Communisme, Stalinisme, Socialisme, Fascisme, Collectivisme, Anarchisme
Une fois n’est pas coûtume, je vais reproduire l’essentiel d’un débat qui s’est déroulé sur l’excellente liste de diffusion de géographie critique (dite liste des « crits »).
From Dr Hillary J. Shaw
Visiting Fellow - Centre for Urban Research on Austerity
Department of Politics and Public Policy
De Montfort University
The problem with books is once you read them you can’t un-read them.
European politics and history in the 20 C starts to look a little different once you read Hayek, F A (1971) The Road To Serfdom, Routledge, London UK From the first few pages of this book, "...Stalinism was described even by a friend of Lenin as ‘superfascist’, ‘more ruthless than fascism’, with similar opinions being expressed by British politician Chamberlain, and by British writer Mr F A Vogt (Hayek, 1971: 20-1). The vicious fighting in 1920s Europe between Fascists and Communists was precisely because ‘they competed for the support of the same type of mind and reserved for each other the hatred of the heretic’ (Hayek, 1971: 22). One thing that all Collectivists share is intolerance for any dissenting, therefore threatening, opinions, rather like the strong religious factions of 16 century Europe..."
Communism - ▻http://fooddeserts.org/images/000Russia.htm
WW2 - ▻http://fooddeserts.org/images/050FraGermany.htm
Un certain Reed (pas d’autres infos) répond :
One thing that all Collectivists share is intolerance for any dissenting, therefore threatening, opinions... Then, One thing that all vulgar individualists share is a perfectly immoral disregard for mutual obligations... I’d say capitalism — marked as it is by market imperatives rather than opportunities — `is “collectivist” in the extreme, which is probably related to its tendency to decay into fascism.
I also find it interesting that the anti-fascism of partisans is, in your formulation, pitched as a Bad Thing. Meanwhile, the inertia (or complicity) of liberals goes unmentioned.
But, sure, the uses of Hayek are endless, as every anti-democratic and reactionary movement in the U.S. has thoroughly demonstrated, especially the anarcho-capitalist types who (surprise!) fly their black and yellow flags at the same rallies where the Klansmen and neo-nazis gather to cheerlead genocide.
Hillary J. Shaw again en réponse :
1) yes, capitalism, especially when globalised, can easily become ’Collectivist’, Totalitarian, even., Renarkably, even Adam Smith, way back in 1755, spoke of this tendency. And look now at the oligopolies we have in e.g. supermarkets, banking.
2) Collectivism, generally, DOES demand uniformity of opinion - that’s almost a circular tautology. Can you give any major examples where it hasn’t - I’d love to know. And it was Hayek who used the term ’Collectivist’ for both Stalinism and 1940s fascism, by the way, not me.
3) I said nothing about anti-fascism of partisans here, such ’partisans’ are often Communist in ideology, but may be ’anarchist’ leaning (although anarchism has often evolved into a very Collectivist socialism, ironically). As fighters against Naziism in the 1940s, they wree a great thing, as was anything that helped end Hitler’s tyranny and WW2.
4) On this Hayekian analysis, the Klansmen, as neo-nazis, would be portrayed as Collectivist too - so if you percieve me as anti-Collectivist 9and I am no admirer of Stalin), then I must be (and indeed am) anti Klansmen too.
Yes Hayek can be ’used for many things’ - but doesn’t that apply to almost all significant researchers, academics, in the social sciences and indeed beyond? Including for sure Marx, and probably Aadam Smith too. Does that mean we should ditch them, and the rest of these thinkers too?
Noel Cass, de l’université de Lancaster :
“anarchism has often evolved into a very Collectivist socialism, ironically”
– just, no, Hilary.
After socialist revolutions, anarchism has been crushed by authoritarian socialists. Please desist from sweeping political generalisations that just get up people’s noses.
Hillary J. Shaw répond :
Well yes and no. Only Wikipedia but seems to be broadly correct here
While opposition to the state is central, anarchism specifically entails opposing authority or hierarchical organisation in the conduct of all human relations. Anarchism is usually considered a far-left ideology and much of anarchist economics and anarchist legal philosophy reflects anti-authoritarian interpretations of communism, collectivism, syndicalism, mutualism, or participatory economics.
In response to the army rebellion, an anarchist-inspired movement of peasants and workers, supported by armed militias, took control of Barcelona and of large areas of rural Spain where they collectivised the land. However, the anarchists were losing ground even before the fascist victory in 1939 in a bitter struggle with the Stalinists, who controlled much of the distribution of military aid to the Republicans cause from the Soviet Union. According to Noam Chomsky, "the communists were mainly responsible for the destruction of the Spanish anarchists. Not just in Catalonia—the communist armies mainly destroyed the collectives elsewhere. The communists basically acted as the police force of the security system of the Republic and were very much opposed to the anarchists, partially because Stalin still hoped at that time to have some kind of pact with Western countries against Adolf Hitler
My point in the whole of this is that the Left is a very complex concept that can range from being as totalitarian as some fascist regimes (e.g in the case of Stalin) right through to more idealistic schemes that promote individual flourishing (e.g. some anarchists) - however those who create the latter such schemes, however well-meaning, must beware they do not lapse/evolve into/get taken over by the more collectivist / dictatorial ones.
Antony Ince, géographe de l’université de Cardiff :
First of all, Hillary, you are very nearly correct when you point out the Spanish Civil War. There was a faction among the anarchists who believed that it would be strategically useful to participate in the Republican government in order to enhance their influence, especially in the anti-fascist regions where they were less powerful.
However, this did not necessarily involve a change of ideology; it was an effort - a flawed one, admittedly, spurred on by concerns of war - to instrumentally use state institutions to further the anarchist cause. As it happened, it didn’t end well.
Second, I would like to emphasise that “collectivism” is not a singular term and is not owned by totalitarianisms such as Stalinism et al. To begin, fascism’s conception of collectivism is one of national unity, a cross-class alliance in the supposed interest of national ’renewal’ or ’renaissance’ that is only collective in the sense that a powerful central state is in control of the polity, and which often features some very crude forms of nationalisation. Soviet collectivism operates functionally in a similar way (as predicted by the anarchists long before 1917!), although its goal is oriented towards the elimination of class relations.
Of course, in practice, it simply created a new class structure by occupying the same state institutions and relations of production as the old order and failing to eliminate capital when it had the chance.
With regards to anarchism and collectivism, the story is different again. Aside from some streams of exclusively individualist anarchism influenced by the likes of Max Stirner, anarchism is more accurately described as “anarchist-communism”. It is a left-libertarian form of collectivism that seeks to respect individual agency while also promoting the virtues of co-operation (sometimes referred to as ’free association’).
There are many examples of this, such as the regions controlled by the CNT in civil war Spain, the vast regions of Ukraine voluntarily collectivised along anarchist lines by the Makhnovists during the Russian revolution, and more recently the principles on which the Rojava region in Syria is managed. (Of course, there are the Zapatistas too, but interestingly it turns out that their form of agrarian anarchism emerged from libertarian Marxist ideas in the early 1980s). Anyway, for the most part, anarchist experiments have tended to end not by a drift towards authoritarianism but by annihilation at the hands of authoritarians.
In Spain, of course the fascists were largely to blame, but also the USSR-backed Communist Party saw the anarchists as a greater threat to their prospects than Franco; for the Makhnovists, it was Trotsky’s Red Armies who ended their voluntary collectivism in the Ukrainian countryside. In Rojava, if their Bookchin-inspired libertarian municipalism doesn’t survive (which I sincerely hope it does!), it is likely to be at the hands of the proto-fascist Turkish state.
So, let’s be a little more nuanced with the notion of ’collectivism’, what it means, and what values and organisational logics it embodies. There are multiple collectivisms, and they operate along as much an axis of authoritarian-libertarian as left-right.
Noel Cass dans un dernier élan :
I was tempted to shout “Remember Kronstadt!”, lob a grenade, and duck !!