The communist left and internationalist anarchism

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mciver
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Jul 17 2010 09:27
Quote:
You just need to remove the period after the URL.

Thanks Felix Frost.

The ICC article on the recent openness between 'left communists' and 'anarchists' doesn't mention the outlawing, persecution and pulverisation of all anarchist organisations by the Bolshevik state. Of course, it would be in bad taste to bring this up, as Ret Marut does on post 5:

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Anarchists and other anti-bolshevik communists don't fail to recognise the 1917 revolution nor denounce it - they denounce the anti-working class role of the Bolsheviks in those events. This is because the Party and the revolution are not seen as identical.

On post 6, the ICC advocate Soyonstout diverts attention from this essential point about the anti-working class role of Bolshevism:

Quote:
I didn't initially read this as conflating the two (RR and RSDLP-B), but rather that the issue was set aside as the main concrete historical event about which there are huge divergences between anarchists and marxists, both on the nature of the Russian Revolution (bourgeois or proletarian) and the class nature of the Bolshevik party (bourgeois or proletarian-up-to-a-certain-point-in-history). I don't think that the text meant to imply that everyone who doesn't speak kindly of Lenin necessarily dismisses or scorns the Russian Revolution and what the workers did.

'Setting aside' this issue of the annihilation of anarchism from 1918 onwards is like asking lambs during a storm that the wolf is also a creature that needs cover, so let's all cuddle together.

How can this decisive historical issue be 'set aside'? Is the systematic repression and murder of huge numbers of libertarians, many who had endured jail and torture under Tsarism, a matter only of a 'huge divergence' as Soyonstout naively claims? So anarchists like Voline, Goldman and Berkman (to mention just three) merely spoke 'unkindly' of Lenin, and had this 'divergence' with Bolshevism, even if 'huge'? Because the ICC claim Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolshevik Party (including Stalin) as their political heritage, this 'huge divergence' is worth exploring fully. In the apologetic vision of the ICC, this repression and summary elimination of thousands would be 'errors' or 'mistakes'.

'Internationalism' is used by the ICC as the dispensation to exonerate Bolshevism's bloody dynamic of domination. It suggests that left communist nuncios define what is what in terms of political domination and repression.Usually mass repression like by Thiers and Noske is bad and anti-proletarian, but sometimes, like when unleashed by communist internationalists, it's ... well, at most errors and mistakes, indeed, most unbecoming and degenerative, but still ... 'our own'. Which is what intoxicated good old Dzerzhinsky, the frightening but exquisite realisation of great inquisitors that he was being set aside by history to create the first proletarian Einsatzgruppen. Himmler too used to worry about the mental health of his protegés in the Eastern front. Poor darlings, they also had to drown their sorrows in Schnapps and blubbering fits.

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mikail firtinaci
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Jul 16 2010 22:33
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'Setting aside' this issue of the annihilation of anarchism from 1918 onwards is like asking lambs during a storm that the wolf is also a creature that needs cover, so let's all cuddle together.

No 1918 was the date that the Bolsheviks could be/or seem to be on the verge of liquidation. Contrary to your claims, there were Chekists anarchists or L-SR's. And as we had discussed earlier the L-SR insurrection after Brest agreement could have easily destroy the Bolshevik strenght. In Moscow L-SR' relied on the Cheka in the insurrection -since its military detachments were organised by them which was the only available military troops in Moscow apart from Latvians at the time. Dzerzshinsky who you easily equate with Himmler or Noske, went to the insurgent Cheka hq's in order to negotiate unarmed. Held as prisoner. After the insurrection told his friend that the best things the L-SR's could do for the revolution was to shoot him.

This represents the essence of what happened to revolution and the bolshevik party. Yes both has failed and the second one become the tool of state but in the Bolshevik case this was a tragedy unlike that of Nazi case which was itself born out of the failure and defeat of world revolution.

Mike Harman
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Jul 16 2010 22:40
miciver wrote:
'Internationalism' is used by the ICC as the dispensation to exonerate Bolshevism's bloody dynamic of domination

Yes this is brought up in nearly every discussion about the Bolsheviks, and I think it's worth repeating on threads like this when it's turned around to include anarchists in the proletarian camp alongside Lenin and Trotsky.

Same goes for trying to equate centralism to any kind of organisation whatsoever, which is as bad as calling any group of workers numbering two or more trying to improve their conditions a union...

Also since when were Kollontai and the Workers Opposition not left-communists? They appeared too late to be mentioned in 'infantile disorder' but that doesn't put them outside the tradition any more than Miasnikov's group were.

mciver
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Jul 17 2010 00:52

Mikail Firtinaci post 25

Quote:
The various Russian 'left communists' didn't lift a finger to defend anarchists. Left communists were loyal members of the ruling state party and even if some fretted over Kronstadt and the merciless war (not only by the Cheka but by the Red Army) against anarchists, the working class and the peasantry, this growing and brutal repression didn't lead left communists to break with the Red Leviathan when it mattered.
Do you have any proof, any text/document etc.?

I have never come across texts or proclamations (including demands of juries of honour), by left communists from the RCP(B), defending anarchists from the Cheka or, let's say, Makhno's movement from both the Cheka and the Red Army. If you come across any, please post the evidence here. But the proof you ask for is currently negative.

However, you have been an ICC apparatchik, you should be aware of the writings of I Hebbes on the 'Communist Left in Russia'. Does he mention any defence of anarchists by the original Left Communist fraction, or by the Workers' Opposition, the Democratic Centralists, the Worker's Truth or the Communist Workers' Group? Or any attempt by them to join the Kronstadt insurrection, seek solidarity with it in proletarian and peasant centres? Any denunciation by them of Lenin's and Trotsky's slanders and the criminal crushing of the insurrection by Dzerzhinky's and Tukhachevsky's stormtroopers? I may have missed that, and I don't have his book at hand. But the following essay doesn't seem to make any such claim:

http://libcom.org/library/communist-left-russia-after-1920-ian-hebbes

Guy Aldred has dramatically and aptly described the underlying loathing of 'anarchism' by totalitarian apparatchiks:

The terrible massacre of the Kronstadt sailors by Trotsky in March 1921, whom Trotsky had previously termed the flower of the Revolution, and the support of Trotsky by Zinoviev and Dibenko, was a shameless and shameful affair. The fortress and city were bombarded for ten days and it cannot be pretended that the sailors were moved by peasant ideas or that they were other than genuine Socialists or Communists. Trotsky's conduct was defended and even applauded in the Communist press of the world by Radek, who immediately after the October 1917 Revolution boasted a luxurious apartment and maid-servant. Radek's apology no longer carries weight for time exposed him as a panderer. He defended Trotsky's own exile and expulsion and the persecution of Rakovsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev. Radek's 1921 apology was made worthless by his subsequent record and castigation by Trotsky. If we are to accept Radek's apology for Kronstadt in 1921, then we must accept Radek's apology for Stalinism and the Stalinist persecution of Trotsky from 1927 on to the time of his assassination. Radek's own trial and " confession " put him out of court entirely as a witness.

The Kronstadt massacre was succeeded a month lator by the massacre of the Moscow Anarchists when Trotsky shelled their headquarters and finally abolished their propaganda. All this was justified on the ground that Anarchists were counter-revolutionists. Stalin has popularised this cry so thoroughly that no genuine revolutionist takes it seriously. Robespierre assassinated the French Revolution and finally himself by this very same parrot cry of counterrevolution. Men do embrace counter-revolutionary philosophy and they do pursue counter-revolutionary policies; but it does not follow that we must therefore give heed to every clamorous cry of counter-revolution when it is dictated by the hysterical needs of an aspiring bureaucrat, whose aim is to arrest the development of the revolution and to build his sect, or his party, or his clique into the edifice of power.

http://libcom.org/library/communism-story-communist-party-guy-aldred

Before the present discovery of the 'best of anarchism' (after more than 40 years of baffling negligence), the ICC used to accuse 'anarchists' of appetites equal to Stalinists and Trotskyists:

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The British Left is better known since Sylvia Pankhurst and the Workers' Dreadnought group were targets of Lenin's pamphlet Left-wing communism, ... However, their struggle against the degeneration of the International has either been buried by the interested slander of Left Communism by Stalinists and Trotskyists alike, or distorted by the equally interested attempts of the anarchists to hi-jack the Left Communist tradition.

http://en.internationalism.org/ads/britrussleft

It seems that the swamps have been dredged of highjackers, parasites and other weeds at last, and replaced by green pastures where delightful and fraternal debates between newly-found comrades can happen. That's why the sinister time of hunter/hunted is to be set aside.

mciver
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Jul 17 2010 09:01

Mikail Firtinaci post 34

Quote:
'Setting aside' this issue of the annihilation of anarchism from 1918 onwards is like asking lambs during a storm that the wolf is also a creature that needs cover, so let's all cuddle together.

No 1918 was the date that the Bolsheviks could be/or seem to be on the verge of liquidation. Contrary to your claims, there were Chekists anarchists or L-SR's. And as we had discussed earlier the L-SR insurrection after Brest agreement could have easily destroy the Bolshevik strenght. In Moscow L-SR' relied on the Cheka in the insurrection -since its military detachments were organised by them which was the only available military troops in Moscow apart from Latvians at the time. Dzerzshinsky who you easily equate with Himmler or Noske, went to the insurgent Cheka hq's in order to negotiate unarmed. Held as prisoner. After the insurrection told his friend that the best things the L-SR's could do for the revolution was to shoot him.

This represents the essence of what happened to revolution and the bolshevik party. Yes both has failed and the second one become the tool of state but in the Bolshevik case this was a tragedy unlike that of Nazi case which was itself born out of the failure and defeat of world revolution.

I don't understand your point(s). What exactly are you trying to refute? That because the Bolshevik régime was on the verge of liquidation it was harmless or incapable of consolidating its power? Quite the opposite, imminent death saved it -- it reacted like all Leviathans and ruling rackets in desperate peril: it launched a civil war on society to preserve its power, just like the Whites did with their terror.

I'm quite aware that there were anarchist and Left-SR Chekists. Have I denied this? What 'claims' of mine do you refer to? But the responsibility of creating the Cheka and launching the Red Terror is entirely the ruling Bolshevik clique's. It doesn't matter than many Bolsheviks (and others) were accomplices or criticised/opposed these measures. What matters is that these criminal survival measures were passed and enacted, not the 'mitigating circumstances' of the ICC's Jury of Honour on Bolshevism. As with your mentors, you don't have a case, you mention whingeing, whining, hysterical demands of 'shoot me shoot me' worthy of a soap, as if this 'tragic' psychobabble would redeem the terrible acts fostered and committed by paranoid assassins and torturers.

Did you know that the heroic Left Communist Miasnikov was also a leading Chekist in Perm? According to Avrich:

Miasnikov ... gained a measure of notoriety for his role in the liquidation of the imperial family. He was personally responsible for the murder of Grand Duke Michael, the tsar's younger brother, who had been deported to Perm'. On the night of July 12-13, 1918, a group of workmen, led by Miasnikov, arrived at Michael's apartment with forged papers of the provincial Cheka. They awakened the Grand Duke, took him and his English secretary, Nicholas Johnson, to the Motovilikha factory, and there shot them to death [Johnson was just some collateral damage].

Whether Miasnikov undertook the assassination on his own initiative or was acting on orders from higher authority is unclear. ... Yet the fact that, as soon as the assassination was carried out, Miasnikov left for Moscow and reported directly to Lenin, suggests that he had acted under instructions. Four days later, it might be added, the tsar and his family were shot, on Bolshevik orders, in the Urals city of Ekaterinburg.

For the remainder of the Civil War Miasnikov remained a loyal Bolshevik. By 1920 he was chairman of the Perm' Provincial Party Committee, having headed its agitprop section. In September of that year he was a delegate to the Ninth Party Conference, held in Moscow, where he spoke on propaganda work within the party. He did not, like several other delegates at the conference, criticize the party leadership. Yet he was seething with disaffection. He was deeply troubled by the oligarchical tendencies within the party, the drift towards authoritarianism and elite rule, a process greatly accelerated by the Civil War. He was dismayed by the growing concentration of power in the hands of the Central Committee, the divorce of the leadership from the rank and file, and the suppression of local initiative and debate. Equally disturbing, though he did not yet raise his voice in public protest, was the introduction of labor discipline in the factories, along with the elevation of technical specialists to positions of authority and the replacement of workers' control by one-man management and bureaucratic administration.

http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/russia/bol_opp_lenin_avrich.html

Commendable reactions, but a bit late in the day, after people like him had fanatically helped to create the monster now devouring them. He felt out of favour during NEP, his revolutionary zeal cramped. But a man of steel no doubt, like the bank robbers and terrorists Stalin and Kamo, like the morally corrupt Dzerzhinsky. Apparently Miasnikov wrote Philosophy of Murder, or why and how I murdered Mikhail Romanov. I don't know if a translation exists, I can't recall if Hebbes cites from it. Approvingly of course, hardly an 'error' by Miasnikov or his bosses in the Kremlin.

If these sordid events among Leviathanic cultists represent to you 'the essence' of the October Revolution, the real social potential and tragedy, as experienced by millions in civil society, and described by historians like Marc Ferro (for example in Des Soviets au communisme bureaucratique) is sorely missed.

Wellclose Square
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Jul 17 2010 11:20

I share the deep scepticism of other posters concerning the ICC's sudden discovery of the commonality between 'the communist left and internationalist anarchism', especially in view of the anti-working class practice of Bolshevism, a Leviathanic heritage of which the ICC considers itself an inheritor. I suspect that Samotnaf is right:

Quote:
All this stuff fom the ICC is part of their charm offensive, to show how they're not like the old sectarian ICC, how they're "open" whilst temporarily hiding their more crude "party building" agenda
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mikail firtinaci
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Jul 17 2010 11:31

Mciver;

I have read the article you quote by avrich, and there is no single sentence that claims Miasnikov was a Chekist. In Leggett's work on Cheka there is a claim that connects the killings of Grand Duke as a Chekist action but this is not also proven. Your link does not include the references, but in the whole paragraphs there are only two references. The article was written in 1984 before the fall of Soviets and the opening of the archives. In that sense your claim that Miasnikov was a loyal Chekist, based on an unrelated quote from Avrich shows nothing but only your irrational hostility towards communist left.

If you have read any of the available sources that gives info. about left communists -Ian Hebbes, Schapiro, Serge, etc.- you could have seen that Left Communists were critical to the regime starting from 1918.

Quote:
I have never come across texts or proclamations (including demands of juries of honour), by left communists from the RCP(B), defending anarchists from the Cheka or, let's say, Makhno's movement from both the Cheka and the Red Army.

It would be very clear why you can not if you studied a bit of history of revolution without having the intention of blaming someone actually living now. It is because there was no real declared aim to physically destroy the anarchists. Anarchists were among the revolutionaries with whom the Bolsheviks have worked together and fought in the revolution. As the revolution tended towards degeneration, the state created the reasons to support Chekist actions. For instance in 1918 Moscow raids against the anarchists where 500 of them were imprisoned and lots of them were murdered, Djershinsky could claim these were not "ideological anarchists". This attempt of legitimation shows the illegitamcy of attacking the anarchists many of whom were still fighting with Bolsheviks against the whites etc.

Anyway in order to understand Kronstadt you should understand the particularity of the Russian situation. Russia is a huge country -the biggest in the world- which was at that time composed of a great mass of peasantry and weak infrastructural base and harsh enviorenmental conditions. The connection with the villages or even towns could be lost in long winters. In the civil war conditions the channels of communication were very limited. And many times the soviets seem to be falling. During 1918-1921 it seemed at least 3 times that Petersburg -one of the biggest workers center with Moscow- was going to fall to the whites.

So when Kronstadt insurrection started, the states' propaganda that it was an imperialist white thing was the only available explanation for many people across the country. Including Myasnikov living in Perm whichs is south of the Urals!

However Serge, who was not a Bolshevik party member and a figure in the Petrograd soviet administration at the same time in those days, tells the atmosphere clearly in his memories as such;

Quote:
"DURING THE NIGHT OF FEBRUARY 28-29, I was awakened by a phone call. 'The Whites have taken Kronstadt', an anxious voice told me. 'We are fully mobilized'. It was Ilya lonov, Zinoviev's brother-in-law. This was an appalling piece of news. If true, it meant that Petrograd itself would soon be lost.

'What Whites? Where did they come from? I can't believe it!'

'A general by the name of Kozlovski -'

'But what about our sailors? What about the Soviet? The Cheka? The workers at the Arsenal?'

'I've told you all I know.'

Zinoviev was in conference with the Revolutionary Council of the Army, so I rushed over to the headquarters of the Third District Committee. Everybody was looking pretty grim. 'It's fantastic. But it's true.' 'Well,' I said, 'we must mobilize everyone able to walk. Immediately!' Someone replied, evasively: 'Yes, we must mobilize.' But nothing could be done without instructions from the Petrograd Committee. Several comrades and I spent the rest of the night poring over a map of the Gulf of Finland. We got word that small-scale strikes were spreading through the suburbs. Whites in front of us, famine and strikes behind us! I left at dawn, and on my way out of the hotel I ran into one of the maids, quietly leaving the building with packages under her arm.

'Where to so early in the morning, grandmother? And with such a load?'

The old woman sighed:

There's going to be trouble. You can feel it in the air. They will slit your throats, my poor boy, yours and the others' too. They'll steal everything that isn't nailed down, just as they did last time. So I'm packing off my belongings.'

At intervals along the deserted streets there were little wall posters announcing treacherous seizure of Kronstadt by the counter-revolutionary general Kozlovski and his accomplices, and summoning the workers to arms. But even before I reached the District Committee headquarters I ran into several comrades who had already turned out, mauser in hand, and they told me that the Kozlovski business was a contemptible lie: the Kronstadt sailors had mutinied, and what we were up against was a naval rebellion led by the Kronstadt Soviet. If anything, that was still more serious; and the worst of it was the paralyzing effect of the official lie upon us. For the party to lie to us this way was something new. 'They had to do it because of the mood of the people,' some of my acquaintances explained. But they were frightened too. The strike had become almost general. Nobody even knew whether the street-cars would run.

http://libcom.org/library/kronstadt-21-serge

this must show the existing paralysis of the party in the face of the Kronstadt.

-------

I really do not want to continue this fruitless discussion any longer any more. I think you only have accusations without proof mciver. You are just incapable of showing any document to prove that Bolshevik party including the Left communists was a synical sect secretely aimed at destroying the revolution which is getting very boring to engage with...

If you hate the ICC for whatever reason you already said that and I think everybody saw it.

s.nappalos
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Jul 17 2010 12:11

french anarchist communists first used the term/analysis "state capitalism" in the 1880s.

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mikail firtinaci
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Jul 17 2010 12:23

That is interesting nappalos. The use of the term might have caused by the use of confusing "state socialism" term - its criticism- which some part of the social democracy tended to support.

mciver
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Jul 19 2010 06:55

Mikail Firtinaci, post 39

This is what historians Greg King and Penny Wilson write regarding the murder of Michael Romanov and his secretary, and Miasnikov's role in the killings:

Late that evening, a hotel guest named Krumnis was in a room adjacent to that of the Grand Duke, playing cards, when he heard a disruption and raised voices in the hallway. Venturing to crack his door open, he witnessed three men arguing with the Hotel Commissar. They were demanding that Michael be turned over to them for "evacuation." The Commissar knew of no orders to move Michael, and he refused the men access to the Grand Duke's rooms until he heard directly from the Cheka. Pushing past the Commissar, the three men demanded that a serving girl from the hotel restaurant show them where Michael Romanov lived. Krumnis saw her lead them towards the stairs. The three men were actually Bolsheviks from the Ural Regional Soviet, but they did not identify themselves as such, as their plan was to disguise Michael's kidnapping as an escape.

Vassili Chelyshev [another witness] later told other Imperial servants held at the Perm jail how Michael resisted the men at first, but then was taken at gunpoint from his hotel room; Nicholas Johnson [Michael Romanov's English secretary] had refused to let him leave alone and had insisted on accompanying the Grand Duke. Neither man was allowed the time even to put on a coat against the evening's chill. Still watching from his door downstairs, Krumnis saw Michael and Johnson descend the stairs and leave the Hotel with the unrecognized men; he thought that neither looked worried or upset.

Outside, two small horse-drawn phaetons and several men were waiting. Michael, Johnson and a group of six or seven men - Gabriel Myasnikov, twenty-nine-years-old, a member of the Perm Cheka and Head of the City Garrison; Andrei Markov, Commissar for Appropriations in the Perm Soviet; Vassili Ivanchenko, Head of the Perm Military Garrison; Nicholas Zhuzhgov, Assistant Chief of the Motovilikhia Factory; and Ivan Kolpashchikov, a member of the Red Army -- got into them, and they were driven away out onto the Siberian Highway. A sixth man, Igor Novoselov, later wrote an account of the murder, which seems to indicate that he was also present that night in the forest. A seventh version came from Feodor Lukoyanov, who later claimed to have been involved in the murder. According to his sister Vera, one day he burst into a meeting of the Ekaterinburg Cheka and declared: "If you would give me Nicholas, I would solve this sorry affair, just like I did with Michael!" [it seems that a few Chekists, including Miasnikov, very vying for the honour!]

Michael asked where he was being taken. He was told that he was being driven to another town, where he would board a train for Mogilev, located some 1400 miles to the west. The Grand Duke seemed reassured by this answer, and settled back calmly into his seat. In reality, Myasnikov had worked out a far more sinister plan. Michael would be taken away to a clearing in the forest near the Motovilikhia Factory and shot; at the same time, the Perm Cheka would declare that Michael had disappeared-rescued or kidnapped-and arrest the three members of his small Household as suspected conspirators.

Driving through Motovilikhia, they passed a Soviet paraffin store on the edge of town. Nearly a mile further on, the carriages turned off the highway and into the woods, where they stopped. Michael and Johnson were told that they were to meet the train beyond the woods, where it would stop to pick them up in a field between stations. They would have to walk the rest of the way. Getting out of his carriage, Grand Duke Michael began to walk in the direction indicated. Nicholas Johnson was still climbing out when without warning or ceremony, Markov leveled his handgun and shot him in the head. Johnson “swayed and fell into the dirt.” Michael began to run towards his secretary. Kolpashnikov aimed and pulled the trigger on his revolver, but the gun jammed; Zhuzhgov fired, but his shot only wounded the Grand Duke, and left him still on his feet and moving towards them. Markov fired, his shot striking the Grand Duke in the head and sending him in a spiral into the road, where he died at the side of his secretary. The conspirators were not able to properly bury the bodies in the dark, so later that morning, more men returned to the forest to dig the graves of Michael Romanov and Nicholas Johnson.

This is at: http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=1486.25;wap2

See also: www.thefateoftheromanovs.com, site for King & Wilson, The Fate of the Romanovs, Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2003. The sections citing Miasnikov's Philosophy of Murder, or why and how I murdered Mikhail Romanov and other testimonies, are in Chapters 7-9, pp 205-250, http://www.amazon.com/reader/0471207683?_encoding=UTF8&page=52.

This is the Wikipedia article describing the Michael Romanov/Johnson murders:

On 12 June 1918, the leader of the local secret police [ie, the Perm Cheka], Gavriil Myasnikov, with the connivance of other local Bolsheviks, hatched a plan to murder Michael. Myasnikov assembled a team of four men, who all, like him, were former prisoners of the Tsarist regime: Vasily Ivanchenko, Ivan Kolpashchikov, Andrei Markov, and Nikolai Zhuzhgov. Using a forged order, the four men gained entry to Michael's hotel at 11.45 p.m. At first, Michael refused to accompany the men until he spoke with the local chairman of the secret police, Pavel Malkov, and then because he was ill. His protestations were futile, and he got dressed. Johnson insisted on accompanying him, and the four men plus their two prisoners climbed into two horse-drawn three-seater traps. They drove out of the town into the forest near Motovilikha. When Michael queried their destination, he was told they were going to a remote railway crossing to catch a train. They all alighted from the carriages in the middle of the wood, and both Michael and Johnson were fired at once each, but as the assassins were using home-made bullets, their guns jammed. Michael, whether wounded or not is unknown, moved towards the wounded Johnson with arms outstretched, when he was shot at point-blank range in the head. Both Zhuzhgov and Markov claimed to have fired the fatal shot. Johnson was shot dead by Ivanchenko. The bodies were stripped and buried. Anything of value was stolen, and the clothes were taken back to Perm. After they were shown to Myasnikov as proof of the murders, the clothes were burned. The Ural Regional Soviet, headed by Alexander Beloborodov, approved the execution, either retrospectively or beforehand, as did Lenin [in this version Miasnikov is not at the scene of the killings].

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Duke_Michael_Alexandrovich_of_Russia#cite_note-143, July 2010

Another source, Crawford, Rosemary; Crawford, Donald, Michael and Natasha: The Life and Love of the Last Tsar of Russia, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1997, also describe Myasnikov as a Chekist.

I never claimed that Avrich wrote that Miasnikov was a Chekist, that's your inept and tendentious reading. According to the above sources, Miasnikov was a Chekist. As I can't read Russian or verify primary source material in situ, I can't be sure of these 'proofs' either.

Were these killings (two among thousands) the work of the Cheka? Leggett can't confirm this as you say, although that may be because his work pre-dates the Crawfords and King's and Wilson's, who had access to archives. But still, let's give the Cheka the benefit of the doubt, because there seem to have been many unofficial Chekists about, and because we can't be sure of any 'proof', including the sources above. But what's your point? My original post 23 claimed that left communists (including Miasnikov), ... didn't lift a finger to defend anarchists. Left communists were loyal members of the ruling state party and even if some fretted over Kronstadt and the merciless war (not only by the Cheka but by the Red Army) against anarchists, the working class and the peasantry, this growing and brutal repression didn't lead left communists to break with the Red Leviathan when it mattered.

To this, you raise the asinine retort: Do you have any proof, any text/document etc.? (post 25). What is this supposed to mean? If I say: 'Peter didn't email today', the reply: 'have you any proof?' is typical of a student debating society. Of course, if Peter HAD emailed, the proof would be there for all to see. Similarly, if the left communists HAD defended their anarchist mates, this evidence would exist in 'texts/documents'. Surely the non-existence of such evidence is my point, so how can I offer texts/documents contradicting that? In short, it's up to YOU to provide this evidence, as you question my affirmation. Why should I do your research?

My point on Miasnikov on post 37 is that it's highly improbable that he would have shown solidarity with persecuted anarchists in 1918-21. Miasnikov's devotion to Bolshevism precluded it, and the action would have instantly placed him under the gaze of the Cheka. Psychologically, it's unlikely that he would have broken with his fellow 'swordsmen'. He was implicated in murder and Chekist actions even if he was only their assistant and not an actual Chekist. If King and Wilson or the Crawfords are wrong, this doesn't deny that most Bolsheviks would have been keen to help the Cheka, as Nazis would have assisted the Gestapo. I don't see why Miasnikov would have rejected helping the Cheka out. Given the Cheka mentality, offing monarchist parasites sounds like an exciting bonding soirée! Even more so if Vladimir Ilych himself briefed the job, as Avrich implies.

What did any of this have to do with the emancipation of the Russian working class and mankind?

Anyway, for Bolsheviks to be accepted in the Cheka was a great honour and responsibility (like being selected in 'direct actions' to recover typewriters, bulletins and fees). You seem squeamish about this, as if Miasnikov suddenly became tainted for his alleged Chekism (not for the murder of two defenceless hostages). Let me remind you that the leading Chekists -- Uritsky, Latsis, Peters, Volodarsky, Blumkin, Unszlicht and Dzerzhinsky were all Bolsheviks, and proud of their two helmets.

You write: If you have read any of the available sources that gives info. about left communists -Ian Hebbes, Schapiro, Serge, etc.- you could have seen that Left Communists were critical to the regime starting from 1918.

Don't be fatuous. I'm quite aware of what the Left Communists were saying from Brest-Litovsk onwards. But the point I'm making is about their solidarity and defence of anarchists in that period. To repeat myself, there was nothing, or very little, of that, so the current ICC attempts to build bridges when their progenitors burnt them all is hypocritical. Bolshevism tolerates no rivals, all oppositions were and are, in the end, intolerable.

You also say: ... there was no real declared aim to physically destroy the anarchists. ... Anarchists were among the revolutionaries with whom the Bolsheviks have worked together and fought in the revolution.

But in spite of this brotherly love, and the aim of physical destruction not being 'really declared', the outlawing and physical destruction took place. Must a malignant practice be 'really declared' to become real? What matters is that the anarchists were slandered, targeted and eradicated, and the historic evidence for this is abundant (witness Serge, to mention just one, and he's not the best). The eradication was 'illegitimate' you say, ridiculously chiding Dzerzhinsky. Yet this necrophilous apparatchik was wielding the Cheka sword effectively, like a Himmler or a Heydrich would, so I don't see your point. 'Legitimacy' during a Red Terror and Civil War?

Assuming that the degeneration of October you mention is real, there's around only a year of life in its history (November 1917-September 1918). The honeymoon period with 'internationalist anarchism' was even shorter, ending months before that. Neverthless, the apparat wishes to recruit from anarchist groups today based on that little window of 'cooperation'. The supposed historic commonality is a fabrication, it was never sustained in the October revolution, and apologists for Bolshevism inevitably have to skirt around ('set aside') the relentless extirpation of anarchism in 1918-21 (a terror policy ending in Stalin's gulag). In practice a commonality between left communists and best-approved-anarchists hasn't existed in more than 90 years.

Your comments about Kronstadt combine delusion and apologetics. The Serge you quote confirms that Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolshevik state lied and slandered the uprising: ... even before I reached the District Committee headquarters I ran into several comrades who had already turned out, mauser in hand, and they told me that the Kozlovski business was a contemptible lie: the Kronstadt sailors had mutinied, and what we were up against was a naval rebellion led by the Kronstadt Soviet. If anything, that was still more serious; and the worst of it was the paralyzing effect of the official lie upon us. For the party to lie to us this way was something new. 'They had to do it because of the mood of the people,' some of my acquaintances explained. But they were frightened too. The strike had become almost general. Nobody even knew whether the street-cars would run.

This, according to you: ... must show the existing paralysis of the party in the face of the Kronstadt. But this is nonsense, a few deluded rank and file Bolsheviks may have become 'paralysed', but most, actively or passively, supported the crushing of the sailors, together with the strike waves in Petrograd and other industrial centres. The Bolshevik Leviathan of March 1921 was certainly NOT paralysed -- it lied knowingly and spread calumnies against 'counter-revolutionaries', and finally reacted effectively and brutally under the goading of Trotsky:

Talking to the foreign press at the time, [Trotsky] told lies about the mutineers. He said they were not the same naval personnel who had helped the Bolsheviks to power in 1917. He alleged that the mutinous sailors of 1921 were casual elements [and sexually suspect?], conscripted at short notice and permanently embittered against socialism -- and he accused them of being led by White army officers. He was determined to discredit them in extreme language....

At the same time [Lenin] condemned the Kronstadt mutiny as a 'petit-bourgeois counter-revolution' more perilous than the offensives by the White armies. He assured that the Congress that rural revolts would be suppressed with severity....

Midway through the [10th Congress] proceedings the call was made for volunteers to leave Moscow and head north to reinforce the contingent readying itself in Petrograd to take on the Kronstadters. ... Over the ice went Tukhachevski and the Seventh Army. The leading mutineers were seized [and many shot] and sent to labour camps while ordinary sailors were deployed to other naval units. Resistance was ruthlessly suppressed. Trotsky was pleased with Tukhachevski's performance.

Robert Service, Trotsky, a Biography, Pan Books: London 2010, p 283. Israel Getzler's accounts of the Bolsheviks' calumnies and repression of Kronstadt remain most authoritative.

How many Left communists were in the assault against Kronstadt? Ex-members of The Workers' Opposition participated in the assault, and probably others who still called themselves left communists.

Agree, I don't see any point in exchanging ideas with you either. You remain trapped by an ideology that has proven a dead-end. Of course I don't expect you to agree with this. You have invented my 'lack of proof'; well, provide the 'proof' that suits you, do your own research. However, in the end this has little to do with 'proof', but with a deep difference in interpretation of class conflict, mass delusion and social trends under valorisation. Another of your naive inventions is that I claim that Bolshevism was a 'cynical sect aimed at destroying the revolution'. As if religions and ideologies could be dismissed like that, and reduced to conspiracies.

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Devrim
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Jul 19 2010 08:49
Mike Harman wrote:
Also since when were Kollontai and the Workers Opposition not left-communists? They appeared too late to be mentioned in 'infantile disorder' but that doesn't put them outside the tradition any more than Miasnikov's group were.

I have never heard them described as 'left communists' before. It was my impressioın that they were criticised by the left communists as being a bureaucratic, syndicalist opposition.

mciver wrote:
But what's your point? My original post 23 claimed that left communists (including Miasnikov), ... didn't lift a finger to defend anarchists. Left communists were loyal members of the ruling state party and even if some fretted over Kronstadt and the merciless war (not only by the Cheka but by the Red Army) against anarchists, the working class and the peasantry, this growing and brutal repression didn't lead left communists to break with the Red Leviathan when it mattered.
Paul Avrich wrote:
Then, in March, came the Kronstadt rebellion. Miasnikov was deeply affected. Unlike the Democratic Centralists and Workers' Opposition, he refused to denounce the insurgents. Nor would he have participated in their suppression had he been called upon to do so. For he attributed the rising to "the regime within the party." "if someone dares to have the couurage of his convictions," Miasnikov declared, he is either a self-seeker or, worse, a counterrevolutionary, a Menshevik or an SR. Such was the case with Kronstadt. Everything was nice and quiet. Then suddenly, without a word, it hits you in the face: "What is Kronstadt? A few hundred Communists are fighting against us." What does this mean? Who is to blame if the ruling circles have no common language not only with the nonparty masses but with rankand-f'ile Communists? So much do they misunderstand one another that they reach for their weapons. What then is this? It is the brink, the abyss. (24)

Clearly it had been a mistake to bring Miasnikov to Petrograd. The Central Committee, recognizing its error, ordered him to return to the Urals. Miasnikov complied. Back on native grounds, however, he resumed his agitation, stirring up a hornet's nest in the local party organization. In May 1921, moreover, he exploded a bombshell in the form of a memorandum to the,Central Committee, calling for sweeping reform. A crushing indictment of the Communist leaders, their theories and methods, the memorandum demanded the abolition of the death penalty, the liquidation of bureaucratic forms of organization, and the transfer of industrial administration to producers' Soviets-, it counterpoised revolutionary principle to the expedients promoted by the Central Committee. (25)

The most striking demand of the memorandum was for unrestricted freedom of the press. Criticizing the Tenth Party Congress for stifling debate, Miasnikov called for freedom of the press for everyone, "from monarchists to anarchists inclusive," as he put it, (26) a phrase that would reverberate through the polemics that followed. Miasnikov was the only Bolshevik to make such a demand. He saw freedom of the press as the only means of curbing the abusive tendencies of power and of maintaining honesty and efficiency within the party. No government, he realized, could avoid error and corruption when critical voices were silenced.(27)

mciver wrote:
I never claimed that Avrich wrote that Miasnikov was a Chekist, that's your inept and tendentious reading.

Personally, I think it is a bit off to have a go at someone over their reading abilities in a foreign language.

Devrim

Battlescarred
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Jul 19 2010 11:38

It was claimed by (some at least) Left SRS that they entered the Cheka in order to temper and bridle the excesses of the Bolsheviks. Whether this was true or effective is another matter, what with the contradictions of entering into such a repressive institution and not being effected by it.

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mikail firtinaci
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Jul 19 2010 11:49
Quote:
According to the above sources, Miasnikov was a Chekist. As I can't read Russian or verify primary source material in situ, I can't be sure of these 'proofs' either.

then you should not be that insistent; At least if you are having a claim that left communists were loyal chekists. Obviously first quote is based on a memoir and not a party source. The second one; "may be" pointing out to something... but what would it prove? Would it prove that "murder" of some bloody aristocrat by Miasnikov was something against anarchists. That is utter nonsense.

Quote:
To this, you raise the asinine retort: Do you have any proof, any text/document etc.? (post 25). What is this supposed to mean? If I say: 'Peter didn't email today', the reply: 'have you any proof?' is typical of a student debating society. Of course, if Peter HAD emailed, the proof would be there for all to see. Similarly, if the left communists HAD defended their anarchist mates, this evidence would exist in 'texts/documents'. Surely the non-existence of such evidence is my point, so how can I offer texts/documents contradicting that? In short, it's up to YOU to provide this evidence, as you question my affirmation. Why should I do your research?

That is funny. If you are challenging a generally accepted point of view, which is supported by documents (for instance; LC's were consistently opposing the statist degeration of the revolution) than it should be YOU who should be proving otherwise. But YOU are making accusations towards a political current -based on your irrational personal anger against the ICC-. Your logic is ahistorical. To give an example;

lets assume that fact/phenomenon A comes historically before fact/phenomenon B. You say that fact B is an expression of C; than A should also be an expression of C. In this logic, your A is russian left communists and their political attitudes towards anarchists. Your B is ICC and its attitude. Your C is cynicism. None of this relations in this scheme are logical. They are speculative and hysterical.

For instance, you argue that Myasnikov was involved in the killing of a member of upper aristocracy. Hence he is related to Cheka and hence with the liquidation of anarchists. Going even further you relate this with the "cynicism of ICC". This is at best funny to read if only read like a complo theory.

For instance;

Quote:
Don't be fatuous. I'm quite aware of what the Left Communists were saying from Brest-Litovsk onwards. But the point I'm making is about their solidarity and defence of anarchists in that period. To repeat myself, there was nothing, or very little, of that, so the current ICC attempts to build bridges when their progenitors burnt them all is hypocritical. Bolshevism tolerates no rivals, all oppositions were and are, in the end, intolerable.

It is impossible to argue against such a hysterical sentence. Because there are no logical links in it. You are simply confusing historical phenomenon with your ideological definitions reaching your ideological assumptions.

Quote:
How many Left communists were in the assault against Kronstadt?

Show some documents! How many?!

------------

Reading through all you had written, I am convinced that your claim about "evil bolshevism" is based on only two "facts";

1- Kronstadt
2- Miasnikov "murdering" a prince

YOU are -unsurprisingly- neglacting all the party disputes, all the inter-Party oppositions, all the liquidations even inside the Party... all the history. Because just as the 1950's rancid American Russian studies proffesors, your big idea is based on the existance of a "Bolshevik Leviethan". Not a very original idea indeed. Recent archival materials shows that Bolshevik party center -whatever the intention was- DID NOT have utter control over Russia. Chekas -both in the center and provinces- mostly acted on their own behalf -let alone Djerzshinsky's- and state apparatus gained autonomy as the revolution get isolated. Sovnarkom -urged most importantly by INTER-PARTY OPPOSITION- fostered this autonomy in its every attempt to get it under control in a contradictory fashion. This is as such because the "apparat" was getting out of the control of the Soviets. Myasnikov, as an honorable worker who stood against that tide, was a leading bolshevik whose fraction involved in the organisation of 1923 strikes in Moscow -see; russian revolution in retreat simon pirani-;

Quote:
The extent to which working-class political protest was marginalized can be
judged from the failure of the only significant challenge to the party among
Moscow workers in 1923, by the Workers Group of communist dissidents.
In May, the group’s leaders in Moscow, former members of the 1920
Bauman opposition, were expelled from the party and the metalworkers’
union. Factory mass meetings and party organizations made protests,
exceptional acts of defiance at a time when political opposition automatically
invited GPU repression. But this turned out to be the apex of the
Workers Group’s activity. Party leaders’ fears that the industrial discontent
of the summer would develop into political struggle, and provide a support
base for the dissidents, were misplaced. Most workers, willing if not happy
to accept the social contract, concentrated on winning improvements in
living standards and shunned those who challenged the Bolshevik leadership
politically. The Workers Group, along with the Workers Truth group, was to
all intents and purposes destroyed by GPU arrests in September.11
Just after the twelfth party congress in April, theWorkers Group published
a manifesto,12 the central theme of which was the resurrection of workers’
democracy in the form of workplace-based soviets. It argued that, whereas
during the civil war the emphasis had been on suppressing the exploiters,
NEP required rebuilding such soviets as the ‘basic cells’ of state power.
There could be no free speech for those who oppose revolution, ‘from
monarchists to SRs’, and curtailing democracy during the civil war had
been an unavoidable necessity. But under NEP ‘a new approach’ was
needed, including free speech for all workers: ‘there is no such thing in
Russia as a communist working class, there is just the working class, with
Bolsheviks, anarchists, SRs and Mensheviks in its ranks’, among whom ‘not
compulsion, but persuasion’ had to be used.

pg 195

Rotten cold war conceptions such as yours, to puddle mud on revolutionaries are progressively getting thrown to the dustbin of history as the decayed state capitalism and its self image of an "all-mighty empire" has been crushed with newer materials covered from the archives. This all mighty self image of stalinist counter revolution and its mirror image in the western democratic academia was the perspective of the imperialist poles. It was the basis of the great lie that both imperialist poles have used in their interest.

In that sense it is only sad to see a person who describe himself as communist using that old fashioned lie against a real communist organisation which has nothing to do with the crimes of Russian state capitalism except being its victim together with the revolutionary anarchists....

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devoration1
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Jul 21 2010 01:19

Regardless of who was involved in Kronstadt, the ICC takes a clear position on the subject: That there was and is no excuse for the use of force against workers.

Quote:
Whatever confusions were expressed by the Kronstadt rebels, it is absolutely undeniable that their demands also reflected the interests of the proletariat faced with terrible living conditions, the growing oppression of a state bu­reaucracy and the loss of its political power in the atro­phied soviets. The attempt at the time by the Bolsheviks to brand them as petty-bourgeois and potential agents of the counter revolution was of course a pretext to solve a situa­tion of terrible danger and complexity within the prole­tariat by force.

. . .

But a Communist Left, worthy of the name, while iden­tifying with the Bolshevik heritage must be also able to criticise its mistakes. The crushing of the Kronstadt revolt was one of the most harmful and terrible of these.

http://en.internationalism.org/ir/104_kronstadt.html

One of the first articles in the ICC's International Review theoretical quarterly concerned their view on Kronstadt- something that has to be repeatedly published and republished over the years due to unfounded accusations that the ICC somehow excuses, apologizes for or agrees with what the Bolsheviks did there.

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888
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Jul 21 2010 05:12

what's wrong with executing aristocrats?

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Demogorgon303
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Jul 23 2010 10:38

I think some of the discussions on this thread have been interesting so far and show that there is clearly much to be discussed concerning the differences between anarchism and marxism. I suspect that some of these differences relate as much to the different terms we have drawn from our respective heritages (for example, federalism vs centralism) but have actually evolved to the point where we are possibly talking about the same thing. More discussion will help us see if this is indeed the case - at any event, it will help us understand what the differences really are beyond an instinctive reaction to certain words.

Nonetheless, the aim of the original article was to clarify our position on how we see what we call "internationalist anarchism" - that is, as comrades in a common struggle against capitalism.

Given this, I think there the open approach to discussing these questions that has been expressed by most posters here is to be welcomed. An acknowledgement - however tentative it may be for some at this stage - that we are in the same camp doesn't mean all these differences can be automatically or immediately overcome. On the contrary, it means we need to increase our efforts to clarify these differences in the hope that our collective effort can benefit the whole class when the time comes to make the revolution a reality.

I think we can all agree that capitalism is at a point where it now has nothing but utter misery to offer the working class and the mass of humanity. Even in the past few months we have seen that the temporary stabilisation of the economic crisis is exactly that - temporary - and that as it advances the ruling class will make us pay the price required to prop up its tottering system. The BP oil crisis neatly symbolises the wider ecological disaster that the current social system has no way of resolving and will be exacerbated even more as all companies and governments are driven to cut costs. And to this we can add the perpetual war in the Middle East, Afghanistan, the destabilisation of Pakistan, etc.

The only potential obstacle that stands against this real and growing horror is the working class. The only way this potential can be actualised is if the working class is able to unite itself into a coherent force that can overthrow the state. We think that revolutionaries have to contribute to this by making the first step towards that unity. If those that have begun to understand what's at stake can't do this then what hope has the rest of the class does? If we fail in this, then capitalism will smash us.

Some obviously believe that this is a cynical attempt to recruit. And yet, most of the serious posters here know we really do believe what we say about dying capitalism being a threat to humanity.

It's because we really believe in the seriousness of the world situation that we've taken a long hard look at our view of what constitutes what we call the "proletarian camp" and how we have related to it in the past. That camp no longer has the luxury of fannying about while the world burns. Sectarianism is no longer an option and that means all those who call themselves revolutionaries have to get their act together (literally) - and that includes the ICC considering we have made our own share of mistakes on this question in the past.

The article we published is only a first step on our part in that effort but everything has to start somewhere. We are not saying this will be easy. We will all have to unlearn deep-seated habits of thought and behaviour. Hostility, distrust, misunderstandings, etc. do not simply vanish overnight. The movement is paying a heavy price for the mistakes and errors revolutionaries have committed in the past. But if we don't try then we have failed our class.

ajjohnstone
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Jul 23 2010 23:11
Quote:
Sectarianism is no longer an option and that means all those who call themselves revolutionaries have to get their act together ... We will all have to unlearn deep-seated habits of thought and behaviour. Hostility, distrust, misunderstandings, etc. do not simply vanish overnight. The movement is paying a heavy price for the mistakes and errors revolutionaries have committed in the past. But if we don't try then we have failed our class.

So would it be of benefit in actually relegating Marx and Engels to history and no longer suffer the unwelcomed baggage that comes with attaching ourselves to them ?
What if we simply disregard the Labour Theory of Value in our socialist propaganda. Forget that Marx and Engels even lived. Who knows, even eliminate even the word socialism from our case. ( some have already come up with their own terminology such as "participatory economics" )

I believe that some view the recent growth of Zeitgeist as due to not being seen to have any adherence to past socialist or anarchist traditions , not as a re-discovery of old ideas but as something new and imaginative and inventive.

So could we leave Marx and Engels to the academics and the archives ? Leave Lenin and the Russian Revolution to historians? Leave Bakunin on the library shelves?

Just a passing heretical thought.

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Noa Rodman
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Jul 24 2010 00:34
ajjonston wrote:
So would it be of benefit in actually relegating Marx and Engels to history and no longer suffer the unwelcomed baggage that comes with attaching ourselves to them ?
What if we simply disregard the Labour Theory of Value in our socialist propaganda. Forget that Marx and Engels even lived. Who knows, even eliminate even the word socialism from our case. ( some have already come up with their own terminology such as "participatory economics" )

I believe that some view the recent growth of Zeitgeist as due to not being seen to have any adherence to past socialist or anarchist traditions , not as a re-discovery of old ideas but as something new and imaginative and inventive.

So could we leave Marx and Engels to the academics and the archives ? Leave Lenin and the Russian Revolution to historians? Leave Bakunin on the library shelves?

Just a passing heretical thought.

I hope you're only poking fun at the pathos in Demorgogon's speech...

Zeitgeist, really?

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Sheldon
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Jul 24 2010 00:43
ajjohnstone wrote:
So would it be of benefit in actually relegating Marx and Engels to history and no longer suffer the unwelcomed baggage that comes with attaching ourselves to them ?
What if we simply disregard the Labour Theory of Value in our socialist propaganda. Forget that Marx and Engels even lived. Who knows, even eliminate even the word socialism from our case. ( some have already come up with their own terminology such as "participatory economics" )

I believe that some view the recent growth of Zeitgeist as due to not being seen to have any adherence to past socialist or anarchist traditions , not as a re-discovery of old ideas but as something new and imaginative and inventive.

So could we leave Marx and Engels to the academics and the archives ? Leave Lenin and the Russian Revolution to historians? Leave Bakunin on the library shelves?

Just a passing heretical thought.

Except this isn't abandoning the baggage associated with certain terms and historical tendencies, it's tantamount to abandoning the history of the class itself! I think the danger of this isn't expressed in the success of the so-called "Zeitgeist movement" but in the rising success of right-wing populism. Through the always diligent contortion of history to suit the needs of the ruling class, the right wing of capitalism has been able to successfully reframe class anger away from class struggle and directly enlist the proletariat in battles against their class interest. The twisting of history (which first requires the forgetting of history) is not a small step in this process, it is one of the most important steps.

To abandon the historical traditions, rather than work to figure out where these traditions converge, is not the answer.

mciver
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Sep 26 2010 19:02

Mikail Firtinaci post 45

Three sources state that G Miasnikov was a Chekist in June 1918. I see no reason to doubt historians King & Wilson, the Crawfords and Wikipedia. I assume these historians have checked original sources.

But you doubt these claims. I wonder what's the basis of your Pavlovian request for 'proof'. Is it the panic attack of a fanatic who fears that one of his cult heroes, a 'honourable worker', was a murderous Chekist? You obviously would like Miasnikov not to be a Chekist, as if that would make any difference to the point I'm making, about the left communist lack of support for 'internationalist anarchists' in 1918-21. For some reason you scoff at the word 'murder', using quotation marks -- are you implying that Miasnikov didn't 'murder' Michael Romanov and his secretary? Didn't Miasnikov write Philosophy of Murder, or why and how I murdered Mikhail Romanov? Isn't this a 'proof' you should be interested in?

You say:

Quote:
Would it prove that "murder" of some bloody aristocrat by Miasnikov was something against anarchists. That is utter nonsense.

Yes, it was 'something against anarchists'. What is nonsensical and pathetic is your fanatical devotion to the pantheon of the 'communist left'. This is what blinds you to what that tradition really represents. You see the socio-political history of the Russian Revolution as a vast collage of blurred and autonomous fragments, all somehow proving your romantic dogmas. You seem to think that totalitarianism can't have existed in this chaos and fragmentation of power. The contrary is the case, chaos was its foundation.

For example, you scoff at a concern for a 'bloody aristocrat' (always forgetting his secretary). You don't see the interconnections. Yet the sadistic massacres of the Romanovs had nothing to do with class struggle and the fostering of autonomous, independent thinking on the part of the working class. By 1918 the masses had been edged out of political life by Bolshevism. Likewise, the military and Cheka eradication of anarchists, like the extermination of the deposed monarchists and the 'bourgeoise as a class' had nothing to do with the emancipation of the working class either. This terror was needed by a racket absorbing the violent needs of totalitarian domination. (As an aside, the fact that you seem to approve the murder of 'some bloody aristocrat' and his collaterally-damaged secretary shows that cultists are naturally corrupted by Realpolitik.)

The organisation that took charge of the physical extermination of the monarchy and anarchist groups was the same one. Thus your ha-ha at the cowardly murder of two unarmed hostages should accompany the artillery blasts targeting anarchist dwellings in Moscow. Miasnikov, a left communist, was part of this specialist organisation, the Bolshevik's Gestapo. Even if he wasn't a Chekist, his Bolshevism is enough to define him as an enemy of 'internationalist anarchists', certainly in the period 1918-21. I don't know that he personally offed anarchists as he did monarchists, again that is irrelevant to my point. But as a member of a terrorist corporation specialising in social extermination, he obviously went along with their activities, with their 'party spirit'. This is something you don't grasp, that membership in the Cheka, or the Bolshevik Party, meant implicit (or explicit) support for the destruction of anarchism. Unless there are texts/documents that disprove this, ie something like documents by Bukharin, Osinsky, Miasnikov, etc, supporting freedom of speech for the anarchists and criticism of their persecution in April-June 1918, NOT in 1923. I've haven't seen any, you are welcome to find your own 'proofs', but at the moment my case stands. But for some reason you and Devrim focus on 1923, to deflect attention from the period that clearly exposes the ICC sham. 1923 isn't the year that matters.

The ICC assumption that left communists had commonalities and cooperated with 'internationalist anarchists' thus appears as tendentious fiction. Prior to October 1917 there was this de facto organisational cooperation at street level, but after 'the conquest of power' (not an anarchist goal) irreconcilable underlying differences emerged. As Battlescarred states

Quote:
The counterrevolution led by the Bolsheviks didn't take a protracted amount of time, it started almost immediately after October, with the dispersal of the revolutionary regiments, the killing of Grachov in November, the assault on the anarchists in Moscow and other centres in June 1918 , the killing of Petrenko, Panteleev etc. In fact much of this was as Machiavellian as Volin says.He himself was imprisoned by the Cheka and barely escaped with his life.

Post 19, http://libcom.org/forums/history-culture/kronstadt-texts-09052010

This process is well documented by many contemporary and recent critics, so I won't waste time offering you 'proofs'. The de facto break between organised Marxism and Anarchism happened in the 19C, following Marx's and Engels' titanic struggle against the 'parasite', 'adventurer' and 'probable Tsarist agent' Bakunin. The Bolshevik counter-revolution burned the bridges left.

I never said that left communists were loyal chekists as you invent. Miasnikov is the only left communist mentioned, and not as 'a loyal Chekist' but a loyal Bolshevik (up to his expulsion). Of course he must have been that on both counts, in June-July 1918 at least. You ask for 'proof' that left communists participated in the assault on Kronstadt. This is just another Pavlovian request. Factions had just been banned in the Bolshevik Party, so obviously no 'left communist contingent' as such marched over the ice. Bukharin supported the crushing of the insurrection. But it is clear that most Bolshevik members agreed with the repression. Exceptions must have existed, but they didn't stop the main impulse of savage repression. Not even the losses of 10-20,000 Red Army troops made the Party flinch. It acted as a unified corporation, with a good 'party spirit', and that's the only way it could have acted. Simon Pirani writes:
Many Bolshevik rank and filers were alarmed by the assault on Kronshtadt, but it was supported by all the party's organised opposition groups.

S Pirani, Communist dissidence and its context, Review article. The Russian Communist Left 1918-30, by the International Communist Current,
http://www.scribd.com/doc/34414121/Pirani-Left-Communists-Review

The idea that the degeneration was due to the Bolsheviks' integration into the state is a mysticism of possession. It is also an apology for Bolshevik ideology and policies. I'm quite aware that the Bolshevik party in 1917 was not completely homogeneous and that Lenin and Trotsky didn't always get their way. But that's to be expected in any effective representational apparatus. As fort da game says,

Quote:
... no institution may be reduced to a single operating code (although it is also the case that the greater the distance from which an object is observed the more unified it appears).

http://libcom.org/forums/theory/being-teacher-being-prison-guard-07062010?page=8#comment-388210

After October, Bolshevism managed the Russian state's domination and survival needs, at the expense of civil society. To dismiss this by caricaturising the concept as an evil conspiracy is part of the apparat's arsenal of litanies. Your amusing attempt to amalgamate my criticism to 'rotten cold war conceptions' comes straight from the Stalinist-Trotskyist agitprop. You don't provide names of Cold War warriors who inspired me, only blatherings about the Bolshevik state 'not having utter control over Russia' (what period do you mean? -- the Cold War started after 1945). On the question of ideologists, both camps told many truths, and lies, about each other's regimes, as did the Nazis against the Stalinists and viceversa. Not every claim and counter-claim was 'rotten' (false I take it to mean).

In your romantic version of the Russian Revolution Chekas acted on their own behalf (planting rose gardens?), things were messy, fluid, contradictory and disorganised, borders changed in the Civil War, new proletarian art flourished as famines on the Volga unfolded, by definition this was a golden revolutionary period, with a lot of requisitions and mass murder, and with little accounting to the centre. Real autonomy in barbarism. A lot of Party debates and factions (except when it was crucial to repress the proletariat and wipe out countless greedy peasants). Even Dzerzhinsky the spoilsport ruined a New Years party with his drunken hysteria, shoot me-shoot me and nobody obliged (Miasnikov or Demidov weren't present). The recently opened archives show a fantastic description of breakdown, it was the Asiatshchina as abattoir in flames, toured by Trotsky in his warlord train, all under some imaginary soviet control. This mythology of proletarian affirmation is kept alive by left communists, and their main cultists, the ICC. For example:

It is not the task of revolutionaries today to make abstract moral judgements on the past workers' movement, but to see themselves as a product of that movement - a product, to be sure, capable of making a ruthless critique of all the errors of the movement, but a product nonetheless. Otherwise the criticisms of the past by revolutionaries today can have no grounding in the real struggles of the working class. Only by seeing the protagonists who faced each other at Kronstadt as tragic actors in our own history can communists today claim the right to denounce the action of the Bolsheviks and declare our solidarity with the rebel's defence of class positions. Only by understanding the Kronstadt events as part of the historical movement of the class can we hope to appropriate the lessons of this experience and apply them to the present and future practice of the proletariat. Only thus can we hope to ensure that there will be no more Kronstadts.
http://en.internationalism.org/specialtexts/IR003_kron.htm

In spite of the ponderous tone of objectivity, and the kitschy 'right to denounce' (?) there is no real understanding here, only Jesuitical apologetics. Where some Trotskyists whine about the 'tragic necessity' of the Kronstadt massacres, replace this with the ICC's 'Bolshevik mistakes' (a panto with Lenin and Co. versus the sailors, all 'tragic actors'). This manner of 'explaining away' the party and statist violence against the proletariat and civil society in 1918-1921 hides an acquiescence to future violence. Like all Jesuitisms, it has exorcised nothing, Realpolitik endures. In its violent practice and slanders against oppositionists, councilists and anarchists since 1981, the ICC has confirmed this. It will do it again when it has to, and no fawning at 'revolutionary anarchists' will prevent this.

Lastly,I don't describe myself anywhere as a 'communist'. This is another of your droll inventions. I don't share your totalitarian inclinations, and it would be shameful to bear a name now identical with racketeering.

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Devrim
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Jul 24 2010 16:37
McIver wrote:
Unless there are texts/documents that disprove this, ie something like documents by Bukharin, Osinsky, Miasnikov, etc, supporting freedom of speech for the anarchists and criticism of their persecution in April-June 1918, NOT in 1923. I've haven't seen any, you are welcome to find your own 'proofs', but at the moment my case stands. But for some reason you and Devrim focus on 1923, to deflect attention from the period that clearly exposes the ICC sham. 1923 isn't the year that matters.

I thought that the things I refereed to were from 1921, but that is not the point. I want to address you general approach.

McIver wrote:
In spite of the ponderous tone of objectivity, and the kitschy 'right to denounce' (?) there is no real understanding here, only Jesuitical apologetics. Where some Trotskyists whine about the 'tragic necessity' of the Kronstadt massacres, replace this with the ICC's 'Bolshevik mistakes' (a panto with Lenin and Co. versus the sailors, all 'tragic actors'). This manner of 'explaining away' the party and statist violence against the proletariat and civil society in 1918-1921 hides an acquiescence to future violence. Like all Jesuitisms, it has exorcised nothing, Realpolitik endures. In its violent practice and slanders against oppositionists, councilists and anarchists since 1981, the ICC has confirmed this. It will do it again when it has to, and no fawning at 'revolutionary anarchists' will prevent this.

I'm not sure what yo are trying to do here, but the impression that ıget is that you are trying to equate a bit of amateur thuggery from the ICC with the massacre of tens of thousands of workers. Of course there is no comparison. The RCP (B) in 1921 at Kronstdat murdered thousands of workers. The ICC pushed a few people about.

Without taking it to far, are you really suggesting that people take this argument seriously?

I am sorry. I don't.

I was born in a country where shooting people's younger siblings while they are at home has been a way that organisations have dealt with splits. I live in a country where recent splits in leftist organisations have seen people sitting in police cars pointing out to the cops who to assassinate.

And what exactly happened to you? They pushed you. Did you fall over? Did it hurt? Do we really have to take this seriously?

Or to go through a few things that the left has done to each other recently in Turkey, did they shoot you? Did they torture you (as a member) to toughen you up...or did they push you? Did you fall over? Did it hurt?

I am sorry if it appears that I don't seem to take what you say very seriously. Actually I do. I can imagine that being a long time member of an organisation and then becoming disillusioned with it is pretty traumatic. Especially after people who are not in the ICC and have never even been so have written to me and said talking about you that "He was himself the biggest racketeer when he tried to get me to leave Solidarity on a dishonest basis in 1972"

I don't think that that is important though. Of course we can all change our ideas and mode of behaviour.

I think that there is much in the ICC's past, which is at least dubious and at worst indefensible. On that at least, we probably agree.

However, it is absurd to seriously expect people to take what you say about 'gangsterism' seriously. They pushed you. Did you fall over? Did it hurt?

Before you start to go out about something like the 'Theory of Parasitism' being my favourite bed time reading, I would just like to mention that personally I completely reject it, and that the most positive views towards it in our section are that "there may be something to it, but it has been applied horrendously".

Of course, disagreeing with the theory of parasitism doesn't make us any different than the rest of the ICC. There is though something that perhaps does. I am not sure if I can think of a member of the Turkish section who hasn't experienced immediate members of their family being tortured after the 1980 coup ( this is not unusually, nearly 10% of the population was detained). Except for myself of course. I am not a Turk, but I still have the scars on my body from a short stay with the Syrian security services in the early 1990s.

So when you tell us about gangsterism what do you really think that we are supposed to think about it? Did they push you? Did you fall over? Did you even bang your head?

I am sorry, but I don't take it very seriously.

This doesn't mean that I am not aware of the problems within the ICC. Personally, I think they are huge, but I also think we are moving towards solving them, slowly, very slowly.

If this is something that is possible to achieve in the long term or not is a different question. Obviously personally I hope it is, or I wouldn't be bothering.

To me though your contribution is clear. When people in the ICC go on about, what in my opinion is a completely absurd theory trying to excuse their behaviour during their traumatic splits, which they refer to as the 'Theory of Parasitism', they at least have one example of somebody who seems to be obsessed with slandering the ICC to point to, and whilst I am arguing against it, I will, of course, remember your positive contribution.

Devrim

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Alf
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Jul 24 2010 20:35

ajjohnstone wrote:
So would it be of benefit in actually relegating Marx and Engels to history and no longer suffer the unwelcomed baggage that comes with attaching ourselves to them ?
What if we simply disregard the Labour Theory of Value in our socialist propaganda. Forget that Marx and Engels even lived. Who knows, even eliminate even the word socialism from our case. (some have already come up with their own terminology such as "participatory economics" )

Is this addressed to Demogorgon's post? Are you really suggesting that we are considering jettisoning the entire marxist heritage? Perhaps you can clarify.

In any case, I certainly agree with Sheldon's point:

"To abandon the historical traditions, rather than work to figure out where these traditions converge, is not the answer".

At the moment we are trying to consider where the marxist and anarchist traditions really do converge. Evidently we think we have seriously underestimated this question in the past, focusing above all on where they diverge. Equally, we think that 'the anarchists' would move forward if they also reconsidered where they converge with marxism and the communist left in particular. Demogorgon's point was that there have been some very severe misjudgments in both directions.

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mikail firtinaci
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Jul 24 2010 21:35
Quote:
Unless there are texts/documents that disprove this, ie something like documents by Bukharin, Osinsky, Miasnikov, etc, supporting freedom of speech for the anarchists and criticism of their persecution in April-June 1918, NOT in 1923.

This is really strange. As you yourself quote from Pirani " many party rank and file" were "alarmed". These rank and filists later on constituted many other opposition groups which as Pirani argues, defend freedom of speech for anarchists in 1923. They do not emerge out of the blue. Those includes... Miasnikov who comes from party rank and file!

Anyway I just can not possibly understand this; how could the "blood murder of an aristocrat" and his servant could be an act against the anarchists in a context where anarchists themselves have done such things to the point of even working inside the Cheka?!!!

mciver
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Jul 26 2010 02:56

Devrim post 53

Quote:
I thought that the things I refereed to were from 1921, but that is not the point. I want to address you general approach.

But that is the point, the lack of 'commonality' between the 'communist left' and anarchism in the crucial years 1918-21, when presumably it mattered as much as in August 1914. The article The Communist Left and Internationalist Anarchism: what we have in common avoids mentioning the repression of anarchists in Russia in those years, and paints this rosy picture instead:

Quote:
During the revolutionary movements of the day, anarchists and marxists worked sincerely for the proletarian cause, and despite their disagreements found themselves on the same side. There were even efforts to develop an organised and wide scale cooperation between the revolutionary marxists (Bolsheviks in Russia, Spartacists in Germany, Dutch Tribunists, Italian abstentionists etc) who had separated from the degenerating 2nd International, and a number of internationalist anarchist groups. An example of this process is the fact that an organisation like the CNT envisaged the possibility of joining the Third International, although it rejected this in the end.

http://en.internationalism.org/wr/336/anarchism

You and Firtinaci try to deflect from the issue by raising other topics, see the last posts above. You, for example, stray into my 'general approach', something like my lack of perspective by comparing the ICC's 'amateur thuggery' with the Bolsheviks' murder 'of thousands of workers at Kronstadt'. This is a variant of your previous insinuations, dismissing the critiques of your apparat as personal and traumatised obsessions, typical of 'parasites' according to your gurus. This is a way of shifting the critical issues to a personal level, in order to launch ad-hominem attacks.

But to reply to some of these issues. The ICC is not the Bolshevik Party nor does it (fortunately) run a state. But it claims its traditions from Bolshevism, and considers the Bolshevik Party as its role model, even if it denounces its 'mistakes' ... 'ruthlessly'. Naturally the apparat's capacity to commit violence against oppositionists was limited by its size and historical origins (in Western Europe mostly). But its inner vision, its 'party spirit' was and is the same as the Bolsheviks. This is in itself an issue of great relevance, because the microcosm of a racket's existence reveals its macroscopic vision of the world, its true intentionality. Similarly, the 1907 Bolshevik bank robberies of Stalin and Kamo (supported by Lenin) expressed a criminal and pragmatic nihilism that would serve violent statist needs after 1917.

The ICC's 'amateurish thuggery' of 1981 was all it could muster, but that was enough to intimidate many of its opponents and its members, and seal the group's fate as a totalitarian racket. It's true that Its violence 'only' involved breaking into people's homes, stealing their personal property, pushing them about and slandering them venomously as parasites, provocateurs, secret spies, sluts, masons, etc, for years. That was all it needed to silence critics and rivals. However, the raids of 1981 could have easily misfired and then the ICC's leading thugs would have ended in jail or hospitals or both. That would have been the early petit finale of the ICC, and rightly deserved. The cynical Chirik knew this risk and said that he was prepared to take his racket with him, all for the 'principle of not ripping-off your organisation'. Surely there were other ways to negotiate, and the typewriter with Chénier was half owned by the Lille section anyway. These details didn't stop Chirik, because his main intention was intimidation, and in a particular incident, probably more than that. As an aside, the missing typewriter never stopped the publication of World Revolution, so 'lack of resources' was another fake reason for the gangster raids.

All this has been said many times in these threads, and by others years ago. Yet you ignore the details, and in effect apologises for these actions with the trivial claim that people were only 'pushed about'. Like saying that they should be grateful that they weren't tortured and maimed (or terminated) by the ICC thugs. This is really stupid, as you know that Lille, London, Manchester and Aberdeen aren't in Somalia, Syria or Colombia. The violence implemented by the apparat in 1981 was carefully measured, adapted to the confines of European life, even if risks existed and the top thugs knew it. It served its purpose quite well.

It is a banal truth that this level of violence was not equal to the mass murder of sailors and civilians by Lenin's régime or to the usual gangster activities of leftist and nationalist rackets or Leviathanic hit squads and torturers in certain parts of the world. This is a bizarre irrelevancy.

Your questions: They pushed you. Did you fall over? Did it hurt? also sounds rather unintelligent, or just ignorant. If you had read the relevant posts, you would know that I was never touched. But by contrasting violences, you accept a 'lesser evil', ie, little tolerable and acceptable violences, little 'mistakes', nothing to complain about, like spoilt European petty-bourgeois.

Your mysterious informants from Solidarity (which no longer exists) should publish their recollections here, before they fade completely. If they are objective accounts, they will contribute to historical knowledge and that's always positive. Also glad that they are prepared to use the concept of racketeering, even if only for 1972, and as a sort of adjudication-ad-hominem attack ('biggest racketeer'). I don't think that you agree with the category of racket, but if your Cardanist 'friends' cook it, that's most opportune. What is peculiar is that they don't seem to define the ICC as a racket, as 'they' have written to you in a friendly way. However, the 'old guard' of Solidarity never trusted Chirik and his tradition, and they were 100% right. It's unlikely that they would be writing friendly and informative anecdotes to ICC apparatchiks.

It shouldn't surprise that you remain in the ICC. This is despite your knowledge that the Bolshevik régime murdered thousands of workers (not to mention murdered and helped starve millions of peasants). These killings are called 'mistakes' (fantastic notion this one, mass murder and genocidal indifference described as 'mistakes'). Yet you are prepared to stand by this murderous 'revolutionary tradition.'

You also seem indifferent to the 'bombshell' about Bolshevik relations with the Kemal Atatük régime in 1921 that Goldner alludes to, mentioning an ICC pamphlet, Left Wing of the Turkish Communist Party, 1920-1927, written partially by you. Firtinaci suggests that the Bolsheviks may have let the leadership of the Turkish CP be murdered by the Kemalists. This is more than just trading and supporting the Turkish régime in general:

Quote:
If the bombshell is implicitly the arguement that the Bolsheviks defended Kemalists even letting the turkish CP leadership to be murdered, I believe this is incorrect. By the way I am not the writer of the ICC pamphlet. You should directly ask this Devrim or Leo...

http://libcom.org/forums/history-culture/iccs-jury-honour-zeta-reticuli-16062010

I would say that even if it was proven that the Bolsheviks helped set up these killings by the Kemalists, your support for the Bolshevik cult would still remain unconditional. That's the corrupting effect of a political racket.

Finally, it couldn't care less if the apparat considers me a 'parasite', and unfortunately I can't congratulate you for rejecting this Stalinist sham of 'parasitism'.

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devoration1
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Jul 26 2010 03:15

So the ICC is a gang of future murderers, Gulag architects and totalitarians- because they took back their typewriter in 1981?

The level of openness in the publications of the group, as well as the frank and open dialogue it offers with other groups, is very helpful and a welcome change from other groups. I don't think I've ever seen another revolutionary organization spend as much time criticising their origins and mistakes as the ICC. The organization has completely changed its outlook regarding anarchists, and has been open about how this change came about and why. They also publish internal debates and desire to work out internal differences so ridiculous splits don't happen. They appear to be the polar opposite of 'Stalinism'.

The group was 6 years old in 1981. It is now 35 years old. If the ICC is as you say it is, wouldn't the incidents of violence and totalitarianism and 'organized evil' you describe be more organized, with greater frequency, bigger, than those that occurred in 1981? The ICC is bigger than it was, it operates in more countries and on more continents. I see an expansion in a good way, from reading their history and old press and polemics up to the present day. Not the expansion of some malevolent organized Bolshevik conspiracy of authoritarians plotting some kind of 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion'-esque plan to imprison and kill and pillage.

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Devrim
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Jul 26 2010 07:07
mciver wrote:
Devrim wrote:
I thought that the things I refereed to were from 1921, but that is not the point.

But that is the point, the lack of 'commonality' between the 'communist left' and anarchism in the crucial years 1918-21, when presumably it mattered as much as in August 1914.

As I said the things I referred to came from those years.

Quote:
You, for example, stray into my 'general approach', something like my lack of perspective by comparing the ICC's 'amateur thuggery' with the Bolsheviks' murder 'of thousands of workers at Kronstadt'. This is a variant of your previous insinuations, dismissing the critiques of your apparat as personal and traumatised obsessions, typical of 'parasites' according to your gurus. This is a way of shifting the critical issues to a personal level, in order to launch ad-hominem attacks.

No, I think it is entirely reasonable to say that a couple of people being pushed around in the 1980s doesn't really compare with the massacre of tens of thousands of workers.

As for my 'gurus', I am not quite sure who they are supposed to be, but they certainly wouldn't be people who go round calling people names.

Quote:
It's true that Its violence 'only' involved breaking into people's homes, stealing their personal property, pushing them about and slandering them venomously as parasites, provocateurs, secret spies, sluts, masons, etc, for years.

'sluts' seems to be a new one. I am on the record as saying that I think calling people 'parasities' is wrong. Also I have said, and somebody recalled it on here recently, that I thought that calling somebody a 'freemason' was absurd and the ICC should clarify that it was wrong. I am not really sure what you are arguing againsy here, but it is certainly not something that I put forward.

Maybe there is something that you don't really get here. The ICC that you were involved in constructing, as a young organisation, may have been dogmatic and rigid, but now as it has matured it contains a plurality of opinions.

Quote:
All this has been said many times in these threads, and by others years ago. Yet you ignore the details, and in effect apologises for these actions with the trivial claim that people were only 'pushed about'. Like saying that they should be grateful that they weren't tortured and maimed (or terminated) by the ICC thugs.

Actually I didn't say that people 'should be grateful that they weren't tortured and maimed', but never mind.

Quote:
The violence implemented by the apparat in 1981 was carefully measured, adapted to the confines of European life, even if risks existed and the top thugs knew it. It served its purpose quite well.

I think that 'carefully measured' gives too much credit. Of course if you see things as a great conspiracy it probably makes sense. In reality I am sure that the ICC bungled through these events as best as it could making mistakes along the way, which is pretty much how real life political organisations actually operate.

Quote:
It is a banal truth that this level of violence was not equal to the mass murder of sailors and civilians by Lenin's régime or to the usual gangster activities of leftist and nationalist rackets or Leviathanic hit squads and torturers in certain parts of the world. This is a bizarre irrelevancy.

Yes, it is obviously true and would be irrelevant if you weren't constantly comparing them.

Quote:
Your questions: They pushed you. Did you fall over? Did it hurt? also sounds rather unintelligent, or just ignorant. If you had read the relevant posts, you would know that I was never touched. But by contrasting violences, you accept a 'lesser evil', ie, little tolerable and acceptable violences, little 'mistakes', nothing to complain about, like spoilt European petty-bourgeois.

I am sorry. Your insescent going on about gangsters made me think something teribble had happened to you. So you were never even touched.

You are right though. I did get bored of reading much of it and skipped through it.

Quote:
You also seem indifferent to the 'bombshell' about Bolshevik relations with the Kemal Atatük régime in 1921 that Goldner alludes to, mentioning an ICC pamphlet, Left Wing of the Turkish Communist Party, 1920-1927, written partially by you. Firtinaci suggests that the Bolsheviks may have let the leadership of the Turkish CP be murdered by the Kemalists. This is more than just trading and supporting the Turkish régime in general:

First I'd like to say that I didn't write that pamphlet or have any part in it. Mikail mentions us as we are members of the Turkish section of the ICC who post on here in English, not because we are the authors. Obviously as a memebr of the ICC I do hold responsibility for its (illegal) publication in Turkish. However, the Turkish state does have a well known tendency for prosecuting writers, and I would rather that people didn't go on about which individuals wrote which articles. I presume that it doesn't matter to you though. We of course are 'gangsters' and no better than the Turkish state.

Secondly you seem to have a very clear idea about my views on Bolshevism without having ever spoken to me about them.

Devrim

mciver
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Jul 26 2010 10:38

Devrim post 58

Quote:
As I said the things I referred to came from those years.

The only 'things' mentioned are the misgivings of Miasnikov about the régime, and his attempts to reform a totalitarian machine from within. These attempts were honest, but too late to make any difference. Miasnikov didn't break with Bolshevism over Kronstadt and he didn't, insofar as I know, engage in any discussions with 'revolutionary anarchists' at that time. This is in marked contrast to the Kronstadt sailors, who were put in a course of open armed confrontation with Bolshevism, and perished in the attempt to defend themselves, together with the many thousands of Red Army casualties. To the ICC the 'proletarian nature of Bolshevism' survived because a few oppositionists were raising doubts, regardless of the brutal class domination which was being resisted by civil society, from 1918 onwards.

The point remains, there was no contact, debate or 'commonality' between left communists and anarchists at that time.

Quote:
No, I think it is entirely reasonable to say that a couple of people being pushed around in the 1980s doesn't really compare with the massacre of tens of thousands of workers.

It may be 'reasonable' to you but irrelevant, as the point is not the quantitative comparison but the implicit intentionality, the vision of the world contained in the use of such methods. The scale doesn't matter, such actions have a vector quality to them. Comparing these levels of violence your way is a mockery of analysis, and this sophistry leads to minimising the 'small violence'. This is what makes you an apologist.

As the 'Theses on Parasitism' and many other texts against 'parasites' remain in the ICC site, and the Theses were being quoted positively by apparatchiks in 2009 and this year, one deduces they remain as key position papers. A new onslaught against 'parasites' is highly possible. Furthermore, the ICC hasn't apologised to past oppositionists, like Chénier and Ingram, and retracted any of its calumnies.

Finally, the laudatory and joyful PR post 57 by devorator1, is in the tradition of enthusiastic new recruits, and confirms that re-branding goes on in rackets as well as in companies. Contrary opinions and facts must be mocked as impossible travesties and caricatures, then worrying incidents vanish and the future is ours comrades. No need to examine anything in detail, no Pavlovian cry of 'proof' to the guardians of the faith, only a fanatic devotion to a myth, no matter how murderous. The ICC will not create new gulags, granted, but it justifies, by default, a tradition that survived through terror.

The need for re-positioning the brand obeys not some deep social need of human emancipation, but the survival of a gang in a saturated and dormant political marketplace. In this context, 'anarchism' appears suddenly as an untapped market. Here Camatte, Adorno and Debord are of more use than Marx. But, as said before, the web isn't an environment where you can just foam at the mouth slandering all and sundry like before. The returning flak is instantly damaging. But who knows, something good may come of it if the Bolshevik tradition is truly criticised and abandoned.

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Red Marriott
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Jul 26 2010 12:16
devrim wrote:
I have said, and somebody recalled it on here recently, that I thought that calling somebody a 'freemason' was absurd and the ICC should clarify that it was wrong.

It was also recalled that, months later, your recommendation of clarification has been ignored;

Ret wrote:
In the case of political groups, the brand image of the organisation is often the first line of defense. We've had on threads here ICC members loyally defending past behaviours that are even indefensible to you, eg, such as the freemasonry infiltration nonsense. Even though it was finally admitted that the person smeared as a freemason wasn't actually one, that article still stands on the ICC site, with no explanatory note attached, as you had recommended. An article that makes the ICC look ridiculous - but is embedded that deeply as a part of its identity and approach to dealing with political challenges, that it must continue to stand proud as historical justification. If it won't let go of such embarrassing madness, how deep is its claimed reassessment and change? Just a small example (though perhaps not to those involved) - but indicative. http://libcom.org/forums/history-culture/platformism-30062010?page=1
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Alf
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Jul 26 2010 21:45

Devoration poses the essential issue regarding the attitude of the revolutionary anarchists to the ICC: either it is, for all its flaws, an organisation of the working class, and thus needs defending; or it is a ruthless, cynical racket, expressing the interests of an alien power. The same dilemma is posed with regard to left communism in general, historically and today.

On a separate but related point: is it acceptable that a new poster on libcom, one who is clearly serious about the need for revolution, is immediately accused by mciver of making "PR posts", with the insinuation that this "new recruit" has been duped by the Apparat?

We haven't said anything about the similar treatment mciver meted out on an earlier thread to soyonstout, another "new recruit". Neither did we respond when he poured shit over a long standing comrade, Jerry, who had very recently died. Probably we should have done. It's problematic because there are also the attacks on the integrity of Marc Chirik, and they fall into a similar category, not least for those who knew him. But Marc is at the same time a historical figure; I would contend that he is in a league with Miasnikov, who has also been slandered here. So it's difficult to know where the line between flaming and historical polemic is drawn.

However, I think that attacking new posters like this is indeed flaming, and the moderators should say something about it.

nastyned
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Jul 26 2010 22:09
Alf wrote:
Devoration poses the essential issue regarding the attitude of the revolutionary anarchists to the ICC: either it is, for all its flaws, an organisation of the working class, and thus needs defending; or it is a ruthless, cynical racket, expressing the interests of an alien power. The same dilemma is posed with regard to left communism in general, historically and today.

You're Bolsheviks, what more needs to be said?