Towards Left unity: a middle ground between communism and anarchism

Submitted by allred in Communism

TL;DR: What practical middle ground could we find between 'authoritarian' communism and 'libertarian' communism?

Hi all, hoping this topic hasn't been discussed to death or isn't stupid to post, but I'd love to have a discussion with some of you smart people about a middle ground between what we might call MLM communism and anarcho-communism.

Disclaimer I have never gotten through a proper academic communist source and even though I've considered myself a communist for over a decade I don't consider myself to really have much of a grasp on a lot of the theory so apologies for that.

The context is I've struggled for years with problems with both tankie and ancom ideology. Here are some of the main problems I have with both ideologies summarised. I'm fully aware that some of these might be wildly incorrect so please correct me!


  • If it relies on waiting until a majority of the population have class consciousness, it is likely the revolution will happen to late to avert climate catastrophe

  • Seems incredibly vulnerable to counter-revolution either violent or gradual

  • The state seems like an unequivocally good thing in some instances and I don't see how self-organising groups could really fulfil many of the necessary functions. Eg making sure my food doesn't have lead in it, building roads, breaking up sex predator rings, affirmative action for marginalised groups


  • Dictatorships, even of the proleteriat, seem to me to be inherently bad - the nature of the human desire for power and influence (even if said human wants to use it for good) seems to almost guarantee that someone will eventually rise to the top and use their power to consolidate their position violently.

  • We shouldn't pretend there is one true way to run a society and anyone advocating otherwise deserves the gulag, not only does it mean violence and death for those raise alternative strategies but it means an inherently conservative leadership that can't respond properly to changing circumstances and use scientific trial and error to arrive at the best possible decisions.

  • The whole idea of representative leadership to me seems to be pretty flawed, I think it allows people to check out of politics in general even in democracies which creates the gaps in transparency and knowledge that allows people to be exploited. In my experience as a unionist the decisions of masses of informed people tend to be better than one leader almost all of the time (although 'informed' is probably the key word).

Possible middle grounds:

  • First I think both sides need to agree that a vanguard group is the only practical way to establish communism before the planet is a wasteland and in time to save the maximum amount of people from oppression.

  • The question then becomes, how do we ensure a) such a group is truly democratic/resistant to take over by a power hungry minority or b) such a group will peacefully transistion to the same after the revolution is successful enough to allow it. I have a few ideas down that path including liquid, delegative democracy, and/or sortition, but I'd be interested to hear others' views

  • finally there would need to be some kind of discussion around the middle ground between statism and abolitionists. I find this hard to think about myself as currently it seems to me like our state doesn't go far enough. but i think this could be because big/small government debates in current capitalist society is more like government vs capitalists - meaning I always side with the government.

  • In a theoretical communist world I can see decentralisation being a useful thing although doubt it would be universally so. For example, decentralised city states that can make most of their own rules would be good but only if there was a central government maintaining standards, protecting minorities from mob rule, and of course preventing the return of capitalism at all costs.

Okay thanks if you got this far, please let me know what your opinions are and let me in advance say I'm aware I've probably mischaracterised positions of both groups, so please correct me!


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boom wrote

Middle ground my ass. You've just suggested a vanguard, a state and a central government.

tankies gonna tank.


betterletter wrote (edited )

Personally after I became nihilistic about socialism, I became an anarchist. After I became nihilistic about anarcho-communism, I became a green anarchist.

I don't think we can solve these issues on a grand scale. We have to fight industry and capitalism every step of the way because even "anarcho" communism wouldn't fix the damage we do to the planet and our bodies. Visit f/green f/collapse and do a little reading there. That's my take, obviously I still consider myself a "communist", but may like an egocom.


rot wrote

those compromises sound like marxism lmao


rot wrote

Disclaimer I have never gotten through a proper academic communist source

Seriously? I'm not really read up on theory but you should know how an ideology works before subscribing to it and trying to defend it online.