Responses To "Anarchism And Radical Governments"
Unfortunately much of the response to this article has gotten bogged down in secondary matters. (1) Such as the reality of the situation in Venezuela, my real or alleged lack of historical insight and confusing analogies. I don't see where this has much bearing on the question of how we should act. I would like to re-emphasize what I wrote only applies to specific circumstances 1. a radical/populist/reformist government that has grown out of, or is backed by, a mass movement of workers and peasants. 2. Where we have no mass base.
There is no disagreement about the need to influence such people, and we are in accord that we should avoid losing our identity. Disagreement is over the level or type of criticism we should engage in.
Just to clarify matters. I am NOT saying we should keep quiet or uncritically accept what a mass-based populist govt is doing. What I am saying that this criticism must be framed in such a way that it does not alienate the mass movement and leave us on the sidelines irrelevant and despised. It is better to aim criticism where the populist govt does not live up to its own program – few rank and file members are "true believers", and are not at all adverse to criticizing an organization that waffles on it policies. But the best form of criticism in terms of advancing anarchism is the implicit or positive form, which is reiterating our program. The contrast between a program of genuine self-management and governmental half-hearted measures will have far deeper impact than negative propaganda. Of course, this implies that anarchists actually have a program rather than a vague wish list.
I have come to this position through experience in working within non-anarchist organizations such as trade unions and community groups. Indeed, every anarchist I know, other than a small minority of "crazies", acts in a similar manner within such groups. To say that there is a difference between such organizations and the mass movements giving rise to a radical govt. is to ignore the possibility that these unions and community groups are the very ones that would give rise to or back a populist govt in Canada, should that unlikely event occur.
Does anyone really think they can build an anarchist movement through having ten people stand on a street corner shouting denunciations at the tens of thousands who march by in a quest for a better life? How do you avoid the extremes of liquidationalism and sectarianism? If my attempts at finding a middle path between the two are seem unsuccessful, then please come up with an alternative.
1. Responses in the Anarkismo version See: http://www.anarkismo.net/article/12265