Anti-national not international - London - 1.7.2010

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Jun 9 2010 15:18
Anti-national not international - London - 1.7.2010

7pm, Conwall Hall (Club Room) 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL

Critique of nationalism is nothing unheard of on the Left and among Marxists and Anarchists. However, for many radical critics of the nation, it is merely a smoke screen that distracts the working class from its own interests. We argue that this theory does not capture the essence of nationalism and fails to explain why it is so appealing to so many people. On the contrary, we will argue that the process of people (as citizens) learning to appreciate the nation-state is based on their private interests (as bourgeois) – and therefore how the material basis of a capitalist society invites people to make the national cause their personal cause. All this does not diminish the fact that nationalism is an ideology of fundamental sacrifice and that the abolishment of capitalism must not be international but anti-national. The reality of the nation calls for its abolishment not its acceptance.

This, we would like to discuss. All welcome.

The Wine & Cheese Appreciation Society of Greater London
http://www.junge-linke.org/en

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Jun 9 2010 20:03

This sounds very interesting indeed.

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Jun 10 2010 21:15

Maybe I've missed something or am just a bit slow on the uptake, but could I be enlightened as to who Junge Linke (Young Left) are, and what is this group/network's background. I note they seem to originate in Germany. I also think the London group should be called Cheese and Wine or has something got lost in translation, or am I just missing something again?

Wellclose Square
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Jun 10 2010 22:51
playinghob wrote:
Maybe I've missed something or am just a bit slow on the uptake, but could I be enlightened as to who Junge Linke (Young Left) are, and what is this group/network's background. I note they seem to originate in Germany. I also think the London group should be called Cheese and Wine or has something got lost in translation, or am I just missing something again?

Following on from that question, is anti-nationalism in this context comparable to the anti-national situationism emanating from Scandinavia? (Sorry, too lazy to google it at the moment, so any ready 'explanations' welcome).

Klaus
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Jun 11 2010 12:50

playinghob wrote:

Quote:
Maybe I've missed something or am just a bit slow on the uptake, but could I be enlightened as to who Junge Linke (Young Left) are, and what is this group/network's background. I note they seem to originate in Germany. I also think the London group should be called Cheese and Wine or has something got lost in translation, or am I just missing something again?

This might answer your question: http://www.junge-linke.org/en/about-us

Wellclose Square wrote:

Quote:
Following on from that question, is anti-nationalism in this context comparable to the anti-national situationism emanating from Scandinavia? (Sorry, too lazy to google it at the moment, so any ready 'explanations' welcome).

There's an article on the website which develops the critique of nationalism: http://www.junge-linke.org/en/why-anti-national which was also posted to libcom: http://libcom.org/forums/theory/why-anti-national-09062010

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Jun 11 2010 13:42
Quote:
The reality of the nation calls for its abolishment not its acceptance.

etymology aside, hasn't internationalism always meant 'the workers have no country'?

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Jun 11 2010 14:38

I agree with JK - that is the definition of internationalism that we should stand by. Of course, the term, like most, is open to abuse - Tony Blair is a well known internationalist because he supports military intervention with good intentions, as are all the elftists who support national liberation ovements....

We had a similar discussion about this with the CNT/AIT in France - many of them seem to argue that we should use the term 'a-nationalism' because 'inter-nationalism' accepts the national framework. If it came to a choice between a-nationalism and anti-nationalism I would go for anti-nationalism but internationalism has a whole history, a bit like the word communism...

Klaus
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Jun 16 2010 20:33

Hi,

I wouldn't say that internationalism has always meant that workers have no country or that this is understood by most today. The title "anti-national not international" is meant to express our dissent with people who accept and/or appreciate nations as part of some international framework.

We don't want to say that any self description as "internationalist" implies that the speaker is a nationalist simply by using the word "internationalism". If you understand internationalism as a critique of nationhood then I think a discussion about using that word would mainly have to deal with the question of clarity of expression etc. I wouldn't say this discussion is very important right now.

It seems we do agree on rejection of nationalism. I'd assume we don't necessarily agree on the theoretical foundations of this rejection (?)

mciver
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Jun 22 2010 08:03

To WineandCheese

That 'workers have no country' was an ambivalent and confusing assertion in Marx and Engels. By insisting that the working class should aim to achieve political (ie, state) power, they stood by national defence. That's what 'internationalism' came to mean, the survival of a nation state through a system of state federation. This theory and practice simply assumed that the affirmation of the working class at the helm of the state would somehow lead to communism. That the law of value would continue to operate and dominate in this 'transition' was cast aside, as an irrelevancy. Labour power would remain a cost of production. The 'workers republic' was this utopian, and state capitalist, orientation.

Thus by 'internationalism' Marxists of most hues in the late 19C and post-1917, meant the militant, and even military, extension of this module, the 'labour republic'. It was to be a state-national unit linked by alliances and solidarity to other national units, all 'led by the working class'. For the purpose of this argument, such a state could be a new 'semi-state' like the Paris Commune, or a labour republic with an elected (parliamentary) working class party at its helm, or, as the Bolsheviks practiced in 1917, a revamped imperial state led by themselves with democratic mass organs from civil society as their constituency. But this labour republic would still be a state managing expanded reproduction, and dealing in world trade. Even the eagerly anticipated 'civil war' would be a form of world trade, and quite profitable for some as the Civil War in Bolshevik Russia showed.

None of this originated in a conspiracy, and the critique of nationalism you outline seems fresh and relevant. Your planned public discussion in July is important and should be interesting. Perhaps more historical background would strengthen the argument.

Of course your 'anti-nationalism' is also very interesting indeed to apparatchiks who will no doubt attend, to support 'internationalism', ie, state capitalism, but under the stern and distrusful gaze of the workers' councils. Something like the law of value under 'workers' control'. The reactionary utopia survives in these quarters.

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Jun 22 2010 11:28
klaus wrote:
We don't want to say that any self description as "internationalist" implies that the speaker is a nationalist simply by using the word "internationalism". If you understand internationalism as a critique of nationhood then I think a discussion about using that word would mainly have to deal with the question of clarity of expression etc. I wouldn't say this discussion is very important right now.

agreed, certainly Trots describe supporting national liberation as 'international solidarity' (i.e. solidarity between national entities), and 'anti-nationalism' is clearly distinguished from that. etymologically it's clearer, but it lacks the history. whether that's important isn't really the important debate right now, i agree; the substance of the critique is more important than the semantics of it.

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Jun 23 2010 09:04

I agree that the term is more exacting but lacks history. That's probably not in itself enough to not use it if it helps to clarify things. There is another term that has some pedigree, but which isn't really used in English, anationalism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anationalism

Of course from the position of the early 21st century, the Esperanto movement may look a bit quaint, but in the early 20th century it was pretty seriously related to the socialist and anarchist movements, with some sections in Germany having literally thousands of members, and figures such as Connolly advocating its use. In any case, I think it might be worth pilfering the term.

Angelus Novus
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Jun 23 2010 16:03
playinghob wrote:
Maybe I've missed something or am just a bit slow on the uptake, but could I be enlightened as to who Junge Linke (Young Left) are, and what is this group/network's background.

Split some years ago from a larger grouping called Jungdemokraten/Junge Linke, which itself was a fusion of a former East German youth group and the former youth group of the liberal party in West Germany.

These days seem to be in terms of substantive positions very close to the journal Gegenstandpunkt (whose English-language supporters post here under the name Ruthless Criticism). It's not entirely clear why JL maintains a separate organizational structure from the "offical" Gegenstandpunkt groups, despite near unanimous agreement on almost all questions.

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Jun 23 2010 18:23

Thankyou Angelus

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Jul 1 2010 09:24

Anyone else going to this? Miles and I intend to.

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Jul 2 2010 08:40

Went to this with Miles and it turned out OK. Good to meet the ‘Wine and Cheese’ people in the flesh. It was attended by A from the old Wildcat group, AB and another from the SPGB, some people who seemed to be close to the Wine and Cheese appreciators, and a few others. A very long introduction with two speakers (Klaus in the pub afterwards seemed to agree that it could have been around half an hour shorter) outlining the group’s explanation of how nationalist ideology is connected to capitalist social relations and the capitalist state. This summarised the views expressed in the Kitten article mentioned in this thread.
I could agree with most of what was presented. They certainly see communism as a society without nations. What the presentations seemed to lack was a historical view – showing that nationalism is a specific product of the rise of capitalism out of feudalism and has not always been such a key element of the dominant ideology – and, perhaps more crucially, a standpoint on the class struggle, since the explanation for nationalism focused almost entirely on the atomised individual who is subjected to it and did not put forward the idea that coherent opposition to nationalist ideology is made possible by the existence of a class whose interests are fundamentally antagonistic to all national divisions. In other words, where does ‘anti-national’ or internationalist (there was actually no discussion about terminology) consciousness come from?
Most of the discussion centred round differing views of the class struggle and class consciousness. Miles and myself, as well as A, argued that class consciousness can only come (ultimately) from the class struggle. We looked at concrete examples where workers in struggle, even when strongly dominated by nationalist ideology at the beginning, as in the oil refinery strikes, have begun to call nationalism into question, even if this consciousness develops in a very uneven way. The Wine and Cheesists - whose views kind of coincided with the SPGB on this point – seem to downplay the defensive struggle and make a strong separation between just fighting for immediate demands and actually rejecting the whole system, and seem to see the views we were putting forward as implying that wage struggles ‘automatically’ generate revolutionary struggle (which was not what we were saying).
We adjourned to the pub where I learned more about the origins of the Junge Linke group from which Wine and Cheesery derives. I found that we had a major difference on the Stalinist regimes – they don’t see them as capitalist because of the absence of internal competition, which seems to be a strange concession to looking at things from the national rather than the global framework – but agreed that we did have quite a bit in common and should continue the discussion.

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Jul 2 2010 09:53

yes, young and able

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Jul 3 2010 00:38
Alf wrote:
I found that we had a major difference on the Stalinist regimes – they don’t see them as capitalist because of the absence of internal competition, which seems to be a strange concession to looking at things from the national rather than the global framework

I hope that's a misunderstanding. I think that they actually do agree with Lenin that post-revolutionary Russia was capitalist, both from an internal (e.g. money) or an external (e.g.foreign trade) perspective.

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Jul 4 2010 13:02
xurbanpiratedreamerx wrote:
Are they quite young then? Seems to me they are peddling a bit of a patchwork ideology.

Patchwork? No. Sui generis? Yes.

As I stated on another thread, the whole Gegenstandpunkt/JL school of thought is entirely self-contained. It can't really be slotted into the continuity of "libertarian", "left communist" or "council communist", etc. Obviously because of their complete rejection of the state and nationalism there are going to be certain homologies of position between them and the sort of traditions represented on Libcom (or at least they're more likely to find a receptive audience for their ideas here than on a forum with a more orthodox Marxist/Leninist pedigree), but they also have positions that most people on Libcom would initially probably find quite strange, such as their rejection of "freedom" (which they regard as an uninhibited execution of individual will).

Again, the only continuity they lay claim to is with Marx and with the official thinkers of their own group(s).

Noah Rodman wrote:
I hope that's a misunderstanding. I think that they actually do agree with Lenin that post-revolutionary Russia was capitalist, both from an internal (e.g. money) or an external (e.g.foreign trade) perspective.

It would be interesting if you could actually provide a link supporting your "hope". Most of the documents I've encountered from this tradition have refrained from scholastically applying any sort of label to the Eastern Bloc societies, other than to analyze them in terms of not being communist nor capitalist.

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Jul 4 2010 17:01

You're correct (see, http://www.ruthlesscriticism.com/Soviet_Union.htm :

Quote:
This is also certain evidence of the fact that the Soviet economy has nothing to do either with planning or with capitalism.

)

Obviously I couldn't do justice to the positions of both Alf or 'wine and cheesery' on the nature of the soviet bloc based on just these few words. Maybe I should add that I do tend to agree with Alf that wine and cheesery is a bit too slow on seeing the nature of the soviet bloc. But to be fair to wine and cheesery (and their larger group), at http://www.gegenstandpunkt.com/english/USSR/USSR-contents.html (in the second chapter) you see them take the proper stance on the Stalinist regimes based on the aforementioned 'global framework'

Quote:
This desire also commands only as much respect as there is a concrete threat of war behind it. The CP has reacted to this — by ordering its military to make a sizable supply of means of power available for every kind of constructive intervention in the sovereign U.N. members’ constant harassment of each other.

Thus, the CP itself does everything to fully develop its power for world peace into another standpoint within the imperialist competition of states and make its state indistinguishable from the venerable imperialist powers.

mciver
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Jul 4 2010 20:06

When did Lenin claim that 'post-revolutionary Russia' was capitalist? Rodman's assertion about Lenin is unfounded.

Lenin used various categories at different times to describe sectors of the economy 'under soviet rule'. But defining the early SFSR (not 'Russia', which Rodman adopts, in Stalinist fashion) as 'capitalist' would have been unthinkable for propaganda and theoretical reasons. For example, it would have been absurd for Lenin and the Bolshevik party-state to describe 'Russia' as 'capitalist' during War Communism. Even after NEP, Vesenkha retained control of the 'commanding heights' of the economy, including the monopoly of foreign trade. To Lenin these 'heights' (mostly related to heavy industry) were funded and activated by state planning and thus didn't easily submit to market pressures. In the minds of the leading Bolsheviks, these sectors -- by definition under proletarian control -- would NOT have been 'capitalist'. To Lenin, capitalist survivals existed in the rural economy and even 'state capitalism' in joint state enterprises of the NEP. I'm not saying that Lenin and the leading Bolsheviks were lying, only that their categories excluded the concept of 'capitalism' to describe the core statified economy they had taken over, and were trying to steer away from the legacy of Tsarism and the short-lived Provisional Government.

In 1935 Paul Mattick made the interesting observation that Between Lenin and the Social Democracy there were no differences so far as concerned socialist construction and its organisational problems. The only difference had reference to the manner in which control over production was to be acquired: by parliamentary or by revolutionary means. The possession of political power, the control over the complete monopoly, were in both conceptions a sufficient solution of the problem of socialist economy: For this reason also Lenin is not alarmed at the prospect of state capitalism, against the opponents of which he says at the Eleventh Party Congress of the Bolsheviks: 'State capitalism is that form of capitalism which we shall be in a position to restrict, to establish its limits; this capitalism is bound up with the State, and the State – that is the workers, the most advanced part of the workers, the vanguard, is us. And it is we on whom the nature of this state capitalism will depend.'

While for Otto Bauer the proletarian revolution depended alone on the attitude of the class-conscious, organised workers, on the political will (which from a single glance at the social-democratic organisation, by which its members were completely dominated, practically meant that it depended on Otto Bauer & Company), so here for Lenin the fate of the state capitalism depends on the attitude of the party, which in turn is determined by the bureaucracy, and the whole of history is again the history of the magnanimity, the selflessness and the gallantry of a group of people who are trained in these virtues by the most supremely virtuous. (Mattick, in http://www.marxists.org/archive/mattick-paul/1935/luxemburg-lenin.htm

Lenin didn't define the post-revolutionary SFSR or the later USSR as 'capitalist', certainly not before 1921, but as Mattick points out, he wasn't afraid of 'state capitalism', as long as he and his Bolsheviks had state control. In essence, this is the same position as the ICC's reactionary utopia of 'the period of transition'. Claiming to be 'against substitutionism', the ICC simply replaces the 'workers' councils' for 'the party', as the managers of a toothless state and of a world-wide state capitalist federation. No doubt even trade unions will have their rightful place in this 'transition'. The differences with Wine & Cheese are probably quite deep and unexplored, something that Alf's cheesy report doesn't hint at.

There is nothing scholastic in trying to analyse any part of the planet's economies, using Marx's categories. Those areas that pretended to have flown away from valorisation, like the 'Eastern Bloc societies', especially the USSR (and even more importantly, evidently, the DDR), deserve the minute attention of critics and researchers. They will use different methodologies, categories, prejudices and agendas, that's fine and inevitable. But it should be said that claims of unique and exceptional national paths should attract exceptional attention as well, if only to expose hidden assumptions. For example, Grossman's analysis of the capitalist breakdown excluded the Eastern Bloc societies. Obviously their inclusion wouldn't have gone down well in his adopted Fatherland. But this could be an example of angelic, anti-scholastic thinking. The fact that Grossman was an unrepentant and despicable Stalinist, and an adopted Pan-German patriot, may not have anything to do with this rather extensive exclusion (more than a sixth of the planet, and if China was included vastly more). But on the other hand, it just might.

On a different tone, what's so relevant about the purported 'youth' and 'ability' of Wine & Cheese? (are they cherubic and able gourmands?), and why is there a need for an apparat to submit a 'report' on the attendees to a public meeting? I would have thought that ideas are what matters, leave out the fake camaraderie and gossipy drivel.

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Jul 5 2010 11:04
Mattick wrote:
Between Lenin and the Social Democracy there were no differences so far as concerned socialist construction and its organisational problems.

Nor between Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin; http://libcom.org/library/trotsky-left-opposition-rise-stalinism-theory-practice-john-eric-marot

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Jul 5 2010 11:33
Quote:
When did Lenin claim that 'post-revolutionary Russia' was capitalist? Rodman's assertion about Lenin is unfounded.

Just to be clear, I agree with Angelus Novus that the position of wine and cheese is much more refined than simply labeling soviet Russia 'capitalist'.

Quote:
To Lenin, capitalist survivals existed in the rural economy and even 'state capitalism' in joint state enterprises of the NEP. I'm not saying that Lenin and the leading Bolsheviks were lying, only that their categories excluded the concept of 'capitalism' to describe the core statified economy they had taken over, and were trying to steer away from the legacy of Tsarism and the short-lived Provisional Government.

OK, but the point is that Lenin openly admitted that Russia was not socialist, at most Russia could attain state capitalism, so in Lenin's mind Russia was not even at that level yet. Feudal survivals existed in the rural economy, so that's another reason why it's imprecise to call soviet Russia 'capitalist'.

mciver
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Jul 5 2010 23:58
Quote:
Mattick wrote:
Between Lenin and the Social Democracy there were no differences so far as concerned socialist construction and its organisational problems.
Nor between Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin; http://libcom.org/library/trotsky-left-opposition-rise-stalinism-theory-practice-john-eric-marot

Agree with Ret Marut's point. The regressive experiment of Bolshevism can only implode in its surviving rackets, like Trotskyism. Marot's essay is an excellent reminder of the apologetic nature of Trotskyism. In my opinion the organisations of 'left communism' today deserve a similar critique. Regardless of their intentions, Munis, Damen and Chirik, to name their more notorious founders, added their own cosmetic repairs to a rotten and collapsing edifice. These sects didn't evolve like Trotskyism, but what sterilised them was their apologetic loyalty to a criminal historical tradition.

mciver
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Jul 6 2010 07:14

On Noa Rodman's post 22

Quote:
When did Lenin claim that 'post-revolutionary Russia' was capitalist? Rodman's assertion about Lenin is unfounded.
Just to be clear, I agree with Angelus Novus that the position of wine and cheese is much more refined than simply labeling soviet Russia 'capitalist'.

You asserted that Lenin claimed that 'Russia' was 'capitalist', but you did not back this up with any quote from Lenin. You avoid admitting your sloppy approach to historical fact by diverting to what Angelus Novus said about the refinements of Wine & Cheese, which doesn't clarify anything.

Neither does what you reply to me after:

Quote:
To Lenin, capitalist survivals existed in the rural economy and even 'state capitalism' in joint state enterprises of the NEP. I'm not saying that Lenin and the leading Bolsheviks were lying, only that their categories excluded the concept of 'capitalism' to describe the core statified economy they had taken over, and were trying to steer away from the legacy of Tsarism and the short-lived Provisional Government.

OK, but the point is that Lenin openly admitted that Russia was not socialist, at most Russia could attain state capitalism, so in Lenin's mind Russia was not even at that level yet. Feudal survivals existed in the rural economy, so that's another reason why it's imprecise to call soviet Russia 'capitalist'.

Now you still insist that Lenin said that 'Russia' was 'capitalist', but not openly, when Lenin 'openly admitted that Russia [sic] was not socialist' but again you offer no evidence that he said this.

The Chairman of Sovnarkom said many things at different times but to him, the Soviet republics, and the RSFSR as the largest among them, were most certainly engaged in the building of socialism. Otherwise why did his Party take power? 'Socialism was soviet power plus electrification of the whole country' said Lenin in 1920. As a fanatical believer of the 'labour republic' led by a 'communist vanguard', the building of a national socialism was obligatory and imperative to his Party and government, even if this beginning couldn't be completed without the assistance of fraternal labour republics, which is what 'the world revolution' was for.

Even Lenin's late and delusional definition of the Bolshevik state as a 'proletarian state with bureaucratic deformations' invests a relentless 'socialist' character to his regime. As the Mattick quote implies, the promise of 'socialism' or 'communism' resided, for Lenin, in the fact that his Party held power in the 'soviet federation', and not in any 'socialist economic policy'. If politics was concentrated economics, for Lenin and the Bolsheviks 'socialism' resided in their totalitarian control over the civil society they had subdued. So yes, in this sense, 'Russia' as you call it, was 'soviet' or 'socialist' according to Lenin. That's what those federated republics were called, socialist, not only soviet.

The idea that Lenin thought that 'state capitalism' was 'the most' 'Russia' could attain is ignorant and false. There is no evidence he thought in this way, as he was improvising for survival and, to my knowledge, he never described the nationalised state industries under GOELRO, for example, as 'state capitalist'. But this is not a discussion for this thread.

The idea that 'Russia' had 'feudal survivals' in 1917 has been refuted many times. Obviously you aren't aware of the vast literature on the subject, including the writings by Marx and Engels on social relations in the Tsarist empire in the 1880s and 90s. 'Oriental' or 'asiatic' despotism' as a category was used effectively by them, as later by Plekhanov, Pokrovsky, Wittfogel and other Soviet historians in the late 20s (Leningrad discussions). The Engelsian-Stalinist scheme of 'primitive communism, slavery, feudalism and capitalism' didn't fit the reality of the Tsarist empire. But then that is another thread.

Better to try some good wine and cheese now!

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Jul 6 2010 01:09
Quote:
The idea that 'Russia' had 'feudal survivals' in 1917 has been refuted many times. Obviously you aren't aware of the vast literature on the subject, including the writings by Marx and Engels on social relations in the Tsarist empire in the 1880s and 90s. 'Oriental' or 'asiatic' despotism' as a category was used effectively by them, as later by Plekhanov, Pokrovsky, Wittfogel and other Soviet historians in the late 20s (Leningrad discussions).

I stand corrected, indeed the rural economy was not feudal.

As for Lenin openly admitting that Russia was not socialist, I'm relying on this text:

Lenin wrote:
Can the Soviet state and the dictatorship of the proletariat be combined with state capitalism? Are they compatible?

Of course they are. This is exactly what I argued in May 1918. I hope I had proved it then. I had also proved that state capitalism is a step forward compared with the small proprietor (both small-patriarchal and petty-bourgeois) element. Those who compare state capitalism only with socialism commit a host of mistakes, for in the present political and economic circumstances it is essential to compare state capitalism also with petty-bourgeois production.

The whole problem—in theoretical and practical terms—is to find the correct methods of directing the development of capitalism (which is to some extent and for some time inevitable) into the channels of state capitalism, and to determine how we are to hedge it about with conditions to ensure its transformation into socialism in the near future.

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Jul 6 2010 06:06
jacobian wrote:
I agree that the term is more exacting but lacks history. That's probably not in itself enough to not use it if it helps to clarify things. There is another term that has some pedigree, but which isn't really used in English, anationalism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anationalism

Of course from the position of the early 21st century, the Esperanto movement may look a bit quaint, but in the early 20th century it was pretty seriously related to the socialist and anarchist movements, with some sections in Germany having literally thousands of members, and figures such as Connolly advocating its use. In any case, I think it might be worth pilfering the term.

I'll add a bit on this.*

The "World Anational Association" (Sennacieca Asocio Tutmonda, SAT), the esperanto labor organization, was founded in 1921, and avoided having national sections, arguing that, since Esperanto permitted workers to communicate directly with each other, national sections were unnecessary in an Esperanto workers' organization. Some would eventually argue that national organizations were also reactionary, etc., and that leaving translation and international work to functionaries helped leave the door open to bureaucratization and the domination of opportunists. Although the organization tried to maintain itself as a non-sectarian home for Esperanto-speaking socialists, whether Anarchist, Social Democratic, or Stalinist, the forceful rejection of nationalism came under increasing attack by the Stalin regime as "opportunist" and "reactionary". A brief example of the 'cosmopolitan' path of SAT: Eugène Lanti, the first secretary of SAT and one of the main theorists of "anationalism", used the term "red fascism" in 1934 to describe the USSR, and so may have been one of the first to do so.

Generally speaking, what is important in the Esperanto movement is completely unimportant, but it is still worth pointing out that SAT was not a small affinity group of eccentric workers speaking a made-up langage - in the late 1920s it had several thousand individual members and was larger than the supposedly neutral global esperanto organization.

Wikipedia wrote:
Anationalism (Esperanto: sennaciismo) is a term originating from the community of Esperanto speakers. It denotes cosmopolitan political concepts that combine some or all of the following tendencies and ideas:

* radical antinationalism,
* universalism,
* "one-world-ism",
* acceptance of the historic trend toward linguistic homogenization on a world scale, and in some cases even a striving to accelerate that trend,
* the necessity of political education and organization of the world proletariat in accordance with those ideas, and
* the utility of Esperanto as an instrument of such political education.
[...]
The following quotation from [La Manifesto de la Sennaciistoj], which provides for a more precise understanding of the new doctrine, was denounced in its time by Stalinist internationalists [as opposed to 'anationalists'] for clearly contradicting the then prevailing theory of "construction of socialism in one country": "The anationalists combat all that is national: national languages and cultures, national customs and traditions. For them, Esperanto is their primary language and they consider national languages to be merely auxiliary. They refuse to participate in any national struggle and they acknowledge as necessary and advantageous to the exploited class only class struggle that seeks to eliminate classes, nationalities and all forms of exploitation."

*I didn't expect anyone to have already pointed out the Esperanto concept of anationalism. What a pleasant surprise!

mciver
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Jul 6 2010 20:03

On Noa Rodman's post 25

The link below is quite an objective historical account of the Bolsheviks' advocacy for state capitalism 'under the dictatorship of the proletariat' (ie, themselves). Basically this remains the position of today's left communists plus their hangers on. It's an apology for the universalisation of state capitalism, but under 'workers' control' (meaning their 'world party' or a mythical global 'workers' councils' overseeing a 'transition state', the ICC's own innovation). This apocalyptic view expands on the Bolshevik/Left SR idea of a 'world revolution', with its invigorating world civil war, ie, 1917-28 Mark II. It's also a Jacobin and Bonapartist conception, and it's underpinned by a militarist view of 'communism'. It's not even an 'affirmation of the proletariat' (something inherent to advocating state capitalism) but of a benevolent general staff managing a revolutionary war economy. It does have commonalities with dystopian science fiction.

Because it's an ideology, ie, a partial sham, this left communist view isn't fully aware of what it says and stands for. Thus the alienated and totalitarian 'life of the militant' implicit in these rackets, and the latent violence they are prepared to lash out against perceived 'enemies'. This latency remains, even if nowadays, in these anonymous and virtual interactions, things seem to have turned out well, replaced by a smarmy and patronising tolerance. An ambiance where 'parasites' go unmentioned, and the family recruiting continues, but hopefully more demurely, with less grand mals.

I can't follow why you label yourself a 'left communist' or 'communist', knowing full well that the communist Lenin had virtually no idea of the difference between socialism and state capitalism. In regards to 'sui generis' interpretations of the 'Eastern Bloc societies', history didn't start in May 1945, the Red Army in the smouldering Berlin didn't originate only after Barbarossa, but went back to that state capitalism you have correctly traced to 1918-onwards, in the communist Lenin, the regent of the Tsarist empire.

The essay unfortunately seems to lack footnotes, though they are numbered in the text.

http://wspus.org/in-depth/russia-lenin-and-state-capitalism/