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Internationalist Perspective - An Appeal to the Pro-Revolutionary Milieu


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#1 abolish misery

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 11:06 PM

Internationalist Perspective is a left communist journal that I enjoy. They follow a really good line. I think this piece, while short, may be beneficial to some people here.


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Looking at the world today, we see an urgent need for revolution, contrasting with a profound weakness and division of pro-revolutionaries. Some of their disagreements are serious. And yet, pro-revolutionaries also have something essential in common, internationalist, revolutionary, positions that separate them from those, whose pseudo-revolutionary discourse, in the end, is nothing more than an excuse for the perpetuation of the value-form. We use the term “pro-revolutionary” deliberately, because only history will be able to judge whether what we do, discussing, writing, publishing, intervening etc…has a revolutionary impact or not. We certainly want that. But do we act accordingly?

1. The present-day crisis is not just a conjunctural downturn, not just a result of unbridled greed. It is not a crisis of neo-liberalism but a crisis of capitalism. It demonstrates capitalism’s historical obsolescence, the urgent need to kill it at its core and replace it with a world in which the satisfaction of human needs, not profit, is the driving force, a world no longer ruled by the law of value, no longer divided by nations, races and religions, in which the collective self-emancipation of the exploited will, for the first time, make individual freedom real.

2. The consequences of this crisis are and will be increasingly devastating. In its desperate attempts to cut costs to restore its profit-rate, the capitalist class inflicts mass unemployment, wage and benefit cuts on the working class, hunger, disease and homelessness on all the dispossessed. For the same reason, it continues its onslaught on the natural environment. Furthermore, the crisis widens the door to war. When the normal economic ways to obtain profit are blocked, the use of violence becomes increasingly attractive, while the need of the accumulation process for devalorization invites ever-greater destruction.

3. The only force capable of preventing capitalism from dragging humanity into the abyss is international working class revolution. The only way this revolution can succeed is through the development of collective self-organization of the working class in struggle; breaking through all the divisions capitalism imposes on it. From this self-organization of the struggle will arise the self-organization of the post-capitalist world.

4. The crisis inevitably provokes social convulsions. In each of them, contradictory forces are at work. In every struggle, there will be voices pleading for giving in, for ending the fight. There will be those who defend the particularity of each struggle, to keep it isolated. There will be those who will try to redirect the anger away from capitalism towards workers of other countries or towards immigrants or other scapegoats. But in every struggle, there also will be the urge to push ahead, to take the movement as far as it can go; there will be voices that plead for the extension of the struggle, for the unity of the exploited, for collective self-organization, against respect for capitalist laws and institutions. And increasingly, there will be voices that will clearly state that the real enemy is capitalism itself.

5. What the outcome of the confrontation of these contradictory forces will be is not predetermined. Pro-revolutionaries recognize that they are part of the equation. The social force that works towards the overthrowing of capitalism takes many forms and they are one of them. So they participate in the struggle of the exploited whenever they can on the side of those pushing to widen the envelope.

6. Their theoretical clarity can be an important catalyst in the development of the understanding, throughout the working class and even beyond, of what’s at stake. But to play its role, the pro-revolutionary milieu must transcend its fragmentation by coming together to defend basic revolutionary positions with a clear and loud voice.

7. It is time that the pro-revolutionary milieu openly recognizes that the acceleration of capital’s crisis, of both its depth and its breadth, has raised the stakes considerably. It needs to weigh its differences and disagreements against its obligations at this hour of urgency. Of course the groups and circles in the milieu are deeply divided, but if each has an aspiration to defend revolutionary positions then that is the basis for us to put them forward together. Seeing our way through the challenges ahead demands that we disseminate our ideas in as public a way and as often as possible through common discussions, common meetings, common statements and interventions. If the pro-revolutionary milieu does not put forward the revolutionary perspective, then who will? Who will discuss openly inside the working class both the historical meaning of its struggles in the face of this crisis and the consequences of letting the ruling class have its way?

8. Theoretical disagreements aren’t the obstacle to working together, they are part of the stuff of the revolutionary life of the proletariat; the obstacle is sectarianism. The milieu has a stark choice to make. Agreeing with the above would only be a first step; we have to actually do it. And we don’t have forever to think about it. Capitalism will not die by itself. We are determined to do our part.

http://international...P/ip-index.html

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Whatever their outward label there is a real inner unity among those who deny the necessity of proletarian insurrection and  dictatorship, and that unity is subordination to the dictatorship of capital.

#2 Goatseboy

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 09:43 AM

Very good writing, but imo to end sectarianism (at least in England anyway) you'd have to dissolve all parties and reform anew, uniting all the groups and leaderships into one force, something that should be increasingly voiced in order to disable sectarianism but enable the theoretical unity.
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#3 Punk Rock Geek

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 04:48 PM

What specifically is meant by this line?

"Theoretical disagreements aren’t the obstacle to working together, they are part of the stuff of the revolutionary life of the proletariat; the obstacle is sectarianism."
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#4 Black Cat

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 05:35 PM

I thought it meant that the disagreements oughtn't necessarily lead to split, they are a normal and healthy process. Sectarianism is the problem, and I take it they mean, there's other reasons that lead to it and there's more to it than the original simple disagreement.

#5 Punk Rock Geek

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 06:06 PM

View PostBlack Cat, on 19 February 2011 - 05:35 PM, said:

I thought it meant that the disagreements oughtn't necessarily lead to split, they are a normal and healthy process. Sectarianism is the problem, and I take it they mean, there's other reasons that lead to it and there's more to it than the original simple disagreement.
Right, but the author seems to be making an argument for solidarity with Leninists/Trotskyists/etc, something that as far as I know, "abolish misery" is adamantly opposed to.
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#6 abolish misery

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 06:41 PM

View PostPunk Rock Geek, on 19 February 2011 - 06:06 PM, said:

Right, but the author seems to be making an argument for solidarity with Leninists/Trotskyists/etc, something that as far as I know, "abolish misery" is adamantly opposed to.
No. Leninists and Trotskyists, as well as Maoists, "official" anarchists (a term developed during WW2 to describe the anarchists that sided with the Allies instead of correctly understanding the imperialist nature of the war), etc., are considered the "Left wing of capital." What the authors are arguing for is solidarity among those who see internationalism as key, whether they be anarchists or communists of various flavors.
Whatever their outward label there is a real inner unity among those who deny the necessity of proletarian insurrection and  dictatorship, and that unity is subordination to the dictatorship of capital.

#7 Punk Rock Geek

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 10:02 PM

View Postabolish misery, on 19 February 2011 - 06:41 PM, said:

No. Leninists and Trotskyists, as well as Maoists, "official" anarchists (a term developed during WW2 to describe the anarchists that sided with the Allies instead of correctly understanding the imperialist nature of the war), etc., are considered the "Left wing of capital." What the authors are arguing for is solidarity among those who see internationalism as key, whether they be anarchists or communists of various flavors.
But you historically wouldn't even include Chomsky within that group.  It seems to me that you want solidarity with people you already agree with, while this author is suggesting something entirely different.

"Of course the groups and circles in the milieu are deeply divided, but if each has an aspiration to defend revolutionary positions then that is the basis for us to put them forward together."
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#8 abolish misery

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 10:09 PM

View PostPunk Rock Geek, on 19 February 2011 - 10:02 PM, said:

But you historically wouldn't even include Chomsky within that group.  It seems to me that you want solidarity with people you already agree with, while this author is suggesting something entirely different.

"Of course the groups and circles in the milieu are deeply divided, but if each has an aspiration to defend revolutionary positions then that is the basis for us to put them forward together."

I wouldn't include Chomsky in that group, you're right.

And no, the article isn't suggesting anything different from what I said. The Left Communist position is that those groups that are not explicitly internationalist are not considered revolutionary. I think that communist and anarchist individuals and groups that are internationalist should work together despite differences in theory and practice. This is what International Perspective is advocating in this article, and this is the stuff they talk about in their journal.
Whatever their outward label there is a real inner unity among those who deny the necessity of proletarian insurrection and  dictatorship, and that unity is subordination to the dictatorship of capital.

#9 abolish misery

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 10:17 PM

Also, I wouldn't say that it is solidarity between groups that already agree with each other. For example, the ICC and Bonanna are worlds apart on a lot of shit, but the fact that they both reject partial struggles, unions, and any form of nationalism is a uniting factor. Same goes with those two and Perlman.
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#10 Punk Rock Geek

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 10:20 PM

View Postabolish misery, on 19 February 2011 - 10:09 PM, said:

I wouldn't include Chomsky in that group, you're right.

And no, the article isn't suggesting anything different from what I said. The Left Communist position is that those groups that are not explicitly internationalist are not considered revolutionary. I think that communist and anarchist individuals and groups that are internationalist should work together despite differences in theory and practice. This is what International Perspective is advocating in this article, and this is the stuff they talk about in their journal.
That still doesn't explain to me why you disclude Chomsky.
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#11 abolish misery

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 10:30 PM

View PostPunk Rock Geek, on 19 February 2011 - 10:20 PM, said:

That still doesn't explain to me why you disclude Chomsky.
Does he support unions and national liberation? Does he support parliamentary politics? Does he propose the self-management of the economy or the absolute destruction of the market and the value-form?

Unions are not, by their nature, revolutionary. Even during the period of heightened union militancy, all they have ever been were tools to bargain with the ruling class, not get rid of classes altogether. I hope I don't have to explain why support for unions in today's world is problematic for a revolutionary.

National liberation was, at one point, "progressive" just the same as capitalism was. But the reasoning behind national liberation was that a transition from a pre-capitalist mode of production to a capitalist one was "good." At this point in history, all nations are capitalist, and that means that supporting, or advocating support, for one over another because the former might be weaker than the latter is the same as supporting the slaughter of workers by other workers for the interests of the bourgeoisie. Due to the expansive logic of capital, all nations are imperialist. It would be like supporting the small time heroin dealer down the street because he isn't a mob boss. But killing off that mob boss would just leave a vacuum open for another smaller dealer to become the big guy.
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#12 Punk Rock Geek

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 11:19 PM

View Postabolish misery, on 19 February 2011 - 10:30 PM, said:

Does he support unions and national liberation? Does he support parliamentary politics? Does he propose the self-management of the economy or the absolute destruction of the market and the value-form?

Being a Libertarian Socialist, he supports the absolute destruction of the market.  He supports parliamentary politics when they bring about positive benefits, but does not consider them as a replacement for revolution.

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Unions are not, by their nature, revolutionary. Even during the period of heightened union militancy, all they have ever been were tools to bargain with the ruling class, not get rid of classes altogether. I hope I don't have to explain why support for unions in today's world is problematic for a revolutionary.

Let's be careful about our language here.  Unions are generally weak today, especially when compared to the pre-Wagner Act wild cat strikes of the early 20th century that were infinitely superior in bringing about change. But the idea of worker solidarity is not useless, and I still support the struggles of the IWW and anarcho-syndicalists. The idea is to encourage demand for workplace democracy, and whatever other benefits that come from that are incidental.

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National liberation was, at one point, "progressive" just the same as capitalism was. But the reasoning behind national liberation was that a transition from a pre-capitalist mode of production to a capitalist one was "good." At this point in history, all nations are capitalist, and that means that supporting, or advocating support, for one over another because the former might be weaker than the latter is the same as supporting the slaughter of workers by other workers for the interests of the bourgeoisie. Due to the expansive logic of capital, all nations are imperialist. It would be like supporting the small time heroin dealer down the street because he isn't a mob boss. But killing off that mob boss would just leave a vacuum open for another smaller dealer to become the big guy.

I don't know where you're going with this.  What constitutes advocating revolution for one country over another?  We can only live in one place, and our infleunce will be most direct there. It's not favoritism.  It's a matter of circumstance.

So, not only is it unlikely to coordinate a simultaneous worldwide revolution, but it is not even desirable if it could happen.  The entire world population uprising at once would be an absolute disaster, a literal Hobbsian state of nature; a war of all against all.  There would be so many sub-groups and divisions that nobody would be able to trust one and other, especially considering the amount of loose nuclear weapons that would go around.  Not to mention, a collapse in the world system would in all eventuality lead to shortages of food, creating factions that will fight for their own survival.  No doubt, it is a problem that could be potentially fixed, but not one that will have any immediate solution amongst the chaos.
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#13 abolish misery

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 11:52 PM

View PostPunk Rock Geek, on 19 February 2011 - 11:19 PM, said:

Being a Libertarian Socialist, he supports the absolute destruction of the market. He supports parliamentary politics when they bring about positive benefits, but does not consider them as a replacement for revolution.
Which is a personal decision, and has nothing to do with anarchism or communism at all in any way shape or form. Just to be clear.

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Let's be careful about our language here.  Unions are generally weak today, especially when compared to the pre-Wagner Act wild cat strikes of the early 20th century that were infinitely superior in bringing about change. But the idea of worker solidarity is not useless, and I still support the struggles of the IWW and anarcho-syndicalists. The idea is to encourage demand for workplace democracy, and whatever other benefits that come from that are incidental.
A more democratic workplace does not mean the absence of capitalism. Capitalism is not so much a system but a logic that governs social relationships. It is absolutely possible for there to be no "bosses" and there still be capitalism. Democracy isn't the question. And I'm not against worker solidarity. I think that shit is awesome. But, first of all, don't confuse worker solidarity with unionism, and second, the point of a communist revolution is to no longer be workers.

But way to dodge what I said. Unions cannot bring about revolution. By their nature, they re-enforce and recreate capitalism. Even the IWW. Would I prefer a unionized job to a non-union one? Absolutely. But what I want is a world without work and unions.

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I don't know where you're going with this.  What constitutes advocating revolution for one country over another?  We can only live in one place, and our infleunce will be most direct there. It's not favoritism.  It's a matter of circumstance.
Uh... you are aware of what national liberation means, right? It would be supporting the creation of a Palestinian state or supporting North Korea should there be a war between them and America (through proxies obviously) or supporting nationalist resistance forces in places like Iraq or Afghanistan. I'm talking about imperialism. Did you even read this part of my post? Because communist revolution isn't what I was referring to.

Revolutionary movements are created by responses to material conditions. Not because communists or anarchists were able to recruit enough people to their ideology or organization. So, it's not about influence. I mean, shit, the only reason revolutionaries in russia were able to talk about workers councils is because the workers created them first. Trotsky even talked about how far behind the masses the Party was during the revolution. Ain't you never heard that thing Marx said back in the day that conditions create consciousness?


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So, not only is it unlikely to coordinate a simultaneous worldwide revolution, but it is not even desirable if it could happen.  The entire world population uprising at once would be an absolute disaster, a literal Hobbsian state of nature; a war of all against all.  There would be so many sub-groups and divisions that nobody would be able to trust one and other, especially considering the amount of loose nuclear weapons that would go around.  Not to mention, a collapse in the world system would in all eventuality lead to shortages of food, creating factions that will fight for their own survival.  No doubt, it is a problem that could be potentially fixed, but not one that will have any immediate solution amongst the chaos.

Yeah because the establishment of revolutionary political power outside of the state and the seizure of the means of production will lead to all this shit cause you said so right? I really have no idea what the hell you're talking about in this paragraph. I'm not going to deny the existence of class violence during a revolution, but really, I just don't get this doomsday scenario you've cooked up. It's almost like you're scared of revolution. Which leads me to question why you consider yourself an anarchist. This is one of the reasons why I don't consider you to be a pro-revolutionary, despite your sincerity. But I have a question, should there a simultaneous worldwide proletarian uprising, would you support it or not?

And I am pretty sure the idea of revolution in one country (as long as we are talking about communist revolution) has been proven more than once to be a failure. I'm not saying it's going to pop-off everywhere all at once, because obviously that would be wrong. But communist revolution needs to be worldwide in order to successfully destroy capitalism. I imagine it would look a lot like Greece in that there would be a protracted insurrectionary situation, but I have no idea what the revolution itself nor the forms of organization used during said revolution will look like.

And I'm not interested in hearing about moral obligations or reality, because first of all, i have no moral obligations to do anything except ensure my own survival. And our reality is dictated by capital, the point of communist revolution is to smash this current reality into pieces and create a new one.

Edited by abolish misery, 20 February 2011 - 12:03 AM.

Whatever their outward label there is a real inner unity among those who deny the necessity of proletarian insurrection and  dictatorship, and that unity is subordination to the dictatorship of capital.

#14 abolish misery

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 12:08 AM

If you would like, I can link you to some things to read.
Whatever their outward label there is a real inner unity among those who deny the necessity of proletarian insurrection and  dictatorship, and that unity is subordination to the dictatorship of capital.

#15 All Dead

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 02:31 AM

View PostPunk Rock Geek, on 19 February 2011 - 11:19 PM, said:

Not to mention, a collapse in the world system would in all eventuality lead to shortages of food, creating factions that will fight for their own survival.  No doubt, it is a problem that could be potentially fixed, but not one that will have any immediate solution amongst the chaos.
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View PostNICKxSUTTON, on 06 June 2009 - 12:45 PM, said:

ok punk by the book. which is a FUCKING OXYMORON YOU DUMB PIECE OF SHIT. you need to go brush the fuck up on your local black bloc. you probly live out in the woods somewhere

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#16 Punk Rock Geek

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 03:13 AM

View Postabolish misery, on 19 February 2011 - 11:52 PM, said:

Which is a personal decision, and has nothing to do with anarchism or communism at all in any way shape or form. Just to be clear.

You're not clear.  Are you saying that being an anarchist has nothing to do with anarchism?

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A more democratic workplace does not mean the absence of capitalism. Capitalism is not so much a system but a logic that governs social relationships. It is absolutely possible for there to be no "bosses" and there still be capitalism. Democracy isn't the question. And I'm not against worker solidarity. I think that shit is awesome. But, first of all, don't confuse worker solidarity with unionism, and second, the point of a communist revolution is to no longer be workers.

But way to dodge what I said. Unions cannot bring about revolution. By their nature, they re-enforce and recreate capitalism. Even the IWW. Would I prefer a unionized job to a non-union one? Absolutely. But what I want is a world without work and unions.

There is no confusion.  I said we needed to be careful with our words.  The union is a means to an end, with the end being workers solidarity.  

I'll tie this in below.

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Uh... you are aware of what national liberation means, right? It would be supporting the creation of a Palestinian state or supporting North Korea should there be a war between them and America (through proxies obviously) or supporting nationalist resistance forces in places like Iraq or Afghanistan. I'm talking about imperialism. Did you even read this part of my post? Because communist revolution isn't what I was referring to.

Revolutionary movements are created by responses to material conditions. Not because communists or anarchists were able to recruit enough people to their ideology or organization. So, it's not about influence. I mean, shit, the only reason revolutionaries in russia were able to talk about workers councils is because the workers created them first. Trotsky even talked about how far behind the masses the Party was during the revolution. Ain't you never heard that thing Marx said back in the day that conditions create consciousness?

I misread your post.  You quickly changed from one topic to another, and I'm not sure how they relate, or where you're going with it.

First of all, social structures are a condition.  And using a Marx quote to prove that people aren't influenced by communists is a little self-defeating.

It seems to me that the biggest disagreement that you and I have, and it comes back on every single issue, is on the impact of human psychology.  I am not denying that structural conditions have an influence on consciousness, as revolution is generally a complicated question in which there is no "one size fits all" solution.  But you continually deny that social conditions have any impact at all, which is a dangerous position to take, as universal statements are almost never true, especially in fields of soft science.  I don't believe it is even possible to measure structural conditions independently of social conditions, so to me, ignoring one or the other is the very highest form of idealism one can possibly take.  Even if you suppose that one condition invariably comes before the other, that still says nothing about how social influence can steer a revolution in a specific direction.

You mentioned North Korea, which is a good example.  I don't "support" the country itself, but rather, the right of the people there to rise up and overthrow their government.  But that won't happen.  They're brainwashed, and it would take nothing short of a miracle just for free speech rights, let alone Libertarian Socialism, which is completely out of the question.

The Middle East is another good example, where people seem to care more about security from the West and domestic dictators than they do about owning the means of production.  The conditions in all of these countries is pretty terrible, and if that in itself was the only variable (if life were so simple), then you would have seen communist revolutions here a long time ago. But the social conditions aren't where they need to be.  

So when I support the Palestineans or whomever, it's not about national liberation.  That's merely a consequence of disobedience, just as reform is.  It was Machiavelli who wrote in his famous defense of tyranny that for a prince to maintain power of a new principality, he should minimize the amount of changes made to the existing customs and laws.  For when people realize that change is possible, their expectation of improvement will give them a cause to take up arms.  In other words, the problem with revolution isn't that the conditions aren't bad enough.  It's that people don't think change is possible.  This can be further verified by the wave of uprisings following Ben Ali's ousting in Tunisia.  The rest of the world didn't get worse overnight.  It was social conditions that acted as fuel--the power of human psychology.  



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Yeah because the establishment of revolutionary political power outside of the state and the seizure of the means of production will lead to all this shit cause you said so right? I really have no idea what the hell you're talking about in this paragraph. I'm not going to deny the existence of class violence during a revolution, but really, I just don't get this doomsday scenario you've cooked up. It's almost like you're scared of revolution. Which leads me to question why you consider yourself an anarchist. This is one of the reasons why I don't consider you to be a pro-revolutionary, despite your sincerity. But I have a question, should there a simultaneous worldwide proletarian uprising, would you support it or not?

I would still support it.  But that's like asking me if I'd rather thrown off a cliff or hit by a train.

Anarchism needs to be a voluntary association.  Forcing 6 billion people into something they had no previous knowledge of spells disaster to me.  I would rather a small area of the world liberate itself, and slowly grow outward.  If it's effective, people will sympathize with it, it will grow, and governments will have less to gain by being hostile to it.

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And I am pretty sure the idea of revolution in one country (as long as we are talking about communist revolution) has been proven more than once to be a failure. I'm not saying it's going to pop-off everywhere all at once, because obviously that would be wrong. But communist revolution needs to be worldwide in order to successfully destroy capitalism. I imagine it would look a lot like Greece in that there would be a protracted insurrectionary situation, but I have no idea what the revolution itself nor the forms of organization used during said revolution will look like.

Revolution failed, in my opinion, because Capitalism had not been pushed to its limit.  You mentioned that you imagine insurrections would look like Greece, but that structural environment was created through reform that pushed too far (IE: The rapid change that Machiavelli warned a Prince to never allow) and the austerity measures in response to that reform. But that's another discussion.

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And I'm not interested in hearing about moral obligations or reality, because first of all, i have no moral obligations to do anything except ensure my own survival. And our reality is dictated by capital, the point of communist revolution is to smash this current reality into pieces and create a new one.
I wasn't aware that I mentioned moral obligations.
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#17 abolish misery

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 05:30 AM

[quote name='Punk Rock Geek' timestamp='1298189609' post='89522']
You're not clear. Are you saying that being an anarchist has nothing to do with anarchism?[/quote] No? participating in parliamentary politics has nothing to do with anarchism or pro-revolutionary politics.


[quote]
There is no confusion. I said we needed to be careful with our words. The union is a means to an end, with the end being workers solidarity. [/quote] Which means very little without a revolutionary consciousness, which unions do not create. Worker's solidarity fits pretty nicely within the logic of capital. Without a desire to orient oneself toward the destruction of the capitalist class relation, then worker's solidarity means absolutely nothing at all.

[quote]
I misread your post. You quickly changed from one topic to another, and I'm not sure how they relate, or where you're going with it.[/quote] Yeah, but I didn't change topics that quickly. First, I clarified what I was actually saying, then, I replied to what you said about "spreading influence."
[quote]
First of all, social structures are a condition. And using a Marx quote to prove that people aren't influenced by communists is a little self-defeating.[/quote] I'm saying that communist ideology isn't not a driving factor in the creation of revolutionary consciousness, and that the role of pro-revolutionaries isn't to lead revolutions.
[quote]
It seems to me that the biggest disagreement that you and I have, and it comes back on every single issue, is on the impact of human psychology. I am not denying that structural conditions have an influence on consciousness, as revolution is generally a complicated question in which there is no "one size fits all" solution. But you continually deny that social conditions have any impact at all, which is a dangerous position to take, as universal statements are almost never true, especially in fields of soft science. I don't believe it is even possible to measure structural conditions independently of social conditions, so to me, ignoring one or the other is the very highest form of idealism one can possibly take. Even if you suppose that one condition invariably comes before the other, that still says nothing about how social influence can steer a revolution in a specific direction.[/quote]

Actually I would say that our biggest disagreement is that you have an absolutely horrible analysis of the capitalist class relation.

What I'm saying is that it is material conditions that changes people's consciousness. And that changes in what you call social structures are actually consequences in material changes.

[quote]
You mentioned North Korea, which is a good example. I don't "support" the country itself, but rather, the right of the people there to rise up and overthrow their government. But that won't happen. They're brainwashed, and it would take nothing short of a miracle just for free speech rights, let alone Libertarian Socialism, which is completely out of the question.[/quote] Rising up and overthrowing their government is hella vague dude. Do you mean rising up and overthrowing the government, establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat, and seizing the means of production? Or do you mean rising up and overthrowing their government to replace it with a liberal democracy?

[quote]
The Middle East is another good example, where people seem to care more about security from the West and domestic dictators than they do about owning the means of production. The conditions in all of these countries is pretty terrible, and if that in itself was the only variable (if life were so simple), then you would have seen communist revolutions here a long time ago. But the social conditions aren't where they need to be./[quote]

Wrong. The workers of Egypt are interested in seizing the means of production. Go read the article I just posted. Also, I would say the huge contributing factor to the uprisings in the mid east and north africa right now is the combination of shitty living conditions, and, for the first time since the dawn of capitalism, there is a generation of youth with no future. We are the first generation of people who will absolutely have shittier conditions over all than our parents. That is why social conditions have changed. The change in social conditions stems from a change in material conditions. 
Whatever their outward label there is a real inner unity among those who deny the necessity of proletarian insurrection and  dictatorship, and that unity is subordination to the dictatorship of capital.

#18 abolish misery

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 05:30 AM

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So when I support the Palestineans or whomever, it's not about national liberation. That's merely a consequence of disobedience, just as reform is. It was Machiavelli who wrote in his famous defense of tyranny that for a prince to maintain power of a new principality, he should minimize the amount of changes made to the existing customs and laws. For when people realize that change is possible, their expectation of improvement will give them a cause to take up arms. In other words, the problem with revolution isn't that the conditions aren't bad enough. It's that people don't think change is possible. This can be further verified by the wave of uprisings following Ben Ali's ousting in Tunisia. The rest of the world didn't get worse overnight. It was social conditions that acted as fuel--the power of human psychology.
Again, you're incredibly vague about “supporting” the “Palestinians.”

You're only partially right. People realizing that they can change things is absolutely important, but if people don't feel like they have to change anything at all, then it won't matter if other people are rising up. There needs to be a change in material conditions before there can be a change in consciousness. You are skipping this incredibly crucial element in your analysis.

And, no, it's not about things being shitty. Look at India or places like Somalia where people are broker than fuck and absolutely brutalized by capitalism. There is no chance of revolt happening in these places without there first being a successful revolution in places like Europe and America. Barbarism does not produce revolutionary consciousness, this we can agree on. But what is fueling the revolts in Africa and the Mid East is a very serious change in material conditions. Our generation is the first generation with no future. Capitalism literally has nothing to offer us anymore. It can only take away from here on out.


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I would still support it. But that's like asking me if I'd rather thrown off a cliff or hit by a train.

Anarchism needs to be a voluntary association. Forcing 6 billion people into something they had no previous knowledge of spells disaster to me. I would rather a small area of the world liberate itself, and slowly grow outward. If it's effective, people will sympathize with it, it will grow, and governments will have less to gain by being hostile to it.

I don't... know... what you're talking about. If you think it's bad to subdue counter-revolutionary elements in a given area and defend against capitalist attacks, then you're just plain retarded. But I don't know where you got forcing the entire the entire world into a new system. The whole point of communist revolution is for the working class to emancipate itself.


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Revolution failed, in my opinion, because Capitalism had not been pushed to its limit. You mentioned that you imagine insurrections would look like Greece, but that structural environment was created through reform that pushed too far (IE: The rapid change that Machiavelli warned a Prince to never allow) and the austerity measures in response to that reform. But that's another discussion.


Capitalism doesn't have any limits. It has ebbs and flows. But, the material conditions that necessitated capitalism are long since passed. There are no more major gains to be won from capitalism, and in any case, if there were, capitalism simply can't do it. Certainly not now. Maybe you would like to sit this crisis out and see if there is a period of growth afterward so that we can get a few more reforms before the next crash.

The situation in Greece is the result of a crisis in the capitalist class relation. Not a result of being too far reformed, but an inability for capital to grow. As various industries become more and more efficient, more and more people are pushed to the periphery, barely able to get by. And as capital gets more and more efficient at reproducing itself, the less labor it takes to create it and the less value it can extract for a given commodity, leading to a steady decline in profits.



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I wasn't aware that I mentioned moral obligations.
You didn't. Notice where I said "don't" bring those up. Because you have before, and other people that have similar positions to yours have as well. I just wanted to take care of it before it came out because I'm sick of hearing it.


The primary problem I have with what you say is that you lack any real analysis. Also, to get back on track: that line in the article by IP is not referring to what would be called the “Left Wing of Capital.” Trotskyists, Maoists, Leninists, certain Anarchist, Stalinists, etc., are not considered pro-revolutionary by the Communist Left.
Whatever their outward label there is a real inner unity among those who deny the necessity of proletarian insurrection and  dictatorship, and that unity is subordination to the dictatorship of capital.

#19 Punk Rock Geek

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 12:27 PM

I accidentally closed the window and my reply got deleted, so this is going to be quick.

View Postabolish misery, on 22 February 2011 - 05:30 AM, said:


No? participating in parliamentary politics has nothing to do with anarchism or pro-revolutionary politics.
Okay?  How is that relevant to Chomsky himself having "nothing to do" with anarchism?

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Which means very little without a revolutionary consciousness, which unions do not create. Worker's solidarity fits pretty nicely within the logic of capital. Without a desire to orient oneself toward the destruction of the capitalist class relation, then worker's solidarity means absolutely nothing at all.

Look, I've already said that today's unions are mostly useless in comparison to the power of a wild cat strike.  But even the idea that workers have a right to bargain is important, since the political right (including the working class right) is trying to make bargaining power seem lazy and harmful, which absolutely kills the idea of worker self-management.  That alone is reason enough to support unions.

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Rising up and overthrowing their government is hella vague dude. Do you mean rising up and overthrowing the government, establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat, and seizing the means of production? Or do you mean rising up and overthrowing their government to replace it with a liberal democracy?

I wasn't vague.  I said both were unlikely.  "...it would take nothing short of a miracle just for free speech rights, let alone Libertarian Socialism, which is completely out of the question."  

Free speech is one of the greatest lines of defense against government brainwashing.  So in North Korea's case, smaller reforms are necessary before large change is possible.

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Wrong. The workers of Egypt are interested in seizing the means of production. Go read the article I just posted. Also, I would say the huge contributing factor to the uprisings in the mid east and north africa right now is the combination of shitty living conditions, and, for the first time since the dawn of capitalism, there is a generation of youth with no future. We are the first generation of people who will absolutely have shittier conditions over all than our parents. That is why social conditions have changed. The change in social conditions stems from a change in material conditions.

I don't deny that some workers are interested in seizing the means of production.  However, that isn't going to matter if the Anti-American, Pro-Islam, or Pro-National Liberation voices are stronger, which in perhaps every case here, they are.  There needs to be strong Anarchist/Communist voices to counter that.  Human beings are social creatures, and they want to belong to something.  To say that influence makes no difference, is to ignore the entire field of psychology.

And you're exaggerating.  For the first time since the dawn of capitalism, there is a generation of youth with no future?  What do you mean by no future?  Mass starvation has existed for centuries, and the material conditions still weren't great enough to create any meaningful revolution back then either.

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Again, you're incredibly vague about “supporting” the “Palestinians.”

You're only partially right. People realizing that they can change things is absolutely important, but if people don't feel like they have to change anything at all, then it won't matter if other people are rising up. There needs to be a change in material conditions before there can be a change in consciousness. You are skipping this incredibly crucial element in your analysis.

If anything, you are the one who is skipping it.  I have been quite clear.  You can show the North Koreans that change is necessary first by showing them that change is even possible (through small reforms) and then eventually through greater free speech laws, allowing them access to a variety of viewpoints and opinions.  You can show the Middle East and North Africa that change is necessary by having a balance of power between anarchist voices and pro-Islamic voices.  You can show Greece that change is necessary by showing them that reform has limitations, using real examples, and not just words.

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And, no, it's not about things being shitty. Look at India or places like Somalia where people are broker than fuck and absolutely brutalized by capitalism. There is no chance of revolt happening in these places without there first being a successful revolution in places like Europe and America. Barbarism does not produce revolutionary consciousness, this we can agree on. But what is fueling the revolts in Africa and the Mid East is a very serious change in material conditions. Our generation is the first generation with no future. Capitalism literally has nothing to offer us anymore. It can only take away from here on out.

I said this in my previous reply, but material conditions did not change overnight.  The revolts in the Middle-east and Africa are far more complicated than that.
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#20 Punk Rock Geek

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 12:27 PM

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I don't... know... what you're talking about. If you think it's bad to subdue counter-revolutionary elements in a given area and defend against capitalist attacks, then you're just plain retarded. But I don't know where you got forcing the entire the entire world into a new system. The whole point of communist revolution is for the working class to emancipate itself.

I know what the idea is.  I'm talking about the reality.  In all likelihood, the revolution isn't going to go exactly as planned, and the more people you involve in it, the greater the chance of something, somewhere going wrong.  I'm not saying that we should actively try to prevent worldwide (anarchist) revolution.  I'm saying that we shouldn't be waiting for it, because even if it did happen, it wouldn't be desirable in comparison to small scale (anarchist) revolutions.

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Capitalism doesn't have any limits. It has ebbs and flows. But, the material conditions that necessitated capitalism are long since passed. There are no more major gains to be won from capitalism, and in any case, if there were, capitalism simply can't do it.

This is identical to what I have been saying.

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Certainly not now. Maybe you would like to sit this crisis out and see if there is a period of growth afterward so that we can get a few more reforms before the next crash.

I never said anything about sitting it out.  In revolutionary periods, push for revolution.  In non-revolutionary periods, push for reform.

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The situation in Greece is the result of a crisis in the capitalist class relation. Not a result of being too far reformed, but an inability for capital to grow. As various industries become more and more efficient, more and more people are pushed to the periphery, barely able to get by. And as capital gets more and more efficient at reproducing itself, the less labor it takes to create it and the less value it can extract for a given commodity, leading to a steady decline in profits.

Most economists don't support the Labor Theory of Value anymore.  

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You didn't. Notice where I said "don't" bring those up. Because you have before, and other people that have similar positions to yours have as well. I just wanted to take care of it before it came out because I'm sick of hearing it.

Considering that I feel morality is an imaginary human invention, I don't see myself bringing it up.
I'm PRG/Poofah, and I ran http://peacepunk.net for nearly 5 years before being promoted to the official Anti-Flag website. It's nice to meet you all! I will be administering this forum alongside Anti-Flag and the A-F Records crew.



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