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(en) Trotskyism Vs. Anarchism On The State And Revolution by Open City (NEFAC - NYC)

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 17 Oct 2003 11:19:54 +0200 (CEST)


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Open City (NEFAC NYC) response to a critique by the Sparticist Leauge of their
leaflet Anarchists Against the War.
Followed by a response from "Young Spartacus".

To Workers Vanguard: In your May 9, 2003 issue you have a discussion of our leaflet
Anarchists Against the War, which was produced for the February 15 antiwar demonstrations.
We are the Open City Anarchist Collective of NEFAC (Northeastern Federation of
Anarcho-Communists) in New York City. You accuse us of 'Pressure Politics in Militant Clothing'.
This is our response.
Taking your last argument first, you say that the workers
movement needs to be organized and led, specifically by your type
of party. NEFAC is part of the tendency within international
anarchism which believes that anarchists should build an
organization around a revolutionary program. This is called
Platformism. We are a democratic federation of collectives. We
are working to increase our unity in action on the basis of
programmatic and theoretical agreement and collective
responsibility of each to all. We believe that such a revolutionary
organization should work inside broader, mass, organizations to
fight for a working class anarchist program. Our aim, however, is
not to become the new rulers but to call on workers to form mass
organizations (federation of councils) to replace the state (which
is what should have been done in the Spanish Revolution of the
thirties). This was explained in our leaflet.

What we are against is a centralized, bureaucratic, topdown party
machine, whose form prefigures a new centralized, bureaucratic,
state. Following Lenin and Trotsky, your aim is to create a
centralized party which will rule a centralized state which will
manage a centralized economy. The result must be, and has been,
monstrous state-capitalisms, economically inefficient in the
extreme, which have murdered tens of millions of workers and
peasants.

You seek to defend the former Soviet Union by pointing out the
suffering which has fallen on its people since its collapse. That
suffering is real, but why did it collapse? Was it overthrown by a
US invasion or a CIA plot? No, while Western pressure was
continuous, Russian state capitalism collapsed from its own,
internal, weaknesses, its decades of economic stagnation and
decay. It was the Stalinist state capitalism of the Soviet Union
which has resulted in the present stage of mass misery. To return
to that system, as you wish, would be no solution.

You charge that we are merely for pressure politics, as in our
participation in the Feb. 15 antiwar demonstration. As you say,
revolutionaries cannot work out a common program with
nonrevolutionaries against war. But, of course, we did no such
thing. After all, our only agreement with the liberal and Stalinist
leadership of the demonstration was a negative one, that we were
against the war, and, following this, that we were for a
demonstration against the war. This is not exactly a common
program against war. It was a temporary, limited, and practical de
facto agreement for one day. What we did, in New York City, was
to organize a Red-and-Black contingent of pro-working class
anarchists which marched within the labor contingent. We put out
the leaflet you cite, which denounced the Democrats and the union
bureaucrats, called for revolution against capitalism and the state,
explained what anarchism was, and advocated increased class
struggle and unrest by the military ranks. To call this a common
program with liberals is bizarre. What did the Spartacists do which
was different from what we did? According to your statement, you
also organized contingents to march in the demonstrations, under
your slogans. By building a part of the demonstrations (your
so-called Revolutionary Internationalist Contingents) you were
building the demonstration. You urged people to participate in the
demonstration by joining your contingent. Whatever you were doing
in your sectarian heads, in material reality (in your actual behavior)
you were participating in and building the antiwar demonstrations
in a de facto coalition with everyone else who was marching, while
raising your own program. This was the right thing to do, and is
what we did also.

We wrote, "To limit their wars, we must put pressure on these
states. To end their wars, we must end all states." You call this a
"two-stage program" and fly off into never-never land by saying
that this means "an appeal to the good conscience of the
capitalists." Actually it says the exact opposite: the only way to
win even limited reforms is to build a militant mass movement from
below which threatens the capitalists with revolution. In fact, the
memory of the anti-Vietnam war movement (combined with the
Vietnamese struggle) had limited the ability of the US to wage war
due to what they call the Vietnam Syndrome (popular hatred of
war). This was, they hope, finally eroded by September 11. Your
criticism sounds like you do not think that it is possible to win even
temporary and limited reforms, which of course is not what you
believe.

Our leaflet said, "We hope the US is defeated in its aggression."
You agree with this and try to counterpose it to the NEFAC
slogan, "No War Between Nations, No Peace Between Classes!"
Actually there is no contradiction between support for the workers
and peasants of Iraq fighting against the US capitalists and a class
struggle, anti-nationalist, position (granted that slogans cannot
express all the complexities of a political analysis). We called for
the defeat of the US (which implies the victory of the Iraqis), but
did not use the explicit slogan of Victory to Iraq. As an immediate
slogan, this would not have made much sense when the mass of
Iraqis hated Hussein's dictatorship, for good reasons, and did not
want to fight for it. The Kurds in the north were actually fighting on
the side of the US (unfortunately) and the Shiites in the south were
holding off largely because they feared that the US would not
overthrow Hussein, as it had not in 1991. (But now that Saddam
Hussein is gone, we can expect increased conflict between the
Iraqi workers and peasants and the US state.) In any case, our
primary job in the US was to make crystal clear our opposition to
US imperialism, which NEFAC has done.

Open City Anarchist Collective of NEFAC-NYC


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