A man is running down the street stabbing himself... The ICC

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Apr 21 2006 13:00
A man is running down the street stabbing himself... The ICC

Does anyone have a link to the critique of the ICC that has the above line to describe their behaviour?

I have rummaged through my dusty files and clippings for an hour and cannot bloody find it.

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Apr 21 2006 13:16

Jack - No that is the one I remember.

Can it go in to the Libcom library at some stage?

Divisive Cottonwood
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Apr 21 2006 14:26

A man is running down the street stabbing himself...

I thought, Just another day in Hackney then

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Apr 21 2006 15:58

http://www.af-north.org/other%20pamphlets/open_letter_to_the_international.htm

Mike Harman
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Apr 21 2006 17:49
Divisive Cottonwood wrote:
A man is running down the street stabbing himself...

I thought, Just another day in Hackney then

Me too, there's that bloke round Old Street who self harms and asks for a quid to get toHomerton Hospital

Saw him first time with a big gash in his harm.

Two weeks later gash had gone green and his ear was sliced in two - asked him why he hadn't goneyet since he'd got a quid out of me the first time he asked and said "sorry mate" and walked away looking embarrassed.

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Apr 21 2006 18:16

And yet despite 'stabbing ourselves' for so long, we are still here, defending communist positions, and Ingram is not.

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Apr 21 2006 19:20
Alf wrote:
And yet despite 'stabbing ourselves' for so long, we are still here, defending communist positions, and Ingram is not.

Perhaps he got tired of ICC members going round his house demanding the return of internal bulletins because he had left the group?

If you read any literature about cults, and then reads that paragraph by Ingram, the similarities are striking.....

knightrose
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Apr 21 2006 19:33
Jack wrote:
I'd like to eventually put the entire Subversion site on there.

As you as you say what the source was, you're welcome.

knightrose
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Apr 21 2006 19:36
Alf wrote:
And yet despite 'stabbing ourselves' for so long, we are still here, defending communist positions, and Ingram is not.

I'd reiterate Paul Marsh's comment. It wasn't a happy series of events, was it? Sending hit squads made up of people from different sections in different countries, round to ex-members houses, threatening people in their houses? Complaining that they then called the police?

That's when I realised you were in a different camp to me and I stopped taking you seriously. Talk about acting like a state in waiting.

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Apr 21 2006 21:44

One small precision. None of us ever went round to Ingram's house in Aberdeen. But the people that Ingram was aligned with in London - the Chenier 'tendency' - came round to my house when I was away and stole the equipment that the organisation needed to produce its press. We took the action we did to get our equipment back and have nothing to be ashamed of. But Ingram and his friends threatening to call the police out of fear that we would pay him a visit - that was truly cowardly and shameful.

A communist organisation that is not prepared to defend itself is not worthy of the name. And it can never use the bourgeois state to do it.

knightrose
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Apr 21 2006 21:57

And two comrades in Manchester got a visit from a load of ICC thugs who forced their way in and threatened them. It's obviously much better to terrorise the weak than to rely on the state, isn't it? You didn't need to call on the state, you acted like it.

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Apr 21 2006 22:08
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You forcibly entered ex-members homes in England, stole personal property such as stereo equipment, destroyed their telephones and personal belongings and, where you found them at home. assaulted them in the process. You even had the audacity to return to one former member’s house for a second bite of the cherry only to find that he had changed the locks. Your internationally gathered collection of thugs.

Is this for real? I am quite surprised that the ICC would behave like this.

I think I'll believe Knightrose over Alf.

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Apr 21 2006 23:52

If it's like Alf said then he clearly has a point.

If it's like Knightrose said then he also clearly has a point.

I'd imagine there were a number of things that happened which have become polarized in the years since then?

bastarx
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Apr 22 2006 02:00

These sorts of questions of personal misbehaviour come up all too often. And when all we have to go on is the internet testimony of people we've never met I'd say it's more or less impossible to figure out what happened.

And without knowing anything about the particular situation, in the abstract sense Alf is correct in saying that communist organisations must defend themselves.

The SI sent their more thuggish members around to settle differences physically with a particularly odious critic at least once.

cheers

Pete

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Apr 22 2006 04:09

I read the Ingram tirade some time ago and I asked the folks at Internationalism about it. What they said was that the items stolen belong to the organisation and not to individuals, so they took their stuff back.

Good for them.

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Apr 22 2006 07:47
alibadani wrote:
I read the Ingram tirade some time ago and I asked the folks at Internationalism about it. What they said was that the items stolen belong to the organisation and not to individuals, so they took their stuff back.

If you were talking about cars or computers that belong to the organisation and are lent to the individual you may have a point, but the ICC demand back paperwork if you leave the organisation, such as internal bulletins.

It reminds me of the Moonies, or a group like the Hells Angels demanding you erase tattoos if you leave the gang.

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Apr 22 2006 08:00

Jack is correct to ask for a context for all this. And the context is not just the 1981 split and the actions of the 'Chenier tendency', but a whole series of more general political issues in particular, the reality or not of phenomena which the ICC has written about at length, such as political adventurism, parasitism, state infiltration, the problem of groupings formed around personal issues (clans), etc. I will try to come back to some of these issues, but this is not the place for a major response to Ingram's text, or a blow by blow account of what happened during our 'recovery' operation. The reply to Ingram does need to be written however, because despite Ingram vanishing from political life his poisonous productions live on.

In the immediate, two points of detail which need to be made. No one was physically harmed or 'assaulted' during the ICC's operation. One person in Manchester was physically prevented from calling the police when we arrived. Some property was taken from another house in order to negotiate the return of our equipment.

And this was essential equipment, not just paper in particular, the main typwriters used for producing the paper. As Alibadani said this was basic 'property' of the organisation and we will not allow ourseves to be ripped off.

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Apr 22 2006 08:05
Alf wrote:
not just paper: in particular, the main typwriters used for producing the paper. As Alibadani said this was basic 'property' of the organisation and we will not allow ourseves to be ripped off.

As people have pointed out, typewriters (or computers) are potentially understandable. What's more alarming is "just paper" - internal bulletins etc. - not items which an organisation can't do without that have been expropriated, but duplicated documents where the issue is not that the ICC doesn't have it, but that the individuals in the split must not be in possession of it.

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Apr 22 2006 15:38

What is this attack on the ICC for? I am not quite old enough to have been involved when this happened, and I think that very few people on these boards are, with the possible exceptions of KnightRose, and Alf. I am old enough though to remember people from DAM going up to Hull to retrieve things, including a typewriter, that had been stolen from their organization by a group that split. We don’t see attacks on SolFed because of this. Basically as I see it the ICC acted in the right way. They took back things which belonged to the organization from individuals who split from it. Maybe they were a bit heavy handed. What do you suggest that they should have done? Rang their lawyers? Of course if we hang on to what seems to be the standard line here, they couldn’t have done it anyway. As we all know there are only three of them. How could three people have gone in and intimidated all these people?

I can see Catch’s point about the issue of internal bulletins, but I don’t think that this is the main point. Somebody stole the ICC’s typewriters, and they took them back. After all they were things that their organization needed to produce its publications. As Albadani said “Good for them”.

What I do see as the main point is that this is just another way to criticize the ICC without addressing politics. If you want to attack the ICC attack their politics. I do. Attack the way they relate to people, and the content of their propaganda. I do. Attack their position on Krondstat even. I do.

If, however, you just want to smear left communist ideas, go ahead. Criticize them for something that you know nothing about. It is much easier than arguing the politics.

Devrim

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Apr 22 2006 15:50

Hi

I agree with Devrim. I’ve secretly stalked the ICC for years and not one of them is physically strong enough to smash anything up or come over as a “thug”.

Love

LR

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Apr 22 2006 15:56
Devrim wrote:
What I do see as the main point is that this is just another way to criticize the ICC without addressing politics. If you want to attack the ICC attack their politics. I do. Attack the way they relate to people, and the content of their propaganda. It is much easier than arguing the politics.

Devrim

There is no point in arguing politics with groups like the ICC because they are cult like - you may as well argue with the man in the moon. An argument or debate implies there may be some chance of one party influencing the other - does anyone from any other political organisation ever influence the ICC?

Does that not tell you something?

If the ICC regard papers and documents held by ex-members as the ICC's property, and go round people's houses to take them back (and I have not seen the ICC dispute this) I am sorry but that is political and a sign of how isolated and distant they are from the norms of human behaviour.

At the start of this year I resigned as a member of the Public and Commercial Services Union. I still have a big bundle of magazines and papers from my time as both a union member and union official.

Do you think the PCS have the right to turn up on my doorstep and take them back?

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Apr 22 2006 16:46

So there is no point in arguing with the ICC because they are ‘cult like’. It all seems very easy. Therefore, because they are ‘cult like’, we can dismiss all of their positions, and anybody who holds similar ones to them with the same brush.

What does ‘cult like’ actually mean? That they have a tight level of political agreement. Tighter than I think is necessary, actually. But maybe, we should all join class war, where you accept anyone as members whatever they think, and there is very little political agreement at all, if any. You wouldn’t find the ICC backing nationalist leftists in Northern Ireland.

Or is the problem that they have a coherent line on Trade unionism? Of course, we could all join Class War, where you don’t have to have any coherency or strategy, and you think that class struggle is about organizing ‘Bash the Rich’ marches.

Then again you could think that, as far as I know, no UK anarchist organization managed to produce a national leaflet for the municipal workers strike. The ICC did. It is probably ‘cult like’ activity. Maybe though, just maybe, this is something that a political group should do.

I don’t think that they are as monolithic as you make out. I think they are prepared to discuss things, and can move. You wouldn’t know this, as I am sure that you have never tried talking to them.

Also despite whatever opinion you have of the ICC, what you are doing seems to me to be just an easy way to attack left communist ideas via attacks on the ICC:.

From a private mail I wrote earlier today:

Quote:
I have just been to İstanbul to meet the anarchists there, and I was shocked. It wasn’t just the usual left nationalism (which was shocking enough), but it was when I was asked by one of them (admittedly not a member of their group, but someone who they said was close to them) to give an example of how the PKK was anti working class, I pointed to the campaign they had at one point of killing teachers. He replied that this was ok, and when I expressed my disbelief, he said that they worked for the state anyway. I came back earlier than I had planned

I wouldn’t tar all anarchists with this brush, and I think lots of anarchists who have internationalist ideas would be rightly offended if I did.

The ICC, for all its faults, has for the past 31 years defended internationalist ideas, and revolutionary politics. If Class War could do the same for 31 minutes I would be impressed.

Devrim

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Apr 22 2006 17:12
Devrim wrote:
So there is no point in arguing with the ICC because they are ‘cult like’. It all seems very easy. Therefore, because they are ‘cult like’, we can dismiss all of their positions, and anybody who holds similar ones to them with the same brush.

What does ‘cult like’ actually mean? That they have a tight level of political agreement. Tighter than I think is necessary, actually.

Seriously Devrim, their politics might be quite good, that's not the issue. This issue in actual terms is that they are nuts! Like the Spartacist League or something; they just cannot interact with fellow humans in a socially acceptable, normal way. I've encountered them a couple of times, they're always been highly disruptive, and very very weird. Like they have some sort of collective autism really. (Sorry guys, that's just how you come across)

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Apr 22 2006 17:32

Hi

Quote:
If Class War could do the same for 31 minutes I would be impressed.

I'd be a mixture of bored and disappointed.

Love

LR

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Apr 22 2006 17:39
Devrim wrote:
So there is no point in arguing with the ICC because they are ‘cult like’. It all seems very easy.

Devrim the ICC could come up with the perfect strategy and position for revolutionaries tommorow, but until they can interact with other people in a way that is not, well, spooky, their theory is absolutely wasted.

When you talk of the importance of them holding the correct position for 31 years, have you any idea how quasi-religious that sounds?

Here are some examples of how the ICC come across in public.

Twice in the 1990s I can remember either speaking or chairing Class War public meetings of 100+ people, with many of those present new to politics. As soon as questions were taken from the floor, either the first speaker or the second was from the ICC (and they accuse others of parasitism!) and you could see people around the room begin to shuffle in their seats and feel uncomfortable. The ICC may not have converted anyone else to their principles, but they left a fair few people in the audience wishing they had stayed in and watched Coronation Street!

Last year I went to the Norwich Anarchist bookfair. Two ICC members stood outside the event for the first few hours (I believe they had travelled from the west country, a big journey in England) and waved their paper at those entering. One eventually walked around the stalls, looking disapprovingly, before he left and went back outside. They had travelled across England to do this, and may not even have sold one paper.

I would like to think they then spent a fun day enjoying the sights of east Anglia, before spending the night drinking and fucking their way across the fleshpots of Norwich. Do you think they did?

Or do you think they travelled back to the west country bemoaning everyone else on the left, and congratulating themselves for upholding the principles of internationalism?

I am sorry that Class War does not meet your high standards of intellectual rigour. What I do know is that for all its faults Class War has taken part in struggles against the poll tax, anti-fascist actions and contributed support to industrial disputes from the miners strike through to the attempts to Save the UCH hospital in London a few years back.

Can your heroes in the ICC say the same, or were they "upholding revolutionary principles" whilst others were actually trying to do something?

Something far better than Class War may well emerge tommorow, next week or next year. Who knows the future. What I do know is that something will be very different from the cult like ICC.

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Apr 22 2006 18:15

Hi

It transpires that Devrim and I have attended an ICC meeting (at the Oval if I remember rightly, and it was his idea). I can vouch for his familiarity with the awesome phenomenon that is "The Current".

I have to say that I pride myself on being far more disruptive than any member of the ICC could possibly hope to achieve.

Love

LR

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Apr 22 2006 18:26

Paul,

I don’t take heroes. I do think though that the attacks on the ICC represent an easy way to attack ideas which you don’t agree with.

You write:

Quote:
When you talk of the importance of them holding the correct position for 31 years, have you any idea how quasi-religious that sounds?

What I mean here is that they have always taken an internationalist position. In a country like this where every group takes up some nationalist line or other, I think that this is admirable. I think that the comrades in organize would certainly agree with me. Working class politics are important. I think it is what separates us from the left, not the positions that we have on historical events. It is not just about what 'line' we have on a particular struggle, but if we recognize what workers struggle is. Which is more important, an overtime ban in a Post Office, or impotent rioting on the streets of Brixton. I think that the ICC do recognize that. Whether or not they intervene effectively is another question.

You continue:

Quote:
Last year I went to the Norwich Anarchist bookfair. Two ICC members stood outside the event for the first few hours (I believe they had travelled from the west country, a big journey in England) and waved their paper at those entering. One eventually walked around the stalls, looking disapprovingly, before he left and went back outside. They had travelled across England to do this, and may not even have sold one paper.

I would like to think they then spent a fun day enjoying the sights of east Anglia, before spending the night drinking and fucking their way across the fleshpots of Norwich. Do you think they did?

Or do you think they travelled back to the west country bemoaning everyone else on the left, and congratulating themselves for upholding the principles of internationalism?

I am not exactly sure what you are saying here. Are you criticizing them for trying to communicate with people, however successfully they may, or may not have done it? Yes, I have my personal hobbies. I drink (possibly too much), I support a crap football team (Ankaragücü), I like cooking, and going to the cinema. I am sure that people in the ICC have hobbies too. Are you criticizing them because they travelled a long way to try to do something political. I am sure that you yourself have travelled across the country to meetings. As I mentioned before I travelled to İstanbul this week to meet anarchists. It too was in some ways a wasted trip, but it was necessary. Yes, I also had a beer, and walked by the sea, which I really enjoyed. Or are you criticizing them because their hobbies are not the same as yours. I also play love playing chess, and play every chance I get with a guy I work with. If the ICC had played a good game of chess on the way back instead of getting really pissed would that have made them 'middle class'.

You say:

Quote:
I am sorry that Class War does not meet your high standards of intellectual rigour. What I do know is that for all its faults Class War has taken part in struggles against the poll tax, anti-fascist actions and contributed support to industrial disputes from the miners strike through to the attempts to Save the UCH hospital in London a few years back.

Yes Paul, we have all be involved in struggles, but what does it mean to 'support industrial disputes'. I posted this a while ago, and as far as I could see it got no response. I think that is something that really needs to be discussed. This is not abstract theory. It is something very real, and very relevant to how we relate to workers struggle:

Quote:
To go back to England, and practical things, when I was living there( at the time of the Wapping dispute), there were two groups/publications whom the anarchists had connections with. One was run by an ex-member of the Spartacist League, and was called ‘Picket’. The other was run by a member of the Labour Party, and called the ‘Fleet Street Support Unit’. The first argued for more violence, and was backed by most anarchists while the second argued for spreading the strike to the rest of what was then Fleet Street, and had very little anarchist support. I feel that we (and I include myself within this) backed the wrong horse due to a lack of political theory. I feel that this is what comes out of just being involved in the struggle without any theory.

There is a lot more to be said about this. Do you think that it is worth discussing?

You write:

Quote:
Can your heroes in the ICC say the same, or were they "upholding revolutionary principles" whilst others were actually trying to do something?

As I said before, I don't take heroes, but maybe it is worth thinking about what doing something actually means before we rush out, and do it. Maybe read Alf's post on the UNISON workers strike http://libcom.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=9413 . It is very clear, and talks about real activity. Criticize this rather than call them a cult.

Devrim

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Apr 22 2006 18:30

Excuse my butting in - but arent people just trying to point out the differences between the ICC on paper or online with the face to face ICC?

I think this is a very important problem for leftist groups (having been involved myself), they are really fucking strange people who do really wierd things which fail to interact with the majority of people because they act in "real life" in ways which are just really really odd. Despite how good or bad their politics may look on paper or in speeches. Some people have social skills/good interpretations of social norms and some people dont.

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Apr 22 2006 18:36
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Some people have social skills/good interpretations of social norms and some people don’t.

Yes rkn, but that is true of all organizations. I have meet ICC members who have social skills, and others who don't. Just as I have met members of the anarchist organizations who have them and others that don't. I think the point is that the attacks on the ICC are just an excuse to attack their politics Call them a 'cult', and dismiss their ideas. This is a discussion forum.

Devrim

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Apr 22 2006 18:42

Fair enough, i have never met any of them. Was just posting from my experience of leftist groups i would call cults based on their lifestyle and how they treat their members.

As for the ICC, well seeing as they only ever post on these forums to talk about themselves, never about anything else, i dont exactly warm to them!

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Apr 22 2006 19:09
Devrim wrote:
Quote:
I have meet ICC members who have social skills, and others who don't. Just as I have met members of the anarchist organizations who have them and others that don't.

Devrim

That is you differ fundamentally from the majority of people who have been active around the British anarchist movement over the past decade.

Read again what I wrote above about the ICCs "interventions" at political events. We are not talking about the odd person without social skills, we are talking about a political organisation that people find lacking in those skills, to an extent that their actual politics become irrelevant.

And if the ICC and its supporters (which I assume numbers you) do not address this, they face another lonely 31 years.