Last Posts - Understanding the "conjuncture" was Re: Anarchism; morepopular than marxism?

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at
Fri Dec 10 15:01:19 MST 1999

>We're probably just lucky in Australia, but I can't help wondering if the
>fact that we have a couple of aggressive and reasonably capable left
>organisations reaching out to rebellious youth hasn't gone some way towards
>choking off the emergence of a strong anarchist trend.  There are
>anarchists out there, but outfits like Resistance are way ahead of them
>when it comes to organising high school students, and similar layers.
>So there's a lesson:  organise youth, or rather, encourage them to organise
>Alan Bradley
>alanb at

My take on this is slightly different from Alan's and that will surprise no
one. I have no doubt that the DSP's work with Resistance has at times been
spectacularly successful and perhaps it has eliminated the competition from
the anarchists.  But I stay with the basic analysis that anarchists are the
radical petty bourgeoisie and the PB depend on a strong movement among the
working class for them to  be radical.

I am about to leave the list for a month and millennium fever is also
beginning to bite. I have been meaning to post a response to Lou's
interesting revisit of Marcuse.  The question of what happened to the
working class is of course vital. So, what the hell, here is my summary of
post WW2 history:

1. 40 - to 1947-9 leadership of the working class is in the hands of the
Communist Parties. Even where Labor Govts are in power as in Australia and
England the communist parties still enjoy a great deal of influence in key
sections of the union movement and the cultural organisation.  Ralph Gibson
of the CP Australia described this period as the 'interval of hope'.  It
was also the time of Browderism where the CPs hoped to continue their
war  time collaboration with the ruling classes.

2. 47- 75.

The Cold war.  The CPs are destroyed.  The left Liberals are crushed and
intimidated totally. The working class are given their homes, cars and jobs
and the security of the welfare state. They become thoroughly depoliticised
and this condition persists until today. So the scissors of the Cold
War  consists of bribing and corrupting the working class and the ruthless
elimination of those who stayed political. However because unemployment is
high and the capacity to get a new job is also at a record high, the
working class become belligerent on the job and secure pay rises and a
general slow down in the rate of exploitation.  This apolitical aggression
transmits to the middle class and we have the 60s. This is fundamentally a
rejection of authority, but because the working class is still apolitical
and will not or cannot give leadership the radicalness of the middle class
is marked by excess and political naivety. But the very success of the
ruling class in eliminating the Communist Parties means that there is no
one to discipline the middle class. Excess and naivety - yes but also a
very creative ferment that deeply alarms the ruling class. The academy and
the work place are marked out as in need of disciplining.

3. 75-

The communist menace is increasingly eliminated culminating in the fall of
the Berlin Wall in 1989. The bourgeoise feel more and more confident about
eliminating the bribes that they gave the working class.  Mass unemployment
returns. The welfare state comes under attack.  The working class retreats
and retreats some more.  It has no politics to explain what has
happened.  Their leaders when not being totally venal and corrupt
desperately seek ways to placate an ever more ruthless ruling class.  The
middle class respond to the decline of working class militancy with a
desperate attempt to deny reality.  This is known as post modernism. It
becomes fashionable for a time in the universities where it destroys the
last vestiges of Marxism.

We are still in the Third Period and will remain there until the working
class turns and fights. As to when this will happen or what will spark it,
I have no idea and neither does anyone else. But there are signs change is
in the air.  The very success of the ruling class is dialectically their
greatest danger.  There are fewer and fewer layers between them and their
Nemesis - the working class. Post modernism has collapsed and the academy
is being brought under the iron heel of the market. Inevitably we are
approaching decision time.  The system is more and more seen to benefit
only a few. Humanity will have to chose. Even reluctant as they are the
working class will have to emerge from the Cold War induced torpor. History



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