Is LibCom being couped by the Internationalist Communist Tendency?

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Noah Fence's picture
Noah Fence
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Dec 14 2018 14:30

Slothjabber wrote

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Socialists are not lone prophets wandering the streets shouting out doctrines,

Speak for yourself comrade.

Dyjbas
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Dec 14 2018 15:29
Reddebrek wrote:
Dyjbas wrote:
Reddebrek, so you don't have any examples, because the Worker Communist Parties in Iran and Iraq are not left communist.

See case in point, you use the term Left Communism in the same way SPEW use Socialism, a narrow sectarian tool unique to yourselves. No True Scotsman elevated to a political principle.

No it's not. The Worker Communist Parties in Iran and Iraq do not even identify themselves with the left communist tradition. You're the first person I've heard call them that.

That current came out of people who broke with MLism around the 80s/90s. Nowadays they seem to have some connection to Third Camp Trotskyism.

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WithDefiance
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Dec 14 2018 16:35
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2. It's not ridiculous to ask whether ICT politics belong here, it's ridiculous to say the ICT publishing articles here is equivalent to some kind of takeover/coup. See comment #4.

This discussion is getting a bit out of hand. Yes I've asked if there was somekind of "takeover". That is not redicoulous when the blog-section is being spammed day after day with only articles of the ICT. I doubt it would be appreciated if the SolFed, the CNT or whatever other organisationwould post all of their articles at the blog. That is why I brought this up. That is not ridiculous, but leading from a clear fact. I recon the ICT has their own website. So if people are interested in reading all of their articles, they will find that one. Just like it goes for other organisations. That is to say, the criticism is more on the behaviour then the content.

I personally cannot find myself in the language and the sometimes workerist positions that are being put forward by them. Yes I'm a class-war anarchist, and I'm all for organisation but I'm certainly critical of their idea of a party with a small p. Indeed as one other comrade mentioned there have been anarchists using the term vanguard, and even party. I don't mind that, its more what the content of the concept also has. And this is where the flags are raised for me when we talk about some of the stuff of the ICT. Yes, I see some large similarities, and LibCom is not a homogeneous space. That is also why I didn't want to make this a debate about whether they should be allowed to post here. When we are talking about content though, I think it should be clear that LibCom is against parliamentarianism, substitionionism (the party = the proletariat, talking on behalf of the proletariat etc.) and authoritarianism, and when things are being posted that go against those principles, that should be able to be discussed and criticized. Not by rediculizing each other, but with respect. There is already enough flaming bullshit around at the net.

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There is no ICT affiliate in the Netherlands or Belgium. You may be confusing it with some other group?

As for the ICT in the Netherlands and Belgium, I mixed them up. They are called Internationale Communistische Stroming which the English brand is called International Communist Current (ICC) how could I mix them up?! surprised smile (http://nl.internationalism.org/)

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Serge Forward
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Dec 14 2018 17:33

Very spurious. Never heard of any of the Worker-communist parties being left communist, nor the Communist Party of Iran/Komalah either. It's all getting a bit silly this is.

Mike Harman
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Dec 14 2018 18:48
Dyjbas wrote:
No it's not. The Worker Communist Parties in Iran and Iraq do not even identify themselves with the left communist tradition. You're the first person I've heard call them that.

Not a regular reader of 'communist voice' then? https://www.communistvoice.org/37cWCPI.html

I'm less interested in whether the WCP/Hekmatists are left communist (I don't think they claim that for themselves, but the 'worker communism' thing definitely prompted the ICC and others to take a close look at them a while back, even if they decided after all that they weren't in the proletarian camp). More interested in whether you're still claiming that left communism only reached the UK in the 1970s though, because that's a completely bizarre claim.

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Reddebrek
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Dec 14 2018 19:30
Dyjbas wrote:

No it's not. The Worker Communist Parties in Iran and Iraq do not even identify themselves with the left communist tradition. You're the first person I've heard call them that.

So a party formed by a man influenced by Operaismo, which came out of the Italian Left, doesn't count because they don't use the right label? You know the Trotskyists in Spain originally called themselves the Left Communists of Spain before splitting into POUM and the Bolshevik Leninists.

I don't think self identification alone is particularly useful in politics.

Bob Gould who met with members of the Iraqi party describes them as Council Communists. https://www.marxists.org/archive/gould/2004/20040120.htm

The ICC's criticism of them also talks about "exposing" them as not really organisations of proletarian resistance. If these parties really are so obviously not up to measure it wouldn't need to bother.

http://en.internationalism.org/wr/293_wpiran.html

It also states that at least one of the groups is interested in workers councils.

Quote:
That current came out of people who broke with MLism around the 80s/90s. Nowadays they seem to have some connection to Third Camp Trotskyism.

Not really no, their calls for a Third Camp are about opposition from foreign interventions and Islamic fundamentalists, somehow I don't think that was what Trotskyist parties in the 1930s had in mind when they called for a Third Camp. The only place I've seen them referred to as Trotskyists is on Wikipedia with a [citation needed] stamp.

As far as I'm aware the American DSA has also called for a third camp, I'm fairly certain they don't mean the same thing as either the Trots or the Worker Communists.

Dyjbas
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Dec 14 2018 20:11
Mike Harman wrote:
Not a regular reader of 'communist voice' then? https://www.communistvoice.org/37cWCPI.html

No? I don't particularly care for anti-revisionist ML rags like the Communist Voice? If that's where you take your understanding of the communist left from then I'm not surprised it's so skewered.

Mike Harman wrote:
More interested in whether you're still claiming that left communism only reached the UK in the 1970s though, because that's a completely bizarre claim.

Don't know why you're so obsessed with that quote. We have a whole pamphlet on Sylvia Pankhurst. No one's denying the existence of a communist left in Britian in the early 1920s. But we come from a slightly different current which only really arrived in the UK in the 1970s.

Reddebrek wrote:
So a party formed by a man influenced by Operaismo, which came out of the Italian Left, doesn't count because they don't use the right label?

Operaismo did not come out of the Italian Left.

Reddebrek wrote:
Not really no, their calls for a Third Camp are about opposition from foreign interventions and Islamic fundamentalists, somehow I don't think that was what Trotskyist parties in the 1930s had in mind when they called for a Third Camp. The only place I've seen them referred to as Trotskyists is on Wikipedia with a [citation needed] stamp.

They collaborate with the AWL, a third campist group. Take it as you will.

Mike Harman
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Dec 14 2018 20:26
Dyjbas wrote:
Don't know why you're so obsessed with that quote. We have a whole pamphlet on Sylvia Pankhurst.

You also link to the WCP Hekmatist from your website, but this apparently is not an endorsement. Although it does say that links are included based on "evaluat[ion] of their congruence with the themes of this site".

I'm not sure why I'd be 'obsessed' with your previous extremely restrictive and ahistorical definition of left communism in a published article on your site and resposted here, on a thread where you're expounding a very restrictive and ahistorical definition of left communism in the context of your blog posts on this site. Why post stuff up if you don't expect people to read it?

Dyjbas wrote:
No one's denying the existence of a communist left in Britian in the early 1920s.

CWO/ICT wrote:
In the 1970s the ideas of the communist left first came to the UK.

Me wrote:
Why ignore that history and the later APCF?

21C wrote:
If I'm reading it correctly, I believe by 'communist left' they mean specifically the intellectual tradition emerging out of the Italian Fraction of the PCd'I

Dyjbas wrote:
Regarding your nitpick comment on when the ideas of the communist left first came to the UK, 21C has already addressed this above

Looks like denial to me, or perhaps erasure, since we're being all precise with our words and all.

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jura
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Dec 14 2018 20:48
Reddebrek wrote:
So a party formed by a man influenced by Operaismo, which came out of the Italian Left, doesn't count because they don't use the right label?

Operaismo "came out of the Italian Left" in the same sense that Eurocommunism came out of the Italian Left. They both have little to do with the communist left around Bordiga et al.

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jura
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Dec 14 2018 21:08

BTW, in the writings of Mansoor Hekmat that are online, neither Bordiga, Damen, Korsch nor Mattick are mentioned, not even once. Neither the KAPD nor the PCInt. Pannekoek gets a single mention in a list that includes Trotskyism and Eurocommunism. "Left communism" is mentioned once, critically:

Quote:
From the viewpoint of worker-communism, one cannot deal with the Soviet experience with the same laxity as that done by the 'radical' critics of the Bolshevik revolution within Left Communism, the New Left, etc.

Whatever "Left Communism" means here, Hekmat does not seem to have been too fond of it.

I think it's safe to say there's no important relation between the communist left and the Hekmatists. Some of their positions may be similar but then, the positions of some anarchosyndicalists were close to the Dutch-German communist left, but we still distinguish between the two (and historically, they themselves were pretty adamant about making that distinction, for good reasons or bad).

Dyjbas
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Dec 14 2018 21:57
Mike Harman wrote:
You also link to the WCP Hekmatist from your website, but this apparently is not an endorsement. Although it does say that links are included based on "evaluat[ion] of their congruence with the themes of this site".

Ehh yes it's just under "Other interesting political websites"?? They're not left communist.

Mike Harman wrote:
Looks like denial to me, or perhaps erasure, since we're being all precise with our words and all.

Mike, what is your point exactly?

Mike Harman
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Dec 14 2018 23:04
Dyjbas wrote:
Mike, what is your point exactly?

That you put forward an ahistorical definition of 'left communism' which only includes the Italian fraction of the communist left and their direct ideological/organisational descendants, and excludes the groups actually discussed in 'left wing communism, an infantile disorder'. To the point of ignoring over a decade of anti-parliamentary communist organising in the UK in order to assign the sole incarnation of that tendency to your sect (and maybe the ones it split from/split from it).

Dyjbas
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Dec 15 2018 20:27

Cool. Though you're well aware now that in fact we've previously written about all the groups discussed in Left-Wing Communism: an Infantile Disorder. That includes the Workers’ Socialist Federation. However the initial reference point for the groups of the communist left which sprung up in Britain in the 1970s (i.e. World Revolution, Revolutionary Perspectives and Workers' Voice) was generally the KAPD and the German Left (the CWO's turn towards the Italian Left came about a bit later) - rather than Pankhurst et al.

You're really grasping at straws here.

Also, just saw this:

Mike Harman wrote:
We have critical intros on most/all Radek stuff because he was one of the founders of National Bolshevism, but it's a bit weird having to critical intro a blog post and it looks a lot more 'official' than things in the library which is obviously archival. Will bring this up with the other admins.

I can relieve you then, because we do include critical introductions on all these translations. Indeed they even mention Radek's descent into national-bolshevism.

"The irony is that for all the bitter opposition of Radek and others put up to the signing of Brest-Litovsk within a few months they would be accepting that it had been a necessary step and, even later, both Radek and Bukharin came to defend one or other aspect of the counter-revolution they so feared in the spring of 1918. In Radek’s case he would stoop to defending national-bolshevism (and an alliance with the Nazis) in the so-called Schlageter Line in 1923. His career is in itself a salutary lesson for would-be revolutionaries today."

Mike Harman
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Dec 15 2018 23:40
Dyjbas wrote:
Cool. Though you're well aware now that in fact we've previously written about all the groups discussed in Left-Wing Communism: an Infantile Disorder. That includes the Workers’ Socialist Federation. However the initial reference point for the groups of the communist left which sprung up in Britain in the 1970s (i.e. World Revolution, Revolutionary Perspectives and Workers' Voice) was generally the KAPD and the German Left (the CWO's turn towards the Italian Left came about a bit later) - rather than Pankhurst et al.

You're really grasping at straws here.

Writing about a group and having an extremely restrictive definition of something that excludes that group aren't mutually exclusive though.

Dyjbas
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Dec 16 2018 00:07

Except the article does call Pankhurst a left communist. So I don't quite understand what you're still on about.

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Dec 20 2018 18:08

Iranian left communist group 'Internationalist Voice' have published a series of critical articles on "Worker Communism", 'Worker Communism, radical conscience of the left of capital':

http://internationalist.ueuo.com/en/texts.htm

Anarcho
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Dec 20 2018 19:21

In-so-far as "left-communists" support party dictatorship and a host of other non-libertarian positions, the fact they are allowed to post here at all seems like a joke in-and-of-itself.

As well as posting the likes of Bordiga (whose disasterous leadership of the CP helped ensure the victory of fascism), we are also being subject to hagiographic accounts of Marx and Engels activities and ideas.

I'm all in favour of council communists and other Marxists who had some notion of what genuine liberty and communism means posting here, but would-be Bolsheviks... well, not so much. Let them utilise their own resources to punt their nonsense rather than be parasitic on the anarchist movement.

slothjabber
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Dec 20 2018 20:03

Except as you know because we've been discussing it for ten years the Left Communists who post here don't believe in 'party dictatorships'... so that isn't a problem, is it?

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Dec 20 2018 20:14
Anarcho wrote:
In-so-far as "left-communists" support party dictatorship and a host of other non-libertarian positions, the fact they are allowed to post here at all seems like a joke in-and-of-itself.

Only a few left communists support party dictatorship. For most that I've come across, they support the rule of the workers' councils.

Anarcho wrote:
Bordiga (whose disasterous leadership of the CP helped ensure the victory of fascism)

Meanwhile "anti-fascist" anarchists jumped into bed with Stalin, and supported the war effort of Allied imperialism during WW2...

Bilan, journal of Italian communist left in exile in Belgium/France wrote:
"In Italy, it was a government containing the representatives of democratic antifascism who stepped aside for a ministry led by the fascists, who thus gained a majority in this antifascist and democratic parliament even though the fascists had only had a parliamentary group of 40 out of 500 deputies. In Germany, it was the antifascist Von Schleicher who stepped aside for Hitler, who had been called in by that other antifascist Hindenburg, the chosen man of the democratic and social democratic forces."

Prometeo, 1943 wrote:
"How to crush Nazism? To overthrow the war machine that oppresses the German proletariat, do not call on the aid of another war machine (Anglo-Saxon or Russian) but sow among the ranks of the German troops the seeds of fraternisation, antimilitarism and the class struggle"

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Dec 20 2018 23:00

If the post remains, then the message from a libcom blog post to the majority of workers in Iran under capitalist society is you cannot develop socialist consciousness and are incapable of doing so as a precursor to revolution. This is fundamentally vanguardist and a rejection of the basic libertarian communist case that a majority of workers can attain socialist consciousness before a revolution even if it has never happened before.

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Jan 8 2019 16:16
ajjohnstone wrote:
I'm happy to call many non-SPGBers comrades- ----even if they deign not to recognise that we are the parliamentary wing of anarchism wink ----- had to get that in somewhere

Why are you trying to make the SPGB considered "the parliamentary wing of anarchism"? Are you serious about that or is that supposed to be a joke?

I think ocelot made an excellent post explaining why the SPGB doesn't meet the criteria to be considered a libertarian communist organisation. You are obviously familiar with it, although I don't think you ever made a proper response.

ajjohnstone
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Jan 8 2019 23:49

I think you will find, Agent, that I did offer a reply even though you may disagree that it did not address your concerns

Yes I do indulge in some provocative word-play based on the relationship between the IRA and the Sinn Fein, deliberately aimed at those who do not consider there exists a link between ourselves and many of this forum because of our version of political action.

However, I do consider the SPGB a libertarian organization, perhaps more so than many past and present platformist anarchist groups. I think there may well be others who are active on this forum who accept that a comradely relationship exists between us

I have repeatedly explained that I consider that there is a broader grouping described as the Thin Red Line, those who share agreed goals but who may differ on their tactical choice of route particularly focused on the practical conditions we face in the UK as do many others on this discussion list. And of course as obvious from the thread we hold different interpretations of history.

I am guilty of advocating that we acknowledge but reconcile our differences to form a more effective party with a small p and have in the past received criticism from my own party members and those that share their same intransigence on Libcom regard the fetish of "parliamentary" action and "anti-parliamentarianism".

However if you feel we do not "meet the criteria" of a libertarian communist organisation I think you should contact admin and make formal protests at our participation and of course all other posters who fail to meet your requirements. Then of course do a cull of the archives and sympathetic references to all other non-libertarian communist writers and groups on the archive. After all that is the type of sectarianism is where this could lead towards.

ajjohnstone
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Jan 9 2019 01:22

My own attitude to political and economic action is a bit like the SLP'S sword and shield, the roles interchangeable depending on events and circumstances.

I also share Connolly's criticism of the IWW deletion of the political clause in that nothing will stop members of the working class using the ballot when they see fit.

It is the political maturity of our class which will determine if it is used constructively, just as the political immaturity showed itself when the Kiel workers council naively offered its chairmanship to the future butcher Noske who was intent on dismantling such councils.

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Jan 9 2019 14:25
ajjohnstone wrote:
I think you will find, Agent, that I did offer a reply even though you may disagree that it did not address your concerns

I'm not going to re read that entire thread. From what I can recall from memory, after ocelot's post, you proceeded to respond to other posters.

ajjohnstone wrote:
However, I do consider the SPGB a libertarian organization, perhaps more so than many past and present platformist anarchist groups. I think there may well be others who are active on this forum who accept that a comradely relationship exists between us

I don't really doubt that the SPGB is probably more libertarian than many anarchist groups or individuals. That's kinda meaningless. What I take issue with is when groups such as the Libertarian Socialist Caucus of the DSA e.g. having such broad and watered down politics, so much so that it's undeserving of being placed in the tradition of libertarian socialism.

ajjohnstone wrote:
I am guilty of advocating that we acknowledge but reconcile our differences to form a more effective party with a small p and have in the past received criticism from my own party members and those that share their same intransigence on Libcom regard the fetish of "parliamentary" action and "anti-parliamentarianism".

However if you feel we do not "meet the criteria" of a libertarian communist organisation I think you should contact admin and make formal protests at our participation and of course all other posters who fail to meet your requirements. Then of course do a cull of the archives and sympathetic references to all other non-libertarian communist writers and groups on the archive. After all that is the type of sectarianism is where this could lead towards.

There really is no need to be upset by this at all. Nor does it mean that libertarian and non libertarian socialists can't be on friendly terms. It's just that when somebody calls themselves a 'libertarian socialist', I expect something more than it just being a fancy label. And judging groups or individuals to a certain criteria is something we all do already. That the SPGB isn't a libertarian organisation isn't really a controversial opinion among posters of this forum.

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Mar 4 2019 12:21

This is another anti libertarian communist piece that should not be on here
https://libcom.org/blog/founding-comintern-then-now-03032019

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darren p
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Mar 4 2019 15:47
jondwhite wrote:
This is another anti libertarian communist piece that should not be on here
https://libcom.org/blog/founding-comintern-then-now-03032019

Frankly it's bizarre that you think you should have a say what should or should not be on this website. Especially since you belong to an organisation that is not of the libertarian tradition and itself has a strong history of being against non platforming.

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Mar 6 2019 10:50

Yeah I just want to say that I'm heartily in favor of all the stuff that is currently available on libcom.org, so people can learn about, make their mind up and discuss those things (different texts/currents/strategies/etc.) with others who come from a shared, but really roughly defined "libcom" position. Clearly people with quite different interpretations can get behind that term but they don't all necessarily support the specific limits that others draw around it.

Or in other words: I think those limits (libcom city limits?) should be drawn as wide as is reasonable, and include the whole body of disagreements instead of drawing them to exclude some of it.

ajjohnstone
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Mar 6 2019 11:10

spacious, as Mao said
"Let a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend"

People on Libcom will pick what resonates best with them.
Admin, will I am sure, make certain there is no abuse of privilege

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Mar 7 2019 13:51
ajjohnstone wrote:
spacious, as Mao said
"Let a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend"

People on Libcom will pick what resonates best with them.
Admin, will I am sure, make certain there is no abuse of privilege

ok I guess wink

As we used to say in the Khmer Rouge: "We have a line, a strategy and a tactic; each of them almost more correct than the others".

Anarcho
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May 2 2019 18:55
darren p wrote:
jondwhite wrote:
This is another anti libertarian communist piece that should not be on here
https://libcom.org/blog/founding-comintern-then-now-03032019

Frankly it's bizarre that you think you should have a say what should or should not be on this website. Especially since you belong to an organisation that is not of the libertarian tradition and itself has a strong history of being against non platforming.

I think its bizarre that the ICT and other anti-libertarians post here -- that article was not only inaccurate (as regards actual libertarians like Bakunin) but was also pro-Bolshevik. I'm not sure how praising the leaders of a state-capitalist party dictatorship which had already used troops against protesting workers is remotely libertarian -- or acceptable.

No one is arguing that the ICT should be non-platformed but that they should not be provided with resources which should be used to promote libertarian ideas -- rather than non-libertarian and non-communist ones.