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

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jaycee
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May 8 2006 09:05

feminism is a bourgeois reformist movement and has always been. THis doesn't deny the existence of the oppression of women any more than saying black nationalism is bourgeois denies the oppression of black people. the working class is the only oppressed group which is also a revolutionary 'group'. THis means that only through working class revolution can all these other forms of oppression be eradicated.

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Steven.
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May 8 2006 11:26

Jef, I agree with what revol it's saying. It may have had an important ideological role sure, and it still is important to some extent, but it's not fundamental. You could easily have capitalism with gender equality.

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Alf
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May 8 2006 11:54

Jaycee is right feminism as such was always a bourgeois ideology; and at the same time Marxists have always recognised the existence of the oppression of women and the need to struggle against it on a class basis. In the ascendant period of capitalism, bourgeois reform movements could play a progressive role and it was possible for the workers’ movement to support them. Here again the onset of decadence imposed a sharp break. The fate of the suffragette organisations was symbolic Sylvia broke with the other Pankhursts over their support for the First World War, and the name of her paper changed from the Women’s Dreadnought to the Workers’ Dreadnought.

We have written about the general question of the oppression of women in our series on communism (International Review 81 and 85 – not yet on line, and in World Revolution http//en.internationalism.org/wr/260_women.htm…..).

Today the struggle against gender divisions and the particular oppression of women has to be taken up within the class movement. Our theses on the student movement in France (….) argues that the advances made at this level were a sign of the maturity of the movement

“One of the reasons for the great maturity of the current movement, especially on the question of violence, is the very strong participation of young women and girls in the movement. It is well known that at this age, young women are generally more mature than their male comrades. Moreover, on the question of violence it is clear that women in general are less likely to be dragged onto this terrain than men. In 1968, female students also participated in the movement but when the barricades became its main symbol, the role they were given was often that of supporting the masked “heroes” standing at the height of the barricades, of being nurses to the wounded and bringing sandwiches so that the young men could revive themselves in between clashes with the CRS. This is not at all the case today. On the picket lines at the university gates, there have been many female students and their attitude has exemplified the meaning that the movement has inspired in the pickets not a means of intimidation towards those who wanted to get to their classes, but a means of explaining, of arguing and persuading. In the general assemblies and the various commissions, even if, in general, the female students are less “loud-mouthed” and less involved in political organisations, they have been a key element in the organisation, discipline and effectiveness of the assemblies and commissions, as well as in their capacity for collective reflection. The history of the proletarian struggle has shown that the depth of a movement can be measured to some degree by the proportion of women workers involved in it. In “normal” times, working class women, because they are subjected to an even more stifling oppression than the men, are as a general rule less involved in social movements. It is only when these movements attain a great depth that the most oppressed layers of the proletariat throw themselves into the struggle and into the general reflection going on in the class. The high degree of participation by young women and girls in the current movement, the key role they are playing within it, is an added indication not only of the authentically proletarian nature of the movement but also of its depth”. http//en.internationalism.org/ir/125_france_students

baboon
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May 8 2006 15:16

Mr. Knightrose, I don't have ready access to the internet so I am not at your beck and call. Also I am not a member of the ICC (though I do take frequent instructions from their hooded leadership in a vault underneath the Vatican).

I agree with the clarification posted by Alf and the avoidence by Knightrose of the context of events and the trajectories of the "tendency" involved fragmentation of the revolutionary milieu; stakes of history; loss of confidence in the working class (at the same time as a wild over-estimation of its capacities at the time); total underestimation of the strength of the bourgeoisie; defence of revolutionary organisation.

Initially, it is clear, that the positions of the ICC still had some weight in Wildcat. But the "New Ultra Left Review", produced by Wildcat in the spring of 1982, contained a mish-mash of positions, some leftist, which included support for the Solidarnosc union in Poland. In another response, Wildcat stated the choice of "socialism or barbarism" was too "prophetic" for them. Or rather, for some of them. And this is the real point; anybody in this sort of group can say anything and be accountable for nothing. This is how they show their responsibility to the working class - by acting as an amorphous mass where anything means nothing and vice versa. This is the rejection of international, collective, centralised work in practice. Talk whatever crap you like about anything and then deny it is or was "your group's" position.

The group Solidarity revived itself somewhat in early 83, and continued supporting Solidarnosc and held one joint meeting with the Labour Party (this was a period - it's important to remember - that the bourgeoisie was using its strategy of the left in opposition against the class struggle). An analysis which the constituent parts of Wildcat had disagreed with in the ICC). Back to Solidarity whose aim now was to "transcend Marx". Part of this project included supporting rank and file unionism, democratic rights and the "admirable resistence of the Afghan people" (at a time when the CIA field commander, Osama Bin Laden, was fighting Russian imperialism there).

Back to Wildcat in the summer of 83, it became (all of it, some of it - who knows?) part of the Intercom discussion circle. I remember that it attacked centralisation and supported pacifism as long as it wasn't "bureaucratic".

The "bureaucracy" of the ICC (ie, the defence of its political position and material means of functioning) had been the "coherence" of those in the tendency (including what became Wildcat) which underhandedly left the ICC.

In late 84, with its bulletin no. 5, Intercom faded into oblivion. Within its pages of incomprehensible drivel, were attempts theorise individualism, "unresolved discussions" and "stalemate on the question of organisation". We can also read about "democratic unions", "worker managed economic conversion" and articles supporting pacifism.

Such was the fate of this disparate "tendency", whose unprincipled behaviour and political incoherence was, however conscious or unconscious, an attack on the organisation and functioning of an expression of the working class. The bourgeoisie's strategy of the left in oppostion caused a lot of damage and claimed a number of victims. And they didn't even see it coming.

nastyned
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May 8 2006 15:23

... and don't forget they were secret agents of the french state! wink

knightrose
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May 8 2006 16:14

Baboon, I really don't know where to start. We left Solidarity when had exhausted the efforts to deal with precisely the problems you talk about. I really fail to see how you cannot grasp this. It is also disingenous to talk about Wildcat, then go back to discussing Solidarity after we had left it. I say we, because although not a member of Wildcat, I was part of the ex-Social Revolution group who all left Solidarity at the same time. Nothing that Solidarity did after 1981 has anything to do with us. To assert otherwise would be like me blaming the ICC for things EFICC did.

Actually what happened was that members of Manchester Solidarity and members of the ICC in Manchester worked together on a couple of issues of the Wildcat freesheet prior to them all leaving their respective organisations.

Intercom was never an organisation. It was a publication produced to support a series of conferences held from 1981 to 1984. A number of groups were involved, including Wildcat and Careless Talk. Workers Playtime, Galsgow Anarchists and others. Wildcat and Careless Talk merged.

If Wildcat attacked centralisation then I can't understand their behaviour at conferences. They used to caucus, talked from agreed positions and worked towards a unified theory. If you weren't there, then you wouldn't know. If you were, then you've forgotten.

Intercom did fade away. It did so when Wildcat went national. Wildcat died in 1987 and some of its members went on to form Subversion. That carried on for over 10 years. Hardly fading away.

Why did a lot of those groups die? Largely because of the state of the class struggle in Britain. There was a failure to understand how serious the state was in taking on the working class. Huge efforts went into supporting the miners strike. Wildcat never got over its defeat and in practice withered away through exhaustion. I'd grant that the ICC survived. But frankly I wonder what have been the benefits of that. In practical terms they've done nothing of any value since.

I'm sorry I got so angry. But I don't read everything the ICC and its sympathisers write and I think I reasonably assumed you were a member. You sound like one. I've got used to being insulted by the ICC over the years. I'm used to having political activity undermined by them - after all it's been going on since the ealry 70s. I'm also used to occasional attempts to flatter when they were trying to recruit us and then vitriol when they realised we weren't going to fall for. I've been ion and out of the proletarian milieu as they define it a couple of times.

But I do insist you get your facts right when you abuse me and my comrades. If that's derailing the discussion, then so be it.

baboon
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May 9 2006 16:21

Knightrose, I,m not blaming you for anything - where did you get that idea from? Why can't I talk about Solidarity - isn't it illustrative of the points that you want to avoid? So you wasn't a member of Solidarity - so what? You wasn't a member of Wildcat either - does that mean I can't talk about that and quote from the publications that it was involved with?

On your 7/5 post at 8.09 pm you list a number of political positions that Wildcat held and put forward. The general tone you use about "nicking them" suggests you see these positions (still see them?) as positive and probably worth defending - yes/no? I pose you a question now.

Where do you think Wildcat got these positions from? Have a guess. They were elaborated, translated into several languages, distributed and defended by the ICC almost a decade before Wildcat made its untimely and unecessary appearance. These positions in turn were discussed, elaborated and deepened by the direct antecedents of the ICC in the communist left for decades before that. They are still, in more languages now, and more widely, being discussed, elaborated, deepened and distributed throughout the working class. The same positions Knightrose - the same positions that you "nicked". Do you still see them as positive? Are they worth defending, if so, how? Of course these positions don't belong to the ICC, (and there's more elaboration needed on your list) but you cannot deny that it has been at the forefront in defending them over the last 3 decades. Like someone who has taken a deep breath, the oxygen of these left communist positions kept Wildcat going after it left the ICC in the increasingly putrid atmosphere it which it was working. But you cannot be immunised forever against bourgeois ideology - it's a constant struggle to fight.

Wildcat died because its lost the international framework - it lost the plot. One of its original disagreements (of elements when they were still in the ICC) was the analysis of the bourgeoisie's strategy of the left in opposition from late the 70s, early 80s that the ICC defended and used to understand the class struggle. The elements of Wildcat (and others) never understood this and fell into the trap of the locality and the tendency towards rank and file unionism that goes with it. The ICC's analysis (both on the class struggle and the left in opposition) was brilliantly confirmed with events in Poland 1980. Not only the tendency towards the mass strike, but the creation, by the American, British and Russian bourgeoisie's, of a semi-legal, anti-government, rank and file, very militant trade union organisation in order to confront and subvert the autonomous struggle of the class and stop it spreading. Without the international framework for understanding this and other questions, Wildcat was doomed to its slow but inevitable death.

Just a point on the question of women; In "the history of the family, the state and private property", Marx describes the situation of man and woman as one of the great divisions of labour. Against the bleating of the "sisters" (who attempted to hi-jack this book because of its very effective analysis of mother-right and the role of women in pre-history - among other things), the relations of man and woman can only be clarified through the class struggle.

knightrose
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May 9 2006 17:19

Baboon, I quite understand where the ideas we espoused in Subversion and prior to that Wildcat came from. They were the product of a decade of political evolution since we left the SPGB in 1974. Part of that evolution was our discussions, arguments, dialogues with, amongst others those who went on to form the ICC. Just as important were our discussions with the Workers Voice group, which the CWO (with little real justification)claims some historical continuity with. I would argue that in terms of understanding refomism, communism, national liberation, religion, then the importance of our time in the SPGB far outweighs any other experiences. They have a clarity on those issues, combined with a manner of speaking as workers to workers, that the rest of us could seriously learn from.

Equally, by 1981 I'd contend that the ICC had outlived its usefulness. It had become an essentially Leninist organisation which acted like gangsters when they broke into our comrades' house in Manchester, threatened those present and pulled the phone wire out. (For the benefit of those who don't realise, in those days that meant ripping wires from the wall. Modern phone connections with their plugs and sockets did not exist) Consider also that among those threatened were people who had no connection with the ICC.

By 1981, the ICC's interventions had become sterile. The paper was written in an unintelligible style with no relevance to the class it claimed to be aimed at. Interventions at meetings had degenerated into the endless spouting of half-understood rhetoric. These things havenot, of course, changed one iota.

the ICC wouldn't deny its adherence to Leninism. What they fail to realise is that he never was anything more than a radical social democrat operating a circumstances of illegality. Even his most "libertarian" pamphlet "State and Revolution" argued for the substitution of the party for the class. The suppression of any element of workers autonomy from 1918 onwards revealed that World revolution had originally been correct. The Bolsheviks were leftists pure and simple.

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jef costello
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May 10 2006 19:42
Alf wrote:
feminism as such was always a bourgeois ideology; and at the same time Marxists have always recognised the existence of the oppression of women and the need to struggle against it on a class basis.

thank you for the clarification.

I'm not defending reformist forms of feminism; I was asserting that it is a fundamental power relation. I'm finishig work now, I'll come back to this.

baboon
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May 11 2006 11:10

Knightrose - a clarification.

I knew the people in the ICC that went on to become involved in Wildcat. They were good comrades, good militants of the working class and good company. It is commendable that you should defend your friends but the political positions of the working class are worth defending or they are not worth anything.

The ex-Manchester comrades, as did the whole of the "tendency" at that time, had plenty of opportunity to defend their positions in the organisation. That fact was, that after months of positions, discussion and votes, the majority didn't agree with them. Now a minority positions can turn out right - there's nothing to say that the majority are always right. But the "tendency" ducked out of the fight. Local, national and international meetings were given over to discussing their positions. So was a great deal of the internal bulletins (which were stepped up before, particularly, international meetings). In fact the ICC later found evidence from the Chenier "tendency", in the form of a letter from one of its adherents, that their aim was to "flood the organisation with texts and make it unworkable". If, from memory, these words are not absolutely exact, they are the strength of it. But the ICC gave every opportunity to the "tendency" (this is shorthand for this disparate collection), translating and producing its texts for international discussion. But they fled - at the same time, more or less, taking the attitude towards the ICC's means of functioning as shown in the extract from the letter above.

alibadani
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May 11 2006 23:05
Jedi MInd Tricks wrote:

I'm a mothafuckin baboon

hit you with thirty seven stab wounds

bury your body deep in earth inside a black tomb

Album: Legacy of Blood

Song: And So it Burns

When I read baboon's posts I get the image of Vinnie Paz in my head.

Love the posts by this dude.

baboon
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May 12 2006 11:23

Cheers, Alibadani, but a bit before my time.

1ngram
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Sep 9 2006 18:19

I'm sorry if I am coming to this discussion some months after it took place but I've only just been made aware of its existence. I'm the ingram (on the net 1ngram) who wrote the text and I know it is available in at least two places under the tite "Open Letter to the ICC" Although it is more than a decade old every word of it rings as true about the ICC now as it did then. Most people here seem to have responded to the idiocies (and sheer lies) propagated by baboon but I think it might be a good idea if I briefly addressed some of most appalling of his statements:

The splits in 1981 were a result of "state manipulation". I deal with this calumny in my Open Letter. There is absolutely no evidence that Chenier or anyone else was anything other than a communist militant. The ICC has repeatedly stated it had evidence otherwise but has consistently, despite several requests, refused to show anybody any. The fact that he later joined a Union in France and abandoned communism as a racket hardly points to him being a secret policeman.

The splits were an example of marxism against bakuninism aka centralism against federalism. This is pure bunkum. The original tendency wanted to discuss political understandings that had emerged as a result of direct involvement in class struggles and the ICC's response was a typically stalinist one, one they have used ad nauseam since. There wasn't one faction which split - we members of the ICC in Scotland, Lancaster and Leeds disagreed with the Internal Fraction but left when the gangsterism of the ICC became clear, when they broke into the homes of members and ex-members and took hostage material, when they threatened us with the same if we did not return our literature to them. In fact we offered to allow them to collect a lot of stuff we had which we were only too willing for them to take back. For years and years we asked them to take it back and it was only when we threatened to bin the lot following discussions about the material with Internationist Perspectives (a later split from the ICC) that someone came and picked it up. Nor did we disappear into pub politics, we formed the Communist Bulletin Group which published the Communist Bulletin until the early Nineties. We still hope to put this on the NET but our first attempt collapsed at a late stage when the computer it was on self immolated. Nor have we disappeared, we are still individually and collectively active.

The ICC never recovered from its founder's own political origins in the latter Stalinised days of the Left Communist Movement in the late Thirties (see my obituary of MC in the CB)and has responded to internal debate in an increasingly demented manner as the years have gone by, namecalling opponents as renegades, parasites, secret policemen, masons etc. etc. Go back and read my Open Letter again. Would you join an organisation like this?

We documented all this in early issues of the Communist Bulletin but you will have to wait until we can get it on the net to read it.

By the way we have lost touch with many of those who were with us in the ICC up to 1978 and who subsequently disappeared in disgust, abandoning political life altogether. But we can still be contacted.

1ngram

Caiman del Barrio
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Sep 11 2006 01:16

Wow, a real posthumous sectarian slanging match is in prospect, on our very own boards! And still noone is feeling my idea of giving them their own forum in which to congregate. C'mon, it'd be like a book club.

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Steven.
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Sep 11 2006 10:18

Yeah a nice surprise seeing the original author on here!

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Red Marriott
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Sep 11 2006 10:51

I'm sure the Defence Sub-Committee is in deliberation at this very moment, plotting its strategy to defend the embodiment of true proletarian organisational clarity against this vicious unprincipled attack re-emerging from the swamp of degenerated renegade provocateurist opportunism. And we've got ringside seats...

petey
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Sep 11 2006 16:02
John. wrote:
Yeah a nice surprise seeing the original author on here!

ditto.

lem
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Sep 11 2006 16:16

I reckon they won't reply until somone expresses solidarity with them smile

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Lazy Riser
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Sep 11 2006 17:37

Hi

I'll express solidarity with them.

In solidarity

LR

davethemagicweasel
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Sep 11 2006 23:36
Alf wrote:
And yet despite 'stabbing ourselves' for so long, we are still here, defending communist positions, and Ingram is not.

I'd just like to highlight this from the first page and bump the thread in the process.

Well, Ingram is here now (welcome to the boards btw). I for one think it very revealing that no-one from the ICC has responded to his appearance at all.

Caiman del Barrio
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Sep 12 2006 01:07

It's cos that we'd expect them to do. They're cunning like that. groucho

davethemagicweasel
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Sep 12 2006 01:56

Oh yeah, I fully expect that they are busily conferring to prepare a response as we speak.

I'm just looking forward to it so much that I thought I'd poke them a bit - this thread was interesting enough the first time around, but now I'm expecting round 2 to be the heavyweight titlefight.

Lets see... someone will be called either bourgeois or a nationalist, there'll be some defending of positions and, if were really lucky, someone else will be honoured with that most coveted of epithets "genuinely proletarian".

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Rob Ray
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Sep 12 2006 06:10

Is that like the golden joystick on gamesmaster?

1ngram
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Sep 12 2006 07:58

"Lets see... someone will be called either bourgeois or a nationalist, there'll be some defending of positions and, if were really lucky, someone else will be honoured with that most coveted of epithets "genuinely proletarian".

Sorry folks but I don't intend getting into any kind of barney with the ICC, whatever they say here. I only wanted to state a few simple facts about the content of the thread which I did not want to see rest unchallenged. I'm content to rest with the "Open Letter" which, to my knowledge, the ICC have never commented on or responded to. With the ICC we have gone way beyond politics into the realms of pyschosis and, as we all know, its a waste of time arguing with a psychotic.

lem
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Sep 16 2006 04:50

I really want to stick my nose in! surprised

Seems to me, that alot of the argument is subjective. Is X a parasite, or a normal human being? Was it one split or several?

Anyway, I guess that I would like to hear what the ICC have to say on whether they did have evidence of (whoever it was surprised ) being involved with the state in some way. I see that as a good example of a point that could be shared.

Of course group psychosis does not exist (I study psychology - its possible, but not for more than a few days tongue ). I suppose they may almost always recruit people with "mental health issues" (I mean, I liked the group ( tongue )). But their discipline would have to be fairly strong for "it" to take over the organization. So that leads to the question of how internal matters are dealt with as well as external ones.

Thats my two cents, at the moment. I could say more, but I would imagine that no-one would reply.

I need a life sad

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pepe carvalho
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Sep 16 2006 09:52

be careful comrades i wouldnt be surprised if the ICC try to burgle the hosting company to retrieve their posts