I just came across a document on the website of the Socialist Workers Party(UK) called The Two Souls of Socialism by a guy called Hal Draper. The section that caught my eye was, predictably, the chapter entitled “The Myth Of Anarchist ‘Libertarianism‘” which is, again predictably, a hatchet job of Anarchism.
The short chapter concentrates almost entirely on Proudhon and some of his rather obscene notions. They claim that Anarchism, and by extension Anarchists, are inspired by the same undemocratic ideals as Fascism. The piece however has absolutely no footnotes to refer the reader to sources. Understandably as the SWP have no desire for their sheep, sorry party members to read on differing political ideas. He also makes the mistake that many do in thinking that, as Marxists do, we (Anarchists) hold particualr theorists up as above reproach. Proudhon was an anti-semite sexist yes but he wrote some interesting things on the notions of private property. We can take this and discard the rest.
Anarchist thought evolves over time and we take that which we think is relevant to the struggle for Communism whilst discarding that which has no place in the struggle such as vanguardist parties who want to rule the working class rather than liberate them.
The author of the piece has either no understanding of Anarchism or a need to discredit it out of fear that people would not ascribe to his own dying ideology. I think that it is the latter rather than the former.
As ever with trot hatchet jobs he only touches on Individualist Anarchism and ignores the dominant strain of Anarchist-Communism. Understandably as any mention of this would destroy all the points he raises in his article.
Since the collapse of state socialism and widespread public knowledge of the horrors of state-capitalist countries such as the former USSR and the People’s Republic of China has led to their theories looking even more absurd than they did two decades ago.
Despite cynical attempts to hijack any form of mass movement that has developed they still hemorrhage members, have lost their printing press and can barely keep their head above water.
They, the SWP, are still however the largest organized group on the left which is an unfortunate situation for the left as a whole. Mostly though the reasons for the SWP’s large membership is that they will sign anybody up to their organization regardless of their political opinions. They are also the most visible group and hold regular paper sales and stalls in town and city centres.
This is something that we as Anarchists should work on, increasing our visibility on the streets. Almost every Anarchist I know is active in some form or another, whether it is workplace organization or community work. We need to be explicit about all the successful campaigns we have organized and victories we have won, the Anti Poll Tax campaign was an Anarchist initiative ffs!
The trots and their fellow travellers are more than happy to claim responsibility for any success regardless the actual level of their involvement, or whether they were involved at all!!
A comrade of mine attended a meeting a few months back where various voices of the Socialist groups claimed responsibility for the mobilizations against the G8 in 2005 as well as the anti-deportation work in Glasgow. The most successful campaign being that of the Unity centre, an Anarchist project, also ignoring the massively effective blockades of the summit itself, organized by Anarchists.
This instilled in us the need to make Anarchism more visible, to crow about our successes and stop the Trots from claiming our work as their own.
Anarchist Communism or Death Comrades.