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New historical syndicalist book

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jura's picture
jura
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Dec 2 2011 21:38

Proudhon was not even against commodity production.

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Red Marriott
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Dec 2 2011 21:50
RedEd wrote:
As for Bakunin, he was not at any point both a pan-slavist and an anarchist. He was first the former and then the latter. Which is not surprising since the two are incompatible.

This doesn't seem to be consistent with their "broad anarchist tradition";

RedM in OP wrote:
Yet "we include under the rubric of the broad anarchist tradition syndicalists like Daniel De Leon" - who was a Marxist and explicitly not an anarchist and who stood several times as an electoral candidate - and also "James Connolly" - who never called himself an anarchist, afaik, and who led a nationalist insurrection. So the breadth of "the broad anarchist tradition" seems, for these authors, to vary considerably at different points.

It continues to look absurd that attempts are made to give such definitions credibility; those who explicitly said they weren't anarchists, nationalists, electoralists/statists - all become anarchist(ic).

syndicalist
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Dec 2 2011 22:41
jura wrote:
Proudhon was not even against commodity production.

Comrade you mean, "commodity production" as in this:

"Normally commodity production assumes the presence of a cash economy, i.e. goods and services are traded for money and their value is expressed in money prices. Because commodity production is aimed at trading the products to obtain income, typically the organization of production itself and the technologies chosen to produce products are increasingly based on commercial principles. In the first instance, that means that those products are produced for which there is a market demand, and which will sell, and that products for which there is no market are unlikely to be produced. Commodity producers aim to organize their production so that the sale of their products to others will occur, and try to reduce their costs, in order to increase their income from the sale of products."

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RedEd
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Dec 3 2011 01:56
Red Marriott wrote:
RedEd wrote:
As for Bakunin, he was not at any point both a pan-slavist and an anarchist. He was first the former and then the latter. Which is not surprising since the two are incompatible.

This doesn't seem to be consistent with their "broad anarchist tradition"

I don't understand what you mean here. In case I was unclear in what I said, I meant to say that when Bakunin was an advocate of pan-Slavism he was not an anarchist, and then (in the context of engagement with the ideas of the Jura Federation) he changed his politics and became an anarchist. In Black Flame terms (and I think they say this explicitly some where) Bakunin was not part of the broad anarchist tradition for most of his life, only for the latter part (mid-late 1860s on).

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Red Marriott
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Dec 3 2011 12:03
RedEd wrote:
I don't understand what you mean here. In case I was unclear in what I said, I meant to say that when Bakunin was an advocate of pan-Slavism he was not an anarchist, and then (in the context of engagement with the ideas of the Jura Federation) he changed his politics and became an anarchist. In Black Flame terms (and I think they say this explicitly some where) Bakunin was not part of the broad anarchist tradition for most of his life, only for the latter part (mid-late 1860s on).

My point is that if nationalists, parliamentarists and statists (De Leon, Connelly etc) are part of the BF "broad anarchist tradition", why not Bakunin as pan-Slavist? You said being "both a pan-slavist and an anarchist" are "incompatible"; yet being nationalist, statist etc - non-anarchist - qualifies one as a compatible part of the BF "broad anarchist tradition". That appears inconsistent.

Other aspects of BF's historical inaccuracies and revisionism re. the supposedly "libertarian" Gramsci are discussed here; http://libcom.org/forums/history-culture/books-italian-anarcho-syndicalism-05102010#comment-400771

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RedEd
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Dec 3 2011 16:25

Oh, ok I see what you mean now. It's with De Leon and Connelly that I start to part ways with their approach. I'm guessing what they would argue is that De Leon and Connelly were, as revolutionary syndicalists, part of the broad anarchist tradition in spite of themselves since they were active participants in movements that had the characteristics defined by the authors as 'broadly anarchist' (or however they would put it). This could not be said of Bakunin when he was a pan-Slavist. This approach has two important benefits for me. One, it gets past the problem of self-definition. People call themselves or don't call themselves anarchists for all sorts of reasons, many of which are very unhelpful to us in understanding their politics or global labour history or whatever. Second, it does not privilege big name ideologues more than your average participant in a movement. We all assume that many anarchists will have views inconsistent with the general thrust of anarchism (nationalism, sexism, whatever) but we still think of them as basically part of the movement. I think it's a good idea to do the same with big name figures as well. Statist praxis would exclude one from being an anarchist, but I don't think either figure actually was a statist, though De Leon had some crazy ideas about a party getting power in order to abolish the state by decree and using elections as a propoganda platform. Obviously wrong, but not statist in my opinion. Though as I say, I'm not particularly concerned with defending the inclusion of these two individuals, though I would defend the usefulness of bringing the movements they were part under the same conceptual umbrella as more explicitly anarchist ones. In fact the approach in general deals with movements better than with individuals. Which I like, but it's not the standard historiographical approach. And the Gramsci thing is just weird. Don't know why they felt the need to say that he was especially libertarian in 1920.

syndicalist
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Dec 4 2011 14:26

To a certain degree, the book is really two books: the broad anarchist AND the broad syndicalist tradition. As an anarcho-syndicalist, I can parse the the age and period of "syndicalism" into a couple or few influences, extend or even over extend the main working class movement of the 1900s. As an anarchist, I don't think you can reverse that thinking, by placing marxian socialists, who shared something in common with "syndicalism", in the same boat or "broad tradition" as anarchism.

Unless, of course, one takes a tack similiar to Daniel Guerin, which, sorta renders both anarchist and marxian traditions ulmost usless as free standing traditions. They become so broad and overlap as to make them a view of and unto itself. Which is OK if that suits ones views. But it strecthes "broad" so broad as to blur often times real and distinct differences.