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Are SPGB Libertarian Communist?

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fnbrilll
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Jan 30 2015 01:00

void

Noah Fence's picture
Noah Fence
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Jan 30 2015 02:00
fnbrilll wrote:
Anarcho-Syndicalist Analysis of the state

Why didn't you post this sooner? We could have avoided a load of waffle.

fnbrilll
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Jan 30 2015 04:04

Waffle? I was holding out for Pancakes. tongue

ajjohnstone
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Jan 30 2015 07:31
Quote:
Forgive me ajj if I seem so decided of the SPGB's structure being incompatible with my understanding of what a libertarian communist organisation should be - I like to think I have an open mind when it comes to different organisations approaches, but on this one, I can only go off what has been described on this thread, it just doesn't sound like base democracy. You appear to be defending a structure that is possibly libertarian to a degree - but not communist. Would this be fairer to say?

Not sure if it is off-thread. You originally said that "Having digested as best I can the above posts..."
Without having to return to the beginning of the thread (or the other one) and extracting the relevant quotes, my impression of comments by other contributors was that our organisational democracy was perhaps one of the few reasons they might concede us being actually libertarian.

I'm not sure i can accept your thought that we are not exercising a communist organisation...mainly because i don't know what you mean by that.

Perhaps you can elaborate on your concept of a libertarian communist method of organisation and where it conflicts with what the SPGB practice.

Everything decided has to be agreed by a poll of membership. I have heard that this is the dictatorship of the majority but once again, it is a fault not unique to the SPGB and shared by many who think themselves libertarian. The criticism is not especially reserved to the SPGB but applies to many libcom groups.

ajjohnstone
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Jan 30 2015 07:39

[img]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-hVeRCabVtPk/VMs0B4rJAGI/AAAAAAAAOZI/ptW_ftLTvv...(7).jpg[/img]

Oh fuck it ...go to the link

http://mailstrom.blogspot.com/2015/01/libertarian-anarchism.html

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plasmatelly
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Jan 30 2015 07:55

ajj - to answer the question as to whether the SPGB is libertarian communist or not, people have stripped the organisation down on several levels and the only area where you may score brownie points seems to be the desire to create a society in which you practice what you preach. All other areas - decision making, structure, culture, political adherence and engagement in actual class struggle - are either lacking or non-existent. It would seem that the jury reject the idea that the SPGB is libertarian communist. But this is to be expected.
The real question is whether the SPGB are claiming to be libertarian communist - or just plain old all things to all people?

fnbrilll
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Jan 30 2015 09:39

1) The SPGB and its companion parties are organized much the same as AF, etc. There are no leaders, regular conventions, and all members are able to vote on member proposals. There is no discipline ala "democratic centralism" as long as you agree to the broad principles. It's been structure since 1904, even under repression in ww1.

2) I find the SPGB's understanding/vision of libertarian socialism is much clearer/deeper than most anarchists. Like the Bordigist/Italian Left Coms, they understand socialism to be a different mode of production and have clear ideas what it means when you say "abolish the wage system". On the other hand, many anarchists/syndicalists/etc are stuck in changing the managers of the present economy but keeping the underlying system more or less intact.

3) Classically, the impossibilist tendancy that the SPGB is a isolated reminder, never viewed elected to office members as representatives but as delegates. There role is seen to block the capitalist party(ies) where possible and undercut the capitalist state legitimacy as much as possible. In the rare occasions where they were elected (the Canadian Party elected I think 8 provincial legislators over 20 years) they were pretty spot on, occasionally getting some pro-working class health and woekplace safety legislation passed. This was always accompanied with provisos that the legislation would never be permanent, the capitalist class and it's parties would always work to destroy any gains made in the legislature and that class struggle and class organization was needed.

There was a tendency to emphasize solely the electoral position that arose in the SPGB, etc with the ascendancy of Stalinism and its thuggery.

But in the SPGB's defense the most famous "Australian IWW song" Bump me into parliament was actually written by Bill Casey, who was a member of the SPGB's companion party. It is an attack on labour/leninist attempts at electoral reformism. So how does it happen that these folks denounce precisely what you are accusing them of?

4) And the Socialist Party of Canada (SPC) did organize the class struggle in the form of the One Big Union. It pulled tens of thousands of workers out of the AFL in both Canada and the US. Here's some readings on libcom about the OBU. The AFL tasked it's number 3 man and $100,000s to innocculate its membership and isolate the OBU. We can talk about this some other place.

And quite frankly people, there are many problems with the SPGB. But you are not addressing them here. And you are ignoring some good lessons because you are acting like sectarians.

ajjohnstone
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Jan 30 2015 10:24

Plasmatelly, i have already accepted that many on the thread do not accept the claim we are libertarian communists but you went a bit further with your reasons than the others with this type of claim.

Quote:
"All other areas - decision making, structure, culture, political adherence and engagement in actual class struggle - are either lacking or non-existent."

What i seek to learn was what were your grounds for the highlighted. I am asking, in what sense is our organisation not libertarian in its operation of party democracy and i 'd really like you to offer me some comparison of the type of libertarian organisation you had in mind as a better form of organising. Can you perhaps be a bit more specific so i can either agree with you or challenge you on that.

I am curious to learn what is the libertarian communist culture i have seemingly been missing out on smile

Engagement in actual class struggle is rather a relative term and i am happy to confess i would like to see much more engagement from the SPGB, a helluva lot more, in that area but the expression is rather vague since it declines to define what sort of engagement is meant.

Political adherence, i'm guessing that's the commitment to gaining political power via parliament which needs no response since its repeating earlier exchanges or do you mean something else? by the phrase. Maybe it is our hostility clause you mean...non-adherence to other political groups...i'm simply not sure what you are getting at.

augustynww
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Jan 30 2015 11:57
fnbrilll wrote:
Like the Bordigist/Italian Left Coms, they understand socialism to be a different mode of production and have clear ideas what it means when you say "abolish the wage system". On the other hand, many anarchists/syndicalists/etc are stuck in changing the managers of the present economy but keeping the underlying system more or less intact.

fnbrilll wrote:
In the rare occasions where they were elected (the Canadian Party elected I think 8 provincial legislators over 20 years) they were pretty spot on, occasionally getting some pro-working class health and woekplace safety legislation passed.

so you're saying they were pretty good managers of the present economy? All 8 of them? Really?

This is how anarchists used to understand libertarian socialism
https://libcom.org/library/libertarian-socialism-practical-outline-gasto...

and libertarian communism
https://libcom.org/files/Libertarian%20communism%20-%20Isaac%20Puente.pd...

contemporary anarchists use rather broad definition of libertarian socialism/communism (this still exclude political parties) Compare this to something what Vanzetti said once about libertarian socialism (rather narrow definition):

"After all we are socialists as the social-democrats, the socialists, the communists, and the I.W.W. are all Socialists. The difference - the fundamental one - between us and all the other is that they are authoritarian while we are libertarian; they believe in a State or Government of their own; we believe in no State or Government."

There is no question SPGB "believe" in a state. For what purpose that's another matter. But SPGB's theory is unrealistic and its hard to imagine how could this would look like in practice.

It's like saying socialists should use 2 methods in struggle against capital:
1. workers should organize
2. socialists should become capitalists. Bigger the better, at least to "block anti-socialists" from using resources
So unions and corporations?
That's nonsense.

At first glance it appears you do understand what the state is, that's not neutral in terms of class and it should be abolished not "in the future" but together with capitalism
But your theory (well, electoralist practice too) is a proof you actually don't understand it and still thinking it's neutral apparatus that could be used against capital. That's contradiction
In both cases intentions (using capital to fight capital or using the state to fight capital) are not important. You become part of ruling class, part of economical and political system you are supposed to fight against.

btw bordigists are authoritarian Marxists so comparing SPGB to them is not very good argument for presumed libertarianism of SPGB...