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GREEN PARASITE by Unpopular Books

I don't suppose I was the only one to get quite cross about Green Anarchist's latest smear. On page 27 of issue 43/44 (Autumn 96) in a review of Autonomedia's recent publication of This World We Must Leave and Other Essays by Jacques Camatte, they sneakily denounce Jacques Camatte as a former Stalinist. And here they aren't just using the epithet as a term of abuse. They categorically state that "Camatte's journal, Invariance, started out as a split from the Italian Communist Party (PCI)". Of course, it should come as no surprise that Green Anarchist are lying through their teeth, their ludicrous attacks on Stewart Home have shown truth to be the first casualty of their agenda. They now regularly declare that anyone who doesn't go along with their analysis is either a state asset or being manipulated by a state asset.

Nevertheless it is hard to see why they would want to smear Camatte, after all they hold him up as one of fountain heads of primitivism, even going so far as to suggest that the Unabomber's 'critique' of leftism "fits with a US anti-ideological current originating with Camatte and the SI [Situationist Internationale]' (Same page, response to a letter). Of course, the Unabomber's sub-Nietzschean twitterings bear no relationship with any of the theories developed by Invariance or any other communist groups.

The smear, conflating communists with the Communist Party is an old anarchist trick. At the same time however, they continually need to borrow from Communist theoretical work, thus many pro-situs believe that the Situationist International was anarchist, when it very clearly had nothing to do with the anarchist movement. Now they want to 'assimilate' Camatte. This process of 'assimilation' has been amply illustrated in my text 'The Sucking Pit', to be found in Green Apocalypse.

However, there still remains the puzzle of why should GA smear Camatte when they also want to pillage his contribution to the communist movement? The clue is perhaps to be found latter on in the same piece. After extolling the "richness of Camatte's thought" they then say "If further recommendation is needed 'Camatte is a bete noire' to the International Communist Current (ICC), a hilarious account of whom can be found in a recent Subversion." Here they quote the Autonomedia introduction where the ICC is held up as an equivalent of the International Communist Party, from which the Invariance group emerged. Whilst in GA's eyes Camatte is 'reformed Stalinist' who has seen the light, they are clearly implying that the ICC are still Stalinist.

Of course, many people will claim that this implies too much subtlety to GA, concurring with my description of Paul Rogers as being "intellectually inert". However, as Rogers has been seen cheek by jowl with a certain Michel Prigent, whose leaflets attacking Unpopular Books have even accused us of being Bordigo-Nashists, Rogers cannot pretend to be ignorant of the 'Italian Communist Left', of whom Bordiga and the International Communist Party constituted a major part. (In fact the ICC have produced the most useful English language book The Italian Communist Left 1926-45, available for £12 including p&p from World Revolution, BM Box 869, London WC1N 3XX. Also see Internationalists in France during the Second World War by Pierre Lanneret, available for £3 from Phoenix Press, P.O. Box 824, London N1 9DL). Prigent of course warbled to the tune of top French newspapers Le Monde, Liberation and Figaro, in denouncing Bordiga for his pamphlet Auschwitz, ou le grand alibi. He has yet to explain why he hasn't included Camatte's 'Evanescence du mythe antifasciste' on the same basis!

And here we have to turn to the ICC themselves, who have spent a great deal of space discussing the campaign against an 'ultra-left revisionism' by some of the French press, as well as parasitism. In my text In Defence of Revolutionary Organisation, I have already exposed their weaknesses. Suffice it to say they have dismissed the call to dissolve, and refuse to accept that their self-obsession has obscured their sense of judgement. Compared to war of lies mounted by the GA/Larry O'Hara/Michel Prigent contingent against the Neoist Alliance, the 'Manchester Altercation' seems a trivial affair. They have studiously avoided mentioning our publication of Green Apocalypse in order to foster the pretence that they were "the only organisation to defend the revolutionary milieu" (World Revolution No. 190). Did these fools not realise that it was only a matter of time before GA turned their lie machine upon them?

"Political currents are defined by their social function and parasitism is clearly counter-revolutionary" Its groups and individuals come from different political origins: some are renegades like the C[ommunist] B[ulletin] G[roup] and the FECCI [ICC External Faction], others are leftists like Hilo Rojo in Spain, or the Iranian SUCM [????]. Nevertheless parasitism has a common purpose and is clearly co-ordinated at some level, probably by state infiltration: in the present period the simultaneous emergence of groups in different countries singing the same tune about the madness and Stalinism of the ICC is remarkable." (World Revolution No.198, October 1996)

Now GA have emerged from the far right to join the anti-ICC chorus. The ICC hint at co-ordination and even state infiltration, but have yet to provide concrete evidence for this. Revolutionaries know that the state is set to crush the very thought of revolution even before the barricades are erected. It goes without saying that state agents are going to sniff around revolutionary groups, and from time to time soW discord. Therefore there is no point in publishing such speculation unless there is concrete evidence. We demand that the ICC publish what evidence they have. It is the height of irresponsibility to posture in such a way without such evidence as it prevents a scientific understanding of how the forces arranged against us function.

We also cannot passover the insulting stupidity of GA in their cryptic remark about Autonomedia's promise to publish two more volumes of Camatte's essays: "We await their publication with enthusiasm as they should do much more to improve the quality of debate in UK that (sic) the fragmentory (sic) pamphlets hawked around by those largely ignorant of their contents thus far." This refers primarily to Unpopular Books and also by inference to David Brown who translated much of the work. Let us be clear: what Autonomedia are palming off as the "Collected Works" simply happen to be those which have already been translated. No doubt repackaging those out of print pamphlets will help the text gain a bigger audience, if only because the book sells as a commodity better in bookshops. However, nothing is being added by this process, no attempt to check whether other texts have a specific relevance. Rather by highlighting Camette and separating him from the Invariance project as a whole we are faced by precisely the sort of cult of the personality so abjured by the Italian Left (and which we are actively combating through the Luther Blissett multiple name project).

In his introduction to What is Situationism? A Reader, Home warned that "Jean Barrot is the political theorist most likely to inherit the SI's mantle as guru to those anglo-american ultra-left obscurantists who look to France for intellectual leadership although he faces stiff opposition from Jacques Camatte" (p2). This appears to be coming about with Camatte moving swiftly into the lead. No doubt his dissolution of a class perspective will make him more acceptable to the middle classes than Barrot. But whatever the ebbs and flows of intellectual fads, I will carry forth Camatte's desire "to present the left [i.e. Left Communists] in its originality, to divide it from Leninism and Trotskyism, to make a real break with the Third International" (The Origin and Function of the Party Form, Postface 1974, English translation by Charlatan Stew 1977, p21)

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