On not putting in work for Sanders’s campaign

From August 8

Y’all who are complaining about them attacking Sanders because you think they’re secretly supporting Clinton–do you really think [this page] has nicer words for Clinton? Of course they don’t. Those words don’t even need to be said–you already know what they think of Clinton.

You want them to ease up on Sanders because you’re still caught in this “we can elect our way out of this problem” trap. We can’t. We’ll never vote this problem away. We will never vote this problem away. We will NEVER vote this problem away.

What will solve this problem is building power in oppressed communities, Panther style, MXGM style. It will take a long time. We who want a real solution for EVERYONE (and not just a few goodies for the middle class) know that Sanders can’t get us there. Would he be better for the struggle than one of the clowns who debated yesterday? Maybe. And honestly, maybe not. France has been electing “socialists” for a long time–see any end to poverty and racism over there? See any huge liberation struggle grow out of the election of these “socialists” over there? I don’t. But even if he would be a hair better, we will never vote this problem away.

And anyone who speaks out in support of Sanders without mentioning that he gets on board with amerikan imperialism and Israeli apartheid is themselves supporting that imperialism and that apartheid.

We will never vote this problem away. “The best candidate we have” upholds U.S. imperialism and white supremacy around the world. The people who still think we can vote this problem away–or who, worse, only give a fuck about the middle class–are going to put into office whoever they put into office.

There are a lot fewer of us who realize that we can’t vote our way out of the problem, and we shouldn’t waste our time doing the exact same thing as those who are still caught up. We should be pressing where they won’t press. We should spend our time doing what they won’t do. Whether or not you take 20 minutes out of some day a few months from now to vote for Sanders in the primary or even the general election is beside the point.

If you’re awake, don’t waste your time promoting Sanders. People who are still dreaming the amerikan dream are going to do plenty of that. We should do something different–in addition to building power in oppressed communities around us brick by brick and fighting U.S. imperialism, we should be waking people up from any illusion that we can vote our way out of this problem–and that involves letting people know that Sanders is an imperialist, that he will not “bring us closer” in any important sense, and that there is more productive work to be done elsewhere, and far too few people willing to do it.

A response I wrote when I got annoyed by someone online saying, “Care to name the colonies Norway exploited? I’ll wait” when confronted with the claim that the high standard of living in Norway is due to exploitation

From August 23

Scandinavia has always been part of European imperialism. From the dawn of imperialism, in the genocide against the indigenous people of the Americas and the mass kidnapping and enslavement of African people, right on down to today, the Scandinavian countries have put up funds and reaped ample rewards for their investment.

The Scandinavian countries contribute troops and other support to NATO, which has historically (http://anticapitalismfaq.com/kh/) been a tool of imposing Western imperialism on the rest of the world. They house prisoners in secret sites and aid in global surveillance projects for the CIA and other intelligence agencies who are prosecuting the War on Terror–again, an excuse to raid poorer countries for resources and cheap labor. They are active members of the IMF and the World Bank, which keep dozens of countries throughout the world in perpetual indentured servitude. Not to mention, they are just as racist as the rest of the European sphere in the world, prejudiced against people in the rest of the world and against immigrants–it is not surprising to hear that they would be down to participate in the imperialist project.

Let’s examine a similar case real quick: When we talk about the imperialists of the United States and Europe, we are referring most of all to the incredibly wealthy capitalists who profit off of the exploitation of the rest of the world. Of course, they aren’t the literal people who were up in other people’s countries–it was other, poorer people who went in with guns. But it was the capitalists who paid the people with guns, and the capitalists who got the benefit. Can you not see that this exploitation and violence would not have been possible without the financing, support, and direction of the capitalists? Is it in any way unfair to call these capitalists imperialists even though they didn’t do the shooting?

If you can see that, then can you see that Scandinavia has played a direct if not central role in imperialism? After all, do you know where the raw materials come from that they use to make all their cell phones and other high-tech gadgets and such that are so important in their economies? Take a guess. Do you think the people producing them are getting paid a fair wage? Take a guess. Do you think they have humane work conditions and unpolluted homes? Take a guess.

Scandinavia has participated in imperialism, and that is why it is wealthy, just like the rest of Europe.

From August 28

Bernie Sanders supporters, read this if you value your integrity:

What kind of socialist is Bernie Sanders? Well, what kind of socialist was FDR? FDR proposed and carried out far more extreme wealth distribution than Sanders is proposing. So surely if Sanders is a socialist, FDR was, too.

But if FDR was a socialist, he wasn’t a very good one. Wealth inequality is now worse than it was before FDR took office. Everyone who is excited about Bernie, if they are indeed a socialist–that is, if they declare proudly that they do care about guaranteeing certain things to literally everyone in society–should honestly ask themselves this question: how can we get the wealth redistributed and have it STAY that way? Otherwise it is about what’s good for you–NOT what’s good for your children and grandchildren.

What can this ultimately boil down to but a question of political power? Since, yes, FDR’s wealth redistribution has been completely reversed, the only logical conclusion is that people who desire great wealth inequality have had political power ever since. We Marxists would say that the biggest capitalists, whom we call the bourgeoisie, have a dictatorship over our country. That is, they have full power to change politics in the way they care about. The biggest capitalists’ first collective concern is staying in charge; their second collective concern is growing their wealth. The years since FDR should make it obvious we have a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.

So if you want the wealth inequality to STAY low and the social programs to stay in place for good, you must support the opposite: you must support putting the people in charge and having it stay that way. And it is obvious that we would have to avoid letting the capitalists ever come to power again–they have shown themselves relentless in trying to disempower the people and empower and enrich themselves. The people, if they are to remain in charge, have to be unable to be thrown off. If you want a lasting solution to poverty and oppression, you must admit that you want a dictatorship of the people, or what we Marxists would call a dictatorship of the proletariat.

So if you aren’t just looking out for yourself–if you are a real socialist–I encourage you to really study the problem, study history, and grapple with this issue of how we can achieve a dictatorship of the proletariat.

If you aren’t willing to really look into and talk with others about the question of achieving lasting power for the people, I say you have no right to call yourself a socialist, and you should admit that you really only care about your own self-interest.

Some comments on the first Democratic primary debate for the 2016 elections from afterward, the night of

* Sanders talks about how to “transform America” to be more like a Scandinavian country.

[The United States’s wealth came from and continues to come from imperialism, and average amerikans helped to invade those foreign countries and manage the empire. Sanders’ main argument is that average amerikans deserve a bigger cut of the spoils we rob from the rest of the planet.]

* Sanders says there’s too much wealth inequality in the United States.

* Sanders mentions “casino capitalism.”

[By mentioning “capitalism with adjectives” (e.g., vulture, casino, crony, gangster, monopoly), Sanders signals that he has no problem with capitalism as such, despite the fact that it cannot avoid generating the wealth inequality he has based his entire campaign around opposing: http://www.bookforum.com/inprint/021_01/12987]

* Sanders says the “backbone of the American economy” is small and medium-sized businesses.

[The backbone of the U.S. economy is imperialism. See, for instance, Eduardo Galeano, “Open Veins of Latin America,” http://croco.freeonsciencelibraryguide.com/view.php… and John Perkins, “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man,” http://croco.freeonsciencelibraryguide.com/view.php…]

* Sanders says he is “not a pacifist,” that he supported the war in Afghanistan, that he is “prepared to take this country into war.” He says that, regarding Syria, he wants a “coalition of our countries” involved in any action.

[The United States never bombs or arms or invades anyone unless it advances U.S. hegemonic interests. Sanders is indicating that he is down to advance U.S. hegemonic interests, and is signaling to the capitalist class and U.S. allies that they can very much count on a continuation of the status quo from him.]

* Sanders says he supported U.S. military action “against ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.”

[The genocide got worse after U.S. intervention. See http://www.mltranslations.org/Germany/Yugoslav.htm and http://k2.kasamaproject.org/…/1228-60how-capitalism-caused-…]

* Sanders say he is “sick and tired of hearing about [Hillary Clinton’s] damned emails.”

* Sanders says “my Republican friends have some amnesia on [the issue of Iraq.]”

[Sanders is fulfilling his role in the Jesse Jackson / Dennis Kucinich / Howard Dean mold of drawing in disenchanted voters on the left end of the spectrum and getting them to think as Democrats so that when he loses the primary to Hillary, they will accept his endorsement of her. http://www.blackagendareport.com/bernie-sanders-sheepdog-4-…

He is also very consciously shoring up support for the electoral system over any other method of making political change, putting into practice Chomsky’s dictum that “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.”]

* Sanders blames wealth inequality on the “greed of Wall Street.”

[Sanders has studied capitalism, and he understand that the problem is not individual motivation but systemic inevitability. He is consciously selling a lie that capitalism can be reformed when he knows it cannot be. http://www.bookforum.com/inprint/021_01/12987]

* Sanders claims that “Wall Street regulates Congress” and claims that we’ve “gotta break up these banks” as though that would be a solution.

* Sanders claims that he has “taken on every special interest there is in Washington.”

[Concentrated wealth itself is a special interest, and its special interest is the continuation of capitalism, and Sanders has no desire to abolish private fortunes, which he will tell you himself. This country has been a democracy for the top capitalists and a dictatorship for everyone else from before the time of its founding. It was founded being ruled by the capitalist class (the real name Sanders refuses to apply to what he calls “the billionaire class”), and it continues to be ruled by the capitalist class to this day. Wealth is power, and concentrated wealth will always be concentrated political power, and no law can make it otherwise. See:

1. Howard Zinn, “A People’s History of the United States,” http://www.historyisaweapon.com/zinnapeopleshistory.html

2. “In what ways is wealth power, and how do the wealthy use it to support capitalism?” http://anticapitalismfaq.com/wealthispower.html

3. William Domhoff, “Who Rules America?” http://croco.freeonsciencelibraryguide.com/view.php…]

* Chafee looks like both Bill Maher and Emperor Palpatine.

[Or at least, that’s what he reminded me of.]

* All the candidates talk about climate change and their solutions, including Sanders. Sanders claims that the “fossil fuel lobby is funding climate change.”

[By suggesting that capitalism can be reformed to solve climate change, Sanders is selling a lie that, by prolonging the widespread recognition of the real root of the problem, puts global civilization at greater risk. Climate change and ecological devastation, which are system-wide issues, simply cannot be solved within a global system in which large-scale economic decisions are made in a zero-sum fashion according to what is profitable for some subset of the system: https://jiminykrix.wordpress.com/…/the-ecocide-at-the-hear…/]

I wrote this on September 24/25.

Tonight even though and maybe especially because I had a cold,
I went out. It was my last Thursday in Gainesville.

I brought my hips and my painted eyes around the Top and the Atlantic.

I think I thought tonight, and maybe have always thought,
that I could drink certain people into the world,
Ghosts of people, of social scenes,
people who moved away so long ago, people who are
simply aged out of existence.

I think after the first time I went to the Atlantic at 18,
I got permanently lost wandering around in the dark hair and the black eyeliner
of some amazing face that belonged to someone who was never real,
but which belonged to a sass, an act, a strut I fell in love with.

I thought for a while that I wanted to date and kiss such a face, such a look,
and then I came to think that maybe I merely wanted to wear and strut in such a face,
and while maybe both remain true,
there is something unfulfillable now, and I am lost up a cul-de-sac,
permanently hungry, wandering in the darkness of a perfectly darkened pair of eyes;

I am bitten up with loveliness, eaten slowly by longing,
I will never approach such beauty. If I was once thin enough for it, I was too
awkward of mind. Now that I have learned something about how to sashay, my body betrays me,
I am no longer emo-thin. My hips may be sexy in a skirt but they will never have
the quick, shadowy sharpness I once wished for them.

I will never cut anyone’s attention in half with one one-hundredth of a glance.
My lips will never be cold, unattainable peaks, nor touch any.

There were nights when the Atlantic would spill out at 2am into the winter air,
and everyone was sweaty and lustful and suddenly very cold.
I wished just once to be in black leggings and black eyeliner with dark hair,
to be pointed, and in that moment to catch the eye of the same,
someone cutting the air apart with their dark eyes.

Only my side of a dialogue with an anarchocapitalist on /r/collapse on a post about the world’s extreme wealth concentration

I’m mostly posting this (half of a) conversation because I think I manage a few relatively quality explanations of some things, such as the nature of class society and the democratic character of socialism.

Perhaps a question you ancaps face a lot, so if so, bear with me:

What stops the biggest businesses in the world from getting together, founding their own private defense company, driving the other private defense companies out of the market by undercutting them, then hiring up all their best people and buying all their weapons, then raising the rates for defense on all the smaller businesses in the world until they go under (at which point all their capital could be bought up for cheap)? What would you call that one big private defense company at that point?

* * *

> What stops that for any industry today?

They did do this, because that agency is called the state.

> I trust that competition in a truly free market will protect against monopolies.

Why would the biggest corporations in the world ever allow the market to become free, when having control of the governments of the world is so profitable?

> I think that information (internet, journalists, consumer reports, etc) will play a larger role.

And again, why would the current media companies ever allow information to truly flow freely, when controlling it is so profitable?

* * *

What i’m pretty confused by is, you acknowledge that all the current governments are in the thrall of the world’s most wealthy people. They have shown themselves perfectly willing to corrupt regulatory agencies and to mislead the masses of the public to do so, including by owning and controlling social media platforms–hell, the logic of competition for profit forces them to do so, because if one of your rivals corrupts a government agency and you don’t, you will be run out of the market.

What makes you think there could ever be as huge of concentrations of wealth as there are currently without the people with all that wealth behaving the exact same way, whether the regulatory agencies are nominally public (and therefore implicitly assumed incorruptible) or private but nominally incorruptible? What makes you think the logic of competition for profit wouldn’t force them to try to undertake the exact same underhanded methods of competition?

* * *

> They wouldn’t have the consent of the people, nor control of the legal system. This is key to controlling a population.

Why couldn’t they get the consent of the governed the way they do now–by distracting them, placating them, and bamboozling them?

> Without control of the legal system (which would be decentralized, making it impossible to ‘take over’), there’s no perceived legitimacy.

Are you telling me there wouldn’t be ajudicatory or legitimizing agencies of some kind, whether commercial or cultural, and that the largest business interests and families with greatest personal fortunes wouldn’t band together to capture these legitimizing agencies? It happens in extremely subtle ways currently, you know, it’s not just outright bribery.[1]

1. http://www.anticapitalismfaq.com/wealthispower

* * *

i hear what you’re saying, but do you have some plan to like, break up the existing vast concentration of wealth? because if you don’t do that, there’s no way to start from a position of thousands of small private defense agencies–if you got rid of the state, these super-wealthy people would just start their own massive private defense agency from the get-go.

* * *

How do you intend to make that happen, though? Proposing policy is trivial–plans about how to actually achieve it in reality are always the sticking point.

* * *

yeah, i used to be an agorist until i came to believe that capitalism itself was the problem. i feel confident that if you got any sizable section of society or chunk of land operating outside of the control of the capitalists who rule the world, they would declare you to be terrorists and do to you what they do to all enemies of the imperialist order.

but truthfully, capitalism leads inevitably to concentrated wealth, so it would only be a matter of time until someone even in your liberated area started collaborating with the outsiders because of the necessity of competing for profit with the others inside your territory.

* * *

> I just see capitalism as the freedom to produce and trade with others.

But that is not exactly what capitalism is.

Capitalism isn’t just some legal right–it’s an entire political-economic system, one in which the means of production are controlled by private individuals and groups to produce profit.

I think the desire to be able to own the means of production is understandable–however, because of the way wealth concentrates in fewer and fewer hands when capitalism is the system that manages it, the right to own means of production will be totally un-exercisable by 98% of humanity, who have no choice but to starve or to enrich those who do manage to become owners of the means of production.

We can wish and wish all day that it could be made into a system where wealth doesn’t concentrate and where everyone has an equal shot at becoming an owner, but in its deepest nature, capitalism makes this outcome impossible. It will always trend toward a situation in which fewer and fewer people have a real shot at becoming owners.

It is worse than meaningless to declare that someone has a right (such as the right to own the means of production) if in truth they will never be able to exercise that right–it is fraud; and it is a bankrupt ideology that attempts to justify a system on the basis that such rights have technically been granted.

> No one wants bombs dropped in their backyard.

No, but it’s pretty easy for them to just walk into your house and murder you if they view you as a real threat.

> what do you suggest in its place?

Socialism, by which I mean a political-economic system in which the economy is democratically planned.

> ‘public ownership’ of the means of production really just means ‘state ownership.’

I think this is oversimplifying it. If the state is genuinely democratically controlled, then it is both state ownership and public ownership. I think it is possible to say that states can be more or less democratically run, and that it is unscientific to declare that they are all equally undemocratic.

In that vein, I think you do yourself a disservice by refusing to examine the extent to which the governments put in place by the two great socialist revolutions of the 20th century, the Soviet and the PRC government, were democratic, at least initially (check out sections 1.3 and 2.2 here: https://www.reddit.com/r/communism/wiki/debunk). I won’t say that you will be convinced, but as I said, I think you do yourself a disservice by failing to really investigate this project that has been undertaken by hundreds of millions of people in an effort to achieve statelessness.

> I don’t trust states and democracy is just an illusion.

Again, I think this oversimplifies it. States exist because society is divided into classes. Until class division has vanished, states will continue to exist. Concentrated private wealth is the root that keeps regrowing into a state. So long as concentrated private wealth exists, there is no option of having no state. I agree that the current state, which is run by capitalists, will never allow itself to be democratically controlled–the only option is to smash this state and put in its place a new, workers state, and then struggle to maintain the democratic nature of that state. I think it’s obvious that the democratic character was lost in the case of both the USSR and the PRC, but I think they were genuinely democratic in a way that all preceding states in history had never been, at least for the first few decades of their existence.

And I think it is possible to preserve that democratic character, which is what the cultural revolution in China was about: the Chinese people realized that their state was calcifying and bureaucratizing as the USSR’s had and undertook a great effort to reclaim genuine public control over the state. I think an honest examination of what was really going on during the period of the cultural revolution shows that it was actually true–that they really were restoring the democratic character that had been lost. It was too little too late, but I think they were on the right path.

All future socialist countries will be born with these understandings pre-loaded, and I think they will therefore have a much better chance of remaining genuinely democratic.

For me, while I’m not convinced that this method of attempting to achieve statelessness will definitely succeed in the end, I am convinced that no other method has a chance in hell.

* * *

> So you’re afraid of a system where ownership of the means of production might concentrate in the hands of the few.

It inevitably concentrates in the hands of the few, not just might, as you put it–you will be hard-pressed to find me even one single span of 20 years of capitalism when wealth was not more concentrated at the end than at the beginning. Seriously, read the first five chapters of Zombie Capitalism. Go out on an intellectual limb–if you read it and find you are able to clearly enunciate logical problems with it, I promise you will have tremendous firepower with which to combat Marxist thinking.

> So you’re afraid of a system where ownership of the means of production might concentrate in the hands of the few. So to combat that, you advocate a system where the means of production are definitively concentrated into the hands of the few (the state)? This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. You’re advocating the worst case scenario.

That’s just the thing: that’s obviously untrue. Both the wealth and the power became much more broadly distributed in both the USSR and the PRC than they had been under the old regimes. And then, even though the USSR had become deeply revisionist by the late 1980s, the collapse and return to capitalism brought about an even greater concentration of wealth and power. The worst-case scenarios bookended the existence of the Soviet government–it was never as bad during the Soviet era as it was before or became immediately after.

> I’m sorry. This is bullshit. There is no such thing as ‘public’ ownership. It always means state ownership. The state is just an entity that violently enforces its monopoly on providing certain services. That’s it. Just because you think your vote counts, doesn’t mean you own any of the state owned resources.

That’s just the thing, and here’s where you’re doing yourself an intellectual disservice, because you clearly haven’t actually looked into how they worked. You are projecting your caricature onto the data, instead of examining the data.

The mode of democracy in the early PRC and early SU was not simply a vote every few years. It was a fundamentally new form of government, with way more ways than voting that public opinion became policy in these countries, including the fact that the government itself was composed of soviets (people’s councils) and all kinds of engagements between the party–which was embedded throughout society and full of regular people–and the broad masses. Check out the links I provided last message.

What you’ll find is that this type of democracy and mass character of the government was lost over the years, in both the USSR and the PRC. To say ‘states are states are states!’ is to totally ignore the incredible degree of participation and mass-driven change that were occurring, especially from like 1953-1973 in China.

> why is a democratic vote any less tyrannical than the will of a dictator? . . .

> You don’t get what democracy is at all. You think that when 51% of people agree with something, that automatically makes it right.

You won’t find a society that doesn’t occasionally ask something of its members that they don’t fully want. If you want to live among other human beings, you will occasionally be dragged along for something you don’t like. You are trying to sell a vision of a world where everyone has the option to say ‘no’ to society, but it is an illusion. Your model for how this would work is based on an economic system that was born out of concentrated wealth and which has always, inexorably, trended toward even more greatly concentrated wealth.

And there is not a single point in the history of capitalism when those at the top weren’t using their concentrated wealth as political power to control the playing field on which they were generating their wealth. The French and American revolutions were literally the capitalists creating new, more capitalism-friendly states for themselves. That right there is enough to show you who’s wagging whom: the capitalists built themselves new states.

By advocating for capitalism while ignoring the obvious facts that even a brief examination of the real history of capitalism shows, you are advocating for a far worse and more indiscriminate violence than I am. As long as there is class-divided society, there will be systematic violence on behalf of the ruling class to keep the producing classes producing steadily at a minimum of cost. Straight up, 7 million people starve to death every year because capitalism needs the global laborers of the world to accept as low a wage as possible, and global capitalism has structured the economy so that there are always people who cannot find work, and thus who cannot get food.

It is ethical to start a war to end the annual starvation of millions. The sad truth is, because the world capitalist system is so massively and routinely violent, it will take violence to overthrow it. If you stand in the way of a revolution to overthrow and bury this system that cannot help but starve millions to death, yeah, you will get pushed out of the way.

> In a free market capitalist society ( the free market is important),

The markets of capitalism were something vaguely approaching free for no more than 50 years, back in the 1500s and 1600s, before all the markets fell under the control of this or that business or bloc of businesses. Because of the tendency of wealth to concentrate in capitalism, the era of slightly more free competition was doomed to pass away and leave behind an era of monopoly capitalism, which has been the situation we’ve found ourselves in for hundreds of years virtually everywhere on earth now.

It is impossible to make the market even slightly free again. The governments have from the get-go been sock puppets for the collected business interests. If you smashed this government on behalf of ‘anarchocapitalism,’ the big capitalists would create that one big private defense agency and capture it so fast your head would spin, and that would reveal to you the real nature of the system–that the collective business interests own the state, and not for a second has it ever been the other way around.

> These state-create legal entities called ‘corporations’ unfairly acquire wealth because of their state protection, subsides, regulatory capture, etc.

What your theory doesn’t account for is the fact that the concentration of wealth had begun–and the era of free competition already largely passed away–well before states started granting these charters. If you knew the real history of the system you’re advocating for, you wouldn’t be making these transparently false claims about what drives wealth concentration.

But for that matter, why did states grant these charters at all? Doesn’t the fact that the states began granting these legitimizing charters at all indicate to you that the state was in fact already captured before it started awarding corporate charters? Otherwise why would it grant them?

> I just don’t understand how a person could live in the world today and then say he wants the government to control more of society.

I don’t want these governments, these capitalist-controlled governments to control more of society. An honest evaluation of the character of the political-economic system in China from 1953 to 1973 would reveal to you a world of difference between a worker’s government and a capitalist government. One was trying to spread power and wealth ever more broadly throughout society and make the government ever more democratic–the other tries constantly to reduce democracy and concentrate wealth.

Your theory that ‘states are states are states’ is like the theory of phlogiston–it substitutes an idealized, abstract idea for a theory based on an examination of what reality actually looks like, in its particulars. If you want to know how to make a fundamentally new type of combustion, or new type of state, you have to actually look at what’s going on in material reality. One type of state is necessary on the way toward a stateless society; the other is an impossible dream, a castle built upon air based on a hazy plan to return to a form of capitalism that, in its very nature, cannot exist for more than a period of a few decades–and those decades have long, long past.

On the typical anarchist rejection of nuance in discussing the USSR and the PRC

It’s woeful how many self-declared socialists do the capitalists’ work for them by repeating, word for word, exactly what the capitalists want said about the Soviet Union. There definitely are honest criticisms to be made, but none of them are “Authoritarianism! Totalitarianism! He killed X0 million of his own people!”

Even anarchists need a nuanced evaluation of the Soviet Union, and of the Maoist PRC, and this is why: it was *mass movements* that put the Soviet and Chinese revolutionary governments in place.

If they think the masses were just these dumb, unwitting hordes, what does that say about the masses’ ability to create any kind of new society, regardless of the method? Why did the masses believe a party was the right way to go? How did the masses fail to correct the problems that sprung up when they did? Why did the masses support such obviously “authoritarian” parties? If they don’t trust the masses, they aren’t actually socialists. So they should at least have *some* clue what the masses were up to in the Soviet Union and why they supported the Bolsheviks, and why the Chinese people supported the Chinese Communist Party.

Saying “that revolution was irredeemably bad because of parties and Stalin was a monster” actually slanders the masses. This hurts their cause even if they are anti-vanguardist.

What anarchists need to explain *just like any other socialists* is how and why the Soviet Union’s specific problems cropped up. They can’t just look at it and say “parties are bad”—that’s unscientifc and counterproductive. Even if anarchists somewhere win without a party, they will face similar problems to the ones the Soviet Union and the PRC faced: they will have to rebuild in a war-torn economy; they will have to deal with the fact that they are trying to build an entirely new type of society in an area that, undoubtedly, was one of the poorest in the world. They will have to contend with incredibly powerful imperialist-capitalist powers trying to undermine them from without and within, with tanks, bombs, sanctions, blockades, spies, and sabotage—ceaselessly. And in fact, in the middle of all this chaos, they will also have to deal with hundreds of thousands if not millions of reactionaries, across the country and in all sorts of positions of power and influence, trying to destroy the new order, both subtly and overtly.

On top of all that, if they find even the slightest amount of hierarchy necessary in managing all this, they will find that the contradictions between those doing the managing and those being managed will tend to have a bourgeoisifying effect on *some* percentage of those doing the managing, so they will have to struggle to keep their proletarian apparatuses genuinely proletarian.

They are shooting themselves in the foot if they think the problems the Soviet Union faced wouldn’t apply to any postrevolutionary society that had come into existence through an anarchist revolution. They need real understanding, real analysis, and basically just a straight-up willingness to engage with *reality* if they want to build a new world.

This is how to evaluate the Soviet Union: