A discussion about the current crisis/crises in the ICC AWAY from their forums seems necessary.
One of many reasons for this is that free discussion is currently being stifled there. As some may have notice posts disappear and re-appear over weeks and months and the only explanation users of the forums are given is the "spam filter". Not sure how long this has been taking place, i.e. how long the "spam filter" has been turned on to these "settings".
In the interests of fairness we should give the ICC a chance to explain itself. But in my editorial opinion this "spam filter" is a boat load of bullshit. It can be anticipated how the ICC will respond to this–they will blame actual spam, which happens on their site like every other forum on the internet, from time to time, or they will blame hostile elements whose intention is not fair discussion but solely to attack and demean the ICC.
Given the ICC's behavior over the last 5-10 years they have fair grounds for doing so. But the idea that the ICC is "fostering a culture of debate" on their web forums is a load of crap. When ICC comrades intervene on the site 9/10 times it's for the purpose of defending ICC positions and bludgeoning us with repetitive, robotic lines from their literature. The minority opinions are rarely granted serious consideration, which seems to be a ongoing trend in the organization.
The truth about the ICC forums is that they never had the full support of the organization. And obviously they've never come close to the full participation of the organization. We have to wonder, especially after the Turkish ex-sections statement, which elements of the ICC support the usage of the open internet for discussion and organizational purposes and which don't.
It seems safe to assume the "conservative" tendency doesn't want the forums. Doesn't seem like much of a stretch to say the expansionist/"opportunist" elements have attempted to use it a recruitment tool.
Beyond the obvious irony of the situation, it also seems quite ironic that the majority of the most committed users of the ICC forums are NOT ICC members. Yet despite all this the forums are being masqueraded around the web as the "public face" of the ICC. This couldn't be further from the truth. This is why I'm begging users on that forum to stop contributing to it.
The reason why ties in to major issues that affect the whole milieu. The ICC is dangerously dissimulating itself as the only hope for left communists, and even for the whole working class. If that's the case we are so utterly and entirely fucked that it's no wonder people have started calling themselves "nihilist communists".
It's incredibly disturbing that when talking with the ICC if you point out the age of most of the comrades in the organization–you are a generationalist. If you point out they are almost exclusively European and male, you are a racist and a sexist, even though it is the ICC platform that denounces everything but patriarchy. Coincidence or causality?
The ICC's behavior and propaganda is leading to atrocious attitudes like these:
Personally, I think some of the criticisms are overblown...
The departure of the ICC's Turkish section...doesn't matter much. I get the feeling that they never really belonged as a section...the biggest problem they had was that of language...The "serious problems" brought up yet again...revolved yet again around "the woman" whoever she is and what ever she did or didn't do.
I do not see any reason to discussion with people who do not follow basic rules of comradely discussion...the ICC should not be a Good Samaritan. If these people did not want to discuss...the ICC just need to say goodbye...
If ICC is in trouble so is the working class.
The ICC and the ICT are all we have as class conscious workers.
I've always found a bit of kiss ass always makes everybody feel better!
In the past, the ICC has always reported on its internal crises.
What is extremely worrisome is the attitude towards ICC in this time of crisis. Some people show outright hostility and even joy with the sight of crisis in the ICCs. Some are treating the ICC as if it is an old dog that should be put to sleep. Many don't seem to even care. These reactions are just expressions of a pure anti-social petty bourgeois nihilism.
...The ICC...is the healthiest and most important internationally centralized communist organization...I think defending the ICC is very much a moral responsibility. Communists have to defend the ICC in any capacity they can. Can ICC succeed in its goals?...I think these are only secondary questions and perhaps even insignificant ones. We need to be a bit Hegelian on this point, because in some historical struggles only by entering the fight we can develop healthy guesses on the outcome of the struggle.
Mikail seems to have taken Link's advice to heart. He also is not an ICC militant.
Why the sniping at and dissing of the ICC’s attempts to understand and deepen issues of ethics and morality?
Because this "morality" is clearly being used to defend a conservative and monolithic organization.
I just wanted to express my support for the uncompromising and lucid posts by mikhail and KT...
I support the very positive position of Mikail above and other such positive posts.
This lack of respect and
This lack of respect and consideration for minority positions (very distinct from "wrong positions"), the tendency towards circular discussion, and +1'ing of other ICC militants has to be fought back. Maybe left communists wouldn't be in such the minority today had these principles been respected at certain points in history.
Your attitude is disturbing.
Your attitude is disturbing. ICCs internal documents have been leaked. Publicly making available a revolutionary organization's secret documents is a police method for every sane female or male, young or old, European or Asian person. If you don't think that ICC is a revolutionary organization it is fine. But for people like me who see it as an organization that belongs to communist left tradition supporting ICC is a duty.
Mikail you're out of sync.
Mikail you're out of sync. The ICC is out of sync. You both almost insist on wasting time with polemics. That's what's disturbing. You blindly defend the conservative ICC, not too unlike Bukharin defending the rising Stalinist bureaucracy.
Official ICC Statement via Alf
Out of sync with the workers–where they are politically, psychologically and why. The magical ability of the working class to become class conscious is overestimated in the ICC literature, and in the literature of other organizations painted to be so much different from the ICC. The theoretical justification for why the workers are out of sync with the ICC and left communism is vast. Stalinism, economism, leftism, etc. But when looking for answers about why the ICC has such minimally effective “interventions”, suddenly, “We’re not prophets”. “We don’t have all the answers”, etc.
Concerning the issue of “putting an old dog to death”, I think that communist organizations have to be disposable. Because in a communist society, committees and councils will have to follow the same guidelines. Delegates, etc. should be fully recallable. This is because history has shown us over and over that permanent political organizations are poles of conservatism and counter-revolution.
We have to ask ourselves if a society of freely associated producers and a centralized society are reconcilable concepts. If we are building organizations which we will use to fight for communism and possibly win the revolution, they need to reflect the society we aim to build. I’m starting to wonder if the rigid centralism of the ICC is the way to go. Experience has shown us it does not foster debate or help cultivate new militants. In situations like the set of crises the ICC has faced over the last 5-10 years all it does is defend the organization at whatever the cost, almost at the sacrifice of principles critical to building a communist society.
If people can’t learn to be more empathetic towards each others positions when working together towards a common goal, why do we assume communist society will work? It’s a process that’s immediate and ongoing.
We don’t “consider” ourselves part of the communist left, we are part of it. The very usefulness of terms and labels like “left communist” is in their constructivism. Therefore our positions should be heard and respected. For us to be villainized as “bizarre”, “deserters”, “anti-social petty-bourgeois nihilists”, “part of a bourgeois campaign to destroy revolutionary organizations” is absolutely ridiculous and vile. We don’t reject a whole group of comrades based on age or any other demographic, but if their positions and by extension their organizations become monolithic, conservative, and quixotic, we should reject these positions.
It is the ICC, the ICT and many other groups on the communist left which are displaying the most obvious signs of “sickness”. The amount of polemics is high, mental health and morale is low. They are impervious to criticism. They insist on how open they’ve been. But everyone not in daily contact inside the organization has been utterly confused about the internal crises of the ICC (other orgs, too) and its so called “period of internal reflection” for LITERALLY years. Six in my case. There is no effective means of communication with the center from the outside of the organization.
How else are we supposed to proceed jk1921? It’s not that we think the ICC cannot fulfill any positive function anymore, which incidentally we don't think it can. It’s the question of how long has it been since it has? Has it ever? When it has, what where those times like and how can we apply this knowledge today? The ICC has proven itself to be a major obstacle in this investigation. In fact, it is the major obstacle with all it’s baggage and dead weight.
Now I can’t speak for everyone else, the Turkish ex-section especially, but I’m beginning to believe this reflects a crisis of organization and a failure of centralism more than anything else.
I hear what you are saying
I hear what you are saying Jamal and I for one think it is encouraging that someone who has remained close to the ICC and one of the tiny handful of people who have participated in the english language forum of the ICC you are at least asking some of the right questions, though you wouldn't of course be the first. However as someone who has never been a member of the ICC but also an old a '68er' associated with one of the much earlier of many splits in the ICC, I'm afraid I am marked out as one of 'the enemy' despite recognising that the organisation, or at least some of it's (ex) members, has still managed to make some useful contributions to discussions including on this site for instance. My formal organisational commitments are long past but I remain at least a critical sympathiser with some elements emmerging from the left communist tradition such as the ICT, Mouvement Communiste and Internationalist Perspective. However I think there is a long and difficult path ahead before any degree of healthy unity among genuine communists can be achieved and this will depend as much on objective changes in the crisis of capitalism and class struggle as on the subjective efforts of the existing or newly emmerging communist minorities with some existing organisations inevitably falling by the wayside in the process. If it happens at all it will need people to re-examine and draw strength from a wider range of experiences in the class struggle both past and current outside of the narrow ideological frameworks that have sustained past minority groups with their roots in past events.
And now I'm taking a break from all this for a bit.
Quite frankly the ICC is not
Quite frankly the ICC is not open to discussion according to all the available evidence. If they want to have secret internal discussions to decide positions and then announce them then they are welcome to do so. It's a bit of a cheap shot to publicise those bulletins but quite honestly it's hard to see how it harms the organisation, it's a bit strange to insist that they welcome discussion and then keep those discussions secret even though the aim of them is to produce positions that will be published.
Mikhail just seems to be a controversialist at this point.
What are you guys referring
What are you guys referring to about the publishing of internal documents? I take it this happened recently? Either way jef costello makes a good point.
The ICC is one step away from implying communist theory comes from and belongs to individuals or tiny groups, rather than the whole class or even the class struggle itself.
I'm posting this here in
I'm posting this here in addition to replying on the ICC forums directly because the ICC and most of its supporters only seem comfortable debating at home base. I'd invite them to participate here. It may not be neutral ground, libcom is a charged environment, but there are no other open forums for left communist discussion on the web.
Demogorgon, I know for a fact the "spam filter" is filtering political posts and would be happy to expose this fact if you really want to take it there.
I deleted my own posts and requested the deletion of all my posts and my account in protest to it being used by the ICC. Having never actually been in the ICC, I'm in a unique position of not being able to leave it and write a statement called "Why I left the ICC."
And also now I'm schizophrenic. Fred, don't let your mouth write "cheques" your ass can't deposit. Stop with the potshots and address the issues. Obviously, libcom sucks, you know this, I've stated before I hate using it for so many different reasons. But at least they are allowing and not censoring posts from people who disagree with the ICC.
I have always had doubts about the ICC. As if you haven't!
Why do you make it sound like some sinister plot? Ana, Joe, Jerry, Jan, Eduardo, Lars, Colin, Leo, etc, etc. (almost none of whom participate in these discussions) all knew this. When have I ever hidden my disagreements on these forums, in public meetings, during integration discussions, or anywhere else?
What I didn't always have was the strong theorertical foundation. Once I gained this and started voicing my criticisms with real potency, I also started gaining an understanding of how I was manipulated by elements and individuals within the ICC as they tried to bring me into the organization, and the disposed of when the organinzation had a change of course. The statement from the Turkish ex-comrades made this crystal clear. I've been talking to the Turkish comrades since before the document was released. I'm not an ICC, I have no obligation to abide by it's statutes. I never agreeed with them, in fact I disagreed with them. What's the problem with my orientation?
If I had to guess I'd say it was the "expansionists" who financed my trips and brought me in to discussion with the ICC, and it was the "conservatives" who sent me IR 29, 33, and the statutes, and then severed ties when there were serious disagreements with those documents on my part.
The fact my integration with the ICC fell apart after well over a year of discussion (and homework to prepare) should have told you something.
The false dichotomy of whether I'm an "authentic" communist or not is troubling and makes me extremely angry and upset. Jk1921 has made essentially the same implication in his post above. Why is it that every young comrade, or every comrade who disagrees with the ICC on specific issues, is suddenly non-authentic? But Link and Mikail who rush to assert their committment and respect for the ICC in between every fleeting moment of space in the discussion are somehow more "authentic"?
Jamal Rayyan wrote: What are
This is what mikail is referring to. What GIGC did was clearly wrong, however the way this article was put out didn't help the ICC in anyway.
No open forums for left com
No open forums for left com discussion? What about worldsocialism.org/SPGB/forum? Or revleft.com even in the groups section?
As for secret discussion papers, the only thing that should be secret is people's identities not discussion.
jondwhite wrote: As for
In Turkey almost every week police is raiding houses of individuals who belong to tiny and small leftist groups. I feel like in western Europe/North America people might have forgotten that police and state are real and hence revolutionary activity is really challenging them. So, a revolutionary group has every right to keep secret whatever it deem it necessary to keep secret. Honestly, I can't believe I am even trying to explain that.
Jamal Rayyan wrote: But Link
Yes I rush. As I rush -for example- to the defense of anacho-syndicalist comrades who are imprisoned in Serbia by whatever means I can, because I consider anarchist syndicalists as genuine internationalist revolutionaries even though I disagree with them on several points. Similarly I feel it my comradely duty to rush to the defense of the ICC -by word or by other means- if I think it is under attack.
In my world view secretly acquiring and publishing a revolutionary organization's internal documents is a counter-revolutionary activity, just as imprisoning revolutionaries is.
I studied in several states' archives and I read publicly accessible police surveillance records on revolutionaries. I read FBI, Scotland Yard, and Okhrana documents. Nobody should fool themselves about police. The police do care and is very much interested in the tiniest and miniscule revolutionary group. This is in fact their job.
Today of course there is something unprecedented. I doubt the police attitude has changed at all but people in the radical left milieu seem to believe that they are actually politically irrelevant so police has nothing to do with it. This cynical attitude is utterly false. When the world war broke out in 1914 only few radicals took an internationalist anti-war stance around the world. Few of them were known by the public and even in the left many ridiculed those internationalists. Police did not. One should only look at the Okhrana police files to see how they devoted special attention to internationalist radicals. Their world view was perverted. The Russian police considered internationalists as German agents, as traitors to the nation. This may look stupid but the police had a point. The radicals like the bolsheviks aimed to subvert the Russian army from within during the war. Were they effective? Not at all! Internationalist bolsheviks were probably even smaller than the ICC! But for the state bolsheviks were -together with the anarchists- the most dangerous political tendency.
Also political groups have
Also political groups have every right to have a internal culture of discussion, all anarchist groups do it, it's not something that only happens in left communist organisations.
I might be missing something
I might be missing something but since when is it out of line for a membership based organization to have internal discussion?
This is just bizarre -
This is just bizarre - organisations go through shit patches, people fall out, names get called - how is opening this up for the consumption of typically non-aligned readers of Libcom going to steady the ship? It's like the Jeremy Kyle show.
Juan Conatz wrote: I might be
When they claim to represent all left communists and the whole working class, yet critical supporters and even close sympathizers are relegated to sidelined roles and intentionally kept in the dark for years and years and year.
If the ICC actually represents all left communists and all workers as it claims, any one worker with genuine intentions that is in agreement with their platform should be allowed to participate.
I fully agree with jef costello and echo his words:
What is a "right" to internal
What is a "right" to internal discussion? Who enforces this "right"? Clearly if police raids are taking place, there is no "right" to internal discussion. I don't support police raids but why should I respect a "right" to internal discussion of a group I am not a member of? No, revolutionary groups do not have the "right" to keep secret "whatever they deem necessary". The revolution is too important to have secret cliques debating policy behind closed doors with the working-class denied the opportunity to participate.
Libcom is as good a place as any to expose the secret cliques claiming to represent the people it denies the opportunity to participate in policy discussion.
Mikail and others–according
Mikail and others–according to our comrade and friend Demogorgon if we are scared of police repression we should stop being communists. Do you or others agree?
Also, I don't understand why the ICC has an unquestionable right to internal discussion and bulletins yet I have to go long lengths to explain why I don't want my old posts on their site anymore?
Jamal Rayyan - what gives you
Jamal Rayyan - what gives you the right to put people like Mikhail on trial on here? As I said earlier, this is not the place, and whether you are right in your convictions about the state of the ICC or not, punching it out on here means fuck all in the grand scheme of things.
Where is the time and place
Where is the time and place then, plasmatelly? Not that you have a right to determine that for all left communists–I'm just curious.
Quote: Also, I don't
I understand your reasoning as outlined on the ICC thread (i.e., you don't want others to see old posts and think they reflect your current position wrt the ICC).
But deleting all of your posts is not a reasonable request. It would remove a large number of posts from a large number of thread, making these threads very difficult to follow. This can already be seen in the ICC thread that spawned this one, where a number of your posts simply read "redacted."
The bottom line is that a good deal of the content we create online (and in print, for that matter) escapes our control. To believe otherwise is a fundamental misunderstanding of the web and the way data is used in this day and age.
Actually the "right" to have
Actually the "right" to have your posts deleted is one "right" that is actually legally enforceable. Unlike the supposed "right" to keep secret internal discussion or not to be raided by police.
Jamal Rayyan wrote: Where is
It's an internal problem, sort it internally. If your organisation's members can't sort there problems out without resorting to tearing strips out of its members in public then you need to give up the ghost. But as I said, organisations are forever in some state of turmoil, those who really want things to work find a way. If you want to look more nuts than you deserve, then by all means carry on.
plasmatelly wrote: It's an
They are obviously in internal turmoil. I don't think thatJamal is a member of their organisation though. They tend not to publicly attack members of their own organisation. They wait until they are outside the organisation until they turn them be on on them. I presume the next candidates will be the former Tufkish section, and perhaps myself.
schalken wrote: It would
That would be the goal.
That was my doing, for the record.
Another discussion for another time.
Devrim wrote: I don't think
I wanted to be from 2009-2013ish. Was in integration discussions for over a year. But my understanding is the "conservative" tendency did not want young "opportunists" who were critical of the concept of decomposition becoming members of the organization.
They want to pass the torch–just not to us.
hi there jamal. schalken
hi there jamal.
i'm a mod on another site and schalken is right here. threads belong (so to speak) to everyone who posts in them and deleting posts can only be done if the rest of the thread isn't made into gibberish. it's inconsiderate of the other posters and the effort they put in to respond. if an entire thread is removed, the other posters need to (or ought to) be notified. all of this adds to the time spent by the mods.
i think you were rudely treated by their presumptuous delay in deciding on your membership, which would leave anyone frustrated, and i don't agree either with their decomposition idea. but they think it's fundamental, so it seems a legitimate test. still, your concern about internal disagreement was shared by at least one member i know.
Yeah, not deleting everything
Yeah, not deleting everything someone posted is standard forum practice. It makes reading past threads difficult and it can be a burden on the moderators/admin.
I still don't understand the attitude that a political organization is obligated to have its discussion open to the public. I can't imagine there have been many on this planet that have done so, regardless of their aspirations in representing a tendency or not.
Juan you guys have to let
Juan you guys have to let this strawman go. There is no outright rejection of internal discussions.
That's not what I'm saying, I don't think that's what Devrim is saying. I don't think that's what PBJ is saying.
As people have pointed out in other threads, these "internal discussions" in the ICC have been known to go on for two, three, five, ten years. Meanwhile people move on from the organization, "leave it", then they are accused of not having enough "patience", and then attacked for "deserting" the working class.
A very simplistic view
A very simplistic view offered by Jamal above. Communists, anybody in the workers' movement are essentially discussing the same things all the time. I'm not a member of the ICC but from what I've read of Jamal I'm not at all surprised that he couldn't agree with them on organisation. I have no knowledge of any of the details of his discussions but on organisation he seems a world apart from the ICC. Most of the people that I know that have left the ICC because discussion has been "stifled" have left because the majority of the organisation wouldn't back their positions.
If I don't see Jamal as a member of the ICC then why it integrated Devrim, and why he went along with it, is a mystery to me. As soon as he joined the ICC he seemed to me to disagree with many of its fundamental positions.
Jamal Rayyan wrote: As
Your attitude is really ugly. ICC never blamed you for "deserting" it. Only I wrote something about the importance of not deserting rev. org.s, when they are in crisis - and I meant that as a general comradely-moral principle. I never blamed you for deserting the ICC, and I did not refer to any specific event.
Second, your "criticism" of icc for having internal debates taking years is just senseless and meaningless. Debates can take years. So what? Russian Social Democratic Party debated its internal differences from 1902 to 1917. Meanwhile they participated in two of the most significant revolutions in the 20th century.
Marxist vs Bakuninist divide continued from 1872 until 1876. And this fracture gave birth to the two main currents of the workers movement. In the Second International revinisonism debate started in 1899 and continued, evolved and finally resolved only in 1914 with the collapse of the international. Some of the best marxist theoretical analyses (Rosa Luxemburg's "Mass Strike", Pannekoek's texts on "Mass Action") were advanced in the revisionism debates. In my view the problem with the whole controversy was not that it took "too long" but that it was not deep and widely participated enough. Anti-intellectualist currents especially those around union bureaucrats and SDP party officials, those activists who cared more about "action now" instead of the "ultimate goal", gradually became bored of the debate and left it to the "irrelevant" intellectuals like Luxemburg, Kautsky, Pannekoek, etc.
So yes ICC debates a lot. Good for them, because it is a sign of health and vitality.
A valid link to the issues
A valid link to the issues affecting revolutionary elements:http://en.internationalism.org/icconline/201504/12486/statement-solidarity-ict.
Link on ICC forums wrote: I
Link on ICC forums
Couldn't be further from the truth. The forums are filled with eveything from supporters, to sympathizers, to critics. A role call or short browsing on the site clearly demonstrates the lack of ICC militants actually making a contribution there.
In my opinion, it should be relabeled "ICC Supporters Forums" or something similar.[/quote]
The ICC has weighed in on
The ICC has weighed in on some of these issues in an official capacity:
I am expecting the basic
I am expecting the basic positions of PBJ to be out very soon, and I'm hoping Pale Blue Jadal will break through the framework it has been characterized under by the ICC, represented in the article from IR 109.
I think it's a mistake to think that PBJ are just another "tendency" which the ICC can use to simply add another few bulletin points to the aforementioned article.
In my opinion, this is the wrong position to take by the ICC. I would recommend from a theoretical perspective to stop this trajectory now, stop trying to to hurl PBJ into one dusty drawer labeled "petite-bourgeois" and "discontent-ist" before you've even seen their platform.
Otherwise, whatever comrades are left in the ICC at that time will have to continue writing more material on the question of organizational functioning within the ICC. This may not be a bad thing.
Devrim or Leo or whoever else are not Chenier, nor are the rest of the Turkish comrades, who I think will finally deliver to the ICC the substantive criticisms it asks for in the IR 109 article. Nor is the Turkish ex-section the Spanish section of 87-88 mentioned in the IR 109 article. There are also serious problems with the comparison of the ICC to the IWA and the RDSLP, true organs of the working class, which I think oddly-or-not tie right into the points about "delusions" the ICC accuses breakaway groups of forming in the article.
There's a lot more to say about this--inlcuding but not limited to the failing of other left communist orgs, like the ICT--but I hope to find a more progressive place to discuss with left communists, reflect and write at soon.
Harking back to the debate in
Harking back to the debate in the beginning of this thread over death rates and general declines in health, etc.
PS - The ICC still sucks
PS - The ICC still sucks