Marxist Revisionism and Anarchism

Marxist Revisionism and Anarchism - Marxist Revisionism and...

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Unformatted text preview: Marxist Revisionism and Marxist Revisionism and Anarchism Marxist Revisionism Marxist Revisionism Dictatorship of the Proletariat – Marx: "the emancipation of the working class is the task of the working class itself". – Lenin: "modern socialist consciousness can only be brought to [the working class] from without". – Translation: Lenin believed the proletariat needed the leadership of those (the intelligenstia) who understood their interests and how to carry out revolution on their behalf (this would create a “vanguard” movement in which proletarian consciousness would be “taught” to the peasnants of Russia). Trotsky claims the leadership could ignore the "temporary vacillations" of the working class. Marx vs. Lenin Marx vs. Lenin Democracy – Marx: Marx saw the state as the "executive committee" of a ruling class. In a socialist society, he affirmed, the state, as the government of people, would give way to a simple, democratic "administration of things". – Lenin: Democratic centralism is the name given to the principles of internal organization used by Leninist political parties, and the term is sometimes used as a synonym for any Leninist policy inside a political party. The democratic aspect of this organizational method describes the freedom of members of the political party to discuss and debate matters of policy and direction, but once the decision of the party is made by majority vote, all members are expected to uphold that decision. This latter aspect represents the centralism. As Lenin described it, democratic centralism consisted of "freedom of discussion with unity of action. Marx vs. Lenin Marx vs. Lenin The International Revolution – Marx: Marx had argued that revolution would come first in countries in the most advanced state of capitalism, such as Germany. In 1916 in “Imperialism” Lenin provided a justification for launching revolution in comparatively backward Russia ­ it would trigger revolutions in more advanced countries which would in turn assist the Russian revolution. As it turned out, the Bolsheviks found themselves in charge of a country desperately in need of development but cut off from foreign investment. – Lenin: Lenin fought to maintain his view of international socialism and prepare the ground for a new International of the working class. For Lenin, the international was in essence programme, policy and method. Under these conditions of world war, the internationalists – Lenin, Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg, John MacLean, James Connolly and others would concentrate on wooing oppressed “third world” nations over to the economic design of socialism. Marx v. Lenin Marx v. Lenin Communism: – Marx: Marx envisioned a utopian nation of “collectives” in which workers voluntarily cooperated to build industry and democratically enjoy the fruits of their labor – Lenin: Lenin envisioned a rapidly industrialized Russia using the following paradigm: All industry was nationalized and strict centralized management was introduced. State monopoly on foreign trade was introduced. Discipline for workers was strict, and strikers could be shot. Obligatory labor duty was imposed onto "non­working classes". Requisition of agricultural surpluses from peasants in excess of absolute minimum for centralized distribution among the remaining population. Food and most commodities were rationed and distributed in a centralized way. Private enterprise became illegal. Military­like control of railroads was introduced. Leon Trotsky Leon Trotsky Leon Trotsky: Support for a strategy of “permanent revolution” (as opposed to the Two Stage Theory of his opponents) Criticism of the post­1924 leadership of the Soviet Union, support for political revolution in the Soviet Union and in what Trotskyists term the “deformed workers' state” in Russia. Trotsky claimed that the state was controlled by a bureaucratic caste with interests hostile to those of the working class Support for social revolution in the advanced capitalist countries through working class mass action Support for proletarian internationalism. unwavering support for a true dictatorship of the proletariat based on democratic principles. Joseph Stalin Joseph Stalin De­emphasized the role of workers in advanced capitalist countries (for example, he postulated theses considering the U.S. working class as bourgeoisified labor aristocracy). Also, Stalin polemicized against Trotsky on the role of peasants, as in China, whereas Trotsky wanted urban insurrection and not peasant­ based guerrilla warfare. “Socialism in One Country” rather than internationalism The theory of aggravation of the class struggle along with the development of socialism, a theoretical base supporting the repression of political opponents as necessary. Joseph Stalin Joseph Stalin Economic Policy – At the end of the 1920s Stalin launched a wave of radical economic policies, which completely overhauled the industrial and agricultural face of the Soviet Union. This came to be known as the '‘Great Turn” as Russia turned away from the near­ capitalist New Economic Policy. – The NEP had been implemented by Lenin in order to ensure the survival of the Communist state following seven years of war (1914­1921, World War I from 1914 to 1917, and the subsequent Civil War) and had rebuilt Soviet production to its 1913 levels. However, Russia still lagged far behind the West, and the NEP was felt by Stalin and the majority of the Communist party, not only to be compromising Communist ideals, but also not delivering sufficient economic performance, as well as not creating the envisaged Socialist society. – It was therefore necessary to increase the pace of industrialization in order to catch up with the West. Joseph Stalin Joseph Stalin “Forced Collectivization” – Collectivization in the Soviet Union was a policy pursued under Stalin, between 1928 and 1940, to consolidate individual land and labour into collective farms. The Soviet leadership was confident that the replacement of individual peasant farms by collectives would immediately increase food supplies for the urban population, the supply of raw materials for processing industry, and agricultural exports generally. Collectivization was thus regarded as the solution to the crisis in agricultural distribution (mainly in grain deliveries) that had developed since 1927 and was becoming more acute as the Soviet Union pressed ahead with its ambitious industrialization program. – The peasantry hated the program – The “Great Purge”: Great Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin in 1936­1938. Also described as a "Soviet holocaust" by several authors, it involved the purge of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, repression of peasants, Red Army leadership, and the persecution of unaffiliated persons, characterized bywidespread police surveillance, widespread suspicion of "saboteurs", imprisonment, and killings. Estimates of the number of deaths associated with the Great Purge run from the official figure of 681,692 to nearly 2,000,000. Maoism Maoism Unlike the earlier forms of Marxism­Leninism in which the urban proletariat was seen as the main source of revolution, and the countryside was largely ignored, Mao focused on the peasantry as the main revolutionary force who, he said, could be led by the proletariat and its vanguard, the CCP. Unlike most other political ideologies, including other socialist and Marxist ones, Maoism contains an integral military doctrine and explicitly connects its political ideology with military strategy. In Maoist thought, "political power comes from the barrel of the gun" (one of Mao's quotes), and the peasantry can be mobilized to undertake a "people's war" of armed struggle involving guerrilla warfare in three stages. Maoism emphasizes "revolutionary mass mobilization" (physically mobilizing the vast majority of a population in the struggle for socialism), the concept of New Democracy, and the Theory of Productive Forces as applied to village­level industries independent of the outside world. A key concept that distinguishes Maoism from most other left­wing ideologies (save for "mainstream" Marxism­Leninism and Trotsky's theories) is the belief that the class struggle continues throughout the entire socialist period, as a result of the fundamental antagonistic contradiction between capitalism and communism. Even when the proletariat has seized state power through a socialist revolution, the potential remains for a bourgeoisie to restore capitalism. Maoism Maoism The “Great Leap Forward” – The Great Leap Forward of the People's Republic of China (PRC) was an economic and social plan used from 1958 to 1960 which aimed to use China's vast population to rapidly transform mainland China from a primarily agrarian economy dominated by peasant farmers into a modern, industrialized communist society. Maoism Maoism The “Hundred Flowers Campaign” – The Hundred Flowers Campaign, also termed the Hundred Flowers Movement is the period referring to a brief interlude in the People's Republic of China from 1956 to 1957 during which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) encouraged a variety of views and solutions to national policy issues, launched under the slogan: "Letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend is the policy for promoting progress in the arts and the sciences and a flourishing socialist culture in our land." – In reality, The Hundred Flowers Campaign was a deliberate attempt to flush out dissidents by encouraging them to show themselves as critical of the regime, before wiping them out. The campaign was a political trap, allowing Mao to persecute those who had views different from the party. The ideological crackdown following the campaign's failure re­imposed Maoist orthodoxy in public expression. Maoism Maoism The “Cultural Revolution” – It was launched by Mao Zedong, the chairman of the Communist Party of China, on May 16, 1966, who alleged that liberal bourgeoisie elements were dominating the party and insisted that they needed to be removed through post­revolutionary class struggle by mobilizing the thoughts and actions of China’s youth, who formed Red Guards groups around the country. Although Mao himself officially declared the Cultural Revolution to have ended in 1969, the term is today widely used to also include the power struggles and political instability between 1969 and the arrest of the Gang of Four as well as the death of Mao in 1976. – Many intellectuals were sent to rural labor camps, and many of those who survived left China shortly after the revolution ended. Many survivors and observers suggest that almost anyone with skills over that of the average person was made the target of political "struggle" in some way. – The authority of the Red Guards surpassed that of the army, local police authorities, and the law in general. China's traditional arts and ideas were ignored, with praise for Mao being practiced in their place. People were encouraged to criticize cultural institutions and to question their parents and teachers, which had been strictly forbidden in Confucian culture. This was emphasized even more during the Anti­Lin Biao; Anti­Confucius Campaign. Slogans such as "Parents may love me, but not as much as Chairman Mao" were common. Anarchism Anarchism Anarchism is a political philosophy encompassing theories and attitudes which consider the state, as compulsory government, to be unnecessary, harmful, and/or undesirable. Specific anarchists may have additional criteria for what constitutes anarchism, and they often disagree with each other on what these criteria are. Anarchism Anarchism – Individual Anarchism: William Godwin In 1793, Godwin who has often been cited as the first anarchist, wrote Political Justice, which some consider to be the first expression of anarchism. Godwin, a philosophical anarchist, opposed revolutionary action and saw a minimal state as a present "necessary evil" that would become increasingly irrelevant and powerless by the gradual spread of knowledge. Godwin advocated extreme individualism, proposing that all cooperation in labor be eliminated on the premise that this would be most conducive with the general good. Godwin was a utilitarian who believed that all individuals are not of equal value, with some of us "of more worth and importance' than others depending on our utility in bringing about social good. Therefore he does not believe in equal rights, but the person's life that should be favored that is most conducive to the general good. Godwin opposed government because he saw it as infringing on the individual's right to "private judgement" to determine which actions most maximize utility, but also makes a critique of all authority over the individual's judgement. This aspect of Godwin's philosophy, stripped of utilitarian motivations, was developed into a more extreme form later by Stirner. Anarchism Anarchism Max Stirner: The most extreme form of individualist anarchism, called "egoism," was expounded by one of the earliest and best­known proponents of individualist anarchism, Max Stirner, Stirner's “The Ego and Its Own”, published in 1844, is a founding text of the philosophy. According to Stirner's conception, the only limitation on the rights of the individual is their power to obtain what they desire, without regard for God, state, or moral rules. To Stirner, rights were spooks in the mind, and he held that society does not exist but "the individuals are its reality" – he supported a concept of property held by force of might rather than moral right. By "property" he is not referring only to things but to other people as well. Stirner advocated self­ assertion and foresaw "associations of egoists" where respect for ruthlessness drew people together. Even murder is permissible "if it is right for me." Anarchism Anarchism American Anarchism – Another form of individualist anarchism was advocated by the "Boston anarchists," American individualists who supported private property exchangeable in a free market. They advocated: the protection of liberty and property by private contractors, and endorsed exchange of labor for wages. all natural opportunities requisite to the production of wealth be accessible to all on equal terms and that monopolies arising from special privileges created by law be abolished." That state monopoly capitalism (defined as a state­sponsored monopoly) prevented labor from being fully rewarded. – A major cleft occurred later in the 19th century when Tucker and some others abandoned natural rights and converted to an "egoism" modeled upon Stirner's philosophy. Some "Boston anarchists", like Tucker, identified themselves as "socialist" – a term which at the time denoted a broad concept – by which he meant a commitment to solving "the labor problem" by radical economic reform. By the turn of the 20th century, the heyday of individualist anarchism had passed, although it was later revived with modifications by Murray Rothbard and the anarcho­capitalists in the mid­twentieth century, as a current of the broader libertarian movement, and the anti­capitalist strain by intellectuals such as Kevin Carson. Anarchism Anarchism Mutualism – Mutualism began in 18th century English and French labor movements before taking an anarchist form associated with Pierre­Joseph Proudhon in France and others in the United States. Proudhon's ideas were introduced by Charles A. Dana, to individualist anarchists in the United States including Benjamin Tucker and William Batchelder Greene. – Mutualist anarchism is concerned with reciprocity, free association, voluntary contract, federation, and credit and currency reform. Anarchism Anarchism Social Anarchism – Social anarchism is one of two different broad categories of anarchism, the other category being individualist anarchism. The term social anarchism is often used to identify communitarian forms of anarchism that emphasize cooperation and mutual aid. Social anarchism includes anarcho­collectivism, anarcho­communism, libertarian socialism, anarcho­syndicalism, social ecology and sometimes mutualism. Anarchism Anarchism Collectivist Anarchism – Collectivist anarchism, also referred to as revolutionary socialism or a form of such, is a revolutionary form of anarchism, commonly associated with Mikhail Bakunin and Johann Most. It is a specific tendency, not to be confused with the broad category sometimes called collectivist or communitarian anarchism. – Unlike mutualists, collectivist anarchists oppose all private ownership of the means of production, instead advocating that ownership be collectivized. This was to be achieved through violent revolution, first starting with a small cohesive group through acts of violence, or "propaganda by the deed," which would inspire the workers as a whole to revolt and forcibly collectivize the means of production. – However, collectivization was not to be extended to the distribution of income, as workers would be paid according to time worked, rather than receiving goods being distributed "according to need" as in anarcho­communism. – This position was criticised by later anarcho­communists as effectively "uphold[ing] the wages system". Anarchist communist and collectivist ideas were not mutually exclusive; although the collectivist anarchists advocated compensation for labor, some held out the possibility of a post­revolutionary transition to a communist system of distribution according to need Anarchism Anarchism Anarcho­Communism – Anarchist communists propose that the freest form of social organisation would be a society composed of self­governing communes with collective use of the means of production, organized by direct democracy, and related to other communes through federation. – However, some anarchist communists oppose the majoritarian nature of direct democracy, feeling that it can impede individual liberty and favor consensus democracy. In anarchist communism, as money would be abolished, individuals would not receive direct compensation for labour (through sharing of profits or payment) but would have free access to the resources and surplus of the commune. – According to anarchist communist Peter Kropotkin and later Murray Bookchin, the members of such a society would spontaneously perform all necessary labour because they would recognize the benefits of communal enterprise and mutual aid. Kropotkin believed that private property was one of the causes of oppression and exploitation and called for its abolition, advocating instead common ownership. Kropotkin said that "houses, fields, and factories will no longer be private property, and that they will belong to the commune or the nation and money, wages, and trade would be abolished. Anarchism Anarchism Anarcho­Syndicalism – In the early 20th century, anarcho­syndicalism arose as a distinct school of thought within anarchism. With greater focus on the labour movement than previous forms of anarchism, syndicalism posits radical trade unions as a potential force for revolutionary social change, replacing capitalism and the state with a new society, democratically self­managed by the workers. – Anarcho­syndicalists seek to abolish the wage system and private ownership of the means of production, which they believe lead to class divisions. Important principles include workers' solidarity, direct action (such as general strikes and workplace recuperations), and workers' self­management. This is compatible with other branches of anarchism, and anarcho­syndicalists often subscribe to anarchist communist or collectivist anarchist economic systems. Its advocates propose labor organizations as a means to create the foundations of a non­hierarchical anarchist society within the current system and bring about social revolution. ...
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This note was uploaded on 01/12/2012 for the course POL 2 taught by Professor Robertbrown during the Fall '05 term at Riverside Community College.

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