e-book Libertarian Socialism: Politics in Black and Red

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Enterprises competed with each other. The overall society produced in order to accumulate, grow, and expand its mass of commodities. It has been argued that no society could immediately leap from capitalism into socialism-especially not a poor, oppressed, exploited nation such as China had been. Therefore there was bound to be capitalist survivals in the economy, for a period, even an extended period. So therefore the previous argument proves nothing. Whether or not a partially-capitalist transitional stage is necessary before socialism, this does not refute the evidence.

China was not ruled by workers and peasants and other oppressed people nor was it in transition to a socialist or communist society. It was ruled by a minority elite of bureaucrats who were agents of capital accumulation. They were increasing capitalist trends not decreasing them. At times, Liu seems to be mistakenly seeking a balanced critique of Maoism, looking for both positive and negative aspects and bringing the positive aspects into revolutionary theory.

It may be possible to extract particular strategic concepts, work methods, or slogans from the Chinese experience…. But these elements must then be embedded in a set of revolutionary politics far different from those developed by Mao…. In particular, Marx proposed that the working class could take power by creating a party and taking over the state either by elections or by insurrection. Anarchists argued that for socialists to set up their own state a bureaucratic-military machine to rule over society would result in state capitalism and a new, bureaucratic, ruling class.

For further discussion of the differences between anarchism and Maoism, see Price There is no alternative to the anarchist thesis: the state must be smashed. Daum, Walter NY: Socialist Voice. Hobson, Christopher Z. Trotskyism and the Dilemma of Socialism. Liu, Elliot Price, Wayne Prichard, R.

Kinna, S. Berry eds. Sunday, September 22, Infoshop News. Home Opinion. What Is Trump? Anti-State Responses to Terrorism. Indigenous Anarchist Convergence.


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I work in the environmental movement. The women fighting a pipeline that could destroy precious wildlife. Electoralism is no longer an issue between anarchists and libertarian Marxists. But there were other issues which were not so much between the two traditions as cutting across the two. Whether to work within unions or to work solely outside the union structure, including whether to take union offices, were major areas of controversy Mates Chap 4; Boraman Chap.

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Guerin, for example, was strongly supportive of unions. Most anarchists and libertarian Marxists did not, and still do not. Pinta Chap. Of all the forces in Spain, these libertarian Marxists were most supportive of the anarchist-syndicalists, their union federation CNT and their revolutionary organization FAI.

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But the council communists recognized that the revolutionary working class had to ally itself with the liberal Loyalists, until they were strong enough to overthrow them. As can be seen, there is a tendency among many libertarian socialists not all, but many to take a sectarian, inflexible, and ultimatist approach to many struggles. But libertarian socialists would have to be careful in evaluating how to use such tactics for different ends than the Bolsheviks.

Opinions have varied. Benoit Challand Chap. Challand mistakenly interprets this as equivalent to an authoritarian Leninist party. Jean-Christophe Angaut Chap. This is not opposed to the self-organization of the working class and oppressed people but is an essential part of it. Blackledge argues that anarchism is based in individualist-egotist thinking, as exemplified by Max Stirner. Therefore it is supposedly unable to really support the collective decision-making of democracy. In a democracy, sometimes individuals have to give way to majority opinion although this is truly democratic only if all individuals have participated in the decision-making process equally and continue to have full rights.

Blackledge asserts that Marxism sees workers under capitalism as developing collective class consciousness and social awareness, which supposedly makes real socialist democracy possible. Kinna cites William Morris a contemporary of both Engels and Kropotkin as making similar arguments. Stirner was not influential in the early anarchist movement until later individualists rediscovered him. Certainly, from Bakunin and Kropotkin onward, socialist-anarchists have rejected a view of society as nothing but isolated individuals, oppressed by collectivities.

For him, this is still too much individualism, but I see this as consistent with a basic concept of libertarian democracy. Kinna also shows that William Morris saw anarchists as extreme individualists. He was blind to the social, cooperative, views of many anarchists. However, in some of his works, she points out, Morris had offered a more libertarian vision of participatory democracy, one which was consistent with anarchist values.

This is the case with his writings on the Paris Commune of or Lenin on the original soviets councils.

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There was no conception of direct, face-to-face, democracy, in the neighborhoods or in production workplaces. The critique of Marxism developed by Socialisme ou Barbarie is not considered in the chapter on it. This is a lack, if anarchists are to consider Marxism as a partner in developing libertarian socialism.

Libertarian Socialism: Politics in Black and Red

There is a serious question here: why was libertarian Marxism never more than a minority trend within Marxism? Why was most of historical Marxism either pro-imperialist social-democratic or totalitarian Marxist-Leninist? This was an analysis of how capitalism worked, what changes were happening, and how the working class and its allies should respond to capitalist developments. Unlike Marxism, anarchism has valuable explorations of how a post-capitalist economy might work. But it does not have an analysis of how capitalism works today.

Here we have to look to Marxism. This may include even looking to authoritarian schools of Marxism this is the exemption I mentioned above which may have useful economic theory. For example, the council communist Paul Mattick, Sr. Without that extra amount of wealth, the capitalist class cannot survive, nor can its institutions, including the state.

References Carson, Kevin Goodman, Paul People or Personnel; Decentralizing and the Mixed System. NY: Random House. Kuhn, Rick Henryk Grossman and the Recovery of Marxism. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Massimino, Cory ed. Carson, Studies in Mutualist Political Economy. Dec 25, J. Lots of throat-clearing of the professional-historian type, but surprisingly devoid of substance. Nov 28, Ahmed rated it it was ok.

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A few good essays particularly those on Gramsci and the council communist stance on the Spanish Civil War but mostly dross. An uneven collection. Fern Adams rated it liked it Mar 27, Anugraha Bharadwaj rated it liked it Jul 24, Omar Orestes rated it liked it Nov 20, Samuel Hilton rated it liked it Jan 23, Shane rated it it was amazing Oct 07, Inna rated it really liked it Aug 30, PM Press rated it it was amazing Jan 05, Patrick rated it really liked it Jul 23, Lewis Ward rated it it was amazing Dec 11, Paul Vittay rated it it was ok Jun 08, Mike rated it liked it Dec 14, Dru marked it as to-read Aug 18, Edward Cramp marked it as to-read Sep 20, JayEm Bosch added it Jan 02, Dominik Leusder marked it as to-read Jan 22, Mike Vikingstad marked it as to-read Mar 07, Oralmajority marked it as to-read Jun 07, Leslie Bolden marked it as to-read Jun 11, Jacob Senholt marked it as to-read Jul 12, John Nann marked it as to-read Jul 23, Michelle marked it as to-read Jul 23, Stephie Jane Rexroth marked it as to-read Dec 23, Amazon Sucks marked it as to-read Feb 08,