How the ICC is perceived by a very disillusioned ex-member.
Open Letter to the International Communist Current
I was astonished and delighted at the publication of my letter to you last year. It had not been intended for publication but if you are going to continue publishing what I write about you I will continue to write to you. At the very least it ensures a wider distribution of my arguments than I can currently achieve even if this is only to those remaining readers of your press.
It’s a pity however that you saw fit to censor the letter at two important points. First of all you cut out the very apposite comparison between the contents of WR and that of the Fortean Times. And you cut out the entire allegorical tale. The latter is repeated below since it has a particular relevance which gives. I would argue, a keen insight into the mentality of the collective delusion that now embraces (some might say constitutes) the ICC.
I had hoped that in the subsequent months following the publication of the letters from M and myself in WR, some rational discussion might have forced its way onto the pages of your press. Such a discussion is certainly taking place amongst revolutionaries elsewhere but nothing has managed to break through the crust of self-delusion in WR but the inane bluster, outright lies and the general demented paranoia that passes for ICC political analysis these days.
Let me then seek to raise the debate somewhat by addressing the key issues my letter, and others, have sought to illuminate.
Enter the Burglars
First of all there are the, by now ritual, accusations of theft aimed at my (and the CBG’s) head. We have written on this calumny many times before, most notably in the pages of the Communist Bulletin, but you clearly still believe, with Goebbels, that a lie, if shrieked at high volume long enough and loud enough, will eventually be accepted as truth unless it is rigorously exposed at each and every telling.
We stole nothing from the ICC. When we left the ICC we had in our possession internal bulletins which, for clear political reasons, we considered ours and which we told you we would keep. We had collections of publications etc. which we sought to return to you, writing letter after letter after letter to you with no reply. Eventually, and at the instigation of Internationalist Perspective, we packed them off to your Box Number. Some other stuff held by one of our comrades in Edinburgh was only collected by you when he informed you that a house move meant it would be going out with the bins unless it was collected.
That there was thievery, burglary and assault at that time is true but we were not involved in any of it. The main perpetrators were of course the ICC, something you are understandably reluctant to dwell on. While some of your ex members in London took a typewriter with them when they left, you engaged in acts of brutality hitherto unknown in the proletarian movement. You forcibly entered ex-members homes in England, stole personal property such as stereo equipment, destroyed their telephones and personal belongings and, where you found them at home. assaulted them in the process. You even had the audacity to return to one former member’s house for a second bite of the cherry only to find that he had changed the locks. Your internationally gathered collection of thugs. nonplussed at this. were unaware that the ex-member was indeed within, prepared to defend himself against a second looting of his home. On your first successful raid on his home you stole many personal belongings. He belonged to none of the factions that left the ICC in 1981 but was ‘punished’ for his personal association with ICC dissidents.
More. you declared your intention to enact these disgraceful scenes at the homes of every comrade who had left the ICC "the internal bulletins belong to the collectivity". In such circumstances. fearing a repetition of such thuggish behaviour in our living rooms it is not surprising that we in Scotland threatened that we would call the police if the burglars tried to enter our homes by force. Whatever that might have meant in political terms it is difficult to see what other threat at that time would have halted the ICC gangsters. The threat worked. The burglaries ended. No one called the police.
Down You Go
The events of 1981 demonstrated quite clearly that the ICC was in a state of profound degeneration. The continued events of the past fifteen years graphically illustrate the depths to which that degeneration has taken you. Let us look at the state you have got yourself into. the lies you are telling and the fantasies you have had to weave about yourselves and the world around you. Let’s use the allegory I used in my last letter. It isn’t brilliant but it is very revealing when applied to the ICC.
"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!
The Myth of Parasitism
The ICC, like the lunatic,. have invented the world they now inhabit. More specifically they have invented certain arguments to sustain their collective delusion which I want to question here.
First of all there is parasitism. Quite simply this doesn’t exist. It is a wholly original invention of the ICC. The ICC use it as a club with which to bash an unholy amalgam of people critical of them, seeking to tar them with the same brush in a typically (for the ICC) Stalinist manner in the hope that this parody of Marxist analysis will confuse their readers sufficient to get them to accept this farrago; a mythical category invented by the ICC to enable them to label anyone they dislike or who threatens their collective delusion. Of course they didn’t invent the amalgam technique, they are merely peddling at a more mundane level what Stalin raised to a fine art in the Thirties. Just as Stalin attacked Trotsky by arguing that he was doing the same as the fascists in attacking Stalinism so too the ICC tars every opponent with the same brush. Trotsky was therefore a fascist tool of Hitler and the Mikado. Ingram is a Mason!?!
What have I to do with unknown Spanish leftists, South American guerrilaists, Freemasons, real and imaginary or East London Ley Line benders? The answer is, nothing at all! But the critique of the ICC currently being carried out by proletarian revolutionaries can, the ICC hopes, be obscured by amalgamation with such esoteric or capitalist entities. It is utterly imperative that I be seen as having an intimate relationship (orchestrated by the State. no less) with these people. none of whom I have ever met. Sadly this relationship exists only in the deranged communal fantasy of the ICC collective mind.
Look at the naked man!
"Parasitism" serves the ICC well as a weapon to attack its "enemies" so that it doesn’t have to respond to the political questions they raise about the ICC. Can there possibly be a better example of pure unadulterated Stalinism in action? Can there possibly be a clearer example of the depths to which the ICC will now sink?
But it is, of course, true that many individuals and groups saying similar things about the ICC. This isn’t some sinister conspiracy. The naked man is performing self mutilation in front of us. No wonder so many disparate people are talking about him, writing about him and drawing attention to the crazed creature! WR tells us "it is difficult to see the convergence of all the attacks on our organisation as a mere coincidence"
Of course it isn’t a coincidence, you imbeciles! There is indeed a mysterious power behind this "coincidence". It is the ICC itself who, by acting so bizarrely, has prompted the most disparate of people to comment on their nakedness! It is the ICC who is responsible for the "coincidence"! And. like the naked man, you are the only people who can’t see it!
But of course this isn’t the case. You do see it! Parasitism is a conscious fabrication on your part specifically contrived and erected for the purpose, in Lenin’s words, of "putting the convicts badge" on your critics, of avoiding having to debate the issues they raise by seeking to deny them and thus their arguments any legitimacy. It's a pretty thin tactic but really, its all you have. Your copious, and ludicrously misplaced, historical references merely demonstrate the extent of your isolation from reality. So too is the sheer venom and rage you display in your press against your critics.
Of course in true paranoid style you seek to transfer that rage to your critics, once again seeking to deny their arguments legitimacy by damning their criticisms with accusations of personal spite etc. I never had any rage against the ICC. I started off on sorrow and have reached only contempt combined with a determination that the lessons of your degeneration and collapse into paranoid insanity be addressed and understood by revolutionaries.
The rage is yours and yours alone. Just read what you have written. You are projecting your own rage and public unmasking of your plight onto those exposing you. Its a well known psychological technique commonly used by those under severe emotional pressure such as you are, desperate to have your own definition of reality accepted by the "disbelieving" others.
You accuse me, and others of ridiculing the workers movement. No, I am ridiculing the ICC, an organisation which deludes itself that it constituted the workers movement. This is but one of its telling delusions. You ponderously inform me that I am not writing for the working class. Unlike yourselves, I make no pretence of writing for the working class. I am writing to it and to its political minorities. Only the ICC suffers from the delusion that it speaking for the working class. How long before it believes it is the working class?
Look at the naked man, mother!
This aspect also comes across in your paradoxical attitude to the CWO. You attack me for suggesting that you seek to destroy the CWO. You say you are outraged at this suggestion. But lets look at what you are up to. Let’s look at your general approach to them, what you actually say to the CWO. It is exactly the same as your approach to dissident members of your own organisation. Over the past two decades when a member of the ICC has dared to question anything the Apparat has laid down as Holy Writ you have invariably responded as follows:
"You are valued but if you continue to disagree with us... You have continued to disagree with our definition of reality. Don’t you realise that admittance to the Holy Revolutionary Family is solely determined by adherence to our version of reality and contrition on your part? We do not want to lose you but unless you accept the error of your ways and unconditionally capitulate and confess. . . You have failed to accept us as the font of all wisdom, the sole inheritor of proletarian validity. You are outwith the pale. Failure to accept your errors, your culpability now means that you are not now, have never been, part of the proletarian movement. Out into the void you spawn of Satan! You never were really a member of the ICC. You must have been an alien penetrator of the pure revolutionary organ. (Freud would have something to say about your imagery here) None of your arguments while you were within the ICC were ever based on theoretical differences but on personal. clan animosities, spite, hatred of proletarian organisation per se, Masonic cultism, You are not necessarily a conscious tool of the bourgeoisie. not necessarily a police spy. Yes, you always were a police spy a state apparatchik etc. etc. etc."
There is no need to go on, we all know the story!
Isn’t this exactly the content of your diatribes against the CWO? They are in danger of falling into parasitism because they fail to realise they are under attack from the parasites. By failing to come to the defence of the ICC the CWO is de facto supporting the parasites. If they keep doing this at what point do they become exposed as part of the parasitic milieu (sic) themselves?
But of course there is considerable ambivalence in your approach to the CWO. You certainly wish to destroy them, for are you not the sole font of revolutionary validity? On the other hand you are the only people in the entire world who believe all this nonsense about parasitism (and state penetration of which I will have more to say below). There is an exquisite piece in your contact R’s letter to you where he says "all communists have a low opinion of the parasitic groups..." Its difficult not to burst out laughing here. You and you alone give any credence whatsoever to this mythical category. You are desperate to have someone else, anyone else agree with you that your delusion exists. So while on the one hand you castigate the CWO in exactly the same way as you castigate your "alien" internal critics, you need them to agree with you that your farrago of lies and delusions about parasitism, state penetration, freemasons et alia are not solely the products of your own fevered brains. You insist that the CWO "systematically criticise its concessions to parasitism and encourage it to take up its responsibilities to defend the proletarian milieu alongside the ICC". Clearly if they’ do not the usual sanctions are next in line. In other words agree with us or be condemned as a parasite yourself.
As usual you leave the most bizarre arguments to one of the few freshly laundered or recently recycled contacts you allow to grace your pages. R tells us that by failing to comprehend the nature of the parasitic attack on the ICC the CWO is, by dint of that attack on the ICC, itself under attack from the parasitic milieu. The CWO is in the firing line, indeed are suffering more than the ICC, not because the parasites are attacking the CWO but because they are not.
Look at the naked man, dad!
The Aliens are Coming!
But it isn’t enough for you to label all critics, both within and without your organisation as parasites. Certainly you are now at the position where, according to you, there has never been a principled departure from the ICC on the basis of a political difference throughout your entire existence. Every single one has been the departure (or expulsion) of alien elements, motivated by personal spite, esoteric practices or most heinously active conscious agents of the bourgeois state. And it is at this point that the passers by realise that the naked man is just not a witless fool but a dangerous one as well. For the ICC, in the depths of despair at its nonsense about parasites being laughed at by the entire milieu, steps up a couple’ of gears and labels everyone as conscious elements of the police, of the capitalist state. Frothing at its collective mouth the ICC spews out this filth in a parody of Orwell's "Two Minute Hate"
Look at the naked man!
Of course this is nothing new for the ICC. In 1981 it slanderously accused its ex member Chenier of being a police agent. "Chenier. . .whose later trajectory confirmed that he had been working for the bourgeois state." Of course it did nothing of the kind! The ICC has produced not a single shred of evidence either then or since for this vicious, vile, disgraceful accusation. Whatever one might have thought of Chenier’s reasons for leaving the ICC, or his political positions. or even his later abandonment of political life altogether, nothing justified or justifies this denunciation on the part of the ICC. If the ICC had any evidence whatsoever why did they not produce it? The answer is simple, they have none! But the slander was a useful tool in their attempts to destroy the militant Chenier altogether. So terrified were the ICC at the threat that Chenier and his fraction constituted (and it is as well to mention here that this writer was never a member of it) that they felt they had to smash him completely by denouncing him as a police agent. What a vile crew!
The ICC thus as far back as 1981 learned the value of this, the biggest lie of all. So much so that it has now become the mainstay of their denunciation of all their critics. Not only are they all alien parasites who therefore do not need to be answered but they are all paid agents of the bourgeois state. Of course for the naked man this state intervention in the life of the ICC has to take a roundabout route. Currently the preferred route is, of all things, Freemasonry. For months now the press of the ICC has been full of the most bizarre stuff about the historical mission of Freemasonry to destroy the proletarian movement and how this is still being used by the bourgeois state to destroy the ICC. Your latest defector JJ, you tell us, has been "excluded from the ICC for trying to spread Masonic ideology" But when we try to find out what exactly he did not a shred of evidence is made available to substantiate this accusation. We are left with the conclusion that he was not a Mason, that this is just one more campaign, one more ruse, a peg to hang his expulsion into the nether regions of hell onto. For only two choices are ever offered the dissident (the same two offered the Christian heretic). Accept and confess. Go and be exposed. Exposed as what? Well, whatever vicious nonsense the ICC can think up, Freemason, esoteric cultist, police spy, you name it. The real reasons, political differences, internal power struggle within the dying Holy Family at the centre of the ICC, these can under no circumstances be admitted. For the Holy Family cannot admit failure. That is just not an available option.
As an aside its interesting to note where your attempt to provide a historical gloss on all this rubbish leads you. For false positions invariably produce false historical justifications which are, obviously, more readily seen for what they are than the immediate contemporary example. Your desperate attempts to seek historical parallels in the First International and the discussions within Russian Social Democracy, besides exhibiting an appalling ignorance of both historical situations, lead you to the inescapable argument that Bakunin was a conscious agent of the bourgeois state and that Martov was probably a police spy. Your delicious phrase telling us they were "not necessarily" a police agents only demonstrates that even you, in the depths of your delirium, find it hard to write such rubbish "Not necessarily" hides "possibly". even "probably" Is there anyone outwith the ICC with the brass neck to accuse Martov of being a police spy? The mind boggles.
But if Martov could have been a police spy because he opposed Lenin’s conception of revolutionary organisation why him alone? Why not Trotsky. why not Rosa Luxemburg? After all they opposed Lenin just as stridently as Martov’? Can’t you see where the insane logic of your own desperate attempts at historically justifying these delusions leads you? Your need to defend the absurd forces you into positions where key figures in the revolutionary movement are jettisoned into the bourgeoisie. Worse, they are not necessarily. possibly (probably?) police agents. Can there be a more telling indictment of your logic?
They’re Coming to Get Us
Lets now turn to the most glaring of the naked man’s delusions. that so important has the ICC become to the dynamic of history that the bourgeois state is marshalling all its most important penetrative resources (Ingram included, it would appear) to attack and destroy this vital organ of proletariat consciousness and organisation. I want to pose the question as to whether the state is in any way interested in the ICC at all!
Is there anyone outside the loony bin of the ICC and its ragged edges who thinks this has any connection with reality?
Let me put it to you that the state, so far as we can tell in 1997, has no interest whatsoever in the ICC. or indeed in the revolutionary milieu. Why should it when we are tiny. fragmented and wholly cut off from the working class with no influence whatsoever on its actions or consciousness.
This is not to say that over the years we haven’t all had the experience of having our collars felt. The state has always been, at some level, interested in the revolutionary movement. Who has not experienced "the spook at the door" at their public meetings taking copious notes and disappearing promptly at the end of the meeting, or the crew-cut American contact from Taiwan who just drops in on his holidays in Europe to talk and is never heard of again. But this is a long way from the notion that the state today sees the ICC as such a fundamental, dangerous organisation that it has drummed up a whole range (and a bizarre range at that) of agents to attack this vital weapon (sic) of the proletariat. Parasites, freemasons, police agents, Belgian academics, ley liners, psychogeographers (whatever they are) etc. etc. All have been disinterred solely to attack the ICC. We await the appearance of the Knights Templar, or the Klingons as the ICC’s adversaries in the never ending struggle for revolutionary purity. Beam them up Scotty!
But now, in 1997, at the very nadir of our evolution since 1968 only someone completely out of touch with reality could believe that we constitute a major and imminent threat to bourgeois society. The notion is laughable!
I think it likely that the state, apart from in some trivial corners. is completely unaware of the existence of the ICC. If it is then the influence of the ICC is so minuscule that it hardly constitutes any threat whatsoever to the bourgeoisie, in any country.
The collective paranoia gripping the ICC and their (now almost religious) belief that they. and they alone, constitute the salvation of mankind means that, de facto, the forces of the state must be ranged against them, so critical an element are they to the proletariat. And this from an organisation barely able to stagger out of double figures world-wide!
Look at the naked man, grandma.’
Circle the Wagons
So why is the ICC peddling this myth? Some of them must believe it. I suppose but I doubt whether the Holy Family do. Or are they like Doh, a victim of their own delusion? Somehow I doubt it. The whole preposterous edifice of parasitism, state penetration. bourgeois focus on the ICC and the splenetic outbursts which now constitute almost the entirety of the ICC’s intervention is a conscious construction of the apparat and has three objects.
Firstly they have little else to do and nature and revolutionary work abhor a vacuum. The whole proletarian milieu is profoundly isolated from working class. There are serious questions to be addressed here obviously, some of which I will touch on below, but the isolation of the ICC is now way beyond that of any political grouping, cut off from the class which they "represent" (sic). The isolation of the milieu has seen its most profound consequence in the collective insanity of what was once its finest example.
Secondly, in such an isolated, and isolating, environment the Holy Family, in order to hold on to their membership, have had recourse to the bogeyman syndrome. the categorisation of all critics as enemies. The cry "Circle the Wagons" has gone up and the ICC has isolated themselves as much as possible from the reality around them in order the better to survive the period. This was first apparent in the "Years of Truth" when, contrary to absolutely every indication, the ICC held firm to the belief that working class consciousness was on the up and up during the Eighties. That this could be discerned nowhere at all merely produced the notion of "subterranean maturation", the tribe that hides from man. With the end of the decade the collapse of Stalinism gave them an out and they were able to blame the lack of class consciousness on the effects of that fall. But things haven’t got better and the ICC, instead of honestly admitting their errors and seeking to understand what was and is going on in capitalism and within the proletariat have retreated into the psychotic bunker, denying reality more and more, creating a wholly unreal "reality" replete with alien forces, police spies, Masonic cults within the upper echelons of the ICC’s ruling elite et alia. Just imagine someone coming off a desert island or from a prison where he has been for the last 25 years picking up a copy of WR. What’s the big story? War? Revolution? Class Struggle? No, its the penetration. over a number of years, to the very heart of the central organs of the ICC of an esoteric. Masonic clan! How can he take this seriously? Nor do we!
Look at the naked man!
Thirdly they are now almost wholly cut off from any other expression of revolutionary thought and expression. There is a neat (sad though it is) dialectical process here for in order to survive and acclaim themselves as the sole future for the proletariat (indeed humanity), they had to denigrate and, if possible, destroy any other expression, group, individual contesting their claim. But success in this merely isolates them further. forcing them further and further back into their own physical, psychological and emotional resources. This further reinforces their contempt for everyone else which further isolates them. They have simultaneously become the sole hope for humanity and the pariahs of the proletarian movement!
And then you have the audacity to tell us you have not degenerated! You tell us that your opponents only criticise organisational matters. You tell us that revolutionary organisations cannot degenerate internally without abandoning class positions and thus. since you have not abandoned class positions, you have not degenerated. Quod Est Demonstratum! Are you serious? Apart from the worst case of false logic I have come across in years I have to ask if the person who wrote this tripe thinks he is a Marxist! Organisational questions are political questions!
You compare yourself with the Communist International and the Second International attempting to demonstrate that your own position does not mirror their degeneration. Do you really think that the process of degeneration of either International with hundreds of thousands if not millions of members and supporters in periods of massive class activity, with both organisations, for good or ill, having deep roots in the proletariat can be compared with the decay of a tiny, insignificant sect, utterly isolated from the proletariat and increasingly from any other proletarian expression? Class positions are breached within the historical experience of a class which poses questions which a decayed organisation cannot answer. The Second International didn’t degenerate in Nineteen Fourteen. That was just when the corpse was so rotten everyone now accepted it was dead. The Communist International didn’t die in Nineteen - take your pick, that’s only when it became apparent even to the most blind that it couldn’t be resuscitated.
You stand condemned as a degenerated organisation by your actions, by your Stalinism, both internal and internal. Externally as I have shown above you have acted, and continue to act in a manner wholly incompatible with revolutionary morality. Internally the ICC has become a veritable Yeshovshina. The only question which remains is whether you could, in the future, under the hammer blows of class struggle, strip all this self inflicted shit off yourself and have the possibility of some kind of positive evolution.
That’s a debate currently being held amongst revolutionaries. And it is an important debate. Not in terms of the health of the ICC but because we desperately need to understand what happened to the ICC. There are valuable lessons for us in understanding how proletarian minorities can, whether they can, survive the isolation of the period without turning into the travesty of a proletarian organisation that the ICC has become. For some, following Camatte the ICC merely demonstrates that all political movements are bourgeois rackets, parasites themselves on the body of the working class. But this is to throw out the entire history not merely of proletarian fractions but of the proletariat itself, reduced merely to an instrument upon which other classes have played, unable to have any autonomous activity at all.
There are serious questions here and the degeneration of the ICC is a critical, though painful, case study of the depths to which isolation from the proletariat can affect revolutionaries.
Such a study then, in true dialectical fashion, will allow us to analyse the present condition of the proletariat and its relationship with revolutionaries in a clearer fashion.
Sadly it is difficult if not impossible to see the ICC having anything to contribute to this debate so shut off in your own psychotic cocoon are you.
So what’s left for the ICC? Indeed what’s left of the ICC? You don’t have to follow Camatte to write off the ICC as completely useless to the proletariat. That much is stunningly obvious to almost everyone outwith your sacred portals. You complain that no one comes to your meetings. no one bothers to comment on your publications, no one can see the point. Is that any wonder? For most you are simply irrelevant and for the others you constitute a positive danger who should disappear as quickly as possible before you taint the revolutionary project any further. Some, very few it must be admitted, believe that an upsurge in class activity, in class consciousness, could have the effect, even on an organisation so sunk in the mire as the ICC, of stimulating it towards a positive evolution. For most though the point of no return has been reached long ago and the ICC has been consigned to the dustbin of history along with the Muggletonians. There is, of course, a real discussion to be held here, if you like, a case conference on the lunatic, under what circumstances can he recover, stop cutting himself, stop ranting at passers by sufficient to be allowed back into the Community. Some think there is a slim chance. Most, as I say, think the psychosis too far gone to allow any possibility of reversal and recovery.
One final thought. Let’s take your own logic. If there is indeed a conspiracy to destroy the revolutionary movement, funded, aided and initiated by the bourgeoisie, which political organisation has been at the forefront of destroying as many militants as it could over the past fifteen years? Which organisation has denigrated its own militants and once they have left or been expelled has done its damnedest to ensure they have abandoned political life altogether? Which political organisation has labelled its critics as scum, agents of the bourgeoisie and police spies? Which political organisation has traduced history in its quest for self-justification? In other words which political organisation has contributed most to the present appalling situation? Why, the ICC of course! By your own logic you stand condemned as the organisation most likely to be the agent of the bourgeoisie in the proletarian movement. But, as I say, that’s the logic of the asylum.