Everything you ever wanted to know about tankies, but were afraid to ask

Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin

One of the stranger developments of the past five years has been the resurrection of the word tankie. It's time for an explainer.

What does tankie mean?

On October 27th 1956, Peter Fryer, a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, and correspondent for its paper the Weekly Worker, arrived in Hungary. This was four days into an uprising of workers calling for worker controlled socialism. Factories had been taken over nationally by workers councils, in a demonstration of workers self-organisation that was unprecedented at the time, and the first strike on its scale in an Eastern-bloc country. On the 4th of November, Russian T54 tanks rolled into Budapest to suppress the uprising. Street fighting continued until the 10th November, although the workers councils held out for two months.

Fryer returned to the UK horrified by the Soviet repression he had seen, but his attempt to write about it for the Daily Worker was suppressed - the editors were sticking to the official USSR line that the entire uprising was a fascist counter-revolutionary plot and refused to publish anything contradicting that narrative. When Fryer wrote up his experiences anyway, he was expelled from the CPGB. Hungary 1956 split Communist parties across the world; many who had supported the USSR up until this point became disillusioned and split or left individually, while those who stayed loyal to the USSR earned the epithet 'tankies'.

After 1956, the USSR was to invade Czechoslovakia in 1968, then Afghanistan in 1979.

Are all Tankies Marxist-Leninists?

While the original 'tankie' epithet grew out of the split in the Communist Party of Great Britain, the geo-political 'anti-imperialist' support for the USSR and any state aligned against the USA has also been popular with some Trotskyist groups.

In the 1980s it was revealed that the Trotskyist Workers Revolutionary Party (famous for the involvement of actress Vanessa Redgrave) had been receiving funding from Libyan intelligence services and passing details of Iraqi dissidents in the UK to Saddam Hussein.

In the USA, the Workers World Party and Party for Socialism and Liberation both originated in a split from the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party under Sam Marcy. Marcy split from the SWP over the position it took on Hungary '56, although somewhat bizarrely, also accused those who supported the uprising of being Stalinists. Both parties describe themselves as Marxist-Leninist now, and no longer cite Trotsky, but their origination was in the Trotskyist theory of the USSR as a 'deformed workers state.

So support for crushing of workers movements is shared by both some Marxist-Leninists and some Trotskyists, one explanation for this is that the actual politics of Stalin and Trotsky were not very different.

Are all Marxist-Leninists tankies?

The significance of Hungary was not only the uprising itself, but that it occurred in an Eastern Bloc country which was claiming to be socialist. This caused an existential crisis for any communist that still considered the USSR to be a workers' state. Along with Khrushchev's speech to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in February 1956, exposing and denouncing many of the actions of Stalin.

It was at the same time that Mao began to gradually distance China from the USSR. Maoism had already become a distinct current but without any formal break, which was precipitated by Khruschev's speech and the international reaction to it. Both China and the USSR claimed to be the vanguard of Marxist-Leninism from this point onwards (from here sprang a million accusations of 'revisionism'). This was mostly due to the national interests of the two countries, and internal contradictions in China but was expressed politically as a split with Khrushchev.

The split between China and the USSR, between Maoism and Stalinism, had repercussions elsewhere, such as the multiple splits in the Communist Party of India in the mid-1960s, most often associated with the the Naxalite rebellion, or when the two countries supported opposite sides in Angola's civil war in the 1970s.

Tanks rolled into Tiananmen square in 1989, and those who supported the Chinese government against workers and students have sometimes been labelled 'tankies' too.

This means that 'Marxist Leninist' in the 1960s could include those still aligned with the USSR, those who had been aligned with the USSR but had split after 1956, those influenced by Maoism (Marxism-Leninism-Maoism was coined later in the '90s) and even more confusingly, some Trotskyists would occasionally call themselves Marxist-Leninist too (because they were Leninist Marxists!).

Are all Leninist Marxists Marxist-Leninists?

There have been other historical currents that were influenced by Lenin, including Trotskyism, the Italian branch of Left Communism, and the Operaismo (workerist) tradition in 1960s and 1970s Italy, as well as major figures like CLR James (early on a Trotskyist and leading Pan-Africanist, later moving towards a council communist position). There are huge differences between these currents, as wide as the differences between 'anarchists' and 'marxists'. In terms of a relationship to Lenin we can identity some questions which most of these currents and others have had to answer:

- whether Lenin's work contains unique insights relative to other Marxists at the time
- whether Lenin was correct that Russia would have to pass through a capitalist stage prior to communism and that the task of the Bolshevik party was to raise the forces of production prior to a transition to communism.
- whether the conditions of Russia in 1917 apply to the US in 1960, or to anywhere in the world in 2018.
- whether the USSR was still revolutionary after 1921, 1927, 1956, or 1981.

The answers to these questions led Marxists like CLR James to abandon 'Leninism' almost entirely, whilst still retaining an admiration of Lenin the thinker and historical figure.

Were the Black Panthers tankies?

Some Black Panthers, such as Fred Hampton, described themselves as Marxist-Leninist, but were more influenced by the writings of Lenin and Mao (and the context of Vietnamese resistance to US invasion and African liberation struggles) than the internal or foreign policy of the the USSR. Huey Newton in 1970 introduced the idea of Revolutionary Intercommunalism, a clarification of his ideas which firmly rejected 'socialism in one country'.

In 1966 we called our Party a Black Nationalist Party. We called ourselves Black Nationalists because we thought that nationhood was the answer. Shortly after that we decided that what was really needed was revolutionary nationalism, that is, nationalism plus socialism. After analyzing conditions a little more, we found that it was impractical and even contradictory. Therefore, we went to a higher level of consciousness. We saw that in order to be free we had to crush the ruling circle and therefore we had to unite with the peoples of the world. So we called ourselves Internationalists. We sought solidarity with the peoples of the world. We sought solidarity with what we thought were the nations of the world. But then what happened? We found that because everything is in a constant state of transformation, because of the development of technology, because of the development of the mass media, because of the fire power of the imperialist, and because of the fact that the United States is no longer a nation but an empire, nations could not exist, for they did not have the criteria for nationhood. Their self‐ determination, economic determination, and cultural determination has been transformed by the imperialists and the ruling circle. They were no longer nations. We found that in order to be Internationalists we had to be also Nationalists, or at least acknowledge nationhood. Internationalism, if I understand the word, means the interrelationship among a group of nations. But since no nation exists, and since the United States is in fact an empire, it is impossible for us to be Internationalists.

These transformations and phenomena require us to call ourselves “intercommunalists” because nations have been transformed into communities of the world.
[...]
I don’t see how we can talk about socialism when the problem is world distribution. I think this is what Marx meant when he talked about the non‐state.

Former Black Panthers such as Russell Maroon Shoatz and Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin, both of whom have spent years in prison for their association with the BPP, have broken with Marxist-Leninism after seeing how the Leninist structure of the Black Panther Party made it vulnerable to the FBI's COINTELPRO programme, and by examining the trajectory of Leninist revolutions.

So the BPP wasn't a monolithic entity politically, and the individual politics of its members as well as the orientation of the party itself changed over time. Rather than claiming it was any one thing, we can read what Black Panther Party members actually wrote in their own right.

And the League of Revolutionary Black Workers?

The League of Revolutionary Black Workers, based in Detroit, described themselves as Marxist-Leninist, but they had close relationships with associates of CLR James such as Martin Glaberman, Grace Boggs, and James Boggs who had broken with Leninism more than a decade earlier, while also being influenced by Fanon and others. Once again the politics are a bit more complex than the labels.


CLR James, Grace Lee Boggs, Raya Dunyevskaya in the 1940s

What about anti-imperialism?

Anti-imperialism means different things to different people. Fundamentally, to be against imperialism should mean support for working class struggles against colonialism, and opposition to capitalist war. Unfortunately 'anti-imperialism' has often morphed into simply taking the side of the USSR in geo-political conflicts, and post-1990, unconditional support to the ruling class in any country aligned against the US.

Lenin in 1914 wrote in The Right of Nations to Self-Determination that communists should support the right of nations to secede, but not the specifics of any particular national struggle. This is because Lenin saw nationalist movements as essential to the development of capitalism over feudalism, as a step on the way towards communism:

Throughout the world, the period of the final victory of capitalism over feudalism has been linked up with national movements. For the complete victory of commodity production, the bourgeoisie must capture the home market, and there must be politically united territories whose population speak a single language, with all obstacles to the development of that language and to its consolidation in literature eliminated.

Even within this stagist framework, Lenin still ultimately stated that the class struggle should take absolute precedence over the nationalist movement:

The bourgeoisie always places its national demands in the forefront, and does so in categorical fashion. With the proletariat, however, these demands are subordinated to the interests of the class struggle. [...] the important thing for the proletariat is to ensure the development of its class. For the bourgeoisie it is important to hamper this development by pushing the aims of its “own” nation before those of the proletariat. That is why the proletariat confines itself, so to speak, to the negative demand for recognition of the right to self-determination, without giving guarantees to any nation, and without undertaking to give anything at the expense of another nation.

Additionally, while American imperialism in 1916 was not at the level it is now, he also rejected the hypocrisy of simply playing off one imperialism against another, in Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism

Let us suppose that a Japanese condemns the annexation of the Philippines by the Americans. The question is: will many believe that he does so because he has a horror of annexations as such, and not because he himself has a desire to annex the Philippines? And shall we not be constrained to admit that the “fight” the Japanese is waging against annexations can be regarded as being sincere and politically honest only if he fights against the annexation of Korea by Japan, and urges freedom for Korea to secede from Japan?

In War and Revolution Lenin wrote:

Nothing but a workers’ revolution in several countries can defeat this war. The war is not a game, it is an appalling thing taking toll of millions of lives, and it is not to be ended easily.

Lenin therefore saw anti-imperialist struggle as being in the realm of bourgeios national revolutions (something to 'critically support' but subordinated to the class struggle), dismissing inter-imperialist conflicts with the slogan "Turn the imperialist war into civil war".

Didn't the USSR support African national liberation?

Sometimes, but only when it supported the USSR's own geopolitical interests. CLR James described his conversation with George Padmore, who had joined the Communist Party and moved to the USSR in 1929, before leaving in 1934 due to the purges and a change in orientation:

But one day, sometime in late 1934 or 1935 there was a knock at my door and I went do the door and there was George Padmore. [...] He said, “I’ve left those people you know.” And that was the biggest shock I received since I had gone to Brazil three years before. “I have left those people” meant he had left the Communist Party. And he was the biggest black man in Moscow, dealing with black people and the colonial revolution. So I said, “What happened?” And he told me. He said, “They are changing the line and now they tell me that in future we are going to be soft and not attack strongly the democratic imperialists which are Britain, France and the United States. That the main attack is to be directed upon the Fascist imperialists, Italy, Germany and Japan. And George, we would like you to do this in the propaganda that you are doing and in the articles that you are writing and the paper you are publishing, to follow that line.” And George said, “That is impossible. Germany and Japan have no colonies in Africa. How am I to say the democratic imperialists, such as the United States is the most race ridden territory in the western world. So I am to say that Britain and France who have the colonies in Africa and the United States, can be democratic imperialists and be soft to them but be strong against Japan, Italy and Germany. That is impossible. What do you think of that?”

Isn't criticising the USSR anti-communist?

There is a tendency by everyone from conservatives, to liberals, to social democrats to criticise the 'crimes of communism' and ignore the actions of capitalist countries. This is complete shite and we reject it completely.

While there were famines and bread riots in the USSR in the 1930s, British policy caused the Bengal famine killing 3 million people in 1943.

While the USSR and China have imprisoned political dissidents, including many communists and anarchists, the USA has the highest incarceration rate in the world, with some political prisoners held in solitary confinement for decades and 1,000 extra-judicial killings by police per year.

While Lenin deported dissident Bolsheviks like Miasnikov and presided over the crushing of the Kronstadt rebellion, social democrats in Germany oversaw the assassination of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknicht in collaboration with the fascist Freikorps.

While the USSR had 'gulags', Britain put hundreds of thousands of Kenyans and Malayans into concentration camps in the 1950s, and there were forced-labour camps in the UK itself in the 1930s under Labour.

While the US healthcare system leaves people without medical care and destitute, Cuba despite economic sanctions has socialised healthcare and trains healthcare workers for other countries.

Liberal myopia sees a horseshoe where liberal democracy is 'reasonable' and fascism and communism are two poles of 'authoritarianism'. A libertarian communist critique asserts that communism is impossible within the framework of the nation state, and that all states, whether fascist, liberal democratic or socialist will suppress workers self-organisation in the interest of capital.

What about Syria, Iran, North Korea?

A central line of communist and anarchist thought and praxis has been internationalism, and an opposition to war in all its forms. This caused the split in the Second International in 1914 when German Social Democrats voted for war credits. However putting this into practice has turns out to be a lot more complicated.

With the war in Syria, opposition to US intervention, shared by all communists (though not necessarily social democrats), has been marred by support from some organisations for the Syrian government and Bashar Assad and Russia despite the of bombing civilians, on the basis that areas such as Eastern Ghouta are held by Islamist militias and that the 400,000 civilians trapped there are being used as 'human shields'.


The CPGB-ML

This is further complicated by Rojava, supported by both some Marxist Leninists and some anarchists, due to the Marxist-Leninist orientation of the PKK, the Libertarian Municipalist ideas recently adopted by the PKK's leader Ocalan, the TEV-DEM system of administrative councils, and the right to national self-determination of the Kurds. On the other hand, both some Marxist Leninists and some anarchist and anti-state Marxists have been fiercely critical of Rojava, due to collaboration militarily with the US against ISIS (and most recently with Assad against Turkey). On libcom.org we've continued to allow publishing of texts both critical and supportive of Rojava, and regularly get attacked for being NATO shills for both, whether it's the US against Assad or Turkey against Rojava.

With Iran, despite the religious nature of the regime and the fact that all communist parties are banned, when strikes and street protests broke out at the end of December 2017, there was an immediate reluctance to recognise the grassroots nature of the actions, due to the possibility that the US might use the protests as an excuse for 'regime change'. Some commentators went as far as to suggest the protests had been almost immediately hijacked by the CIA, Mossad, or Saudi Arabia.

The cases of Iran and Assad show that in these discussions, the internal contradictions of a country can be completely ignored, with the central question always being "is the country aligned against the US or not?" - on the one hand celebrating Assad's attacks against Islamists, on the other celebrating Iran's religious state against the Haft-Tappeh sugar workers or leftist students.

Our position is that regardless of the actions of the Iranian or Syrian state, we completely oppose foreign intervention, whether US, Russia, or Turkey, on the base that foreign intervention always makes things worse. But to oppose intervention does not require a denial of the internal contradictions of those states or the reality of working class resistance to them.

The same applies to North Korea - we reject under any circumstances US intervention in North Korea, hawks in the US talking about a nuclear weapons programme gloss over the US bombing Japan twice in 1945, let alone the use of depleted uranium shells against civilian areas in Iraq. But to reject sanctions and intervention can rely on a principled anti-militarism and internationalism, solidarity with the North Korean working class, not with Kim Jong Un personally. As we would support the Gwangju uprising in South Korea in 1980, we would support workers struggle in North Korea too.

But Communist parties are very successful in India/Japan?


Communist Party India - Marxist
While the CPI-M likes to hold huge rallies with hammer and sickle flags, it's policies are social democratic. It runs for elections, and where it wins pursues pro-business policies. In Kerala the new communist administration under Pinarayi Vijayan stressed partnership between management and trade unions and promised investment to stimulate industry, including 'Silicon Valley-like hubs'. Not quite seizing the means of production, then.

The Japanese Communist Party, with several members in the Japanese parliament (Diet) abandoned Leninism 25 years ago, deciding to pursue a purely electoral road to socialism, and has recently attempted to work with centrist liberal MPs.

They might be popular Communist Parties, but they aren't... communist.. at all.

What about American Marxist Leninists, are they social democrats too?

The Marcyite Party for Socialism and Liberation's program also sounds suspiciously social democrat if you actually read it, for example:

It will be a right of every person in the United States to have a job with guaranteed union representation and full social benefits provided by the socialist government, including a pension, health care, workers’ compensation, paid parental and family leave for up to two years, paid sick and disability leave, a minimum of one month’s paid vacation, and at least 12 paid holidays.

Isn't this... Sweden?

Working conditions will aim to enhance the humanity and dignity of all workers. The working week will be 30 hours.

That's ten hours less than Bernie's offering, but not quite the abolition of wage labour.

However the PSL is just one party, and you will also see Marxist Leninists oppose electoral activity, working on prisoner solidarity etc. The important thing is to actually read what people say they want, and observe what they do, not just listen to what they say about themselves or check whether there's a hammer and sickle or a rose printed next to the promise of full employment - these aren't the things that decide whether someone is communist or not.

Liberals just call anyone they don't like a tankie!

This is often true. There has been regular red-baiting of mild social democrat Jeremy Corbyn, recently accusing him of being a spy for East Germany in the '80s. The right wing of the Democrats at one point was calling any Bernie Sanders supporter a Russian-influenced alt-leftist. William Gillis of the Center for a Stateless Society recently said of us 'Remember when libcom was about as tankie and class-reductionist as you would ever encounter in the radical left, and we all viewed them as evil suspicious bastards because they wouldn't all outright id as anarchists? ' presumably due to our hosting and promotion of anti-state and post-Leninist Marxists.

Therefore if someone is using 'tankie', they may be objecting to a specific leftist ideology that prioritisies geopolitics over class struggle, or they might just be punching left. When liberals have a go at 'communism' they often mean the Soviet Union (and let's be honest sometimes it's tempting to tell people they'll be first in the gulags after the revolution when they do this, especially if it's fucking Jordan Peterson).

Should I work with Marxist-Leninists?

If you're organising at work or around housing issues, the people you work with are not going to all have the same politics at you, and your opinions on the July 1918 uprising of Left Socialist Revolutionaries after their expulsion from the Bolshevik government are not relevant to that situation. Yes, really, no-one gives a shit. You're relating to each other as workers in that situation, not as representatives of a political niche, at least we hope not.

Anarchists and Marxist-Leninists have also worked together as members of anti-fascist collectives in the US and elsewhere, and this is really a choice for people to make locally.

Things you should bear in mind when organising are -

However co-operation with individuals is very different from a left-unity project, coalitions of organisations etc. The questions to consider when a group is organised in for example an anti-war protest is are they going to try to divert a protest into an ineffectual rally, or co-operate with the police if protesters try to step outside strict limits of activity. Similarly with workplace organising, do co-workers have links with the union hierarchy or management? Approaches to this differ from organisation to organisation and is not strictly linked to ideology.

If there are real political and organisational disagreements, it's better to be open about them than gloss over them, and retain some independence.

Posted By

Mike Harman
Mar 8 2018 21:45

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Nymphalis Antiopa
Jul 5 2019 12:31

MHwrote:

Quote:
And rank and file members of groups like the Black Panther Party like Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin or Russell Maroon Shoatz.

.
Yet James Carr, a former Black Panther, was killed on the orders of the Black Panthers - https://libcom.org/library/james-carr-black-panthers-all-that

Besides, MH's little list is ahistorical - obviously in earlier periods of history often fairly decent people, out of ignorance, joined Leninist organizations, and subsequently tended to lose their decency. But post-Hungary '56, and even more so post-1989 when USSR archives slowly became public, it would be like looking for a needle in a haystack to find some Leninist, or at least one who stayed in a Leninist organization for longer than say 1 or 2 years, that had anything other than a repressive effect on revolt and class struggle.

There have been some members of fascist organizations that were for a short time at least, not really fascistic in their perspectives (ones who joined because they hated, for fairly solid reasons, Leninist organizations) but I'd guess that nobody here would say something to the effect that such organizations shouldn't be attacked for these reasons (the question of how strategic tit may be in any given situation is something else).
Leninism in the 20th century had a far more devastating effect on revolutionary movements and class struggle than fascism precisely because it often attracted otherwise decent people and then destroyed any genuine rebelliousness in them and worse. Even now, if we look for example at Hong Kong, the notion of "communism" is tied up with the mass-murdering scum of the Chinese Central Committee and Mao (whose Great Leap Forward, for the few reading this who don't know about it, starved and killed 38million people).

So, Mike Harman, why this feeble attempt to exonerate Leninists ?

Mike Harman
Jul 5 2019 13:04
Nymphalis Antiopa wrote:
Yet James Carr, a former Black Panther, was killed on the orders of the Black Panthers - https://libcom.org/library/james-carr-black-panthers-all-that

Several black panthers were also killed by other members (some of whom were infiltrators but nonetheless). There's Elaine Brown's account of getting death threats from Eldridge Cleaver https://libcom.org/history/reflections-jean-seberg-black-panther-party-e..., and the beating of Regina Davis in the mid '70s where her jaw was broken. Also some of the events around the East/West split. All of these are examples of Leninist parties attacking their own members and ex-members though, rather than attacking anarchists or other factions. The ICC typewriter incident against the 'Chenier faction' is another case where the violence is directed essentially inwards.

In other words I don't think the response to the BPP leadership threatening Elaine Brown and beating up Regina Davis should have been physically attacking meetings attended by Elaine Brown or Regina Davis because they were in the BPP (and Brown was leadership).

Quote:
Besides, MH's little list is ahistorical - obviously in earlier periods of history often fairly decent people, out of ignorance, joined Leninist organizations, and subsequently tended to lose their decency. But post-Hungary '56,

The EPRP example is from the early-mid 1970s, I think their actual experience of facing a USSR-backed dictator meant they had to face the reality of Leninism pretty quickly, but it's clear from the writing that's around they were operating somewhere between Leninism/Maoism/New Left. Also most of my examples are more recent than Jim's so it's less ahistorical than the comment it was responding to.

Quote:
There have been some members of fascist organizations that were for a short time at least, not really fascistic in their perspectives (ones who joined because they hated, for fairly solid reasons, Leninist organizations) but I'd guess that nobody here would say something to the effect that such organizations shouldn't be attacked for these reasons (the question of how strategic tit may be in any given situation is something else).

No but this is precisely where the difference is. Far right groups are either electoral like UKIP, or they're actively organising to attack sections of the working class and left groups, like the EDL.

Some Leninist groups do organise to attack other left groups - like the SWP/UAF collaborating with the police to hand over anarchists and similar. With the SWP I would support turning over their stalls and/or defacing their posters etc. (and this does happen) because their history as well their rape cover-up well documented by this point, and all the people in the SWP are precisely in it because they took a choice to stay in or join despite its reputation. There's fortunately no stall near me but have given the local organiser a mouthful when he turned up trying to sell a paper at a local picket.

However it would not make sense to attack someone holding an SWP/SUTR placard, because they distribute hundreds of them at demos to inflate their perceived size, so you're more likely to be attacking a random uninformed demo attendee than an actual SWP member. What you can do is try to inform people about the organisation so they don't take the placards (or rip off the logos/put their own stuff on as happened at Grenfell marches). Not quite the same for someone wearing a 'Free Tommy' shirt at a DFLA demo.

Quote:
Leninism in the 20th century had a far more devastating effect on revolutionary movements and class struggle than fascism precisely because it often attracted otherwise decent people and then destroyed any genuine rebelliousness in them and worse.

That almost sounds like you're saying the main victims of Leninist organisations are their own members?

Quote:
So, Mike Harman, why this feeble attempt to exonerate Leninists ?

It's not an attempt to exonerate Leninists though is it, it's an attempt to actually look how Leninism operates materially, which most immediately and especially in the current situation are disillusionment, abuse, and mis-education of their own membership, rather than getting into power and massacring anarchists. The sects also thrive on the idea that they're under attack, and use this to further isolate their membership - so physically attacking them at a demo is likely to reinforce this, whereas relentlessly mocking the organisation, leaking documents etc. on sites like this and social media where their membership will see it has more chance of people breaking away or crucially discouraging people on their way towards joining from doing so.

Mike Harman
Jul 5 2019 13:05
Jim wrote:
But there have been mutterings on the London anarchist scene of Tankie gang looking for confrontations with 'radlibs' for a while, this kind of thing will happen.

So because of Red London and the CPGB-ML are you going to start physically attacking RS21 meetings Jim?

Nymphalis Antiopa
Jul 5 2019 17:56

MH - when you say

Quote:
All of these are examples of Leninist parties attacking their own members and ex-members though, rather than attacking anarchists or other factions.

in part in relation to James Carr, you're wrong. Carr had left the Black Panthers and was moving in a libertarian direction under the influence of situationist-type people such as Isaac Cronin and Dan Hammer.

More recently, at the 2014 SF Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair, Quilombo, a maoist-type organisation, physically attacked an anarchist bookstall, destroying some books and intimidating various anarchists (see, for instance, this: https://socialinsurrection.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/an-open-letter-to-ba... ). And the response of those who'd been attacked was pretty pathetic - wanting to discuss things with a gang of Leninist thugs who'd already shown that they didn't want to discuss anything. So let's not pretend that this is merely some internal internecine squabble that anyone with an anti-authoritarian outlook should just pass by. These Lenin hero-worshippers have concrete practical effects. There are countless other examples of Leninists fucking over concrete struggles (for another example, there's something in this text, if I remember correctly, about how a Leninist party helped sabotage a struggle back in the 90s : https://libcom.org/library/occupational-therapy-university-college-hospi...).

Whilst you may claim I was saying "the main victims of Leninist organisations are their own members" because that 's what I said in one sentence, it's obvious that when I continued with the "Great Leap Forward... starved and killed 38million people" that I was not making that point exclusively at all.

I wouldn't have bothered to post anything here if it wasn't for the fact that increasingly the so-called "anti-authoritarian" milieu is becoming feebly tolerant of authoritarian politics. And, although what you do against Leninist scum is, as I said, a strategic question, you have to at least recognise that their influence is patently confusing and horrendous and a site that can tolerate LeninistGirl, for example, will tolerate anything.

Reddebrek
Jul 5 2019 18:56
Mike Harman wrote:
So because of Red London and the CPGB-ML are you going to start physically attacking RS21 meetings Jim?

Sorry, what's this about?

Black Badger
Jul 5 2019 19:29

the qilombo fiasco was a more drawn-out process of degeneration than you make it sound. the eventual coalescence of the project into a full-blown third wordlist quasi-maoist gang center was not complete until months after the event at the book fair. the space had been opened as "The Holdout" by (mostly white) anarchists and vaguely radical DIY people in 2011. this entailed a hefty amount of voluntary labor and donated/liberated material to make the long-abandoned unit usable as a community gathering space (computers, a library/bookstore, a bicycle repair/rebuilding shop, a screen printing work shop, clothing exchange, sort of a food bank, as well as offering ongoing and one-off educational events). once it became clear that the space was stable and more or less self-sustaining, the identity politicians started moving in. as befits most sub-marxist cooptions, this process was gradual. more self-identified People of Color started hanging out and on occasion participating in meetings. after the definitive suppression of Occupy Oakland and during the generalized demoralization that came in its wake, the first generation of folks who'd built The Holdout were exhausted, both physically and emotionally. the scene was set for the quasi-maoists to make their first move. they rushed a meeting of the organizers' collective and announced that The Holdout was white supremacist since there was a white majority in the collective. white anti-racist ally paralysis ensued, and within a few weeks, at least half of the people who'd volunteered their labor and political energy from the beginning walked away. the influx of the identity politicians created the necessary mass to change the name and to restructure the collective into something more along the lines of democratic centralism, where People of Color were allotted more influence. a few months later was the altercation at the book fair. at that time it wasn't fully clear to outsiders what had been happening behind the scenes, and there were still visible anarchists involved in the restructured project; they had an informational table set up at the book fair, and their presence didn't raise any eyebrows. the open letter that you linked to was written with the accepted presence in the local anarchist scene of the now-renamed qilombo social center in mind, and by the fact that there were still anarchists involved. about eight months after their assault and vandalism at the book fair, however, the handful of remaining anarchists had been purged. in a process that took a little over a year, the full takeover (primitive accumulation/resource expropriation) by the quasi-maoists was then complete. no more white allies, no more anarchists, no more pretense to being anti-authoritarian. the building and the adjoining lot were sold to a gentrifier, who didn't renew the lease and it took another two years for the eviction to be complete. it blows that eventually some hideous new gentrified structure will be built on that site, but good riddance to those quasi-maoist fuckers.

Jim
Jul 6 2019 11:39
Mike Harman wrote:
Jim wrote:
But there have been mutterings on the London anarchist scene of Tankie gang looking for confrontations with 'radlibs' for a while, this kind of thing will happen.

So because of Red London and the CPGB-ML are you going to start physically attacking RS21 meetings Jim?

No, I'm not advocating attacking anything. Just noting that there will probably be clashes between anarchists and Leninists in the future. I think it's a bit naive to think that Leninists won't try to use physical violence to establish hegemony on the left. I can't think of a successful Leninist party which hasn't done it.

Also, if the current London left was divided up along the lines of the Barcelona May Days, RS21 would be the POUM.

LeninistGirl
Jul 7 2019 04:34

Do you not count POUM as a Leninist party? Wasn't it the CNT that put their cadre in prison camps? Taking historically specific cases without further context as a general law of history is beyond ridiculous. If fights were to break out between "leninists" and "anarchists" today it would be insignificant battles between sects. Again, a real LaRouche-mentality.

darren p
Jul 7 2019 08:28
LeninistGirl wrote:
Do you not count POUM as a Leninist party?

Yes it was one.

Quote:
Wasn't it the CNT that put their cadre in prison camps?

No it wasn't the CNT it was the Stalinists

Quote:
Taking historically specific cases without further context as a general law of history is beyond ridiculous. If fights were to break out between "leninists" and "anarchists" today it would be insignificant battles between sects. Again, a real LaRouche-mentality.

I tend to agree, a lot of this to me seems like high level LARPing.

Reddebrek
Jul 7 2019 15:52
LeninistGirl wrote:
Again, a real LaRouche-mentality.

According to ex-members who ditched Larouche at the time he started attacking leftists, the goal of his attacks were to poison the well so much that his members would be forced into isolation from rival leaders and ideas and rally around him. He needed to do this as he'd decided to pivot his group to the far right.

From what I've seen of this discussion several users are concerned about potential threats from groups that honestly have been openly hostile and attached to historic cases of sectarian violence for many years. Some have even given examples of this manifesting already.

Perhaps their concerns are unfounded but comparisons to a far right cult leaders strategy for dominance aren't particularly applicable or helpful.

Mike Harman
Jul 8 2019 11:03
Nymphalis Antiopa wrote:
MH - when you say
Quote:
All of these are examples of Leninist parties attacking their own members and ex-members though, rather than attacking anarchists or other factions.

in part in relation to James Carr, you're wrong. Carr had left the Black Panthers and was moving in a libertarian direction under the influence of situationist-type people such as Isaac Cronin and Dan Hammer.

So, an ex-member then.

Quote:
More recently, at the 2014 SF Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair, Quilombo, a maoist-type organisation, physically attacked an anarchist bookstall, destroying some books and intimidating various anarchists (see, for instance, this: https://socialinsurrection.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/an-open-letter-to-ba... ). And the response of those who'd been attacked was pretty pathetic - wanting to discuss things with a gang of Leninist thugs who'd already shown that they didn't want to discuss anything.

This post on the same site you linked to describes the people involved in Qilombo as 'identity anarchists', not Maoists. In addition Qilombo (recently evicted) was a social centre, not a Maoist organisation.

Social Insurrection wrote:
A group of identity anarchists “intervened” during a regular Tuesday night Long Haul Anarchist Study Group meeting sometime after that blog post. Hannibal Shakur, an activist in Occupy Oakland’s Decolonization tendency who is fighting vandalism charges after participation in the Trayvon Martin riots, was prominent in the newly organized Qilombo Social Center in Oakland. He and his crew attended the Study Group meeting, it seems not merely to dispute their post-left anarchist critique of Maoism, the NCM and the BPP, but also to challenge their right to pursue such independent study at all. The identity anarchists harassed and harangued the post-left anarchists, and in the heat of the argument betwen the two sides, post-left anarchist Lawrence Jarach made a categorical statement so typical of orthodox anarchism. To paraphrase, Jarach contended that: “All churches must be burned to the ground.” An identity anarchist demanded: “But what about the black churches?” To which Jarach responded: “The black churches must be burned … all churches must be burned.” The disagreements only got nastier from there, with open acrimony escalating into implied threat.

https://socialinsurrection.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/anarchist-purges-ana...

edit - I see Black Badger has provided more context

Quote:
So let's not pretend that this is merely some internal internecine squabble that anyone with an anti-authoritarian outlook should just pass by.

Well you tried to find an example of Leninists attacking anarchists and instead found an example of anarchists attacking anarchists. You can try to argue the anarchists are secret Leninists but that's an entirely different argument, since you'd have to then endorse physical attacks on anarchist orgs that you think are secret Leninists at that point.

Mike Harman
Jul 8 2019 11:15
Reddebrek wrote:
Mike Harman wrote:
So because of Red London and the CPGB-ML are you going to start physically attacking RS21 meetings Jim?

Sorry, what's this about?

It was in response to this:

Jim wrote:
888 wrote:
Is it worth physically breaking up the tankie organizations before they get too strong? After all they'll do much worse to us as soon as they get the chance.

Why let a Barcelona May Days happen again? At some point it'll need doing.

Then this:

Jim wrote:
If history has taught us anything it's that in a revolutionary situation Leninists will brutally murder anybody who wants to create a genuine communism, be that workers, sailors or anarchists. Kronstadt and Barcelona are the two most notable examples but there are countless others. Now I'm not saying we need to be organising squads against Leninists or applying the tactics of anti-fascism towards them now. But there have been mutterings on the London anarchist scene of Tankie gang looking for confrontations with 'radlibs' for a while, this kind of thing will happen.

Red London is mostly a facebook page run by Stalinists, they seem to have some crossover with the Morning Star and are pro-Labour.

The CPGB-ML is Harpal Brar's split from the CPGB, which recently banned discussion of 'identity politics' and endorsed Nigel Farage.

They're both explicitly reactionary groups, in some cases close to third positionists like Vanessa Beeley, who I absolutely think would start attacking anarchists.

RS21 is a split from the SWP, they're still Trots but I think they've rejected 'Democratic Centralism' and seem to be very slowly going the 'heterodox marxism' direction. I don't follow them closely but from what I've seen they're more likely to get attacked by the CPGB-ML or Red London than to attack anarchists themselves, Jim describing them as the equivalent of the POUM would back that up - but then it'd be useful to be explicit when talking about the threat posed by groups rather than throwing around 'Leninist'.

LeninistGirl
Jul 8 2019 12:25

Also, hasn't most anarchist bookfairs been broken up by physical altercations between anarchists? Like the infamous London Anarchist bookfair where transphobic anarchists showed up or the multiple incidents surrounding "little black cart" in the US.

darren p
Jul 8 2019 17:47
LeninistGirl wrote:
Also, hasn't most anarchist bookfairs been broken up by physical altercations between anarchists? Like the infamous London Anarchist bookfair where transphobic anarchists showed up or the multiple incidents surrounding "little black cart" in the US.

There's quite a few Anarchist and radical bookfairs around the world, a couple of incidents isn't "most".

Black Badger
Jul 8 2019 19:02

just for the record, the version of events that was reported on the Social Insurrection website is unreliable, based on second- and third-hand information; that website is run by a guy who was not present at any of those events. if anyone's interested in the whole story, you can PM me. i'm not posting any more details on this thread because as far as i know, the scumbags who ran Qilombo are not tankies.

Mike Harman
Jul 8 2019 20:02
darren p wrote:
LeninistGirl wrote:
Also, hasn't most anarchist bookfairs been broken up by physical altercations between anarchists? Like the infamous London Anarchist bookfair where transphobic anarchists showed up or the multiple incidents surrounding "little black cart" in the US.

There's quite a few Anarchist and radical bookfairs around the world, a couple of incidents isn't "most".

I think we can read this as when there have been altercations at bookfairs, have they mostly been between anarchists, although even if that's true it's probably a close run.

The London bookfair incident is more complex than this for a start. The TERFs who showed up and leafleted were not anarchists - one of then was a Green Party parliamentary candidate. The reason it was infamous was because Helen Steel intervened to defend the TERFs and got shouted at by the people trying to remove them. So it became an altercation between anarchists but did not start out as one. It's likely if the non-anarchist TERFs had not showed up to leaflet, the day would have gone without confrontation, although it obviously did expose underlying tensions between different anarchists in the process.

There was a case at a previous London bookfair where Amir Taaki showed up to disrupt a talk on Syria. Taaki sometimes describes himself as anarchist but is actually anarcho-capitalist or some variety of third positionist, see this write up: http://social-ecology.org/wp/2018/01/the-new-reactionaries-amir-taaki-al...

Then there's organised far right groups showing up to disrupt bookfairs, which has happened a few times in the US.

Entdinglichung
Jul 11 2019 09:59
Mike Harman wrote:

The CPGB-ML is Harpal Brar's split from the CPGB, which recently banned discussion of 'identity politics' and endorsed Nigel Farage.

They're both explicitly reactionary groups, in some cases close to third positionists like Vanessa Beeley, who I absolutely think would start attacking anarchists.

don't blame the CPGB for them, they exist since the late 60ies under different names, entered Arthur Scargill's SLP in the mid-90ies, helped Scargill to get rid of all people critical to him before they were thrown out themselves 10 years later ... to my perception, they are thriving

Mike Harman
Jul 11 2019 11:21
Entdinglichung wrote:
Mike Harman wrote:

The CPGB-ML is Harpal Brar's split from the CPGB, which recently banned discussion of 'identity politics' and endorsed Nigel Farage.

They're both explicitly reactionary groups, in some cases close to third positionists like Vanessa Beeley, who I absolutely think would start attacking anarchists.

don't blame the CPGB for them, they exist since the late 60ies under different names, entered Arthur Scargill's SLP in the mid-90ies, helped Scargill to get rid of all people critical to him before they were thrown out themselves 10 years later ... to my perception, they are thriving

Oh good point. Harpal Brar's wiki page has a bit on the '60s stuff https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harpal_Brar

Nymphalis Antiopa
Jul 18 2019 14:07

Mike H:

Quote:
Well you tried to find an example of Leninists attacking anarchists and instead found an example of anarchists attacking anarchists.

This is bullshit. Quilombo are definitely NOT anarchists. Bob Black called them maoists. Whether that's true or not, Quilombo in a post on Anarchist News (can't be bothered to trawl through the site to find it) attacked anarchists - anarchists in general, not specific anarchists - as racists. You cite a text on Social Insurrection as proof of your idea that these were anarchists but as blackbadger says:

Quote:
the version of events that was reported on the Social Insurrection website is unreliable, based on second- and third-hand information; that website is run by a guy who was not present at any of those events.

. And you can't be bothered to respond to what s/he says.
MH also says :

Quote:
All of these are examples of Leninist parties attacking their own members and ex-members though, rather than attacking anarchists or other factions.

and then says that James Carr was "an ex-member then.". True, of course. But you could also say he was, in a sense, part of a different faction if by faction you include situ-types.

Of course, Lawrence Jarach saying that: “All churches must be burned to the ground.”
is stupid hack ideology. But it's impossible to know what crap Quilombo were hurling at him that made him come up with such a silly response. They were maybe defending black clergy. I don't know - I wasn't there, and neither was MH. Of course, not all churches should be burnt to the ground. Even Notre-Dame-de-Paris. After all,

Quote:
Everyone will, so to speak, live in their own personal “cathedrals.”

- from http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/Chtcheglov.htm

As for MH's insinuation that I "try to argue the anarchists are secret Leninists" this is certainly "an entirely different argument" because it's not an argument I have used here. He's just playing typical manipulative political games by sneakily trying to imply that I said it.

The OP says:

Quote:
You're relating to each other as workers in that situation, not as representatives of a political niche, at least we hope not.
Anarchists and Marxist-Leninists have also worked together as members of anti-fascist collectives in the US and elsewhere, and this is really a choice for people to make locally.

If by "work together" you mean something other than participating in a strike or riot or whatever together, which invariably one does with racists, religious freaks, etc. because one cannot know the ideas of everyone who participates in such things nor - in such situations - is it always necessary to find out such things, then ok. But if it means consciously organising some specific action or writing then that just seems like sitting down with our future executioners, sitting down with red fascists, as Otto Ruhle referred to most M-L ists.

Mike Harman
Jul 18 2019 14:45
Nymphalis Antiopa wrote:
Mike H:
Quote:
Well you tried to find an example of Leninists attacking anarchists and instead found an example of anarchists attacking anarchists.

This is bullshit. Quilombo are definitely NOT anarchists. Bob Black called them maoists. Whether that's true or not, Quilombo in a post on Anarchist News (can't be bothered to trawl through the site to find it) attacked anarchists - anarchists in general, not specific anarchists - as racists. You cite a text on Social Insurrection as proof of your idea that these were anarchists but as blackbadger says:

Quote:
the version of events that was reported on the Social Insurrection website is unreliable, based on second- and third-hand information; that website is run by a guy who was not present at any of those events.

. And you can't be bothered to respond to what s/he says.

You originally posted the link to Social Insurrection introducing Qilombo into this discussion, I just used the same source as you prior to seeing Black Badger's post, which confirms my assessment that they are not 'tankies'. So rather than accuse me of not responding to what he says, maybe you should respond yourself - did you take him up on his offer to provide more background in private?

Quote:
Of course, Lawrence Jarach saying that: “All churches must be burned to the ground.”
is stupid hack ideology. But it's impossible to know what crap Quilombo were hurling at him that made him come up with such a silly response.

It's not impossible because there's a standing offer from Black Badger to fill in more details.

Quote:
As for MH's insinuation that I "try to argue the anarchists are secret Leninists" this is certainly "an entirely different argument" because it's not an argument I have used here. He's just playing typical manipulative political games by sneakily trying to imply that I said it.

No you argued that an anarchist social centre (at least anarchist at the time that the event you're referring to happened) was a Maoist organisation, based on false information from a website that Black Badger has subsequently stated is unreliable, and you're now saying that me pointing out your mistake is a 'manipulative political game'. Either you can correct your assessment that it was a Maoist organisation, or you can claim it was a Maoist organisation against people who were actually involved and are saying it was an anarchist social centre when this all happened. But insisting that I'm being manipulative when you're repeating inaccuracies in the face of multiple corrections is not on.

Nymphalis Antiopa
Jul 19 2019 03:02

The following can be confirmed by Black Badger if anybody wants to message him.

Originally Black Badger implied that the (to quote B B) "quasi-maoist fuckers" started taking over 'The Holdout', which later became Quilombo, shortly after Occupy 0akland in 2011. But it seems (from a message from BB) it was a lot more drawn out than that. Still, these "quasi-maoist fuckers" stormed the Holdout's meeting in spring 2013, close to a year before the attack in the bookfair. These quasi-maoists bit by bit pushed out the anarchists who'd put in all the work and energy in setting up the place. There was an unconfirmed rumor that the leader of these "quasi-maoist fuckers" had already been asked by some of the anarchist collective to make himself and his immediate circle more publicly prominent after The Holdout was robbed at gunpoint by some neighborhood drug traffickers. The Holdout was officially "closed for renovations" in mid-November 2013, the burning churches comment by LJ was made in December of 2013, Qilombo opened in January 2014, and the storming of the Berkeley Study Group occurred in February or March (just prior to the book fair). The shift to a soft-on-Islam, third worldist, Anti-Racist Anti-Imperialism had already taken hold by the previous November, ie several months before the book fair. The fact that some anarchists hung on until they were purged 8 months later didn't make the conflict between Quilombo and the bookfair stand an internecine anarchist conflict at all. It just makes these anarchists self-defeating masochistic idiots.

So Mike Harman is pissing around with the chronology of events. It's him who is "repeating inaccuracies in the face of multiple corrections".

Moreover, it confirms the idiocy of anarchists collaborating with Leninists (or, as I said, " a maoist-type organisation") and so confirms what I originally said - that collaborating with "quasi-maoist fuckers" is like sitting down with your future executioners. And that MH's statement in his OP - "You're relating to each other as workers in that situation, not as representatives of a political niche, at least we hope not.
Anarchists and Marxist-Leninists have also worked together as members of anti-fascist collectives in the US and elsewhere, and this is really a choice for people to make locally"
is obfuscating a fundamental choice of either watering down one's opposition to authoritarian politics and effectively sitting down with your future executioners or of explicitly and consistently opposing such crap. Whilst these quasi-maoists may not be tankies in the sense of openly supporting the invasion of Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan, Tibet, or wherever, my reference to them is pertinent insofar as it relates to the above quote from MH's OP, regardless of whether "tankies" is an accurate term or not.

How can one oppose traditional fascism if you don't oppose red fascism? As Ottot Rühle said 80 years ago, "The Struggle Against Fascism Begins with the Struggle Against Bolshevism". Maoism killed 38 million in the Great Leap Forward (see: https://chinadigitaltimes.net/2018/01/translation-party-history-people-c... ). And though I'm well aware of being a million miles away from a Spanish-revolution-type situation, from the history of the Spanish revolution we should still be conscious, even in far less significant situations, of what happens to anarchists and other revolutionaries when they collaborate with these red fascists. So - MH - you want history to repeat itself (either as tragedy or as farce or as combinations of the two)? Or what? And if so, what exactly is the point of trying "theoretically" to clarify the difference between a libertarian perspective and an authoritarian one if in practice it means self-destruction of any libertarian (anti-)politics?

LeninistGirl
Jul 19 2019 05:26

Otto Rühle and the other councilists were fundamentally wrong though. They thought that fascism having "abolished" or destroyed the use of political parties and trade unions, which would open up new forms of workers self-organisation(this didn't happen). In reality this type of thinking has always ended with strange practice, some exile groups from the Italian communist left for example started solidarity funds for the veterans of the Spanish civil war, and were very clear that it was meant for both those who fought for the Republican forces and those who fought for Franco...

Nymphalis Antiopa
Jul 19 2019 08:09

LeninistGirl:

Quote:
Otto Rühle and the other councilists were fundamentally wrong though. They thought that fascism having "abolished" or destroyed the use of political parties and trade unions, which would open up new forms of workers self-organisation(this didn't happen). In reality this type of thinking has always ended with strange practice, some exile groups from the Italian communist left for example started solidarity funds for the veterans of the Spanish civil war, and were very clear that it was meant for both those who fought for the Republican forces and those who fought for Franco...

Otto Rühle does not = "some exile groups from the Italian communist left", so that's irrelevant (that's even if you got it right about "some exile groups from the Italian communist left").

And what do you mean by "the use of political parties and trade unions"? Use for whom? Certainly rulers everywhere have used political parties and trade unions. And if you mean a use for proletarians, how have proletarians, at least since WWl, used political parties and trade unions? In the case of political parties, it's rather the other way round - political parties have used proletarians. In the case of trade unions, it's more complicated but essentially the unions have grown at the expense of proletarian autonomy.

And to say that "new forms of workers self-organisation...didn't happen" is blatantly bullshit - there must be thousands of examples of forms of workers self-organisation that developed outside political parties and trade unions (some of the resistance groups in WWll; the East German uprising of '53; Hungary '56; countless wldcat strikes etc. etc). You really have to lie profoundly to yourself to believe such crap and to justify being such crap - ie a Leninist.

Mike Harman
Jul 19 2019 08:15
Nymphalis Antiopa wrote:
The fact that some anarchists hung on until they were purged 8 months later didn't make the conflict between Quilombo and the bookfair stand an internecine anarchist conflict at all.

Black Badger wrote:
it's important to notice that none of the POC leadership from Qilombo were involved in [the bookfair intervention], just a couple of the white Holdout anarchist holdouts (sorry) who'd set up their informational table plus their friends

I'm assuming Black Badger sent you the same information as me, so how this detail could have slipped I really don't know.

darren p
Jul 19 2019 09:20
LeninistGirl wrote:
Otto Rühle and the other councilists were fundamentally wrong though.

And Lenin was "fundamentally right" I suppose?

Nymphalis Antiopa
Jul 19 2019 15:25

After most of the original anarchists got out of Quilombo, a minority of the original 'anarchists' remained , and they were the public face of Quilombo in their organizational relations with other anarchist projects and individuals, including at the anarchist book fair, the ones that were finally purged before the end of 2014. Given that the "quasi-maoist fuckers" that later became Quilombo had stormed the Holdout's meeting in spring 2013, close to a year before the attack in the bookfair, given that, as Quilombo, they'd stormed the Berkeley Study Group just prior to the bookfair, what made these self-styled anarchists follow in this succession of storming sessions by the "quasi-maoist fuckers" - and this several months after Lawrence Jarach's stupid 'burn black churches' comment? Probably these "anarchists" were ingratiating themselves with these shitheads, whose most prominent member was, according to Black Badger, a fundamentalist muslim. Quilombo's footsoldiers called themselves anarchists but anyone can call themselves an anarchist. It's a basic critical idea that what one thinks of oneself is not the same as what one is socially, any more than the UK or the USA or wherever are "free". Sir Herbert Read called himself an anarchist (being knighted by the Queen for him was not incompatible with such a label); there was a guy who gave advice to Thatcher who called himself an anti-state libertarian; King Edward Vll said "We're all socialists nowadays"; Stalin called himself a communist, etc.etc. The point is that these "anarchists" were utterly submissive to the "quasi-maoist fuckers" and after doing their dirty work for them were discarded, their sell-by date usefulness having expired.

The essential point that MH makes in his OP - that in certain circumstances one can work with authoritarians - is illustrated precisely by this incident and by all the pathetic reactions to it - including Lawrence Jarach's desire to have a dialogue with people who'd physically attacked him and his stall ostensibly because of some idiotic off-the cuff-remark made several months before this attack. And this essential point is the one MH avoids talking about.

Devrim
Jul 19 2019 18:28

Stalinism used to have a massive influence in the working class. I’m old enough to remember how they used this influence to sabotage strikes. I could probably tell you some stories about their behaviour that would shock most young people here.

However, today’s new wave of internet Stalinists have little in common with them. They’re pretty much a joke nowadays. They’re as marginal as any other tendency on the left.

They aren’t about to put anarchists in camps. Personally, I think they’d struggle to put up a tent, let alone set up a camp.

Devrim

Mike Harman
Jul 19 2019 19:14

How the goalposts shift.

Nymphalis Antiopa wrote:
As for MH's insinuation that I "try to argue the anarchists are secret Leninists" this is certainly "an entirely different argument" because it's not an argument I have used here. He's just playing typical manipulative political games by sneakily trying to imply that I said it.

Nymphalis Antiopa wrote:
The fact that some anarchists hung on until they were purged 8 months later didn't make the conflict between Quilombo and the bookfair stand an internecine anarchist conflict at all.

Nymphalis Antiopa wrote:
After most of the original anarchists got out of Quilombo, a minority of the original 'anarchists' remained , and they were the public face of Quilombo in their organizational relations with other anarchist projects and individuals, including at the anarchist book fair, the ones that were finally purged before the end of 2014. Given that the "quasi-maoist fuckers" that later became Quilombo had stormed the Holdout's meeting in spring 2013, close to a year before the attack in the bookfair, given that, as Quilombo, they'd stormed the Berkeley Study Group just prior to the bookfair, what made these self-styled anarchists follow in this succession of storming sessions by the "quasi-maoist fuckers" - and this several months after Lawrence Jarach's stupid 'burn black churches' comment? Probably these "anarchists" were ingratiating themselves with these shitheads, whose most prominent member was, according to Black Badger, a fundamentalist muslim. Quilombo's footsoldiers called themselves anarchists but anyone can call themselves an anarchist.... The point is that these "anarchists" were utterly submissive to the "quasi-maoist fuckers" and after doing their dirty work for them were discarded, their sell-by date usefulness having expired.

So, either anarchists, or people that said they were anarchists and were members of an anarchist social centre collective, but weren't really anarchists - this is all I've been saying for multiple comments while you've been calling me manipulative and a liar. It's a bit tiring frankly.

Nymphalis Antiopa
Jul 20 2019 04:21

MH:

Quote:
people that... were members of an anarchist social centre collective

No - they weren't. Quilombo had already existed since January 2014. The bookfair attack came a few months later. Quilombo were "quasi-maoist fuckers", not "an anarchist social centre collective".
"It's a bit tiring frankly" It's good of you to be frank for once, but I suggest you catch up on your sleep if you want to stop being tiring. Then maybe you could address the essential point of why I wrote up this stuff, which I repeat for the umpteenth time because you've never really addressed this:

Quote:
The essential point that MH makes in his OP - that in certain circumstances one can work with authoritarians - is illustrated precisely by this incident and by all the pathetic reactions to it - including Lawrence Jarach's desire to have a dialogue with people who'd physically attacked him and his stall ostensibly because of some idiotic off-the cuff-remark made several months before this attack. And this essential point is the one MH avoids talking about.

Nymphalis Antiopa
Jul 30 2019 06:54

Devrim:

Quote:
today’s new wave of internet Stalinists...[a]re pretty much a joke nowadays. They’re as marginal as any other tendency on the left.

- who are also largely a not very funny joke, including the so-called anti-authoritarian scene.
Besides, maoism and other forms of leninism are having a minor resurgence in the USA, and whilst they don't have tanks and are usually little respected, they can still demoralise or confuse various social movements (eg the maoists amongst antifa in the States).