Archive for socialism

On Anarchist Sectarianism

Posted in Revolution with tags , , , , , , on January 6, 2011 by veteranarchist

“We are anarcho-syndicalists on the shop floor, green anarchists in the woods, social anarchists in our communities, individualists when you catch us alone, anarcho-communists when there’s something to share, insurrectionists when we strike a blow.”

By Bobby Whittenberg-James

It truly is troubling, though I see it all the time, anarchists dividing up against one another based upon means of organizing or economic dogma. Many times this results in anarchists taking up sides with either the political left or right, authoritarian statists, with social anarchists tending towards the left and market anarchists tending towards the libertarian right.

Rather than dividing ourselves up along sectarian lines, we should find common cause with other anti-authoritarians in our fight for anarchy. Certainly we all have very different ideas and tactics and those should be scrutinized, critiqued, and added to our toolbox or totally abandoned as necessary on a “take what you like, leave the rest” basis. We mimic the statists and the authoritarians, even the religious, however, when we pick a dogma, join a sect, and dig our heels in. We should always be open to the idea that someone else might have a better idea or a way of looking at or doing something that builds on our own or that we missed altogether. As conditions are constantly changing, so must our ideas and tactics. To bicker over adherence to prefabricated doctrines, none of which are totally applicable to our current situation is onanistic and counter productive. There is no need in making enemies where they don’t exist.

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The Evolution of Revolution

Posted in Corporations, Direct Action & Civil Disobedience, Government, Police State, Revolution with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2010 by veteranarchist

By Bobby Whittenberg-James

Men (sic) make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living. And just when they seem engaged in revolutionizing themselves and things, in creating something that has never yet existed, precisely in such periods of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service and borrow from them names, battle cries and costumes in order to present the new scene of world history in this time-honored disguise and this borrowed language.” – Ironically yours, Karl Marx

Proudhon was the first to call himself an anarchist, advocating a mix of socialism and capitalism called “mutualism.” Bakunin’s collectivist anarchism critiqued mutualism. Kropotkin’s anarchist communism critiqued collectivist anarchism. Are we really to believe that this is the apex of anarchist thought? Do we really want to adhere dogmatically to theories concocted over a century prior to neo-liberal globalization? Do we ignore everything that has happened since then and refuse to learn from it? If we are truly seeking anarchy, of course the answer is no.

We want an anarchy that is relevant in combating the existing economic and social order. We recognize that neo-liberal globalization has vastly changed economic and social relations from the time of the founders of what came to be known as social anarchism and we choose to adapt our resistance and our tactics as a result. This is not to say that proponents of social anarchism or market anarchism aren’t “real” anarchists (as those sectarian factions and others tend to say about anarchists who don’t bear their particular anarcho-prefix) but that those theories and ideologies and dogmas are not anarchistic and do not result in anarchy. Because of this, we, all anarchists, autonomists, and other anti-authoritarians, should continue to critique anarchist theory and practice to wrest anarchy from the hands of socialists or capitalists seeking to co-opt anarchist rhetoric and aesthetics to wage counter revolution and seize control.

We pay respect to anarchists of the past of all stripes and creeds, and seek to learn from their discoveries, successes, and failures. We also pay respect to past and present day stateless egalitarian hunter gatherer societies and look to them for inspiration as well, knowing that white men from the mid 19th century didn’t have all the answers.

Looking to the past, present, and future we strike what we don’t like or what does work and we keep the good stuff and create something that works for us in the here and now. Those who speak of revolution as some lofty dream, or future event to be hoped for, a single moment in the future, already wage counter revolution.

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Anarchy: Breaking Up with Socialism

Posted in Corporations, Direct Action & Civil Disobedience, Environment, Government, Police State, Revolution with tags , , , , on December 27, 2010 by veteranarchist

By Bobby Whittenberg-James

For well over a century, some anarchists have aligned themselves with socialists of various shades, even fighting on the same side for different periods of time in several failed revolutions. We do not wish to rewrite history or to downplay this alliance, but to learn from it, challenge it, and question its role in the fight for anarchy today while advocating for its immediate and total annulment.

We can define socialism loosely as an economic system in which wealth and property are held either in common or by the state and/or party, in which the means of production and control of distribution are held by the state and/or party, workers, or the whole of society. Socialism can range from leninist totalitarianism to social democracy, to libertarian socialism and social anarchism.

Even under these broad strokes, anarchy escapes. Anarchy is not production and consumption, federations and councils, meetings, and voting and it certainly isn’t the state. Such institutions are authoritarian. Anarchy is autonomous individuals associating with others voluntarily to fulfill their needs and desires. This is probably best exemplified among hunter/gatherer bands. Socialism, like capitalism is an economic system, and anarchy seeks to abolish economics altogether.

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