Sunday, February 19, 2006

Love the WSM, but rhetoric is moronic... as is debating with Marxists

What type of society do anarchists want to live in?

Text of a WSM part of Marxism v Anarchism debate organised by the (Irish) Socialist Party / CWI

Anarchism essentially sees a free society where everybody has the opportunity to live as they want as achievable. But what does that mean in practice, and how do we get there.

The first thing about a revolution is that it must result in an expansion of freedom and not a new set of rulers.

Popular revolt got rid of the dictatorships in Stalinist Europe, recently in Georgia, Serbia, and Indonesia. All these states were police states and yet they fell, which goes to show the power that workers have when they get going.

While in these cases workers knew perfectly well what they didn't want, i.e. the old rulers, but putting something new in their place was a different story. They put in different rulers instead of a different political system with the result that the same old patterns of exploitation continued.

We have got to try the road of freedom.

And being bossed about isn't something that people are willing to fight for. This discussion is based on the premise of a post-revolutionary society, one that is under threat, presumably, of counter-revolution. Well, if the people don't think the new life is better than the old one, they won't lift a finger to defend it. And that will be the end of that.

So that means freedom in the most general sense is an absolute necessity; no secret police, political courts, to the freedom to participate in making decisions that affect you. And of course, as socialists, for this freedom to have any meaning, people need to have enough food in their bellies.

Freedom in Revolution
Freedom of speech & organisation
It is vital in a revolutionary situation that freedom of organisation is available to all political strands.

When it comes to advancing one's political ideas on how society should be organised this freedom needs to be available to all. And not just because it is a nice thing but also because it is useful. Anarchists believe that the best decisions are made after a debate that has the opportunity to hear all sides. If one political faction institutes itself as the thought police of the population then the population won't be able to hear all the arguments for particular policies. Useful options will inevitably become excluded from the mix.

What do anarchists mean by revolution?
Forerunner to the revolution
We don't see a libertarian revolution coming out of nowhere. The example of Spain is instructive. There was a long build up to the revolution, probably the high point of workers' self-management in history. It was was preceded by 70 years of militant activity. Workers learned how to run society through self-organisation and direct action.

Obvious things that come with revolution

Overthrow of the capitalist regime: mass occupations, militias, dismantling of the state apparatus.
Mass involvement in running society
Take the wealth of the rich and redistribute it.
Start producing things with need in mind.
Start thinking about our impact on Earth and factoring this in to the cost of production.
Getting rid of the system of leaders and led in work and in society. That is, changing the social relationship involved in production.
An end to invading and pillaging weaker nation


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