Libertarian Socialism: A Practical Outline

By Gaston Leval (1959)

Entry 3325


From: holdoffhunger [id: 1]


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(1895 - 1978)

CNT Radical, Anarcho-Syndicalist, and Spanish Civil War Historian

: He was a French anarchist during the Spanish Civil War and was the son of a French Communard. Leval, himself was a French anarcho-syndicalist militant and a participant in the foundation congress of the Red International of Labor Unions from June-August 1921. (From: Anarchy Archives.)
• "The methodical police terror, the [Bolshevik] Party's tightening grip upon the whole of social life, the systematic annihilation of all non-Bolshevik currents, the no less systematic extermination of all revolutionaries who thought along lines different from those of the new masters, and indeed the eradication of every hint of dissent within the Party all proved that we were on the road to a new despotism that was not merely political but also intellectual, mental and moral, reminiscent of the darkest days of the Middle Ages." (From: "Anarchists Behind Bars," by Gaston Leval, Summer,....)
• "...the means of production remained unused in the barns of the rich, whilst the poor peasants worked the land with roman plows drawn by worn out donkeys and mules!" (From: "Collectives in Spain," by Gaston Leval, 1945.)
• "...the Spanish Libertarian workers co-ordinate and rationalize production in a much more satisfactory way than Capitalism had done. And I lay special stress on the disappearance of small unhealthy and costly workshops and factories, besides the correct use of machinery for the work most suited to it." (From: "Collectives in Spain," by Gaston Leval, 1945.)


9 Chapters | 27,493 Words | 176,713 Characters

PREFACE Our attempt to sketch the outlines of a transformed society, for the purpose of establishing libertarian socialism, runs up against some realities and difficulties that we cannot ignore. The improvement of the military techniques of the states and the new conservative forces, no longer allows us to expect that the people themselves will be capable of victory, by force of arms, against tanks, jet bombers, modern artillery, H-bombs and guided missiles. In other times, despite an almost total parity in armament, no social revolution was ever able to win by force of arms; such an outcome is even less likely now.[1] Furthermore, the modern economy implies the interdependence of all nations. If a trade embargo were to be enforced agai... (From:
REPLACING THE STATE For many people the biggest problem of all is how to build Socialism with an organic national structure that would replace the state and the government. For them, these two different institutions—one is the crown of the other—only play a harmful and anti-social role. But they also perform a useful function, and not to acknowledge this is to display an unfortunate ignorance and an irrational or blind prejudice. Those who think in this way are, to a certain extent, correct. The state and the government have committed incomparable evils in various human societies, by way of war, taxation, political oppression, support for the exploiters of the masses, a hypertrophied bureaucracy, tyranny of every kind and th... (From:
INDUSTRIAL STRUCTURE[3] The Trade Unions What means are necessary to achieve this transformation, assuming that the requisite maturity has been attained by a sufficient number of workers? The trade unions and enterprise committees spontaneously arise in industry and transport. We cannot foresee the relative importance of these two institutions. Ideally, it is the trade unions that should direct activities, since only they can embrace and coordinate all the enterprises—small, medium and large—that exist in every industry, in every locality—to the extent that we have not gone beyond the local framework. This coordination is absolutely necessary. It has often been the case that, without being conscious of the fact tha... (From:
DECENTRALIZATION AND THE ORGANIZATION OF INDUSTRY Before we address the issue of the structures of the federalist organization, we believe it would be useful to provide some figures that will show that, from the practical point of view—and not just from the point of view of theory or principles—industrial decentralization is an absolute necessity. In 1954, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), the Paris region had six million three hundred thousand inhabitants, that is, 14.3 percent of the population of France. Yet it is home to twenty-three percent of the industrial wage workers. Sixty percent of France’s aeronautics workers, 56.2 percent of the workers in its electrical equip... (From:
DISTRIBUTION Consumption orders production As we pointed out above, we do not conceive the regional industrial organization as being based on the departmental borders or old provinces of France. The expression, “economic region”, is explicit, and supersedes any political-administrative carving up of the nation into pieces of arbitrarily defined territories. As for the role that will be played by the National Committee of an industry, it will not be that of an absolute authority; we nonetheless believe it is acceptable to depict its most general features. The need for products obtained from or manufactured in certain territorial zones, for the entire territory of France, cannot be calculated and grasped exclusively from th... (From:
AGRICULTURE Peasants and workers We shall now address the issue of the peasantry. Because it is indispensable for the urban workers, especially the industrial workers, to understand its importance, if they do not want to once again undergo a hunger blockade, such as the workers of Paris experienced in 1848, or the active hostility that the “rurals” displayed in 1871 towards the insurgents of the Commune. The old mindset that accused the socialists of being “re-distributors” is not entirely dead among the inhabitants of the countryside, and it is upon this hostility, at times still latent, that reactionary governments, conservative parties and the privileged classes will rely in order to once again impose, in a ... (From:
PUBLIC SERVICES Public services play a major, and constantly expanding, role in the life of civilized nations. One need only consider the scale of the entire educational establishment (primary, secondary, and higher technical instruction), sanitation and health care, public welfare, railroads, and highways, to get an idea of how large a role they play. So, all of these services are performed and must not cease to be performed. How should we approach the problem of replacing their current forms of administration and direction with a new kind of administrative and directive system? Let us once again take a few examples. Today, the primary schools and all preschool organizations are either in the hands of the state, or else in those of the... (From:
MAINTAINING PRODUCTIVITY It is particularly at the industrial workers that the following verities are directed. We are aware of the fact that they were not first enunciated by a revolutionary, and that we run the risk, by publishing these words, of being misunderstood and condemned. But every responsible man does his duty, regardless of the incomprehension with which he may be met. It is better to be stoned by the mob than to lie. For the immense majority, if not all, of the revolutionary workers, the expropriation of the employers and the capitalists must entail an immediate and major improvement of their condition. Based on what they have been told about the critique of capitalism, they have deduced that the owners, the stockholders a... (From:
THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE What we have presented in this book may seem, in part, utopian, because these conceptions of practical implementation refer, or seem to refer, to an indistinct future. But this future will never be realized if we do not prepare for it right now, since problems of such importance cannot be solved with improvised methods. The occupation of the factories in Italy, in 1922, and the occupation of the factories throughout much of France in June 1936, show us that we might, regardless of the exact date, once again encounter a revolutionary situation in which it will be necessary to understand what must be done quickly to achieve a positive result. However, even while we are waiting for such a situation—which we must ... (From:


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