey
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Nov 26 2009 15:36
Devrim wrote:
Ret Marut wrote:
Why were Freemasons trying to infiltrate the ICC? Or, alternatively, why were ICC members turning into Freemasons? confused

I would have preferred it if somebody who had been a member of the ICC at the time had answered this, but as nobody has, I will try to address it as I think that it is important that it is answered.

I asked about the ICC about this a long time before I joined. Well you would, wouldn't you? I was told that they were not actually Freemasons, but were people who were interested in esoteric things, like for example someone we both know in London.

In which case, it is either a terrible piece of translation from a French article, or an example of using 'group speak' in public. Most people must read it as a direct reference to Freemasons, like you and I did. It is pretty poor in either case.

thanks devrim, like others i've wondered about this for a long time. i also wonder though why no other ICCer has addressed this.

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mikail firtinaci
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Nov 26 2009 16:09
Quote:
i also wonder though why no other ICCer has addressed this.

Petey; The problem seems like the answers that are given are not satisfying you. But that does not mean that there are no answers given. I think there is a general distrust towards ICC over there. I honestly do not understand why...

In turkey, I have anarchist-communist friends and some of them whom I am proud to call comrades. In fact I was a member of the first turkish platformist group before splitting and becoming a left-com. I still have friendly and fraternal relations with them though. They have their ciriticisms but they never say that I am a lunitic, crazy etc... We have a mutual respect. And when it comes to that point, I generally think that internationalist class struggle anarchists are the people with whom we can struggle with.

So petey I do not think that the problem is "not giving answers". It is; "not trusting/respecting the answers"...

petey
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Nov 26 2009 19:44

twice on page two above, ret asked about the freemason business. leo's response was:

Leo wrote:
There must be hundreds of comments like these on libcom, laughing at, mocking, making fun of, calling names at the ICC, giving links to other obsessive "criticisms" of the organization written by professional ICC-bashers, laughing more, mocking more, calling more names afterwards.

As the saying goes, the dogs bark, but the caravan goes on.

which is not an answer. so what answer is it exactly mikail that i'm not trusting?

Devrim wrote:
I would have preferred it if somebody who had been a member of the ICC at the time had answered this, but as nobody has, I will try to address it as I think that it is important that it is answered.