Why is Anarchism Marginalised?

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Garco
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Apr 14 2010 23:40

The point of my contribution to this discussion forum was not to enlist hasty and defensive replies from people (888 and Django), but to set out the questions that have been laid down in my own mind like sedimentary layers over a long period. If one therefore encounters these questions (for example, by my posting them to this forum), then surely they should be considered properly, over some time. To quickly reply on one or two points, with little self-reflection (this is how it comes across to me, anyway), is a poor use of time, surely? Is the purpose of a quick reply to get something out of the way so that one does not have to think about it anymore? I do not know what your true purposes are. I cannot see behind these two replies, there is nothing but words aligned in a defensive pattern when there is no need for such a pattern.

Further to the question of propaganda and publicity and attracting people to certain ideas:

Whenever one tries to persuade others to ones own point of view it is easy to appear as if one is telling them what to think. It is very easy, in fact, to write and speak in such a way once one begins to lose a sense of self-awareness (I know this from my own experience! If you are not aware that those listening to you have begun to switch off, or are thinking that you are an idiot, then you are in serious trouble!). Once you have lost this ability to self-reflect, to be open and enquiring of oneself and others, then you have also lost your honesty.

One difficult anarchist ideal which has stayed with me is that people should think for themselves. In order to encourage such a situation we should perhaps be less forthright and more doubtful. And we should be asking questions, not providing blueprints for how to think about things

This is the provisional propaganda portion of our imaginary mission statement:

The refusal to offer solutions, to insist that such must be imposed at a wholly different (and higher) organisational level is the only radical solution we have to offer. People take no notice if you tell them things could be otherwise; if you reveal to them your desire to change things: it instantly turns off a switch in their head. However, if you tell them there is no hope, if you tell them that they can achieve nothing… this provokes their intellectual antibodies, and they start thinking about what they can do.

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Django
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Apr 15 2010 06:42
Garco wrote:
The point of my contribution to this discussion forum was not to enlist hasty and defensive replies from people (888 and Django), but to set out the questions that have been laid down in my own mind like sedimentary layers over a long period.

Its not really unreasonable for someone to point out that you're misrepresenting them, especially if you mention them several times in the post.

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Apr 15 2010 19:18
Farce wrote:
Because of this post.

Anyone talking about burning down buildings is either cop or a dumb ass kid who has no idea.

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/apr2010/uksp-a15.shtml

The internet is filled with both.

Garco
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Apr 16 2010 02:14

Perhaps this discussion really boils down to the question of belief. What do we believe? What do others believe? What do we want others to believe? How do we get others to believe us and join us?

Is belief any use?

Nihilism: literally a belief in nothing. In basic terms it means being dispassionate about ‘radical ideas’ and not getting sucked into other people’s pipe-dreams. What is in question here is not the material world itself nor, indeed, sensuous existence; it is not at all about indifference. We use nihilism as a description of a proper attitude or stance taken up in relation to the world.

What we reject as inappropriate to the present moment is belief, which is a mental attitude that places an affinity for images above life experience. Nihilism re-allocates the importance of belief and the function of ideas in the world generally. For the individual, nothing is more important to it than the question of its existence, which must be decided at every moment by combining circumstances with consideration, but at the same time it is important to note that this urgency is lived entirely at the level of experience and cannot impact on the system that has given rise to it. In place of belief we assert the primacy of the senses arranged about a critical attitude.

Therefore, while we are strategic communists with reference to the future and its commencement in the breakdown of capitalism, we are, for the present, tactical nihilists. This gives us the freedom not to be misled by all the solutions to social conflict that are currently generated by the capitalist base (the false oppositions to the established order that are repeatedly taken from bourgeois ideology and promoted by those who claim to be anti-capitalist). Nihilism is an armour that protects us from credulity and the Siren-call beseeching of those who champion as revolutionary those radical ideas and methods which are fully contained within the capitalist discourse.

Instead of offering our ‘belief’ to others, in the hope that they will join us, as fellow believers, we offer nothing but problems and obstacles to be overcome. We think that genuine solutions to the present state of affairs cannot come from our belief, or the spreading of our belief (how many believers do we need?; when will the numbers become of a critical mass?), we think that solutions lie only in, and through, the catastrophic economic collapse of the global economic system.

Garco
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Apr 16 2010 03:21

The question is also: if we recognise the structural limitations to the communication of our messages then how does that affect what we do? Rephrased, the question could become: if we recognise that our ideas are always and necessarily marginalised under present conditions then how should that affect what we do?

If our answer to this is to produce glossy papers, or ‘write in a way that workers will understand’, or utilise any other bourgeois marketing device, then we have probably missed the point that the limits to our ability to communicate are structural, they are built in to the reality of communication itself, that is: we can only communicate with those who are able to understand us.

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Apr 16 2010 19:00

Replied on the other end of the discussion, but to repeat here: recognising that structural limits on our ability to communicate exist doesn't mean that we're automatically up against those limits and our behaviour and the quality of the stuff we're putting out won't affect how well we can communicate within those limits. Clearly you don't think the whole project of attempting to communicate your ideas is inherently invalid, otherwise you wouldn't be here, and I'm sure you make aesthetic decisions to increase the appeal of your writings as well.

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Rob Ray
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Apr 16 2010 20:30
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take more a stern approach to running Black Flag, Freedom

How'd you mean "stern"?

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JoeMaguire
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Apr 16 2010 20:57
Rob Ray wrote:
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take more a stern approach to running Black Flag, Freedom

How'd you mean "stern"?

Recognise there our babies and make the investments to reflect that, including dealing with any issues that arise inside them. There is much scope for Freedom to be improved and distributed much better than it is currently.

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Devrim
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Apr 16 2010 21:08
Garco wrote:
If our answer to this is to produce glossy papers, or ‘write in a way that workers will understand’, or utilise any other bourgeois marketing device, then we have probably missed the point that the limits to our ability to communicate are structural, they are built in to the reality of communication itself, that is: we can only communicate with those who are able to understand us.

There is a point to what you say. However, it doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to have good production quality, or to 'write in a way workers will understand'. Sometimes I read things in publications that I don't understand, and I have been involved in communist politics for over two decades. I don't think it is wrong to try to produce good publications.

Devrim

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Apr 16 2010 23:23

I recently saw an exhibition that showed amongst other things historic photographs and films. Masses of people, leaving factories, milling in the streets, generally working, socialising and communicating in large groups.

It was dishartening as it was plain obvious how the movement could grow in such circumstances. It was also obivious how diffrent our times are from those when most anarchist ideas were formed.

Leaflets, mass meetings, strikes must have been natural parts of life. Now they are alien to most people.

Without distracting from direct action and organisation I think the production of stunning, sharp, beautiful, fun and communicative culture* is important. Ignoring the chicken as well as the egg one can conclude that highpoints in anarchist culture* coincide with highpoints in anarchist influence.

Im on the poofy intellectual side of the class but i still wish the AF would produce more short texts.

Lets flood the internetz with anarcho lolcats! wink

Other reasons
- It takes more effort that the other options
- It is more risky than the other options

* art, texts, parties, movements, films all that stuff

Garco
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Apr 17 2010 03:14

I am not ‘attacking’ ‘bourgeois marketing devices’, just trying to put the strategies we may choose to use in a context. I was trying to say that if attempting to make things more ‘populist’ or fashion mag sleek was our answer to the question of how we approach the question of communication, then we had missed the much bigger point about communication itself in the present circumstances. We do a thousand things everyday that are dictated to us by bourgeois ideology, and there is nothing we can do about this. What we can do, however, is try to see what we are doing and where it is placed in the scheme of things. Thus, while you have focussed on the glossy production standards remark in my post, my focus is on the limits of communication. I would prefer to discuss the notion that ‘we can only understand what we already understand’. Farce says (in the 'Seasonal Message...' forum) that saying this is ‘pretty one-sided’, but I do not know what you mean by this [I sense here that this is another example of quick replies producing incomplete arguments].

It is not wrong to try to produce good publications, or to try to make oneself understood, just as it is not wrong to wear odd socks, or support Chelsea Football Club. We have to understand why we bother to produce publications. If we think we do it for the benefit of others, to raise their consciousness, then I think we are wrong. If we say that we do it for ourselves, to satisfy a need to speak out, or to attempt to be heard, then I think we are right. I have nothing at all against producing nice looking texts, I have always done my best in this department. I have not deliberately tried to make the things I have published, or been a part of publishing look alternative or ‘anti’, I have always tried to make them look as cool, or cute and cuddly, as possible - thus many, many years ago I produced a little booklet called, “Anarchist Communism or Death!” and used a picture of a Moominvalley character on the front cover. I always tried to make my publications look appealing to me.

It is true that some writers are not very good, and it would be helpful to such writers to tell them that what they are saying does not make sense. But I am talking only about matters of grammar and syntax here.

To make an analogy: when I was fifteen I could probably have read all the words in ‘Capital’, but I may not have understood much of it – now, if I had read it then and didn’t understand it should I have sent a letter back in time to Marx, complaining that he was not writing in language I could understand, or should I have written to the present day publishers and moaned at them for publishing a book that I could not understand?

(“Dear Karl, I am afraid that your writing is incomprehensible. I am sure that you have some useful things to say, but you need to put them in the kind of plain language that ordinary people can understand. You need to write more like a ‘geezer’. Yours, Priscilla Hesketh-Jones”).

What we have found over the years is that people do not read carefully enough, and that, in the end, it doesn’t matter how one writes – people will still not understand it, or they will reject it immediately because, we presume, it is too challenging (we are still waiting for someone to write a critique of our ideas that will make us think again). Our advice has always been that one should write for oneself, not to please others. We have written in detail about how readers of our work in this political milieu engage, or not, with us in the book, Nihilist Communism.

Yes, it is a good to ask why I am here on Libcom when I appear to think that “attempting to communicate [ones] ideas is inherently invalid”. I am not entirely, one hundred percent, sure myself. But here goes: The first, initial reason I have temporarily joined this site, was to redress the remarks regarding MD and myself that I found on this website (contained in the ‘Seasonal Message…”). Other pieces of my writing that exist on this site have, unbeknownst to me, been kindly put here by others. But to get to the point of why I have put a couple of extra things in here (eg “What it is to be human”), and why I am talking now: there are, I think, three broad reasons:

1. One reason I am here is because, although I feel in my heart that little of what I say here will be understood, or agreed with, at this time, I am driven to say it. Therefore I am doing it for my self, to satisfy an urge.
2. Another reason is because you are in the political milieu from which all my ideas emerged, therefore I think that if anyone is capable of understanding me then it could be people in this milieu; people who have been through similar experiences and processes to me. Now, the reason I think that trying to communicate with this milieu is important is this:

I critique the philosophical and methodological foundations of this milieu (of which, of course, I am a part) because I think that there needs to be a deeper understanding of what it is really doing, and what it is really saying. If this self-reflection does not occur then this milieu, in our opinion, continues to pose a certain degree of threat to the chances of capitalism, or the huge machinery of exploitation and alienation that has developed from it, ever being removed from the planet. If there was a true and total economic collapse next week there would not be enough nay-sayers to make a difference, just as in past events, there would not be enough ‘kronstadters’ to point out the dangers in a revolutionary situation.

Most of the pro-revolutionary milieu, as it is now, in my opinion, would be swept into silence by the revolutionary working class, they would not be able to offer any warnings based on their supposed knowledge of how these things can go wrong because they would be too confused about what was happening, or they would end up cautiously supporting leftist recuperations of capitalism, until they realised, too late, that they should have known better. Our role, as pro-revolutionaries is not to make revolution, that task is beyond us, and any conscious willing of it; our job is to point out the dangers that face a revolutionary or insurrectionary proletariat – our job is to expose those ideas and practices that will lead back to subordination and back to capitalism. If we want to have the capability to do this when and if the time comes, then we had better start training ourselves now. Too often in the past, as at Kronstadt, the stand against the recuperation of capitalism was made too late. [Note: I expect no one reading this to agree with these last two paragraphs, but I would make one suggestion to those who may have come across this kind of thing for the first time, and that is to read more of what MD have written in order to fully understand what we mean and how we came to this position].

3. The third reason is to hear how people might reply to my words and to use this to perhaps modify or extend my own thinking.

One last thing I would like to reiterate is that, in general, people do not seem to read things carefully enough before they make judgements about what they have read. This kind of behaviour reveals a basic lack of openness and generosity in dealings with others. However, this lack can be avoided by careful reading, re-reading, and going away to think about things before jumping in with a response.

[The above is also posted onto the 'Seasonal Message...' forum - I thought it was valid for both].

Boris Badenov
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Apr 17 2010 19:19
CRUD wrote:
Obviously the younger Blac Bloc window breaking "propaganda of the deed" tactics are silly and useless

no more silly and useless than the musings of pseudo-situationist windbags (take a look at some of the "cultural critiques" in the library if you don't believe me)

october_lost wrote:
There is much scope for Freedom to be improved and distributed much better than it is currently.

I think you make an excellent point. In the early 1900s Freedom was being distributed pretty much all over the anglophone world, from the UK, of course, to Canada, to Australia. If it was possible to achieve that with the technology available back then, then it should be possible today. Freedom should be more than an anarchist relic.

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Apr 18 2010 15:46

Yeah, it'd be good if Freedom could become the de facto paper for people who aren't in one of the feds for whatever reason, but still have decent politics. The idea of seeing it in Australia is pretty impressive, considering how rare it is to see it north of Watford at the moment.

Boris Badenov
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Apr 18 2010 15:53

On second thought, I think it was New Zealand actually rather than Australia

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Apr 19 2010 04:55

I'm working on a biographical pamphlet about Phillip Josephs, the guy listed in that image smile

He was involved in founding The Freedom Group in Wellington, which was the first explicitly anarchist group in NZ in 1913, and distributed Freedom and a wide range of pamphlets (as well as reviewing and writing in various radical papers). Went back to Russia at the time of the revolution, then came back to NZ in the 20s.

edit - for anyone interested, don't expect it any time soon, got lots more research to do.

Boris Badenov
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Apr 19 2010 21:01
Asher wrote:
I'm working on a biographical pamphlet about Phillip Josephs, the guy listed in that image smile

He was involved in founding The Freedom Group in Wellington, which was the first explicitly anarchist group in NZ in 1913, and distributed Freedom and a wide range of pamphlets (as well as reviewing and writing in various radical papers). Went back to Russia at the time of the revolution, then came back to NZ in the 20s.

edit - for anyone interested, don't expect it any time soon, got lots more research to do.

That sounds very interesting, Asher; I'd love to know more about any of the people mentioned above. I don't suppose anyone knows who "J. Lazaurs" from Montreal was for example.

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Apr 20 2010 19:35
Vlad336 wrote:
CRUD wrote:
Obviously the younger Blac Bloc window breaking "propaganda of the deed" tactics are silly and useless

no more silly and useless than the musings of pseudo-situationist windbags (take a look at some of the "cultural critiques" in the library if you don't believe me)

Unless a large portion of the public holds a certain degree of socialist class awareness breaking windows will simply be framed as people going berserk. I don't think their commitment to socialism/anarchism is silly I think the effects of smashing windows and burning dumpsters is silly. It's just my opinion that education of the masses is more important at this time. I think Bakunin was in a different time when more people were willing to join an insurrection. Capitalism, today, has created a large middle class who are quite content to be slaves.

Boris Badenov
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Apr 20 2010 19:39

I agree that education is fundamental. What I wanted to point out was simply that the juvenile outbursts of black blockers who denounce all theory as "bourgeois," are just as counter-productive as the esoteric mumblings of some supposedly "advanced" radicals (I'm not going to name any names, because I'm not a bloody sectarian wink )

CRUD wrote:
I don't think their commitment to socialism/anarchism is silly I think the effects are silly

That all depends on how they define socialism/anarchism imo.

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Apr 20 2010 19:54
Vlad336 wrote:
I agree that education is fundamental. What I wanted to point out was simply that the juvenile outbursts of black blockers who denounce all theory as "bourgeois," are just as counter-productive as the esoteric mumblings of some supposedly "advanced" radicals (I'm not going to name any names, because I'm not a bloody sectarian wink )
CRUD wrote:
I don't think their commitment to socialism/anarchism is silly I think the effects are silly

That all depends on how they define socialism/anarchism imo.

Actual anarchists are socialists as you know. Anarchism has always been about abolishing private property while putting the means of production in the workers hands. A lot of idiots lately have been perverting Proudhon, Stirner and the marginal individualists Tucker and Spooner to form "anarcho" capitalism and "agorism". These people are absurd.

Proudhon does flirt with petty burgeosis theories but he wasn't an anarchist himself Bakunin used his and Stirners work to separate anarchism from Marxism. The only difference between anarchists and Marxists is the means to the end. Anarchists want the end product immediately and Marxists want it incrementally. You already know this I'm sure.

I think the Marxists had the right idea before the Bolsheviks took power from the Soviets and handed it to the centralized [minority] communist party. I'm a firm believer that centralized hierarchical man made structures end up in oppression, violence and depravity no matter if it's capitalist or socialist. Concentrated wealth AND concentrated power corrupts. The only thing I wrestle with is the question of abolishing private property [capitalism]. It may take the power of the state to do so, either that or a whole hell of a lot of preparation which I don't see happening.

I think Russia would have been better off if the Bolsheviks were ran out of town and the soviets held power at the local level. If The workers had direct control of the combined political system and work place. Then there's the question of the centralized command economy. There were no crisis of overproduction but there was crisis of underproduction. What do you think cause it ? Also, why do you think the workers were never given full control [of themselves]? I'd go as far as to say China hasn't exactly been a great representation of Marxism either. I don't reject Marxism I reject the ways in which it has manifested in practice. I think hierarchy is the problem.

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Apr 21 2010 10:35

A lot of people - with some justification - are sceptical about the ability of Anarchism to provide the comforts, assurances, education and medicines which exist under the State.

If Anarchism shortens your lifespan and limits your options, it becomes pretty difficult to persuade people.

Ariege
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Apr 21 2010 10:52
Quote:

A lot of people - with some justification - are sceptical about the ability of Anarchism to provide the comforts, assurances, education and medicines which exist under the State.

If Anarchism shortens your lifespan and limits your options, it becomes pretty difficult to persuade people.

A lot of people - with some justification - are sceptical about the ability of the state to continue to provide the comforts, assurances, education and medicines which presently exist for some.

If the state shortens your lifespan and limits your options, bizarrely it remains pretty difficult to persuade people that anarchist alternatives are necessary.

Garco
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Apr 21 2010 13:09

.

Garco
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Apr 21 2010 13:07
Quote:
Vlad336 wrote:
I agree that education is fundamental. What I wanted to point out was simply that the juvenile outbursts of black blockers who denounce all theory as "bourgeois," are just as counter-productive as the esoteric mumblings of some supposedly "advanced" radicals (I'm not going to name any names, because I'm not a bloody sectarian wink )
quote]

Why we still live in 1862:

Dear Vlad336 and all those who offer their cocky (yes, it's mainly a boy thing) self-assurance,

I am one hundred percent behind you. Education is fundamental. Lenin wasn’t wrong, as you implicitly suggest.

I also agree with you on the issue of exposing those moments when people, supposedly on the side of revolution, are juvenile or ‘esoterically mumbling’ in the cause of revolution. They are such idiots, aren’t they? The SWP, and even people I used to work with politically, have suggested that these kinds of people should be shot down in a revolutionary event. I’m with you, mate, even if you don’t go as far as getting the guns out.

Basically, we need to get behind you as quickly as we can. What you must tell us is just how productive (as opposed to counter- productive) your words and actions are – so that we can all fall in line and follow this blueprint.

I never realised that this revolution thing was all so easy.

Education is fundamental.
Education is fundamental.
Education is fundamental.

I love the bleak, harrowing poetry of that phrase. Don’t you?

Le Garcon Dupont

Ariege
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Apr 21 2010 18:54
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it is not wrong to wear odd socks, or support Chelsea Football Club.

You see? Right at the moment I read that I knew I wasn't going to bother reading the rest of what you had to say.

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CRUD
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Apr 23 2010 18:17
CRUD wrote:
Vlad336 wrote:
I agree that education is fundamental. What I wanted to point out was simply that the juvenile outbursts of black blockers who denounce all theory as "bourgeois," are just as counter-productive as the esoteric mumblings of some supposedly "advanced" radicals (I'm not going to name any names, because I'm not a bloody sectarian wink )
CRUD wrote:
I don't think their commitment to socialism/anarchism is silly I think the effects are silly

That all depends on how they define socialism/anarchism imo.

Actual anarchists are socialists as you know. Anarchism has always been about abolishing private property while putting the means of production in the workers hands. A lot of idiots lately have been perverting Proudhon, Stirner and the marginal individualists Tucker and Spooner to form "anarcho" capitalism and "agorism". These people are absurd.

Proudhon does flirt with petty burgeosis theories but he wasn't an anarchist himself Bakunin used his and Stirners work to separate anarchism from Marxism. The only difference between anarchists and Marxists is the means to the end. Anarchists want the end product immediately and Marxists want it incrementally. You already know this I'm sure.

I think the Marxists had the right idea before the Bolsheviks took power from the Soviets and handed it to the centralized [minority] communist party. I'm a firm believer that centralized hierarchical man made structures end up in oppression, violence and depravity no matter if it's capitalist or socialist. Concentrated wealth AND concentrated power corrupts. The only thing I wrestle with is the question of abolishing private property [capitalism]. It may take the power of the state to do so, either that or a whole hell of a lot of preparation which I don't see happening.

I think Russia would have been better off if the Bolsheviks were ran out of town and the soviets held power at the local level. If The workers had direct control of the combined political system and work place. Then there's the question of the centralized command economy. There were no crisis of overproduction but there was crisis of underproduction. What do you think cause it ? Also, why do you think the workers were never given full control [of themselves]? I'd go as far as to say China hasn't exactly been a great representation of Marxism either. I don't reject Marxism I reject the ways in which it has manifested in practice. I think hierarchy is the problem.

My name is T.J. McDiggledug and I stand by my statement.

Garco
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Apr 25 2010 01:07

Another possible angle:

Apparently it takes two weeks to become ‘institutionalised’, I heard this second-hand, a while ago, and don’t know where it comes from, I have no idea whether it is true or not, but I thought it was interesting. This means that it takes two weeks for prisoners to adapt to their new environment; it takes two weeks for a person to settle into the new routine of a job; it takes two weeks to come to a slightly different way of seeing things – but this process of institutionalisation is physical. Ray Mears, an outdoor professional and consummate modern woodsman, says that it takes three weeks of isolated wilderness outdoor living for him to become immersed in it, such that he does not then want it to end.

It doesn’t take two, or three, weeks of talking to someone to change their mind, it takes two weeks of forcing them (or forcing themselves) to live under different conditions. Once those two weeks have passed then the person has changed, the person may begin to become reliant on the new conditions; may begin to regard the new conditions with a patriotic fervour.

How many times have you been rudely treated in a store by an assistant who defends the practices of the store as if they were the owner, and not a lowly employee being exploited and ordered around by their boss?

Do your friends ever identify so much with their job that they use the word ‘we’ to describe the operations of the company? How long does it take for the newly employed, exploited wage slave, to start talking thus? Why do people identify with their job so much? Is it because they are extremely weak people? Or is it because the conditions of the working day have institutionalised them? Of course, it is true that many of the people who talk this way think they are on a career path to lower, middle, or higher management – so maybe they see such an attitude as necessary for their advancement? But many are not.

We change our minds about things when we are forced by circumstance to think differently. This is why revolutionary propaganda must always fail.

Spikymike
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Apr 25 2010 17:59

Yes Garco but how do 'circumstances' change? your frustration at trying to get your point accross seems to have lead you to express a very crude determinism.

I am not convinced that there is the kind of Libcom consensus here for you to attack.

As Dango said for the AF, they do not percieve their group or it's activities as making a revolution and I doubt most of their members expect them to even be significant in terms of actually initiating any particular response by workers to attacks on our conditions of life now or in the forseable future.

So you might ask then why do they (and others of similar pursuasion) carry on doing what they do ( I think you are trying to get some more thought out honest answers to this question presumably)

An honest answer might be that in practice (whether acknowledged or not) is that they/we are analysing the world around us and speaking out about the crap around us 'for ourselves' but in the hope that 'ourselves' might expand to something greater, if only temporarily as we only have one life!.

To this extent we can, and do in practice, only get accross to those who are at least already some way towards being in the same frame of mind as ourselves. But this can/may sometimes happen in small ways through relatively small changes of circumstances such as wildcat strikes and occupations. You could say that partipants in these situations had been 'forced' to change their ideas but 'force' rather suggests that they didn't consciously think about what they were doing in the first place, which would surely be an oversimplification of the process.

The organised groups that participate on Libcom do of course in varying degrees express contradictory behavior which might justify a criticism based on an assumption that they really do think they will somehow, now or in the future, be the leaders of a revolution by a process of conversion or at least spreading the 'idea' of revolution.

Some activity might boil down to this or be reduced to a mechanical routine simply aimed at preserving the organisation. I think this would for instance apply to random street distribution of AF's 'Resistance' bulletin or the ICC's one hour street selling of their paper 'World Revolution' ( though not necessarily more targeted leaftes etc) but then this probably isn't most of their activity, the more significant of which may well be the informal stuff with friends, workmates or in clubs etc, but which is aided by their groups existence/support.

I think (to the extent I have understood what you are saying?) that I share a number of your misgivings about the current state of pro-revolutionary organisation ( a contributory reason for my avoiding joining any of the existing groups here) but....

In a situation where pro-revolutionaries in the 'current circumstances' are very isolated ( even more so in many respects than say in the late 19th and early 20th century) our efforts at sustaining ourselves in political groups or Internet site discussions such as Libcom are inevitably going to be shot through with inconsistencies and occassional dead ends but sadly it's all we have to work on for the time being which is why you are here presumably.

I'm not sure if I have been very clear in expressing myself here but having read through this and some related threads I though I'd have a go.

Garco
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Joined: 27-02-10
Apr 26 2010 11:31

Dear Spikeymike,
I have copied your post to a word document so that I can read through it carefully and possibly formulate a useful reply.
But there is one thing I need to understand before I start: what exactly do you mean by "a very crude determinism" (first paragraph) in the context of your post? I can guess what you might be getting at, but I am not sure that I would be able to pin down just what you mean..
Cheers,
Garcon.

Spikymike
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Apr 26 2010 12:22

Garco,

I suppose from the last line of your previous post, and to some extent other comments from MD, it seemed like a relapse to the view that it was necessary for economic forces outside the influence or control of real workers to build up to a major impasse before anything at all would shift. It seemed a bit apocalytical.

I mean '..people make history but not in circumstances of their own choosing..' and all that but your approach seemed rather too all or nothing.

I have probably got that wrong but it seemed to be the direction you were going in?

I

Garco
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Joined: 27-02-10
Apr 27 2010 09:45

Spikeymike,

I am now not sure how to answer you... the answers to your questions in Post 122 are answered in Posts 94 and 97 on this forum topic, they are also answered in the text 'What it is to be human' (in the Libcom library), they are also answered in the Nihilist Communism book, and elsewhere.

It seems, perhaps, that you are uncomfortable with the views I am expressing because they appear too negative to you. For myself, I am happy that I am expressing such negativity, since I refuse to offer any solutions. I am therefore free to say what I like. Ironically, this freedom actually forces me to be as honest about things, and myself, as possible (within the bounds of my limited awareness and intelligence; the parameters of my thought). I can no longer, for example, repeat the articles of faith which were once the bedrock of my political vision...

I don't see the development of my views as a 'relapse', I am not sure what kind of connotations this word conjures up for others, but it sounds like a word describing some kind of progressivist notion, or some sort of medical 'error'. Do I need to see a doctor? Is there a progression in libertarian left thought? Are we always at the ever growing summit (unless losers like me have a 'relapse'!)?

If my views are repeated by previous writers/thinkers who exhibited 'crude determinism', then who are they? How do they pre-empt us? The only writers I know who, in my view, have really said the same kind of things that we have said, that I know of, are Sam Moss and Paul Mattick, and their writings on this were brief.

I would appreciate you expanding on your comments, and perhaps reading the things I have written again, so that I don't feel I am just repeating things. Is this a fair thing to ask?

Cheers
Le Garcon Dupont