On collaboration

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anon (not verified)
On collaboration

Alright everyone, my question is relatively simple. In non socialist states, what’s the stance with supporting a essentially Marxist-Leninist, Bolshevik organisation. I joined because they seem to be the largest productive socialist organisation where I live. There are no political party’s that even associate with socialism anymore. Thankfully this organisation works to push socialist ideas both within the most left wing political party and wider society.

Lately though, i've been having a disagreement with them. Revolving around ideas of anarchism and opposition to state, the classic communist anarchist conflict. In the broadest interpretations I see Anarchism as a stronger theory for organisation, but within that state communism can at times be a justified structure. I’m heavily influenced by Chomsky’s views around the practical limitations of the world we live in. They on the other hand disagree strongly, seeing all forms of Anarchism and its theory as idealistic and utopian. I agree that many Anarchists are utopian but that doesn’t invalidate all Anarchism as it.

Anyway, they involve in good work, but there is definitely a conflict of theory, and I’m not educated enough to properly challenge Leninism.

Any thoughts or questions welcome

anon (not verified)
This predicament seems

This predicament seems anachronistic enough as to dismiss it as a farcical hypothetical scenario used to prompt discussion along your pet topics, or as flamebait to annoy.

Regardless, playing along, I would encourage to continue working along with your comrades despite of the disagreements you may have, which seem minor. It’s unlikely that you will find a group of people working towards a common goal that will agree a 100% on everything. There are many valid reasons to decide to not work with them, like if you had different conflicting goals in mind, but in this case your goals seem to be aligned.

If you disabuse yourself of the common misconception that Chomsky is an anarchist, you’ll find that basing your leftism on his works is not a hindrance for your transition into Leninism, which is happening smoothly and will only take a couple of days, maybe a few weeks at most. Maybe a few weeks later you will find someone links another author on twitter, or you stumble upon them on wikipedia and it will shatter your worldview and you will go through an existential crisis which will end in adding 3+ hyphened neologisms to your social media profile.

Additionally, if what you seek is involvement in good work, there are many other places you can volunteer, including civic organizations, churches and NGOs. You may even start one yourself, if you’re enterprising enough. Be sure to promote your project in social media, tag the accounts with lots of followers for clout.

OP (not verified)
Thanks I guess

I mean thanks for your time and for you’re assumptions about me.

Not sure how Chomsky isn’t an anarchist. I can’t tell if you're just here to agitate or if you believe this and just speak like this.

Im all about good works, It ties into my employment for that reason. Also the reason I don’t say anything about my politics on social media.

anon (not verified)
Do you usually thank people

Do you usually thank people when they mock you and insult you? Traits of a submissive bootlicker, passive aggressive suck-up, ass-kisser, brownnose. I didn't assume, I responded mockingly to your post:

"Alright everyone, my question is relatively simple. In non socialist states, what’s the stance with supporting a essentially Marxist-Leninist, Bolshevik organisation."

Everyone? What's the stance? You're expecting "we" are going to give you a party line in chorus?

"I joined because they seem to be the largest productive socialist organisation where I live."

Ok, so you joined because of its large size and productivism, not any affinity with anarchist ideas.

"In the broadest interpretations I see Anarchism as a stronger theory for organisation, but within that state communism can at times be a justified structure"

Anarchism is not a "theory for organization", misconstructions aside, it's always against authority, hierarchies, oppression, bossing and obeying, therefore it's always the enemy of the state, including state communists, and never justifying it nor being its ally. This is basic, please read some more and ask around (https://anarchy101.org/ or https://raddle.me/f/Anarchy101).

"I’m not educated enough to properly challenge Leninism."

You're not anti-authoritarian enough to be an anarchist, which is a greater hindrance to challenge Leninists than it is to lack any form of education. Furthermore, you're not educated enough about anarchism. You'd rather ally with statists, Leninists no less, for the mere fact of their larger numbers and productive powers, then resort to some authoritative definitive answer to justify an opposition that. Do you think "authority is bad" because someone told you? Where's your own criteria and critical thinking? Your own personal visceral feelings and reasons to hate authority and love freedom? Or were you just following along when you decided to call yourself an anarchist? "Joining" a movement?

You looked to Leninism, attracted by good work, organization, and a justified state communism and even socialism.
Anarchists are against all of those things, save for lapses of judgement or the unmasking of impostors. They can be against all of these things just 'cause they feel like it. But anarchists have also expressed their reasons in writing, if anyone is interested to read them, but merely reading them won't make you any more anarchic if you're so enamored with building mass and productivity. Anarchy is not achieved via meeting reading list quotas.

"I’m heavily influenced by Chomsky’s views..." Chomsky is only an anarchist among dupes, not peers. Find critiques among these results, if you please: https://theanarchistlibrary.org/category/topic/noam-chomsky, and many things worthy of ridicule: https://raddle.me/search?q=Chomsky

How alienated are you from the world that you need someone to tell you there are "practical limitations". Don't you see this shit play out every day? People boss and obey each other, some people love that, some people are indifferent, some absolutely hate it; among those that hate it, few are anarchists. Most people would rather have comfort and security, efficiency and abundance over freedom, most people will never be anarchists. Anarchists don't need to feel legitimized or validated by any authority, nor others who identify anarchists. There is sadly an abundance of people whose desire to call themselves anarchists greatly surpasses their desire for freedom or their hatred of authority. People would rather open a lemonade stand with Leninists and call it anarchism, than come to grips with being a bored liberal with an inferiority complex and delusions of grandeur. Try "punk humanist" or "super-duper help organizer" instead

lumpentroll (not verified)
there's better arguments out

there's better arguments out there that challenge chomsky's framing of anarchism. put another way, he's a pretty milquetoast, oldschool leftist academic who's embarrassingly not radical when it comes to things like participation in electoral politics.

I read me some chomsky when I was starting out, he's still around even though he's a million years old now, doing his meticulous research as a mainstream academic, pointing out the mindblowing fact that the gov't is dishonest(?!!?:!). it's all quite tepid but whatever.

anon (not verified)
If you got ant general

If you got ant general direction I should look for info that either build on his stuff of criticises his takes well I’d be really interested

lumpentroll (not verified)

My impression is that Leninist groups are usually pretty intolerant of people deviating from the party line. None of the ones I've encountered in the past have functioning internal democracies or real plurality of currents. This makes it very difficult to work inside them except as a functionary or loyalist. They will often come across as open, tolerant, democratic and not hostile to your views at first, when they're trying to recruit you, but the expectation is that you'll come into line later. If you start articulating your own politics inside the organisation, you'll find at best that everything you do bounces off a brick wall, and at worst you'll be purged. Whereas liberal NGOs, unions and mass parties, there is some scope for working inside them if you can tolerate the bullshit and the cognitive dissonance. This said, I don't know which group you mean, so it's possible you've found an unusually open Leninist group. It's also sometimes possible to work *with* these groups in their united-front initiatives, without joining the group itself. That might be the best option if they're the only radical group locally and you share some of their politics but not all.

It's pretty easy to find anarchist critiques of Leninism, and Leninist critiques of anarchism online. Places like Anarchist Library and Anarchy Archives. Pretty much any anarchist writing from the 1920s-70s will have written something on Leninism/Marxism/state socialism. The main arguments for the Leninist critique of anarchism are Engels' "On Authority" and Lenin's "Left Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder". The general gist is, you can't organise modern society without authority and hierarchy.

In practice Leninism leads to a bureaucratic or military elite seizing power, and setting up a dictatorial but socially inclusive regime based on state control of the economy. This is obviously very different from even the most leftist/organisationalist varieties of anarchism, because it means state command power is maintained or even expanded; they have conscription, secret police, prisons, border guards, compulsory schooling; often people can't form groups or organisations outside the regime's formal structure of affiliated groups which have to have a particular structure and be politically loyal. Many in practice are even nastier, with gulags (concentration camps), torture, automatic jailings or killings of anarchists and other opponents, persecution of all forms of everyday deviance and free activity; Leninists will either distance themselves from these extreme examples (like North Korea, Cambodia, Stalin's Russia) because they're a different variety of Leninist, or they will deny or minimise the atrocities (the Kronstadt massacre is a good example). Some Leninists don't want to repeat the actually-existing Leninist state model, and there's anarchic strands in the early phases of Leninist revolutions and in Lenin's writings (State and Revolution calls for direct rule by workers' councils - something like Occupy as permanent governing model). At its most libertarian, Leninism fuses over into Marxist-humanism (e.g. socialisme ou barbarie, worker-communists, council communists, Luxemburgists) and autonomia/operaismo, and comes quite close to anarchism. But for every one Leninist who actually takes this position, there's another hundred who posture as libertarian to win recruits or ward-off the "evil commie" stereotype so they can do pretty much the same all over again. If you hang round these groups long enough you'll probably learn this the hard way, unless they manage to convince you first of the need for KGB torture camps to stop the evil counter-revolutionaries seizing power back.

OP (not verified)
You say you don’t know the organisation but you describe

I’m well aware of the criticisms of Leninism. People often like saying it was just Stalin but it started sooner. I can accept the needs of a state like body, in a global capitalist world. But like it literally has t one challenged or like you said, it degenerates. Whenever I ask what will stop it degenerating into a dictatorship they say “it wouldn’t degenerate if it was a true dictatorship of the proletariate” and all i can think is.... yeah I get it, a dictatorship of the proletariate wont do that but how the fuck do you know what it is until its either won the world and withered away or become a authoritarian dictatorship. WHAT IS THE MECHANISM GUYS.

But when I start talking about using resources and will for direct action beyond just building a knowledge base and political pressure (their ties and influence over the left wing party in my country is effective for the size of the organisation) I get a strong resistance and an explanation of how it doesn't really help the movement and is a waste of effort intimately. Then the next day they will talk about going to a protest and making sure to talk to people there yadda yadda. Then another day, when I bring up points like “hay, lets consider how we talk to people about issue X because it seems that issue X is being hijacked by nationalists. Let’s make sure to focus any communication we have with people on the anti nationalist arguments for X so the socialists don’t get associated with nationalists like every other time in history” and ill receive blank looks. Since I posted my first question I was asked to write a small pice about anarchists for the organisation, it has been criticised as being utopian (I focuses on the productive action of building democratic entity’s where it can be even if that takes force), misleading (I point out that anarchists would still, as a point of philosophy, challenge even a socialist state and that the challenge will always be useful as a counter weight to the preservation of liberty and ensuring that the state constantly justifies its existence) and told that anything good that I thought anarchist had brought to leftist thought was actually just Marxist or that just part of Leninism, like you said, as though anarchist cant use Marxist analysis???

I will say, these guys do not minimise the atrocity’s and so far haven’t shown signs of being tankies at all. And currently, the organisation itself runs extremely democratically. If the government was build using the model of this organisation, it would work extremely well. Although some of them say they used to identify as anarchists they refuse to see the model they have for the org is essentially anarchist and see it exclusively as a democratic centralism model. Democratic centralism something that they present as... ultimately an anarchist organisation model if anarchists agreed that ‘a state’ is currently need for immediate organisation and that could in theory be dismantled instantaneously if agreed.

They also sing the praises of Rosa Luxembourg and the Paris commune, because a commune totally isn’t anarchist in nature.

Sorry for venting, I’m just struggling with responding to some of the remarks lately. I do think this organisation the largest left wing force that isn’t just completely useless in my country. And being a member is great for my political education and awareness of social movements in my country. There is technically an organisation that I align with much more, however their membership is like 25 people nation wide.

I do appreciate your response

anon (not verified)
"What if there was good

"What if there was good government?" Is a question that is asked by those running the whole political spectrum. "What if there was no government?" Is getting closer to anarchism, but it's not there yet. Any sociologist, anthropologist or philosopher can wax poetic about that. Only anarchists are consistently against all forms of government and governance as a matter of principle and desire.

You're nothing but a bland municipalist. Neither democracy nor centralization is anarchy, not even "democratic decentralism" (lame term i just made up) would be anarchy, but closer than "democratic centralism" (lame term you just made up). Study public administration and become the politician you yearn to be.

OP (not verified)
Not even slightly my position

I don’t want a government, I want self governance of all people. That means organisation and those organisations must be democratic to those within. I didn’t make up ‘Democratic Centralism’ that’s from Lenin. As its been presented by the org I’m in, it appears to be fully democratic but like you pointed out, centralisation of power fundamentally is anti anarchist. But when they presented it, they don’t talk so much about that angle and when I do, I’m accused of ‘not getting it’.

My understanding of Anarchy is that that all hierarchy and authority must be dismantled unless its can endlessly prove its usefulness to those it holds itself over. This isn’t as simple as “good government” this is self governance and self organisation. Like being part of a local renters union, or a workers union.

lumpentroll (not verified)
yeah, so oldschool anarco

yeah, so oldschool anarco syndicalism? that's an old fashioned type of anarchism nowadays but at least it's coherent, unlike a lot of the newer stuff haha

OP (not verified)
Yeah basically

Mostly yeah.

I’m painfully aware that any anarchist society has swiftly been crushed hard by every power that could reach it. I agree with the analysis that some form of organisation is required to complete the revolution, but and disgusted by vanguardism. Personally I think the only way we an get there is through education and showing practical examples. Make democracy’s, unions and communises, let their failures guid is to make better and more powerful ones until the status quo is destroyed.

I just see syndicalism as a pretty good model for that education and experimentation to thrive and improve. But without mush support for the idea I’ll take any revolution that isn’t full on state capitalism.

I don’t know too much about the newer stuff beyond a few people I have spoken to who.... seemed to be more interested with freedom of identity freedom of a society, to put it politely. Not sure if there is a name for it, but that sort of “I’m an anarchist because I don’t the government” thing. Rather than actually having opinions on how to change it, challenge it or what to replace it with beyond “People will just do things and it will work out”

Out of curiosity, what are the “newer schools” of anarchism. I’m aware of some popularity of Frank Steiner (I think) and honestly I don’t understand it at all as a philosophy applicable to a model of collective action.

lumpentroll (not verified)
Hmmm, well that's a huge

Hmmm, well that's a huge question you're asking and I'm a bit nervous that I wont do it justice?

@news notoriously leans towards the post-left and nihilist persuasions although I've found the collective to be quite fair and relatively nonsectarian in the grand scheme of things.

Those tendencies are home to some powerful critiques that I make a lot of use of but as you said, there's always that classic anarchist question of what are you for? What are you doing to get there? Is your politics or perspective mostly just a passive exercise of negation or posturing? Not that that's intrinsically bad but its deeply unsatisfying to many pragmatic ppl.

Still, the whole point of critique is to avoid making the same mistakes over and over so it's a good start.

I spent years hanging around here and the anarchist library, expanding my perspectives beyond classic leftism and I'll always be grateful to the folks who did the work so I could learn all this shit for free. Very generous of them!

OP (not verified)
Totally agree. It’s so hard

Totally agree. It’s so hard to agree on where to go from here. Criticism is mostly easy, the thing that really drew me to Chomsky (Other than I study linguistics and he is pretty prominent in that area) is he works to explain how these oppressive systems operate. It’s easy enough to point out there is a problem but to the extent that it’s bad actors or systemic and how that interacts is fascinating to me.

It’s also been his talks that have directed me to historical movements and given me the framework to criticise the abstract concept of ‘power’ and ‘authority’ on the grounds of being themselves alone and not based on their works. Before I was radicalised I did the stupid lib shit of comparing the goods and bad things that political parts did. Like oh, the left party helped unions but the right party grew GDP by 50% more in their years. Hummmm yes these are the important factors to look at.

Fuck me man I wish I could take back all my political opinions from before I was 20

Back on track though, if you know of any good texts that provide better models for criticism and an understanding of power, please link me. I only found this place and the anarchist library 2 weeks ago.

lumpentroll (not verified)
You should probably see if

You should probably see if you can find an @ study group somewhere and assume this process will be long and complicated haha

Like, Peter Gelderloos is one of my favs but that probably just reflects my biases.

I'm a recovering insurrectionary ultra leftist turned nihilist who no longer sees much appeal in self destruction. But I like building things too.

OP (not verified)

Ill check that Peter out. And ill take a look for a study group on here too, if it were to easy what would be the point.

Iv always wondered why anarchists are so often nihilists. I’v never really seen much in that view of life myself, might be why I have the disagreements I do with the people here

anon (not verified)
Sometimes it only appears to

Sometimes it only appears to be nihilism but it is really mega-snarkism.

OP (not verified)
Anarcho-snarkiesm is it then

Anarcho-snarkiesm is it then

lumpentroll (not verified)
the trick is to be one that

the trick is to be one that doesn't just sit around talking shit online ;)

anon (not verified)
And not to say you are a

And not to say you are a creative nihilist to get away with talking shit all the time online ;)

anon (not verified)
What is incoherent about alot

What is incoherent about alot of the newer stuff?

lumpentroll (not verified)
You seriously can't think of

You seriously can't think of anything or you just trying to fight me? ;)

anon (not verified)
self-governance? self-fuck

self-governance? self-fuck outta here

anon (not verified)
No u

No u

anon (not verified)
I’m always-already self

I’m always-already self-fucking, what Alfredo Mandingo Bananno called the anarchist tension, also known as edging, never coming, always going, always go (self)fuck (y)ourself: the onanistic ouroboros, autocunnilingus, autofellatio, circle-jerk...

anon (not verified)
Voline's The Unknown

Voline's The Unknown Revolution is a big old cinderblock of a book but the best anarchist refutation of Leninism I've found. As far as dealing with these peopld goes the best advice I have is to be vocally questioning of what you're not sure you agree on, and outspoken in your disagreement where it exists. Leninists are pretty skilled at using salesman like tricks to walk the anarchist leaning into their camp ("of course you don't think the state can vanish overnight? Don't you think some organization is needed to fight the reactionaries?") in the hopes that one day you're looking lovingly on the uniforms of some of the most totalitarian pigs to ever live. But if you dispute their pretty predictable party line the hostility you receive tells a lot. With that in mind imagine how those people would behave with state power towards the overwhelming majority of people that arent some sort of radical lefty like yourself. Remember no matter what word games they play that a workers state or "dictatorship of the proletariat" has never existed, just dictators with the so called right ideas standing in for the working class. More often than not, the dictator has been some aristocrat's son.

OP (not verified)
Thanks for the recommendation

Thanks for the recommendation, Ill look or that book. So far it isn’t outright hostility, I’m just noticing some things. Hopefully ill be able to voice my disagreements more in the future.

I definitely see the slow pull to the party line. We are starting with what is probably the nicest text of Lenin, state and revolution. And am definitely feeling those salesman tricks. But because of this, I’m still not sure where they really quite sit. Do they honest and truly believe that the USSR under Lenin wasn’t really Lenin’s socialism. Are they focusing more in Lenin’s writing or what he actually did. Maybe they accept there is some lea to totalitarianism but that it can be stopped with enough something or other.

Who knows man, I’m just sick of the system we got now. Ill take shitty socialism over this at this point. So long as were not getting red fascism ill be happy

anon (not verified)
you’ll take shitty socialism?

you’ll take shitty socialism?! move to Denmark, you dumb fuck shit for brains!

“i’m sick of the system we got now”

what fucking part are you changing with socialism ?

OP (not verified)
When did Denmark become

When did Denmark become socialist?

anon (not verified)
you said shitty socialism,

you said shitty socialism, not “perfect socialist utopia in my daydreams that makes me moist”

dem soc
soc dem
deez nutz
fuck off

anon (not verified)
Worker ownership, self

Worker ownership, self management, self direction or it isn’t socialism. Its just capitalism with a smiley face.

Dem Soc/Soc dem are not shitty socialism. They are capitalism where some aspects of human life a given market value

Shitty socialism, like market socialism or something. Not idea, but I’d take it.

anon (not verified)
worker ownership? you want

worker ownership? you want company stocks?
some companies do that. you wanna work at a co-op, some small coffee place, or a big company like Mondragon? there was an article here recently about an anarchist restaurant, maybe you want to move there and work there:

self management, self direction? you wanna be a freelancer? the go ahead, your utopia is a few entrepreneurial efforts away.

work and markets are inherently “where some aspects of human life a given market value”.

market socialism is just thinking the same ideas that are the basis for the current system could work marginally better with some changes.
it leaves relations of domination intact, it doesn’t question anything.

you’re not anarchist, you’re a conformist. you’re a reformist. “i’d take” you’d take anything in submissiveness, you’ll never rebel...


anon (not verified)
Something fishy in Denmark,

Something fishy in Denmark, to rebel or not to rebel, that is the question?

disorder (not verified)
Reading recommendations


When I was asking myself the kind of questions you are, there were some authors that were particularly interesting to read, so I'd like to share them with you.

Fredy Perlman is one of the most interesting authors in the "newer" anarchism. His works on nationalism (i.e. "Anti-Semitism and the Beirut Pogrom" here: https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/fredy-perlman-anti-semitism-and-...) remain essential to me. "Birth of a Revolutionary Movement in Yugoslavia" (here: https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/fredy-perlman-birth-of-a-revolut...) might seem marginal, but it contains an interesting critique of workers' self-management that you seem to be defending. All in all, I haven't yet read a text by Perlman that is not worth a read.

Many writings that come from an old anarchist journal called Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed will give you some thought: https://theanarchistlibrary.org/category/topic/ajoda. Unfortunately this has been somewhat left off in the online English-speaking anarchist circles, people easily falling for some incomprehensible French ultra-left or pro-situationist prose which in reality has never been anything else but violent reformism. The archives of AJODA contain tons of things that are very much worth a read.

You should probably read some writings of Alfredo M. Bonanno. I personally think that much what he wrote and continues to write is utter moralist bullshit, but this doesn't mean that it's not interesting. It's also one of the most influential authors in the living anarchism today, even if Bonanno's followers are often reluctant to cite their sources (this helps them pretend that they invented everything all on their own, just like some of the comments above). Here: https://theanarchistlibrary.org/category/author/alfredo-m-bonanno

Last but not least, read *everything* and don't forget to live and fight. It's the only way to get "good arguments" for anarchism or for anything else.

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