Anarchism, and National Liberation

182 posts / 0 new
Last post
AndrewF's picture
AndrewF
Offline
Joined: 28-02-05
Sep 8 2006 13:45
John. wrote:
I think the state capitalist bureaucrats certainly did end up on top.

I think I did point this out when I originally brought up China but the reasons why this happened are only slightly connected to the question of national liberation. I'll break it down

1. CCP gain mass support as 'real' fighters for national liberation
2. CCP defeat Kumontang and take state power
3. CCP l proceed to re-create class society through the same mechanisms we are familar with in Russia.

Point 1 is actually disconnected from point 3. In other words the Chinese capitalists did not benefit by thier liquidation and the creation of a new state capitalist class.

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
Offline
Joined: 14-03-06
Sep 8 2006 13:49
JoeBlack2 wrote:
Point 1 is actually disconnected from point 3. In other words the Chinese capitalists did not benefit by thier liquidation and the creation of a new state capitalist class.

but the 'national liberation' struggle led, surprise surprise, to a new ruling class. I can see why that is of use to leninists, trots and maoists but not for anarchists :?

btw are you ignoring my other points?

Deezer
Offline
Joined: 2-10-04
Sep 8 2006 13:56

Yes he is, in much the same way as he's used my "seem" to comment earlier to ignore my points/entire argument (even though he has acknowledged it to be 'nuanced').

AndrewF's picture
AndrewF
Offline
Joined: 28-02-05
Sep 8 2006 14:02

This is the most intellligent post so far, I'd have got to it sooner but every time I post I find three additional 'replies' waiting for me.

revol68 wrote:
a) What people, how is this people defined?
b) By what mechanism or process is this choice made?
c) What happens to minorities who oppose such a "choice"?

This is indeed the problem with the concepts of 'the people', 'self determination' etc. If I was to pretend there were either simple, obvious or rigid answers to any of these I'd be an idiot.

Looking at Iraq for instance just who are the Iraqi people and say the US gets defeated how do these 'people' make a decision. What indeed would happen to the minority. National liberation struggles often end in civil wars over exactly these questions.

At the same time historically 'answers' to these questions are found. We had an example in Ireland not so long back with the similtaneous refenda on both sides of the border on the Good Friday Agreement. A process so flawed we advised an abstention but one that despite all the legtimate questions raised clearly had an outcome and an effect.

What I'm driving at here is that while these terms are problematic even more so is the attitude that we can click our heels and wish we were in commmunism. Which is pretty much all the alternative put forward seems to amount to.

AndrewF's picture
AndrewF
Offline
Joined: 28-02-05
Sep 8 2006 14:10
Joseph K. wrote:
btw are you ignoring my other points?

No - I can't reply as fast as the three+ of you can post new posts plus I keep getting called out to do work and I've had a rather positive union meeting in the course of this conversation. I am going to ignore some of the silly pedantic stuff I consider I've already dealt with, I'm really not interested in going back and forth on a 'you meant no I meant no you meant I mean't style even if I had time.

On nations - I'm not claiming that nowhere in the Americas was or is there an indigenous nation similar to the European model. In particular the pre-Columbian city conquest civilisations for not very surprising reasons bare a strong resemblance. There are however dozens and dozens of 'nations' that do not fit the definition you intially gave.

In other words your the one trying to prove all swans are white, I only need one black swan to disprove this. In particular when as here you are trying to define the terms of the discussion in a way that leaves open only one possible outcome.

coffeemachine
Offline
Joined: 31-03-06
Sep 8 2006 14:16

maybe if we could broaden the parameters a little and ask the question "would you support national liberation struggles if those struggles increased the confidence of the working class of those territories?"

In that respect we can bypass entrenched and asserted dogmas and talk about working class people as living, breathing social beings rather than the malleable tools of our revolutionary dreams.

The noxious witchhunt here dressed political posturing is both illuminating and despairing.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Sep 8 2006 14:17
Jack wrote:
JoeBlack2 wrote:
1. CCP gain mass support as 'real' fighters for national liberation
2. CCP defeat Kumontang and take state power
3. CCP l proceed to re-create class society through the same mechanisms we are familar with in Russia.

At which point exactly was class society abolished?

grin

Joe I cannot actually believe you are trying to use that in an argument. I really am shocked.

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
Offline
Joined: 14-03-06
Sep 8 2006 14:18
JoeBlack2 wrote:
In other words your the one trying to prove all swans are white, I only need one black swan to disprove this. In particular when as here you are trying to define the terms of the discussion in a way that leaves open only one possible outcome.

ok i appreciate you're having a lot to respond to, i'm going out for a bit after this (half day fridays grin). i admitted that i dont know about mexico. i'm willing to accept that 'nation' can in principle mean different things in different places. So basically there may be such thing as a black swan, but in lebanon it's white.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Sep 8 2006 14:18
coffeemachine wrote:
In that respect we can bypass entrenched and asserted dogmas and talk about working class people as living, breathing social beings rather than the malleable tools of our revolutionary dreams.

No one is doing that. So why don't you butt out unless you have anything serious to say. Or insult people for having jobs. roll eyes

ticking_fool
Offline
Joined: 12-03-05
Sep 8 2006 14:19
JoeBlack2 wrote:
There are however dozens and dozens of 'nations' that do not fit the definition you intially gave.

The problem with this is that they only came to define themselves as nations in response to the serious arse kicking they got from our nations. There's no evidence that the concept or anything like it existed before Europeans got there. The closest analogues are the city conquest civilisations, which doesn't exactly hold out much hope for nationalism as in any way progressive, or for the existence of nations without at least the hope for a state.

The way the Native American nations have developed in the US and Canada also doesn't hold out much hope for holding nations and states apart. Time and time again you get a small group dominating the locality, usually as an elders council or something similar, collaborating with national government in order to maintain their own power. It's exactly the same model you see in the PA or something like that.

AndrewF's picture
AndrewF
Offline
Joined: 28-02-05
Sep 8 2006 14:22
Jack wrote:
At which point exactly was class society abolished?

Jack this isn't actually on the Chinese revolution (I'm working on that) so this is a rather careless summary of wht happened. Whatever about the exact mechanism the point is that the national liberation struggle did not end up with the old capitalist class on the top of the pile.

I don't think class soceity was abolished and recreated in quite such a crude manner rather the liquation of the old capitalist class involved the takeover of management by the CCP cadres.

Missed point 1: On the Lebanon thing I think you misunderstood what I was saying as an argument about humanaterinism. It was actually an argument that Israeli bombers didn't just target the homes of a particular class so you'd look rather weird trying to make an argument on that basis.

Missed point 2: Boul I'll go back to your original post and see what I missed - again arguing with 4+ posters and trying to get some work done is rather demanding!

coffeemachine
Offline
Joined: 31-03-06
Sep 8 2006 14:28
John. wrote:
coffeemachine wrote:
In that respect we can bypass entrenched and asserted dogmas and talk about working class people as living, breathing social beings rather than the malleable tools of our revolutionary dreams.

No one is doing that. So why don't you butt out unless you have anything serious to say. Or insult people for having jobs. roll eyes

the question i asked was "would you support national liberation struggles if they increased the confidence of the working class in those territories?" as a means of going beyond the entrenched dogmas passing for political debate.

Care to answer?

Don't think i've insulted anyone, have i?

AndrewF's picture
AndrewF
Offline
Joined: 28-02-05
Sep 8 2006 14:36

I'm presuming this is the one?

Boulcolonialboy wrote:
Nations are constructs they do not occur naturally as some sort of form of 'social solidarity',

I'm not sure who has argued nations are natural nor indeed what that might even mean. They obviously don't spring up out of the ground after thn rain, on the other hand they are a product of the interaction of human society. Whether or not human society is natural is a question a bit too close to philosophy for me to be comfortable in attempting.

Boulcolonialboy wrote:
their 'right' to self determination should not be supported.

I prefer the term defended. Anyway two points
1. Does this mean the occupation of Iraq or Afghanistan is ok or irrelevant?
2. I actually don't see how you draw the above conclusion from the first part of the sentence. Can we only defend things that are natural?

Boulcolonialboy wrote:
They are not and should not be 'sovereign', they do not have an existance independent of the forces that try to utilise the concept of nation in order to stake a claim to legitimacy vis-a-vis state power.

As I understand the jargon 'sovereign' as it is used in international affairs is used in a way that means its a bad thing for one country to go and invade another because its finding the actions of that second country a bit annoying. It's a term you've introduced into the discussion I don't think I used it. I'm not sure what its relevance is here.

Boulcolonialboy wrote:
The 'self-determination' of a nation is a nonsense, in terms of global capital and in terms of the erroneous belief promoted here that 'a people' have some sort of imput into the 'choice' of a nation state.

If your arguing that any country is going to end up as part of the world economy anyway (or end up a basket case like North Korea) I agree but I don't see the relevancy as I've not noticed anyone claim otherwise. If you saying that the population of Iraq is indifferent to whether they are ruled from Baghdad or Washington I think your clearly wrong. If your saying they should be indifferent I think your clicking your heels and wishing for communism.

Boulcolonialboy wrote:
The support for national liberation struggles does not represent the opening up of a choice for the working class it represents the closing off of such choices, and the option of social revolution, in favour of bourgeois appeals to nationalism.

So the Iraqi working class has more choices under US occupation then it does otherwise. You seem dangerously close to arguing for big nation nationalism as opposed to small nation nationalism here.

AndrewF's picture
AndrewF
Offline
Joined: 28-02-05
Sep 8 2006 14:40
John. wrote:
I cannot actually believe you are trying to use that in an argument. I really am shocked.

No I'm the one that is shocked - look if you can't string together a political argument for your position then leave it to those who can. This hoping up and down on the sidelines and calling people names is starting to get boring.

If you are serious then I once more offer a very useful bit of advice to you. When folllowing a discussion do not accept one sides summary of the other sides argument as accurate. It very, very seldom is.

AndrewF's picture
AndrewF
Offline
Joined: 28-02-05
Sep 8 2006 14:45
coffeemachine wrote:
maybe if we could broaden the parameters a little and ask the question "would you support national liberation struggles if those struggles increased the confidence of the working class of those territories?"

I think this is quite a useful contribution as it focuses on outcomes rather than dogmatic principles. I'm basically arguing a position of examining such struggles to see who is involved and what outcomes are possible. Most national liberation struggles seem to involve periods and localities where law and order breaks down and experiments in self management spring up. The Irish war of Independence saw workers take over numerous workplaces and estates and then to frequently find it was the IRA tasked with handing this property back to its original owners. See http://www.wsm.ie/history for some detail on this

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
Offline
Joined: 14-03-06
Sep 8 2006 14:48

i'm going out i'll post on page 23 later wink

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Sep 8 2006 14:52
coffeemachine wrote:
the question i asked was "would you support national liberation struggles if they increased the confidence of the working class in those territories?" as a means of going beyond the entrenched dogmas passing for political debate.

Care to answer?

Is opposition to racism an "entrenched dogma"? Or a principled position? Don't try to put yourself "above" the discussion, because you're not.

The working class is international, increasing the confidence of one section is only important if it is not set against another. otherwise you could argue a UK anti-immigration campaign could "increase the confidence of the working class in this territory". And class confidence does not equal supporting your nation anyway. I take it you support some national liberation struggles then, coffeemachine? A simple yes or no here would suffice, thanks.

Quote:
Don't think i've insulted anyone, have i?

No, my point was that you are a joke, and not worth seriously engaging in debate, since you think someone having a job is a bad thing, which they can be attacked for. As can having suffered work-related injury.
Joeblack:

Quote:
No I'm the one that is shocked - look if you can't string together a political argument for your position then leave it to those who can.

well aren't we patronising and rude? I'm just surprised that you, by all accounts an intelligent bloke, would use such a series of illogical and irrelevant examples to try to prove your point.

Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
Offline
Joined: 7-05-06
Sep 8 2006 14:58
Joe Black2 wrote:
Do you know anything about the Chinese revolution and its aftermath? Basically any capitalist or large landowner who didn't get to Taiwan ended up either dead or in a gulag within a few years. They certainly didn't end up on top!

Unfortunately, JoeBlack2 doesn't know quite as much as he thinks. Those capitalists who accommodated themselves to the new 'communist' regime often did very well for themselves. (Some may have later been victims of periodic purges related to shifts in factional power within the ruling bureaucracy, but so were many workers and old guard Party members.) Rong Yiren is perhaps the most well-known example;

Quote:
On October 26 [2005] Rong Yiren, a prominent member of the pre-1949 Chinese capitalist elite who supported the Communist Party government established by Mao Zedong, died in Beijing at the age of 89. Better known as the “red capitalist”, Rong’s life epitomised the close relations that existed from the outset between the Stalinist regime and sections of the Chinese bourgeoisie.

Rong was not the only one. Sections of the former KMT regime joined the new government. Song Qingling, the widow of the KMT’s founder Sun Yat-sen, stood alongside Mao in Tiananmen Square in October 1949 as he declared the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). A dozen bourgeois parties that were opposed to Chiang’s dictatorship accepted the patronage of the CCP, including the so-called “Left KMT”. They formed the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which drafted the constitution of the PRC. [....]

In 1956, Rong handed over his businesses to the state. He was hailed as the “red capitalist” for doing so, and paid 30 million yuan or $US12 million in compensation—a considerable sum at the time. He also received dividends until the onset of the “Cultural Revolution” in 1966. He was made vice mayor of Shanghai in 1957 and, two years later, vice minister for the textile industry.

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2005/nov2005/chin-n29.shtml

One seemingly has to lie to one's self to pretend there is no fundamental contradiction between support for the statism of national liberation and anything that can be meaningfully be called anarchism - take away anarchism's uncompromising anti-statism and, whatever's left, it sure ain't really anarchism. The fact some people who argue from a left-nationalist position call themselves anarchists doesn't alter the fact.

AndrewF's picture
AndrewF
Offline
Joined: 28-02-05
Sep 8 2006 15:01
John. wrote:
well aren't we patronising and rude? .

I give what I get - seriously this was your third intervention in a similar fashion on this thread - it does wind people up and you will get a response.

John. wrote:
I'm just surprised that you, by all accounts an intelligent bloke, would use such a series of illogical and irrelevant examples to try to prove your point.

Except I didn't - the summary was inaccurate and indeed absurd. In terms of the examples I gave no one has yet disproved them they have just raised various irrelevancies that I'd never claimed in the first place.

It is striking how much more opened minded and intelligent the discussion of this Open Letter is over on Anarkismo.

AndrewF's picture
AndrewF
Offline
Joined: 28-02-05
Sep 8 2006 15:07
Ret Marut wrote:
Unfortunately, JoeBlack2 doesn't know quite as much as he thinks. Those capitalists who accommodated themselves to the new 'communist' regime often did very well for themselves.

True but to continue my bird analogy two swallows do not a summer make. The vast, vast majority who did not flee to Taiwan were either executed or gulaged. That number runs into the millions when you consider the landlords as well, I think you listed two counter examples.

Towards the end of the civil war there were significant defections to the CCP but even these were purged within a decade.

The point stands that in relation to China there is no way the national liberation struggle ended up with the old capitalist class on top of the pile.

Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
Offline
Joined: 7-05-06
Sep 8 2006 15:11
JoeBlack2 wrote:
Basically any capitalist or large landowner who didn't get to Taiwan ended up either dead or in a gulag within a few years.

There's no shame in admitting when you're wrong.

coffeemachine
Offline
Joined: 31-03-06
Sep 8 2006 15:13
Ret Marut wrote:

One seemingly has to lie to one's self to pretend there is no fundamental contradiction between support for the statism of national liberation and anything that can be meaningfully be called anarchism - take away anarchism's uncompromising anti-statism and, whatever's left, it sure ain't really anarchism. The fact some people who argue from a left-nationalist position call themselves anarchists doesn't alter the fact.

but then aren't we back to ideological purity which works wonderfully in our small and confined political circles but is absolute meaningless in terms of having an impact of real life sitations as they are happening.

I'd actually agree with you if anarchism as it stands today was anything other than an intellectual ivory tower.

If it's any use i do not support national liberation struggles but if 'support' is simply saying so across the internet then it makes this whole execise rather perfunctory doesn't it?

Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
Offline
Joined: 7-05-06
Sep 8 2006 15:19

Well, as far as it goes, I think my comments about the content of anything that can meaningfully be called anarchism, taking into acount its historical origin and usage, are fair enough. Statism is in direct contradiction to any useful meaning of the term. Otherwise, your favoured black swallow might as well be a white dodo. If you want to muddy the waters further by dismissing that as 'ideological purity', that's your choice.

AndrewF's picture
AndrewF
Offline
Joined: 28-02-05
Sep 8 2006 15:19
revol68 wrote:
well that's amazing, meet the new boss same as the old boss.

I knew it couldn't last!

Anyway true but irrelevant to the context of the argument. There are some maoists over on indymeda.ie at http://www.indymedia.ie/article/76924 if you want to tell them this. I already have.

Deezer
Offline
Joined: 2-10-04
Sep 8 2006 15:20

Joe point me to where it is exactly I conflate opposition to imperialism with support for national liberation struggles and yer response to my points might make sense. But since I didn't they don't.

Iraq as an example - in opposing the occupation by the US there may be many options opened up to people (not 'the people' or 'a people', these are specific phrasiologies with specific political meaning), particularly working class people but national liberation struggles close down the options available and mobilise people behind liberating 'their' state.

In different cases this liberation, of a state, has entailed mobilising people behind the desire to remove a foreign oppressor in others it involves a process of invention of 'a people' and a 'nation' upon which to base calls to unity for the emergent or striven for state. Elements proporting to strive for the liberation of the working class have time and again been co-opted and sold out by national liberationist leftist appeals, and at other times national liberationists have utilised the language of socialism. None of this means we should support national liberation struggles, that does not mean we do not oppose oppression and exploitation, whether 'native' or 'foreign'.

AndrewF's picture
AndrewF
Offline
Joined: 28-02-05
Sep 8 2006 15:22
Ret Marut wrote:
JoeBlack2 wrote:
Basically any capitalist or large landowner who didn't get to Taiwan ended up either dead or in a gulag within a few years.

There's no shame in admitting when you're wrong.

Your right my wording was careless. So what - this is a bulletin board not a publication.

The general argument is correct - that is what is important not the use of 'any' rather than 'almost all' or the equivalent.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Sep 8 2006 15:28
JoeBlack2 wrote:
The point stands that in relation to China there is no way the national liberation struggle ended up with the old capitalist class on top of the pile.

No one has said the contrary though, and no one would. The statement is irrelevant for anarchists however - as I've mentioned loads of things can change the makeup of ruling classes. Don't we want to get rid of the ruling class?

coffeemachine wrote:
If it's any use i do not support national liberation struggles but if 'support' is simply saying so across the internet then it makes this whole execise rather perfunctory doesn't it?

Er, CM - you asked

Quote:
would you support national liberation struggles if they increased the confidence of the working class in those territories?

So I take it your answer is no then?

And that you are also stuck in the

Quote:
entrenched dogmas passing for political debate

?

coffeemachine
Offline
Joined: 31-03-06
Sep 8 2006 15:28
Ret Marut wrote:
Well, as far as it goes, I think my comments about the content of anything that can meaningfully be called anarchism, taking into acount its historical origin and usage, are fair enough. Statism is in direct contradiction to any useful meaning of the term. Otherwise, your favoured black swallow might as well be a white dodo. If you want to muddy the waters further by dismissing that as 'ideological purity', that's your choice.

well if our anarchism had weight, had any bearing, had any impact on the real world then what you are saying makes absolute sense, If our support was grounded in useful practical meaningful expressions then i would be behind you 100% but what we are doing is arguing political positions; for the hell of it? to pass the time at work? for our intellectual amusement? to make us feel better about of general lack of social skill? I don't know.

We can all all be the right kind of anarchist in cyberspace.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Sep 8 2006 15:37
coffeemachine wrote:
to make us feel better about of general lack of social skill?

speak for yourself...

AndrewF's picture
AndrewF
Offline
Joined: 28-02-05
Sep 8 2006 15:38
Boulcolonialboy wrote:
Joe point me to where it is exactly I conflate opposition to imperialism with support for national liberation struggles and yer response to my points might make sense. But since I didn't they don't.

Iraq as an example - in opposing the occupation by the US there may be many options opened up to people (not 'the people' or 'a people', these are specific phrasiologies with specific political meaning), particularly working class people but national liberation struggles close down the options available and mobilise people behind liberating 'their' state.

In different cases this liberation, of a state, has entailed mobilising people behind the desire to remove a foreign oppressor in others it involves a process of invention of 'a people' and a 'nation' upon which to base calls to unity for the emergent or striven for state. Elements proporting to strive for the liberation of the working class have time and again been co-opted and sold out by national liberationist leftist appeals, and at other times national liberationists have utilised the language of socialism. None of this means we should support national liberation struggles, that does not mean we do not oppose oppression and exploitation, whether 'native' or 'foreign'.

OK I'm quoting all of the above because it seems to me that you are applying a particular (quite restrictive) definition to national liberation struggles that is different to the way I am using it. Nothing wrong with that as such but it does make a discussion between us difficult because we are using different definitions.

So ito be clear, by national liberation struggle I mean and only mean the struggle to remove an imperialist power from a region.

I make no assumptions as to who conducts this struggle, what their ideology is nor indeed what the end result will be. I find it essential to leave these definitions open in order to be able to discuss how you approach each struggle at each time.

I also think that what has happened is a lot more complex then "Elements proporting to strive for the liberation of the working class have time and again been co-opted and sold out by national liberationist leftist appeals, and at other times national liberationists have utilised the language of socialism" Both versions above presume a conspiracy and foregone conclusion. From actually looking at the debates within such struggles it often seems that you have a significant working class section that is well aware of the difference of interests it has with the national bourgeoise but sees an alliance with them as a way of getting arms (they have the money) and of defeating imperialism. Quite often this section imagine / hope for the possibility of expanding the national liberation struggle into one for socialism.

The problem with the CC analysis is that it often presents the working class elements as dumb sheep who are simply fooled by the ruling class and are so blinded by nationalism that they fail to see their different class interests. If that is the way things are seen then indeed all intervention is pointless and all outcomes are fore ordained. So you stand outside and shout in the hope the sheep awaken.