Wednesday, 24 December 2014

From The floodgates of anarchy - Stuart Christie and Albert Meltzer.

"We can hardly declare ourselves unconditionally for unbridled freedom and then go on to lay down blueprints for the future. We are not clairvoyants to be able to predict the social and economic structure of a free society. It is not possible to lay down rules as to how affairs should be managed when the management of mankind itself is abolished. But at the same time, the rebel in this society cannot be patient enough to wait for an expression of spontaneity as if for the Messiah. He has to choose a programme of action and the road to Utopia. There may be more than one way, and we may need to shift our course, but the knowledge of where we want to get enables us to pursue a consistent course at the moment.
If our aim is the abolition of the State, it does not make good sense to think of forming a new state when the capitalist state is abolished, still less to establish a dictatorship. This, of course, was a fallacy of Lenin's "

" But with all their tolerance, the liberals will, in a crisis, betray their posts, for in times of stress they see "the floodgates of anarchy" opening. History has shown how the liberal will call in the army when things get tough, knowing that it will cause the downfall of democracy, but preferring that to revolution. General Franco was a paid Army officer on the salary list of the Republican Government he destroyed. The "impractical" Anarchist movement, the CNT-FAI (xv) called for the abolition of the Army and fought against it. The socialists and republicans preferred to bring in "reliable" Army officers, such as General Franco, with his Masonic background, replacing the monarchist officers. The Republic felt that this would save them from both fascism and the workers. The result is well-known"

"Anything was better than the "floodgates of anarchy" so far as they were concerned. So far as we are concerned, these are the gates which have to be opened. "

"It is an easy approach to libertarian thinking to express the iniquitous violence of the State, and contrast it with the complete non-violence of a non-governmental society. Yet it is dishonest to show the goods without mentioning the price, and a free society can only come about through determined resistance. It is not only a question of overthrowing a ruling class, but making it abundantly clear that no rule may exist again. The aim of the free society is not the "rejection" of the repressive organs of the State. It is their abolition.
In the realm of fiction, a revolutionary role is played by the creative writer, artist, musician. In the appreciation of their rejection of State values, the student plays a revolutionary role. But as regards the real thing, we have to consider in terms of the clash within society between those who rule and those who are ruled. It is a clash that amounts to civil war whether one calls it so or not. It is necessary to abolish imposed conquest in the realm both of the mind and of the body."

"Backward, indeed, to the free city, with its guilds of craftsmen and groups of scholars, its folk-meeting and loose federal association. But forward to the use of technology in its proper place, at the service of man, with education helping to eradicate hatreds and not ingrain them. Backward to the natural countryside, the village not tarted up for stockbrokers to live in and the streams not polluted because of the need for profits. But forward to the liberation of the mind from the superstitions of the past, to the ending of sexual puritanism with the incursion of authority into the concerns of humanity. Backward to the society without rulers imposed by conquest. Forward to the society freed from the domination of government or the principle of exploitation. Backward to the workers' councils of the Russian and German revolutions; the free communes of Spain, Ukrainia, Mexico; the occupation of the places of work in France and Italy; the earliest aims of the British shop stewards' movement and the federalistic conceptions of the First International. Forward to the Utopia of William Morris, now well within the reach of man. "

" the authoritarian communist has fallen into the trap of talking about national liberation and forgetting about social revolution, the danger for the libertarian is to fall into reformism. Once the near-impossibility of changing the State is accepted, and it is assumed, inaccurately, that it is therefore also impossible to abolish it; or, accurately, that this cannot be done without revolution and those with pacifist ideas reject this, one is driven to the position of liberalism. The militancy with which liberal ideals might be advanced does not make them revolutionary. Revolution has to do with social and economic change. Except in the transition to capitalism (in the American Revolution, for instance), even a liberal with a gun is not a revolutionary but an armed liberal. It may be necessary under a dictatorship to fight for so elementary a "reform" as free speech, but if one does not understand exactly what the issues are, one finds oneself fighting for any political leader or nation-state that happens to use "free speech" as a slogan."

"For the storm troopers are there in reserve all right, even if some of the gruppenfuehrers are saying, not "Sieg Heil!", but "I was quite sympathetic to them until . ."

". Legitimate violence is a State monopoly, for the State makes the laws. It is not possible for the revolutionary to shift people from deliberately induced apathy, within a framework acceptable to the Metropolitan Police or the capitalist press. Nor is there any way of rebelling discreetly, of challenging public opinion though refraining from offending people's conception of good taste. Nor can one change the economic basis of society to approving nods from the judiciary"

Those who look on violence as the worst crime of the State -- because they judge everything on its degree of violence -- may be right, but it does not follow at all that if the State could rule without violence -- if the ruling class could conquer without force of arms -- this would be the same thing as freedom.

On the contrary, a samurai class which could impose its will by moral authority and gentle persuasion would not be less authoritarian than one which needed to use the sword and the whip. It might be less intolerable to live under. But there is no difference, in the compulsion they use, between a Gandhi and a Mao Tse Tung. Gandhi, by his moral persuasion, might have been the more effective dictator.


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