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A Maoist Attack on Anarchism

category international | the left | review author Wednesday June 20, 2007 13:50author by Wayne Price - NEFACauthor email drwdprice at aol dot com Report this post to the editors

An Anarchist Response to Bob Avakian, MLM vs. Anarchism

A leading U.S. Maoist writes a critical attack on anarchism. This essay summarizes his argument and refutes his charges. It demonstrates that Maoism is essentially a program of state capitalism.


A Maoist Attack on Anarchism

An Anarchist Response to Bob Avakian, MLM vs. Anarchism

by Wayne Price

In the 60s and 70s, Maoism was a major current on the Left internationally. Today it is much shrunken in influence. To a great extent, its far-left niche has been taken by anarchism. I only know of one theoretical response to this situation, which is the pamphlet MLM [Marxism-Leninism-Maoism] vs. Anarchism, written by the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party (U.S.), Bob Avakian. (The pamphlet itself is undated; it is composed of articles which Avakian wrote for the Revolutionary Worker paper in 1997.) The RCP is the largest Maoist group still existing in the U.S. and has international associations. It has a cult around Avakian, who is not merely its Chairman. He is The LEADER, constantly referred to in their press as the man with all the answers, the genius who understands the world and who will lead the downtrodden into the promised land. While he does not speak for all those who consider themselves Maoists, it is worth looking at what he calls, “our fundamental answer to anarchism.” (p. 2)

Avakian remarks, “Most anarchists actually aim for something far short of actually carrying out the revolutionary overthrow of the existing order and the revolutionary transformation of society and the world as a whole.” (p. 9) This is true, if not of “most” anarchists, then certainly of “many.” Avakian does not consider differences among anarchists. But there are anarchists who do aim at the revolutionary overthrow of the ruling class and its state and the transformation of the world, who place the working class in the center of their strategy while supporting the struggles of all the oppressed (such as women and People of Color), who are in favor of building organizations of anarchists and of replacing the state with federations of councils and associations. It is from this revolutionary perspective--in the tradition of anarchist-communism--that I look at Avakian’s essay.

Avakian begins by trying to explain the attraction of anarchism today. He quotes Lenin that anarchism is “payment for the sins of right opportunism” and adds, “Honest revolutionary-minded people were attracted to anarchism because it seemed more revolutionary than Marxism.” (p. 1) That is, radicals today look at social democrats and at the Communist Party (and its offshoots), and are disgusted, so they turn to anarchism. This is true. For example, right now many antiwar activists are furious at the Democratic Party’s betrayal of antiwar feeling in the country, and at the reform socialist-Communist Party channeling of the movement into the Democratic Party. This anger creates openings for anarchism.

However, decades have passed since Lenin made that observation. It should be obvious that there is another reason now why “revolutionary-minded people [are] attracted to anarchism.” This is the fact that Marxism-Leninists did succeed in making revolutions, but their new states became totalitarian nightmares, state capitalist exploiters of the workers, and mass murderers of the people. For those who were not turned off by such monstrosity, there was the failure of this system, in the collapse of the Soviet Union and its satellites, and the turn of China from state capitalism to an openly market-oriented economy. It was these events which led to the discrediting of Marxism-Leninism and the current rise of the anarchist movement.

The Anarchist Vision

Avakian raises a major difference between Marxism and anarchism, one which, I believe, goes back to Marx. This is the “anarchist vision” (p. 3) of decentralization and face-to-face community, our desire to break down this overcentralized system of statist capitalism and replace it with “small groups of people that got together to carry out production and exchange.” (p. 3) (See my essay on Marx, centralism, and decentralism, It is true that anarchists advocate a decentralized, horizontalized, economy of communes, democratic workplaces, and local production. But Avakian exaggerates this, since anarchist visions have always included federations, regional and international, and the acceptance of centralization when appropriate.

In any case, Avakian goes on to charge that this decentralist vision is implicitly “imperialist chauvinism” (p. 2) in the industrialized (imperialist) countries. The anarchist program would mean “ ‘communizing’ the plunder and exploitation that had been carried out by imperialism....[Y]ou would still be ‘inheriting’ vast and highly developed forces that are, to a significant degree, the fruit of exploitation and plunder carried out over decades and centuries of imperialist domination...for the benefit only of the people in that (formerly) imperialist country...” (p. 3) Avakian’s argument against decentralization is not that it would not work, but that it should not be done.

He has another argument against decentralization. He writes that it would not be possible to immediately and completely abolish commodity production and all market exchange after a revolution. (Incidentally, this was not the opinion of Karl Marx, as expressed in The Critique of the Gotha Program. He thought that there would be lower and higher stages of communism, but that even in the lower stage, right after a revolution, there would no longer be commodity production.) Therefore, “if the means of production were owned or controlled by small groups of people,” (p. 4) they would end up exchanging commodities on the market. This could only lead to the revival, quickly or slowly, of capitalist relations. Communities and enterprises with advantages would became richer than others and some “small groups” would became managers and finally owners of production, exploiting others as workers.

Not surprisingly, to Avakian, the solution is the state--a “socialist state,” a “proletarian state,” a “dictatorship of the proletariat.” “This is the only way that the larger interests of the proletarian class, including its proletarian internationalism, can actually find expression--and actually be implemented and, yes, enforced, against the opposition of the overthrown exploiters and other reactionary forces.” (p. 4) Presumably this state would force the producers (if necessary, against their will) to send a surplus to the impoverished, formerly oppressed, nations, so they could industrialize.

Similarly the state would forcibly lead society to communism, through a stage of commodity production, without restoring capitalism. It would be the “embodiment of interests and, yes, of authority which is higher than the various different small groups and which can therefore unify the masses of people around those higher interests.” (p. 5) (Oddly, he does not raise the supposed benefits of centralized economic planning.)

Since the time of Bakunin, revolutionary anarchists have advocated world revolution, the end of national states, and international federations. Maoists have nothing to teach us about proletarian internationalism. Revolutions in the U.S., Canada, or Western Europe would undoubtedly begin with certain advantages due to the history of “imperialist plunder.” The first (and most important) thing they would do to help the formerly oppressed nations would be the ending of that imperialism! They would cease to drain the rest of the world of its wealth. They would no longer insist on patents and copyrights on medicines and technology against the poorer nations. They would no longer have a need for international exploitation to have a decent level of living, since they would no longer spend trillions of dollars worth on armaments, and other forms of capitalist waste. They would have an interest in helping the poorer peoples industrialize in their own way, since this would prevent the revival of international capitalism and of national wars. Finally, there is a great deal of research and literature about decentralist industrialization which directly applied to the so-called Third World (from the Small-is-Beautiful, alternate technology, researchers such as E.F. Schumacher).

As for going beyond commodity production in a decentralized communal economy, the workers do not need a state but some form of democratic, bottom-up coordination. There need to be federations and networks which can create a radically democratic planning mechanism. There is a whole literature of suggestions of how this might be organized (e.g., Parecon), but different regions may try out alternate methods. There are no guarantees, but my faith is that people who have made a libertarian socialist revolution would be able, by trial and error, to work out a participatory, cooperative, non-market, system.

Avakian’s State

Avakian declares that “our ultimate to abolish the state.” (p. 7) But that will not be for a long time yet. His immediate goal is to overthrow the existing state and to create a new state. This will be a “proletarian state.” That does not mean that the actually existing proletariat, the real workers, will be in charge. His program has nothing in common with that of Marx, who expected the bourgeois state to be replaced by something like the extremely democratic Paris Commune (in The Civil War in France). Instead, Avakian’s state would be managed by “a vanguard party representing the revolutionary outlook and interests of the proletariat.” (p. 7) The party will substitute for the workers. The party will determine whether it “represents” the interests of the workers. It will be a one-party party-state, but anarchist types will be allowed to make limited criticisms which point out the “shortcomings” of the ruling party. Then the party can correct itself if it wants to. The “masses” will be inspired and mobilized by the party, but would not actually decide its program.

Moreover, this state will require centralized armed forces, as opposed to the classical Marxists, as well as anarchists, who advocated a workers’ militia, the armed people. “...[I]t has not been possible to abolish the standing army in socialist society, as originally envisioned by Marx and Engels and then by will not be possible to do this for a considerable period.” (p. 21)

Considering the historic failures of such states, Avakian has to admit to some problems with this program. “...[I]t is true...that the most strategically placed forces within socialist society who seek to carry out the restoration of capitalism are precisely high-ranking people within the socialist state (and the vanguard party...).” (p. 7) “...[F]orces do emerge from within the communist party who take this position of seeking to become a new ruling and exploiting clique.” (p. 14) This makes his whole program questionable.

Apparently there is no guarantee that the party-state dictatorship will overcome its tendency to become a new ruling class (there will be strong tendencies in that direction, says Avakian), any more than there is that the anarchist vision will succeed. But Avakian’s vision relies on the wisdom of a few leaders (or one leader) to represent the interests of the working people, while the perspective of revolutionary anarchism relies on the potential for self-government among the workers and oppressed.

Avakian argues that there cannot be a revolution without a “vanguard party.” Many anarchists believe that we should create a revolutionary organization to fight for our ideas through argument and through example. This is part of the process of self-organization of our class. But we do not aim to take power and rule over the mass of workers and oppressed, that is, we are not for a vanguard party. We do not seek “to become a new ruling and exploiting clique.”

To justify the authoritarian state and party which he advocates, Avakian cites the split “between manual and intellectual labor.” (p. 27) No doubt this “mental/manual problem” has been created by capitalism and will not immediately end with the overthrow of capitalism. Avakian gives a whole Marxistical explanation of why professionals should continue to receive higher wages under socialism due to their greater amount of training (which produces a higher exchange value to their labor). However this may be, anarchists argue that, after a revolution, workers should immediately begin to reorganize the process of production to get rid of the division between those who give orders and those who obey orders. This is not something to be put off to the distant future but should be begun to be worked on immediately.

Class Analysis of Anarchism and Maoism

Like other Marxists, Avakian states, “...[A]narchism as a program and outlook is ultimately the expression of petit bourgeois interests....” (p. 9) What does this charge mean? It would be hard to demonstrate that the class composition of my anarchist organization is all that different, more middle class (or small business based) than the Maoist RCP. Or that anarchist-syndicalist unions are less working class than some Maoist organizations. But to Avakian, class nature is not really a matter of composition but of “line.” So that the RCP is “proletarian” due to its correct politics and anarchists are “petit bourgeois” due to our bad politics.

Of course, he claims that the program of the Maoists really advances the interests of the workers, as our program supposedly advances the interest of the middle class. But this is something which needs to be demonstrated by argument (and in practice), not by assertion. Otherwise this is merely name-calling. His only argument is that decentralization means small-scale production which is supposedly petit bourgeois. I fail to see the petit bourgeois nature of collectivized communes, workers’ management of industry, and democratic, bottom-up, planning of a non-market economy.

What is the class nature of Avakian’s program? He wishes to create a new society in which there continues to be (for an indefinite period) a mental/manual split, commodity production, money, a state, a centralized standing army, a party which gives orders to the workers, and workers who stay in their factories taking orders. This is a program to continue the capital/labor relationship in a state capitalist form. Maoists seek to use the working class and peasants as a battering ram to smash the old ruling class. Then they intend to replace the old capitalist rulers by becoming the new rulers. Today they are building a party in which Avakian and his closest minions are the bosses of the working class ranks. Tomorrow they hope to create a state in which they boss all society. It is the quintessential middle class (petit bourgeois) dream of rising to become members of the ruling class. We must work to make sure that this does not happen.

With Maoists raising such a state capitalist program, it is not surprising that, as Avakian says, “Honest revolutionary-minded people were attracted to anarchism because it seemed more revolutionary than Marxism.” (p. 1)

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author by Anarchopublication date Wed Jun 20, 2007 21:19Report this post to the editors

Excellent analysis and article. Although I have to admit to being surprised that Maoists still existed,.

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author by Davidpublication date Thu Jun 21, 2007 12:19Report this post to the editors

The state is organized violence, no doubt about it. This is so under capitalism or "socialism." But a state or pseudo-state even under revolution is unavoidable. The CNT formed the state in many places in rural Spain in the late '30s. The point is that there must be a means to rebel, and to do so continuously.

author by Wayne Pricepublication date Fri Jun 22, 2007 01:31Report this post to the editors

(1) To David: You write, " a state or pseudo-state even under revolution is unavoidable." Well, some sort of institution is unavoidable, what the Pareconists call a "polity." I wrote above that we were in favor "of replacing the state with federations of councils and associations." However I would not call it a "state." I define a state as a bureaucratic-military organization, above and against the rest of society. Such socially alienated institutions have always been needed by ruling classes because they were a minority holding down the majority. But during and immediately after a revolution, it will be the big majority holding down a minority (the former ruling class and its hangers-on). We will not need a state. Instead we will need the self-organization of the workers and oppressed, in various forms of councils and assemblies, federated together. Such institutions have arisen in most revolutions in history.

(2) To Anarcho: Thanks for the feedback. You say you are "surprised that Maoists still existed." I do not know about Europe, but in North America they still organize. In the US, they even have a chunk of what there is of the peace movement. They make an effort to draw in anarchists by sounding really revolutionary, although their actual program is fairly reformist.

author by Nick Cooper - indymediapublication date Fri Jun 22, 2007 09:05Report this post to the editors

Avakian's "MLM vs. Anarchism," a Detailed Response

Tuesday, March 22 2005 @ 01:51 PM PST

Vanguardism is Classism, and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat is a Dictatorship

I wrote this to challenge an article written by Bob Avakian, the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) called "MLM vs.Anarchism, Part 1: Doing Away with Classes and What a Proletarian State Is Good For." We will find many totalitarian tendencies implicit in Bob Avakian's words (which are in italics).

>>First of all, one important aspect of this question of MLM (Marxism-Leninism-Maoism) vs. anarchism is the point that Lenin made in his time about the growth of various trends similar to anarchism, various radical trends that are different from and in some important ways opposed to communism. He said that in a certain sense anarchism and these trends more generally have to be understood as, in his phrase, "payment for the sins of right opportunism." In other words, where and to the degree that the communist movement, the Marxist movement, was not revolutionary enough, then this gave rise to, or gave strength to, anarchism.

Anarchist ideas existed throughout history in many movements. Lao Tsu and Diogenes taught about non-hierarchicalism long before any particular Marxist movement arrived and failed to be "revolutionary enough."

>>Honest revolutionary-minded people were attracted to anarchism because it seemed more revolutionary than Marxism.

You are in no position to ascertain why people are drawn to any particular movement. To simplify things to the level of people just looking for the most radical thing is ridiculous. What is the most radical change -- blowing up the planet? That would be pretty radical, but not too many activists want that.

>>This is one important aspect: where anarchism grows as a trend among people radically opposed to the status quo, this is often partly as a result of the fact that what is supposed to be the most revolutionary ideology and program, namely communism, is not revolutionary itself, or not thoroughly and consistently revolutionary, but is instead some variant of reformism wearing the mantle of Marxism. This is what Lenin meant when he said that, in part, anarchism is "payment for the sins of right opportunism."

People might choose anarchism for fundamental reasons, not for shopping around for something that seems the most radical. Anarchists might believe that anarchism is more radical than communism, but not because the commies are too reformist, but simply because commies use hierarchies.

Now, a few years back we published a pamphlet on this question, and the title as well as the overall content of that pamphlet brought out that, in reality, there is nothing more revolutionary than Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Although there are many things more revolutionary than revisionist phony communism, there is nothing more revolutionary than genuine communism--there is nothing more revolutionary than the fundamental interests, the historic mission, and the corresponding world outlook of the proletariat, and the struggle to make this a material reality. And there should be no way that anything can be presented as being more revolutionary--or that we should allow anything to come across as being more revolutionary--than what we're all about.

Ok, fine if I have to talk about this irrelevant point of how radical MLM is or isn't... it isn't at all. There are many aspects of MLM that seem quite familiar, and similar to existing structures and therefore do not seem to pass the standard of being the most revolutionary. The very idea of some white guy telling us how things will be if we follow him seems quite familiar to me, nothing revolutionary about that. Chairmen and vanguard parties all fit into hierarchical models of organizing power that have been imposed for the last 10,000 years. But the big difference is supposed to be that these chairmen and vanguards will act differently because they are enlightened? That also sounds pretty standard to me. The wise Senators of Rome and Washington and the wise Lamas of Tibet have alot in common with this vanguard party. These are very typical forms in civilization.

>>What is our fundamental answer to anarchism--how should we proceed in giving this answer?

Here's a little hint which you will ignore. Start by learning, practicing, and participating in non-hierarchical groups, then you will begin to get it. But one thing, please, don't approach things from the Utopias perspective, that is all backwards.

>>We should start from the perspective of our final aim--

HEY, I asked you not to do that! I don't know what any final aim of anything is, because life and the projects of humans are continuous. The finality is death. Living structures do not go towards final solutions except in the minds of dictators. Movements that reflect, affirm and sustain life do not have ends, they instead have directions. However, there are movements that create problems, suffering, imbalance, and it is wise to avoid these. I advocate systems that diminish problems instead of escalating them.

>>the most thoroughgoing revolution in all of human history--and then talk about what is actually necessary to get there. In other words, in opposing anarchism, rather than proceeding by saying, "You have to understand that we can't do this right away, and we can't eliminate that right away, and you don't understand we have to have a state and we have to have a party," and so on--instead of getting into it that way--we should start from the point of view of the final aim of communism, which represents the most radical revolution, the most radical ruptures, in all of human history, and put that out very clearly as what we're aiming for, and then get into the contradictions that are necessary to struggle through and overcome in order to get to that final aim. Otherwise, we might actually come off as more conservative than anarchism, when in fact, as has been stressed, we're much more radical than anarchists.

Like George Bush you repeat a phrase with little actual meaning and hope you give it some. Who is the most radical? Who cares! All I know is that your Utopianism is dangerous, because I have witnessed the suffering created by other movements who had too much heaven on their minds as they brought terrible brutality on those whom they opposed. I think talking about the "final aim" is a stupid way to go about organizing. Power is corrupting, and so is claiming to have any knowledge of, or the ability to lead "the people" towards one's "final aim."

>>If we're going to criticize anarchism and struggle with people to take up MLM, we have to unite with the radical inclinations of many anarchists.

I have a better idea, LISTEN to them. They oppose your hierarchies, NOT your failure to be the most radical. You are like George Bush saying "they hate us because we are free." Nonsense, anarchists oppose you because you are hierarchical, NOT because you aren't "radical" enough.

>>And we have to struggle with them to deepen these radical inclinations and take them further. We have to do this from a revolutionary standpoint--from the standpoint of the most radical transformation in the history of humanity, the proletarian revolution and its communist ideology.

And eventually, the path is towards Kronstadt. If you can't get the anarchists to go along with your hierarchical system, you might feel inclined to massacre them.

>>As also pointed out in that pamphlet ("There's Nothing More Revolutionary Than MLM"), and as our Party has consistently emphasized, communism must be--can only be--achieved worldwide. But there is, in the anarchist position, especially as it finds expression within an imperialist country, a certain amount--and in some cases a great deal--of what we could call "imperialist chauvinism." At least in its objective content, and regardless of the intention of those who put it forward, and even regardless of certain internationalist sentiments of some anarchists, the anarchist position, when put forward in an imperialist country, amounts in a certain aspect to a program of "communizing the plunder of imperialism." The reason is that if you were to implement the anarchist position that you shouldn't have any state at all, then there would not be any way to put the interests of the proletariat as a class, and the interests of the masses of people, above the interests of individuals and small groups of people. And, along with that, there would be no way to put the interests of the world revolution above the more narrow interests of the people in this or that particular country. And this is especially a problem in a country that has a whole history of imperialist domination and plunder.

A good point, doing away with the state without having something powerful there in it's place opens you up for the usual suspects to regain power or a fascist group to take over. Either way you have a hell of a fight on your hands. However, if you have created an organization that sees this fight as communist army vs. capitalist / fascist army, you are essentially planning for alot of destruction, release of toxicity into the environment, suffering and death. And in this big mess, I think, your lofty goals "final aims" and everything else would fall away in favor of winning the fight. So we would have great suffering, accompanied by a loss of ideals. This is not a good plan (regardless of how "radical it is"). Preparing to fight against the war machine with its own types of weapons necessarily leaves us in such a long period of fighting that everything cool would be gone by the end. The alternative then? Creating autonomous sustainable systems and regions of resistance, that neither desire power or fighting, but are prepared to replace the systems of hierarchy as they crumble under their own weight, their own wars, their own debt.

>>Now, the anarchists actually argue not only that you shouldn't have a state in their vision of a new society,

I think it is the communists who want everything to be in terms of a "vision of a new society." It is not relevant to use this as the starting point for deconstructing the views of anarchists, who are usually much more focused on work and struggle than Utopia.

>>but that you shouldn't have an established, organized revolutionary leadership to carry out the overthrow of the existing order. If that line were followed, it would actually mean that you couldn't overthrow the existing order--because, in order to do that, you have to go up against and actually defeat the highly organized and very powerful military as well as political forces of the imperialists and their whole state apparatus.

That is because you don't understand anti-power. You can't win by creating a power equal to the state, or else you become an equally oppressive force yourself. Your proposal is akin to all of the escalation inherent in modern warfare. It is similar to George Bush telling us that our war is for peace, it's all very Orwellian. There is no way to defeat this military you refer to militarily.

>>But let's say, for the sake of argument, that somehow you did overthrow the old system without any revolutionary leadership of an organized character

The concept of overthrowing itself is flawed. I don't even know how to distinguish between the "revolutionary leadership" and the "old system." After all, in the United States, we began with a revolutionary leadership and a revolutionary war. So you advocate a new one with a new leadership. Anarchists propose an alternative which you are unable to consider, because you are locked into this familiar thinking. "The King / Capitalism is the enemy, overthrow it and we, the new leadership will usher in a new era!" Heard that before!

>>and then, in accordance with the anarchist position, you tried to do without any kind of state. Well then, really, the way the society and the economy would have to be structured, to be consistent with this anarchist vision, is that every unit of production in society, or small groups of people that got together to carry out production and exchange, should enjoy the fruits and the benefits of what's produced through their labor.

The problem with this hypothetical scenario, is that it puts us in this artificial moment, after the state has been overthrown and while non-hierarchical units have yet to be created. The more realistic alternative is that the organizing is done NOW, not after some final victory. The functioning non-hierarchical systems can exist now, there is no need to wait until after this victory. The whole idea of waiting until after "the revolution" to actually do anything is dangerous. Emma Goldman was a pure anarchist, not an anarco-capitalist, or "reformist." She may have thought about Utopia, but her struggles were with issues that were quite immediate and relevant, like workers rights and opposition to the war and the draft. People who talk about how things will be when the big change occurs, often fail to look for the big change to occur within themselves and instead try to be radicals, while in fact repeating the same patterns of hierarchy and suffering.

>>But among the many problems with this is the inescapable fact that, if you were to do this beginning on an economic foundation that resulted from the position of the old imperialist country in the overall international division of labor and accumulation process of the imperialist system, then you would be proceeding on the basis of reaping the fruits and "communizing" the plunder and exploitation that had been carried out by imperialism.

Exactly why non-hierarchicalism is not something that could be suddenly learned after some revolution. It can be learned, practiced and used right now, informing its participants all the way. Neither anarchists, communists or any other anti-oppression group will be able to start acting any differently than other oppressors should they take power because hierarchies are ingrained in us. This "revolution" occurring is not one which will suddenly make it clear how to throw off our hierarchical indoctrination, and it would be foolish to wait until "after" to start freeing ourselves from it.

>>And this would be true, even taking into account the unavoidable destruction and dislocation of technology and of the economy overall that would be involved in a revolutionary war to overthrow imperialism--even with all that, you would still be "inheriting" vast and highly developed technology and other productive forces that are, to a significant degree, the fruit of exploitation and plunder carried out over decades and centuries of imperialist domination and colonial conquest throughout the world.

I want no part of this war with all its destruction. I have heard the logic of war from many leaders before you, we have to fight for someone else's freedom, fight for equality, liberty, but really all they offer is some way to put themselves at the vanguard. The people fight but the spoils of this type of war can never be peace, justice, equality and solidarity. The only good thing about war is that after it ends some people realize why it is so important not to have wars. Since I already know that now, so I am not enlisting.

>>So the question will be: are you going to have an approach of "communizing" those fruits, for the benefit only of the people in that (former) imperialist country, or are you going to utilize those productive forces first and above all to advance the world revolution toward the aim of overcoming all exploitative and unequal relations in the world, including the "great divide" between the imperialist and the colonial countries?

In the post-apocalyptic landscape that would be left after such a war, there will be little left dividing.

>>The Process of Doing Away with Classes

>>Another way of getting at this is to say that, so long as society is divided into classes--and so long as the economic-material basis exists for such class division--it is only through a socialist state that the highest interests of the proletariat and masses of people can be realized.

The highest interests of the whole planet are my goals. Not those of one class of people or even of one species.

>>And what goes along with that is that it is only through such a state that proletarian internationalism can be given its fullest and highest expression.

Letting humans be in charge of the land is what created all these problems. The planet was doing ok before we thought that one class or group of us knew the best way for the world to be organized.

>>This is the only way that the larger interests of the proletarian class, including its proletarian internationalism, can actually find expression--can actually be implemented and, yes, enforced, against the opposition of the overthrown exploiters and other reactionary forces.

The proletarian class are not the only ones being exploited by hierarchies. Other species suffer, and rich people suffer (in their own pampered ways). To create systems which create less suffering, we need to be conscious of suffering itself, not just of class. We need to explore the things that cause suffering, and put this knowledge to use. We know very well that hierarchical systems have built civilization and all that it comes with. We know very well that the Earth's ability to sustain life is threatened now as never before. This is no time for ideologies which limit their aims to addressing the suffering of one group. This whole planet is very sick, and the cure must take all of it into account.

>>In these conditions, where the basis for class divisions has not yet been overcome and uprooted,

The basis is land-ownership itself, whether the state owns it, the rich people, or whoever. Land-ownership IS the basis for class division.

>>without such a proletarian state--without a unifying instrument to give concentrated expression and concentrated material force to the interests of the proletarian class as a whole--

Who is in the proletarian class? Which types of workers are included and which aren't? What about jobless, homeless people? What about rich people? What about all that there is out in this planet that is not in your group? What do you do with the rest? Proletarian class interest is a very limited angle to impose on such a global crisis.

>>then "the best" you would be able to get (and this could only last for a brief period of time) would be small groups of people who were actually exercising a petit bourgeois way of life, operating in a petit bourgeois mode.

I was waiting for you to start using that word. It is as if anything you can call radical is good and anything you can call bourgeoise is bad. So here is the crux - if the proletarian's appointed vanguards aren't in charge we will all be bourgeoise. This is more like a threat than any logical argument: "if you don't follow our plan, you're in trouble."

>>And if the means of production were owned or controlled by small groups of people, with each owning a small portion of these means of production and organizing production in accordance with this, then by what means and through what mechanisms would economic relations among these different groups, and among the individuals within these groups, be regulated?

It's simple, put someone in charge of regulating and THEY become the problem. When the people are ready not to allow members of their community to own or control, then and only then, will this ownership and control end.

>>It will not be possible to do away with commodity relations and money right away--in fact for a considerable period of time--after the overthrow of the present capitalist system; and if you try to abolish them right away, you will have chaos and the result, politically as well as economically, will be anything but the idealized vision of the anarchists of a society without elites monopolizing authority and power.

Idealized vision is YOUR department. Any revolutionary with an idealized vision is a problem, because they start to advocate brutal means of bringing others in line with such visions. The difference is not between competing utopias, it is between utopianists and organizers who are focused on learning non-hierarchical systems of decision making. These decisions are not made to bring about Utopia, they are made to function in a model of decision-making that will be adaptable and practical for their needs. Utopianism is similar to Christianity - suffer more now, gain big much later. And I give the same response to you that I do so someone trying to save my soul or involve me in Amway or Multi-level Mareketing (another MLM), I slam the door.

>>(This is a decisive point which I will return to later.) So, in fact, if such an anarchist program were implemented,

set up straw man, knock it down....

>>the economic relations among different sectors of the economy, and between the people in society, could only end up being regulated according to the principles of commodity production and exchange--and, more than that, capitalist commodity production and exchange. The result would be re-polarization of society along capitalist lines, with the emergence of a bourgeoisie full-blown and a bourgeois society full-blown. And, along with that, the result would be the restoration of imperialist plunder and exploitation throughout the world.

You say: after the revolution you will get sucked back in to bourgeois society. I say that regardless of whether or not there is any revolution, you are still stuck on hierarchies, state power, land-ownership, all the things that created our problems.

>>The Problem of Being "Ben-and-Jerryized"

>>In other words, if you have not, in reality, uprooted the material conditions that give rise to and underlie the division of society into classes; if you have not overcome the division between mental and manual labor, the social division of labor that involves the oppression of women, and other major social contradictions;

State ownership does not uproot the essential underlying conditions of division into classes, it contains hierarchicalism and land-ownership (by the state).

>>if you have not brought into being the conditions that make it possible to articulate the production and exchange of goods and services without commodity relations and money; if you have not accomplished all that--not only in one part of the world but in the world as a whole--and you try to just have small groups of people get together and produce things, you're going to find yourself forced to "fall back" on capitalist principles in regulating the economy.

Right this is the same attack we have heard several times now: anarchists would just fall back into capitalism. I am not saying it is impossible for that to occur. But, hierarchical groups, such as yours, don't just run the risk of falling back into traditional power structures, they never even leave them.

>>First of all, you're not going to be able to avoid a certain division of labor in society.

I agree, until land-ownership and all that it implies are ended, there will be division of labor. However, it is possible to work clearly and directly against this (as opposed to thinking that after some revolution has been accomplished it will be a good idea for a powerful state to regulate and impose such changes.)

>>Individuals, or small groups of people, are not going to be able to produce everything they need by themselves. So there's going to have to be some form of exchange. And, again, this will have a worldwide dimension and cannot be limited to just one country or one part of the world. What form is this exchange going to take?

Hopefully it will be autonomous and without coercion. But if the RCP had its way, it will develop in a "regulated" manner.

>>How is this exchange--and the production that underlies it--going to be on a basis that contributes to overcoming these divisions and inequalities in the particular society, and also contributes to the world revolution and the transformations necessary for the elimination of classes and social inequality, worldwide?

You really got to go to Chiapas for a bit man!

>>In reality, these small groups, both in their relations of exchange with each other and within their units of production, would reproduce capitalist relations.

By saying "in reality" and repeating yourself, you are not becoming more convincing. Again and again this same un-provable accusation: anarchists will just revert to capitalism.

>>They would be in a situation where, in society as a whole, there is no embodiment of interests and, yes, of authority, which is higher than these various different small groups and which can therefore unify the masses of people around those higher interests.

THERE IT IS. You, Chairman Bobby and your vanguard party can be the new AUTHORITY and UNIFY everyone else around your vision. Well, one question, what happens to those of us who hate your vision? HOW WILL YOU UNIFY US? killing? imprisonment? torture?

>>And the fact is that, without such embodiment of higher interests and authority, there will be no means for uprooting social inequalities, for uprooting commodity production, for uprooting the material basis that gives rise to class distinctions.

The idea that authority will empower the weakest and limit itself is asking far too much of yourselves. If you set up a system that requires saints to run it, your system will fail in the hands of real people. Power corrupts (did you forget that?)

>>So these small units of production, in having to deal in the larger economic arena of both that country and of the world, in having to find their place within the overall accumulation process that exists in the world as a whole, would find themselves "Ben-and-Jerry-ized." Despite any intentions of doing things for the social good, they would not be able to avoid getting into a situation where some people are exploiting others within that society, and where, on a world scale, they are benefitting from the unequal division of labor and from the exploitative and lop-sided relations.

Do you really imagine that you have proved any point here? Do you think that by stating and repeating endlessly that autonomous collectives are gonna sell out, that you have made it so?

>>Unless, through the medium of the state, you move systematically to suppress the forces of capitalism and to realize the higher interests of the proletariat, capitalist forces will (as Lenin put it) be regenerated daily, hourly, continuously, spontaneously, and on a mass scale, out of these underlying economic and social contradictions that you've only begun to address.

So let's make this real simple:

Bobby thinks that without a powerful state to fight for justice, injustice will prevail.

Anti-hierarchical groups think that any powerful state will create injustice.

Simple decision, you either believe that the communist state can resist corruption and fight capitalism or you believe that whatever the state calls itself, it will be subject to the same forces. The communists believe there can be a hierarchical state which fights against hierarchy. During communist revolutions, the anarchists laugh at this idea, and keep laughing until the communists get tired of them and kill them off.

>>Without a state to provide a higher synthesis and unification of the interests of the people--of the proletariat and the broad masses of people--

You are incapable of shaping the directions of broad mass rebellion, they will not unify around your message. They have their own agendas, and their rebellion has a life of its own.

>>these different units of production having to exchange with each other are objectively going to be thrown into competition with each other.

Oh Bobby, you don't understand autonomous organizing. You need to experience it first. Zapatista communities are not in competition with each other (well maybe in basketball).

>>And this competition is going to lead to some advancing, while others are set back, it's going to lead to further polarization and inequality, both between different sectors of the economy and within those different sectors.

It is the hierarchicalism which YOU Chairman embrace which is not just a cause of polarization and inequality, IT IS INEQUALITY ITSELF.

>>So in terms of proletarian internationalism and in terms of actually overcoming these inequalities and divisions which continually reproduce the bourgeoisie--which, even after the capitalist system has been overthrown, continually produce forces that strive toward the restoration of the bourgeois mode of production--you cannot do without the state right away.

Yes of course, this all makes alot of sense to turn over to your control our futures until such time as you have set everyone free. As long as we're gonna have a state anyway, why don't we just stick with the one we got, yours doesn't sound any better.

>>In fact, you cannot do without it for a long historical period, until you have completely eradicated the basis for class distinctions and all the social inequalities and antagonisms that are bound up with this.

Yes, authority will work towards diminishing itself, sounds real plausible. Your period of dictatorship of the proletariat will be PERMANENT.

>>Until you reach that point, without the proletarian state you're going to find the forces of capitalism reinforced, and rather than being able to quickly abolish the state, you're going to find the bourgeois state, bourgeois dictatorship, exercising its oppressive rule over society, enforcing the bourgeois mode of production with all its exploitation and inequality, both within the country and internationally.

Every few years people will be asking "Hey aren't we there yet, where the state can wither away and we can all live in your Utopia?" and the state will continue to answer "NO, not yet, we still have this or that battle, for which we need troops. And since YOU got such a loud mouth asking such questions you must have some extra time on your hands. Off you go to the front lines punk." This is not a transitional phase at all, it is a continuous state of war. I will not follow those who seek to fight the disease with the disease itself.

>>After the present capitalist system is overthrown, not only will old bourgeois forces try to regroup and sabotage and ultimately overthrow the new society, but new bourgeois forces are going to continually emerge, for a long time.

Sounds similar to George Bush speaking about when the war will end.

>>These various bourgeois forces are going to seek each other out and form alliances, they're going to gather their forces, they're going to seek allies internationally, and they're going to move to restore capitalism. Without the proletarian state, there's going to be, frankly, nobody to stop them--no unified force, no leadership, to represent the proletariat as a whole in being able to combat this capitalist restoration.

There is only one thing that will ever stop them which is noncompliance. Not until the people are unwilling to fight will wars end. Not until workers are unwilling to be oppressed will their oppression end. You can not make them stand up for themselves by mandate.

>>A Radically Different State

>>Of course (as I'll return to later in this series), the state in the new, socialist society, must be radically different than all previous states. It must represent the revolutionary interests of the proletariat and the masses of people, and this must be concretely expressed in the institutions of this state and its functioning. It must rely on and continually unleash the conscious revolutionary activism of the masses and increasingly involve them in mastering and transforming all spheres of society, and it must embody and develop the forms for doing this. And our ultimate goal, in this most radical revolution in all of history, is to abolish the state (and generally to bring into being the conditions where there is no longer any need, or basis, for one group of people to institutionalize their leadership in society and for one part of society to dominate and exploit others).

A circuitous route. I will follow a more direct route by opposing your authoritarian tendencies as much as those of our current warmongers.

>>Further, it is true--and historical experience of the socialist revolution has dramatically illustrated this truth--that the most strategically placed forces within socialist society who seek to carry out the restoration of capitalism are precisely high-ranking people within the socialist state (and the vanguard party, which is the leading force within the socialist state) who turn against the revolution.

Time to start the purges! You create an inherently corrupting system and then notice how many of its members have been corrupted. Perhaps that means it is time to reconsider creating your Frankenstein ahead of time?

>>As Mao summed up, the greatest danger of capitalist restoration within socialist society is posed by those in authority who follow the capitalist road. This is a very acute contradiction--and it has a very profound basis in the nature of socialist society as a transition from capitalism to communism (where there will no longer be class distinctions and social inequality). But these very contradictions of socialism (such as the persistence of the differences between mental and manual labor, of commodity and money relations, of the social conditions that are bound up with the oppression of women, and other major social contradictions) also make necessary the leading role of a vanguard party representing the revolutionary outlook and interests of the proletariat. And they make necessary the struggle to continually revolutionize the party itself as a crucial part of revolutionizing society toward the goal of communism. But, until communism is achieved--and we have to emphasize especially here, until it is achieved worldwide--until the material (and ideological) basis has been brought into being to abolish the state (and the vanguard party), there is no way other than through the proletarian state (and through the vanguard role of the party of the proletariat) for the highest interests of the proletariat and masses of people to be upheld and acted on.

A deep contradiction indeed. Perhaps a bit too deep. WHY NOT AVOID THIS AND ORGANIZE IN WAYS THAT ARE NOT INHERENTLY CORRUPTING?

>>Along with that, there is no other way for proletarian internationalism to be actually made into a material reality.

Only dictators, fools and false messiahs claim there is no other way than their own.

>>Instead we'll get the re-emergence and polarization of class forces and the exploitation that are characteristic of capitalism and imperialism.

Any other way but mine will fail? Doesn't sound like a convincing argument to me, but more like a psychosis.

>>And we'll get a chauvinism of a kind that says that the people who emerge as the more elite strata within this society should once again enjoy the benefits that have been derived from the whole history of imperialist plunder and lop-sidedness and all the exploitative relations and the international division of labor that goes along with that in the world as a whole with the operation of the imperialist system.

The Chairman of the Vanguard himself critiques the idea of elitism! HA

>>While at times anarchism may appear extremely radical and appear to be criticizing Marxism from a more "left" position, anarchism is essentially reformist.

Here we go again, Bob trying to prove he is the most radical, revolutionary and leftist white American, while any other political movement gets one of his standard insults: "reformist," "bourgeoise," "capitalist," etc. Someone please tell him that it's not radical to be trying to be "the most," -- its very... bourgeoise :) This article reveals no research, no reference to anything anyone has written, and no experience with anarchism. It is more like a critique of some nonsense version of anarchism. Bob claims that it is important to listen to criticisms, but it consistently demonstrates that he is not listening.

>>A crucial point in relation to this is that, even when socialist states exist in various parts of the world, they are involved in a very intense contradiction: if, through a wave-like or spiral-like process, the world proletarian revolution is not advanced, then, within the socialist states themselves, the basis for capitalist restoration and the forces fighting for capitalist restoration gain in strength in a qualitative way after a certain point. Now, if that's true even where you have the proletarian state, then it's all the more true if you try to immediately abolish the proletarian state.

Right, we know, you think there needs to be a transition called the dictatorship of the proletariat while they dismantle the capitalist state. You think this is a good idea, those who oppose all dictatorships think otherwise.

>>Along with this, in terms of the limitations of anarchism and its class outlook, there's a profound and fundamental difference between merely being in opposition within any given society and really building a revolutionary movement that carries out the seizure of power,

Those who seize power, BECOME power and then THEY need to be seized. Ya Basta! End the cycle.

>>and then carries forward the revolutionary transformation of society as part of the world proletarian revolution.

You are basically building up a war machine to win this fight. Those who build war machines tend to create brutal wars which very quickly are not "about" anything or "for" anything, they are just wars. First they are about an ideology, then just about winning, and eventually, they are about nothing, they are just something that we hope will end. So, while many people in the world, most of whom are not "anarchists," don't like their governments, they have no desire to go to war with it. However, your desire to seize power makes YOU sound like a government.

>>In other words, what the anarchist position boils down to is really the position of being the petit bourgeois critic, or the petit bourgeois opposition, within the given society.

Yes, as we know anyone who has another idea is "bourgeoise." Next you'll be calling them "reformist." You're gonna make the anarchists cry with all your tough words.

>>This is objectively as far as anarchism can ever really go as a material force, and to a large degree this is actually the subjective intentions and aims of the anarchists.

Anyone that doesn't want to join your fight to take over the world is just wasting their time doing anything. Such deep analysis here, Bob. We can all see why your followers are so impressed / obsessed with you!

>>Most anarchists actually aim for something far short of actually carrying out the revolutionary overthrow of the existing order and the revolutionary transformation of society and the world as a whole.

Real revolutionary transformation, whether you think of it as "anarchism," or anything else, would be stopping hierarchies. Revolutionary transformation for you would be everyone joining your hierarchy with your vanguard at the helm (and someday you will deliver the end of hierarchies, but not after you get to play dictator for a while). For the Vanguard, it would be revolutionary because it would finally be their opportunity to fail the impossible task of managing other people's future. For everyone else, it would be part of a familiar pattern of groups in power offering to fix their problems, but oppressing them instead.

>>This has to do with the fact that, regardless of the intentions and sentiments of particular anarchists, anarchism as a program

haha, and did you watch this anarchist "program" on the anarchist channel? You are the one with the draft programs. Your focus on "programs" over building / analyzing systems is dangerous. I know, you think you are building and systems analyzing. But you don't get credit for building frankensteins or this type of shallow analysis.

>>and outlook is ultimately the expression of petit bourgeois interests (which I touched on in the first part of this series).

Yeah back in the first part where you also repeated that anarchists are bourgeoise a bunch of times also without a coherent argument.

>>But this should not be taken to mean that anarchists can only play a negative--or mainly negative--role, that anarchists are bound to be enemies of the proletarian revolution.

Oh, oh, I know what's coming next - the part where you kill the anarchists! (and any other group that won't go along with the program). Declaring someone your enemy is usually a step towards the purges / genocide.

>>The point is that an anarchist line cannot lead in carrying out the profound and world-historical revolutionary transformations that are required.

The very fact that you think anarchists consider their "line" fit to "lead" shows how little you have read of anarchism, how little you understand what you are criticizing, and how surrounded you are by people nodding their heads at you. Otherwise it wouldn't be possible to say something so ill-informed without being called out for it. You are so entrenched in your on party "program" and "line" and trying to "lead" that you can't understand anyone organizing outside of your dangerous familiar totalitarian paradigm. You are literally unable to comprehend ideas such as: everyone has to lead, with no Chairmen, no vanguards, just people acting like humans instead of like slaves. Reading those words now they have no meaning to you other than "oh that's just some petit-bourgeoise, reformist nonsense since it doesn't have enough of a plan to be useful." So, the whole idea of this article, accepting criticism from your critics (including anarchists) would be impossible for you. When someone has a plan so firmly in mind that anything that doesn't go along with their plan is written off, they are unable to learn, unable to accept criticisms and unable to adapt.

>>And, on the other hand, the more that a proletarian-revolutionary line, a communist line, is leading, the more we will be able to bring out the positive side of anarchism, in its opposition to oppressive relations, and to carry forward the process of unity-struggle-unity with many anarchists.

So, you mean after you have killed off the anarchists, you promise to carry their ideas forward? You should make sure you learn some of their ideas first :) Though anarchists may be happy to work with you while you're in struggle, if you you came into power, you'd be unable to work together, since opposing power is what they do.

>>Learning from Criticism

>>In writing about our strategic orientation of United Front under the Leadership of the Proletariat (UFuLP),

Putting the word "front" in there makes it sound real militant and slick, like totally revolutionary and radical and proletariat, just like you like it (that is to say non-bourgoise and un-reformist). But pronouncing "ufulp" out loud is just gonna ruin the effect.

>>I have pointed out that under the dictatorship of the proletariat, it will be necessary (as Lenin put it) to live with and transform the petite bourgeoisie over a long historical period.

I don't know what Lenin said, but I do know what he did. He dissolved the constituent assemblies. He introduced war communism including death penalties in worker discipline, and obligatory labor. He set up the agricultural monitoring that would be used by Stalin to starve Ukrainians (a genocide). He created a bloodbath for those who had weapons along with a different vision at Kronstadt. He exiled 200 more intellectual style prominent critics. I am not asking you to explain to me why he had to do such things, it is quite obvious to me why he would choose this path. When you are in this type of war against the state, you become closed to criticism and empowerment of the people. You can't teach them how to eventually become free, only how to be soldiers and slaves.

>>And one aspect of living with and transforming the petite bourgeoisie is that there is a certain aspect in which there can be a positive role for opposition within socialist society, a positive role for people who, from a different vantage point than that of the proletariat, raise criticisms and point to problems within socialist society and the proletarian state and its leadership.

But, THIS time you aren't gonna kill them, but keep them around to critique your hierarchy? How could you put that into your draft program?

>>Since there are going to be class divisions anyway within socialist society, since for a long time these petit bourgeois strata are going to exist and be regenerated within socialist society, they are going to find various ways to give expression to their class position, including raising criticisms of the policies and lines of the proletariat in power. While, on the one hand, we can't concede to this fundamentally--that is, we can't allow the inclinations and outlook of the petit bourgeoisie to set the terms for things

Yeah, maybe let them make their criticisms from prison cells where they will have less opportunity to "set the terms."

>>-on the other hand, we should recognize that this criticism from people expressing essentially an anarchist viewpoint (or other viewpoints that ultimately represent the petit bourgeoisie) can play a certain positive role in the sense of pointing out shortcomings in the socialist state--ways in which at any given time we fall short. And here I mean ways in which we fall short, not of what the anarchists with a certain idealist utopianism say should be possible,

Maybe idealism is just one of those words like bougeoise which you like to throw around loosely. But I think what you mean is: "You think you can have freedom without a fight? You can't." And I am sure most anarchists would agree with you there. I would be interested in reading any kind of comparison of anarchist and communist writings or organizing that shows one is more idealist than the other. I think in any movement there are those who think "I am doing this because I believe it will help save the world" and those who think "I am doing this because it is right, but it will never work to fix this mess" -- there are idealists and cynics in every movement, but that you have failed to demonstrate why one is more idealist than another.

>>but short of what actually can and must be done in the given situation in terms of transforming society and overcoming inequalities and divisions and advancing this process on a world scale.

So, the anarchists and other bourgeoise can make criticisms without power? How do they even have enough power to voice criticisms? Can they, say put out newspapers? Can they assemble freely. You know what you guys need? A bill of rights stuck on as amendments to your draft program!

>>So there is an aspect in which a positive role can be played by certain opposition and critical forces within socialist society. As I said, since they are going to exist anyway, and since they are going to seek out ways to give political and ideological expression to their class position at any given time, we might as well strive to find the ways to give this a positive direction and make positive use of this kind of criticism. But, at the same time, it must be firmly grasped that there is an even more crucial role--a qualitatively more important and decisive role--for vanguard leadership to make possible the advance to the final aim of communism, worldwide. And this vanguard role does involve correctly assimilating the criticisms that are raised by such petit bourgeois forces, including those of this or that anarchist inclination.

Kinda like writing to your Congressman now - they sometimes even write back! "Dear Vanguard, You arrested my daddy last night. Could you please go visit him in jail and take some suggestions? You said you'd be open to criticism."

>>At the same time, there is very definitely an even more important and more profound role for criticism that's made from our own class standpoint, from the viewpoint of the revolutionary proletariat. This gets back to a fundamental point that Marx made about the communist revolution--that it must subject even itself to continual criticism and continually remake itself and arise from its defeats and failures and go forward again.

Yeah perhaps Marx would have done so, but you have not. Alot has been figured out in the past 100 years about why we are acting like such idiots. It turns out that it is not just our class that is oppressive, it is our whole way of living out of balance. It makes civilized people act oppressively. The alternative is to stop being slaves, both to an oppressive society and to any oppressive attempt at a solution like yours. Your whole system is built on hierarchy and hierarchy created slavery. You are falling into the typical role of savior. No more saviors, except all of us.

>>So, while there is a role for other class forces, such as the petit bourgeoisie, in terms of being a certain kind of opposition and raising criticisms, and while we have to correctly assimilate this and make this serve the advance of the proletarian revolution, in an even more fundamental sense our whole revolution itself has to be about continually criticizing itself and continuing to advance in that way.

As soon as you acknowledge that you understand some of the crucial criticisms of your assumptions ideas and programs, you will be more convincing about this.

>>The vanguard party must recognize that, at any given point it does not have absolute truth--in the general sense that there is always more to be learned, or even just in the sense that no one, including communists, can avoid making mistakes. But, along with that, the very need for the vanguard party to determine priorities and to concentrate its attention and energies on certain decisive questions and struggles at any given time means that there are bound to be things in society, including some important things, which the vanguard party is not able to focus on, perhaps not even aware of or only dimly aware of.

Ok, I am going to voice a criticism which maybe you can strive to "correctly assimilate" here it is: Your select few who get to lead the thing if they actually won any power would be subjected to the identical forces that the select few making decisions now have working on them. It is inherently corrupting. Every vanguard / oligarchy / aristocracy / rich people group likes to tell itself it is doing things for the good of the people. Every time they create Frankensteins. NO MORE FRANKENSTEINS / NO VANGUARD!

>>Both in the struggle for the seizure of power and afterwards in socialist society, there will be ways in which we are, in a certain sense, so absorbed in the particular priorities and concentrations of struggle that we are taking up, that certain other aspects of society may not be as clear or as immediately apparent to us as they may to other forces in society who are not so absorbed in the major struggles that we are engaged in and who do not have the same responsibility for the overall direction of society. This happens today and it will happen all throughout the struggle in building for and carrying out the seizure of power and even afterward under the dictatorship of the proletariat.

That run-on sentence is pretty hard to follow, but it seems to reflect a mindset of those who feel they can make decisions for others. Yes of course they will be distracted from all kinds of things. They are following a program -- trying to control the direction -- and become completely ill-fit to adapt and grow with the changes that come from the bottom up. They have allowed themselves to put off certain things which they think cannot be enjoyed until the true-communism is granted by the dictatorship. Those groups which are demanding those things now will necessarily constantly surprise them. There is no "afterward under the dictatorship of the proletariat," or at least not the afterwards to which you allude. By the time there is a dictatorship, all your theories go out the window. Your self-criticism and whatever other adaptive healing forces you might have in your organization (which helped you to finally have the realization not to discriminate against homosexuality) right now will disappear during the fighting. Fighting and dictatorship themselves will outweigh the influence of ideology and theory. Power is corrupting, wars are destructive and all-encompassing, and dictatorships only end when they are overthrown. No plan can change that. "Oh no, not possible," say your followers, "this will be the first cool dictatorship." Or perhaps they reconcile any apprehensions they might have by saying "it will only be an oppressive force for those who are not in the party," so they feel safe from the monstrous forces that they realize are inherent in the frankenstein they are creating. "As long as I keep going along with the party line, I'll be ok. And the party line couldn't be wrong, so what's the risk?" But part of them is not satisfied with that answer and keeps wondering "will I be able to keep silent in the face of corruption" (which they partially realize would necessarily occur if the party gained power), and they fear what consequences are in store for themselves. And to the rescue comes hierarchicalism. "I have my role" they tell themselves, and "I've worked so long to get here. I couldn't give that up." The exact same forces are in play for a frat brother who feels a twinge of doubt about why he is hazing freshmen. "Well I struggled to get where I am now, no need to rock the boat now that I got status."

>>The important thing again is, as Mao said, to be good at learning. The important thing is to have the necessary orientation and methodology to be able to critically assimilate and correctly synthesize things that other people raise, including their criticisms, and make this serve the overall cause of advancing the proletarian revolution not just in the particular country but worldwide.

If this is true, then Mao had a skill which you are lacking. I don't consider myself an anything-ist, but if you're going to be a "Maoist" and your conception of Mao is the great learner, then LEARN, Avakian. Better informed criticisms would refute people like me who say that those at the top of hierarchies can't keep learning.

Related Link: http://nickcooper.comi
author by Waynepublication date Sat Jun 23, 2007 00:01Report this post to the editors

I agree with most of what Nick Cooper has to say, and I thank him for sharing his response to Avakian. But I also have some disagreements, which I will just mention without giving a full argument. I think that it is important that anarchists have a "vision," a goal, of a liberated, nonheirarchical, society. I think that the working class (proletariat) has to be a central part of any revolution, although not the only part. And I think there needs to be a revolution, something on the model of the U.S., French, and Russian revolutions, to get rid of the state and the capitalist class. Apparently Nick disagrees with these conceptions, which is okay. It is part of the ongoing discussion.

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