The anarchist school of falsification

FRFI 174 August / September 2003

Libertarian anti-militarism, then and now, edited by Anna Key. Published by No War but the Class War

This collection of articles, dating from 1896 to 2002, covers the usual anarchist nonsense on the state and some rabid anti-communism. Ms Key even reproduces an article from the Makhnovists’ paper The Road to Freedom, which calls on Red Army soldiers to desert. The Makhnovists were a peasant-based military force, led by the anarchist Nestor Makhno, who during the Russian Civil War (1918-21) joined with counter-revolutionary White and imperialist armies against socialist Russia. This band of brigands also carried out pogroms against Jewish communities in the Ukraine.

In an article entitled ‘Against war and capitalism’ they deny the existence of imperialism. They should try to explain that to the starving masses in Africa or Asia, or war-ravaged Iraq, or blockaded Cuba. The writer of this article – which is dated 2002 and unsigned – claims that anti-imperialists supported the Taliban. This is a lie! The truth is that it was anarchists, with Tony Benn, the Trotskyist SWP, the CIA and the British bourgeoisie, who celebrated the defeat of the progressive government in Afghanistan by the Mujahideen. It was this defeat which paved the way for the murderous, misogynist rule of the Taliban.

In an article called ‘Remember the heroes’, the anarchist faith in the always elusive progressive bourgeoisie is exposed. They blame the bourgeois democracies for Franco’s victory, when the blame, partly, falls closer to home. After all it was anarchist leaders who took ministries in the Popular Front (capitalist) Catalonian government of Luis Companys, which strengthened Companys, enabling him to muster a counter-revolutionary attack on the Barcelona telephone exchange on 3 May 1937, while it was defended by anarchist and syndicalist rank and file workers!

Because most anarchists have little knowledge of the history and politics of their movement, their leadership – and they do have a leadership, usually an unelected clique – can cloak itself in a revolutionary virtue it does not possess.

The anarchist theoretician Peter Kropotkin took the side of British, French and Russian imperialism in the first inter-imperialist war, along with French syndicalist Leon Jouhaux, against the communist position of ‘the main enemy is at home – turn the war into a revolutionary war’. The founder of the anarchist movement Mikhail Bakunin backed the pro-capitalist trade union leaders in the International Workingmen’s Association (the First International) against Marx in a faction fight over the latter’s honourable and principled defence of the Paris Commune. Bakunin’s political forerunner Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was an anti-Semite who backed the racist slave-holding South in the American Civil War. Furthermore, if Ms Key has read Proudhon she will know he was a male chauvinist who was appalled by the idea of female emancipation or sexual fulfilment:

‘As for equality in the matter of the sexes, its inevitable consequences are free love, condemnation of marriage, condemnation of womanhood, jealousy and secret hatred of men, and, to crown the system, inextinguishable lechery; such, invariably is the philosophy of the emancipated woman.’ (Pornocratis, Proudhon)

This pamphlet’s contributions come from many different strands of the anarchist movement. Like alchemy it does not work. If you mix base metals together you don’t get gold, just a pile of scrap. I myself will stick with Marx and Lenin and under their banner fight imperialism, racism, women’s oppression, war and want, and leave the libertarian anarchists to their bistros and salons.

Jimmy German