Anarchy = Trotsky + Time

    “The activity of the soviet represented the organization of anarchy. Its existence and its subsequent development marked the consolidation of anarchy.” ~ Leon Trotsky

Awesome! In a stunning rejoinder to the followers of Juan Posadas, the Socialist Equality Party in Australia held its founding congress in Sydney on January 21-25, 2010 — almost fourteen years after it was formed.

What explains this historical anomaly? As Sherlock Holmes remarked in Sign of the Four (1890), “Eliminate all other factors, and the one which remains must be the truth.” Having considered, and then eliminated, all the other factors, the only reasonable conclusion I can arrive at is this: The Marxist scienticians at the SEP have invented a Time Machine!

Not content with having achieved the extremely difficult — some suggest impossible — task of travelling [backwards] in time, the party makes an even more ambitious boast: of being “indisputably” the only Trotskyist party in Australia. Socialist Equality Party (Australia) holds founding Congress, wsws.org, February 24, 2010:

Most essentially, Beams said, the past 25 years had clarified the role of the Pabloite opportunists who once claimed to represent genuine Trotskyism. In Australia, as in France, they were now seeking to establish “broad anti-capitalist parties” with non-revolutionary tendencies and had entirely repudiated Trotsky and the Fourth International. Unlike the previous period of mass radicalisation from 1968 to 1975, the SEP was now indisputably the sole Trotskyist party.

The Freedom Socialist Party, Revolutionary Socialist Party, Socialist Alternative, Socialist Party, Solidarity and Trotskyist Platform would surely beg to disagree.

Speaking of Trotsky, as already indicated, Robert Service’s new biography has really upset his contemporary followers. Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party (UK), refutes attacks on Leon Trotsky at one of the sessions of the Socialist Party’s ‘Socialism 2009’ conference:

In The great anti-poll tax victory (February 26, 2010), Taafe also has a crack at the anarchists who “occasionally latched onto and viciously attacked the organised anti-poll tax movement”. According to Taafe, “It remains an incontestable historical fact that it was neither the official leadership of the labour movement nor small left groups – without a feel for the real pulse and movement of the working class – that provided the leadership for the decisive poll tax victory. It was, instead, the vilified and persecuted forces of genuine Marxism gathered around the newspaper ‘Militant’ which played the crucial role.” Further, “Ultra-left sectarians and anarchists [following the London anti-Poll Tax rally of March 31, 1990]… accused Militant supporters of “collaborating with the police”. This was totally false. Tommy Sheridan and the other leaders were overwhelmingly re-elected to head the All-Britain Anti-Poll Tax Federation.”

Taafe’s account may be usefully contrasted with Danny Burns’ Poll Tax Rebellion (AK Press/Attack International, 1992). After noting, inter alia, the fact that the gutter press joined police efforts to identify alleged rioters, Burns quotes Socialist Party nee Militant member and Secretary of the All Britain Anti Poll Tax Federation Steve Nally as stating that “We are going to hold our own internal inquiry which will go public and if necessary name names” (p.105). (Note that a similar campaign against protesters was mounted in Australia following the G20 protests in November 2006, the role of the gutter press this time being played by Fairfax and The Age.) The task of defending the accused was eventually taken up by an independent group, the Trafalgar Square Defendants Campaign, formed over and against the wishes of the leadership of the Federation.

Elsewhere, Taafe’s Communist Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) has issued a statement on the apparent split in rival international the International Marxist Tendency (IMT): Open letter to the members and former members of the IMT (March 2, 2010). The ideological leader of the IMT (which, sadly, has no section in Australia but, oddly enough, does in Aotearoa/New Zealand) is Alan Woods.

In Defence of Marxism An Attack Upon Bakunin Anarchism, Or: A Case of The Woods Seeing The Tree.

Woods provides a fairly orthodox Marxist / Leninist / Trotskyist critique of Bakunin, who is invested with the same status within the anarchist tradition as Marx is within Marxism. Wrong, but also routine.

See also : Paul Thomas, Karl Marx and the Anarchists, Routledge, 1980 | An Anarchist FAQ – Anarchism and Marxism (infoshop.org).

Otherwise…

Greece Braces for Deeper Spending Cuts
The New York Times (AP)
March 3, 2010

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece will announce painful new spending cuts Wednesday to lift the country out of a major financial crisis, a day after Prime Minister George Papandreou said the country was in a “‘state of war” and was fighting for national survival…

Bonus!

Portraying the Poor, BBC4, February 28, 2010. “Paul Mason explores the image of poverty and the working class that has been created by writers. From Friedrich Engels’s reports on the Salford slums in the 1840s through to Raphael Selbourne’s story of a young Bangladeshi woman in present-day Wolverhampton, by way of George Orwell’s expeditions to Wigan and the hop fields of Kent, our picture of the poor has been painted by members of the middle class. Paul Mason asks if this outsider’s view gives us a full and fair account, or if it says more about the attitudes of the literary class than about the poor themselves. Interviewees include Orwell’s biographer DJ Taylor, Polly Toynbee (author of Hard Work: Life In Low-Pay Britain); Michael Collins (author of The Likes Of Us: A Biography Of The White Working Class) and Raphael Selbourne (author of Beauty).”

Added Bonus!

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2019 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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36 Responses to Anarchy = Trotsky + Time

  1. Scrooge McDuck says:

    Wait. If they’re *really* the only true Trotskyist par-tay in Australia and not just another bunch of Pabloist renegades and swervists, and if they *logically*, according to the inviolable laws of Dialectical Materialism so well applied here, can only explain the 14-year lag between foundation and inauguration by means of time travel … surely this same Proletarian Science could be used to go back in time and save Comrade Trotsky from that Mexican ice-axe? Or are we to believe that, like Samuel Beckett in Quantum Leap, they can only time-travel back within their lifetime?

  2. Jamie-R says:

    Long time lurker first time poster. jk. I’m back! Got two days off work and a Crown Lager carton. You know, I always thought Leon Trotsky had a role in the superseeding of national cultures. Let me wax Aussie literal, Trotsky was a tragic Jew, betrayed by a nationalist that like many today, saw his loyalties to the most persecuted ethnic group in history ahead of the nation he was a part of. Stalin was just another nationalist using Jewish constructed ideology to further his own power.

  3. Jamie-R says:

    That’s my view, Trotsky and Marx were two highly intelligent Jewish guys quite aware of the fact that they were a part of the most persecuted group in history. You either go in for it or find an out.

  4. Jamie-R says:

    I say go in for it. Made a song about it, here it goes. I’m a wowser from Adelaide!

  5. Jamie-R says:

    Who are we what are we here for. 2 Unlimited was awesome.

  6. Wombo says:

    Scrooge McDuck, the problem is, you cannot travel back in time and cross your own time line, nor can you alter those things in the past which are either of a fixed nature, or are directly related to your own existence.

    Because they are the only Trotskyists, and being a Trotskyist has become tied to the martyrdom of ole Bronstein, going back and saving Trotsky would alter the time-space continuum in such a way as to make the ICFI flash out of existence.

    So, in a moment of sheer opportunism, the SEP has decided that it is better not to destroy themselves to save dear Trotters, as they are doing a better job than he would anyway…

    Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey…

  7. @ndy says:

    Order comrades, order!

    Official contact by an extraterrestrial civilisation with us earthlings is nigh. Let’s show ourselves worthy of this exceptionally joyful event of epochal significance!

  8. @ndy says:

    Oh wait.

    International Press Conference
    J.W. Marriott Hotel, Washington, D.C.
    The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan
    October 24, 1989

    Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, Brothers and Sisters, we are honored by your presence here this morning.

    I am a man who has great respect for the Press and the electronic media and I also have respect for myself and my mission. As you know, I do not readily submit to interviews, nor am I frequently seen on the television; for I am not before you of myself, nor do I do what I do to be seen of men. Therefore, I have never tried to abuse, or misuse the Press to seek advantage for myself, or the Nation of Islam. So, in calling this press conference, I am calling you because of the serious nature of the Announcement that I am about to make; an Announcement on which hangs the future of this nation, its leaders and the people of America.

    It is written in the book of Ezekiel,

    “When I say unto the wicked, You shall surely die; and you give him not warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at your hand.

    “Yet if you warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.”

    It is in this spirit that I make this announcement.

    In a tiny town in Mexico, called Tepotzlan, there is a mountain on the top of which is the ruins of a temple dedicated to Quetzacoatl – the Christ- figure of Central and South America – a mountain which I have climbed several times. However, on the night of September 17, 1985, I was carried up on that mountain, in a vision, with a few friends of mine. As we reached the top of the mountain, a Wheel, or what you call an unidentified flying object (UFO), appeared at the side of the mountain and called to me to come up into the Wheel. Three metal legs appeared from the Wheel, giving me the impression that it was going to land, but it never came over the mountain.

    Being somewhat afraid, I called to the members of my party to come with me, but a voice came from the Wheel saying, “Not them; just you.” I was told to relax and a beam of light came from the Wheel and I was carried up on this beam of light into the Wheel.

    I sat next to the pilot, however, I could not see him. I could only feel his presence. As the Wheel lifted off from the side of the mountain, moving at a terrific speed, I knew I was being transported to the Mother Wheel, which is a human-built planet, a half-mile by a half-mile that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad had taught us of for nearly 60 years. The pilot, knowing that I was fearful of seeing this great, mechanical object in the sky, maneuvered his craft in such a way that I would not see the Mother Wheel (Plane) and then backed quickly into it and docked in a tunnel. I was escorted by the pilot to a door and admitted into a room.

    I shall not bother you with a description of the room, but suffice it to say that at the center of the ceiling was a speaker and through this speaker I heard the voice of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad speaking to me as clearly as you are hearing my voice this morning…

  9. Jamie-R says:

    Aliens is a new path. I’m going to seek Tom Cruise’s opinion. You don’t know psychiatry! He does!

  10. Jamie-R says:

    “They are not a nation of snobs like the English or of extravagant boasters like the Americans or of reckless profligates like the French, they are simply a nation of drunkards.” Marcus Clark

  11. Grumpy Cat says:

    So Jamie-R gives a sympathetic twist to the idea that communism is a Jewish plot. What garbage. But it does in its distorted way reflect a truth: that communism is a movement of those who are out of joint, opposed to the false ‘organic’ inclusion of the nation. This is our common condition.

    Jamie-R’s thesis shifts this out of joint antagonism from within society to outside of it: with Jews as the usual suspect. The point is to show that this antagonism is within capitalist society.

    for communism
    Dave (a commie who is probably too Jewish for some people’s comfort)

  12. @ndy says:

    As far as I can tell, Jamie-R’s beliefs about The Jew conform with a certain variant of Christian teaching; historian Steven Katz provides a neat summary of this in ‘Antisemitism: medieval and modern’ on SlowTV (March 2009).

  13. Scrooge McDuck says:

    Hisham Aidi (2004) ‘”Verily, There Is Only One Hip-Hop Umma”: Islam, Cultural Protest And Urban Marginality’, Socialism & Democracy, vol.18, no.2, pp.107-126, p.112:

    “Belief in a Mothership of deliverance—a concept anathema to Sunni Islam—figures prominently in both NOI and Five Percenter theology. In his forthcoming book on Islam and hip-hop, The Light from the East, Adisa mentions some quasi-Islamic rappers’ race theology: Five Percenter Shorty of the Lynchmob speaks of how the hair of the original Black people is actually “akin to the hair of their eyebrows”; it got curly when Black people migrated from Arabia to “master nature” in Africa. He also describes a mothership manned by Allah and Elijah Muhammad coming to destroy America. Regarding the mothership, Shorty says: “The Caucasians are starting to see more and more of this ship in different places and different times and what not… The mothership is the mother of all of them. And on the mothership you have 1500 baby planes, which are being seen all over America too. It’s one of the greatest… No, it’s THE GREATEST war machine that has ever been built to go against the enemy of God.”

    The moral of the story being, anything the Pabloite renegades of the SEP can do, the Brothers can do better.

  14. @ndy says:

    Walk with me.

  15. Jamie-R says:

    So Jamie-R gives a sympathetic twist to the idea that communism is a Jewish plot. What garbage.

    @ndy would be right, my take on The Jew comes from Christian teachings, but I think it’s hilarious to the point of absurdity that having a view on The Jew means everything eventually is anti-Semitic, surely there is a comedy skit there I must do. I don’t think communism was a Jewish plot, I think it was another example of a brilliant Jewish guy trying to solve the problems the world was confronting him with, and anyone who comes in the spirit of it has that as the foundation – equality for all. Even if the world shows its fruits to be rotten in practice.

    And capitalism hasn’t ever been practiced in the West, if you have a person or persons deciding how much money should be in the system, then by logic that is not a free market. We get fed a lot of bunk about free markets but if the money isn’t free the whole system isn’t free.

  16. Jamie-R says:

    communism is a movement of those who are out of joint, opposed to the false ‘organic’ inclusion of the nation. This is our common condition.

    I wonder if Pol Pot eventually figured that out. My father didn’t think the Vietnamese thought that way when he was over there, but they certainly had some people trying to impose it and they could fight. That’s the problem with communism, it’s opposed to freedom, if you have a system of force it will be opposed by force, or as Jesus put it, pick up the sword and you die by it. Just because the West doesn’t practice outright force doesn’t mean it doesn’t have it though, but there is enough hidden within it to keep it sustainable, until the money becomes worthless from Empire.

  17. Jamie-R says:

    for communism
    Dave (a commie who is probably too Jewish for some people’s comfort)

    For Israel (there is a battle in your community and I side with the ones who don’t chuck Isaiah in the rubbish bin).

    You wouldn’t know what aligns my bookshelf, but it might surprise you.

  18. Jamie-R says:

    Wow, just watching that video ‘Antisemitism: medieval and modern’, Christianity as religious anti-Semitism? What a way to go about it. Try to offend about what, 2 billion people? Nice. No wonder there is a battle to rid humanity of religious dogma, without it you can’t stop anti-Semitism. And anti-Semitism is, by far, the bigotry du jour of the world at any given documented historical time. Lucky I stopped doing drugs at 21, I’d be mindfucked right now.

  19. Great post @ndy. One tiny correction: CWI stands for Committee for a Workers’ International not Communist Workers’ International.

  20. Grumpy Cat says:

    Hi Jamie.
    It seems we are caught in the concepts game. What you call communism I don’t call communism, what I call capitalism you don’t call capitalism. It’s pretty hard to proceed from such an impasse.
    cheers
    Dave

  21. @ndy says:

    Grumpy,

    Bob,

    Cheers. I always do that.

  22. Jamie-R says:

    It seems we are caught in the concepts game. What you call communism I don’t call communism, what I call capitalism you don’t call capitalism. It’s pretty hard to proceed from such an impasse.

    Well if you side with @ndy’s views, then it’s simple – he’s an anarchist, I’m a libertarian. I believe the sarcastic explanation of the discrepancies is that libertarians are capitalists who don’t believe in government and anarchists are communists who don’t believe in government.

    I was wondering if you might reply anyhow, cause I so wanted to say Joshua 24:15 to a Jewish guy for the longest time! It’s just that the ones I interact with say they already know that, so it’s no fun, which forces me to prod them with Greenspan’s failures to understand how humans can’t control free markets by default through monetary fascism.

  23. Grumpy Cat says:

    For me communists are communists who don’t believe in government… that is communists oppose the state and desire ‘free association’… (As I take us back to the concept game)… and libertarians are caught in an ideological illusion that fails to see that production as much as the market typifies capitalism: and that production is a place of exploitation and antagonism and as such capitalism always needs a state… Also capitalism needs a state to stop people pinching stuff at the very least… It’s hard to accumulate value when everyone is stealing what you would sell. And capitalism needs a state to create social cohesion so there is labour-power ready to buy and exploit and enough of a social order to allow the continual circulation of commodities: considering capital’s thanatos left to itself it would render all to dust.

    rebel love
    Dave

    I had to google the Bible quote (not having The Good Book at hand). I’ll need the reference explained to me.

  24. @ndy says:

    Seems pretty straightforward to me. Being an anarchist, I choo-choose to serve the gods of the Amorrhites. Take that, Greenspan!

  25. lumpnboy says:

    Um, the Grumpy comment above hadn’t gone through moderation, I guess, when I wrote the comment which now appears under it – which was a response to Jamie’s desire “to say Joshua 24:15 to a Jewish guy”, and to ‘prod’ said Jewish guy about Alan Greenspan for some reason. Some fucked up reason.

  26. i thought, the SEP was the fan club of David North and before of Gerry Healy (which is worse) and not the followers of UFO-Posadas

  27. After reading this, I dug out my copy of Danny Burns’ book, which is really good – thanks for reminding me. I was just becoming politically active then, and my experience tallied with his account very closely. In my local APTU, the Militant were seen as traitors and sell-outs and not as heroes.

  28. lumpnboy says:

    Sure, that was bad behaviour by the Militant people, and deserves a harsh critique. They presented themselves to the media as threatening to organise an ‘inquiry’ and at least implicitly to hand over names to the police.

    But they didn’t do it, they just announced it, and so far as I know there was never any evidence of any serious attempt or even intent to do so. I haven’t read the Burns book for a long time, but I’m pretty sure there isn’t substantial evidence to contradict this view in his book.

    I only mention it because this incident gets brought up quite often in some circles, and is sometimes presented as if Militant did follow up the hostile statement by informing on anti-poll-tax people to police, or doing something like it.

  29. @ndy says:

    Very briefly, three things.

    One, the statements by Tommy Sheridan and Steve Nally et al need to be placed in context, the context being Operation Carnaby, media and political hysteria, the arrest of 341 individuals on March 31 (and another 150 subsequently), the absence of any legal preparation, and the fact that individuals arrested faced sentences of up to 10 years if found guilty of such crimes as Riot. The All-Britain Federation also opposed the formation of the Trafalgar Square Defendants Campaign, which assisted in the legal defence of those charged on March 31, as well as those arrested at a later demo in Brixton in October 1990, and which also helped to co-ordinate prisoner support for those eventually jailed.

    Two, the account provided by Taafe is an exercise in historical revisionism, which relegates the participation of anarchists in the struggle against the poll tax to the furthest margins, while simultaneously claiming on behalf of Militant what was, in reality, a central argument of the anarchists, viz, that a successful campaign would have to be located outside and if necessary against the Labour Party and trade union movement.

    Three, I dunno if this stuff gets brought up much, maybe it does in conversation, but I suppose that the closest parallel would be the reaction of (segments of) teh Left to the G20 in Melbourne in 2006.

    PS. Solidarity with London G20 prisoners and defendants.

  30. Grumpy Cat says:

    Hi all

    You are right Entdinglichung, they used to be the Socialist Labour League.

    cheers
    Dave

  31. Jamie-R says:

    Um, the Grumpy comment above hadn’t gone through moderation, I guess, when I wrote the comment which now appears under it – which was a response to Jamie’s desire “to say Joshua 24:15 to a Jewish guy”, and to ‘prod’ said Jewish guy about Alan Greenspan for some reason. Some fucked up reason.

    It all has reasons I guess! God forbid I’m guided by a Jewish rebel spiritually scratch that forget it not valid look over there that guy has a beard that’s a bridge argument invalid.

  32. @ndy says:

    The Muslim Women of Hip-Hop
    http://illvox.org/2010/02/the-muslim-women-of-hip-hop/

    …When speaking of Erykah Badu we find out that the Islam McMurray tells us Badu follows is that of the Nation of Gods and Earths, or Five Percenters. Five Percenters are those who follow the teachings of Clarence 13x, a former member of the Nation of Islam. Five Percenters do consider themselves Muslims but not in the religious sense – in the political sense. Therefore, many mainstream Muslims do not consider them Muslims. And in reality their beliefs have very little in common with Sunni or Shia Islam. McMurray tells us how Badu does create a space for Muslim women in her songs by rapping about Five Percenter practices – practices which encourage men and women to remain within their respective, traditional roles. Beliefs which seem quite sexist but ones which Badu says are quite flexible, in her music. However, as Five Percenters have so little in common with mainstream Islam, and in fact consider themselves a part of a political movement rather than a religious one, using Badu to represent Muslim women in hip hop struck me as false advertising. She does not, from my understanding, represent the religion but rather the political movement…

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