Monday, April 9, 2012

Response to IWG and ICT

What “atrocities”

For years, the GIO has been claiming that we've been spreading slander against their organization. More recently Cleishbotham of ICT wrote that these areatrocities” spread by the CIK worldwide. We would like to know exactly what are these alleged slanders ?

See the comments below.


Here is our reply to the IWG concerning their negative and sectarian response to our proposition for common political work.
This had been written directly to the IWG. We now see the weakness of the initial proposition, a weakness not of a political order strictly speaking – we still be believe that the basis of the proposition is correct, but rather it’s the approach that’s at fault. We’d have been better off directing our proposition to the ICT as the international group. This political approach, namely addressing the IWG directly rather than the ICT, has two principle causes: First, we deferred to certain conceptions tending towards a localist perspective. Secondly, from past experience, when we called on the ICT for political questions concerning the IWG, they directed us to deal with the IWG, rejecting their responsibilities as an international and centralized organization. What’s done is done. However, with this reply, we now ask that the ICT intervene in the debate, since the debate has been completely blocked by the IWG, and since our proposition also concerned the ICT and all its territorial sections. Up to now, we haven’t received any feedback.

No, there’s no mistake. We have indeed put forth our proposal for common political work. Moreover, this would seem a bad joke on your part, or is it simply bad faith? How can you ask if we sent the right text, when this text consisted of the various points proposed to you during the joint meeting between IWG-Klasbatalo? Your attempt to depict our proposition as coming out of nowhere can’t be serious. Do we have to remind you that it was in fact your delegate who asked us to put our political proposals on paper? What’s worse, you imply that our political proposal would be delusional by drawing attention to a letter that one of our comrades sent to one of yours, which has nothing to do with Klasbatalo’s political proposal to the IWG and the ICT. You have to separate the personal from the political, comrades! In fact you say yourself:
“Camaraderie does not require friendship.” It remains to be seen just how you will apply this principle. We’ll leave it, then, to comrades in the militant political milieu to judge whether our proposal is “delusional”. For our part, this shows vividly that the IWG is currently unable to engage in serious debate on regroupment and political intervention with others from the Communist Left, preferring to say that the dog (referring to Klasbatalo) is rabid and should be put down (no debate or common work, in other words).
You then have the revelation in your ‘answer’ that the two Klasbatalo delegates who met with your delegate are most generous and sincere, but that their militancy has nothing to do with communist work. We would have appreciated your illumination on what constitutes communist intervention. Unfortunately, nothing. You speak of “revolutionary work”, but say nothing about what that is. Do we detect a whiff of leftism and unprincipled activism on your end? For our part, we briefly but clearly reviewed the nature and function of communist intervention in our proposal:
The need for regroupment of revolutionaries and the function of the future class party:
These embryonic movements of struggle are universally obstructed by the bourgeoisie, its government, its police, and its unions. The bourgeoisie has a vested interest in keeping these movements docile and harmless, so long as their revolutionary and subversive potential exists - hence the need for the bourgeois left. This state of affairs poses two problems that are intrinsically linked: 1. The emergence of groups of the political vanguard brings the communist program to the very heart of the class struggles. 2. The involvement of 'historical' political organizations already existing within the proletariat, and the Communist Left. In other words, the development of these two aspects in the building of an international class party is sorely lacking in the current class struggle. The establishment of an organized and centralized vanguard to ensure a clear political direction for revolutionaries and communists advancing these struggles to victory leading to the revolution.”
You then ask what Communist Left we’re speaking of. Should we reply to this ridiculous question by saying that we’re referring to the Left Communists of Alpha Centauri? But seriously, let’s take a look at another excerpt from our proposal, which, though concise, is quite clear on this question:
“The basic political positions for a regroupment of revolutionaries into a party are the legacy of the Communist Left, namely the experience of different sections of the left that emerged within the Communist International in the '20s-'30s.”
Comrades, we claim the same political heritage, particularly that of the Italian communist left. You ask frankly about our position on trade unions, the party and nationalism. We invite you to look at our basic positions. You will see that we more or less have essentially the same political positions as you. Again, we were very clear in our proposal regarding this:
“The basic criteria are internationalism, the political recognition of the principle of dictatorship of the proletariat, rejection of bourgeois methods of control, such as unionism, parliamentarism and national liberation struggles, the recognition of the proletarian character of the October Revolution, the recognition of the need for an international communist party, as well as the rejection of bourgeois united front tactics. These are in fact, synthetically, class boundaries that distinguish proletarian organization from that of the bourgeois and the petty bourgeois.”
Then we gather from you that in order to be “practical and materialist”, we must debate with you on the nature of unions, the party and nationalism. A funny order of priorities when we are currently experiencing a massive attack from capital against the working class, which has opened enormous possibilities for communist intervention. Aside from the points on which we agree and on politically convergent positions between our two groups, we must unite particularly on the need for the party, on the rejection of unionism and nationalism, etc.
As well, you’re ordering us to remove alleged slander towards you from our blog. Evidently, you can’t specify what you mean, since such slander simply doesn’t exist… There are certainly some texts critical of positions or activities of the IWG on our blog. But these remain critical texts: frank and fraternal. You should know the difference between criticism and slander! Do comrades of the IWG have difficulty in dealing with criticism? This should be useful to you. In declaring that we are conducting alleged smear campaigns and spreading alleged anti-IWG slander, you fail to respond to our critiques and above all have not confronted us politically – moreover, you have never done so, and continue not to. Have you adopted the ICC’s theses on political parasitism toward us, a theory nonetheless rejected by the ICT?

The constitution of the CIM, if you recall, was indeed the result of the departure of IWG sympathizers (Among them was a women who stopped doing any political work), but this came about not through some crazy pretext, but importantly, among other things, through the IWG’s ambiguous involvement in activities commemorating the death of a Canadian Maoist leader! What would you think if the American IWG were involved in the organization of a commemoration of say Bob Avekian, a former leader of the American Maoists?

Then you make the following admission:

“We have no need of two communist groups in this part of the world, only one.”

This phrase, slipped in just after your final clearly written refusal to work with us – what are we to make of it, comrades? So our existence as a group is of no use? That only the IWG's current should exist in North America? Moreover, we should remind you that we’re not the only two communist groups in North America: there is a section of the ICC in the USA as well as a Bordigist PCI comrade in Canada.
In short, we made these proposals for political work as we have been very much motivated by and strongly support the editorial content of the Revolutionary Perspectives #59 from the CWO, British section of your organization, the ICT. Here’s an extract of an important text in the current struggle for revolutionary regroupment:
At the moment there are many groups and individuals around the world who recognize this but we are either too scattered, or too divided to take a lead in forming such a united movement. Some object to it on principle, declaring that the spontaneous movement will take care of itself. We wish we could share their confidence. We think responsible revolutionaries should re-examine their differences, asking ourselves if the things that we thought divided us now do so in the light of this new period in working class struggle. We should emphasize not the little we disagree on, but the much that we agree on. We should seek to work together in common struggles, not simply to recruit this or that individual to our own organization, but to widen the consciousness of what a real working class struggle means. In the face of the obstacles we have outlined above, it would be suicidal not to. » (Editorial for Revolutionary Perspectives # 59)”
(RP 59, taken by Bilan et Perspectives 12, December 2011, the review of the TCI in France).

Sadly, we find that you seem not to agree with the sound principles issued by your British sister organization, but behave to the contrary. Your delegate, in a meeting with two of ours, made it understood that they would be welcome anytime in the IWG so long as the IWG could continue its sectarian code of omertà towards Klasbatalo. The IWG seeks therefore “just to recruit this or that individual for [its] own organization” rather than working “to broaden awareness of what the class struggle really means.” We see in this a clear enough expression of federalism on the part of the ICT: two territorial sections which have completely opposite political positions.
The CWO, for one, is for regroupment, while the IWG, on the other hand, is sectarian. Even more problematic, your delegate has long been spreading rumours that one of our militants is an infiltrator (Note). Obviously, your delegate provided no evidence, skillfully using innuendo. This is a dangerous game. We strongly urge you either to provide evidence or apologize for the wrong done to the reputation of our comrade.
We’ll conclude with this passage from GCF’s journal Internationalism concerning difficult debates between revolutionary groups:
“There have always been three methods used to overcome difficulties arising from these circumstances:
  1. the honest and fair revolutionary method,
  1. the opportunistic method,
  1. the sectarian and bureaucratic method.
The revolutionary method consists of raising political debate throughout the organization and openly before the proletariat. Based on the differences between the two groups or trends, it tends to elevate the debate and create an atmosphere allowing for a higher awareness of the entire revolutionary movement and class.
The second method, that of opportunism, leaving certain things out, ‘letting bygones be bygones’, splitting hairs, obfuscating, and obscuring the essence of debates.
The third method is judgment from on high conducted by ‘superior’ elements of the organization, without allowing for verification by all of the organizations’ militants. Here we see resolutions published by a CC or CE, resolutions pronouncing ‘ad hoc’ organizational and disciplinary measures, and administrative exclusions. In short, separating the targeted group from the rest of the organization by any means available. This method was honored in the CI during the time of Zinoviev and Stalin.”
We have attempted to remain as faithful as possible to the spirit and application of the first method, while the IWG nimbly juggles the last two. We strongly hope for another response from you, this time a serious and thoughtful one.

Bravo for your timely and valuable intervention in the Greek language!

The Internationalist Communists Klasbatalo

Note: A few weeks later, RS asserted that he had never said that.


  1. We had the following answer on the forum of the ICT by Cleishbotham.

    Well let us start by your accusation that we remained silent about the
    formation of the ODI. When others pointed this out to you very generously put a tiny footnote but did not alter the accusation. Your whole mentality is not to do any real work towards the wider class but just to make sectarian criticisms of the GIO and the ICT. But we refuse to engage in a debate with you here (as you want to be publicly recognised). If you were serious about approaching our comrades you would have done so to them directly anf honestly and not gone in for public posturing as you are doing now. We have more important work to do

  2. Answer to comrade Cleishbotham

    You’re right concerning the footnote on your supposed silence on the IOD. This was from our text: Contribution to an inventory of the International Communist Left. The framework that defined the spirit in which it was written has changed. We’ll shortly be releasing a review of this paper that we consider centrist. The mistake in question isn’t the only one in this text, however. --Yes, we’ve made our share of them, which was one of the reasons for our proposal to the IWG.
    That each of the groups, Klasbatalo as well as the IWG, agree to review their past mistakes as well as the criticism so addressed, and that if found in error to refute them politically and publicly rather than by keeping silent.

    Your point about activity within the class is equally valid. We’ve said too little about our interventions here. For nearly six years, we’ve regularly intervened at several worker or student demos, through discussion and distribution of leaflets. (See our recent leaflets of which we’ve handed out thousands during recent demonstrations in Canada: and ). We’ve published booklets in French & English, had discussions with groups and militants from the ideological swamp (Feu aux poudres, Cercle marxiste, Force Critique Étudiante et des travailleurs d’un hôpital qui critique les syndicats) gathering people around our group. One of our comrades intervened in a teachers group (8900 members). This reflects only a part of our work within the class. We have regular discussions with sympathizers as well as Canadian and European contacts in English, French, and even in Russian and Italian. Our encounters with workers are not based on leftist anecdotal pleasantries that some of us have subsisted on for 5, 10 or 35 years, but on our basic positions:

    At several worker or student demos, we were often the only communist group to intervene. We strongly agree on the importance of intervening in the class and its current struggles. Intervention in the class, yes, but not based on reformism or story-telling, rather we advocate for the proletariat to gain greater awareness of its interests and of the historical role it has to play.

    Regarding atrocity, what is your assessment of the extremely serious accusation by RS of the IWG alleging that I was probably an infiltrator, first in the IWG and now in Klasbatalo?

    The Internationalist Communists Klasbatalo

    All comments between Cleishbothm ( ICT) and Steve ( Klasbatalo) were erased on the forum of the ICT