Presentation on theme: "From Babeuf’s Conspiracy of Equals, 1795-6, there was continuing socialist ferment in France."— Presentation transcript:
From Babeuf’s Conspiracy of Equals, 1795-6, there was continuing socialist ferment in France
Pierre-Joseph Proudon (1809-1865) was “the father of anarchism”
In What Is Property (1840) he coined the term “anarchist”. “Sovereignty will wind up fading into a scientific socialism… anarchy, absence of master, or sovereign… the natural form of human society”
Proudhon foresaw a balance between “community” and “property”, and replacement of government by “contract”
Despite his famous saying “property is theft”, he was against seizing capitalist property. He foresaw a network of small workshops and farmers exchanging with each other at values equal to labour-time, and giving each other free credit, spreading to prevail peacefully.
Proudhon opposed unions, strikes, worker candidates in elections, and progressive taxation.
Marx called Proudhon a “bourgeois socialist”. “He has neither courage enough nor insight to rise, even speculatively, above the bourgeois horizon”. Instead he just juggled bourgeois concepts.
Proudhon was also anti- feminist, anti-semitic, and pro-war
Proudhon had an idea of human nature not very different from bourgeois “economic man”, but emphasising propensity to contract.
Proudhon preferred to call his system “mutualism”, “federalism”, or “scientific socialism”
In the First International (1864-72) Proudhonism faded, but Mikhail Bakunin (1814-76) and others in the Jura Federation developed a new sort of anarchism (Bakunin called it “revolutionary socialism”) more “infected” by Marxism
Bakunin supported workers seizing capitalist property, and called himself a “collectivist”; but wanted a federation of small communes negotiating with others rather than a workers’ state.
Bakunin supported workers’ unions and strikes, but not workers’ politics; and he looked more to peasants and the “lumpen- proletariat”
Bakunin advocated “all of the States presently in existence be destroyed...
The first task was to destroy - all institutions, laws, etc. - so that the natural order of anarchy could emerge.
For Bakunin and his followers, religion was the base of authority, and authority the base of exploitation. So, first destroy religion!
Bakunin said socialist organisation should reflect the ideal new society of tomorrow, but also wanted the “invisible dictatorship” of a secret revolutionary elite.
Marx retorted that on Bakunin’s principle the Paris Commune of 1871 would have “thrown away all discipline and all weapons”.
Bakunin himself regretted that the Commune “in order to combat the monarchist and clerical backlash, were obliged to set aside the basic principles of revolutionary socialism, and organise themselves into a Jacobin counter-force”.
Marx: “All arms with which to fight must be drawn from society as it is, and… not adapted to the idealistic fantasies of these doctors in social science”.
Engels: “Wanting to abolish authority in large-scale industry is tantamount to wanting to abolish industry itself...”
From the First International split in 1872 to 1917 there was a big anarchist movement in Europe, but with many different strands Paul Brousse……… Jules Ravachol… Peter Kropotkin.. Errico Malatesta…. Emile Pouget
In the 1880s Paul Brousse (1844-1912) coined the idea of “propaganda of the deed” - starting revolutionary activity by individual acts of violence against society. Anarchists killed a king of Italy and presidents of France and the USA. Emile Henry bombs the Café Terminus in Paris, 1894
Brousse himself gradually developed anarchism’s emphasis on the small-scale and local into a fixation on municipal reformism, and became the leader of the hangdog “possibilist” right wing of French parliamentary socialism.
Max Stirner (1806-56) was rediscovered as a prophet of the most individualist anarchism. Stirner also influenced outright right- wingers like Nietzsche, and through them today’s postmodernism.
Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921) developed Bakunin’s ideas into “anarcho- communism”. He foresaw immediate free distribution of goods where Bakunin envisaged some trading
Kropotkin’s ideal society reads something like a world entirely run by NGOs.
After October 1917 Kropotkin returned to Russia. There, “we worked on a blueprint for a federal republic…”
Emile Pouget and others developed anarcho-syndicalism, which the federal units of the future society would be not local communes but trade unions. “Fields and factories for the unions”
Anarcho- syndicalism focused on class struggle; registered the facts of large- scale industry; and integrated “destructive” activity with “constructive”
But it tended to equate revolution with a utopian version of a general strike. The CGT in France organised a general strike in May 1906, not a complete defeat but not the revolution, either.
It tried to combine the functions of trade union, of political party, and of workers’ councils in one pantomime-horse body: result, none covered properly.
The French CGT, led by anarcho- syndicalists, ended up backing World War 1 Leon Jouhaux, leader of CGT 1909-47 Kropotkin and other well-known anarchists also backed the Allies in World War 1, but Malatesta and others opposed the war.
In October 1917 the Bolsheviks and the Soviets showed the alternative to both reformist-socialist parliamentarism and to anarchist postures. Many anarchists rallied to Bolshevism.. The rest dispersed into sects, except in Spain… which is another story.
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