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What type of society do anarchists want to live in?

category ireland / britain | the left | debate author Saturday February 18, 2006 22:54author by James O'Brien - WSM Report this post to the editors

Text of a WSM part of Marxism v Anarchism debate organised by the (Irish) Socialist Party / CWI

Anarchism essentially sees a free society where everybody has the opportunity to live as they want as achievable. But what does that mean in practice, and how do we get there.

The first thing about a revolution is that it must result in an expansion of freedom and not a new set of rulers.

Popular revolt got rid of the dictatorships in Stalinist Europe, recently in Georgia, Serbia, and Indonesia. All these states were police states and yet they fell, which goes to show the power that workers have when they get going.

While in these cases workers knew perfectly well what they didn't want, i.e. the old rulers, but putting something new in their place was a different story. They put in different rulers instead of a different political system with the result that the same old patterns of exploitation continued.

We have got to try the road of freedom.

And being bossed about isn't something that people are willing to fight for. This discussion is based on the premise of a post-revolutionary society, one that is under threat, presumably, of counter-revolution. Well, if the people don't think the new life is better than the old one, they won't lift a finger to defend it. And that will be the end of that.

So that means freedom in the most general sense is an absolute necessity; no secret police, political courts, to the freedom to participate in making decisions that affect you. And of course, as socialists, for this freedom to have any meaning, people need to have enough food in their bellies.

Freedom in Revolution
Freedom of speech & organisation
It is vital in a revolutionary situation that freedom of organisation is available to all political strands.

When it comes to advancing one's political ideas on how society should be organised this freedom needs to be available to all. And not just because it is a nice thing but also because it is useful. Anarchists believe that the best decisions are made after a debate that has the opportunity to hear all sides. If one political faction institutes itself as the thought police of the population then the population won't be able to hear all the arguments for particular policies. Useful options will inevitably become excluded from the mix.


What do anarchists mean by revolution?
Forerunner to the revolution
We don't see a libertarian revolution coming out of nowhere. The example of Spain is instructive. There was a long build up to the revolution, probably the high point of workers' self-management in history. It was was preceded by 70 years of militant activity. Workers learned how to run society through self-organisation and direct action.

Obvious things that come with revolution

Overthrow of the capitalist regime: mass occupations, militias, dismantling of the state apparatus.
Mass involvement in running society
Take the wealth of the rich and redistribute it.
Start producing things with need in mind.
Start thinking about our impact on Earth and factoring this in to the cost of production.
Getting rid of the system of leaders and led in work and in society. That is, changing the social relationship involved in production.
An end to invading and pillaging weaker nation

Who makes a Revolution

People aren't going to turn to anarchism if it can't provide solutions to concrete problems. Problems such as the distribution of wealth, never-ending wars, lack of participation in the running of society as well as the material day-to-day issues of providing food and other necessaries.

This is another reason, apart from the fact that workers make up the vast majority of the population, that they've a central role. Only people's labour can produce these solutions. A successful revolution isn't going to be successful very long if the population is faced with famine. And only workers can produce food. Only they can ensure the material basis of a free society.

But clearly, given the importance of the economy in shaping society it is necessary that it is organised in a free democratic manner. Let's be clear what we meant by free and democratic. We don't mean nationalisation by the state. That's will result in just a new class of rulers, namely the upper echelons of that state. It doesn't matter in whose name the industries are owned if effective control is in the hands of a bureaucracy, then there's a concrete basis for class rule. You got the class of order givers on one side and order takers on the other. And once the order givers have control of the economy they're going to have immense resources at their disposal, including military resources, and thus will be in control of all of society. And we're on the road to dictatorship.

Therefore any meaningful revolution will have the workers taking over the daily life of administering society and the workplace. We mean the abolishment of production for the profit of a few. Instead production will be based on the desires of the people who'll have an equal opportunity to have an input into the planning of production.


What do we put in place of the state and private corporations?
How will a free society operate?
What are its basic institutional structures?

Instead of having a state power separate and above society Anarchists advocate the establishment of institutions through which they can exercise direct power. We call them workers' councils and community councils. These have been repeatedly been used by workers in revolt, most famously in the Russian and Spanish revolutions but also for example, the Hungarian uprising in 1956 and many other case. So in each workplace, workers would have a democratic assembly to decide policies relevant to themselves. For organising with other sections of the industry or the wider community they can select delegates to represent their views in a federated network. The same goes for neighbourhood councils. They could be done on an estate basis and federating from there.

The assemblies would decide which policies they like and issue the delegates with mandates. Obviously the mandates can be removed and the delegates rotated. I think they should be rotated every three months so as to prevent them getting too comfortable and so that everybody gets a chance to learn how to do it. Incidently the Zapatistas rotate their delegates every 10 days, much to the annoyance of the NGOs who want to hob nob with the stars. I wonder what would have happened if Lenin and Trotsky had been rotated back into the ranks 10 days after the October revolution?

A revolution, therefore, means the mass involvement of the population in overthrowing the old order and thereafter to run society themselves. This is a crucial difference with the Leninists who want to use the people to overthrow the capitalists but then take over in the people's place by having the party as the most powerful institution.

The workers' councils, must always have autonomy from the political organisations, anarchist or otherwise. While political organisations should be allowed to voice their opinions they should have no formal control of the workers' councils, no matter how well regarded that organisation or certain individuals may be. For example, it would mean that Joe Higgins would be very welcome to be part of his local neighbourhood council but that he should have no more power or privileges than anybody else there.

So the workers' councils should be based on direct democracy and not representative democracy. That is, they decide each issue on a case by case basis rather than electing a party to govern on their behalf. The current system in liberal democracies is to have a representative democracy, and it is clear that it is a dangerous system. The current occupation of Iraq is just one glaring example.


A note on the wages system
As every product is a social product, nobody produces anything in isolation any more, the products themselves ought to be socialised. It’s simply not possible to ascertain the true social value of anyone’s labour and in truth not worth the effort finding out. Everybody’s contribution matters. It wouldn’t matter how many surgeons we had, if we didn’t have cleaners ensuring a hygienic workplace. Both contribute to society. Why discriminate in favour of one in the future society? It’ll only preserve the class nature of society

We should move immediately to a system of “to each according to need”. Probably this will involve rationing, but that’s basically what our present money system does anyway, just in unfair way. If you have lots of money earned by having others work for you, then you can afford just about anything. If you don't, you can't!

Using a form of non-capitalistic money as a method of measuring a rationing system rather than as a means of measuring wealth and power merits consideration in my view.

A hierarchical system with different levels of wages and therefore power has got to go. It is an impediment to the glue of solidarity that is needed when a revolutionary society faces its tough times.

Which it will, and that will probably include civil war unless the revolution spreads pretty far, pretty quickly.

So What problems will we be faced with in the immediate aftermath of a revolution.

Normal Problems
There are two glaringly obvious problems which could arise in a classless society. a) fucked up people: child abusers, mentally disturbed people, drunken fools getting into a pub or a gig, and attacking others. We will need a highly controlled and democratic mechanism for dealing with these. In short a proper court system.

Freeriders

Abnormal Problems
Well Civil War for starters!

Therefore we need Workers' Militias under the control of the Workers' Council may need to be established to defend the gains of a revolution. Chavez talked about a million people under arms. Not a major fan of his, but he's got the right idea there.

There shouldn't be a separate power structure which controls the armed forces. And anyway we don't need to. If the working class creates institutions that are powerful enough to overthrow the capitalist state, then these institutions will self-evidently be powerful enough to suppress whatever resistance that the poor dis-enfranchised capitalist remnants can throw at it - without any of the apparatus of the state which formerly made them so powerful.

The other major threat of rolling back the gains comes from a “left” counter-revolution. This happened in the French. Russian, and Spanish Revolutions where a minority of radicals managed to seize power on behalf of the population but soon became their dictators. We'd be idiots to ignore the real possibility that this will happen again.

Difference with the Marxists
A digression on the state.

Marxists tend to define the State as being a bodies of armed men who assert a monopoly of force in a given area. Anarchists add to this by saying that the state is also a vehicle for the control by a minority because it centralises decision making. This has been the case historically, and it is the case today. Therefore the anarchist definition o the state is more accurate and is the one we should work from.

Also, the state is not merely an emergent superstructure that is a logical development of capitalistic production, but a cause of the evolution of that form of economic structure in the first place.

The existence of classes does not depend on the formal ownership of property. It depends on the social relationships involved in production and life generally. If a hierarchical chain of command exists with respect to production, i.e. if there are order givers and order takers, then it won't matter that in theory the workers “own” the factory or its products. In practice, and in life it is practice which counts, those at the top of the chain of command will siphon off the cream. And as I said earlier, they will then be able to use this wealth to buy the support, including military that will further entrench their positions of power. That, in short, is why anarchists argue that permitting a leadership assume control over society, whether at the stage of production or at military stage is an invitation to counter-revolution.

Workers' Councils Vs Workers' State
Assume a workers' state, even a representative one is in power. But at what moment will the workers be deemed responsible enough to look after their own affairs? Why will the workers be capable of overthrowing capitalism but require strict obedience to an enlightened minority to tackle racism or sexism?

How on earth can a class be possibly considered to be in control when the party can assert its authority at any moment? Leninists have an almost mystical concept of the party , i.e. it is by definition, the expression of the working class. It's as if Leninists had their own unitary trinity - the leader, the party, the class - one simply the expression of the other and all connected by a deep and mystical bond.

It is disengenous to claim to be for the rule of workers' councils when in reality Leninists are in favour or, initially at any rate, the rule of the party on behalf of the working class.

In all known cases, including most famously in Leninist Russia, the ruling minority, no matter how revolutionary became corrupted and began to rule very quickly in their own interests. Anarchists have always claimed that this will inevitably result. In fact it was the source of the split between the Marxists and the anarchists at the time of the First International. And anarchists are right.

It is up to Marxists to demonstrate the advantage of Workers' State over a federated system of workers' councils. We should ask ourselves the obvious question: If there is a state what is the point of having workers' councils? If there are workers’ councils, what’s the use of the state?

In the end, it is anarchists who have confidence in the creative power of ordinary people, to reshape society in a way that facilitates well being and freedom, without being ordered to create a future that they're too dumb to arrive at themselves.

Text of a WSM contribution to the Marxism v Anarchism debate organised by the (Irish) Socialist Party (CWI) see

Related Link: http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=2360
author by Cian - Socialist Youthpublication date Sun Feb 19, 2006 19:53author email ComradeCian at eircom dot netauthor address Limerickauthor phone 085-7077919Report this post to the editors

Copy of my reply atthe old address:
"Hey,

First I want to state that I dont agree witht he way a number of things are presented above.

Just on the question of a State, what the SP propose is a system of workers councils and community councils etc etc working together regionally and nationally to form a workers govenment. IN a revlutinary and ost revolutionary situation these would need to organise malitias/a red army. Thus this structure would be an apparatus by which the workers keep down the opposing classes (capitalists, reactionaries,, counter-revolutionaries). Thus it would constitute a state.

Flowwing from this, one of the interestting things and one of the things I m unhappy about how u portrayed it is the issue of anarchist arguments being pedantic. This is clear above as well. The marxistdefinition of a state is the apparatus used by one class to defend them from opposing classes and to hold down opposing classes. Thus the SPs view of a socialist society must have such a state which is controlled by the workers (and other revolutionary classes) in order to defend the revolution. The anarchists clarified that they add on one extra thing to this definition - a state by definition must be the apparatus of a MINORITY. So it all boiled down to just words. Apparently we weren't disagreing over what we actually wanted, just what the f*** to call it.

Anyway, I think debating ideas is best left to the debates, i have too much to do to get into year long debates on here....

Cya,
Cian"

Now, just to shortly give a direct criticism to the part of your text that deals with this question:
"Marxists tend to define the State as being a bodies of armed men who assert a monopoly of force in a given area. Anarchists add to this by saying that the state is also a vehicle for the control by a minority because it centralises decision making. This has been the case historically, and it is the case today. Therefore the anarchist definition o the state is more accurate and is the one we should work from."

All previous economies were unable to provide for everyone. Does that mean that it is inherent in the definition of an economy that it is unable to provide for everyone? If all previous cars ran on petrol then does that mean that a disel care would be impossible, as it is inherent in the definition of a car that it runs on petrol? No, to ask the question is to answer it. If you want to be very pedantic and instead of talking about allprevious cars talk about all previous petrol-cars ran on ptrol therefore ther couldnt be a disel-'petol-car', then you are being ludacrous. Just to bring this back to reality: if you want to add to the definition of a state by saying it must be the apparaus of the minority then of course you cant a a majority run minority state! You are just being pedantic though, as the reality is your addition to the definitoin of a state is useless. Anarchism mystifies many things like a state, like authority, leadership and coercion. All are reduced to swear words. Marxists think there is a need for clear analysis. Thats why we are honest in saying that a system of workers councils etc etc which defends itself by force from counter-revolution, which has a monopoly on force etc is a state and uses coercion. And yes, it is a state like no previous state, i agree. But that doesn't make it any less a vehicle for the rule of one class over opposing classe. Also, yes it is a state tat by its actions destroyes itsef. A workers state taking industy ito democratic ownership begins to destroy the basis of class society and ith that the need for a state. When you have no classes there is no need for apparatus for one class to keep down other classes - that is obvious. But after a revolution there still are classes, so there still is a need for such a tool.

Thanks,
Cian

Related Link: http://www.SocialistParty.net
author by Jamespublication date Mon Feb 20, 2006 01:18Report this post to the editors

Cian: “Anarchism mystifies many things like a state, like authority, leadership and coercion. All are reduced to swear words.”

How exactly? I see how you can disagree with an anarchist analysis, but in fairness to anarchism it's also clear about what a state is etc. There is another concept, namely a “polity” of which the state is only one form. While the workers councils are a form of polity they're different from a state. In any case, I don't very much care what we call institutions like workers' councils, whether, as the SP do, call them a state or not, like anarchists. We could call them “Mickey Mouse” as long as their content is clear. But I'm not clear on the SP's content.

If anarchists and Marxists both agree that workers' councils are the way future society should be organised then why has there been a split in the socialist movement since 1871? I think there has been a real basis for that split and that it is not just based on semantics. The reason was largely discussed in part 1 of the debate last Saturday; namely the role of the leadership, direct action, democracy and so on. I briefly addressed it again in the text above:

“The assemblies would decide which policies they like and issue the delegates with mandates. Obviously the mandates can be removed and the delegates rotated. I think they should be rotated every three months so as to prevent them getting too comfortable and so that everybody gets a chance to learn how to do it. Incidentally the Zapatistas rotate their delegates every 10 days, much to the annoyance of the NGOs who want to hob nob with the stars. I wonder what would have happened if Lenin and Trotsky had been rotated back into the ranks 10 days after the October revolution?

A revolution, therefore, means the mass involvement of the population in overthrowing the old order and thereafter to run society themselves. This is a crucial difference with the Leninists who want to use the people to overthrow the capitalists but then take over in the people's place by having the party as the most powerful institution.

The workers' councils, must always have autonomy from the political organisations, anarchist or otherwise. While political organisations should be allowed to voice their opinions they should have no formal control of the workers' councils, no matter how well regarded that organisation or certain individuals may be. For example, it would mean that Joe Higgins would be very welcome to be part of his local neighbourhood council but that he should have no more power or privileges than anybody else there.

So the workers' councils should be based on direct democracy and not representative democracy. That is, they decide each issue on a case by case basis rather than electing a party to govern on their behalf. The current system in liberal democracies is to have a representative democracy, and it is clear that it is a dangerous system. The current occupation of Iraq is just one glaring example.”

-----
I go to the bother of distinguishing a state from workers' councils because the latter are so different to all institutions previously known as a state (including btw the Bolsheviks' one) that it in my opinion differentiating it from the state serves to highlight the difference between the old form and the new one.

Secondly, although the Socialist Party approve of workers' councils, I wasn't clear from the debate whether you agree with the passage reproduced above. That is, I'm not clear on the content of the workers' and neighbourhood councils as posited by the SP. Some of the speakers, (Matt?) on Saturday did speak of the necessity to centralise decision making. This comes back to what John was saying on the difference in the types of leadership: a)decision making done primarily by a centralised but elected and recallable leadership or b) done on an issue by issue basis by the workers' councils themselves. As I understand it, the SP favour a) while the WSM favour b).

It would be useful to clarify what the SP position is on this. If the workers' and neighbourhood councils are “the state”, then what role does the party have? Does the party assume power of any sort? If so, what sort? How is it related to the Councils? In my opinion it would be great if the SP agreed with us on this, but I'm skeptical that you do, otherwise the defence of the Bolsheviks seems contradictory as does the general defence of centralised leadership.

Finally, if the workers' and community councils are the state, and the state is to wither away, then logically it follows that the workers councils will wither away. This is something I'd disagree with: the councils are mechanism by which workers administer a free society and not merely mechanisms for suppressing class enemies. I don't see them ever fading away.

author by Tompublication date Mon Feb 20, 2006 01:29Report this post to the editors

If we look at all existing states they have hierarchical structures just like corporations, with the administrators, political leaders, and top professionals presiding, and public workers subordinate to them. So, does the SP propose to keep this kind of top-down hierarchy? Are they proposing that the leaders of the "worker and community councils" will have a hierarchical managerial apparatus at their disposal, running a hierarchical army and police ? Are they proposing central administration and central planning of the economy by this state leadership? If so, they are proposing to continue the class system. Workers will still be subordinate to a boss class.

author by Joe Licentiapublication date Mon Feb 20, 2006 04:16author email morpheus at mutualaid dot orgReport this post to the editors

IMO, defining the state as an instrument of minority rule is just as bad as Marxists defining the state as an instrument of class rule. Your'e just defining your position to be true, rather than using facts & logic to show your claims are true. In a debate where both sides do this, which appears to be what happened at the above meeting, then both sides are being pedantic. I think it's better to define the state as an organization that's (1) hierarchical & (2) has a monopoly of force. That has the advantage of being a relatively neutral footing, historically accurate, and is also close to the definition social scientists & professional historians use. Evidence, both logical and/or empirical, can then be presented that any organization with those characteristics inevitably becomes an instrument by which an elite dominates the population.

author by Joepublication date Mon Feb 20, 2006 04:40Report this post to the editors

JL isn't 'minority rule' and 'hierarchical' identical in this context? Besides which is it not a historical fact that all states have been the tools of minorities.

Cian it could all be a matter of semantics but this would have the implication that marxists and anarchists have been arguing about nothing for 150 years without anyone realising this. This strikes me as unlikely.

What is more likely is that there is a real political disagreement here and thus this is not a question of semantics after all. But a glance at the history of socialism should tell you that - after all the question of the state and what can be acheived through it has been at the centre of most disputes.

author by Jamespublication date Mon Feb 20, 2006 06:00Report this post to the editors

It's already in text. The following passage is more or less what you're saying:

"Marxists tend to define the State as being a bodies of armed men who assert a monopoly of force in a given area. Anarchists add to this by saying that the state is also a vehicle for the control by a minority because it centralises decision making. This has been the case historically, and it is the case today. Therefore the anarchist definition of the state is more accurate and is the one we should work from."

author by Joe Licentiapublication date Tue Feb 21, 2006 10:41author email morpheus at mutualaid dot orgReport this post to the editors

Many authoritarians, especially socialists, are suffering from the illusion that you can have hierarchy without minority rule, typically through some form of elected hierarchy. So the terms are not identical as many of our opponets argue that you can have one without the other. Their arguement is completely wrong, but to really make our case we need to show *why* that arguement is wrong, not just claim its wrong.

There are certainly real political differences between anarchists and marxists, but by merely defining our claims to be true (instead of using facts & logic to show they are true) it makes the disagreement look like semantics. There's a difference between the *definition* of a thing (what it is on the simplist level) and a model/theory of how that thing acts or behaves. When you mix those two up, you make it look like your'e just talking semantics. That's exactly what the paragraph previously quoted does - it mixes up definitions with theories (eg. "Therefore the anarchist definition of the state is more accurate"). The definition of the state is a hierarchical organization with a monopoly or near-monopoly on force. The anarchist theory of the state is that the state is always a form of minority rule. There's considerable evidence that the anarchist theory of the state is correct - like the fact that all states have been forms of minority rule - but that's not the same as the definition of the state. Hypothetically, one could disprove the anarchist theory of the state by finding a state that wasn't an instruement of minority rule. Defining the state as minority rule, however, implies that any such state would not be a state at all because, by definition, if it's not minority rule its not a state. That makes it impossible to test the theory because youv'e defined your claims to be true apriori. These kinds of semantic gymnastics are part of the reason why Marxists like to define the state as merely being an instrument of class rule, it saves them the trouble of actually showing their claims are correct and allows them to sweep issues of hierarchy under the rug.

author by Tom Wetzel - WSApublication date Wed Feb 22, 2006 00:01Report this post to the editors

States have hierarchical structures, and modern states have structures similar to corporations, with the same sort of chain of command hierarchy and top professionals and managers in charge. Just as this is a structure of class domination in the private corporations, it is so in the state. This brings out the fact that Marxists historically tended to not see the managers and top professionals making up the control structures in industry as a separate class, participating in control and exploittation of the working class. This explains why Marxists thought it was possible to wield the state in the interests of the working class. Having this kind of internal class hierarchy within the state structure also enables the state to perform its function of protecting elite class interests in society. Just as merely changing ownership of the corporations, while leaving their hierarchical structure intact would not end class domination, so, too, merely changing the political party that controls the state will not change its nature as an institution to protect the interests of dominating classes. This claim here could be refuted empirically if Marxists could find a hierarchical state structure that was actually controlled by the working class. But the theory of state propounded here is a hypothesis, or what in logic is called an inference to the best explanation. The best explanation of the actual evicence is that this sort of hierarchical structure exists to faciliate action of the state in defense of elite class interests. If so, then it isn't possible for a state to be wielded by the working class. A polity built on assemblies, federal congresses of delegates, absence of hierarchical control over the economy, internally democratic people's militia (thus not an internal hierarchical military), since it lacks the chain of command control structure of the state, isn't a state. Hence it is possible for the political functions of legislation, adjudication of disputes, and enforcement to be carried out without a state. A polity build around grassroots bodies like assemblies and delegate congresses, or "councils" to use the language some people prefer, is not a state so long as this doesn't become the basis of a new hierarchical control apparatus (as it did in the Russian revolution).

author by Wayne Price - NEFACpublication date Sat Feb 25, 2006 07:05author email drwdprice at aol dot comReport this post to the editors

The state socialists on this list argue that their difference with revolutionary anarchists is perhaps only a matter of words. They say, we are all for an association of workers councils, connected to a workers' militia. They wish to call this a state and the anarchists do not. Big deal. I disagree with this view. It is clear that they see the state--even the supposed workers' commune-state--as having institutions which are used to hold down the enemies of the workers. And it is true that all previous states, as agents of minority exploiting classes, did have such institutions--such as bodies of armed people, prisons, specialized police, specialized politicians, etc. But the rule of the working class is--must be--different. It is, after all, a majority of the population holding down a minority: the capitalists and their allies. Therefore the working class will not have specialized institutions. Its institutions of class repression will be the self-organized working class itself. The workers and other formerly oppressed people will be organized in councils and militia units. (Typically, Marxism at its most democratic emphasizes a very-democratic electoral system, whereas anarchism emphasizes as much face-to-face direct democracy as is practically possible.) Not a state but the organized workers. BTW, I have just completed my monthly essay for Anarkismo.net, which is on...the state. I will send it in soon.

author by Cian - SYpublication date Mon Mar 13, 2006 06:12author email ComradeCian at eircom dot netauthor address Limerickauthor phone 085-7077919Report this post to the editors

Marxism V Anarchism

By Cian Prendiville

Nearly 40 people attended a recent debate between Socialist Youth (SY) and the anarchist group Workers Solidarity Movement (WSM). The lively debate had speeches and good discussions on two main points: How to organise to change society? What’s the alternative to Capitalism?

All present agreed that Irish Ferries and the War in Iraq show how capitalism puts profit before people and so clashes with workers and young people. We also agreed a complete system change is needed, to one where workers and young people run society and people come first.Then the debating began!

The first part of the debate concerned the role of organisations like SY and WSM. The WSM said our organisations must mirror the society we wish to build i.e. build anarchism within capitalism. SY countered saying we should strive to be the best tool for change, not necessarily a complete reflection of the new society. The WSM argued against leadership within an organisation, even democratic leadership. We argued that leadership within an organisation is necessary and inevitable, with some people more willing to give up their time and more capable and that these people should be elected and held accountable by branches with all policies discussed and agreed democratically.

SY pointed to GAMA as a sign of the importance of and possibilities with correct leadership. The WSM, however, criticised us, saying we sought to become the new rulers not just help transform society. Running in the elections was also a hot topic. Both sides agreed that the Dail was not real democracy and that major decisions are taken by multinationals, for instance the Invasion of Iraq. Therefore, WSM argued, we shouldn’t run candidates as it is risky and harmful. We argued that having people in the Dail can assist struggles on the ground as was demonstrated in GAMA and struggles the against Water and Bin charges.

The second part of the dbate was on how an alternative society would work. Both agreed it would centre on democratic workers councils in workplaces and communities, coming together regionally and nationally. The disagreement was over whether it would be federal or centralised.WSM argued that every individual workplace should be free to do what it wants, even if it goes against the will of the majority. SY argued that that would be ludicrous especially initially when efficiency is crucial.

We argued that decisions made by national, democratically elected and accountable, bodies would have to be carried out by all. The WSM, however, said all decisions had to be agreed by all on the ground.

Ultimately we strive for that - a stateless society. But we understand that if the working class gain power, the capitalist class both nationally and internationally will do everything it can to hinder the development of socialism. Then it would be impossible to get every scrap of information about this and that factory, attack etc. to everyone fast enough so there would be some centralisation of information and decisions – recallable of course. That is, they will organise their own democratic state to ensure the democratic rule of the working class

All agreed that the debate was a success, with a number of people present indicating they wanted more information about Socialist Youth.
_______________

I may put up a longer version of this later, but i have it on a different PC so...

Cya,
Cian

Related Link: http://www.SocialistParty.net
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