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(en) Know your enemy: "Should we fight capitalism or anti-capitalists?"

From Chuck0 <chuck@tao.ca>
Date Sat, 16 Dec 2000 23:54:33 -0500 (EST)


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The following essay comes from the Australian Trot magazine "Green Left
Weekly." It makes reference to my anti-ISO page at:
> http://www.infoshop.org/texts/iso.html

and the current
anarchist anti-Trot campaign. They make it sound like I've spent hours
on this page, when in actuality I've probably spent less than an hour on
it. The anti-ISO web page is one method in which I'm trying to raise
issue within the greater anti-capitalist movement. Those issues being
authoritarian organizing versus decentralized, direct democratic,
non-hierarchical organizing. One of the reasons why Seattle was so
successful was because the usual Left parasites, which typically show up
each time they smell fresh activist blood, didn't KNOW ABOUT N30.
Instead of having to deal with left opportunists who would have
convinced everybody to follow their lead and follow their lame Left
activism, activists were free to try some new (old) ideas, such as the
blockade of downtown.

Internal ISO documents even whine about the fact that they missed the
boat on Seattle. This didn't stop them though from trying to do
"interventions" during the organizing for A16, which were thankfully
unsuccessful.

This article is typical of the denial that permeates authoritarian
communism. The ISO and its sister organizations don't want to debate
anarchists. This would expose their "recruits" to alternative ideas.
This is why the ISO (and other Left magazines) "disappear" anarchists
from news accounts in their newspapers. If anarchists are mentioned,
they are dismissed as "radical street youth." Organizations like the ISO
and SWP attempt to *normalize* their presence in the movement, by making
appeals to "unity" and the need to focus on "real enemies." This is
simply an attempt to deflect criticism which they know would hurt their
position as potential vanguard for whichever movement they have their
claws into at the moment (insert student anti-sweatshop, anti death
penalty, or labor movement of your choice here).

My anti-ISO page has several well-written articles by Iain McKay on the
SWP and Marxism. If the SWP, ISO, or Green Left are interesting in
having a discussion, they should start by responding to Iain's articles.

Most of my web design time and activism is spent on giving the ruling
class a hard time. The stuff on the ISO is merely meant to raise
awareness about a cult that annoys our movements.

Chuck0

------------------------
[Ed. - The original trash is at:]
Should we fight capitalism or anti-capitalists?
http://www.greenleft.org.au/current/431p14.htm

BY STUART MUNCKTON
The Earth is becoming a nastier planet on which to live. The growing
hole in the ozone layer, increased global warming and the wholesale
destruction of the world's forests are evidence of this. Moreover,
according to the World Health Organisation, 40,000 children are dying
every day from starvation. Millions are dying each year from preventable
diseases.

What causes this? More and more people are laying the blame for this
dire situation on the capitalist private profit system. The people who
are coming to this conclusion are coming up with many different
solutions. This is to be expected. Some people who have rejected
capitalism call themselves socialists. Some call themselves anarchists.
Both these terms encompass a broad spectrum of views.

Anarchists, in general, recognise the horrors of the capitalist system
and recognise that this system must be abolished. It is more than a
little disappointing then, given their understanding of both the horrors
of capitalism and the urgency of the need to defeat it, that a number of
people who consider themselves anarchists seem to be spending a
significant amount of time, not running campaigns against capitalism,
but rather against the rest of the anti-capitalists.

In Melbourne, a large number of posters have appeared attacking the
socialist youth organisation Resistance. They parody the style of a
particular Resistance poster and say "When you assume what other people
are doing isn't worthwhile, give them leaflets! Insist! Join
Insistence!"

The question that has to be asked about these posters is, why? What is
the point of the time and energy that has gone into thinking this poster
up, designing it, getting it photocopied and then put up? What has been
achieved when only people familiar with Resistance would understand the
"joke"?

The people responsible, who identify as anarchists, clearly have a
different political perspective for fighting capitalism than Resistance
(you would assume they wouldn't do smug send ups if they didn't). But
exactly what that different perspective is, is not clarified by the
poster.

What the growing anti-capitalist movement needs is open, constructive
debate between different tendencies within it in order to find the best
way forward to defeating the capitalist system.

Those behind the "insistence" poster would have made a far more
constructive contribution to the anti-capitalist movement if they had
spent the same time and energy exposing the crimes of capitalism, or
actually formulating and putting out their ideas on the best way to
defeat capitalism and how they differ from Resistance's.

The only political position that can be drawn from the "insistence"
poster is that its creators are opposed to leaflets, or, perhaps, not
opposed to leaflets, but opposed to attempts to distribute them. Are
these anarchists attacking the right of people with views different from
theirs to express those views by means of leaflets?

The "insistence" poster is, unfortunately, not an isolated incident.
There seem to be a number of people considering themselves
anti-capitalist who find it more important to attack other
anti-capitalists than capitalism itself. These people often focus their
attacks on those in the anti-capitalist movement who identify themselves
as revolutionary socialists, or Marxists, although they are routinely
and dismissively tagged as "Trots" (i.e., Trotskyists).

At the protest against the World Economic Forum in Melbourne from
September 11-13, for example, it was disheartening to see, amongst a lot
of brilliant political graffiti, signs declaring "Down with Trots".

On one pavement there was sprayed "Trots are cunts". That is actually
quite an achievement: whoever was responsible for it had managed, using
just three words, to be both sectarian and sexist. Meanwhile, these
"Trots" were on the picket lines resisting the police along with
everyone else.

A number of left-wing email lists have also been used as a forum for
"anti-Trot" attacks. While there has been a lot of useful discussion
between anarchists and socialists on these lists about the way the S11
blockade was organised and on the way forward for the movement, far too
many of the contributions have consisted in little more than inventive
mud-slinging.

One posting on an email list for discussion around proposed actions for
May 1 next year advertises an "anti-Trot" web page. This is a
professional-looking page prepared by people calling themselves
anarchists into which a fair bit of time and energy has clearly gone.

The main target of the page is the International Socialist Organisation
(ISO), although it takes swipes at other socialists as well. The web
page features a number of articles, most of which, rather than
criticising the politics of the ISO or other socialists, denounce the
ISO for producing an anti-capitalist newspaper which reflects the ISO's
views. Would these anarchists prefer that people only had the option of
reading the Murdoch and Fairfax families' newspapers?

It is one thing to have political disagreement with someone. Resistance
has a range of disagreements with the ISO. However, we have more
important things to do than spend our time designing a whole web page to
sling mud against other anti- capitalist tendencies with whom we have
some political disagreements.

We will work with anyone in any campaign where we have common ground.
Where there are political disagreements we believe in open debate to
clarify the issues.

If we are to defeat capitalism, then all anti-capitalists need to take
the following words of Che Guevara seriously: "If you tremble with
indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine". Or as
another great revolutionary, Malcolm X, put it: "I for one will join in
with anyone ... so long as you want a change to the wretched conditions
that exist on this earth". Anti-capitalists need to fight capitalism,
not each other.

[Stuart Munckton is a leading member of the socialist youth organisation
Resistance.]


<< Chuck0 >>

This was the year *everything* changed.
      -- Commander Ivanova, 2261

Mid-Atlantic Infoshop    -> http://www.infoshop.org/
Alternative Press Review -> http://www.altpr.org/
Practical Anarchy Online -> http://www.practicalanarchy.org/

Homepage -> http://flag.blackened.net/chuck0/home/

"A society is a healthy society only to the degree 
that it exhibits anarchistic traits." 
        - Jens Bjĝrneboe


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