Anti-capitalists who are pacifists

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Fish
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Mar 27 2011 13:47
Anti-capitalists who are pacifists

Just a question - any anti-capitalists who are complete pacifists?

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Entdinglichung
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Mar 27 2011 14:20

SPGB & Socialist Studies?

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arminius
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Mar 27 2011 20:30

Naw, I don't *think* that either the SPGB or Socialist Studies would qualify as 'pacifists'- i.e. , if by pacifist is meant one who would *never* consider violence as a tactic, no matter what the balance of potential forces, because of some kind of principled commitment to non-violence as an absolute value. I've heard them use the phrase "peacefully if we can, violently if we must", which to my mind makes it more of a strategic and/or tactical question, or even of preference, rather than a dogma (there's more than enough dogma to go around already!). Though there may well be a few who *might* describe themselves, as individuals, as pacifists, but I suppose you would have to ask them directly, as I just observe them.

mister blues
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May 29 2011 11:02

In the words a peace activist, "Violence is only a temporary solution."

I would have to confer with other class struggle anarchists to understand the meaning of these words.. If so.. he did beg the question...

Harrison
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May 29 2011 22:23

Not entirely related, but there is certainly a problem when people make a fetish out of class violence....
i think Class War is an example of this

Spikymike
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May 30 2011 12:19

Whilst the SPGB cannot be described as a pacifist group in terms of it's formally stated politics, I understand that it's 'tactically limited' oppositional approach towards the Second World War in particular, did cause it to attract individuals who were pacifist inclined. As I recall there was some reference to this in Robert Balthrop's book on the SPGB entitled 'Monument or Movement' but I no longer have a copy of that to hand to confirm this.

The SPGB's reliance on a largely idealist approach to revolutionary change does incline it to a generalised opposition to the use of violence within the class struggle but again this is not strictly pacifist.

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waslax
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May 31 2011 10:25
arminius wrote:
I've heard them use the phrase "peacefully if we can, violently if we must", which to my mind makes it more of a strategic and/or tactical question, or even of preference, rather than a dogma (there's more than enough dogma to go around already!).

Respectfully, I think this (phrase used by the SPGB) is a joke. If peacefully was possible, who would be against it? Are any of us (outside of the SPGB) for violent means although they aren't really necessary? Well, perhaps a few were (e.g. Class War). But the point is, we should all know that peacefully isn't possible. It is foolish to believe it is. Violence will be necessary, since we will be threatened with it; the point is to try to minimize it. In practice, the SPGB minimize/marginalize the non-peaceful option, while assuming that a peaceful option is both possible and most likely to succeed.

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arminius
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Jun 5 2011 23:51
waslax wrote:
arminius wrote:
I've heard them use the phrase "peacefully if we can, violently if we must", which to my mind makes it more of a strategic and/or tactical question, or even of preference, rather than a dogma (there's more than enough dogma to go around already!).

Respectfully, I think this (phrase used by the SPGB) is a joke. If peacefully was possible, who would be against it? Are any of us (outside of the SPGB) for violent means although they aren't really necessary? Well, perhaps a few were (e.g. Class War).

Well, exactly, as well as some insurrectos and insurrecto/lifestylists. But I was merely trying to describe the "world socialist"'s view on the matter, not endorse it. So I think even the one exception you state, makes it less of a 'joke', per se, than you admit - but no matter.

waslax wrote:
But the point is, we should all know that peacefully isn't possible. It is foolish to believe it is.

I would say it is foolish to *expect* or *assume* that it is, but not foolish to hope that it *might* be - though myself, I would put the odds somewhere as me winning the lottery.

waslax wrote:
Violence will be necessary, since we will be threatened with it; the point is to try to minimize it.

Respectfully, the way you are saying this just doesn't follow. You are assuming the future as much as the SPGB. Perhaps, even probably, it may be necessary, *but not because we will be threatened by it.* Being threatened isn't the same as being hit. Often it can be a bluff to make the other bloke back down. You are conflating *violence* and *force*, as well as the pregame posturing. The force of a well-organised working class acting for itself, beyond any party or ideological nonsense, on the ground which defines it and gives it its power, its workplace function, can go a lot further to routing the class enemy than either electoral conquest of ridings or the barricade and /or riot alternatives - though a modicum of either/both *may* prove useful, and, at various times for both, unavoidable.

waslax wrote:
In practice, the SPGB minimize/marginalize the non-peaceful option, while assuming that a peaceful option is both possible and most likely to succeed.

So as it stands, I suppose I must say that I differ with each of you in about equal measure.