Out The Window

S.Artesian

There’s a specter haunting Libcom, and it’s the specter of Leninism.  Knickers all a-twist and in a red-scare panic last seen back when J Edgar Hoover was warning patriotic US citizens to check under their beds for big C communists, Libcom has hosted no less than three separate threads in three weeks about the dangers of creeping, crawling, walking, running, leaping, flying………….Leninism.

There’s one called “Is there creeping Leninism on Libcom?”  There’s another entitled “Can we ever escape Leninism?”

No exorcism of Lenin, of course, can be complete without casting Lenin as a German agent, bought and paid for with German gold. So we get “Was Lenin a German Agent?”

Apparently, it’s not quite enough for the anarcho-communists, anarcho-syndicalists, anarcho-libertarians, anarcho-autonomists who populate Libcom to criticize Lenin as a vanguard party loving, elitist, anti-democratic, uber-centralist, state-capitalist dictator megalomaniac Communist. To be all of those things, Lenin must surely have been the spawn of the devil, and nothing spells d-e-v-i-l like German g-o-l-d.

Stalin accused Trotsky, Tukachevsky, and all the old Leninists of being the agents of  Germany. Nothing says anarcho-communism better than restaging the play with anti-Leninists as Stalin and Lenin as……Trotsky.   Tell me again how history doesn’t have a sick sense of humor.

What Babo was to the slave-ship captain Benito Cereno,  Lenin is to the anarchists of Libcom– the dark, sinister, constant, inescapable presence, with a razor at the throat of all that is democratic, libertarian, cooperative.  Lenin dead 93 years.  The Soviet Union dead 26 years.  Still, it’s the ghost of Lenin that prowls the slave ship of capitalism, haunting our anarcho-communists.  The modern story of Cereno and Babo might now ask …”what has cast a shadow on you?” and the answer forthcoming in a single word:  “Lenin.”

Of course, no anarcho-anything in any of the three threads bothers to define what Leninism is, or what a Leninist is.  While some anarchist-somethings regard Rojava as a great experiment in anarchism, anarcho-others regard those who support and endorse Rojava as engaging in creeping Leninism.

This might make it a bit difficult to figure out where the Leninism is creeping in from, but confusion, uncertainty, lack of definition are always elements of panic. After all, conspiracy is as universal, silent, and invisible as simply breathing together.

Functionally, or rather dysfunction-ally, it is evident that all who support in concept, and in practice– as practiced in particular in Russian beginning in October 1917– the dictatorship of the proletariat, as the seizure of state power, which  in Marx’s analysis and in the revolutionary practice of 1917 is not simply taking over the old machinery of the state, but the supplanting of that machinery and its destruction by organs of a new class power– a revolutionary army;  a revolutionary state– are Leninists.

With this pedigree, the bloodline is secured– Lenin is the real heir to Marx, and we know who Lenin’s real heir was.

In this, the anarcho-anythings of Libcom give evidence that for them, like for some Leninists, for all Stalinists, for all Maoists, history, that is to say class struggle, is nothing but property, a petty estate to be handed down, and I do mean down, from father to son.  It’s all about lineage, patriarchy for our anarchists.  Marx begat Lenin who begat Stalin who begat Mao who begat…..Bob Avakian probably.

Those of us with a bit of a firmer grasp on Marx’s critique, as well as the mechanics of begetting would point out– “Hey, where are the women?  You left out the women.”– meaning of course lineage and linearity are ideologies, values designed to obscure the real relations, conflicts, antagonisms, that bring revolutions into being; that made, for example, the Russian Revolution a proletarian revolution; that made the overthrow of Kerensky’s Provisional Government by the Military Revolutionary Committee of the soviet a necessity before that Provisional Government moved the revolutionary garrisons out of Petrograd, replacing them with legions loyal to fathers big and little; that made it a necessity that the proletarian revolution organize itself as a Red Army to conduct a civil war; and that made it a necessity that absent the expansion and triumph of the proletarian revolution internationally, the Russian Revolution would turn back on itself, would become an analogue to capitalism and the capitalist revolution–  of different origin, but serving the same function.  Uneven and combined development is a tough mistress.  It’s not that she demands “Do or Die.”  It’s more like “Do or Decompose.”  Over time, like Dorian Gray.

The immediate context for the conspiracy of Leninists on Libcom was the brief addition in electronic format of Chris Harman’s  A People’s History of the World to the Libcom archive of texts.  Although the book was posted to the archive in 2014, it took some 3 years for the ever alert anarcho-communists of Libcom to tumble to the fact that the book was available for use without the presence of a parent or adult guardian.  The shock of recognition, of course, proves only how stealthy, and sneakily the creeping Leninists are; and how far they had crept in.

What’s three years in the measure of history?  The blink of an eye?  Twice the gestation period of an elephant?  Maybe, but that’s female, and we’ve already established that for the lineage-fetishists of Libcom, women don’t count.

Anyway better late than never, the righteous and battle-scarred warriors of anarcho-communism demanded the Chris Harman text be removed from Libcom’s electronic archive because Chris Harman had been a member, a prominent member of the UK’s Socialist Workers Party.

In 2013, the SWP was pretty much consumed by the fire resulting from charges that the leadership had covered-up accusations of rape and sexual abuse made by a female member against a “senior” male SWP member.  The SWP “thought” it could handle such charges as a matter for internal investigation and internal resolution rather than immediately removing the accused from all positions in the organization and advising both parties to seek legal counsel  as the matter was one of felonious assault. Stupid is as stupid does.

That Harman was a member of the SWP was considered sufficient ground for removing the book, despite the fact that Harman had died in 2009 one year prior to the raising of the first complaint of sexual abuse against the senior male SWP member, known as comrade Delta.

Picky, picky, picky.

The Libcom collective was not quite so detail oriented, so after a brief but intense exchange of posts, it decided to remove the book and the entire thread containing the arguments offered by numerous parties for and against the removal.  

Now I would never call such a removal, obliteration, editing of history “Leninism.”  It isn’t.   But I would call it Stalinism, and with a capital S.

While association with a Leninist party which, after your death,  covers-up abuse is grounds for censorship, deletion; the digital equivalent of expulsion and exile– “get your Leninist 1s and 0s outta here”– having a current association with fascism, white supremacy, race-war mongering is not sufficient reason for the Libcom anarchists to remove an author’s work from the anarchist ebibliotheque.

Michael Schmidt of South Africa, well known in anarcho-communist circles as co-author of Black Flame, was recently exposed as maintaining a “separate identity” participating in right wing, nationalist, racist, fascist activities on the internet.  You can read the whole dreary tale of his outing, the rush to his defense, the discounting of those who exposed him, and the attempts to restore him to his anarchist “bona fides” in yet another thread, here

Debate about keeping the work of a fascist, race-war mongering, self-described mentally-ill “anarchist” followed on this thread.

Rather than remove the work of this titan of anti-Leninist anarcho-communism, the Libcom collective decided to attach a parental advisory of the type recommended by Tipper Gore and her Parent’s Resource Music Center– you know, “Explicit content.  Lyrics may not be suitable for all audiences.”

NOTE: In 2015 it came to light that one of the authors of this work, Michael Schmidt, has advocated merging anarchist and white supremacist ideas both privately under his own name and publicly under pseudonyms. We are not aware of such themes in this work but readers should be advised.

Note: that as discussed in the comments under this post, Michael Schmidt has recently been criticised for defending ‘national anarchism’ (which similar to ‘national bolshevism’ attempts to reconcile anarchism with racist and xenophobic politics in order to reconcile with working class fascists). libcom.org is absolutely opposed to ‘national anarchism’ or any attempt to defend it. This book does not discuss ‘national anarchism’ but as also noted in the comments, the sections on race and gender and the particular ways it treats (for example) Connolly positively and Marxists negatively should be read critically with this in mind.     

Not a word mentioned how Schmidt tried to cover up his role; how those who finally broke through the cover-up were smeared; how those associated with Schmidt had known about his “national Bolshevism” for years and covered it up; how Schmidt’s colleagues are still attempting to establish a “commission of inquiry” rather than break all ties and shun any association with Schmidt.

One member of the Libcom collective actually had the arrogance and ignorance to argue:

You know we host loads of text by Marx, right and that he was a racist? See also: Bakunin and Proudhon, who were anti-Semites. Not to mention a bunch of stuff written by people in the early 20th century whose politics changed and they became fascists later on.

Actually, I don’t know that Marx was a racist. Marx never targeted a particular race as the source for social ills; Marx never proposed a racial solution to issues of poverty, exploitation, oppression.

I do know that Bakunin and Proudhon were explicitly anti-semites…. and so why are their works maintained in the Libcom archive?

Bakunin was explicitly anti-semitic in his writings on the ills of capitalist society. Proudhon explicitly misogynistic in his writings on the ills of capitalist society. Kropotkin explicitly endorsed one side over the other when the capitalists decided to burn the workers in the oven of imperialist war.

Clearly, for the anarcho-communists around Libcom, Bolshevism warrants immediate defenestration but National Bolshevism is entitled to a parental advisory and possibly a commission of inquiry.

It’s all enough to gag a maggot, except to the Libcom crew. To them, it’s a regular chef’s tasting menu.

July 25, 2017

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6 thoughts on “Out The Window”

  1. Received the following from a contact:

    “Though I often find your reflections quite interesting and nicely
    written, to break with Libcom over their apparent opposition to Leninism
    is absurd. You’re reverting to the security of your (Trotkyist?) past,
    rather than going forward into the partially unknown, the terrain of
    relative insecurity.

    Lenin – like so many anarchists or other politicians – played a dual
    role in 1917, trying to win over anarchists (and fairly successfully, if
    only temporarily) whilst preparing for “the party of class consiousness”
    for its seizure of state power and the development of state capitalism,
    which he later admitted was what he was doing (
    https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1921/apr/21.htm ). As a
    model of what revolutionary activity was – full-time professional
    cadres, the role of “revolutionary”, hierarchy, the party form, the
    desire for state power, democratic centralism, the rule of the
    collectivity over the individual, the ideology of progress inherited
    from Marx and the whole of 19th century ideology (meaning the
    development of the productive forces) – it was everything the revolution
    is NOT, or, at least not in its essnce. In other words, a revolution
    might in some cases develop productive forces, but the essential thing
    is the development of the masses of individuals’ capacity to determine
    the use of their own lives, which cannot be constrained by productivist
    ideology. The development of the Red Army was horrendous – its brutal
    attack on Kronstadt and on the Makhnovists indicative of its fundamental
    function as an arm of the class power of the Bolsheviks.
    Aspects of libcom in fact reproduce these attitudes even if they wish to
    pretend that Lenin’s were something quite different. See Part 3 of my
    text “Cop-Out…” – ANARCHO-LEFTISM & THE POLITICS OF LIBCOM – here:
    http://dialectical-delinquents.com/articles/uncategorised/cop-out-the-significance-of-aufhebengate/

    As for denying Marx’s racist expressions, it doesn’t take much to find
    them, and seems disingenuous to have denied them, even if Proudhon was
    far worse:

    https://www.slavorum.org/forum/discussion/6399/marx-and-engels-on-slavic-people

    “These wretched, ruined fragments of one-time nations, the Serbs,
    Bulgars, Greeks, and other robber bands or, behalf of which the liberal
    philistine waxes enthusiastic in the interests of Russia, are unwilling
    to grant each other the air they breathe, and feel obliged to cut each
    other’s greedy throats… the lousy Balkan peoples . . ….The
    Scandinavians and the Germans have in this way found that they cannot
    base their respective national claims on the feudal laws of royal
    succession. They have had the even stronger experience that they, the
    Germans and the Scandinavians (who both belong to one overall race) will
    only pave the way for their hereditary enemy, the Slavs, if they fight
    with one-another rather than uniting….We repeat: apart from the Poles,
    the Russians, and at most the Turkish Slavs, no Slav people has a
    future, for the simple reason that all the other Slavs lack the primary
    historical, geographical, political and industrial conditions for
    independence and viability. Peoples which have never had a history of
    their own, which from the time when they achieved the first, most
    elementary stage of civilization already came under foreign sway, or
    which were forced to attain the first stage of civilization only by
    means of a foreign yoke, are not viable and will never be able to
    achieve any kind of independence. And that has been the fate of the
    Austrian Slavs. The Czechs, among whom we would include the Moravians
    and Slovaks, although they differ in respect of language and history,
    have never had a history of their own…But up to the present time, the
    Russians of all classes are too fundamentally barbarous to find any
    enjoyment in scientific pursuits or head-work of any kind (except
    intrigues), and, therefore, almost all their distinguished men in the
    military service are either foreigners, or, what nearly amounts to the
    same, “ostzeïski,” Germans from the Baltic provinces….The Slavic race,
    long divided by inner struggles, pushed back to the east by the Germans,
    subjugated in part by Germans, Turks and Hungarians, silently re-uniting
    its branches after 1815 by the gradual growth of Pan-Slavism, it now
    makes sure of its unity for the first time, and with that declares war
    to-the-death on the Roman-Celtic and German races, who have ruled Europe
    until now.”

    When the United States annexed California after the Mexican War, Marx
    sarcastically asked, “Is it a misfortune that magnificent California was
    seized from the lazy Mexicans who did not know what to do with it?”

    In a letter to Engels, in reference to his socialist political
    competitor Ferdinand Lassalle, Marx wrote:
    It is now completely clear to me that he, as is proved by his cranial
    formation and his hair, descends from the Negroes who had joined Moses’
    exodus from Egypt, assuming that his mother or grandmother on the
    paternal side had not interbred with a nigger. Now this union of Judaism
    and Germanism with a basic Negro substance must produce a peculiar
    product.”

    The basis for his racist notions was a hierarchy of “progressive” races
    with the Germans at the top, because they seemewd to have developed the
    productive forces furthest. Though England and the English were probably
    on the same level for Marx.
    Which maybe accounts for this absurd comment on the Indian mutiny:
    “A motley crew of mutineering soldiers who have murdered their officers,
    torn asunder the ties of discipline, and not succeeded in discovering A
    MAN ON WHOM TO BESTOW SUPREME COMMAND are certainly the body least
    likely to organise a serious and protracted resistance.” – Marx,
    New-York Daily Tribune in 1857.

    As for anti-semitism:

    “On the Jewish Question,” 1844, Marx asked:
    “What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his
    worldly God? Money. … Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of
    which no other god may exist. Money degrades all the gods of man—and
    turns them into commodities. … The bill of exchange is the real god of
    the Jew. His god is only an illusory bill of exchange. … The chimerical
    nationality of the Jew is the nationality of the merchant, of the man of
    money in general.”

    1856, Marx in “The Russian Loan” for the New York Daily Tribune,
    wrote.
    Marx opined: “Thus we find every tyrant backed by a Jew, as is every
    pope by a Jesuit. In truth, the cravings of oppressors would be
    hopeless, and the practicability of war out of the question, if there
    were not an army of Jesuits to smother thought and a handful of Jews to
    ransack pockets.
    “The real work is done by the Jews, and can only be done by them, as
    they monopolize the machinery of the loanmongering mysteries by
    concentrating their energies upon the barter trade in securities,” he
    added.

    And don’t pretend that this doesn’t have an influence on loads of
    anti-semitic attitudes amongst “revolutionaries’ (Dauvé, Os Cangaceiros,
    etc.).

    This is not to say that Marx wasn’t also contradictory (probably getting
    his information on the MIR from Bakunin, he – late in his life – said
    that Russia could skip the capitalist mode of production, a perpsective
    which contradicted all of his previous notions). Marx, of course, was
    intellectually quite experimental and obviously – for his time –
    contributed to a revolutionary movement, but 150 years later, it seems
    idiotic to treat him as some guru (and was idiotic at the time, of
    course).

    On my site I only put up things with which I am in essential agreement,
    and mostly only things that do not appear on other sites. I found
    putting up stuff from very crude leninists like Chris Harman – which
    anyway were already on other site – fucked up. But then there are a lot
    of things on Libcom that are fucked up ( including an uncritical text on
    a Stalinist who fought in Spain in the 30s – not going to bother to find
    the link, but i remember it), and including their ambivalent attitude to
    the Stalinists of Rojava. But that doesn’t mean they should also put up
    other Leninist crap.

    I’d like to have a serious answer to all this.

    take care -”
    _____________________

    To which I responded:

    1. I didn’t “break” with Libcom over the opposition to Leninism. I am not a
    Leninist. I broke with Libcom over the presence of the writings of Michael
    Schmidt in their archive.

    2. The argument with Tom Henry, El Psy, and the others who claim to
    be anarchists was not about Lenin, but about the nature of the Russian
    Revolution, and whether the steps the Bolsheviks took were essential to
    advancing that revolutionary struggle. Those steps were 1) formation of a
    military revolutionary committee by the Petrograd Soviet 2)dispersing the
    Kerensky government 3) dispersing the Constituent Assembly 4)organizing a
    revolutionary army to defend against the counterrevolution. I happen to
    support each and every one of those steps. I asked the “anarchists” what
    they proposed, particularly as the Provisional Government of Kerensky, if it
    was to survive, had to remove the revolutionary garrisons from Petrograd and
    crush the soviets.

    3. I didn’t deny Marx used racist expressions. I denied that Marx was a
    racist– racism being something different than expressions of prejudice, but
    actually proposing political actions targeting a particular “race” as an
    enemy.

    4. Think you better check the original source on those quotes– think the
    one on the Slavs is from Engels; also think the “pro-US” quote in the
    US-Mexican war is from Engels. There is a difference between Marx and
    Engels. Regardless, this issue is program, strategy as they contribute and
    organize a class struggle . Do you call Marx a capitalist because he
    endorsed Lincoln and the US north in the civil war? Or a militarist?

    5. As for their correspondence, it’s their correspondence; racism involves
    something other than half-assed pseudo-scientific crap in a letter. Again,
    it entails program, actions, analysis that targets race as a cause, the problem,
    the solution.

    6. Libcom didn’t remove the Chris Harman piece because he was a Leninist.
    It was taken down after the complaint that Harman had
    been a member of the SWP, and the SWP had protected a rape culture. If
    Libcom prohibited all works by all Leninists, I wouldn’t give a shit. But
    Libcom doesn’t. There are works by Lukacs for example who certainly ranks
    as one of the scummiest of scumbags ever.

    7. You ignore what I thought was the central issue, which was that I refuse
    to participate in Libcom not because of anti-Leninism, but because of its
    continued tolerance for Michael Schmidt and van der Welt, and the attempt to
    “reinstate” Schmidt by promoting his link to Black Flame. Sorry you missed
    that point, but that was the central point. And I did make that explicit in
    the discussions on Libcom. The article in AC was meant to point out how
    “anti-Leninism” is used as a stalking horse among our dilettante
    anarcho-communists.

    That’s about as serious as I can get.

    best,

    SA

    EDIT: I don’t have a Trotskyist past.

  2. More on the above. Received the following reply from a contact:

    “If I (apparently mistakenly) understood your split from libcom as being
    to do with their attitude towards Lenin, it’s not entirely my fault –
    you take several paragraphs to get to Michael Schmidt, and, in your
    jokey style, it seemed that Lenin was someone you admired. Certainly
    your affirmation of the creation of a so-called “revolutionary” army,
    the Red Army, as positive is not at all compatible with any kind of
    revolution I want – generals, officers, hierarchy, obedience without
    question, a monopoly of arms, etc. have nothing to do with anything
    other than a defence of state power, and were part of the
    Leninist/Stalinist counter-revolution. Whilst “positions” on a
    century-old conflict is not my way of judging individuals’ relation or
    contribution to the current class struggle, it would be indicative of a
    massive insuperable obstacle between us if you were to apply this
    utterly conservative vision to the present or the future: I would oppose
    such a proposition, even if it merely had a snowball’s chance in hell of
    being accepted, with everything I’ve got (not much, admittedly).
    Moreover, the vast majority of libcom would never dismiss the Russian
    Revolution as “capitalist from the getgo.”: I’d guess that, like me,
    they’d say that there were clearly independent proletarian aspects to it
    not tainted by any state capitalist ideology ( though admittedly even
    the ideology of self-management failed to subvert wage slavery or the
    value form, which is partly because of the situation of scarce resources
    at that time….but that’s another question).

    Schmidt might well be a fascist – but I have always found Zablaza’s
    writing even without such obvious fascistic tendencies utterly banal at
    best. Bordiga – a man who defended the massacre of the Kronstadt
    mutineers up until his death – is also in Libcom’s library. Fuck their
    library. Whilst there are some things that are useful in their library
    there are also useful things in the British Library in London but that’s
    no reason to defend the British state or the bourgeoisie who set up this
    library, and library that claims to be a contribution to a libertarian
    revolution that is so eclectic as to include obvious
    counter-revolutionary shits like Bordiga or even some Stalinists merely
    contributes to confusion, with or without Michael Schidt.

    There are clearly some tendencies within Marx that led to both the 2nd
    and 3rd International and there is very little worth defending in them,
    and ultimately their contributions have clearly been
    counter-revolutionary. There are also tendencies in Marx that have led
    to ideas by people who often had some basic integrity (Korsch,
    Pannekoek, Josef Weber, Debord etc.) but if we critique the past it’s
    not just to use and develop previous critiques of hierarchical social
    relations but also to critique the contradictions that helped create
    the counter-revolution, which should be obvious. Bakunin wrote some
    anti-semitic stuff – but it was hardly policy, and probably less
    developed as a theory than marx’s stuff. And, by the way, the quote on
    the Mexicans was his, and even if I have attributed somne quotes of
    Engels about the Slavs to him, I know for sure that he said some very
    similar stuff as Engels – can’t be bothered to find the quotes, but I
    read them back in 1999 during the Kosovo war. To dismiss Bakunin because
    of his anti-semitism would be to dismiss almost every writer in the 19th
    century (including Marx), which was the century of racism (and,
    inseparably, imperialism) par excellence, which – as I’ve already said –
    was intrinsic to the ideology of progress at that time, an ideology that
    Marx was utterly immersed in. I think there were very few people who
    opposed racism (the anarchist Louise Michel was one the rare individuals
    who did, and was despised by many fellow-anarchists for her – in 1878
    she was one of the few sho supported the Kanak rebellion in New
    Caledonia where she’d been deported ). There’s a tendency by Marxists to
    automatically reject (and not bother to read) anything by Bakunin (and,
    in fact, very little has been translated in English), just as there’s
    been a tendency amongst anarchists to reject (and not bother to read)
    anything by Marx.

    In fact, the argument over Harman (whilst another SWP hack – Nigel
    Harris – continues to be in their library) was just a pretense of
    showing their difference with other political tendencies, a distraction,
    a foil, whilst remaining utterly political (ie manipulative,
    censorious, ideologically petrified, lying, etc.) in their attitudes,
    which was already shown (for me, definitively) during Aufhebengate.

    If you reply, I’d rather you took your time to do so: I’ve often found
    that instant replies are just a way of getting something irritating out
    of the way and not seriously reflecting and not really responding to the
    various points.

    take care -”
    _________________________________________________

    To which I replied, with every bit of charm I could muster…….

    “If you’re talking about my “split” from Libcom, then you didn’t look at any
    of the threads referenced on Libcom, where I explicitly stated what the
    “break” was about. The charges of “leninism” were originally raised against
    me in a thread concerning the law of value, in which (typical) anarchist
    assholes tried to show that Marx’s analysis, leading as it does to class
    struggle for power, requiring a dictatorship of the proletariat, was
    “statist;” and led inexorably to Lenin to Stalin blahblahblahblah… the
    usual nonsense and bullshit.

    I’ve been called worse things than a marxist; and worse than a leninist.
    The former I am, the latter I am not as I reject the two critical elements
    of so-called Leninism– the vanguard party, and Lenin’s explanation of
    imperialism.”

    Yeah, I support the creation of a red army to fight the counterrevolution.
    Given that, I don’t see how anyone who does recognize the necessity for such
    an organization can they say… “but I don’t support a Red Army, as the
    Bolsheviks developed because it had……..officers, discipline, monopoly of
    arms, discipline…. or forcibly requisitioned grain from the peasantry.
    The Russian Revolution had to deal with the conditions that made it, and
    those conditions included almost a complete collapse of the economy,
    disintegration of relations between city and countryside, and the need to
    centralize authority to organize opposition to counterrevolution. The
    image of decentralized militias, galloping around the countryside, fighting
    the Whites, and the international expeditionary forces, might make for good
    literature. It doesn’t win civil wars.

    Maybe the fact that the Russian Revolution had to develop officers; even,
    horror of horrors impressed former officers of the Tsar’s army to organize
    and lead its armed forces amounts to “betrayal,” but before we call it
    betrayal– or not betrayal but the “truth” of the Russian Revolution– we
    need to grasp whether the necessity besides such use, such hierarchy, was
    “ideological”– as in the Bolsheviks were really state capitalists, a new
    bourgeois class from the getgo– or material– these were the elements at
    hand that the revolutionary forces had to use to defend itself.

    What the clowns on Libcom did refuse to answer until well after I “broke”
    was a) did advancement of the Russian Revolution require the overthrow of
    the Provisional government b) did advancement of the RR require the waging
    of a civil war c) did advancement of the RR require suppression of the
    Constituent Assembly. Remember the discussion was derived from the
    “anarchists” objection to the dictatorship of the proletariat and Marx as a
    statist.

    So… let’s answer those questions. I say yes to a,b,c. What do you say?

    “Schmidt might well be a fascist”?

    There’s no “might be” about it. He’s a fascist, and he and his cohorts are
    attempting to reinstate his “bona fides” among anarchists through any number
    of subterfuges– his “mental illness;” his “past work;” and even the fact
    that he’s had girlfriends who are “of color.”— shades of Thomas Jefferson
    really being a abolitionist because he fucked his slave–and Strom Thurmond
    too for fathering a child with an African-American women employed by his
    family.

    Who gives a fuck about the Libcom library? Nobody– except Libcom used the
    excuse of “appropriateness” for their library when deciding to remove Chris
    Harman’s work. That, plus the attitude on Schmidt, should tell you what’s
    really going on. Call me slow, but it certainly made it clear to me.

    On a personal note, This: “If you reply, I’d rather you took your time to
    do so: I’ve often found that instant replies are just a way of getting
    something irritating out of the way and not seriously reflecting and not
    really responding to the various points.” is such arrogant, self-serving
    bullshit that it makes me wonder why you even bother. Exactly what in my
    previous reply do you consider not seriously reflecting and responding to
    various points. And what makes you think if I take an extra hour or two,
    it’s going to make a fucking bit of difference? Details, details, detail.

    Really, get over yourself, or not, but don’t tell me how to respond, or when
    to respond. You don’t like the response? That’s fine. You don’t think
    there’s any point to further discussion? We’ll both survive. But don’t
    waste my time telling me how irritated you are that I respond the way I do.

    A less kind, open, amiable person would tell you to go fuck yourself.
    Fortunately I’m that that person.
    _________________________

    The last line was intended to read “Fortunately I’m not that person,” but the subconscious will have its say, won’t it? I am that less kind, less amiable person.

    Meanwhile as for the nonsense about Marx’s “racist quotes”– really, who gives a fuck? I’m not defending them. But the point I raised, which the patient, pains-taking contact refused to engage was what Marxism represents in its SOCIAL expression, in the class struggle, in the opposition to capitalism. Bakunin, and the anarchists’ problems, aren’t that he/she/they emit anti-semitic utterances, but that when it comes to the critique of capitalism as a social relation of labor, and for the prospects and essential requirements for the overthrow of capitalism, anarchists at best come nowhere close to the accuracy, precision of Marx. I’m not the clowns at Libcom pulling down a book because the author happened to be associated with the SWP which was exposed as tolerating sexual abuse of women– but exposed two years after the author died. I don’t care what Marx wrote in correspondence and I don’t care whether Libcom keeps Bakunin in its library. I oppose the selective use of supposedly non-ideological criteria to obscure an ideological motive, which is what was behind Libcom removing the work by Chris Harman, but “maintaining” the work of Michael Schmidt, with the ridiculous parental advisory attached to further obscure what the real issue is.

    1. The comment from a reader includes the line:

      “Whilst “positions” on a century-old conflict is not my way of judging individuals’ relation or
      contribution to the current class struggle. . .”

      and yet, a buffet of such positions are applied as a litmus test for judging not just an individual’s contribution to the current class struggle, but their potential contribution to the future class struggle.

      When guns are pulled on union organizers in South Carolina, when a mass movement against racially-motivated police brutality develops in the street, when defense committees are organized by undocumented immigrants to resist ICE, when opposition to voter suppression merges with the demands for a living wage and trade union rights, what matters is absolutely not what someone thinks of what happened at Kronstadt, or whether the Makhnovschina represented some kind of viable alternative for the Russian Revolution, or any other political hobbyhorse.

  3. It’s all about “Lenin” for the dilettante anarchists, anarcho-communists– “Lenin” is the Freddy Kruger, Nightmare on the Nevsky, the “IT” from beyond that haunts them…and no surprise as “Lenin” has been the shorthand for all that has been haunting, terrifying, shopkeepers of all sorts for over a century.

    And make no mistake, our dilettante anarchists, anarcho-communists, anarcho-situationists, anarcho-autonomists, anarcho ad nauseums, are exactly that– shopkeepers; setting up, and minding the shop of “anti-statist” curios, available online and offline, in markets everywhere.

    The shopkeepers are out there, sweeping the sidewalks in front of their places of business; protecting their premises like shopkeepers everywhere, with little signs: “No outside food or drink. These premises protected by 24 hour surveillance cameras. No dogs or Leninists allowed. ”

    What? You disagree with Lenin about a) the function and organization of a “vanguard party” b) the actual configuration and functioning of advanced capitalism’s imperialism c) a + b+ c+…..n, BUT don’t think Lenin and the Bolsheviks were the paid agents of the German high command? You don’t think the Bolsheviks represented a distinct class, a class of “new capitalists” because classes have particular, historically specific relations to modes of production, to property forms as the condition of labor? That just proves that all Marxists are really Leninists and therefore “new capitalists” themselves, and most probably agents of the German high command still, to this very day. Sprechen sie Deutsch? All the time, mother****ers. All the time.

    And when confronted with the concrete questions of an actual revolutionary conflict– i.e the questions about the seizure of power, the dispersal and suppression of the previous ruling class– our anarchists-dilettantes, go silent, disappear, drop the conversation, pull down the shades, lock the doors, and flip the sign over from “open” to “closed for [anti]renovation.”

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