Anarchisme Bulletin No 44 – Februari 2012
Hieronder treft men aan het door Bas Moreel samengestelde en verspreide Anarchisme bulletin nr. 44. Het bestaat uit twee onderdelen: (1) activiteiten, (2) een publicatie. De ‘info’ komt tot Bas uit verschillende windstreken en dus in verschillende talen…Bas laat in het onderhavige bulletin weten, dat hij vanwege de lengte van een opgenomen artikel (een vertaling uit het Pools in het Engels door Bas) ander materiaal heeft laten liggen voor een volgende keer.
De AS biedt zijn bulletin, onder enkele aanpassingen, aan zoals dat door Bas wordt verspreid. (th.h)
MARSEILLES – SATURDAY 3 MARCH –
François Roux: Auriez-vous crié “Heil Hitler!”? – Conference
Venue : CIRA, 50 rue Consolat, 13001 Marseilles
Time : 5pm
In January 1933 74% of the Germans who had the right to vote did not vote with the result that the nazis became the masters of the country in a democratic way.
In his book Auriez-vous crié “Heil Hitler!”? and at this conference François Roux confronts his audience with questions such as: How would you respond if a similar situation developed in your country ?
More in the CIRA Marseilles bulletin for February:
By what I read in the introduction supplied by the CIRA François Roux does not ask the anarchists in his audience whether they would have tried to prevent this situation by simply taking part in the elections and telling other people to do the same.
German publisher Bernd Kramer wrote in one of his Almanachs that, where other people have spectacles, marxists have texts by Marx.
In the theses at the end of this bulletin Wincenty Kolodziej overlooked this similarity between anarchists and marxists.
PARIS – UNTIL 15TH OF APRIL – “LOUISE MICHEL : ÉCRITS ET CRIS”
Musical based on LM’s letters and autobiography created and directed by Marie Ruggeri.
Venue: Théâtre Essaïon, 6 rue Pierre au Lard, Paris 4.
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays: 8pm
Tel.: 01 42 78 46 42
WRONG DATES IN No 42:
HR-ZAGREB – 31.3-2.4 – EIGHTH ZAGREB ANARCHIST BOOKFAIR Correct dates: 30.3-1.4
Readers may remember Wincenty Kolodziej from translations of chapters from his book on anarchism and anarchists in Russia and the Kingdom Poland published in earlier issues of this bulletin.
ANARCHISM AND MARXISM
Theses of the paper „Anarchism and Marxism” read at the conference „From the History of Polish Anarchism” organised by the University of Szczecin (Poland) in Pobierowo (Poland) on the 2nd and 3rd of December 2010.
Anarchism and marxism are ideologies that developed together during the first half of the 19th century.
Anarchism is both a full fledged science and an ideology and not only an ideology or political programme, as is said by people who are against anarchism.
Marxism and anarchism have served the workers’ movement, which started developing particularly strongly after the 1st and 2nd industrial revolutions in Europe and North America.
Both anarchism and marxism were preceded by socialist ideals about a social system without egoism, coercion and exploitation.
The first theoreticians that were called socialists counted on the good will of society and on the evolutionary character of the changes in the world. They wanted to replace the traditional employer-worker relationship by voluntary productive associations devised by them.
Both marxism and anarchism sought the roots of their thinking in the philosophies of the antiquity and in the thinkers of the Middle Ages as well as in socio-political and religious movements of their time.
An important role in the development of those views and ideologies was played by the times of the Enlightenment and the ideas of freedom proclaimed during those times.
Both marxism and anarchism were inspired by current socialist ideas, by the materialist philosophy, by the classic English economic school and by the liberal ideas that were mainly propounded in Europe and in the United States of North America.
Marxists and anarchists competed for influence in the emancipatory and workers’ movements of the 19th and 20th century.
In the debates the marxists addressed in the first place the working class, the anarchists rather society as a whole as victim of the negative effects of the capitalist system.
It is generally held that the activities developed so far by the socialist leaders have not been working.
Both marxism and anarchism see capitalism as a socio-economic system that should be eradicated ruthlessly because of its unfairness and of the exploitation of man by man that goes with it.
Private ownership, the basis of capitalism, should be replaced by a different form of ownership, for example public ownership. For both marxism and anarchism (private) ownership was only theft, a concept launched by the father of anarchism Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.
These are a few elements the two movements have in common.
Remain the differences in the aims and in the methods by which to attain the final aim. This final aim was an egalitarian society, which the anarchists called anarchy and the marxists communist State.
They had already different views of what was the „working class”. For the marxists this were in the first place the qualified workers, for the anarchists all workers.
As their influence grew the two currents became divided over the question (for the marxists in principle: the fear) of who was to lead the workers’ movement.
They had somewhat similar views of the world revolution that would bring the overthrow of the bourgeois governments. But they had different views on the way in which the revolution would have to be conducted, on how to organise it and which form socio-economic and political life should take afterwards.
They agreed in that the private ownership, on which the capitalist system rested, had to be abolished.
According to the anarchists the place of the toppled central government had to be taken by fully autonomous small administrative units (communes, councils, syndicates), autonomous in political, social and economic matters. For that reason Peter Kropotkin called for the resuscitation of the administrative divisions of the Middle Ages. He wrote: „Let us start a revolution and restore the principalities of Pskov, Zhytomyr,Vladimir, Jaroslav and Kiev, and the bureaucracy and the State power that have so far kept Russia together will collapse and the people will take the power and decide which form this power will take, its extent and what cooperation there will be.
The marxists also favoured a revolution but they wanted to replace the toppled bourgeois powers by a new type of State based on a new type of government, the dictatorship of the working class, which was to organise the communist society in such a way that in the long run the State institutions would disappear slowly withering away and finally absorbed by society.
This kind of revolution the anarchists rejected categorically saying that power once acquired will not be ceded. Lenin agreed with this thesis and after 1917 applied it in Russia to the last consequences.
Here both marxists and anarchists were wrong, as was shown by the developments of the 1990s, when the so-called socialist camp fell apart in Central and Eastern Europe.
There were also fundamental theoretical differences in respect of both the ways and the methods to conduct the revolution.
The marxists held that the revolution had to be conducted by a strong and well organised political party (the theories of the French Blanquiists were popular) consisting of revolutionarily minded intellectuals (the revolutionary catechism of Sergey Nechayev) supported by a working class fully aware of its mission and role. The political party would carry through the revolution and create a new State.
The anarchists held that a revolution initiated at the top is very harmful, that it must begin at the bottom.
Another principle to which anarchists stuck and continue to stick reads: „Every allegedly provisional revolutionary power can only be another sham and would prove as dangerous for the proletariat as any presently existing government” (Resolution adopted on the 15th of September 1872 by the Anarchist Congress held in London).
The marxists held that the revolution was to put the means of production into the hands of the State. Also for this reason the anarchists called the socialism of the marxists State socialism.
In those days nobody criticised State socialism as thoroughly as the anarchists did and saw its dangers so clearly. On hindsight their criticism proved not only constructive but also prophetic in respect of the consequences of the application of Marx’s and of the marxists’ views. So, the criticisms that are now being launched against the really existing socialism based on what we can see now are not that innovative. It is much more difficult to foresee the consequences of the application of certain theoretical concepts than to see the socio-economic and political effects afterwards.
The anarchists did not want to see the means of production in the hands of the State but rather in the hands of associations of producers, a model somewhat similar to the idea of people’s capitalism some now advocate. In respect of the countryside and the ownership of the land, the marxists held that the land had to be owned by farmers’ associations led by managements elected by the farmers and supervised by the central powers. The proceeds of the taxes would go to the farmers’ associations and these associations might share their income with the State. As we know, Joseph Stalin was to implement this concept and we know what its consequences have been both in Soviet Russia and in the 1950s in Central and Eastern Europe.
The anarchists held that the land belongs to society as a whole, society was to be the owner. The farmers would only use the land and get proceeds from their work on it, they were not to have the right to pass it on to heirs. The land and the agricultural policy were to be the in the hands of a territorial self-managed structure. This form of ownership reminds of the form of ownership of the Middle Ages except that no longer a feoffor was to be the owner but a self-managed structure.
Another problem that divided marxists and anarchists was their view of the State. The marxists gave the State an important role to play from the moment they would have seized the power. With time the State was to die as organisation. However, the practice was different. This matter has given rise to lively debates and to the publication of many theoretical works in both camps.
It is generally held that the anarchists rejected the State idea altogether but in reality this was only and exclusively the attitude of the individualist anarchists. In my opinion anarchism accepts the existence of a State but limits its role to the task which the Lassallists and the Adam Smith of the classic English school saw for it. Similar differences existed in respect of the role and the importance of the political party in the revolution and in socio-political life. The marxists held that the political party had an essential role to play in the construction of the future communist society.
The anarchists, however, saw in the party an organisation built on a hierarchical principle meant to satisfy the political ambitions of certain individuals. It would have its own organisational structure and be prone to corruption and to all kinds of economic and political abuse.
Every idea of a leading role of the party in society was rejected categorically by the anarchists because it would sooner or later end up in a dictatorship. The kind of power proposed by the marxists would make the State worse than the States existing in capitalism because without freedom the individual would depend on a despotically ruled bureaucratised State.
The anarchists were right that the abolition of the free market and of private ownership together with the transfer of the administration of the means of production to the State would result in more bureaucracy and in less freedom for the individual and for its activities, which, with time, would result in economic and political crises and in the collapse of the whole system.
Much of these pertinent anarchist criticisms we could witness in Russia after 1917 and in Poland after 1945, when we built so-called really existing socialism. This new socio-economic system proved not to work and by the end of the 20th century was replaced by capitalism in Central and Eastern Europe. Capitalism has proved to work better in spite of its imperfections.
(Translated from the Polish by Sebastian Moreel)
I apologise for the sometimes funny lay-out spontaneously engendered by a system against which I’m helpless.
23 February 2012