It's Kropotkin's birthday!

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Mike Harman
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Jan 15 2008 14:16
nastyned wrote:
The KAPD, Miasnikov and the French ultra-left are not perfectly decent!

In the sense of being interesting, worth learning from, they're perfectly decent, not in the sense of 'zero flaws", I thought this was an internet discussion forum roll eyes

Anyway, they're as much worthy of attention as Kropotkin , the CNT, Malatesta and other anarchist favourites, and 'decadence theory' would not be a fair criticism of most of them.

Mike Harman
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Jan 15 2008 14:31
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That’s a difference in extremity not in outcome.

Er, no not at all.

Running away from a plane = an immediate, passive, physical reaction to danger/self-preservation . No change in politics required. The International Brigade could've done the same thing and been militarily indistinguishable.
Voting for New Labour/against the BNP = conscious, pre-meditated action seen as a(n albeit temporary) solution to fascist political power.

It's not even remotely a valid comparison, and is definitely 'nature rather than degree'.

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Rob Ray
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Jan 15 2008 14:38

Both are reactions to panic situations (even if the BNP one is a bit lame). The people who switched to advocating voting didn’t do so without an outside factor to push them into it, they did so because they were getting worried about rising far-right sympathy and desperately wanted to counter it, so turned to voting as an immediate result.

In both cases, the first reaction is unintelligent self-preservation, the learned one is a measured tactical response.

Mike Harman
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Jan 15 2008 14:42
Saii wrote:
Both are reactions to panic situations (even if the BNP one is a bit lame). The people who switched to advocating voting didn’t do so without an outside factor to push them into it, they did so because they were getting worried about rising far-right sympathy and desperately wanted to counter it, so turned to voting as an immediate result.

This would only be a valid example if Nazi bootboys were outside the polling booth threatening people on their way in and out. Or if you think that they suffer from some kind of nervous disorder. Neither are the case here.

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Rob Ray
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Jan 15 2008 14:46

Irrelevant. Feeling threatened is nothing to do with physically being in the path of danger, otherwise there would be no racism in regions with few or no minorities living there.

Mike Harman
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Jan 15 2008 14:55

And how are a handful of BNP councillors and zero MPs threatening to anarchists in any way?

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Rob Ray
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Jan 15 2008 14:59

Oh come on are you seriously suggesting that people aren’t actually worried about the BNP on the left/libertarian sphere? I mean put aside your own analysis of the situation for a minute, and look at it from the perspective of other people. They get headlines, the UAF’s sole function is to undermine them. Everyone is aware of what the worst that can happen might be, and they’re reminded by everyone around them that it’s the left which gets taken out first in times of a fascist rise. People get scared, it’s pointless to suggest otherwise.

Mike Harman
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Jan 15 2008 15:15
Saii wrote:
Oh come on are you seriously suggesting that people aren’t actually worried about the BNP on the left/libertarian sphere? I mean put aside your own analysis of the situation for a minute, and look at it from the perspective of other people. They get headlines, the UAF’s sole function is to undermine them. Everyone is aware of what the worst that can happen might be, and they’re reminded by everyone around them that it’s the left which gets taken out first in times of a fascist rise. People get scared, it’s pointless to suggest otherwise.

Some people are scared of spiders, too. Only in very limited situations would jumping up on a chair, stamping on it, or some kind poison/trap be an appropriate response when faced with one.

The fact is, the reaction of some people when faced with fascism in Spain was actually to vote for/support/join the Republican government - this can be compared with voting New Labour against the BNP to a limited extent, despite the very different historical circumstances. Running away from a fighter jet can't.

Say thirty NF members were hanging around outside a libcom admin meeting waiting to beat us up, I think it'd be quite sensible for us to run away rather than engage in a fight with them outnumbered 3-1 (other, more handy, libcom admins might disagree). Again, I don't think that response, to that situation, would be comparable to then voting against them at the next available opportunity. The two are quite independent reactions to different situations. For example it's quite possible that ten members of an anti-fascist group might try to both fight against them, and also vote against them at the next opportunity.

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Rob Ray
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Jan 15 2008 15:49

Again though, that’s a function of learning and experience on your part. If a bunch of people who’d just set up a group were intimidated by a bunch of BNPers, they might well panic and shift to electoral work to try and keep down support for them. Bear in mind that while there may have been anarchists talking about voting (five in total) on that thread, with the exception of shoes none appeared to be experienced (as a poster at least) and the many people talking them down were all a bit older and wiser. Read it through again and tell me that these people were talking from coherent, thought-through positions stemming from long-held politics.

People often react in a knee-jerk way to perceived threat, it doesn’t have to be in front of them, it just has to be perceived as dangerous. Hell that’s 90% of how the state manipulates the public, by playing on that very fact to make them accept attacks on their liberty, status and remuneration. Nothing to do with the relative robustness of political philosophies, everything to do with fear response.

Mike Harman
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Jan 15 2008 15:55

More here, no I haven't read the whole thread:

http://libcom.org/node/8445

Quote:
Again though, that’s a function of learning and experience on your part. If a bunch of people who’d just set up a group were intimidated by a bunch of BNPers, they might well panic and shift to electoral work to try and keep down support for them. Bear in mind that while there may have been anarchists talking about voting (five in total) on that thread, with the exception of shoes none appeared to be experienced (as a poster at least) and the many people talking them down were all a bit older and wiser. Read it through again and tell me that these people were talking from coherent, thought-through positions stemming from long-held politics.

And for this argument to hold, you'd have to argue that the FAI leadership were less experienced than me. Good luck!

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Rob Ray
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Jan 15 2008 16:56

I don’t have to argue any such thing catch, don’t be obtuse. The argument with the FAI is that they came under intense pressure and cracked, not that they were inexperienced and panicked. Different extremes again.

capricorn
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Jan 15 2008 17:19

I don't mind celebrating Kropotkin's birthday even if his support for the First World Slaughter was unforgiveable. He wrote some good stuff. BTW he wasn't the only anarchist to support the slaughter. Fourteen other prominent anarchists signed the notorious "Manifesto of the Sixteen" (see http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manifeste_des_16)

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The Manifeste des Seize/ Manifesto of the Sixteen, was an anarchist document issued during WWI in favor of the Allies & for the defeat of Germany.

This declaration was signed by fifteen anarchists (the sixteenth name is that of a locality[!] apparently mistaken for a signatory early on), & was first published February 28, 1916.

The complete list of signatories:

Christian Cornelissen, Henri Fuss, Jean Grave, Jacques Guérin, Peter Kropotkin, A. Laisant. François Le Lève (Lorient), Charles Malato, Jules Moineau (Liège), A. Orfila, Hussein Dey (Algérie), Marc Pierrot, Paul Reclus, Richard (Algérie), Tchikawa (Japon), Warlaam [Varlan] Tcherkesoff.

Some of these are "big" names in anarchism. See also http://libcom.org/history/dave-victor-1845-1922

Of course Marx and Engels too were wrong about (taking sides in) wars. Personally I don't mind celebrating his birthday (on 5 May) as well. He wrote some good stuff too. But I suspect others here would rather celebrate the day of his death, on 14 March.

Battlescarred
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Jan 15 2008 17:50

Yes but this was a minority compared to majority of anarchists opposed to the war.
For example, In Italy the USI and the anarchist groups with Borghi, Fabbri and Malatesta
In Britain almost total oppoisition in the anarchist movement to the war
As Anarcho said earlier that still compares favourably to the body of Marxism which in its majority took one side or the other, with the exception of Lenin and Co., etc

Anarcho
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Jan 18 2008 16:22
Devrim wrote:
It is not changing the discussion. It is just another example of the same thing. Anarchists dismissing blatantly anti-working class actions by other anarchists as a mistake.

This thread is on Kropotkin, so you are changing the subject. As for "blatantly anti-working class" I thnk you will find that most working class people in Spain at the time approved of anti-fascist unity. So I'm guessing that the working class was also "anti-working class".

Does that mean by "anti-working class" you really mean "anti-what I think is working class"?

Devrim wrote:
It is funny how some anarchists are quite happy to excuse the CNT-FAI on these grounds, but won't cut the Bolsheviks an inch of slack when it comes to exactly the same argument.

This is because the Bolshevik's anti-working class activities started before the start of the civil war. They were disbanding soviets, attacking opposition groups, advocating one-man management, abolishing elected committees in the armed forces, etc., months before the start of the civil war. They also continued it afterwards. That suggests that "civil war" cannot explain their actions -- particularly given the example of the Makhnovists.

And note, I did not "excuse" the CNT-FAI -- I explained their decision, which is not the same as excusing them.

Devrim wrote:
It is not the point though. All revolutions will be made in difficult circumstances. Indeed it is these circumstances that test the politics of revolutionaries, and revolutionary organisations. Tests that both Kropotkin and the CNT-FAI failed.

And it is tests that far more Marxists have failed. Looking at the CNT-FAI, I should note that in Aragon they did destroy the state and create the council of Aragon. So, in Aragon the CNT-FAI applied anarchist ideas. In catalonia, they did not. So does that mean the Aragon CNT-FAI passed the test, as did the Makhnovists?

Devrim wrote:
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Now, please provide evidence that it was anarchist politics which drove that decision.

What poitics was it then? Or was it just circumstance, just like Kropotkin's supporting the war, just an aberration.

So you cannot provide any examples of their politics to support your assertion that circumstances cannot explain their actions? That is significant -- if you are claiming anarchism is flawed, you could at least provide some evidence to support that claim.

Devrim wrote:
Actually, there participation in elections previously showed a sign of where they were going.

You really have no idea how bad things were under the right, do you? The fact that many CNT members voted for the lesser evil showed that they thought that a left government would allow them to re-organise their unions, get their prisoners freed, and so on. All of which did happen -- and it allowed them time to organise their response to the fascist coup.

So the decision to downplay the anti-election campaign is really a product of the situation. A victory for the right was seen, rightly or wrongly, as the legal means of introducing fascism. A victory for the left was seen, rightly or wrongly, as giving a breathing space after 3 years of intense state repression. That the right made the republicians and socialists look good says it all...

Devrim wrote:
I didn't attempt to do it with Kropotkin. I just rejected the idea that it is all merely about individual decisions, the idea that you seem to be putting forward that there is no relation between the politics, and the betrayal.

So evidence is not required, just assertion? Nice to know. So you cannot point to any example of Kropotkin's ideas which could prove your assertion -- oh, I forgot, you have admitted not reading any of them.

In scientific analysis, people put forward a thesis and then provide evidence to support it. You provide no evidence to support your assertions, so why should I take it seriously?

Devrim wrote:
I am not as obsessed with the numbers as you are, but certainly the vast majority of those who called themselves Marxists have, historically, and do, today oppose the interests of the working class. Why on Earth would I try to hide that? I have no interest in whitewashing history.

In scientific analysis, people generalise from the facts. The numbers of those who did certain things are important as it allows you to generalise from them. Thus, that the vast majority of anarchists opposed the first world war while the vast majority of Marxists did not allows you to generalise as to whose politics were genuinely revolutionary.

Similarly, if the net effect of Marxism has to produce reformist social democracy and various Stalinist bureaucracies then we can rightly question its revolutionary nature. We can look at the theory and draw out possible reasons why these happened. Which I have done. I can point to various aspects of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky which explains the failures.

That is evidence in support of my claims. That you cannot provide any for Kropotkin says it all. Maybe you will have better luck with the CNT-FAI.

Anarcho
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Jan 18 2008 16:35
Devrim wrote:
The communist left did though analyse the betrayals of Marxism, and why they happened. I feel that anarchists don't do that and instead just put things down to mistakes.

And in the process they came to many of the same conclusions as the anarchists, such as anti-parliamentarianism, federal organisations, working class power rather than party power and so forth.

Which gave them the problem of still being Marxists when their conclusions were obviously anarchist. So they came up with the theory of "imperialism" which states that Marx and Engels were correct up until some unspecified date (sometime between 1872 and 1913) when capitalism had become decadant and all the old tactics suddenly were wrong...

Which is a bloody useful ideology to have, as it can be used to defend almost all the policies advocated by Marx and Engels...

Devrim wrote:
My question is about the reasons that they cracked. Is there something in anarchist politics that says that some factions of the bourgeoisie are more progressive than others? Because that is all it needs. As soon as there is that the road to supporting war is open.

I think that having a full scale military coup going on which would impose a fascist dictatorship would make you think that, perhaps, starting a war with the Republic may not be the best idea right at this time. Particularly when you have no idea what was happening in the rest of Catalonia, never mind Spain...

But, of course, those objective circumstances had no impact on the decision which, of course, flowed from anarchist politics. Why? Because Marxists assert it enough times...

And I should note that this is not intended to suggest that the decision was right, but rather to explain the circumstances which drove it.

And did the Bolsheviks not defend the Kerensky government against that general in 1917? Obviously they thought that a military coup was less progressive than other sections of the bourgeoisie...

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Alf
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Jan 18 2008 17:46

And did the Bolsheviks not defend the Kerensky government against that general in 1917? Obviously they thought that a military coup was less progressive than other sections of the bourgeoisie

This is actually closer to the Trotskyist version of these events: they claim that the Bolsheviks' response to the Kornilov coup was an early example of the 'united front' or 'military bloc'. In the article linked below, we tried to show that the Bolshevik policy was to call for independent class action to defend the soviets and other working class organs, not the Provisional Government.

http://en.internationalism.org/wr/306/1917-Kornilov

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Devrim
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Jan 18 2008 21:53
Anarcho wrote:
Devrim wrote:
It is funny how some anarchists are quite happy to excuse the CNT-FAI on these grounds, but won't cut the Bolsheviks an inch of slack when it comes to exactly the same argument.

This is because the Bolshevik's anti-working class activities started before the start of the civil war. They were disbanding soviets, attacking opposition groups, advocating one-man management, abolishing elected committees in the armed forces, etc., months before the start of the civil war. They also continued it afterwards. That suggests that "civil war" cannot explain their actions -- particularly given the example of the Makhnovists.

Well considering that the civil war is generally considered to have started in October 1917 they must have been damn quick about it. In fact your phrase 'months' before seems to be suggesting that they were doing all of these things before they were even in power.

It is also quite clear from Anarcho's comments on this thread that I am being blamed for the actions of everyone who ever called themselves a Marxist. Personally, I would think that this would be something that anarchists would avoid. I certainly won't lower myself to attacking anarchism with everything that refers to itself by that name. It is particularly ironic though seeing as I have never defended most of these things that I am being accused of supporting, nor have I even referred to myself as a Marxist.

Anarcho wrote:
You really have no idea how bad things were under the right, do you?

Yes, I think I do. I reckon I probably have a better idea of what the experience was like than you have. I have lived through a military coup. The majority if not all members of our organisation have people in their families who were in prison for political activity. We have had fascists in government. We have had war in the South East for the last 23 years. Yes, I think I have some idea.

Anarcho wrote:
The fact that many CNT members voted for the lesser evil showed that they thought that a left government would allow them to re-organise their unions, get their prisoners freed, and so on. All of which did happen -- and it allowed them time to organise their response to the fascist coup.

So the decision to downplay the anti-election campaign is really a product of the situation. A victory for the right was seen, rightly or wrongly, as the legal means of introducing fascism. A victory for the left was seen, rightly or wrongly, as giving a breathing space after 3 years of intense state repression. That the right made the republicians and socialists look good says it all..

The phrase downplay the anti-election campaign is a bit misleading. I would put it down as active support. But the important question is here, and you seem to dodge it. Were they right or wrong? You don't have a comment upon it. Were they correct to back one faction of the bourgoise in the 1931 elections? If you believe that they weren't why do you think that it happened?

Is it merely another mistake?

Devrim

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Volin
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Jan 19 2008 19:08
Devrim wrote:
I certainly won't lower myself to attacking anarchism with everything that refers to itself by that name.

I must've misread practically everything I've seen from you left commies.

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Jan 19 2008 21:03
Volin wrote:
Devrim wrote:
I certainly won't lower myself to attacking anarchism with everything that refers to itself by that name.

I must've misread practically everything I've seen from you left commies.

Voline, have I ever attacked anarchist on here by amalgamating them with some of the lifestyle hippy rubbish that masquerades as anarchism?

Yes, I criticise real anarchists for their politics, but I don't use that kind of trick.

Devrim

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Jan 20 2008 12:58

Do our politics include support for militarism and war? Nationalisation? National Liberation? Trade unions? Electoralism? Alliances with liberals and the bourgeoisie? etc.

No. But we can all point to anarchists who've been messed up in these activities and this has been consistently used by left communists (like yourself in this thread) to suggest that there is something in anarchism itelf, as though we can define it along the same lines as Marxism, which gives rise to such involvement.

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Jan 20 2008 21:08

No, I don't think so. I think that there were problems in their politics. I think some of these things may be residual in anarchism. That doesn't mean that their isn't an anarchism which has class politics. Personally, I think that there is. I think that the left communists also have more than their fair share of problems. Maybe I criticise them in private, more than in public.

Devrim

Black Badger
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Jan 21 2008 01:50

I would say that there is indeed something in anarchism that leads to individual anarchists (and some groups as well) to engage in highly un-anarchist activities--like supporting war, nationalism, trade unions, electoralism, and alliances with our class enemies. That something is what I (and others) would call incoherence. There are identifiably anarchist principles to which virtually all self-consciously coherent anarchists subscribe; these include (but are not limited to) a rejection of war, nationalism, trade unions, electoralism, and alliances with our class enemies. However, since there is no ultimate authority (sorry) for anarchists, and no questionnaire to fill out with a score/percentile for exactly how anarchist each anarchist is, and no way to keep anyone from claiming the label anarchist, there will constantly be Liberals, Social Democrats, and Leninists (etc) masquerading as anarchists. It's not so interesting (and definitely unconvincing) to say "that's not anarchist" or "s/he is not a real anarchist"; that merely sounds sectarian and dogmatic. It is more appealing to me to analyze that person's actual behavior and strategies and thereby determine and describe what her/his political trajectory is, and why it can be so characterized. Of course that's more difficult, too.

capricorn
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Jan 21 2008 07:39
Quote:
There are identifiably anarchist principles to which virtually all self-consciously coherent anarchists subscribe; these include (but are not limited to) a rejection of war, nationalism, trade unions, electoralism, and alliances with our class enemies.

I thought there was only one principle to which those calling themselves anarchists subscribed: opposition to the State. Beyond that, I wouldn't quite say anything goes, but a lot does. So you've got individualist anarchists, market anarchists, bomb-throwing anarchists, pacifist anarchists, syndicalist anarchists, communist anarchists, even christian anarchists. Personally, I've never understood why anarchists who are syndicalists or communists consider they have some affinity with the others. But they do. And in fact it was Kropotkin who contributed a lot to creating the idea of a broad anarchist tradition and movement composed of all those opposed to the State.
btw, are "all self-consciously coherent anarchists" really opposed to "trade unions" (as we call them this side of the Atlantic), ie don't join them and tell others not to? I think that even the IWW now allows its members to join and work inside "trade unions" (agreed they, sensibly, don't call themselves anarchists). And what about http://www.geocities.com/williamgodwin7/index.html ?

Anarcho
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Jan 21 2008 09:50
capricorn wrote:
I thought there was only one principle to which those calling themselves anarchists subscribed: opposition to the State.

You obviously have not read many anarchists! While Marxists, academics and so-called "anarcho"-capitalists may claim that, in reality the anarchist tradition has been anti-state and anti-capitalist.

capricorn wrote:
Beyond that, I wouldn't quite say anything goes, but a lot does. So you've got individualist anarchists, market anarchists, bomb-throwing anarchists, pacifist anarchists, syndicalist anarchists, communist anarchists, even christian anarchists.

obviously anyone can call themselves an anarchist, but if you look at the historic movement opposition to oppression and exploitation have been a common theme. And, of course, there are many schools of "Marxism": reformist Marxists, social democrats, Leninists, council communists, left-communists, Trotskyists, Cliffites, and so on. Many of these are mutually exclusive, so I guess a lot does in Marxist circles as well...

capricorn wrote:
Personally, I've never understood why anarchists who are syndicalists or communists consider they have some affinity with the others. But they do.

Because communism cannot be imposed and freedom means the ability to pick a different way of living. Pretty obvious, really. As long as they are anti-capitalist and anti-state, they are anarchists. And we do disagree with them and show why they they should be communist-anarchists.

Anarcho
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Jan 21 2008 10:14
Devrim wrote:
Well considering that the civil war is generally considered to have started in October 1917 they must have been damn quick about it. In fact your phrase 'months' before seems to be suggesting that they were doing all of these things before they were even in power.

Interesting definition of "generally" here! In reality, most people think that the Russian civil war started in May 1918, with the rebellion of the Czech troops. There were some fighting post October, but "soviet power" was successfully spread as opposition did not exist. Lenin himself had announced that "civil war" had ended in March. It was in this period, March to May, which saw the Bolseviks gerrymander soviets, disband soviets with non-Bolshevik elected majorities, repress opposition parties, start to impose one-man management, and so forth.

Of course, Bolshevik authoritarianism started on the night they seized power. Their first act was to create an executive over the soviets, in direct contradiction to Lenin's "State and Revolution" -- and the Paris Commune. This is unsurprising as Lenin had repeatedly stressed in 1917 that the Bolsheviks should take power.

So that is why anarchists are so hard on the Bolsheviks -- their authoritarians started from the moment they seized power and they repressed the working class to remain there (in their own interests, of course, as they were the vanguard after all).

Devrim wrote:
It is also quite clear from Anarcho's comments on this thread that I am being blamed for the actions of everyone who ever called themselves a Marxist.

If you feel you have to, but I was simply pointing out that Marxism has consistently failed the tests you impose on anarchism. In comparison, we have come out quite well.

Devrim wrote:
Personally, I would think that this would be something that anarchists would avoid. I certainly won't lower myself to attacking anarchism with everything that refers to itself by that name.

Oh, so the mainstream of Marxism for the last, what, 130 years is not relevant in evaluating Marxism?

Devrim wrote:
It is particularly ironic though seeing as I have never defended most of these things that I am being accused of supporting, nor have I even referred to myself as a Marxist.

And the "left-communists" are not Marxists?

Devrim wrote:
The phrase downplay the anti-election campaign is a bit misleading. I would put it down as active support.

Did the CNT-FAI advocate voting? Did they campaign for the other parties?

Devrim wrote:
But the important question is here, and you seem to dodge it. Were they right or wrong? You don't have a comment upon it. Were they correct to back one faction of the bourgoise in the 1931 elections? If you believe that they weren't why do you think that it happened?

Answering the last question first, I have indicated why I think it happened. As for the 1931 elections, the CNT was disorganised and many of the committee members had become isolated from the membership. Did the CNT actually advocate people voted in 1931? Perhaps I am wrong, but did the CNT as an organisation actually tell people to vote for the Republicans and socialists? I'm not sure they did -- please provide some evidence.

Were they right, in 1936, to not campaign as strongly for non-voting as in 1933? Well, hard to say. Reading about the situation I can understand why many CNT members voted. The repression was terrible. Thousands were in prison and the unions were banned. Fascism seemed one step away from legally taking power. A tactic vote for the republicans did give space to re-organise.

Not being there makes it hard to say definitely, I have to admit. I'm sure that this recognition of difficulties of circumstances will be seized upon but, to be honest, I do not care. I can understand why certain decisions were made -- I will say that the one on July 20th was definitely wrong.

MalFunction
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Jan 21 2008 11:59

From my reading of Abel Paz's new edition of the Durruti biography, I'd say the CNT was split in its response to the elections of 1936. Not surprising as the union had many militants still in prison, union halls were closed, no delegates were properly mandated due to meetings being banned etc.

Also one shouldn't assume that the CNT was composed solely of anarchists. Indeed in the book the estimate of anarchists in the CNT is about 3-5% of the total membership. The official ideology and many of the leading militants were anarchist / anarchist-communist / anarcho-syndicalist - but the bulk of the membership were not so "hard-line". So one should expect many would support parties from the Left Coalition in the February election.

Tactically supporting the left would (if elected and it kept its pledges) allow the CNT much needed time to rebuild and re-organise after a period of illegality.

The line was pretty much, by all means vote for the left if you want (we of course officially are opposed) but prepare for all hell to be let lose sooner rather than later. Either the Right would win and repression would start in earnest, or the left would win and the Right would take up arms against it. Either way the CNT would need to respond, but it would do so best if it had time to legally organise, propagandise and sort itself out.

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Devrim
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Jan 21 2008 12:50
Anarcho wrote:
Interesting definition of "generally" here! In reality, most people think that the Russian civil war started in May 1918,

If we take Wiki as pretty 'general': http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Civil_War

Wiki wrote:
The first attempt to regain power from the Bolsheviks was made by the Kerensky-Krasnov uprising in October, 1917. It was supported by the Junker mutiny in Petrograd, but quickly put down by the Red Guards.
1918 Bolshevik propaganda poster depicting Trotsky as Saint George slaying the reactionary dragon (Trotsky was People's Commissar of War, and organizer of the Red Army). Note the dragon is wearing a top hat, which the Soviets associated with capitalism.
1918 Bolshevik propaganda poster depicting Trotsky as Saint George slaying the reactionary dragon (Trotsky was People's Commissar of War, and organizer of the Red Army). Note the dragon is wearing a top hat, which the Soviets associated with capitalism.

The initial groups that fought against the Communists were local Cossack armies that had declared their loyalty to the Provisional Government. Prominent among them were Kaledin of the Don Cossacks and Semenov of the Siberian Cossacks. In November, General Alekseev, the old Tsarist Commander-in-Chief, began to organize a Volunteer Army (Добровольческая Армия, Dobrovolcheskaya Armiya) in Novocherkassk. He was joined in December by Kornilov. These forces fought against the Bolshevik army all across the Ukraine. The Cossacks took Rostov in December 1917.

Devrim

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Jan 21 2008 13:01
Anarcho wrote:
Answering the last question first, I have indicated why I think it happened. As for the 1931 elections, the CNT was disorganised and many of the committee members had become isolated from the membership. Did the CNT actually advocate people voted in 1931? Perhaps I am wrong, but did the CNT as an organisation actually tell people to vote for the Republicans and socialists? I'm not sure they did -- please provide some evidence.
International Review wrote:
When the elections that were to push through the proclamation of the Republic took place in April 1931, the leaders of the CNT decided (albeit coyly) in favour of voting, as Olaya acknowledges: "We voted for the first time in 8 years as if it were a right that we had won. The turn out was massive, even on the part of CNT militants, who were influenced by their hatred of the monarchy and sensible of the critical situation of thousands of social detainees."[29] In an article evaluating the elections Solidaridad Obrera stated that "the vote was for the armistice and the Republic, against the atrocities and injustices committed by the monarchy". This was another striking precedent which was to be manifested much more overtly during the famous elections of February 1936!

29.Olaya, History of the Spanish Workers' Movement

The source is Francisco Olaya Morales, an anarchist historian, the other is Solidaridad Obrera, an anarchist newspaper.

Devrim

capricorn
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Jan 21 2008 14:24

To tell the truth I don't see too much wrong with the anarchist leaders of the CNT giving their members the nod to vote in the 1931 and 1936 elections in Spain. If workers think they can influence the situation by voting, then vote they will, and in 1931 and 1936 they knew they could influence the situation (in favour of a bourgeois-democratic republic, which would allow the CNT to operate with less restrictions and would release CNT prisoners). So, they would have voted whatever the anarchist leaders would have said. In fact, as with all leaders, what they could do was limited by the attitudes of their followers. In other words, they had to go where their followers wanted if they wanted to stay leaders. Of course it made them look hypocrites but, more importantly, it exposed the impracticability of maintaining an abstentionist position when you are a mass movement. It confirmed what James Connolly (while he was still a working-class militant and before he became an Irish National Martyr and Hero) said when asked about the new preamble adopted by the IWW in 1908:

Quote:
He was asked if he approved of its repudiating the principle of political action. He laughed, 'It will be impossible to prevent the workers taking it'. (The Life and Times of James Connolly, Desmond Greaves, p. 228)
MalFunction
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Jan 22 2008 13:39

re Anarcho's claim:

Quote:
I should note that in Aragon they did destroy the state and create the council of Aragon.

one could argue that the nationalists, by taking control of Zaragoza and the western half of Aragon, pretty much abolished the existing state there, and then instituted their own. whereas the anarchists set up a council with representatives from local communities and the militia columns (who were predominantly anarchist)