File: append31.txt

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anarchism 9.5-1
  • links: PTS
  • area: main
  • in suites: woody
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  • ctags: 493
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Appendix -- Anarchism and Marxism

* Reply to errors and distortions in David McNally's pamphlet
  _Socialism from Below_

	1.  Introduction 
	2.  Is anarchism the politics of the "small property owner"?
	3.  Does anarchism "glorify values from the past"?
	4.  Why are McNally's comments on Proudhon a distortion 
	    of his ideas?
	5.  Why are McNally's comments on Bakunin a distortion 
	    of his ideas?
	6.  Are the "quirks of personality" of Proudhon and Bakunin listed 
	    by McNally actually rooted "in the very nature of anarchist
	    doctrine"?
	7.  Are anarchists against democracy?
	8.  Are Leninists in favour of democracy?
	9.  Why is McNally wrong on the relation of syndicalism 
	    to anarchism?
	10. Do syndicalists reject working class political action?
	11. Why is McNally's claim that Leninism supports the principle
          of working class self-emancipation is wrong?
	12. Why is Marxist "class analysis" of anarchism contradictory?
	13. If Marxism is "socialism from below," why do anarchists reject
          it?
	14. Why is McNally's use of the term "socialism from below"  
    	    dishonest?

		****************************

* Reply to errors and distortions in David McNally's pamphlet
  _Socialism from Below_.

1. Introduction 

In chapter three of his pamphlet _Socialism from Below_, David 
McNally decides to expose (what he calls) "The Myth Of Anarchist 
Libertarianism." In reality, his account is so distorted and, 
indeed, dishonest that all it proves is that Marxists will go 
to extreme lengths to attack anarchist ideas. As Brain Morris
points out, defending the Leninist tradition and ideology "implies
. . . a compulsive need to rubbish anarchism." [_Ecology &
Anarchism_, p. 128] McNally's pamphlet is a classic example of
this. As we will prove, his "case" is a mish-mash of illogical
assertions, lies and, when facts do appear, their use is simply
a means of painting a false picture of reality. 

He begins by noting that "Anarchism is often considered to represent 
[a] current of radical thought that is truly democratic and libertarian. 
It is hailed in some quarters as the only true political philosophy 
[of] freedom." Needless to say, he thinks that the "reality is quite
different." He argues that "[f]rom its inception anarchism has 
been a profoundly anti-democratic doctrine. Indeed the two most 
important founders of anarchism, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Michael 
Bakunin, developed theories that were elitist and authoritarian to 
the core." We will discover the truth of this assertion later. 
However, we must note that McNally uses the typical Marxist approach
to attacking anarchism -- namely to attack anarchists rather than
anarchism as such. Indeed, he lamely notes that "[w]hile later 
anarchists may have abandoned some of the excesses' of their 
founding fathers their philosophy remains hostile to ideas of 
mass democracy and workers' power." Thus, we have the acknowledgement
that not all anarchists share the same ideas and that anarchist
theory has developed since 1876 (the year of Bakunin's death).
This is to be expected as anarchists are not Proudhonists or
Bakuninists -- we do not name ourselves after one person,
rather we take what is useful from libertarian writers and
ignore the rubbish. In Malatesta's words, "[w]e follow ideas 
and not men, and rebel against this habit of embodying a principle
in a man." [_Life and Ideas_, p. 199] However, this is beside the 
point as McNally's account of the anarchism of Proudhon and Bakunin 
is simply false -- indeed, so false as to make you wonder if
he is simply incompetent as a scholar or seeks to present a
patchwork of lies as fact and "theory."

2. Is anarchism the politics of the "small property owner"?

McNally does start out by acknowledging that "anarchism developed 
in opposition to the growth of capitalist society. What's more, 
anarchist hostility to capitalism centred on defence of the 
liberty of the individual." However, he then distorts this actual
historical development by arguing that "the liberty defended by 
the anarchists was not the freedom of the working class to make 
collectively a new society. Rather, anarchism defended the freedom 
of the small property owner -- the shopkeeper, artisan and tradesman --
against the encroachments of large-scale capitalist enterprise."

Such a position is, to say the least, a total distortion of the
facts of the situation. Proudhon, for example, addressed himself
to both the peasant/artisan and the proletariat. He argued in _What 
is Property?_ that he "preach[ed] emancipation to the proletaires; 
association to the labourers." [p. 137] Thus Proudhon addressed
himself to both the peasant/artisan and the "working class" 
(i.e. wage slaves). This is to be expected from a *libertarian* 
form of socialism as, at the time of his writing, the majority
of working people *were* peasants and artisans . Indeed, this
predominance of artisan/peasant workers in the French economy
lasted until the turn of the century. Not to take into account
the artisan/peasant would have meant the dictatorship of a
minority of working people over the rest of them. Given that 
in chapter 4 of his pamphlet McNally states that Marxism aims for 
a "democratic and collective society . . . based upon the fullest 
possible political democracy" his attack on Proudhon's concern 
for the artisan and peasant is doubly strange. Either you support 
the "fullest possible political democracy" (and so your theory 
must take into account artisans and peasants) or you restrict 
political democracy and replace it with rule by the few.

Thus Proudhon *did* support the "the freedom of the working class 
to make collectively a new society." His ideas were aimed at both
artisan/peasant and proletarian. Moreover, this position was a
distinctly sensible and radical position to take:

"While Marx was correct in predicting the eventual predominance
of the industrial proletariat vis-a-vis skilled workers, such
predominance was neither obvious nor a foregone conclusion in
France during the nineteenth century. The absolute number of
small industries even increased during most of the century. . .

Nor does Marx seem to have been correct concerning the 
revolutionary nature of the industrial proletariat. It has
become a cliche of French labour history that during the
nineteenth century artisans were much oftener radical than
industrial workers. Some of the most militant action of 
workers in late nineteenth century France seems to have
emerged from the co-operation of skilled, urbanised
artisanal workers with less highly skilled and less
urbanised industrial workers." [K. Steven Vincent,
_Prerre-Joseph Proudhon and the Rise of French
Republican Socialism_, pp. 282-3]

The fruits of this union included the Paris Commune (an event
both McNally and Marx praise -- see section 12 for more discussion
on this). In addition, as we will see, Proudhon's proposals for
a mutualist society included workers self-management and collective
ownership of large scale workplaces as well as artisan and peasant 
production. This proposal existed *explicitly* for the proletariat, 
for wage slaves, and *explicitly* aimed to end wage labour and 
replace it by association and self-management (Proudhon stated that
he aimed for "the complete emancipation of the worker . . . the
abolition of the wage worker." [quoted by Vincent, Op. Cit., p. 222]). 
Thus, rather than being backward looking and aimed at the artisan/peasant, 
Proudhon's ideas looked to the present (and so the future) and to both 
the artisan/peasant *and* proletariat (i.e. to the *whole* of the
working class in France at the time). 

In the words of Gustav Landauer, Proudhon's "socialism . . . of the 
years 1848 to 1851 was the socialism of the French people in the 
years 1848 to 1851. It was the socialism that was possible and 
necessary at that moment. Proudhon was not a Utopian and a 
prophet; not a Fourier and not a Marx. He was a man of action 
and realisation." [_For Socialism_, p. 108] Vincent makes the
same point, arguing that Proudhon's "social theories may not be
reduced to a socialism for only the peasant class, nor was it
a socialism only for the petite bourgeois; it was a socialism
of and for French workers. And in the nineteenth century . . .
most French workers were still artisans. . . French labour
ideology largely resulted from the real social experiences and
aspirations of skilled workers . . . Proudhon's thought was
rooted in the same fundamental reality, and therefore 
understandably shared many of the same hopes and ideals." 
[Op. Cit., pp. 5-6] It is no coincidence, therefore, that 
when he was elected to the French Parliament in 1848 most 
of the votes cast for him were from "working class districts 
of Paris -- a fact which stands in contrast to the claims of 
some Marxists, who have said he was representative only of the 
petite bourgeoisie." [Robert L. Hoffman, quoted by Robert Graham, 
"Introduction", P-J Proudhon, _General Idea 
of the Revolution_, p. xv]

Given that his proposals were aimed at the whole working class,
it is unsurprising that Proudhon saw social change as coming 
from "below" by the collective action of the working class:

"If you possess social science, you know that the problem of 
association consists in organising . . . the producers, and 
by this organisation subjecting capital and subordinating 
power. Such is the war that you have to sustain: a war of 
labour against capital; a war of liberty against authority; 
a war of the producer against the non-producer; a war of 
equality against privilege . . . to conduct the war to a 
successful conclusion, . . . it is of no use to change 
the holders of power or introduce some variation into 
its workings: an agricultural and industrial combination 
must be found by means of which power, today the ruler of 
society, shall become its slave." [_System of Economical
Contradictions_, pp. 397-8]

In the same work he continues his discussion of proletarian
self-organisation as the means of social change:

"Thus power [i.e. the state] . . . finds itself inevitably 
enchained to capital and directed against the proletariat. . . 
The problem before the labouring classes, then, consists, 
not in capturing, but in subduing both power and monopoly, 
-- that is, in generating from the bowels of the people, 
from the depths of labour, a greater authority, a more 
potent fact, which shall envelop capital and the State 
and subjugate them. Every proposition of reform which 
does not satisfy this condition is simply one scourge 
more . . .  which threatens the proletariat." [Op. Cit.,
p. 399]

Little wonder Proudhon saw the validity of his mutualist
vision from the self-activity of French workers (see
section A.1.5 for details). Where Proudhon differs from
later anarchists like Bakunin, Kropotkin, Malatesta and 
Goldman is that this self-activity is reformist in nature,
that is seeking alternatives to capitalism which can 
reform it away rather than alternatives that can fight 
and destroy it. Thus Proudhon places his ideas firmly in
the actions of working people resisting wage slavery
(i.e. the proletariat, *not* the "small property owner").

Similarly with Bakunin. He argued that "revolution is only
sincere, honest and real in the hands of the masses" and so
socialism can be achieved "by the development and organisation,
not of the political but of the social (and, by consequence,
anti-political) power of the working masses . . . . organise[d]
and federate[d] spontaneously, freely, from the bottom up,
by their own momentum according to their real interest, but
never according to any plan laid down in advance and imposed
upon the *ignorant masses* by some superior intellects." Such
a socialist society would be based on "the collective ownership
of producers' associations, freely organised and federated
in the communes, and by the equally spontaneous federation
of these communes." Thus "the land, the instruments of work
and all other capital [will] become the collective property
of the whole of society and be utilised only by the workers,
in other words by the agricultural and industrial associations."
And the means to this socialist society? Trade unionism 
("the complete solidarity of individuals, sections and 
federations in the economic struggle of the workers of 
all countries against their exploiters.") [_Michael Bakunin:
Selected Writings_, p. 237, pp. 197-8, p. 197, p. 174 and
p. 177] Indeed, he considered trade unions (organised from
the bottom up, of course) as "the natural organisation of
the masses" and thought that "workers' solidarity in their
struggle against the bosses . . . [by] *trades-unions, 
organisation, and the federation of resistance funds*"
was the means by which workers could emancipate itself
"*through practical action.*" [_The Basic Bakunin_, p. 139
and p. 103]

And McNally asserts that "the liberty defended by the anarchists 
was not the freedom of the working class to make collectively a 
new society"! Only someone ignorant of anarchist theory or with a
desire to deceive could make such an assertion.

Needless to say, McNally's claim that anarchism is the politics
of the "small property owner" would be even harder to justify if 
he mentioned Kropotkin's *communist* anarchism. However, like 
Proudhon's and Bakunin's support for collective ownership by 
workers associations it goes unmentioned -- for obvious reasons.

3. Does anarchism "glorify values from the past"?

McNally continues. He asserts, regardless of the facts, that anarchism 
"represented the anguished cry of the small property owner against 
the inevitable advance of capitalism. For that reason, it glorified 
values from the past: individual property, the patriarchal family, 
racism." 

Firstly, we should note that unlike Marx, anarchists did not think
that capitalism was inevitable or an essential phase society had
to go through before we could reach a free society. They did not 
share Marx's viewpoint that socialism (and the struggle for socialism)
had to be postponed until capitalism had developed sufficiently
so that the "centralisation of the means of production and the
socialisation [sic!] of labour reach a point at which they become
incompatible with their capitalist integument." [Karl Marx, 
_Capital_, vol. 1, p. 929] As McNally states, socialism was once
the "banner under which millions of working people resisted the 
horrors of the factory system and demanded a new society of 
equality, justice, freedom and prosperity." Unfortunately, the
Marxist tradition viewed such horrors as essential, unavoidable
and inevitable and any form of working class struggle -- such
as the Luddites -- which resisted the development of capitalism
was denounced. So much for Marxism being in favour of working
class "self-emancipation" -- if working class resistance
to oppression and exploitation which does not fit into its
scheme for "working class self-emancipation" then it is the
product of ignorance or non-working class influences.

Thus, rather than representing "the anguished cry of the small 
property owner against the inevitable advance of capitalism" 
anarchism is rather the cry of the oppressed against capitalism
and the desire to create a free society in the here and now and
not some time in the future. To quote Landauer again:

"Karl Marx and his successors thought they could make no
worse accusation against the greatest of all socialists,
Proudhon, than to call him a petit-bourgeois and petit-peasant
socialist, which was neither incorrect nor insulting, since
Proudhon showed splendidly to the people of his nation and
his time, predominately small farmers and craftsmen, how
they could achieve socialism immediately without waiting
for the tidy process of big capitalism." [Op. Cit., p. 61]

Thus McNally confuses a desire to achieve socialism with
backward looking opposition to capitalism. As we will see,
Proudhon looked at the current state of society, not
backwards, as McNally suggests, and his theory reflected
both artisan/peasant interests and those of wage slaves
-- as would be expected from a socialist aiming to
transform his society to a free one. The disastrous 
results of Bolshevik rule in Russia should indicate
the dangers of ignoring the vast bulk of a nation (i.e.
the peasants) when trying to create a revolutionary
change in society.

Secondly, it is not really true that Proudhon or Bakunin
"glorified" "individual property" as such. Proudhon 
argued that "property is theft" and that "property is
despotism." He was well aware of the negative side
effects of individual property. Rather he wanted to
abolish property and replace it with possession. We
doubt that McNally wants to socialise *all* "property"
(including individual possessions and such like). We 
are sure that he, like Marx and Engels, wants to retain 
individual possessions in a socialist society. Thus 
they state that the "distinguishing feature of 
Communism is not the abolition of property generally, 
but the abolition of bourgeois property" and that 
"Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate 
the products of society; all that it does is to deprive 
him of the power to subjugate the labour of others by 
means of such appropriation." [_The Manifesto of the 
Communist Party_, p.47 and p. 49] Later Marx argued
that the Paris Commune "wanted to make individual
property a truth by transforming the means of production, 
land and capital . . . into mere instruments of free and 
associated labour." [_Selected Writings_, pp. 290-1] 

Thus support for "individual property" is not confined
to Proudhon (and we must note that Proudhon desired to
turn capital over to associated labour as well -- see
section A.5.1 for Proudhon's influence in the economic
measures made during the Commune to create co-operatives).

Indeed, initially Marx had nothing but praise for Proudhon's 
critique of Property contained in his classic work _What is 
Property?_:

"Not only does Proudhon write in the interest of the 
proletarians he is himself a proletarian, an ouvrier. 
His work is a scientific manifesto of the French 
proletariat." [quoted by Rudolf Rocker, _Marx and
Anarchism_]

As Rocker argues, Marx changed his tune simply to 
"conceal from everyone just what he owed to Proudhon 
and any means to that end was admissible." This can
be seen from the comments we quote above which clearly
show a Proudhonian influence in their recognition that
possession replaces property in a socialist society
and that associated labour is its economic basis. However,
it is still significant that Proudhon's analysis 
initially provoked such praise by Marx -- an analysis
which McNally obviously does not understand.

It is true that Proudhon did oppose the socialisation
of artisan and peasant workplaces. He considered having
control over the means of production, housing, etc. by
those who use it as a key means of maintaining freedom
and independence. However, Proudhon also called for 
"democratically organised workers' associations" to 
run large-scale industry in his 1848 Election Manifesto. 
[_No Gods, No Masters_, vol. 1, p. 62] This aspect of his
ideas is continual throughout his political works and
played a central role in his social theory. Thus to say 
that Proudhon "glorified" "individual property" distorts
his position. And as the experience of workers under
Lenin indicates, collective ownership by the state 
does not end wage labour, exploitation and oppression.
Proudhon's arguments in favour of possession and
against capitalist *and* state ownership were proven
right by Bolshevik Russia -- state ownership did lead to 
"more wage slavery." [Ibid.] As the forced collectivisation
of the peasantry under Stalin shows, Proudhon's respect 
for artisan/peasant possessions was very sensible and 
humane position to take. Unless McNally supports the 
forced collectivisation of peasants and artisans, Proudhon's 
solution is one of the few positions a socialist can take. 

Moving on from Proudhon, we discover even less support
for "individual property." Bakunin, for example, was 
totally in favour of collective property and opposed
individual property in the means of life. As he put it,
"the land, the instruments of work and all other capital
[will] become the collective property of society and
by utilised only by the workers, in other words by the
agricultural and industrial associations." [_Michael
Bakunin: Selected Writings_, p. 174] With regards
to peasants and artisans Bakunin desired *voluntary* 
collectivisation. "In a free community," he argued, 
"collectivism can only come about through the pressure 
of circumstances, not by imposition from above but by 
a free spontaneous movement from below." [_Bakunin 
on Anarchism_, p. 200]). Thus, rather than being
a defender of "individual property" Bakunin was in
fact a supporter of *collective* property (as organised
in workers' associations and communes) and supported
peasant and artisan property only in the sense of being
against forced collectivisation (which would result
in "propelling [the peasants] into the camp of reaction."
[Op. Cit., p. 197]).

Hence Daniel Guerin's comments:

"Proudhon and Bakunin were 'collectivists,' which is to
say they declared themselves without equivocation in favour 
of the common exploitation, not by the State but by
associated workers of the large-scale means of production
and of the public services. Proudhon has been quite
wrongly presented as an exclusive enthusiast of private
property. . . At the Bale congress [of the First International]
in 1869, Bakunin . . . all[ied] himself with the statist 
Marxists . . . to ensure the triumph of the principle of
collective property." ["From Proudhon to Bakunin", _The
Radical Papers_, Dimitrios I. Roussopoulos (ed.), p.32]

Similarly, while it is true that Proudhon *did* glorify the 
patriarchal family, the same cannot be said of Bakunin. Unlike
Proudhon, Bakunin argued that "[e]qual rights must belong to
both men and women," that women must "become independent
and free to forge their own way of life" and that "[o]nly
when private property and the State will have been 
abolished will the authoritarian juridical family 
disappear." He opposed the "absolute domination of the
man" in marriage, urged "the full sexual freedom of women"
and argued that the cause of  women's liberation was
"indissolubly tied to the common cause of all the
exploited workers -- men and women." [_Bakunin on
Anarchism_, pp. 396-7] Hardly what would be considered
as the glorification of the patriarchal family -- and
a position shared by Kropotkin, Malatesta, Berkman,
Goldman, Chomsky and Ward. Thus to state that "anarchism"
glorifies the patriarchal family simply staggers belief.
Only someone ignorant of both logic and anarchist theory
could make such an assertion. We could make similar
remarks with regards to the glorification of racism (as
Robert Graham points out "anti-semitism formed no part
of Proudhon's revolutionary programme." [Op. Cit., p. xxxvi]
The same can be said of Bakunin).

4. Why are McNally's comments on Proudhon a distortion of his ideas?

McNally now attempts to provide some evidence for his remarks.
He turns to Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, "widely proclaimed 'the father 
of anarchism.'" As he correctly notes, he was a "printer by vocation" 
and that he "strongly opposed the emergence of capitalism in France."
However, McNally claims that Proudhon's "opposition to capitalism
was largely backward-looking in character" as he "did not look 
forward to a new society founded upon communal property which 
would utilise the greatest inventions of the industrial revolution. 
Instead, Proudhon considered small, private property the basis of 
his utopia. His was a doctrine designed not for the emerging working 
class, but for the disappearing petit bourgeoisie of craftsmen, 
small traders and rich peasants." Unfortunately McNally has got
his facts wrong. It is well known that this was not the case (which
is why McNally used the words "largely backward-looking" -- he is 
aware of facts but instead downplays them). 

If you look at Proudhon's writings, rather than what Marx and Engels
*claimed* he wrote, it will soon be discovered that Proudhon in
fact *favoured* collective ownership of large scale industry by
workers' associations. He argued for "the mines, canals, railways
handed over to democratically organised workers' associations . . .
We want these associations to be models for agriculture, industry
and trade, the pioneering core of that vast federation of companies
and societies woven into the common cloth of the democratic social
Republic." [_No Gods, No Masters_, vol. 1, p. 62] Three years later
he stressed that "[e]very industry, operation or enterprise which
by its nature requires the employment of a large number of workmen
of different specialities, is destined to become a society or
company of workers." [_The General Idea of the Revolution_, p. 216]
This argument for workers' self-management and collective ownership
follows on from his earlier comment in 1840 that "leaders" within 
industry "must be chosen from the labourers by the labourers 
themselves." [_What is Property?_, p. 414]

Rather than base his utopia on "small, private property" Proudhon
based it on the actual state of the French economy -- one marked
by both artisan and large-scale production. The later he desired
to see transformed into the collective property of workers'
associations and placed under workers' self-management. The
former, as it did not involve wage-labour, he supported as
being non-capitalist. Thus his ideas were aimed at both the
artisan and the appearing class of wage slaves. Moreover, rather 
than dismiss the idea of large-scale industry in favour of "small, 
private property" Proudhon argued that "[l]arge industry . . . come 
to us by big monopoly and big property: it is necessary in the 
future to make them rise from the [labour] association." [quoted
by K. Steven Vincent, _Proudhon and the Rise of French Republican 
Socialism_, p. 156] As Vincent correctly summarises:

"On this issue, it is necessary to emphasise that, contrary to the
general image given on the secondary literature, Proudhon was not
hostile to large industry. Clearly, he objected to many aspects of
what these large enterprises had introduced into society. For
example, Proudhon strenuously opposed the degrading character of
. . . work which required an individual to repeat one minor
function continuously. But he was not opposed in principle to 
large-scale production. What he desired was to humanise such
production, to socialise it so that the worker would not be the
mere appendage to a machine. Such a humanisation of large 
industries would result, according to Proudhon, from the
introduction of strong workers' associations. These associations
would enable the workers to determine jointly by election how
the enterprise was to be directed and operated on a day-to-day
basis." [Op. Cit., p. 156]

As can be seen, McNally distorts Proudhon's ideas on this question.

McNally correctly states that Proudhon "oppose[d] trade unions."
While it is true that Proudhon opposed strikes as counter-productive
as well as trade unions, this cannot be said of Bakunin, Kropotkin,
Goldman, and so on. Bakunin, for example, considered trade unions
as truest means of expressing the power of the working class and
strikes as a sign of their "collective strength." [_The Basic
Bakunin_, pp. 149-50] Why should Proudhon (the odd man out in 
anarchist theory with regards to this issue) be taken as defining 
that theory? Such an argument is simply dishonest and presents
a false picture of anarchist theory.

Next McNally states that Proudhon "violently opposed democracy" 
and presents a series of non-referenced quotes to prove his case. 
Such a technique is useful for McNally as it allows him quote
Proudhon without regard to when and where Proudhon made these
comments and the context in which they were made. It is well
known, for example, that Proudhon went through a reactionary
phrase roughly between 1852 and 1862 and so any quotes from this 
period would be at odds with his anarchist works. As Daniel
Guerin notes:

"Many of these masters were not anarchists throughout their lives 
and their complete works include passages which have nothing to do 
with anarchism. 

"To take an example: in the second part of his career Proudhon's 
thinking took a conservative turn." [_Anarchism_, p. 6]

Similarly, McNally fails to quote the many statements Proudhon 
made in favour of democracy. Why should the anti-democratic quotes 
represent anarchism and not the pro-democratic ones? Which ones 
are more in line with anarchist theory and practice? Surely
the pro-democratic ones. Hence we find Proudhon arguing
that "[i]n democratising us, revolution has launched us
on the path of industrial democracy" and that his People's
Bank "embodies the financial and economic aspects of modern
democracy, that is, the sovereignty of the People, and
of the republican moto, *Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.*"
We have already mentioned Proudhon's support for workers'
self-management of production and his People's Bank was
also democratic in nature -- "A committee of thirty
representatives shall be set up to see to the management
of the Bank . . . They will be chosen by the General
Meeting . . . [which] shall consist of not more than
one thousand nominees of the general body of associates
and subscribers . . . elected according to industrial
categories and in proportion to the number of subscribers
and representatives there are in each category." 
[_Selected Writings of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon_, p. 63, 
p. 75 and p. 79] Thus, instead of bourgeois democracy 
Proudhon proposes industrial and communal democracy:

"In place of laws, we will put contracts [i.e. free agreement]. -- 
No more laws voted by a majority, nor even unanimously; each
citizen, each town, each industrial union, makes its own laws." 
[_The General Idea of the Revolution_, pp. 245-6]

"If political right is inherent in man and citizen, consequently
if suffrage ought to be direct, the same right is inherent as
well, so much the more so, for each corporation [i.e. self-managed
industry], for each commune or city, and the suffrage in each
of these groups, ought to be equally direct." [quoted by K.
Steven Vincent, Op. Cit., p. 219]

"In order that the association may be real, he who participates
in it must do so . . . as an active factor; he must have a
deliberative voice in the council . . . everything regarding
him, in short, should be regulated in accordance with equality.
But these conditions are precisely those of the organisation
of labour." [quoted by K. Steven Vincent, Op. Cit., pp. 155-6]

Do these quotes suggest a man "violently opposed [to] democracy"?
Of course not. Nor does McNally quote Proudhon when he stated
that "[b]esides universal suffrage and as a consequence of
universal suffrage, we want implementation of the binding
mandate. Politicians bulk at it! Which means that in their
eyes, the people, in electing representatives, do not 
appoint mandatories but rather abjure their sovereignty!
That is assuredly not socialism: it is not even democracy."
He also supported freedom of association, assembly, religion,
of the press and of thought and speech. [_No Gods, No Masters_,
vol. 1, p. 63] Nor does McNally note Proudhon's aim of (and use of
the term) "industrial democracy" which would be "a reorganisation
of industry, under the jurisdiction of all those who compose it."
[quoted by Vincent, Op. Cit., p. 225] As can be seen, Proudhon's 
position on democracy is not quite what McNally suggests.

Thus McNally presents a distorted picture of Proudhon's ideas 
and thus leads the reader to conclusions about anarchism 
violently at odds with its real nature. It is somewhat ironic 
that McNally attacks Proudhon for being anti-democratic. After
all, as we indicate in section 8 below, the Leninist tradition
in which he places himself has a distinct contempt for democracy
and, in practice, destroyed it in favour of party dictatorship.

Lastly, McNally states that Proudhon "opposed emancipation for 
the American blacks and backed the cause of the southern slave 
owners during the American Civil War." In fact, the American Civil 
War had very little to do with slavery and far more to do with 
conflicts within the US ruling class. Proudhon opposed the North 
simply because he feared the centralisation that such a victory 
would create. He did not "tolerate" slavery.  As he wrote in 
_The Principle of Federation_ "the enslavement of part of a
nation denies the federal principle itself." [p. 42f] Moreover, 
what are we to draw from Proudhon's position with regards the 
American Civil War about anarchism? Bakunin supported the North 
(a fact unmentioned by McNally). Why is Proudhon's position an 
example of anarchism in practice and not Bakunin's? Could it 
be that rather than attack anarchism, McNally attacks anarchists?

Also, it is somewhat ironic that McNally mentions Proudhon's "support" 
for the South as the Leninist tradition he places his own politics is
renown for supporting various dictatorships during wars. For example,
during the Vietnam war the various Leninist groups called for victory
to North Vietnam, a Stalinist dictatorship. During the Gulf War, they
called for victory to Iraq, another  dictatorship. In other words, 
they "tolerated" and "supported"  anti-working class regimes, dictatorships 
and repression of democracy. They stress that they do not politically 
support these regimes, rather they wish these states to win in order to 
defeat the greater evil of imperialism. In practice, of course, such
a division is hard to defend -- for a state to win a war it must repress
its own working class and so, in calling for a victory for a dictatorship,
they must support the repression and actions that state requires to win
the war. After all, an explosion of resistance, class struggle and revolt
in the "lesser imperialist power" will undermine its war machine and so
lead to its defeat. Hence the notion that such calls do not mean support
for the regime is false. Hence McNally's comments against Proudhon smack
of hypocrisy -- his political tradition have done similar things and
sided with repressive dictatorships during wars in the name of political
aims and theory. In contrast, anarchists have consistently raised the 
idea of "No war but the class war" in such conflicts (see section A.3.4).

5. Why are McNally's comments on Bakunin a distortion of his ideas?

McNally then moves on to Bakunin whom he states "shared most of
Proudhon's views." The truth is somewhat different. Unlike Proudhon,
Bakunin supported trade unions and strikes, equality for women,
revolution and far more extensive collectivisation of property.
In fact, rather than share most of his views, Bakunin disagreed
with Proudhon on many subjects. He did share Proudhon's support
for industrial self-management, self-organisation in self-managed
workers' associations from below, his hatred of capitalism and
his vision of a decentralised, libertarian socialist society. It
is true that, as McNally notes, "Bakunin shared [Proudhon's] 
anti-semitism" but he fails to mention Marx and Engels' many
racist remarks against Slavs and other peoples. Also it is 
not true that Bakunin "was a Great Russian chauvinist convinced 
that the Russians were ordained to lead humanity into anarchist 
utopia." Rather, Bakunin (being Russian) hoped Russia would 
have a libertarian revolution, but he also hoped the same for 
France, Spain, Italy and all countries in Europe (indeed, the 
world). Rather than being a "Great Russian chauvinist" Bakunin 
opposed the Russian Empire (he wished "the destruction of the 
Empire of All the Russias" [_The Basic Bakunin_, p. 162]) and 
supported national liberation struggles of nationalities 
oppressed by Russia (and any other imperialist nation). 

McNally moves on to Bakunin's on revolutionary organisation
methods, stating that they "were overwhelmingly elitist and 
authoritarian." We have discussed this question in some detail
in section J.3.7 (Doesn't Bakunin's "Invisible Dictatorship" 
prove that anarchists are secret authoritarians?) and so
will not do so here. However, we should point out that Bakunin's
viewpoints on the organisational methods of mass working class
organisations and those of political groupings were somewhat
different. 

The aim of the political grouping was to exercise a "natural 
influence" on the members of working class unions and 
associations, seeking to convince them of the validity
of anarchist ideas. The political group did not aim to seize
political power (unlike Marxists) and so it "rule[d] out any 
idea of dictatorship and custodial control." Rather the
"revolution would be created by the people, and supreme 
control must always belong to the people organised into a
free federation of agricultural and industrial associations
. . . organised from below upwards by means of revolutionary
delegation." All the political group could do was to "assist
the birth of the revolution by sowing ideas corresponding
to the instincts of the masses . . . [and act] as
intermediaries between the revolutionary idea and the
popular instinct." The political group thus "help[s] the
people towards self-determination on the lines of the
most complete equality and the fullest freedom in every
direction, without the least interference from any sort
of domination." [_Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings_,
p. 172 and p. 191]  

As regards the forms of popular organisations Bakunin
favoured, he was clear it would be based on "factory,
artisan, and agrarian sections" and their federations
[_Statism and Anarchy_, p. 51]. In other words, trade
unions organised from the bottom up and based upon
self-management in "general membership meetings . . .
[i.e.] popular assembles . . . [where] the items on
the agenda were amply discussed and the most progressive
opinion prevailed." The "federative alliance of all
the workers' associations . . . will constitute the
commune . . . [with] deputies invested with imperative, 
always responsible, and always revocable mandates." 
[_Bakunin on Anarchism_, p. 247 and p. 153]

Given McNally's praise of the Paris Commune and the Russian 
soviets, it seems strange that Bakunin's comments with 
regards to revolutionary social organisation with its 
obvious parallels to both should not be mentioned by 
McNally. Perhaps because to do so would totally undermine 
his case? Thus rather than being "overwhelmingly elitist 
and authoritarian" Bakunin's ideas on a future society
bar marked similarities to the actual structures created 
by working people in struggle and are marked by libertarian 
and self-managed visions and concepts -- as anyone familiar 
with Bakunin's work would know.

McNally then quotes "one historian" on Bakunin (not even providing
a name makes evaluating the accuracy of the historian's work
impossible and so leaves the reader in the dark as to whether
the historian does provide a valid account of Bakunin's ideas). 
The unnamed author states that:

     "The International Brotherhood he founded in Naples
     in 1865-66 was as conspiratorial and dictatorial as
     he could make it, for Bakunin's libertarianism
     stopped short of the notion of permitting anyone to
     contradict him. The Brotherhood was conceived on the
     Masonic model, with elaborate rituals, a hierarchy,
     and a self-appointed directory consisting of Bakunin
     and a few associates."

However, as we argue in section J.3.7, this description of
Bakunin's secret societies is so distorted as to be useless.
To point to just *two* examples, the historian T.R. Ravindranathan 
indicates that after the Alliance was founded "Bakunin wanted the 
Alliance to become a branch of the International [Worker's 
Association] and at the same time preserve it as a secret 
society. The Italian and some French members wanted the Alliance 
to be totally independent of the IWA and objected to Bakunin's 
secrecy. Bakunin's view prevailed on the first question as he 
succeeded in convincing the majority of the harmful effects 
of a rivalry between the Alliance and the International. On
the question of secrecy, he gave way to his opponents. . ." 
[_Bakunin and the Italians_, p. 83] Moreover, the Spanish
section of the Alliance "survived Bakunin . . . yet with
few exceptions it continued to function in much the same
way as it had done during Bakunin's lifetime." [George
R. Esenwein, _Anarchist Ideology and the Working Class
Movement in Spain_, p. 43] Hardly what you would expect if
McNally's vision was accurate.

In summary, McNally's comments are a distortion of Bakunin's
ideas and activities. McNally represents a distorted picture
of one aspect of Bakunin's ideas while ignoring those aspects
which support working class self-organisation and 
self-management.

6. Are the "quirks of personality" of Proudhon and Bakunin listed 
   by McNally actually rooted "in the very nature of anarchist
   doctrine"?

After chronicling the failings and distorting the facts of two 
individuals, McNally tries to generalise. "These characteristics 
of Bakunin and Proudhon," he argues, "were not mere quirks of
personality. Their elitism, authoritarianism and support for 
backward-looking and narrow-minded causes are rooted in the 
very nature of anarchist doctrine." Thus McNally claims that 
these failings of Proudhon and Bakunin are not personal failings 
but rather political. They represent the reactionary core of 
anarchist politics. However, his position leaves something to
be desired. For example, the question remains, however, why, 
say, Proudhon's support of the South during the American Civil War 
is an example of "anarchist doctrine" while Bakunin's support of 
the North is not. Or why Proudhon's opposition to trade unions 
and strikes is an example of "anarchist doctrine" while Bakunin's 
(and Kropotkin's, Malatesta's, Berkman's, Goldman's, etc) support 
for strikes and union organisation is not. Or why Proudhon's sexism 
is another example but Bakunin's, Kropotkin's, Goldman's, Malatesta's, 
et al support for women's equality is not. Indeed, rather than take 
examples which are common to anarchist theorists McNally takes only 
those positions held by one, at most two, major anarchist thinkers
(positions tangential to the core of their ideas and, indeed, 
directly opposed to them). From this minority of examples he 
generalises a theory -- and so violates the basic principles of
the scientific method!

These examples in themselves prove the weakness of McNally's claims
and the low levels of scholarship which lay behind them. Indeed, it
is amazing that the SWP/ISO printed this diatribe -- it obviously
shows their contempt for facts, history and the intelligence of
their desired audience.

7. Are anarchists against democracy?

McNally goes onto assert the following:

"Originating in the revolt of small property owners against 
the centralising and collectivising trends in capitalist 
development (the tendency to concentrate production in fewer 
and fewer large workplaces), anarchism has always been rooted 
in a hostility to democratic and collectivist practices. The 
early anarchists feared the organised power of the modern 
working class."

We have already refuted the claim that the "early anarchists
feared the organised power of the modern working class." We
will now indicate why McNally is wrong to claim that anarchists
express "hostility to democratic and collectivist practices."

As indicated above Proudhon supported collective ownership 
and management of large-scale workplaces (i.e. those which 
employ wage-slaves under capitalism). Thus he clearly was 
in favour of economic direct democracy and collective decision 
making by groups of workers. Similarly, Bakunin also supported 
workers' productive associations like co-operatives and 
envisioned a free society as being based on workers' collective 
ownership and the self-management of production by the workers
themselves. In addition, he supported trade unions and saw 
the future society as being based on federations of workers' 
associations. To claim that anarchists are hostile to democratic 
and collectivist practices is simply not true. As would be clear 
to anyone reading their works.

McNally then asserts that "[t]o this day, most anarchists defend 
the 'liberty' of the private individual against the democratically 
made decisions of collective groups." Here McNally takes a grain
of truth to create a lie. Yes, anarchists *do* defend the liberty
of individuals to rebel against the decisions of collective groups
(we should point out that Marxists usually use such expressions 
as a euphemism for the state, but here we will take it at face
value). Why? For two reasons. Firstly, the majority is not always
right. Secondly, simply because progress is guaranteed by individual
liberty -- by *dissent.* That is what McNally is attacking here -- 
the right of individuals and groups to dissent, to express themselves
and live their own lives. 

As we argue in section A.2.11, most anarchists are in favour of
direct democracy in free associations. However, we agree with
Carole Pateman when she argues:

"The essence of liberal social contract theory is that individuals
ought to promise to, or enter an agreement to, obey representatives,
to whom they have alienated their right to make political decisions
. . . Promising . . . is an expression of individual freedom and
equality, yet commits individuals for the future. Promising also
implies that individuals are capable of independent judgement and
rational deliberation, and of evaluating and changing their own
actions and relationships; promises may sometimes justifiably be
broken. However, to promise to obey is to deny or limit, to a
greater or lesser degree, individuals' freedom and equality and
their ability to exercise these capacities. To promise to obey
is to state that, in certain areas, the person making the promise
is no longer free to exercise her capacities and decide upon her
own actions, and is no longer equal, but subordinate." [_The
Problem of Political Obligation_, p. 19]

Thus, for anarchists, a democracy which does not involve individual
rights to dissent, to disagree and to practice civil disobedience
would violate freedom and equality, the very values McNally claims
to be at the heart of Marxism. He is essentially arguing that the 
minority becomes the slave of the majority -- with no right of dissent 
when the majority is wrong. In effect, he wishes the minority to
be subordinate, not equal, to the majority. Anarchists, in contrast,
because they support self-management also recognise the importance
of dissent and individuality -- in essence, because they are in
favour of self-management ("democracy" does not do the concept
justice) they also favour the individual freedom that is its
rationale. We support the liberty of private individuals because
we believe in self-management ("democracy") so passionately.

Simply put, Marxism (as McNally presents it here) flies in the face 
of how societies change and develop. New ideas start with individuals
and minorities and spread by argument and by force of example. McNally 
is urging the end of free expression of individuality. For example, 
who would seriously defend a society that "democratically" decided 
that, say, homosexuals should not be allowed the freedom to associate 
freely? Or that inter-racial marriage was against "Natural Law"? Or 
that socialists were dangerous subversives and should be banned? 
He would, we hope (like all sane people), recognise the rights of 
individuals to rebel against the majority when the majority violate
the spirit of association, the spirit of freedom and equality
which should give democracy its rationale.

Indeed, McNally fails to understand the rationale for democratic 
decision making -- it is not based on the idea that the majority 
is always right but that individual freedom requires democracy to 
express and defend itself. By placing the collective above the 
individual, McNally undermines democracy and replaces it with 
little more than tyranny by the majority (or, more likely, those 
who claim to represent the majority).

If we take McNally's comments seriously then we must conclude 
that those members of the German (and other) Social Democratic Party 
who opposed their party's role in supporting the First World War
were acting in inappropriately. Rather than express their opposition
to the war and act to stop it, according to McNally's "logic"
they should have remained in their party (after all, *leaving* 
the party meant ignoring the democratic decision of a collective
group!), accepted the democratic decision of collective groups and 
supported the Imperialist slaughter in the name of democracy. Of 
course, McNally would reject such a position -- in *this* case the 
rights of minorities take precedence over the "democratic decisions 
of collectives." This is because the majority is not always right 
and it is only through the dissent of individuals and minorities 
that the opinion of the majority can be moved towards the right one.
Thus his comments are fallacious.

Progress is determined by those who dissent and rebel against the 
status quo and the decisions of the majority. That is why anarchists 
support the right of dissent in self-managed groups -- in fact,
as we argue in section A.2.11, dissent, refusal, revolt by 
individuals and minorities is a key aspect of self-management. 
Given that Leninists do not support self-management (rather they, 
at best, support the Lockean notion of electing a government as 
being "democracy") it is hardly surprising they, like Locke, views 
dissent as a danger and something to denounce. Anarchists, on
the other hand, recognising that self-management's (i.e. direct 
democracy) rationale and base is in individual freedom, recognise 
and support the rights of individuals to rebel against what they 
consider as unjust impositions. As history shows, the anarchist 
position is the correct one -- without rebellion, numerous 
minorities would never have improved their position. Indeed, 
McNally's comments is just a reflection of the standard capitalist 
diatribe against strikers and protestors -- they don't need to 
protest, for they live in a "democracy."

So, yes, anarchists do support individual freedom to resist even
democratically made decisions simply because democracy *has to be* 
based on individual liberty. Without the right of dissent, democracy
becomes a joke and little more than a numerical justification 
for tyranny. Thus McNally's latter claim that the "challenge is 
to restore to socialism its democratic essence, its passionate 
concern with human freedom" seems farcical -- after all, he has
just admitted that Marxism aims to eliminate individual freedom
in favour of "collective groups" (i.e. the government). Unless
of course he means freedom for the abstraction "humanity" rather
than concrete freedom of the individual to govern themselves
as individuals and as part of freely joined self-managed 
associations? For those who really seek to restore to socialism
its passionate concern for freedom the way it clear -- anarchism.
Hence Murray Bookchin's comments:

"Marxism['s] . . . perspectives are orientated not towards 
concrete, existential freedom, but towards an abstract 
freedom -- freedom for 'Society', for the 'Proletariat',
for *categories* rather than for people." [_Post Scarcity
Anarchism_, pp. 225-6]

Anarchism, on the other hand, favours freedom for people and
that implies two things -- individual freedom and self-management
(direct democracy) in free associations. Any form of "democracy"
not based on individual freedom would be so contradictory as to
be useless as a means to human freedom (and vice versa, any form
of "individual freedom" -- such a liberalism -- which denies
self-management would be little more than a justification for
minority rule and a denial of human freedom).

Ultimately, McNally's attack on anarchism fails simply because
the majority is not always right and dissent a key to progress.
That he forgets these basic facts of life indicates the depths
to which Marxists will sink to distort the truth about anarchism.

Not that those in the Bolshevik tradition have any problem with 
individuals ignoring the democratic decisions of collective groups. 
The Bolsheviks were very happy to let individuals ignore and 
revoke the democratic decisions of collective groups -- *as long 
as the individuals in question were the leaders of the Bolshevik 
Party*. As the examples we provide later (in section 8) indicate, 
leading lights in the Leninist tradition happily placed the rights 
of the party before the rights of working people to decide their 
own fate.

Thus McNally comments are strange in the extreme. Both anarchists 
and Leninists share a belief that individuals can and should have 
the right to ignore decisions made by groups. However, Leninists 
seem to think only the government and leadership of the Party
should have that right while anarchists think *all* should. 
Unlike the egalitarian support for freedom and dissent for all 
anarchists favour, Leninists have an elitist support for the right 
of those in power to ignore the wishes of those they govern. Thus
the history of Marxists parties in power expose McNally as a
hypocrite. As we argue in section 14, Marxist ideology provides
the rationale for such action.

Moreover, in spite of McNally's claim that the Leninist tradition
is democratic we find Lenin arguing that the "irrefutable 
experience of history has shown that . . . the dictatorship
of individual persons was often the vehicle, the channel of
the dictatorship of the revolutionary classes." [quoted by
Maurice Brintin, _The Bolsheviks and Workers Control_, p. 40]
Such a comment is not an isolated one, as we indicate in 
section 8 and indicates well the anti-democratic nature of
the tradition McNally places himself in. Thus McNally's attempt 
to portray anarchism as "anti-democratic" is somewhat ironic.

And we must note, as well as refuting McNally's claim that Leninism
is a democratic tradition, Lenin's comments display a distinct
confusion over the nature of a *social* revolution (rather than
a political one). Yes, *previous* revolutions may have utilised 
the dictatorship of individuals but these revolutions have been
revolutions from one class system to another. The "revolutionary"
classes in question were *minority* classes and so elite rule
would not in any way undermine their class nature. Not so with
a *socialist* revolution which must be based on mass participation
(in every aspect of society, economic, political, social) if it 
is too achieve its goals -- namely a classless society. Little
wonder, with such theoretical confusion, that the Russian
revolution ended in Stalinism -- the means uses determined the
ends (see sections 13 and 14 for more discussion of this point).

McNally then states that anarchists "oppose even the most democratic
forms of collective organisation of social life. As the Canadian 
anarchist writer George Woodcock explains: 'Even were democracy 
possible, the anarchist would still not support it . . . Anarchists
do not advocate political freedom. What they advocate is freedom from
politics . . .' That is to say, anarchists reject any decision-making 
process in which the majority of people democratically determine the 
policies they will support."

First, we must point out a slight irony in McNally's claim. The
irony is that Marxists usually claim that they seek a society
similar to that anarchists seek. In the words of Marx:

"What all socialists understand by anarchy is this: once the 
aim of the proletarian movement, the abolition of classes, has 
been attained, the power of the State . . . disappears, and the
functions of government are transformed into simple administrative
functions." [Marx, Engels and Lenin, _Anarchism and 
Anarcho-Syndicalism_, p. 76]

So, Marxists and anarchists seek the same society, one of 
individual freedom. Hence McNally's comments about anarchism
also apply (once the state "withers away", which it never will)
to Marxism. But, of course, McNally fails to mention this 
aspect of Marxism and its conflict with anarchism.

However, our comments above equally apply here. Anarchists are
not opposed to people in free associations democratically 
determining the policies they will support (see section A.2.11
for more details on this). What we *do* oppose is the assumption 
that the majority is always right and that minorities should 
submit to the decisions of the majority no matter how wrong 
they are. We feel that history is on our side on this one -- it 
is only by the freedom to dissent, by the direct action of 
minorities to defend and extent their freedoms that society 
progresses. Moreover, we feel that theory is on our side --
majority rule without individual and minority rights is
a violation of the principle of freedom and equality which
democracy is said to be built on. 

Democracy should be an expression of individual liberty but in 
McNally's hands it is turned into bourgeois liberalism. Little
wonder Marxism has continually failed to produce a free society.
It has no conception of the relationship of individual freedom
to democracy and vice versa.

8.  Are Leninists in favour of democracy?

McNally's attack on Proudhon (and anarchism in general) for
being "anti-democratic" is somewhat ironic. After all, the 
Leninist tradition he places himself in did destroy democracy 
in the workers' soviets and replaced it with party dictatorship. 
Thus his attack on anarchism can be turned back on his politics,
with much more justification and evidence.

For example, in response to the "great Bolshevik losses in the 
soviet elections" during the spring and summer of 1918 "Bolshevik 
armed force usually overthrew the results of these provincial 
elections . . . [In] the city of Izhevsk [for example] . . . in 
the May election [to the soviet] the Mensheviks and SRs won a 
majority . . . In June, these two parties also won a majority of 
the executive committee of the soviet. At this point, the local 
Bolshevik leadership refused to give up power . . . [and by 
use of the military] abrogated the results of the May and 
June elections and  arrested the SR and Menshevik members 
of the soviet and its executive committee." In addition, 
"the government continually postponed the new general 
elections to the Petrograd Soviet, the term of which had 
ended in March 1918. Apparently, the government feared that 
the opposition parties would show gains." [Samuel Farber, 
_Before Stalinism_, pp. 23-4 and p. 22]

In the workplace, the Bolsheviks replaced workers'
economic democracy with "one-man management" selected
from above, by the state ("The elective principle
must now be replaced by the principle of selection"
-- Lenin). Trotsky did not consider this a result of the 
Civil War -- "I consider if the civil war had not 
plundered our economic organs of all that was strongest, 
most independent, most endowed with initiative, we should 
undoubtedly have entered the path of one-man management 
in the sphere of economic administration much sooner 
and much less painfully." [quoted by M. Brinton, _The 
Bolsheviks and Workers' Control_, p. 63 and pp. 66-7] He
pushed the ideas of "militarisation of labour" as well
as abolishing democratic forms of organisation in the
military (this later policy occurred *before* the start 
of the Civil War -- as Trotsky put it, the "elective basis 
is politically pointless and technically inexpedient and 
has already been set aside by decree" [quoted by Brinton, 
Op. Cit., pp.37-8]).

In May 1921, the All-Russian Congress of the Metalworkers' 
Union met. The "Central Committee of the [Communist] Party 
handed down to the Party faction in the union a list of
recommended candidates for *union* (sic!) leadership. 
The metalworkers' delegates voted down the list, as did
the Party faction in the union . . . The Central Committee
of the Party disregarded every one of the votes and
appointed a Metalworkers' Committee of its own. So much
for 'elected and revocable delegates.' Elected by the
union rank and file and revocable by the Party leadership!"
[M. Brinton, Op. Cit., p. 83]

These are a few examples of Trotsky's argument that you
cannot place "the workers' right to elect representatives
above the party. As if the Party were not entitled to
assert its dictatorship even if that dictatorship clashed
with the passing moods of the workers' democracy!" He
continued by stating the "Party is obliged to maintain
its dictatorship . . . regardless of temporary vacillations
even in the working class . . . The dictatorship does not
base itself at every moment on the formal principle of
a workers' democracy." [quoted by Brinton, Op. Cit., p. 78]

Thus, *when in power,* Trotsky did not "insist against all 
odds that socialism was rooted in the struggle for human 
freedom" as McNally claims he did in the 1930s and 1940s.
Rather, he thought that the "very principle of compulsory
labour is for the Communist quite unquestionable . . .
the only solution to economic difficulties from the point
of view of both principle and of practice is to treat the 
population of the whole country as the reservoir of the 
necessary labour power . . . and to introduce strict order 
into the work of its registration, mobilisation and 
utilisation." Can human freedom be compatible with the 
"introduction of compulsory labour service [which] is 
unthinkable without the application . . . of the methods of 
militarisation of labour"? Or when the "working class cannot 
be left wandering round all over Russia. They must be thrown 
here and there, appointed, commanded, just like soldiers." 
[Op. Cit., p. 66 and p. 61]

Of course McNally tries to blame the destruction of democracy
in Russia on the Civil War but, as indicated above, the 
undermining of democracy started *before* the civil war
started and continued after it had finished. The claim that
the "working class" had been destroyed by the war cannot
justify the fact that attempts by working class people to
express themselves were systematically undermined by the
Bolshevik party. Nor does the notion of an "exhausted" or
"disappeared" working class make much sense when "in the 
early part of 1921, a spontaneous strike movement . . . took 
place in the industrial centres of European Russia" and
strikes involving around 43 000 per year took place between 1921 
and 1925. [Samuel Farber, Op. Cit., p. 188 and p. 88] While
it is undeniable that the working class was reduced in numbers
because of the civil war, it cannot be said to have been totally 
"exhausted" and, obviously, did survive the war and was more
than capable of collective action and decision making. Strikes,
as Bakunin argued, "indicate a certain collective strength"
and so rather than there being objective reasons for the
lack of democracy under Lenin we can suggest *political*
reasons -- the awareness that, given the choice, the
Russian working class would have preferred someone else
in power!

Also, we must point out a certain ingenuity in McNally's comments
that Stalinism can be explained purely by the terrible civil
war Russia experienced. After all, Lenin himself stated that
every "revolution . . ., in its development, would give rise
to exceptionally complicated circumstances" and "[r]evolution
is the sharpest, most furious, desperate class war and civil 
war. Not a single great revolution in history has escaped civil 
war. No one who does not live in a shell could imagine that civil 
war is conceivable without exceptionally complicated circumstances."
[_Will the Bolsheviks Maintain Power?_, p. 80 and p. 81] Thus 
McNally's assertion that for "the germ cell of socialism to grow 
[in Russia], it required several essential ingredients. One was 
peace. The new workers' state could not establish a thriving 
democracy so long as it was forced to raise an army and wage 
war to defend itself" is simply incredible. It also raises an
important question with regards Leninist ideas. If the Bolshevik 
political and organisational form cannot survive during a period 
of disruption and complicated circumstances then it is clearly a 
theory to be avoided at all costs. 

Therefore, in practice, Leninism has proven to be profoundly
anti-democratic. As we argue in sections 13 and 14 this is due
to their politics -- the creation of a "strong government and
centralism" will inevitably lead to a new class system being
created [Lenin, _Will the Bolsheviks Maintain Power?_, p. 75]
This is not necessarily because Leninists seek dictatorship
for themselves. Rather it is because of the nature of the
state machine. In the words of Murray Bookchin:

"Anarchist critics of Marx pointed out with considerable effect 
that any system of representation would become a statist interest 
in its own right, one that at best would work against the interests 
of the working classes (including the peasantry), and that at worst 
would be a dictatorial power as vicious as the worst bourgeois state 
machines. Indeed, with political power reinforced by economic power 
in the form of a nationalised economy, a 'workers' republic' might 
well prove to be a despotism (to use one of Bakunin's more favourite 
terms) of unparalleled oppression."

He continues:

"Republican institutions, however much they are intended to express 
the interests of the workers, necessarily place policy-making in the 
hands of deputies and categorically do not constitute a 'proletariat 
organised as a ruling class.' If public policy, as distinguished from 
administrative activities, is not made by the people mobilised into 
assemblies and confederally co-ordinated by agents on a local, regional, 
and national basis, then a democracy in the precise sense of the term 
does not exist. The powers that people enjoy under such circumstances 
can be usurped without difficulty. . . [I]f the people are to acquire 
real power over their lives and society, they must establish -- and in 
the past they have, for brief periods of time established -- well-ordered 
institutions in which they themselves directly formulate the policies of 
their communities and, in the case of their regions, elect confederal 
functionaries, revocable and strictly controllable, who will execute 
them.  Only in this sense can a class, especially one committed to 
the abolition of classes, be mobilised as a class to manage society."
[_The Communist Manifesto: Insights and Problems_]

This is way anarchists stress direct democracy (self-management)
in free federations of free associations. It is the only way to
ensure that power remains in the hands of the people and is not
turned into an alien power above them. Thus Marxist support for
statist forms of organisation will inevitably undermine the
liberatory nature of the revolution. Moreover, as indicated in 
section 14, their idea of the party being the "vanguard" of the 
working class, combined with its desire for centralised power, 
makes the dictatorship of the party *over* the proletariat 
inevitable.

9. Why is McNally wrong on the relation of syndicalism to anarchism?

After slandering anarchism, McNally turns towards another form of
libertarian socialism, namely syndicalism. It is worth quoting him
in full as his comments are truly ridiculous. He states that there 
is "another trend which is sometimes associated with anarchism. This 
is syndicalism. The syndicalist outlook does believe in collective 
working class action to change society. Syndicalists look to trade 
union action -- such as general strikes -- to overthrow capitalism.
Although some syndicalist viewpoints share a superficial similarity 
with anarchism -- particularly with its hostility to politics and 
political action -- syndicalism is not truly a form of anarchism. 
By accepting the need for mass, collective action and decision-making, 
syndicalism is much superior to classical anarchism." 

What is ridiculous about McNally's comments is that all serious
historians who study the links between anarchism and syndicalism
agree that *Bakunin* (for want of a better expression) is the 
father of syndicalism (see section J.3.8 -- indeed, many writers
point to syndicalist aspects in Proudhon's ideas as well but
here we concentrate on Bakunin)! Bakunin looked to trade union 
action (including the general strike) as the means of overthrowing 
capitalism and the state. Thus Arthur Lehning's comment that 
"Bakunin's collectivist anarchism . . . ultimately formed the
ideological and theoretical basis of anarcho-syndicalism" is 
totally true and indicative. ["Introduction", _Michael Bakunin: 
Selected Writings_, p. 29] As is Rudolf Rocker's:

"Modern Anarcho-syndicalism is a direct continuation of those
social aspirations which took shape in the bosom of the First
International and which were best understood and most strongly
held by the libertarian wing of the great workers' alliance."
[_Anarcho-Syndicalism_, p. 49]

Little wonder, then, we discover Caroline Cahm pointing out
"the basic syndicalist ideas of Bakunin" and that he "argued
that trade union organisation and activity in the International
[Working Men's Association] were important in the building
of working-class power in the struggle against capital . . .
He also declared that trade union based organisation of the
International would not only guide the revolution but also
provide the basis for the organisation of the society of
the future." Indeed, he "believed that trade unions had an
essential part to play in the developing of revolutionary
capacities of the workers as well as building up the 
organisation of the masses for revolution." [_Kropotkin 
and the Rise of Revolutionary Anarchism_, p. 219, p. 215
and p. 216] Cahm quotes Bakunin on the role of the general
strike:

"When strikes spread by contagion, it is because they are
close to becoming a general strike, and a general strike
in view of the ideas of emancipation which hold sway over
the proletariat, can only lead to a cataclysm which would
make society start a new life after shedding its old skin."
[Op. Cit., p. 217]

Or George R. Esenwein's comment that syndicalism "had deep 
roots in the Spanish libertarian tradition. It can be traced 
to Bakunin's revolutionary collectivism." He also notes that 
the class struggle was "central to Bakunin's theory." 
[Op. Cit., p. 209 and p. 20]

Perhaps, in the face of such evidence (and the writings of
Bakunin himself), Marxists like McNally could claim that
the sources we quote are either anarchists or "sympathetic"
to anarchism. To counter this we will quote Marx and Engels.
According to Marx Bakunin's theory consisted of urging
the working class to "only organise themselves by 
trades-unions" and "not occupy itself with *politics.*"
Engels asserted that in the "Bakuninist programme a general
strike is the lever employed by which the social revolution
is started" and that they admitted "this required a 
well-formed organisation of the working class" (i.e. a
trade union federation). [Marx, Engels and Lenin, 
_Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism_, p. 48, p. 132
and p. 133] Ignoring the misrepresentations of Marx and
Engels about the theories of their enemies, we can state
that they got the basic point of Bakunin's ideas -- the
centrality of trade union organisation and struggle as
well as the use of strikes and the general strike. 

(As an aside, ironically enough, Engels distorted diatribe 
against Bakunin and the general strike was later used against
more radical Marxists like Rosa Luxemburg -- usually claimed 
by Leninists as part of their tradition -- by the reformists 
in Social Democratic Parties. For orthodox Marxists, the
mass strike was linked to anarchism and Engels had proven
that only political action -- i.e. electioneering -- could
lead to working class emancipation.)

Thus, according to McNally, "syndicalism" (i.e. Bakunin's ideas) 
is "much superior to classical anarchism" (i.e. Bakunin's ideas)! 
How spurious McNally's argument actually is can be seen from his 
comments about syndicalism and its relation to anarchism.

10. Do syndicalists reject working class political action?

His last argument against syndicalism is equally flawed. He
states that "by rejecting the idea of working class political 
action, syndicalism has never been able to give real direction 
to attempts by workers to change society." However, syndicalists
(like all anarchists) are clear what kind of politics they
reject -- bourgeois politics (i.e. the running of candidates
in elections). It is worth quoting Rudolf Rocker at length on 
McNally's claim:

"It has often been charged against Anarcho-Syndicalism that it has no
interest in the political structure of the different countries, and
consequently no interest in the political struggles of the time, and
confines its activities to the fight for purely economic demands. This 
idea is altogether erroneous and springs either from outright ignorance 
or wilful distortion of the facts. It is not the political struggle as 
such which distinguishes the Anarcho-Syndicalists from the modern 
labour parties, both in principle and in tactics, but the form of 
this struggle and the aims which it has in view. . .

"The attitude of Anarcho-Syndicalism toward the political power of the
present-day state is exactly the same as it takes toward the system of
capitalist exploitation. . . [and so] Anarcho-Syndicalists pursue the 
same tactics in their fight against that political power which finds 
its expression in the state. . . 

"For just as the worker cannot be indifferent to the economic conditions 
of his life in existing society, so he cannot remain indifferent to the
political structure of his country. . .  It is, therefore, utterly 
absurd to assert that the Anarcho-Syndicalists take no interest in 
the political struggles of the time. . . But the point of attack in 
the political struggle lies, not in the legislative bodies, but in 
the people. . .  If they, nevertheless, reject any participation in 
the work of bourgeois parliaments, it is not because they have no 
sympathy with political struggles in general, but because they are
firmly convinced that parliamentary activity is for the workers the 
very weakest and the most hopeless form of the political struggle. . .

"But, most important of all, practical experience has shown that the
participation of the workers in parliamentary activity cripples their 
power of resistance and dooms to futility their warfare against the 
existing system. . .

"Anarcho-Syndicalists, then, are not in any way opposed to the political
struggle, but in their opinion this struggle, too, must take the form of
direct action, in which the instruments of economic power which the 
working class has at its command are the most effective. . .

"The focal point of the political struggle lies, then, not in the 
political parties, but in the economic fighting organisations of 
the workers. It as the recognition of this which impelled the 
Anarcho-Syndicalists to centre all their activity on the Socialist 
education of the masses and on the utilisation of their economic and 
social power. Their method is that of direct action in both the economic 
and the political struggles of the time. That is the only method which 
has been able to achieve anything at all in every decisive moment in 
history." [Op. Cit., pp. 63-66]

Rocker's work, _Anarcho-Syndicalism_, was written in 1938 and is
considered the standard introduction to that theory. McNally wrote 
his pamphlet in the 1980s and did not bother to consult the classic
introduction to the ideas he claims to be refuting. That in itself
indicates the worth of his pamphlet and any claims it has for
being remotely accurate with respect to anarchism and syndicalism.

Thus syndicalists *do* reject working class "political action"
only if you think "political action" means simply bourgeois 
politics -- that is, electioneering, standing candidates for
Parliament, local town councils and so on. It does not reject
"political action" in the sense of direct action to effect 
political changes and reforms. As syndicalists Ford and Foster
argue, syndicalists use "the term 'political action' . . . in
its ordinary and correct sense. Parliamentary action resulting
from the exercise of the franchise is political action. 
Parliamentary action caused by the influence of direct action
tactics . . . is not political action. It is simply a 
registration of direct action." They also note that 
syndicalists "have proven time and again that they can 
solve the many so-called political questions by direct
action." [Earl C. Ford and William Z. Foster, _Syndicalism_,
p. 19f and p. 23]

A historian of the British syndicalist movement reiterates this
point: 

"Nor did syndicalists neglect politics and the state. Revolutionary
industrial movements were on the contrary highly 'political' in
that they sought to understand, challenge and destroy the structure
of capitalist power in society. They quite clearly perceived the
oppressive role of the state whose periodic intervention in 
industrial unrest could hardly have been missed." [Bob Holton,
_British Syndicalism: 1900-1914_, pp. 21-2]

As we argued in section J.2.10, anarchist support for direct
action and opposition to taking part in elections does not
mean we are "apolitical" or reject political action. Anarchists
have always been clear -- we reject "political action" which
is bourgeois in nature in favour of "political action" based
on the organisations, action and solidarity of working class
people. This is because electioneering corrupts those who
take part, watering down their radical ideas and making them
part of the system they were meant to change.

And history has proven the validity of our anti-electioneering
ideas. For example, as we argue in section J.2.6, the net result
of the Marxists use of electioneering ("political action") was
the de-radicalising of their movement and theory and its becoming
yet another barrier to working class self-liberation. Rather than
syndicalism not giving "real direction to attempts by workers to 
change society" it was Marxism in the shape of Social Democracy
which did that. Indeed, at the turn of twentieth century more
and more radicals turned to Syndicalism and Industrial Unionism
as the means of by-passing the dead-weight of Social Democracy
(i.e. orthodox Marxism),its reformism, opportunism and its 
bureaucracy. As Lenin once put it, anarchism "was not infrequently
a kind of penalty for the opportunist sins of the working-class 
movement." [Marx, Engels and Lenin, _Anarchism and 
Anarcho-Syndicalism_, p. 305] 

Lenin's claim that anarchist and syndicalist support in
the working class is the result of the opportunist nature 
of the Social Democratic Parties has an element of truth. 
Obviously militants sick to death of the reformist, corrupt 
and bureaucratic "working class" parties will seek a 
revolutionary alternative and find libertarian socialism. 

However, Lenin seeks to explain the symptoms (opportunism)
and not the disease itself (Parliamentarianism) . Nowhere 
does Lenin see the rise of "opportunist" tendencies in
the Marxist parties as the result of the tactics and
organisational struggles they used. Indeed, Lenin desired 
the new Communist Parties to practice electioneering 
("political action") and work within the trade unions 
to capture their leadership positions. Anarchists rather 
point out that given the nature of the means, the ends 
surely follow. Working in a bourgeois environment 
(Parliament) will result in bourgeoisifying and 
de-radicalising the party. Working in a centralised 
environment will empower the leaders of the party over 
the members and lead to bureaucratic tendencies. 

In other words, as Bakunin predicted, using bourgeois
institutions will corrupt "revolutionary" and radical
parties and tie the working class to the current system. 
Lenin's analysis of anarchist influence as being the 
off-spring of opportunist tendencies in mainstream 
parties may be right, but if so its a natural development 
as the tactics supported by Marxists inevitably lead to 
opportunist tendencies developing. Thus, what Lenin could 
not comprehend was that opportunism was the symptom and 
electioneering was the disease -- using the same means 
(electioneering) with different parties/individuals 
("Communists" instead of "Social Democrats") and thinking 
that opportunism would not return was idealistic nonsense 
in the extreme. 

11. Why is McNally's claim that Leninism supports the principle
    of working class self-emancipation is wrong?

McNally claims that Marx "was the first major socialist thinker 
to make the principle of self-emancipation -- the principle that 
socialism could only be brought into being by the self-mobilisation 
and self-organisation of the working class -- a fundamental aspect 
of the socialist project." This is not entirely true. Proudhon
in 1848 had argued that "the proletariat must emancipate itself 
without the help of the government." [quoted by George Woodcock, 
_ Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: A Biography_, p. 125] This was because
the state "finds itself inevitably enchained to capital and 
directed against the proletariat." [Proudhon, _System of Economical 
Contradictions_, p. 399] Thus, working class people must organise
themselves for their own liberation:

"it is of no use to change the holders of power or introduce 
some variation into its workings: an agricultural and industrial 
combination must be found by means of which power, today the 
ruler of society, shall become its slave." [Op. Cit., p. 398]

While Proudhon placed his hopes in reformist tendencies (such
as workers' co-operatives and mutual banks) he clearly argued
that "the proletariat must emancipate itself." Marx's use of the
famous expression  -- "the emancipation of the working class is 
the task of the working class itself" -- dates from 1865, 17 
years after Proudhon's comment that "the proletariat must
emancipate itself." As K. Steven Vincent correctly summarises:

"Proudhon insisted that the revolution could only come from
below, through the action of the workers themselves." 
[_Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and the Rise of French Republican
Socialism_, p. 157]

Indeed, as Libertarian Marxist Paul Mattick points out, Marx was 
not even the first person to use the expression "the emancipation 
of the working class is the task of the working class itself." 
Flora Tristan used it in 1843. [_Marx and Keynes_, p. 333] Thus 
a case could be made that Marx was, in fact, the *third* "major 
socialist thinker to make the principle of self-emancipation -- 
the principle that socialism could only be brought into being 
by the self-mobilisation and self-organisation of the working 
class -- a fundamental aspect of the socialist project."

Similarly, Bakunin continually quoted Marx's (and so Tristan's)
words from the Preamble to the General Rules of the First 
International -- "That the emancipation of the workers must be 
accomplished by the workers themselves." [_The Basic Bakunin_, 
p. 92] Far more than Marx, Bakunin argued that workers' can only 
free themselves by a "single path, that of *emancipation through 
practical action*" namely "workers' solidarity in their 
struggle against the bosses" by trades unions and solidarity. 
The "collective experience" workers gain in the International
combined with the "collective struggle of the workers 
against the bosses" will ensure workers "will necessarily
come to realise that there is an irreconcilable antagonism
between the henchmen of reaction and [their] own dearest
human concerns. Having reached this point, [they] will
recognise [themselves] to be a revolutionary socialist."
[Op. Cit., p. 103] In contrast Marx placed his hopes for
working class self-emancipation on a political party
which would conquer "political power." As history soon
proved, Marx was mistaken -- "political power" can only
be seized by a minority (i.e. the party, *not* the class
it claims to represent) and if the few have the power, 
the rest are no longer free (i.e. they no longer govern
themselves). That the many elect the few who issue them
orders does *not* signify emancipation!

However, this is beside the point. McNally proudly places
his ideas in the Leninist tradition. It is thus somewhat
ironic that McNally claims that Marxism is based on 
self-emancipation of the working class while claiming
Leninism as a form of Marxism. This it because Lenin 
explicitly stated the opposite, namely that the working 
class *could not* liberate itself by its own actions. 
In _What is to be Done?_ Lenin argued that "the working
class, exclusively by their own effort, is able to
develop only trade union consciousness . . . The theory
of socialism [i.e. Marxism], however, grew out of the
philosophic, historical and economic theories that 
were elaborated by the educated representatives of the
propertied classes, the intellectuals . . . the 
theoretical doctrine of Social-Democracy arose quite
independently of the spontaneous growth of the labour
movement; it arose as a natural and inevitable outcome
of ideas among the revolutionary socialist intelligentsia."
This meant that "Social Democratic [i.e. socialist]
consciousness . . . could only be brought to them
from without." [_Essential Works of Lenin_, pp. 74-5]

Thus, rather than believe in working class self-emancipation,
Lenin thought the opposite. Without the radical bourgeois
to provide the working class with "socialist" ideas, a 
socialist movement, let along society, was impossible. Hardly
what you would consider self-emancipation. Nor is this notion
of working class passivity confined to the "early" Lenin
of _What is to Be Done?_ infamy. It can be found in his
apparently more "libertarian" work _The State and Revolution_.

In that work he argues "we do not indulge in 'dreams' of 
dispensing *at once* . . . with all subordination; these 
anarchist dreams . . . are totally alien to Marxism . . .  
we want the socialist revolution with human nature as it is 
now, with human nature that cannot dispense with subordination, 
control and 'managers'" [Op. Cit., p. 307] No where is the
notion that working class people, during the process of 
mass struggle, direct action and revolution, *revolutionises 
themselves* (see sections A.2.7 and J.7.2, for example). 
Instead, we find a vision of people as they are under 
capitalism ("human nature as it is now") and no vision 
of self-emancipation of the working class and the resulting
changes that implies for those who are transforming 
society by their own action.

Perhaps it will be argued that Lenin sees "subordination"
as being "to the armed vanguard of all the exploited . . .
i.e., to the proletariat" [Ibid.] and so there is no 
contradiction. However, this is not the case as he confuses
the rule of the party with the rule of the class. As he
states "[w]e cannot imagine democracy, not even proletarian 
democracy, without representative institutions." [Op. Cit., 
p. 306] Thus "subordination" is *not* to the working class
itself (i.e. direct democracy or self-management). Rather
it is the "subordination" of the majority to the minority,
of the working class to "its" representatives. Thus we have
a vision of a "socialist" society in which the majority 
have not revolutionised themselves and are subordinated
to their representatives. Such a subordination, however,
ensures that a socialist consciousness *cannot* develop
as only the *process* of self-management generates the
abilities required for self-management (as Malatesta
put it, "[o]nly freedom or the struggle for freedom can 
be the school for freedom." [_Life and Ideas_, p. 59]).

Therefore McNally's comments that Leninism is a valid
expression of Marx's idea of proletarian self-emancipation
is false. In reality, Lenin rejected the idea that 
working class people can emancipate themselves and,
therefore, any claim that this tradition stands for
proletarian self-emancipation is false. Rather Leninism,
for all its rhetoric, has no vision of working class
self-activity leading to self-liberation -- it denies
it can happen and that is why it stresses the role of
the party and its need to take centralised power into
its own hands (of course, it never entered Lenin's mind
that if bourgeois ideology imposes itself onto the
working class it also imposes itself on the party as
well -- more so as they are bourgeois intellectuals
in the first place).

While anarchists are aware of the need for groups of
like minded individuals to influence the class struggle
and spread anarchist ideas, we reject the idea that
such ideas have to be "injected" into the working class
from outside. Rather, as we argued in section J.3,
anarchist ideas are developed within the class struggle
by working people themselves. Anarchist groups exist
because we are aware that there is an uneven development
of ideas within our class and to aid the spreading of
libertarian ideas it is useful for those with those
ideas to work together. However, being aware that our
ideas are the product of working class life and struggle
we are also aware that we have to learn from that
struggle. It is because of this that anarchists stress
self-management of working class struggle and organisation
from below. Anarchists are (to use Bakunin's words) "convinced 
that revolution is only sincere, honest and real in the hands 
of the masses, and that when it is concentrated in those of a 
few ruling individuals it inevitably and immediately becomes 
reaction." [_Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings_, p. 237]
Only when this happens can new ways of life be created
and truly develop freely. It also explains anarchist opposition
to political groups seizing power -- that will only result in 
old dogmas crushing the initiative of people in struggle and 
the new forms of life they create. That is way anarchists 
stress the importance of revolutionaries using "natural 
influence" (i.e. arguing their ideas in popular organisations 
and convincing by reason) -- doing so allows new developments 
and ideas to be expressed and enriched by existing ones and 
vice versa.

One last point. It could be argued that Lenin's arguments were 
predated by Marx and Engels and so Marxism *as such* rather
than just Leninism does not believe in proletarian 
self-emancipation. This is because they wrote in _The 
Communist Manifesto_ that "a portion of the bourgeois goes
over to the proletariat, and in particular, a portion of
the bourgeois ideologists, who have raised themselves to
the level of comprehending theoretically the historical
movement as a whole." They also note that the Communists
are "the most advanced and resolute section of the 
working-class parties . . . [and] they have over the
great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly
understanding the line of march, the conditions, and
the general results of the proletarian movement." 
[_Selected Works_, p. 44 and p. 46] Thus a portion of
the bourgeois comprehend "the historical movement as a
whole" and this is also the "advantage" of the Communist
Party over "the great mass of the proletariat." Perhaps
Lenin's comments are not so alien to the Marxist tradition
after all.

12. Why is Marxist "class analysis" of anarchism contradictory?

Another ironic aspect of McNally's pamphlet is his praise for 
the Paris Commune and the Russian Soviets. This is because key 
aspects of both revolutionary forms were predicted by Proudhon 
and Bakunin. 

For example, McNally's and Marx's praise for revocable mandates 
in the Commune was advocated by Proudhon in the 1840s and Bakunin 
in the 1860s (see sections 4 and 5). Similarly, the Russian Soviets 
(a federation of delegates from workplaces) showed a marked 
similarity with Bakunin's discussions of revolutionary change 
and the importance of industrial associations being the basis 
of the future socialist commune (as he put it, the "future
organisation must be made solely from the bottom upwards,
by free association or free federation of workers, firstly
in their unions, then in the communes, regions, nations and
finally in a great federation, international and universal."
[_Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings_, p. 206]). 

Indeed, the Paris Commune (in both its economic and political 
aspects) showed a clear inspiration from Proudhon's works. In 
the words of George Woodcock, there are "demands in the Commune's 
Manifesto to the French People of the 19th April, 1871, that 
might have been written by Proudhon himself." [_Pierre-Joseph 
Proudhon: A Biography_, p. 276] K. Steven Vincent also points 
out that the declaration "is strongly federalist in tone 
[one of Proudhon's favourite ideas], and it has a marked 
proudhonian flavour." [_Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and the 
Rise of French Republican Socialism_, p. 232] Moreover, 
the desire to replace wage labour with associated labour by
the creation of co-operatives expressed during the Commune 
clearly showed the influence of Proudhon (see section A.5.1 
for more details). As Marx mentions the "rough sketch of 
national organisation" produced by the Commune it is useful 
to quote the Commune's declaration in order to show clearly 
its anarchist roots and tendencies:

"The absolute autonomy of the Commune extended to all
districts of France . . . to every Frenchman the full 
exercise of his faculties and aptitudes, as man, citizen,
and worker.

"The autonomy of the Commune shall have no limits other
than the right of autonomy equally enjoyed by all other
communes adhering to the contract, and by whose association
together French Unity will be preserved. . . Selection
by ballot . . . with the responsibility and permanent
right of control and dismissal of magistrates and all
communal civil servants of all grades . . . Permanent
intervention of citizens in communal affairs by the
free expression of their ideas. Organisation of urban
defence and of the National Guard, which elects its
leaders . . .the large central administration  
delegated by the federation of communes shall adopt
and put into practice these same principles.

"The Unity which has been imposed on us up to now . . .
is nothing but despotic centralisation . . . The
Political Unity which Paris desires is the voluntary
association of all local initiatives . . .

"The Communal Revolution . . . spells the end of the
old world with its governments and its clerics,
militarism, officialdom, exploitation, stock-jobbing,
monopolies, and privileges, to which the proletariat
owes its servitude, the country its ills and its
disasters." ["Declaration to the French People",
contained in David Thomson (ed.), _France: 
Empire and Republic, 1850-1940_, pp. 186-7]

The links with Proudhon's ideas cannot be clearer. Both
Proudhon and the Commune stressed the importance of
decentralisation of power, federalism, the end of
both government and exploitation and so on. Moreover,
in his letter to Albert Richard, Bakunin predicted many 
aspects of the Paris Commune and its declaration 
(see _Bakunin on Anarchism_, pp. 177-182).

Little wonder few Marxists (nor Marx himself) directly 
quote from this declaration. It would be difficult to 
attack anarchism (as "petty-bourgeois") while proclaiming 
the Paris Commune as the first example of "the dictatorship 
of the Proletariat." The decentralised, federalist nature 
of the Commune cannot be squared with the usual Marxist 
instance on centralisation and the claim that federalism 
"as a principle follows logically from the petty-bourgeois 
views of anarchism. Marx was a centralist." [Lenin, 
"The State and Revolution", Marx, Engels and Lenin, 
_Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism_, p. 273]

Given that Marx described the Commune as "essentially a 
working-class government, the produce of the producing 
against the appropriating class" and as "the political 
form, at last discovered, under which to work out the 
economic emancipation of labour," it is strange that 
McNally terms Proudhon's and Bakunin's ideas as those 
of the past. [_Selected Writings_, p. 290] In actually, 
as can be seen from the Paris Commune and the soviets, 
they were the ideas *of the future* -- and of working 
class self-liberation and self-organisation. And ones 
that Marx and his followers paid lip service to.

(We say lip service for Lenin quoted Marx's statement that
the future proletarian state, like the Paris Commune, would 
abolish the distinction between executive and administrative 
powers but did not honour it. Immediately after the October
Revolution the Bolsheviks established an executive power
*above* the soviets, namely the Council of People's Commissars.
Those who quote Lenin's _State and Revolution_ as proof of
his democratic nature usually fail to mention this little
fact. In practice that work was little more than an election
manifesto to be broken as required.)

Perhaps it could be argued that, in fact, the Paris Commune
was the work of artisans. This does have an element of
truth in it. Marx stated in 1866 that the French workers 
were "corrupted" by "Proudhonist" ideas, "particularly those
of Paris, who as workers in luxury trades are strongly
attached, without knowing it [!], to the old rubbish."
[Marx, Engels and Lenin, _Anarchism and Anarcho-syndicalism_,
pp. 45-6] Five years later, these workers (still obviously
influenced by "the old rubbish") created "the political form"
of "the economic emancipation of labour." How can the
Paris Commune be the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat"
(as Engels claimed [_Selected Writings_, p. 259]) when
35 members of the Commune's council were artisans and
only 4 or 5 were industrial workers (i.e. proletarians)?

Can the fact that artisans were, according to McNally and Marx,
social strata of the past, were backward looking, etc. be 
reconciled with the claim that the Paris Commune was the 
political form of proletarian emancipation? No, not from a 
Marxist class analysis. Hence Marxists ignoring the real nature 
of the Parisian working class when discussing the commune. 
However, from an anarchist perspective -- which sees the 
artisan, peasant and proletariat forming a common class of
working people -- the development of the Paris Commune is no
surprise. It is the work of people seeking to end wage labour
and the threat of wage labour *now* rather than sometime in 
the future once capitalism has fully developed. Thus McNally's
(and Marx's) support for the Commune makes a mockery of his
attacks on anarchism as the theory of the artisans and peasants
for it was the artisans who created the first model of their
"proletarian" state! 

As indicated, McNally's arguments do not hold water. Ironically,
if anarchism was the death-cry of the artisan and peasant then
it is strange, to say the least, that this theory so influenced
the Paris Commune which McNally praises so much. We therefore
suggest that rather than being a backward-looking cry of 
despair for those disappearing under the wheels of rising 
capitalism, anarchism was in fact a theory developed from 
the struggles and self-activity of those currently suffering 
capitalist and state oppression -- namely the artisans, 
peasants *and* industrial proletariat (i.e. the working 
class as a whole). In other words, it is a philosophy and 
theory for the future, not of the past. This can be seen
from the libertarian aspects of the Paris Commune, aspects
Marx immediately tried to appropriate for his own theories
(which, unfortunately, were swamped by the authoritarian
elements that existing already).

And one last point, McNally claims that Marx "immediately rallied 
to the cause of the Paris Commune." This is not true. As John 
Zerzan points out "[d]ays after the successful insurrection
began he failed to applaud its audacity, and satisfied himself
with grumbling that 'it had no chance of success.'" Though he
finally recognised the fact of the Commune (and was thereby
forced to revise his reformist ideas regarding proletarian
use of existing state machinery), his lack of sympathy is
amply reflected by the fact that throughout the Commune's
two-month existence, the General Council of the International
spoke not a single word about it . . . his _Civil War in France_
constitutes an obituary." [_Elements of Refusal_, p. 126] 
Perhaps the delay was due to Marx wondering how Parisian 
artisans had became the vanguard of the proletariat overnight
and how he could support a Commune created by the forces 
of the past?

In addition the "old rubbish" the Parisian workers supported was
very much ahead of its time. In 1869 the delegate of the Parisian 
Construction Workers' Trade Union argued that "[a]ssociation of
the different corporations [labour unions] on the basis of town
or country . . . leads to the commune of the future . . . Government
is replaced by the assembled councils of the trade bodies, and by
a committee of their respective delegates." In addition, "a local
grouping which allows the workers in the same area to liase on
a day to day basis" and "a linking up of the various localities,
fields, regions, etc." (i.e. international trade or industrial
union federations) would ensure that "labour organises for present
and future by doing away with wage slavery." [_No Gods, No Masters_,
vol. 1, p. 184] Such a vision of workers' councils and associated
labour has obvious similarities with the spontaneously created
soviets of the 1905 Russian Revolution. These, too, were based
on assembled councils of workers' delegates. Of course they
were differences but the basic idea and vision are identical.

Therefore to claim that anarchism represents the past presents
Marxists with a few problems given the nature of the Paris
Commune and its obvious libertarian nature. If it is claimed
that the Parisian artisans defended "not their present, but their
future interests" and so "desert[ed] their own standpoint to place 
themselves at that of the proletariat" (the class they are being 
"tranfer[ed]" into by the rise of capitalism) then, clearly, 
anarchist ideas are "future," proletarian, ideas as it is 
that class interest artisans serve "[i]f by chance they are 
revolutionary." [Marx and Engels, _The Communist Manifesto_, 
p. 44] 

Whichever way you look at it, McNally's claims on the class nature 
of anarchism do not stand up to close analysis. Proudhon addressed 
both artisan/peasant and wage slave in his works. He addressed
both the past and the present working class. Bakunin did
likewise (although with a stronger emphasis on wage slaves).
Therefore it is not surprising that Proudhon and Bakunin
predicted aspects of the Paris Commune -- they were expressing
the politics of the future. As is clear from their writings, 
which still remain fresh today.

This confusion associated with Marxist "class analysis" of
anarchism was also present in Lenin. Given that anarchism 
is apparently associated with the petty-bourgeois we find 
a strange contradiction in Lenin's work. On the one hand 
Lenin argued that Russia "despite the more petty-bourgeois 
composition of her population as compared with the other 
European countries" had, in fact, "negligible" anarchist 
influence during the two revolutions of 1905 and 1917. 
He claimed that this was due to Bolshevism's having 
"waged a most ruthless and uncompromising struggle 
against opportunism." [Marx, Engels and Lenin, Op. Cit., 
p. 305] 

On the other he admitted that, in the developed capitalist
nations, anarchists and syndicalists were "quite revolutionary 
and connected with the masses" and that it is "the duty of all 
Communists to do everything to help all proletarian mass elements 
to abandon anarchism . . . the measure in which genuinely
Communist parties succeed in winning mass proletarian
elements . . . away from anarchism, is a criterion of 
the success of those Parties." [Op. Cit., pp. 317-8]

Thus, in the most capitalist nations, ones with a more
widespread and developed proletariat, the anarchist and
syndicalist movements were more firmly developed and
had closer connections with the masses than in Russia. 
Moreover, these movements were also quite revolutionary
as well and should be won to Bolshevism. But anarchism
is the politics of the petit-bourgeois and so should
have been non-existent in Western countries but widespread
in Russia. The opposite was the case, thus suggesting
that Lenin's analysis is wrong. 

We can point to another explanation of these facts. Rather 
than the Bolsheviks "struggle against opportunism" being 
the reason why anarchism was "negligible" in 1917-18 in 
Russia (it was not, in fact) but had mass appeal in Western 
Europe perhaps it was the fact that anarchism was a product 
of working class struggle in advanced capitalist countries 
while Bolshevism was a product of *bourgeois* struggle (for
Parliament, a liberal republic, etc.) in Tsarist Russia? 

Similarly, perhaps the reason why Bolshevism did not develop 
opportunist tendencies was because it did not work in an 
environment which encouraged them. After all, unlike the 
German Social Democrats, the Bolsheviks were illegal for 
long periods of time and worked in an absolutist monarchy. 
The influences that corrupted the German SPD were not at 
work in the Tsarist regime. Thus, Bolshevism, perhaps at best,  
was applicable to Tsarist conditions and anarchism to Western 
ones.

However, as noted and contrary to Lenin, Russian anarchism was 
far from "negligible" during 1917-18 and was growing which was 
why the Bolsheviks suppressed them *before* the start of the 
civil war. As Emma Goldman noted, a claim such as Lenin's "does 
not tally with the incessant persecution of Anarchists which 
began in [April] 1918, when Leon Trotsky liquidated the Anarchist
headquarters in Moscow with machine guns. At that time the 
process of elimination of the Anarchists began." [_Trotsky 
Protests Too Much_] This fact of anarchist influence during 
the revolution does not contradict our earlier analysis. This
is because the Russian anarchists, rather than appealing 
to the petit-bourgeois, were influencing exactly the same 
workers, sailors and soldiers the Bolsheviks were. Indeed, 
the Bolsheviks often had to radicalise their activities 
and rhetoric to counter anarchist influence. As Alexander 
Rabinowitch (in his study of the July uprising of 1917) 
notes:

"At the rank-and-file level, particularly within the 
[Petrograd] garrison and at the Kronstadt naval base, 
there was in fact very little to distinguish Bolshevik from 
Anarchist. . . The Anarchist-Communists and the Bolsheviks
competed for the support of the same uneducated, depressed.
and dissatisfied elements of the population, and the fact
is that in the summer of 1917, the Anarchist-Communists,
with the support they enjoyed in a few important factories
and regiments, possessed an undeniable capacity to influence
the course of events. Indeed, the Anarchist appeal was great 
enough in some factories and military units to influence the 
actions of the Bolsheviks themselves." [_Prelude to Revolution_, 
p. 64] 

This is hardly what would be expected if anarchism was 
"petit-bourgeois" as Marxists assert.

It could, in fact, be argued that the Bolsheviks gained the 
support of so many working class people (wage slaves) during 
the summer of 1917 *because they sounded and acted like anarchists* 
and *not* like Marxists. At the time many considered the Bolsheviks 
as anarchists and one fellow Marxist (an ex-Bolshevik turned
Menshevik) thought Lenin had "made himself a candidate for
one European throne that has been vacant for thirty years -- 
the throne of Bakunin!" [quoted by Alexander Rabinowitch, 
Op. Cit., p. 40] As Alexander Berkman argues, the "Anarchist 
mottoes proclaimed by the Bolsheviks did not fail to bring 
results. The masses relied to their flag." [_What is Communist 
Anarchism_, p. 101]

Moreover, this stealing of anarchist slogans and tactics 
was *forced* upon the Bolsheviks by the working class. 
On Lenin's own admission, the masses of peasants and workers 
were "a hundred times further to the left" than the Bolsheviks.
Trotsky himself notes that the Bolsheviks "lagged behind
the revolutionary dynamic . . . The masses at the turning
point were a hundred times to the left of the extreme
left party." [_History of the Russian Revolution_, Vol. 1,
p. 403f] Indeed, one leading Bolshevik stated in June,
1917 (in response to a rise in anarchist influence), 
"[b]y fencing ourselves off from the Anarchists, we may
fence ourselves off from the masses." [quoted by Alexander
Rabinowitch, Op. Cit., p. 102] That, in itself, indicates
the weakness of Lenin's class analysis of anarchism.

Rather than seeing the Russian experience refute the 
claim that anarchism is a working class theory, it 
reinforces it -- the Bolsheviks would not have succeeded 
if they had used traditional Marxist slogans and tactics.
Instead, much to the dismay of their more orthodox comrades,
the Bolsheviks embraced traditional anarchist ideas and
tactics and thereby gained increased influence in the working
class. After the Bolshevik seizure of power in the name of 
the soviets, anarchist influence increased (see section A.5.4) 
as more working people recognised that what the Bolsheviks 
meant by their slogans was different than what working people 
thought they meant!  

Thus the experience of the Russian Revolution re-enforces
the fact that Marxist "class analysis" of anarchism fails
to convince. Far from proving that libertarian socialism is 
non-proletariat, that Revolution proved that it was (just as
confirmed the prophetic correctness of the views of the founders 
of anarchism and, in particular, their critique of Marxism).

Thus the usual Marxist "class analysis" of anarchism is somewhat 
confused. On the one hand, it claims that anarchism is backward 
looking and the politics of the petit-bourgeois being destroyed 
by the rise and development of capitalism. On the other hand 
Marxists point to events and organisations created in working 
class struggle which were predicted and/or influenced by 
*anarchist* ideas and ideals, *not* Marxist ones. That 
indicates better than any other argument that Marxists are 
wrong about anarchism and their "class analysis" is nothing 
more than distortions and bigotry.

Based on the evidence and the contradictions it provokes in 
Marxist ideology, we have to argue that McNally is simply 
wrong. Rather than being an ideology of the petit-bourgeois 
anarchism is, in fact, a political theory of the working 
class (both artisans and proletariat). Rather than a backward 
looking theory, anarchism is a theory of the present and 
future -- it has a concrete and radical critique of current 
society and a vision of the future and a theory how to get 
there which appeals to working people in struggle. Such is 
obviously the case when reading anarchist theory.

13. If Marxism is "socialism from below," why do anarchists reject
    it?

McNally claims that Marxism is "socialism from below." In his text 
he indicates support for the Paris Commune and the soviets of the 
Russian Revolution. He states that the "democratic and socialist 
restructuring of society remains . . . the most pressing task 
confronting humanity. And such a reordering of society can only 
take place on the basis of the principles of socialism from below. 
Now more than ever, the liberation of humanity depends upon the 
self-emancipation of the world working class. . . The challenge 
is to restore to socialism its democratic essence, its passionate 
concern with human freedom."

So, if this is the case, why the hostility between anarchists 
and Marxists? Surely it is a question of semantics? No, for 
while Marxists pay lip-service to such developments of working 
class self-activity and self-organisation as workers' councils 
(soviets), factory committees, workers' control, revocable and 
mandated delegates they do so in order to ensure the election 
of their party into positions of power (i.e. the government). 
Rather than see such developments as working people's *direct* 
management of their own destinies (as anarchists do) and as
a means of creating a self-managed (i.e. free) society, Marxists 
see them as a means for their party to take over state power.
Nor do they see them as a framework by which working class
people can take back control of their own lives. Rather, they
see them, at best, as typical bourgeois forms -- namely the 
means by which working people can delegate their power to a 
new group of leaders, i.e. as a means to elect a socialist 
government into power. 

This attitude can be seen from Lenin's perspectives on the 
Russian soviets. Rather than seeing them as a means of working 
class self-government, he saw them purely as a means of gaining 
influence for his party. In his own words:

"the Party . . . has never renounced its intention of
utilising certain non-party organisations, such as 
the Soviets of Workers' Deputies . . . to extend 
Social-Democratic influence among the working class
and to strengthen the Social-Democratic labour movement 
. . . the incipient revival creates the opportunity to 
organise or utilise non-party working-class institutions, 
such as Soviets . . . for the purpose of developing the 
Social-Democratic movement; at the same time the 
Social-Democratic Party organisations must bear in 
mind if Social-Democratic activities among the 
proletarian masses are properly, effectively and 
widely organised, such institutions may actually 
become superfluous." [Marx, Engels and Lenin, 
_Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism_, pp. 209-10]

Such a perspective indicates well the difference between
anarchism and Leninism. Anarchists do not seek power for
their own organisations. Rather they see self-managed
organisation created by working class people in struggle
as a means of eliminating hierarchy within society, of
directly involving the mass of people in the decisions
that affect them. In other words, as a means of creating
the organisations through which people can change both
themselves and the world by their own direct action and
the managing of their own struggles, lives, communities
and workplaces. For Leninists, view working class 
self-organisation as a means of gaining power for their
own party (which they identify with the power of the
working class). Mass organisations, which could be schools
for self-management and freedom, are instead subjected
to an elitist leadership of intellectual ideologues.
The party soon substitutes itself for the mass movement,
and the party leadership substitutes itself the party.

Despite its radical language, Leninism is totally opposed to 
the nature of revolt, rebellion and revolution. It seeks to 
undermine what makes these organisations and activities 
revolutionary (their tendencies towards self-management, 
decentralisation, solidarity, direct action, free activity 
and co-operation) by using them to build their party and, 
ultimately, a centralised, hierarchical state structure on 
the corpse of these once revolutionary forms of working class 
self-organisation and self-activity. 

Lenin's view of the soviets was instrumental: he regarded them merely 
as a means for educating the working class (i.e. of getting them to
support the Bolshevik Party) and enlisting them in the service of his 
party. Indeed, he constantly confused soviet power with party power,
seeing the former as the means to the latter and the latter as the
key to creating socialism. What is missing from his vision is the
idea of socialism as being based on working class self-activity,
self-management and self-government ("Lenin believed that the
transition to socialism was guaranteed ultimately, not by the
self-activity of workers, but by the 'proletarian' character
of state power." [A. S. Smith, _Red Petrograd_, pp. 261-2] And
the 'proletarian' character of the state was determined by
the party in government). And this gap in his politics, this 
confusion of party with class, which helped undermine the
revolution and create the dictatorship of the bureaucracy. Little
wonder that by the end of 1918, the Bolsheviks ruled the newly 
established soviet state entirely alone and had turned the soviets 
into docile instruments of their party apparatus rather than forms
of working class self-government. 

For Lenin and other Bolsheviks the party of the proletariat, 
that is, *their* party, must strive to monopolise political 
power, if only to safeguard the proletarian character of the 
revolution. This follows naturally from Lenin's vanguardist 
politics (see section 11). As the working class people cannot 
achieve anything bar a trade union consciousness by their own 
efforts, it would be insane for the Party to let them govern 
directly. In the words of Lenin:

"Syndicalism hands over to the mass of non-Party workers
. . . the management of their industries . . . thereby
making the Party superfluous. . . Why have a Party, if
industrial management is to be appointed . . . by trade
unions nine-tenths of whose members are non-Party 
workers?" [Op. Cit., pp. 319-20]

"Does every worker know how to run the state? . . . this
is not true . . . If we say that it is not the Party but
the trade unions that put up the candidates and administrate,
it may sound very democratic . . . It will be fatal for
the dictatorship of the proletariat." [Op. Cit. p. 322]

"To govern you need an army of steeled revolutionary
Communists. We have it, and it is called the Party.
All this syndicalist nonsense about mandatory nominations
of producers must go into the wastepaper basket. To
proceed on those lines would mean thrusting the Party 
aside and making the dictatorship of the proletariat
. . . impossible." [Op. Cit., p. 323]

In other words, giving the proletariat the power to elect
their own managers means to destroy the "dictatorship" of
the proletariat! Lenin clearly places the power of the
party above the ability of working people to elect their
own representatives and managers. And McNally claims that
his tradition aims at "workers' power" and a "direct and 
active democracy"!

Lenin's belief that working class people could not liberate
themselves (see section 11) explains his continual emphasis on 
*representative* democracy and centralism -- simply put, the 
party must have power *over* the working class as that class 
could not be trusted to make the right decisions (i.e. know what 
its "real" interests were). At best they would be allowed to vote 
for the government, but even this right could be removed if they 
voted for the wrong people (see section 8). For Leninists, 
revolutionary consciousness is not generated by working class 
self-activity in the class struggle, but is embodied in the party 
("Since there can there can be no talk of an independent ideology
being developed by the masses of the workers in the process of their
movement *the only choice is*: either bourgeois or socialist ideology"
[Lenin, _The Essential Works of Lenin_, 82]).  The important issues 
facing the working class are to be determined not by the workers 
ourselves, but by the leadership of the party, who are the (self
appointed) "vanguard of the proletariat". The nature of the 
relationship between the party and the working class is clear, 
however, we remain incapable of achieving revolutionary 
consciousness and have to be led by the vanguard.

Russia, Lenin once said, "was accustomed to being ruled by 150 000 
land owners. Why can 240 000 Bolsheviks not take over the task?" 
[_Collected Works_, Vol 21, p. 336] The idea of socialism as working 
class self-management and self-government was lost on him -- and
the possibility *real* socialism was soon lost to the Russian 
working class when the Tsar was replaced by the autocratic the 
rule of the Bolshevik Party. "Workers' power" cannot be 
identified or equated with the power of the Party -- as it 
repeatedly was by the Bolsheviks (and Social Democrats before
them). 

Thus Malatesta's comments:

"The important, fundamental dissension [between anarchists
and Marxists] is [that] . . . [Marxist] socialists are 
authoritarians, anarchists are libertarians.

"Socialists want power . . . and once in power wish to
impose their programme on the people. . . Anarchists
instead maintain, that government cannot be other than 
harmful, and by its very nature it defends either an
existing privileged class or creates a new one." [_Life
and Ideas_, p. 142]

Anarchists seek to influence people by the power of our ideas 
within popular organisations. We see such organisations as the 
means by which working people can take control of their own lives 
and start to create a free, libertarian socialist society. A 
self-managed society can only be created by self-management, 
in short, and any tendencies to undermine popular self-management 
in favour of hierarchical power of a party will subvert a 
revolution and create an end drastically at odds with the 
ideals of those who take part in it.

Similarly, anarchists reject the Leninist idea of highly
centralised "vanguard" parties. As the anarchists of 
Trotwatch explain, such a party leaves much to be desired:

"In reality, a Leninist Party simply reproduces and 
institutionalises existing capitalist power relations
inside a supposedly 'revolutionary' organisation: 
between leaders and led; order givers and order takers;
between specialists and the acquiescent and largely
powerless party workers. And that elitist power
relation is extended to include the relationship
between the party and class." [_Carry on Recruiting!_,
p. 41]

Such an organisation can never create a socialist society.
In contrast, anarchists argue that socialist organisations
should reflect as much as possible the future society we
are aiming to create. To build organisations which are
statist/capitalistic in structure cannot do other than
reproduce the very problems of capitalism/statism into
them and so undermine their liberatory potential. As
Murray Bookchin puts it:

"The 'glorious party,' when there is one, almost invariably
lags behind the events . . . In the beginning . . . it
tends to have an inhibitory function, not a 'vanguard'
role. Where it exercises influence, it tends to slow down 
the flow of events, not 'co-ordinate' the revolutionary
forced. This is not accidental. The party is structured
along hierarchical lines *that reflect the very society
it professes to oppose* . . . Its membership is schooled
in obedience . . . The party's leadership, in turn, is
schooled in habits born of command, authority, manipulation
. . . Its leaders . . . lose contact with the living
situation below. The local groups, which know their own
immediate situation better than any remote leaders, are
obliged to subordinate their insights to directives from
above. The leadership, lacking any direct knowledge of
local problems, responds sluggishly and prudently. . .

"The party becomes less efficient from a revolutionary
point of view the more it seeks efficiency by means of
hierarchy, cadres and centralisation. Although everyone
marches in step, the orders are usually wrong, especially
when events begin to move rapidly and take unexpected
turns -- as they do in all revolutions. The party is
efficient in only one respect -- in moulding society
in its own hierarchical imagine if the revolution is
successful. It recreates bureaucracy, centralisation
and the state. It fosters the bureaucracy, centralisation
and the state. It fosters the very social conditions
which justify this kind of society. Hence, instead
of 'withering away,' the state controlled by the
'glorious party' preserves the very conditions which
'necessitate' the existence of a state -- and a party
to 'guard' it." [_Post-Scarcity Anarchism_, pp. 194-198]

As we argue in section J.3, anarchists do not reject the
need for political organisations (anarchist groups, 
federations and so on) to work in mass movements and in 
revolutionary situations. However, we do reject the Leninist
idea of a vanguard party as being totally inappropriate
for the needs of a social revolution -- a revolution that
aims to create a free society.

In addition to this difference in the *political* nature 
of a socialist society, the role of organisations created
in, by and for the class struggle and the nature of socialist
organisation, anarchists and Marxists disagree with the 
*economic* nature of the future society.

McNally claims that in Russia "[c]ontrol of the factories 
was taken over by the workers" but this is a total distortion
of what actually happened. Throughout 1917, it was the workers 
themselves, *not* the Bolshevik Party, which raised the issue 
of workers' self-management and control. As S.A. Smith puts it, 
the "factory committees launched the slogan of workers' control 
of production quite independently of the Bolshevik party. It 
was not until May that the party began to take it up." [_Red
Petrograd_, p. 154] Given that the defining aspect of capitalism 
is wage labour, the Russian workers' raised a clearly socialist 
demand that entailed its abolition. It was the Bolshevik party,
we must note, who failed to raise above a "trade union conscious" 
in this and so many other cases.

In reality, the Bolsheviks themselves hindered the movement of 
workers trying to control, and then manage, the factories they 
worked in. As Maurice Brinton correctly argued, "it is ridiculous 
to claim -- as so many do today -- that in 1917 the Bolsheviks 
really stood for the full, total and direct control by working 
people of the factories, mines, building sites or other enterprises
in which they worked, i.e. that they stood for workers'
self-management." [_The Bolsheviks and Workers' Control_,
p. 27] Rather, Lenin identified "workers' control" as something 
totally different:

"When we speak of 'workers control,' always placing this
cry side by side with the dictatorship of the proletariat
. . . we make clear thereby what State we have in mind 
. . . if we have in mind a proletarian State -- that is,
the dictatorship of the proletariat -- then the workers' 
control can become a national, all-embracing, universally
realisable, most exact and most conscientious regulating 
of the production and distribution of goods." [_Can the 
Bolsheviks Maintain State Power?_, pp. 46-7]

By "regulation" Lenin meant the "power" to oversee the books, 
to check the implementation of decisions made by others, rather 
than fundamental decision making. As he argued, "the economists,
engineers, agricultural experts and so on . . . [will] work
out plans under the control of the workers' organisations 
. . . We are in favour of centralisation." [Op. Cit., 
pp. 78-9] Thus others would determine the plans, not the
workers themselves. As Brinton states, "[n]owhere in Lenin's 
writings is workers' control ever equated with fundamental 
decision-taking (i.e. with the *initiation* of decisions)
relating to production . . . He envisioned a period during
which, in a workers state, the bourgeois would still retain
the formal ownership and effective management of most of
the productive apparatus . . . capitalists would be
coerced into co-operation. 'Workers' control' was seen 
as the instrument of this coercion." [Op. Cit., pp. 12-13]
In Lenin's own words, "[t]here is no other way . . .
than . . . organisation of really democratic control,
i.e. control 'from below,' of the workers and poorest
peasants *over* the capitalists." [_The Threatening
Catastrophe and how to avoid it_, p. 33] 

Thus the capitalists would remain and wage slavery would 
continue but workers could "control" those who had the real
power and gave the orders (the capitalists were later
replaced by state bureaucrats though the lack of effective
control remained). In other words, no vision of workers' 
self-management in production (and so real socialism) and 
the reduction of "socialism" to a warmed up variation of 
state capitalism with (in theory, but not in practice) a 
dash of liberal democracy in the form of "control" of 
those with the real power by those under them in the 
hierarchy. 

S.A. Smith correctly argues that Lenin's "proposals . . .
[were] thoroughly statist and centralist in character"
and that he used "the term ['workers' control'] in a
very different sense from that of the factory committees."
[Op. Cit., p. 154] That is, he used the same slogans as
many workers' but meant something radically different
by it. Leninists follow this tradition today, as can be 
seen from McNally's use of the words "[c]ontrol of the 
factories was taken over by the workers" to refer to
situation drastically different from the workers'
self-management it implies to most readers. 

Given Lenin's lack of concern about the revolutionising
of the relations of production (a lack not shared by
the Russian workers, we must note) it is hardly surprising 
that Lenin considered the first task of the Bolshevik revolution
was to build state capitalism. "State capitalism," he wrote,
"is a complete material preparation for socialism, the 
threshold of socialism, a rung on the ladder of history 
between which and the rung called socialism there are no 
gaps." [_Collected Works_, vol. 24, p. 259] Hence his
support for centralisation and his full support for
"one-man management" -- working class power *in production*
is never mentioned as a necessary condition for socialism.

Little wonder Soviet Russia never progressed beyond
state capitalism -- it could not as the fundamental
aspect of capitalism, wage labour, was never replaced
by workers' self-management of production.

Lenin took the viewpoint that socialism "is nothing but 
the next step forward from state capitalist monopoly. In 
other words, Socialism is merely state capitalist monopoly 
*made to benefit the whole people*; by this token it *ceases* 
to be capitalist monopoly." [_The Threatening Catastrophe and 
how to avoid it_, p. 37] He had no real notion of workers' 
self-management of production nor of the impossibilities of 
combining the centralised state capitalist system with its 
big banks, monopolies, big business with genuine rank and file 
control, never mind self-management. As Alexander Berkman 
correctly argued:

"The role of industrial decentralisation in the revolution
is unfortunately too little appreciated. . . Most people
are still in the thraldom of the Marxian dogma that
centralisation is 'more efficient and economical.' They
close their eyes to the fact that the alleged 'economy'
is achieved at the cost of the workers' limb and life,
that the 'efficiency' degrades him to a mere industrial
cog, deadens his soul, kills his body. Furthermore, in 
a system of centralisation the administration of industry
becomes constantly merged in fewer hands, producing a
powerful bureaucracy of industrial overlords. It would
indeed be the sheerest irony if the revolution were to
aim at such a result. It would mean the creation of
a new master class." [_The ABC of Anarchism_, pp. 80-1]

However, this is what Lenin aimed at. The Leninist 
"vision" of the future socialist economy is one of a 
highly centralised organisation, modelled on capitalism, 
in which, at best, workers can supervise the decisions 
made by others and "control" those in power. It is a 
vision of a more democratic corporate structure, with 
the workers replacing the shareholders. In practice,
it would be a new bureaucracy exploiting and oppressing
those who do the actual work -- as in private capitalism --
simply because capitalist economic structures are designed
to empower the few over the many. Like the capitalist 
state, they cannot be used by the working class to
achieve their liberation (they are not created for 
the mass participation that real socialism requires,
quite the reverse in fact!).

In contrast, anarchists view the socialist economy as
being based on workers' self-management of production
and the workplace turned into an association of equals.
Above the individual workplace, federations of factory
committees would co-ordinate activities and ensure
wide scale co-operation is achieved. Thus anarchists
see a *new* form of economic structure developing,
one based on workers' organisations created in the
process of struggle *against* capitalism.

In other words, rather than embrace bourgeois notions
of "democracy" (i.e. the election of leaders into
positions of power) like Marxists do, anarchists dissolve
hierarchical power by promoting workers' self-management
and association. While Marxism ends up as state capitalism
pure and simple (as can be seen by the experience of
Russia under Lenin and then Stalin) anarchism destroys
the fundamental social relation of capitalism -- wage
labour -- via association and workers' self-management
of production. 

Thus while both Leninists and anarchists claim to support 
factory committees and "workers' control" we have decidedly
different notions of what we mean by this. The Leninists
see them as a means of workers' to supervise those who have
the real power in the economy (and so perpetuate wage
slavery with the state replacing the boss). Anarchists,
in contrast, see them as a means of expressing workers
self-organisation, self-management and self-government
-- as a means of abolishing wage slavery and so capitalism
by eliminating hierarchical authority, in other words.
The difference could not be more striking. Indeed, it
would be correct to state that the Leninist tradition
is not, in fact, socialist as it identifies socialism
as the natural development of capitalism and *not* as
a new form of economy which will develop *away* from 
capitalism by means of associated labour and workers'
self-management of production.

In short, anarchists reject both the means and the ends
Leninists aim for and so our disagreements with that
tradition is far more than semantics.

This does not mean that all members of Leninist parties
do not support workers' self-management in society and
production, favour workers' democracy, actually do believe
in working class self-emancipation and so on. Many
do, unaware that the tradition they have joined does not
actually share those values. It could, therefore, be
argued that such values can be "added" to the core
Leninist ideas. However, such a viewpoint is optimistic
in the extreme. Leninist positions on workers' 
self-management, etc., do not "just happen" nor are
they the product of ignorance. Rather they are the 
natural result of those "core" ideas. To add other
values to Leninism would be like adding extensions to 
a house built on sand -- the foundations are unsuitable 
and any additions would soon fall down. This was what
happened during the Russian Revolution -- movements
from below which had a different vision of socialism
came to grief on the rocks of Bolshevik power. 

The issue is clear -- either you aim for a socialist society 
and use socialist methods to get there or you do not. Those 
who do seek a *real* socialism (as opposed to warmed up state 
capitalism) would be advised to consider anarchism which is 
truly "socialism from below" (see next section).

14. Why is McNally's use of the term "socialism from below"  
    dishonest?

McNally argues that Marxism can be considered as "socialism from 
below." Indeed, that is the name of his pamphlet. However, his
use of the term is somewhat ironic for two reasons.

Firstly, this is because the expression "from below" was 
constantly on the lips of Bakunin and Proudhon. For example, 
in 1848, Proudhon was talking about being a "revolutionary
*from below*" and that every "serious and lasting Revolution"
was "made *from below,* by the people." A "Revolution *from
above*" was "pure governmentalism," "the negation of 
collective activity, of popular spontaneity" and is "the
oppression of the wills of those below." [quoted by George
Woodcock, _Pierre-Joseph Proudhon_, p. 143] Similarly, 
Bakunin saw an anarchist revolution as coming "from below." 
As he put it, "liberty can be created only by liberty, by 
an insurrection of all the people and the voluntary 
organisation of the workers from below upward." [_Statism
and Anarchy_, p. 179] Elsewhere he writes that "future social 
organisation must be made solely from the bottom upwards, by 
the free association or federation of workers, firstly in 
their unions, then in the communes, regions, nations and 
finally in a great federation, international and universal."
[_Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings_, p. 206]

No such idea is present in Marx. Rather, he saw a revolution as
consisting of the election of a socialist party into government. 
Therefore, the idea of "socialism from below" is a distinctly
anarchist notion, one found in the works of Proudhon and
Bakunin, *not* Marx. It is ironic, given his distorted account
of Proudhon and Bakunin that McNally uses their words to
describe Marxism!

Secondly, and far more serious for McNally, Lenin dismissed 
the idea of "from below" as not Marxist. As he wrote in 1905 
(and using Engels as an authority to back him up) "the 
principle, 'only from below' is an *anarchist* principle."
[Marx, Engels and Lenin, _Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism_,
p. 192] In this he followed Marx, who commented that 
Bakunin's expression "the free organisation of the working 
masses from below upwards" was "nonsense." [Op. Cit., 
p. 153] For Lenin, Marxists must be in favour of "From 
above as well as from below" and "renunciation of pressure 
also from above is *anarchism*" [Op. Cit., p. 196, p. 189]
McNally does not mention "from above" in his pamphlet and 
so gives his account of Marxism a distinctly anarchist feel 
(while denouncing it in a most deceitful way). Why is this? 
Because, according to Lenin, "[p]ressure from below is
pressure by the citizens on the revolutionary government.
Pressure from above is pressure by the revolutionary
government on the citizens." [Op. Cit., pp. 189-90]

In other words, Marxism is based on idea that the government 
pressuring the citizens is acceptable. Given that Marx
and Engels had argued in _The Holy Family_ that the 
"question is not what this or that proletarian, or even
the whole of the proletariat at the moment *considers*
as its aim. The question is *what the proletariat is*,
and what, consequent on that *being*, it will be
compelled to do" the idea of "from above" takes on 
frightening overtones. [quoted by Murray Bookchin, _The
Spanish Anarchists_, p. 280] As Murray Bookchin argues:

"These lines and others like them in Marx's writings were
to provide the rationale for asserting the authority of
Marxist parties and their armed detachments over and
even against the proletariat. Claiming a deeper and
more informed comprehension of the situation then
'even the whole of the proletariat at the given moment,'
Marxist parties went on to dissolve such revolutionary
forms of proletarian organisation as factory committees
and ultimately to totally regiment the proletariat 
according to lines established by the party leadership."
[Op. Cit., p. 289]

A given ideological premise will led to certain 
conclusions in practice -- conclusions Lenin and
Trotsky were not shy in explicitly stating.

Little wonder McNally fails to mention Lenin's support
for revolutionary action "from above." As we proved above 
(in section 8), in practice Leninism substitutes the 
dictatorship of the party for that of the working class
as a whole. This is unsurprising, given its confusion
of working class power and party power. For example,
Lenin once wrote "the power of the Bolsheviks -- that
is, the power of the proletariat" while, obviously, 
these two things *are* different. [_Will the Bolsheviks
Maintain Power?_, p. 102] Trotsky makes the same 
identification of party dictatorship with popular
self-government:

"We have more than once been accused of having substituted for 
the dictatorship of the Soviets the dictatorship of our party. 
Yet it can be said with complete justice that the dictatorship 
of the Soviets became possible only by means of the dictatorship 
of the party. It is thanks to the clarity of its theoretical 
vision and its strong revolutionary organisation that the party 
has afforded to the Soviets the possibility of becoming transformed 
from shapeless parliaments of labour into the apparatus of the 
supremacy of labour. In this 'substitution' of the power of the 
party for the power of the working class there is nothing 
accidental, and in reality there is no substitution at all. 
The Communists express the fundamental interests of the working 
class. It is quite natural that, in the period in which history 
brings up those interests . . . the Communists have become the 
recognised representatives of the working class as a whole." 
[_Terrorism and Communism_, p. 109]

In this confusion, we must note, they follow Engels who
argued that "each political party sets out to establish
its rule in the state, so the German Social-Democratic
Workers' Party is striving to establish *its* rule, the
rule of the working class." [Marx, Engels and Lenin,
_Anarchism and Anarcho-syndicalism_, p. 94]

Such confusion is deadly to a true "revolution from below" and
justifies the use of repression against the working class -- 
they do not understand their own "fundamental interests," 
only the party does. Anarchists recognise that parties and
classes are different and only self-management in popular
organisations from below upwards can ensure that a social
revolution remains in the hands of all and not a source of
power for the few. Thus "All Power to the Soviets," for
anarchists, means *exactly* that -- not a euphemism for
"All Power to the Party." As Voline made clear:

"[F]or, the anarchists declared, if 'power' really
should belong to the soviets, it could not belong to
the Bolshevik Party, and if it should belong to that
Party, as the Bolsheviks envisaged, it could not 
belong to the soviets." [_The Unknown Revolution_, 
p. 213]

Marxist confusion of the difference between working
class power and party power, combined with the nature 
of centralised power and an ideology which claims to
"comprehend" the "real" interests of the people cannot 
help but lead to the rise of a ruling bureaucracy, 
pursuing "from above" their own power and privileges. 

"*All political power inevitably creates a privileged 
situation* for the men who exercise it," argued Voline. 
"Thus is violates, from the beginning, the equalitarian 
principle and strikes at the heart of the Social 
Revolution . . . [and] becomes the source of other 
privileges . . . *power is compelled to create a 
bureaucratic and coercive apparatus* indispensable to 
all authority . . . *Thus it forms a new privileged
caste,* at first politically and later economically."
[Op. Cit., p. 249]

Thus the concept of revolution "from above" is one that
inevitably leads to a new form of class rule -- rule by
bureaucracy. This is not because the Bolsheviks were
"bad people" -- rather it is to do with the nature of
centralised power (which by its very nature can only be
exercised by the few). As the anarchist Sergven argued
in 1918:

"The proletariat is being gradually enserfed by the state.
The people are being transformed into servants over whom
there has arisen  a new class of administrators -- a new
class born mainly form the womb of the so-called intelligentsia
. . . We do not mean to say . . . that the Bolshevik party
set out to create a new class system. But we do say that
even the best intentions and aspirations must inevitably
be smashed against the evils inherent in any system of
centralised power. The separation of management from labour,
the division between administrators and workers flows
logically from centralisation. It cannot be otherwise."
[_The Anarchists in the Russian Revolution_, pp. 123-4]

Thus McNally's use of the term "from below" is dishonest
on two levels. Firstly, it is of anarchist origin and,
secondly, it was repudiated by Lenin himself (who urged
revolution "from below" and "from above", thus laying the
groundwork for a new class system based around the Party). 
It goes without saying  that either McNally is ignorant of 
his subject (and if so, why write a pamphlet on it) or he 
knew these facts and decided to suppress them.

Either way it shows the bankruptcy of Marxism -- it
uses libertarian rhetoric for non-libertarian ends
while distorting the real source of those ideas. That
Lenin dismissed this rhetoric and the ideas behind them 
as "anarchist" says it all. McNally's (and the SWP/ISO's)
use of this rhetoric and imagery is therefore deeply
dishonest.