MOLLY'S ANARCHISM: PART TWO, CHAPTER ONE:
WHY I AM NOT A "REVOLUTIONIST":
Wayne Price of NEFAC (The Northeastern Federation of Anarcho-Communists) has recently published an essay entitled 'Why I am Not a Pacifist' on the Anarkismo board. His essay makes some telling points (no, there was no way to remove Hitler without violence, pacifists mistake their actions for "non-coercion", etc,etc) with things that can best be styled "flights of fancy" (the only way to avoid the holocaust was through a 'proletarian revolution', Americans may have to call for an invasion from Mexico to "save their revolution",once more, etc.,etc.,etc.).
Now, Molly has actually met a very few real pacifists in her life. They don't include the majority of those who style themselves as such. Wayne's points about "coercion" can be telling in these cases. Molly likes these people even if she considers them wrongheaded. However "wrongheaded" they may be, however, they are less so than others whom Molly has met who are under some sort of delusion that a "revolution" in imminent in North America (or any European country for that matter) and especially that they can hasten this apocalypse by mindless acts of militancy. Mr. Price is, of course, not amongst this collection of fools. As a member of NEFAC he recognizes the value of patient organization and is at least somewhat aware of the broad outlines of reality in terms of how (un)popular a libertarian view of socialism is in North America. Yet, perhaps for 'romantic reasons' he clings to the idea of "revolution" as a Deus ex-machina that is both possible and necessary to achieve the goals of libertarian socialism in his country (the USA) and mine (Canada). Molly disagrees with both the term "possible" and the term "necessary", and I will try and explain this as I go along in this blog. Not all will be said in this post. I will also eventually reproduce Price's essay here and reply to it, but that is unimportant for now.
For now I refer the reader back to my previous post on 'Molly's Anarchism' and what I quoted professor Richards as saying. The non-statist trend of world socialism has always be present in Canadian socialism, just as it has been present elsewhere under different names, often taking the word "anarchism" to describe itself. In Canada non-statist socialism has been represented by the cooperative movement, whether it be that of Western Canada (with which I am most familiar), Quebec or the Antigonish movement of the East Coast. It has been represented in the unions, whether they were the IWW or the OBU of history or the more recent attempts to chart a course independent of the US based Internationals. It has even been present in a multitude of local community struggles for various things, struggles that presuppose that local communities should have a greater role than the feds, the provinces or even the cities in determining things in their immediate environment. Native struggles have been lighthouses in this matter, but they are hardly unique or even more than a minority of such struggles across Canada.
This socialism is different from that which has been the dominant strain in Canada to date. It has nothing whatsoever to do with "building political parties" whether they be social democratic such as the NDP or bizarre communist sects. It has everything to do with building cooperatives, both producer and consumer cooperatives. It has everything to do with attempting at all times to recover political power for the most local community possible and to expand the scope of democracy beyond that of a popularity contest. It has everything to do with the day to day struggle of working people to control the conditions of their work life and eventually to take the workplaces over and govern them by democratic principles.
This sort of socialism is neither pacifist nor revolutionary. It is merely "realistic". It recognizes and builds on popular struggles that have occurred throughout Canadian (and American) history and asks for the maximum possible clarity in regards to same. This clarity means that we have to "work with" those who believe in "political means" but that we should always be apart from them, with an ideal of total independence for the popular organizations as the ultimate goal. It means that we push bit by tiny bit towards this goal, navigating the possible, and not recruiting for some dangerous enterprise in the foggy future. It means that we agree to be pluralistic and not dream of some show of force in the future, a dream that would almost inevitably lead to disaster.
It furthermore means that we take the best of our own socialist traditions and build on them, and that we call ourselves "anarchists" because this is the best, though limited, name for what we want to achieve- a socialism that builds cooperation without the excessive burden of state imposed conformity. Look above to the graphic on this blog. This is the graphic of the Spanish CGT. Spain has always been the "heartland" of anarchism. There have been disagreements in Spanish anarchism for well over a century about how to proceed towards libertarian socialism. The present day CGT which represents about 2 million Spanish workers is the heir of one of these currents, the anarchism of Salvador Segui, of Juan Piero, of Angel Pestana (before he deserted the cause). This anarchism is the reborn anarchism of the Iberian Peninsula, an anarchism that is appropriate for the modern age. It is the same as the socialism of those here in Canada who advocated (and advocate today) for community clinics, for local control, for increased rights for workers, for producers and consumers cooperatives. It is the only socialism worthy of the name, and its name is anarchism. It does not imply a quasi-religious commitment to some future "revolution", only the commitment to advance the cause today in the here and now.
Molly is not a "revolutionist" for many reasons which I will detail later, but the main reason is that the "revolution" is a fantasy which is way in the future and far away from how we live today. But the struggle for socialism- well that I've seen every day of my life. It exists here and now. One more cooperative is socialism. One more victory against the state is socialism. I don't live in an utopia. I live in the here and now.
Much more later,