Submitted by redgreenexplosion in Anarchism

All Marxists see Catalonia to have been a state, because it upheld class rule. It had all the functions of a state: prisons, police, an army, a bureaucracy: all are the organs of the state. The great irony of anarchists is when ever they gain power, they prove Marxists right by showing the only way to communism is by establishing a dictatorship of the proletariat in a state form, though they don’t call it that of course. The always repeating failure of anarchism is that they think they can change the world by changing the names of things. So state becomes a commune and police becomes revolutionary guard.

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db0 wrote (edited )

Anarchists recognise that the anarchist leaders back then did a terrible mistake. They should have dissolved the state as soon as the CNT/FAI took over. They naively trusted that the Leninists and Republicans would put differences aside in order to fight against fascism. Instead they ended up getting stabbed in the back as the statists they left in power consolidated it and undermined the revolution to retain it.

Lesson learned. It's why anarchists overall don't believe in "left unity" anymore.

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Dialectical wrote

You're going to blame "Leninists" (lol) for the failures of the anarchists??

According to Bolloten (1961, pg. 51) one anarchist youth journal said:

For the Revolution to be a fact, we must demolish the three pillars of reaction: the church, the army, and capitalism. The church has already been brought to account. The temples have been destroyed by fire and the ecclesiastical crows who were unable to escape have been taken care of by the people.

Syndicalist journal Solidaridad Obrera said:

The oppressed people put to the torch whatever dens of obscurantism and deception they found in their path. Churches, convents, centers of reaction, whatever smacked of incense and darkness, have been set ablaze.

The churches in all the villages have been set ablaze. Only those buildings that could be used for the benefit of the people have been kept, but not those that were a serious danger after burning. Many churches have been converted into communal warehouses as well as into garages for the antifascist militia.

The Collective Letter of the Spanish Bishops put the number of chapels "demolished or completely sacked" at 20,000.

Bolloten cites Antonio Montero's Historia de la persecución religiosa en España, which gives the names, places, and dates of assassination of 6,832 religious personnel. This is backed by several other sources (ibid. #56).

Prominent anarchist Diego Abad de Santillán said:

We do not wish to deny that the nineteenth of July brought with it an overflowing of passions and abuses, a natural phenomenon of the transfer of power from the hands of the privileged to the hands of the people. It is possible that our victory resulted in the death by violence of four or five thousand inhabitants of Catalonia who were listed as rightists and were linked to political or ecclesiastical reaction. But this shedding of blood is the inevitable consequence of a revolution, which, in spite of all barriers, sweeps on like a flood and devastates everything in its path, until it gradually loses its momentum.

The way the "anarchists" operated was not actually different than other left-wing groups. The "anarchists" held political office, they forced military conscription, they outlawed "wasteful and bourgeoisie" luxury items like tobacco, coffee and alcohol.

The primary cause of the failure of anarchism in the 20th century is due to your ideology running counter to how human society operates and completely lacks any coherent legal theory.

It amazes me that anarchists can claim to be anti-authoritarian or substantially different from real communists. The economy in Catalonia was just as "authoritarian" as that in Mao's China or Stalin's USSR. Farmers only "voluntarily joined" cooperatives as they knew they would be labeled fascists and shot if they refused.

Albert Pérez-Baró, a CNT militant and a leading participant in the collectivist movement in Catalonia, describes the initial economic confusion: "After the first few days of euphoria, the workers returned to work and found themselves without responsible management. This resulted in the creation of workers' committees in factories, workshops and warehouses, which tried to resume production with all the problems that a transformation of this kind entailed. Owing to inadequate training and the sabotage of some of the technicians who remained, many others had fled with the owners, the workers' committees and other bodies that were improvised had to rely on the guidance of the unions. . . . Lacking training in economic matters, the union leaders, with more good will than success, began to issue directives that spread confusion in the factory committees and enormous chaos in production. This was aggravated by the fact that each union . . . gave different and often contradictory instruction."

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db0 wrote

yeah sure, it's because anarchist organization was incompetent that an unsupported uprising survived against the combined force of 3 fascist powers for 3 years, while at the same time improving production in the midst of a civil war.

And anarchist fighting against internal counter-revolutionaries which would have them all shot by Franco is not exactly surprising in the middle of a war. Get the fuck out of here with that propaganda.

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rot wrote

are you and red green the same person?

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celebratedrecluse wrote

I'm not going to engage with the historical revisionism, but I will take this opportunity to get some stuff off my chest.

On the micro level, IME many anarchist spaces have a tendency to form authoritarian relationships as part of political organizing. While the renaming of these roles and relationships may obscure this to the casual observer, beyond the hesitance to deviate from consensus and the pained fixation on feelings and opinions of each member of a group even when the participation and emotional/labor investment of members is totally unequal, in most anarchist projects there are a minority or even just one person who does most of the labor, and if they're at least lucky, exercises most of the social power. This leads to burnout and cynicism toward the stated ideals of the group, especially by those fueling its labor-power, but also those who participate less. These stated ideals invariably reflect a horizontal and rhizomatic ideal which is never achieved.

To the contrary, this fixation on abstract process over direct goal-achievement creates a pointless charade where the people who do most of the work have to constantly feel they should "ask permission" from people who never do anything and never respond in the group chat, hinders the inclusion of new members, makes any decision feel "empty" of gravitas to proceed upon it, and lets the material and specific goals of a project receive less attention than the abstractions and ideals which surround that goal.

Ironically, this is hardly unique to anarchist spaces-- the authoritarian communists and democratic socialists of the present in my country are even worse in this respect, their vanguard and platformist organizations always focused on the abstract success of the "party" in newspaper sales, elections, demonstrations, or other spectacles, rather than direct goals that benefit the working class and other oppressed people: creating autonomous spaces, fulfilling needs through mutual aid, resisting state oppression against marginalized groups, and building networks of trust that organically build through a community rather than being mediated by a central party.

Anarchists, thus, are hilariously and concerningly the most likely group to address these problems of micro/internal anti-egalitarianism, because anarchists' abstractions are at least situated in the general context of taking direct action, the mainstay of revolutionary praxis. The abstractions of statists, to the contrary, will generally revolve around taking indirect action, which layers an additional peril of do-nothing-ism on their efforts. So it's a bit rich to hear Maoists and Trots talk about the "inefficiencies" of anarchism, when their own organizations in the present day are basically do-nothing institutions that create an artifice around imaginary future solutions to poverty.

However, let me be clear, in the present day in my country there is no serious revolutionary movement, only disorganized and distracted LARPers who fixate on platonic ideals of one kind or another rather than actual praxis. This type of ridiculous historical argument on Raddle is a great example of what I am talking about-- people, especially but not limited to MLs, are infinitely more concerned with the actions of past anarchists and communists than with the current situation as it evolves. This is because these type of people are basically living in the past, in fiction, and would rather prove themselves right on paper than have even the smallest success in the real world. Frequently, these individuals are patriarchal or otherwise privileged, yet are simultaneously suffering from a degeneracy of a sense of their own agency, and so retreat into their imaginary worlds and fixate on micro issues of process or the creation of meaningless microauthoritarian structures like infinitely divided, tiny vanguard parties, projects, collectives, co-ops, affinity groups, etc. In a sense, this is not much different than the branding of petit bourgeois industries.

I would suggest to anarchists that the best way to address these tendencies is to recognize them as broadly characteristic of the way that capitalism has decided to handle radical movements, and to reject platonism or commitment to purity/ideals with a more ad-hoc and flexible style of organizing, one that invites participation but does not require it, or insist on eliding the differences between those levels of participation. Instead, let us embrace the imperfect reality we live in, and do whatever is most effective in those contexts, rather than being slaves to process or consensus.

Anarchists of all tendencies can learn much from nihilist theory, history, and praxis. While we might imagine future worlds, let us boldly live and fight in the murky, horrifying, and beautiful contemporaneity we actually inhabit.

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ziq wrote (edited )

Every paragraph was illuminating, but this one especially resonates with me:

To the contrary, this fixation on abstract process over direct goal-achievement creates a pointless charade where the people who do most of the work have to constantly feel they should "ask permission" from people who never do anything and never respond in the group chat, hinders the inclusion of new members, makes any decision feel "empty" of gravitas to proceed upon it, and lets the material and specific goals of a project receive less attention than the abstractions and ideals which surround that goal.

I've given up on glorifying democracy to make everyone feel like they're an equal part of something when a lot of them are really just casual observers who nontheless feel the need to assert power over the people actually doing all the thankless labor and then the casuals take credit for the end result of the labor by pretending it was an equal collective effort.

And yeah, feeling the need to create all these cumbersome bureaucratic processes to give random passerbys power to control and dillute our goals is an exercise in sadism. The obsession anarchists have with fabricating collective power structures when the labor relationships inside them are so utterly unequal has only ever led to burnout and bitterness for all involved.

We need to stop allowing ourselves to be controlled by power hierarchies, even those billing themselves as "egalitarian".

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Glenarchist wrote

Here's the thing though, until you have a global dissolution of states as entities , anything you make will be a state (or regarded as one often enough that people believe it so ) Anarchists like to say shit like " Build a better world within this one", " Plants the seeds in the cracks of their pavements" but what is missed here is that capitalism loves that shit. It repackages it and sells it as a lifestyle with accompanying products. So even if you had a legit full on Anarchist society , unless it was global , it wouldn't be long til it was some trendy go-to destination for gap year students.

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db0 wrote

The things that anarchist support as "seeds" are inherently incompatible with capitalism, and impossible to co-opt. Anarcho-syndicalist unions, neighborhood communes, LETS and even co-operatives and radical environmentalism would cause capitalism to collapse if they became widespread. It''s why those are fought tooth and nail by the system.

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RedOctopus wrote

None of those things on their own will make capitalism collapse, the only way is revolution.

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redgreenexplosion OP wrote

But this is the same argument as the Marxist 'withering away' theory. That we need an authoritarian state to enact class consciousness in the masses before we can establish communism. It's an argument that we need authoritarianism before we can create liberty.

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RedOctopus wrote

How do you expect to defeat a global superpower without what you wrongly term "authoritarianism"? We need to take up arms to seize control of the means of production, which means a take over of the state first because it protects the capitalists from us.

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Dialectical wrote

This is a great point that you never see anarchists address. Catalonia wasn't just a state, it was an "authoritarian" state. The anarchists carried out great atrocities against members of the clergy e.g. nuns and other counter-revolutionaries to create their society.

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black_fox wrote

why do i have to speak for and defend other anarchists? sounds annoying

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RedOctopus wrote

If you don't admit to the failures made by your fellow anarchists (Catalonia) how can you learn?

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db0 wrote

Nonsense.

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Dialectical wrote

They murdered people, burnt down churches, outlawed and prohibited many goods.

How do you explain any of this as not being "authoritarian"? Their programs were not much different than the programs of Marxists like Lenin.

There was forced conscription in both Ukraine and Spain. There were also "anarchist" politicians in both societies. Also, anarchist military leaders placed themselves above the laws they themselves invented and troops roamed about plundering and pillaging from the peasantry.

And most importantly, production dropped when anarchist workers seized the factories.

Bolloten via Caplan describing the coops crying for a bailout by the Spanish state:

Both in Catalonia and in the rest of Republican Spain, this situation created grave economic problems for the CNT collectives. So desperately did some of them require funds that Juan Peiro, the Anarcho-syndicalist minister of industry, openly recommended intervention by the central government, having received in his department eleven thousand requests for funds in January 1937 alone.

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db0 wrote (edited )

Oh no, economic problems in the midst of a civil war without any outside support and internal betrayal by "allies". It's definitelly caused by internal anarchist contradictions...

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redgreenexplosion OP wrote

tbf, their argument isn't that it's a contradiction, it's that authoritarianism is required to establish any form of communism, including anarchist forms. That Marxism and anarchism both require coercion and violent suppression to work.

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db0 wrote

Their argument is not supported by what we know of this era, where catalonians overwhelmingly supported anarchist forms of organization without "state violence". The murder of hated counter-revolutionaries in the form of the Catholic church which has been oppressive as fuck is a response to the horror of war and past grievances, not a result of anarchism per se.

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redgreenexplosion OP wrote

Would a modern anarchist revolution need to kill billionaires?

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db0 wrote

Like, actively go and murder them? No.

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redgreenexplosion OP wrote

Then what would stop them from forming armies to crush the revolution?

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ziq wrote

when you pin all your hopes on 'revolution', don't be surprised when it turns you into the very thing you seeked to destroy. every revolution is a counter-revolution because every revolution is a quest for power and the only thing that can destroy power is another revolution for power.

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RedOctopus wrote

This is fucking stupid circular logic. You think revolution is bad?? What kind of reactionary propaganda is this?

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ziq wrote (edited )

I think revolution is a beautiful little lie people tell themselves so they can fall asleep with a smile on their face every night.

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ziq wrote

China: No communism achieved.

Cuba: No communism achieved.

Russia: No communism achieved.

France: Monarchy replaced by oligarchy. Same shit, different dressing.

Mexico: Nope.

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db0 wrote

To answer that question, you have to ask yourself: How would the revolution have started?

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RedOctopus wrote

And most importantly, production dropped when anarchist workers seized the factories.

This is the thing that anarchists don't understand. ML is efficient. It maintains order. The anarchist will sacrifice order for the sake of being "anti-hierarchies" and this will mean starvation for all the society.

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ziq wrote

Because no one ever starved under Marxism Leninism.

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