Sunday, 16 February 2014

For anarchism, against Leninism.

Theory and practice.  whereas Leninism is marked by theoretical rigidity, by it's theory first practice second approach
we anarchists reject any distinction between means and ends. You cannot create a society with worker control by controlling the workers. You cannot create an equal  society if you still divide it between the rulers and the ruled. anarchists approach tactics and solutions in a pragmatic fashion. We never claim to have all the answers but constantly learning through experience and constantly revising and learning where problems my rise . Our practice is and should always be open to revision. Theory is important but experience should dictate it's usefulness- where it applies and when or when it holds us back, we should  disregard that part. Theory is only useful insofar as it helps us in the process of reaching  our ultimate goal of an anarchist society. We hold theory in a provisional empirical historical  manner.  There is no guaranteed winning strategies. Revolutions and new societies cannot come from books.

Figureheads. whereas Leninists especially Trotskyists seem to have no issue with worship of 'dead white males' or living white male celebrity cults,  we anarchists find that deeply disturbing. We believe nothing good can come from cults of personality regardless of who they are. We recognise the risks associated with fame.   While respecting our origins, it would be disgusting to us to have branches of thought based on figureheads. While Trotskyists have no issue with being named after one person,we anarchists are very disturbed by that idea. The idea of 'Kropotkinites' or 'Bakuninists' horrifies us. anarchists ideas belong to no one person. our ideas did not originate from any  one person and no one should be quoting past figures as if it were dogma. Our tradition is beautiful and useful but we  live in the present and so it is not always applicable in the same way.

Whereas Nationalists claim unity based on nation, we anarchists claim unity based on class and/or relation to oppression.

  Organisation. Whereas Leninists believe social change can occur from the top down and believe in authority and hierarchy and democratic centralism in organisation
We anarchists do not. We believe in grassroots democracy especially direct democracy. We believe in federalism from the local grassroots to globally. We oppose hierarchy and domination in all it's forms as counter to freedom, equality and solidarity among other things. social change can only come from below otherwise it inevitably becomes tyranny. all examples of Leninists governments have shown this true beyond doubt.


 Whereas Leninist believe in vanguards,  in leading the masses like they are sheep to be led by wolves , We  anarchists do not. We oppose the idea that the oppressed are incapable of leading their own struggles. We strongly believe it is only by the oppressed leading their own struggles that an anarchist society can come about. anything less is a mere change in leadership, a mere coup. That is how we view the Leninist governments- from the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela etc. We are happy to join in the struggles of the oppressed and  act as allies. Unlike Leninists, we anarchists never have the right to claim superior knowledge to the oppressed  about how to conduct their struggles . Some answers can only be worked out in practice. We reserve the right to refuse to offer a blueprint about how a future society would look beyond demanding it be anarchist in theory and practice. We will still over suggestions and express our preferences but it would be undemocratic of us to tell those of the future what society to have and we also cannot predict how events will unfold.

Means. Whereas liberals, democratic socialists  and social democrats talk of reformism and dismiss or even fear revolution
we anarchists do not. We believe that while reforms are important ,that while we must fight for any gins we have made that we must not stop there. Nothing short of a full scale overthrow of all existing conditions and a society run for the benefit of everywhere and run by everyone will satisfy us(No compromise)Everything else is tyranny whatever name it goes under. We fully understand this is not one lone event but a very long process with no guarantees of success.

If the Socialist Workers Party is anything to go by, Leninists channel the oppressed's rage into ineffective spectacles like marches, newspaper selling cults,  and support for union bureaucracy.

Reformists  channel the oppressed's rage into ineffective spectacles like marches, into political parties,  and into support for union bureaucracy ,for politicians and  for representative democracy .

Whereas  liberals of all stripes , democratic socialists, and  Leninists prefer nationalization to privatization we reject these options as false alternatives between the right-wing parties of capital(more or less degrees of private capitalism)  and the 'left-wing' more subtle parties of capital (more or less degrees of state capitalism) . True, in terms of reforms we prefer the former to the latter but it is  a different of degrees only. While Leninists, liberals  and other parliamentary 'socialists' have no trouble with nationalization which is nothing more than varying degrees of state capitalism we anarchists oppose all forms of capitalism whether it is private capitalism or state capitalism- the Soviet Union etc. being the most extreme form of state capitalism the world has ever seen. Instead we suggest ultimately the creation of co-operatives, communes, worker councils, community councils, free schools  and other democratic grassroots  egalitarian non hierarchical institutions and organisations. We favour free grassroots democratic organisation of the masses s opposed to all any and top down solutions whether of states, corporations or non profits.

Nationalization is State capitalism. It concentrates the roles of individual capitalists more in the hands of the state so that the state becomes the boss, the landlord, the banker etc. In contrast we anarchists demand workers control their own workplaces unmediated by a separate class of managers whether those managers be bosses/managerial figures or  politicians or union bureaucrats  , that those who use and occupy the land have control over it.


Pacifism. Pacifism is a noble but ineffective idea.Whereas pacifists appeal to the conscience of the oppressors, most anarchists( being aware of those who label themselves   anarcho-pacifists, who feel differently)  know that the oppressors will not willingly concede power and that the resulting clash will inevitably  be violent. We hope for the least violence  necessary and for  the careful and responsible use of said  violence. We try to hold the middle ground between pacifism and glorification of violence.Glorification of   violence is  patriarchal. While we feel justified anger and hatred towards oppression and oppressors, we are motivated by love of humanity. We believe in violence only as a grim necessity.


The Goal.     Whereas Leninists believe in a 'Workers State', We anarchists believe there can never be such a thing. There can never be a 'peoples state' or a truly democratic government. We oppose all states, all governments anywhere and everywhere- past, present and future. We oppose all forms of domination, exploitation, hierarchy  and oppression anywhere and everywhere whether it is formal or informal  and will oppose it by all means necessary.  We believe in society run by everyone through democratic grassroots  structures  where society works for the benefit of all, not the few as it currently does. This issue cannot be papered over by calls for 'left unity' or dismissed as 'sectarian'


anarchism- for freedom, equality  and solidarity  as opposed to oppression,domination and exploitation.  For decision-making by the many not the few. For democracy, against plutocracy.

anarchism is not chaos. Chaos never breeds the conditions we desire and actually always breed the ones we oppose.

anarchism is not terrorism though most of us know power never gives up voluntarily.

we do not believe violence will in itself create a new society. organisation is vital. those who oppose organisation have no effective solutions.

There is no short cuts to the society we desire. Even if we could rush there, it would likely not be the society we want. Without the preparation, it would likely collapse quickly into tyranny. We have no idea how long it will take. There are no guarantees whatsoever.

 

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