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theoretical unity?

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magnifico
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Dec 8 2007 01:36

When the ICC first appeared on Libcom I took an immediate dislike to them for some of the reasons mentioned already, but more annoying to me than the perceived 'cultishness' was that it seemed to me that they just wanted to tell everyone else that everything they were doing was shit and reformist, and that unless we were theorising about setting up workers' councils we were propping up capitalism. At about the same time they started sending their paper unrequested to the house I live in, and it does spend a lot of time slagging others off for being reformists, it doesn't give the initial impression of being written for anyone who isn't already obsessed with politics and it says in the aims and principles bits that all 'official anarchists' are part of the left wing of capitalism angry wink

I have to say I think my first impressions were very wrong and I find the ICC's posts very interesting these days, now that I've got a bit more idea about what they stand for and that they are in favour of doing something in the here and now, not just being holier than everyone else, as was my first impression. I also enjoy reading the paper, and keep meaning to send them some money for it during a not-skint moment; but for now - thanks guys for sending it! There is a real yearning for a better world in there, if you take the time to cut through the sometimes challenging terminology.

I think people's problems with the ICC largely stem from a public relations problem rather than anything more serious, as well as a difference in our political cultures that causes us to find their level of public agreement a bit weird initially. Apart from our other political differences (and obviously there are important ones) to get onto the subject of the thread I wouldn't want to be in a group which was as theoretically unified as the left-communists are, as I think lessons are learned in struggle and I don't want to turn people away from getting involved because they don't have the perfect line on this or that thing yet. However I do find them interesting to discuss with, they seem to me like nice people on a personal level and I'm happy to have them here (that goes for the EKS comrades too).

marmot
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Dec 8 2007 07:33

I think the problem with the ICC, and the communist left in general (and many anarchists) is that they fetishize historical circumstances, while in reality, this historical events were not as pure as they think they were. For example, the ICC saying that the october revolution was proletarian, without realizing that the october revolution was an outgrowth of the february one, that wasn't led exclusively by proletarian forces. In Venezuela, for example, obviously there is not socialism, however, there is a real proletarian force in the bolivarian movement, that needs to be pushed towards communism. Obviously, there arent exclusively proletarian forces, but that has been always the case, whether it was in 1917 or 1936. This refusal to engage in the current struggle, because its already "adulerated" by the bourgeosie, makes of the communist left, in general, very irrelevant.

I do read the ICC publications ocassionally, and I think they have some good things to say. However, it seems to me, that they live in history, rather than the present.

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Devrim
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Dec 8 2007 10:54
magnifico wrote:
it seemed to me that they just wanted to tell everyone else that everything they were doing was shit and reformist,

The problem is that it often is.

magnifico wrote:
I think people's problems with the ICC largely stem from a public relations problem rather than anything more serious,

We discussed this with the ICC recently. I feel they have a tendency to blame the public relations problem mainly on the fact that they are saying things that people don't like. In a way I feel that they are dodging an issue that they really need to do something about. We know that we are saying things that people don't like, so it is best to do it in the least alienating way possible as the content is enough without bad presentation.
Devrim

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Devrim
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Dec 8 2007 10:56
magnifico wrote:
...it says in the aims and principles bits that all 'official anarchists' are part of the left wing of capitalism angry wink

They base this on them supporting the Second World War. I think that it quite a difficult thing to say about anarchism precisely because it doesn't have 'theoretical unity'.

Devrim

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Devrim
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Dec 8 2007 11:01
marmot wrote:
In Venezuela, for example, obviously there is not socialism, however, there is a real proletarian force in the bolivarian movement, that needs to be pushed towards communism. Obviously, there arent exclusively proletarian forces, but that has been always the case, whether it was in 1917 or 1936. This refusal to engage in the current struggle, because its already "adulerated" by the bourgeosie, makes of the communist left, in general, very irrelevant.

The communist left should be engaged in all workers' struggles on a class terrain. We don't think that the 'Bolivarian movement' is a workers' struggle on a class terrain. We think that it a movement that is being used against the working class. The way that it mobilised support for attacks on the conditions of oil workers is one obvious example.

Devrim

baboon
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Dec 8 2007 12:04

Loads of garbage about cults - but still not a word about what should form the basis for an agreement around revolutionary organisation?

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Felix Frost
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Dec 8 2007 12:14
Leo Uilleann wrote:
Quote:
Well, I don't have any first hand knowledge of it, so I only know what I read in the websites and publications of the ICC and their various splits. But really, I think it's enough to read what the ICC themselves write about these splits to see that there are major problems with the group.

Why? Because they call the groups who split parasitic? Do you have any idea why they call them parasitic? Did you read their piece on parasitism? Are you following the press of those groups?

What do you know about the splits and the circumstances in which those splits took place?

They don't only call them parasites, but also thieves, thugs, liers, snitches, "a small association of wreckers" who are are conducting "hate campaigns" against members of the ICC and show "behaviour fitting only for police informers", just to give a few of the descriptions the ICC has used of their latest split. And yes, I do have an idea why they call them these things.

I did read their Theses on parasitism. In my opinion this text doesn't say anything useful, but is just more sectarian attacks against their "competitors" in the proletarian camp.

I'm not an avid reader of the left communist press, but I do read a bit here and there. I think International Perspectives is a good magazine and a lot more interesting than the stuff the ICC publishes. Mouvement Communiste also seem interesting, but I haven't read much of them. ICG sometimes publishes interesting articles, but they also seem to be into conspiracy theories and insurrectionism, so I would be vary of them as a group. The "Internal Faction" seems to be as bad as the ICC, and their writing style is terrible. I don't think I have read anything from the (long defunct) Communist Bulletin Group. They should put their texts online.

So how much do you think people need to read before they are allowed to publicly criticise the ICC?

Leo Uilleann wrote:
Quote:
There is really no contradiction here: If a group doesn't allow dissent, then any internal criticism is likely to lead to expulsions or splits.

What makes you think that the group in question doesn't allow dissident?

I don't know actually know what kind of internal discussions the ICC have, but I would say having a series of ugly spits isn't usually a sign of healthy internal debate. I any case, I would say that if members are only allowed to voice their opinions inside the organization, but aren't allowed to tell anyone else, then the organization doesn't allow dissent. Sorry if that offends you, but that's how I see it.

Also, I think it's a bit funny when people think calling the ICC a sect is slander, but calling other groups and persons parasites is just applying a political label...

magnifico
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Dec 8 2007 12:28

baboon - read past my first paragraph, i was actually being nice about you wink

Back on topic, this is a tricky question for me. I can see that the left-communist take on this is very logically consistent, the idea that our organisations should be very theoretically consistent and homogenous because if we just let anyone join then we will be sucked into reformism by new people joining who haven't got the same level of understanding of capitalism etc.

whilst i can see the logic in this, it does give me a rather unpleasant impression of elitism, that the revolutionary organisation will always be a small group of people based on their theoretical knowledge rather than their material conditions, in a way that seems to me to discount the possibility of people learning through struggle.

In our local group we have a couple of members who perhaps don't view class as being of the same prime importance as our organisation does generally (though they do see it as important, obviously). However they liked what our group does, joined it, and seem to be coming to a more class-based political viewpoint - and if they want to campaign around issues not explicitly related to class then they just do it independently of the group. If we were left communists I presume they would have been told that they were not theoretically pure enough, and we wouldn't have had this exchange of ideas, or these keen people helping out in what I think is the worthwhile activity that we do.

That said i don't think revolutionary organisations should just let anyone in either, and I can see the dangers of that approach. I guess my solution would be to give the membership the right to choose who is and isn't let in on an individual basis, but to set the bar rather lower than the left communists. I know this isn't a particularly satisfactory conclusion, but I don't claim to have all the answers (that's not a swipe at anyone, by the way wink )

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Felix Frost
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Dec 8 2007 13:08
Alf wrote:
In any case, my first question still stands. Could those who think that we demand too high a level of agreement from our members outline what they think should be the basic points of agreement for a revolutionary organisation?

Personally, I think there has to be agreement about the general aims and principles, and if you don't agree with these, you shouldn't be in the group. As long as you don't say anything that is contrary to the A&Ps, you should be free to argue your views where you want, even if you disagree with the majority of the group on this or that point.

But then we have very different views on the role of revolutionary organization.

Carousel
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Dec 8 2007 13:59
Quote:
revolutionary organization

What is a revolution anyway? To form an acting revolutionary organisation, a group must agree on what a revolution means in terms of tasks. Communism is not a state of affairs to establish, consequently communist “organisations” can do no more than defend their principles.

Quote:
We know that we are saying things that people don't like, so it is best to do it in the least alienating way possible

People don’t like it because it’s supernatural end-is-nigh claptrap and self-righteous “humanitarian” indignance.

Leo
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Dec 8 2007 14:13
Quote:
They don't only call them parasites, but also thieves, thugs, liers, snitches, "a small association of wreckers" who are are conducting "hate campaigns" against members of the ICC and show "behaviour fitting only for police informers", just to give a few of the descriptions the ICC has used of their latest split. And yes, I do have an idea why they call them these things.

Good. Then you also know that they call all those due to the material actions of those who split, not their politics.

Quote:
So how much do you think people need to read before they are allowed to publicly criticise the ICC?

You can publicly criticize the ICC, that is their politics, all you want. I don't think anyone, including the ICC, would have any problem with that: in fact they would be quite happy about it. However when you say that "the problem is more that they seem to solve their internal disagreements by regular purges of parasitical elements" you are talking bollocks unless you have serious evidence to back that this is actually how they handle their internal discussions, and you have admitted that you don't know much about it:

Quote:
I don't know actually know what kind of internal discussions the ICC have
Quote:
I any case, I would say that if members are only allowed to voice their opinions inside the organization, but aren't allowed to tell anyone else, then the organization doesn't allow dissent.

Excuse me?

ICC wrote:
To the extent that the debates going on in the organisation generally concern the whole proletariat they should be expressed publicly
Quote:
Sorry if that offends you, but that's how I see it.

It doesn't offend me, I just think it is a very prejudiced attitude.

Quote:
Also, I think it's a bit funny when people think calling the ICC a sect is slander, but calling other groups and persons parasites is just applying a political label...

The problem is not that people are calling the ICC a sect by itself. The problem is that all that backs those accusations are prejudices, where the ICC has material evidence when they are accusing other groups with parasitism.

Anyway, whatever...

martinh
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Dec 8 2007 21:06

How far should theoretical unity go? I'd start with Aims & Principles, but I think there is often a body of knowledge that is associated with a group that tends to get included, often informally. I can see why the ICC go to the lengths they do to document all these debates and why but I'm not really comfortable with that level of theoretical unity, for the same sorts of reasons outlined by Magnifico.

I think it's also important to say that members should have the right to argue for changes in the aims and principles, though clearly that shouldn't be a free for all,

regards,

Martin

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mikail firtinaci
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Dec 8 2007 21:55

From my practical experiances I can say that aims and practices are not enough for becoming a member of revolutionary organisation. A close militant might accpept all the principles, however organising inside a communist org. is not similar to that of burgeoise org.s .A militant who is involved but not organised must intervene with the group, join discussions with them and also regularly write to its bulletin. Only in this way he/she can more clearly understand divergences. I know this is not something like what capitalist "common sense", pragmatic rationality tells us... However it is the practical way.

so, I think a revolutionary organisations theoretical unity is not something only stated in aims and principles and left behind then. It is also something practical, something reproduced in daily communist militant work. In that sense there must be a process for joining an organisation in which the divergences would become obvious and discussed. Because if this process is missing, then organisations life is sabotaged in every movement and every turn. This also harms the sympatisers and kill their revolutionary enthusiasm... I am personaly familiar to this with left and anarchism

marmot
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Dec 9 2007 00:21
Devrim wrote:
marmot wrote:
In Venezuela, for example, obviously there is not socialism, however, there is a real proletarian force in the bolivarian movement, that needs to be pushed towards communism. Obviously, there arent exclusively proletarian forces, but that has been always the case, whether it was in 1917 or 1936. This refusal to engage in the current struggle, because its already "adulerated" by the bourgeosie, makes of the communist left, in general, very irrelevant.

The communist left should be engaged in all workers' struggles on a class terrain. We don't think that the 'Bolivarian movement' is a workers' struggle on a class terrain. We think that it a movement that is being used against the working class. The way that it mobilised support for attacks on the conditions of oil workers is one obvious example.

Devrim

can you show me anything about the oil workers, comrade?

Still, there are going to be always workers that are going to get a negative impact in any struggle. I am sure that in the russian revolution, there were a few workers who had it worse than befoire.

Carousel
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Dec 9 2007 02:41

Programme First! Principles suck. I'm not a Trot, but unite behind tasks, not bureaucratic philosophical procrastination.

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Alf
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Dec 9 2007 07:09

marmot how is your spanish?

article on recent oil workers strikes in Venezuela

http://es.internationalism.org/node/2095

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OliverTwister
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Dec 9 2007 07:36

Marmot: The "russian/october revolution" can mean two things, depending on the speaker: either the activity of the workers' councils, or the counter-revolution of the Russian state led by the bolsheviks. In the first case, although some groups of workers may have been individually worse off, the point is that the revolution was the self-activity of a large part of the working class for communist goals. In the second case I'd say its obvious that the entire worldwide working class lost out.

On the other hand, the "bolivarian revolution" can only be defined as the actions of the Venezuelan state/Chavez/MVR, no matter how many 'grassroots' elements surround them and support them (in some ways its similar to the Chinese GPCR). The fact is that the Venezuelan state (as a collective capitalist) has no choice but to attempt to improve the rate of valorization in Venezuela, including in the oil fields, just as any individual capitalist has no choice but to attempt to improve the rate of valorization in their firm; otherwise they would be replaced by the board of directors, or run out of business.

No matter how much rival bourgeois elements led the oil workers into the strike, the fact is that Chavez and the 'Bolivarian Revolution' used it as an excuse to rationalize the oil fields through 59,000 layoffs (compare this with the fact that he leaves former coup-plotters in power).

As with the GPCR, we can say that no matter how many workers are involved with the 'bolivarian revolution', they are only helping to insure that the capitalists most suited to extracting surplus value end up in charge.

Leo: Many of the former ICC groups, such as the IFICC, do have detailed, material reasons for why they accuse the current ICC of whatever they do. Obviously I'm not in a position to know who's right (I doubt you are either), but you can't write off all criticism by saying that the ICC have written material explanations for their use of 'parasite' and other labels yet no one has written material explanations for their criticism of the ICC.

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Dec 9 2007 08:58

The venezuela article was interesting; im translating it and will post it tomorrow.

Leo
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Dec 9 2007 09:58
Quote:
Leo: Many of the former ICC groups, such as the IFICC, do have detailed, material reasons for why they accuse the current ICC

Yeah, they accuse them with councilism for being involved with the anti-CPE movement, for example and opportunist because they recognize that global warming exists.

Quote:
Obviously I'm not in a position to know who's right (I doubt you are either)

I think I am, I talked a lot about all their splits, and this one specifically also, with them, and I know what happened in detail from first hand knowledge and I made my conclusions.

Quote:
but you can't write off all criticism by saying that the ICC have written material explanations for their use of 'parasite' and other labels yet no one has written material explanations for their criticism of the ICC.

I am not writing of criticism. I am simply saying that people here who call ICC a sect or who say that there is no internal discussion etc. have nothing to back it up at all.

Spikymike
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Dec 9 2007 15:30

Well I think Felix has got it about right in his reflections on the ICC and that the 'impression' that organisation and it's members give to others is certainly 'cultish'.

For the benefit of Leo I will say that whilst I have little knowledge of how the ICC operates internally these days I have had plenty of contact with ICC members and ex members in the past (as well as some in the present) and have followed over many years the publications of both without changing my overal view of that organisation.

The ICC has many strenghs, but it's organisational approach and requirements for theoretical unity and maintenance of a unified 'public' face have done neither itself nor the wider pro revolutionary movement any favours in my opinion.

It is instructive to see how 'Internationalist Perspective' (formally the EFICC) operate to promote public discussion amongst pro revolutionaries so much better, but had to break away from the parent body to do it!

In the 'Rosa Luxemburg' discussion thread and in personal contact, ICC members have made it clear that membership does not require agreement with their published views on her Crisis theories, despite these apparently being at the core of much of what the organisation writes. But where is the debate on this in the ICC, does it exist at all? and if it does, why cannot it be publicly expressed, or do such disagreements have to wait till members leave?

I recall in the distant past internal discussions in the ICC about the British steel workers strikes which were cleary animated but it seems couldn'y possibly be expressed publicly. For the life of me I never understood why not.

There are many other such examples which illustrate the same problem which others here have referred to.

None of this is an argument against the need for pro revolutionary groups to have basic principles and strategies as a basis of membership but that should not stand in the way of individual members being able to publicly express diverse views within such a framework.

Finding the right balance is of course down to practice and experience in the end but the ICC does not set a good example. Unfortunately there are few anarchist groups around which get the balance right either - mostly failing in the opposite way to the ICC.

I have come to accept that in a world where pro revolutionary groups are in such a small minority, the shear struggle to survive means that most groups are defective in one way or another and the best that can be said is that if there can be open and honest debate between them and other non commited individuals, that the overal effect might be beneficial.

Which is where Lib Com (at it's best, when avoiding the uneccesary abuse) demonstrates it's worth.

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Dec 9 2007 20:05

[The first part of the article is a letter from a Brazilian reader, and includes a spanish translation of an extract from an english language article about oil workers strikes from venezuelanalysis.com.]

Dear comrade T,

We salute the sending of your letter, to which we are responding briefly and we will try to speak with you about the situation of the class struggle in Venezuela.

About the struggle of the oil workers

The article that they sent you describes part of what took place in a struggle which, between last september and october, was carried out by the oil workers of the state company PDVSA, the most important in the country, who got rid of some injured workers (one who was pregnant) and as well as some arrested workers. The struggle caused a slowdown for more than 8 months of the discussion over the collective contract that regulates the wages and benefits of the workers. The workers struck and demonstrated in the facilities of PDVSA in the state of Anzoategui, in eastern Venezuela, and Zulia, south of Lake Maracaibo in the west. The company, in a shady deal with the unionsm, who were mostly controlled by pro Chavez tendencies, delayed the discussion of the wage clauses. The workers struggle put pressure on several union leaders, such as those of C-CURA (Autonomous, Revolutionary, Unitary, Classist Current) of the UNT (Unitary Union of Workers), or those of FEDEPETROL (Federation of oil, chemical, and related workers of Venezuela), who were made to "radicalize" against PDVSA and the government, so as not to be unmasked in front of the workers.

In the end, the unions and PDVSA obtained aproval of a miserable wage incrase of 12,000 bolivars/day, which was rejected by the workers, who demanded an increase of 30,000. In this way, the monthly salary of an oil worker reached approximately 1,320,000 Bolivars (equivalent to $610, according to the official exchange rate, and as low as $300, if we use the unofficial exchange rate, which is regulated by defining the real price of various products and services).

So that you have a reference, this salary is equivalent to a bit more than the cost of a basket of basic goods for a family of 5 (as of Oct 2007), which comes to 1 million Bolivars. Even adding the [either treasury bonds, or vouchers] which oil workers receive, they don't make enough to lead a dignified life; already its necessary to add to the low salaries, both the continual increase of the price of goods and the shortages, which according to the Central Bank of Venezuela is 30% with respect to basic products. And the oil workers are some of the best paid in the country!!

Without a doubt, we think this struggle has had a political and moral victory por the oil workers and the venezuelan proletariat as a whole:

-In the first place, the oil workers have gone to bring the struggle back up onto their own class terrain; after having been one of the sectors hit hardest by the bourgeoisie, to being the center of the polarization between chavistas and opponents, who permitted the state to get rid of 20,000 PDVSA employees in 2003 (at least half of whom were workers or employees of low rank), without one note of compensation. This struggle has a major significance in the moments when the Chavistas and opposition give force to the political polarization, through the campaign in favor or against the constitutional reform proposed by Chavez himself. The workers, at least during these mobilizations, have placed themselves in the terrain of their own demands, despite the harassment of the bourgeoisie to place any workers or social struggle in the terrain of the polarization.

-The struggle has made clear [lit. naked] the bourgoies, antiworker character of the Chavez government: equal to that of the preceding governments (to which Chavismo assigns all of the social ills), that of Chavez also responds with repression, teer-gas bombs, lead, and jail against the workers who "dare" to fight for a dignified life.

An important fact: the oil workers of Puerto La Cruz, in the east of the country, some of whom were sympathetic to Chavismo, have denounced the high wages of the "socialist" officials of PDVSA which are more than 50 times the basic monthly salary (much higher than the wages of the industry officials during preceding governments), while they deny raises to the workers which would allow them to cover at least the basic basket [of goods] (the exploitation of their labor power being the primary source of the salaries and kickbacks of the upper state bureaucrats and of the profits of various sectors of the national bourgeoisie; we take this into account).

-These struggles, which were preceded by others last May, which mobilized the oil workers to obtain the reinstatement of more than 1000 workers of the revently nationalized oil companies, whom the "socialist" government of Chavez tried to throw to the street: genuine and important expression of workers' solidarity, in which the families of the affected workers also participated.

-As we've said, the workers found themselves unsatisfied with this agreement. An uneasiness settled in, which could awaken at any moment.

Its important to add that the same reaction of the oil workers is beginning to develop with a certain force in other sectors. The doctors, teachers, and some other sectors of public service workers have started mobilizations for wage demands; they have created assemblies where, apart from demanding wage increases, they have denounced the high level of deterioration of public services. In a recent assembly of doctors in Caracas, who were part of the Health Ministry, they identified themselves as "health proletarians".

Its important to say that those for and against the government have tried to divide and polarize the movement, succeeding in many cases. Moreover the government mobilizes its organizations (bolivarian circles, communal councils, the social ombudsman, and when its necessary, the armed groups) to scare and even physically assault the workers.

Another aspect, no less important, is that almost daily the impoverished masses (mainly sympathizers of the government or with a client relationship to it) express their indignation, protesting the shortage of living, the crime, the lack of services, etc., and ultimately the shortage of products such as milk, sugar, cooking oil, etc. In some cases, they have been repressed. This situation is in contrast to the high officials of the regime (called the "boliburgesia", or bolivarian bourgeoisie), who are strutting their opulence with the most open frankness; they have made massive investments in armements, which before you know it will be unleashed against the proletarians and the impoverished masses; and they've invested important resources from the oil rent into the development of the imperialist policy of the Venezuelan state in the region.

This is the real face of "21st century socialism" promoted by Chavez and lauded by the Left, leftists, and "altermundialistas" [other-worldists, supporters of the WSF], who "slobber" to see their discussions through TeleSur; who as much as the entire bourgeois regime, are sustained by the exploitation of the working masses. The one difference is the "revolutionary" verbal diarrhea, in the hope of confusing the proletarians inside and outside of Venezuela.

About the "reduction" of the working day

The "reduction" of the working day from 8 to 6 hours per day is considered in the consitutional reforms proposed by Chavez, along with other work-related "benefits", such as social security por the workers of the informal economy (which as in the rest of Latin America covers more than 50% of the labor force). These proposals, before seeking a real increase in the workers' quality of life, are the "cock-and-bull story", the big lie, with the hope of obtaining the support of the workers for the official proposal to reform the constitution.

The official ideology has not said how this reduction in the working day will be realized; but it is supposed that the un-worked hours will be utilized for political "formation" (indoctrination) or also in the so-called "socialist emulation" which the Fidelista cuban bourgeoisie invented to exploit the workers by the state, with no pay. Furthermore, one of the objectives of the bourgeoisie (Chavista or not) is to see how to charge taxes on the informal workers; by offering them the benefits of social security (which don't offer any real protection to the workers), the state will have great control over them and will be able to impose taxes on them.

The principal objective of the constitutional reform (charged with a big dose of hypocrisy, like every constitution in the world), is to strengthen the legal framework for greater control of the state over society, more militarization, legally justify the repression of the social movements, and permit the indefinite reelection of Chavez as president of the republic, among other things.

We can not lose sight of the fact that the Chavez government is a bourgeois government, where the necessities and priorities of Capital prevail; in this sense, we can not be gullible (which we do not believe is your case), with respect to the Chavez government's search for the "greatest amount of social happiness", as the reformed text of the constitution puts it. Its precisely this deceitful propaganda that the Chavista movement throws out through their PR campaigns on the internal and international level, so that the workers of Venezuela and other countries will think that in Venezuela there is a real improvement in the living conditions of the workers and the population; this is the big lie sustained at its base by Chavista propaganda.

The capitalist crisis inescapably obligates every bourgeoisie, whether of the Right, the Center, or the Left, to attack the living conditions of the working class. In all of the countries where they have reduced the working day (France, Germany, etc.; including Venezuela, where at the beginning of the '90s they reduced the work day from 44 to 40 hours per week), this measure has not resulted in an improvement of the living conditions of the class; completely to the contrary, the wages and social benefits have worsened, the precarious work has increased.

The intensification of the capitalist crisis will force the working class of Venezuela to fight against the state, as the oil, health, and education workers have done. In this way, positioned on its class terrain, the proletariat will be able to leave the trap of the political polarization which has kept its hands tied, and take part in the struggle of the world proletariat for the construction of real socialism.

Hoping we've responded to your questions,

the ICC.

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EdmontonWobbly
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Dec 9 2007 20:22

Wow, thanks Oliver.

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Steven.
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Dec 9 2007 20:30

yeah that's good shit - if the english could be tidied up that'd be great in the library.

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Alf
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Dec 9 2007 20:38

Oliver, that's excellent, real practical solidarity

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Dec 10 2007 02:54

i'm cleaning up the english and should finish by tomorrow sometime.

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Alf
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Joined: 6-07-05
Dec 10 2007 09:25

By the way magnifico, if you're still following this thread, I think your post was very encouraging and it is probably an experience that is by no means limited to you. People have 'heard' all sorts of things about the ICC, and very often initially encounter us through a wall of prejudice (which is assiduously maintained by all sorts of groups and individuals, but which also has a momentum of its own). We have been working hard on this forum to get through the prejudice and on to the real debates, and while some people are bound to remain hostile I think that we have made a good deal of progress.

Reading spikeymike's post was of course less encouraging. The fact that he is locked in the past was demonstrated very clearly by his reference to the internal ICC debate he 'knew' about' - on the steel strike committees from the beginning of the 80s. And he has basically been saying the same things about us for the last two and a half decades. That doesn't mean that we aren't prepared to respond to what he's saying.

It's true that we have not succeeded well in conveying to the outside the rich internal life of the ICC. I have just returned from a meeting where we were discussing the fact that we have had (and are continuing) a very wide-ranging debate about the question of ethics, human nature, primitive society, psychoanalysis, etc, but have not yet found the best means to present this discussion publicly. We have also been having a very significant discussion about the economic foundations of decadence and the way that capitalism survives in this epoch, and we will certainly be publicly presenting this debate in the period ahead.

I agree that some of the discussions being held by Internationalist Perspective are interesting - as a matter of fact in the recent period they have been discussing some the same questions that we have. But I don't agree with their answer to the problem of theoretical/organisational unity, which is fundamentally the councilist one of dissolving the boundaries between the organisation and the 'movement'. Which brings us back to the original theme of this thread, I think. '

baboon
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Joined: 29-07-05
Dec 11 2007 16:58

A quick, belated response.
magnifico, I certainly took your post positively - a real ray of light compared to the slanderous assertions of saii made and then withdrawn with his "I didn't mean that" in his next post.
I was a member of the ICC for twenty years and during that time the main focus of its work was on discussion and clarification. Everything was directed towards that end. Now, given the depth of the counter-revolution, the ICC had to learn the hard way and there were many important and difficult lessons along the road. Organisation is a discussion in itself and it's an eminently practical question that will inevitably lead to clashes. The point is how the latter is resolved and given the state of the political milieu, including the ICC, it's not surprising that these questions lead to rancour, hurt pride and, plainly, alternative visions of what revolutionary organisation is.
There's reference to the steel strike above and I remember the ICC's discussions and interventions well. Tens of thousands of flying pickets.were on the streets in the Midlands and the North. Discussion was wide open and encouraged but some elements wanted to be runners for the unions - albeit of a rank and file kind. Got no more time, gotta go....