Clio warns us ???

By Owen Paine on Thursday December 22, 2011 12:05 PM

maybe this is an example to ponder in the wake of the Occs
and the no election strategy urged upon them by the confederacy of black-farts :

story fragment from 1870's spain as told by statist tyrant in waiting fred engels

the black flock view de jour :

"political action of any kind implied recognition of the State,
which was the root of all evil, and that therefore
participation in any form of elections was a crime..."

but an election was near the baby republic teetering in its cradle

what is to be done can the circle be squared ???

from a report of the times cited by citizen E :

" the (black seal )International, as an association, should not engage in any political activity whatever, but that its members, as individuals, could act on their own as they thought fit and join the party they chose, in accordance with the.... doctrine of autonomy..."

outcome ?

"...most of the members of the International, including the anarchists, took part in the elections with no programme, no banner, and no candidates, thereby helping to bring about the election of almost exclusively bourgeois republicans. Only two or three workers got into the Chamber, and they represent absolutely nothing, their voice has not once been raised in defence of the interests of our class, and they cheerfully voted for all the reactionary motions tabled by the majority."

E comments
"At quiet times, when the proletariat knows beforehand that at best it can get only a few representatives to parliament and have no chance whatever of winning a parliamentary majority, the workers may sometimes be made to believe that it is a great revolutionary action to sit out the elections at home, and in general, not to attack the State in which they live and which oppresses them, but to attack the State as such which exists nowhere and which accordingly cannot defend itself. This is a splendid way of behaving in a revolutionary manner, especially for people who lose heart easily; "

sound like agit prop not first draft of history well go read up on it then !
start here maybe:

Comments (11)

Al Schumann:

Historical parallels are difficult, but in modern times the role of the notionally Bakuninist factions is played by the likes of MoveOn, Kos, United for Peace and Justice inter alia, whose first move in every popular struggle is to drive as many people as they can into feckless, depoliticized accommodation with entrenched bourgeois hacks. The high church version of their willful fecklessness, that coy non-resistant apolitical futility strategy, is one of Zizek's performance art tropes. They make an appeal to individualist moral vanity, by playing on the clerks' fear of being besmirched by association with uncool clerks.

Those are also the groups attempting to use working class organization as a bludgeon with which to beat the bourgeois into better behavior. The net result of their strategy is neutered, hopeless unions; top heavy with miserable assholes whose specialty is making bad investments with pension funds.

That's really shoehorning a "parallel," Al. I don't expect Bakunin to get any love from aging MLs, but his impact on his own times is overstated, and those who did take some inspiration from "his" wing of the International were hardly accomadationist.

Anyway, I know you're not really doing the Bethune-Paine-Dawson "all anarchists are bourgeois enemies of the vanguard" vaudeville review show, but it's impossible to overstate how little like the IWA affiliated anarchists the capitalist liberal Kosniks, MoveOn progressives and degraded trade unions really are...

Al Schumann:

I think you've misread me, Jack. I tried for careful phrasing; hence, notionally Bakuninist. Some of the factions were anarchist, many more were fronts for liberal stooges. The canton atomization they insisted on was anything but anarchist. It was the liberal means of making sure the popular insurrection would be unable to coordinate a defense. Ironically, Francisco Pi y Margall—described by Engels as a socialist—was a mutualist who did everything he could to coordinate an effective resistance against the bourgeois backlash. So it wasn't a case of socialists versus anarchists. It was liberals versus anarchists and socialists.

The parallel is imprecise, but there's enough similarity that I stand by my comment.

Do you have historical examples, Al?

When I read through my Bakuninist literature, most of it strictly pedagogical or historical, the emphasis shifts to Italy, Spain, the Pale and Switzerland, where Bakunin operated more as a eudaemonic voice, than any kind of faction leader. And in those extremities of Europe, the anarchists with which I'm familiar were almost invariably involved in organization, collectivization, unionization and the wider work of the socialist experiment.

I'm not really sure to whom you refer, when you treat with liberals as "notionally" Bakuninist.

The Italians, Spaniards, Swiss, Poles and Russians through whom Bakunin's thought weaves as a connective thread (and perhaps this even includes Malatesta and Rocker, in the next generation) were hardly liberal compromisers.

Maybe I don't have the ML and Maoist doctrinal bias, but it's not really an onus that can be laid at Bakunin's feet at all. The liberal "anarchists" were almost entirely students of Proudhon, who never managed to take his first good step and do anything productive with it. Or, off the continent, they were British smallholders, and American Spoonerists who cannot really be included within a Bakuninist ontological category without ignoring what Bakunin actually thought, or wrote.* The Proudhonists, especially, were the actual internal liberal adversaries of the IWA program, and the socialist project in general, since they (following the lead of their prophet) never managed to overcome the problem or logic of accumulation and re-capitalization implicit in Proudhon's ill conceived system.

* - not that Bakunin was a coherent, comprehensive systematizer; he wasn't, which is both a virtue, and his abiding flaw.

Al Schumann:

I'm ready to give up. The entire point I've been trying to make is that no onus can be laid at Bakunin's feet.

To hell with this.

I get that you're not blaming Bakunin, Al. I just don't know to whom you specifically refer - as in persons or factions - who were "notionally Bakuninist." I'm trying to understand who they are. It was perhaps a too-long digression, above, but I was trying to explain that my knowledge of people who were broadly Bakuninists puts them at the periphery of Europe, and not really at the center of the German and French IWA struggles.


crow the bakuninists were quite strong in spain

i think engels was well prepared to bloc with mutualists
willing to become chief's of state in a pinch
and willing to profer serious reforms
both to peasants and artisans
and without attempting to freeze out
the small but concentrated wage class elements

as for the label he attaches to PI y Pi
one needs to recognize as i'm certain you do Al
that the word socialist had no charisma for fred
note the wonderful list of socialisms in the manifesto

the rejectionists might will be considered
stooges of the liberal bourgoise

"all anarchists are bourgeois enemies of the vanguard"

"..enemies of the vanguard ..." nonsense !
of course not
they are individualists ultimately
capable on a practical level
of fellow travel
as well as opposition

fred's point is
we oughta focus on struggling effectively
against the existing state

not getting drunk and useless
rampaging against a conjuring demon
the moby dick white whale generality
called THE STATE

look the actions of the international's bakunin ite wing in spain is part of the record now

fred's thesis is simple enough

the policy of political disengagement
untenable as a mass line
and the follow up tactic of
the general strike
ineffective as a mass weapon


i just read jarvis tyner and yes there is an obvious limit to self concealed tailing

reading his weeezings on the "ultra right" menace
hell his crowd hardly needs move on
or tom hayden
or any dembo cut outfits
to keep him "in dembo harness"

seems the jarvster
would unite
with any one
prolly even romney
to stop them there
ultra rightist demagogues
whippin' up
the tea bagger moral majority
spread eagle whiteface enrage geritol pack

that is if romney isn't a mormon robot
shirt dummy
70's game show host
trojan horse
concealing secret
ultra right cadre in his big hair

It's just silly to call effective organization and resistance "political disengagement," on account of a refusal to engage in useless electoralism. That narrows the political to a contest for symbols, and the field of action to he most compromised, and compromisable, arena imaginable.



read about it

the no participation in elections line was

the organized force leaning against an organized electoral action by a wage class centered org
-- the workers wanted to vote ---

the general strikes were ineffective and the attempts at armed struggle equally ineffective
organized ??
but to no success

net impact of the anarchists on this spanish interval

negative !!!

the result the republic failed to sustain itself
the spanish working class remained at cross purposes

which is not to claim no social function
for black cubes

i have a post on that in the oven

don't waste your time trying to make me your enemy
i'm not

i find you useful and endearing
in a fuzzy hand biting way
that is after putting aside
your north of manchester
baron munchausen bad boy varient
' boy burglah ' and onanist-fantast jean genet

the only feature of leon t's i find engaging
is his desire to be big tent about
'possible blocs'
i think that goes well as part of
a certain sociopathic
" potentially you all can be my instruments "
take on one's comrades



the naked " useless electoralism" pronouncement
is a joke and i suspect you realize that

that conclusion to be a mass line
requires reproving in each context
that is if you plan to struggle against
any real state in any real conjuncture
by mobilizing the multitude max

the point of my post
was to trigger a discussion
of this mass line
specifically vis a vis
the present concrete ensemble of orgs movements and state systems
especially the state systems
you know starting with the one in washington
we face here in amerika right now

i think btw
fuck washington might make sense
but opportunities exist at "state " level
if co ordinated with direct anti corporate actions

to evoke the anarcho noodlenik universal
dogmatic anathema
on any and all...across the board
"state structured " struggles
like elections and petitions and demonstrations
needs some back up here my friend

so make your case specifically
you lazy old mountain goat

we all want to win something here and now ...
don't we ???

one thing about "us" leninists

"we" have won a few rounds over the years ??

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