Tag Archives: marxism

Terrorism from a Marxist perspective

By Anton

Communists should not oppose terrorism on moral grounds, as communism has no place for bourgeois moralism- essentially, the ends justify the means, as long as there is something to justify the end. What matters is whether an action will advance the class interests of the proletariat; we should support strikes, walkouts, struggle in parliament for concessions, the passing of bills and acts that increase the living standards of proletarians, etcetera. So, what we communists must ask ourselves is whether individual terrorism will serve proletarian class interests. The killing of a capitalist, or the shooting of a policeman will not further proletarian class interest, it will do the opposite, in fact- it will be used as an excuse for repression.

Only an organised working class can send a representative into parliament to gain concessions from the bourgeoisie and strengthen the political power of the proletariat. However, in order to murder a prominent government member you do not require the backing of an organised working class- anyone can make explosives and acquire a Glock.

A strike, even of modest size, has social consequences: strengthening of the workers’ self-confidence, growth of the trade union, and not infrequently even an improvement in productive technology. The murder of a factory owner produces effects of a police nature only, or a change of proprietors devoid of any social significance. Whether a terrorist attempt, even a ‘successful’ one throws the ruling class into confusion depends on the concrete political circumstances. In any case the confusion can only be shortlived; the capitalist state does not base itself on government ministers and cannot be eliminated with them. The classes it serves will always find new people; the mechanism remains intact and continues to function.

But the disarray introduced into the ranks of the working masses themselves by a terrorist attempt is much deeper. If it is enough to arm oneself with a pistol in order to achieve one’s goal, why the efforts of the class struggle? If a thimbleful of gunpowder and a little chunk of lead is enough to shoot the enemy through the neck, what need is there for a class organisation? If it makes sense to terrify highly placed personages with the roar of explosions, where is the need for the party? Why meetings, mass agitation and elections if one can so easily take aim at the ministerial bench from the gallery of parliament?

Lev Trotski

I quoted Trotski because otherwise I would be simply rewording what he wrote and passing it off as my own.

In our eyes, individual terror should be opposed precisely because it belittles the role of the proletariat in its own consciousness, reconciles them to their powerlessness, and turns their eyes and hopes towards a great avenger and liberator who some day will come and accomplish his mission. The anarchists can argue all they want for their ‘propaganda of the deed’, but it is clear that this reduces class consciousness and only serves to stagnate the working class movement. The official or minister will be replaced and life will, once again, return to ‘normality’. The only thing that changes in the capitalist system is that police repression becomes more savage and brutal.

Terrorist cells can be crushed, the proletariat cannot- it is needed by the bourgeoise. As I said before: we shouldn’t morally oppose terrorism- we shouldn’t morally oppose anything when we are fighting against a class that is willing to plunge thousands into the hell of war for land or resources, against a system in which 10,000,000 die in each year. The account we have to settle with the capitalists is not one that can be solved through a few assassinations- it can only be solved by smashing their system and state, and oppressing them as they have done to us for such a long time. The difference is the bourgeoisie needs the proletariat, but the proletariat does not need the bourgeoisie- the proletariat would be better off without the bourgeoise.

The repression that the proletariat inflicts on the bourgeoise will not similar to what they have inflicted upon us. It will be swift, it will be brutal, and it will only serve to advance proletarian class interests and the abolition of classes.

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The state

By Reece Lawton

I will be making extensive use of Lenin’s work ‘The State and Revolution’, as it is one of the best works concerning the nature of the state.

To all libertarians, right or left wing, the state is an evil, as it is authority. What’s more, it is not just authority: it is the supreme authority. The state has ‘special bodies of armed men’ (as Lenin put it) at its disposal, to enforce obedience. The state, above all else, limits liberty, so it must be abolished once and for all, in one fell swoop. In this text, I hope to explain what the state is, and what socialists must do following the socialist revolution. This text is also an attack against all of the ideologies that claim to be libertarian, and to expose them as idealistic.

The State

The state is a tool of the ruling class to oppress the other classes. In capitalism, there are two main classes: the proletariat and the bourgeoisie (well, there is the petit bourgeoisie, but they’re irrelevant and their numbers are shrinking). The bourgeoisie uses the state and it’s instruments (police, army, etcetera) to oppress and exploit the proletariat; the bourgeoisie is the ruling class, the proletariat is the exploited class. The interests of the supra classes conflict- the bourgeoisie wants to exploit the proletariat as much as possible, whereas the proletariat’s interests are to seize the means of production for itself, abolish the bourgeois state and become the ruling class, thus ending it’s exploitation.

What’s stopping the proletariat from seizing power? First and foremost, class consciousness, but let’s say that every proletarian was aware that they would be better off without the bourgeoisie, and that they were willing to revolt against their bourgeois masters. The main obstacle then would be the state. The police, the army, the air force, drones, missiles, etcetera. The state is a tool for one class to oppress and exploit another-

“A standing army and police are the chief instruments of state power.” (Lenin).

“The ancient and feudal states were organs for the exploitation of the slaves and serfs; likewise, “the modern representative state is an instrument of exploitation of wage-labor by capital.” (Kautsky)

Anarcho-Capitalists:

Anarcho-capitalists advocate the abolishment of the state, but insist on keeping capitalism (try to suppress your laughter!). The state no longer exists, people get to keep what they earn and no person has to pay taxes ever again! It’s a capitalists dream!

Or is it?

If this is the best form of capitalism, why have the capitlaists not abolished the state and built up monopolies? Imagine the aforementioned situation of there being no state, but capitalism still thrives.

Say there arises the situation where international trade is wanted. Quickly they discover that a group is needed which will represents the national trade-interrests and will ensure a trade-advantage for it’s members.
Libertarians will say that there is nothing wrong with that. Still, it is the first step towards a new state!
The trade-organisation won’t work for free in a capitalist world and so they will begin to demand pay.
Contribution will be asked with it’s members, what will mean that non-members will receive no benefit. We then stand at a situation where benefitted collegue’s are providing unfair competition.
Again, Libertarians will argue that it is not unfair and that traders and entrepeneurs are free to join the organisation.

So, the non-members are more or less forced to become a member, if they want to stay in business. Once a member, they too will have to pay contribution-fee’s, which will rise and rise because it is cheaper to represent a smaller group, than it is representing a larger group. The represeting organisation will have to grow to be able to cope with the ever growing expectations of it’s members.

Then we arive at the inevitable point where the members discover that not only they, but also the civilians benefit of the organisations actions. Now two things can happen, since the members will want to get back the costs of the contributions through the civilians. They will they raise prices (an obscure version of taxes), or they all will decide to directly charge the civilians. In other words, taxes.

And so we arive at the current situation where all civilians and traders/entrepeneurs are forced to pay a representing group. What has actually changed? Terminology. “Taxes” becomes “contribution” and “the state” becomes “the representation” or “the organisation”.

So Libertarian ideas revolving around their version of a free market are a paradoxal idea and will never work.

Now that we have exposed right wing libertarianism as the moronic ‘theory’ that it is, we shall move onto left wing libertarianism (or anarchism).

Anarchism

The anarchists propose the State’s immediate abolishment, overnight; we Marxists counter propose that such idealism is pragmatically impossible, because the proletariat would need to crush the bourgeois resistance through a mechanism, and that is the state. Only a fool would say that the bourgeosie would not try to regain its power, and only a fool would say that we do not need an army to defeat the reaction! Anarchists present Makhno and his peasant army as a shining example of how anarchism can defeat the counter revolution, but upon analysing Makhno’s anarchism falls apart. Makhno’s army was a tool to oppress the bourgeoisie, was it not? And the councils set up under Makhno served the peasantry, a class, in it’s conquest against the bourgeoisie! I say that this constitutes a state, and also that Makhno is a reactionary. Why? Makhno’s army was not made up of proletarians and oppressed peasants like the red army was- Makhno’s army was made up of Kulaks, who owned horses and had been exploiting peasants for centuries! Upon analysis, Makhno is revealed to be a petit bourgeois nationalist.

Were the State immediately abolished, without the “conditions leading to the arising of the State” being abolished as well, a new State would appear, and the socialist revolution would have been for naught.

What should we do?

In the event of a socialist revolution the proletariat through the dictatorship of the proletariat must establish a proletarian State (per the 1871 Paris Commune model), then suppress the dissenting bourgeoisie. The proletariat must use the state ruthlessly to suppress the reaction, crushing all dissent towards the new rule of the proletariat. For the proletariat, this state will be one of democracy. Soviets and workers councils will take the places of parliament and bosses- i.e. the proletariat will have total political and economical control.

“This shows more clearly than anything else the turn from bourgeois to proletarian democracy, from the democracy of the oppressors to that of the oppressed classes, from the state as a “special force” for the suppression of a particular class to the suppression of the oppressors by the general force of the majority of the people–the workers and the peasants.” (Lenin)

For the bourgeoisie this new state must be one of terror, which they live in fear in of, it must be the most brutal state to have ever existed. The proletariat must create bodies of armed men for the sole purpose of expropriating and crushing the bourgeoise, until they are no longer a class, that is to say, there are no more bourgeois.

In achieving the withering away of the State as its institutions begin to “lose their political character”. Once the proletariat has no bourgeois left to oppress, the state becomes a burden, and the proletariat abolishes itself as a class, thus propelling humanity into communism, ending the class antagonisms and the state, giving people complete liberty and equality to live how one wants.

“The proletariat seizes from state power and turns the means of production into state property to begin with. But thereby it abolishes itself as the proletariat, abolishes all class distinctions and class antagonisms, and abolishes also the state as state. Society thus far, operating amid class antagonisms, needed the state, that is, an organization of the particular exploiting class, for the maintenance of its external conditions of production, and, therefore, especially, for the purpose of forcibly keeping the exploited class in the conditions of oppression determined by the given mode of production (slavery, serfdom or bondage, wage-labor). The state was the official representative of society as a whole, its concentration in a visible corporation. But it was this only insofar as it was the state of that class which itself represented, for its own time, society as a whole: in ancient times, the state of slave-owning citizens; in the Middle Ages, of the feudal nobility; in our own time, of the bourgeoisie. When at last it becomes the real representative of the whole of society, it renders itself unnecessary. As soon as there is no longer any social class to be held in subjection, as soon as class rule, and the individual struggle for existence based upon the present anarchy in production, with the collisions and excesses arising from this struggle, are removed, nothing more remains to be held in subjection — nothing necessitating a special coercive force, a state. The first act by which the state really comes forward as the representative of the whole of society — the taking possession of the means of production in the name of society — is also its last independent act as a state. State interference in social relations becomes, in one domain after another, superfluous, and then dies down of itself. The government of persons is replaced by the administration of things, and by the conduct of processes of production. The state is not ‘abolished’. It withers away. This gives the measure of the value of the phrase ‘a free people’s state’, both as to its justifiable use for a long time from an agitational point of view, and as to its ultimate scientific insufficiency; and also of the so-called anarchists’ demand that the state be abolished overnight.” (Herr Eugen Duhring’s Revolution in Science [Anti-Duhring], pp.301-03, third German edition.)

Edit: To be frank, this is poor. There are some parts where I should have written a lot more, and other parts where I resorted to straw men. I plan to update it later.

The dictatorship of the proletariat

Between capitalist and communist society there lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing, but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.—Critique of the Gotha Program (1875)
Karl Marx

The dictatorship of the proletariat is not a dictatorship in the classical roman sense. It is a class dictatorship, where a class is dominant. Therefore, the dictatorship of the proletariat is the proletariat expressing its political hegemony. The proletariat is the class which sells its labour to survive, the proletariat is you and I. If you have a boss, you are proletarian.
Now, the world lives under capitalism, the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, i.e. the bourgeoisie, the capitalists, factory owners, those who own the means of production, who subsist solely off others people’s labour and by exploiting. Whoever you vote in will be rich, and they will act in their own interests, using the state as a tool to exercise their political hegemony.
The state would be ran though soviets, in which workers elect representatives, which are recallable and accountable. The delegates would go in and pass their views to a larger soviet that encompasses a certain area, and is made up of a number of delegates from the basic soviets. This continues until we get to the soviet that covers the whole country.
This would allow the people to have control over their area, workplaces and lives, and they will undoubtably peruse their class interests.

20130402-114351.jpg

The flag translates to Paris commune, which is widely accepted as the first dictatorship of the proletariat, and served as a lesson to what happens if one is too liberal in a revolution.

By Anton

The state corrupts

abolish_capitalism_smash_the_stateThe state is a tool of one class (usually a minority) used to oppress another (usually the majority).

If the majority is in power, is a state required?
Once we smash the bourgeois state to atoms, they will be powerless. We are free to run society as we wish. We will run our villages, towns and cities through direct democracy with soviets, and send representatives to the district, regional and national soviets.

Is a state required for the people to run their society?
No, the state hinders democracy, it hinders freedom.
We have seen this system in action in revolutionary Russia, with the Kronstadt sailors et cetera.
We have seen this system crushed by state oppression and terror, smashed by force and proclaimed an imperialist plot. The main force of the revolution was brutally executed for daring to oppose Bolshevik repression. One can understand terror against counter revolutionaries, but against socialists, against anarchists, against communists.
The state is, by nature, a repressive entity. We do not need a state for our transition into a classless, equal society.
We have seen the state and the power that comes with it turn even the purest revolutionaries into those who betrayed Marxism, those who shot striking worker whilst doing it in their name. There is no such thing as a workers’ state, only a workers council.

Signed, your anarchist comrade,
Anton

“30th September, 1921: One by one the embers of hope have died out. Terror and despotism have crushed the life born in October. Dictatorship is trampling the masses under the foot. The revolution is dead; its spirit cries in the wilderness. The Bolshevik myth must be destroyed. I have decided to leave Russia.”
Alexander Berkman

A fifth international

By George Volkov

“The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honoured disguise and borrowed language.”
Karl Marx- 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon.

How does this relate to my article, you ask?

Well, with countless socialist internationals (and around 5 fourth internationals) we are fragmented. We are weak. Our socialist parties have degenerated into sects, splitting over small issues.
The International workingmen’s association was the first group to unite the revolutionary left: anarchists, socialists, communists; it was home to famous figures such as Marx and Bakunin.
This later expelled the anarchists, who went on to found the second international. This collapsed due to disagreements over the first world war.
The 3rd international and 4th International only included communists of a specific tendency, so were flawed and isolated from the start.
What is required is a pan-leftist, or united front as some call it, International.
We must reject all sectarianism and dogmatism, accept all anarchist, revolutionary socialists and marxists, and run it on the principle of democratic centralism- freedom of discussion, unity of action. I hope all leftists see the same things I do, we leftists constantly divide ourselves, and can not liberate the proletariat from the yoke of the bourgeoisie if we are divided. We can only overthrow capitalism if we are united. So I say to you all: marxists of all kinds, anarchists of all kinds and all revolutionary socialists, unite to form a new, fifth international, a revolution international.
Workers parties of the world, unite!

The US working to destabilise Bolivia

By Leon J Williams

Bolivian officials say they have conclusive proof that the US government, along with it’s embassy staff in Bolivia is trying to destabilise Bolivia and its government.

Bolivia is preparing the evidence for submission directly to US President Obama himself.

Numerous states in Latin America and indeed around the world accuse the US of the same thing. Essentially asserting their dominance over other countries in order to get favourable terms for its government and American businesses as well as convince the citizens of those respective countries to adopt political and economical systems more aligned to the US style.

Some of the countries who have ‘issues’ with the US, this list represents a variety of problems and the list is by no means exhaustive:

Cuba
Venezuela
Bolivia
Pakistan
Iran
Iraq
Afghanistan
North Korea
China
Palestine
Syria
Bhutan
Fiji
Ecuador
Nicaragua
Burma
Belarus
Serbia
Egypt

Most notably the US has great beef with the ideology of nationalisation, welfare and in general anything ‘social’, one example being that relations with Angola were only normalised in 1992 after Angola denounced Marxism.

Conclusion:

Whether Bolivia does or doesn’t have conclusive evidence of American actions/plans to destabilise their country the result is extremely unlikely to change anything, the US will ignore the evidence (rightly or wrongly) and Bolivia will remain anti-American.

The British Left

By George Volkov

The left in Britain numbers at approximately 10,000 people, with the largest “communist party”, the Communist party of Britain, being completely reformist, and thus, disregarding that famous last paragraph in the communist manifesto- “They (Communists) openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions.”.

The largest revolutionary party (SWP) numbers at about 800, so is too small to have any effect. The fact we have so many communist parties and organisations, may lead people to believe that Marxism is booming in Britain, they couldn’t be further from the truth. Parties split to form new parties, creating more tiny parties. The British left needs to unite to form a single Marxist party, ran on democratic centralism, which is the practice in which everything can be debated on, but once one strategy or theory gains the majority vote, that line has to be followed by the whole party- “freedom of discussion, unity of action.”- Lenin

Since this party would be made up of different tendencies- Marxists, Trotskyists, Marxist-Leninists, Anarcho-communists etc. it would allow us to break away from the dogmatism that has been holding us back for years, even decades. This would be akin to the popular front that gained power in Spain, 1936, but without being dominated by one party. By grouping together their efforts, the communists could easily double their numbers, just by enlightening a friend.
The left in Britain is weak, but like a pile of sticks, it will be stronger united. Break away from dogmatism and sectarianism. Marx and Engels wrote:
“ Proletarians of all lands unite” – shouldn’t that apply to their followers too?