THE CRITICISM OF ANARCHISM AND ANARCHO- SYNDICALISM IN THE WORKS OF MARX, ENGELS, LENIN AND STALIN
FROM the very inception of the Communist movement Marx and Engels combated all non-proletarian doctrines which penetrated the working class. It is not only the proletariat that suffers under capitalism. The development of capitalism put capital, the land, and the means of production into the hands of an ever diminishing number of owners, ruining not only the small proprietors, the peasants and the vast majority of the handicraftsmen; in times of crisis it also led to the ruin of the smaller capitalists who were less fitted for the struggle. Among the supporters of the anarchist movement combated by Marx and Engels there were many such bourgeois who were roused to a frenzy by the horrors of capitalism. The fundamental issue on which Marx and Engels fought the anarchists was the problem of the state.
Anarchists are people who deny that a state power is necessary; whereas we say that a state power is absolutely essential; and essential not only for Russia now, but for every state, even if it were directly passing to socialism. A strong state power is absolutely essential! All we desire is that this power shall be entirely and exclusively in the hands of the majority of workers', soldiers' and peasants' deputies.*
These words of Lenin's, uttered at the first All-Russian Congress of Peasants' Deputies in the summer of 1917, shortly before the Socialist October Revolution, show the gulf that lies between the anarchists and the Communists. For indeed, the principal question that divides the anarchists and the Communists is their attitude towards the state, towards the question as to whether the proletariat needs revolutionary government in the period of transition to complete communist society.
As is generally known, Marx severely criticized Proudhon, the founder of anarchism, at the very beginning of his political activities. He realized that the works of this petty-bourgeois utopian contained a doctrine that was harmful to the proletariat. In his Poverty of Philosophy he subjected Proudhon's petty-bourgeois views to withering criticism.
In 1847 Proudhon published a book entitled The System of Economic Contradictions, in which he opposed all forms of the economic movement (trade unions, strikes, etc.). Proudhon planned a future society based on mutualism-mutual exchange of products between independent, autonomous groups of producers. Proudhon opposed the organized economic struggle of the working class. He wrote that "a law permitting the formation of trade unions is utterly opposed to law and economics, and contradicts all society and order." He opposed the class struggle and advocated class collaboration. He opposed all interference on the part of political parties in the struggle between labor and capital and maintained that all issues should be settled by free competition.
Marx was bound to combat a theory of this kind, which was very useful to the capitalists, for it served solely the interests of the exploiters. In his book, The Poverty of Philosophy, he gave a comprehensive and deservedly severe reply to these petty-bourgeois plans.
Proudhon was also the founder of the anarchist views on the state. He advocated the abolition of every kind of state. Bakunin borrowed his ideas from Proudhon.
What is the fundamental difference between the anarchists and the Communists in their attitude towards the state? Lenin reduces this difference to the following three most important points:
The difference between the Marxists and the anarchists is this: (1) The former, while aiming at the complete abolition of the state, recognize that this aim can only be achieved after classes have been abolished by the socialist revolution, as the result of the establishment of socialism, which leads to the withering away of the state. The latter want to abolish the state completely overnight, failing to understand the conditions under which the state can be abolished; (2) the former recognize that after the proletariat has conquered political power it must utterly destroy the old state machine and substitute for it a new one consisting of the organization of armed workers, after the type of the Commune. The latter, while advocating the destruction of the state machine, have absolutely no clear idea of what the proletariat will put in its place and how it will use its revolutionary power; the anarchists even deny that the revolutionary proletariat should utilize its state power, its revolutionary dictatorship; (3) the former demand that the proletariat be prepared for revolution by utilizing the present state; the latter reject this.*
The anarchists claim that they are in favor of the complete abolition of the state and that the Communists want to preserve the state forever. Are they right in making this assertion? No, they are not. Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin have repeatedly stated in their writings that it is necessary to fight for the complete victory of communism-a social system under which there will be no need for any form of state power. But when will this be possible? It will be possible only when there is no longer a danger of capitalism being restored in the country by states where the capitalist system still prevails; when society, completely socialist in nature, has developed to such an extent that it will be possible to adopt the rule, "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs," as a consequence of which a new labor discipline and new relations among human beings will arise. The proletarian state will no longer be necessary then, and will wither away.
Only in communist society-Lenin wrote-when the resistance of the capitalists has been completely broken, when the capitalists have disappeared, when there are no classes (i.e., when there is no difference between the members of society as regards their relation to the social means of production), only then does "the state . . . cease to exist," and it "becomes possible to speak of freedom." Only then will really complete democracy, democracy without any exceptions, be possible and be realized. And only then will democracy itself begin to wither away owing to the simple fact that, freed from capitalist slavery, from the untold horrors, savagery, absurdities and infamies of capitalist exploitation, people will gradually become accustomed to observing the elementary rules of social life that have been known for centuries and repeated for thousands of years in all copy-book maxims; they will become accustomed to observing them without force, without compulsion, without subordination, without the special apparatus for compulsion which is called the state.*
The anarchists, on the other hand, have always considered that the state must wither away on the morrow of the socialist revolution, or the social revolution, as they call it. The Communists are of the opinion, and the proletarian socialist revolution of 1917 has shown, that after the socialist revolution the proletariat smashes the apparatus of the bourgeois state. But the state as such does not wither away. The apparatus of the bourgeois state demolished in the revolution is superseded by a new, socialist, proletarian state.
This proletarian state is necessary in order to build up a new, socialist system of economy, to crush the resistance of the exploiting classes, to help the peasantry to adopt the road of socialism, to eliminate the parasitic classes and thereby pave the way for a classless society. It was this task that was performed by the Soviet government, the proletarian dictatorship in the U.S.S.R., after the October Revolution of 1917. Some anarchists fail to understand this, for they have learned by rote the theory of Bakunin and Proudhon that every form of state must be abolished and therefore do not trouble to think whether the actual conditions for transition to socialism exist in the given state at the given time. Consequently, they imagine that the socialist revolution can take place in any given country under any conditions.
It is a still more dangerous error when the leaders and members of the anarchist movement fail to distinguish what kind of revolution is taking place and confuse the socialist revolution with the bourgeois-democratic revolution. To mistake the bourgeois-democratic revolution for the socialist revolution and to launch measures which cannot be carried out in the bourgeois-democratic revolution is dangerous in the extreme, for in this case the anarchist leaders may come into conflict with the general course of development of the revolutionary movement. This has occurred in numerous instances. That is why Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin are so severe in their criticism of the anarchist attitude to the state, to state power and the participation of the proletariat in the organs of power established by the revolution. Expounding the views of the anarchists, Lenin wrote:
"We must think only of destroying the old state machine; it is no use studying the concrete lessons of previous proletarian revolutions and analyzing what to put in the place of what has been destroyed and how," argues the anarchist (the best of the anarchists, of course, and not those who, with Messrs. Kropotkin and Co., follow in the wake of the bourgeoisie); consequently, the tactics of the anarchist become the tactics of despair instead of a ruthlessly bold revolutionary effort to solve concrete problems while taking into account the practical conditions of the mass movement.*
Thus the Communists and anarchists both agree that it is necessary to establish a system under which the need for all state power will disappear, but, while the Communists consider that a transition period is necessary under a proletarian state, under the rule of the proletarian dictatorship, the anarchists imagIne that it is possible to pass to communism directly from any other system-capitalist, landlord or semifeudal.
But the difference is not confined to this. While the Communists call for the establishment of a definite centralized administration, the anarchists advocate federalism-agreements between individual, independent, autonomous, "communes," to be introduced from below. In the case of Makhno and his supporters we saw that the anarchists did not introduce federalism from below, but established an anarchist dictatorship by appointing commandants with dictatorial powers. Beginning with anarchist declarations about abolishing every form of state, of state power and dictatorship, the Makhno anarchists in the district under their control established a Makhno police state with unlimited authority, with a secret police, with courts whose decisions were never disputed, with armies ruled by kulaks and bandits, and so on. But even after this the European anarchists think that every municipality, every trade union, every rural organization, every cooperative society is to be independent and to enter into voluntary federation agreements with whatever other organization it chooses. Moreover, they believe that such an organization can be established on any scale. The experience of the Russian revolution and of the revolutionary movement of other countries proves that this view is wrong, and therefore the Communists cannot adopt it. That, too, is why Lenin, in his remarkable work, The State and Revolution, says:
Marx agreed with Proudhon on the necessity of "smashing" the present state machine. . . . Marx differed with Proudhon and with Bakunin precisely on the point of federalism (quite apart from the dictatorship of the proletariat). The petty-bourgeois views of anarchism advance federalism as a principle. Marx was a centralist. There is no departure from centralism in the observations of Marx quoted above. Only those who are imbued with the petty-bourgeois "superstitious belief" in the state can mistake the abolition of the bourgeois state machine for the abolition of centralism!
But will it not be centralism when the proletariat and poorest peasantry take political power in their own hands, organize themselves freely in communes, and unite the action of all the communes in striking at capital, in crushing the resistance of the capitalists, in transferring the ownership of the railways, factories, land and so forth, to the entire nation, to the whole of society? Will that not be the most consistent democratic centralism? And proletarian centralism at that?
Thus the point on which the anarchists and the Communists fundamentally disagree is whether the working class should organize state power after its victory, whether the working class must preserve the state or not. This question did not confront the proletariat for the first time during the socialist revolution in 1917. In 19o5, when the bourgeois democratic revolution was in progress in Russia, Lenin and the other Bolsheviks also urged the need for organizing a provisional revolutionary government and for the representatives of the workers and peasants participating in this government. Lenin, Stalin and the entire Bolshevik Party insistently maintained that this government must be a revolutionary dictatorship of the workers and peasants. This dictatorship was necessary to crush the resistance of the landlords and capitalists, to confiscate the landed estates and to defend the gains of the revolution. State power is even more necessary when the proletariat has overthrown the capitalists and is building socialist society.
At the very beginning of 1917, when tsarism had been overthrown and a new program of action became necessary, Lenin said quite definitely in his "Letters from Afar" that the Communists must organize a revolutionary government.
We need a revolutionary government-Lenin wrote we need a state (for the duration of a certain transition period). This is where we differ from the anarchists. The revolutionary Marxists differ from the anarchists not only by the fact that the former stand for centralized large scale communist production and the latter stand for scattered, small production. No, the difference between us on the problem of government, of the state is that we are for the revolutionary utilization of the revolutionary forms of the state in the struggle for socialism, while the anarchists are against it.*
In their time Marx and Engels ridiculed the petty-bourgeois philosopher Eugene Duehring, who championed the anarchist idea that the state can be "abolished." It was not the abolition of the state that Marx and Engels wrote of, but its withering away. It must never be forgotten that while the bourgeois state machine is smashed by the proletariat after its victory in the socialist revolution, the proletarian, socialist state withers away only when all the conditions exist for the transition to complete communism, after classless socialist society has been established, after fully developed socialist branches of economy have been organized in all fields and the survivals of capitalism have been finally eliminated from economics and the minds of men.
In the bourgeois-democratic revolutions of 1905 and of February-March, 1917, it was necessary to establish a government of workers and peasants that would enable them to cope with all enemies of the revolution and pave the way to its next stage, the socialist revolution.
Before the socialist revolution of October, 1917, there had been no example of a proletarian dictatorship, and the anarchists of all countries could still argue theoretically that the proletariat needs no state power, that a proletarian dictatorship is not necessary. But now it would be hard to find a single serious political worker, a single fully class conscious worker who maintains that after overthrowing the rule of the tsar and the rule of the capitalists and landlords in 1917, the workers and poor peasants of former tsarist Russia could have done without state power. There can be no doubt that if the Russian proletariat had not established its dictatorship, the united forces of the foreign interventionists, in league with the Russian capitalists, landlords, merchants, priests, kulaks and officials who had just been overthrown by the revolution, would have restored capitalism and landlord rule in an even more brutal form than before, that they would have drenched the country with blood in order to restore the old order. No district by itself could have held its own against the alliance of fourteen capitalist states, against all the forces of the old world united for the struggle against the working class movement.
The victory of the proletarian socialist revolution and the development of socialism in the course of twenty years is due to the fact that the Soviet government-that new form of the proletarian state, discovered in the epoch of imperialism was established from the very beginning. The proletarian government, the dictatorship of the proletariat, took all the threads of government into its own hands and united the whole country, all the might of the toiling people of this multi-national land. It gathered all the means of struggle in its own hands, and amidst the most incredible poverty and the terrible economic ruin caused by the imperialist and civil wars, amidst want, laxity, disorganization, sabotage by the old officials and specialists, this proletarian dictatorship succeeded in rescuing the country from its state of collapse, in transforming the young Soviet state from a poverty-stricken, devastated country into a land of wealth; in transforming this technically backward country into an up-to-date socialist state; in transforming it from a country of petty, scattered individual peasant farming into an industrial-agrarian country, into the only country in the world where agriculture is conducted on a collective basis by means of powerful machinery, in transforming it from a country of illiterates into a highly cultured country among whose population there are no illiterates.
Take Soviet agriculture, for instance: by the end of 1936 the collective farms were served by 316,000 tractors, with a total capacity of 5,700,000 hp., while the total number of tractors on collective and state farms was over 400,000, having a capacity of 7,580,000 hp. These figures were quoted by Comrade Stalin in his report on the Draft Constitution of the U.S.S.R. And it is common knowledge that before the October Revolution no tractors were employed in agriculture in Russia, an there was not a single factory manufacturing tractors. This enormous army of iron horses was created by the Soviet state.
Could disconnected agricultural communes or disconnected trade unions have accomplished this even if there had been no foreign intervention, even if the Soviet state had not been hindered in its work? And it was not only tractors that Soviet agriculture received from the proletarian state, but also auto mobiles, electric motors, steam engines, oil engines, motor for harvester combines, and other machinery. At the end of 1936 the mechanical power employed in agriculture in the U.S.S.R. totalled 19,000,000 hp.-a figure that we never even dreamed of twenty or thirty years ago in our illegal organizations, fighting against tsarism, against the landlords and capitalists.
As recently as 1928 mechanical power amounted to only four per cent of the total energy expended in Soviet agriculture, while in 1936 it amounted to sixty per cent. Hundreds of thousands of harvester combines and large quantities of other agricultural machinery are employed in the fields of socialist agriculture. The former peasant often used the wooden plow. This antiquated implement has now disappeared entirely, to make room for splendid steel plows and machines-tractors, sheaf-binders, wind-rowers, beet-diggers, harvester combines, multiple plows, various kinds of mechanical seeders, cultivators, powerful mechanized threshers, and other machinery, Machine and Tractor Stations serving the collective farms have been organized everywhere. The Soviet Union now has thirty times as many tractors as Germany and forty times as many as Italy. The proletarian state alone, directing all its might and powers of organization towards building the socialist system of economy, towards the victory of socialism, could have achieved such results.
Thus, in the light of the proletarian revolution, the anarchist theories that all forms of state and government are pernicious appear miserable and ridiculous.
The proletariat must not oppose and smash the state and government as such. It must oppose and smash the bourgeois state and in its place set tip a state that will act in the interests of the revolution, in the interests of the proletariat. Consequently, the proletariat cannot refrain from taking part in a government such as the government of the anti-fascist People's Front, which defends the revolution against the fascists and imperialists; it must take an active part in the work of such a government in order to help solve the complicated problems which confront the working people at such a time. Hence, the attitude of a party towards the state in time of revolution is connected with its attitude towards taking part in the work of government bodies, towards taking part in the political struggle. In 1905 the Bolsheviks argued with the Menshevik opportunists over the question of whether the proletariat should take part in a revolutionary government. The anarchists know the true nature of the Mensheviks, and none of them will maintain that the Russian petty-bourgeois Menshevik party was a truly revolutionary party in 1905, Even at that time they tried to hinder the revolution; in this bourgeois-democratic revolution they actually behaved as the agents of the bourgeoisie within the working class movement, although for a number of years they formally belonged to the Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party together with the Bolsheviks. The fact that they used Marxist phrases only to camouflage their anti-proletarian nature was fully revealed at the time of the proletarian revolution, when they openly opposed the revolution, when they lined up on the other side of the barricades together with the Socialist-Revolutionaries, Constitutional-Democrats and other bourgeois parties against the proletariat and the peasants. They leagued themselves with the whiteguards to combat the proletarian dictatorship, the proletarian revolution. And it is these opportunist Mensheviks who in 1905 reproached the Bolshevik Communists for wanting the proletariat to take part in a Provisional Revolutionary Government! Events put the Menshiviks to shame. In 1917 they entered the counter-revolutionary government of Kerensky and opposed the proletarian dictatorship.
For years the anarchists argued that they must not participate in any kind of government. But when the revolution broke out in Russia they acted otherwise. We have seen that the Makhno anarchists established a government, and, what is more, a dictatorial government unrestricted by any laws. Evidently, the Russian anarchists must have become convinced that their attitude towards the state was futile. But this did not prevent them, and is not preventing the anarchists in other countries today, from reiterating in their press and in their speeches that the anarchists are opposed to all state power and to the proletariat participating in state activities. This doctrine does great harm to the cause of the proletariat, and consequently we Communists must combat it.
For instance: should workers take part in parliamentary elections? The anarchists have always replied that the workers must not take part in parliamentary activities. But what should trade unionists do, for whom should they vote? The anarchists usually reply that they do not advise them to vote for anybody, but if they want to vote, that is their business, they can vote for whom they like. But this is the worst possible advice that could be given. It utterly misleads the workers, leaving them to be influenced by bourgeois politicians, and impairs (fie unity of the proletariat. Bourgeois politicians often win elections because, under the influence of the anarchists, workers abstain from voting against them.
The proletariat cannot "abstain" from the political struggle, of which the parliamentary struggle is one of the forms. It is for this doctrine of abstention from political struggle that Marx and Engels criticized the Spanish anarchists.
In 1873 Engels wrote three articles entitled "The Bakuninists at Work," published in the Volksstaat, in which he criticized the actions of the Spanish anarchists during the insurrection of 1873. What were the mistakes committed by the Spanish anarchists? After the abdication of the King of Spain, a republic was proclaimed on February 9, 1873. In response, a monarchist rebellion of the Carlists broke out in the Basque provinces. The struggle that took place was waged between Republicans and Monarchists. Should the anarchists have kept out of this struggle? From the standpoint of the theories of Bakunin and Kropotkin, they should have done so. Were they able to keep out of it? No, they were not; they were compelled to take part in it. What happened? For many long years the anarchists had maintained that the workers must not take part in any revolution that did not strive for the immediate and complete emancipation of the working class, that the workers must not take part in elections, and so on. On the eve of the elections to the Constituent Assembly, the workers of Barcelona, Alcoy and other localities called on the anarchists to advice them what policy they should pursue in the struggle, parliamentary and otherwise. The Bakuninists replied that "the International, as an association, must not engage in any political activities, but the members of the International may act as they choose, each for himself, joining whichever party they elect," by virtue of their much talked of autonomy.
What was the result of the application of this absurd doctrine?-asked Engels in the above-mentioned article. The result was that the bulk of the members of the International, including the anarchists, took part in the elections without a program, without a banner and without their own candidates and, as a consequence, almost without exception bourgeois-republican candidates were elected.
Can the Most revolutionary class behave in this way, can it fail to have its own class policy on such an important question? Obviously, the line of policy of the anarchists was very injurious to the cause of the working class.
For many years the anarchists had maintained that the only serious means of struggle was the general strike. Bakunin's program pointed to the general strike as the means of accomplishing the social revolution, though, as we have seen in the preceding chapter, the general strike alone, without an armed uprising, cannot lead to the victory of the revolution. In 1873 a general strike was proclaimed in Barcelona. The anarchists who proclaimed it said:
Workers! We are calling a general strike to express the profound indignation we feel at Seeing the government use the army against our fighting brothers, while at the same time it neglects the war against the Carlists.
Again, instead of deciding and telling the workers on whose side they were to fight, arms in hand, the anarchists confined themselves to calling a general strike of protest.
According to the anarchist newspaper Solidarite Revolutionnaire, in Alcoy, With a population of 30,000, about 5,000 workers took part in the fighting. They were opposed by 32 armed gendarmes and a few more armed men. The workers won. What did they do next, under the leadership of the anarchists? They set up a Committee of Public Safety, that is, they established a revolutionary government; after advocating non-participation in the government for so many years, the anarchists in Alcoy established a revolutionary government. Did this revolutionary government take steps to secure the "immediate and complete emancipation of the workers," in accordance with its program? No, all the Committee did was to forbid all men to leave the town, while women were allowed to do so if in possession of passports. When the forces of General Velarde arrived from Alicante, the Committee of Public Safety disbanded, after receiving the general's promise that its members would be pardoned.
In San Lucar de Barramdea and certain other localities affairs were no better.
Engels fiercely ridiculed Bakunin and his Spanish disciples for all this. His conclusions are so important for revolutionary Spain and for the struggle of the proletariat of the whole world at the present time that we give them here in full.
What, then, is the outcome of our whole inquiry?
1. The Bakuninists were compelled to throw their whole previous program overboard as soon as they were faced with a serious revolutionary situation. First they abandoned the doctrine of abstaining from politics, and particularly from elections. Next came the turn of anarchy, the abolition of the state; instead of abolishing the state, they attempted, on the contrary, to bring into being a number of new small states. Then they gave up the principle that the workers must not take part in any revolution whose purpose is other than the immediate and complete emancipation of the proletariat, and joined an avowedly bourgeois movement. Finally, they went against the article of faith which they had just proclaimed -that the establishment of a revolutionary government would be nothing but a new deception and a new betrayal of the working class-by calmly figuring in the government committees of the various towns, in which nearly everywhere they constituted a powerless minority, outvoted and politically exploited by the bourgeoisie.
2. This repudiation of the principles preached up to that time was performed in the most cowardly, lying manner and with pricking of conscience, so that when they entered the movement neither the Bakuninists themselves nor the masses they led had any program or even knew what they wanted. What was the natural result? Either that the Bakuninists hindered all movement, as in Barcelona; or that they were driven to scattered, unplanned, foolish risings, as in Alcoy and San Lucar de Barrarneda;
or else that the leadership of the rising fell into the hands of the bourgeois intransigents, as in most cases. Thus, when it came to action, the ultra-revolutionary clamor of the Bakuninists was either transformed into evasion, or into risings that from the outset had no chances of success, or else into support of a bourgeois party which exploited the workers politically in the most shameful manner and treated them with kicks into the bargain.
3. Nothing was left of the so-called principles of anarchy, of the free federation of independent groups, and so on, but a boundless and senseless splitting up of the revolutionary means of struggle, which enabled the government , with a mere handful of troops, to subdue one town after another practically without resistance.
4. The end of the business was not only that the well organized and numerous Spanish section of the International-both the false and the real-was dragged under in the collapse of the intransigents and has now practically been dissolved, but also that it has been saddled with all the invented excesses without which the philistines of all countries cannot imagine a workers' rising; and thereby the international reorganization of the Spanish proletariat may have been made impossible for years.
5. In a word, the Bakuninists in Spain have given us an inimitable example of how not to make a revolution.
All this occurred over sixty years ago. It would be sad if the events of all these years, the Russian revolution, the accession to power of the fascists in Italy, Germany, Poland and Portugal and the experience of the Spanish revolution were to produce no effect on anarchism, if the anarchists failed to draw the necessary conclusions. Fortunately for the revolution, we now see that the anarchists have learnt a great deal; they have realized that they must revise many of their theories and practical activities. This paves the way for closer relations between the anarchists and the Communists.
A question of no less importance connected with those we have enumerated is the question of authoritarianism-the recognition of authority, of the obligations imposed by organization.
As against the Communist organization, which the anarchists call "authoritarian," they style theirs "libertarian." They are champions of complete liberty, complete autonomy for every individual and for every organization. But they go further than that. They not only demand the abolition of all authority in the socialist revolution; in their anxiety to be loyal to the anarchist doctrine that all power is injurious, they oppose the authority of the government which is responsible for the fate of the revolution at the particular moment. In this connection Engels rightly asked:
Have these gentlemen never seen a revolution? A revolution is undoubtedly the most authoritarian thing there is. It is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon, which are authoritarian means if ever there were any. And the victorious party, if it does not wish to have fought in vain, must maintain its rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionaries. Would the Paris Commune have lasted a single day if it had not made use of this authority of the armed population against the bourgeoisie? Should we not on the contrary reproach it for not having made more extensive use of this authority?
On this question too the present revolution in Spain has demonstrated to the anarchists that they must abandon the views on authority which they have defended for so many years. Revolutionary violence is indispensable in every revolution, including the socialist revolution. It was the interests of the victory of socialism, of the victory of the proletariat, that Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin always had at heart when they advocated the need for revolutionary violence and the organization of revolutionary authority.
Another very important difference between anarchism and Marxism (Communism) was brought out by Comrade Stalin in 19o6, in an article entitled "Anarchism and Socialism," published in the Georgian newspaper, 4khall Droeba. Comrade Stalin wrote:
Marxism and anarchism are built on totally different principles, although both appear in the arena of struggle under the flag of socialism. The keystone of anarchism is the individual, whose emancipation anarchism regards as the principal condition for the emancipation of the masses; thus, according to anarchism, the emancipation of the masses is impossible before the individual has been emancipated; hence the slogan of anarchism-"Everything for the individual." The keystone of Marxism, on the other hand, is the masses, whose emancipation Marxism regards as the principal condition for the emancipation of the individual; thus, according to Marxism, the emancipation of the individual is impossible before the masses have been emancipated; hence the slogan of communism -"Everything for the masses."
It is hardly necessary to prove now that history has borne out the truth of the ideals of Marxism. On the basis of the anarchist theory Count Leo Tolstoy, the writer, maintained that human happiness is not dependent on political and economic conditions, that it is achieved by the self-perfection of the individual. Investing this doctrine with a religious and moral form, he preached that "the Kingdom of God is within us." The well-known anarchist Max Stirner put the ego in the center of all things. But all human history, the history of class struggle, and especially the history of the fight for socialism in the U.S.S.R., has proved that the emancipation of the individual is impossible without the emancipation of the masses. It is only in the U.S.S.R. that the conditions for the complete and all-round development of personal ability and individual talent can be and are being created. In order that the masses of workers, peasants and office employees, the masses of working people, might bring forth brilliant musicians, artists, engineers, inventors, aviators and scientists it is essential to have what the Constitution of the U.S.S.R. now ensures: the right to work for all, the right to education for all, the right to rest and leisure for all, complete equality between men and women, and the other conditions enjoyed by working people in socialist society. It is necessary to abolish unemployment, to abolish the opportunity for exploitation, in order to create the conditions for free development for all working people. Only if these social conditions exist can the creative energy of the individual freely develop.
But what if the interests of the individual conflict with the interests of the class? Only when every worker subordinates his will and interests to the will and interests of the class, to the will and interests of the people, can the struggle be successful. This has been proved by the experience of all revolutions. It has been proved by the revolution and the fight for socialism in the U.S.S.R. It is being proved every day in the Spanish revolution. We think that the solution of this problem found by the revolution provides the basis upon which the anarchists can come to an understanding with the Communists. By their joint efforts the Communists and anarchists can achieve the victory of the working masses and secure for them a position that will render possible an enormous rise in the economic, political and cultural standard of living of all working people and the transition to the highest stage of the revolution. And only these conditions can bring about the freedom of the individual and create the opportunity for his all-round development. Thus the slogan, "everything for the masses," means the emancipation of the individual.
The questions we have dealt with-the attitude towards the state, participation in government bodies, participation in the constructive work of government-are also connected with the question of discipline and coercion. Obviously, every serious proletarian organization must be ruled by conscious proletarian, revolutionary discipline. Such discipline is tested not by words but by deeds, by devotion to the cause and readiness to sacrifice oneself for its sake. Proletarian discipline must not be less than discipline in a bourgeois state; on the contrary, it must be greater and stronger. The proletariat must fight against laxity and indiscipline which are camouflaged by cries about freedom.
Freedom in the new society is inconceivable without conscious revolutionary discipline among its members; it is inconceivable without this discipline, which renders the decisions of the leading bodies binding upon the entire proletariat. We can only rejoice that in this matter too the revolution in Spain has succeeded to a considerable extent in clarifying the minds of the anarchist masses and that anarchist workers are beginning to grasp the need for iron discipline. They have realized how dangerous is the talk about "organized indiscipline" and what disasters to the revolution its preaching can and does entail; they have realized that the revolution can be saved only by constructive, iron, revolutionary discipline.
There are two other points of importance in the controversy between the anarchists and the Communists.
The first point is whether it is possible to abolish classes or to achieve Bakunin's slogan of levelling classes. A recent communication in a Spanish anarchist newspaper about the collectivization of the Alcoy metal industry was printed under the heading: "Free agreement between toilers abolishes classes. -In the Alcoy metal industry there are only toilers, there are no more exploiters or exploited."
Our interest was roused by this statement that in a town in Catalonia, where the socialist revolution has not yet taken place, and private property in the implements and means of production has not been abolished, classes could already have been abolished, and by the "free agreement between toilers," to boot. How is it that there were "no more exploiters or exploited?" If this can be achieved in the Alcoy metal industry, the same thing was surely possible in all other industries and other places.
After we had read the whole report we became convinced that no such thing as the abolition of classes had actually taken place. What actually happened was that the Alcoy metal works were actually sequestrated. Thereupon the United Metal Workers' Union of Alcoy called a joint meeting of employers and representatives of the factory committees. In opening the meeting, Gonzalo Bo, the chairman of the union, made the following speech:
Gentlemen, capitalism has been overthrown, the only basis for its further existence is fascism, which in Spain is on the road to destruction. You know that there is an extreme shortage of labor. We do not want to aggravate this crisis, which will bring poverty and starvation. In order to solve all the problems connected with the crisis our union is putting forward a definite program. But we realize that although circumstances favor us we must give you the opportunity to propose a solution which you consider would render the situation more normal.
What did the owners reply? They declared that they had no suggestions to make. Towards the end of the meeting one of the employers, Francisco Rodez, stated that he had planned to establish an Alcoy Metal Industry Consortium, which he had intended to submit for discussion to the employers under capitalism, but since capitalism no longer existed this proposal would be inappropriate.
The chairman then made the following proposals:
The expropriation or, socialization of all enterprises, warehouses, factories and current accounts, including the assets and liabilities of every firm. Expropriation of enterprises to be carried out on behalf of the United Metal Workers' Union, now to be called the United Union of Workers in the Socialized Metal Industry. Formation of an administrative center of representatives of former owners, workers, engineers and office employees. Abolition of all social distinctions. Former owners to be given work as organizers of production in any enterprises, their remuneration to be the same as they were receiving when the present situation arose. These rates of wages are subject to revision and alteration. Meanwhile, workers' wages must be raised, if only slightly, with a general trend towards levelling wages.
In order to become absorbed in the workers' environment the employers must join the workers' organization.
"It may be said," the correspondent of the anarchist paper concludes, "that by means of joint action of the employers and the workers a problem of the greatest importance has now been solved in the Alcoy metal industry. The capitalists and millionaires of yesterday are now happy to work hand in hand with the workers and belong to the National Labor Federation."
We do not undertake to judge whether it was necessary to sequestrate the plants in Alcoy. The working people of Spain will be able to settle this question themselves. But we doubt whether a resolution is enough to "abolish all social distinctions." The future will show whether such measures are correct, but the whole experience of revolution teaches that classes cannot be abolished in this way. Classes continue to exist not only in present-day Spain, in many parts of which not even the bourgeois-democratic revolution has been completed. Classes continue to exist for some time even after the socialist revolution. Capitalist economics also continue to exist for a certain time, and to disregard this would involve great danger for the revolution.
In 192 1, when Georgia was freed from the rule of the Georgian Mensheviks, the Armenian Dashnaks, and other petty-bourgeois groups allied with the imperialists, Lenin wrote to the leader of Georgia-Orjonikidze and others about the specific features of Georgia. In this letter he offered the following advice:
In the first place, it is essential immediately to arm the workers and the poor peasants and establish a large Georgian Red Army. Secondly, a special policy of concessions is necessary in relation to the Georgian intellectuals and small tradesmen. It is essential to realize that, far from intending to nationalize them, we must even make certain sacrifices in order to improve their position and leave them the opportunity to carry on their small businesses.
Further on Lenin wrote:
Please remember that Georgia's internal and international situation require of the Georgian Communists not a slavish imitation of the Russian model but skilful and flexible tactics of a special kind based on greater readiness to make concessions to various petty-bourgeois elements.*
In another letter, addressed to the Communists of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Daghestan and the Gorsky Republic in April 1921, Lenin also wrote that "more mildness, caution and willingness to yield to the petty bourgeoisie, to the intellectuals and particularly to the peasantry" were essential. Further on he said: "A slower, more cautious, more systematic transition to socialism-this is what is possible and necessary for the republics of the Caucasus as distinct from the R.S.F. S.R."
What Lenin wrote about Transcaucasia should be taken into account by workers in many other countries in time of revolution.
The second question is the attitude of the anarchists and Communists respectively towards religion. This is a very important question.
The Communists advocate anti-religious propaganda. They are not supporters of the church, of religion. They have never concealed this, and have always fought against religious philosophy and against the church; but they have never demanded the prohibition of religion or of religious worship, they have never pursued the tactics of abolishing the church by force. The Communists put forward the demand included in the programs of many bourgeois parties as well-the separation of the church from the state, and of the school from the church. But the difference between them and the bourgeois parties is that the latter proclaimed these demands but never carried them out consistently and completely, for it is to the advantage of the bourgeoisie to support the reactionary church, which helps to justify inequality and the class division of society.
Unlike the Communists, the anarchists, beginning with Bakunin, demand the prohibition of religion. Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin have always opposed such an attitude towards religion. The Stalin Constitution of the U.S.S.R., recently adopted by the Eighth Extraordinary Congress of Soviets, contains an article guaranteeing all citizens the right of religious worship and the right to engage in anti-religious propaganda. Anti-religious propaganda in the U.S.S.R. has achieved great successes. But at the same time priests in the U.S.S.R. are granted all civil rights on equal terms with other citizens. There is a special law dealing with the existence of religious communities. True, the revolution abolished all monasteries, which were inhabited by parasites and exploiters maintained at the expense of the state. The priests have nothing to do with 'the schools, which are educating new people who have no need of the religious system of morality, for they are developing the superior Communist system of morality of all mankind.
It would be wrong to prohibit religious worship. Why? Because among the workers and peasants in every country there are still large numbers of religious people who cannot throw off religion as easily and willingly as they threw off the hated militarists and exploiters. The product of centuries of religious education cannot be destroyed in a day. Much cultural and educational work must be done to achieve this, and even more necessary are the profound changes in economic life, in the entire system, which alone can free the working people from the influence of religion.
It will be useful to recall what Lenin wrote on this subject in a special article entitled "The Attitude of the Workers' Party Towards Religion." Lenin demanded that anti-religious propaganda, the propaganda of atheism, should be completely subordinated to the principal task of the proletariat-"the development of the class struggle of the exploited masses against the exploiters."
Let us take an example-Lenin wrote.-The proletariat in a given district and in a given branch of industry is divided, let us assume, into an advanced section of fairly class-conscious Social-Democrats, who are, of course, atheists, and rather backward workers who are still connected with the countryside and the peasantry, still believe in God, go to church, or are even under the direct influence of the local priest, who, let us suppose, has organized a Christian labor union. Let us assume furthermore that the economic struggle in this locality has resulted in a strike. It is the duty of a Marxist to place -the success of the strike movement above everything else, to vigorously resist the division of the workers in this struggle into atheists and Christians, to vigorously combat such a division. Under such circumstances, atheist propaganda may be both unnecessary and harmful-not from the philistine fear of scaring away the backward sections, of losing a seat in the elections, and so on, but from consideration for the real progress of the class struggle which in the conditions of modern capitalist society is a hundred times better adapted to convert Christian workers to Social-Democracy and, to atheism than bald atheistic preaching. He who preached atheism at such a moment and in such circumstances would only be playing into the hands of the church and the priests, who desire nothing better than that the division of the workers according to their participation in the strike movement should be replaced by their division according to their beliefs in God. An anarchist who preached war against God at all costs would in practice be helping the priests and the bourgeoisie.
Every worker, and especially the militant atheist, should ponder over these words of Lenin. For he must enter into a united front not only with atheists, but with all working people, including believers; therefore, as regards the attitude towards religion he must adopt tactics that will not obstruct the principal task at the present moment-the preservation and consolidation of the people's front for victory over fascism. The workers and peasants who are already atheists, regardless of the party to which they belong, must never forget that many of their brothers in the struggle are religious people and that these religious people are equally interested in the fight against the fascist oppressors. That is why the anarchist slogan of prohibiting religion and religious worship is wrong and dangerous.
Only when believers themselves are convinced that they 'have no need of religion, and they must be left to decide this for themselves, will they decide whether to belong to a religious organization, whether to engage in religious worship or not.
In this brief account we cannot claim to have given an exhaustive criticism of anarchism from the standpoint of the doctrine of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. We have dealt with the most important questions affecting the theory and practice of the present-day revolutionary movement. Nor is it our intention to ridicule the anarchists, but only to help them to join as painlessly as possible in a united front of struggle with the Communists and all others fighting for the emancipation of the working people.