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(Part F)

Early Roots of Anarchism

Text coloring decodes as follows:

 Black:  Ken Ellis
 Red:  Marx, Engels, and Lenin.
 Green:  Press report, etc.
 Blue:  Correspondent, adversary, SLP-related
 Purple:  Unreliable Info
 Brown:  Inaccurate quote, but true to intent

   The founders of socialism had much to say about anarchism, and some of their writings about the ideology upon which the SLP is based are included here. In a May 10, 1890 letter to Laura Lafargue, Engels criticized the general strike (ELC II, p. 376):

   ... "Paul spoke very well - a slight indication of the universal strike dream in it, which nonsense Guesde has retained from his anarchist days - (whenever we are in a position to try the universal strike, we shall be able to get what we want for the mere asking for it, without the roundabout way of the universal strike)." ...

   In a 17 June 1879 letter to Bernstein, Engels was even more precise: "So one can speak of a workers' movement here only to the extent that strikes take place which, victorious or otherwise, do not advance the movement by one single step."

   In January of 1873, Marx satirized anarchist thinking in a short article entitled "Indifference to Politics". If the anarchists had been sincere, according to Marx, they would probably have expressed themselves in the following manner (NW 153, pp. 95-6):

   ""If the political struggle of the working class assumes violent forms, if the workers substitute their revolutionary dictatorship for the dictatorship of the bourgeois class, they are committing the terrible crime of lese-principle {crime against principle}, for to satisfy their own base everyday needs and crush the resistance of the bourgeoisie, instead of laying down arms and abolishing the State they are giving it a revolutionary and transient form. The workers should not form individual unions for each trade, since they thereby perpetuate the division of social labour found in bourgeois society. This division which disunites the workers is really the basis of their present servitude.
"In a word, the workers should fold their arms and not waste their time in political and economic movements. These movements can only bring them immediate results. Like truly religious people, scornful of everyday needs, they should cry, full of faith: 'May our class be crucified, may our race perish, but may the eternal principles remain unstained!' They should, like pious Christians, believe in the words of the priest, despise earthly blessings and think only of earning Paradise. For Paradise read THE ABOLITION OF SOCIETY, which will one day arrive in some small corner of the world, no one knows how or by whose efforts, and the mystification will be exactly the same.
"Until this famous abolition of society arrives, the working class must behave decently, like a flock of well-fed sheep, leave the government in peace, fear the police, respect the laws, and provide cannon fodder without complaining.
"In practical everyday life the workers must be most obedient servants of the State, but inside themselves they must protest energetically against its existence, and show their profound theoretical disdain for it by purchasing and reading literary treatises on the abolition of the State. They must moreover take good care not to offer any resistance to the capitalist order apart from holding forth on the society of the future in which the odious order will have ceased to exist!"
No one would deny that if the apostles of indifference to politics were to express themselves in such a clear manner, the working class would soon tell them where to go and would feel highly offended by these bourgeois doctrinaires and displaced gentlefolk who are stupid or naive enough to forbid them every real method of struggle because all the arms to fight with must be taken from existing society, and because the inevitable conditions of this struggle do not unfortunately fit in with the idealist fantasies that these doctors of social science have deified under the name of Liberty, Autonomy and Anarchy."

   Some of that obviously could have been written about the modern SLP and its anarchist-utopian program. In a letter to Sorge in October of 1891, Engels remarked about the concealed anarchists recruiting among attendees at the Erfurt Congress of the German Social-Democratic Labor Party (LTA, p. 237):

   "Everything went off very well in Erfurt. I shall send you the official minutes as soon as they are published. Bebel says the speeches were badly garbled in the news reports. Instead of making accusations, the opposition of the presumptuous Berliners was at once placed in the prisoner's dock itself. They behaved with miserable cowardice, and now they must work outside the party if they want to accomplish anything. Quite beyond doubt there are police elements among them, and another section consists of concealed anarchists, who want to do secret recruiting among our people. The rest of them are jackasses: bumptious students, unsuccessful candidates, and would-be great men of all sorts. All in all, less than two hundred strong. . . . We have the satisfaction of seeing the Marxian critique win all along the line. Even the last trace of Lassalleanism has been removed." ...

   In a March, 1894 letter to Pablo Iglesias in Madrid, Engels again pointed out the close connections between anarchists, police, and bourgeoisie (MEW 39, p. 229):

   ... "With regard to the anarchists, they are probably in the process of committing suicide. These violent attacks, this series of attacks which are senseless, and, when all is said and done, are paid for and provoked by the police, must finally open the eyes of the bourgeois to the true character of this propaganda of fools and police spies. Even the bourgeoisie will find in time that it is absurd to pay the police, and through the police the anarchists, so that the anarchists can blow up those same bourgeois who pay them. And even if we now risk suffering under a bourgeois reaction, in the long run we will win, because this time we can show to everyone that between us and the anarchists there is a chasm." ...


   In an 1873 article entitled "The Alliance of Socialist Democracy and the International", Marx, Engels, and Paul Lafargue (Marx's son-in-law) wrote about Bakunin's desire to make the local organizations, or "Sections" of the International Workingmen's Association, autonomous (NW 153, pp. 119-21):

   "This same man {Bakunin} who in 1870 preaches to the Russians passive, blind obedience to orders coming from above and from an anonymous committee; who declares that jesuitical discipline is the sine qua non of victory, the only thing capable of defeating the formidable centralisation of the State - not just the Russian State but any State; who proclaims a communism more authoritarian than the most primitive communism - this same man, in 1871, weaves a separatist and disorganising movement into the fabric of the International under the pretext of combating the authoritarianism and centralisation of the German Communists, of introducing autonomy of the sections, a free federation of autonomous groups, and of making the International what it should be: the image of future society. ...
While granting the fullest freedom to the movements and aspirations of the working class in various countries, the International had nevertheless succeeded in uniting it into a single whole and making the ruling classes and their governments feel for the first time the cosmopolitan power of the proletariat. The ruling classes and the governments recognised this fact by concentrating their attacks on the executive body of our whole organisation, the General Council. These attacks became increasingly intense after the fall of the Commune. And this was the moment that the Alliancists chose to declare open war on the General Council themselves! They claimed that its influence, a powerful weapon in the hands of the International, was but a weapon directed against the International itself. According to them, the General Council's domineering tendencies had prevailed over the autonomy of the sections and the national federations. The only way of saving autonomy was to decapitate the International.
Indeed the men of the Alliance realised that if they did not seize this decisive moment, it would be all up with their plans for the secret direction of the proletarian movement of which Bakunin's hundred international brothers had dreamed. Their invective wakened approving echoes in the police press of all countries.
Their resounding phrases about autonomy and free federation, in a word, war-cries against the General Council, were thus nothing but a manoeuvre to conceal their true purpose - to disorganise the International and by doing so subordinate it to the secret, hierarchic and autocratic rule of the Alliance.
Autonomy of the sections, free federation of the autonomous groups, anti-authoritarianism, anarchy - these were convenient phrases for a society of the "declassed", of "down-and-outs" "with no career or prospects", conspiring within the International to subject it to a secret dictatorship and impose upon it the programme of M. Bakunin! "

   The Party's inspiration for the autonomy of its sections seems to have come straight from Bakunin's ideas for the autonomy of the sections of the First International. After the anarchists took over the Party in 1889, the Workmen's Advocate printed the NEC's comment that "The constitution grants the sections full autonomy." (See Appendix 2.)

Marx and Engels on Sectarianism

   In some of his letters to Americans, Engels complained about SLP sectarianism. Marx wrote philosophically about sectarianism in a November 1871 letter to Friedrich Bolte in New York, which also included a short history and statement of purpose of the First International (MESC, pp. 253-4):

   ... "The International was founded in order to replace the socialist or semi-socialist sects by a really militant organisation of the working class. The original Rules and the Inaugural Address show this at a glance. On the other hand the International could not have stood its ground if the course of history had not already smashed sectarianism. The development of socialist sectarianism and that of the real working class movement always stand in inverse proportion to each other. Sects are (historically) justified so long as the working class is not yet ripe for an independent historical movement. As soon as it has attained this maturity all sects are essentially reactionary. But the features displayed by history everywhere are repeated in the history of the International. Antiquated aspects attempt to re-establish and to assert themselves within the newly acquired form.
And the history of the International was a continual struggle of the General Council against the sects and amateur experiments, which sought to assert themselves within the International against the real movement of the working class. This struggle was conducted at the Congresses, but to a far greater extent in private negotiations between the General Council and individual sections.
Since in Paris, the Proudhonists (Mutualists) were co-founders of the Association, they naturally held the reins there for the first few years. Later, of course, collectivist, positivist, etc., groups arose there in opposition to them.
In Germany, the Lassalle clique. I myself corresponded with the notorious Schweitzer for two years and proved to him irrefutably that Lassalle's organisation was a mere sectarian organisation and, as such, hostile to the organisation of the real workers' movement propagated by the International. He had his "reasons" for not understanding.
At the end of 1868 the Russian Bakunin joined the International with the aim of forming inside it a second International called "Alliance de la Democratie Socialiste", with himself as leader. He - a man devoid of all theoretical knowledge - claimed to represent the scientific propaganda of the International in that separate body, and wanted to make such propaganda the special function of that second International within the International.
His programme was a hash superficially scraped together from the Right and from the Left - equality of classes(!), abolition of the right of inheritance as the starting point of the social movement (St. Simonist nonsense), atheism as a dogma dictated to the members, etc., and as the main dogma (Proudhonist): abstention from political action.
This puerile myth found favour (and still has a certain hold) in Italy and Spain, where the material conditions for the workers' movement are as yet little developed, and among a few vain, ambitious, and empty doctrinaires in the French-speaking part of Switzerland and in Belgium.
To Mr. Bakunin his doctrine (the rubbish he borrowed from Proudhon, St. Simon, and others) was and is a secondary matter - merely a means to his personal self-assertion. Though a non-entity as a theoretician he is in his element as an intriguer."

   Has history come around once again to smash sectarianism? Marx and Engels also advised against sectarianism in their 1848 "Communist Manifesto" (MESW I, pp. 119-20):

   "The advance of industry, whose involuntary promoter is the bourgeoisie, replaces the isolation of the labourers, due to competition, by their revolutionary combination, due to association. The development of Modern Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie, therefore, produces, above all, is its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.



   "In what relation do the Communists stand to the proletarians as a whole?
The Communists do not form a separate party opposed to other working-class parties.
They have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole.
They do not set up any sectarian principles of their own, by which to shape and mould the proletarian movement.
The Communists are distinguished from the other working-class parties by this only: 1. In the national struggles of the proletarians of the different countries, they point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of all nationality. 2. In the various stages of development which the struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, they always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole."

   To "shape and mould the proletarian movement" is precisely what the SLP has tried to do through its SIU program, adherence to which is a condition of Party membership. To create a sect that would be dedicated to a utopian program, and could be relied upon to not cooperate with other parties, and to not rally behind workers' interests, would meet bourgeois goals rather nicely. In a letter to Schweitzer in October 1868, Marx wrote more about sectarianism (MESC, p. 201):

   "He {Lassalle} overlooked the fact that conditions in Germany and England were different. He overlooked the lessons of the bas empire {Second Empire} with regard to universal suffrage in France. Moreover, like everyone who maintains that he has a panacea for the sufferings of the masses in his pocket, he gave his agitation from the outset a religious and sectarian character. Every sect is in fact religious. Furthermore, just because he was the founder of a sect, he denied all natural connection with the earlier working class movement both inside Germany and abroad. He fell into the same mistake as Proudhon: instead of looking among the genuine elements of the class movement for the real basis of his agitation, he wanted to prescribe the course to be followed by this movement according to a certain doctrinaire recipe.
Most of what I am now saying, post factum, I had already told Lassalle in 1862, when he came to London and urged me to place myself with him at the head of the new movement.
You yourself have personally experienced the contradiction between the movement of a sect and the movement of a class. The sect sees its raison d'être {reason for being} and its point of honor not in what it has in common with the class movement but in the particular shibboleth which distinguishes it from the movement."

   And, what is the 'particular shibboleth' of the SLP but its own SIU program? A great deal of information in Marx's letter still pertains to the SLP. In the "Critical-Utopian Socialism and Communism" chapter toward the end of the "Manifesto of the Communist Party" (MESW I, pp. 134-6), additional passages closely descriptive of the SLP can be recognized.

Anarchist World Outlook

   According to the SLP, 'Socialism = Communism = classless and stateless society, technologically advanced countries allegedly requiring no political transition period to reach. Since all modern countries have state apparatuses, that proves that no country enjoys socialism.'
A workers' state is inconceivable, so every state is a capitalist state, even those that pretend to be socialist. Hence, in the presence of all of these capitalist states, there is no socialism anywhere.'
The predominant form of production and exchange in the technologically advanced countries corresponds to capitalism, and the class struggle between wage-workers and unemployed versus the capitalist class will someday lead to revolution.'
Since the socialist revolution will happen first in the advanced countries, then the struggles that go on in the colonies cannot possibly be socialist in nature, because socialism follows capitalism, not feudalism or colonialism. Whatever happens in the colonies cannot affect prospects for revolution in advanced countries. Therefore, anything occurring in the colonies is irrelevant to the interests of the workers in the advanced capitalist countries.'
   Having defined '
scientific socialism' and 'scientific communism' to be one and the same thing, i.e., classless and stateless society, SLP leaders concluded that 'Socialism or communism in the alleged socialist countries cannot possibly exist, since obviously the state and classes still exist in those countries, and the level of economic development there corresponds only to a low level of capitalism, or even to feudalism. Only the American economy and few others can support socialism, so the claims of some states as having had socialist revolutions are incorrect or fraudulent, so therefore are not worth supporting in the least.'
There is no reason for oppressed workers in the colonies to fight for national independence or take state power, because, by doing so (i.e., by using the capitalist state), they will only end up being exploited by their own national bourgeoisie and will thus get absolutely nowhere. The only hope for the oppressed people in the colonies is to wait for American workers to have their SIU revolution first, who will then provide the colonies with machinery to modernize their primitive tools of production. Then the workers in the colonies can organize their own Industrial Unions and liberate themselves at their own pace.'
Whatever the workers in the colonies do, they should not resist their oppressors, due to the inevitable failure of such efforts. Rather than try and fail, it is far better not to try at all, and thus not fail.'
Three superpowers - America, China, and Russia - were battling each other for hegemony over Vietnam, allowing the Vietnamese no chances whatsoever to win a struggle against the combined might of all three. Because of their low state of economic development, it didn't matter who won, or if the superpowers simply pulled out and went home, because the Vietnamese would only go on being exploited by one of the superpowers or by their own national bourgeoisie as oppressively as ever. Since it didn't matter which ruling class won, all American aid, assistance and demonstrations against the war were a total waste of time, for, what with the comparatively low level of economic development, the Vietnamese were automatically condemned to suffer the fate of class division, the state, and capitalist exploitation.'
   Such was the sentence of
slavery that the SLP handed down to the Vietnamese, 'an irrevocable enslavement to their capitalist, feudal or imperialist ruling classes until some day their productive forces evolve to the point where they can organize themselves into Socialist Industrial Unions, and leap into the classless and stateless administration of things.'
   By redefining socialism to mean
ONLY classless and stateless society, and by asserting that 'the USA has the necessary level of technology to leap into classless and stateless society', they were then able to falsely conclude that: 'Socialism was possible for the USA, but not for Russia.'
If the Soviet state owned and controlled the means of production in the old Soviet Union, and if all state ownership can only be capitalist state ownership; then Russia's Communist Party must have comprised a new capitalist class.' A corollary of this perspective is: 'The party of the proletariat, upon coming to power, turns its back on the proletariat and becomes its new oppressor. That is why De Leon warned of the menace of a mere political victory of the working class party. Without the SIU having been organized to step in and lock out the capitalists and establish the Industrial Union administration of production when the state and parties are abolished, the capitalist state would continue to oppress workers.' Additionally, 'If any country has an alleged socialist revolution, it must immediately abolish its state in order to prove that it has indeed had a true socialist revolution.'
There were two theories of revolution: an economic theory for advanced countries, to come true in the future, and a bad, political scenario that materialized in the past. In other words 1): A Marxist-De Leonist theory of revolution in technologically advanced countries - economic rather than political' - and, 2): 'An obsolete Marxist theory for individual backward countries, political rather than economic, complete with transition periods, dictatorships of the proletariat over the middle classes, and oppressive state apparatuses.'
Technologically advanced countries should not follow the Marxist model of revolution for underdeveloped countries.'
Because of advances in the tool of production, political solutions are no longer necessary in technologically advanced countries. The form into which workers should organize so as to avoid using the state or any kind of political solution was discovered by De Leon. Political solutions yesterday, classless and stateless Industrialism today. The Marxist theory of the state was as good as what could have been gotten in the bad old days of underdevelopment, but nowadays the form into which we can organize ourselves to put aside antique political solutions to modern problems has at last been discovered by De Leon. All we have to do is organize into Socialist Industrial Unions, dismantle the state when the Party is elected, and proceed to classless and stateless paradise.'
   In an attempt to antidote the kind of '
economic determinist' label that the foregoing analysis might conjure up, members were encouraged to read Engels' letter to J. Bloch of September 1890, in which historical materialism was somewhat differentiated from economic determinism. It was hoped that the mere reading of that letter would be sufficient to make members aware of the issue, and, by so doing, would enable members to better deny the charge of them being economic determinists.

SLP Membership

   My old SLP membership application blank asked, "Do you realize that all the other political parties, and factions thereof, are necessarily the instruments of capitalist interests?" In order to agree to such a statement, new members must either be somewhat naive, with no previous political experience, or anxious to belong to something, or maybe anything, and/or willing to lie to join it. One or more of the above must have been my own reason for signing, as I had to have compromised my principles when I agreed to that statement with no personal knowledge of its veracity. If any of the members who inducted me had pinned me down to find out if I truly agreed with that statement, the truth might have come out that I really had no personal knowledge; but since a 'yes' seemed to have been what the Party had wanted applicants to respond with, I must have written 'yes' precisely so that I could become a member.
SLP could not have survived with its present program for so long unless the membership was very weak in theoretical matters. For a relatively small fee, members have had the satisfaction of belonging to a revolutionary organization. They are entitled by membership to know things that outsiders will perhaps never know. While I was in the Party, what we were entitled to know was little more exciting than: 1) our laziness would be frowned upon by the Party hierarchy if we didn't participate in their marketing plans to distribute ever more leaflets, literature and bring in new members; 2) feeble explanations of why the Party was on a gradual decline; 3) well after something real had happened in the Party, and was over and done with, we may have been entitled to read a one-sided report about it in a letter to the membership, an NEC Report, or a Convention Report.
   There are many in the field who pay their
dues, distribute leaflets, attend Section meetings and functions, and would generally like things to go smoothly in the Party. They neither make trouble, look for trouble, nor do they want to have anything to do with trouble. Some of these members have even worked at the National Office. With this portion of the membership, I have little quarrel, except that they probably have maintained a poor understanding of social theory and should therefore take the time to bone up on it before committing to a program for change, for fear of their ideas being too far out of touch with reality to do anyone any good.
   Many members are very protective of the
Party, and think that 'forces are bent on the destruction of the only hope for humanity'. To any sign of those destructive forces, as indicated to them by their instincts, or by the National Office, they give a wide berth. They continue to maintain the illusion that 'A conspiracy of silence and calumniation has been directed against the Party program for change to ensure that it will never be heard by the majority, who will be saved by it. Without knowledge of the Party program, workers will probably make the mistake of seeking political solutions to the social ills that plague us, and will thus be condemned to suffer under the eternal oppression of the state.'
   Some members may find it easy to think that they are
the last of a dying breed of 'true socialists' who are keeping the torch lit for a time in the future when workers are expected to finally accept the teachings of the SLP, at which time their educational and organizational mission would begin in earnest; but, in the meantime, they carry on with the leafletting, picnics, banquets and Section meetings. They continue to follow all of the rules of the Party and keep internal matters a big secret. They fail to understand that the secrecy has been designed to prevent the kind of communication that has the potential to break the stranglehold of ignorance in their ranks.
   Members were supposed to be united by their mutual desire to change society, but the
bureaucratic Party structure and the SIU program could never appeal to very many. To have spent so much energy taking quotes out of context and redefining basic concepts such as proletarian dictatorship implies nothing less than an intent to justify a worthless program. The rubbish created by falsifiers has been knowingly perpetuated by bureaucratic scoundrels, and in many cases unwittingly adopted by rank-and-file members who are deficient in theory.
   When A.P. falsified the meaning of
anarchism by accusing it of wanting to abolish the state with nothing to take its place, I wonder if any members protested the fact that this was not really the program of anarchism, for what the anarchists really wanted was to replace the state with an administration of things, very much like the SIU. Or were they so apathetic that they didn't care what kind of false philosophy A.P. attached to anarchism? On the other hand, how extensive was the philosophical anarchist element in the Party who didn't care much about Marxism, but instead were so happy with the SIU program that they didn't care if it was supported by lies? If this philosophical anarchist element did exist, were they afraid to admit that they were anarchists? Did they draw new members into the Party with full knowledge that it had an anarchist program? Did they knowingly lie if they described the program of the Party as being 'socialist'?
   Upon some members becoming informed of the
true state of affairs, a natural reaction for some may be to become mute, as though nothing happened. To admit to having been deceived, or to have been unconscious enough to have allowed themselves to have been fooled would be inconceivable, too large an insult to their egos, and too much of an undesirable dose of consciousness to allow themselves to consider. In order to be of use to society, some think that they must be infallible, and ready for whatever the revolution might bring. After all, they have been telling themselves for so long that they were the only hope for mankind, and that 'the working class will eventually look to them for the guidance that only they will be able to provide in a revolutionary crisis'. To doubt their roles on a fundamental level would be an admission of weakness that a revolutionary could never admit to. There may be others who will be thrown into a state of denial over having been used by liars to help them distribute lies. Will their paralysis forever prevent them from co-operating to throw out the lies?
   During the few years I stayed with the
Party, and as frustrating was the scenario that unfolded before me, I stuck with the situation for as long as I could because I had a certain amount of faith that most members were basically honest workers and progressives who were attracted to the Party for one reason or another, but who never really studied Marxism deeply enough. They merely accepted a plausible Party line about the nature of socialism and revolution that happened to sound 'just right' to a constituency that has had a little time to 'dabble' in revolution, but not enough time nor interest to actually compare revolutionary theories.
   Having reread the letters that were sent to me by the handful of members I regularly corresponded with, I can easily vouch for the basic
honesty of that segment of the membership. There is no question that at least the members I corresponded with had no intention of paralyzing or sabotaging progressive movements. Neither were they at the center of Party activities, cynically doing the intellectual work, keeping the People publication going, while knowing that what the Party stood for was but a miserable caricature of socialism. Rather, they were in the rank-and-file, doing the marketing, taking pride in belonging to what they honestly believed to be an organization that had something positive to offer to the lower classes, many times worrying about the decline of the Party, sometimes grumbling about the monotony of the work, most of the time willing to discuss problems that arose, and many times coming up with innovative ideas.
   The concentration of power into the hands of the
National Office enabled a division of labor between the intellectuals and the rank and file members. In the Party's intellectual hierarchy, the NO exercised a practical monopoly control over questions of revolutionary theory, while the membership had insufficient understanding of, dialog about, or control over, the theories and methods that the NO preached, ordained, or upheld to be suitable for the membership to endlessly practice.
   After undertaking this analysis of the
SLP program and ideology, how could I have had faith that the Party that I belonged to could come to an understanding of its role and regroup behind a higher principle? How could I have maintained a faith that the Party's followers were basically honest progressive people who could pick up the pieces and put them together in a far more coherent pattern than before? My own experience told me that there were honest progressives in the Party who had little to lose by helping the Party to correct its mistakes, and that it was worth my while to stick with them to see if I could get the word to them. What choice did I have if other parties had problems of their own that were just as bad as those of the SLP? I wasn't about to attach myself to a different party, what with the possibility that I would get just as disappointed in the new one as I did with the old one.
   I mention this in some detail due to the fact that, because I became critical of
Party ideology while still in it, I was then accused of having collaborated or joined some other party for the purpose of de-stabilizing the SLP. My accusers charged me with being some kind of saboteur or spy in order to salvage what might have been left of their own self-respect. They had no yardstick of their own with which to determine the point at which the Party's own filthy lies and sordid record of falsifications could produce members like myself who would educate themselves and try to point out the lies to the rest of the members.

The Moral Pits

   What qualifies the Party as one of bourgeois interests is that its leadership butchered many aspects of radical thought and history that could help improve the development of consciousness in the lower classes, and it prevented civilized discussion within the Party on those very subjects. In my experience, my associates at the NO didn't have a single good excuse for blocking the discussion of the Party's outrageous lies. Their adherence to the policy of silencing dissent within their ranks - instead of breaking with that policy - indicated an interest in preserving the dominance of their own muddled ideological line, and of their own dominance in general. Instead of joining in the struggle to find a feasible program of social change, they did little more than perpetuate the fraud and worthlessness of the anarcho-syndicalist SIU, a program that they had to support publicly, but, in less public circumstances, were sufficiently critical of to suggest changing into an 'organ of state power'.
   I had no axe to grind about
anarchism or any other kind of 'ism' when I got to know the SLP in 1972. It was socialism I was interested in, and the Party called itself 'Socialist', and not an Anarchist Labor Party. If it had wanted to be anarchist, it should have called itself anarchist, instead of lying about its ideology. Because of the vile and sneaky methods the anarchists used to gather the naive around their cause, they certainly also gave anarchism a bad name, if anarchism ever had a good name. Anarchists should have the right to espouse their philosophy as they see fit, but when they do so under the auspices of socialist ideology that they knowingly contradict, then they move out of the category of honest ideologues (if anarchists ever deserved that description) and into the category of willful deceivers.
   While thinking about my experiences, I sometimes became hyper-critical, as this old draft to a correspondent will show:
   'If there was an element in the
Party that was capable of being outraged, then they might have been outraged over the fact that the intellectuals of the NO knew that the Party program was based on lies, but they refused to take part in informing the membership, and here are two possible reasons: 1) they willingly joined the swindle, recognizing it as such and naturally had to keep it a secret, or 2) they weren't part of the swindle to begin with, but later became aware of it, and then realized that it was easy enough to milk it to their own benefit, and for that reason kept it a secret.
bureaucrats develop an arrogance and a haughtiness and would like to create an aura around themselves as if they alone had been appointed to carry on the De Leonist tradition. Those at the bottom of the hierarchy who come around to an understanding of the true state of affairs and who wish to communicate its sordidness to the rest of the membership will get to be treated as though they were just there to be exploited, or as though they barely exist. Because they don't have any power of their own, they might as well be condemned to stay in that condition forever. If they didn't have the smarts to join in with the scam and enjoy the corruption, they should be a slave until they do get the smarts. If unwilling to join the present scam, then, with any luck, they may get the smarts to discover some other scam they can run on some other suckers.'
   While paying lip service to
democracy in the Party, the intellectuals think that they have the same right to determine its ideology that religious fanatics have to determine how a woman should control her body. Who but very sinister or cynical elements would try to get others to believe in what they themselves know to be nothing but a farce?
   I remember how naive I was when I first joined, and if it hadn't been for the same people whom I now criticize, but who urged me to
study and educate myself, then it's anyone's guess as to how long I would have remained a pseudo-socialist myself, spreading lies without much enthusiasm. I remain appreciative of those who pointed out that I had a lot to learn, and I thank them for that, for I was definitely open to any kind of information that would have made a better student out of me, and I am still of that frame of mind.

Insidious Influences

   After having gone through quite a bit of agony in the Party, I began associating what was happening with dialectical processes. I saw the Party's falsifications of Marxism and history as negations thereof, and it occurred to me that the Party had to start negating those negations if it wanted to evolve into something viable. In order to do this, channels of information would have to open up so that any sensitive subject could be openly discussed. The members must be very sick by now of the historical trend of the Party getting smaller and smaller, while the problems that surround workers continue to multiply.
   The technique has to be an old one.
Falsify history and the views of the founders of socialism, and then make up a whole new philosophy, politics and solution to take the place of the original theories. Hand down fraud as immutable truth. Discourage study of anything other than Party-approved literature, and encourage distribution and marketing of Party propaganda. Maintain a bureaucratic organizational structure to ensure that only the designated fraud is disseminated, censor any attempts to spread the word if members discover it, and give them no alternative but to quit or be expelled if they don't like it.
   If there are reactionaries who want to keep workers at each other's throats, one way to keep them divided is to spread all kinds of
invalid ideas and propaganda and let workers fight over the phony ideas forever after. With all of the resources at their disposal, they could create a new party every week, and with scarce opportunities to make the rich richer, they could have opportunists fighting for the pleasure of leading bands of deceived dogmatists for many a year. The first book by one of the famous defectors from the CIA reveals that this was precisely one of the tricks that was played in Latin America. They actually created parties with revolutionary sounding names that were used by the governments to disrupt, co-opt, and spy on other progressives.

How the SLP Might Greet this Book

   From what Engels had indicated in January 1887 (see Appendix 1), the old SLP platform was worthy of his approval, but near the end of 1889, the anarchists toppled the socialists in a palace coup. In spite of initial optimism over getting rid of the Rosenberg clique, Engels didn't regard the results of the coup as much of an improvement.
   Were this book to be
freely circulated among the membership, the following reactions are conceivable:
   Some members would welcome a lot of nagging questions being answered. Some might become inspired to
further study Party history. Some would not be satisfied with anything less than the truth about the role of the SLP, and would not be so easily fooled in the future.
   Some might continue to look upon the
SIU as the only hope for humanity and will continue to want to propagate it. Some might recognize that the SIU has little basis in Marxism and might want to stop misrepresenting it as having much in common with Marxism. Some might even want to change the Party's name to something more attuned to the anarchist element of their philosophy.
   Some might portray themselves as the
true defenders of 'Marxism-De Leonism' and denounce all critics of their dogma as police agents bent on destroying the only hope for humanity. They might regard any criticism of their dogma as the greatest of blasphemy, and as anathema to their cause. They might want to do whatever they could to prevent other members from becoming more aware of problems and contradictions.
   Some who have been close to the scene of the ongoing
crimes against consciousness may initially try to suppress knowledge of this book, but failing that, they may sniff the wind for a sense of direction, and, wishing to be on the winning side, may want to take the course of least resistance and drift with the consensus. Rather than wanting to get to the root of the problems, they might agree that 'perhaps a few internal problems existed ', and most likely would want to find a middle-of-the-road compromise, and then quickly extinguish any controversy that might embarrass them. If they had been in the Party bureaucracy, they could turn out to be quite antagonistic to efforts to raise consciousness.
   Some may display a willingness to compromise with
previous positions by converting to a more 'Marxist' position, possibly by proposing to make state organizations out of the SIUs, or by supporting a shorter work-week, as though that could satisfy anyone who was outraged by the lies. Or, since they might not be above pretending to be outraged, they might suggest some inadequate means of dealing with the Party's dishonesty, or may instead want to fault the same old fall-guys, or otherwise fail to call for a full investigation, and quickly concern themselves with just getting back to a normal state of affairs.
   If there is a group of
SLP intellectuals who find that it impossible to suppress knowledge of this book, but who disagree with many aspects of its criticisms, they may decide to apply their prodigious talents to nit-picking the book apart, seizing upon details they could dwell upon to try to discredit it. They may be quite willing to divert the Party's attention away from the main criticisms of the old leaders' falsifications of Marxism by not mentioning them at all, and instead engage in a biting criticism of its alleged flaws. They may want to search Party records to dig up matters of detail to prove that I was wrong or inaccurate on this or that point, and then concentrate Party consciousness on my errors to invalidate the rest of it. They would applaud the level of democracy already within the Party, but would insist upon editing any theoretical journal that the rank-and-file might propose in order to discuss theoretical matters.
   They might also want to
claim that this book was nothing more than an exercise in the 'nit-picking-to-death' of Party literature. They might want to describe A.P.'s pamphlets as popularizations of Marxism that could never be faulted except for the difficulty entailed in compacting a tremendous amount of theoretical material in a small space in order to reach a greater market, and which could never approach the depth of analysis that a very long book could encompass. My criticisms of A.P. and De Leon might be denigrated as cowardly attacks upon dead people who can no longer defend themselves. Wishing that history was dead, they may very conveniently forget that Marx and Engels continued to criticize Lassalleanism far beyond Lassalle's death in 1864. Considering the weakness of the membership in theoretical affairs, and the willingness of some of them to want to keep on supporting the old dogma, the smoke screen that the intellectuals might be willing to put up just might be sufficient to drown out any support for the kinds of changes that this book suggests.
   Some might say that I have been too rough on the
Party, that they mean well, but, because they are ignorant, they innocently bumble their way toward the revolution. The Party has such an innocuous program, so harmless to anyone, so, why treat them like criminals if they would never harm a flea? To this, I would say that a party is not a union, nor is it like any other less-political workers' organization. What a party is supposed to be doing at this stage of the struggle for influence in the state is raising consciousness, instead of lowering it. A union can be forgiven to a certain extent for making mistakes, but a Party leadership that willingly and knowingly lies about theory, or simply allows the lies to be perpetuated generation after generation, must be criticized without let-up, so that everyone becomes aware that the SLP, and other parties as well, pretend to speak for the interests of the lower classes, but are just looking for suckers who can be roped into supporting programs of folly, deceit and status quo, given the impossibility of doing anything about property.*
   * A reading of Marx "
On America and the Civil War" shows that slavery remained an unresolved issue from the founding of the USA in the 1700's, and that the South attacked the North to try to retain slavery by dictatorship, for the South had become increasingly fearful that its diminishing pro-slavery majority in the Senate would soon be lost, and that slavery would be banned by law. Southerners were willing to smash the Union of States and fight to their death to preserve and extend as immoral a form of ownership as slavery, so people today would probably be willing to die ten times over to preserve all of the 'moral' forms of property ownership. While willing to ban slavery, the North was unwilling to impose dismantlement of the Southern plantations in order to provide the freed slaves with their promised 40 acres and a mule, even though the vanquished South could not have resisted such an imposition.
   Other opportunists would probably do exactly what the
Party intellectuals continue to do, for what the Party has to offer may still fetch a price, just like so many other ideologies that are worthless to workers. They would probably like us to not be too hard on them, for they are entrepreneurs who have marketing considerations on their mind, and little else. Criticisms of their product are not welcome, for it might interfere with its future marketability.
   We all know how easily we are fooled by lies and tricks. But, has anyone asked if any of us are willing to be led by
truth? How financially rewarding can telling the truth be, when so much else is based upon lies and makes so much money? Would any leader want any more than to convert to 'a more plausible system of fraud than what the next guy is willing to dish out'? Can progressive people defraud their way to a better world, or is a better world something that will come about only when progressives devote themselves to finding facts and looking for truth, no matter how difficult the chore, or the sacrifice involved? The rubbish that passes for progressive thought may continue to attract a following as long as the situation is as yet quiet, and the majority of the people can still get by, or can be bought off. Near the end of his 1880 "Development of Socialism From Utopia to Science", Engels wrote about a basic theoretical point of societal control (MESW III, p. 148):

   "It is, therefore, the law of division of labour that lies at the basis of the division into classes. But this does not prevent this division into classes from being carried out by means of violence and robbery, trickery and fraud. It does not prevent the ruling class, once having the upper hand, from consolidating its power at the expense of the working class, from turning its social leadership into an intensified exploitation of the masses."

   This is the stage that society has been in for too long, and though it may not be possible to eliminate the 'violence and robbery' any too soon, one step we can take is to at least do what we can to stop the 'trickery and fraud' that some leaders perpetrated on us. But when such a thing as a change in a Party depends for its success upon members accepting and acting on truth, then, for truth to be the only impetus to change, may very well be asking too much. The SLP just might choose to allow the world to deteriorate a lot further before any of them allow a little doubt to creep into their minds as to the appropriateness of their present path.
   If we, for once, lived in the kind of world in which it was possible for people to stop pretending they were something that they were not, then the
SLP might collectively declare that the jig was up, and would figure out a way to honorably put an end to their fraud. But, perhaps there is not a trace of hope that reason could at all prevail in the world at present, not even in ostensible socialist circles, proving in itself how worthless socialism, anarchism, communism and state ownership are for the lower classes.
   There may be some who will say that I wrote this book to wreck the
Party, to smash 'society's hope' into a thousand pieces so that it will scatter before the wind. But how could such a charge be reconciled with the fact that I urge unity of members around the project of undoing the anarchy, bureaucracy, censorship, fraud, secrecy, cults of personality, states of denial, and sectarianism which so fetter the Party, if it really wants to be a political party. To the charge that this book was written to wreck the Party, one could just as easily make the opposite argument that the alleged Party cannot prevent certain collapse without a drastic intervention of truth-seeking. In its present dress, the Party can do little better than to wreck the workers' movement, to mire it into a stasis, to inspire workers with little more than destructive impulses. 'Destroy the state and replace it with the administration of things, and all will be well.' Bureaucracy, censorship, secrecy, cults of personality, states of denial and sectarianism were the shoddy tools that the workers were provided for their revolutionary quest.
   How could any book bring a movement to its knees? It is only the members of a party that could possibly affect it one way or the other. For all anyone can tell about the result of this alleged attack on the alleged
Party, it could just as likely rejuvenate itself to defend and promote anarcho-syndicalism with a thousand times greater determination than what it exhibits now. It is all up to the members. I am content to have had my say about what they promote.
   In retrospect, and provided that one can create the time in one's life to investigate a party, the
SLP turned out to be the best teacher of Marxism imaginable, provided that one approaches what they promote with a jaundiced eye and suspects that the very opposite is the actual truth. Then one can read their 'literature' and do whatever is necessary to prove or disprove their theses, and in so doing, develop a real perspective on what socialism is, was, and what it might have been, had history been kinder to it. We can therefore thank a teacher like A.P., who probably has proteges in other movements and parties, that other people can go on to investigate in their own movements. For students of social change, the SLP is a good place to get totally frustrated when just starting out. To overcome the frustration is truly in the interest of the workers, and truly a growth experience; and to overcome one's frustration in one's own organization while still in it is doubtlessly worth more than trying to do it from the outside.

What's Next?

   If the attitude of SLP bureaucrats remains purely obstructionist, one way for honest members to avoid the misfortune of watching helplessly while an intractable NO expels Section after Section, or member after member, who possibly become outraged by the lies and want to open up some discussion, would be to withhold acting on their outrage or otherwise keeping cool until they accumulate the mutual support that would ensure that whatever they decide most needs their attention actually receives it. Teaching the NO to serve the Party instead of dominating it may not be an easy task, given their past obstructions of freedom of speech. But, the Party could force an opening up of its internal channels of communication with a theoretical journal in which any relevant topic could be discussed. Potentially, the Party could open up a computer network for that purpose, a move that many other organizations have accomplished with good results. Whatever members do, their first act should be that of creating the mechanism for a full, uncensored discussion of any subject they desire, without possibility of retribution from an angry NO, NEC, Subcommittee, Convention, or any other powerful faction of the Party.
   If the
Commune and the First International were examples of more democratic models, an organization that expresses lower class interests will not saddle members with bureaucracies that conspire in secrecy to deprive members from directly participating in decisions that affect them. It will not micromanage the lives of its members, tell them what they can join or participate in, tell them with whom they can associate, etc. By making unions, parties and other organizations responsible to no one but members, examples can be created and experiences learned from. Confidence could be gained in building organizations to challenge the dominance of the upper class ideology of unbridled competition.
   It may soon be time for a movement to
evolve which is not afraid of the truth, is truly representative of the interests of the lower classes, and does not allow a pack of opportunists to make a career out of forcing ideas upon members. The new organization would utilize present democratic provisions of free speech and association to work for the education of its members in the ways of opportunism, as much as in feasible ways of abolishing class distinctions. What the lower classes need now is a movement in which any one person would be proud to be a member, a movement that uses democracy to promote even more democracy, and promotes social solutions in the context of existing democracies.

What Can Be Done?

   While beginning to write this book in 1992, I had no idea that I would at any time find myself breaking with Lenin, Engels or Marx; but that I did, and precisely on the subject of 'taking away the property of the rich'. Instead, our most pressing need is to build a movement that will work to reduce hours of labor as the most effective means of solving social problems on a fundamental level.
   Capitalism - the economic system described by Marx as a
real social revolution - is a great engine of social progress, mostly because of its ability to liberate people from work, and the producers from their products, painful as that may be to so many people, myself included. To harness this great engine of social progress, instead of trying to demolish it out of hand, to put it to work in the interests of the lower classes, and allow people the free time with which they can develop their talents and abilities, is a goal for a portion of society that cannot stand for so many needs to go unfulfilled, and for so much ignorance and brutality to prevail.
   We should be flexible enough to be able to reject old methods when history proves them to be useless, and then go back in history if necessary to figure out what would be the most fruitful tactics to apply to the growing problem of unemployment. 'Nobody cares' seems to be what's on people's minds nowadays, and while children run wild in the streets, and we can barely keep our wits together due to having to work
40 or more hours per week, all too little is the time left for us to care for others, our communities, our loved ones, etc. I could only expect that one of the effects of reducing work-hours would be for a portion of us to have more time to care, and, with this massive input of care, for many more social programs to be put in place, for crime to drop, for people to start getting over their sense of powerlessness, etc.
   In his 1864 "
Inaugural Address of the Working Men's International Association", Marx was unequivocal in his support of reducing hours of labor (MESW II, p. 16):

   ... "This struggle about the legal restriction of the hours of labour raged the more fiercely since, apart from frightened avarice, it told indeed upon the great contest between the blind rule of the supply and demand laws which form the political economy of the middle class, and social production controlled by social foresight, which forms the political economy of the working class. Hence the Ten Hours' Bill was not only a great practical success; it was the victory of a principle; it was the first time that in broad daylight the political economy of the middle class succumbed to the political economy of the working class." ...

   We will have to contemplate our future and determine if our fate is to enrich the upper classes at our own expense, or to intervene. The latter course will require replacing the unrestrained competition that constitutes the political economy of the upper classes with the political economy of the lower classes - the abolition of competition over diminishing numbers of long-hour opportunities to make the rich richer than their wildest dreams.
debate the debatable, and in order to reach a consensus, we need a forum in which arguments can be made and heard by anyone who wants to take part in the discussion, and in which we can have some cool, unemotional, fact-based arguments. Computer conferences may be a perfect way of solving the problems of organizing ideas, and of making valuable information accessible. The unreserved freedom of speech that can be achieved in that medium may enable us to solve the theoretical or practical problems of the structure of the forum in which organizations of the lower classes may fully discuss strategy and tactics. A memory bank of everything that is submitted to it, and a full index to the ideas is technologically feasible.
Internet can become a great asset to the lower classes in helping develop a real dialogue, but the Internet as yet falls short of reaching many who would benefit by self-expression. A weekly printout of submissions, organized and categorized in a newspaper format, could serve for a while to bring the forum to those who are still far removed from access to technology. With the passage of time, and with the accompanying cheapening of Internet technologies, old-fashioned hard-copy formats may never enter the picture. Secrecy would be of zero importance in free speech electronic mediums, since the intentions of the movement are entirely peaceful toward all. It wants little more than for everyone to be able to earn a living for as long as human labor is still essential to productive processes.

(End Part F. Continued in Part G.)

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