The massacre in Paris has produced an outcry that it is a crime against humanity. The international bourgeoisie hovers between despair and indignation, between fear and calls for revenge. From all sides we hear cries for a "just war" to counteract "holy war". West versus East, Christian tradition against Islamic fundamentalism. France wants to avenge the victims by striking at the strategic heart of Isis. Isis attacks Paris to avenge the French government's decision to enter the war in Syria. In reality the conflict is between a nascent imperialism that took its first tragic steps in "its" Middle East and those of the Western imperialist world where for years Middle Eastern oil has been the motive for its military interventions.

In fact this war has been going on for years. France, USA, Britain, today even Putin's Russia, are warmongers who destroy the present to economically (oil and gas) ensure the future. Previously it was Iraq and Afghanistan then Libya. Today it is Syria and tomorrow it will be some other area or country which has a minimum of economic and strategic interest.

The hypocritical West mourns its innocent victims but forgets that the monster which has killed them came into being thanks to Western support and was only cast aside when it took an independent road by positioning itself between one imperialism and another. The West also forgets that such murderous outrage is also the result of its own imperialist barbarism. This has transformed the Middle East into a perpetual battlefield to strip it of its wealth, before abandoning it to the deepest misery. Surrounded by the devastation of war, much of the population faces hunger and the denial of any future other than that of escape to the countries which have caused the misery in the first place.

Isis’ barbarity stems from its economic and political interests, as a nascent imperialist state claiming to stand for the underprivileged masses who have accepted their religion as the only road to salvation and have sold their dignity as an exploited class on this earth for an unattainable happiness after death. Their barbarism involves fighting an "asymmetric" war against unarmed civilians, decimating them like animals for slaughter.

But barbarism also takes the form of Western imperialism which wages wars of total destruction, taking hundreds of thousands of civilian lives, solely to satisfy its own capitalist interests and perpetuate the life of an economic system which can only survive by creating economic crises, hunger, unemployment and the harshest exploitation for millions of workers. Such wars can only be fought against by the very exploited who have been reduced to destitution by the capitalist system.

The massacre in Paris should give pause for thought to all those who hear the tragic news without trying to go a little further. 1) The French ruling class, like the rest of the international bourgeoisie, will use the horrible carnage to intensify its war activities. Whilst everyone is apparently against Isis, in fact every imperialism is searching for its own economic advantage at a time of sluggish economic crisis where there are still no signs of a robust recovery. 2) The barbarism in Paris echoes the barbarity of the drones on the battlefields of Syria which are killing thousands of civilians, bombing hospitals and dishing out devastating "collateral damage" everywhere.

It is not a matter of talking about barbarism in the plural, of choosing who is more barbarous or who is the most evil. The question is not which is the most horrible for the media to transmit – the execution of prisoners or the slaughter of civilians in a football stadium or at a concert; or is it more terrible to learn in a tragic "video game" that some drone has destroyed dozens of families or burned a few hundred shepherds with their flocks. Barbarism is barbarism.

It is capitalist BARBARISM that has to be fought against, regardless of ideology and the religious instruments used by all sides whenever it suits them. Capitalism’s perpetual crisis which destroys productive capacity takes the shape of imperialist war and death. Capitalism creates crisis. As the crisis accelerates the effects of imperialist manoeuvres get worse. Imperialism creates imperialism in its own image and likeness. Barbarism creates barbarism in an endless cycle. The only one way to break it is by resuming the class struggle. The hundreds of millions of exploited workers who are innocent victims of massacres and wars need to distance themselves from these barbaric societies. They need to find a way of breaking out of the cage in which capitalist society has forced them. They have to think of an alternative to present-day society and its intolerable barbarity. They must think in terms of class, of war against war, the barbarity of war and those who incite it whilst asking for workers sympathy and understanding. And then there will be less warfare, fewer ideologies or religions to justify war, fewer massacres like the one in Paris or whatever else there is to come. This is the way, the only possible way, to develop the independent struggle of the exploited class against wars and the economic system that generates them.


Saturday, November 14, 2015


Already the bourgeoisie in France and Britain are using the abomination as a pretext for bringing in elements of a "strong state".

Also the sudden reappearance of border controls throughout the Eropean Union is killing off the Schengen agreement - probably the second biggest symbol of EUinterationn after the Euro currency.

You are right schless it's an abomination. But then the whole of the bourgeoisie is an abomination not just IS. It's frustrating that the whole disgusting idiocy of IS serves the rest of the bourgeoisie and its needs to reinforce the state and prepare for war so well, whilst appearing to pose a kind of challenge to them. It makes us ill, the integrating nauseous horror of it all. And now of course France wants revenge! And why not? After all revenge is a thoroughly respectable bourgeois emotion and one of the driving forces of their sick society. Monsieur Hollande, strengthened politically by the attacks, will avenge the French people in true Captain Marvel style. Bomb and bomb again. IS killed 150, revenge demands France kill more. And so it goes on. The sordid playing out of the childish scenario which serves to disguise if only a little the complete bankruptcy of the bourgeois as a ruling class.

Isn't it time to remove them from power?

Firstly I'd like to express total agreement with the article. My comments are somewhat superfluous, the article says all that has to be said.

Any event of importance will generate a response from those who seek to influence events. It is hardly surprising that thse who see the status quo as the source of their power, status or even genuinely believe it to be the best of all possible social arrangements are going to respond with nationalistic appeals which conveniently bridge the class divide, probably ending in ever tighter restrictions on any form of dissent, endless condemnation of the evils of the other side and a semi-religious fervour regarding their own moral perfection.

Similarly we whose lives are blighted by that status quo are going to point out that its crisis, its attempts to conserve and strengthen its dominance have generated these disastrous consequences which are bound to occur as if following Newtonian laws.

Such is the nature of class society, diametrically opposed classes locked in struggle; on the one hand an attempt to perpetually maintain class division and stifle dissent, on the other the perpetual need to escape misery and the potential for an end to the contradiction.

Their response - more bombing, more war, no doubt more terrorist attacks will ensue, more civilian deaths.

Our response - against the poverty and barbarism of capitalism we need class struggle and a class party.

Unfortunately the article is only an initial comment but thanks to both of you for your understanding of the message, Unfortunately Charlie one of the first consequences of this will be the unleashing of nationalist and racist forces which will make the task of putting together a class response all the more difficult. As you and the article say, IS are not the only ones meting out mayhem and murder to masses of people. In number counts in the Middle East the West has far more to answer for than all the jihadist groups put together across the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia. The brutality of IS is just as calculating as the imperialist powers in their intvasions of Irag and Afghanistan. They want to bring home to all those imperiaslist governments that oppose them that in their own "assymetric" way they are capable of creating pain for the societies their enemies rule. The Paris bombings seems to be the latest in a line that goes from Suruc to Ankara, to the downing of Russian Metrojet flight 9286 and Thursday's bombing in Beirut which claimed the lives of 43 so far but with 200 more injured this number will surely rise (this "crime against humanity largely unreported in the West so that when the above was written only ten hours after the attack we did not even know about it). The purpose of all the bombings seems to be the same. To create divisions in the states which oppose IS. The Paris masacre is no different in strategic purpose than the others but given that it is in a major imperialist power it will dramatically intensify the cycle of violence. The porpaganda and preparations are already on foot (the French bombing of Raqqa just the hors d'oeuvres). The retreats that IS has had to make recently under the Western bombardment and the organisation of their allies like the PYD will only make them more desperate to widen the war, And the victims will be all of those populations (predominantly workers) wherever they live who do not have an interest in these conflicts but just happen to be in a one geographical area whether in the Middle East or Europe. On top of this will come the widening of all the racist and nationalist hate policies which were already on the rise in Europe. What hope for refugees from the Middle East conflict now?

Barbarism is a horrible way to describe it. Considering the Barbarians were the revolutionary class of the time, we could all stand to be more "Barbaric". Here is an interesting article that traces the origin of the term back to no Engels or Luxumberg, but none other than the "Pope of Marxism", Karl Kautsky.

Without going into the vexed question of how revolutionary (?) the post Roman barbarians were the last line of the article you quote says "The words came from Karl Kautsky, but Rosa Luxemburg gave them wings." Words change meaning over time and in different historical contexts (try analysisng the word "party" from aristocratic eighteenth century Britain to the present day) so if you don't mind we'll stick with Rosa Luxemburg's interpretation as they were about the First World War and its alternative. In short they defined the alternatives for our time.

Cheers Cleish,

Like the ICC, you folks are free to carry-on however the hell you want, irregardless of the rest of us I'm sure.

But did you all consider for example that the term "Barbarian" has been used pejoratively for centuries to describe, as just one example, the Turkish people (among many, many others)? I suppose you all probably go around refering to "the Blacks", Orientals and Philistines as well?

The nice little edit you guys or your sympathizers have made to the Wikipedia page "Barbarian" hints towards the real point of this---which is I think that "Communism or death" is a much better slogan than "Meh meh barbarism".

Marx after all talked about social revolution or the mutual destruction of all classes, if I'm not mistaken, which to me sounds a little different than Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome.


For almost a century "Socialism or Barbarism" has been used by revolutionary Marxists to summarise the choices facing humanity. Jamal objects that our use of he word "Barbarism" is inappropriate.

To justify that accusation in his latest post he uses two arguments - both spurious.

The first is that "Barbarism" had been used before the 20th Century in different ways in different contexts. Quite so, but if the slogan has been vauable and unchallenged for 100 years then why suddenly is it unacceptable?

Jamal's core aproach is better summed up in his second argument where he accuses us of using racist language. J oviously objects to our use of the word "barbarism" as a description of the abyss that will result if capitalism is not overthrown. However, his accusations - without a shred of proof because there is none - that we use racist language is simply outrageous.

The fact is that the world-wide capitalist hegemony encompasses all actual and emerging states including USA, Russia, Japan, China, Souh Africa, Brazil, Da-esh/ISIS To prove we are not regionally biased we must also presumably include the rape of Antarctica. None of those states or their emanations contain any seeds of a future society. They merely prolong the existence of an over-ripe system that is spreading misery, impoverishment, hunger, war and atrocities across the planet. That is the state of affairs that Marxists refer to as impending "Barbarism". The choice is far too stark and increasingly immediate for the linguistic splitting of hairs.


Slander won't help. None of us have edited anything on Wikipedia (indeed as far as I can see most of the stuff written about us on there seems to be people who are not exactly our friends). And who are "the rest of us"? Thinking you speak for humanity smacks of arrogance.

Slander? Why are you making me waste my effort responding to this?

Article before the "Marxist use" section was added:


And then sometime later, an individual who thought it necessary to include an excerpt from an ICT piece on the Russian Revolution into an article called "Barbarian" included this:

Simple logic entails it was either an ICT member or someone sympathetic to the group.

Also, for the record, there's a difference between being accused of racism vs. pointing out where racially charged language is being used. The callousness with social issues that we see everywhere in the milieu today is not lacking here. Actually, the language in some places is similar to the French state ("Their barbarism...against unarmed civilians, decimating them like animals for slaughter."). Arabs carry out an attack on a central European nation, the major one in 50 years, and the response from "Internationalists" is "Hurr, durr, barbarians!"

No mention, for example, of this atrocity anywhere:


As you are the fan of Wikipedia I can only say that not only have I not read the article on Barbarism (still have not - I have too much to do) but have never heard anyone in the ICT ever refer to it. However, infrequently, people borrow from us. It is usually unacknowledged and they use our stuff when we don't always know about it until someone like yourself brings it to our attention. In this case it sounds quite a flattering use!

And what is the point of your final comment? There is much not yet tackled in the aftermath of last Thursday and Friday's events as I said several posts above. You seem to be here only to score debating points and not really address the issue of where all this leaves us as a class (in a rather dire place, at least in the immediate term).

Whatever. Thanks for your time

Actually, I have a few more things to say. Leftcoms like to talk about "the culture of debate". But whenever a young comrade puts forth a position not considered canonical by other militants, out come the pitchforks. Immeadiately. There is this obsessive habit of "correcting" comrades (yes, like a dog which pulls the leash of its master), which reinforces a sort of pedagogical heirarchy whereby the most experienced militants bestow the "correct tradition" unto the rest of us. This heirarchy tends to devalue the ideas being put forth by the less experienced militants among us. Rather than fostering a dialectical relationship between the workers idea's and the idea's of the revolutionary organisation, which is a relationship where both parties adjust to each other in a synthetic manner, it only reinforces what the older comrades call "tradition". Do you know what it's like being young, completely severed from any working class, much less communist, "tradition"? What you see is failures. Failures of individuals and failures of organisation. I can understand how that may be a hard pill swallow for one involved in those failures, having experience enough of my own. But what happens when the so-called vanguard fails? Does that invalidate those qualities, and at least some of the theories, which constituted its "vanguard-ness" in the first place? In Martial Arts, there is a concept called (in Japanese) "Shoshin", "beginner's mind": "It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would." "Shoshin" is a quality wholly lacking in the milieu today. Why? Well one reason is the tendency to defend tradition over new ideas (highlighted perfectly be schlep schless has schlooped), and the use of the term "barbarism" is a shining example of that. Other comrades besides me also find it offensive. Barbarism is defined as "the absence of culture and civilisation", after putting aside it's suggestive connotation and racialised history, we can see the real disservice of using the term. Throughout history those peoples labeled as "Barbarians" or "barbaric" by the West had been some of the most culturally and scientifically advanced places in the world. The term "barbarism", back then and today, only aims to discredit this. History after all is written by the victorious. Cleish asked my why I came here. I fully intended to shake up the hornet's nest, if you all choose (that is prefer) to keep seeing it that way. But I had a hunch harping in on the usage of the term would expose some of the contradictions I mention in the beginning of this post. I think it has. Jamal

for the oxford dictionary barbarism is: "Absence of culture and civilization" and is exactly where capitalism is bringing us, even to the absence of the capitalist culture and civilization. Anyway the centuries after the collapse of the roman empire explain well the concept of "barbarism". Ofcourse we can play with the words and even to find a better one, perhaps, anyway now barbarism is sufficently clear to indicate the future capitalism is preparing to us.

Love and communism,



We don't know who you are but if you find any reference to a "culture of debate"on this website I will be astonished. In my experience those who talk of it don't know how to do it. We also say to young comrades who come to us and don't agree that tbey have to make their own "voyage of discovery" but don't try to say that those who have not already made their own have nothing to say. I came into revolutionary politics in the late 1960s and only found the Communist Left in the 1970s. In the UK we started from nothing and our mistakes were embarrassing. Had we had corpus of experience to rely on we would perhaps have avoided them. Who knows? However we don't think we have failed. We are expanding very slowly and yet we have existed through a whole period of class retreat. We cannot invent class consciousness amongst the wider working class we can only fight for it. History does not stand still and the contradictions of capitalism make a class response a constant factor but at the moment we are fighting against the current. You may judge this fight as inadequate and we don't mind discussing that if it makes us reflect and takes us forward in real terms but please excuse us for not taking nominalist debates about a single word seriously. Even here you are not original. There was once (and may still be) a group called Communisme ou Civilisation (sort of Bordigists) who also argued, in long tedious meetings in Paris (6-7 hours!) which our comrades attended, like you are arguing today but in the end what did it amount to? As it happens I have spent 40 years studying Roman civilisation and the surrounding barbarians. On balance as an average citizen of either I would have preferred to be a Celt (the only big plus for Romans were sewers and baths but life in an insula was life in a slum for anyone above the first floor). If I were female the balance tilts even more to the Celts but as we have been trying to insist to you that was then and this is now. Whatever the origins of the word (from the Greeks to dismiss those who did not speak Greek) we have a different sense of it today. The contradictions you are so proud of revealing are already known to us (and I still have not been to wikipedia!). And do be careful - shaking up hornets' nests only leads to getting stung!

I don't mind getting stung for the sake of the minority position. But I guess that makes me an Anarchist?

On the road today I saw a massive billboard of just the French flag. How cute. Whoever rented it would have done as well with an ISIS flag and the caption "THEY'RE HERE".

What's truly ironic is that I am in the States right now, specifically in a State that changed the name of "French Fries" to "Freedom Fries" in 2003 when France would not attack Iraq.

Note that I am writing this as a personal comment, it is not to be taken as representative of anyone else.

I think that Jamal is expressing a concern that we are biased in favour of great power imperialism and too harsh in our condemnation of the terrorists. Perhaps he will refute this but the following would apply to those who would regard any assault on the metropoles as progressive.

I think this is a very grave misunderstanding of the position we have taken. The ICT does not fall into the trap of supporting the bourgeoisie in any of ts guises. There is no capitalist project which is going to resolve, even briefly ameliorate, the condition of the global proletariat with which we identify and seek to guide.

This is a fundamental tenet of our political stance, one which differntiates us from the vast majority of outfits which claim to be Marxist yet in practice are effectively recruiting sergeants for a myriad of capitalist campaigns.

And the other fundamental tenet which necessarily flows from the above is out insistence on the autonomy of the proletariat. Only the self rule of the working class, today the only truly democratic project despite the attempt of the bourgeoisie to bury Marxism as a category of extremism, offers a perspective beyond social collapse and imperialist war which we label as barbarism.

No support for the bourgeoisie, or those who aspire to play such a role. We can here mention the various nationalist separatist movements which present independence from a greater sovereign entity as a viable solution to the all too real material problems of the working class.

No support for interclass alliances. We do not need any coalition with the bourgeoisie to oppose fascism, foreign domination or any other such bogeyman. The abandoning of the revolutionary terrain of proletarian independence for any momentary motive only means the abandoning of the revolutionary project and cannot represent a step towards such.

The ICT cannot be accused of bias to any bourgeois formation; we reject them all.