The idea that the worse things get the better off the Left is...

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Vlad The Inhaler's picture
Vlad The Inhaler
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Nov 23 2019 19:47
The idea that the worse things get the better off the Left is...

What proportion of Anarchists believe this? I'm sure its a theory but I can't remember the name. Its not the Immiseration Thesis. The idea is something I used to believe in many years ago but in recent times I find it harder and harder to conceive of working to this end. By this misery strategy we should be celebrating from the rooftops when the Hard-Right win power.

So, general thoughts welcome but also how central is this idea to Anarchists.

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darren p
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Nov 23 2019 20:26

Are you talking about Accelerationism? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerationism

The KPD "After the Nazis, our turn" Well, that worked out well didn't it...

Vlad The Inhaler's picture
Vlad The Inhaler
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Nov 23 2019 21:04

Not exactly. I'm aware of the accelerationists I'm talking about the view that the reason we haven't seen a revolution in the developed world is that we're too comfortable and we need to wait for Capitalism to hit THE crisis before people will flock to our banner. Its been many years since I've read about this crap and I can barely remember any of it but its sort of what I believed during my early political awakening before I took my ill-fated steps into political Marxism.

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Reddebrek
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Nov 24 2019 05:14

Sounds like you're talking about belly Communism or "Immiseration" theory. Haven't a clue if any anarchist groups take it seriously it was mostly associated with the Comintern and third wordlist groups.

ajjohnstone
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Nov 24 2019 06:33

I'm not sure just how many Marxists such as Paul Mattick rely upon the validity and manifestation of the tendency of the rate of profit to decline for the ultimate and perhaps final crisis.

I think they hold the idea that the recession and its inevitable downward pressure upon the working class, kick-starts the resistance of the working class.

But desperation can also produce populism and a right-wing reaction just as much as the revolutionary situation.

The SPGB is well known for combatting the CP/ILP belief that capitalism will collapse with its 1930s pamphlet

https://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/pamphlet/why-capitalism-will-not-col...

R Totale's picture
R Totale
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Nov 24 2019 11:04

Yeah, I suspect it's pretty rare to find people who actually believe this, you would have thought that 1968 and all that would have put it to rest. I think it's more commonly invoked by people accusing their opponents of believing it, so Labour supporters will often say that anyone who doesn't support Labour must be an immiserationist, I've seen people say that it must be the logic behind Lexit but I can't think of any Lexiters who'll admit to actually believing it and so on.

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Reddebrek
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Nov 24 2019 12:50

Well Kropotkin did write a rebuttal of sorts to the sentiment that misery breeds resistance with his views on hope,

Quote:
Hope is born in their hearts, and let us remember that if exasperation often drives men to revolt, it is always hope, the hope of victory, which makes revolutions.

So I get the impression that there were times when the sentiment was at least was taken seriously by some.

If nothing else its usually one of reasons third worldists give for the supposed lack of resistance in nations with higher living standards than in the "global south".

yourmum
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Nov 28 2019 16:21

misery forces action. action depends on theory.

what kind of banner people flock to, what they resist, depends on how they explain the things around them. if you read the public comments in the mainstream media, how dare you hope of anyone flocking to the resistance against capitalism? are those comments not representative of what people believe?

why would you even care about what proportion of anarchists believe this and that, are you researching anarchists (as opposed to anarchist ideas)? i don't understand why this question bothers you.

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Vlad The Inhaler
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Nov 28 2019 21:35
Quote:
misery forces action.

...

Quote:
action depends on theory.

No it doesn't. If you woke up from a coma and couldn't remember who you were, where you were from or even what planet you were on you'd still know enough to find food, water and shelter. If you didn't even know that then it'd be a moot point because you'd be dead before long anyway.

There are utterly brainless ways to protest against the system. Take for example the poor, myopic souls voting for UKIP and the Brexit party in the UK to "teach the elites a lesson!"

Quote:
what kind of banner people flock to, what they resist, depends on how they explain the things around them.

To a crass extent perhaps, but as I stated in my previous point not necessarily in any coherent or even particularly conscious way.

Quote:
if you read the public comments in the mainstream media, how dare you hope of anyone flocking to the resistance against capitalism? are those comments not representative of what people believe?

I have literally zero idea what point you're trying to make with this statement or what it even has to do with my original question.

Quote:
why would you even care about what proportion of anarchists believe this and that, are you researching anarchists (as opposed to anarchist ideas)? i don't understand why this question bothers you.

The reason is perfectly simple. Heading into a general election in the UK, as someone who identifies as an Anarchist of sorts I still wrestle with the question of voting in bourgeois elections. I subscribe to the Anarchist critique of voting but at the same time find the idea of another Conservative government positively horrifying. I know some Anarchists make no distinction between the bourgeois parties and so I was curious as to whether they take the view that a Conservative victory would be desirable rather than just neutral. I cannot, personally, accept that a Conservative government is ever preferable or even neutral. I have personal experience of the benefits system in the UK and I know I would much rather wake up the morning after the election with a Labour government than a Tory one. Does that mean that I think Labour are the answer to our class' struggle? No. Not at all. To vote Labour would be a short term survival strategy. The class struggle must continue and the Anarchist strategy is the best way of overthrowing the system, it just may not be the best way of surviving the next five years.

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Nov 28 2019 22:21
Vlad The Inhaler wrote:
The reason is perfectly simple. Heading into a general election in the UK, as someone who identifies as an Anarchist of sorts I still wrestle with the question of voting in bourgeois elections. I subscribe to the Anarchist critique of voting but at the same time find the idea of another Conservative government positively horrifying. I know some Anarchists make no distinction between the bourgeois parties and so I was curious as to whether they take the view that a Conservative victory would be desirable rather than just neutral. I cannot, personally, accept that a Conservative government is ever preferable or even neutral. I have personal experience of the benefits system in the UK and I know I would much rather wake up the morning after the election with a Labour government than a Tory one. Does that mean that I think Labour are the answer to our class' struggle? No. Not at all. To vote Labour would be a short term survival strategy. The class struggle must continue and the Anarchist strategy is the best way of overthrowing the system, it just may not be the best way of surviving the next five years.

It's always tricky saying "all anarchists" or "no anarchists", but I'm pretty sure that virtually no anarchists would take the view that a Conservative victory would be preferable. I'm not that bothered about whether people vote Labour or not, it's more everything else that people do over the next five years that's important imo.

yourmum
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Nov 29 2019 03:57

Ok Vlad, you can take knowledge instead of theory, it does not change the argument and i was not assuming scientific theory. I was trying to say that there are no brainless ways to protest, but people using their brain to make a theory about what is going on and thus what is going wrong. I'm not familiar with the Brexit discussion, so i can't relate to the context of the slogan. My point was if you research popular opinion you cannot come to the impression people would flock to an anticapitalist banner and thus you should be afraid of misery which forces action - people are more likely to go burn some immigrants than occupy the factories at this points if you ask me.

For me, voting social democrats (again, being unfamiliar with UK politics i assume labor is about that?) for being nice to workers is the same thing as giving money to beggars. It helps them as individuals, but it does not help them as a class. Being more familiar with german politics i know a few examples of social democrats killing people to end the class struggle (Noske) or being proud of creating a strong low-wage sector (Schröder) so i can also relate to the opinions that they are not actually nice to workers, and quite on the opposite side of class struggle than you would put yourself.

But judging your argument's inherent logic: If people make no distinction between bourgeois parties it would follow that they do not think that a conservative victory is desirable, it would be all the same to them who wins.

yourmum
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Nov 29 2019 04:28

@R Totale: Actually there are lot of conservatives who also identify as some kind of anarchists when it comes to state power. the elephant in the room being libertarians.

zugzwang
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Dec 2 2019 03:20
yourmum wrote:
@R Totale: Actually there are lot of conservatives who also identify as some kind of anarchists when it comes to state power. the elephant in the room being libertarians.

except right-wing proprietarians are not actually anarchists. they have nothing to do with the history or different flavors of anarchism and are correctly excluded for example from most anthologies dealing with anarchism, etc.