Collaborative list of Left Communist organisations

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  1. Devrim
    Devrim
    Quote Originally Posted by Leo
    You are overreacting, maybe you should try to calm down a little.
    I'm pretty calm. Are you trying to suggest that I am irrational now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Leo
    I've told you that I don't consider your opinions about the ICC to be objective and unprejudiced a thousand times,
    Strange then that I have never heard it before.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leo
    And you are aware that there is much more I can say about all this
    Yes, I imagine there is. As I said before:

    Quote Originally Posted by Devrim
    Over the next couple of months I am quite sure that people from the ICC will try to suggest all sorts of things about my opinions, motivations, and character. After all it is how they work.
    Devrim
  2. Blake's Baby
    Blake's Baby
    Quote Originally Posted by Alf
    "Sectarianism ... manifests itself in the tendency to place the particular interests and concepts of one organisation above those of the movement as a whole. In the sectarian vision, the organisation is “all alone in the world” and it displays a regal disdain towards all the other organisations that belong to the proletarian camp, seen as “rivals” or even “enemies”. As it feels threatened by the latter, the sectarian organisation in general refuses to engage in debate and polemic with them. It prefers to take refuge in its “splendid isolation”, acting as though the others did not exist, or else obstinately putting forward what distinguishes itself from the others without taking into account what it has in common with them".
    ...
    Sectarianism affects all proletarian organisations and above all when they are more or less isolated from the life of the working class. It follows that I think there are numerous examples in which the ICC, like all other communist groups, has fallen into sectarianism...

    But to call us a sect, as Blakes' Baby does, or to claim that we are immutably sectarian, as Devrim does, implies that we have no awareness of the problem...
    I've excepted the points I think are particularly important here. I think that at times the ICC and the other groups have acted in a manner which put the interests of the organisation above the interests of the movement as a whole. None of the groups as far as I can see is blameless of this. But I think that Alf is right that this is an inevitable consequence of a period in which the working class was in retreat (and I believe it was until the last few years).

    I'm not singling out the ICC in particular for criticism because as I say all the organisations have been subject to this pressure; however, the ICC is the biggest (possibly) but certainly it's the most geographically dispersed (even if three of its sections are technically nuclei, that still means there are 11 sections I think), and also now the oldest international organisation (certainly BC/PCIntis older, but the ICT isn't; and none of the Bordigist organisations seem remotely interested in discxussing with the rest of us). So I think that these facts put a certain responsibility on the ICC's shoulders.

    I don't think that the ICC is unaware of the problem, and I don't think the ICC is 'immutably' sectarian. I'm not taking the micky here, but I was in a meeting Alf when you said to an ex-CBG comrade 'we don't call people parasites, we categorise the behaviour of organsations'. Well, I'm not calling you and the other members of the ICC sectarians, but categorising some of the behaviour of the ICC as sect-like.

    Honestly, I wouldn't be doing all of this if thought the ICC was a lost cause - I'm certain it isn't, nor am I merely attempting to throw a lifeline to anyone who wants to jump out the organisational window. I think the ICC is the most significant organisation defending the politics of the proletariat today. I think the ICT is also vitally important. Both organisations need to be saved for the proletariat, I believe, but the question is how? Can they save themselves? Can we, revolutionaries outside of the organisations, help? If so how?

    It seems to me that working out what is wrong is an important way forward. Yes, the organisations need to fight against the pressures of bourgeois ideology, beware sectarianism and immediatism, not be disheartened when things are going badly nor over-excited when things go well, but must make sober judgements (which may still be wrong of course). It hadn't occurred to me that you might consider that people outside the organisation might think you didn't know this.

    But we may have different ideas about what can be done, and though there is undoubtedly a process of discussion, relection, clarification, that must go on in the organisations, there is also a wider discussion that must take place in the revolutionary movement, indeed in the working class, of which we're all part. The organisation doesn't just belong to its militants. That's not how it works. The organisation belongs to the working class too. We all have a stake in what happens, we are all part of the process of forging the tools that the working class must create for its combat with capitalism.
  3. Jens
    Jens
    I'ld like to try to add a few points here, in the same spirit as other comrades in the discussion.
    1) Why are the left-communist organisations so small? Surely one question that needs to be asked is where organisations come from? Historically, there have been two answers to this (I know this is very schematic, but this is a forum post, not an article!): one is the notion put forward by Kautsky, then taken up but later substantially modified if not dropped by Lenin, that class consciousness comes to the working class from the outside, in other words that it is intellectuals from outside the class who determine the existence of an organisation, and one day of a party; the other considers the organisation as a product of the class. As Marx said, "who is to educate the educators"?
    The ICC holds to the second view. This means that while we have to do all we can to defend our ideas, publicise them, and make them directly relevant in the class struggle when we have the means to do so, the echo that these ideas encounter is dependent on the development of class consciousness within the working class as a whole. We cannot substitute for that development, we are on the contrary a product of it.
    If you look at the class struggle over the years since 1968, you can roughly sketch out the following periods:

    The 1970s saw both an immense upsurge of class struggle worldwide (1968 in France was only the most spectacular expression), which in turn produced a plethora of little groups or circles that broke from Stalinism and Trotskyism and "unburied", so to speak, the traditions of the communist left. Most of those who made up these groups have since abandoned politics altogether, or at least organised politics. One of the reasons for this was the extreme immaturity of the groups themselves (when I joined the ICC someone was "old" if they were over 30), and the almost complete lack of organisational experience. There were conferences of various kinds (the RI group, which became the French section, was involved in conferences held by Informations et Correspondances Ouvrières for example), and the high point for us was the international conferences of the communist left. The fact that these broke up was, in my view, a disaster because it meant that there was no "pole of reference" (for want of a better term) that individuals and groups who identified in a general way with the positions of the communist left without identifying with any of the groups specifically, could look to and participate in. At the time, the predecessors of the ICT (Battaglia and CWO) took responsibility for this breakup, and I think it was a big mistake, because if we had still had the conferences then maybe the communist left could have confronted the 1980s in battle order instead of being dispersed.

    The 1980s saw another wave of big class struggles (UK miners', Belgium, Holland, French rail workers, even Denmark saw its biggest strike ever), but the workers continued massively to believe that they could continue to defend themselves within the system (and believe me, this wasn't for want of trying on our part, I couldn't begin to count the numbers of leaflets we handed out, the number of factory gates or demos we went to, etc etc).

    The 1990s saw a complete turnaround. For the vast majority, the collapse of the Eastern bloc meant the "collapse of communism", and this was a very, very difficult period to go through, a real "crossing the desert" so to speak.

    So we come to the 2000s, and things begin (very, very slowly) to change... There really is a "new feeling" around, but the fact remains that the working class as a whole has lost its self-confidence, and even its feeling of being a separate class in society. Until that changes, then our organisations, such as they are, will remain very small.
    How will it change? Only through the crisis, and the development of the class struggle - and us being present in it.

    2) Are things changing now? I think so, and this can be seen in two ways:
    First, there is the development of new groups and discussions around the world. If we are materialists, if we believe that revolutionary groups are an expression of the working class, then the emergence of new groups around the world is the tip of an iceberg (perhaps not a very big iceberg yet, admittedly, must be something to do with global warming). And these groups are able to work together, and even to overcome some pretty major differences to do so, and that is an expression of a new spirit. If I stick just to what the ICC has done (and I'm sure we're not the only ones), we have published accounts of our work to bring groups together in Latin America in collaboration with Oposiçao Operaria in Brazil, our joint interventions with anarchist comrades in Mexico, the "Tekel tour" organised in conjunction with the FAU in Germany and Switzerland, our participation in the marxist conference in Korea, and of course the presence of different groups and comrades at our congresses.
    Secondly, there is the echo we can get. True our press sells in tiny quantities (but who buys newspapers any more? - generally our sales are in demonstrations not in bookshops), but our website is much more widely read, and for the first time since the 1970s we can actually stand up in mass meetings and demos (in the French anti-CPE movement, in the Tekel strike in Turkey, or in the UK student movement - even if you can't believe everything you read in the Daily Mail... - or most recently in the Assemblies of the indignados) and get a hearing, even an enthusiastic hearing. No, this is definitely not the 1990s...

    Does that mean everything is rosy? Of course not. Has it translated into a massive influx into the ICC? Not either. Does it absolve us from learning from our past mistakes? Not that either. All this is very modest, very small scale, and there is a very, very long way to go. Somewhere along the road, the organisations of the communist left will have to either overcome their differences and their past history, or go the way to oblivion like the Bordigists are all too likely to do, and as the councilists already have (where is ICO? or Daad en Gedachte?). And the very fact that there are comrades on this thread and elsewhere who want us (the organisations) urgently to do that is also a sign of the times.
    And on that relatively (but very cautiously) optimistic note, I'll stop...
  4. Blake's Baby
    Blake's Baby
    Quote Originally Posted by LongJohnSilver
    ... the high point for us was the international conferences of the communist left. The fact that these broke up was, in my view, a disaster because it meant that there was no "pole of reference" (for want of a better term) that individuals and groups who identified in a general way with the positions of the communist left without identifying with any of the groups specifically, could look to and participate in....

    ... Somewhere along the road, the organisations of the communist left will have to either overcome their differences and their past history, or go the way to oblivion like the Bordigists are all too likely to do, and as the councilists already have (where is ICO? or Daad en Gedachte?). And the very fact that there are comrades on this thread and elsewhere who want us (the organisations) urgently to do that is also a sign of the times.
    And on that relatively (but very cautiously) optimistic note, I'll stop...
    I think these are the most important things for me. I was looking over a thread I started six months or so ago in this group about who identified as a sympathiser of the communist left as current/tendency (are there any other words?) and who identified as a sympathiser of a particular organisation.

    I identify myself on RevLeft as part of a 'Left Communist' tendency, rather than a supporter of a particular organisation (though obviously I'm politically closer to the ICC than the ICT). I believe the 'Left Communist tendency' is real. Nebulous, but real. This is part of debate about how to make it less nebulous.
  5. internasyonalista
    internasyonalista
    There are many good comments here. I'll try to contribute my small cents in the discussion:
    1. There is an urgent need that the different left-communist organizations should collaborate and cooperate in intervention in the class struggle in the midst of the continuing deepening crisis of capitalism and the spreading of the resistance of the the exploited classes if we want (communists) to help that the struggle of the class should be in the right direction. On the other hand, aside from the problem of cooperation in intervention is the very smallness of the left-communist organizations. This problem must be seriously address by the different organizations or else, as one of my friend here commented in one of our discussions, "you might be right in theory but will end up in the sideline at the end of the day in practice".
    2. I agree that ICC made mistakes/shortcomings. And some of these mistakes/shortcomings have not been resolved until now. However, the organization is aware of these mistakes/shortcomings and is widely discussing them up to the section level. But I think the ICC is not alone on this. Different organizations have also suffered their own mistakes/shortcomings and I think they are also trying to resolved their 'own' problems.
    3. The 'Theses on Parasitism' is like a 'ghost' that haunts the organization and in one way or the other has negative effects in the 'outside world' and even on the comrades (some might even bolted out in the organization or being demoralized and one of their reasons is this 'ghost'). This is still one of the internal debates of the organization. Nevertheless, the organization is also aware of this 'ghost' and trying to achieve a more coherent clarification on this, especially for the new members/sections (like us in the Philippines).
    4. Is ICC a sectarian and monolithic organization? Many former members will answer 'YES' especially to those who were being 'accused' as 'parasites' or former members who are strongly rejected the 'Theses'. I think this is one of the negative effects. But to those comrades who have decades of experience in leftism about sectarianism and monolithism (majority of us in the Philippines were former members of the maoist party for decades) could say that its not true. Or maybe the sectarianism/monolithism of leftism is different from the sectarianism and monolithism of a left-communist organization?
    The 'culture of debate' and 'listening to others' are seriously trying to be practiced in the organization. Maybe some are not convince about the seriousness of the organization based on their 'own' experience.
    This 'ghost' must be casted out as soon as possible after a thorough widespread and comprehensive debate in the organization to achieve deeper clarification. But in my own opinion, casting out this 'ghost' is not the ultimate/central solution to the urgent problems facing the ICC in relation to how to develop its intervention and how to increase its membership.
    A communist organization is not afraid to admit mistakes and reject them nor defend positions if it is convince they're right based on marxism and historical/concrete conditions.
    5. We are one of the smallest sections of ICC and maybe has limitations of expressing what we think in english language other than our own language (Filipino). Maybe we are not as theoretically articulate as the others. But we are theoretically clear and critical (not 'blindly' following the directives/standpoint of the biggest section as the 'center' as some people perceived). The 'center' we know in theory and in practice are the international central organs who are accountable to the whole organization and not just to one section. And I think this is also the standpoint of the all the sections of ICC.
  6. Devrim
    Devrim
    Quote Originally Posted by internasyonalista
    3. The 'Theses on Parasitism' is like a 'ghost' that haunts the organization and in one way or the other has negative effects in the 'outside world' and even on the comrades (some might even bolted out in the organization or being demoralized and one of their reasons is this 'ghost').
    I don't think that you quite understand the weight of this ghost in Europe. In places like the Philippines or Turkey, it doesn't relate to anything at all except a theoretical idea. There are no other left communist groups and the ICC is new there and hasn't spent decades throwing around insults like parasites at other groups and individuals, a good many of whom, as ICC members have admitted, didn't even fit their own criteria for parasite.

    In countries like ours it seems to be some sort of abstract idea, whereas in Western Europe it has been more like a poison that has spread throughout the communist left and other revolutionary organisations.

    You really don't understand how bad it got. Not only were the 'parasites' 'parasites', but also those who talked to parasites were parasites, and those who talked to those who talked to parasites were also parasites. Added to this for good measure, organisations such as the UK anarchist federation were suddenly deemed to be parasites for who knows whatever reason.

    It poisoned the whole atmosphere in, what we will call for want of a better term, the revolutionary camp, and I still don't think that it has recovered.

    Quote Originally Posted by internasyonalista
    This is still one of the internal debates of the organization. Nevertheless, the organization is also aware of this 'ghost' and trying to achieve a more coherent clarification on this, especially for the new members/sections (like us in the Philippines).
    Yes, I think that the ICC is aware of it, and I think that it is a really deep problem for them. Personally I don't think that it is one that they are capable of solving. I think 'trying to achieve a more coherent clarification', basically means propagating the centre's line. Basically they will try to convince you of why they are right.

    Quote Originally Posted by internasyonalista
    1. There is an urgent need that the different left-communist organizations should collaborate and cooperate in intervention in the class struggle in the midst of the continuing deepening crisis of capitalism and the spreading of the resistance of the the exploited classes if we want (communists) to help that the struggle of the class should be in the right direction.
    Lots of people have talked about this. Many people outside of these organisations believe that there should be effort made to reconcile the organisations. There are some people in the ICC who believe that they are making steps forward even.

    I believe that they are making some genuine effort. I also believe though that they have generated enough animosity in the past to make these efforts pretty purposeless. Yes, a couple of people will come along to a meeting for whatever reason, but I don't think that anybody outside the ICC genuinely believes there is a way forward.

    But this comes back to what is a central point about the current trajectory of the ICC. The ICC has found itself so political isolated in Western Europe that it now finds it very difficult to develop their. As a consequence, it finds itself looking to what it itself refers to as the periphery, where due to the fact that it hasn't got the 'baggage' there that it has in Western Europe, it can develop contacts and form new sections even. meanwhile, its traditional sections in are stagnating and, a few, collapsing.

    The ICC has even theorised this with its 'old mileau/new mileau analysis*.

    5. We are one of the smallest sections of ICC and maybe has limitations of expressing what we think in english language other than our own language (Filipino). Maybe we are not as theoretically articulate as the others. But we are theoretically clear and critical (not 'blindly' following the directives/standpoint of the biggest section as the 'center' as some people perceived). The 'center' we know in theory and in practice are the international central organs who are accountable to the whole organization and not just to one section. And I think this is also the standpoint of the all the sections of ICC.
    To be fair, you don't have that much experience of how the ICC works in practice. Due to reasons beyond anybody's control, you haven't attended the ICC's congresses or the meetings of their central organs. I have. Of the three people in the Turkish section that had attended the IB meetings up until the time that I left, myself and one of the others both stated within the sections meetings that it was just a transmission belt, not a place where decisions were being made. Leo didn't and he thought there was real discussion there.

    At the meeting that I went to the IS delivered some decisions as fait-accompli just presenting them to the meeting after they had been made and acted upon. Now there are occasions when you may have to do this, but this clearly wasn't one of them. When I made proposals I was just ignored, and things weren't even put to the vote, the meeting just carried on in its own merry way.

    The meeting was held at the time of the ferment in the Arab world, and the ICC presented it position, and all of these things about 'social revolts'. Now I think that this is an absurd position and shows a distinct lack of class analysis, which hand in hand with other positions that the ICC has taken up, I think are sufficient reason for concern.

    That is not what was the major problem for me with this. Organisations can, and even must make political mistakes. What concerned me was the way that these ideas were taken up.

    Certainly at no point in the process did the ICC at all consults the Turkish section, which one would think was a little odd considering it was the only ICC section in the Middle East. Of course they must have known what we were thinking. When the events in Libya were beginning, we commented publicly on how we thought there was no class content to the movement, and how it was essentially a reactionary tribalist and Islamicist movement. Meanwhile, at the same time as I was being publicly derided for this and being compared by ICC supporters to the most reactionary of leftists, those who came up with the whole idea of 'social revolt' were publicly comparing Libya to Spain in 1936.

    Some of the 'thinking' at the meeting of the ICC IB was farcical. I was seriously told that because the demonstrators in Tunisia were carrying banners in French and even English that they were appealing to the Western proletariat; and that there were virtually no instances of rioting and looting because of the movement's class consciousness.

    To be honest I couldn't believe it. It was communist analysis from television. When I pointed out that if you tuned into Arabic TV channels, actually most of the banners weren't in Western languages at all, and that if you watched TV channels that were more critical of the movement, you would see lots of rioting and looting, I was routinely ignored.

    Of course, the articles expressing the point of view of the centre were immediately reproduced on the ICC's website. For whatever reason it seemed impossible at the time to publish the piece on the whole movement by the Turkish section. Funnily this changed when I said that I would publish it myself if they weren't prepared to do it, and made arrangements to do so.

    When we got to the ICC world congress of course the position of the centre had been accepted by virtually everybody, and our ideas pretty much unheard. During the meeting we were patronised. When we pointed out that even though we accepted the possibility that our analysis may be wrong, maybe people should consider it as all of the things that we said would happen had come to pass (people can go back to the text itself on the ICC site and see that we were right), we were asked if we also predicted lottery numbers.

    That is the way it seems to go.

    Devrim

    * I have never been able to spell that word and it seems I am so bad that the spell check won't help me.
  7. Devrim
    Devrim
    Quote Originally Posted by Alf
    But to call us a sect, as Blakes' Baby does, or to claim that we are immutably sectarian, as Devrim does, implies that we have no awareness of the problem. In fact we fought quite hard during the period of the international conferences in the late 70s to convince other groups that sectarianism really was a political problem within our movement (for example in the refusal of the Bordigists or the Munis group to take part in the conferences). If we were really a sect impervious to change, we would not have embarked on a reassessment of our attitude to anarchism over the past few years.
    I don't really think that the fact that in the 1970s, you realised that other political currents were capable of acting in a sectarian manor means that you can't act like a sect now.

    I don't thing that you are completely impervious to change, but we also know that opportunism is the opposite side of the sectarian coin. As you know I wrote to you personally when you asked me about an article on anarchism, and I said that it made too many concessions to anarchism and was potentially a first step on the road to opportunism.

    The way that the EKS became the Turkish section of the ICC was also in my opinion very suspect. The plan had always been to join at the upcoming international congress. Then suddenly when we announced that the ICT (then IBRP) were coming to visit us for discussions, the ICC moved forward the date of our joining until before their visit.

    The ICC claimed that this was something that they were planing to do anyway, and had no connection to the IBRP's visit. It could be true. I was very doubtful at the time and remain so. Nevertheless, the final things about joining the ICC were rushed through in a massively overlong weekend meeting, and certain 'fudges' were made, particularly, but not singularly on the question of membership of unions.

    So now you have the slightly bizarre situation where internationally the ICC has a position (which I think is wrong and based on moralism) where members of the ICC can only be members of unions when it is a closed shop, which doesn't apply in the case of Turkey, where ICC members are members of unions in places where there is not a closed shop.

    Yes, I think that the ICC is deeply sectarian, but I don't think that that means it can't move at all.

    Devrim
  8. Devrim
    Devrim
    dp
  9. Leo
    Leo
    myself and one of the others both stated within the sections meetings that it was just a transmission belt, not a place where decisions were being made. Leo didn't and he thought there was real discussion there.
    Just a factual addition here: the analysis of the other comrade mentioned actually changed on this following the last session of the central organ of the organization. My position at the time was uncertainty as my experience in regards to the meetings of the central organ was extremely limited, which also changed with the last one I participated in.

    When we got to the ICC world congress of course the position of the centre had been accepted by virtually everybody, and our ideas pretty much unheard.
    During the meeting we were patronised.
    As far as my experience goes in regards to the congress, I did not think this was the case. Several people I discussed with during the congress actually disagreed with the position. I think some expressed these disagreements in public but I can't really bother to go through the minutes so if you remember it differently, you remember it differently. Currently, the discussion is still going on the number of people who disagree with the position has actually increased and internal texts criticizing the position have been written. Also I didn't feel patronized during the said meeting.
  10. Jock
    Jock
    I don't know where Long John Silver made this up from but as far as the International Conferences went this is not true
    "At the time, the predecessors of the ICT (Battaglia and CWO) took responsibility for this breakup". As it happens it was a combination of factors which led to their demise, The CWO and the GCI announced clearly in the third conference that they were not coming to another one. The ICC both before and in the conference made it quite clear that not only were there's the only ideas worth listening (even though they were divided between councilists and those closer to us - but this we only realised much later) to but even physically took the microphone away from a GCI speaker who was criticising them (even though the Chair at the time was a comrade of BC!). BC tried to keep the Conferences going by proposing a further criteria (on the role of the party) and this proved too much for the ICC at that time. The CWO (which at the time had no Italian) had no part in drawing up that criteria but agreed to it when shown it.

    I could say much more about this but it is now archaeology (which some want to resurrect to create barriers). The important issue is to develop the Communist left [to me "left communists" refers to wider category - the CL is just the three branches we all know of) inside the wider working class - there is plenty of space for us all to work in it and it will throw up all sorts of issues which will need debating. But this needs to done without resorting to the denigration that has characterised the past.

    Perhaps it is also time to drop the "left". We are no longer "the conscience" of a degenerating international. We are internationalist communists in our own right as a separate entity, separate from all the opportunists and reformists who have gone over to the other side.

    Oh nearly forgot. In response to Kontrrazvedka (a long way back in this thread now) "A Happy and Internationalist New Year" to all here
  11. Jens
    Jens
    I didn't cite the International Conferences as a means to "build barriers", and absolutely not to denigrate anybody, but because I think it is necessary to learn from past mistakes if we are to avoid repeating them ("learn from history or be history" as the saying goes). And this applies to all of us including the ICC and the ICT.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jock
    I don't know where Long John Silver made this up from but as far as the International Conferences went this is not true
    "At the time, the predecessors of the ICT (Battaglia and CWO) took responsibility for this breakup".
    At the time, this is what Battaglia wrote
    The conclusion of the 3rd Conference is the necessary acknowledgement of a situation in a phase of degeneration; it is the end of a phase of the Conferences’ work; it is the realisation of the first serious selection of forces... We have assumed the responsibility that one has a right to expect of a serious leading force.” (BC's reply to the ICC 'Address to the proletarian milieu'). That seems fairly clear to me, but I may have misinterpreted it? Maybe the CWO did not agree with this in which case I apologise for getting that wrong.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jock
    The CWO and the GCI announced clearly in the third conference that they were not coming to another one.
    Presumably the CWO changed its mind because there was in fact a fourth conference (which the ICC did not attend but which the CWO and Battaglia did). The opening speech at this conference stated that “the basis now exists for beginning the process of clarification about the real tasks of the party... Although today we have a smaller number of participants than at the 2nd and 3rd Conferences, we are starting from a clearer and more serious basis” (Proceedings of the 4th International Conference, pp. 1-2)

    In fact, following the breakup of the conferences, there was a real difference of appreciation as to its significance: the ICC considered it a serious setback, whereas the IBRP (when it was formed) apparently thought that this was a step forward and defined itself as “a product of a process of decantation and homogenisation within the framework of the first four International Conferences of the Communist Left” (Communist Review no. 1, p. 12). In my view, the ICC was right on this - as I said, it meant that we went into the 1980s completely dispersed instead of being able to develop at least some kind of core reference point for the communist left. But that is also a matter for debate of course.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jock
    The important issue is to develop the Communist left (...) and it will throw up all sorts of issues which will need debating. But this needs to done without resorting to the denigration that has characterised the past.
    I couldn't agree more, and the readiness that the ICT has expressed (in a recent article on its web site) to work with other organisations (including the ICC presumably) is a welcome step forward.
  12. SHORAS
    SHORAS
    deleted. (for those who read it, I think it will just come across as shit stirring)
  13. Jock
    Jock
    I think Long John Silver is being more than economical with la verité. Not only does he hark back to the third international conference which ended in a split but which we found positive (although it took years of work to make it so and it was this which BC took responsibility for - remember too the International Conferences were called by BC (an orgnaistion a teh time which the ICC described as "sclerotic" and not by anyone else) but he has actually fingered the actual kind of argument that drove most delegates not in the ICC mad with frustration. He innocently (?) raises the Kautsky issue and then elaborates ...

    "Why are the left-communist organisations so small? Surely one question that needs to be asked is where organisations come from? Historically, there have been two answers to this (I know this is very schematic, but this is a forum post, not an article!): one is the notion put forward by Kautsky, then taken up but later substantially modified if not dropped by Lenin, that class consciousness comes to the working class from the outside, in other words that it is intellectuals from outside the class who determine the existence of an organisation, and one day of a party; the other considers the organisation as a product of the class. As Marx said, "who is to educate the educators"?
    The ICC holds to the second view. This means that while we have to do all we can to defend our ideas, publicise them, and make them directly relevant in the class struggle when we have the means to do so, the echo that these ideas encounter is dependent on the development of class consciousness within the working class as a whole. We cannot substitute for that development, we are on the contrary a product of it. "

    This was the way the ICC tried to present the issue in the conference but it was not the issue. Not one organisation of the CL rejects the idea that the class produces its own consciousness (even the Bordigists in their abstract idealist way agree on that) but in the ICC view there is no breakdown of the process. We can agree that class consciousness arises spontaneously from the class struggle but communist consciousness is an infinitely more complex issue. It is not a DIRECT product of the struggle but a REFLECTION on it which has to be be embodied somehow and brought back to the class at times of intense class conflict. The party or revolutionary minority does not merely reflect the consciousness of the class but guides it on the basis of the lessons of the historic experiences of the class. The ICC got obsessed (in my view it was a deliberate red herring) with the notion that class consciousness was brought from outside the class (by Kautskys' educated bourgeois) when the real issue was not WHO elaborated the lessons of proletarian struggle but the fact that the class struggle itself threw up lessons which could only be taken on by a [revolutionary] minority.

    At the end of the paragraph I quoted LJS does however get one thing right. We cannot by an effort of will or clever tactics substitute for the real development of the class struggle. In fact the opening lines of the Platform of the Committee of Intesa (which we regard as one of our founding document) states that "It is mistaken to think that in very situation expedients and tactical manouevres can widen the party base since realtions between the party and the masses depend in large part on the objective situation".

    The weakness of the CL today lies not in its analysis of the global situation (anarchists, autonomists and even Trotskyists have done us the honour of plagiarising our ideas) not even in the divisions amongst its various factions, but in precisely these objective conditions. The capitalist crisis has now reached a point where all the expedients of the last 37 years have been exhausted. The working class is faced with real emmiseration. This does not guarantee a response from the working class but it does open up new possibilities. All I would ask is that we have a fraternal debate about those possibilities. Where we disagree we disgree but we make sure we turn our activities outward towards the class as a whole and not inward in some introspection produced by dwelling on the past.
  14. Blake's Baby
    Blake's Baby
    Jock, I agree that we can't by any manouevres at all make up for a lack of action from the working class, but I don't agree that the weakness of the communist left is only due to the undeveloped nature of the class struggle, as you seem to be saying: "The weakness of the CL today lies not ... in the divisions amongst its various factions". We, as communists, as militants of the working class, must be part of the process of reflection going on in the working class and it seems obvious to me that a problem with that process is that we are a few hundred people worldwide divided between a multiplicity of tiny organisations.

    The Platform of the Committe of Intesa says that the relations between class and party depend "in large part" on the objective situation and I agree with that absolutely. It's the remaining, implied "small part" of the equation that is exercising me at the moment - what we as communist militants either inside or outside the organisations can do to make sure that the tools that the working class has for the coming struggles are up to the job. It is for that reason that I see the regroupment of revolutionaries as being the fundamental task of the moment. Not because with a hypothetically bigger organisation we can magically solve the question of how the working class can struggle at a more developed level, but so that we can can be a part of that struggle at a more developed level.
  15. SHORAS
    SHORAS
    I'll have another go at this. Not to offend Devrim or tell him what to do but by reading your posts it sounds like it is still too early to write about the ICC etc. Of course feel free to tell me to "do one" as some might say. And frankly the gossipy like interest of why he may of left etc by some is pretty juvenile and unhelpful. (I was joking in another thread)

    To be frank I am very surprised to have read the comments made by Devrim. Although it appeared (on internet forums) as there were several differences he had with the organisation it seemed like this wouldn't be a reason to leave, especially so (relatively) soon. Of course it's very difficult to tell anything purely going by the internet. Why do I say this? Because I am pretty sure all of the things Devrim is saying now were argued against some time ago on the libcom forums by himself and others. User names like Mciver, Samotnaf spring to mind with their diatribes etc but there were others. So what strikes me and I am asking really, have you (Devrim) come to these views and opinions after a period of reflection or just accepted the criticisms that already existed? It seems to me the problems you faced were more of an internal nature than agreeing or disagreeing with this or that position. And this is essentially what is worrying for me and others who think the organisation puts out decent material, says a lot of good things but then would most likely not look to work or join them because of experiences like yourself, which seem to be a recurring theme if we accept others testimony over the ICC's. On the face of it I always, like I said before on libcom thought the ICC members made a lot more sense regarding disputes within and outside the organisation and it was others who were coming off badly. But I have no practical experience. Your situation is also bizarre for me because as I have also said elsewhere I always respected your views and experience and literally looked for when you commented on something on libcom etc so it is even more disparaging given what you are saying now. On a different note, regarding the ICC and ICT "sole pole of regroupment". I have read ICT members complaining about the ICC wanting to destroy the ICT or whatever and being the sole pole etc and then at another time read the ICT was the sole pole of regroupment! Should I laugh or cry?
  16. Jock
    Jock
    Shoras

    Are you seriously putting Devrim on the same ground as McIver and Samotnaf? Like you I always looked for him on libcom (in fact there was little on there to look at). I too await his declaration as to why he left the ICC but he said he wanted to delay it so as not to generate heat rather than light. It seems to me that some ICC members and sympathisers have already started to subtly ensure that whatever he says will be discredited before he says it.

    Re the ICT and ICC don't laugh or cry. Just check out the facts. The ICT has never claimed it is the "sole pole of regroupment". The words are those of the ICC and have been used about us by ex-ICC members (aka "parasites" in ICC-speak). We have told them we don't accept the label but they keep insisting. On the contrary we have several statements in which we say we are not only not the party but we are not even its future nucleus but we do hope to be part of the process of its formation. We do think we have the best scheme for getting towards it (i.e building solid local nuclei with roots in the class in every area rather than a network of committees prematurely centralised proclaiming the truth of a single global organisation now) but even that will be subject to the test of history. The good news might be that the ICC might be coming to a similar position but I am not yet in a postion to confirm it.
  17. Blake's Baby
    Blake's Baby
    Right, I've updated some of the information on the main list on page one and thought that I may as well post it here, in case anyone is still interested in the point of this thread - not rehashings of old scores, drama or arguing over how many Left Communists can dance on the head of a pin, but the basic contact info for a variety of internationalist groups that relate to Left Communism.

    I haven't included Birov, for much the same reason as I haven't included the Anarchist Federation in the UK.
  18. Blake's Baby
    Blake's Baby
    Update necessitating another post. It looks like it might be a fairly frequent process to update this - not because organisations are coming along, but because organisations are changing or losing their websites.
  19. Android
    Android
    Quote Originally Posted by BB
    I haven't included Birov, for much the same reason as I haven't included the Anarchist Federation in the UK.
    When I met and discussed with the comrades of Birov at the London Anarchist Bookfair, they stated that they have moved beyond identifying with anarcho-syndicalism. And that this would be reflected in a re-draft of their statement/platform.
  20. Blake's Baby
    Blake's Baby
    Interesting, thanks for the update. I'll check that out, and maybe add them if they've started identifying with the Communist Left.

    Does anyone know of any more organisations that I can add to the next update?
  21. freecommunist
    freecommunist
    Fraction of the International Communist Left and Internationalist Communists - Klasbatalo have dissolved in order to form the International Group of the Communist Left : www.fractioncommuniste.org


    http://internationalistcommunistsmon...tution-of.html
    http://www.fractioncommuniste.org/en...tion_igcl.html
  22. Blake's Baby
    Blake's Baby
    Thanks for posting that freecommunist. I'll alter the main list to relect the new information.
  23. Blake's Baby
    Blake's Baby
    Added the Left Communist Network - http://leftcommunistnetwork.freeforums.org/ - to the main list even though it's not technically an organisation.
  24. blackpope
    blackpope
    i am looking IKT in the philippines
  25. SHORAS
    SHORAS
    According to that fractioncommuniste site the ICC are in their biggest crisis but I can't make head nor tail of their article on the subject. It's in French and translates badly via the internet. Interesting that they seem to have gotten hold of ICC internal documents.
  26. Devrim
    Devrim
    Yes, someone sent that to me too. I don't read French either, and couldn't understand the auto-translate. Can anyone tell us what it is all about?

    Devrim
  27. freecommunist
    freecommunist
    It's now in English, though to be honest still doesn't make much sense, I'm guessing unless you know the internal ICC world. http://www.fractioncommuniste.org/en...s_ICC2013.html
  28. freecommunist
    freecommunist
    It's now in English, though to be honest still doesn't make much sense, I'm guessing unless you know the internal ICC world. http://www.fractioncommuniste.org/en...s_ICC2013.html
  29. Devrim
    Devrim
    I know the internal ICC world, and it still didn't make much sense.
  30. freecommunist
    freecommunist
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