Monday, February 15, 2010

Spartacist (ICL) Theory of Anarchism

The International Communist League, represented in (english) Canada as the Spartacist League, have a theory of anarchism emerging specifically as a result of the "low tide" or "movement interregnum" that followed the last cycle of struggle. In other words, in pissing-contest fashion, the line is put forth that because the left is weak, well-intentioned people are drawn towards anarchism. (In so doing, they seem to draw on Lenin's accusation that "Anarchism was not infrequently a kind of penalty for the opportunist sins of the working-class movement.")

For instance:
The emergence of anarchism as a prevalent ideology among radicalized youth today is a reflection of what we Marxists understand as a global retrogression in political consciousness following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991-92 and the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet degenerated workers state and the deformed workers states of East Europe.

Yippedy doo daa!

The implication being that a strong and vibrant left would see the decline of anarchist ideology.

Now i'm not an anarchist, nor am i a Trotskyist, so in the pissing-contest sense of this discussion i can say "i don't have a dog in that fight." But as a member of the radical left, as a post-anarchist leftist, i am interested in what evidence supports or contradicts this theory.

Ideas, anyone?


  1. Anarchism is not an ideology based in models of revolution established by long-dead Europeans... I choose to call myself an "anarchist" because it is a dynamic tendency which is based in the conditions which I am in.

  2. Marxism and Anarchism aren't really that fundamentally different as far as I see, the primary difference being that Anarchist thought contains within an evaluation of the relations between state and citizen about as thorough and critical as Marx's analysis of class relations which is sorely lacking in Marxist thought. I would argue from this that Anarchist are simply a bit further to the left than Marxists.

    The Spartacist accusations against anarchism as having anything to do with bourgeois liberalism sounds like little more than ad-hominem in analytical language, as Anarchism was just as much a proletarian movement as Marxism, if not moreso due to Anarchists' upholding of the working class' ability to know its own interests and manage its own affairs without the advent of dictation from a ruling body over all aspects of society. In fact, from the historical evidence, Marxists have much more in common with bourgeois liberalism, as Lenin, in The State and Revolution, distanced his movement from accusations of anarchism made by liberals, presenting Marxist revolution as a kind of middle ground between the two, and as nearly every Marxist-Leninist gov't has reverted to varying degrees back into capitalism, many currently through so-called "market reforms", not to mention the fact that the state bureaucrats in most of these state wind up expropriating large portions of wealth unto themselves, living like the bourgeois they overthrew.