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The SWP on anarchism, John Molyneux speaking at Marxism 2012

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Angelus Novus
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Sep 23 2012 17:23
the croydonian anarchist wrote:
but denouncing anyone trying to make any political point in a political discussion amongst comrades on the internet for being alienated from the real world etc is not really the way forward.

For the record, my issue is not with people criticizing the SWP (for behavior in movements or toward other leftists), but rather with the shitty insinuation by Red Hughs and some others that Andy's statements on other threads are now questionable in retrospect. It reeks of sniffing out "incorrect" positions, and Red Hughs in particular is prone to this kind of Bolshevik-baiting (as when he started a whole separate thread to try to smear Noa Rodman).

If Andy had not openly stated his membership, nobody would've been able to tell by his statements. He took roughly the same position on the thread in question as S. Artesian.

And this making Kronstadt a litmus test is just wankery of the first order. To give you an idea, I honestly don't know anything about Kronstadt, I've never read anything about it. Without taking a glance at Wikipedia, what I know off the top of my head, some sailors mounted an uprising in 1921 for the restoration of Soviet democracy (or something like that), the Bolsheviks put down the mutiny by force of arms, and to this day a lot of critics of the Bolsheviks regard it as a turning point in the betrayal of the revolution. That's literally everything I know about Kronstadt *, certainly not enough to have any kind of opinion whatsoever, and I imagine it's the same for a lot of people. Yet Red Hughs would make that kind of workers movement history trivia a litmus test for sniffing out what he considers inadmissible positions on online discussion forums.

* I've read Isaac Deutscher's Trotsky biography years ago, so I imagine the first volume might have had more detail on Kronstadt, but if it did, I can't remember any of it.

Rank
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Sep 23 2012 18:13

Angelus Novus wrote:

Quote:
For the record, my issue is not with people criticizing the SWP (for behavior in movements or toward other leftists), but rather with the shitty insinuation by Red Hughs and some others that Andy's statements on other threads are now questionable in retrospect. It reeks of sniffing out "incorrect" positions, and Red Hughs in particular is prone to this kind of Bolshevik-baiting (as when he started a whole separate thread to try to smear Noa Rodman).

Wrong. Andy g's avowal of being a 'SWuPie' in this thread merely confirmed for me the context for him posting up the Leninist bilge on the Lenin thread. Didn't have to sniff out any 'incorrect positions' (interesting wording, by the way, ever heard of 'projection'?), the stench of Bolshevist ideology was pretty all-pervasive on that thread, as it was. No, it was more, "Ah, that explains it." "It" being the mendacious sophistry engaged in by AN, Rodders, Andy g and others within a far-too-comfortable ambiance of ecumenical leftism (what's become of libcom, eh?). Yet, for all Angelus' displays of sophistry, his ignorance of Kronstadt is surprising - "Those who ignore history are condemned to..." something like that. For me, it's enough to know that the tendency towards outrages like Kronstadt is part of the political DNA of social democracy and its logic of representation.

Feel free to write screeds of stuff about Dungeons and Dragons, but you're wasting your time and mine. More than enough.

Angelus Novus
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Sep 23 2012 18:25
Rank wrote:
Wrong. Andy g's avowal of being a 'SWuPie' in this thread merely confirmed for me the context for him posting up the Leninist bilge on the Lenin thread. Didn't have to sniff out any 'incorrect positions' (interesting wording, by the way, ever heard of 'projection'?), the stench of Bolshevist ideology was pretty all-pervasive on that thread, as it was.

"bilge", "the stench of","all-pervasive", etc. This reads like some cheesy monologue by Dr. Doom when he's about to finish the Fantastic Four for good. I picture you delivering these melodramatic lines in a Richard Burton accent.

Angelus Novus
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Sep 23 2012 18:46

"I detect the all-pervasive vile stench of Bolshevik bilge! 'Tis my mortal enemy, Reed Richards! You've issued your apologetics for Kronstadt the last time, Richards! Forsooth!"

Angelus Novus
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Sep 23 2012 18:40
Rank wrote:
(what's become of libcom, eh?)

Dunno, but the featured article at the moment at the top right-hand corner is by the dastardly Trotskyist Farrell Dobbs. Obviously Minneapolis truck drivers, instead of organizing themselves into a union, should have been sniffing out this Bolshevik infiltrator for his position on Kronstadt.

Dannny
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Sep 23 2012 19:02
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No, it was more, "Ah, that explains it." "It" being the mendacious sophistry engaged in by AN, Rodders, Andy g and others within a far-too-comfortable ambiance of ecumenical leftism (what's become of libcom, eh?).

What's your angle here, Rank? The reason libcom became more politically coherent in terms of the make-up of the boards was because people from other tendencies flounced off. Now, a couple of people sympathetic to Bolshevism come on here arguing their case and abide by the forum rules (I assume, I've only glanced at the WITBD thread) and you say "what's become of libcom?" So, what do you think? That Bolshevik sympathisers should be banned? Or goaded into flouncing off? Or that the political makeup of libcom should never have been made so un-crusty, un-primmo, un-individualist etc in the first place (assuming that, in itself, that would be enough to deter Bolsheviks from dipping their toes in?) Reading this thread doesn't make me think this is a comfortably ecumenical place for Trots, but if Andy G's up for stating his case and isn't trolling, what's the problem?

Angelus Novus
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Sep 23 2012 19:20
Dannny wrote:
Now, a couple of people sympathetic to Bolshevism come on here arguing their case and abide by the forum rules (I assume, I've only glanced at the WITBD thread) and you say "what's become of libcom?" So, what do you think? That Bolshevik sympathisers should be banned?

The problem in the first place is that as far as I know, the only person sympathetic to Bolshevism is Andy (belonging by his own admission to an organization that sees itself in that tradition). S. Artesian is a left-commie, Noa is a Kautskyist, and these days I suppose I feel the most affinity for the sort of sui generis post-New Leftism in Germany of newspapers like analyse & kritik and journals like PROKLA, i.e. nothing more clearly defined than, "I read Marx, I'm critical of Bolshevism and Social Democracy, I support the independent validity of social movements."

The stuff about "Bolshevik" sympathizers is just a smear by schmierfinks like Rank and Red Hughs to attack people who just don't give a fuck for their dorky polit-fantasy RPGs.

Edit: Although I should add I'd have no problem debating and discussing with self-styled "Bolsheviks" on a forum like this. Their stated affinities for a particular pantheon of Dead Russian Pillar Saints is no more or less goofy than anyone else's, and as I mentioned, some of them are serious activists and lovely people. I'll gladly state for the record that people's "position" on a historical matter like Kronstadt is about as interesting to me as when guitar geeks argue the merits of Ernie Ball vs. D'addario. Then again, my late comrade and teacher Marty Glaberman helped to inoculate me against the absurdity of marginalized leftists taking "positions" on things they are powerless to affect.

Rank
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Sep 23 2012 19:33

So far, so predictable...

Angelus Novus
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Sep 23 2012 19:41

LOL, "predictable" as a criticism? Do you think you're Lester Bangs or something? We're not reviewing albums for Creem, dude. If you're gonna do that, you can at least spice up your posts with accounts of mixing Romular and Vodka or something.

RedHughs
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Sep 23 2012 19:53

Aside from Andy, very active now we have in outside-what-one-would-normally-call-libertarian-communism camp: AN is in some mainstream German left organization, Noah Rodman is his own variety of sympathizer for classic Kautskyist politics and Jacob Richter seems to be in the Communist Party Of Great Britain (I don't what permutation of Leninism that is currently but it seems to be one).

The two things that I annoyed me and perhaps Rank were that these folks mostly push topics and approaches which divorce theory and practice while avoiding arguing anything either the Leninist case or the social democratic case. I would far prefer any of these character actually argue their overall politics but if you look at this thread, it should be clear they are here to not do that but rather offer "spin" (like the Lars Lih bullshit).

Dannny
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Sep 23 2012 19:54
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The problem in the first place is that as far as I know, the only person sympathetic to Bolshevism is Andy (belonging by his own admission to an organization that sees itself in that tradition). S. Artesian is a left-commie, Noa is a Kautskyist, and these days I suppose I feel the most affinity for the sort of sui generis post-New Leftism in Germany of newspapers like analyse & kritik and journals like PROKLA, i.e. nothing more clearly defined than, "I read Marx, I'm critical of Bolshevism and Social Democracy, I support the independent validity of social movements."

Yeah I didn't mean to be lumping you in there, Angelus. Although I think it would be fair to say that S.Artesian along with many left-commies are sympathetic to Bolshevism, I used the phrase because that is specifically what Rank seemed to be objecting to...

Angelus Novus
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Sep 23 2012 20:05
RedHughs wrote:
The two things that I annoyed me and perhaps Rank were that these folks mostly push topics and approaches which divorce theory and practice while avoiding arguing anything either the Leninist case or the social democratic case.

Yep, thanks for confirming it: you want us to play Dungeons and Dragons. Sorry, but there are far more pressing political issue right now than playing dress-up.

Rather than act like a whiny little twerp stomping your feet because we're into discussing stuff that doesn't interest you, why don't you go start topics on the stuff that does interest you?

Quote:
I would far prefer any of these character actually argue their overall politics but if you look at this thread

See, the problem is precisely that you think "overall politics" has something to do with pre-selected pantheons of dead Russians, whereas for me, a real political debate would be something like the recent critical discussion in Wildcat of a pamphlet that the group FelS published concerning a militant inquiry among dole recipients at the Neukölln Jobcenter. I'm more interested in theory that illuminates the nature of capitalism and class struggle against it in the year 2012. If you want to play D&D, go do it with Rank, mciver, and other like-minded dorkwads.

andy g
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Sep 23 2012 21:24

Red, thank you (once again) for being the living embodiment of a million stereotypes. Quite what you mean by "arguing my overall politics" I'm less than clear. Would it be preferable for me to end every post with "and that's why you should join the SWP! Ta-daaaaa!"? What would that add to anything - apart from allowing people like you to avoid arguments by pointing out the "Bolshevik bacillus"? Why are you not under a corresponding obligation to always and everywhere declare your political affiliations at the outset of every post?

I stumbled across Libcom and liked what I found - a genuine debate over and interest in revolutionary politics and theory. Not all of my "flavour" but different to the usual fare and very instructive. I don't think turning every thread into a shit-slinging competition about respective organisations would help anyone, least of all me. what I value is the chance to participate in discussions that don't always revert to that with people whose intelligence an opinions I respect.

shame you don't see it the same way. BTW, whose turn was it to play Dungeon Master tonight???

Hektor Rotweiler
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Sep 23 2012 21:45

Just thought I better step forward and let everyone know I'm a Liberal Communitarian and I think its about time we take libcom back to its real roots. It was way better back in the day when we all spent our time trying to outdo each other in our praise of the social contract and the original position. Everything went to shit when these confused libertarian communists showed up and we actually had to engage with their ideas. Luckily, I soon found out this could be avoided simply by reducing their argument to my caricatured interpretation of their politics. If that failed and they tried to respond with a counter-argument I would accuse them of knowingly or even unknowingly having been a member of an organization in which other members of their organization engaged in cynical manipulation. Granted, I would never have to provide evidence of this cynical manipulation, nor take the persons point that they were not involved in these manipulations or that they disagreed with them. Although they took interest in my position and seemed willing to engage me on points that are complex, dismissing and discrediting them in this way was enough for me.

But in all seriousness, surely:

1) this Kronstadt fetish and name calling on the supposed basis of paying attention to context and history is closer to abstract idealism. Like some sort of petrified Hegelian's Kronstadt is too often treated as the event when the spirit of history was eclipsed by the angel of history. Whereas the Anarchist historian's account of it that I read, Paul Avrich, painted it in the much more context of a civil war, power struggle, food shortage and other pressing realities that make the event more complex and tragic than simply blaming it on Trotsky. The fact that someone like Andy G is pointing this out doesn't mean that he's a crypto trot hiding his real politics, surely it means the issue is complicated and bound to lead to differences of opinion.

2) these reductive criticisms of the SWP forsake any consideration of the tools we all think are indispensable for a critique of capitalism and thus fail to consider the structure of the parts/factions/individuals in the party, the context it is operating it in etc. and instead treat it as some sort of deviant monolithic entity that takes joy in disrupting any potential revolutionary cause. To me it seems more important to come up with an explanation of why the SWP may have taken this cynical positions and what leads to it.

But I'm all for divorcing theory from practice since I can never really understand what praxis means.

Angelus Novus
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Sep 23 2012 22:15
Hektor Rotweiler wrote:
But I'm all for divorcing theory from practice since I can never really understand what praxis means.

Kind of tangentially related to this, I hardly ever post outside of the theory forum, simply because it generally encompasses the areas where I even feel qualified to make a statement.

I like reading the news forums, but I hardly ever post, because I don't live in Greece or Israel or whatever so basically all I can do is take it in. It strikes me as offensively presumptuous to even venture an opinion on that stuff, let alone take a "position".

There's a great anecdote about George Rawick when he was in the Schachtmanite group in the US (the Independent Socialist League), where the group was frantically debating its "position" on Sri Lanka. Rawick asked whether the League had any fraternal connections in Sri Lanka, and when the reply was "no", he stated, "Well then what the hell do we need a position for?"

I think one of the better parts of the legacy of the Johnson-Forest Tendency was in breaking with this silly Old Left compulsion of socially marginal organizations to formulate "positions" on things they are utterly powerless to affect, when really, they should just kind of observe. You observe, you learn theory, you intervene where you are when you can, on the basis of a contingent set of circumstances, rather than a set of abstract principles or a "program".

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Sep 24 2012 09:03

Wielding my +1 Vorpal Bastard Sword, I enter into the fray screaming that as far as I can tell a) Molyneux's analysis deviates in no appreciable way from the SWP line and b) the best examination of the SWP's approach is prolly Tom Keefer's article on Marxism, Anarchism, and the Genealogy of “Socialism From Below" avail online here: http://yorku.academia.edu/TomKeefer/Papers/943207/Marxism_Anarchism_and_...

PS. Kronstadt.

Angelus Novus
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Sep 24 2012 09:37
@ndy wrote:
the best examination of the SWP's approach is prolly Tom Keefer's article on Marxism, Anarchism, and the Genealogy of “Socialism From Below" avail online here: http://yorku.academia.edu/TomKeefer/Papers/943207/Marxism_Anarchism_and_...

Thanks for linking that.

One factual error, which may or may not be relevant: C.L.R. James wrote Notes on Dialectics in 1948, a full decade before co-authoring Facing Reality. This is worth noting because James had led the JFT back into the American SWP after the Second World War, due to some (in retrospect totally wrong) analyses by both Cannon and James concerning an incipient revolution in the immediate post-war period. So James hadn't completely broken with Trotskyism when he had written Notes on Dialectics. In fact, he had led his followers out of the slightly less-dogmatic Workers Party back into the orthodox SWP, though to be fair this had more to do with some perceived commonality on the outlook for revolution in the US post-WWII, and not because James was all like "ra-ra-vanguard party". (the WP ultimately had the more sober assessment of the period)

Also, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the notion that Hal Draper languished in obscurity before being rediscovered by David McNally. Draper's left-Schachtmanites had founded the International Socialists in the US (who briefly had fraternal relations with the Cliffite group of the same name) who had gone on to initiate projects like Teamsters for a Democratic Union and Labor Notes. They would eventually co-found the Post-Trotskyist group "Solidarity". Draper also published a mammoth 4-volume work of Marxology for Monthly Review. It's not like he was an obscure figure before Canadian ISTers discovered him.

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Sep 24 2012 09:45

I dunno anything much about James and publication dates, or their relevance to Tom's basic thesis, but I expect one of the reasons McNally's re-articulation of Draper's perspective assumes particular importance in Tom's essay is 'cause he's from Soviet Canuckistan and so is UTA! and so is McNally. That, and the context, which was the early noughties, and the publication of some v similar material (inc by McNally) addressing anarchism.

Otherwise, a question: is there anything new in Molyneux? (Srsly.)

Angelus Novus
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Sep 24 2012 09:55
@ndy wrote:
I dunno anything much about James and publication dates, or their relevance to Tom's basic thesis, (Srsly.)

Facing Reality was basically an articulation of the basic perspective of Correspondence and affiliated groups (Socialisme ou Barbarie at the time, IIRC), so to that extent, Keefer's correct on that one. But not on Notes on Dialectics.

A lot of the stuff from the 40s, like State Capitalism and World Revolution and The Invading Socialist Society were actually internal discussion documents from the SWP (and it shows: they're some of the driest reading ever, though veteran Johnsonites will assure you that the former in particular is totally important). My basic point was that James hadn't broken with Trotskyism when he wrote Notes on Dialectics, as Keefer suggests. The Hungarian Revolution happened a decade later (and James had left the SWP long before the Hungarian Revolution, for the matter).

P.S. If Kronstadt is D&D, talking about the minutiae of C.L.R. James' various small groups is Advanced D&D.

Angelus Novus
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Sep 24 2012 10:16

P.P.S. To bring things full circle back to value-form navel-gazing wink , Marty Glaberman was an admirer of I.I. Rubin's Essays on Marx's Theory of Value and used to distribute it through Bewick Editions.

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Sep 24 2012 10:06
Angelus Novus wrote:
P.S. If Kronstadt is D&D, talking about the minutiae of C.L.R. James' various small groups is Advanced D&D.

Ah yes, perhaps, but which edition?

PS. I fail to see how yr fascination w boats is relevant to our disco.

Angelus Novus
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Sep 24 2012 10:16
@ndy wrote:
yr fascination w boats.

I misspelled "navel" didn't I? Duly corrected, sir.

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Sep 24 2012 10:27
Angelus Novus wrote:
And this making Kronstadt a litmus test is just wankery of the first order. To give you an idea, I honestly don't know anything about Kronstadt, I've never read anything about it. Without taking a glance at Wikipedia, what I know off the top of my head, some sailors mounted an uprising in 1921 for the restoration of Soviet democracy (or something like that), the Bolsheviks put down the mutiny by force of arms, and to this day a lot of critics of the Bolsheviks regard it as a turning point in the betrayal of the revolution. That's literally everything I know about Kronstadt *, certainly not enough to have any kind of opinion whatsoever, and I imagine it's the same for a lot of people. Yet Red Hughs would make that kind of workers movement history trivia a litmus test for sniffing out what he considers inadmissible positions on online discussion forums.

* I've read Isaac Deutscher's Trotsky biography years ago, so I imagine the first volume might have had more detail on Kronstadt, but if it did, I can't remember any of it.

If you wanted to know the truth about the holocaust would you read David Irving's biography of Hitler?

Seriously, while I may have some sympathy with your general point that a historical event does not define what is most problematic with today's SWP, your defence of historical revisionism "workers movement history trivia", "Kronstadt fetish" etc, is completely unacceptable. You wouldn't accept the German right's assertion that antifa are "hysterics obsessed with a holocaust fetish" without seeing the agenda behind it, why swallow the same manoeuver in this case?

The fact is that historical revisionism has a clear motive and purpose. The historical event the deniers seek to erase or relativise - *trivia", "fetish", "detail of history" - is always a recognition that it is the event most damaging to their tendency*. But it is only damaging in the sense that their intentions are to pursue the same line of attack - those who deny or rewrite history intend to repeat it. As the nazis say (amongst themselves) the last holocaust was a hoax, but next time we'll make it real and finish the job.

The Kronstadt-denial of the Trotskyists does not mainly, imo (although I think Andy's assumption that the cheering and hooting for the proposition that "not enough were killed" as happened at 'Marxism' in the late 80s couldn't happen today, is somewhat deluded) based on such bloodlust, but rather the problem of what the episode reveals about their sainted Trotsky - mainly that he was a veteran liar.

Now if you want to say that the Russian Revolution as a whole was "workers movement history trivia", then that's one thing for your position. But the Trotskyist (and Bordigists to a degree) do not. They insist that the RR was the most important event in recent workers movement history, and are endlessly quoting what Lenin or Trotsky said or did in the run-up to and in the process of the RR, in defence of their (the 21st C group's) latest tactical turn. They even accept that at some stage the revolution "went bad" in some way (queue interminable theological disputes over "degenerated workers' state" vs the alternatives). So for them to dismiss Kronstadt as a "detail of history" is more telling. The adoption of the NEP, Bukharin's conversion from a supporter of the continuation of War Communism and the militarisation of Labour, to NEP-man, the foundation of the split between the so-called Left and Right Oppositions, all of these relate to the aftermath of the suppression of the sailors who had been in the vanguard of the October revolution, along with the Petrograd strikers they rose up to support.

In any event, there's simply no excuse for not learning the history - unless you never express any opinion on the RR - there are various resources here, for e.g. The Kronstadt Uprising of 1921 - Lynne Thorndycraft. Enough with the revisionism already.

* Lenin re Kronstadt: "This was the spark that illuminated everything"

Angelus Novus
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Sep 24 2012 10:56
ocelot wrote:
Now if you want to say that the Russian Revolution as a whole was "workers movement history trivia", then that's one thing for your position.

This is probably pretty close to my position, actually. I mean, "trivia" sounds too dismissive, but I think socialists of all kinds would be much better off if they abandoned trying to regard Russia as some abstract template for what a socialist revolution is supposed to look like. I think a Social Democratic political party rode the wave of a popular uprising against czarism and the war in order to enact a process of belated modernization, essentially abolishing the last vestiges of absolutism in order to construct capitalism. I think its main significance is basically that. Not that the existence of councils or revolutionary self-activity by workers is insignificant, but those things existed in other contexts as well -- the Seattle soviet, the councils in Germany -- whereas in Russia the Bolshevik wing of Russian Social Democracy was able to piggy back on those movements to embark on a project of state construction. I think it's a problem that it has become the template for "socialist revolution", whereas in terms of its objective significance, it was nothing of the sort.

Taking historical episodes as an abstract template in general is problematic, but if socialists in the industrialized countries wanted more useful historical models for understanding the potential of popular uprisings to advance to socialism -- or be defeated by counter-revolution -- I think more instructive cases would probably be France in '68, Chile in '73, Portugal in '74. It's weird because the historical examples that might yield real insights concerning revolutionary movements in advanced capitalist countries are usually totally ignored in favor of popular revolutions that resulted from the dissolution of Russian, Austro-Hungarian, and Prussian absolutism after the end of the First World War.

People should learn about the Russian Revolution, sure, but I think it's relevance to debates around socialism is inflated, primarily because the historical constellation it occurred in will never exist again.

Nonetheless, you're right, I should probably read up on Kronstadt, just so I can sit at the table.

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Entdinglichung
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Sep 24 2012 11:02
Angelus Novus wrote:

Nonetheless, you're right, I should probably read up on Kronstadt, just so I can sit at the table.

http://entdinglichung.wordpress.com/2010/06/17/leonce-aguirre-81-jahre-k...

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Sep 24 2012 11:13

I kind of agree with ocelot, although some of this thread is absurd.

For example:

Quote:
For me, it's enough to know that the tendency towards outrages like Kronstadt is part of the political DNA of social democracy and its logic of representation.

Seriously? Kronstadt is part of political DNA of people like Tony Benn and Nye Bevin? Or actually you're actually saying social democracy, not just social democrats.

Why did Kronstadt happen? Because of the representational and statist logic of the NHS and social insurance.

For me though the big thing here is that we aren't a bunch of armies going to war for the future of society. Or (as we aren't trots) we don't even see ourselves as competing for the leadership of the working class.

I find comments about how you can't be sectarian against trots baffling. I always thought the formulation of sectarianism was "putting the interests of your political group ahead of the class". And saying that anarchist can't be sectarian against trots is to me totally baffling because of things like this:

Quote:
Dunno, but the featured article at the moment at the top right-hand corner is by the dastardly Trotskyist Farrell Dobbs. Obviously Minneapolis truck drivers, instead of organizing themselves into a union, should have been sniffing out this Bolshevik infiltrator for his position on Kronstadt.

Lots and lots of major class struggle in western Europe and America over the last 80 or so years have seen trotskyists play extremely central roles. Often those roles have been problematic but the idea that we can say things like we can't be sectarian to revolutionary workers because they have different ideas about revolution to us is totally mad. And totally wrong.

I'm interested in the revolutionary working class not just the anarchist working class.

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Sep 24 2012 12:31

Angelus Novus. Earlier you were laying into people for talking too much about theory and not doing something. Now I see you debating some old socialist organizations Ive never heard of talking about how you must learn theory. What the fuck ?

Secondly, whilst as you correctly point out the Russian revolution should hardly be looked to as an archetype for the type of revolution an anarchist would want to work towards, I fail to see how reflecting upon the history of struggles in order to learn from the mistakes and/or successes to help inform us how to act effectively in the here and now is an "abstract template".

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Sep 24 2012 12:42

Kronstadt Kronstadt Kronstadt.

Of relevance, perhaps, insofar as the suppression of the revolt enters into Molyneux's acct -- as indeed it does, as further proof of anarchist stoopid:

"That Russian and foreign anarchists rallied to the support of Kronstadt shows only that they were confused as to their own class allegiances, incapable of analysing the situation in class terms and blinded to reality by their utopian theory of a stateless, powerless revolution.Thus the balance sheet of anarchism in history's greatest revolution reveals that when the revolution was advancing it was irrelevant and when the revolution was retreating it gave unintended but nonetheless real help to the counter-revolution."

*shameface*

andy g
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Sep 24 2012 12:57

oh dear.... this one is going to run and run.....

My remarks about the meeting ocelot and serge refer to don't just reflect my personal take on the issue but also my contact with the SWP over the past twenty odd years. Can honestly say have never witnessed or heard of anything like that happening in that time, although obviously I have no reason to doubt what the WSM comrades who were there on that fateful day report.

Might surprise you to hear, but hand on heart is true.

ocelot, I hope Trotshy worship isn't part of the mindset of your average SWuPpy - certainly not mine. It would be bizarre for a tendency originating in the critique of some Trot shibboleths to adopt that PofV. Some of the stuff Trotsky came out with - militarisation of labour anyone or Terrorism and Communism - during the Civil War and after were cack. If anything I think SWuPpies are almost as fixated by Kronstadt as some anarchists are - it has figured repeatedly in publications over the years and every meeting on anarchism I've ever attended tends to involve some discussion of it. Could this be seen as a product of discomfort with the issue? - of course! Anyone who is blaise about the event is a loon. My point perhaps is that not every discussion between me and a LibCommer has to revolve about this issue. That is where Angelus is coming from I think

Angelus Novus
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Joined: 27-07-06
Sep 24 2012 13:57
the croydonian anarchist wrote:
Angelus Novus. Earlier you were laying into people for talking too much about theory and not doing something.

Nah, I was laying into people for taking too much about history, specifically, historical situations and contexts that bear little relation to our own. There are some species of incorrigible nerds who like to get dressed up as Nestor Makhno for the anarchist convention. It's no worse than Mr. Spock costumes I suppose, I just don't like it when they get belligerent and start picking on people like Andy.

Theory, on the other hand, I'm always up for. Theory that helps us understand capitalism. That's why I'm participating in the Gerstenberger reading group.

Quote:
Now I see you debating some old socialist organizations

That's why I pre-empted my own remarks by saying that tracing the lineage of the Johnson-Forest Tendency is equally geekish, arguably more so, since it never had any earth-shattering relevance (though it did produce some interesting texts).

Quote:
Secondly, whilst as you correctly point out the Russian revolution should hardly be looked to as an archetype for the type of revolution an anarchist would want to work towards, I fail to see how reflecting upon the history of struggles in order to learn from the mistakes and/or successes to help inform us how to act effectively in the here and now is an "abstract template".

Majority peasant society, caught between the dissolution of Absolutism and modern capitalist democracy, a popular revolution co-opted by the radical wing of a Social Democratic party, in a historical period when Social Democratic parties actually existed and commanded the loyalty of millions of workers.

Sorry, I just don't see the practical relevance to our current situation.

Andy's right, this thread will go on into perpetuity. Time to stop. If the baiters pop up again, I'll just let it pass. Maybe if Red Hughs is sufficiently ignored, he can go start a separate thread again in the administrative feedback forum to whine and bitch about how people like Andy are allowed to post here.