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<HTML>
<HEAD>

<TITLE>Reply to errors and distortions in John Fisher's 
"Why we must further Marxism and not Anarchism"
</TITLE>
</HEAD>
<BODY>
<p>
<H1>Reply to errors and distortions in John Fisher's 
<i>"Why we must further Marxism and not Anarchism"</i></H1>
<p>
On the Trotskyist "New Youth" webpage there is an article 
entitled <a href="http://www.newyouth.com/archives/theory/why_marxism_not_anarchism_20010107.asp">
"Why we must further Marxism and not Anarchism"</a> by 
John Fisher. This article contains numerous distortions of 
anarchist ideas and positions. Indeed, he makes so many 
basic errors that only two possible explanations are 
possible: either he knows nothing about anarchism or he 
does and is consciously lying.
<p>
We will compare his assertions to what anarchist theory
actually argues in order to show that this is the case.
<p>
<a name="app1"><h2>1. Why should <i>"the so-called Anarchistic youth of today"</i> be concerned that Trotskyists consider them allies?</h2>
<p>
Fisher starts his diatribe against anarchism with some thoughts
on the radical youth active in the anti-globalisation demonstrations
and movements:
<p><blockquote><i>
"The so-called Anarchistic youth of today, year 2001, for the most 
part simply use the term 'Anarchist' as an indication of not 
wanting to go along with the 'system' in not wanting to 
assimilate, which is a giant leap forward on their part 
considering all their lives they've constantly been bombarded 
with the huge American Corporate propaganda machine.  For 
this achievement, they are already more our ally than our 
enemy."</i>
</blockquote><p>
It makes you wonder how Fisher knows this. Has there been a poll 
of "anarchistic youth" recently? It would be interesting to 
discover the empirical basis for this statement. Given the quality of 
the rest of the article, we can hazard a guess and say that these 
particular facts are just assertions and express wishful thinking 
rather than any sort of reality.
<p>
Needless to say, these <i>"anarchistic youth"</i> had better watch out. 
We all know what happens to the <i>"ally"</i> of the vanguard party once 
that party takes power. Anarchists remember the fate of our 
comrades when Lenin and Trotsky ruled the "proletarian" state.
<p>
The Russian anarchists were at the forefront of the struggle 
between the February and October revolutions in 1917. As
socialist historian Samuel Farber notes, the anarchists <i>"had
actually been an unnamed coalition partner of the Bolsheviks
in the October Revolution."</i> [<b>Before Stalinism</b>, p. 126] The
anarchists were the "allies" of the Bolsheviks before they
took power as both shared the goals of abolishing the 
provisional government and for a social revolution which 
would end capitalism.
<p>
This changed once the Bolsheviks had taken power. On the 
night of April 11th, 1918, the Cheka surrounded 26 Anarchist 
clubs in Moscow, in the insuring fighting Anarchists 
suffered 40 casualties and 500 were taken prisoner. The
Petrograd anarchists protested this attack:
<p><blockquote><i>
"The Bolsheviks have lost their senses. They have betrayed
the proletariat and attacked the anarchists. They have
joined . . . the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie. They
have declared war on revolutionary anarchism. . . . We
regarded you [Bolsheviks] as our revolutionary brothers.
But you have proved to be traitors. You are Cains -- you
have killed your brothers . . . There can be no peace with
the traitors to the working class. The executioners of the
revolution wish to become the executioners of anarchism."</i>
[quoted by Paul Avrich, <b>The Anarchists in the Russian
Revolution</b>, p. 113]
</blockquote><p>
Fifteen days later similar raids were carried out in 
Petrograd. This repression, we must note, took place
months before the outbreak of the Russian Civil War (in
late May 1918). In May of that year, leading anarchist 
periodicals (including <b>Burevestnik</b>, <b>Anarkhia</b> 
and <b>Golos Truda</b>) were closed down by the government. 
The repression continued during the war and afterwards. Many 
imprisoned anarchists were deported from the "workers' state" 
in 1921 after they went on hunger strike and their plight
was raised by libertarian delegates to the founding
congress of the Red International of Labour Unions
held that year. 
<p>
Unsurprisingly, the Bolsheviks denied they held anarchists.
French anarchist Gaston Leval accounted how Lenin had
<i>"reiterated the charges made by Dzerzhinsky [founder of
the Bolsheviks secret police, the Cheka] . . . Those
in prison were not true anarchists nor idealists -- 
just bandits abusing our good intentions."</i> Leval, 
having gathered the facts, indicated this was not 
true, making Lenin backtrack. [<b>No Gods, No Masters</b>, 
vol. 2, p. 213]
<p>
Unsurprisingly, when the libertarian delegates to the congress 
reported back on conditions in Russia to their unions, they 
withdrew from the Trade-Union International. 
<p>
In the Ukraine, the anarchist influenced Makhnovist
movement also became an "ally" with the Bolsheviks in
the common struggle against the counter-revolutionary
White armies. The Bolsheviks betrayed their allies 
each time they formed an alliance. 
<p>
The first alliance was in March 1919 during the struggle 
against Denikin, In May of that year, two Cheka agents sent 
to assassinate Makhno (the main leader of the movement) were 
caught and executed. The following month Trotsky, the 
commander of the Red Army, outlawed the Makhnovists and 
Communist troops attacked their headquarters at Gulyai-Polye.
<p>
Denikin's massive attack on Moscow in September 1919 saw
the shaky alliance resumed in the face of a greater 
threat. Once Denikin had been defeated, the Bolsheviks
ordered the Makhnovists to the Polish front. This was 
obviously designed to draw them away from their home 
territory, so leaving it defenceless against Bolshevik 
rule. The Makhnovists refused and Trotsky, again, 
outlawed and attacked them.
<p>
Hostilities were again broken off when the White General
Wrangel launched a major offensive in the summer of 1920. 
Again the Bolsheviks signed a pact with Makhno. This 
promised amnesty for all anarchists in Bolshevik prisons, 
freedom for anarchist propaganda, free participation to 
the Soviets and <i>"in the region where the Makhnovist 
Army is operating, the population of workers and peasants 
will create its own institutions of economic and political 
self-management."</i> [quoted by Peter Arshinov, <b>The 
History of the Makhnovist
Movement</b>, pp. 177-9] Once Wrangel had been defeated,
the Bolsheviks ripped up the agreement and turned their
forces, once again, against their "ally" and finally 
drove them out of the Soviet Union in 1921.
<p>
These events should be remembered when the authoritarian
left argue that we aim for the same thing and are allies.
<p>
<a name="app2"><h2>2. What else do people learn about when they discover anarchism is not <i>"utter rebellion"</i>?</h2>
<p>
Fisher continues:
<p><blockquote><i>
"In some cases, 'Anarchist' youth begin to try to learn about 
what Anarchism truly is instead of seeing it merely as utter 
rebellion. They learn Anarchism is a form of Socialism, they 
learn they have much in common with Marxists, they learn the 
state must be smashed, they learn the state is a tool of 
suppression used by one class against another."</i>
</blockquote><p>
They learn much more than this. They learn, for example, about 
the history of Marxism and how anarchism differs from it. 
<p>
They learn, for example, about the history of Marxist Social 
Democracy. Many forget that Social Democracy was the first
major Marxist movement. It was formed initially in Germany
in 1875 when the followers of Lassalle and Marx united
to form the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). This
party followed Marx and Engels recommendations that workers
should form a distinct political party and conquer political
power. It rejected the anarchist argument that workers
should <i>"abstain from politics"</i> (i.e. elections) and instead,
to use an expression from Marx's preamble of the French
Workers' Party, turn the franchise <i>"from a means of
deception . . . into an instrument of emancipation."</i> 
[<b>Marx and Engels Reader</b>, p. 566] 
<p>
Rather than confirm Marx's politics, Social Democracy confirmed
Bakunin's. It quickly degenerated into reformism. As Bakunin 
predicted, when <i>"the workers . . . send common workers . . . to 
Legislative Assemblies . . . The worker-deputies, transplanted 
into a bourgeois environment, into an atmosphere of purely 
bourgeois ideas, will in fact cease to be workers and, becoming 
Statesmen, they will become bourgeois . . . For men do not make 
their situations; on the contrary, men are made by them."</i> 
[<b>The Basic Bakunin</b>, p. 108]
<p>
Form the early 1890s, Social Democracy was racked by arguments
between reformists (the "revisionist" wing) and revolutionaries.
The former wanted to adapt the party and its rhetoric to what
it was doing. As one of the most distinguished historians of this 
period put it, the <i>"distinction between the contenders remained 
largely a subjective one, a difference of ideas in the evaluation 
of reality rather than a difference in the realm of action."</i> 
[C. Schorske, <b>German Social Democracy</b>, p. 38]
<p>
In 1914, the majority of social democrats in Germany and across
the world supported their state in the imperialist slaughter of
the First World. This disgraceful end would not have surprised
Bakunin.
<p>
Anarchists also learn about the Russian Revolution. They learn
how Lenin and Trotsky eliminated democracy in the armed forces, 
in the workplace and in the soviets. 
<p>
They learn, for example, that the Bolsheviks had disbanded 
soviets which had been elected with non-Bolshevik majorities 
in the spring and summer of 1918. [Samuel Farber, <b><b>Op. Cit.</b></b>, 
p. 24] 
<p>
They learn that at the end of March, 1918, Trotsky reported 
to the Communist Party that <i>"the principle of election is 
politically purposeless and technically inexpedient, 
and it has been, in practice, abolished by decree"</i> in
the Red Army. [quoted by M. Brinton, <b>The Bolsheviks
and Workers' Control</b>, pp. 37-8] 
<p>
They learn that Lenin opposed workers' management of 
production. Before the October Revolution he saw 
"workers' control" purely in terms of the <i>"universal, 
all-embracing workers' control over the capitalists."</i> 
[<b>Will the Bolsheviks Maintain Power?</b>, p. 52] He 
did not see it in terms of workers' management of 
production itself (i.e. the abolition of wage labour) 
via federations of factory committees. Anarchists 
and the workers' factory committees did. <i>"On three 
occasions in the first months of Soviet power, the 
[factory] committee leaders sought to bring their 
model into being. At each point the party leadership 
overruled them. The result was to vest both managerial 
<b>and</b> control powers in organs of the state which were 
subordinate to the central authorities, and formed 
by them."</i> [Thomas F. Remington, <b>Building Socialism in 
Bolshevik Russia</b>, p. 38] 
<p>
Lenin himself quickly supported <i>"one-man management"</i> 
invested with <i>"dictatorial powers"</i> after <i>"control 
over the capitalists"</i> failed. By 1920, Trotsky was 
advocating the <i>"militarisation of labour"</i> and 
implemented his ideas on the railway workers.
<p>
They learn that Leninism is just another form of 
capitalism (state capitalism). As Lenin put it,
socialism <i>"is nothing but the next step forward 
from state capitalist monopoly. In other words, 
Socialism is merely state capitalist monopoly  
<b>made to benefit the whole people</b>; by this token 
it <b>ceases</b> to be capitalist monopoly."</i> [<b>The 
Threatening Catastrophe and how to avoid it</b>, p. 37]
<p>
They learn that Lenin and Trotsky argued for party 
dictatorship and centralised, top-down rule (see 
<a href="append35.html#app4">section 4</a>). 
<p>
They also learn that this should not come as a surprise.
Anarchism argues that the state is a tool to allow 
minorities to rule and has been designed to ensure minority 
power. They learn that it cannot, by its very nature, be a 
tool for liberation -- no matter who is in charge of it. 
<p>
<a name="app3"><h2>3. What do anarchists think will <i>"replace the smashed state machine"</i>?</h2>
<p>
Fisher now makes a common Marxist assertion. He states:
<p><blockquote><i>
"But what they do not learn, and never will from an Anarchist 
perspective is what is to replace the smashed state machine?"</i>
</blockquote><p>
In reality, if you read anarchist thinkers you will soon
discover what anarchists think will "replace" the state:
namely the various working class organisations created by
the class struggle and revolution. In the words of
Kropotkin, the <i>"elaboration of new social forms can only 
be the collective work of the masses."</i> [<b>Words of a Rebel</b>, 
p. 175] He stressed that <i>"[to] make a revolution it is not 
. . . enough that there should be . . . [popular] risings 
. . . It is necessary that after the risings there should be 
something new in the institutions [that make up society], which 
would permit new forms of life to be elaborated and established."</i> 
[<b>The Great French Revolution</b>, vol. 1, p. 200]
<p>
Thus the framework of a free society would be created by the
process of the revolution itself. As such, as Kropotkin put it, 
<i>"[d]uring a revolution new forms of life will always germinate 
on the ruins of the old forms . . . It is impossible to legislate 
for the future. All we can do is vaguely guess its essential 
tendencies and clear the road for it."</i> [<b>Evolution and 
Environment</b>, pp. 101-2] So while the specific forms
these organisations would take cannot be predicted, their
general nature can be. 
<p>
So what is the general nature of these new organisations? 
Anarchists have consistently argued that the state would be 
replaced by a free federation of workers' associations and 
communes, self-managed and organised from the bottom-up. 
In Malatesta's words, anarchy is the <i>"free organisation
from below upwards, from the simple to the complex, through
free agreement and the federation of associations of
production and consumption."</i> In particular, he argued
anarchists aim to <i>"push the workers to take possession
of the factories, to federate among themselves and work
for the community"</i> while the peasants <i>"should take over
the land and produced usurped by the landlords, and
come to an agreement with the industrial workers."</i> 
[<b>Life and Ideas</b>, p. 147 and p. 165]
<p>
This vision of revolution followed Bakunin's:
<p><blockquote><i>
"the federative alliance of all working men's associations . . .  
[will] constitute the Commune . . . [the] Communal Council 
[will be] composed of . . . delegates  . . . vested with 
plenary but accountable and removable mandates. . . all 
provinces, communes and associations . . . by first 
reorganising on revolutionary lines .. . . [will] constitute 
the federation of insurgent associations, communes and 
provinces . . . [and] organise a revolutionary force capable 
defeating reaction . . . [and for] self-defence . . .  [The] 
revolution everywhere must 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 the bottom 
upwards by means of revolutionary delegation. . ."</i> 
[<b>Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings</b>, pp. 170-2]
</blockquote><p>
Similarly, Proudhon argued federations of workers associations
and communes to replace the state. While seeing such
activity as essentially reformist in nature, he saw the
germs of anarchy as being the result of <i>"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"</i> as <i>"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."</i> [<b>System of Economical
Contradictions</b>, p. 399 and p. 398] What, decades later,
Proudhon called an <i>"agro-industrial federation"</i> in his
<b>Principle of Federation</b>.
<p>
Kropotkin, unsurprisingly enough, had similar ideas. He
saw the revolution as the <i>"expropriation of the whole of
social wealth"</i> by the workers, who <i>"will organise the
workshops so that they continue production"</i> once <i>"the
governments are swept out by the people."</i> The <i>"coming
social revolution"</i> would see <i>"the complete abolition
of States, and reorganisation from the simple to the
complex through the free federation of the popular
forces of producers and consumers,"</i> the 
<i>"federation of workers' corporations 
and groups of consumers."</i> The <i>"Commune will know
that it must break the State and replace it by the
Federation"</i> (which is <i>"freely accepted by itself as
well as the other communes"</i>). [<b>Words of a Rebel</b>,
p. 99, p. 91, p. 92 and p. 83]
<p>
Thus <i>"independent Communes for the territorial organisation, 
and of federations of Trade Unions [i.e. workplace 
associations] for the organisation of men [and women] 
in accordance with their different functions, gave a
<b>concrete</b> conception of society regenerated by a
social revolution."</i> [Peter Kropotkin, <b>Evolution and
Environment</b>, p. 79]
<p>
In his classic history of the French Revolution he pointed 
to <i>"the popular Commune"</i> as an example of the <i>"something
new"</i> required to turn an uprising into a revolution. He
argued that <i>"the Revolution began by creating the Commune . . . 
and through this institution it gained . . . immense power."</i> 
He stressed that it was <i>"by means of the 'districts' [of the 
Communes] that . . . the masses, accustoming themselves to 
act without receiving orders from the national representatives, 
were practising what was to be described later as Direct
Self-Government."</i> Such a system did not imply isolation,
for while <i>"the districts strove to maintain their own 
independence"</i> they also <i>"sought for unity of action,
not in subjection to a Central Committee, but in a
federative union."</i> The Commune <i>"was thus made <b>from below
upward</b>, by the federation of the district organisations;
it spring up in a revolutionary way, from popular initiative."</i>
[<b>The Great French Revolution</b>, vol. 1, p. 200 and p. 203]
<p>
During the 1905 and 1917 revolutions, Kropotkin expressed
his support for the soviets created by the workers in
struggle. He argued that anarchists should <i>"enter the
Soviets, but certainly only as far as the Soviets are
organs of the struggle against the bourgeoisie and the
state, and not organs of authority."</i> [quoted by Graham
Purchase, <b>Evolution and Revolution</b>, p. 30] After the
1917 revolution, he re-iterated this point, arguing
that <i>"idea of soviets . . . of councils of workers 
and peasants . . . controlling the economic and political 
life of the country is a great idea. All the more so, 
since it necessarily follows that these councils should 
be composed of all who take part in the production of 
natural wealth by their own efforts."</i> [<b>Kropotkin's
Revolutionary Pamphlets</b>, p. 254] 
<p>
Therefore, Fisher's comments are totally untrue. Anarchists
have been pretty clear on this issue from Proudhon onwards
(see <a href="secI2.html#seci23">section I.2.3</a> 
for a further discussion of this issue).
<p>
<a name="app4"><h2>4. What did Trotsky and Lenin think must replace the bourgeois state?</h2>
<p>
Fisher continues his inaccurate attack:
<p><blockquote><i>
"What we as Marxists explain is what must replace the smashed 
bourgeois state machine.
<p>
"Engels explains that the state is a 'special coercive force'.  
So what must come after the bourgeoisie is overthrown to keep 
it down?  As Lenin explains in the State and Revolution: the 
bourgeois state 'must be replaced by a "special coercive force" 
for the suppression of the bourgeois by the proletariat (the 
dictatorship of the proletariat)' (pg 397 vol. 25 collected 
works) that is workers' democracy."</i>
</blockquote><p>
There are numerous issues here. Firstly, of course, is the
question of how to define the state. Fisher implicitly assumes
that anarchists and Marxists share the same definition of what
marks a "state." Secondly, there is the question of whether 
quoting Lenin's <b>State and Revolution</b> without relating it to
Bolshevik practice is very convincing. Thirdly, there is the
question of the defence of the revolution. We will discuss the
second question here, the first in the 
<a href="append35.html#app5">next section</a> and the 
third in <a href="append35.html#app6">section 6</a>.
<p>
There is a well-known difference between Lenin's work <b>The
State and Revolution</b> and actual Bolshevik practice. In the
former, Lenin promised the widest democracy, although he
also argued that <i>"[w]e cannot imagine democracy, not even 
proletarian democracy, without representative institutions."</i> 
[<i>"The State and Revolution"</i>, <b>Essential Works of Lenin</b>, 
p. 306] Clearly, he saw "democracy" in the normal, bourgeois,
sense of electing a government who will make the decisions
for the electors. Indeed, the <i>"dictatorship of the proletariat"</i> 
is described as <i>"the organisation of the vanguard of the 
oppressed as the ruling class."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 337] This 
<i>"vanguard"</i> is the party: 
<p><blockquote><i>
"By educating the workers' party, Marxism educates the vanguard
of the proletariat which is capable of assuming power and <b>of
leading the whole people</b> to Socialism, of directing and
organising the new order, of being the teacher, the guide, the
leader of all the toiling and exploited in the task of building
up their social life without the bourgeoisie and against the
bourgeoisie."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 288]
</blockquote><p>
So the vanguard of the oppressed would become the <i>"ruling class"</i>, 
<b>not</b> the oppressed. This means that <i>"workers' democracy"</i> 
is simply reduced to meaning the majority designates its rulers
but does not rule itself. As such, the "workers' state" is just
the same as any other state (see <a href="append35.html#app5">
next section</a>). 
<p>
Thus, before taking power Lenin argued for party power, not workers'
power. The workers can elect representatives who govern on their
behalf, but they do not actually manage society themselves. This 
is the key contradiction for Bolshevism -- it confuses workers' 
power with party power. 
<p>
Post-October, the ideas of Lenin and Trotsky changed. If their
works are consulted, it is soon discovered what they thought 
should "replace" the bourgeois state: party dictatorship. 
<p>
In the words of Lenin (from 1920):
<p><blockquote><i>
"In the transition to socialism the dictatorship of the
proletariat is inevitable, but it is not exercised by an
organisation which takes in all industrial workers . . .
What happens is that the Party, shall we say, absorbs
the vanguard of the proletariat, and this vanguard
exercises the dictatorship of the proletariat."</i> 
[<b>Collected Works</b>, vol. 21, p. 20]
</blockquote><p>
He stressed that this was an inevitable aspect of 
revolution, applicable in all countries:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"the dictatorship of the proletariat cannot be exercised 
through an organisation embracing the whole of the class, 
because in all capitalist countries (and not only over 
here, in one of the most backward) the proletariat is 
still so divided, so degraded, and so corrupted in 
parts . . . that an organisation taking in the whole 
proletariat cannot direct exercise proletarian 
dictatorship. It can be exercised only by a vanguard
. . . Such is the basic mechanism of the dictatorship
of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and the essentials
of transitions from capitalism to communism . . . for 
the dictatorship of the proletariat cannot be exercised 
by a mass proletarian organisation."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, vol. 32,
p. 21]
</blockquote><p>
Trotsky agreed with this lesson and argued it to the end
of his life:
<p><blockquote><i>
"The revolutionary dictatorship of a proletarian party is for 
me not a thing that one can freely accept or reject: It is an 
objective necessity imposed upon us by the social realities -- 
the class struggle, the heterogeneity of the revolutionary 
class, the necessity for a selected vanguard in order to 
assure the victory. The dictatorship of a party belongs to the 
barbarian prehistory as does the state itself, but we can not 
jump over this chapter, which can open (not at one stroke) 
genuine human history. . . The revolutionary party 
(vanguard) which renounces its own dictatorship surrenders 
the masses to the counter-revolution . . . Abstractly 
speaking, it would be very well if the party dictatorship 
could be replaced by the 'dictatorship' of the whole toiling 
people without any party, but this presupposes such a high 
level of political development among the masses that it can 
never be achieved under capitalist conditions. The reason 
for the revolution comes from the circumstance that 
capitalism does not permit the material and the moral 
development of the masses."</i> [<b>Writings 1936-37</b>, pp. 513-4]
</blockquote><p>
Lenin and Trotsky are clearly explaining the need for 
party dictatorship over the working class. This was
seen as a <b>general</b> lesson of the Russian Revolution.
How many Marxists "explain" this to anarchists?
<p>
Clearly, then, Fisher is not being totally honest when
he argues that Trotskyism is based on "workers' democracy."
Lenin, for example, argued that <i>"Marxism teaches -- and
this tenet has not only been formally endorsed by the
whole of the Communist International in the decisions
of the second Congress . . . . but has also been 
confirmed in practice by our revolution -- that only
the political party of the working class, i.e. the
Communist Party, is capable of uniting, training and
organising a vanguard of the proletariat and of the
whole working people that alone will be capable of
withstanding the inevitable petty-bourgeois vacillations
of this mass."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, vol. 32, p. 246]
<p>
Lenin is, of course, rejecting what democracy is all
about, namely the right and duty of representative
bodies to carry out the wishes of the electors (i.e.
their "vacillations"). Instead of workers' democracy, 
he is clearly arguing for the right of the party to
ignore it and impose its own wishes on the working class.
<p>
Trotsky argued along the same lines (again in 1921):
<p><blockquote><i>
"They [the dissent Bolsheviks of the Workers' Opposition] 
have placed the workers' right to elect representatives 
above the Party. As if the Party were not entitled to assert 
its dictatorship even if that dictatorship temporarily clashed 
with the passing moods of the worker's democracy!"</i>
</blockquote><p>
He spoke of the <i>"revolutionary historic birthright of the Party"</i>
and that it <i>"is obliged to maintain its dictatorship .. . . 
regardless of temporary vacillations even in the working class 
. . . The dictatorship does not base itself at every given 
moment on the formal principle of a workers' democracy."</i> 
[quoted by M. Brinton, <b>The Bolsheviks and Workers' 
Control</b>, p. 78]
<p>
Needless to say, they did not explain how these lessons and
arguments are compatible with Lenin's <b>State and Revolution</b>
where he had argued that <i>"[a]ll officials, without exception,"</i>
must be <i>"elected and subject to recall <b>at any time.</b>"</i> [<b>The
Essential Lenin</b>, p. 302] If they <b>are</b> subject to election and
recall at any time, then they will reflect the <i>"passing moods"</i>
(the <i>"vacillations"</i>) of the workers' democracy. Therefore, to
combat this, soviet democracy must be replaced by party
dictatorship and neither Lenin nor Trotsky were shy in both
applying and arguing this position.
<p>
It is a shame, then, for Fisher's argument that both Lenin 
and Trotsky also explained why party dictatorship was more 
important than workers' democracy. It is doubly harmful for
his argument as both argued that this "lesson" was of a
<b>general</b> nature and applicable for all revolutions. 
<p>
It is also a shame for Fisher's argument that the Leninists, 
once in power, overthrew every soviet that was elected with 
a non-Bolshevik majority. They repressed those who demanded 
real workers' democracy (as, for example, in Kronstadt in 
1921 or during the numerous strikes under Lenin's rule). 
See <a href="secH5.html">section H.5</a> for further details.
<p>
Clearly, Fisher's account of Trotskyism, like his account of
anarchism, leaves a lot to be desired.
<p>
<a name="app5"><h2>5. Is the "proletarian 'state'" really a new kind of state?</h2>
<p>
Fisher, after keeping his readers ignorant of Lenin and Trotsky
<b>real</b> position on workers' democracy, argues that:
<p><blockquote><i>
"The proletariat 'state' is no longer a state in the proper sense 
of the word, Lenin explains, because it is no longer the minority 
suppressing the majority, but the vast majority suppressing a tiny 
minority! The Proletariat suppressing the Bourgeoisie."</i>
</blockquote><p>
If it is not a state <i>"in the proper sense of the word"</i> 
then why use the term state at all? Marxists argue because its 
function remains the same -- namely the suppression of 
one class by another. However, every state that has ever 
existed has been the organ by which a <b>minority</b> ruling class 
suppresses the majority. As such, the Marxist definition is 
a-historic in the extreme and extracts a metaphysical
essence of the state rather than producing a definition
based on empirical evidence.
<p>
In order to show the fallacy of Fisher's argument, it is
necessary to explain what anarchists think the state is.
<p>
The assumption underlying Fisher's argument is that anarchists
and Marxists share identical definitions of what a state is.
This is not true. Marxists, as Fisher notes, think of a state
as simply as an instrument of class rule and so concentrate 
solely on this function. Anarchists disagree. While we agree
that the main function of the state is to defend class society, 
we also stress the structure of the state has evolved to 
ensure that role. In the words of Rudolf Rocker:
<p><blockquote><i>
"[S]ocial institutions . . . do not arise arbitrarily, but
are called into being by special needs to serve definite
purposes . . . The newly arisen possessing classes had
need of a political instrument of power to maintain their
economic and social privileges over the masses of their
own people . . . Thus arose the appropriate social conditions
for the evolution of the modern state, as the organ of
political power of privileged castes and classes for the
forcible subjugation and oppression of the non-possessing
classes . . . Its external forms have altered in the course
of its historical development, but its functions have always
been the same . . . And just as the functions of the bodily
organs of . . . animals cannot be arbitrarily altered, so
that, for example, one cannot at will hear  with his eyes 
and see with his ears, so also one cannot at pleasure
transform an organ of social oppression into an instrument
for the liberation of the oppressed. The state can only
be what it is: the defender of mass-exploitation and social
privileges, and creator of privileged classes."</i> 
[<b>Anarcho-Syndicalism</b>, p. 20]
</blockquote><p>
This means that the structure of the state has evolved to
ensure its function. Organ and role are interwoven. Keep
one and the other will develop. And what is the structure
(or organ) of the state? For anarchists, the state means
<i>"the sum total of the political, legislative, judiciary,
military and financial institutions through which the
management of their own affairs . . . are taken away from
the people and entrusted to others who . . .are vested
with the powers to make the laws for everything and
everybody, and to oblige the people to observe them, if
need be, by the use of collective force."</i> In summary,
it <i>"means the delegation of power, that is the abdication
of initiative and sovereignty of all into the hands of
a few."</i> [<b>Anarchy</b>, p. 13 and p. 40]
<p>
This structure has not evolved by chance. It is required
by its function as the defender of minority class power.
As Kropotkin stressed, the bourgeois needed the state:
<p><blockquote><i>
"To attack the central power, to strip it of its prerogatives,
to decentralise, to dissolve authority, would have been to abandon
to the people the control of its affairs, to run the risk of a
truly popular revolution. That is why the bourgeoisie sought to
reinforce the central government even more. . ."</i> [Kropotkin,
<b>Words of a Rebel</b>, p. 143]
</blockquote><p>
This means that to use the structure of the state (i.e. 
centralised, hierarchical power in the hands of a few) 
would soon mean the creation of a new minority class of
rulers as the state <i>"could not survive without creating 
about it a new privileged class."</i> [Malatesta, <b>Anarchy</b>, 
p. 35] 
<p>
Therefore, for a given social organisation to be a state it
must be based on delegated <b>power.</b> A state is marked by
the centralisation of power into a few hands at the top of
the structure, in other words, it is hierarchical in nature.
This is, of course, essential for a minority class to remain
control over it. Thus a social system which places power at
the base, into the hands of the masses, is not a state as
anarchists understand it. As Bakunin argued, <i>"[w]here all
rule, there are no more ruled, and there is no State."</i>
[<b>The Political Philosophy of Bakunin</b>, p. 223] Therefore,
real workers democracy -- i.e. self-management -- existed,
then the state would no longer exist.
<p>
The question now arises, does the Marxist "workers' state"
meet this definition? As indicated in 
<a href="append35.html#app4">section 4</a>, the answer
is a clear yes. In <b>The State and Revolution</b>, Lenin argued
that the workers' state would be based on representative
democracy. This meant, according to Bakunin, that political
power would be <i>"exercised by proxy, which means entrusting
it to a group of men elected to represent and govern them,
which in turn will unfailingly return them to all the
deceit and subservience of representative or bourgeois
rule."</i> [<b>Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings</b>, p. 255]
<p>
Rather than "the vast majority suppressing a tiny minority" 
we have a tiny minority, elected by the majority, suppressing
those who disagree with what the government decrees, including
those within the class which the state claims to represent. 
In the words of Lenin:
<p><blockquote><i>
"Without revolutionary coercion directed against the 
avowed enemies of the workers and peasants, it is 
impossible to break down the resistance of these exploiters. 
On the other hand, revolutionary coercion is bound to 
be employed towards the wavering and unstable elements 
among the masses themselves."</i> [<b>Collected Works</b>, 
vol. 24, p. 170] 
</blockquote><p>
And who exercises this <i>"revolutionary coercion"</i>? The majority? 
No, the vanguard. As Lenin argued, <i>"the correct understanding 
of a Communist of his tasks"</i> lies in <i>"correctly gauging the 
conditions and the moment when the vanguard of the proletariat 
can successfully seize power, when it will be able during and 
after this seizure of power to obtain support from sufficiently 
broad strata of the working class and of the non-proletarian 
toiling masses, and when, thereafter, it will be able to maintain, 
consolidate, and extend its rule, educating, training and attracting 
ever broader masses of the toilers."</i> He stressed that <i>"to go so far 
. . . as to draw a contrast in general between the dictatorship of 
the masses and the dictatorship of the leaders, is ridiculously 
absurd and stupid."</i> [<b>Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder</b>, 
p. 35, p. 27]
<p>
In other words, for Lenin, if the leaders exercised their 
dictatorship, then so did the masses. Such a position is pure 
and utter nonsense. If the party leaders govern, then the 
masses do not. And so the "workers' state" is a state in 
the normal sense of the word, with the <i>"minority suppressing 
the majority."</i> This was made clear by Trotsky in 1939:
<p><blockquote><i>
"The very same masses are at different times inspired by 
different moods and objectives. It is just for this reason 
that a centralised organisation of the vanguard is 
indispensable. Only a party, wielding the authority 
it has won, is capable of overcoming the vacillation 
of the masses themselves."</i> [<b>The Moralists and Sycophants</b>,
p. 59]
</blockquote><p>
Thus the party (a minority) holds power and uses that
power against the masses themselves. Little wonder,
given that, once in power, the Bolsheviks quickly forgot 
their arguments in favour of representative democracy 
and argued for party dictatorship (see 
<a href="append35.html#app4">section 4</a>).
<p>
Such a transformation of representative democracy into 
minority class rule was predicted by anarchists:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"[I]t is not true that once the social conditions are 
changed the nature and role of government would change.
Organ and function are inseparable terms. Take away from an
organ its function and either the organ dies or the function
is re-established . . . A government, that is a group of
people entrusted with making laws and empowered to use the
collective power to oblige each individual to obey them,
is already a privileged class cut off from the people. As
any constituted body would do, it will instinctively seek
to extend its powers, to be beyond public control, to
impose its own policies and to give priority to its
special interests. Having been put into a privileged
position, the government is already at odds with the
people whose strength it disposes of."</i> [Malatesta,
<b>Anarchy</b>, pp. 33-4]
</blockquote><p>
Which, of course, is what happened in Russia. As we
indicated in 
<a href="append35.html#app4">section 4</a>, 
both Lenin and Trotsky defended
the imposition of party rule, its need to be beyond
public control, by the necessities generated by the
revolution (the "vacillations" within the masses meant
that democracy, public control, had to be eliminated
in favour of party dictatorship).
<p>
Therefore, from an anarchist perspective, the so-called
"workers' state" is still a state in "the proper sense
of the word" as it is based on centralised, top-down 
power. It is based on the tiny minority (the party
leaders) governing everyone else and suppressing 
anyone who disagreed with them -- the vast majority. 
<p>
If the vast majority did have real power then the state
would not exist. As the "proletarian" state is based
on delegated power, it is still a state and, as such,
an instrument of minority class rule. In this case,
the minority is the party leaders who will use their
new powers to consolidate their position over the 
masses (while claiming that their rule equals that
of the masses).
<p>
<a name="app6"><h2>6. Do anarchists <i>"hope the capitalists do not make any attempts of counterrevolution"</i>?</h2>
<p>
Fisher continues his inventions:
<p><blockquote><i>
"Instead of organising an instrument for the coercion of the 
bourgeois by the proletariat, the Anarchists wish to simply 
abolish the state overnight and hope that the capitalists do 
not make any attempts of counterrevolution, an absurd and 
unrealistic idea."</i>
</blockquote><p>
Yes, it would be, if anarchists actually believed that. Sadly 
for Fisher, we do not and have stated so on many, many, many 
occasions. Indeed, to make an assertion like this is to show
either a total ignorance of anarchist theory or a desire to
deceive.
<p>
So do anarchists <i>"hope that the capitalists do not make any
attempts of counterrevolution"</i>? Of course not. We have long
argued that a revolution would need to defend itself. In the 
words of Malatesta:
<p><blockquote><i>
"But, by all means, let us admit that the governments of the 
still unemancipated countries were to want to, and could, 
attempt to reduce free people to a state of slavery once 
again. Would this people require a government to defend 
itself? To wage war men are needed who have all the 
necessary geographical and mechanical knowledge, and 
above all large masses of the population willing to go and 
fight. A government can neither increase the abilities of 
the former nor the will and courage of the latter. And the 
experience of history teaches us that a people who really 
want to defend their own country are invincible: and in 
Italy everyone knows that before the corps of volunteers 
(anarchist formations) thrones topple, and regular armies 
composed of conscripts or mercenaries disappear. . . [Some 
people] seem almost to believe that after having brought 
down government and private property we would allow both 
to be quietly built up again, because of a respect for the 
freedom of those who might feel the need to be rulers and 
property owners. A truly curious way of interpreting our 
ideas!"</i> [<b>Anarchy</b>, pp. 40-1]
</blockquote><p>
Elsewhere he argued that a revolution would <i>"reorganise
things in such a way that it will be impossible for
bourgeois society to be reconstituted. And all this,
and whatever else would be required to satisfy public
needs and the development of the revolution would be
the task of . . . al kinds of committees, local, 
inter-communal, regional and national congresses 
which would attend to the co-ordination of social
activity . . . The creation of voluntary militia
. . . to deal with any armed attacks by the forces
of reaction to re-establish themselves, or to resist
outside intervention by countries as yet not in
a state of revolution."</i> [<b>Life and Ideas</b>, pp. 165-6]
<p>
He was not alone in this position. Every revolutionary
anarchist argued along these lines. Bakunin, for example,
clearly saw the need to defend a revolution: 
<p><blockquote><i>
"Commune will be organised by the standing federation of the 
Barricades. . . [T]he federation of insurgent associations, communes 
and provinces . . . [would] organise a revolutionary force capable
of defeating reaction . . . it is the very fact of the expansion
and organisation of the revolution for the purpose of self-defence
among the insurgent areas that will bring about the triumph of
the revolution."</i> [<b>Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings</b>, pp. 170-1]
</blockquote><p>
And:
<p><blockquote><i>
"[L]et us suppose . . . it is Paris that starts [the revolution] . . .
Paris will naturally make haste to organise itself as best it can,
in revolutionary style, after the workers have joined into 
associations and made a clean sweep of all the instruments of
labour, every kind of capital and building; armed and organised
by streets and <b>quartiers</b>, they will form the revolutionary
federation of all the <b>quartiers</b>, the federative commune. . .
All the French and foreign revolutionary communes will then
send representatives to organise the necessary common services
. . . and to organise common defence against the enemies of
the Revolution."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 178-9]
</blockquote><p>
He stressed the need to organise and co-ordinate the
defence of the revolution by armed workers:
<p><blockquote><i>
"Immediately after established government has been 
overthrown, communes will have to reorganise themselves
along revolutionary lines . . . In order to defend the 
revolution, their volunteers will at the same time form 
a communal militia. But no commune can defend itself in 
isolation. So it will be necessary for each of them to 
radiate outwards, to raise all its neighbouring communes 
in revolt . . . and to federate with them for common 
defence."</i> [<b>No Gods, No Masters</b>, vol. 1, p. 142]
</blockquote><p>
Similarly, the Spanish anarcho-syndicalist CNT union
recognised the need for defending a revolution in its
1936 resolution on Libertarian Communism:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"We acknowledge the necessity to defend the advances made
through the revolution . . . So . . . the necessary steps will
be taken to defend the new regime, whether against the perils of
a foreign capitalist invasion . . . or against counter-revolution
at home. It must be remembered that a standing army constitutes 
the greatest danger for the revolution, since its influence could 
lead to dictatorship, which would necessarily kill off the
revolution. . . 
<p>
"The people armed will be the best assurance against any
attempt to restore the system destroyed from either within 
or without. . .
<p>
"Let each Commune have its weapons and means of defence
. . . the people will mobilise rapidly to stand up to
the enemy, returning to their workplaces as soon as they 
may have accomplished their mission of defence. . . . 
<p>
"1. The disarming of capitalism implies the surrender of 
weaponry to the communes which be responsible for ensuring
defensive means are effectively organised nationwide.
<p>
"2. In the international context, we shall have to
mount an intensive propaganda drive among the proletariat
of every country so that it may take an energetic protest, 
calling for sympathetic action against any attempted
invasion by its respective government. At the same time, 
our Iberian Confederation of Autonomous Libertarian Communes 
will render material and moral assistance to all the world's 
exploited so that these may free themselves forever from the 
monstrous control of capitalism and the State."</i> [quoted 
by Jose Peirats,
<b>The CNT in the Spanish Revolution</b>, vol. 1, p. 110]
</blockquote><p>
If it was simply a question of consolidating a revolution 
and its self-defence then there would be no argument. Rather 
the question is one of power -- will power be centralised, 
held by a handful of leaders and exercised from the top 
downwards or will it be decentralised and society run 
from the bottom-up by working people themselves?
<p>
Fisher distorts the real issue and instead invents a
straw man which has no bearing at all on the real
anarchist position (for further discussion, see
sections <a href="secI5.html#seci514">I.5.14</a> 
and <a href="secJ7.html#secj76">J.7.6</a>).
<p>
<a name="app7"><h2>7. Are Anarchists simply <i>"potential Marxists"</i>?</h2>
<p>
After creating the straw man argument that anarchists have
not thought about counter-revolution, Fisher asserts:
<p><blockquote><i>
"The majority of our 'Anarchist' friends never thought about this 
little loop hole, and as for the rest of them they shrug it off, 
or say something to the effect of the armed proletariat themselves 
will stop capitalist reaction, which, an armed proletariat in 
reality, is a proletarian 'state'! In conclusion our 'Anarchists' 
are simply potential Marxists who need access to genuinely 
revolutionary ideas."</i>
</blockquote><p>
Of course, anarchists have thought about this and have came up 
with, as Fisher puts it, <i>"the armed proletariat."</i> Indeed, 
anarchists have held this position since the days of Bakunin,
as we proved in the <a href="append35.html#app6">last section</a>. 
<p>
Moreover, from an anarchist perspective, an "armed proletariat" 
is not a "state" as there is not minority of rulers telling 
the proletariat what to do (see 
<a href="append35.html#app5">section 5</a>). The "proletariat" 
state of Lenin was a real state simply because it was the 
Bolshevik party leaders who were telling the armed forces 
of the state what to do and who to repress (including striking 
workers, anarchists and rebelling peasants). These forces, 
we must note, were organised from the top-down, with the 
government appointing officers. It was an "armed proletariat" 
only in the same sense that the bourgeois army is an "armed 
proletariat" (i.e. working class people made by the rank and
file, fought the battles and followed the orders decided upon 
by a handful of people at the top).
<p>
So, if defence of a revolution by the armed proletariat makes you 
a Marxist then Bakunin, Malatesta, Kropotkin, Goldman, Berkman, 
Makhno and Durruti were all "Marxists"! As is every revolutionary 
anarchist. Needless to say, this is impossible and, as such,
Fisher's "little loop hole" in anarchism does not exist.
<p>
Clearly, Fisher has no understanding of anarchist thought and
prefers invention rather than research.
<p>
Our Trotskyist then states that:
<p><blockquote><i>
"It is our job, as Marxists to explain these ideas to them!" 
</i></blockquote><p>
In other words, the Marxist job is to explain anarchist ideas 
to anarchists and call them Marxism. How impressive!
<p>
<a name="app8"><h2>8. Is Marxism scientific?</h2>
<p>
Fisher finishes by arguing that:
<p><blockquote><i>
"As Lenin states, 'the ideas of Marx are all powerful, because 
they are true'! We have the science of dialectics on our side, not 
idealism, mysticism or theology. Our philosophy is solid as a 
rock."</i>
</blockquote><p>
Firstly, dialectics is not a science. Secondly, quoting Lenin on 
the wonders of Marxism is like quoting the Pope on the joys of 
Catholicism. Thirdly, the only rocks around are in the heads of 
Trotskyists if they really think this nonsense about anarchism.
<p>
Simply put, a science involves investigating the facts of
what is being investigated and generating theories based on
those facts. Clearly, our Trotskyist has not bothered to
discover the facts about anarchism. He has made numerous
assertions about anarchism which are contradicted by the
works of anarchism. He has, as such, ignored the fundamental
nature of science and has, instead, embraced the approach of 
the fiction writer.
<p>
As such, if Fisher's article is an example of the "science" of
Marxism then we can safely state that Marxism is not a science.
Rather it is based on invention and slander.
<p>
<a name="app9"><h2>9. What does the Russian Revolution tell us about Trotskyism?</h2>
<p>
Our Trotskyist decides to quote another Trotskyist, Ted Grant,
on the dangers of anarchism:
<p><blockquote><i>
"However, the setting up of soviets and strike committees 
-- important as it is -- does not solve tthe fundamental 
problem facing the Russian workers. In and of themselves, 
soviets solve nothing. What is decisive is the party that 
leads them. In February 1917, the workers and soldiers set 
up soviets -- a step of enormous importance to the revolution. 
But in the hands of the Mensheviks and SRs they were reduced 
to impotence. . . In Germany in November 1918, the soviets 
were in the hands of the Social Democratic leaders who 
betrayed the revolution and handed power back to the 
bourgeoisie. Under these conditions the soviets soon 
dissolved, and were merely transient phenomena. The 
same would have happened in Russia, if it had not been 
for the Bolshevik Party and the leadership of Lenin 
and Trotsky."</i>
</blockquote><p>
Grant is, of course, just paraphrasing Trotsky in his
analysis. Moreover, like Trotsky's, his comments indicate
the fundamentally dictatorial nature of Trotskyism. 
<p>
Simply put, if the "leadership" of the party is the
key to soviet power, then if the workers' reject that
leadership via soviet elections then the Trotskyist is
on the horns of a dilemma. Without party "leadership"
then the soviets will be "reduced to impotence" and
be "merely transient phenomena." To maintain this 
party "leadership" (and ensure the soviet power) then 
the democratic nature of the soviets must be undermined.
Therefore the Trotskyist is in the ironic situation of
thinking that soviet democracy will undermine soviet
power.
<p>
This dilemma was solved, in practice, by Trotsky during
the Russian Revolution -- he simply placed party "leadership"
above soviet democracy. In other words, he maintained
soviet power by turning the soviets into "nothing." He
argued this position numerous times in his life, when
he was in power and after he had been expelled from Russia
by Stalin.
<p>
In 1920, we find Trotsky's thoughts on this subject in
his infamous work <b>Terrorism and Communism</b>. In this
work he defended the fact of Communist Party dictatorship:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"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, in all their magnitude, 
on to the order of the day, the Communists have become 
the recognised representatives of the working class as 
a whole."</i>
</blockquote><p>
Needless to say, this is incredulous. How can the replacement
of soviet power by party power mean the "supremacy of labour"?
It means the supremacy of the Bolshevik party, not "labour."
The transformation of the soviets from genuine democratic 
organs of working class self-government ("shapeless parliaments
of labour") into an instrument of Bolshevik party rule ("the 
apparatus of the supremacy of labour") cannot be seen as
a victory of democracy, quite the reverse. The dictatorship
of the Bolshevik party marginalised the soviets just as much 
as the events of the German Revolution. The only difference is
that under the Bolsheviks they maintained a symbolic existence.
<p>
Therefore, rather than the "leadership" of the Bolshevik party
ensuring soviet rule it meant, in practice, party dictatorship.
The soviets played no role in the decision making process as
power rested firmly in the hands of the party.
<p>
This position was repeated in 1937, in his essay <i>"Bolshevism and
Stalinism."</i> There he argued that a <i>"revolutionary party, even 
having seized power . . . is still by no means the sovereign 
ruler of society."</i> He stressed that <i>"the proletariat can take 
power only through its vanguard"</i> and that <i>"[t]hose who propose 
the abstraction of the Soviets from the party dictatorship 
should understand that only thanks to the party dictatorship 
were the Soviets able to lift themselves out of the mud of 
reformism and attain the state form of the proletariat."</i> 
[Trotsky, <i>"Stalinism and Bolshevism"</i>, <b>Socialist Review</b>,
pp. 14-19, no. 146, p. 16 and p. 18]
<p>
Therefore, we have the same position. Without party dictatorship,
the soviets would fall back into the <i>"mud of reformism."</i> He
argued that the <i>"fact that this party subordinates the
Soviets politically to its leaders has in itself abolished
the Soviet system no more than the domination of the
conservative majority has abolished the British parliamentary
system."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 16] This analogy is flawed for
two reasons. 
<p>
Firstly, the parliamentary system is based on a division 
between executive and legislative functions. Lenin argued 
that the soviet system would, like the Paris Commune, 
abolish this division and so ensure <i>"the conversion of 
the representative institutions from mere 'talking shops'
into working bodies."</i> [<b>The Essential Lenin</b>, p. 304] If
the decisions being made by the Soviets have been decided
upon by the leaders of the Bolshevik party then the soviets
represent those leaders, not the people who elected them.
As in the bourgeois system, the representatives of the
people govern them rather than express the wishes of the
majority. As such, the idea that the Soviets are organs
of working class self-government <b>has</b> been abolished.
Instead, they are mere "talking shops" with power resting
in the hands of the party leadership.
<p>
Secondly, when elections take place parliamentary system
it is generally recognised that the majority of representatives
can become the government. The system is therefore based
on the assumption that the government is accountable to
parliament, not parliament to the government. This means
that the "domination" of the majority within Parliament
is an expression of parliamentary democracy. The majority 
party does not maintain that only its existence in
power ensures that parliamentary democracy can continue,
therefore necessitating the suppression of elections.
However, that is the position of Trotsky (and of Lenin)
and, let us not forget, the actual actions of the
Bolsheviks.
<p>
That this is the logical conclusion of Trotsky's position
can be seen when he discusses the Kronstadt rebellion of 
March 1921 (see 
<a href="secH5.html">section H.5</a>). In 1938, he argued that 
the <i>"Kronstadt slogan"</i> was <i>"soviets without Communists."</i> 
[Lenin and Trotsky, <b>Kronstadt</b>, p. 90] This, of course, is 
factually incorrect. The Kronstadt slogan was <i>"all power to 
the soviets but not to the parties"</i> (or <i>"free soviets"</i>). From 
this incorrect assertion, Trotsky argued as follows:
<p><blockquote><i>
"to free the soviets from the leadership [!] of the Bolsheviks 
would have meant within a short time to demolish the soviets 
themselves. The experience of the Russian soviets during the
period of Menshevik and SR domination and, even more clearly, 
the experience of the German and Austrian soviets under the 
domination of the Social Democrats, proved this. Social 
Revolutionary-anarchist soviets could only serve as a bridge 
from the proletarian dictatorship. They could play no other 
role, regardless of the 'ideas' of their participants. The 
Kronstadt uprising thus had a counterrevolutionary character."</i> 
[<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 90]
</blockquote><p>
Interesting logic. Let us assume that the result of free 
elections would have been the end of Bolshevik "leadership" 
(i.e. dictatorship), as seems likely. What Trotsky is arguing 
is that to allow workers to vote for their representatives 
would <i>"only serve as a bridge from the proletarian dictatorship"</i>! 
<p>
This argument was made (in 1938) as a <b>general point</b> and is 
<b>not</b> phrased in terms of the problems facing the Russian 
Revolution in 1921. In other words Trotsky is clearly arguing 
for the dictatorship of the party and contrasting it to soviet 
democracy. As he put it elsewhere, the <i>"revolutionary party
(vanguard) which renounces its own dictatorship surrenders
the masses to the counter-revolution."</i> [<b>Writings 1936-7</b>,
pp. 513-4] So much for "All Power to the Soviets" or "workers'
power"!
<p>
Clearly, Grant's and Trotsky's arguments contain a deeply
undemocratic core. The logic of their position -- namely
that party rule is essential to ensure soviet rule -- in
practice means that soviet rule is replaced by party
dictatorship. To include the masses into the decision making
process by soviet democracy means loosening the tight
political control of the party on the soviets and allowing 
the possibility that opposition forces may win in the
soviets. However, if that happens then it means the end 
of soviet power as that is only possible by means of
party "leadership." This, in turn, necessitates party 
dictatorship to maintain "soviet power", as Trotsky and 
Lenin admitted and implemented.
<p>
Simply put, Grant's argument shows the dangers of Trotskyism,
not of anarchism.
<p>
<a name="app10"><h2>10. Do anarchists reject "leadership"?</a></h2>
<p>
Grant continues by asserting the need for leaders:
<p><blockquote><i>
"Some say that such a party is not necessary, that 
the workers do not need a party, that it leads to 
bureaucracy, and so on. That is a fatal error. The 
whole history of the international workers' movement 
shows the absolute need for a revolutionary party. 
Anarchism is an expression of impotence, which can 
offer no way out. Of course, the reason why some 
honest workers and young people turn towards 
anarchism is because of their revulsion against 
Stalinism and the bureaucratic and class 
collaborationist policies of the existing 
leaderships, both on the political and trade 
union field. This is understandable, but 
profoundly mistaken. The answer to a bad leadership 
is not no leadership, but to create a leadership 
that is worthy of the workers' cause. To refuse 
to do this, to abstain from the political struggle 
. . . amounts to handing over the workers to the 
existing leaders without a struggle. In order to 
combat the policy of class collaboration, it is 
necessary to pose an alternative in the form of a 
revolutionary policy, and therefore also a 
revolutionary tendency."</i>
</blockquote><p>
There are so many fallacies in this argument it is hard
to know where to start.
<p>
Firstly, we should note that anarchists do not deny the
need for "leaders" nor for the need for revolutionaries
to organise together to influence the class struggle. To
claim so indicates a failure to present the anarchist
case honestly. 
<p>
In the words of Kropotkin:
<p><blockquote><i>
"The idea of anarchist communism, today represented by
. . . minorities, but increasingly finding popular 
expression, will make its way among the mass of the
people. Spreading everywhere, the anarchist groups
. . . will take strength from the support they find
among the people."</i> [<b>Words of a Rebel</b>, p. 75]
</blockquote><p>
Bakunin considered it essential that revolutionaries
organise and influence the masses. As he put it, <i>"the
chief aim and purpose of this organisation"</i> is to
<i>"help the people towards self-determination on the
lines of the most complete equality."</i> [<b>Michael
Bakunin: Selected Writings</b>, p. 191] 
<p>
Therefore, to claim that anarchists deny the need for
political organisation and "leaders" is a misrepresentation.
As we argue in more depth in 
<a href="secJ3.html">section J.3</a>, this is not
the case. However, we must stress that anarchists do
not seek positions of power ("leadership") in organisations.
Rather, they aim to influence by the power of our ideas,
<i>"through the natural, personal influence of its members,
who have not the slightest power."</i> [Bakunin, <b>Op. Cit.</b>,
p. 193] This is because "leadership" positions in
hierarchical organisations are a source of corruption,
which is the second major fallacy in Grant's argument. 
<p>
While acknowledging that the existing leadership of working 
class organisations and unions are <i>"bureaucratic and class 
collaborationist,"</i> he does not indicate why this is so.
He argued that we need a "new" leadership, with the correct
ideas, to replace the current ones. However, the <i>"policy of 
class collaboration"</i> within these leaderships did not 
develop by chance. Rather they are a product of both the
tactics (such as electioneering, in the case of political
parties) and structures used in these organisations.
<p>
Looking at structures, we can clearly see that hierarchy is 
key. By having leadership positions separate from the mass of
workers (i.e. having hierarchical structures), an inevitable
division develops between the leaders and the rank and file.
The "leaders" are insulated from the life, interests and
needs of the membership. Their views adjust to their position,
not vice versa, and so "leadership" becomes institutionalised 
and quickly becomes bureaucratic. As Bakunin argued, the only 
way to avoid bureaucracy is to empower the rank and file. 
<p>
Taking the Geneva section of the IWMA, Bakunin noted that the 
construction workers' section <i>"simply left all decision-making 
to their committees . . . In this manner power gravitated to 
the committees, and by a species of fiction characteristic of 
all governments the committees substituted their own will and 
their own ideas for that of the membership."</i> [<b>Bakunin on 
Anarchism</b>, p. 246] To combat this bureaucracy, <i>"the 
construction workers . . . sections could only defend their rights
and their autonomy in only one way: the workers called general
membership meetings. Nothing arouses the antipathy of the committees
more than these popular assemblies. . . In these great meetings of 
the sections, the items on the agenda was amply discussed and the 
most progressive opinion prevailed. . ."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 247]
<p>
This did not mean the end of organisations and committees, but
rather a change in power. Any committees would be made up of 
<i>"delegates who conscientiously fulfilled all their obligations 
to their respective sections as stipulated in the statues," 
"reporting regularly to the membership the proposals made 
and how they voted"</i> and <i>"asking for further instructions 
(plus instant recall of unsatisfactory delegates)."</i> [<b>Ibid.</b>]
Power would be in the hands of the rank and file, not the
committees.
<p>
It is in this context that anarchists try and give a lead. 
Anarchist organisation <i>"rules out any idea of dictatorship and 
of a controlling and directive power"</i> and it <i>"will promote the 
Revolution only through the <b>natural but never official influence</b> 
of all members of the Alliance."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 154 and p. 387]
This influence would be exerted in the basic assemblies of the 
organisation, which would retain the power to decide their own 
fates: <i>"In such a system, power, properly speaking, no longer 
exists. Power is diffused to the collectivity and becomes the 
true expression of the liberty of everyone, the faithful and
sincere realisation of the will of all."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 415]
<p>
Only in this way can the bad effects of having institutionalised
"leadership" positions be avoided. Instead of ignoring "bad"
leadership, anarchists encourage workers to rely on their own
initiative and power. They do not "refuse" to combat bureaucratic
leaderships, rather they combat them from below by ensuring that
workers manage their own affairs directly. As such, anarchists
are well aware of the need <i>"to pose an alternative in the form 
of a revolutionary policy, and therefore also a revolutionary 
tendency."</i>
<p>
As Malatesta argued, we <i>"do not want to <b>emancipate</b> the people; 
we want the people to <b>emancipate themselves.</b>"</i> Thus anarchists 
<i>"advocate and practise direct action, decentralisation, autonomy 
and individual initiative; they should make special efforts to 
help members [of popular organisations] learn to participate 
directly in the life of the organisation and to dispense with 
leaders and full-time functionaries."</i> However, <i>"[w]e must not
wait to achieve anarchy, in the meantime limiting ourselves
to simple propaganda . . . We must seek to get all people
. . . to make demands, and impose itself and take for
itself all the improvements and freedoms that it desires
as and when it reaches the state of wanting them, and
the power to demand them: and in always propagating
all aspects of our programme, and always struggling
for its complete realisation, we must push people
to want always more and to increase its pressures,
until it has reached complete emancipation."</i> 
[<b>Life and Ideas</b>, p. 90, p. 125 and p. 189]
<p>
He, like all anarchists, stressed there were different
kinds of "leadership":
<p><blockquote><i>
"It is possible to direct ["lead"] through advice and example, 
leaving the people -- provided with the opportunities and means 
of supplying their own needs themselves -- to adopt our methods 
and solutions if these are, or seem to be, better than those 
suggested and carried out by others. But it is also possible 
to direct by taking over command, that is by becoming a 
government and imposing one's own ideas and interests 
through police methods."</i> [<b>The Anarchist Revolution</b>, p. 108]
</blockquote><p>
Unsurprisingly, anarchists favour the first way of "leading"
people and utterly reject the second.
<p>
Clearly, then, anarchists do not reject being "leaders"
in the sense of arguing our ideas and combating the
influence and power of bureaucratic leaderships.
However, this "lead" is based on the influence of
our ideas and, as such, is a non-hierarchical 
relationship between anarchist activists and other
workers. Thus Grant's argument is a straw man.
<p>
Finally, his comment that <i>"whole history of the international 
workers' movement shows the absolute need for a revolutionary 
party"</i> is simply false. Every example of a "revolutionary
party" has been a failure. They have never created a socialist
society which, let us not forget, was their aim. The first
"revolutionary" party was Social Democracy. That quickly
became reformist and, in Germany, crushed the revolution 
that broke out there after the end of the First World War.
<p>
The Bolshevik party was no better. It soon transformed itself
for being the masses servant to being its master (see 
<a href="append35.html#app4">section 4</a>).
It justified its repression against the working class in
terms of its "vanguard" position. When it degenerated into
Stalinism, Communist Parties across the world followed it
-- no matter how insane its policies becaame.
<p>
This is unsurprising. As the anarchists of Trotwatch explain, 
such a "revolutionary" party leaves much to be desired:
<p><blockquote><i>
"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."</i> [<b>Carry on Recruiting!</b>, p. 41]
</blockquote><p>
Therefore, while anarchists stress the need to organise as
anarchists (i.e. into political associations) they reject
the need for a "revolutionary party" in the Marxist or
Leninist mold. Rather than seeking power on behalf of the
masses, anarchist groups work within the mass organisations
of the working class and urge them to take and exercise
power directly, without governments and without hierarchy.
We seek to win people over to our ideas and, as such, we
work with others as equals using debate and discussion to
influence the class struggle (see 
<a href="secJ3.html#secj36">section J.3.6</a> for fuller
details and a discussion of how this differs from the
Trotskyist position).
<p>
Therefore, Grant's whole argument is flawed. Anarchists do
not reject "leadership," they reject hierarchical leadership.
We clearly see the need to organise politically to influence
the class struggle but do so as equals, by the strength of
our ideas. We do not seek to create or seize positions of
"leadership" (i.e. power) but rather seek to ensure that the
masses manage their own affairs and are influenced by political
tendencies only in-so-far as they can convinced of the validity
of the politics and ideas of those tendencies. 
<p>
<a name="app11"><h2>11. Does the Spanish Revolution show anarchism is flawed?</h2>
<p>
As usual, Grant brings up the question of the Spanish 
Revolution:
<p><blockquote><i>
"The anarchist workers of the CNT played a heroic role 
in the struggle against fascism. In July 1936, they rose 
up and stormed the barracks armed with just sticks and 
knives and a few old hunting rifles, and beat the fascists. 
They set up soviets and established a workers' militia and 
workers' control in the factories. The CNT and the POUM 
(a centrist party led by ex-Trotskyists) were the only 
power in Barcelona. Soon the whole of Catalonia was in 
the hands of the workers. The bourgeois President of 
Catalonia, LLuis Companys, actually invited the CNT 
to take power! But the anarchist leaders refused to 
take power, and the opportunity was lost."</i>
</blockquote><p>
Needless to say, this summary leaves much to be desired.
<p>
Firstly, there are the factual errors. The offer to the
CNT from Companys occurred on July 20th, immediately after
the uprising had been defeated in Barcelona. The situation
in the rest of Catalonia, never mind Spain, was unknown.
This fact is essential to understanding the decisions made
by the CNT. Faced with a military coup across the whole of
Spain intent on introducing fascism, the outcome of which
was unknown, the CNT in Barcelona was in a difficult 
situation. If it tried to implement libertarian 
communism then it would have had to fight both 
the fascist army and the Republican state. Faced
with this possibility, the CNT leaders decided to ignore 
their politics and collaborate with other anti-fascists
within the bourgeois state. Needless to say, to fail to
indicate the rationale for the CNT's decision and the
circumstances it was made in means to misinform the
reader. This does not mean the CNT's decision was correct,
it is just to indicate the extremely difficult circumstances
in which it was made.
<p>
Secondly, Grant lets the cat out of the bag by admitted
that he sees the Spanish Revolution in terms of the 
anarchist <i>"leaders"</i> taking power. In this he followed
Trotsky, who had argued that:
<p><blockquote><i>
"A revolutionary party, even having seized power (of which the 
anarchist leaders were incapable in spite of the heroism of the 
anarchist workers), is still by no means the sovereign ruler of 
society."</i> [<i>"Stalinism and Bolshevism"</i>, 
<b>Socialist Review</b>, no. 146, p. 16]
</blockquote><p>
Clearly, rather than the masses taking power, Trotskyism
sees the party (the leaders) having the real power in
society. Trotsky stressed this fact elsewhere when he
argued that <i>"[b]ecause the leaders of the CNT renounced
dictatorship for themselves they left the place open 
for the Stalinist dictatorship."</i> [<b>Writings 1936-7</b>,
p. 514]
<p>
The <i>"anarchist leaders"</i> quite rightly rejected this position,
but they also rejected the anarchist one as well. Let us
not forget that the anarchist position is the destruction
of the state by means of federations of workers associations
(see 
<a href="append35.html#app3">section 3</a>). 
The CNT refused to do this. Which, of course,
means that Grant is attacking anarchist theory in spite of 
the fact that the CNT <b>ignored</b> that theory! 
<p>
As we have discussed this issue in depth elsewhere (namely
sections <a href="secI8.html#seci810">I.8.10</a>, 
<a href="secI8.html#seci810">I.8.11</a> and 
<a href="append32.html#app20">section 20</a> of 
the appendix <a href="append32.html"><i>"Marxists
and Spanish Anarchism"</i></a>) we will leave our discussion of
the Spanish Revolution to this short summary.
<p>
<a name="app12"><h2>12. Does anarchism believe in spontaneous revolution?</h2>
<p>
Grant now asserts another erroneous position to anarchism,
namely the believe that anarchists believe in spontaneous
revolution. He presents the case of the Albanian revolution:
<p><blockquote><i>
"However, the most crushing answer to anarchism is 
the fate of the Albanian revolution. The Albanian masses, 
as the result of the nightmare brought about by the 
collapse of so-called market reform . . . rose up in a 
spontaneous insurrection. With no organisation, no 
leadership, and no conscious plan, they stormed the 
barracks with their bare hands. The army fraternised . . . 
opened the gates of the barracks and distributed arms. 
Revolutionary committees were established, especially 
in the South, and the armed militias spread the revolt 
from one town to the next. The forces of reaction sent 
by Berisha were routed by the armed people. There was 
nothing to stop them from entering Tirana . . . But 
here the importance of leadership becomes clear. Lacking 
a revolutionary leadership with the perspective of taking 
power and transforming society, the insurrectionists 
failed to take Tirana."</i>
</blockquote><p>
Needless to say, the argument for <i>"a revolutionary
leadership"</i> with <i>"the perspective of taking power"</i> is
hard to combine with his later argument that <i>"the 
Russian workers, basing themselves on their own 
strength and organisation, [must] take power into 
their own hands."</i> As Grant has argued throughout
this excerpt, the idea that the workers should take
power themselves is utopian as a Bolshevik style
leadership is required to seize power. As Trotsky
and Lenin made clear, the working class as a whole
cannot exercise the "proletariat dictatorship" --
only party dictatorship can ensure the transition
from capitalism to communism. In summary, Grant is
simply using the old Bolshevik technique of confusing
the party with the proletariat.
<p>
However, this is besides the point. Grant asserts that
anarchists think a revolution can occur spontaneously,
without the need for anarchists to organise as anarchists
and argue their politics. Needless to say, anarchists
do not hold such a position and never have. If we did
then anarchists would not write books, pamphlets and
leaflets, they would not produce papers and take part
in struggles and they would not organise anarchist
groups and federations. As we do all that, clearly we
do not think that an anarchist society will come about
without us trying to create it. As such, Grant's comments
misrepresent the anarchist position.
<p>
This can be seen from Bakunin, who argued that the 1848
revolutions failed <i>"for a quite a simple reason: it was
rich in instinct and in negative theoretical ideas . . .
but it was still totally devoid of the positive and
practical ideas which would have been necessary to build
a new system . . . on the ruins of the bourgeois world.
The workers who fought for the emancipation of the
people in June were united by instinct, not ideas . . .
This was the principal cause of their defeat."</i> [<b>Michael
Bakunin: Selected Writings</b>, p. 104]
<p>
Given that <i>"instinct as a weapon is not sufficient to
safeguard the proletariat against the reactionary 
machinations of the privileged classes,"</i> instinct
<i>"left to itself, and inasmuch as it has not been
transformed into consciously reflected, clearly
determined thought, lends itself easily to falsification,
distortion and deceit."</i> [<b>The Political Philosophy of
Bakunin</b>, p. 215] Therefore, the <i>"goal, then, is to make
the worker fully aware of what he [or she] wants, to unjam
within him [or her] a steam of thought corresponding to
his [or her] instinct."</i> This is done by <i>"a single path,
that of <b>emancipation through practical action</b>,"</i> by
<i>"workers' solidarity in their struggle against the bosses,"</i>
of <i>"collective struggle of the workers against the bosses."</i>
This would be complemented by socialist organisations
<i>"propagandis[ing] its principles."</i> [<b>The Basic Bakunin</b>,
p. 102, p. 103 and p. 109] 
<p>
Hence the need for anarchists to organise as anarchists:
<p><blockquote><i>
"The Alliance [Bakunin's anarchist group] is the necessary
complement to the International [the revolutionary workers'
movement]. But the International and the Alliance, while
having the same ultimate aims, perform different functions.
The International endeavours to unify the working masses . . .
regardless of nationality and national boundaries or religious
and political beliefs, into one compact body; the Alliance
. . . tries to give these masses a really revolutionary
direction. The programs of one and the other, without being
opposed, differ in the degree of their revolutionary 
development. The International contains in germ, but only
in germ, the whole program of the Alliance. The program of
the Alliance represents the fullest unfolding of the
International."</i> [<b>Bakunin on Anarchism</b>, p. 157]
</blockquote><p>
Thus only by arguing for anarchist ideas can anarchy
come about. It will not come about by accident. Hence
Malatesta's argument that anarchists <i>"must deepen, 
develop and propagate our ideas and co-ordinate our 
forces in a common action. We must act within the 
labour movement . .  . [W]e must act in such a way 
that it contributes to preparing for a complete 
social transformation. We must work with the unorganised
.. . .  masses to awaken the spirit of revolt and the 
desire and hope for a free and happy life. We must 
initiate and support all movements that tend to 
weaken the forces of the State and of capitalism 
and to raise the mental level and material conditions 
of the workers. . . And then, in the revolution, we must 
take an energetic part (if possible before and more 
effectively than the others) in the essential material 
struggle and drive it to the utmost limit in destroying 
all the repressive forces of the State. We must encourage 
the workers to take possession of the means of production 
. . . and of stocks of manufactured goods; to organise 
immediately, on their own, an equitable distribution 
of . . . products . . . and for the continuation and 
intensification of production and all services useful 
to the public. We must . . . promote action by the 
workers' associations, the co-operatives, the 
voluntary groups -- to prevent the emergence of 
new authoritarian powers, new governments, opposing 
them with violence if necessary, but above all rendering 
them useless."</i> [<b>The Anarchist Revolution</b>, pp. 109-110]
<p>
A key process of this is to argue that workers' organisations
become the framework of the new world and smash the state.
As Murray Bookchin argues, anarchists <i>"seek to persuade the 
factory committees, assemblies [and other organisations created 
by people in struggle] . . . to make themselves into <b>genuine 
organs of popular self-management</b>, not to dominate them, 
manipulate them, or hitch them to an all-knowing political 
party."</i> [<b>Post-Scarcity Anarchism</b>, p. 217] For more discussion
of this issue, see section J.7.5 
(<a href="secJ7.html#secj75">What is the role of anarchists 
in a social revolution?</a>).
<p>
Clearly, rather than being <i>"the most crushing answer to anarchism,"</i> 
the fate of the Albanian revolution rather shows how inaccurate
Grant's argument is. Anarchists do not hold the position he 
states we do, as we have proven. Anarchists were not surprised
by the fate of the Albanian revolution as the Albanian workers
were not fighting <b>for</b> an anarchist society but rather were 
protesting <b>against</b> the existing system. The role of anarchists
in such a struggle would have been to convince those involved
to smash the existing state and create a new society based on  
federations of workers' associations. That this was not done 
suggests that anarchist ideas were not the dominant ones in 
the revolt and, therefore, it is hardly surprising that the
revolution failed.
<p>
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