The communist left and internationalist anarchism

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jura
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Aug 10 2010 19:18
mikail firtinaci wrote:
I think it can be said that the civil society and the state dichotomy is not working anymore in the current conditions of state capitalism where burgeois civil society is only an extension of the state without any (at least) antagonistic contradiction between them.

So you're saying we live in a sort of "state capitalism" where the interests of individual capitals (or, more generally, commodity owners) directly coincide with the interests of the capitalist state? I don't think that's true at all. Again, I'm sorry to divert the main discussion, which to me has been quite interesting so far – and there's probably no need to continue in our particular exchange.

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CRUD
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Aug 21 2010 01:57
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
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Those who identify with the struggle for the revolution have traditionally been classed in two categories: the marxists and the anarchists. And there are indeed important divergences between them:

- Centralism/federalism

- Materialism/idealism

- Period of transition or ‘immediate abolition of the state'

- Recognition or denunciation of the October 1917 revolution and of the Bolshevik party

All these questions are certainly very important. It is our responsibility not to avoid them, and to debate them openly. But still, for the ICC, they do not demarcate "two camps".

These are massive differences, apart from materialism/idealism which I think you're wrong about.

I think you can strike " Recognition or denunciation of the October 1917 revolution and of the Bolshevik party' off the list because many left Marxists do just that. Lenin was a right wing Marxist. Luxembourg and Trotsky sitting in a tree..... council communists and or libertarian Marxists seem the most rational out of the group. Stalinists and Maoists aren't my cup of tea.

Fuck Lenin.

What I'm trying to say is anarchists and certain Marxists can and do get along. Many Marxists can see the corrosive effects of centralized hierarchical institutions with broad sweeping authority.

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devoration1
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Aug 21 2010 15:06

By recognition of the October Revolution, it means believing that the October Revolution was a proletarian revolution, and that through the organs of proletarian struggle (factory committee's, worker's councils, mass assemblies, etc) had established, briefly, working class political power and supremacy.

Left communists believe that the revolution degenerated over the next few years (and that Kronstadt signals the end of working class power definitely and the creation of state capitalist totalitarianism in control, though certain remnents of proletarian political work such as the opposition groups in the RCP(b) survived until the mid to late '20s) mainly due to the isolation of Russia and the failure of the revolutionary wave to spread successfully, and also due to mistakes made by Bolshevik party members and leaders (such as confusing the party with the class, merging the party and organs of class power with the state, etc).

This is nothing like the left wing of capital (which includes Stalinists, Maoists and Trotskyists) who defend the USSR after the early '20s, consider China, Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, etc 'real existing socialism', believe in socialism in one country, etc etc etc).

Keep in mind that council communism, which is descended from the Dutch and German left fractions, is a branch of Left Communism (the other being the Italian Left fractions).

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Aug 21 2010 15:58
devoration_1 wrote:
By recognition of the October Revolution, it means believing that the October Revolution was a proletarian revolution, and that through the organs of proletarian struggle (factory committee's, worker's councils, mass assemblies, etc) had established, briefly, working class political power and supremacy.

As has already been mentioned here though, this is exactly anarchists' position. We don't think the Bolsheviks' own seizure of the state apparatus can be conflated with this class power. Likewise, their mixing of the state and party wasn't just a mistake it was rooted in their make-up from the very beginning.

And in that sense we generally share the same position as council communist theorists, who may be included in left communism but came to reject that there was any such degeneration for the same reason we do.

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devoration1
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Aug 21 2010 16:27

The last sentence of your first paragraph is something we disagree on.

Many left communists see the Bolshevik party then the RCP(B) as originally a proletarian party. The original 2nd International (of which the RSDLP was a member) position certainly was that it was the goal of the party to take state power. This was commonly accepted by most Marxists of the day. It was a mistake, it was not in the interests of the working class, and could not have amounted to anything but state capitalism. But that is with the benefit of hindsight. At the time, the Bolsheviks and the Russian working class were the first to establish a 'dictatorship of the proletariat' over the area of a large nation, and confront the practical problems of ruling and administrating a country, as well as fighting an imperialist war against the Central Powers and a civil war against the white armies. I don't believe there was a conspiratorial scheme to take state power, and I don't believe that the Bolsheviks/RCP were bourgeois from the beginning.

Whats that Bakunin quote that if you take the most militant revolutionary and give him absolute power, he'll become more brutal than the tsar within a year (or something like that)? I believe it is evident from his writings (especially works like State And Revolution) that Lenin was a sincere communist- however his actions as the years went on show a trend toward totalitarianism gradually becoming more and more prevalent. Same for Trotsky- in a report on the first congress of the 3rd International, an observer said he found it very strange that Trotsky, the militant anti-militarist, showed up wearing a Red Army uniform and full regalia like a Western army general.

While some anarchists, like you say, agree with that analysis of the October 1917 revolution I wrote in the earlier post, left communists still believe in the need for a global centralized revolutionary class party in a revolutionary active class-struggle situation. While not agreeing with most of what the Bolsheviks did, the Third International certainly was a huge theoretical advance for future communists to work from (its form, not so much its content overall, which included things we object to like the right of nations to self determination, work inside trade unions, etc).

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Aug 21 2010 16:42
Volin wrote:
We don't think the Bolsheviks' own seizure of the state apparatus can be conflated with this class power. Likewise, their mixing of the state and party wasn't just a mistake it was rooted in their make-up from the very beginning.

I think this is a strange way to contradict the notion that that certain elements of Bolshevism made a mistake with regards to substitutionism. This characterization is made with the benefit of historical hindsight, not to suggest that there was a simple careless error made with regards to the question.