The Internationalist' Discussion List - Red and Black Notes

Red and Black Notes article about the then new Internationalist' Discussion Network.

Submitted by Fall Back on July 9, 2009

In April 2001, a new discussion network was formed called the Internationalists' Discussion Network (Intsdiscnet/IDN). The impulse to form the network came after the establishment of a similar French-language list in December 2000. The French call was initiated by the Paris Discussion Circle (CDP) a group of former militants of the International Communist Current. On the weekend of April 20-21 2002, comrades gathered in New York city for the first face to face meeting of the English language wing of the network.

Those participating in the network saw a need to address aspects of revolutionary theory and have adopted the following criteria for participation:

1. We are not living the end of history. Liberal capitalism and its political expression, democracy, is not the terminus, the finally achieved form of human history. The capitalist mode of production, like all those that have preceded it, is not eternal.

2. This world system is not reformable; it cannot be transformed gradually via trade unionism or bourgeois democracy. It must be overturned from top to bottom.

3. Internationalism is a condition sine qua non for belonging to the network. Real communism can only be envisaged on a planetary scale. Today, as yesterday, "the workers of the world must unite." They have no country.

4. Denunciation of all false communisms USSR, China, Cuba, etc. For a classless, moneyless, wageless, stateless society.

5. Finally, we must respect a revolutionary ethic. This implies, without concession, intellectual honesty, tolerance and the rejection of insults. It outlaws any idea of manipulation in the name of tactics.

The New York meeting set itself two tasks for discussion, imperialism and functioning within the network.

In the months prior to the meeting a number of comrades wrote documents addressing the theory of imperialism and its application today. Many of those present at the conference felt that the "classical" models of imperialism, such as those developed by Lenin and Luxemburg were inadequate to explain the contemporary world, even if aspects of their theories were still important.

As such, the discussion on imperialism touched upon the events of September 11 and the War in Afghanistan, the Balkan Wars, the middle east, the EU vs. The US, and the "Empire" thesis as proposed by Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt. While some participants in the network see a tendency in the direction proposed in Empire, participants at the conference agreed that capital is ultimately unable to overcome its national framework.

The second day of the conference was given over to discussions of functioning, and to facilitate future discussions it was decided to set up a three- person technical commission. Also dealt with under this point were matters of disruption to the flow of discussion and ways to expand the network. Since the network is not a proto-party or recruiting forum it was considered important that the network remain open to a wide range of views.

The participants in the English list are spread over a wide geographical area, but it was decided to continue to hold conferences, as all thought the experience very valuable. The next English language conference has been tentatively scheduled for next year in New York.

Information about the list can be obtained on the net at http// or by sending a blank e-mail to intsdiscnet- [email protected]. If you do not have e- mail access, please write to the R&BN address.

First Published in Red and Black Notes #15, summer 2002, this article has been archived on from the Red and Black Notes website.