THE POVERTY OF STATISM Anarchism versus Marxism. A debate with Nikolai Bukharin, Luigi Fabbri and Rudolf Rocker (Introduced by Albert Meltzer). Translated by Paul Sharkey eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)

PovertyStatismATHE POVERTY OF STATISM Anarchism versus Marxism. A debate with Nikolai Bukharin, Luigi Fabbri and Rudolf Rocker (Introduced by Albert Meltzer) Translated by Paul Sharkey.

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Anarchist response to Nikolai Bukharin’s ‘Anarchy and Scientific Communism’; a libertarian critique of the proletarian state, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the organisation of production, etc., by two of Bukharin’s anarchist contemporaries. Includes Rocker’s essay ‘Marx and Anarchism’.

This what Lenin’s ‘Golden Boy’ — and, at the time, considered Lenin’s most-likely successor— Nikolai Bukharin, had to say about anarchism . . .  That is, until the Marxist-Leninist Golem finally caught up with him in 1938:

‘Economic ruin, the decline of production, are undeniably accompanied by the decline of healthy proletarian psychology; all of which — tending to drag the proletariat down to the level of a ragged mob and turning outstanding worker elements, with a record of productive activity, into declassed individuals — makes for a situation that more or less favours anarchist tendencies On top of that, the social democrats have obscured and created confusion about anarchy with their adulteration of Marx. As a result, it is our belief that there is a need to spell out what separates Marxist, or scientific, communism from anarchist teachings…

This is some of what his contemporary, Italian anarchist writer and activist, Luigi Fabbri, had to say:

‘A short while ago, through the publishing firm of the Communist Party of Italy, a little twelve-page pamphlet was issued by that ‘superlative theoretician’ (as he was introduced to the public in the socialist and communist press) Nikolai Bukharin. It bore the pompous title Anarchy and Scientific Communism. Let us just have a look and see how much ‘science’ there is in it.

‘Bukharin does not set out any true notion of anarchism, any of the points in the anarchist-communist programme as they truthfully are; nor does he take the trouble to inform himself on anarchist thinking by drawing upon the primary sources of the anarchists‘ historical and theoretical literature. All he does is parrot well worn clichés, talking without being careful to keep faith with what he has heard said, and allowing his imagination to run riot in relation to those facets of anarchism that he knows least about. It is impossible to find such a failure to comprehend the theory and tactics of anarchy since the superficial and untrustworthy hackwork of the bourgeoisie thirty or forty years ago . . . 

… and German anarchist Rudolf Rocker, author of ‘Nationalism and Culture‘ Books  I & II

‘Perhaps the reader thinks he has found a flaw in the title (The Soviet System or The Dictatorship of the Proletariat) and that the soviet system and the dictatorship of the proletariat are one and the same thing? No. They are two radically different ideas that, far from being mutually complementary, are mutually opposed. Only an unhealthy party logic could accept a fusion when what really exists is an irreconcilable opposition.

‘The idea of ‘soviets’ is a well-defined expression of what we take to be social revolution, being an element belonging entirely to the constructive side of socialism. The origin of the notion of dictatorship is wholly bourgeois and, as such, has nothing to do with socialism. It is possible to harness the two terms together artificially, if it is so desired, but all one would get would be a very poor caricature of the original idea of soviets, amounting, as such, to a subversion of the basic notion of socialism . . . ‘