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Anarcho-Leninist 'Debate on the State' is picking up steam

by Ben Seattle Monday, Dec. 23, 2002 at 11:09 PM

If another world is possible--then why can't anyone describe it in a way that is realistic?  What is our vision of the future? Competing ideas exist among progressive activists. How do we sort out what is correct and overcome the "crisis of theory" that has paralyzed the movement for a better world?  Our future world needs us to create today calm, scientific debate that is open to all activists. It is now happening ... The "Anarcho-Leninist Debate on the State" is beginning to take shape and attract talent ... Round one of the debate is over. Round two will be beginning soon. Listed here is an index and brief description of the debate installments and the relevant essays that have been contributed either by readers or by the debate participants themselves. These debate installments and essays will be "broadcast" to selected progressive email lists and web sites in the period ahead. Readers are invited to come to the debate web site and rate the installments and essays for relevance, insightfulness, evasiveness and polemical decency using our automated polls and our high-tech "bullshit meter". The debate site is engineered so that you can publically post your comments and questions for the world to see. ------------------------------------------------------------ The debate question: ------------------------------------------------------------ . In the period immediately following . a successful mass uprising against the bourgeoisie, . should the form (or forms) of organization . adopted by the proletariat to secure its ultimate liberation . be understood to be a state? ------------------------------------------------------------ The debate motto: ------------------------------------------------------------ . Do you have ideas . --or-- . Do ideas have you ? ============================================================ Formal Debate -- Round 1 ============================================================ ------------------------------------------------------------ Part 1 • Ben • Oct 5 • 3500 words . Without the goal of a state machine . controlled by the working class . we might as well proclaim that . bourgeois rule will last . until the stars refuse to shine ------------------------------------------------------------ • Why is this question at the center of the struggle . to create a revolutionary movement . that is more than hot air? • Why will the working class need a state? • Who will control the mass media? • The separation of speech and property • My first question for Daniel • Notes: • "dual power" • successful alternatives under bourgeois . rule (Linux, AA) • separation of speech and property ------------------------------------------------------------ Part 2 • Ben • Oct 12 • 2800 words . The real reason for . the stink about the state ------------------------------------------------------------ • My second question for Daniel • The history of previous attempts to create a workers' state • A transparent machine • The universal sectarian answer to all difficult questions • Popularity of anarchism is the inevitable result of the . theoretical bankruptcy of "Marxist" and "Leninist" groups • Cleaning up "marxism" • Notes: • reformism • cargo cult Leninism ------------------------------------------------------------ Part 3 • Ben • Oct 13 • 3100 words . A scenario for the overthrow . of bourgeois rule in the U.S. in . the middle of the 21st century ------------------------------------------------------------ • Why is a scenario important? • Here is the scenario • The most powerful idea of the present epoch • My third question for Daniel ------------------------------------------------------------ Part 4 • Daniel • Nov 11 • 6600 words . An Anarchist Replies ------------------------------------------------------------ • Me, my motivations, and my basic argument • Ben's Questions • Its time for one of us to answer the debate question • My Question for Ben ------------------------------------------------------------ Round 2 begins soon ... ------------------------------------------------------------ ============================================================ Relevant Essays ============================================================ Relevant or interesting essays either by the debate participants themselves or others with something worthwhile to say ------------------------------------------------------------ . List of essays not by Ben -- ------------------------------------------------------------ . Because most of the essays are by Ben Seattle, . essays by other authors are highlighted here: Essay # 161 • Yhcrana Strikes Back! • December 14 • 1500 words . A Critical Analysis of Ben Seattle’s . "The Future Transparent Workers’ State" Essay 158 • Scotch Wallace replies to Ben's Part 1 • Nov 5 . A DeLeonist defends Revolutionary Cooperatives • 1100 words Essay 156 • Floyce White • Oct 1 • 1100 words . Communism Means Communes Essay 155 • Yhcrana's reply to Ben • Oct 26 • 950 words . The Fallacy of the "Proletarian State" ============================================================ - All Essays -- ============================================================ . The origin of many of these essays are replies . to questions asked by visitors to this site. ------------------------------------------------------------ Essay 151 • Ben's reply to Irving (part 1) • Oct 14 • 1000 words . The future proletarian state and the media ------------------------------------------------------------ Irving asked: "Ben, if your so-called "proletarian state" controls the media (ie, printing presses, paper supply, airwaves, etc.) isn't it logical to assume that, given the nature of every state to make self-preservation its primary concern, you state will either deny or put roadblocks in the way of those it deems "enemies of the state" (ie, anarchists and/or other socialist parties) to freely utilize the media? This is the experience of the Boshevik (counter) Revolution, is it not?" In Part 1 Ben replies concerning the future: • high "labor ratio" media vs. low "labor ratio" media ------------------------------------------------------------ Essay 152 • Ben's reply to Irving (part 2) • Oct 16 • 1900 words . Why did Lenin suppress all competing trends . after the civil war ended in 1920? ------------------------------------------------------------ In Part 2 Ben replies concerning the past: • back from the dead • smashing the equation • why did they do it? • "thank you very much but you are no longer needed" • workers' state not possible without democratic rights • suppression of political trends not possible under modern . conditions ------------------------------------------------------------ Essay 153 • Ben's reply to Eric • Oct 20 • 3300 words . Politics, Economics and the Mass Media . when the working class runs the show ------------------------------------------------------------ Eric asked: "Under the worker's state you envision, do the majority of people still read/listen to/watch mass media? If so, how is the worker's state prevented from controlling content of mass media to help continue its own existence? I guess I'm pretty unclear on what the organization of the worker's state would be." Ben's reply describes: • competition between multiple political parties • Contradictions in society: . • consumption vs. investment . • local vs. international . • ecosystems vs. development . • gift economy vs. other sectors • Will there be elections? • The three economic sectors: . • private capitalist • state capitalist • gift economy • The evolution of the mass media . • commercial media • state media • free media • The interaction of the different media sectors • Does this look like bourgeois rule? • (added November 3) Economic sectors in the transition period ------------------------------------------------------------ Essay 154 • Ben's reply to Yhcrana • Oct 20 • 1000 words . How will workers control production? ------------------------------------------------------------ Yhcrana asked: "Vanguardist communists often argue that because the vanguard party is comprised of "working class" people, placing production under state control and under working class control is the same thing. However, this isn’t true. Once a working class person occupies a position of power within the state, their working class status has automatically been negated. Instead, vanguardist communism places production under the control of officials who formerly belonged to the working class. Essentially, it replaces one ruling class with another. How would Ben respond to this?" Ben replies: Workers' control is not possible without fundamental right to independent agitation and organization • state control is not workers' control ------------------------------------------------------------ Essay 155 • Yhcrana's reply to Ben • Oct 26 • 950 words . The Fallacy of the "Proletarian State" ------------------------------------------------------------ • Worker influence on vs. control of the State • Capitalism, per se, is not the enemy • Regarding "vanguardist communism"... ------------------------------------------------------------ Essay 156 • Floyce White • Oct 1 • 1100 words . Communism Means Communes ------------------------------------------------------------ A former "Marxist-Leninist" finds renewed inspiration in the Paris and Shanghai Communes of 1871 and 1927 which got things done using "anti-organization" ------------------------------------------------------------ Essay 157 • Ben replies to Red Star 2000 • Nov 2 • 1500 words . Liberating ourselves from darkness ------------------------------------------------------------ redstar2000 asked: "What evidence is there that capitalist 'democracies' would ever allow a genuine workers' party to even threaten to win an election? • How does our use of the net hope to compete with the entertainment/distraction provided on the net by the capitalist class?" ------------------------------------------------------------ Essay 158 • Scotch Wallace replies to Ben's Part 1 • Nov 5 . A DeLeonist defends Revolutionary Cooperatives • 1100 words ------------------------------------------------------------ Scotch is an activist working in Brazil with the MTL (rough translation: Land for Workers and Liberty Movement) that has launched several revolutionary cooperatives that have become, he notes, centers of "organization and class struggle". Scotch writes: "I certainly agree that the working class will need a machine, an organization. I further agree that the working class had better take hold of the capitalist state, and I can only see this happening through a working class political movement. The only problem is that the capitalist state is something that was designed to be useful to the capitalist class, and is of dubious utility to the working class. We had better begin to build our machine before we take control of the state. [...] The DeLeonists have an interesting point of view on this question. They certainly occupy the middle ground between the Leninists and anarchists on this question." ------------------------------------------------------------ Essay 160 • Ben gets brutal • December 11 • 8800 words . The Future Transparent Workers' State . Will a workers' state be a brutal police state . or a machine controlled by workers? ------------------------------------------------------------ Ben's first and second laws drive a stake thru the heart of the great fear nourished by anarchists and social-democrats alike. Ben also explains how all the sturm und drang about historical events of the 1920's and 1930's is rooted in the antagonist competition, today, for the warm, living bodies of activists. There is also a nice exposition on the nature and workings of the local left ecosystem. ------------------------------------------------------------ Essay # 161 • Yhcrana Strikes Back! • December 14 • 1500 words . A Critical Analysis of Ben Seattle’s . "The Future Transparent Workers’ State" ------------------------------------------------------------ "When the potential for a workers’ state to result in dictatorship is considered alongside the fact that statism will naturally create conflicting class interests, we must conclude that such a state cannot possibly be used to the advantage of the working class. And when we consider this conclusion alongside the fact that the workers themselves are perfectly capable of organizing a just society, then it becomes glaringly obvious that anarchism offers the working class a far more favourable system for social change than does Leninism or any other vanguardist ideology." ============================================================ What do YOU think ? ============================================================ Visit the debate site at • Read the debate • Rate the installments (using polls or our "bullshit meter") • Post your own public comments and questions ------------------------------------------------------------ . Do you have ideas . --or-- . Do ideas have you ? ------------------------------------------------------------ Sincerely and with revolutionary regards, Ben Seattle ----//-// 20.Dec.2002 (my elists / theory / infrastructure) Send email to: No Spam!--Just 2 emails a year to keep you updated about my work

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