The anarchist idea that we can just dissolve the state and form workers’ councils to solve all social problems only makes sense if you completely buy into the liberal ideas that democracy is the infallible answer to every question.
Consider the labor movement here in California. For most of its history it has been a profoundly racist movement, focused on improving working and living conditions for white workers only. If there had been a popular democratic San Francisco Commune formed in 1871, its first act would have been to expel (if not massacre) the Chinese population of the city.
Democracy and self-organization are great but on their own they will enshrine and legitimize forms of prejudice and oppression that have majority support. This is not only a problem of ideology; the maldistribution of resources and uneven development characteristic of capitalism create material disparities which will tend to widen, not shrink, if things are left to local democratic self-organization. (Consider the experience of Chinese collective farms for a case where this happened in practice.)
In a revolutionary society, expanding democracy must be balanced by revolutionary organization and authority that grasps the key social contradictions whose resolution will lead us toward full liberation and the elimination of all material and ideological sources of oppression.
"The separation of church and state delivers a cruel and irreparable blow to the church which ruled under tsarism. But in essence this is merely an act of social justice. We cannot show preference to Orthodoxy over Buddhism, Catholicism, or a whole number of other religions. The separation of church and state reduces the church to a free religious society which lives at its own discretion and on the means of its voluntary members. And only that. This measure signifies nothing else. It deprives the clergy of the economic might which it illegally enjoyed under tsarism, but this measure does not affect the freedom to choose a religious system. Our enemies often confuse this intention with others and present the separation of church and state as an attack on the freedom of religious expression. On the contrary, this measure, which removes one set of privileges, returns genuine freedom in the choice of religion. We fight against priests because of their counter-revolutionary activity, and not because they believe in God. We will conduct this struggle as long as the epoch of dictatorship continues. It is not our fault if the clergy ended up on the side of the “powerful of this world."
Today in history: November 11, 1887 - The government executes four of the Haymarket Martyrs: Albert Parsons, August Spies, George Engel, and Adolph Fischer. They were framed for the Haymarket bombing in Chicago.
Pictured: Haymarket Martyrs’ Monument in Chicago’s Forest Home Cemetery. Inscribed with August Spies’ last words: “The day will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you are throttling today.”
fuckyeahmarxismleninism following the proud Leninist tradition of remembering the martyrs without remembering which political movement they died for.
always, even after their demigod crushed the Ukrainian revolution and Kronstadt uprising because they were both too revolutionary for his party.
The Haymarket Martyrs were obviously anarchists, but they were also socialists as well. Albert Parsons was influenced by Marx and edited the newspaper of DeLeon’s Socialist Labor Party. George Engel in his speech to the court spoke of Lasalle and Marx. Among their political descendants in the IWW and other radical labor organizations were those who formed the backbone of the CPUSA or joined later (including Lucy Parsons, who was a member or fellow traveller in her later years) — as well as many anarchists who became estranged from the Bolshevized section of the American left.
Anarchism and Socialism are as much alike, in my opinion, as one egg is to another. They differ only in their tactics. The Anarchists have abandoned the way of liberating humanity which Socialists would take to accomplish this. I say: Believe no more in the ballot, and use all other means at your command. Because we have done so we stand arraigned here today – because we have pointed out to the people the proper way. The Anarchists are being hunted and persecuted for this in every clime, but in the face of it all Anarchism is gaining more and more adherents, and if you cut off our opportunities of open agitation, then will the work be done secretly. If the State’s Attorney thinks he can root out Socialism by hanging seven of our men and condemning the other to fifteen years servitude, he is laboring under a very wrong impression. The tactics simply will be changed – that is all. No power on earth can rob the workingman of his and that knowledge he possesses.
I could go on, but in a nutshell it is a complete anachronism to project today’s ideological dividing lines back onto the Haymarket Martyrs who died long before Lenin and Stalin, and it’s remarkably petty minded to try to do so in order to claim them for your own political tradition. The eight who died had a vision of freedom for the entire international working class; their legacy is in every radical who fights for human freedom and the abolition of capitalism. To try and narrow their vision to score points for your sect cheapens both them and you.
jiang qing is one of the most remarkable women in modern history and she helped lead one of the most earth-shaking revolutionary uspurges in modern history
if you call her “madame mao” to downplay her achievements and cast her as a revolutionary “yoko” or post pictures of her as a young woman with captions like “wow mao’s crazy bitch wife was hot” you should step off a cliff
real revolutionary history is rare and precious and we should refuse to give any ground in defending it
The only bad thing I have to say about the Gang of Four is that in the end they failed.
Sadly, sexist comments and dismissal of Jiang Qing seem to be much more common in the American left than any attempt to actually engage with her politics or legacy.