Anarchism / Marxism debates

Brett Knowlton brettk at
Tue Aug 17 11:18:57 PDT 1999


>Are there any historical examples of anarchist revolutions or Chomskyian
>revolutions that we can contrast with the history of the Russian
Revolution >and Soviet Union and other historical communist revolutions ?

The Spanish Civil War is the best example. It didn't last for very long, and you could argue that it wasn't truly anarchist, but at the very least it had a strong anarchist flavor. I've heard the Mahknovists in the Ukraine during the Russian Civil War used as another example, but I know very little about that situation. There are some other very minor examples, like the Kronstadt uprsising at the end of the Russian Civil War as well.

Sticking with the Spanish Civil War, the anarchist controlled regions seemed to do quite well, i.e., agricultural production rose, industrial output increased, land reform was instituted, etc. They collapsed becuase they were crushed militarily, not due to any internal problems. Of course they were only around for a year or two as well, so you don't have a lot to go on.

>Theoretically, how does the anarchist revolution consolidate its force
against >bourgeois counter-revolution ?

Same way the communist revolutions defended themselves - armed force. The Red Army won the Russian Civil War. If they had lost, I'm sure some kind of capitalist government would have been set up. Same thing with anarchist revolutions, only up until now the anarchists have always been successfully suppressed by reactionary elements.

>When the target is far off, this utopian project begins to become
equivalent >to the pie in the sky of other utopian projects, even religious utopias. Also, >little actual experience with anarchist utopian practice in changing the world >compounds this. The result is a need for more to inspire action in those >challenging capitalism.
>Ironically, Engels' scientific , in constrast with utopian , socialist
theory >is directed at invigorating revolutionary spirit, elan, enthusiasm, that >necessary to move people to action to change things. If it can only be reached >by future generations, it becomes equivalent to heaven after death for this >living generation.

I'm not familiar with Engels, but I don't see any reason why his socialist theory is any less utopian or more scientific than Albert and Hahnel's formulation. Nothing in AH's proposals prevents instilling people with enthusiasm or revolutionary spirit. This is your claim, which in my view is unjustified.

Besides, socialist revolution seemed pretty far off in 1850. Were Marx's ideas merely utopian pie in the sky? By your logic his efforts would have been pointless at the time. It takes time to convince people, to educate them to the point that they are ready to take the leap. Even then it may take a catalytic event. Would the Russian Revolution have happened without WWI? Its an open question, and this was after several generations of socialist organizing and agitation.


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