What is an Anarchist? Am I an Anarchist?

  • Posted on: 11 May 2017
  • By: Anonymous (not verified)

From Anarkismo - by Wayne Price

Where are the Limits of Anarchism?

Anarchism is an uncertain term. Self-identified anarchists sometimes see their particular school of anarchism as the only legitimate type of anarchism. For example, I have been told that I am not an anarchist or that what I believe is not anarchism. This happens most often over discussions about anarchism and radical democracy, or anarchism\'s use of aspects of Marxism, or support for technology, or advocacy of the self-organization of revolutionary anarchists.



“Anarchism” is a very broad and uncertain term. Probably most of the public think that anarchists are for breaking windows and blowing things up, unaware that many anarchists are absolute pacifists. Meanwhile, those who identify themselves as anarchists sometimes define anarchism as their particular school of thought. They regard other anarchists as not really anarchists at all.

Taking me as an example: In my years of trying to work out a particular anarchist perspective, I have repeatedly been told that I am no sort of anarchist or that what I advocate is not genuine anarchism.

(1) Most recently I have been informed that what I advocate is not anarchism, because I am for democracy. I have called anarchism “extreme democracy”, or “democracy without the state.” Others have informed me that “an-archy” means “no rule” while “demo-cracy” means “rule of the people;” therefore they are supposedly incompatible. And anyway, isn’t “democracy” the ideological cover for U.S. imperialism?

(2) I have been called a “Marxist,” because I think that there are aspects of Marx’s Marxism which can be useful for anarchists—in particular, Marx’s political economy. (It is also noted that before I was an anarchist I had been a Marxist, of an unorthodox, dissenting, Trotskyist variety.)

(3) I have been denounced for accepting technology and civilization, which are regarded as inherently oppressive and statist, and therefore un-anarchist.

(4) I believe that revolutionary anarchists who agree with each other should voluntarily organize themselves into democratic federations. This would make them more effective in participating in broader movements and organizations, such as unions, community groups, and other associations. This is sometimes called “neo-platformism” or “especificismo” or “dual-organizationalism.” But this view has been denounced as equivalent to Leninist vanguardism, and definitely un-anarchist.

I am not including every topic on which I have had disagreements with other anarchists. For example, I have had polemics with anarchists who advocate a gradualist, non-revolutionary, approach to achieving our common goal. None of them have challenged my right to call myself an anarchist, nor have I challenged them. For example, I reviewed the book Black Flame, which gave an overview of revolutionary class struggle anarchism. l wrote that it was an exceptional book—except for its denial that those who shared the goals of anarchism, but did not accept revolution or class struggle, were really anarchists. While I agreed with the book’s class perspective, I thought this denial of others’ anarchist bona fides was sectarian and narrow-minded (see Price 2009a).

In responding to challenges to my anarchism, I must admit to ambivalence. I am proud to be part of a tradition of struggle against capitalism and the state and all oppression. I am proud to “stand on the shoulders of giants” (which hopefully permits us to see further than they did). I am glad that I do not have to reinvent the wheel in terms of radical theory or practice.

At the same time, I do not much care about labels. I do not care whether I am genuinely an orthodox anarchist. I do not know what an “orthodox anarchist” would look like. I would be just as happy calling myself a “revolutionary libertarian socialist” or “anti-authoritarian socialist.” This goes two ways. It is why I see no point in denying that, say, “anarchist-primitivists” are anarchists; instead I prefer to argue that they are wrong about their goals and their strategy. There are, however, some limits to my pluralistic tolerance: I do not accept as anarchists people who are against the state but for capitalism (self-labeled “anarcho-capitalists”). And I certainly do not accept fascists as anarchists (so-called “national anarchists”)!

In Defense of Democratic Anarchism

It is true that imperialist-capitalist states use “democracy” as ideological cover. They use a good concept—self-rule by the people—to rationalize their authoritarian, exploitative system. But there are limits: they do not claim that their economic system is democratic! To demand that the capitalist economy be turned into a democratically self-managed system is a direct challenge to capitalism!

Anarchists who reject “democracy” almost always call for self-management, self-rule, or self-government—all terms which mean the same as “democracy.” And they always use terms like “liberty” or “freedom,” which are also widely used by the capitalist states as ideological cover, just as much as “democracy.”

Democratic anarchists advocate decentralized, face-to-face, direct democracy, in the community, in the neighborhood, in the socialized workplace, in the consumer association, with communities and workplaces affiliated through federations and networks. As for “rule,” when everyone governs then there is no “government.” When everyone participates in decision-making, at every level, and in every way, then there is no state. The state is a bureaucratic-military institution which stands over the rest of society. Radical democracy is the abolition of the state and the self-organization of the people—which is anarchism.

Some collective decisions have to be made (should the community build a road; should the workshop work four or five days a week). How will they be made? Surely by mutual discussion, with everyone participating, and then deciding through some sort of democratic procedure. What else? A minority may be dissatisfied with the outcome of any particular discussion of an issue (true whether they use majority votes or consensus). But minority members will have fully participated in the preceding discussion. They will have a chance to be in the majority on the next issue.

Some anarchists have preferred not to use the term “democracy.” Others have used it, from the very beginning. Proudhon wrote, “We want the mines, canals, railways handed over to democratically organized workers’ associations…vast federations of companies and societies woven into the common cloth of the democratic and social Republic.” (quoted in McKay 2014; 8). The first revolutionary anarchist association was organized by Bakunin and his comrades under the name of the Alliance for Socialist Democracy. More recently, anarchists who used “democracy” positively included Paul Goodman, Noam Chomsky, Murray Bookchin, Cindy Milstein, Lucien van der Walt, and David Graeber. I have gone into the relationship between anarchism and democracy in more detail elsewhere (Price 2009b; 2016a).

Anarchism’s Use of Marxism

(2) In his bitterest polemics against Marx, during the split in the First International, Bakunin insisted that Marx had made major contributions. In particular, Bakunin praised historical materialism, and Marx’s political economics, written in Capital. Over the years, many other anarchists have expressed similar agreement with Marx’s critique of political economy and with other aspects of his theories—even while rejecting Marx’s politics. Anarchists agree with Marx’s goal of the abolition of capitalism, the end of the state, and the creation of a classless, stateless, society. Revolutionary anarchists agree with Marx about the need for a working class revolution, in alliance with all those oppressed and exploited. In my opinion, Marx’s political economy is extremely useful in dealing with the economic, political, and ecological crises which the world is now going through.

However, like other anarchists, I reject Marx’s program of a transitional “workers’ state” or “dictatorship of the proletariat.” I reject Marx’s strategy of building workers’ parties to run in elections or to take state power in some other way. I reject Marx\'s economic program of national ownership of industry by the state. I condemn all the states established by Marxists; I regard them all as state capitalist. (This includes the one-party police state established by Lenin and Trotsky, which the Trotskyists still endorse.) Despite the scientific and humanistic aspects of Marx’s vision, Marxism repeatedly led to disaster: social-democratic support for their imperialist states, and then to mass-murdering Stalinist totalitarianism—and finally to the collapse of these regimes back to traditional capitalism. These results are rooted—I believe—in Marx’s authoritarianism, his centralism, and his teleological determinism.

Given these views, I do not see why I should be regarded as a Marxist. I am an anarchist who has been influenced by Marxism. (Personally, before I was an unconventional Marxist—and then a revolutionary anarchist—I was first an anarchist-pacifist. No one is born quoting Kropotkin.) Anarchism and Marxism is further discussed in Price (2015; 2013).

An Anarchist View of Technology

(3) My views on technology have been attacked by people who do not bother to understand them. In particular by primitivists and anti-civilizationists (whose theories were mostly originated by libertarian Marxists, ironically). It is true that I do not reject all technology or want to go back to hunter-gatherer society, as these people do. However, long ago I learned from Paul Goodman, Ralph Borsodi, and Lewis Mumford, among other decentralists, to have a flexible and humanistic approach to technology (as has since been taught by E.F. Schumacher of the “small-is-beautiful” trend).

After a revolution, we would start with the existing machinery and knowledge, as developed by capitalism and the state. But working people would re-organize and re-build the machinery and communities, as well as the process of production, sexual and romantic relations, political and other social interactions, etc. Technology would be re-created and rearranged to permit democratic management by the workers, the development of human creative potential, and ecological balance. Similar views have become more widespread with the fear of climate change and the growth of eco-socialism (see Price 2016b).

Neo-Platformism and Anarchist Self-Organization

(4) Liberals organize themselves to spread their ideas through writings, speech, and action. So do conservatives, Marxists, Pentecostal Christians, and fascists. It makes sense for anarchists to also organize themselves in order to spread their ideas through writings, speech, and action. Anarchists seek to counter the liberals, conservatives, Marxists, Pentecostal Christians, and fascists. But a voluntary federation of revolutionary anarchists is not a “party” (vanguard or otherwise). It does not seek to take power for itself, to get elected to rule the state or to overthrow the existing state and create a new state. An anarchist organization is part of the self-organization of the people and seeks to be part of the workers in their self-mobilization.

From the beginning of the anarchist movement, there were those who advocated such self-organization. As mentioned, Bakunin and his comrades organized the Alliance for Socialist Democracy, to spread anarchist ideas inside and outside the First International (to Marx’s outrage). Ericco Malatesta criticized the anarcho-syndicalists of his time for only building militant labor unions without also building anarchist groupings to work inside and outside the unions. Makhno led the Ukrainian Insurgent Army against both the Bolsheviks’ army and the White counter-revolutionary armies. Together with other exiles from Russia and Ukraine, he decided that the anarchists had lost to the Leninists because they had not been organized enough. He and his comrades worked out the “Draft Platform” which called for an organization of revolutionary anarchists. Similarly, the anarchists in Spain, after World War I, were worried that their labor union federation (the CNT) would be taken over by either the Communists or by reformists. So they organized themselves into a federation of anarchists, the FAI, inside the broad union federation.

Many anarchists today do not want any sort of organization beyond a local group or perhaps a journal. But I agree with those who seek to build a significant anarchist federation which is capable of affecting the course of the popular struggle for a better world (see Price 2006).

Is There an Orthodox Anarchism?

While there may be an “orthodox Marxism,” there is no “orthodox anarchism.” As far as I am concerned, anyone whose aim is for a society without states, capitalism, or other oppressions—who wants a classless, stateless, cooperative association of freely-organized and self-managed associations, is an anarchist. Anarchists can and do have a wide range of opinions on how to reach such a society and how to organize it in detail. These opinions should be honestly discussed, not covered over or shut up through name-calling or red-baiting.

One thing which has attracted me to anarchism is its openness to various influences. As I have argued, anarchism has been affected by the democratic-liberal tradition as well as Marxism, and also the non-socialist decentralist tradition. Personally my views have also been influenced by Dewey’s instrumental philosophy, radical psychoanalysis, feminism, Zen, Malcolm X’s thinking, and eco-socialist concepts. I hope this has enriched my anarchism.


References

McKay, Iain (ed.) (2014). Direct Struggle Against Capital. A Peter Kropotkin Anthology. Edinburgh UK/ Oakland CA: AK Press.

Price, Wayne (2016a). “ Are Anarchism and Democracy Opposed? A Response to Crimethinc.”
https://anarchistnews.org/content/are-anarchism-and-dem...thinc

Price, Wayne (2016b). “Eco-Socialism and Decentralism.”
http://www.anarkismo.net/article/28974?search_text=Wayn...Price

Price, Wayne (2015). “In Defense of the Anarchist Use of Marx’s Economic Theory.” http://www.anarkismo.net/article/28438?search_text=Wayn...Price

Price, Wayne (2013). The Value of Radical Theory: An Anarchist Introduction to Marx’s Critique of Political Economy. Oakland CA: AKPress.

Price, Wayne (2009a). “The Two Main Trends in Anarchism.” http://www.anarkismo.net/article/13536?search_text=Wayn...Price

Price, Wayne (2009b). “Anarchism as Extreme Democracy.” The Utopian.
http://www.utopianmag.com/files/in/1000000006/anarchism...e.pdf

Price, Wayne (2006). “Anarchist Organization, Not Leninist Vanguardism.”
http://www.anarkismo.net/article/2212?search_text=Wayne...Price

*written for www.Anarkismo.net

category: 

Comments

Thanks Mark, for your admission that you advocate Marxist political-economy.
This (2) alone takes you out of anarchism into Marxism, since Marxist political-economy is hegemonic, fascist & totalitarian. Marxists are monopolists in political-economy and always have been, since 1850.
And now you've embraced Marxism you might consider stopping trying to help Chairman Bob convert us to red-fascism. Tia.

Why is this Leninist vanguardism, and definitely un-anarchist shite doing on our beloved @News?

"The creep just still gonna creep in, as that's what creeps usually do, because creeps they are." (Lao Tse... or maybe Chuck Norris)

And when I say this text was from Anarkofascismo, I knew what kind of Left populist drivel to expect.

Bunch of krusty old curmudgeon nerds in this comment section, especially you Rat. Fuck off, not that I always disagree with you but man do you have a bug up your ass when it comes to anything that triggers your anti-marx stuff.

Wayne's absolutely right, you can be heavily influenced by marx's critique and analysis of capitalism and completely reject his praxis of seizing state power. If Bakunin, at his most anti-semitic and vitriolic, could still admit this, then who the fuck are you little pompous keyboard warriors?! Fuck off douchebags. Of course Wayne's an anarchist.

Hi Wayne! I hope you have nice meetings today. And do a whole bunch of nothing. Like always.

Haha, is it so implausible to you that some of the trolling bullshit that passes for anarchist analysis around here is frustrating enough that random people call it out? I'm just some other vaguely left anarchist who happens to be immune to all this trendy nihilist/egoist noise.

"but man do you have a bug up your ass when it comes to anything that triggers your anti-marx stuff"

yep. except that profrat actually supports marxist ideology, right up to the "proles are the revolutionary subject" bullshit. rat fails!

"I've never heard of this "Platformism" but it sounds like a big bunch of shit to me." –Renzo Novatore

What are these things called Christians?
-- Le Way

Professor Rat makes no attempt to answer my arguments about Marxism or anything else. Instead he or she froths at the mouth and calls names. I assume the rat is simply unable to engage in a political debate. Doesn't recognize an argument and has no idea how to answer one. The same for the Anonymous who "quotes" Novatore. These are silly people.

Wayne, look I understand your frustration on people not responding to your arguments, but maybe its because you are so ultra boring that people just can't bring themselves to actually care about what you say whatsoever. I have no problem taking influence from certain things that Marx said, but you completely just spew out his more boring economic sentiments, while continuing to double down on very dated Anarchist analysis while claiming that no one understands your analysis, and it just makes you so uninteresting to read. Just the same old stuff.

I've found it's unfortunately typical of these hipster egoist types who dwell in the social media realm to have rather shitty analysis and dismiss serious argument as "boring". Even just pointing out the obvious holes in their theory is "boring". Perhaps some of the older folks like Wayne are talking some sense and the younger crowd is struggling with a short attention span?

Who cares... everybody gets old and they'll be the discarded old farts later. Unless they become generic bougie bureaucrats and designers in their condos and argue with AIs designed to delay the effects of Alzheimer.

True but I was suggesting there's an actual point to at least some anarchist discourse. Pretenders versus actual contributors that stand the test of time, not just a fad for college students and social media hucksters.

I'm just introducing the premise that Marx was a product of the Christian orthodoxy, nothing really radical about the connection, but one which numerous critics overlook, such as Marx's fallacious idea of a class consciousness being a psychologically acquired perception brought about by an opposition to the capitalist masters, much in the same way that Christianity converted heathens into Christians by making them believe in a universal evil and by opposing that particular Lucifer, one becomes a Christian. The methodology and manifestos are related, one has met many false Christians, just as one meets many false proletariat, or those who say they understand class consciousness, not realizing that it is a delusion. One has to have been driven at the yoke of hard labor by a capitalist boss as I have been to really acquire a 'class consciousness' which is not a comfortable intellectual concept, but a wretched state of mind filled with hatred, scorn and murderous ideas of revenge. I have moved on from that state of mind, and regard it as ignorant. That's all.

Class consciousness is a "delusion" in the same way that abject poverty is. When somebody is hungry or homeless or barely scraping by on slave wages, tell them they're just "delusional" if they're angry about it. I'll bring the popcorn!

perhaps a more subtle tack like submission of some relational poetry
leading to a common meeting-ground
rather than to seriously posit such a definitive statement
may offer truer affection toward a body's cosmorganic harmonization process
? either way the popcorn will be appreciated.
thank you

Fuck you and your "subtlety" felix. I'm not sharing the popcorn and I don't even like it! Just eating it in front of you out of spite ;)

I was drawing distinctions between someone aware of class consciousness and someone who has class consciousness. Of course I wouldn't call a hungry homeless wage slave delusional, you're being simple, I would say they have succumbed to the emotional pressures of capitalist social forces which places them at the bottom of a stratified order which is seen as a universal and unchangable system, and it has made them angry and resentful. I've been there, but I certainly wouldn't refer to it as a type of consciousness which is good to have or beneficial to anyone. Yeah, bring some popcorn and I'll slap it out of your hands before I lay into you!!

PS And anyway, material poverty is like a petty little mosquito bite which their binary herd mentality blows up out of all proportion, compared to the poverty of the spirit, which they cannot even recognize, they call it their psychoses and neuroses, let them suffer in their spiritual poverty, their ignorance deserves it, they know nothing else, what can an autonomous individualist like myself do for these sheep? Maybe eat popcorn on the sidelines and watch them suffer in their blissful ignorance?

I want to thank Professor Rat, Le Way, and several Anonymous posters for illustrating the points I make in my essay.

I also find fascinating the open elitism of Le Way. Most of these Individualists are not as openly cynical about their supposed superiority to the workers and other ordinary people. But Le Way tells the "ignorant" "sheep" that "material poverty" is nothing compared to their"spiritual poverty" which they are too stupid to recognize. The authoritarian, even state-capitalist, implications of these views are obvious.

Wayne, I have known material poverty and hard labor beyond most peoples thresholds of miserable toil and drudgery, and you know what, I did it without a single whining complaint or desire for support from any unionist or charity, because my spirit and my will could rise above any physical condition life could throw at me. I am a creative force of nature, I am above this,,,,this mediocre feebleness,,,,and yet, my empathy overfloweth, I toiled for the weak and gave my last crust to the hungry. I am not elitist, I am saintlike.

Also, the proletariat aren't driven by any real desire for revolution, as long as their lusts and desires are satisfied, they are happy obeying any master. Only if the authority denies them of their libidinous pursuits will they rise up and complain until their demands are met. They are as opportunistic as the capitalist system that produced them and this is why capitalism is so successful in dominating them. It can be said that nazism is no different, they provided the libidinous economy all peasants strive for, the smarter ones became the managers and bourgeoisie, but they, along with communism, are no different to the basic capitalist system, all refining their public relationships to a maximum degree to accomodate the closest margin of compromise ratio to the ruler's profit margin, and altering parameters of moral and ethical boundaries according to the popularist ethos.

I look at my local crowd of social anarchists and they're the prickiest, cynical bunch of elistist I've seen since the teenage gangs. Oh wait...

Yes I know what you mean, they are so narcissistic, their music is about Me Me Me and their little relational/emo problems, it seems they think they are the center of the universe with all their selfish absorption.

You deserve some credit for bothering to interact around here Wayne!

And some of these fellows around here push their points to the absurd. Which is a shame I guess, cause I think there is *some* merit in them.

Without resorting to gradualism, then I think there is possibilities in moving along the lines of eco socialism and libertarian socialism. The peasant struggles of the global south has some success in doing so at least. If nothing else, it can be a starting point, something which is not only Utopian (like full communism is presently). It is somewhat ironical that the folks who seem to be using a post-left critique are so rigorous in their analysis. Got to make due in life, and that would mean compromise as well. I'm not a marxist but see no point in a categorical rejection of marxist thought.

Some problems I see with your proposals are that they are too much of a reiteration of the present. Can't see that we need a party by another name (your platform) or some sort. Nor the implicit appeal for the mass, which carries too much vanguardism with it. We've got to figure out new ways to orient our struggle, new ways to do things. Platformism might have seemed like a good idea back in the days, but presently I think it is fair to say that this is just the same old crap which hasn't worked so far. Why keep repeating the same procedure? I can't really stomach the po-mo stuff, but as far as I understand it then the rhizomatic is a good allegory.

Perhaps we could do with a bit more listening and humility instead. Also technology is a tricky one, but if nothing else it should be approached with caution. You are vague to say the least in supposing that "working people would re-organize and re-build the machinery and communities", that what is needed is more humanism or the likes. It reduces technology to something out there, something inert and static. Technology is part of an ongoing ideological project and it is embedded in a very specific way of meeting and being in the world. I think it was Dauvé who said that if we are to seize the means of production, then it is to destroy them. That is not to say that we should morally reject any use of technology (by dubious terms like the "wild" for instance), but that we must acknowledge that technology (as a process) are presently part of the problem. It exists as a means for which valorization & productionism can express itself perhaps.

I think the that our present situation means that much of the thought of yesterday are obsolete. We don't have the luxury of a world which seemed to be able to carry on much as it had before. There is no need for apocalyptic visions, but things are getting rough. I work the land, and the change for the worse over the last five years are startling. When I was a little younger I was more die hard in my thinking, but in the end I don't see that that goes anywhere. But as someone else said on the topic of the week: the left continues to be the most important obstacle to consider - at least in this context.

(1)Suppose Le Way had written about African-Americans (instead of about "the proletariat") "as long as their lusts and desires are satisfied, they are happy obeying any master." What would we call this? (In fact, People of Color are a large proportion of the working class.) Even Professor Rat might protest--as he or she does not when Le Way writes this fascist stuff about the working class.

(2) I should respond to the Anonymous poster who says that maybe the problem is that my work is just so boring. This misses the point. Of course some people find my writing style boring and my subject matter uninteresting. But these people generally stop reading my stuff and do not bother to write comments. They do not write in denunciations of my politics and my person, making personal insults and proclaiming that my work is outside of anarchism!

(3) AEOA has written a thoughtful comment (understandably limited by the space available). He or she does not really explain why it would be wrong for revolutionary anarchists to get together in a democratic federation to advance their mutual program. Or why it is wrong to appeal to the mass. To say that this hasn't worked is not very enlightening. After all, nothing has worked (to establish socialist-anarchism, that is). It is a generalization to say "that much of the thought of yesterday [is] obsolete." Yeah, but much of the thought of yesterday is also still valid; we don't have to reinvent the wheel all the time. In my opinion, the dominant thought of the Left (statism, Stalinism, social democracy, Trotskyism, Leninism, and much of Marxism) is indeed "obsolete." But the basic ideas of anarchism remain true and should be built on for the future. Or so I have argued in several books and a number of articles.

How dare you describe me as a fascist in a binary political relationship!! Race has nothing to do with the tendency to be enslaved, it has to do with the primordial instinct and quest to survive.

Le Way shouts, "How dare you describe me as a fascist !" Well, just look at the stuff you write. You believe that you are one of an elite few who stand above the stupid masses who are enslaved by their "libidinous" desires and wants, causing them to accept masters. What do you call this?

In his Encyclopedia Britannica article on "Anarchism," Kropotkin wrote, "...Individual anarchism...maintains that the aim of all superior civilization is, not to permit all members of the community to develop in a normal way,but to permit certain better endowing individuals 'fully to develop'....It is thus a return towards the most common individualism, advocated by all the would-be superior minorities, to which indeed man owes in his history precisely the State and the rest, which these individualists combat. Their individualism goes so far as to end in a negation of their own starting point...."

There is nothing fascist about thinking other people are stupid. Other people are stupid. Most mass thinking is pathetic, for starters; and thats why anarchists try desperately to teach everyone about "radical" liberal politics.

Moreover, Kropotkin is hardly a thinker that would have anything interesting to say about individualism, mostly because he was not really interested in it. But there are other writers!

Yes, I am better endowed Wayne *snickers* and have become fully devoloped *more stifled giggling* and have negated my own arrogance in the process of unleashing my empathy towards the foolish masses. I don't read Kropotkin, I find him long-winded and utopianist in his vision. But thankyou for trying to convert me but I'm just beyond these industrial factory floor philosophies, though someone entrapped within the capitalist system would benefit greatly from Kropotkin and your devotion to spreading his ideas. Your hearts in the right place, your head is stuck in a digitally refurbished process-line churning out consumerist commodified desires for my beloved masses.

Well, basically I think you start in the wrong end. The problem with your approach of attempting to seize the means of production is that this will be a continuing of capitalistic society through other means. Work,production,valorization;all are essential for this society to tick. To "recreate" these relations are naive at best, still we cannot presently exist without them. We are in a blackmail situation with capitalistic society: work or starve.
Which means that we need to start from scratch. We need to take control over our basic necessities, not through the implementing of formal political bodies, but through pragmatic hand to mouth initiatives.

The possibilities are right there and available. We can produce our own food, provide for our own energy needs, start medical services, all of which is not an attempt to "win hearts and minds". This is very much contrary to superimposing on labour struggles, trying to further the radical discourse of workers. The irony of the cohesive approach is that it depends on that which it opposes: Your platform replicates capitalistic modes of organization, relies on the very same logic. Our problem is that this approach, this being if you will, is rotten to the core. The old religious conception of revolution got can be left as well.

So the old rank and file dream of a united proletariat is dead and obsolete.We can salvage pieces from those projects, but most likely it is better to leave them as stories of past attempts and methods. It is nonsensical to suggest that we need to take control over the means of production (workerism) when those very means are destroying our means of subsistence. The westernized industrial society are pathological and we do not need some marxist dystopia to save us.

It would be interesting to see what would happen if more folks would stop with these forms of spectacular resistance and would rather start with the little less glamorous stuff of putting food on the table.

AEOA, you reject the idea of a revolution by the working class and oppressed. Instead (if I understand you) you advocate the old idea of people withdrawing from the existing system and building up an alternative system--an idea which was proposed by the early Utopian socialists and by Proudhon. This is not some brand new insight but an old strategy. The reason it won't work is not that it is old, but that capitalism dominates all the space, the market place,and the government. If it began to take off, it would either be coopted into the current system (as are today's various coops) or would be crushed by the state or big business.

You oppose my "approach of attempting to seize the means of production is that this will be a continuing of capitalistic society through other means. Work,production,valorization...." Yes, I want the ordinary people to "seize the means of production," to continue "work, production" but not "valorization" (not using exchange value or monetarization). This is definitely not continuing capitalist society. All societies, including anarchist-communism will need some work and production, if we are not to starve and lack clothing and shelter. What you propose involves withdrawing from the current mass struggles and waiting for industrial capitalism to collapse on its own (killing most of the rest of us, in fact).

You conclude, "the old rank and file dream of a united proletariat is dead and obsolete." Since most of the US and most of the world is proletarian, then this conclusion is pretty dismal. However, just as I do not feel that "socialism is inevitable," neither do I accept your despairing inevitability.

I reject your conceptualization of revolution, as far as I understand it that is. But moreover I reject your methodology.

I do not advocate a withdrawal from the existing system, it is currently not possible to do so. I think it would be ineffectual as well what societal change is concerned, and as for the rest of it we agree.

And there is too much ideology going round in your statements. Our imagination are colonized indeed. So it is not a dismal conclusion, not stating that socialism is inevitable, and there are not much despair.

The fact that "that capitalism dominates all the space, the market place,and the government", and that we are now dependant on this domination is what makes we want to seek new horizons. As I said we exist in a blackmail situation, not only with capital but with complex technology. This is as much a social phenomena as a material one. So a rearranging of society is at best insufficient.

Which is why I think that libertarian socialism might offer some sort of leverage, or get us starting towards something else. It is not an utter rejection of the present, but trying to rearrange it to something of a betterment. It can give a framework to start rearranging the social relations we engage in which currently are ending in a destruction of our own habitat. I think we have to approach the situation somewhat humbly, and acknowledge that even our utopias and dreams are part of this madness. So to propose of them a solution amounts to sheer arrogance.

Most people I meet and speak to are fed up with all these crafty politicians and managers. People are tired. And partly it is because all this scheming makes little sense. Folks are less stupid than many revolutionaries seem to think. But how do you put bread on the table beyond visions of "workers self management" in a world such as ours?

Then you have all those who benefit from the system (either actually or imaginary) who would like to see it go on. What about them? Our subsistence are based on a global trade, which again are based on coercion,black mail, violence and profit. If you remove this incentive, how you going to produce that which we need to live?
So the question of work is as such irrelevant. If you simply seize the factories,the farms - how will you keep them running?

Which is why I say that you start in the wrong end. It is placing the struggle where it is at: Your right to live. It is about creating structures which are not dependent on coercion,profit etc. Tomorrow takes care of it self, so to speculate the road to revolution amounts to metaphysics. But how do we live to day in a way which are true to our principles, which might prefigure a better world?

To weaponize the existing modus operandi, is still to steal the words and means from the filth. So if I were to do it without the aid of all these do-good thinkers who keep insisting on that I need the Party (sorry, but that is what your platform is) before I self decide, then such an approach makes endless more sense to me. I'm not a well educated fellow who can spend my time sitting around thinking (no accusation here mind you), nor are my friends. And I have heard enough of these paternal speeches who proclaim that I must "unite,unite,unite".
But it is mostly hot air.

For fuck's sake..

1- Get a plan to gtfo of your urban hellhole filled with suburban yuppies and posers
2- pick a nice village that's mostly abandonned, far from the city.
3- move there with friends and accomplices
4- pool in whatever you got in money to fund the critical tools and materials
5- fertilize and cultivate the land
6- develop a comunity kitchen/center to do stuff together and welcome anarchists from afar
7- do punk concerts in the barn, weekends of pagan free love, and tons of other ways to have fun
8- stop being a drag for yourself by keep working and thinking there's hope in this system. Your future is your face being stomped with a boot forever. The more you work and consume, the more you will be stomped.

I accidentally included the second part of the heading in the response to AEOA which belongs to the response to Le Way. I am not implying that AEOA has any relation to fascism.

I would call that a Freudian slip, which ironically hints at the dualistic dependancy both ideologies secretly share. I follow neither, they both promise a utopian future, as most ideologies do.

I accidentally included the second part of the heading in the response to AEOA which belongs to the response to Le Way. I am not implying that AEOA has any relation to fascism.

I suppose he'll get around to answering me one of these days. You are a liar when you claim to be anarchist while pushing Marxist political-economy ie Marxism tout court, in anarchist circles. It doesn't matter what your name is.
Then Marxism is fascism in theory ( communist manifesto ) and praxis ( 99 years of Chekist regimes )
Its telling that the only recent case of Nazi entrism came through the most MARXIST-LIKE anarchist's ( Platformists) and of course Wayne Price, the liar and fascist is close to those rotten creeps.

Over to you *kamaraden*

That's a very harsh and insensitive criticism of Wayne, your vehement rants have me recoiling sometimes. You should try to control your anger and then maybe folk will reply to you.

I think that the broad part of his personality flows quite easily into the phenomenon of Lenin and after, sure. But also, Marxism is not Marx; I don't really want to defend it, but it is many a thing.

Anyway, I don't think Price is a liar, even less a fascist, but I think you're fucking dumb and/or dishonest.

Not to Professor Rat, but to anyone else interested in my defense of anarchists' using aspects of Marxism:

See section 2 of my above essay, labelled "Anarchism's Use of Marxism." After reading, if you still disagree, feel free to respond to my arguments and explain why you think they are wrong.

Marx has used aspects of already-existing anarchist struggle and discourse, not the other way around.

(1) AEOA does indeed have a different concept of revolution than I do. You may not want to "withdraw" from modern industrial capitalism, but it looks to me like you are proposing to build an alternate economy and society outside of the mainstream, "creating structures which are not dependent on coercion,profit etc. " From these, you hope, to struggle against the system. I think my arguments still hold: the capitalists, their market, and their state will not let you do this, beyond some very marginalized projects. I pointed to the fate of coops, which either fail or succeed and are integrated into the system. I do not oppose such efforts, but I doubt that they are a sufficient strategy for achieving libertarian socialism. Instead I propose struggle from below against the ruling class and its statist institutions.

(2) My argument on Marx's Marxism was that (like other anarchists from Bakunin onward) I agreed with certain key concepts (especially its political economy)--but that I disagreed with a number of other concepts. In my article I listed several of my major disagreements, including the idea of the transitional "workers' state," the attempt to seize state power, the strategy of running in elections, the nationalization of the economy, support for the various Marxist states, and so on, including its determinism. I concluded, "Given these views, I do not see why I should be regarded as a Marxist." Neither Professor Rat nor anyone else has attempted to answer this argument. This is different from saying, Well, you are not a Marxist, but you accept too much of Marxism (this would be a serious response).

(3) To the last Anonymous: Marxism and anarchism both developed out of the movements for democracy, socialism, and workers' emancipation. They interacted with each other, negatively and positively, which is why they overlap in various ways, as well as contradict each other in other ways.

I think, in parting, that we might agree on more than we disagree Wayne.

Contrary to some of the pedants around here, I try to find where we agree rather then where we disagree.

My main contention is that too much of the euro-centric thought, which does not necessarily include you, focus on abstracts. To be brief, let us call it an economical understanding. Which is fine for structural analysis, but don't cut the bone.

I come from the rural poor and am a land worker. So my viewpoint will naturally differ from some of those from a more urban background for instance.

Seeing the world from out here, what strikes me is the total lack of skill, knowledge and know-how. We live in utter dependence on that which exploits us. So for me the focus is on taking back that which we need just to get by another day. That is not some of the "finer" refinements of civilization, but the knowledge of seeds & soil.

Capitalism won't let me do as I propose which is why we even have this exchange. Hence, it is a revolutionary struggle - almost in the direct sense of the word.

But for me the grave danger is, especially in the colonized countries (industrialised if you will) is that if such a revolution were to occur it would do so in a vacuum. We do not possess the culture of the land anymore and would accordingly have to rely on the very same structures that oppress & exploit us for our subsistence.

So what I work for, my proposition if you will, is to simplify matters. As a suggestion I would like to see this angle theorized and practiced more. Instead of focusing on our identity within an economic category, rather to focus on us as the dispossessed. This is partly an echo of the peasant struggles, where it is said that the global north must now learn from the south. We do not have many powerful tools to use presently, most folks don't even bother with class anymore. Which is a clumsy way of saying we should focus on that which we actually can and have controll over if we organize around it: subsistence.

Sure, coops are a middle class indulgence. I cater for the bastards, I don't like it very much. But how do we instead look out for one another? How do we secure ourselves outside of the union? It matters little if I am organized in an union if I have to accept his masters voice to get medical attention and food.

Partly I think that the opulence of modernity has given us too much slack. We have gotten to thinking about too many trivialites, to much academic disputaion. Where I'm from they say it takes a stronger back to carry good years than bad ones.

It would seem like the rope is being tightened now, and we are pressed for time. From my little hill it looks like we are in for a defensive struggle, and that is what we should prepare for. Which would mean that we need to organize around the practicalities of life, not the seizure of a world which never were ours to begin with.

Then, tomorrow we'll see.

Wow, a Neo-Marxist cowboy, that's a first! No wonder abstract concepts confuse you, you only have to count the cows going through the race into the corral, but you're not concerned about their liberties.

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
CAPTCHA
Human?
m
k
Z
u
M
c
D
Enter the code without spaces.