"It somewhat gives me vision of what ongoing anarchist-communist society would look like"

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Joined: 14-08-13
Aug 16 2018 15:57
"It somewhat gives me vision of what ongoing anarchist-communist society would look like"


The anarchist society can only grow out of mass movements based on direct action and direct labor democracy. These two things create psychological and organizational gap with principles and state laws of bourgeois society. There is psychological preparing for the life without social classes and state. For the understanding what will be such a society, we must pay attention to the revolutions of the second half of the 20th century closest to us. An armed uprising in Hungary, especially in Budapest in 1956, a peaceful uprising and occupation of factories in Poland in 1980, uprising in Qwangju (South Korea) in 1980, the working-class uprising in Tehran in 1979, an uprising against Saddam Hussein in the South and the North of Iraq in 1991.

We find alternatives in the worker's Councils from Budapest to Sulaymaniyah and the Autonomous territorial Councils of Karbala and Basra. In all these cases the urban working population has taken over neighbourhoods and factories with weapons or peacefully. Then people elect local and factory councils of deputies relying on more or less regular assemblies of city districts and labor collectives with the right to withdraw the deputy at any time. This idea of a free society can be found in works of Hanna Arendt, Otto Rule, Vsevolod Volin.

However, this is not enough to get the anarchist society as the practice shows. We need a libertarian-socialist organization within the Soviets, which fights against all parties and any trade unions, as parties and trade unions seek to usurp power over workers and lead them. Libertarian organizations, by contrast, seek ideological hegemony, but they can not replace councils of deputies and establish own administrative control. This organization may be similar to the Russian maximalist or anarcho-сommunist organization in Bialystok, which created cells in factories in 1905, or other ideological groups of anarchists.

If we are successful, the anarchist society will be a Federation (voluntary Association) of city councils, factory councils, village councils. An important element is the creation of councils of voluntary armed militias, highlighted by the most radical faction of the Spanish revolution - Friends of Durruti. The various councils of deputies and assemblies, organized in the regions, in the workplace and among the armed militias, will control each other, preventing concentration of power in one hand: This is no less important than direct labor democracy, as warned the leader of the left socialist-revolutionaries Isaac Steinberg, who criticized the Bolsheviks.

In the early stages of the existence of this society a market economy will be along with elements of mutual aid (during the uprising against Saddam in the South Iraqi Arab city of Karbala in 1991, each family was ready to give half of property to help other people). But the market will be soon replaced by production according to the needs of the population. Some large factories under the supervision of local and industrial Councils will provide machines, metal, transport, energy to thousands of neighbourhood's communities. Local self-governing communities will produce the necessary clothing, food and other items for themselves.

Labor unions

First of all, I would like to note: then we talk about unions, we often mean different things. Historical (real) revolutionary syndicalists and anarcho-syndicalists said that unions could prepare the working class for a social revolution: they meant few things: direct action, direct democracy and federalism. Yes, some revolutionary syndicates have been registered for some time. However, in General, their tactics were based on these principles.

Howard Zinn writes that the historical IWW rejected collective agreement with the bosses. They would prefer a "temporary militant agreement". This meant they did not promise anything to the boss and can resume the strike at any time. Undoubtedly IWW, SAC and many others also rejected any mediation of the state in labor conflicts.

The anarchists were well aware that the struggle for wages is a reformist thing. Therefore, the most fundamental thing was how this struggle is carried out. If there is no mediation of the state and there are no collective agreements, if there are tough actions not based on cooperation with the bosses and state, It can be preparation of the masses for a social revolution. If not then it is not.

Legalist reformist trade unions cooperate with state commissions, courts and bosses have existed for about 150 years (however, in different countries it took different time). What kind of experience do they give to the workers? This is the experience of cooperation with the state, cooperation with business, taking on collective responsibilities to the business. Finally it is the experience of training workers to comply with the laws during a strike and to negotiate with the bosses.

Union activists using lawyers. All this leads to the emergence of a certain layer, which is profiting from mediation so they are against the revolution wich makes lawyers and managers nobody.

In addition, large trade unions have centralized bureaucracy, management, as in large corporations, which manages not only strikes, but also finances. What do these corporations have to do with direct action, social revolution, direct democracy, libertarian ideas? They teach workers to mediate, to enter into agreements, to obey the decisions of trade Union officials, to respect the laws of the state. Everything is permeated with hierarchy, compromise with the state, submission to laws. All this has nothing to do with historical revolutionary syndicalism.

Where is the psychological and organizational preparation for the occupation of the factories, for the rebelion against government, for the removal of the business from plants, for the revolt against the officials?

Even small "Autonomous" unions, such as modern pseudo-syndicalists, train workers to comply with the requirements of the state and to be obedient to the law in the course of their quiet negotiation activities with the use of lawyers.

I don't know any revolution that was led by trade-unions. The Spanish CNT was not a trade-union as it combined a real revolutionary syndicalism with armed communitarian insurgencies, it was totaly irrelevant to the practice, which we are discussing here, however even the tip of the CNT betrayed the revolution and joined the government that the CNT admitted later as a "mistake". But I know that during a lot of revolutions, unions played the role of counter-revolutionary. Italian trade-unions were able to destroy the uprising in 1920 and stopped the seizure of factories and they rapidly do it again in 1967-1977. In France in 1968, according to a participant in the events Henri Simon, the unions slammed the gates of the factories in front of the nose of revolutionary activists. Later unions entered into an agreement with General De Gaulle and stopped the revolution.

In modern conditions historical revolutionary syndicalism is dead and the councils of deputies rarely appear, so the legal trade-union can be sometims better for workers than its absence. Similarly, we can say that a relatively independent judiciary is better than a dictatorship. So what? If we are anarchists we do not defend trade-unionism or political democracy, our goals are different.

The moment we try to create a radical cell in the factory and begin to promote the experience of the occupation and the workers ' councils, as critics of trade unions did in the 1960s-1980s in Italy and France, then trade unions will start to fight against us. We will immediately become dangerous for them, because we will become something like Katarists or Anabaptists who are trying to take the flock away from the Church. And it's not just an analogy. Trade-unions, like the Church, exist on workers ' money, acting as mediators and lawyers.