What is left communism and how does it differ from anarchism?

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Pennoid's picture
Pennoid
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Jun 3 2016 02:01

Yeah authoritarian is a stretch. Even the bordigists came in for abuse with Lenin. Also does great violence to history, socialism etc. To collapse the problems faced in Russia and the rise of Stalin into 'authoritarianism' pure and simple.

It helps a great deal to see the leftcoms (and lenin) as part of a united movement (2nd international marxism) that ends up splitting. I'm a minority here, but it also helps to understand the debates and arguments within the wings of the second international. The forty or so years of Socialist organization and struggle often get ignored, and the picture we see of spontaneous revolutionary upheaval is a sorely truncated one.

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Jun 3 2016 14:32

This excellent article by Aufheben examines (Russian, German/Dutch and Italian) left communist thought on the USSR:

http://libcom.org/library/what-was-ussr-aufheben-left-communism-part-3

Miasnikov stood out even more by not supporting the repression of Kronstadt, which he described as an abyss the party had crossed. This willingness to break with the party was crucial because oppositions until then, though reflecting discontent outside the party, had remained wedded to it seeking refuge in organisational fixes that failed conspicuously to deliver.

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Jun 3 2016 16:46

I agree with Pennoid and one or two others who have stressed the marxist roots of left communism, The ICC tries to summarise this continuity in this short article: http://en.internationalism.org/the-communist-left.

Regarding the Russian revolution, which Sleeper seems to be concerned with, I think Rosa Luxemburg's 1918 article sets the tone for the original left communists, including those like Pannekoek who later came to see October 1917 as a bourgeois revolution: solidarity with the revolution and the Bolsheviks, but no hesitation to criticise their errors. (https://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1918/russian-revolution/index.htm).

Although Luxemburg doesn't raise the specific question of the bureaucratic measures against the anarchists, she was strongly opposed to the idea of the 'Red Terror' as a means of defending the revolution.

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Jun 3 2016 16:52
the button wrote:
If a post on libcom takes more than three seconds to scroll past, it was written by a left communist. That's how I tell the difference, anyway.

I'd like to point out that the button also inadvertedly shows how you identify an anarchist on libcom by the content and manner of a post.

Recurse this on my post to figure out my inclination smile

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Jun 21 2018 08:04

Invite for my Marxist and Left Communist community on discord
admin: suspect link removed

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Reddebrek
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Jun 21 2018 13:35

Err, no offence but we've had issues with new posters turning up with invites to other sites that are attempts to get information on users before, could you describe your group more and what its about and more about yourself before you do this? especially since those are two different links.

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Jun 21 2018 15:17

I joined it and I'd vouch for it being non-suspect, it's just known people from the leftcom-side of discord. But it's pretty dead so I don't see much of a point really.

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Jun 23 2018 00:41

Left Communism is the name for a tenancy of Marxism that emerged after the Russian Revolution which took issue with various Bolshevik policy positions such as working within trade unions, running in elections to government offices, and much earlier on the structure of the Bolshevik government itself. This trend of Marxism was made up of various tenancies and figures. Dutch/German Left Communism and it's eventual transformation into council communism and "councilism" was very similar to Anarcho-syndicalism in that it called for workers' self-management and was against political parties and bureaucratic unions. Italian Left Communism, pioneered by co-founder of the Italian Communist Party, Amadeo Bordiga, was much different. It accepted the Leninist model of the party and defended the Bolshevik state as a dictatorship of the proletariat, or workers' state.

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Noah Fence
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Jun 23 2018 09:31

In my experience it’s pretty easy to spot a leftcom - they will use the term ‘workers councils’ at least once in every other sentence!

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Jun 23 2018 10:54
Ivysyn wrote:
Left Communism is the name for a tenancy of Marxism that emerged after the Russian Revolution which took issue with various Bolshevik policy positions such as working within trade unions, running in elections to government offices, and much earlier on the structure of the Bolshevik government itself. This trend of Marxism was made up of various tenancies and figures. Dutch/German Left Communism and it's eventual transformation into council communism and "councilism" was very similar to Anarcho-syndicalism in that it called for workers' self-management and was against political parties and bureaucratic unions. Italian Left Communism, pioneered by co-founder of the Italian Communist Party, Amadeo Bordiga, was much different. It accepted the Leninist model of the party and defended the Bolshevik state as a dictatorship of the proletariat, or workers' state.

I'd say that's a pretty decent summary alhough it's worth mentioning that elements from the Italian wing of left communism broke with Bordiga. It'd be good to get a brief summary of the issues there.

Battlescarred
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Jun 23 2018 11:08
the button wrote:
If a post on libcom takes more than three seconds to scroll past, it was written by a left communist. That's how I tell the difference, anyway.

How do you explain Mike Harman then, Button?

birdtiem
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Jun 23 2018 12:27

My impression is there's a bit of myth making about some kind of historic "Left Communist" lineage, and that there isn't really any continuity between the "left communists" in the Soviet Union during Lenin's time, the Dutch/German left, and the Italian left. The organizations describing themselves as left communist' today seem to have their origins in the events of 1968 and attempt to synthesize components of pretty different political groupings from the past (mostly Dutch/German and Italian) while presenting themselves as natural heirs to some much older, politically consistent tradition.

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Jun 23 2018 13:49

I would say that a lot of elements of the post-1968 french communist movement(and the elements influenced by them) have distorted Bordiga specifically a lot. Like making him into a political indiffrentist(through misunderstanding texts like "Activism"), a spontaniest who thinks revolutions are fully spontanues, someone who opposes national liberation and trade unionist work. Most of which was actually things from Damen, or confusing his takes on democracy(which aren't radically different from like marxists at the time) with that of Camatte or Duavé.

Though I think Bordiga started breaking with leninism a lot more in his last years. For example they removed all voting mechanism in the party in the late 60's to maintain the party neclues during a historically unfavorable situation.

Worst I've seen is an untranslated text by "Kämpa Tillsammans!" that wrote an article where they claim to synthesis Lenin and Luxemburg's conception of the party through Camatte and Bordiga...

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the button
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Jun 25 2018 09:48
Battlescarred wrote:
the button wrote:
If a post on libcom takes more than three seconds to scroll past, it was written by a left communist. That's how I tell the difference, anyway.

How do you explain Mike Harman then, Button?

Good point. Revised version....

If a post on libcom takes more than three seconds to scroll past, it was written by a left communist, unless the post in question is more than 80% quotes from other posts, in which case it's by Mike Harman.