bureaucracy

Revolution and counterrevolution in Catalonia - Carlos Semprún Maura

First published in France in 1974, a “critical analysis of the bureaucratization of the CNT, with regard to both the political as well as the economic terrain”, bureaucratization which the author claims was “total and complete”, with discussions of certain historical turning points and watershed moments (e.g., the militarization of the militias, the May Events and the overthrow of the Council of Aragon), and extensive passages quoted from eyewitness accounts (e.g., Marcel Ollivier’s Les journées sanglantes de Barcelone), newspaper articles and official documents that have not previously appeared in English translation.

Bureaucracy and revolution - Scott Jay

Leninist organizations invariably become bureaucracies focused more on their own self-reproduction than the needs of the class struggle.

The latest deception - Gabriel Miasnikov

In this essay first published in 1930 in France, the founder of the Workers Group denounces the bureaucracy that he claims seized power in a “coup d’état” in 1920 at the Ninth Congress of the CPSU(b)—its “latest deception” being its fraudulent appeals for “freedom of criticism” and “self-criticism” after a series of revolts by workers and peasants in the early to mid-1920s—and calls for a restoration of proletarian democracy (as exemplified by the Paris Commune) by democratizing the functions exercised by bureaucratic State institutions (production, distribution, oversight) and replacing them with Soviets (“Councils”), cooperatives and trade unions.

Sects and sectarianism - Scott Jay

Religious and revolutionary sects have much more in common with each other than they would generally prefer to admit. Their ideas may be completely different, but their obsession with ideas produces organizations with the same behaviors.

A Note on the Civil Society Offensive – Miguel Amorós

Some comments on the most recent wave of civil society agitation in Spain (Summer 2014), defining the purpose of this movement as “[preventing] the formation of social institutions that are outside of the system and beyond its control, that is, truly self-organized institutions” and channeling popular grievances and rage “into the swamp of politics”.

Slippery slopes (the anarchists in Spain) - Manuel Azaretto

Written in 1939 by a member of FORU (Regional Workers Federation of Uruguay), this book—a scathing indictment of the leaders of the Spanish CNT and FAI for their “betrayal” of anarchist principles—contains, in addition to official documents and proclamations of the CNT and FAI and articles from the Spanish and international anarchosyndicalist press, relevant passages drawn from Max Nettlau, Diego Abad de Santillán, David Antona, Federica Montseny, Juan García Oliver, Pierre Besnard, Alexander Schapiro, Sebastién Faure, Camillo Berneri, Mariano Vázquez, Mikhail Bakunin and other anarchists and anarchosyndicalists.

Parables of big brother - Robert Kurz

Robert Kurz discusses the “implicit” “subtexts” of the great dystopian literature of the 20th century and reveals the “internalized constraints” of “the anonymous, ‘reified’ character of [the] totalitarianism” of our time, in which “the Voice of Big Brother is the voice of the Anonymous World Market”, the “most totalitarian of all systems”, and “the subjective command centers are … the executive organs of an autonomized mechanism” ruled by “the irrational end-in-itself of the ‘interminable valorization of value’” whose “ideal is the self-surveillance and self-control of the individual entrepreneur ‘by way of his capitalist superego’”.

Thoughts on bureaucracy - Bob Potter

Paris 68 anti-bureaucracy poster

Bob Potter of Solidarity critiques bureaucratic state socialism in 1963.

Theses on the Spanish Civil War and the revolutionary situation created on July 19, 1936 - BALANCE (Agustín Guillamón)

A 2001 text summarizing the results of the research carried out by Agustín Guillamón for the Spanish journal, BALANCE, concerning the lessons of the Spanish Civil War in Catalonia, denying the existence of “dual power” in Catalonia in 1936, discussing the struggles of the CNT rank and file against militarization and in favor of socialization, emphasizing the revolutionary potential of the ubiquitous committees and their neutralization and eventual destruction due to a lack of coordination and centralization, and claiming that the proletarian revolution requires the destruction of the capitalist state and the creation of a centralized workers power based on workers councils.

The Castle - Franz Kafka

Kafka's last novel, The Castle is set in a remote village covered almost permanently in snow and dominated by a castle and its staff of dictatorial, sexually predatory bureaucrats. The novel breaks new ground in exploring the relation between the individual and power, asking why the villagers so readily submit to an authority which may exist only in their collective imagination.