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Communism/anarchism=utopia ?

Discussion in 'General political debates' started by blacknred, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. blacknred

    blacknredExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Help required. Marxist , ex SWP member . Left said party because of a sort of homo sapien ubber alles disagreement at the time of Barry Horne hunger strike which ultimately led to his 'murder' by the state .
    I digress, always assumed 2 roads to utopia ; the Marxist and the Anarchist. The Marxist-an organised route a la socialist parties like aforementioned SWP and the Anarchist route-obviously disorganised .
    Anyone care to expand ?
     

  2. ungovernable

    ungovernableAutonome Staff Member Uploader Admin Team Experienced member


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    Better be utopist rather than defeatist

    No it's not an utopia since anarchism existed before. Spain revolution, kronsdadt, makhnovtchina, the zapatists, autogestion in argentina, etc...

    Anarchism disorganised ? Huh ? Anarchists are all for organisation, the circled A means anarchism and order/organisation
     
  3. Bakica

    BakicaExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Feb 21, 2010
     
    well you are right but..look at the people today? its just greed and power and money. and when the working class starts a riot ( like in Greece) they start to "kill" and steal.thats not anarchy I mean yeah destroy whats governments but we will not make it if we are so stupid. We must change the people first then the state.
     
  4. blacknred

    blacknredExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    That's what the "socialist' stance is re-anarchist, disorganised.
    Wasn't the schism between the two theories at the 1st international ,when Marx and Bakunin fell out over the direction to get to utopia or a communal system (if you prefer )?
     
  5. blacknred

    blacknredExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Concur , but (as you probably know ) easier said than done !
     
  6. Bakica

    BakicaExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    yeah..unfortunately
     
  7. David-N

    David-NActive Member Forum Member


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    It's not that utopian actually, the thing is capitalism is so well integrated into our lives, that everything else seems utopian.
    But it's easy to say nothing can be done/that's just the way it is, and that it's in our nature to destroy ourselves or whatever - thet is close minded thinking!

    Im from Slovenia and in the 80's, this country was part of Yugoslavia. In those days, Yugoslavia was somewhat a socialistic country. I wasn't around then, but everyone that was said that those were golden times. Everyone was fairly paid, it was no problem to get a job, there was almost no crime, and everyone was mor or less happy. Why things got worse is a different story, but the thing is, that when things get right, people calm down.

    But still, people must change - their way of thinking must change, and when they do, things can be possible.
     
  8. AnarcoPunk43

    AnarcoPunk43Member Forum Member


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    hey all !
    well, for me anarchy isn't an utopia, but to make anarchy real, we need all geting togheter and try to make people wake up for the world, try to show them that our idea is really good and would make the world so much better, and we need to help each other.
    (sorry about anything in my english, im brazilian)
     
  9. blacknred

    blacknredExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    aye , that better world , that's utopia, that is
     
  10. blacknred

    blacknredExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Lifted this from an old SWP pamphlet re marx/anarchism .

    In 1871 both Karl Marx and Mikhail Bakunin, the most prominent representatives of the international socialist and anarchist movements respectively, welcomed the Paris Commune as a practical realisation of their visions of socialism. This fact would seem to confirm the claim made by Daniel Guérin in his classic history of anarchism that, beyond the sound and fury of sectarian wrangling, “anarchism is really a synonym for socialism”. If, additionally, we accept Noam Chomsky’s comment that “the consistent anarchist…will be a socialist, but a socialist of a particular sort”: a “libertarian socialist”, then perhaps we might be led to view anarchism as a variant of what Hal Draper called, from a classical Marxist perspective, the tradition of “socialism from below”.
     
  11. badman

    badmanExperienced Member Experienced member


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    how do you mean?
     
  12. blacknred

    blacknredExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Difficult to answer without getting bogged down in theoretical jargon , however.........basically , they both shared a political endgame- a stateless society without want etc . It's how we get there that they differed .Again very simplistic ,Marx envisioned a 'transitional' state between capital and communist society; a workers state ,if you like .Bakunin rejected this idea.He felt that the system could be smashed and immediately move to a 'mature communist society '. Thus organised and disorganised.
    Doubt that's cleared it up !!!!
     
  13. back2front

    back2frontExperienced Member Experienced member


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    blacknred, there is a stark difference between Marxism and Anarchist-communism, and there are some similarities. The stark difference, and really it's glaring, is that Marx promoted the revolutionary party while Bakunin reminded him that power ultimately corrupts. The Marxist 'temporary dictatorship', following from the revolution, merely replaced one tyranny with another as subsequent 'revolutions' have done and where dictatorships are far from temporary, from Joseph Stalin to Fidel castro. As Bakunin said of Marx - "he is from head to foot an authoritarian".

    If we go back to the First International, what we are seeing is a meeting of all the socialist trends coming out of Europe at the time. Marxism, then, wasn't solely the ideas of Marx but a conglomeration of broadly radical socialist ideas including many ideas borrowed from anarchism and mutualism. We might trace the idea of 'libertarian socialism' to this point and we might look at the theories of the First International as being a step forward, an evolution of socialist ideas. Socialism itself had begun to be absorbed into main stream party politics to the extent that all it could ever hope to achieve was reformism of the capitalist state. This is more true today than it ever was.

    Marx's unsurpassed critique of capitalism offered a more radical concept of socialism while his suggestions for communism were largely borrowed from the anarchist mileau. But the idea of a a revolutionary party was merely an extension of heierachial government dressed in rhetorical red.

    The most noteworthy example is, of course, Russia. It was anarchists who brought revolution to Russia - a disorganised attempt in 1905 and a more concerted effort in Feb 1917. The revolution was stolen from the people by Lenin and the Bolseviks, although the anarchists must take some blame for initially trusting these despots. "All power to the soviets and not the government". The Bolsevicks used the anarchist line to first take over the soviets and then take power. The rest is history.

    In The Spanish revolution when upwards of 3 million people rallied behind the CNT-FAI and FIJL and began expropriation of land and socialisation of culture, it was Stalin, fearing that the 'workers' revolution' he erroneously promoted might be centralised in Spain and Russia would no longer be seen as the centre of revolution. He sent arms to his followers who subsequently wrecked the revolution, turning even on the Marxist POUM (which George Orwell fought with). It was another example of a centrally authoritarian Marxist government taking power away from workers and keeping it firmly in the hands of the State. Of course there were other factors involved but this was certainly central.

    Anarchism, then, becomes a step on from Marxism in the evolution of socilaist ideas. Moving away from the whole concept of party politics actually meant that anarchists were now rejecting both the left and the right, although some still like to refer to them as the far left. The idea that people can create and run their own society from the bottom up remains the most dangerous idea - it is anti-political. Of course that is not to say that systems of leadership and law would not be put in place, they would but they'd be agreed at local level by direct democracy and all appointees would be instantly recallable. The will of the people, then, is derived from the bottom up as opposed to the top down.

    Marx himself stated that he wasn't a Marxist, having see what became of his theories. Despite all this his critique of capitalism remains important to this day. But 'socialism from below' must still come from below, and not imposed by temporary dictatorships or so-called revolutionary parties.
     
  14. blacknred

    blacknredExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    wholeheartedly agreeing with you .
     
  15. ASA

    ASAExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    and we have learnt from our state now, or we all lose
     
  16. blacknred

    blacknredExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Back2front ; sorry don't wholehearted agree . Mostly agree but........
    'temporary dictatorship', following from the revolution, merely replaced one tyranny with another as subsequent 'revolutions' have done and where dictatorships are far from temporary, from Joseph Stalin to Fidel castro. As Bakunin said of Marx - "he is from head to foot an authoritarian".

    Don't think the S.U. or any of it's satellites are good examples of Marxism;

    The Russian Revolution of October 1917 was greeted across the world with enormous popular enthusiasm. In the midst of the bloody slaughter of the First World War the workers' and soldiers' councils had taken control of the country. The new soviet government took Russia out of the war, instituting far-reaching reforms. Factory committees took over enterprises. The peasants won the land. Legislation gave women the most advanced freedoms anywhere in the world.

    The new government called on workers and oppressed peoples all across the world to join their revolution. No genuine socialist could fail to support this brilliant endeavour.

    From the beginning, however, the infant socialist regime faced immense problems. The White armies launched a brutal civil war, backed by every major capitalist government. Russia had lost more soldiers in the First World War than any other power. Now, in the civil war, the death toll was even higher. Poverty stalked the land. Five million people died of typhus.

    The very working class that had led the 1917 revolution was decimated, as Russia's cities depopulated. Many of the best and most committed working class activists died defending their revolution, leaving others to run the new social organisations.

    In the very process of winning the civil war, the regime was inwardly corrupted. Bossing replaced popular democracy in more and more spheres of life. Surveying the scene in 1920, Lenin, who was brutally honest, said, "Ours is a workers' and peasants' state suffering from serious bureaucratic degeneration."

    If the revolution did not spread, Lenin and his comrades repeated again and again, they would be defeated. Russia's revolution remained isolated. Within Russia the "bureaucratic degeneration" Lenin had described deepened. In the mid-1920s Stalin, who was by then the ruling party leader, abandoned the Bolsheviks' previous internationalism. Now, he declared, "socialism in one country" was possible and desirable.

    Until the late 1920s Lenin's description fitted Russia more and more precisely. But at the end of the 1920s Stalin set an entirely new course. It was necessary, he declared, for Russia to "catch up and overtake" the major capitalist countries.

    The new policy was enshrined in the Five Year Plans. This programme of crash industrialisation involved a ferocious assault on the people's conditions. Where real wages had risen during the 1920s, now they were slashed. Where the peasants had won the land in 1917, now forced collectivisation of agriculture meant it was seized back from them. Egalitarianism was officially declared an anti-socialist policy.

    In the name of "socialist construction", Stalin led a counter-revolution from above. Every remnant of the popular democracy of 1917 was systematically expunged. Forced labour camps were set up, with millions of slave workers. In the purges of the 1930s Stalin's political police arrested and murdered every significant communist who represented the real memory of 1917.

    Tragically, many communists and even Labour Party members around the world believed Stalin's lies, defending the disastrous conditions in Russia as socialism.

    On the left, those who opposed Stalin struggled to make sense of what was happening. Stalin's most prominent opponent, Leon Trotsky, still held on to Lenin's 1920 formula, calling Russia a "degenerated workers' state". For Trotsky, the existence of state-owned property meant Russia retained something socialist, even if in a highly perverted form. Trotsky denied a new ruling class had emerged in Russia.

    Others, like the American Max Shachtman, allowed that Stalin's Russia was a society resting on class exploitation, but could not explain Stalin's drive to industrialise, or the stress on heavy industry and armaments at the expense of popular consumption.

    The problems were compounded in the wake of the Second World War. Now Stalin expanded his control across Eastern Europe, putting his own stooges in charge of brutal copies of his own regime. Were these workers' states? If so, that would mean socialism no longer needed workers' revolution.

    In the late 1940s Tony Cliff finally offered the best Marxist theory of Russia and of its East European satellites. Stalin's Russia, he insisted, was in no sense a workers' state, not even a degenerated form.

    The fact of state property in no way made it socialist-any more than nationalised industries did in Britain, like the Coal Board that fought the miners in 1984. Capitalism could involve state property, as Marx and Engels had argued in the 19th century.

    In subordinating Russian society to the imperative of "catch up and overtake", Stalin had followed a specifically capitalist path. Stalin's Russia was clearly a class society, where intense exploitation of the working class provided the means for the rapid economic growth in the 1930s.

    But capitalism involves not just class exploitation, but also competition. It was impossible to make sense of Russia "on its own". It was part of a competitive world economy.

    The main mechanism of competition in Russia came in the shape of military competition. That was why guns and not butter were the priority in economic growth.

    As part of world capitalism, Russia and its satellites also experienced economic crises. These lay behind the huge revolts that occurred in East Germany, Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia from the 1950s. Finally the whole edifice of Stalinism was brought down in 1989-91, often with huge popular revolutions. From the whole tragic experience two things stand out. First, socialism must be international, or it will be destroyed from within and without. Second, socialism and the most widespread democracy are indissolubly linked.

    Another SWP pamphlet !


    "Moving away from the whole concept of party politics actually meant that anarchists were now rejecting both the left and the right, although some still like to refer to them as the far left."
    This is new to me , 'right' wing anarchism ? you'll have to explain that .
     
  17. back2front

    back2frontExperienced Member Experienced member


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    Are there any good examples of Marxism?
     
  18. blacknred

    blacknredExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    no. I'm (was) steeped in the Trotskyist tradition.That is there has to be a world wide uprisimg , socialism in one country wont/cant work . Simply put , the trotskyists are waiting for the collapse of capital ,set up the workers state to eventually dismantle the state .
    Re Spain civil war . POUM were the Trotskyist(ish) faction .Along with the anarchists had to put up with the communists( but not communist !!)shooting them as well as the fascists .
     
  19. ASA

    ASAExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    back2front, rathryn sed it best.

    history can teach but also blind, wat do u see how does it conicide, an 'equal' society.
     
  20. blacknred

    blacknredExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Sorry for butting in , how so ? Unless we learn from history, history is meaningless .
     
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