Review of book about the CNT’s integration into the State

June 2024 Forums Events and announcements Review of book about the CNT’s integration into the State

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 56 total)
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  • #243831
    Lizzie45
    Participant

    Fairly clearly, I must disagree with your statement that “capitalism cannot be reformed so as to work for the benefit of the wage-working majority.” In the eyes of the majority of workers, this is not so. You are giving a meaning to “benefit’ that most people don’t share and therefore they would be right to reject your claim that your statement is “the strongest and most irrefutable part of (the SPGB) case”.

    In a (biggish) nutshell. 🙂

    #243833
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Nobody can deny, or is denying, that workers and their dependents (ie most people) accept and put up with capitalism because they can see no practicable alternative or don’t think they can do anything about it. But that is not the same thing as saying that they consider to be in their interest or to their benefit.

    It can in fact be shown that it isn’t. I think we can even go as far as to say that, irrespective of what they or anyone else thinks, it is not in their interest. This is not elitist or patronising but a demonstrable objective fact. A socialist world is, as a matter of fact, the only framework within which the problems facing humanity in general and the working class in particular can be constructively and lastingly solved. That is a matter of fact, not just of opinion.

    #243837
    Lizzie45
    Participant

    That is a matter of fact, not just of opinion.

    Haha, nice try! It won’t be a matter of fact until or unless it happens, and the chances of that are close to zero.

    #243838
    ALB
    Keymaster

    What, then, is the framework within which the problems facing humanity in general and the working class in particular can be constructively and lastingly solved? Or isn’t there one, even in a million years?

    #243845
    Lew
    Participant

    It appears to me that the working class in advanced capitalist societies has nothing against capitalism so long as it is relatively prosperous, and it has been sufficiently prosperous thus far to ensure there is no great demand for socialism.

    This assumes that the working class has considered and understood what capitalism is and what socialism will be. But there never has been more than a tiny number of workers who have done this. So it cannot be said that workers generally have nothing against capitalism, and there is no demand for socialism because workers are mostly unaware of it.

    #243848
    ALB
    Keymaster

    We haven’t finished yet with Popper and his view that historical materialism is unscientific because it makes no falsifiable predictions. By coincidence I was in the middle of reading his autobiography when this came up on the thread and was surprised when I came across him declaring that Darwin’s theory of evolution was unscientific, because it didn’t make any predictions about the course evolution would take that could be falsified.

    Apparently, he later retracted this. Logically, he ought also have retracted his criticism of historical materialism as unscientific. But he never did. But the fact that he himself once thought that Darwinism was unscientific shows that his theory of science cannot be the whole story.

    Actually, historical materialism does make predictions that can be falsified. For instance, that given world capitalism pre-and non- capitalist societies can only develop through capitalism — they cannot leap from feudalism to socialism. Another socialist view that has been confirmed many times.

    #243858
    Lizzie45
    Participant

    So it cannot be said that workers generally have nothing against capitalism, and there is no demand for socialism because workers are mostly unaware of it.

    You reckon? Thousands, if not millions, must have heard about socialism (as defined by the SPGB) over the course of its 120 year history, yet it still has fewer than 300 members and receives only double-digit votes in elections.

    #243861
    DJP
    Participant

    “The anarchist position […] is based on individualism”

    While there are people that call themselves “anarchist” that are definitely individualists, this isn’t the case at all for the communist anarchists.

    #243864
    Lew
    Participant

    <em class=”d4pbbc-italic”>So it cannot be said that workers generally have nothing against capitalism, and there is no demand for socialism because workers are mostly unaware of it.

    You reckon? Thousands, if not millions, must have heard about socialism (as defined by the SPGB) over the course of its 120 year history, yet it still has fewer than 300 members and receives only double-digit votes in elections.

    It is probable that a few thousand understand capitalism and socialism. But not millions. That is an exaggeration which feeds your cynicism.

    #243865
    Lew
    Participant

    “The anarchist position […] is based on individualism”

    While there are people that call themselves “anarchist” that are definitely individualists, this isn’t the case at all for the communist anarchists.

    I think it is. The common denominator of anarchism is opposition to external authority, and not the simplistic anti-state position often ascribed to it. That is why all anarchists – to a greater or lesser extent – have a problem with democracy (see the blurb above, from the book which started this thread).

    Anyway. This probably wants a new thread.

    #245155
    ZJW
    Participant

    Replying to DJP’s #243461

    DJP:

    I’m a bit confused. The book, says AK Press, is a by a Zoe Baker. The thesis, on which I understood you to say it’s based, is by an Oscar Addis . The same person?

    In any case, I read the Oscar Addis thesis some six to ten months ago and only retain what may be a caricature memory of it: that it contrasts anarcho-syndicalists pursuing reforms vs insane anti-reform insurrectionalist-immediatists.

    Your reading was doubtless more useful/positive than what I recall of it. What did you get out of it?

    #245233
    DJP
    Participant

    “Your reading was doubtless more useful/positive than what I recall of it. What did you get out of it?”

    I just thought it was a good, theoretically informed history – which clearly explained and reconstructed the different positions; what various groups and indivduals thought, why they thought what they did, and why and how things changed through time and experience. I thought it avoided being over simplistic and contextualised things quite well.

    Oscar Addis and Zoe Baker are (or perhaps were) names for the same person.

    #245234
    DJP
    Participant

    “The common denominator of anarchism is opposition to external authority”

    There isn’t a single “anarchism”, and this very much comes down to what you mean by “external authority”. Social / communist anarchists definitely thought that people did have obligations to the community and were under no illusions about the permanent possibility of social conflict. This is well explained in places of the Zoe Baker book if I recall correctly, and was a topic Malatesta wrote frequently on. People acting in an anti-social manner would be subject to the “external authority” of the community / popular assembly.

    #245235
    Lew
    Participant

    There isn’t a single “anarchism”, and this very much comes down to what you mean by “external authority”.

    I didn’t say there was a single anarchism, and by “external authority” I meant external to the individual.

    In my experience people who call themselves communist-anarchists or anarcho-communists use the “anarchist” label to differentiate themselves from “authoritarian” tendencies. A more accurate label sometimes used is libertarian communism. In other words, they are not anarchist at all in any meaningful sense of the word.

    I have yet to see a successful marrying of anarchist and communist thought, without the one negating the other. Perhaps you know of one?

    #245240
    DJP
    Participant

    “I have yet to see a successful marrying of anarchist and communist thought, without the one negating the other.”

    That’s not surprising since what you are describing as anarchism seems to have more to do with Stirner than Bakunin, Kropotkin or Malatesta. Contrary to what is written in a lot of the commentaries Stirner was not a founding influence on anarchism – I think these, like the roots of socialism in general, can be found in the radical republican tradition.

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