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The communist left and internationalist anarchism

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Battlescarred
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Jul 29 2010 16:25
Leo wrote:
Quote:
Leo "to be fair (which you are probably too biased against the icc to be), "
and then
Leo "meh, i don't really know you,"
So, you know nothing about my attitude towards the ICC and whether or not I am being too biased to be fair.

do you claim to be fair about the icc? seriously?

Yes, seriously ( which is a big word in your vocabulary)

Quote:
Quote:
Are you suggesting I need to take medication?

Not you, Knightrose, - but Leo the Last.

or was he too soft and too non-abusive and fraternal to his future "butchers"? surely, you've got to save him, how dare does he defy you and actually be calm and polite?

Knightrose defy me?!!!? what a crazed and rabid caricature

Quote:
"C’est la canaille !
Eh bien ! j’en suis !"
Singing this uplifting tune I join Bourrinet and MacIntosh.

its funny how you are quite enjoying the rumblings of a sad, seriously disturbed fella. i'm sure you'll be real proud if the poor guy ends up killing himself, because his ego was pandered by the likes of you rather than being told that he actually needs help.

You probably are ignorant of this revolutionary song, by the way. You continue with your ad hominems, your crude psychologisms and character assassinations whilst studiously avoiding the problems, (oh they're so disturbing and cannot be countenanced) that for example, Bourrinet and Macintosh have raised.
MacIver might be right in surmising that you and young Mikhail might be originally from a Stalinist background, with your amalgams and your "distorted quotations" ..
Finally your guilt trip about how I would be responsible for his putative suicide (wishful thinking?) really does take the (Joffe?) cake and is laughable.if it were not so pathetic.
I suppose we need you here to remind us how the the ICC used to behave, although they did it on a far less crude level than you are doing.( although I do remember one of them coming into an ACF meeting and then invading my body space because I didn't want to read a proffered leaflet whilst shouting at me "Read it! Read it!")
And yes the policies of dekulakisation- and don't forget the equally shameful one of Decossackisation, MacIver and involving a far higher level of incipient racialisation- not to mention the assaults on anarchists, Left SRS,Maximalists etc makes me think that there is a grain of truth in his arguments re. biologisation and racialisation.

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Devrim
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Jul 29 2010 16:31
Alf wrote:
This was supposed to be a historical discussion about the communist left and anarchism. There is another thread about the question of parasitism/rackets, where we could approach some of the questions Cassady raises, although as I have tried to argue, I think we need to examine some of the more general and historical issues behind that question if we are to avoid another round of recriminations.

I don't think that it is at all possible to separate them. To just imagine that we can write one article about anarchism, and that members of anarchist organisations who we spent years insulting will just think "well that is OK then" seems to me to be beyond belief. How can we seriously propose to look at the relationship between anarchism and left communism, particularly in the UK without mentioning parasitism when the largest left communist organisation has spent the past however many years referring to one of the two major anarchist organisations as being 'parasitic' and having roots in 'in leftism, the radical wing of the capitalist left'.

At the very least a formal apology is called for, a written piece on our website, notes in bold print at the top of the articles that state this saying we no longer agree with this position*, and a formal written apology to the AF. Then perhaps people would begin to take us seriously in these discussions.

Cassady wrote:
I have to say that this is news to me. With the sole exception of Devrim I have never heard this expressed by anyone in the ICC. I have read members admitting mistakes were made but its never made clear what the mistakes were. Certainly, of late, we have noticed a change of attitude by them in public - there have been no denunciations of us as parasites, for example, at the meetings of the MDC, but the reason for this remains opaque (though welcome). Until they are much more open and specific about their mistakes its difficult to see how progress can be made. For example, was it a mistake to denounce Chenier as a police aqgent: was it a mistake for the central organs to demand a loyalty oath from all members before this declaration was even discussed? Was the denuciation of the CBG as gangsters,bandits,thieves and, eventually, parasites a mistake? I could go on.

Until this is made clearer we can't begin to take the Theory of Parasitism seriously.

To be honest I don't see why anybody should take it seriously. Most of the political positions of the ICC are things shared by it at other communists. The positions on the unions, national liberation and parliamentarianism are things that we can find agreement with with other communist groups. The whole thing about the 'theory of parasitism' is that nobody outside of the ICC and its immediate orbit holds any idea even remotely similar to this one. Now of course, it could be that the ICC is right and that everybody else is wrong on this issue. It could also be that the moon is made of cheese, yet I profoundly doubt it.

Cassady wrote:
I have to say that this is news to me. With the sole exception of Devrim I have never heard this expressed by anyone in the ICC. I have read members admitting mistakes were made but its never made clear what the mistakes were.

My impression is that today the vast majority of members of the ICC still stand by the whole idea of 'parasitism'. I have never heard anybody defend it unreservedly, without meeting that, as you and Ronald Reagan both put it ' mistakes were made', but I think the majority of the membership still takes the idea, unfortunately, much to seriously.

I think that it is something that can possibly change in the future. At least I hope so. That doesn't mean though that we can expect apologies in the immediate future.

Devrim

*I don't think the articles should be taken down. They were documents produced by the ICC, and I don't think that we should rewrite history like that by pretending they never existed. They should stay as a reminder of the dangers of sectarianism.

Cassady
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Jul 29 2010 17:15

I think Devrim has covered my feelings on the matter. Until the matter of parasitism is resolved any such discussion which includes the ICC is inevitably contaminated by the issue.

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Alf
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Jul 29 2010 18:19

To just imagine that we can write one article about anarchism, and that members of anarchist organisations who we spent years insulting will just think "well that is OK then" seems to me to be beyond belief

Who imagined that? It's evident from this thread how difficult the issue is. But is the precondition for holding a discussion in a tolerable atmosphere that the ICC simply renounces its previous positions and begs for forgiveness? That's not what I understand to be a discussion. I don't think it's only the ICC that needs to recognise past mistakes.

Cassady
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Jul 29 2010 18:28

If youre talking about the CBG here I think we have done so over the years. If there is an area of contention then perhaps you should outline it so we can respond. In the meantime how about the ICC,s mistakes?

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888
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Jul 29 2010 18:59
mikail firtinaci wrote:
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Finally, we come to way in which the Bolsheviks saw and constructed their enemies, especially revolutionaries, striking workers, and peasants reduced to starvation. Terms like vermin or lice are indicative of the sub-human status imposed on them. The objective was not the defeat or surrender of these elements, but their extermination or liquidation. The crimes for which these elements were to be murdered was not so much their actions, as their very biological existence. That is why I see a racialization or biologization as an incipient element of the actions of the Bolshevik party-state in the course of the civil wars. The starving peasant transformed into a kulak, the striking workers transformed into lice, the anarchist or left SR designated as vermin

are you serious. That is crazy.

Stupid academics thinking that noticing that people call their enemies animal names is some kind of significant insight. (this is from the black book of communism)

knightrose
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Jul 29 2010 18:55
Quote:
But is the precondition for holding a discussion in a tolerable atmosphere that the ICC simply renounces its previous positions and begs for forgiveness? That's not what I understand to be a discussion. I don't think it's only the ICC that needs to recognise past mistakes.

No, I'd say the precondition is holding comradely discussions in an open and constructive manner. I don't think we, the AF, have anything apologise for (nor would Subversion have either, if it still existed). Definitely more sinned against, I'd say. I look forward to the next article in WR on the subject.

In any event, what positions would the ICC have to renounce? Nothing that is the core of the politics.

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Devrim
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Jul 29 2010 20:23
Alf wrote:
Who imagined that? It's evident from this thread how difficult the issue is. But is the precondition for holding a discussion in a tolerable atmosphere that the ICC simply renounces its previous positions and begs for forgiveness? That's not what I understand to be a discussion.

I don't think it is renouncing any positions. As I understood it WR has already changed its position on the UK AF, so it is not renouncing anything. To apologise for mistakes is not such a terrible thing to do.

Alf wrote:
I don't think it's only the ICC that needs to recognise past mistakes.

It may not be, but then we are not members of other organisations, but of the ICC. Our responsibility is to put our own house in order.

Devrim

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Red Marriott
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Jul 29 2010 21:34

Today, the members of the "ICC" present themselves to the whole world as the victims of our "policy of criticising Bolshevik opportunism towards libertarians" (and persist in demanding their integration/rehabilitation into our milieu). To put an end to all this din, we have made the decision to publicly require of the members of the ICC to attend a Jury of Honour of the proletarian political milieu, which could have all the elements enabling it to come to a conclusion about the cogency of our charges.

Quote:
"the workers' movement always considered Juries of Honour as being a weapon of defence of comminst militants and organisations communist." http://en.internationalism.org/icconline/jury_of_honour_01

"... calling a Court of Honour is part of the tradition of the workers’ move­ment. ... any militant, when he considers that he has been unjustly accused of faults that he has not committed, has the duty and responsibility to defend his honour as a communist militant, by appealing to a revo­lutionary tribunal.

Any militant who refuses to engage in such a public political confrontation can only con­firm the validity of the accusations raised against him."
http://en.internationalism.org/icconline/jury_of_honour_02

The ICC would surely want to be judged by the standards it seeks to apply to others - if not, according to their own comradely logic this would 'only con­firm the validity of the accusations raised against them'.

I call the first witness; (OK, not all at once, wait your turn and form an orderly queue.) Mciver, take the oath...

(Btw, my captcha just now was "hypocritical mollusc" - is this another reference to the Icy Sea?)

soyonstout
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Jul 29 2010 22:23
Battlescarred wrote:
Soyonstout:" I don't know how many of the more class-struggle internationalist anarchists hold the view that communism/anarchism was or could have been possible before capitalism or at any point in history (I would bet fewer than most marxists think ), but this would be the other main point that I (and I think many other marxists) would consider idealistic"
But then Marx himself would be deemed idealist as his now famous letter to Vera Zasulich ( not published until 1924) reveals
Russia is the sole European country where the “agricultural commune” has kept going on a nationwide scale up to the present day. ...Karl Marx, First Draft of Letter To Vera Zasulich (1881)
He went on to say that the need to pass through a capitalist stage was not inevitable outside of Western Europe.

I meant before the appearance of capitalism at all on a global scale, not that every nation on earth would have to become capitalist before any could become communist/socialist. I have heard it complained that Marx's saying that capitalism has created the hitherto non-existent material conditions and social necessity for communism was a justification of capitalist brutality, of the murder of indigenous peoples, etc., and often in the same breaths it is stated that classless society of abundance would have been possible at any point in human history, thus reducing the question of social organization to choices rather than material constraints (in my opinion)--I don't mean to imply that all anarchists do this, but an explanation of the changes in social organization that is not based on the production and reproduction of the material means of life is, to me, less materialist than an explanation based on this. Perhaps we are defining terms differently. There are two issues here--marxism's emphasis on the materially possible certainly has been distorted by ideas like the Maoist 'stagist' theory wherein in the year 2008 a strike-banning party in Nepal is considered progressive because they are 'eliminating feudalism', and even Marx and Engels may have applied this idea somewhat crudely at times, but I don't think the intent was ever to justify capitalism--I don't think Marx and Engels were particularly interested in justifying forms of social organization but rather in how much longer it would be before the one under which they lived became obviously unjustifiable from the perspective of the material well-being of humanity. In fact I think the communist revolution is the only way to get rid of a number of precapitalist relations that still exist today.

Battlescarred wrote:
In fact revolutionary anarchism has been consistently materialist down from its origins. Bakunin was a great admirer of Capital and its economic ideas and Anarchists like Cafiero were some of the first to popularise the ideas contained in Capital. As one anarchist complained after the split in the First International he and his comrades were very familiar with the ideas of Capital whilst some of those who now called themselves Marxists had not even opened the book.

Perhaps we are defining the word 'materialist' differently. Maybe I'm only using it in a very marxist sense, but to me Bakunin in particular, with the focus on inheritance abolition, calling for something like the 'equality of classes' (I know you've probably all read Marx's criticisms) and in particular his identification of authority with religion rather than locating it in economic causes, is to me idealist. I know most anarchists today are way beyond Bakunin, so perhaps it is a moot point, but I don't think Bakunin was a very strict materialist. I know this makes me look like an ass, but I don't know Cafiero (I was an 'anarchist' for only three years, in the USA, and I started out as a Tolstoyan, so I probably missed most of the best of anarchism embarrassed ), and I'm sure there were, especially in Spain, probably a lot of anarchists with much more solidly proletarian politics than Bakunin (if I recall correctly some early Spanish anarchists wrote a eulogy for Paul LaFargue making him an honorary 'anarchist' despite his being in the 'Marx' camp).

But back to the point: is it possible we are defining "materialist" differently? Are marxists using it only to mean "historical materialism"? Does what I've written above about forms of social organization being limited by their capacity to produce and reproduce material means of life strike people as "materialist" or "determinist"? I wonder if the "materialism" of marxists is seen as "economic determinist" or at least "productivist" in some way?

-soyons tout

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888
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Jul 29 2010 23:08

Well Bakunin did write a whole essay about being materialist, God and the State - you should read it to see what you think of his definition of materialism (cutting past the flowery prose and various unrelated but entertaining ramblings).

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Alf
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Jul 29 2010 23:12

http://en.internationalism.org/ir/081_commy_11.html

This article takes up Marx's approach to the Russian question, in particular the letter to Vera Zazulich, and his rejection of a crude 'stages' theory for each and every country.

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Jul 29 2010 23:26

It may not be, but then we are not members of other organisations, but of the ICC. Our responsibility is to put our own house in order.

That's precisely what we are doing with the new articles on anarchism. But I think we also have to call on the anarchists to reassess their own prejudices towards the communist left, and as part of that towards the ICC.

Cassady: when you write "Until the matter of parasitism is resolved any such discussion which includes the ICC is inevitably contaminated by the issue", you seem to be saying in reverse what you mistakenly thought the ICC had said at the first MDF meeting, and which we tried to clarify in a letter to the ex-CBG: ie that agreeing with the theory of parasitism was a precondition for an advance in the discussion. We made it quite clear in the letter that this wasn't the case, that there could not be any preconditions for the discussion. Now you sem to be saying that unless we 'resolve' the parasitism question, there cannot really be any progress in any other area of discussion. I hope this is not what you are saying.

Cassady
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Jul 30 2010 08:16

Alf, you suggested I took part in the communist/anarchist debate - I was referring to that. It seems to me that any debate about the ICC's past dealings with anarchism must refer to your unfortunate "theory of parasitism". As you know the ex-CBG are currently in seperate discussion with you and I hope this will continue.

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Felix Frost
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Aug 1 2010 12:20
soyonstout wrote:
Perhaps we are defining the word 'materialist' differently. Maybe I'm only using it in a very marxist sense, but to me Bakunin in particular, with the focus on inheritance abolition, calling for something like the 'equality of classes' (I know you've probably all read Marx's criticisms) and in particular his identification of authority with religion rather than locating it in economic causes, is to me idealist. I know most anarchists today are way beyond Bakunin, so perhaps it is a moot point, but I don't think Bakunin was a very strict materialist.

I get the impression that you haven't actually read a lot of Bakunin. There is a lot to criticize him for, but here you are making a rather poor job at it. Bakunin is an idealist because he argued for the abolition of inheritance? As opposed to the proper materialist demand of a progressive inheritance tax I assume?

Bakunin's materialism could at times be of the more vulgar type, but his critique of religion is actually among the best of this work.

And to Leo: If you are going to play the game of dismissing your political critics as mentally ill, you should at least go to the trouble to familiarize yourself with the disorders you are trying to diagnose them with. Saying that maciver suffers from "obsessive compulsive personality disorder" because he might have a bit of an unhealthy obsession with the ICC simply makes no sense, and anyone with a basic understanding of psychiatry should know that. As it is, you are just making yourself look ignorant as well as mean-spirited.

soyonstout
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Aug 1 2010 14:53
Felix Frost wrote:
I get the impression that you haven't actually read a lot of Bakunin. There is a lot to criticize him for, but here you are making a rather poor job at it.

I'm probably not doing as well as I could, with the points I've picked. The problem is not that I haven't read much Bakunin, but more that I haven't read much in a long while. Hopefully I'm not criticizing more my own interpretations of Bakunin when I read him (before knowing anything about capitalist social relations at all really) than Bakunin himself.

Still, the call for the immediate abolition of inheritance because
"so long as it exists there will be hereditary economic inequality, not the natural inequality of individuals, but the artificial man inequality of classes ... The task of justice is to establish equality for everyone, inasmuch that equality will depend upon the economic and political organization society - an equality with which everyone is going to begin his life, that everyone, guided by his own nature, will be the product of his own efforts." (Stateless Socialism: Anarchism) belies a misunderstanding of not only the relation of inheritance to property relations, but also the relationship between property relations and the relations of production, and the nature of classes and how make a classless society. That last sentence in particular here seems to be based on a near mutualist conception of socialism as isolated production sans capital with a rule against inheritance to avoid the reappearance of classes, rather than actually destroying the bases upon which things like inheritance exists (atomized economic existence of families based on the private appropriation of the produce of labor) and the things on which those conditions are based. Perhaps idealist doesn't sum it up but there is, in my opinion, a lack of a material understanding of certain ways capitalism functions and an idealistic belief in the power of 'abolishing inheritance.' But I may be reading him wrong, or reading marxist prejudices into him.

-soyons tout

mciver
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Aug 3 2010 17:28

Felix Frost Post 139, Aug 1 2010

Quote:
And to Leo: If you are going to play the game of dismissing your political critics as mentally ill, you should at least go to the trouble to familiarize yourself with the disorders you are trying to diagnose them with. Saying that maciver suffers from "obsessive compulsive personality disorder" because he might have a bit of an unhealthy obsession with the ICC simply makes no sense, and anyone with a basic understanding of psychiatry should know that. As it is, you are just making yourself look ignorant as well as mean-spirited.

Dismissing and denouncing political enemies, not their arguments or ideas, as 'insane', 'mad', 'sad', 'obsessive' or whatever, is not new. After the Great Purges and WW2, Stalinism perfected this punitive approach with learned clinical diagnosis, enforced sectioning and drug 'therapies'.

I would claim that the usage of these techniques of defamation and ridicule is rife in rackets, and that is in itself a symptom of their repressive psychopathology. It's not 'mistakes' or signs of the 'eternal immaturity' alluded by ICC storytellers. The social roots of such usages in groups require specific analysis and research. Substantial work on this has been done in regards to repressive religious sects and cults, like Scientology and the Moonies, but very little in regards to political sects like left communists, Trotskyists, Maoists, etc.

The explanation that fragile little communist offshoots are being constantly exposed to 'the pressures of bourgeois ideology' explains very little. Those who offer these vague reasons for group dysfunction invariably exclude themselves from the diagnosis. There's always a pure core, the guru-managers of the organisation, who not only diagnose destructive and treasonable petty-bourgeois conduct, but impose surgical, no-nonsense solutions in the party spirit. These have included constant denouncing of 'conscious and unconscious agents of the world bourgeoisie', chekist raids and currently new overtures to forgotten brothers in arms. This is a self-serving and instrumental technique of domination, it shows no concern for understanding the real dynamics present, and no honest attempt to meet minds.

The studies of group and family psychodynamics by W Bion, RD Laing, Jules Henry (superb on 'sham'), Michael Briant (Psychotherapy and the 'Plague'), provide useful insights to analyse the psychopathology of political rackets. This is a research that would benefit from inter-disciplinary contributions using value theory, and the valuable historical studies by Michael Seidman. None of this appeared in the superficial treatment by the ICC on their thread Psychonanalysis and the Communist Movement, but then, how could it?

Re Alf's baffling comment:

Quote:
[Felix Frost] is also right to criticise Leo's 'diagnosis' of mciver. This is not an appropriate thing to do, and anyway many of the currently accepted psychological 'disorders' need to be questioned very thoroughly. But even if this made Leo seem "mean-spirited", he is anything but that.

Alf Post 80, Aug 1 2010

http://libcom.org/forums/theory/racketeerism-parasitism-27072010?page=2

On the contrary, it's very 'appropriate', Leo was right-on. That is what one would do in a racket, from the baboonish 'balls' in the Acronyms thread, to the 'sad and mad' prognosis of intern Leo. Age has nothing to do with it, mud-slinging confirms the Bolshevik party spirit. One doesn't know if somebody like Leo is really mean-spirited, or that he has some commendable features. How is one to know, or care, as he's only a virtual image? Alf's unrequested assurances are also peculiar, as are his (and Beltov's) outbursts 'defending' sonny boys Devoration1 and Soyonstous from virtual bullying. Are Alf and Beltov their coaches or chaperons as well?

In regards to a bit of an unhealthy obsession with the ICC, I will agree with you. But this obsession is minor, and transient, in comparison to the subject matter -- 'obsessional' rackets and repressive ideologies that have endured since 1917. I have considered it important to put forward a critical view of these unhealthy traditions and shams, that present themselves as products of a social class and supporters of mankind's self-emancipation. This effort has, unfortunately, an 'obsessional' aspect to it, but I couldn't avoid it as it's hugely complicated and time-consuming. Also, I knew that ad hominems would follow. In the life of rackets, little has changed since 1981.

Your comments on Bakunin and the nature and activities of Marxist parties are interesting and stimulate fresh thinking. For other posts.

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mikail firtinaci
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Aug 2 2010 12:44

Mciver can I ask you;

do you also think anarchists are also rackets? are you here to save our souls from this wretched idea that humanity can be saved through a communist revolution which requires organization of revolutionaries beforehand? Is this idea is a completely bolshevik, evil, satanic-stalinist, leninist idea?

Or left communists and the members of the ICC are more dangerous because there is a synical and secret bolshie inside, waiting to swallow passer bys?

mciver
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Aug 3 2010 12:31

Firtinaci Post 142, Aug 2 2010

Quote:
Mciver can I ask you;

do you also think anarchists are also rackets? are you here to save our souls from this wretched idea that humanity can be saved through a communist revolution which requires organization of revolutionaries beforehand? Is this idea is a completely bolshevik, evil, satanic-stalinist, leninist idea?

Or left communists and the members of the ICC are more dangerous because there is a synical and secret bolshie inside, waiting to swallow passer bys?

'Anarchists' encompasses a huge number of tendencies and beliefs. As an ex-anarchist, you are much better placed to answer your own question.

Political practice is what truly defines a racket, not platforms or positions. The supporting role of ideology can't be ignored however, especially in left communist groups like the ICC. As an aside, 'anarchists' as individuals can hardly be 'rackets', just as individuals who call themselves 'marxists' aren't rackets either. The theory studies political ('revolutionary') collectivities within a false human community, not individuals.

Your circular axioms are incantations without historical substance or logic. The 'requirement' (says who?) that 'revolutionaries organise' before 'the communist revolution' (read transition period, or a period of revolutionary state capitalism) doesn't say for how long. 30 more years? 50, 100? 300? Key, don't you think? But I don't see you demanding your usual 'proofs', you believe any codswallop as long as it comes from your soul saviours.

It's been 35 years now for the ICC, and more than two generations for some Bordiguist rackets. A long vigil into the night, without any slurping echo from the magical womb or gut. Oddly, you are not 'organised', so why don't you practice what you preach? Rejoin, back to the Playstation with Leo.

I like your dark similes. You could write some children's stories, like Struwwelpeter when the waiting gets too boring. Or upstage Leo, wipe out the whole ICT site with a trojan and blame the parasitic attack on the Istituto Onorato Damen. Wicked but fun! If some busybody finds out and accuses you of racketeering, say that it was a mistake due to immaturity. If he gets shirty, well, tell him to piss off, or call him a fucking parasite, or nut. You would be following a well known revolutionary tradition.

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mikail firtinaci
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Aug 3 2010 14:54
Quote:
The 'requirement' (says who?) that 'revolutionaries organise' before 'the communist revolution' (read transition period, or a period of revolutionary state capitalism) doesn't say for how long. 30 more years? 50, 100? 300? Key, don't you think?

1. Period of transition is not state capitalism. That idea that those two are equal remains to be proven.

2. The period of transition -in my perspective- lasts as long as the world revolution continues to be finished - i.e. as long as the proletariat needs to be holding arms against enemy class.

3. There can be no clear answers on how long this process would take. Marxism is not an art of prophecy. There are no guarantees of victory. As Lukacs once said;

Quote:
The unity of theory and practice exists not only in theory but also for practice. We have seen that the proletariat as a class can only conquer and retain a hold on class consciousness and raise itself to the level of its – objectively-given – historic task through conflict and action. It is likewise true that the party and the individual fighter can only really take possession of their theory if they are able to bring this unity into their praxis. The so-called religious faith is nothing more than the certitude that regardless of all temporary defeats and setbacks, the historical process will come to fruition in our deeds and through our deeds.

Here too the opportunists find themselves confronted by the dilemma posed by impotence. They argue that if the Communists foresee ‘defeat’ they must either desist from every form of action or else brand themselves as unscrupulous adventurers, catastrophemongers and terrorists. In their intellectual and moral degradation they are simply incapable of seeing themselves and their action as an aspect of the totality and of the process: the ‘defeat’ as the necessary prelude to victory.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lukacs/works/history/ch02.htm

4. That is why to blame left communists and their insistance on the neccessity of organization for the defeat in Russiais simply opportunism

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mikail firtinaci
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Aug 3 2010 13:56
Quote:
'anarchists' as individuals can hardly be 'rackets', just as individuals who call themselves 'marxists' aren't rackets either.
Quote:

just as professors in the academia. The best radical is the unorganised thus harmless one.

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Felix Frost
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Aug 3 2010 14:36
soyonstout wrote:
Still, the call for the immediate abolition of inheritance because
"so long as it exists there will be hereditary economic inequality, not the natural inequality of individuals, but the artificial man inequality of classes ... The task of justice is to establish equality for everyone, inasmuch that equality will depend upon the economic and political organization society - an equality with which everyone is going to begin his life, that everyone, guided by his own nature, will be the product of his own efforts." (Stateless Socialism: Anarchism) belies a misunderstanding of not only the relation of inheritance to property relations, but also the relationship between property relations and the relations of production, and the nature of classes and how make a classless society. That last sentence in particular here seems to be based on a near mutualist conception of socialism as isolated production sans capital with a rule against inheritance to avoid the reappearance of classes, rather than actually destroying the bases upon which things like inheritance exists (atomized economic existence of families based on the private appropriation of the produce of labor) and the things on which those conditions are based. Perhaps idealist doesn't sum it up but there is, in my opinion, a lack of a material understanding of certain ways capitalism functions and an idealistic belief in the power of 'abolishing inheritance.' But I may be reading him wrong, or reading marxist prejudices into him.

I agree that this isolated quote can be read that way, but Bakunin was a collectivist and didn't advocate mutualism.

Bakunin wrote:
The materialistic. realistic, and collectivist conception of freedom, as opposed to the idealistic, is this: Man becomes conscious of himself and his humanity only in society and only by the collective action of the whole society. He frees himself from the yoke of external nature only by collective and social labor, which alone can transform the earth into an abode favorable to the development of humanity. Without such material emancipation the intellectual and moral emancipation of the individual is impossible. He can emancipate himself from the yoke of his own nature, i.e. subordinate his instincts and the movements of his body to the conscious direction of his mind, the development of which is fostered only by education and training. But education and training are preeminently and exclusively social ... hence the isolated individual cannot possibly become conscious of his freedom.

from Man, Society and Freedom

mciver
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Aug 3 2010 17:32

Firtinaci Post 145 Aug 3 2010

Quote:
Quote:
'anarchists' as individuals can hardly be 'rackets', just as individuals who call themselves 'marxists' aren't rackets either.
Quote:

just as professors in the academia. The best radical is the unorganised thus harmless one.

I don't see the analogy with professors. An individual anarchist or marxist of course can be in a group, and these groups could or not be rackets. But the members are not rackets, just like a witness of Jehova is not the 'Watchtower Society' (in the case of a religious cult). Professors in academia are not rackets either, even if their departments behave like rackets.

A disturbing implication is that 'radicals' should be 'organised' to be 'harmful', regardless if the organisation is a racket. In any case, racket is a concept you reject. But organise for what and how? Just to be 'harmful'? I take it you mean a Bolshevik-left communist outfit. Whoever finds him/herself in such an organisation is already harmed, and will harm others in turn. Ideas of domination have their own forceful logic, and their implementation will be as destructive and deluded as the ideas. This is why the practices of rackets should be exposed and avoided. It may help Individuals trapped in such groupings to get out. But the longer you stay the more difficult it will be to get out.

By 'harmless' I take you to mean 'impotent'. Yet mankind will organise itself as needed when it has to. There is nothing rackets can to to foster or hasten that process, and even less 'enlighten' it when it gets going globally, if this happens. That's why rackets are redundant, they have no role to play, they indeed missed the train at the station.

Sam Moss's points, already on various threads, remain valid, in my opinion they should be read with the Camatte/Collu text on Organisation.

http://libcom.org/library/impotence-of-revolutionary-group-international-council-correspondence-moss

http://libcom.org/library/on-organisation-jacques-camatte

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888
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Aug 3 2010 18:52

Why are people going on about abolishing inheritance (a very minor part of Bakunin's program) when Marx advocated all sorts of nonsensical reforms?

Camatte is just throwing a tantrum in the futile "On Organisation", all his negative experiences about organisation become universal truths. I can see why McIver would like that text.

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Aug 4 2010 11:16
mciver wrote:
Dismissing and denouncing political enemies, not their arguments or ideas, as 'insane', 'mad', 'sad', 'obsessive' or whatever, is not new. After the Great Purges and WW2, Stalinism perfected this punitive approach...

Indeed it is not new at all. One young member of the ICC loses it and starts calling people names, which in my opinion is well out of order. However, in mitigation, maybe he was under the impression that it was an acceptable way to talk about politics here when analogies like this are used about the ICC:

Ingram wrote:
A stark naked man is running wildly down the street. In each hand he carries a kitchen knife. As he runs he is cursing everyone he sees while simultaneously slashing at his own body with the knives. Some cuts are but shallow flesh wounds but the further down the street he gets the deeper the slashes get, drawing more and more blood

At first passers-by merely avoid him, just another crazy guy on the street. But some recognise him. Some realise he is a former acquaintance. Some recognise him as a relative. The shout at him, remonstrate with him, try to persuade him to stop hurting himself His response is to shout at them, to cut them too with his knives, raving all the time that they are his enemies.

In self defence, and with compassion in their hearts at this clearly demented, mentally disturbed person, they attempt to prevent him injuring himself and them. This is immediately denounced by the lunatic as a conspiracy against him. How else, he raves, can one explain the convergence of what he believes to be the unwarranted attacks on his sacred person. That their actions are triggered by his insane behaviour just doesn’t occur to him.

And why should it? For, demented as he is, he is sublimely unaware that he is deranged. To him, his ravings are perfectly sensible, the slashes merely necessary surgery to remove alien growths on his body, the evil daemons who inhabit his body. The passers by must be tools of the government, or alien beings conspiring against him. And as such they must be destroyed!

Everybody on here knows that it is considered OK to call or imply that the ICC 'mental' and that it goes on all the time. I think the most recent example was something a few days ago,(August 2nd):

Quote:
This is paranoia masquerading as a political analysis and is one of the many reasons people consider the ICC to be a cult.

In fact little comments like this are so-common that nobody even notices them anymore.

Yet one person it the ICC say that somebody else is mental and all manner of criticism emerges, funny that.

Devrim

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Devrim
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Aug 4 2010 11:19
888 wrote:
Why are people going on about abolishing inheritance (a very minor part of Bakunin's program) when Marx advocated all sorts of nonsensical reforms?

Yes, I agree with this.

888 wrote:
Camatte is just throwing a tantrum in the futile "On Organisation", all his negative experiences about organisation become universal truths.

This too, I think the whole thing is just another theorticisation of name calling.

Devrim

mciver
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Aug 4 2010 13:56

888 Post 148 Aug 3 2010

Quote:
Camatte is just throwing a tantrum in the futile "On Organisation", all his negative experiences about organisation become universal truths. I can see why McIver would like that text.

And I can see why you would 'dislike' that text, as you identify with the IWW. You have expressed another dislike, Bordiga.

But this doesn't take us very far, dislikes and likes. It's more interesting and productive to develop why, and put your case forward. Perhaps you have in Libcom, but I haven't found the relevant posts.

Re Camatte, if you dislike Bordiga, you would tend to see with suspicion anybody who based a substantial part of his social critiques on Bordiga, as Camatte did. To say that Camatte was throwing a tantrum doesn't refute anything, as Camatte's views on the sterility of vanguard organisations are developed seriously over many texts. Agree, his 'negative' views about organisation would tend to support a hypothesis with universal application. Nevertheless, don't ignore that Camatte was dealing specifically with gangs/rackets in the Bordiguist left communist tradition.

Your own 'positive experiences' with organisations could be made to have universal truth and application as well. It's up to you to present alternative views about organisations. Why they are created and represent, what functions and successes they have, why they degenerate and disappear, etc. But you could also reject, for now, identifying universal underlying trends, and accept only isolated experiences and facts. That's valid too.

My interest in Bordiga is limited, I don't share Camatte's early enthusiasm. Perhaps it's because of Bordiga's totalitarian party views. His lifelong and passionate adulation of Lenin was cultish and misplaced. However, Bordiga's critical speech at the Sixth Enlarged Executive Meeting of the Communist International in March 1926 is worth reading today, even if his criticisms were reformist absurdities, pure ideology by then. The counter-revolution had triumphed long before, but the party/state reformists refused to accept this. Their loyalty was to the party-state form, when what really mattered was to abandon and denounce that corrupt and murderous movement. As Rühle put it, Red Fascism.

Of course that's not all of Bordiga, his insights on what communism was (as opposed to Stalinism), for example, were a contribution at the time.

Incidentally, there's a rumour that Bordiga welcomed the landings of Allied forces in Italy in 1943-44, in a radio interview. Insofar as I know, there was an inconclusive investigation of this maybe even a 'Jury of Honour'? Perhaps the left communist Zentrales could report on this, which may have been a little peppery dish cooked by Bordiga's rivals in the ICP, or by Stalinists. But we know the ICC is quite capable of similar fabrications, ie Chénier 'the state agent'.

Onorato Damen makes incisive points against the Bordiga cult in his Centralised Party, Yes -- Centralism over the Party, No! http://www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2010-03-17/centralised-party-yes-centralism-over-the-party-no

Nevertheless, in spite of his accurate insights, Damen was also an apologist of Bolshevism, as is the ICT, so another cult there, not to mention the infestation of Bordiguist replicants in Italy mostly. These splits can't be explained as the outcome of the attempt to suppress internal debate in the shape of so-called 'organic centralism'. They are inherent to Leninist gangs and will re-occur endlessly. The pretended points of divergence are always trite doctrinal issues, or inanities about 'idealism versus materialism or dialectics'. None address a main issue: how is it that they have been irrelevant to the 'class struggle' that supposedly produced them, for more than two generations?

Critical individuals and reviews like Debord, Camatte, Adorno/Horkheimer, Dauvé, Théorie Communiste, Postone, Pike, Perlman, Temps Critiques, the Dupont brothers, etc, have attempted to explain aspects of current reality without recourse to Leninist mythologies. None have the total truth, that's a given impossibility. Yet it would be absurd to suggest that they all suffered or suffer from 'tantrums'.

Devrim's This too, I think the whole thing is just another theorticisation of name calling. is a repeat of his anti-intellectual, reductionist quip. This isn't 888's point, who, in spite of his unfounded remark about 'tantrums', asserts that Camatte is making a wrong generalisation from his negative experiences. This is a valid remark in my opinion. But Devrim, like most ICC apologists, resort to pseudo-psychological fantasies: the critics of rackets are traumatised and enjoy name-calling. His associates go further: madness, egomania. These are hypocritical code words for the old 'parasite' and 'probable agents of the world bourgeoisie'. But this is to be expected from apparatchiks.

The hint could already be here: 'don't call my group a racket and I won't call you a parasite'. But the exchange wouldn't work as it's not about same with same.

To start with, 'parasites', according to the Theses, owe their objective existence to the host.'Parasite' means oppositionist, ex-member, groups and individuals who share something (unpleasantly) with the main organism and who should be virulently exposed and resisted. The retort that 'parasite' is merely a derogatory term for critics and 'others' outside the legitimate movement, has foundation. Even more so as Ingram, McIver and others have proven that the claims were based on lies and defamations.

But 'racket'? In this case there's no objective existence in the sense of being 'a real social product of the international working class'. Those links with class have been liquidated, the period has changed and the claims of 'belonging' to a class are therefore sectarian and ideological. This circular delusion is totalitarian, as 'group mentality' must replace and dominate any personal interpretation of revealed truths. However, the preservation of the group without objective basis in society becomes unbearably stressful. Survival is essential to generate the indispensable correct consciousness, the fate of mankind depends on this. To carry this out without the test of social practice is undoubtedly a huge burden. It's made even more difficult by the 'parasites' that infest and ambush the organisation, at best weak links who couldn't resist the permanent pressures of bourgeois ideology. At worst, agents provocateurs and spies.

The loss of mature, individualised functions of mind brings about the psychotic state of a 'collective mind', where there is no moral sense or mature judgement (all is only good or bad). These insights are based on W Bion and RD Hinshelwood.

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Devrim
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Aug 4 2010 13:31
mciver wrote:
The hint could already be here: 'don't call my group a racket and I won't call you a parasite'. But the exchange wouldn't work as it's not about same with same.

I think that everybody who posts here regularly is aware that I don't call people parasites, and I am pretty sure that I have ever done so in my life. It is not in any way about an 'exchange'. For me it is important to start by behaving in a comradely fashion. It is not important if others don't, it doesn't mean that we should try any less.

mciver wrote:
But Devrim, like most ICC apologists, resort to pseudo-psychological fantasies: the critics of rackets are traumatised and enjoy name-calling.

Actually, I don't think that is what I said at all. What I said was that many people who went through the experience of being in the ICC of that period were 'traumatised' by it. This includes people who are still members today.

I don't think that to say this is 'psycho-babble. There are lots of traumatic events in life, death, divorce...etc. I don't think to say people are effected by them is a 'pseudo-psychological fantasy'.

As for people 'enjoying' name calling, I don't think I used that word, and I don't imply that people do 'enjoy' it.

mciver wrote:
His associates go further: madness, egomania. These are hypocritical code words for the old 'parasite' and 'probable agents of the world bourgeoisie'.

I don't see where the plural comes in here. I think one person said it, and others in the ICC actually expressed disagreement with that line of argument.

Devrim

mciver
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Aug 4 2010 16:04

That is true Devrim, you have not referred to anybody as parasite in your posts. I regret if I gave that impression.

To reduce criticisms of your organisation to trauma (or a theorisation of name-calling re Camatte, sorry not enjoying this, you're right) is ambivalent, as it avoids their substance. It could imply that traumatised individuals have clouded judgement, or that for some irrational reason Camatte wanted to insult the ICP.

Naturally, this could be true, but it's quite subjective and impossible to establish. That's why it's better to deal with the factual information and avoid the pyscho-babble as you say. But irreconcilable areas would soon be reached, regardless, because the presuppositions aren't shared.

It's not possible to have a 'comradely' tone with individuals who belong to a group that burgled and stole my private belongings, and not content with that, attempted to physically attack my companion, and me, the second time. She would have been outnumbered by a troop of amateur chekists. I will only say that, had your apparat been able to touch one hair on her head, it would have gone down that night. Lights out. A 'historical event' for a 'historical figure', to use Alf's grandiose language. We wouldn't be having these exchanges now, which would be a good thing.

To the apparat, the issue was 'the defence of the organisation'. The defence of our physical integrity was the issue for us. There was nothing to negotiate. Symbolically, those events revealed the underlying nature of such rackets, their true as opposed to their fictitious standing, their might-makes-right vision of power.

Up North, another couple with two young children were 'visited' as well, to recover internal bulletins. The mother opened the door with the youngest in her arms, ignoring that it was the wolf (or Baboon) at the door. No surprise, the apparat's property was returned immediately. Hurrah, another blow for 'the defence of the organisation' against dangerous parasites.

None of this is invented. Neither did Ingram invent anything. The Aberdeen members also had children, they did what they had to do. First things first. But the apparat did fabricate slanders and tendentious accounts. For years it also concealed the sordid details of the 'direct action'. The interpretation of the events of 1981-2004 is the difference.

I can't comment on the traumas of current ICC members who were in the organisation then. In the sense that victimisers can become victims, perhaps, but how, do they have insomnia, tics (not ticks-- parasites!!)? I can't see why you mention this, except perhaps as a way of saying 'we all did wrong'? Well, that's not true, the oppositionists didn't want to intimidate the ICC and didn't fabricate slanders. They never retaliated, they fell apart, which was Chirik's intention, not the pretended 'recovery of ICC material'.

Leo's posts on my mental state aren't a personal flaw or mistakes, they come from a culture specific to Leninist macho cults. There was no 'plural' in the ICC 'disagreement' here, no 'others', c'mon, apart from Alf's patronising comment about how inappropriate this was, and how Leo wasn't really like that (?), who else? You didn't register disagreement then. The principle of looking after 'our own' prevails, a little 'disagreement' is allowed, like a conductor notices a note out of tune. Not 'appropriate', try again, and leave Wikipedia alone.

Angelus Novus
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Aug 4 2010 16:51
mciver wrote:
Incidentally, there's a rumour that Bordiga welcomed the landings of Allied forces in Italy in 1943-44, in a radio interview.

I think it's so cute how left-communists consider something like this to be scandalous.

Honestly, if I had lived in an Axis country or an Axis-occupied country, I would have welcomed the Allies with open arms. If I had lived in an Allied country, I would have sought out the next enlistment station.

Principles are okay, I guess, but sometimes the real world just sort imposes itself, ya know?