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Why don't anarchists vote?

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posi
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May 29 2007 19:51

good post. I feel so... understood. wink

That penultimate sentence is a point well made.

Those who identify tory/BNP/Labour policies are not so much doing Labour down as being naive about the others...

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Lazy Riser
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May 29 2007 20:14
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All political parties are the enemy, but they dont (quite yet) all have identical policies. Some of these policy differences have effects for the working class.

So they were right to vote for Thatcher in ’79 as the only way to save us from the economic meltdown that would have otherwise ensued. Perhaps the Tories are unwittingly "better" for us than the Fabians.

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Devrim
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May 29 2007 20:17
georgestapleton wrote:
Do you think that there never was a period when the bourgeoisie was 'progressive'? If not then how are you using the term progressive when you write:
Quote:
No factions of the bourgeoisie are progressive, and there can be no permenant, real reforms.

George, if I wrote that the sky is blue would you ask me what colour it was yesterday. I don't think that anything about the past is implied here.

That said even if I had added today to the phrase all that it would do is signify that it is something that all the left communists agree on today. It does not state that I agree with the 'ICC's decadence theory'.

georgestapleton wrote:
I suppose you are right, but left communist on these forums refers to the IBRT*, the ICC, EKS and a few other indivduals. Indeed left communism in the anglo-phone world refers to both a significant noble and heroic movement in the history of the working class's struggle for anarchist communism and to those who claim the legacy of those struggles who are almost invariably quacks. So in the above quote I am referring not to gorter, ruhle, pannekoek or even bordiga, but rather to left-communism as it exists today.

That is fine, George. No engagement with the politics. No attempt to show that we are different from the 'good left communists'. Just a declaration that we are ' invariably quacks'.

Devrim

*I presume you mean IBRP, not to suggest you have no idea what you are talking about.

Mike Harman
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May 29 2007 21:07
georgestapleton wrote:
Yeah I think you're right here but its important not to see these reforms as being insignificant. Or as reforms to a monolothic transhistorical social form. Capital is a social relation only insofar as it is reproduced, and its reproduction involves the mutually antagonistic development of the bourgeosie and the proletariat. So although yes universal suffrage is a prerequisite to stable, advanced capitalism, at least as it exists in the west, and, in a manner, is not a threat to capital. However, in another manner it is, in that it is a 'prerequisite to stable, advanced capitalism', and is therefore a restraint of the development of the bourgeosie's interests, i.e. the bourgeois state is dependent on the acquiescence of the proletariat in a manner which was not the case prior to this reform.

I don't think it's a restraint on the 'bourgeios state' at all tbh - the state apparatus has massively increased since universal suffrage (male and female), and has a much wider reach and control than it ever did. The security services didn't even exist properly when it was brought in for example, and the civil service is far more independent of parliament (QUANGOS etc.) than it was 100 years ago.

Quote:
Essentially what I'm getting at is that although these 'reforms' can obviously be lost, to treat them as insignificant is absurd. Capital today, viewed as a totalizing social form, is very different to what it was in 1500, in 1600, in 1700, in 1800, and in 1900. And to simple dismiss the significant improvement and empowering of proletarians over that time is absurd and only makes sense in the bizarre ideology of left communist cultism.

I'm not dismissing any improvements in conditions or civil liberties etc., but I don't think parliamentary legislation (and hence elections) has been the cause of them (sometimes the result though).

Quote:
I suppose you are right, but left communist on these forums refers to the IBRT, the ICC, EKS and a few other indivduals. Indeed left communism in the anglo-phone world refers to both a significant noble and heroic movement in the history of the working class's struggle for anarchist communism and to those who claim the legacy of those struggles who are almost invariably quacks. So in the above quote I am referring not to gorter, ruhle, pannekoek or even bordiga, but rather to left-communism as it exists today.

Well, to a certain extent I think Aufheben identify as left communist (sure I saw that somewhere), and they've done a big article criticising decadence theory. Devrim's also said he disagrees with it, even if he thinks it's worthy of discussion. I think the more broad term "ultra-left" - which includes councilists, people like Dauve etc. is a better one, but you're still doing it a disservice. edit: and like Devrim says, failing to point out why the IBRP, ICC, EKS and few other individuals (redtwister? Loren Goldner?) are quacks.

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epk
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May 29 2007 22:44

A couple of comments:

The first is that when discussing our attitudes towards voting and electoral politics, we should differentiate voting for "their" parties (whoever "they" might be) as individuals, and offering various levels of support for parties as groups and organizations - from declaring that we think it's a good idea to vote X over Y through handing out "elect X" matrial to being represented somehow in lists of candidates of X (in all-national or local elections, it's different in the UK than in Israel) or even forming parties. The arguments against supporting/participating/forming parties really are on the level of Anarchist 'principle' - or so I believe, anyway. Voting is the less clear-cut issue (although personally I agree with the arguments Terry mentioned).

Of course one could make the somewhat justifiable claim that there's a slippery slope from voting yourself to buying into the 'parliamentary illusions' which would lead you as an individual or a group or an organization down into the bog of electoral politics - so while they are distinct they're also closely linked, at least in the long run.

The second comment is that considering the less and more favorable possible policies of various parties is often (most of the time? always?) a decontextualized way to look at the party system. At least as much, if not more, as ruling party changes reflect changes voter sentiments (and even that reflection is problematic, and does not reflect interests), they reflect power struggles and changes of strategy and preference among the Capitalist class. Thus before starting a war things would work out so that a more nationalist, perhaps even Fascist, government comes to power. Like catch said, sometimes what seems like the cause is actually part of the effect.

marmot
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May 30 2007 01:46

First, people here misunderstand the nature of the state.

The state is a product of class struggle, it is not completely molded by the bourgeosie. Although, the state in essence is bourgeois, and will try to make everything possible to protect the social order, workers do influence to certain extent the state.

Complete abstentionism is ridulous. There is nothing wrong in voting for the less brutal faction of the bourgeosie. Saying that the bourgeoise is completely monolithic and that they are "the same" is just infantile simplification. I would always choose american style liberal democracy over Fascist state-capitalism.

Abstentionism is completelly ideological in nature, it is "noble" concept but it is not pragmatic. It is moralism.

Voting needs to be coupled with direct action, because we as communists understand that in order to dissolve the social order, we have to attack it physically.

marmot
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May 30 2007 01:46

First, people here misunderstand the nature of the state.

The state is a product of class struggle, it is not completely molded by the bourgeosie. Although, the state in essence is bourgeois, and will try to make everything possible to protect the social order, workers do influence to certain extent the state.

Complete abstentionism is ridulous. There is nothing wrong in voting for the less brutal faction of the bourgeosie. Saying that the bourgeoise is completely monolithic and that they are "the same" is just infantile simplification. I would always choose american style liberal democracy over Fascist state-capitalism.

Abstentionism is completelly ideological in nature, it is "noble" concept but it is not pragmatic. It is moralism.

Voting needs to be coupled with direct action, because we as communists understand that in order to dissolve the social order, we have to attack it physically.

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daniel
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May 30 2007 03:30

Ye gods above, the day when anarchists are asking themselves if voting if such a bad thing after all is the day a lot of people get uneasy in their graves! This is like anarchism 101 stuff (but then again I thought anti-national liberation was anarchism 101 so go figure). I see before my eyes anarchism degenerating into some kind of fucking trotskyism! No offence like. Albert Meltzer would kill a lot of you young anarchists these days as far as I can tell!

Trade unions - check
National liberation - check
Elections - check
Vanguardism - ?
Single issue Leftism - ?

Nothing personal but I think anarchist principles have been getting a bit loose lately. Maybe cos people are going from leftist parties into anarchism? As my dad always said - trust an ex-fascist before an "ex"-trot.

-cheers

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888
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May 30 2007 04:53

actually it's always been like this.

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Joseph Kay
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May 30 2007 08:00

marmot, i don't think anyone is saying that all the bourgeois parties are 'the same,' only that the conditions that make fascism (or rather authoritarian racist populism, as the BNP's program is not overtly fascist) appealing are being created by the supposed lesser evil, and so voting for labour is voting for continuance of the conditions in which the far right flourishes.

generally, would anyone here actually go to an estate that's been left to rot by the labour government and tell them all to vote labour, expecting them to think you have a better understanding of their material conditions than the BNP, who at least talk the the talk of poor housing, low wages etc? The sad thing is while the fash are dealing with class grievences, albeit to channel them into racist division, leftists are urging us to vote for the fucking government.

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Felix Frost
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May 30 2007 09:45
Eyal Rozenberg wrote:
The first is that when discussing our attitudes towards voting and electoral politics, we should differentiate voting for "their" parties (whoever "they" might be) as individuals, and offering various levels of support for parties as groups and organizations - from declaring that we think it's a good idea to vote X over Y through handing out "elect X" matrial to being represented somehow in lists of candidates of X (in all-national or local elections, it's different in the UK than in Israel) or even forming parties. The arguments against supporting/participating/forming parties really are on the level of Anarchist 'principle' - or so I believe, anyway.

I agree with this. Not getting involved with electoralism is an "anarchist principle" for good reason. Not because all bourgeois factions are alike, or because it's impossible to win real reforms trough parliament, but because that we are aiming for are not minor reforms or a sligthly less brutal capitalism, but a whole other way of organizing society. And because what will persuade politicians to implement reforms are not the prospect of a few more votes from scattered radicals, but preasure from the streets and from a militant workers movement.

To extend this to denouncing individual voting, however, is lifestyle politics at its worst, and is a good illustration of the sorry state of the anarchist movement of today, where being an anarchist equals not eating at McDonalds + sitting home on election day.

Eyal Rozenberg wrote:
Of course one could make the somewhat justifiable claim that there's a slippery slope from voting yourself to buying into the 'parliamentary illusions' which would lead you as an individual or a group or an organization down into the bog of electoral politics

Well, yes, I suppose that is what Devrim and his fellow Left Communists are arguing. I liked it better the way Cardinal Tourettes put it, though:

Quote:
The only real argument against voting is that it can lead to people forming some kind of irrational attachment to the ruling class faction they voted for. I dont have this problem myself -if other people feel that voting might affect them in this way, then yeah they are probably better off staying away from the ballot box.
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Joseph Kay
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May 30 2007 14:27

tories are more identical to labour than labour, say tories grin

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May 30 2007 18:00
Devrim wrote:
georgestapleton wrote:
Do you think that there never was a period when the bourgeoisie was 'progressive'? If not then how are you using the term progressive when you write:
Quote:
No factions of the bourgeoisie are progressive, and there can be no permenant, real reforms.

George, if I wrote that the sky is blue would you ask me what colour it was yesterday. I don't think that anything about the past is implied here.

That said even if I had added today to the phrase all that it would do is signify that it is something that all the left communists agree on today. It does not state that I agree with the 'ICC's decadence theory'.

You didn't answer my question. And I am aware that you do not agree with the 'ICC's decadence theory'. But you are sympathetic to decadence theory and the above quoted sentence makes no sense to me if it does not refer to some variant of decadence theory. So I ask you again. Do you think that there never was a period when the bourgeoisie was 'progressive'? And what do you mean by progressive? Or were you simply engaging in meaningless phrase mongering?

Mike Harman wrote:
georgestapleton wrote:
Yeah I think you're right here but its important not to see these reforms as being insignificant. Or as reforms to a monolothic transhistorical social form. Capital is a social relation only insofar as it is reproduced, and its reproduction involves the mutually antagonistic development of the bourgeosie and the proletariat. So although yes universal suffrage is a prerequisite to stable, advanced capitalism, at least as it exists in the west, and, in a manner, is not a threat to capital. However, in another manner it is, in that it is a 'prerequisite to stable, advanced capitalism', and is therefore a restraint of the development of the bourgeosie's interests, i.e. the bourgeois state is dependent on the acquiescence of the proletariat in a manner which was not the case prior to this reform.

I don't think it's a restraint on the 'bourgeios state' at all tbh - the state apparatus has massively increased since universal suffrage (male and female), and has a much wider reach and control than it ever did. The security services didn't even exist properly when it was brought in for example, and the civil service is far more independent of parliament (QUANGOS etc.) than it was 100 years ago.

I don't think you are going to disagree with me here. Surely you would accept that the state cannot act with the same impunity that it can under facism. Indeed he state cannot act with the same impunity that it can under any system that is not a liberal democracy based on universal sufferage and the acquiescence of the proletariat. Of course in revolutionary times when the proletariat ceases to acquiesce to the power of Capital then the state will change its form and cease to be a liberal democracy but the point remains the same dealing with the state as it is today. That was all I was saying

Quote:
Well, to a certain extent I think Aufheben identify as left communist (sure I saw that somewhere), and they've done a big article criticising decadence theory. Devrim's also said he disagrees with it, even if he thinks it's worthy of discussion. I think the more broad term "ultra-left" - which includes councilists, people like Dauve etc. is a better one, but you're still doing it a disservice. edit: and like Devrim says, failing to point out why the IBRP, ICC, EKS and few other individuals (redtwister? Loren Goldner?) are quacks.

Well I'm not all that bothered about how people identify themselves. I've said who I was talking about. And I think its clear that there is an idetifiable tendency that includes the IBRP, ICC, EKS and does not include others that are anti-state non anarchist communists such as councilists, situationists, people like Dauve, perlman, cammatte, zerzan, redtwister, Loren Goldner*, Aufheben, Wildcat, Movement Communiste, Theorie Communiste, Riff Raff, Colectivo Situaciones, Autonomia, Operaismo etc. etc. the list goes on.

And to be honest I fell no compulsion to explain why I think the IBRP, ICC etc. are quacks. I think its fairly obvious that the form of their political activity is no different from that of the Sparts, whoI'm sure you would accept are quacks. You don't engage with the Sparts on the basis of the content of their ideology but rather on the basis that all they have is an ideology. The have no analysis and no practical suggestions for action. No theory and no practice. The are a cult who have follow a religion and sermonise. I'm sure its comforting to know for them that redemption day / the revoltuon is coming. And I appreciate that the need to exorcise the proletariat of sin and wash away false religions to make way for the one true church that is capable of welcoming the coming of the lord. But I dont see any need to do anything more than dismiss them as quack.

If I ever come across the ICC/IBRP/Sparts/Mormons/Jehovah Witnesses in political struggle I will engage with them but on the level of rational debate I don't see the point. I may as well talk to a wall.

*I know Loren Goldner buys into Decadence theory, but I don't think he's got much in else common with the IBRP/ICC/EKS cultists.

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May 30 2007 18:09
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Why don't anarchists vote?

Why don’t anarchists wash?

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May 30 2007 18:27
Lazy Riser wrote:
Quote:
Why don't anarchists vote?

Why don’t anarchists wash?

I thought you'd be all in favour of anarchists not washing. It'd make them look more working class

and less middle class

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May 30 2007 19:02

Conventional wisdom is that not washing makes you look more middle class. Either way, I'd have no interest in making anarchists look more working class. In the end, it’s not how anarchists look that gives them away it’s the way they carry themselves and their charisma bypass scar. Ha ha. No seriously, most non-voting anarchists I’ve ever met do it for the same reasons as Dev doesn’t, so, well that’s all.

Mathematically, there’s no point in me voting, so I don’t. Regardless, economic policy is fixed by circumstance rather than ideology, so if I’m ever in a situation calling for a tactical vote I’ll vote for who ever looks most likely to aid in destroying traditional family life.

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May 30 2007 19:29
Quote:
but I don't think he's got much in else common with the IBRP/ICC/EKS cultists.

So George, you dismiss organisations that you have never met, have read very little from, and basically have no idea about at all as 'cultists'.

Please tell me which EKS member you have met, or which EKS publication you have read (I am presumming that you read Turkish here) that gives you that idea.

Acyually, I also presume that you have never met a member of the IBRP, or the ICC either. Maybe, I am wrong.

So instead of arguing against a political argument, you dismiss people you have no knowledge of as 'cultists'.

I really think you have no idea what you are talking about.

Quote:
You didn't answer my question. And I am aware that you do not agree with the 'ICC's decadence theory'. But you are sympathetic to decadence theory and the above quoted sentence makes no sense to me if it does not refer to some variant of decadence theory. So I ask you again. Do you think that there never was a period when the bourgeoisie was 'progressive'? And what do you mean by progressive? Or were you simply engaging in meaningless phrase mongering?

No, I don't think that the bourgeoisie was ever progressive. Does that answer your question? When you ask whether I am sympathetic to 'some variant of decadence theory', well, first all 'Marxists' are, and secondly I have never described myself as a Marxist. I do agree with a decadence theory, but it is not the same as the ICC'S.

Quote:
And to be honest I fell no compulsion to explain why I think the IBRP, ICC etc. are quacks. I think its fairly obvious that the form of their political activity is no different from that of the Sparts, whoI'm sure you would accept are quacks. You don't engage with the Sparts on the basis of the content of their ideology but rather on the basis that all they have is an ideology. The have no analysis and no practical suggestions for action. No theory and no practice. The are a cult who have follow a religion and sermonise. I'm sure its comforting to know for them that redemption day / the revoltuon is coming. And I appreciate that the need to exorcise the proletariat of sin and wash away false religions to make way for the one true church that is capable of welcoming the coming of the lord. But I dont see any need to do anything more than dismiss them as quack.

Again George, I think you have no idea what you are talking about. I don't have any idea what you are studying, but I will leave that, and your 'practice' to you. Meanwhile, I will go to work in the morning, and couldn't care less whether student leftists call for nationalisation of the countries resources or not.

Devrim

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May 30 2007 19:51
Devrim wrote:
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but I don't think he's got much in else common with the IBRP/ICC/EKS cultists.

So George, you dismiss organisations that you have never met, have read very little from, and basically have no idea about at all as 'cultists'.

Please tell me which EKS member you have met, or which EKS publication you have read (I am presumming that you read Turkish here) that gives you that idea.

Acyually, I also presume that you have never met a member of the IBRP, or the ICC either. Maybe, I am wrong.

So instead of arguing against a political argument, you dismiss people you have no knowledge of as 'cultists'.

I really think you have no idea what you are talking about.

Well thats kind of the point. I have hardly only ever met them outside the anarchist bookfair. They don't exist in Ireland. I have unfortunately read quite a few ICC articles, fewer IBRP articles and to be honest my knowledge of EKS is only of you and Leo. And although you seem reasonable, I can't say the same of Leo. To be honest maybe I'm wrong about EKS, I don't know enough about you. But I don't see much political difference between you and the ICC. Is there any if so what is it? Is it just that you have a different theory of decadence?

Quote:
Quote:
You didn't answer my question. And I am aware that you do not agree with the 'ICC's decadence theory'. But you are sympathetic to decadence theory and the above quoted sentence makes no sense to me if it does not refer to some variant of decadence theory. So I ask you again. Do you think that there never was a period when the bourgeoisie was 'progressive'? And what do you mean by progressive? Or were you simply engaging in meaningless phrase mongering?

No, I don't think that the bourgeoisie was ever progressive. Does that answer your question?

It answers the first one. But it leaves the second which is what do you mean by progressive? (Also, its not necessary to believe in decadence to be a marxist. The situs and autonomists were marxists and they didn't believe in decadence.)

Quote:
I will go to work in the morning, and couldn't care less whether student leftists call for nationalisation of the countries resources or not.

Fine most people don't care what the I say or do. And to be honest I see very little reason for the average worke in Turkey to care what I say or do. Doesn't bother me. Christ I'd need an ego the size of China for it to. Equally, I don't care what left communist cultists do or think, just as I don't care what other cultists, such as Jehovah Witnesses, do or think. It only bothers me when they try to shove their religion down my throat.

lem
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May 30 2007 20:21

LR: STOP haging out with students then?
Georgestapleton: ! I am fascinated at the idea of how you could have understood the concept yet think that decadnce is rediculous. Reread please. 'Understood' in BOLD.

Which of these atatements do you disagree with?
1. There are different ways of running society
2. How these shifts occur is down to material conditions (how can you disagree and be a marxist!)
3. At any one time one way of organizing society is more efficient/desirable than another.
c1. Therefore society may be decadent
c2. Therefore 21st century capitalism may be decadent

Very slow computer atm. So can't easily improve upon that atm. But please reply. Sorry if misunderstood.

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May 30 2007 20:24

Is 'efficient/desirable' suppossed to be the same thing?

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May 30 2007 20:36
GeorgeStapleton wrote:
Well thats kind of the point. I have hardly only ever met them outside the anarchist bookfair. They don't exist in Ireland.

I am sorry George, I missed the idea that the 'London anarchist bookfair' was the centre of the world. Actually, I would have very little idea who the WSM were if I hadn't lived in London, and at one point slept with one of their members (that should be enough to keep tounges wagging for a while).

There is a 'Platformist' group in Turkey, as I am sure you are aware. Actually they have no presence in Ankara (they are İstanbul based). I think that some of our members actually have good personal relationships with some of them. However, to talk about it like the 'Platformist' trend were an large movement, and that the communist left was merely a bunch of 'cultists' is bizarre.

GeorgeStapleton wrote:
I have unfortunately read quite a few ICC articles, fewer IBRP articles and to be honest my knowledge of EKS is only of you and Leo. And although you seem reasonable, I can't say the same of Leo.

So you have read what Leo, and I have written on an internet board. Yes, Leo can some times be a bit rude, and impolite on here. The same can be said of members of your organisation. One of the differences is that we have told Leo that this is not acceptable behaviour (not only personally, but in public on these boards). The main point is that we try to argue politics, not screech at people being 'cultists', or whatever.

On a personal, and a political level Leo impresses me. I will explain why if you like, but please remember that this is me who has probably been on strike more times than you have been to student union meetings.

To be honest, I don't like to come across like this, but I do get annoyed when students start to talk about communist workers like they are some kind of 'cultists'. Possibly a cult that you will have even less interest in when you graduate, and take some sort of managerial position.

GeorgeStapleton wrote:
It answers the first one. But it leaves the second which is what do you mean by progressive? (Also, its not necessary to believe in decadence to be a marxist. The situs and autonomists were marxists and they didn't believe in decadence.)

What I mean by 'progressive' is I think a very deep question. I am more than happy to discuss it with you. As for your remarks about the 'situs* and autonomists', I have no idea what you are talking about. All Marxists hold a theory of decadence.

Devrim

*Maybe we can exempt the 'situs' from this as they were really just middle class wankers playing at communism.

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May 30 2007 20:43
Devrim wrote:

I would have very little idea who the WSM were if I hadn't lived in London, and at one point slept with one of their members

Apparently, WSM members have no revolutionary discipline.

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May 30 2007 20:51
daniel wrote:
Ye gods above, the day when anarchists are asking themselves if voting if such a bad thing after all is the day a lot of people get uneasy in their graves! This is like anarchism 101 stuff (but then again I thought anti-national liberation was anarchism 101 so go figure). I see before my eyes anarchism degenerating into some kind of fucking trotskyism! No offence like. Albert Meltzer would kill a lot of you young anarchists these days as far as I can tell!

Trade unions - check
National liberation - check
Elections - check
Vanguardism - ?
Single issue Leftism - ?

Nothing personal but I think anarchist principles have been getting a bit loose lately. Maybe cos people are going from leftist parties into anarchism? As my dad always said - trust an ex-fascist before an "ex"-trot.

-cheers

Well to be honest Daniel, I think that your politics are more in agreement with the communist left that anarchism today. At least we only disagree on one of your five points (number 4), but I think that you would find that our conception of a party is very different from how you imagine it.

Of course, you can find plenty of anarchists who are completly for the other four.

Devrim

P.S. I can remember Albert, and he was a grouchy old pro trade union bastard, more emphasis there on being a grouchy old bastard. At least he wouldn't have tolerated this pro-national liberation nonsense.

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May 30 2007 20:55
Devrim wrote:
daniel wrote:
Ye gods above, the day when anarchists are asking themselves if voting if such a bad thing after all is the day a lot of people get uneasy in their graves! This is like anarchism 101 stuff (but then again I thought anti-national liberation was anarchism 101 so go figure). I see before my eyes anarchism degenerating into some kind of fucking trotskyism! No offence like. Albert Meltzer would kill a lot of you young anarchists these days as far as I can tell!

Trade unions - check
National liberation - check
Elections - check
Vanguardism - ?
Single issue Leftism - ?

Nothing personal but I think anarchist principles have been getting a bit loose lately. Maybe cos people are going from leftist parties into anarchism? As my dad always said - trust an ex-fascist before an "ex"-trot.

-cheers

Well to be honest Daniel, I think that your politics are more in agreement with the communist left that anarchism today. At least we only disagree on one of your five points (number 4), but I think that you would find that our conception of a party is very different from how you imagine it.

Of course, you can find plenty of anarchists who are completly for the other four.

Devrim

P.S. I can remember Albert, and he was a grouchy old pro trade union bastard, more emphasis there on being a grouchy old bastard. At least he wouldn't have tolerated this pro-national liberation nonsense.

On the subject of item 1: Anarchists advocating involvement as rank n file militants in mainstream unions is not some sort of new "deviation" folks.

Mike Harman
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May 30 2007 21:05
georgestapleton wrote:
I don't think you are going to disagree with me here. Surely you would accept that the state cannot act with the same impunity that it can under facism.

I think John Reid's current proposals - suspending habeus corpus to name but one, show that liberal democracy is no guarantee of restraint on the state. Simply having a liberal democracy is no guarantee of anything - it's all dependent on the capacity and will of the working class to defend itself. In other words, as I seem to be repeating on here, liberal democracy or fascism are the result of (symptoms) of the current state of the class struggle, not the cause of it. Obviously I'd rather live in a liberal democracy than under fascism, and repression has often successfully crushed working class militancy rather than sparking it off, but simply saying "we can vote, the state has to listen to us and can't go too far" seems to me to miss the point a bit.

Quote:
Well I'm not all that bothered about how people identify themselves. I've said who I was talking about. And I think its clear that there is an idetifiable tendency that includes the IBRP, ICC, EKS and does not include others that are anti-state non anarchist communists such as councilists, situationists, people like Dauve, perlman, cammatte, zerzan, redtwister, Loren Goldner*, Aufheben, Wildcat, Movement Communiste, Theorie Communiste, Riff Raff, Colectivo Situaciones, Autonomia, Operaismo etc. etc. the list goes on.

Yes I agree to an extent, but I don't think you can call this tendency "left communism", because clearly some of the other groups in that list are left communist. In another discussion, I think Devrim and Alf called them 'organised left communism', would that be acceptable? Or to be honest, I think it's mainly about 'the party', although I can't claim to be 100% familiar with the politics of every group on yer list.

Quote:
And to be honest I fell no compulsion to explain why I think the IBRP, ICC etc. are quacks.

Actually I know very little about the IBRP, simply because the ICC mention them sometimes doesn't make me want to call them quacks yet. The ICC mentions posters on here in its publications and I don't call those posters quacks (well, not for that reason anyway wink ). Or have you been checking them out seriously and come up with that conclusion? As far as I know, only mic (?) on here is from the IBRP, and he hasn't posted that much yet.

Quote:
*I know Loren Goldner buys into Decadence theory, but I don't think he's got much in else common with the IBRP/ICC/EKS cultists.

Loren Goldner's conception of decadence is a quite a bit different than the ICC's. I haven't read his stuff on that subject recently though.

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Devrim
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May 30 2007 21:07
thugarchist wrote:
One the subject of item 1: Anarchists advocating involvement as rank n file militants in mainstream unions is not some sort of new "deviation" folks.

No, it isn't you are right. It comes down to what you mean by 'union work' though. If you read what the left communists say they give primary importance to the workplace. They also say that communists can't work through the union structure as the unions themselves are integrated into the state, and anti-working class, not on a big political level, but on a day to day level of the struggle to maintain living standards.

Some anarchists talk about 'union work'. This can go from turning up at a branch meeting to advocating supporting different candidates for union General Secretary. These are very different things.

Devrim

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May 30 2007 21:13
Devrim wrote:
thugarchist wrote:
One the subject of item 1: Anarchists advocating involvement as rank n file militants in mainstream unions is not some sort of new "deviation" folks.

No, it isn't you are right. It comes down to what you mean by 'union work' though. If you read what the left communists say they give primary importance to the workplace. They also say that communists can't work through the union structure as the unions themselves are integrated into the state, and anti-working class, not on a big political level, but on a day to day level of the struggle to maintain living standards.

Some anarchists talk about 'union work'. This can go from turning up at a branch meeting to advocating supporting different candidates for union General Secretary. These are very different things.

Devrim

Just going down the checklist.

Did you sleep with Chekov?

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jef costello
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May 30 2007 21:14
Quote:
It's not like BNP councillors fall from the moon and turn everybody in their ward into racists, they are in power as a result of ethnic tension, they don't create it.

they exploit existing tensions, some of which may be racial, in order to improve their own standing.

Lazy, I thought you voted Liberal Democrat because they didn't cut local service budgets as much.

Real permanent reforms are impossible under capitalism because any reform is based on weakness of the ruling class, either in the face of working class power or their own consciences. When either of these pressures ease then the need to regain ground will resurface.

I think Devrim explained the ICC version of decadence theory but I don't remember him explaining his own, if you did could you stick up a link please Dev?

Voting is bad because it serves a doubl purpose of isolating people from politics and inculpating them. So not only does it encourage people to think of politics as something that is at best done on their behalf and at worst done to them by an elite, it also blames people for this because they were the ones that voted for them in the first place.

When I was home last I did vote in the ocal elections because I knew the candidate and it could not do any harm. But in the recent elections here Royal vs Sarkozy, I see little to choose from. Economically the program is identical, Sarkozy simply takes a much more aggressive stance with regard to the banlieue, not that Segolene bootcamps Royal would be much different.

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May 30 2007 21:21

Thug,
I think that you have a problem with the quoting mechanism. The post that you quoted is about unions not this one:

Devrim wrote:
I would have very little idea who the WSM were if I hadn't lived in London, and at one point slept with one of their members (that should be enough to keep tounges wagging for a while).

Anyway to address your question, I was talking about a member of a third rate Irish anarchist group, not a classic Russian writer.

Dev

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May 30 2007 21:24
Devrim wrote:
GeorgeStapleton wrote:
Well thats kind of the point. I have hardly only ever met them outside the anarchist bookfair. They don't exist in Ireland.

I am sorry George, I missed the idea that the 'London anarchist bookfair' was the centre of the world. Actually, I would have very little idea who the WSM were if I hadn't lived in London, and at one point slept with one of their members (that should be enough to keep tounges wagging for a while).

There is a 'Platformist' group in Turkey, as I am sure you are aware. Actually they have no presence in Ankara (they are İstanbul based). I think that some of our members actually have good personal relationships with some of them. However, to talk about it like the 'Platformist' trend were an large movement, and that the communist left was merely a bunch of 'cultists' is bizarre.

The 'outside the anarchist bookfair' comment was a dig cos the anarchist bookfair is a marginal lefty event where lefties disagree with one another. i.e. I've never come across them in* any type of struggle, nor have I heard of anyone who has. Yeah I'm aware of the AKI, its good some of your members actually have good personal relationships with some of them. Do you have decent political relationships with them. (I mean I'd say the WSM has a good relationship with Organise!, the AF, the SF, the ISN, the SP and bad relationship with the SWP and the Sparts and no relationship with amongst other groups the ICC). As I said maybe I'm wrong about the EKS.

When I say cultists I don't mean small; the Branch Davidians had over 74 members, more than the WSM. There are loads and loads of Jehovah Witnesses and other nutjob religious people. Its not numbers that count. Its the fact that the ICC and IBRP expound a religion that their believers follow. They do not try and work out strategy or materialist analysis, they expound 'principles' and and engage in axiomatic analysis that need have no connection with the real world.

Quote:
GeorgeStapleton wrote:
I have unfortunately read quite a few ICC articles, fewer IBRP articles and to be honest my knowledge of EKS is only of you and Leo. And although you seem reasonable, I can't say the same of Leo.

So you have read what Leo, and I have written on an internet board. Yes, Leo can some times be a bit rude, and impolite on here. The same can be said of members of your organisation.

Yeah a lot of people are pricks on here. (And the one member of the wSmn that has ben a complete prick to people on here has been called on it.) But thats not what I was getting at I was more getting at his taste for denouncing people, exposing people as nationalists and trade union beaurucrats, showing that people are not as the ICC would put it part of the 'proletarian camp'.

Quote:
I will explain why if you like, but please remember that this is me who has probably been on strike more times than you have been to student union meetings.

To be honest, I don't like to come across like this, but I do get annoyed when students start to talk about communist workers like they are some kind of 'cultists'.

To be honest I think that's fair enough. But I'm not talking about communist workers like they are some kind of 'cultists'. I'm talking about a political tendency which 'communist' or not is I think utterly useless.

Quote:
GeorgeStapleton wrote:
It answers the first one. But it leaves the second which is what do you mean by progressive? (Also, its not necessary to believe in decadence to be a marxist. The situs and autonomists were marxists and they didn't believe in decadence.)

What I mean by 'progressive' is I think a very deep question. I am more than happy to discuss it with you. As for your remarks about the 'situs* and autonomists', I have no idea what you are talking about. All Marxists hold a theory of decadence.

Devrim

*Maybe we can exempt the 'situs' from this as they were really just middle class wankers playing at communism.

The autonomist thought that capitalism collapse, development and transformation developed entirely from working class struggle in all its forms. In other words it said that the revolution is determined by the power of the working class, not by 'objective conditions', if anything they said it was deteremined entirely by subjective conditions.

I am curious what you mean by 'progressive', but to be honest I've exams next week and although I've posted a lot on libcom over the last 2 days. Time is running out and I won't be online as much over the next week. So I Don't want to say i'll read what you'd write and respond to it when I very well might not.

*By 'in' I do not mean standing outside meetings selling papers. Nor do I mean entering meetings soley to disrupt them.