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February 15, 2006



Nick said, "The main task for revolutionaries is to reach broadly into many sections of the people -- not to endlessly fret and fuss over how to form "left coalitions."

I soooo agree with that. At the same time, there needs to be real engagement with the more spontaneous resistance scenes and so on. There's a time for coalitions too. Really. I just don't think that's the first place to always turn.

People who call themselves anarchists can be anything, just like reds. Scratch an anarchist, find a liberal, a social-dem, a communist -- even conservatives. It's kind of a none-of-the-above category.


Voline's cousin: unfortunately, Lenin's quote about anarchism benefitting from communist opportunism doesn't work the other way around.

Besides illustrating Trotsky's vicious change of heart and Voline's amazing ability to tell the future [if we this account is even reliable] what lessons are we supposed to draw from your anecdote? Oh that's right - commies bad, anarchists good.

Why do anarchists never draw such earth-shattering lessons from Emma Goldman's advocacy of eugenics? How about the fact that Makhno broke his alliance with the Bolsheviks by attacking them from the rear in 1919 [from The Anarchism of Nestor Makhno by M. Palij - one of his wives]. How about the anarchist failure to take power in Catalan and, in fact, asking the bourgouesie to stay and then joining the state? As far as I'm concerned, none of these acts [problematic as they are] invalidate anarchism, but according to the methodology represented by Voline's cousin, they should.

While there are tons of books by Marxists taking critical looks at Marx, Lenin, Mao,, there are surprisingly few anarchist writers who do the same for anarchism.

When anarchists write the history of their movement, there are two thematic poles: heroic martyrdom in the face of the bourgeosie and victimization at the hands of communists. And communists are the ones who are dogmatic and [self-] deceptive? What do you call it when you continually fail at even coming close to your goals [overthrow of a state - and NO Spain wasn't close] while maintaining the validity of your ideology? Anarchists could take some responsibility and start looking deeply into the question - or just keep blaming commies.


burningman: regarding everyday life. I agree with you about its importance but don't shortchange Marxists such as Walter Benjamin and Henri Lefebvre. They were major influences on anarchists [esp. Lefebvre on the Situationists] and their insights are still mind-blowing even if they didn't take it to the streets.


This conversation is far more interesting than Freeman's article. I don't know where the RCP has been hiding these people, but I'm impressed.

stupid anarchist

To the Vanguard lets go!! I'm such an opportunist. You are all right. I think organization is stupid and I'm never self-critical, not even in our history books. Maybe I should turn into a communist, like my friends in early 20th century. cuba, china and brazil did. Yeah, that turned out fantastic.


Long live the People's Republic of Brazil!


Cuba today vs. Batista and slavery?

No Choice.

China under socialism vs. feudalism and Walmart?

No Choice.

Anarchism can't see the difference because it is INSANELY DOGMATIC and has no interest in what happens to anyone besides the people who call themselves anarchists. That's why their failures are always somebody else's fault... the dog ate my homework school of historiography, with commies playing the bad dog.

Bad Dog

Ruff, ruff.

stupid anarchist

yep. us insanely dogmatic anarchists are so stupid! fuck. goddamnit i'm sorry. i'm trying to be less stupid and dogmatic. thank you for pointing this out to me. thank you so much.


try harder

Fluid Radical

I was going to post a nice long refutation, but I don't see much of a point now. You Maoists are douche bags sometimes. Spending time that could be used to further organize the radical left, you waste it attacking anarchists because we don't meet up to your revolutionary standards. Well fuck, nobody has ever met up to anyone’s revolutionary standards. Instead of running through this inevitable sectarian infighting. Why don’t we spend our time focused on building revolutionary change? Wouldn’t that be an awfully nicer situation?


Save your breath, FluRad. If you can't handle this thread then you should check in on "Setting the Record Straight" and git your dose of Stalin apologetics. Stalin's good for you, high in fiber and it's the new party line. Communist still need to grovel at the feet of their Fuhrer, whether its Stalin or some fat old bore in Paris named Avakian. Yeah, we're really going to build a movement on all that crap.

the burningman

I don't know what the Fluid Radical is mad at. What? I read anarchist pubications? I notice what they argue? That it's a fucking identity much more than an analysis?

BTW: arguing politics with more than a little elbow grease is part of "building revolutionary change." For those who mock "science," one thing I'll note is that it holds ideas up for analysis on their own merits, not how they make you feel.

the burningman

I don't think engaging ideas is attacking them.


Fluid Radical exmplifies the arguments against Freeman's article that many of us have made. What else could it mean when someone says: "Instead of running through this inevitable sectarian infighting. Why don’t we spend our time focused on building revolutionary change?" Let's not struggle out political issues, let's just do something!

Debate is not necessarily 'sectarian'. This has just become a leftist buzzword, like 'fascist' can be, to shut down discussion. There are substantial disagreements over ideology and strategy that cannot be glossed over. How we handle it will impact how we "build revolutionary change".

If things get heated, it's because of the stakes involved.

BTW, name-calling as a substitute for analysis ["douche-bag", "fat old bore"] is pretty lame. Please leave that to Bill O'Reilly.

the burningman

I'm staying relatively lax with the moderation. Calling people douche-bags is a bit much, but mainly it demonstrates that the author is an asshole. I'm sure everyone here can take it.

For future note: regular posters (with emails) will get a little more latitude in terms of sharp posts. But why insult people? Really, you won't win anyone over and it won't make you feel better.

a comment

Burningman posted links to Red Fists


Am I the only person who sees that these people are Black Blockers who somehow think they are communist?

Every sentence here seems opposed to the orientation that I associate with revolutionary communism.

(Down to the crude economist statement that whenever we act as workers we are inherently enemies of the system and the bourgoeisie. As if!)

the burningman

Please don't cross-weave threads.

But since you're brought it up, revolutionary communists have certainly participated in Black Blocs in the United States. Not under this name, but as participants in largely anti-authoritarian blocs.

Apparently some folks in Canada do something they call the Red Fist. That's about all I know. Maybe something will come up and I'll post it for discussion.

For now, this is about something else entirely. Please respect the thread.

Bob Morris

Her article is on her site!

And she might as well have been talking about the Green Party...

I was involved with the GP for a while, and left because of the endless arguments and meetings where nothing got accomplished.

Now I'm in ANSWER. Meetings are short, then you go out and do stuff. It's a whole different stucture than the GP and hence much more effective.

Nii the Knight

"But before we can proceed to experiment intelligently, we must accept the idea that there is nothing inherently bad about structure itself -- only its excess use."

Coudn't agree more Jo, that's why most intelligent radicals choose the informal structure.

G. Frohman

You're right, Nii -- if, when you say "intelligent," you mean "opportunistic and chauvinist."

is this even a debate?

I guess it is. Go figure.

Get our shit together, or hang out?

If you view any actual change in power as some kind of compromise, why not surrender before the fight begins?

From what I can see, the anti-authoritarian attitude is a healthy instinct, and dumbass plan. It's like saying, "hey, I'm free!" and acting like the declaration alone breaks down the prison walls.

Informality is another way of saying "whatever."

It's not a serious discussion. It's a fake discussion with partisans way too comfortable with their own attitude to notice how stupid the "stay disorganized" principle is.

Oppressed people have no power without organization. None. Insofar as they do as individuals, they become part of the very system they seek to circumvent. The argument against POLITICAL organization is justification for the powers that already exist. End of story.

Ni! the Knight

Well my reluctant debator, I to am reluctant about spending time on this issue on this particular blog with the fixed views that many here hold.

What can I say, you and me are seeing opposites. For me when you recreate the organzational structure that mirrors the social relations of capital you are 1)surrendering and (2)most certainly justifying it.

It's also unfortunate that you believe freedom to be completely tied to a historical event. I suppose a linear teleologist such as yourself can do no better.

Whatever indeed

the burningman

He call us linear teleologists.

I feel so dirty.

Keep blaming physics for gravity.

Nelson H.

For a good piece that I took to explain, in part, why those of us who draw political/theoretical influence from Mao and Maoism aren't linear teleogists, check out this latest piece by the ever awesome Samir Amin on Monthly Review.

the burningman

Or just about anything Bob Avakian has written since 1980... Or the developing revolution in Nepal... or... wait! It doesn't matter what we say or do, as the non-linear narrative specialist here doesn't care what people DO. That's "determinist," as if what "is" and what "happens" might demonstrate some "tendency." Heaven forbid we limit the realm of infinite possibility through recognizing the tyranny of the real!

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