C.L.R. JAMES, KARL MARX, MAX STIRNER

XTROT666 at aol.com XTROT666 at aol.com
Mon Feb 20 01:30:57 MST 1995


   I'm not sure I want to get in the middle of the argument between uburoi
and rdumain concerning how pure Marx was and how much evil can be attributed
to the anarchists, but a few words are necessary.
>Can an anarchist even recognize complexity?<

   This is somewhat of a broad-brush of the many and varying strains of
anarchism, non of which, to be sure, have equaled the brilliant insight of
Marx, but which have, to varying degrees, contributed much to political
theory and struggle.

>And there is also a tyranny of criminal recklessness and
grandiosity that thoughtlessly and selfishly brings people to
their ruin.  Such is Bakunin.<

While the tyranny of the state under what later passed for socialism cannot
be blamed on Marx (as states are not formed from ideas, or even the
misinterpretation of ideas), Bakunin was essentially correct, and more
prophetic than Marx on this question. Whatever Bakunin's faults, he left us
with much that is worth studying. His worst faults were supporting WW1 and
tolerating Nechaev, who was little more than a thug and murderer.

>Stalinism is also a social force.  Where does it come
from?  No anarchist can answer that question, because anarchism
never had nor ever will have a social theory; it lives in a world
of pure subjectivism.<

   Again, a bit of the broad-brush, for two reasons. First, because it
implies that the anarchist has given us nothing in terms of theory, and
second, because the charge of subjectivism simply doesn't apply to all
anarchists or strains of anarchism. Is Kropotkin an example of criminal
reckelessness? What of Emma Goldman, pure subjectivity?
   If socialism is a battle to be fought on the page, then its easy to bask
in the purity of Marx himself. But when one gets into the blood and guts
struggle, then people such as Emma Goldman, Sacco and Vanzetti, and the
anarchists of the Spanish Civil War have to be treated with more political
respect and intellectual finesse than common criminals or self-absorbed
vigilantes.
  >I just
don't have any time left for punks, anarchists, Maoists, other
breeds of Stalinists, or even Trotskyists, and not Greens or
nationalisms or identity politics either.<
   The problem with the above grouping is that they radically differ from
each other, both in theoretical contributions as well as in advancing any
sort of struggle. You seem to want to purge all who would distort the holy
writ of Marx. I think your hard distinction between Marx and those who
distorted his work is right on target, but there's something almost bolshevic
(or baptist) about your spitting bile at any who want to take worthwhile bits
from other thinkers like Bakunin or Trotsky.
   I wonder, is Noam Chomsky (an anarchist) worth our time in your
estimation? What about the people at Black Rose Books? It seems to me that
the axiomatic connection between purity of theory and a successful struggle
devoid of "criminal recklessness", is something more from Lenin than Marx,
though, I hesitate to say, Marx was not entirely devoid of this.
   Its not your boundless enthusiasm for Marx that bothers me, but rather
your quick dismissal of all other currents, including non-revolutionary
intellectuals, who do contribute much to our understanding of this world.
   >The hour is getting late.<
   Not so late that we can't learn from others.
   >A person who would address himself as uburoi already speaks
volumes before he opens his mouth.<
   You probably aren't going to like my email address any better.



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