I see the capitalists have come out of the woodwork to defend their friends the anarchists
If I were to expand upon it a bit, the Marxism is the ideology of the revolutionary proletariat. It recognizes that the state is an institution of terror. That's what a state inherently is.
Lenin wrote:The state is a product and a manifestation of the irreconcilability of class antagonisms. The state arises where, when and insofar as class antagonism objectively cannot be reconciled. And, conversely, the existence of the state proves that the class antagonisms are irreconcilable.
It is on this most important and fundamental point that the distortion of Marxism, proceeding along two main lines, begins.
Here, then, Lenin points out the main points of distortion:
1. That the state can be reconciled as it is, ultimately, a place for "reconciliation of the masses"
2. That the state can be used by a revolutionary, as it is an, "embodiment of this 'alienation'"
We reject both of these things. As do you.
For us though, the state is, as mentioned, an embodiment of the dictatorship of a class. Since we are interested in liberating a class, it makes some sense that we would want to keep our enemies down, until they (as a class) can be liquidated. The threat of finance, of money, of state now gone:
Lenin wrote:And the dictatorship of the proletariat, i.e., the organization of the vanguard of the oppressed as the ruling class for the purpose of suppressing the oppressors, cannot result merely in an expansion of democracy. Simultaneously with an immense expansion of democracy, which for the first time becomes democracy for the poor, democracy for the people, and not democracy for the money-bags, the dictatorship of the proletariat imposes a series of restrictions on the freedom of the oppressors, the exploiters, the capitalists. We must suppress them in order to free humanity from wage slavery, their resistance must be crushed by force; it is clear that there is no freedom and no democracy where there is suppression and where there is violence.
Engels expressed this splendidly in his letter to Bebel when he said, as the reader will remember, that "the proletariat needs the state, not in the interests of freedom but in order to hold down its adversaries, and as soon as it becomes possible to speak of freedom the state as such ceases to exist".
Democracy for the vast majority of the people, and suppression by force, i.e., exclusion from democracy, of the exploiters and oppressors of the people--this is the change democracy undergoes during the transition from capitalism to communism.
Only in communist society, when the resistance of the capitalists have disappeared, when there are no classes (i.e., when there is no distinction between the members of society as regards their relation to the social means of production), only then "the state... ceases to exist", and "it becomes possible to speak of freedom". Only then will a truly complete democracy become possible and be realized, a democracy without any exceptions whatever. And only then will democracy begin to wither away, owing to the simple fact that, freed from capitalist slavery, from the untold horrors, savagery, absurdities, and infamies of capitalist exploitation, people will gradually become accustomed to observing the elementary rules of social intercourse that have been known for centuries and repeated for thousands of years in all copy-book maxims. They will become accustomed to observing them without force, without coercion, without subordination, without the special apparatus for coercion called the state.
The expression "the state withers away" is very well-chosen, for it indicates both the gradual and the spontaneous nature of the process. Only habit can, and undoubtedly will, have such an effect; for we see around us on millions of occassions how readily people become accustomed to observing the necessary rules of social intercourse when there is no exploitation, when there is nothing that arouses indignation, evokes protest and revolt, and creates the need for suppression.
He goes on, and in more detail. As does Marx and Engels, of course. But here we see Lenin attempting to build the material from the theoretical. In the bourgeois republic, the most free society at the time, the freedoms are abstracted. Your freedom to speech is the same in theory as that of Ted Turner. In reality, he has far more freedom of speech owing to his material reality and conditions. We act that these theoretical rights be reconciled with the material world. To do that, we must act as a class.
This may be instructive for the principle. The Marxist abhors individual acts of terrorism for the following reasons:
Marx wrote:This latest Fenian exploit [an act of individual terrorism] in Clerkenwell is a great folly. The London masses, who have shown much sympathy for Ireland, will be enraged by it and driven into the arms of the government party. One cannot expect the London proletarians to let themselves be blown up for the benefit of Fenian emissaries. Secret, melodramatic conspiracies of this kind are, in general, more or less doomed to failure.
Lenin wrote:First, that party, which rejected Marxism, stubbornly refused (or, it might be more correct to say: was unable) to understand the need for a strictly objective appraisal of the class forces and their alignment, before taking any political action. Second, this party considered itself particularly "revolutionary", or "Left", because of its recognition of individual terrorism, assassination—something that we Marxists emphatically rejected.
Trotsky wrote:Communists do not hide their faces or furl their banners.
They present themselves openly to the working people as a party. The workers and peasants have come to know the Communists in action, by experience and in hard struggle. It is precisely for this reason that the party of Communist-Bolsheviks has acquired a decisive influence among the masses, and thereby also in the Soviets.
Trotsky wrote: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?
In our eyes, individual terror is inadmissible precisely because it belittles the role of the masses in their 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 anarchist prophets of the ‘propaganda of the deed’ can argue all they want about the elevating and stimulating influence of terrorist acts on the masses. Theoretical considerations and political experience prove otherwise. The more ‘effective’ the terrorist acts, the greater their impact, the more they reduce the interest of the masses in self-organisation and self-education. But the smoke from the confusion clears away, the panic disappears, the successor of the murdered minister makes his appearance, life again settles into the old rut, the wheel of capitalist exploitation turns as before; only the police repression grows more savage and brazen. And as a result, in place of the kindled hopes and artificially aroused excitement comes disillusionment and apathy.
Che wrote:It is necessary to distinguish clearly between sabotage, a revolutionary and highly effective method of warfare, and terrorism, a measure that is generally ineffective and indiscriminate in its results, since it often makes victims of innocent people and destroys a large number of lives that would be valuable to the revolution. Terrorism should be considered a valuable tactic when it is used to put to death some noted leader of the oppressing forces well known for his cruelty, his efficiency in repression, or other quality that makes his elimination useful. But the killing of persons of small importance is never advisable, since it brings on an increase of reprisals, including deaths.
Connolly wrote:Here, then, is the immense difference between the Socialist Republicans and our friends the physical force men. The latter, by stifling all discussions of principles, earn the passive and fleeting commendation of the unthinking multitude; the former, by insisting upon a thorough understanding of their basic principles, do not so readily attract the multitude, but do attract and hold the more thoughtful amongst them. It is the difference betwixt a mob in revolt and an army in preparation. The mob who cheer a speaker referring to the hopes of a physical force movement would, in the very hour of apparent success, be utterly disorganised and divided by the passage through the British Legislature of any trumpery Home Rule Bill. The army of class-conscious workers organising under the banner of the Socialist Republican Party, strong in their knowledge of economic truth and firmly grounded in their revolutionary principles, would remain entirely unaffected by any such manoeuvre and, knowing it would not change their position as a subject class, would still press forward, resolute and undivided, with their faces set towards their only hope of emancipation – the complete control by the working-class democracy of all the powers of National Government.
We are for a movement of the people
. You are a movement for the individual
. Ultimately, this is where the waves tend to break between us. And, I at least, would argue that this is for the same reason that the liberal state currently works the way that it does.
Take today, Donald Trump. He is the head of the most technologically sophisticated state that has ever existed in human history. Hardly an anarchist, and yet he too proclaims the same vaulted position of the correct interpretation of the individual in all things. When he says that the British tapped his phones for Obama, that he had the biggest crowds at his inauguration, and on and on; he is using the same technique that has been used since the beginning of the printing press. That is to say, he is placing his own interpretation of events as an individual into the marketplace of individual ideas where someone else's reality must be reconciled with his own in order to come up with an agreed upon middle ground.
The problem with this, obviously, is that the objective truth is not to be found in anything Trump says in these matters; and so we are left reconciling our individual realities in order to conform to those of another individual. Or, to quote something similar enough:
Zizek wrote:Lenin’s legacy to be reinvented today is the politics of truth. We live in the “postmodern” era in which truth-claims as such are dismissed as an expression of hidden power-mechanisms — as the reborn pseudo-Nietzscheans like to emphasize, truth is a lie which is most efficient in asserting our will to power. The very question, apropos of some statement, “Is it true?”, is supplanted by the question “Under what power conditions can this statement be uttered?”. What we get instead of the universal truth is the multitude of perspectives, or, as it is fashionable to put it today, of “narratives” — not only literature, but also politics, religion, science, they are all different narratives, stories we are telling ourselves about ourselves, and the ultimate goal of ethics is to guarantee the neutral space in which this multitude of narratives can peacefully coexist, in which everyone, from ethnic to sexual minorities, will have the right and possibility to tell his story.
...When Lenin said “The theory of Marx is all-powerful, because it is true,” everything depends on how we understand “truth” here: is it a neutral “objective knowledge,” or the truth of an engaged subject? Lenin’s wager — today, in our era of postmodern relativism, more actual than ever — is that universal truth and partisanship, the gesture of taking sides, are not only not mutually exclusive, but condition each other: in a concrete situation, its UNIVERSAL truth can only be articulated from a thoroughly PARTISAN position — truth is by definition one-sided. This, of course, goes against the predominant doxa of compromise, of finding a middle path among the multitude of conflicting interests. If one does not specify the CRITERIA of the different, alternate, narrativization, then this endeavor courts the danger of endorsing, in the Politically Correct mood, ridiculous “narratives” like those about the supremacy of some aboriginal holistic wisdom, of dismissing science as just another narrative on a par with premodern superstitions. The Leninist narrative to the postmodern multiculturalist “right to narrate” should thus be an unashamed assertion of the right to truth. When, in the debacle of 1914, all European Social Democratic parties (with the honorable exception of the Russian Bolsheviks and the Serb Social Democrats) succumbed to the war fervor and voted for the military credits, Lenin’s thorough rejection of the “patriotic line,” in its very isolation from the predominant mood, designated the singular emergence of the truth of the entire situation.
In a closer analysis, one should exhibit how the cultural relativism of the “right-to-narrate” orientation contains its own apparent opposite, the fixation on the Real of some trauma which resists its narrativization.
This is, as you'll see, the problem with the cult of personality, which Lenin and others very much avoided in life. The anarchist and other emphasis on the individual correctness is, in a dialectic way, also an emphasis upon the supposed tyrant. For Joseph Stalin (like Trotsky after exile) was also asserting an individual's analysis and thoughts instead of that of a class.
And here is where we come to your assertions that I am a fan of Stalin or Mao, I am not in particularly (though I lean toward the latter instead of the former if forced to choose). And this is, in part, because I refer to myself mostly as a Connollyist—James Connolly being a hero among anarchists too (though firmly a Marxist). The question is, should I be a Marxist, should I be for the elevation of the class (the class and the individual being dialectically the same) instead of the specific individual; what would my slogan be from preventing a crass single interpretation that all must follow?
Connolly wrote:I believe that the development of the fighting spirit is of more importance than the creation of the theoretically perfect organisation; that, indeed, the most theoretically perfect organisation may, because of its very perfection and vastness, be of the greatest possible danger to the revolutionary movement if it tends, or is used, to repress and curb the fighting spirit of comradeship in the rank and file.
And here the knot is neatly untied as cleanly as if Alexander himself had done it. The party speaks for, and is, the class. If or when it ceases to be, it begins perpetuating the alienation that it was supposed to destroy—something that is mostly inevitable when it comes to creating revolution, and the reason that the mechanism will wither away when it ceases to have a purpose.
But we are a long way from an actual (global) socialism.
For the anarchist, as near as I can figure, it's a lot of blowing stuff up and expecting everyone to go for the ride. The deed itself being the propaganda to which to persuade.
The Marxist, instead, looks at how the world works and acts accordingly. This is, I maintain, the most elegant and useful ideology of liberation for this reason.
Alis Volat Propriis; Tiocfaidh ár lá; Proletarier Aller Länder, Vereinigt Euch!