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Karl Marx once said that history repeats itself, first as a tragedy then as a farce. A case in point is that in South Africa sections of the left are once again calling for a mass workers’ party (MWP) to be formed to contest elections – this they believe will bring us closer to revolution. History says otherwise.Of course the new calls for a MWP stem from the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) breaking from the African National Congress (ANC). As an outcome NUMSA is exploring the possibility of setting up a MWP to contest elections. Many Marxist and leftist influenced organisations, but also cadres within NUMSA, are therefore providing reasons why activists should be interested in such a party.
Across Europe, the left is excited by Syriza topping the polls in the Greek election. Some on the left have gone so far as to suggest the election itself will mark the end of austerity policies, in the terminology of the Anglo left, an end to the idea that There Is No Alternative (TINA).Another indication that something of significance is happening is that ahead of the election a new wave of capital flight has started from Greece with an estimated 8 billion transferred out of the country over the last few weeks. From an anarchist, non electoralist perspective we might hope that Syriza’s election represents the high water mark of the swing to electoralism that came out of the defeat of mass resistance to the imposition of the crisis. That won’t be today or tomorrow, it will take a period of weeks for Syriza to have been in power long enough to demonstrate that the problem with the old electoral left was not reducible to corrupt social democrats and lying politicians. Rather it is in the nature of the electoral system, a system that takes in young idealist transformers and spits out older, corrupt defenders of the status quo.
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brazil/guyana/suriname/fguiana / a esquerda Saturday September 13, 2014 14:51 by Coordenação Anarquista Brasileira (CAB)
Eleições: A saída à esquerda não é nas urnas, mas nas ruas!
Para nós Socialistas Libertários, a política dos de baixo não se faz nas urnas, mas no cotidiano do protagonismo de classe e da ação direta. Falar disso no atual momento não significa mais remeter a abstrações ou ao passado “dos anos dourados dos movimentos de massa”, mas remeter a algo que evoca no imaginário coletivo um real exercício do poder do povo.Sem sermos ingênuos acreditando que só ir as ruas basta, sabemos que a falta de organização de base fragiliza os processos de mobilização e facilitam as tentativas de controle pelos dominantes. Deste modo, nossa aposta é nas Ruas como espaço privilegiado da ação política, mas também é a aposta na organização horizontal e de base que fortalece a ação direta, com uma agenda popular que delibera, encaminha e executa seu programa: um programa dos de baixo, que não delega poder a nenhum político de plantão. Ou se vota com os de cima, ou se organiza e se luta com os de baixo!
An Anarchist Response to a Trotskyist Attack: Review of “An Introduction to Marxism and Anarchism” by Alan Woods (2011)
The leader of the International Marxist Tendency has written an attack on anarchism from his Trotskyist perspective. He makes some correct criticisms of some versions of anarchism, in relation to those who reject revolution or political organization. But he attempts to defend the idea of a "workers' state" by limited quotes from Lenin and by mistating the history of the Russian Revolution.Why should anarchists read about a Trotskyist attack on anarchism? For that matter, why should anyone learn about a point of view with which they know they disagree? There are at least two reasons. First, we anarchists will have to work with Trotskyists, discuss with them, debate with them. They are all over movements of opposition! We should know what they think. We may have to argue with them in front of other people who are deciding between Trotskyism and anarchism. We may discuss with Trotskyists who might be open to changing their minds...
There has been much hype, amongst the media and sections of the public, in the run up to this year’s provincial and national elections in South Africa and, for some, the arrival of new parties to the electoral arena has renewed their faith in the possibility of an electoral solution to the myriad of problems facing South Africa. Politicians from across all parties have been using this hype and a seemingly renewed faith in the ballot box to their advantage.The question, therefore, is: can equality, socialism, national liberation or ‘economic freedom’ – or even a respite from state violence – for a majority be brought about through parties and activists entering into the state or through voting for parties that promise not to use the state for violent or oppressive means; or will this only lead to a dead-end for the working class yet again?
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