The Question of Parasitism.

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Joined: 3-12-09
Aug 18 2010 08:26

Looking back at this dormant thread, it would seem that if the term 'parasitism' has any validity, it's the ICC's relation to Libcom. Not the other way around. Libcom has no concerted activity towards the ICC's site and it isn't out to recruit 'left communists' in any way (see Libcom aims below).

In contrast, the ICC's presence in Libcom has the single underlying motivation of recruitment for their cult. A social environment like Libcom is an ideal virtual 'swamp' to colonise in order to gather names/emails of potential recruits. It's much more effective than the old media like press and public meetings.

This endophagous activity on the part of the ICC seems to have started in 2005, when it considered 'libertarianism' and 'anarchism' to be either 'parasitic' or 'agents of the bourgeoisie'. It's correct to say that the ICC's 'strategy' then was to 'intervene' in Libcom as it would in any 'swamp' of 'the petty-bourgeoisie', not to support and contribute to Libcom's stated aims, but to strengthen their own organisation, that is, to find and process ICC adepts. It's enough to read the ICC's Platform online to confirm this parasitic Leninist intentionality, plus their articles on organisation from the 80s-onward, and in the Theses of Parasitism, where we read:

With regard to the more or less proletarian elements, more or less taken in by parasitism, the policy of marxism has ... always been to drive a wedge between these elements and the parasitic leadership which is directed and encouraged by the bourgeoisie, showing that the first are the victims of the second. The aim of this policy is always to isolate the parasitic leadership by drawing the victims away from its sphere of influence. Towards these “victims”, marxism has always denounced their attitude and their activities while at the same time struggling to revive their confidence in the organisation and the milieu.... The ICC has also followed this tradition by organising confrontations with parasitism in order to win back the elements who have been deceived.
... The struggle against parasitism constitutes one of the essential responsibilities of the communist left and is part of the tradition of its bitter struggles against opportunism. Today it is one of the basic components in the preparation of the party of tomorrow, and in fact is one of the determining factors both of the moment when the party can arise and its capacity to play its role in the decisive battles of the proletariat.

In our own epoch, the swamp is represented notably by the variations on the councilist current (like those which emerged with the class struggle at the end of the 1960s, and which will probably reappear in future periods of class struggle), by remnants of the past like the De Leonists in the Anglo-Saxon countries, or by elements breaking from leftism.

In 1998, when these Theses were published, the ICC didn't include 'revolutionary anarchists' as part of the swamp, simply because these market segments didn't exist in the ICC's vision. By visiting Libcom frequently after 2005, the ICC caught on that this virtual swamp had indeed untapped potential. But the martinet-Midwich cuckoos tone had to go. A much more difficult proposition among the founding egocrats, with the exception of Alf the saltimbanqui. But easier for the new true believers, the ones with starry eyes and devouring appetite for pep talk.

If 'parasitism' has any application in social criticism, it may be about a 'centralised organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host's expense, giving nothing in return'.

Quote: is a resource for all people who wish to fight to improve their lives, their communities and their working conditions. We want to discuss, learn from successes and failures of the past and develop strategies to increase the power we, as ordinary people, have over our own lives.
The ideas
The name libcom is an abbreviation of "libertarian communism", the political idea we identify with. Libertarian communism is the political expression of the ever-present strands of co-operation and solidarity in human societies. These currents of mutual aid can be found throughout society. In tiny everyday examples such as people collectively organising a meal, or helping a stranger carry a pram down a flight of stairs. They can also manifest themselves in more visible ways, such as one group of workers having a solidarity strike in support of other workers as the BA baggage handlers did for Gate Gourmet catering staff in 2005. They can also explode and become a predominant force in society such as in the events across Argentina in 2001, and in Greece today, in Kwanju, South Korea in 1980, Portugal 1974, France 1968, Hungary '56, Spain 1936, Russia 1917, Paris 1871…

We identify primarily with the trends of workers' solidarity, co-operation and struggle throughout history, whether they were self-consciously libertarian communist (such as in the Spanish revolution) or not. We are also influenced by certain specific theoretical and practical traditions, such as anarchist-communism, anarcho-syndicalism, the ultra-left, left communism [this is the only mention allowing a Bolshevik crowbar], libertarian Marxism, council communism and others. We have sympathies with writers and organisations including Karl Marx, Gilles Dauvé, Maurice Brinton, Wildcat Germany, Anarchist Federation, Solidarity Federation,, Aufheben, Solidarity, the situationists, Spanish CNT and others.

However, we recognise the limitations of applying these ideas and organisational forms to contemporary society. We emphasise understanding and transforming the social relationships we experience here and now in our everyday lives to better our circumstances and protect the planet, whilst still learning from the mistakes and successes of previous working class movements and ideas.

Nothing at all here about being a self-proclaimed 'emanation of the proletariat' with the task of creating an indispensable centralised 'world party' to lead the working class to victory, following the Bolshevik model (even if 'not taking state power'). In my opinion, the host's vision is quite different from that of the left communist 'visitor', only the latter's irrelevancy makes the 'parasitism' tolerable.