A short introduction to anarchist-communism.
Anarchist communism is a form of anarchism that advocates the abolition of the State and capitalism in favour of a horizontal network of voluntary associations through which everyone will be free to satisfy his or her needs.
Anarchist communism is also known as anarcho-communism, communist anarchism, or, sometimes, libertarian communism. However, while all anarchist communists are libertarian communists, some libertarian communists, such as council communists, are not anarchists. What distinguishes anarchist communism from other variants of libertarian communism is the formers opposition to all forms of political power, hierarchy and domination.
Anarchist communism stresses egalitarianism and the abolition of social hierarchy and class distinctions that arise from unequal wealth distribution, the abolition of capitalism and money, and the collective production and distribution of wealth by means of voluntary associations. In anarchist communism, the state and property no longer exist. Each individual and group is free to contribute to production and to satisfy their needs based on their own choice. Systems of production and distribution are managed by their participants.
The abolition of wage labour is central to anarchist communism. With distribution of wealth being based on self-determined needs, people will be free to engage in whatever activities they find most fulfilling and will no longer have to engage in work for which they have neither the temperament nor the aptitude. Anarchist communists argue that there is no valid way of measuring the value of any one person's economic contributions because all wealth is a collective product of current and preceding generations. Anarchist communists argue that any economic system based on wage labour and private property will require a coercive state apparatus to enforce property rights and to maintain the unequal economic relationships that will inevitably arise.
Well known anarchist communists include Peter, or Piotr, Kropotkin (Russia), Errico Malatesta (Italy) and Nestor Makhno (Ukraine). Kropotkin is often seen as the most important theorist of anarchist communism, outlining his economic ideas in books The Conquest of Bread and Fields, Factories and Workshops. Kropotkin felt co-operation to be more beneficial than competition, arguing in Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution that this was illustrated in nature. Anarchist communist ideas were very influential in the introduction of anarchism to Japan through the efforts of Kôtoku Shûsui in the early 1900s who corresponded with Kropotkin and translated his works. Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman (who were both deported from USA in 1919) became important proponents of ‘Communist anarchism’ and became especially critical of Bolshevism after they discovered its devastating reality first-hand in Russia, and after the Red Army's crushing of the Kronstadt uprising. They in turn had been influenced by German-born émigrée to the USA, Johann Most, who had earlier helped bring anarchist communist thought to Britain though his contact with Frank Kitz in London around 1880 (see Anarchist Communism in Britain for a full historical account).
Many platformists refer to themselves as anarchist communists, although other anarchist communists are uncomfortable with some areas of the Organisational Platform document, such as the issue of ‘collective responsibility’ as supported by Mahkno but opposed by Malatesta. While historically many anarchist communists have been active anarcho-syndicalists, many are critical towards those syndicalists who seek some form of self-managed wage system rather than its abolition, pointing out that any system which maintains economic relations based on reward of effort and exchange is not communist.
Modern day anarchist communists are represented in several organisations within the International of Anarchist Federations, including the Anarchist Federation (Britain). Platformist anarchist communists include the Workers Solidarity Movement (Ireland) and the North-Eastern Federation of Anarchist Communists (USA). Many nascent Eastern European, Russian and Caucasian anarchist groups identify with anarchist communism and there is a strong anarchist communist current amongst contemporary Latin American and Caribbean anarchist organisations.
- Anarchism - reading guide - Libcom.org's reading guide on anarchism, anarchist theorists and their development through history.
- What is anarchism? - Alexander Berkman - Easy to read introduction to 'Communist Anarchism'.
- The Conquest of Bread - Peter Kropotkin - Kropotkin's classic work on how an anarchist-communist society could function.
- Anarchy and "Scientific" Communism - Luigi Fabbri - a response to a Bolshevik mischaracterisation of anarchism, Fabbri argues for anarchism as anti-state communism.
- Anarchism and Organisation - Errico Malatesta - classic work on the need of anarchists to organise themselves in relation to the class struggle.
- My Disillusionment in Russia - Emma Goldman - famous book outlining her experiences of the degeneration of the 1917 Russian Revolution
Edited by libcom from an article by the Anarchist Federation.
don't want to edit this
don't want to edit this unilaterally as it's attributed to the AF, but this seems manifestly incorrect:
historically most anarchist communists have been anarcho-syndicalists (critically or otherwise), and anarcho-syndicalism is committed to libertarian communism, not 'economic relations based on reward of effort and exchange'.
could this be reworded something like 'many anarchist communists are critical of anarcho-syndicalism because they consider it....' ?
These were meant to be our
These were meant to be our libcom introductions. I think it would be fine to edit it unilaterally and change the line at the end to say edited by libcom from a piece originally by the AF. I would say that sentence it might be better to change it to say critical of "some anarcho-syndicalists who consider…"
ok, i'll think about wording.
ok, i'll think about wording. i'm happy with something like that in there since it's a view a lot of anarchist communists have, i just don't think it should be presented as uncontroversial fact.
but out of interest which anarcho-syndicalists want "economic relations based on reward of effort and exchange"? i mean, there may well be self-identified individuals with such views, and i guess if your anarchism was mutualist and you pursued a syndicalist strategy that would be a form of anarcho-syndicalism. but is there any significant tendency that does that?
I would say the parecon
I would say the parecon types, some of whom identify as anarcho-syndicalists, like Tom Wetzel perhaps
Yeah fair point. I'll change
Yeah fair point. I'll change the wording now and leave a comment in the revision log
Joseph Kay wrote: Yeah fair
sorry that they let the side down!
well i think
well i think self-identification by individuals is a pretty poor threshold for critiquing traditions involving millions of workers over a century. but the point is that critique exists and is part of the reason for there being separate anarchist communist and anarcho-syndicalist organisations so it should be in the intro. but i don't think we can present as fact that "in general" anarchist communists are against anarcho-syndicalism, since the vast majority of anarcho-syndicalists are anarchist communists, and those that aren't (being charitable) are the kind of 'anarchists' who take state money (CGT etc). and as they're communists, they don't advocate self-managed wage relations but libertarian communism.
Sure, I agree
Sure, I agree
Alexander Berkman, Now and After: The ABC of Communist Anarchism, New York: Vanguard Press, 1929. CHAPTER 23
Quote: What distinguishes
Are you saying that Council Communists support political power, hierarchy and domination? Why do they?
Regarding anarcho-syndicalism the trouble is term 'anarchist communist' is used in a couple of ways.
There is a tradition of anarchist communist organising separate from syndicalist unions, so in that instance it's factually correct to say 'anarchist communists of all kinds are critical of some aspects of anarcho-syndicalism'.
Then there's the fact most modern anarcho-syndicalists are in favour of creating an anarchist communist society so in that sense it's not.
I guess you need to be clear on which sense you're using the term in this article.
ned, if you can propose a
ned, if you can propose a better wording feel free to post it up! it's slippery for precisely that reason...
OP wrote: What distinguishes
In the sense that democracy supports 'political power, hierarchy and domination' this can be seen as true.
Clearly, even to elect a revokable, recallable, delegate is to give some form of 'political power' to someone, which is separate from the individuals who do the electing. This is why Libertarian Communists stress the need for vigilance towards all those that we elect into any position of power, including delegates, to prevent the emergence of a permanent 'hierarchy and dominance'. But human social relationships are political, so power and its dangers will be ever-present. So, it's not so much that CCs 'support' these things, but that they regard them as inescapable.
The starting point for all Communists should be the 'social', not the 'individual', whereas for some individualist Anarchists the starting point is the 'individual'. These ACs also reject 'political power' as being a temporary, class-based, state phenomenon, whereas CCs (and other LCs) see 'power' to be an eternal social phenomenon, not an attribute of some individuals or some societies.
In this sense, I see 'Anarchist Communism' as a contradiction in terms. That's why I would place 'Class Struggle Anarchists' in the 'Libertarian Communist' camp, and not in the AC camp.
"Opposition to all forms of political power, hierarchy and domination" can be seen as similar to "opposition to all earthquakes" - we all 'oppose' them, but 'ignoring' their reality is no basis for dealing with them. Pretending 'earthquakes' or 'power' are going to go away is a political mistake.
LBird's post sums up the
LBird's post sums up the differences between Council Communism and Anarchist Communism pretty well.
I'd just say that i personally am happy to call myself either; the theory is different, but the practice is very close. I also think that the aversion to 'political power, hierarchy and domination' is anarchist-communism's simultaneous strength and weakness.
For me, as a council communist, the real issue is retaining rank and file control over our structures. An anti-hierarchical ideology like anarchism 99% of the time coincides with this goal. The other 1% is when anti-hierarchical rhetoric is used to paralyse structures into unworkable forms, ensuring that essentially no-one (not even the rank and file) has control over them!
Harrison Myers wrote: LBird's
It looked like nonsense to me.
Harrison Myers wrote: LBird's
Would you care to, err, expand a little on that, nasty? You might have a point, and I'm keen to learn (if you indeed do have one), but short of using a mystic ball or praying to the almighty, I'm not going to learn much from your terse (and a bit insulting) comment.
FWIW, I tend to agree with Harrison Myers' comments - I'm 99% happy with the stress on self-activity and direct action from SolFed and AF, but I regard the other 1% as a fundamental weakness for rank-and-file control of society. It's like having a 99% solid covering on a nuclear reactor - it's the 1% airgap that's the source of the danger...
If nastyned proves incapable of enlightening us all, could someone else criticise what I wrote, from an Anarchist Communist perspective?
I'd like to be very clear about why I disagree, at present, with AC.
LBird wrote: The starting
I really disagree with this, I think being a communist is the logical result of looking at the world from and individualist perspective, there is no individual without society, and there is no society with out the individual. Any perspective that ignores one or the other is incomplete.
As far as power goes, you seem to be defining it differently to others, and then comparing them as if the meant the same thing.
rather than make this into an
rather than make this into an argument over CC vs AC, (a bit fruitless imo)
it is better to focus on what the actual differences are.
I would posit the main difference to be ideological confrontation of the concept of 'power' or 'hierarchy'.
The CCers have more of a theoretical concern over rank and file control of organizations. (not to say that concern isn't also present in anarchist communism, but it exists in AC as a derivative of anti-hierarchical ideology)
But i'm still highly sympathetic to AC, as it holds essentially the same practical views, despite arriving at them by a different route!
Isn't the individual-society
Isn't the individual-society as something opposed a bit false dichotomy? Individualists are totally out of space just because of that, but I don't know of any AC claiming the opposite pole of this dichotomy. That doesn't mean I can't imagine there are such ;)
radicalgraffiti wrote: ...I
I afraid you'll have to expand on this, rg. To me, 'being a communist is the logical result of looking at the world from a social perspective'. In historical terms, the 'individualist perspective' is the product of bourgeois society - but that's not to say we should throw the individual baby out with the capitalist bathwater.
Yeah, I, and I imagine all LibCommers would agree with that. The problem is that AC seems to ignore the issue of 'political power', which is a central issue of any 'society' which is referred to in your statement.
That's the key difference between AC and LC - LC covers both individual and society, whereas AC only focuses on 'individuals' and disregards 'social power' ie. 'politics'.
Yeah, this seems to be the bone of contention. Can you say what you mean by 'power', if not something to do with social relationships? For me, power is about 'relationships between individuals', not about the individuals themselves.
Once again, I'm very sympathetic with Harrison Myers' views on the practical aspects. But I don't understand the AC position on 'power', which to me, on the surface, seems to be ignoring the obvious. Perhaps you can discuss this further, as I'm keen to understand, even if not agree.
Could nastyned or
Could nastyned or radicalgraffiti give me some feedback on my questions above?
Or failing those two, anyone sympathetic to AC with an interest in discussing these issues?
Or even Harrison Myers - although you're not an AC-er, could you outline the AC position on 'power', that seems to be so different to mine, according to radicalgraffiti?
Haven't we discussed this
Haven't we discussed this before? Am I right in thinking you're the person in favour of shooting sentries that fall asleep?
Have you read The Tyranny of Structurelessness? I think it talks about some of the point you raised.
As to the difference between anarchist communism and council communism I would say they are down to the political traditions they come from. One important point is the anarchists are federalists, whereas the council communists being Marxists came from centralised political parties. Though many councilists did end up rejecting parties I don't think they ever came up with a coherent organisational practice like the anarchists have.
nastyned wrote: Haven't we
Well, no, we haven't. I've tried to promote some discussion on this issue of 'power' a few times, but the posters who politically disagree with me seem to be very reticent in explaining their position, rather just relying on either using abuse (apparently, I'm a 'leninoid authoritarianoid' or somesuch), or 'strawmanning' my position. Which, quite handily, leads me to:
It's an old trick, beloved of tabloid-headline writers, of taking statements out of their context, to shock their more naive readers.
Let's see if I can do the same:
A militia unit of anarchists, including nastyned, decide to liberate one of their comrades who is being held under torture in a Nazi police station. Rather than employ the suicidal tactic of a daylight frontal assault, nastyned quite cleverly suggests that they wait until mid-night, let the dozy Nazi sentry fall asleep, sneak up and slit his throat, and gain access to the building and free their comrade, all without any friendly losses. nastyned proves his tactical genius.
Next day's headline? "nastyned in favour of knifing sentries that fall asleep!"
We both know that the 'facts' have been twisted to confuse the unwary. My 'sentry' statement was in the context of a discussion about 'democratic control of force' and your allotted scenario was in the context of an enemy sentry, but why bother with the full facts, when cheap shots are so much easier than making a substantial logical argument?
Well, let's leave all that sort of stuff behind us, eh? And have a comradely discussion.
While I agree with what you've said above, it still doesn't address the issues surrounding 'power', and our different political positions on them.
Furthermore, you've quite rightly raised the additional issue of 'federal' versus 'central', which I think is a connected debate which we on this board should have.
And, perhaps to tease further, do Anarchists have 'a coherent organisational practice' beyond "an individual leaves a Workers' Council that they disagree with"?
Please take all this in the spirit it's meant: I'm really interested in trying to understand something I don't yet understand properly.
LBird wrote: Or even
well if i am not misinformed (i must admit i've not read that much AC or anarchist stuff)
it is derived from the phrase 'power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely' (this quote was not made by an anarchist, but many anarchists hold to it)
This, when interpreted in an AC way, leads them to support assemblies and councils and the destruction of wage labour. individualists interpret it in crap-er ways.
In some ways this is good, because it provides a really robust buffer to leninism, but it has led to a lot of anti-organizational things (which, as nastyned mentions, have since been overcome by most organized ACs, by things like Jo Freeman's The Tyranny of Structurelessness)
tbh i prefer to view the assemblies and councils in more of a scientific way, than (what i perceive to be) the moralism inherent in anti-hierarchical thought, which is why I lean more toward CC.
ie. The proletariat as a class can only exercise it's class power collectively through the media of direct and delegate democracy. It is incompatible with bourgeois forms of democracy or militaristic structures which necessitate the creation of a bureaucracy who develop their own independent class interests and warp the character of the revolution.
My only real criticism of AC, is that there is a latent tendency toward anti-organisationalism. I don't really like Kropotkin's commitment to blanket decentralisation, which I think is a good thing for community and workplace power - ie. assemblies and councils - but not necessarily for production itself. I also think it has a possibility to instil an irrational fear of the higher delegate councils.
but as i've stated a thousand times, the conclusions that AC reach are totally compatible with CC, it is just a different body of thought behind it; the workers must carry out their own revolution through their own revolutionary structures. But as with CC, it has it's own quirks that have to be overcome. I wouldn't be surprised if they had already been debated and overcome by AC groups.
PS. i think this AC vs CC discussion should be split into a new thread by an admin
LBird wrote: Please take all
Look, I don't know you from Adam but I had a feeling we'd had discussion before so I was trying to place you and the sentry thing was the thing that stuck in my mind.
Thanks, HM, for your proxy
Thanks, HM, for your proxy attempt to explain AC's view of power.
Yeah, this point was made by the liberal Lord Acton, but I would think all Libertarian Communists, not just ACs, would subscribe to its political truth. But the real issue here is not 'power is dangerous', which we all agree on, LC and AC, but whether we go on to say '...and therefore must always be vigilantly controlled', as for LCs, or to say '...and must be abolished', as it seems to me that the ACs maintain.
I think you and I, and other LCs, agree with the former, hence our emphasis on elected, recallable, revokable, delegates. But that method of democratic accountability doesn't entirely remove the danger; it only lessens it.
I think the buffer to Leninism is workers' democracy.
Yeah, perhaps you're onto something here. 'Moralism' is no substitute for 'politics'. And where do morals come from anyway, to resurrect a debate from a few months ago?
While I agree with most of the rest of your post, this point is one I'm not sure about at all. Which is why I want this discussion.
No, I see this counterposing of AC and CC as entirely relevant to the OP.
There's not a great deal there that most LCs would disagree with, at least within 'full Communism', but where's ACs views on purely political issues, as opposed to only economic ones, that the quote addresses? And avoiding politics means an avoidance of the dangers of power. It seems like 'head-in-the-sand' to me. Ignoring dangers don't make them go away.
I'll leave relevant examples of 'political' versus 'economic' till a later post, if the discussion continues.
On power and
On power and centralism/federalism, I think I've quoted this before but it's relevant here:
from Maurice Brinton
I don't think I know what the supposed difference between federalism and centralism is to be honest, but total control from below seems the most important thing and maybe the centralism/federalism debate is a bit of a red herring? Equally, whether you regard it as the democratic wielding of power, or the abolition of it, isn't the substance pretty much the same so long as there is no decision-making body removed from the base?
good points mons, I have the
good points mons, I have the same impression. but I would say that there is a reason for marxists to use "centralism" instead of "federalism" which may stem from the "party" concept. still, this is just my guess as I am not so good in this tradition.
mons wrote: I don't think I
But isn't this the nub of the issue?
We can have total control from below and no decision-making body removed from the base and still have a situation where the 'higher level' err... mandate or instruction or fiat (call it what one wishes) is imposed upon somebody or some body against their own wishes.
For example, three Workers' Councils decide to co-ordinate their responses to certain issues (economic or political) by setting up a 'higher level' co-ordinating body. This body is elected, recallable, revokable and mandated, and all decisions have to be ratified by all the members of the three constituent Workers' Councils.
What happens if an overwhelming majority of members of two of the three, together with a large minority within the third, vote to do something which a small majority within the third disagree?
Workers within all three Councils have come together to make a decision on an issue that affects them all equally.
For LCers, I imagine that they would agree that the vote would be carried in favour of the policy desired by the overwhelming majority of the three bodies. The power to impose the policy would be with the 'higher level' Workers' Council.
But for ACers? I don't know. From what I've read, they would ignore the democratic vote, and the third Workers' Council would go its own way, to the detriment both of the other two Workers' Councils and many workers within their own Council.
This example might be very contrived, and I apologise for that. But I'm trying to give an example in which, as far as I can guess, based on what I've read from ACers (who seem to be opposed to democratic decision making), makes clear a difference between LC and AC, in contrast to Harrison Myers assumption that LC and AC are the same in practice.
This issue affects the way we look at 'federalism' versus 'centralism', too.
Yeah, this is what I'm trying to show: when, using ACs political method, not even the rank and file has control over their own structures of workers' power.
Quote: But for ACers? I don't
This is a much better example than the shooting a sentry one! I presume - but this is common sense and not based on reading any anarchist-communist theory or anything - that if it was an issue that affects everyone then the third workers' council would have to comply, whereas if it were something where the workers' council going its own way wouldn't impact too much on others then they would do their own thing. Obviously there's a question of how and where you draw that line, but that's totally abstract and pretty irrelevant and something which will be worked out at the time.
mons wrote: LBird wrote: But
i made a post on this thread
which details how an existing scientific discipline (cybernetics) deals exactly with these sorts of problems. it has it all worked out from an abstract scientific perspective
Harrison Myers wrote: tbh i
Scientific? Is that a joke? At least the notion that power corrupts actually has some scientific support in various psychological studies, as opposed to Marxist pseudo-science (the Marxist framework is often useful but when it calls itself a science it become ridiculous).
Anarchist observations on the nature of power don't fit into some pretty looking framework of thought - they are simple observations based on experience, but they can hardly be denied.
mons wrote: I don't think I
I agree, the debate is a bit of a red herring when debate with non-Leninist, libertarian leaning Marxists. Anarchists would tend not to describe a structure as centralised if the decision making power rested at the base, but some Marxists would view that as centralised. The differences are much clearer when arguing with Leninists...
mons wrote: Quote: But for
The fact is that people's ideology will not determine the outcome in this conflict - indeed, they will contradict their beliefs when acting. Instead, their material needs will determine what they do. If the need is urgent enough they will force the dissenting council to comply.
888 wrote: Harrison Myers
The conclusions of that psychological study, which you have obviously missed in your haste to shout down marxism, was that humans have a general tendency toward situational behaviour. Not some inherent Bakuninist 'human nature' that suggest everyone given power will automagically do certain things.
I have never tried to deny the existence of such human tendencies, but it becomes a problem when they are elevated to the level of moral truisms that cannot be challenged because they lie at the core of an ideological body of thought which will fall over like a stack of cards should this happen.
Perhaps this is why you feel the need to be so uncivil in this discussion and use such angry rhetoric.
Can you not see that if 'all power corrupts' then the delegate systems we propose would be unable to function? By your reasoning, even the most committed revolutionary delegate would be unable to refrain from abusing their power, and would automatically do so up until the point they are recalled or rotated.
I am NOT saying that 'if we found the right leader, we could be emancipated', this is simply not possible because the proletariat's class interests cannot be refracted through anything other than assemblies, delegates and councils.
This is really ironic. For all your dislike of the 'Marxist Framework', you have just elaborated the most crude interpretation of Marx held to by the majority of the trotskyist left.
Quote: that humans have a
Er, those two are the same, when you remove the exaggerations. Being in power is a situation. If there is a tendency for humans to do something in a particular situation, then that is in some sense "human nature", without having to make a strong argument about an all-determining human nature, which no one, including Bakunin, is trying to do. You've just constructed a ridiculous exaggeration of my position.
No, because the delegates don't actually have any substantial amount of power. Also, where did I say that all power corrupts totally, even the tinyest grain? If they only have a very small and temporary amount of power it's not going to have much effect.
Sorry, I just find it absurd when people claim that Marxism is scientific. Also I said "the Marxist framework is often useful" - I don't dislike Marxism.
888 wrote: If the need is
888, are you representing the AC view of 'power' here?
If so, I agree. But I agree, not because of 'force' alone, but because it will be legitimate force, the result of workers' democracy. To me, the third dissenting council should accept the vote until another is taken, while all the time having the right to organise their dissent from the majority. In other words, they would have the right to dissent in words, but not in action. Until they can overturn the vote by gaining support from the majority over all three participating Councils, they are morally bound to act with the majority. If they don't, the majority, as you say, have the right to force compliance.
'Power', in this scenario, comes from below and rests with the majority.
For once, HM, I really disagree with you - I think this is a fundamental principle for, not only liberals, but for Communists, too. We should aim to rotate shortlived delegate positions as much as possible. I think sortition is going too far, because we should elect people capable of doing the delegated task, rather than relying on chance, but rotating seems to me to be a good safeguard. Plus, as many workers as possible should get the chance to fill delegate positions, and short-term posts will help this spreading of necessary political and administrative skills.
I don't think anyone is saying this, but why take the chance? I'm with the Anarchists on this one. Healthy fear of power seems a good principle - I just don't pretend that we can ignore 'power', as some Anarchists seem to suggest. We need to build political structures which will prevent abuse, rather than just being hopeful, or having faith in 'committed revolutionary delegates'.
888 wrote: No, because the
888, I have to say that I find this opinion to be incredibly naive, and indeed dangerous for workers' control.
You seem to be suggesting that a delegate will be a mere robot - but even the strictest mandate will contain holes. And never underestimate charisma.
Words and ideas get interpreted by humans. Why do you think bourgeois lawyers have been making a killing for hundreds of years?
Or am I misunderstanding your position? If so, please correct me.
I changed that to say "the
I changed that to say "the delegates don't actually have any substantial amount of power" - so generally it shouldn't be a problem, if we have safeguards like recallability and frequently rotated positions, etc. It doesn't make it impervious to abuse, but reduces the likelihood and extent a lot.
888 wrote: I changed that to
Yeah, I've just seen your edit!
I'm far happier with your latter position. Cheers.
888 wrote: Er, those two are
I don't think that is the case. Humans are conscious beings capable of objectively making decisions by theorising about a problem before acting. This also ties into my criticism of your simultaneous (but incompatible) materialist determinist position. You put a dozen or so people in the same material circumstances, and they may act the same. But their actions are the outcome of a conscious thought process which is only strongly influenced - not determined - by material conditions. In the same vein, there is also no human nature, only a conscious thought process influenced by material surroundings and other historical factors. It is merely mysticism to suggest otherwise.
If i haven't annoyed you too much, you might want to read
which goes through it.
Hi LBird, I think you may have misinterpreted me.
I am still proposing that we ought to be wary of power (if i wasn't i'd be a trot already lol), but not for reasons of 'principles' (moralism). Instead it ought to be derived from a class analysis; simply observing that it is impossible to represent the class interests of the proletariat through anything other than assemblies and delegate councils. This for me is one of the most important defining differences between AC and CC, which i am surprised you do not hold?
And i'm certainly not proposing that we place our faith in 'committed revolutionary delegates'!
My point was that certain delegates will be more reliable than others, hence we will need to recall them less, and they will therefore hold power for longer than those who are not reliable.
Faith is extremely unscientific :roll:
Harrison Myers wrote: Hi
Yeah, mate, I'm sure I have! I'm a serial offender who pleads guilty. I'm just a bit slow on the uptake. That's why I continue to ask (stupid?) questions.
Well, since I think both 'principles' and 'morality' derive from class position, I do think our wariness of power does derive from our proletarian state. As you say, the 'trot' experience really helps here!
So, for me, this seems to suggest that AC and CC should be very similar in pratice, although coming from different historical origins. That is, unless ACers see 'morality' as originating in something other than class (religion, for example?).
Now, there's a whole new thread!
I'm not sure Lakatos would agree, and separating out 'science' from 'religious faith' is far more problematic than one would think. But let's leave that discussion for another thread.
The main thing that I've learnt from this thread, if 888's views are representative of the wider AC view of 'power', is that we're all LibCom democrats (not 'individualists'), no matter what our other identifying tags, and so we should be able to work through our differences. Let's hope I'm right.
LBird wrote: But for ACers? I
If I could just nitpick here for a moment?
I can't speak for others, but in my opinion it is not so much that AC opposes democratic decision making, but that it takes the "tyranny of the majority" very seriously. Yes, that phrase has often been put up as a bulwark for the monied few, but the message of it remains important: that the majority, despite intentions, might well have proposed a course of action that could harm some or all of the workers in said councils. The usual proposed solution, then, is consensus decision-making, perhaps in a modified form, to make a sharp critical analysis of the issue and hit on all the points of the dissenters.
Tendency is also important. Again, I can only speak for myself, but I would think that anarchists of the platformist tendency, among others, would take a route similar to the LCers you described.
WordShaker wrote: If I could
Well, what you go on to say is not 'nitpicking' at all, but of crucial importance in any discussion of workers' democracy.
Well, I would think any proletarian democrat would treat the issue of the 'tyranny of the majority' of being of the utmost importance, since we're all going to be in the minority on some issue or other. Our thinking should start with 'How do we protect our rights when we are in a minority?'.
I think this can be done with discussion, but we never seem to get round to discussing 'what is democracy?', because the debate always seems to halt at the 'authoritarian/individual' slanging match.
Whilst this is true, you have to be very careful with this line of argument, because it is a central plank of conservative philosophy that the 'majority' are all thick and incapable of ruling themselves. That's not to say, of course, that mistakes won't be made (they will be made), but that we have to build safeguards into our democratic structures. And who defines 'harm' is a further consideration.
Yes, a stage of attempted consensus-building at a point of disagreement within the democratic process is one way of 'building safeguards' that I mentioned, together with widespread explanation to all within the Council of the minority's arguments, led by the minority itself (no 'the majority just "explains" the other position').
But we must be clear, that after attempts at consensus and reconciliation, and with due safeguards for minority dissent, including publications and propaganda against the majority position, that the will of the majority must take precedence. That is democracy. We are Communists, not individualists.
Consensus has its problems, too.
LBird wrote: Consensus has
Right, of course, but the last thing we want is to slide down into top-down style democratic centralism. There always has to be an element of autonomy to the individual parts of any democracy and what the due safeguards will be to ensure that. As you say, it's something that ought to be hammered out through discussion.
WordShaker wrote: ...the last
Given the scenario I've outlined, how can 'power from below' slide into 'top-down'? Unless your starting point is an elitist 'the thickos at the bottom will always fuck up', then once we proletarians start to organise from below, using the democratic methods we've all outlined on this thread, workers won't allow a 'top' to emerge.
Yeah, the third Council will have power or autonomy within its own orbit. It's when the third Council voluntarily joins togther with the other two Councils to solve collective problems affecting all three that 'autonomy', for these issues, is at a higher level.
Yep. These political views on 'power' will have to be commonly held amongst workers before the 'big day'.
can we change the picture
can we change the picture that goes with this? i don't think a big picture of Kropotkin really represents anarchist communism vary well
radicalgraffiti wrote: can we
quite right. Could you suggest a better one? (Not being sarky, just haven't got time now myself)
So I saw this picture and
So I saw this picture and thought of you guys.. ;) is that better than the big picture of Kropotkin's face?
Wow. That's some hardcore
Wow. That's some hardcore "Freedom is Slavery" collectivist nonsense right there.
Still, it serves as an excellent testament to the totalitarian oxymoron that is "Anarcho-Communism", and the self-delusion of the wannabe Dictators who go by that disingenuous misnomer.
"then once we proletarians
"then once we proletarians start to organise from below, using the democratic methods we've all outlined on this thread, workers won't allow a 'top' to emerge."
In other words, you think YOU'LL get to bet the dictator and nobody will ever challenge you because you spout empty platitudes about "the workerz". Pathetic.
Quote: The conclusions of
Sounds more like you're angrily railing against reality because it doesn't conform to the totalitarian Marxist dogma you DEMAND be imposed upon everybody until they learn t love it.
And, like all Marxists, you have no idea how human beings operate and just assume everyone will be your willing slave because every once in a while you'll coo some BS about "the people".
Just terrible trolling. I
Just terrible trolling. I mean, are you even trying?
EDIT: Wait, you've been a member of the site for a year? You've had a year to prepare for your big trolling debut and that's what you come up with?
Shameful. Just shameful.
If you want to learn more
If you want to learn more about Marxist Hypocrisy 101's views, just do a quick google search on the name.
Ok, pack up guys, we've been
Ok, pack up guys, we've been rumbled! That dictatorship we were gonna sneak past with the old totalitarian oxymoron ain't happening with this sharpshooter around..