Why the Beef?
For a while now I’ve wondered why all the conflict between anarchists and socialists/Marxists/Maoists. I mean, we are two revolutionary forces who are committed to the abolishment of capitalism, imperialism and all forms of oppression. We have that in common and that is what’s important. I understand that our strategies and ideologies are a bit different, but what’s preventing us from getting together in solidarity, agreeing to disagree and focus our energies on the revolution combining our strengths and common ground? Why can’t we cease to tear each other down? I don’t know about anyone else, but this bothers me! The energy used to tear one another down, discrediting one another, could be used to gain some real headway by picking up arms together to combat oppression. Of course there are more experienced and more politicized people than me that may wish to give me some feedback and critique. I welcome critique, feedback and criticism.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This is a good question, especially for building a united movement against imperialism. There are many reasons to build unity with all who can be united. Maoists advocate a united front against imperialism because this format of organizing allows all organizations to freely build their own movements and push their own ideologies, but come together against a common enemy.
At the same time, we do believe there are some very good reasons to refuse to unite with some organizations. Just because a group calls itself “socialist” or “anarchist” doesn’t mean it is automatically on the right side of the struggle. In the extreme, we have the national socialists who are really fascists, as an obvious example. But even among those claiming to be progressive revolutionaries there are some organizations that have taken up such wrongheaded and dangerous political lines that we consider them to be more use to the fascists than to the revolutionaries.
In the case of anarchists in general, we do not see them as enemies. In fact we believe that anarchists have the same end goal as communists: a society where no people have power over other people. But anarchists don’t have a strong history of success in progress towards that goal. We see their approach of jumping right from imperialism to anarchism as idealist, because it hasn’t played out in real life at even a comparable scale to the socialist experiment.
It’s just not realistic to overthrow the imperialists and keep them overthrown, without a period of proletarian state power. We have too long of a history of class, nation and gender oppression for that to happen. The bourgeois classes will need to be forcibly repressed, and culture will need to be radically altered on a mass scale. It might take generations before humyns evolve to live peacefully with no oppression. As MIM write in MIM Theory 8: “Communists know that it takes power to destroy power, whereas anarchists see power itself, independent of conditions, as the enemy of the people.”
In the First World, in particular, there are some anarchist (in addition to socialist) groups which are doing work that actively supports imperialism. It’s important that organizations clearly work out what are the most important questions of political line that we face today. For instance, we have, in this country, a bought-off class of people who are clearly economically and ideologically in support of imperialism. Yet some so-called socialist and anarchist organizations see these people as their mass base, and call on them to rally for even higher wages and a bigger piece of the imperialist pie. That’s not progressive, that’s a call to fascism! And so we can’t unite with such political stances. In fact if that group calls itself “socialist” or “anarchist” or even “Maoist,” we think that’s more dangerous than if they openly organized for fascism, because it is misleading people about what is the communist struggle.