Disclaimer : I’m not an anarchist nor anarchist theorist, this is part of engagements and getting to know anarchists better without hearing it from Marxist-Leninists and equally this is a brief and incomplete overview and besides I feel like all theories that emanated from French’s enlightenment, British empire or German, are just European essentialism.
The voluble of ideas, attitudes and beliefs which can be defined by the term anarchism have not received much attention from political theorists or activists there are a number of reasons for this neglect which we will discourse about in this paper or possibly beyond.
The name anarchism is often associated with disorderly, hysterical, irrational or a group of people who don’t have the capacity to wage any political struggle, Marxist-Leninists would even at some point in history lobby each other in the Revolutionary party to oust anarchists.
In this short paper, I’m not going to repeat what other students have said on this question but I want us to unlearn a few myths about anarchocommunists. I’m not going to dwell much on personalities rather on the ideological side or political side.
Of course, it’s important to note that anarchists didn’t just reject everything Marxist-Leninists proposed but they disagreed ideologically and politically, so today we can’t say anarchists were intellectual thugs who rejected without understanding Marxism, for example on Bakunin seemed to agree with Marx on factory workers being the vanguard of revolutionary activity.
I think it’s also important to note that, Mikhail Bakunin was at some point a member of the Young Hegelians in the 1840s before its dissolution, that’s where they(with Hegel and Marx) took separate ways on the emancipation of the working class and the proletariat.
For starters, Anarchists are social revolutionaries who seek a stateless, classless, voluntary, cooperative federation of decentralizated communities based upon social ownership, individual liberty and autonomous self-management of political, social and economic life, the poor working class first and everything else shall follow, that’s one of their ideological principles.
Anarchists reject Marxism suppositions in many cases, for example on organization building, they were vehemently against the Marxist-Leninist vanguard party, dictatorship of the proletariat and democratic centralism. They saw them as tools or ways to further keep the proletariat at the very position they were under anti-socialist state and this led to Marxist-Leninists being referred to as “State Socialists”, Kropotkin at some point calls it unbridled oppression of the proletariats.
Even on women and people of color or black people anarchists were more tolerant, unlike Marxist-Leninists, anarchists were eager to learn a thing or two from feminists, they believed in taking jurisdiction from the state to the body and studied Wilhem Reich ideas on sexual liberation. Marxist-Leninists viewed this in economic terms as if women were forced into prostitution due to financial pressure. Anarchists wanted to address sexual morality which was made of the existence of prostitution, to me this makes Anarchists one of the most imaginative and outstanding thinkers of our time.
For Anarchists, for a revolution to take place you need large-scale and coordinated movements so to drive the revolutionary agenda of the masses on the ground, they were opposed to hierarchical, power-tripping leadership (elite) which suppresses the masses and forces their own agenda. This is evident in all Marxist-Leninists parties, the abuse of internal party democracy or democratic centralism, development of cults, Anarchists were Mass-based and believed that to reach every decision, there must be wide consolidation and consultation.
The supercillious or imperious Vladimir Lenin and his conceptualization of a vanguard party was very condescending and what’s common (all vanguard parties) is that the revolutionary party is portrayed as the only party that can take the masses to liberation and that dictatorship of the proletariat means dictatorship of the revolutionary party not the masses which anarchists strongly opposed.
In Anarchist groups, proposals are talked about by members (none of whom have authority over another), dissenting minorities are respected, and each individual’s participation is voluntary. Everyone has the right to agree or disagree over policy and actions, and everyone’s ideas are given equal weight and consideration. No decision may be made until each individual member or affiliated group that will be affected by that decision has had a chance to express their opinion on the issue. Individual members and affiliated groups retain the option to refuse support to specific federation activities. In true democratic fashion, decisions for the federation as a whole must be made by a majority of its members.
Trotsky once attempted to give an inane critique to anarchists, he alluded to anarchists as people who weren’t much of political active or were against activism, very false, anarchists opt for direct action because they don’t want to be like Lenin who wanted to take power and put it in the Bolshevik party which will still largely be oppressive towards the working class through its “eternal transition state”
Anarchism also appealed to a lot of intellectuals in Europe and all over the world, you have Zapata movement of the Mexico in 1900s, American anarchists, the Asian anarchists (Japan, China and other Asian states) and Spain(Spanish anarchist revolution) as well, one of the places where anarchists really found expression amongst the poor.
Of course we can’t deny the decline of Anarchism in the 21st century, the west together and the authoritarian Socialists made sure the theory and its advancers is/are buried forever hence why people have been reluctant to even bother reading or learning about the movement but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the theoretical teeth to evoke a people’s-led revolution.
In Addition, I posed this question because I was looking at my party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), particularly the Student’s wing (EFFSC) where there’s an emergence of anarcho-communists who can be characterized by a radical appeal compared to Marxist-Leninists who want to worship the state led by Cyril Ramaphosa whilst the latter is demanding total obliteration of the state.
The emergence of Anarchists within the EFF is a good thing or rather positive or a sign of intellectual development, but I’m afraid a Marxist-Leninist party is the same as the bourgeoisie when it comes to annihilating those who have a different view, we have seen the usage of the party’s secret police or militia called Defenders of the Revolution (DOR) who brutally beat up the working class for sinister reasons under the auspices of the Senior party leadership and as well as the apprehension of internal political dynamics, especially for Julius Malema.
Henceforth why I’m off the view or quarell that anarchists do not demand the impossible, all their submissions not limited to this opinion piece are not being mystified with getting the impossible, let other schools of thought flourish and be tested.
It will be the anarchists who will sharpen the consciousness of the membership against such bourgeoisie-like traits and subsequently the poor masses of our people and this is very important since there’s never been anarchists in Africa looking at an African perspective or some of its proposals being utilized.
Therefore, hypothetically, Anarchists build organizations in order to build a new world, not perpetuate domination over the masses of people. We must build an organized, coordinated international movement aimed at transforming the globe into a mass commune and the center of it is liberation of black people, I think Such would be a great overleap in human evolution and a gigantic revolutionary stride. It would change the world as we know it and end the special problems long plaguing humankind. It would be a new era of freedom and fulfillment.