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"If there was an anarchist revolution in Russia..."

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Oct 29 2009 18:13
"If there was an anarchist revolution in Russia..."

From here, http://libcom.org/forums/organise/liberty-solidarity-18062008?page=3#comment-346996 in the vain hope of not throwing it further off topic

Irrationally Angry wrote:
In the absence of successful revolutions in the West, how long do you think an anarchist revolution would have survived in Russia?
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Oct 29 2009 18:34

I don't really understand what the original discussion was about, to be honest. The Bolsheviks had no choice but to kill the counter-revolutionaries, otherwise they'd be killed by the Whites alongside them. The question is, other than those portions of the revolutionary milieu who would have survived or not in each case, who else would have cared whether they were being ruthlessly oppressed by the Reds by contingency or by the Whites by bourgeois maliciousness? Or is this an even further derail of the topic?

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Oct 29 2009 18:59

I think the question is less about the Bolsheviks killing "counter-revolutionaries" and more about Makhnovists and the Kronstadt sailors, for instance.

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Oct 29 2009 22:31
tojiah wrote:
I don't really understand what the original discussion was about, to be honest. The Bolsheviks had no choice but to kill the counter-revolutionaries, otherwise they'd be killed by the Whites alongside them.

No one really cares about the Bolsheviks killing counter revolutionaries but they also killed a lot of people who where not counter revolutionaries, including a lot of revolutionaries.
They needed to do this to stay in power its true, but by seeking the maintain there own hold on power they were suppressing the revolution, and if they had been revolutionaries they would have never taken power as a party in the first place.
Talk of how the Bolsheviks needed to kill counter revolutionaries is usually used by supporters of the Bolsheviks, in combination with conflating all opposition to the Bolsheviks with counter revolution, as a means to dismiss criticism of the Bolsheviks.

Quote:
The question is, other than those portions of the revolutionary milieu who would have survived or not in each case, who else would have cared whether they were being ruthlessly oppressed by the Reds by contingency or by the Whites by bourgeois maliciousness? Or is this an even further derail of the topic?

I don't understand what you are saying here?

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Oct 29 2009 22:38

(moved from other thread, sorry..)

IrrationallyAngry wrote:
In the absence of successful revolutions in the West, how long do you think an anarchist revolution would have survived in Russia?

Probably as long as the Makhnovists survived, which isn't long. But at least they wouldn't kill scores of workers while trying to establish an anarchist dictatorship of the proletariat, and they wouldn't spend decades destroying the actual possibility of future revolutions anywhere else by aggressively recuperating struggles all over the globe in the name of Bakuninist-Platformism. Or, hell, they might have done that, and we'd have been having the mirror image of the current discussion; however, it does seem to me that these are decisions not rooted in material conditions, but up to a certain measure of human control by revolutionaries.

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Oct 29 2009 22:44
radicalgraffiti wrote:
tojiah wrote:
I don't really understand what the original discussion was about, to be honest. The Bolsheviks had no choice but to kill the counter-revolutionaries, otherwise they'd be killed by the Whites alongside them.

No one really cares about the Bolsheviks killing counter revolutionaries but they also killed a lot of people who where not counter revolutionaries, including a lot of revolutionaries.

I meant counter-revolutionaries in Bolshevik terms, that is, any opposition to them. But the triumphant Whites probably would have killed just as many, therefore..

Quote:
The question is, other than those portions of the revolutionary milieu who would have survived or not in each case, who else would have cared whether they were being ruthlessly oppressed by the Reds by contingency or by the Whites by bourgeois maliciousness?

Anyway, disregard that, I think my later message (with which I originally further derailed that thread, I'm somewhat unfocused tonight) makes more sense.

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Oct 29 2009 23:56

Well I've had two responses so far. Unfortunately, one says that an Anarchist led revolution would have faced a similar degeneration and the other says that an Anarchist-led revolution wouldn't have lasted long.

So full marks for honesty, I suppose. Not much of a defence of Anarchism though.

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Oct 30 2009 00:35

Trotskyism 0 Anarchism 0

Deezer
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Oct 30 2009 01:43

Oh, for fuck sake, what are the parameters here? An anarchist or anarchist inspired working class revolution in the early 20th century in Russia faced with a counter-revolutionary white offensive and the non-existence of Bolshevism? How deep rooted is this imaginary anarchist revolution? Why would two ill founded replies that are completely ahistorical mean that anarchism has been honest but would ultimately have failed???

If this is the level of trot 'debate' why should class struggle anarchists engage?

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Oct 30 2009 02:23
Deezer wrote:
An anarchist or anarchist inspired working class revolution in the early 20th century in Russia faced with a counter-revolutionary white offensive and the non-existence of Bolshevism?

If you like.

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Oct 30 2009 08:21
Quote:
rrationally Angry wrote:

In the absence of successful revolutions in the West, how long do you think an anarchist revolution would have survived in Russia?

It wouldn't have. A successful revolution isn't about simply destroying the state or establishing the right form of proletarian dictatorship. It requires revolutionising the means of production and distribution, abolishing capital and wage labour. In an impoverished, backwood economy like Russia that never had a chance of success.

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Oct 30 2009 09:07
IrrationallyAngry wrote:
Well I've had two responses so far. Unfortunately, one says that an Anarchist led revolution would have faced a similar degeneration and the other says that an Anarchist-led revolution wouldn't have lasted long.

So full marks for honesty, I suppose. Not much of a defence of Anarchism though.

Their competition was a revolution that didn't last long, if at all, before becoming third-world bourgeois, and that's what's triumphed. I'd say the historical facts aren't much a defense of vanguardism, either. And more to the point, the result was a regime which was directly implicated in sabotaging revolution throughout the world, including your much-touted Spanish failure.

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Oct 30 2009 13:05
IrrationallyAngry wrote:
Yes, certainly. But the betrayal wasn't the result of a few people just deciding to sell out one morning. It was a result of an impasse reached: The CNT had no way to deal with the capitalist state.

it's a nice neat narrative, but it's bollocks. 'the CNT' wasn't one thing, but always an uneasy tension between different tendencies, particularly the 'straight unionists' and the anarchists. according to the Friends of Durruti the problem was the CNT 'acted llike a minority organisation when it had a majority on the streets.' i think we can go further, taking our lead from the FORA - who said that "We must not forget that a union is merely an economic by-product of the capitalist system, born from the needs of this epoch. To preserve it after the revolution would imply preserving the capitalist system that gave rise to it." - the problem is the CNT acted like a union.

The choice was seen as class collaboration or CNT dictatorship. Wary of Bolshevism the CNT leadership opted for the former and the membership largely agreed fait accompli. But the choice was a false one. Why, having proved highly adept at class struggle and successfully made a revolution did the CNT not do what the IWA principles state and as the Russian anarchists/syndicalists supported - establish a system of free councils? To understand that you have to understand the different tendencies in the CNT, the dominant one of which was 'simple syndicalist' not anarchist, and for whom smashing the state was therefore outside the remit of a simply economic union.

The same group had two years previously met with the Catalan government to appeal for an end to end to state repression and recognition as a legitimate union. that prompted a vehement reply from Durutti pointing out the repression was precisely a result of their revolutionary aims and methods, and they could end it at once by becoming "perfect traitors to the working class like the Socialists." But the 'simple syndicalist' tendency was dominant, so the union was paramount and the choice was therefore seen as whether the union should take power on behalf of the class or collaborate. that was an untenable choice, and a false one that had little to do with anarchism.

now of course if the CNT had pressed ahead establishing a system of free councils, even if they had won the arguments (certainly in Catalonia, but assume workers elsewhere didn't vote for Stalinism) and aquired sufficient arms, then the revolution would have been isolated in Spain and faltered accordingly. but unless the Socialist Party now believes in Socialism in One Country thats no real objection. the failure of the revolution is Spain was not a failure of anarchism, but a failure of the CNT to be anarchist enough; failing to smash the state, joining the government etc all stem from them not following through a committment already made to a 'system of free councils' as defended by the Russian anarchists;/syndicalists, Maximov, Rocker, the IWA etc. The CNT was dominated by 'simple syndicalists' and so when push came to shove didn't act like anarchists (even the FAI ministers claim they largely took the positions to make the best of a bad situation; it's a material outcome of simple syndicalist organisation rather than an ideological one, which is why the FAI were utterly incapable of maintaining an anarchist hegemony over the CNT).

Dundee_United on the other thread wrote:
No. I've been quite straight up. If an anarchist regime were to have survived the civil war that followed the Russian revolution (capitalism would have treated such a regime in the same way as the Bolsheviks and the imperialist task forces mustered to destroy the Russian Bolshevik state would have met an anarchist regime also) it would have had to become repressive. Part of that is about not tolerating dissent and (yes) shooting people and using fear as a weapon of governance.

the reason you sound like an unhinged bolshevik is that you're completely misrepresenting the nature of an 'anarchist regime', which is of course a system of free councils; soviets. that's certainly what the (woefully disorganised) Russian anarchists and syndicalists were fighting for anyway, and what Maximov and Rocker later lauded and the IWA enshrined in its constitution. so what you're saying is the Krondstadt Soviet would have been forced to start shooting members of the... Krondstadt Soviet? I think that's pretty unlikely. What's more likely is you'd have had a situation akin to a vast workers' co-op where workers voted themselves into rations and austerity, faced with those material circumstances. Your fetish for supposed 'hard-headed realism' is making you completely uncritical towards Red Terror.

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Oct 30 2009 14:54
IrrationallyAngry wrote:
cantdocartwheels wrote:
[
Yes yes, but you know full well that everyone posting here would argue that the CNT collaborating with the republican government was politically wrong and a betrayal of anarchist principles,

Yes, certainly. But the betrayal wasn't the result of a few people just deciding to sell out one morning. It was a result of an impasse reached: The CNT had no way to deal with the capitalist state.

Obviously the CNT had at its peak about 1 to1.5 million members, concentrated in certain regions and consequently its collectives did not have the strength to overthrow the republic and establish syndicalism across the whole of spain and workers only began to collectivise industry and agriculture in certain areas.
So sure the CNT reached an impasse and consequently did some shit things, but to claim that some single strategy would have changed this situation overnight is just bonkers trot sectarianism. Its the same type of logic used by mental sparts thinking we could have stopped the war if we'd had the right slogans.
The only way for a revolution to succeed is for the majority of the working class to take over the economy and also relaistically for most of the army to mutiny. This is dependent on millions of people doing this, and in spain that would have also included millions of people who werent in the CNT, this isn;t magically brought into being by some single strategy.

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cantdocartwheels wrote:
which compeltely misses the point as you well know.
There are lots of things the various collectives within the CNT could have done better in the war and within the economy and many criticisms were made of this witin the CNT and IWA at the time and since, but no sane person can really claim to have a perfect revolutionary programme that would have won in spain in 1936.

Is it your view that no strategy could have succeeded in 1936 or 1917?

There are lots of factors that could have produced a better outcome in those revolutions, but I don't think you can reduce it all to some single strategy no. Ultimately the working class wins a struggle by the strength and depth of its workplace and community organisations and by the collective and indeed the individual desires of people.
In the same fashion we might in retrospect think that there were things that could have been done during the miners strike that would have perhaps produced a more favourable outcome but we're not naive enough to think that all the factors can be reduced to some single strategy. To be quite frank the idea that all the complexities of history can be reduced to a few pages of blueprints of ''what shoudl be done'' (to borrow a phrase) is more than a little ludicrous and smacks of leninisms rather obsessive craving for power and order which usually degenerates into a celebration of such ideas as ends in themselves.

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Oct 30 2009 14:58
cantdocartwheels wrote:
This is dependent on millions of people doing this, and in spain that would have also included millions of people who werent in the CNT

which is precisely the problem with the simple syndicalist approach of recruiting everyone into one big union (which has never happened, even in Catalonia, nor is likely or necessary for a revolution), rather than the anarcho-syndicalist approach of revolutionary workers joining the union and establishing a system of councils. to do otherwise is to substitute union for class, which is how you end up with a false dichotomy of class collaboration or CNT dictatorship.

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Oct 30 2009 14:58

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Battlescarred
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Oct 30 2009 15:14

Yes, but none of this happened anyway FFS, what happened was the triumph of Bolshevism and the crushing of all other revolutionary currents and the development of Stalinism. Although if Trotsky had won I don't think it would have been any different and judging from his track record it would have been worse.
Question: Why did not Trotsky win within the Bolsheviks against Stalin?
A: Because he was seen by many as a Bonaparte, as autocratic and arrogant prepared to ride rough shod over other tendencies within Bolshevism. Many Party members were aware of what Trotsky was capable of, and were very apprehensive about him assuming supreme control. As a result Stalin, who played a long , slow game,was able to triumph
If unity had been forged berween anarchists, maximalists, Left SRs, rank and file Communists etc and obviously if the revolution had spread to other parts of the world perhaps things would have been differnt. All academic speculations anyway, although the incipient ( and ultimately unsuccessful) Third Revolution points towards a different scenario. What disturbs me about Dundee's pronouncements is that they seem like standard Bolshevik justifications for the policies of the Bolshevik government, with no real understanding of what it means to construct a society from bottom up.

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Oct 30 2009 15:34
cantdocartwheels wrote:
There are lots of factors that could have produced a better outcome in those revolutions,

Like what?

Could anything have happened inside Russia that would have led to a succesful revolution without revolutions in Western Europe?

You can be as nuanced or detailed as you like in answering. Or you can stick to a broad outline.

So far the only people who have actually answered the question all seem to think that the answer is no.

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Oct 30 2009 15:43
IrrationallyAngry wrote:
So far the only people who have actually answered the question all seem to think that the answer is no.

that's not really an accurate representation of what i said. if the power of the councils triumphed, counter-revolution/invasion was defeated by militias but the revolution failed to spread beyond Russia/Ukraine, then material circumstances would have forced workers into a sort of workers' co-op model of commodity exchange in order to trade with the rest of the world. over time that would have led to the typical corporatisation you see at Mondragon for instance.

now that wouldn't be a 'successful revolution', but then since anarchists are internationalists and there's no real tradition of 'anarchism in one country' i'm not sure what that's meant to prove? certainly i'd rather have been part of a co-op that gradually reaccomodated itself to capitalist norms than been shot down like a partridge and seen in a regime that was a force for bloody counter-revolution worldwide for half a century.

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Oct 30 2009 17:18
Joseph Kay wrote:
that's not really an accurate representation of what i said. if the power of the councils triumphed, counter-revolution/invasion was defeated by militias but the revolution failed to spread beyond Russia/Ukraine, then material circumstances would have forced workers into a sort of workers' co-op model of commodity exchange in order to trade with the rest of the world.

Even this is much, much too optimistic.

1) It is a huge leap, founded on little evidence, to assume that militias could have won the Civil War and beaten off the various invasions. Not only do you have to assume that militias would be capable of winning militarily, you have to assume that the revolutionary society is capable of mobilising the necessary production to support those militias. In my view the overwhelming likelihood is that an Anarchist revolution would have lost the Civil War, leading to a sort of proto-Fascist military dictatorship.

2) Even if we grant military victory as a starting point, it is wildly optimistic to think that the inevitable degeneration of the anarchist revolution would lead to a "workers co-op model of commodity exchange". Remember the starting point.

That starting point is chaos. We are talking about a situation where much of the pre-civil war working class is dead or has been dispersed by the war. And that working class was small to begin with. We are talking about a situation where the country is under economic siege. Where there is no capital available to invest in capital goods, to repair the physical damage of the Civil War and normal depreciation let alone to improve anything. Where a substantial minority of the population is hostile to the revolution itself and an overwhelming majority are illiterate. How are the cities to be fed?

The idea that anarchism under siege and rationing would result in a relatively benign "workers co-op model of commodity exchange" is almost charming in its one eyed bias. Much more likely is complete economic and social collapse as the necessities of severe rationing collide with the anarchist allergy to compulsion. The choice would rapidly become one between collapse and large scale compulsion. You accept yourself that anarchism under siege and rationing can't exist, which is an important admission. The assumption that its failure to exist would be smooth and benign is laughable however.

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Oct 30 2009 17:42
IrrationallyAngry wrote:
1) It is a huge leap, founded on little evidence, to assume that militias could have won the Civil War and beaten off the various invasions. Not only do you have to assume that militias would be capable of winning militarily, you have to assume that the revolutionary society is capable of mobilising the necessary production to support those militias.

right, because spain proves that workers can't organise military production and militias sufficient to defeat the counter-revolution, if only someone had tried to centralise things and impose military discipline... oh yeah.

IrrationallyAngry wrote:
The idea that anarchism under siege and rationing would result in a relatively benign "workers co-op model of commodity exchange" is almost charming in its one eyed bias. Much more likely is complete economic and social collapse as the necessities of severe rationing collide with the anarchist allergy to compulsion. The choice would rapidly become one between collapse and large scale compulsion.

this is just assertion, not argument. now if you're going to argue you'd have conflicts between town and country then fine, but this is all an argument against socialism in one country, not an argument against anarchism.

now obviously what-if counter-factuals are of limited use, but the false opposition of chaos to dictatorship is precisely the canard of tyrants since classical days. i'd like to think those who claim 'the emancipation of the workers must be the task of the workers themselves' would have a little less condescending view of self-organisation. if the (ex-)dispossessed have power through the councils, that is neither chaos nor dictatorship. the situation may be bleak, but to argue that internal organisation makes no difference is just apologetics. in such a situation i think the self-management of misery is more likely than the soviets voting for a tyrant to repress them.

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Oct 30 2009 17:58

Repost from other thread:

django wrote:
I note that IrrationallyAngry has said nothing about what his 'revolutionary strategy' is that would have succeeded in 1917 or 1936 (unless he does think the Bolsheviks 'succeeded', in which case he may as well say so). So pots, kettles, black.
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Oct 30 2009 23:18
Django wrote:
Repost from other thread:
django wrote:
I note that IrrationallyAngry has said nothing about what his 'revolutionary strategy' is that would have succeeded in 1917 or 1936 (unless he does think the Bolsheviks 'succeeded', in which case he may as well say so). So pots, kettles, black.

I have quite deliberately not put forward my own proposals, or those of my political tendency, because doing so would simply result in Anarchists taking their traditional escape route from discussions about their own programme. We can take it as read for the purposes of this discussion that you think that Bolsheviks were very bold boys and girls.

What I'm interested in is what the Anarchists propose themselves, something which in my experience they are very reluctant to discuss.

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Oct 30 2009 23:48
Joseph Kay wrote:
right, because spain proves that workers can't organise military production and militias sufficient to defeat the counter-revolution, if only someone had tried to centralise things and impose military discipline... oh yeah.

I think that you may find the views of the Friends of Durruti on this issue to be of some relevance. You will note that they opposed the creation of an army of the bourgeois state, nonetheless they did not defend the idea that the militias were capable of prosecuting the war. Instead they proposed a "revolutionary army", which was in organisation to be an unusually democratic form of regular army and was politically to serve and be under the control of the working class. The views of the POUM were similar.

This does not speak well of the military effectiveness of the militias. And neither does their record in combat, which was mixed at best. The essential problem the creation of a regular army in Spain posed was that it was to be an army under the control of the bourgeois state rather than serving a working class revolution. The idea that an army would be less militarily effective than the militias was not one argued by the most revolutionary elements at the time, for the very good reason that it would be a nonsense.

As for war production, it is a fact that inadequate production of war materials dogged revolutionary Catalonia througout the war.

Now there are many things which can be said, positively and negatively about the FoD's proposals for an army, but they included a command staff, and an appointed command staff of trained military leaders ("technicians") at that, alongside elected political commissars. As such it was a drastic step away from traditional Anarchist views on a number of grounds.

Joseph Kay wrote:
this is just assertion, not argument. now if you're going to argue you'd have conflicts between town and country then fine, but this is all an argument against socialism in one country, not an argument against anarchism.

It's an argument of particular relevance to Anarchism because of two interlinked points:

1) A central tenet of Anarchism is that there is no state and no compulsion right from the start of a revolution. There is no transitional social form. "Anarchism", or a free classless society with no state and no compulsion, must start functioning immediately.
2) Yet every revolution yet known to us was initially confined to a limited geographical area, a state or portion of a state.

The problems of "socialism in one country" are immediately the problems of an Anarchist revolution unless that revolution is simultaneous and worldwide.

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Oct 31 2009 00:16
IrrationallyAngry wrote:
It's an argument of particular relevance to Anarchism because of two interlinked points:

1) A central tenet of Anarchism is that there is no state and no compulsion right from the start of a revolution. There is no transitional social form. "Anarchism", or a free classless society with no state and no compulsion, must start functioning immediately.
2) Yet every revolution yet known to us was initially confined to a limited geographical area, a state or portion of a state.

The problems of "socialism in one country" are immediately the problems of an Anarchist revolution unless that revolution is simultaneous and worldwide.

except there's absolutely nothing preventing military forces being put at the disposal of the councils rather than a state in such a situation, and no reason such forces should not be democratically organised.*

Rudolph Rocker wrote:
The council system brooks no dictatorships as it proceeds from totally different assumptions. In it is embodied the will from below, the creative energy of the toiling masses. In dictatorship, however, only lives barren compulsion from above, which will suffer no creative activity and proclaims blind submission as the highest laws for all. The two cannot exist together. In Russia dictatorship proved victorious. Hence there are no more soviets there.

link

* which of course doesn't mean you stop and vote on everything mid-battle, but that positions are mandated and recallable.

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Oct 31 2009 00:25
Joseph Kay wrote:
[
except there's absolutely nothing preventing military forces being put at the disposal of the councils rather than a state in such a situation, and no reason such forces should not be democratically organised.*

I agree that such military forces could be put at the disposals of workers councils, but as you are probably aware I would regard such councils as a state. That's a different issue though, and one which I don't which I don't want to pull this discussion towards. For the purposes of this discussion I agree on the councils issue.

However, if you look at the FoD proposal, it was not for democratic organisation of the revolutionary army. By that I mean both that they insisted on orders being obeyed in combat, and further that the command staff (they didn't use the term officers) should be composed of appointed "technicians" rather than elected commanders. These command "technicians" would be specially trained for the job.

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Oct 31 2009 01:08
IrrationallyAngry wrote:
I agree that such military forces could be put at the disposals of workers councils, but as you are probably aware I would regard such councils as a state. That's a different issue though, and one which I don't which I don't want to pull this discussion towards. For the purposes of this discussion I agree on the councils issue.

and yes, that's the usual Leninist Humpty Dumpty antics, but it's actually pretty central.

if the councils are the state, the state can't sideline the councils because they're the same thing. however history shows that a system of councils and a state are mutually exclusive forms of organisation that only co-exist in unstable situations of dual power. i mean let's see what Lluis Companys, the president of Catalonia in '36 thought a state was:

Lluis Companys, quoted in Abel Paz, Durruti in the Spanish Revolution, p.450 wrote:
The state is not a myth, some machine that functions independently of human events. It is made up of living beings that follow a pre-established system of command, a liberal or authorirarian hierarchy that forms its "chain of transmission." The President gives an order and it is automatically transmitted to the Minister or advisor entrusted with carrying it out. That Minister has his own "chain of transmission" which passes through his secretaries and sub-secretaries and ultimately reaches the bottom steps of the hierarchy where the state shakes hands with the citizen and directs him along the route designated by the President. That is how a "normal state" operates.

On July 19 [1936], I pressed the bell in my office to summon my secretary. The bell didn't ring, because there was no electricity. I went to my office door, but my secretary wasn't there, because he had been unable to get to the Palace. But if he had been there, he wouldn't have been able to communicate with the secretary of the General Director, because he hadn't come to the Generalitat. And, if the General Director's secretary had made it somehow, after overcoming thousands of difficulties, his superior was absent.

the only possible reason to obfuscate between a system of councils and a state is because you favour the latter but want to appear revolutionary. And of course we all know that - opportunistic and temporary adoption of the 'all power to the soviets' slogan aside - the Bolsheviks set about creating a state very much like Companys', i.e. an actual state, which rather promptly moved against the soviets and other expressions of workers' power such as the factory committees. This is at the heart of it, and questions of whether it is sufficient military forces to answer to the councils or also practice internal democracy, what if any role is played by specialists and advisors etc are very much secondary, since if the state triumphs over the councils you have counter-revolution and such questions will never even be raised.

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Oct 31 2009 01:15

as to the composition of the armed defence of the revolution, i'm no expert in military organisation but it's pretty clear you need to prefigure the society you're trying to create. that could mean rank-and-file delegates on command committees, directly elected commanders or whatever. i don't really think this is something you can work out in advance as it depends massively on the nature of the conflict too (are we talking localised clashes between armed workers and bosses' mercenaries with the army largely standing down, or soldiers' councils forming in a mutinying army, or full-scale symmetric conflict? etc). workable military discipline isn't incompatible with anarchist organisation, and if you're talking about ordinary workers taking up arms then a lot of training will be needed to create an effective fighting force. but plenty of jobs rely on a high degree of discipline (firefighters say), but you don't get people arguing anarchism would mean widespread conflagration (insurrectionist nutjobs aside wink ). arguably discipline in the field would be higher in an army where commanders were respected by means of mandates/delegation anyway, as widespread mutinies and resistance in conscript armies suggest.

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Oct 31 2009 05:42
IrrationallyAngry wrote:
cantdocartwheels wrote:
There are lots of factors that could have produced a better outcome in those revolutions,

Like what?

All sorts of things, since history is a vast and complex engine driven by the idnividual desires of millions rather than some simplistc teleological path. Off the top of m head lenin could have been assasinated, this or that factory assembly could have been stronger ot more politically hard nosed. We're not orthodox marxists, we don;t think history is bound upon some pre-ordained fate. There are a vast swathe of ''what ifs'' around russia since the revolution is determined by individual human choices and actions, as is any event for that matter..

Quote:
Could anything have happened inside Russia that would have led to a succesful revolution without revolutions in Western Europe?.

In the short term yes a system based on factory assemblies probably could have survived, for evidence of this we ca look at how makhnos forces defeated the poor quality white armies sent against them. In the long term things would have een more difficult, but then as we know, it was bolshevism that became the biggest stumbling block to international revolution in the 20th century, so your arguements kinda pointless. I mean its not like theres any anarchists advocating socialism in one country is there. I mean you do realise the CNT were part of an international organisation right?

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Django
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Oct 31 2009 09:42
IrrationallyAngry wrote:
Django wrote:
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django wrote:
I note that IrrationallyAngry has said nothing about what his 'revolutionary strategy' is that would have succeeded in 1917 or 1936 (unless he does think the Bolsheviks 'succeeded', in which case he may as well say so). So pots, kettles, black.

I have quite deliberately not put forward my own proposals, or those of my political tendency, because doing so would simply result in Anarchists taking their traditional escape route from discussions about their own programme. We can take it as read for the purposes of this discussion that you think that Bolsheviks were very bold boys and girls.

What I'm interested in is what the Anarchists propose themselves, something which in my experience they are very reluctant to discuss.

Right, but this is exactly what we could be saying about this alternate history exercise here. You've done very little to discuss or defend your own politics, rather taking the escape route of demanding anarchists come with some sort of blueprint to apply to a long-gone revolutionary war and "very deliberately" refusing to do the same yourself.

So again, pots, kettles, black.

IrrationallyAngry
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Oct 31 2009 13:54
Django wrote:
[
Right, but this is exactly what we could be saying about this alternate history exercise here. You've done very little to discuss or defend your own politics, rather taking the escape route of demanding anarchists come with some sort of blueprint to apply to a long-gone revolutionary war and "very deliberately" refusing to do the same yourself.

So again, pots, kettles, black.

My kingdom for a rolly eyes smiley.

My interest in this discussion is in finding out what anarchists have to say about (a) how a revolution in the future could be successful and (b) how their ideas could have led a successful revolution in the past. This is an anarchist (or anarchoid) website after all.

So far the responses have not been very impressive. People have either agreed with me that Anarchism was unworkable, have whined that they'd rather be criticising Bolshevism and don't like having to discuss their own proposals or have indulged in slightly silly fantasies about a "nice" degeneration of an Anarchist revolution into a cooperative based economy. The most recent response has implied that everything might have been better if only Lenin had been assassinated.

As always with Anarchism and Anarchists, there is a fundamental lack of seriousness about your own politics.