Beware Authoritarian Left Parasites!

Chuck0's picture

Occasionally somebody asks us why we bother to speak out against authoritarian Left groups like the ISO and SWP. They often point out that these groups are rather small and that we are wasting our time exposing these movement opportunists. As anarchists, we know from recent history and 20th century history that disciples of the authoritarian Left will smile at you one minute and stab you in the back the next. We feel it is important to expose these groups to the wider community of activists, because they lie and misrepresent themselves in order to further their agendas. Currently, they are undertaking an effort to rewrite the recent history of the anti-globalization movement. They want activists to believe that centralist, hierarchical Left parties were the ones that made the various anti-globalization protest successful. The fact is, these groups are latecomers to the "globalization from below" resistance network. The reason why J18 and N30 and A16 were successful was because they relied on democratic, anarchist methods, not "protest from above" activist management that is promoted by these obsolete Left parties.

Here are a few recent examples from their newspapers, which illustrates the big lie they are trying to promote:

"The biggest danger is that socialists and trade union activists who have held the movement together through the grim years of retreat and demoralization will not grasp how quickly things are changing." - Socialist Worker (SWP - Britain)

“Some people in Australia seem to think that the demonstration was organised by affinity groups, but they encapsulated a very small number of people, who mainly wanted to play in a band, or dress in a particular way, or make puppets.

“I'm not saying that creative things aren't good, even a party can do creative things, but to believe that the demonstration was organised through affinity groups is just false.

“Most of the information and the arguments at Prague came from the organised left. It was just amazing seeing that those people were going to go back to their countries and fight for a revolutionary perspective on change. I realised that if I was going to go back to Australia as an individual activist, I didn't know who I was going to work with. I knew that a party could play the role of developing ideas and arguing for them, of keeping struggle alive between demonstrations.” - Green Left Weekly (Australia) "Everybody should be in a revolutionary party"

There are many more examples like this in the recent literature of these authoritarian parties. The first example, from the SWP, is pretty amazing, because most activists will tell you that activist movements have been stifled for years by these unimaginative Left groups. The second example clearly shows how the actual methodology of the "globalization from below" movement/network is being mystified by authoritarian socialists who are more interesting in recruiting people into their party, than in actually effecting social change. Truth be told, it was the widespread use of affinity groups--a time-tested anarchist tactic--that made J18, N30, A16 and Prague successes. Veteran activists understand this--the folks at Green Left Weekly are lying to hoodwink new activists into joining them.

Finally, it needs to be said that many authoritarian Left newspapers aren't telling the whole truth when it comes to anti-capitalist protests. Just take a look at their coverage of any event where the black bloc played a significant role. You'll find that these newspapers carefully avoid mentioning the black bloc and their politics. They frequently dismiss the bloc as a bunch of radical youth who haven't seen the wisdom of party-building. Pathetic!

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