The Spanish 'Revolution'

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Rob Ray
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Jun 14 2005 17:51

Yeah cheers john I was entirely unaware of that roll eyes.

My point wasn't 'my enemy's enemy', just that social democracy historically has a better record than fascism in not indiscriminately slaughtering people (at least at home). That option was entirely on the basis of 'what's best for the people', not 'what's best for anarchists'.

The possiblity that if the fascists had lost it could have ended up as a stalinist-style system anyway is a strong factor, but then again, that's not the same thing as a certainty.

Beltov
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Jun 14 2005 18:09
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
Why don't we discuss the failures of Argentina, or the possibilities of Bolivia? Both are far more relevant?

Why not, because there's a link between the two: the myth of self-management. At the moment the Zanon factory in Argentina is being hailed as a model of self-management, much like the collectives were in Spain. Howerver, in our view, ‘workers’ self-management’ within the framework of a capitalist economy can only result in the same old exploitation in a different form.

There have been countless demonstrations of this reality, from the anarchist collectives in Spain to LIP in France and the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders in Britain. It is not possible for the working class to lay hold of the means of production without first taking political power; and when it has achieved this step – which needs to be taken on a global scale – its goal is not to run businesses more efficiently or make more profits than the capitalists but to abolish commodity production altogether.

Beltov.

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Steven.
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Jun 14 2005 18:18
Saii wrote:
Yeah cheers john I was entirely unaware of that roll eyes.

My you're in a bad mood today!

Quote:
My point wasn't 'my enemy's enemy', just that social democracy historically has a better record than fascism in not indiscriminately slaughtering people (at least at home). That option was entirely on the basis of 'what's best for the people', not 'what's best for anarchists'.

Firstly, I think your final point is a false one, since I believe they're one and the same. Secondly social democracy could in no way contain the contradictions of capitalism in 1930's Spain - that's why the military rose in the first place. Finally the main thing motivating people to fight fascism was the social revolution. You can see Orwell for his description of what effect collaboration and militarisation had on the militias.

Quote:
The possiblity that if the fascists had lost it could have ended up as a stalinist-style system anyway is a strong factor, but then again, that's not the same thing as a certainty.

The stalinists were looking to build a capitalist state, not a state capitalist one, in line with USSR policy at the time.

The workers rose against the Stalinists(/the Republic) - in the May days of 1937, and the CNT ultimately helped helped quash it. If you're arguing what you are, do you support the suppression of this rebellion then?

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Rob Ray
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Jun 14 2005 18:24

Oh Ffs. It's entirely provable that self-management is a better work method within the capitalist economy than otherwise. Taking the example of Zanon, profits have been reinvested in schools, hospitals, and other public services. Show me a traditionally capitalist factory that does the same.

No-ones saying self-management in the workplace is the be-all and end-all however, so even if this weren't true, your argument holds fuck all validity anyway.

What I've been seeing throughout every single one of your posts has been this weird assumption that if something isn't going to lead directly to the worldwide revolution it's not worth doing.

That's bollocks.

If something helps the working class gain in strength, confidence, self-sufficiency or anything else, it's a good thing, particularly while I'm waiting for you to ferment the synchronised take-over of every country on earth simultaneously - do let me know how you get on.

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Rob Ray
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Jun 14 2005 18:41

I believe they're one and the same.

But that attitude leads to the logical conclusion that the fortunes of an anarchist minority is worth more than the non-anarchist (civillian) majority it is built to protect, making an anarchist worth more than a civillian? It could be argued that way I guess, but it seems... elitist. Maybe I'm just being a bit liberal.

Quote:
If you're arguing what you are, do you support the suppression of this rebellion then?

No I'm arguing the original decision to support the republic over the fascists. I wouldn't pretend to be an expert on what happened afterwards.

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Steven.
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Jun 14 2005 18:47
Saii wrote:
I believe they're one and the same.

But that attitude leads to the logical conclusion that the fortunes of an anarchist minority is worth more than the non-anarchist (civillian) majority it is built to protect, making an anarchist worth more than a civillian? It could be argued that way I guess, but it seems... elitist. Maybe I'm just being a bit liberal.

No not at all - I'm an anarchist cos I think anarchism is in the best interests of all people. If the state said they'd divvie up the cash meant for the NHS between all the UK's anarchists I'd disagree with it (hmmm or would I? wink).

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Quote:
If you're arguing what you are, do you support the suppression of this rebellion then?

No I'm arguing the original decision to support the republic over the fascists. I wouldn't pretend to be an expert on what happened afterwards.

Even though the decision to support the republic and join the government meant that

a: the CNT abandoned anarchism

b: the gold reserves were respected, thus stopping the anarchist militias purchasing arms, putting effective control into the hands of the tiny Stalist CP

c: the effective revolutionary fighting militias were shut down and replaced with a shit standing army with hierarchy and officers

I'd also add that I think this lead to the whole war being lost anyway, but still...

Edited to add - surely what happened afterwards is the key, no? If we don't learn from the mistakes of the past we're doomed to repeat them (big lesson - don't collaborate with the capitalist state!)

Beltov
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Jun 14 2005 18:50
Saii wrote:
I believe they're one and the same.

But that attitude leads to the logical conclusion that the fortunes of an anarchist minority is worth more than the non-anarchist (civillian) majority it is built to protect, making an anarchist worth more than a civillian? It could be argued that way I guess, but it seems... elitist. Maybe I'm just being a bit liberal.

Quote:
If you're arguing what you are, do you support the suppression of this rebellion then?

No I'm arguing the original decision to support the republic over the fascists. I wouldn't pretend to be an expert on what happened afterwards.

So what would your position have been in 1939? Would you have defended 'British democracy' against the nasty German fascists? Like Kropotkin who defended the 'Russian motherland' against the nasty Prussians?

BTW, didn't the German Social Democrats order the assassination of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Leibknecht?

Whatever happened to 'Workers of all countries, UNITE!'?

Beltov.

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Rob Ray
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Jun 14 2005 19:25

No idea, ask me again when we next end up at war with a fascist country. I might do, might not. It depends on the circumstances and the liklihood of the fascist side being beaten without my help.

Imperialist wars are one thing, but we're talking about two forms of government and ideology fighting it out here, one of which is demonstrably worse than the other. I'm not going to suddenly abandon my beliefs, but I am going to be pragmatic. If I reckon I can get away with it, I'm not going to support the capitalist state. But the key thing is that I'd have to decide then.

Naval gazing about it afterwards is well and good, but it's a luxury that the CNT didn't have, and we wouldn't. The bit I argued was that decision, and I'm saying that it's a bit off to cry that they betrayed the revolution in that moment, because I doubt that's what they reckoned they were doing. It seems more likely that they were taking the best decision they could with the information they had over how the fascists could be stopped.

What they did afterwards, you seem to know more than me about and I'll listen rather than speak. I didn't say it was unimportant, just that it wasn't my orginal point.

redyred
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Jun 14 2005 19:41
Beltov wrote:
So what would your position have been in 1939? Would you have defended 'British democracy' against the nasty German fascists? Like Kropotkin who defended the 'Russian motherland' against the nasty Prussians?

I can't speak for Saii, but personally yes I would have defended British democracy against German nazism. This is nothing to do with collaboration, it is a little game played by the non-mental left called "not letting fascism fuck the world up".

Beltov, you just seem to just have a blanket analysis on all wars - a totally naive simplification. The two world wars and the Spanish Civil War were all vastly different situations. World War 1 was a purely imperialist conflict, where millions of lives were thrown away for the sake of capital, and bar a few like Kropotkin most anarchists and socialists were against it. The Spanish Civil War was a war against fascism in which the level of class militancy meant there was a chance for the working class to defeat fascism - statism and the popular front could only hold the workers back. World War 2 was also a war against fascism, but one in which the working class was in no position to win for itself. Of course, the allies had an imperialist agenda in fighting the war, but realistically they were the only hope of defeating nazi germany. And defeating nazis is a GOOD THING.

Basically Beltov it looks like you either believe:

1) Bourgeois democracy and national socialism are just as bad as each other.

2) The working class in the axis nations had the potential (at that stage) to overthrow their fascist rulers.

or

3) It would have been better if the nazis had won the war, because then the proletariat would be more oppressed and more likely to have a revolution.

Please tell us which of the above it is, so we can work out exactly what kind of nutter you are.

Beltov
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Jun 14 2005 20:13
redyred-white-and-blue wrote:
I can't speak for Saii, but personally yes I would have defended British democracy against German nazism. This is nothing to do with collaboration, it is a little game played by the non-mental left called "not letting fascism fuck the world up".

Yeah, because 'democratic' capitalism has done such a fine job in not "fucking up the world" roll eyes

redyred-white-and-blue wrote:
Beltov, you just seem to just have a blanket analysis on all wars - a totally naive simplification. The two world wars and the Spanish Civil War were all vastly different situations.

Only if you have to justify your support for a bourgeois government. Since the first world war all nations have been imperialist, and all wars between these nations are imperialist wars, whichever fraction of the ruling class is in power. All fractions of the ruling class are equally reactionary.

redyred-white-and-blue wrote:

Basically Beltov it looks like you either believe:

1) Bourgeois democracy and national socialism are just as bad as each other.

Yes: Democracy - Fascism - Stalinism are all just different forms of state-capitalism. The Allies and the Axis powers were both responsible for the massacre of the Jews.

redyred-white-and-blue wrote:

2) The working class in the axis nations had the potential (at that stage) to overthrow their fascist rulers.

No, they didn't have the potential because they were already defeated in the 1930s.

redyred-white-and-blue wrote:

3) It would have been better if the nazis had won the war, because then the proletariat would be more oppressed and more likely to have a revolution.

Again, for the working class it makes not a shred of difference who won the war: none of them would have defended the interests of the working class, which would have fought against all of them.

Beltov.

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Rob Ray
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Jun 14 2005 21:10

Under that argument, the law of theocratic Iran, stating that women are inferior under law and should be punished if they are raped, that theft should be punished by cutting off someone's hand etc etc is precisely the same in its effect as a social democracy which does none of these things. It's a completely nonsensicle position to take.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Jun 14 2005 21:15
Beltov wrote:
It is not possible for the working class to lay hold of the means of production without first taking political power; and when it has achieved this step – which needs to be taken on a global scale – its goal is not to run businesses more efficiently or make more profits than the capitalists but to abolish commodity production altogether.

And what if you're in a position where the total global overthrow of capitalism isn't possible? Oh yes, you try to build an organisation that can do this and write long letters to each other until the glorious day.

Die to their similar 'all at once or nothing at all, I have to wonder whether the ICC is a front for the SPGB confused eek

Or maybe just an 'external faction'? black bloc

BB
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Jun 15 2005 11:18
John. wrote:
Steve wrote:
When I first joined the DAM I remember we were always being accused of being obsessed with Spain and the revolution. I also remember having these arguments many times and never getting anywhere. When it comes down to it the biggest mistake the CNT made was in not rounding up every stinking communist they could find and shooting the bastards.

There were only 2,000 of them at the beginning as well! roll eyes

I thought it was 10,000, maybe i'm getting confused with the Bullshitviks, in russia.

There was a few commie groups, though. 47 varieties...

p.s. I agree wholeheartedly with steve! Git ma riot gun, boy!

redyred
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Jun 15 2005 11:30
Beltov wrote:
redyred-white-and-blue wrote:
Beltov, you just seem to just have a blanket analysis on all wars - a totally naive simplification. The two world wars and the Spanish Civil War were all vastly different situations.

Only if you have to justify your support for a bourgeois government. Since the first world war all nations have been imperialist, and all wars between these nations are imperialist wars, whichever fraction of the ruling class is in power. All fractions of the ruling class are equally reactionary.

Saii's post on theocratic Iran already proves that point is balls. But while I remember I just want to respond to something you said in your first post on this thread. You claimed that the in the Spanish Civil War the Stalinists, CNT and POUM were in the pay of Soviet Imperialism. This is despite the fact that the USSR funded the comintern against the POUM and the CNT. Whether or not it constitutes a revolution you're mad if you think the mass action taken by workers and peasants in fighting the phalangists constitutes imperialism.

Big fat roll eyes for you Beltov.

Beltov wrote:
Again, for the working class it makes not a shred of difference who won the war: none of them would have defended the interests of the working class, which would have fought against all of them.

Right, right. So the victory in a global war of a system in which not only the revolutionary left but all social democrats and trade union activists are systematically anihilated, in which all forms of dissent are brutally crushed and in which all aspects of everyday life are totally regulated and militarised would make "not a shred of difference" for the working class.

Your position is infantile Beltov. It's the equivelant of 6th formers on their first demo singing "we all live in a fascist regime" only dressed up in pseudo intellectualist language.

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Jun 15 2005 12:07
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
What's going to happen to the interview? IS it going to be recorded for radio or transcribed?

The plan is to transcribe it and translate it so it gets published in Spanish on Anarkismo.net hopefully in around a week. After the bad experience of trying to do it via phone and old tape machine I'm not sorting out Skype and Wiretap for future use which would give us an immediate audio version.

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Jun 15 2005 12:17
John. wrote:
I've often heard the argument that the anarchists should have abandoned the front war and turned to widespread guerrilla warfare - what do people think of this?

They couldn't simply have abandoned the front warfare as whenever the fascists advanced and captured an area they would massacre the local militants - early in the war the capture of a small town in the south near the Portugeuse border saw the massacre of 4,000 in the bull ring for instance. Faced with a state perpared to use that level of terror tactics the only option is armed defence - a NVDA general strike will just lead to a massacre.

But the attempt to take offensive action in the front warfare was pretty much doomed to failure by the superior arms and training of the regular fascist army. It only worked in the early days when the fascists were weak.

So a combination of defending the existing front but only launching guerrilla offensive operations might well have brought results if your looking just at the military side of the question. Certainly all of the republics post 36 conventional offensives were complete disasters that just resulted in the rapid loss of months worth of the best equipment and huge casualties. Post 36 the republic would have been better off if it never attacked.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Jun 15 2005 15:12

To comment on this article that Joe posted earlier: http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=627

'Workers Without Bosses - Workers' Self-Management in Argentina'

The author offers a very sober and interesting account of the uprisings. He sees them as primarily defensive, and also as indication of a split within the ruling class, rather than as an expression of a real revolutionary movement. For example, while praising the piquiteros, he says:

'Many in the left went further and tried to decipher in the events of December a new revolutionary subjectivity, a new way of doing a "revolution", confusing the toppling of a government with the deep changes required to overcome capitalism in revolutionary terms - this in fairness, was nothing but recycled old spontaneism. But that revolutionary fight won't be won by the working class in the streets, but in the factories, in the fields, mines and workshops; not by toppling presidents, but by affecting the logic of capitalist society and expropriating the bourgeoisie while destroying the State and all other bourgeois institutions, building at the same time, from the bottom up the new institutions of direct democracy.'

So it seems as though the siezed factories offer the best examples of the Arg uprising's successes.

'Today, there are some 170 seized enterprises, and 10,000 workers are taking part in that experience of collective work. In all of them managerial hierarchies have disappeared and the income is shared equally by all workers. In the past, some companies spent 65-70% of their revenues on bosses' and managers' wages.'

The radical left parties seem to have been active in recuperating energy back towards the usualy debates about control of the state -- e.g. about whether the occupied enterprises should push for nationalisation or whether they should go for legalisation as co-operatives.

When the author says

'anarcho-communism was the political current that could have played a key part in giving a political framework to the development of a strategic revolutionary and political programme for the people, based on their own experiences'

We have to wonder -- why did it not do so? IS it a matter of a tradition too narrowly based? I've heard that the piquetero movement have large autonomis strads within it. Is ths author's implicit dismissal of 'street based' direct action that is not in the workplace linked to the refusal to look at the existing autonomous currents in the Arg revolution?

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Jun 15 2005 15:51
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
To comment on this article that Joe posted earlier: http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=627

When the author says

'anarcho-communism was the political current that could have played a key part in giving a political framework to the development of a strategic revolutionary and political programme for the people, based on their own experiences'

We have to wonder -- why did it not do so? IS it a matter of a tradition too narrowly based? I've heard that the piquetero movement have large autonomis strads within it. Is ths author's implicit dismissal of 'street based' direct action that is not in the workplace linked to the refusal to look at the existing autonomous currents in the Arg revolution?

He is not often online but I'll point this thread out to him and I'm sure he'll respond if he gets the chance. It would also be good if you could post the above section of you comment below the original article on Anarkismo.net

From my underestanding: The anarchist communist movement in Argentina at the beginning of the crisis was both very small and poorly resourced. It grew rapidly, indeed in one case it appears far too rapidly as one of the organisations imploded in the last few months (after reaching a membership in the thousands - mostly around the piquetero movement I believe). As yet I don't have enough details to discuss the specifics here but in summary when it was starting from such a small and weak base it could only have had quite a limited influence - I've argued in more detail about this elsewhere. [There is a good case for another article that focuses on the anarchist involvement]

I don't think the author dismisses 'street based actions' (that would be stupid) but rather points to the limits of them in the paragraph

Quote:
But that revolutionary fight won't be won by the working class in the streets, but in the factories, in the fields, mines and workshops; not by toppling presidents, but by affecting the logic of capitalist society and expropriating the bourgeoisie while destroying the State and all other bourgeois institutions, building at the same time, from the bottom up the new institutions of direct democracy.

The actions were capable of toppling presidents but other presidents waited in the wings and took their turn one after the other. This was a limitation of that movement and should be recognised as such. And this is a critique of what I guess you mean the autonomous movement within these actions - politically they did not come up with a method of getting over this barrier. And without a program to replace capitalism it was inevitable that sooner or later capitalism would once more find stability - as it now appears to be doing.

The same critique is made in much more details towards the factory occupations which again being without a revolutionary program have tended towards legalisation and a return to the rules of capitalism.

This process is not yet over but it is already clear that the traditional approach of moving on without analysing what (didn't) happen is occuring. The quantity of coverage of Argentina has plummetted and the new stuff that has emerged is as often as not film/video that simply takes longer to put together and circulate (I've not seen Kliens film but I guess that is the case there?).

Its important to note that the author isn't referring to anarchist communists simply prefecting a program and bringing it to the movement but rather "giving a political framework to the development of a strategic revolutionary and political programme for the people, based on their own experiences".

Anyway I'll email him the URL of this discussion.

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Jun 16 2005 15:07

On Bolivia this 'Statement on the current situation in Bolivia' may be of interest http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=717

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Jun 29 2005 12:12
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
To comment on this article that Joe posted earlier: http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=627

Hi Lazlo - the author has now stuck a reply under the anarkismo.net article