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(en) Hungary: Barikad (Anarchist) Collective - "About the Platform"

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 12 Apr 2005 08:54:06 +0200 (CEST)


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The text itself, as we have seen before, was written in a period when the
counter-revolution (after the abolition of the 1917-23 revolutionary wave) was
in the full flush of health. So the most emphasized point of the text was to
point out the disorganisation and confusion of the movement, the complete lack
of centralization and united practice. It is doubtless that against the powers
of the extremely centralized and at least against the proletarians unified
capital one has to use similar methods in order to win. But pseudo-anarchism
was attacking the anti-democratic and dictatorial essence of the proletarian
struggle with full force. So the desired unity only without them and against
them could be achieved.

The Platform correctly states that anarchism is "not a beautiful utopia, nor an
abstract philosophical idea, it is a social movement of the labouring masses".
Instead of the bourgeois duality of practice and theory, this is an organic
unity, the process of the abolition of capital in its every manifestation. The
Platform always proceeds from the active reality and tries to react in
accordance with this; it does not concern itself with the theoretical
"problems" constantly debated by the "anarchologists" (Did Kropotkin wear
flowered underpants? Will there be weather forecast in the anarchist society?
etc.).

Above all, the text urges the creation of a powerful, all-in anarchist
organization. Maybe today this seems to be obvious, but in that situation it
was not. Many pseudo-anarchists denied even the necessity of organization
itself. Others said if an organization exists, it must be something nominal,
just for the purposes of coordination, within which the individual persons and
subgroups have inner autonomy. This democratic pseudo-organization has in each
case proven to be completely unable to produce any revolutionary activity.

Hence the creators of the Platform were for the unitary (revolutionary)
tendency and for organized collective activity. This was a very important step
for anarchists, because they challenged those taboos which were a real barrier
for anarchism to really effective struggle. The Platform stresses the absurdity
of the pseudo-organization established on the basis of such a synthesis.

The goal of the text is no other than to provide the programme for an
international anarchist-revolutionary organisation in formation, namely the
programme of the worldwide communist proletarian party - the programme of the
proletariat organized into a class. This task was beyond the means of the text.
In general, this is the revolutionary programme of the proletariat - though it
is an existing and effective historical reality, it is no other than the
revolutionary process: nobody, no group will ever be able to put them down
exactly. But this is not necessary, because in the course of the
concretizations of the class struggle (which contains the written documents,
too) this programme will always be realized to some extent.

>From these events, and the lessons from them, one can abstract and deduce some
of its characteristics. These are principally the break with democracy, the
dictatorship of the proletariat, the struggle against parliamentarianism and
the trade unions, the struggle against political parties and the tasks of the
anarcho-communist revolutionary core (with an inappropriate word, the
"vanguard"). These points have no clear appearance in the Platform either.

The poorest parts of the text are those dealing with the concrete task which
should be completed in the course of the revolution, which try to give a
picture about the organization of the production, consumption, army etc. It
must be laid down that the Platform (which went quite far in the break with
pseudo-anarchism and in other crucial questions of the proletarian revolution)
here falls into the trap of making up utopias. The main problem with these
utopias is that they can be realised as well: they do not solve the antagonism
between human activity and work, means and ware, use-value and exchange-value.
The exchange between cities and villages (though with great simplification)
nowadays goes the same way as well...

The platformists did not see the complete subversiveness of the proletarian
revolution - its characteristics that must profoundly change the relations. The
antagonisms mentioned before should be destroyed in the first minutes of the
revolution, and there cannot be any transitional,
half-capitalist/half-communist State.

Although the text itself lays this down in a whole chapter, exposing how
counter-revolutionary the conceptions about transition are, however, the second
part the text itself drafts such a state... The form of the dictatorship of the
proletariat (which is not "the organ of the transition" but the nature of the
revolutionary struggle, the proletarian class) is the counter-state, which is
the complete and active negation of the existing order - just as the
proletariat is the negation of the bourgeoisie in itself. The creators of the
text fall into the error that they talk about the "freedom" and the
"independence" of the proletarians (in their terminology, the workers - which
means the same here).

Here are two anarchist fetishes which the text could not surpass. These two
terms only have sense in capitalism. From what is a worker free and
independent? From capitalism? It is obvious that this is not the case, because
that determines his existence (as a worker and as a social creature, too). Thus
it is his class that he is free and independent from, from the force whose goal
is no other than the complete abolishment of this system - including the
freedom and independence of the "worker".

The interesting thing is that the text has many times settled its account with
these illusions because it argues the necessity of centralization and a unified
organization. It was attacked many times by the champions of freedom...

As we have mentioned before, its position on the trade unions is quite confused
as well. While elsewhere it is clearly shown that the revolutionary struggle is
no other than anarchist communism, in this question the authors draw several
levels, and they indicate syndicalism as a means of struggle. On the one hand
they see the counter-revolutionary role of the trade unions (which the majority
of syndicalists saw too during the revolution), while on the other hand they
believe in the possibility that they can be improved.

The anticipation explained here is in fact about a trade union under anarchist
influence. This is a contradiction, though: an organization which tries to
ameliorate (because it is a trade union) society which it wants to completely
destroy (because it is anarchist).

The historical programme of the proletariat does not contain wage struggles
(?), declared strikes (?), trade union maydays. Conversely, it does contain the
abolition of wage labour, violent wildcat strikes, the ecstatic joy of struggle
and the dictatorial oppression of hostile interests.

We do not want to deal with the part on production and distribution, the army
etc. These are desipient, sometimes dangerous daydreaming about self-management
and voluntariness etc. - a kind of a democratic heaven which is in complete
discordance with the expectations of the general part. But we should add that
anyone who tries to describe the communist society within the circumstances of
the current society, cannot go further than daydreaming.

At the end of the text, the authors have to fight another pseudo-anarchist
phantom, which seems to be quite dangerous: federalism. Although the text is,
in fact, about organizing ourselves into a class and about centralizing the
struggle (and this is obvious to the pseudo-anarchist whimperers), the authors
are too shy to admit the necessity of centralization verbally. They try to
avoid this by making difference between "bad" and "good" federalism. The "bad"
one emphasizes the importance of the ego and it is the means of the
individualist, while the "good" one is, as it is revealed, not federalism but
centralism... Exactly the vagueness of the question, the lack of breaking-up in
this question leads the authors to put down that entirely bourgeois rubbish
about the Federal Executive Committee. Well, this is not the "organized
vanguard"...

Shortly, we will mention another critical point: the text keeps separating the
peasantry and the proletariat - though this latter does not only refer to the
"oily-handed workers". The peasantry is not a social class, it is a layer
created by the division of labour. There are bourgeoisies as well in their
ranks, not only proletarians (and this also refers to the workers, though there
are obviously more peasant bourgeoises...). But still, it is an important
lesson that the peasantry in the modern revolutionary movement in Europe and in
the areas where a real owner of its lands (unlike in Russia!) played a more
counter-revolutionary role. The overestimating of the revolutionary potential
of the peasantry is due to the group's (a bit too over-emphasized) Russian
point of view. The importance of labour is also over-emphasized. They fall into
the old ouvrierist trap, which is the oldest weapon social democracy has
against us: let's be proud of our work, let's be proud to be workers, unlike
the bourgeois "drones", let's struggle for the "society of labour"...! But
communism is no more than the complete negation of labour, every kind of work,
the realisation of human activity against alienated activity. It is not just we
are not proud to be workers, but that's why were are revolting, we are
revolting against labour!

"What is the difference between the social democrat and the communist?" - was
the question posed by the Situationist International at the beginning of the
seventies: "The social democrats want full employment, the communists want full
unemployment."

We want to stress once more that the Platform is not a holy text and it is not
without errors. It wasn't like that in 1926, either. But its goal was (as the
authors claim) not to create a bible, but a way to start a debate which would
result in common revolutionary activity among the really revolutionary
elements. We cannot say anything more either but let it nowadays do a similar
task as well.

Barricade Collective
February, 2005

http://www.anarcom.lapja.hu


English text revised by the Nestor Makhno Archive
http://www.nestormakhno.info


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