State Socialist Anti-Communism

State Socialist Anti-Communism

Something of a reply to the essay by Michael Parenti, "Left Anti-Communism: The Unkindest Cut" and a retort to the tenancy of modern Stalinists to attack their left opponents by calling them "anti-communist". This article argues that state socialism as a project and ideology was/is effectively anti-communist.

In the 90s an article written by political scientist Michael Parenti was circulated. This article was an attempt to show that that the non-Stalinist left (Anarchists, Trotskyists, and pretty much any leftist critical of the Soviet Union) were essentially for a left wing version of anti-communism. This anti-communism was like right wing anti-communism in that it supposedly opposed the communist project and sought to prevent it from being realized. Unlike right wing anti-communism so called “Left Anti-Communism” cloaked it’s opposition to communism in a leftist ideological veil. An example of this Michael Parenti gives is professor Noam Chomsky who despite giving very open and cutting critiques of US empire and propaganda, none the less says that the fall of the Soviet Union was actually “the best thing that ever could have happened for socialism”. In his essay “The Soviet Union vs Socialism” Chomsky argues that the Soviet Union was an authoritarian regime that used the word “socialism” and the imagery associated with it to garner support from socialists and revolutionaries and thus to hide the fact that in actuality (according to Chomsky) it was really a repressive capitalist state that exploited workers through wage labor in place of private capitalists. Anarchists, since the Bolsheviks consolidated their rule after the Russian Revolution, have argued that the state socialist regime in Russia lacked the direct control of society by freely associated self-managing producers required for genuine socialism. Parenti attacks this view as left anti-communist as well.

So why are these two positions anti-communist? According to Parenti because they attack the communist project in practice. Parenti argues that state-socialist regimes like the Soviet Union were the real experiments in socialism and communist revolution. They were the result of the in practice application of the ideas of the communist and socialist movement. As such, by attacking the communist project’s realization in practice state socialism’s critics are effectively putting down the communist project and arguing against it, and just as well, working to undermine it. “The pure socialists regularly blame the Left itself for every defeat it suffers. Their second-guessing is endless. So we hear that revolutionary struggles fail because their leaders wait too long or act too soon, are too timid or too impulsive, too stubborn or too easily swayed. We hear that revolutionary leaders are compromising or adventuristic, bureaucratic or opportunistic, rigidly organized or insufficiently organized, undemocratic or failing to provide strong leadership. But always the leaders fail because they do not put their trust in the “direct actions” of the workers, who apparently would withstand and overcome every adversity if only given the kind of leadership available from the left critic’s own groupuscule. Unfortunately, the critics seem unable to apply their own leadership genius to producing a successful revolutionary movement in their own country.” -Parenti

Parenti, as you may have gathered by now, is a defender of state socialism. He sees the regimes of the USSR, China, Cuba, ect. as something close to models of how socialism and communism are really enacted. In a speech given after the Soviet Union’s collapse Parenti argued that despite having layers of sometimes repressive bureaucracy that limited economic efficiency, despite Stalin being a bit despotic, the Soviet Union implemented socialism for the first time on a mass scale and created a generally prosperous and humane society. Followers of the state socialist model today, or as they call themselves “Marxist-Leninists”, or sometimes “Maoists” depending on what traditions they particularly fallow, echo this criticism throughout time. Despite the collapse of the USSR and sweeping market reforms in China and Vietnam modern day state socialists will accuse leftists who are critical of certain regimes as fundamentally anti-communist, working against socialist and communist goals rather than toward them. These regimes include Cuba, North Korea, the Syrian Baath government, Iran, and sometimes even China, or the Russian Federation.

A particular brand of modern state socialist, Maoists, apply this principle to Stalinist guerrilla movements in the third world such as the Naxalites in India, the New People’s Army in the Philippines, the Shinning Path in Peru before it’s defeat by state forces, and sometimes the FARC in Columbia. In his reply to Left Communist working class historian Loren Goldner’s critical article on the Soviet Union, Mao’s China, and leftist support for Mao Maoist academic J. Moufawad-Paul calls on Loren’s publication, Insurgent Notes, to drop “insurgent” from it’s name. Moufawad-Paul argues that Maoists through their presence in the form of these aforementioned guerrilla groups are the people fighting for communism in modern times, by rejecting Maoism, Loren Goldner is in effect rejecting the communist movement itself. “Not so with Loren Goldner’s Notes Towards a Critique of Maoism which is not only insulting to maoists but also insults the intelligence of anyone who has bothered to critically investigate the history and theory of the communism that was influenced by the Chinese Revolution. And yet Insurgent Notes published this article that mocks the ideology of the only communist insurgencies that currently exist and have existed since the fall of the Soviet Union proving that it only cares about insurgency insofar as to denigrate actually existing revolution. Indeed, even Insurgent Notes’ general readership appears to wallow in the ignorance Goldner’s article promotes as evinced by many of the comments, all of which betray the same shallow understanding of the subject matter.”-J. Moufawad-Paul

So, how can I, a Libertarian Communist and someone who rejects state socialism respond to this claim? Well if we examine the actual facts of the legacy of state socialism we can formulate a response pretty easily, a response that shows that state socialism and it’s ideological support base are the real “left anti-communists”.

Defining Communism
If we are to determine who indeed is the real anti-communist we must have a working understanding of what communism is. Communism is a term that has it’s roots in the word “commune” carrying the meaning of “communal”. It was most famously used by Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels to describe their politics. Since the word “socialism” was at the time being used by all kinds of people who Marx and Engels disagreed with fundamentally such as Ferdinand Lassalle and Pierre Joseph Proudhon Marx and Engels adopted the word “communism” to differentiate the socialism which they believed in from the socialism of these others. Socialism is a term with the root word “social”, just as communism has “commune”. These are words that imply social interaction and collective living. Socialism in the tradition of the socialist movement always meant a society organized socially, that is cooperatively without social hierarchy, where production is the property of the whole society and is carried out to directly meet it’s needs. Communism means basically the same thing with it’s similar emphasis on “communal” ideas. After Marx and Engels picked up the term to describe their socialism Anarchists such as Peter Kropotkin, Errico Malatesta, Elise Reclus, and Rudolf Rocker would use “Anarchist Communism”, or “Libertarian Communism”, (a synonym for both these terms was “Libertarian” as used in early French Anarchist circles) to refer to the socialism they were for. They used the word “communism” to describe the practical implementation of a socialist society where social organization of society and production is carried out through the free cooperation of self-organized producers forming horizontal networks of administration and producing to meet the needs of each individual in society.

From this bit of etymology and this history of the usage of these terms by respective movements we can infer that communism means a freely, but cooperatively organized society without any form of exploitation, or domination, where production is owned and carried on by the whole society to meet the general needs of all individuals.

The Practice of State Socialism

Starting in Russia in 1905 a wave of working class upheaval swept over eastern and western Europe. This eventually culminated in February 1917 when the Russian workers overthrew the Czarist regime that ruled the Russian Empire and October 1917 where workers overthrow the liberal replacement regime headed by Alexander Kerensky which continued Russian participation in WW1 that produced revolutionary anger among the workers and peasants in the first place, and the workers took over Russian cities through the Bolshevik party. In the proceeding months and years the Bolshevik party would construct a new Russian state that it presided over, in conjunction with this it would set up an international of communist parties that aligned themselves with the Bolshevik regime. Once Stalin came to power through gaming the Soviet party bureaucracy’s murderous and repressive tenancies he solidified the state socialist regime in Russia. He carried out his rule through secret police terror on the population, he declared that the nationalization of production and land created socialism in the USSR, and carried out huge state directed industrialization and collectivization projects. Through the Comintern international set up by the Bolsheviks, international relations with other countries, and outright invasion of other Eastern European countries the Soviet Union exported it’s state socialism internationally to countries like China, Vietnam, Korea, Cuba, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and China. This launched an era of “socialist” states competing with capitalist states such as the US and the members of NATO for global hegemony.

These socialist states were not complete dystopian failures like the capitalist west painted them as in their media. They were quite successful in specific areas, specifically accomplishing the same urbanization, industrialization, and transforming of self-sufficient peasants into wage workers that western capitalism’s industrial revolution took many more decades to accomplish. On the front of repressiveness, these societies were bureaucratic police states. Stalin’s rule was probably the worst in any of these examples because he ruled Russia almost exclusively through the brutality of the secret police. After Stalin the Russian communist party resumed it’s function as the major authority in the socialist state (Stalin had circumvented it with his secret police terror), but the use of the secret police to keep people in line continued. These societies have been compared to Fascist regimes such as Italy under Mussolini and Germany under the Nazis. This even spawned a whole new theory of societies called “totalitarianism”. These sort of comparisons are often very misleading. The state socialist regimes were at least products of failed revolutions where the masses of people overthrew the existing state and ruling class, only for a small clique to take power, construct a new state, and solidify itself as the new ruling class. Fascist regimes were installed by moderate conservatives to protect the capitalist system from revolutionary movements and economic crises by killing and jailing all of it’s opponents.

So how did state socialism work? As previously stated these regimes came into being when there was a popular uprising that overthrew the old rulers and exploiters, typically semi-feudal empires(Russia, North Korea), nationalist warlord governments(China), or capitalist dictatorships backed by the west(Cuba, Vietnam). Once this was achieved a tiny group of bureaucrats, specifically within the communist party, appointed themselves the new ruling clique, set up their own state, and nationalized production to position themselves as the group with control over production – the ruling class.

As Anarchist Communists pointed out in almost a century of debate with Marxists; communism being a free society without class division and domination, could only be achieved through the action of the masses of oppressed and exploited people themselves. The state would have to be destroyed, and all ruling cliques and classes dethroned and replaced by collective popular power and administration. By consolidating themselves as the ruling class through setting up a new state that protected their power these revolutionary communists destroyed even the possibility of moving toward communism in the first place.

These regimes declared themselves “socialist” because they nationalized production and land, meaning they turned it over to the state. They claimed that communism would be reached at a later stage when socialist development was complete. “Real” socialism, as fought for by centuries of socialists meant that production and land be completely socialized becoming the property of all mankind, rather than just being handed over to the state. Socialism also isn’t possible without communism. If production is owned and controlled by the whole human race than it’s products must be distributed directly to satisfy their needs.

State socialist societies were organized first and for most, by the state. They were organized by the managerial bureaucracy within it, principally within the communist party. Since the state these bureaucrats ran owned all production they were the group with control over it. The vast majority of people owned no production and to get access to means of consumption and subsistence it produced had to work wage labor jobs for the state. What these workers produced above what they needed to survive was extracted by the managerial bureaucracy and used to develop the nation’s economy with part of it going to the bureaucrats subsistence. This is effectively the economic structure of capitalism. The only major differences are that what workers produce is reinvested into competing firms rather than the national economy and that the state owns production rather than private persons. However, the state firms that made up the state socialist economy competed with each other and capitalist property is not always the property of private individuals. State owned enterprises, or SOES have become a main fixture of the modern capitalist economy. An example would be postal services around the world, including the US Postal Service. State socialism was capitalism, developing state capitalism. State capitalism is a word Marx and Engels used to describe capital under state monopoly. Moreover because the state lead industrialization and collectivization was developing capital these societies were certainly not transitional to any kind of socialism, or communism.

State socialist governments were also quite fond of killing other communists. During the reign of the original Bolshevik party and government the Bolsheviks assassinated Mensheviks and Left Social Revolutionaries who campaigned for independent soviets and factory committees, and members of the Bolshevik party who disagreed with Bolshevik policy. Despite the fact that Russian Anarchists were largely friendly to the Bolshevik party (even at one point thinking that the Bolshevik “dictatorship of the proletariat” would advance the Anarchist idea of working class control of society) the Bolsheviks carried out Czarist like repression against them. Anarchists were disappeared, thrown in jail where they would often undergo hunger strikes for their rights, exiled, and murdered out right. Anarchist publications such as “The Voice of Labor” were also repressed and shut down.

The spread of the Russian revolution to Ukraine created a peasant and worker movement that aimed to destroy states and redistribute land for collective use. An Anarchist Communist named Nestor Makhno was freed from prison by the insurgency and would end up becoming it’s prime military leader uniting the insurgency militarily against the opposing counter-revolutionary forces of the white army. Originally the Bolsheviks, who were trying to include Ukraine in their sphere of influence by fighting nationalists and the whites, collaborated with Makhno and his insurgency. The insurgency being a movement of anti-state workers and peasants it eventually could no longer harmoniously cooperate with the Bolsheviks and their interest in conquering Ukraine, however, after the first alliance was broken unity between the Bolsheviks and Makhnovists against the whites once again became tactically advantageous. The Bolsheviks wanted to subsume Makhno and his forces under their command to eliminate him as a threat while still profiting from his military value. Makhno refused this and the Bolsheviks mercilessly crushed the Ukrainian insurgency. This involved a particularly brutal incident where Bolsheviks captured a Makhnovist unit, the Makhnovists laid down their weapons and the Bolsheviks mowed them all down with machine guns. Trotsky was quoted as saying that the Makhnovists needed to be “wiped off the face of the earth”.

Later when Stalin took the seat of power the late 1930s were dominated by a period called “the great purge”. Historian J. Arch Getty compares it to the witch trials of the 15th century. Countless members of the communist party were tortured, disappeared, executed, and jailed. Their family’s right to housing would often be revoked and they would often be exiled from their community. The original Bolsheviks left after the Russian Civil War were slaughtered by this process. High profile Bolshevik Leon Trotsky fled to Mexico and was assassinated. Albert Meltzer points out that unlike Trotsky who fled with fan fair and an entourage almost equally high profile Bolshevik Nikolai Bukharin was quietly charged and killed. When the Soviet Union broke with Yugoslavia the former carried out a similar anti-Yugoslav purge of Eastern European communist parties of Soviet satellites, and the latter did the same with an anti-Soviet purge of it’s ruling party.

At the end of a long a bitter struggle within the Chinese Communist Party the “revisionists” lead by Deng Xiaoping who favored market reforms over continued state lead industrialization defeated the “gang of four” composed of Mao Tse-Tung loyalists including his wife. They were purged and one; former general Lin Biao, suspiciously died in a plain crash. When Ho Chi Minh took power in North Vietnam to do it he slaughtered the mass popular Trotskyist movement. It’s members were disappeared and killed. The list of violent acts that state socialist regimes have committed against communists continues, on and on.

The Anti-Communism of State Socialism

Michael Parenti argues that opponents of state socialism are really just opponents of communism. I counter argue that proponents of state socialism are proponents of an anti-communist ideology which dolls itself up in red flags and socialist realist art. State socialism was not communism, or socialism put into action. It was counter-revolution that used words like socialism, Marxism, Leninism, communism, and anti-imperialism to ideologically mask societies that differed from the west only in their political form. “Marxism-Leninism”, the ideology of state socialism, is the ideology of developing state capitalist societies. Like all other capitalist societies their rulers have a fundamental interest in masking their rule and repressing efforts at creating a free society which meets human needs. G.P. Maximoff called this “power communism”. Today’s state socialists, when they complain about “left anti-communism” are really just pushing an anti-communist agenda, attacking the actual communist project in the favor of a red liberalism. Will the real communists please stand up!?

Bibliography:

What Was The USSR?, Aufheben

Loren Goldner on The Chinese Working Class and Global Crises July 2015

The Road to Terror: Stalin and the Self-Destruction of the Bolsheviks, 1932-1939, J. Arch Getty

Nestor Makhno: The Man and The Myth, Paul Averich

Nestor Makhno: Anarchy’s Cossack, Alexandre Skirda

My Further Disillusionment In Russia, Emma Goldman

And Now?, Ngo Van

Reflections on Anti-Communism, Ralph Miliband and Marcel Liebman

There Is No Communism In Russia, Emma Goldman

Bolshevism. It’s Class Character, Peter Arshinov

Sorghum and Steel: The Socialist Developmental regime and the Forging of China, Chuang

Communism and Anarchy, Peter Kropotkin

Anarchist Communism, Peter Kropotkin

Posted By

Ivysyn
Jul 1 2018 04:02

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  • Today’s state socialists, when they complain about “left anti-communism” are really just pushing an anti-communist agenda, attacking the actual communist project in the favor of a red liberalism

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Lucky Black Cat
Jul 3 2018 00:39

Thanks for this. I've heard the anti-communist accusation from a Stalinist YouTuber known for making slanderous, dishonest videos about anarchism, and I wanted to rip his fucking head off.

Black Badger
Jul 3 2018 03:38

Stalinists/Maoists/Guevarists/Hoxhaists (etc) use the smear "anti-communist" (probably should be spelled anti-Communist to indicate that what we oppose is Party Communism) in the hopes that nobody will actually look at the history and ideology of right-wing anti-Communism; if anyone bothered to learn why conservatives and reactionaries hate any form of socialism they'd learn rather quickly that anti-Communism coming from a left-wing/non-Party radicalism has virtually nothing in common with the sort that derives from the right. Conflating the two distinct strands is a typical Leninist tactic of sowing confusion in order to solidify the Party's vanguardist lock on the one true path. It is intellectually dishonest, to say the least. Parenti is so coy as to proclaim that there's no such thing as a Stalinist...

LeninistGirl
Jul 3 2018 03:42
Quote:
probably should be spelled anti-Communist to indicate that what we oppose is Party Communism
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Conflating the two distinct strands is a typical Leninist tactic of sowing confusion in order to solidify the Party's vanguardist lock on the one true path.

How do you define "Party Communism"? I think it would be odd to tie the concept of a party just to leninism since the conception of the party and political struggle is something that has been part of marxism since the manifesto. The difference in early Pannekoek, Kautsky and Lenin's conception of the party is negligible.

Reddebrek
Jul 3 2018 06:08

Eh, don't really agree, Marx spent more time in the Manifesto describing and supporting broad cross class coalitions which communists throughout Europe were involved in to some degree, then he did describing the organisation of the Communist league, which was still transitioning from a secret society.

For a Manifesto its main statement was less `take out a membership subscription!` and more `agree with our analysis, and ignore our competitors`

I mean at the same time the manifesto was published Engels was taking part in the liberal Constitutional revolt of Baden, that's not exactly what comes to mind when I think of party communism.

The insistence on the need for a party to be so central to the revolution came out of Marx's move towards Social Democracy later in life. Between the manifesto and the launching of German social democracy Marx spent many years working in projects like the International which wasn't a party in any conceivable measure, and he became enthusiastic about the Paris Commune. There's actually a strong correlation that the insistence on a strong party structure came out of Marx's failures with these other ventures.

If anything Party Communism has its roots in Blanqui, since you know he was the main and earliest proponents of a party dictatorship -though his party was more like a cross with a secret society- after an armed insurrection as the only way to Communism.

Black Badger
Jul 3 2018 06:51
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How do you define "Party Communism"?

Party Communism is the theory and practice of Marxism and its various derivatives (with or without Leninism). It can be characterized by a hierarchical decision-making process within the party as well as in government policy should the party (with or without alliances and/or fronts) achieve state power. It could just as easily be called "Establishment Communism" or "Establishment Marxism" or "Establishment Leftism" since the formations I have in mind have all been affiliated with the Second, Second and a Half, Third, and Fourth Internationals (and even some minor sect/splits that weren't/aren't would still qualify). I call it Party Communism because I'm confident that most of the people who frequent this website are sympathetic to communism but not the statist variety. I agree that promoting a party has been part of Marxism from the beginning; I wasn't denying that, but objecting to the ways statist communists mischaracterize the critiques of anarchists and others with similar non-party principles as having anything in common with those of conservatives and reactionaries. Do you have a better or clearer way of expressing the phenomenon I'm describing?

LeninistGirl
Jul 4 2018 09:38
Quote:
The insistence on the need for a party to be so central to the revolution came out of Marx's move towards Social Democracy later in life. Between the manifesto and the launching of German social democracy Marx spent many years working in projects like the International which wasn't a party in any conceivable measure, and he became enthusiastic about the Paris Commune. There's actually a strong correlation that the insistence on a strong party structure came out of Marx's failures with these other ventures.

I think that is to turn history the wrong way around. Neither Marx nor Engels were enthusiastic about the Paris Commune before it happened because everyone knew that it was an insurrection doomed to fail. As Karl Marx once said, twenty years before, "The defensive is the death of every armed rising". But Marx and Engels knew that once it was going on, there was no point in not defending it.

The international itself was not a party of course but it had parties connected to it and its main purpose was, according to Engels, organize political struggle internationally.

Quote:
If anything Party Communism has its roots in Blanqui, since you know he was the main and earliest proponents of a party dictatorship -though his party was more like a cross with a secret society- after an armed insurrection as the only way to Communism.

I again think this is turning history on the wrong side. If anything the move towards social democracy and "party communism" was a move away from blanquism and the idea that an armed insurrection itself would suffice for a revolution. See the often misconstrued preface for Class Struggle in France 1848-1850 by Engels.

Mike Harman
Jul 4 2018 11:19
lvysn wrote:
“Marxist-Leninists”, or sometimes “Maoists” depending on what traditions they particularly fallow, echo this criticism throughout time. Despite the collapse of the USSR and sweeping market reforms in China and Vietnam modern day state socialists will accuse leftists who are critical of certain regimes as fundamentally anti-communist, working against socialist and communist goals rather than toward them. These regimes include Cuba, North Korea, the Syrian Baath government, Iran, and sometimes even China, or the Russian Federation.

I came across Ajit Singh recently, who still argues China is socialist. Here's him doing so for Telesur, he's also written for Monthly Review: https://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/China-A-Revolutionary-Present-20171004-0015.html).

However would think even most US Maoists would not say China is socialist, and Maoist reading groups in China have been arrested by the Chinese state recently:

http://chinaworker.info/en/2018/02/10/16980/.

Thing is when Maoists say China isn't socialist, it's similar to people who think the UK was socialist in 1950 and is neoliberal now because they'll defend China up until 1978 or whenever, but it helps to explain why the MLs and Maoists hate each other too. Most of the worst offenders for supporting the worst possible regimes with a red flag (or not even with a red flag) are associated with the campist Marcyite parties, the WWP and PSL, which came out of a pro-USSR split from the American SWP over Hungary 1956 .

Haven't read much Parenti apart from one or two articles, but what he seems to be mainly pushing is geopolitical campism - i.e. supporting any state which is against 'US Imperialism', see for example his defence of Milosevic here: http://www.michaelparenti.org/Milosevic.html going as far as to form the Slobodan Milosevic International Committee. http://milosevic.co/about-us/

Once you get to support for Assad, Milosevic etc. it's not support for 'really existing socialism' in any sense of the word any more, it more towards unipolar vs. multipolar world territory where they'll justify repression of even Leninist or Maoist groups in their favourite countries, purely because their presence might affect geopolitical balance.

For an example of supporting repression against Marxist-Leninists: the WWP and PSL both supported Mengistu for a couple of decades. This means not only supporting state socialism in the abstract, but also Mengistu when he massacred members of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party which was mainly comprised of Marxist Leninist students: https://libcom.org/library/democracia-exposes-socialism-social-imperialism

A Russian Revolution version would be Miasnikov who stayed in the Bolsheviks the whole time, arguing against Lenin et all, until he was arrested and exiled. Or with the Black Panther Party (Huey Newton was definitely influenced by Maoism), Russell Shoatz and Lorenzo Kom'Boa Ervin (and many others) who continued to develop their politics following its collapse.

Somehow it would be good to find a way to differentiate between people who joined historical movements which were Marxist Leninist or Maoist (because it was what was available to them and similar), but may or may not have developed their politics further depending on circumstances or ended up clashing against the party/state due to concrete conditions, and the bizarre sects and academics/journos who justify massacres via crude geopolitical realpolitik, often of those same people, smear them as NATO-backed Nazis etc.

Reddebrek
Jul 5 2018 06:15
LeninistGirl wrote:

I think that is to turn history the wrong way around. Neither Marx nor Engels were enthusiastic about the Paris Commune before it happened because everyone knew that it was an insurrection doomed to fail. As Karl Marx once said, twenty years before, "The defensive is the death of every armed rising". But Marx and Engels knew that once it was going on, there was no point in not defending it.

I think that is to turn history around, of course Marx wasn't enthusiastic about the Commune before it happened, it took him by surprise, just like everyone else because it was spontaneous event. He denounced the workers of Paris for wanting to overthrow the military dictatorship that replaced Napoleon III cronies. Its incredibly disingenuous to pretend he was talking about a Commune in 1870.

You are aware that there were multiple Communal uprisings throughout France after what happened in Paris, and that the Communards launched offensives against Versailles right? The initial revolt on Montmartre was defensive because its was sparked by the French army launching a surprise raid there. After Paris had fallen they were very proactive, they went back on the defensive after their offensives were defeated. They didn't choose to sit back and let themselves be besieged by choice,, they were defeated in the field and had to regroup.

Even during the defensive phase the Communards launched multiple assaults to drive back the Versailles army, some which were successful.

Quote:
The international itself was not a party of course but it had parties connected to it and its main purpose was, according to Engels, organize political struggle internationally.

Ok, again you're turning history around, Engels and Marx did not become the dominant personalities of the international until after it had expelled all the rival voices within it just before it collapsed. So Engels is not really an authority here, at best that's the International from 73-76, when it consisted almost exclusively of Marx and Engels followers.

It also contained many groups and personalities that were not parties in any sense of word, some were Unions, Co-ops, or associations and networks of people. So to characterise it as an international of parties is simply false.

Quote:
I again think this is turning history on the wrong side. If anything the move towards social democracy and "party communism" was a move away from blanquism and the idea that an armed insurrection itself would suffice for a revolution. See the often misconstrued preface for Class Struggle in France 1848-1850 by Engels.

I wasn't actually joining Marx and Blanqui there for what its worth just pointing out that he was the earliest advocate of party communism but...

You may wish to familiarise yourself with Blanqui if you think "an armed insurrection itself would suffice for a revolution" is an accurate description of his ideas. Because he actually believed that only a disciplined vanguard party led by a dedicated leadership was the only way to lead the working class to establish the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.

He was extremely critical of insurrection for its own sake, even most of his practical texts on street fighting are full of criticism of the lack of leadership shown by spontaneous uprisings. The idea that he was just a Puschist, was just a lazy hack job by a number of Marxists decades later, they did the same with Bakunin and Leon.

Since you brought up Class Struggles in France I'm guessing your familiar with Riazanov. https://www.marxists.org/archive/riazanov/1928/xx/blanqui.htm

That is a terrible piece, motivated by politics, it barely mentions Blanqui except to call him a Putschist and to refer to Dictatorship of the Proletariat as just an editorial phrase, when it wasn't, it was Blanqui's core concept and key to his whole political project.

It also bizarrely for an article called "Marx relations with Blanqui" stops at 1848 when the two continued to have a relationship at least until the 1860s. Blanqui actually joined the First International, and was at its first meeting, he was the most well known of the Communists there.