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The ICC - 'dreadful'?

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alibadani
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Mar 21 2006 10:17
The ICC - 'dreadful'?
Serge Forward wrote:
The ICC quote:

“Its role is neither to ‘organise the working class’ nor to ‘take power’ in its name, but to participate actively in the movement towards the unification of struggles, towards workers taking control of them for themselves, and at the same time to draw out the revolutionary political goals of the proletariat’s combat.”

is actually a very sound one. However, as an organisation, they are a trully dreadful group to have any dealings with.

So you've tried to deal with the ICC and found the organisation dreadful to have any dealings with. Please explain, in some detail.

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Serge Forward
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Mar 21 2006 10:01
alibadani wrote:
So you've tried to deal with the ICC and found the organisation dreadful to have any dealings with. Please explain, in some detail.

A major problem when having dealings with certain left-communists/communist left/councillists/etc, etc is not always their arguments (which I more often than not find myself at least partly in agreement with) but their tendency to be so bloody-minded, pedantic, obsessive, nit-picky and boring. The ICC and their 'supporters' offer the prime example of this.

Years ago, the ICC used to 'intervene' at ACF public meetings. Now, call us naive, but there you are. We tolerated this out of some sense of fraternity but unfortunately, the ICC behaved like total arseholes on every occasion.

At every opportunity they would try to dominate discussions and divert whatever the topic of the meeting was about into their own obsessive ICC agenda. The result was that members of the public, who were new to anarchist communism, were being completely alienated by the ICC's antics. So we told the ICC that they were no longer welcome... And we were probably denounced somewhere in the pages of World Revolution for that. But who gives a shit.

On a personal level (which the ICC hate), one of their supporters once continually harangued me in an alternative bookshop. I advised him to stop this as I'd only had three hours sleep the night before and was feeling 'tired and emotional' so couldn't be arsed talking to him. But being a member of the main ICC mentalist fraction, he completely ignored this and continued to wind me up with some serious AF-baiting until finally, I came very close to twatting the shitbag and we were both thrown out of the shop. It's not just one individual either. I'm sorry to say, that most people with any ICC connections seem to behave in more or less the same way.

Why is this? I'm fucked if I know. The KAPD and AAU were, for a time at least, mass organisations. And they surely couldn't have achieved this by being arsey like the ICC. So why is the ICC like some inverted King Midas where everything it touches turns to shit??? Is it really about personalities (that they see as totally irrelevent) or is it something deeper?

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Mar 21 2006 10:28

Answering my own question after giving it a bit more thought. I don't think it's about the ICC's ideas - which have some good and duff bits. It could be partly due to the members but mainly it's because the behave just like a religious cult. Honestly, after any kind of discussion with the ICC, you feel as if you've just met the moonies/scientologists/jehovas Witnesses.

Their arguments, some of which are not unsound, are held up as holy truths and anybody who doesn't accept these truths in the same way as them is somehow unworthy, an infidel.

Many on the so-called 'ultra left' tend to behave (in varying degrees) in this sort of fashion unfortunately. Now it's all very well to have sound ideas, and... to be right, but at the same time, you have to engage with other members of the working class. And for this, you also need to have a degree of tolerance and a willingness to learn from the experience of others.

Say this to the ICC however, and they'd look at you like you're from another planet.

Steve
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Mar 21 2006 10:33
Serge Forward wrote:
look at you like you're from another planet.

I thought they were from another planet tongue

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Steven.
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Mar 21 2006 10:35

Yeah I'd have to agree. I mean a lot of their ideas are very good and sensible, but in person on the couple of occasions I have witnessed their "interventions" they're just complete tossers, who attempt to destroy and useful discussion or conversation trying to push their own bizarre agenda it looks like they decided on before arriving at any meeting, then push on everyone regardless of its actual relevance to anything happening.

Very cult-like and strange.

That said on here, on the net it's much harder to disrupt things (especially when admins can split + bin threads) so I don't really mind them being around, and they contribute some interesting points, I've grown quite fond of some of them even.

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Mar 21 2006 11:19

I can remember discussing the weirder elements of the political fringe with a (lapsed) member of Class War a few years ago.

He asked me to consider how workers in an office, factory or shop would react to someone who started to behave on the shopfloor the way members of the Sparts or ICC behave at political meetings and events.

Most people would react by either walking away, telling a few home truths to the oddball, or in some cases using more direct methods to remove them.

I strongly suspect that groups like the ICC get a far more polite reception here on Libcom, or around the political fringe generally, than they ever would in any pub or workplace in my part of London.

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Mar 21 2006 11:23
PaulMarsh wrote:
I strongly suspect that groups like the ICC get a far more polite reception here on Libcom, or around the political fringe generally, than they ever would in any pub or workplace in my part of London.

Oh totally. I'm sure they couldn't act like that in real life though... could they? I mean they must have friends and stuff outside the fringes of the communist left no? In which case why don't they try to act around other politicos the way they do around their friends/co-workers? confused

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Mar 21 2006 11:34
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
Maybe the act the way they do precisely because they have no friends outside the communist left?

I think this is very probably the case. I see them as more of a cult than a political group, tbh.

BB
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Mar 21 2006 11:44
PaulMarsh wrote:
the way members of the Sparts or ICC behave at political meetings and events.

Don't get me started on the sparts, although i've ranted about them on here before, anychance to have a dig.

Ah the romans...

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Mar 21 2006 13:28
Serge Forward wrote:
Many on the so-called 'ultra left' tend to behave (in varying degrees) in this sort of fashion unfortunately. Now it's all very well to have sound ideas, and... to be right, but at the same time, you have to engage with other members of the working class. And for this, you also need to have a degree of tolerance and a willingness to learn from the experience of others.

Its rather obvious to me but because 'ultra left' politics are based on espousing purist positions that see almost everyone else as an agent of capital in one way or the other they don't lend at all to a 'degree of tolerance and a willingness to learn from the experience of others'. The politics simply don't intersect the experiences of your average worker in struggle, in fact rightly or wrongly they tend to piss on what that person is actually doing. Over time that would tend to build up the sort of methods of intervention on both the personal and political level that you describe.

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Mar 21 2006 13:32
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
They're going to flip when they see this thread!

I bet they've seen it, and won't post as individuals, instead they'll go off and plan a collective response (I wouldn't be surprised if they have something written on the matter alread, cos it must've come up before) - which will probably be posted by Beltov.

(Or at least would've been if I hadn't just predicted it wink)

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Mar 21 2006 13:35

Or maybe this whole ICC-is-a-crazy-cult fable is a variant of the much wider bourgeois ideological campaign which tells us that anyone who not only still has hopes for communism, but even forms an organisation to fight for it, must be mad?

We don’t deny that we make mistakes in our interventions, that we have sometimes been heavy-handed, etc. But is that really the issue? Did the AF, or No War But the Class War, ban us because of the way we said things or because of what we were saying? Was it because they do in fact profoundly object to our political positions despite claiming that ‘some of what we say is quite interesting’? However nicely and patiently we explain that a lot of anarchists actually support bourgeois positions like national liberation, anti-fascism or trade unionism, some of them still get enraged about it, and want us to go away and stop pointing out that they are not as radical as they say they are.

Naturally, the endless personal attacks are deeply insulting to the comrades of the ICC, who are nothing like the zombies that some people claim they are. But the attacks serve a deeper political purpose and it is at that level we will answer them, although we don’t want to get too drawn in to this particular thread.

Those who have the courage of their convictions should test them out in practice. Instead of boycotting our public meetings, come and meet us and talk to us and judge for yourselves whether we really are crazy. There are not many other places where you can regularly discuss communist politics in the flesh.

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Mar 21 2006 13:40
Alf wrote:
this whole ICC-is-a-crazy-cult fable is a variant of the much wider bourgeois ideological campaign

grin Yes dear.

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Mar 21 2006 14:28

The general concensus of this thread seems to be that the ICC are assholes.

Well, so far, I have not seen these "assholes" respond in kind to the outrageous venom that has been thrown against them by certain participants. More importantly, this vitriol is quite clearly a substitute for any political response to the ICC's positions whatsoever. I would hope that most participants of this forum are aware that bourgeois logicians call this method of argument the Ad Hominem fallacy - i.e. "attack the man" rather than the argument.

The ICC have not been rude, aggressive or insulting in their posts - true, they've offered political criticism but really honestly if we can't take this we might as well run back home and crawl under our beds!

Alf is perfectly correct when he says that the attacks here echo the bourgeois efforts to discredit revolutionary positions. We're told time and again how Marxism is "discredited", how the belief in stateless, moneyless society free of commodity production and wage labour is "utopian". Of course, we're never told exactly how this has come about apart from a vague waving of hands towards Russia in the East.

This is because the last thing the bourgeosie wants us to do is to actually examine real arguments for or against Marxism or the real history of our class. So instead, they attack, insult and denigrate the proletariat's political heritage in exactly the same way as the ICC is being attacked here.

Of course, defending the ICC in public may lead some to think I'm just another zombie or, heaven forbid, an "asshole". (The latter may actually be true, at least that's what my ex girlfriends say!) But, believe it or not, I have been on the receiving end of the ICC's criticism in the past - they challenged many of my cherished, comfortable beliefs and I got angry and called them names. No doubt I'll have to deal with further criticism too - but that's what being a class conscious worker is about. Until we're able to raise ourselves above petty (dare I say bourgeois) egotism and engage in proper discussion we will have nothing to offer the proletariat or humanity.

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the button
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Mar 21 2006 14:33
Demogorgon303 wrote:
"assholes".

It's "arseholes."

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Demogorgon303
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Mar 21 2006 14:40
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It's "arseholes."

Not when you've spent far too much time arguing on American web-boards it isn't. wink

Caiman del Barrio
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Mar 21 2006 14:46
Alf wrote:
Or maybe this whole ICC-is-a-crazy-cult fable is a variant of the much wider bourgeois ideological campaign which tells us that anyone who not only still has hopes for communism, but even forms an organisation to fight for it, must be mad?

But like all stereotypes and slurs, there is a grain of truth to it. "Radical"/revolutionary movements attract a disproportionate amount of society's marginals of all kinds - including people with definite mental instability. And of course, while communism, anarchism and yes even left communism may have its theoretical validity, the same can not necessarily be said for each of its practicioners.

The atomisation and isolating of certain theoreticians into elitist, sectarian groups helps the propagation of this stereotype, and also emits the outward appearance of a cult. Especially when you respond with things like the above quote.

Steve
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Mar 21 2006 14:51
the button wrote:
Demogorgon303 wrote:
"assholes".

It's "arseholes."

grin

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Demogorgon303
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Mar 21 2006 15:28
Quote:
Their response to the Libcom Anti Cpe blog was to pick on one report about the far right attacking some anti cpe protesters (a fucking matter of fact!) and then cobbling together an epic yarn of Libcom being suckered into bourgeois united front anti fascism, and how this was typical of the anarchist millieu. Of course no one on Libcom ever held such daft positions.

As point of fact, it was Baboon that made the comments about "anarchists" waving the anti-fascist bogeyman. Baboon, to my knowledge is not a member of the ICC, but a sympathiser like myself.

My personal opinion is that the apparent use of the fascist groups by the state is actually significant and that libcom were right to report it. But it's also quite clear that part of the reason they have been used in this manner is to provoke the working class onto an anti-fascist footing. Without wishing to speak for Baboon, it seems he was attempting to pre-empt this effort. He was completely correct to say that the real enemies of the working class in this drama are the unions and "the left" in general. That is exactly why the fascists have been brought in: to point the working class towards another obvious enemy rather than raising their awareness to the one within.

Can you direct me to the posts where libcom members have consistently denounced these forces that are working to sabotage the movement from within? Can you direct me to the posts that have exposed this manouvre by the state to divert the working class from its own terrain? It has been the ICC that has consistently done this - and this underlines the point that ICC made right at the beginning: that reporting the facts does not, in itself, inform the working class about the significance of those facts. Striving for political neutrality in reporting is completely utopian in any case and echoes the usual bourgeois claptrap about "freedom of the press".

Quote:
There [sic] position regarding unions is very true of the time when the left communists had more than a man and a dog following, but to continously harp on about unions being counter revolutionary in a time when the very notion of collective struggle is alien to most workers is just absurd.

First of all, the movement in France itself puts the lie to the idea that collective struggle has become alien to most workers. But that aside, the reason why the ICC condemns the unions is because they are, today, the biggest obstacles towards collective struggle. They divide and separate workers at every turn. The fact that comrades of the ICC have been welcomed to the French assemblies precisely because of their condemnation of the unions, shows that this is not simply a pecadillo of the ICC but corresponds to the concrete experience of the working class in struggle and that the working class in this struggle has been looking for the methodological clarity to both express and act on this experience.

One last thing: how the hell do I get the quote system to give the name of the person I'm quoting? I'm just too dim to work it out sad

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Felix Frost
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Mar 21 2006 15:51
JoeBlack2 wrote:
Its rather obvious to me but because 'ultra left' politics are based on espousing purist positions that see almost everyone else as an agent of capital in one way or the other they don't lend at all to a 'degree of tolerance and a willingness to learn from the experience of others'. The politics simply don't intersect the experiences of your average worker in struggle, in fact rightly or wrongly they tend to piss on what that person is actually doing. Over time that would tend to build up the sort of methods of intervention on both the personal and political level that you describe.

It's hardly fair to condemn the ultra-left in general based on the actions of the ICC. First of all, there is a big difference between Borigist left-communism and council communism. Bordiga thought what was most important was the correct political program of the communist party, while the council communists took quite the opposite view and emphasized the self activity of the working class.

With the exception of the ICC and a couple of similar groups, the ultra-left is today for the most part opposed to formal organization, but instead want to build informal networks of militant workers to exchange experiences of their struggle. Which is quite the opposite of "pissing on what persons are actually doing."

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Joseph Kay
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Mar 21 2006 16:29

*jumps in to stir shit up about which he cares little*

Demogorgon303 wrote:
The general concensus of this thread seems to be that the ICC are assholes (...) bourgeois logicians call this method of argument the Ad Hominem fallacy

Ahh, but what do proletarian logicians call it? Feckin obvious?

*runs away giggling*

jaycee
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Mar 21 2006 17:46

i can't really be bothered to get into a debate about who is and isn't an asshole on these forums but i think that the question of whether the working class needs an organisation is an important one. I would argue that a political organisation is necessary for militants to develope and clarify their positions, becuase it is easy to stay with wats comftable when you isolate yourself as an individual militant. Also at times of struggle a revolutionary organisation is needed, because they are the members of tghe working class who have the clearest memory of the struggle and therefore will be able to advize workers on certain issues.

knightrose
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Mar 21 2006 17:56

I don't think the issue is whether there is a need for working class political organisation. Posters here are in the AF, Solfed and Organise. The issue is whether the ICC fits the bill.

jaycee
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Mar 21 2006 18:18

knightrose, i was answering felix frost and revol68 who were talking about the difference between Bordiga and council communists.

knightrose
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Mar 21 2006 18:24

OK. Incidentally, I agree 100% with what you wrote about why political organisation is vital.

alibadani
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Mar 21 2006 19:59

I guess I started this thread????

There is perhaps one minor problem with communist parties. Since the objective is to speak with one voice, there's bound to be a limit to the range of issues that a communist oganisation can speak with one voice on.

The only interventions I've witnessed by the ICC is on a couple of forums. With the exception of a reference to 100 anarchists who can do nothing but piss (something like that), I can't recall any "dreadful" post by an ICC member.

I do think that the political arguments made on the forum have elicited the most venom.

I haven't seen the ICC act in person. If they seem annoying to deal with, I'm guessing its because in our times, unfortunately, so few of us have had the experience of Boshevism in action.

I hope some of you will take Alf up on his invitation and go to an ICC meeting.

ronan
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Mar 21 2006 20:04

now that we've successfully shown up the ICC for a pack of sectarian arseholes, can we go back to being a bunch of sectarian arseholes? smile

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Mar 21 2006 20:09
JoeBlack2 wrote:
Its rather obvious to me but because 'ultra left' politics are based on espousing purist positions that see almost everyone else as an agent of capital in one way or the other they don't lend at all to a 'degree of tolerance and a willingness to learn from the experience of others'. The politics simply don't intersect the experiences of your average worker in struggle, in fact rightly or wrongly they tend to piss on what that person is actually doing. Over time that would tend to build up the sort of methods of intervention on both the personal and political level that you describe.

I actually hold a lot more in common with many 'ultra left' or what you might call 'purist' positions than with some 'orthodox' anarchist positions. Having said that, no one likes a clever cloggs and you do have to bend a little and be accepting of other viewpoints if you want to have any practical impact within the class.

From what I know about the early KAPD and AAU, they were 'purist' yet also pragmatic organisations. Likewise, the APCF - although Aldred strikes me as a bit of a prima donna. I think 'ultra-left' politics can often make sense to workers in struggle. Unfortunately these ideas are often presented ineffectively by pompous know-it-alls who all too often put people's noses out of joint.

Having said all this, on the other side of the coin are the anarchists/communists who throw in their lot with any old leftist or nationalistic crap in order to be 'part of the class.' This of course is far worse than even the ICC, whose collective insanity at least gives them a kind of excuse - but at least they have some integrity.

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Mar 21 2006 20:11

Oops. Bolloxed up the quote from JoeBlack2

Edit: fixed it comrade. pingtiao

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Mar 21 2006 23:04

Alibadani, for what it's worth, it was 'take the piss', a slightly ruder version of 'make fun of', but not very dreadful after all. Still, I admit it, I allowed myself to express some impatience.

"Collectively insane - but with integrity". I guess that's something, Serge.

I think jaycee is right to say that this is really about the question of organisation. To debate the real differences on the purpose and structure of the revolutionary political organisation (which includes the question of how revolutionary militants should behave) would be far more fruitful than another torrent of arguments about how mad ICC members are. On condition of course that people respond to the actual arguments we put forward, rather than dismissing them merely because it's us putting them forward. The ICC as such hasn't invented the majority of its political positions and organistional conceptions; they have come from a whole tradition which transcends the individual foibles or character flaws of those who try to defend and develop them. I would therefore propose that this thread should end and be replaced by a less personalised discussion on the organisation question.

alibadani
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Mar 22 2006 01:06

One last little comment. Here's a link to a blogger from New York whorecently attended his first ICC meeting.

http://nomorebigwheels.blogspot.com/2006/03/report-on-my-meeting-with-icc-and-then.html

He recounts what took place at the event, and his report is followed by a small debate about the ICC's past and its theories.

Anyway it is in sharp contrast with the accounts of "collective madness" that I've read. Some of y'all actually had a brotha wondering for a while there.