Fascism and anti-Fascism

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Noah Fence's picture
Noah Fence
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Dec 9 2018 22:34

So supporting comrades when attacked specifically because of their gender, race or whatever(we’ll leave transphobic attacks out of this because as we know, that’s just a result of their “bullshit lifestyle choices”), is no different to lobbying government, voting for supposedly more progressive politicians or campaigning for women’s faces on bank notes? Ok, you got me there.
And ftr, I’ve insulted nobody, in fact I made a point of telling Meerov that I know he is not an idiot. That’s the very reason why I find his(and your) daft reasoning so surprising.

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Dec 9 2018 22:57

So you need intersectional thinking to tell you that you are supposed to defend your coworkers (oh wait, you are a landlord, not a worker – let's leave it at "comrades" then) when they are attacked? Weird, but okay. What does it have to offer to the rest of us who, you know, already know that?

Noah Fence wrote:
“bullshit lifestyle choices”

I'm wondering why you put that phrase in quotation marks; who exactly do you think you are quoting?

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Noah Fence
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Dec 9 2018 23:01

You, as well you know. And try getting your research straight.

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AnythingForProximity
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Dec 9 2018 23:10

Never said anything about "lifestyle choices" of any kind, ever. Neither in the connection with transphobia nor with anything else. For some reason, you want me to be a transphobe so badly that you convinced yourself I had actually said something you had unsuccessfully tried to bait me with. Would be funny if it wasn't a bit pathological.

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Noah Fence
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Dec 9 2018 23:09

So when I repeatedly asked you about this why didn’t you just set me straight?

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AnythingForProximity
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Dec 9 2018 23:31

Because I didn't give a fuck about your questions. Anyway, just wanted to establish that you were trying to smear me with an offensive quote of your own making, then lied about which one of us actually wrote that.

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Noah Fence
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Dec 9 2018 23:36

I just spent ten minutes looking for that quote. I asked you about it shortly after the post of yours that I thought contained it. No sign of it and it makes my post at the time nonsensical. Now either you edited it out or I went off my fucking head. If it’s the former then fuck you, if it’s the latter you have my apologies. What is absolutely certain is that I have not tried to smear you, I’ll leave those sort of tactics to you(post #93).

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Dec 9 2018 23:44

I accept your apologies and in turn apologize for the apparently incorrect remark I made in post #93.

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R Totale
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Dec 10 2018 10:12
AnythingForProximity wrote:
Just as an example, I recently re-read the text through which I'd first discovered Libcom some years ago: We are all "amigos", a powerful account of an IWW member's experience of not just organizing across race lines, but also realizing that race is used by the bosses as a tool to divide the working class.

Yeah, it's a good article. But also, what kind of a divisive intersectionalist prick would write something like this?

Quote:
As a white guy, I have better access to jobs and I enjoy better treatment, relatively speaking.

What labor aristocracy nonsense, amirite?

meerov21
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Dec 10 2018 20:56

AnythingForProximity
"In the way you just described, "privilege theory" is very reminiscent of Lenin's concept of "labor aristocracy", which also sees one part of the working class as being complicit in the exploitation of the other. Of course, in the course of the further degeneration of Leninism (which from the very beginning was nothing more than Kautskyism dressed up in radical language, and which already substantially deviated from Marx), it was the Maoists who really took up the concept with enthusiasm, as it provided them with a theoretical justification for shifting the role of the revolutionary agent from the proletariat to the third-world peasantry. It is therefore probably not insignificant that the originators of the concept of white privilege......"

That's a very accurate observation. I agree with so many things you said. In fairness, I will say that in my opinion Leninism was something more dangerous than just a product of Kautskianism, but Yes, the influence of Kautsky was too, and I partly agree with this definition of Jean Barot (Gilles Dove).

But the main thing here is not it. Yes, quite right, Maoism started a hysterical campaign against the working class of the largest industrial centers, denying its importance, use a notion "labor aristocracy" and instead put forward a theory of uprisings of third world nationalist movements. Undoubtedly, the monster of Maoism wanted to split the working class and weaken it. We now know well how the victories of nationalist authoritarian movements in the Third world turned out.

This is also true of China itself. The Maoists in the early 1950s met growing opposition from the working class, which began mass protests against the new state bureaucracy in Shanghai and other industrial centers. Mao hated the working class and feared it, he destroyed factory committees in the early 1950s and then crushed radical workers ' protests during the Culturel revolution. He sought to use the poorest illiterate part of the population (the peasantry of the ethnic group "haqqa" and fanatical youth), splitting workers and peasants and inciting one part of the workers to another part.

meerov21
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Jan 15 2019 19:19

In general, for the study of the history of Maoism, I recommend the work of Alexander Pantsov. In 2007, the "Young Guard" published the third book by Alexandre Pantsov, "Mao Zedong". As the author himself admitted in one interview, two factors prompted him to start writing this work: first, he wanted to continue the work begun by his grandfather, George Ehrenburg, author of the first biography of Mao Zedong, on the other hand - in the early 90s in the course of his work in the archives of the Comintern, he discovered 15 volumes of materials collected by the KGB at Mao Zedong. This materials shed light on the role of Mao Zedong in the history of the Chinese Communist Party, on its relationship with the Comintern and the leaders of the Soviet Union, and on the causes of the Soviet-Chinese split. The English edition was released in 2012, in 2014 the book was published in Germany, and in 2015 a Chinese translation was released in Taiwan.

meerov21
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Feb 10 2019 03:48

This is a really good article. I do not agree with modern unions and do not consider modern unions a revolutionary form of organization. But on the other hand, this text says a lot of right words about the need for cooperation of workers of different races. This text has nothing to do with white racism or black racism.

https://libcom.org/library/we-are-all-amigos

meerov21
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Nov 9 2019 13:34

AnythingForProximity
"In the way you just described, "privilege theory" is very reminiscent of Lenin's concept of "labor aristocracy", which also sees one part of the working class as being complicit in the exploitation of the other. Of course, in the course of the further degeneration of Leninism (which from the very beginning was nothing more than Kautskyism dressed up in radical language, and which already substantially deviated from Marx), it was the Maoists who really took up the concept with enthusiasm, as it provided them with a theoretical justification for shifting the role of the revolutionary agent from the proletariat to the third-world peasantry. It is therefore probably not insignificant that the originators of the concept of white privilege......"

I strongly suspect that the people who created the concept of "white male privilege" (which splits workers and pits one part of them against another) were infected with Maoism. The Western left environment was infatuated with Maoism after the Cultural revolution in China. They convulsed in the ' 70s, supporting Castro, Vietnamese Stalinists and Palestinian nationalists and talking about the working-class aristocracy of the West. The theory of white male privilege was very organically formed in an environment that lived in this nightmare.

P. S. AnythingForProximity look personal message, please !

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Nov 9 2019 17:48

The theory of labor aristocracy was not invented by maoists, or even by Lenin. Engels was from my knowledge the first to talk about it in relation to trade unionism in Conditions of the Working-class in England. He also wrote this in a letter to Kautsky,

Quote:
You ask me what the English workers think about colonial policy. Well, exactly the same as they think about politics in general: the same as what the bourgeois think. There is no workers' party here, there are only Conservatives and Liberal-Radicals, and the workers gaily share the feast of England's monopoly of the world market and the colonies.

I also don't know how you could explain the role of the established labor movement at the eve of the first world war without having some sort of theory of labor aristocracy. It was the top of the labor movement, the bureaucrats or labor aristocrats, who started to co-operate with the capitalist state for the war effort and against the interests of the working-class. It is not really that they theory of labor aristocracy divides workers, it is the structure of the labor movement itself, which is in turn shaped by the way the labor markets is divided.

Spikymike
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Nov 10 2019 16:56

Some critiques of the most common theory of a labour aristocracy can be found here:
https://libcom.org/forums/theory/labour-aristocracy-critics-02072016 and
https://libcom.org/forums/theory/theory-imperialism-10122010
I'm sure there are some others maybe better but I can't lay my hands on them just now.

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Nov 10 2019 19:56
Spikymike wrote:
Some critiques of the most common theory of a labour aristocracy can be found here:

And here:
https://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2010s/2017/no-135...

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Nov 11 2019 06:59

I don't really understand these critiques, the one from Solidarity is interesting but as I said, "It is not really that they theory of labor aristocracy divides workers, it is the structure of the labor movement itself, which is in turn shaped by the way the labor markets is divided." As the article says some people, specifically white men, are more often given jobs in profitable industries while women are given jobs in labor-intensive industries with low wages. An effect of this is that power over the labor movement becomes more and more concentrated in one section of the economy. The section with power and more weight develop in interest in keeping this industry profitable and stable. I can not fathom the idea that I as shop-floor organizer would have the same interest as the trade union representatives on the LKAB(profit driven state owned firm that controls the mines) company-board, they have for decades upon decades had it as their main task to secure profits and Sweden's position on the global market. When the large wildcat strike broke out in 1969 they, and other high ranking trade union members, were the first to attack the striking workers, and their main argument was that it was all a conspiracy led by Russian trained communists to remove Sweden from its leading place in selling metals. Am I dividing the working-class by saying I on a fundamental level don't have the same interests as the Swedish Prime-minister even though he was a metal worker who stepped through the ranks of Metall IF?

Do people who oppose this theory of labor aristocracy opposed wildcat strikes in places where trade unions have high level of organizing because it "divides" the working-class? A wildcat strike is on a very basic level breaking with labor aristocrats and labor bureaucrats, you will always find those who are tied up into the bureaucratic apparatus of the trade unions and social-democracy who favor labor peace over class struggle because they stand to lose much more than their chains.

This quote seems more conspiratorial,

Quote:
The Labour Aristocracy theory had the political purpose of enabling the Bolsheviks to argue for the workers in the colonies to form united fronts with their local ruling classes against Imperialism. This in turn had the aim of dividing the working class internationally, and turning it into cannon fodder for capitalist war.

Trotsky opposed those forms of "united fronts" while comintern supported them, for example in China, so that would not explain why Trotsky still applied this theory in the transitional program to promote the line that trade unions are in the end not enough,

Quote:
As organizations expressive of the top layers of the proletariat, trade unions, as witnessed by all past historical experience, including the fresh experience of the anarcho-syndicalist unions in Spain, developed powerful tendencies toward compromise with the bourgeois-democratic regime. In periods of acute class struggle, the leading bodies of the trade unions aim to become masters of the mass movement in order to render it harmless. This is already occurring during the period of simple strikes, especially in the case of the mass sit-down strikes which shake the principle of bourgeois property. In time of war or revolution, when the bourgeoisie is plunged into exceptional difficulties, trade union leaders usually become bourgeois ministers.

ajjohnstone
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Nov 11 2019 08:58

Red Clydeside is often hailed as an example of union militancy but many of the disputes were actually sectional by the alleged labour aristocracy - the skilled engineers (who all went to work in bowler hats to emphasise their status, so I am led to believe) - resisting the wartime dilution of their trade by the introduction of unskilled/semi-skilled workers and the arrival of women workers.

And they did resist the complicity of the union leaders who were making deals with the government over their heads, hence the Clyde Workers Committee slogan

Quote:
“We will support the officials just so long as they represent the workers, but we will act independently immediately they misrepresent them".

Spikymike
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Nov 11 2019 13:27

LeninistGirl is ignoring the other aspect of much labour aristocracy theory which treats all the working class (not just the trade union elite) in the developed nations as directly benefiting materially from the supposed super exploitation of 'third world' underdeveloped countries that misunderstands the way that the global capitalist economy functions. And it is not just a matter of workers in the developed nations absorbing the home grown imperialist and nationalist ideology of their local rulers.

ajjohnstone
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Nov 11 2019 15:53

I recall one critic of Lenin's theory asked what part of his wage is from super-profits from colonies to bribe him, so he could hand it back.

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Nov 11 2019 17:56

Is this critique put forward by spikeymike of a very fringe view of labor aristocracy theory, or just a caricature of the theory?

ajjohnstone
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Nov 11 2019 16:21

Mea Culpa, Leninist Girl, my last post was a frivolous attempt at humour but a genuine remark I either heard or read.

But my earlier message reveals the paradox of claiming that the "labour aristocrats" are somehow reactionary within the class struggle yet neither can they be depicted as revolutionary.

Trade unions are obliged to defend the particular interests of their members, not necessarily to protect the concerns of the class as a whole. There can be a conflict of interest.

This is the source for the case for the need of a workers' political party.

The skilled workers were the first to organise within their craft unions then came the birth of "new unionism" and the amalgamated general unions in the UK and the CIO against the AFL in the US.

Engels was subjecting the craft unions to scrutiny as did Debs and the IWW did. Eleanor Marx was involved in the building of new unions for the unskilled (particularly the dock-workers and women)

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Nov 11 2019 17:54

Undoubtedly, but I think the question is complicated by the development of the Swedish labor movement. The trade unions(organized along industry lines for unskilled and skilled instead of by profession) developed along side the social-democratic party, and if you were a member of the union you were also a party member. The theory before universal suffrage was won was that once it had been achieved, and the working-class had grown to larger and larger seizes, all the workers would vote for their own party and political power would be seized, ushering in an era of socialization. And the party did win, but the party becoming a government party in an era of monopoly development and fierce international competition made it impossible for the party to actually be a workers' political party.

ajjohnstone
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Nov 11 2019 18:22
Quote:
“For the full representation of labour in Parliament, as well as for the preparation of the abolition of the wages system, organizations will become necessary, not of separate Trades, but of the working class as body. And the sooner this is done the better…” (Frederick Engels, Trades Unions 1881)

There are unique and different situations and circumstances. No one size fits all.

Take India, as another example. There, each separate political party has its own affiliated trade union. There are twelve trade-union federations such as the Left-affiliated All India Trade Union Congress [AITUC], Indian National Trade Union Congress [INTUC] linked to the Congress party and the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, allied to the prominent right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

A political and economic nightmare when it comes to organising the class struggle.

It means for workers and socialists a different strategy when it comes to organisation and that is exactly what is happening.

France has the same issue with various politically aligned trade-unionism.

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Nov 11 2019 20:42
LeninistGirl wrote:
Is this critique put forward by spikeymike of a very fringe view of labor aristocracy theory, or just a caricature of the theory?

They're talking about one of the central parts of it.

meerov21
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Nov 12 2019 04:26

Several things.

Trade Union management is not a labor aristocracy. These people are not the working class, they act as a bureaucratic layer that controls trade Union finances and management decisions, that is belong to the class of exploiters. They manage collective funds, set themselves an excellent salary, invest in various activities and enjoy life. As a matter of fact, it is the reason that any trade Union (like a centralised party) is not a means to revolution if it has a serious centralised apparatus.

Even in so-called horizontal or alternative unions or so called modern "CNT", this layer of professional negotiators and lawyers forms and make many important decisions. This stratum is interested in the observance of bourgeois laws and is not interested in the social revolution, since they get profit from the intermediary bargaining between workers and business, acting within the framework of bourgeois laws, in bourgeois courts, state commissions, etc. I don't think we can call these salesmen "working class".

If we are talking about workers who are deprived of managerial functions, then talking about the aristocracy is meaningless. You can say the workers in rich countries earn an average salary more than workers in poor countries. You may also find that the average wage of white workers is higher than that of chinese workers living in the US, and that Chinese, in turn, are paid more than blacks. But if you're honest, you'll find a huge pay differentiation within each of these groups .You learn that a skilled black worker in the capital of USA is paid several times more or many times more than a temporary unskilled black worker in the periphery. You will learn that the worker in Moscow receives a salary more than the worker in the peripheral city of Russia, and that the latter one receives a salary much more than the rural worker.

Workers do not control their wages. Management and owners are in control of payday. World capitalism creates countless hierarchies in the workplace in every area of the earth. Everyone has some sort of privilege compared to a lesbian black (infected with AIDS) living in the poorest village in the Central African Republic. Then all the workers except her are the "working aristocracy".

Spikymike
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Nov 15 2019 11:51

I noticed there was this older related discussion about the concepts of 'super exploitation' , 'labour aristocracy' and Lenin's 'imperialism' here;
https://worldsocialism.org/spgb/forum/topic/superexploitation/
It meanders around a bit with a few detours including a side-swipe at Bakunin and the Narodniks but some might find it helpful with a bit of patient reading.