Texts for leninists with an anti-authoritarian critique of leninism, and for anarchists with a pro-rev critique of anarchism

The anarchists’ slogan, “Destroy what destroys you,” is aimed at mobilizing the base, young people in prisons and reformatories, in high schools and training centres. It reaches out to all of those in the shittiest situations. It is meant to be spontaneously understood, and is a call for direct resistance. Stokely Carmichael’s Black Power slogan, “Trust your own experience!” means just that. And the slogan is based on the insight that in capitalism there is absolutely nothing that oppresses, tortures, constrains, and burdens that does not have its origin in the capitalist mode of production, and that each oppressor, in whatever form he may appear, is a representative of the class interests of capital, which makes him the class enemy.

To this extent the anarchists’ slogan is correct, proletarian, and in line with the class struggle. It is incorrect insofar as it leads to false consciousness. One goes on the offensive simply to give them a kick in the teeth, and organization then takes second place, discipline becomes bourgeois, and class analysis superfluous. If you don’t work out the dialectic of legality and illegality in terms of organization, you will be defenseless against the heavy repression that will follow your actions, and you will be legally arrested.

(Red Army Faction, “The Urban Guerilla Concept“)

Sometimes perceived as an unbridgeable chasm, the distinction between anarchism and Leninism has often been more of an interface, or a fuzzy area of unclear boundaries. The Maoism of the New Left – if you’ll forgive some oversimplification and idealism – was born of both an anti-authoritarian critique of the “Old Left” and a pro-revolutionary critique of liberalism. In Europe, this new mixture was sometimes called “mao-spontex”, as in “maoist/spontaneist”.

The Zapatistas have at various times been simultaneously embraced by ideological currents which view themselves as fundamentally at odds AND condemned by those currents for actually being the bad other. In an interview with Subcommandante Marcos, there is this exchange:

“Interviewers: Much has been written and said about the Zapatistas, but little concrete is known about your ideology. There are many who are trying to claim your struggle as their own. The Maoists say that you are Maoists; the Trotskyites say that you are Trotskyites and the list goes on . . .

Marcos: The anarchists say that we are anarchists . . .”

And in one of his literary turns in Our Word is Our Weapon, Subcommandante Marcos has a nameless Zapatista pleading guilty to a series of charges:
The communists accuse him of being anarchist. Guilty.
The anarchists accuse him of being orthodox. Guilty.

Here at Kersplebedeb, some of of our favourite radical theory occurs where anarchists (broadly speaking) who are critical of anarchism—and are therefore charged with being Leninists—intermingle with Leninists (broadly speaking) who are critical of Leninism—and are therefore charged with being anarchists. Or where these same turn their critical lens to the “other camp”. We believe there is much to learn from these two streams of thought and their associated histories, and that this learning is facilitated by those with experience shining a spotlight on the shortcomings they have come to know, rather than trying to preciously guard the knowledge of the failures from failing into the hands of a competing sect (spoiler alert: they know).

The answer to our collective failure, as a revolutionary left, to this point, is not that we were insufficiently marxist, or insufficiently anarchist, but some combination of the two, and about eight hundred other things to boot.

Here are some writings we recommend that lie in this zone.
K. KersplebedebK. KersplebedebK. Kersplebedeb

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