Revolution or War n°4

(September 2015)

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Pale Blue Jadal (Turkey) : Last Runt of the Opportunist ICC ?

Here is the position we took in the form of a letter we sent to the ex-members of the ICC in Turkey following their resignation from this organization. The reader can read their document in English on their blog: Our departure from the ICC ( Following the sending of our position as is usual in this kind of situation – to date and as far as we know, no group has taken a position that is really political on Pale Blue Jadal and their writings –, the comrades replied to us that they have “absolutely no interest or desire in maintaining any contact with [our group], and consider any e-mails sent or attempts to establish contact after this point to be harrasment” (sic). Harassment? What the hell! The poor dears. Why not accuse us directly of attempting a pogrom like they learned in the ICC? Here are these self-styled revolutionaries. Above all, what an attitude in practice, concretely, in the facts, which seems directly dictated by the ICC theses on parasitism which the comrades, however, claim, pretty much everywhere, to reject. To ignore “on principle” the reality of the proletarian camp, the groups which constitute it – whether it pleases us or not – and the positions which are developed here cannot but lead to eventually insurmountable contradictions like the idealist speculation critiqued by Marxism: “Criticism, which has a free attitude to its object, calls to history: ‘You ought to have happened in such and such a way!’ ” (Engels, The Holy Family, ch. 2). For the Turkish comrades, we fear that the course of their experience has quickly reached its limit. Besides their sectarian attitude, product of the theory of parasitism which they have very well integrated despite what they say, a reading of their “road map” seems to indicate that they wish to quickly distance themselves from the tradition and method of the Communist Left even though they were part of the ICC of today.

They are free to not read us, but we are free to send them our positions based on our analysis of their evolution and in the hope, that we have never completely abandoned, that they’ll be convinced by our arguments and more generally by the tradition and method of the Communist Left. They are free to put in practice, in the facts, the theory of parasitism. We are free to fight against it in practice. The damage is evident that the ICC “wreckers” inflicted on the young generations that they were able to influence! Apart from the numerous silent resignations of disorientated and demoralized militants, the dissolution of a section of the ICC in Turkey and the politically confused perspectives, if not openly opportunist, that these comrades displayed since the publication of their initial document to which we respond, are its last public manifestation.

Open Letter to Pale Blue Jade (former section of the ICC in Turkey).

It was our duty as a political group that is part of the tradition of the Communist Left to take note of your text recounting your time in the ICC. We also debated it collectively in our group where we managed to establish a critical political appreciation of your path which will be received, we hope, fraternally all the same. This attitude is based on an important principle of the tradition of the Communist Left, that is the importance of international debate and discussion between groups of the Left designed as a moment in the determined and daily process of the formation of the class party.

First of all, we appreciated the clarity and thus the straightness of certain of your observations on the opportunist plunge of the ICC. You very justly critiqued ’the culture of agreement in the organization, the idea that expressing indignation against what was done against this comrade was a measurement of how revolutionary one was, the analysis of pogromism developed over this individual incident and the fact that the discussion revolved too much around personalities. Also, we emphasized that what was going on was a political crisis rather than a moral [1] one.’ We said nothing different when we affirmed : ’Contrary to the liquidationist ICC, we claim a tradition, the tradition of the Communist Left, in which the conception of militantism bases itself not on abstract and confused concepts from the point of view of the class such as morality and values, but on a clear political program synthesizing the experience of hundreds of years of the workers’ movement.’ [2] We have always strongly critiqued the psychologizing ideologies placed at the front by the leadership of the ICC as opportunist and foreign to the Communist Left. These types of ideologies contribute to creating a climate of generalized terror and suspicion in the heart of the organization which explains what you have experienced: ’that a culture of everyone agreeing with everything had emerged in the organization and that the discussions had become shallow (...) While the culture of agreement was extensively criticized in the congress, it still continued in its effects: only the comrades with whom the majority agreed had changed. The new dominant tendency did really seem to desire a debate.’ You have stated yourselves this climate of terror and political demoralization when you said : ’The biggest problem of the ICC is that the orientations determined by positions of power in the organizations are being largely and lately increasingly approved constantly by nearly all the comrades and this being seen as normal.’

Rosa Luxemburg about the Revisionist Berstein’s Idealist Theories, on “human science”, “human democracy” and “human morality”.

“And thus the Bernstein’s conception of socialism collapses entirely. (...) For when he abandoned scientific socialism he lost the axis of intellectual crystallisation around which isolated facts group themselves in the organic whole of a coherent conception of the world.

His doctrine, composed of bits of all possible systems, seems upon first consideration to be completely free from prejudices. For Bernstein does not like talk of “party science,” or to be more exact, of class science, any more than he likes to talk of class liberalism or class morality. He thinks he succeeds in expressing human, general, abstract science, abstract liberalism, abstract morality. But since the society of reality is made up of classes which have diametrically opposed interests, aspirations and conceptions, a general human science in social questions, an abstract liberalism, an abstract morality, are at present illusions, pure utopia. The science, the democracy, the morality, considered by Bernstein as general, human, are merely the dominant science, dominant democracy and dominant morality that is, bourgeois science, bourgeois democracy, bourgeois morality.”

(Rosa Luxemburg, Reform or Revolution, ch. Collapse, 1898)

Another point where we agree is on the question of the theory of political parasitism. You affirm : ’The Turkish section was to become the most critical section in the ICC. The most important example of this is the fact that the section in Turkey was the only section which had rejected the ICC’s infamous position on parasitism.’ That’s very well, but we do not know on what you base your rejection of this theory. What is your critique, in short? Maybe this has already been treated in a text of which we are not aware. But it would be interesting for the entirety of the revolutionary milieu to know your real position on this question, in place of a simple rejection. For us, the theory of parasitism is foreign to the entire tradition of the Communist Left and is not, for the opportunist leadership of the ICC, but a fig leaf the purpose of which is to obscure the banning of factions and oppositions within the ICC. Relatively speaking, it is the equivalent of the banning of fractions in the Bolshevik party in 1921. It is the theoretical justification for the abandonment by the ICC of its statutes in particular with respect to the right of forming fractions and it is used to break, exclude and insult undesirable opponents.

It would also be interesting to hear your thoughts on other positions of the ICC that we consider opportunist such as the reconciliation with anarchism and the decomposition of capitalism. According to us, as much as parasitism and the emphasis on questions of morality, positions which you have very justly critiqued, the opening to anarchism and decomposition are expressions of the opportunist degeneration of the ICC. What do the Turkish comrades think?

What was the most surprising for us is despite your rejection of the theory of parasitism in words, you have applied it in the most pure manner to characterize us, which demonstrates to us confusion and incoherence. ’The Turkish section condemned this provocative attack even before the Extraordinary Conference, becoming the first section in the organization to take position against it. Nevertheless, the members of our section in the central organ of the ICC didn’t fail to criticize the extremely angry tone of the communiqué written in response to this attack, its engagement into polemics with this group which we didn’t see as proletarian, the speculations made in the communiqué in regards to the internal life of the ICC as well the comparisons made with the Stasi and Stalin and the expression that a pogrom was taking place against the ICC in it.’ In what way was our Appeal an attack against the ICC? In what way is our group not proletarian? You did not say.

These are the methods of the liquidationist faction of the ICC:

1. One affirms that the critical comrades are attacking the organization, creating an atmosphere of a besieged fortress with a view to close the ranks around opportunism,

2. One attacks the credibility of the critical comrades under diverse pretexts each one less political than the next. Remember that all of the critique of the triumphant stalinist counter-revolution was labelled hitlero-trotskyism in the ’30s.

The goal of this path is to break all critique. You must know it as you yourselves experienced it. The conclusion is that you have yielded to opportunism on this question and you have from then closed ranks around the comrades of which you yourselves were critical. Hence your ulterior positioning which was more or less centrist and which tied your hands.

Against the opportunist idealist theories of the ICC, read our pamphlet Proletarian Morality, Classes Struggle and Revisionism (in French and Spanish)...

We wrote our Appeal only to aid the critical militants such as yourselves within the ICC. We attempted to give you political arms, the tradition of the Communist Left, for your struggle against opportunism. Due to the theory of parasitism of the ICC leadership, you saw only an attack where there was an appeal. In short, you did not see the forest from the trees. Have you even read our Appeal? What is its principle content? ’Address to the ICC comrades still sincerely wishing to enrol in the struggle for communism who are either repulsed by what is happening, or still can’t come to understand any of it: do not allow yourselves to fall silent or into psychological self-criticism; reject the clannish terrain as an explanation of organizational crises! Fight on the political terrain against these politics which, in addition to delusions of morality, revolutionary indignation, clan hatred, etc., led to the questioning of the original positions of the ICC and Marxism. The discipline that they try to impose on you is not Communist discipline. It is rather its negation and kills you. We must reject these outrageous trials that only seek to destroy your militant convictions and to make you despair of the communist organization. We can help. Our group is ready to hold discussions with you, to correspond and to meet with you, so that you can lead the internal battle. But this fight, in view of the situation and internal climate of the ICC, in view of the attacks, pressures, blackmail, threats that you are undergoing, the hostility of comrades whom you considered yesterday as friends, etc., is a fight that you can only lead with the support of the whole proletarian camp and the lessons of the whole Communist Left. You must try to conduct an internal struggle, but by relying on the entire Left and, if possible, forming an organized minority, that is an internal fraction - suffice to say, formed on the platform of the ICC and its original statutes.’

Thus, don’t pass your own political weaknesses and inconsistencies on to us by saying : ’In fact, the people who the provocative text of the IGCL harmed the most were the critical comrades and especially our section by creating a feeling within the ICC of being under attack.’ You have ceded to the discipline of the liquidationist faction of the ICC rather than struggling for the true principles of the Communist Left.

The main weakness of your text according to us remains the fact that you never connected to the tradition of the Communist Left. You do not base yourselves on the struggles against the opportunism which has marked the history of the workers’ movement. That for us is a sign of political inexperience at best, at worst a tendency towards the ultra-left and modernist swamp. The problem is that in constantly trying to reinvent the wheel, one forgets the lessons of history, that is to say one forgets that the problems that you, us and together with the Left are faced with in this moment have largely already been treated in a more than satisfactory manner by our political antecedents. The choice of your name, Pale Blue Jade, is meaningful on this point since at first glance, one believes to have come across a ultra-left clique rather than a group willing to participate in the foundation of the class party. Up to you to determine where you stand on this question.

On the questions of organization and of militantism, you state very justly the malfunctioning of the centralization of the ICC : ’in a meeting of the ICC’s central organ, the central organ of the French section tried to call a vote to exclude the Turkish delegate of the ICC’s central organ, claiming that the Turkish section was a clan and couldn’t be trusted. In an organization which cares about international centralism so much, the central organ of a local section demanding the exclusion of a member of the international central organ from a meeting of the latter was a tragicomic situation.’ However, for us this reality does not demonstrate that the principles of centralization of the original ICC are bad, but on the contrary that the liquidationist faction shamelessly squanders the organizational principles and statutes of the historic ICC. So we do not follow you when you affirm : ’The process had led each of us to question certain essential positions of the ICC on the questions of organization and centralization.’ For us the organizational principles and statutes of the ICC are the clearest expression of what must be the class party from the organizational point of view. Evidently these questions can and must be debated in the proletarian milieu. But as for us, we continue to defend the tradition of the ICC in organizational matters, and this against the current ICC.

It is clear that the ICC no longer represents a pole of regroupment for the new revolutionary energy which surged since the crisis of 2008. You are an expression of this. The ICC poorly integrated you from the political point of view. It acted opportunistically in integrating you before the process of discussion had achieved a certain level of political agreement. In this, it betrayed one of the lessons of What is to Be Done? by Lenin which placed agreement with the political program as a fundamental criterion for adhesion to a political group. Your criticisms were ignored or tolerated while the organization desired to grow and when your criticisms began to be a nuisance to the opportunist faction of the ICC, you became since then pariahs in the ICC. The responsibility does not lie with you. The fault belongs to the ICC which violates all of its organizational principles of which one of the principle ones was to see in a discussion between revolutionaries a moment in the process of homogenization of the organization. Political homogenization of an organization is not a point of departure, but a work in progress.

As the ICC is no more than a sect that has nothing to offer the proletariat, we must turn ourselves towards the last representative of the tradition of the Italian Left, the ICT. Despite its weaknesses and hesitations, the ICT remains a historic and political reference for the whole of the proletarian milieu and thus for new revolutionary militants. We therefore call on you, comrades, to connect to this rich political tradition which is the Communist Left. This leads to a regroupment around the ICT. That is not to say that you should abandon from one day to the next all of your political positions to accept as a whole those of the ICT. This signifies that you must start a process of discussion with all of the current groups of the Communist left at the international level, in particular with the ICT, and that this process will be a moment among others in the formation of the class party.

Robin, June 2015



[1. We have published a brochure on the question of the ICC and its new theories on morality (available in French only).

[2. We strongly encourage the Turkish comrades to read this text on the 20th Congress of the ICC, a Congress in which they assisted. The comrades will appreciate perhaps the less ’polemic’ tone of this text.