The Floodgates of Anarchy : Chapter 7 - Party Lines and Politics
(1920 - 1996) ~ British Anarcho-Syndicalist and CNT-FAI Activist during the Spanish Civil War : A lifelong trade unionist he fought Mosley's blackshirts; actively supported the Spanish revolution's anarchist communes and militias and the German anti-Nazi resistance and was a key player in the second world war Cairo mutiny. (From : AInfos.ca Bio.)
• "Nobody is fit to rule anybody else. It is not alleged that Mankind is perfect, or that merely through his/her natural goodness (or lack of same) he/she should (or should not) be permitted to rule. Rule as such causes abuse." (From : "Anarchism: Arguments for and against," by Albert ....)
• "If we accept the principle of a socialized society, and abolish hereditary privilege and dominant classes, the State becomes unnecessary. If the State is retained, unnecessary Government becomes tyranny since the governing body has no other way to maintain its hold." (From : "Anarchism: Arguments for and against," by Albert ....)
• "If Government is the maintenance of privilege and exploitation and inefficiency of distribution, then Anarchy is order." (From : "Anarchism: Arguments for and against," by Albert ....)
(1946 - ) ~ Scottish Anarchist Publisher and Would-Be Assassin of a Fascist Dictator
Stuart Christie (born 10 July 1946) is a Scottish anarchist writer and publisher. As an 18-year-old Christie was arrested while carrying explosives to assassinate the Spanish caudillo General Franco. He was later alleged to be a member of the Angry Brigade, but was acquitted of related charges. He went on to found the Cienfuegos Press publishing house and in 2008 the online Anarchist Film Channel which hosts films and documentaries with anarchist and libertarian themes. (From : Wikipedia.org.)
Chapter 7 - Party Lines and Politics
Political parties are associations aiming at power. Some times parties represent classes, especially when a ruling class is driven to a last-ditch defense and has to close ranks. But other factors also come into play, such as personal quarrels and ambitions, the drive of a new power elite, historical continuity, ideological differences, or a combination of some or all of these factors.
Materialistic considerations often, though not always, dominate over ideological ones, and tend to fashion the latter. The anti-clerical and free-thinking French bourgeoisie, for instance, found its way back to political Catholicism not by reason of any “light on the way to Damascus” or even by conscious decision, but solely because of general alarm at the way in which the working class had picked up its own iconoclastic beliefs. In the same way the slaves of Haiti had embraced the republican ideas of their French masters, who thereupon reacted much as would the old nobility. There has been quite some alarm here too, of recent years, in the way in which disillusion with government has spread among the younger generation.
Tories and Whigs were originally differentiated by the more progressive views of the latter section of the British aristocracy, who naturally came to expect that popular radicalism would rally behind them, even at the period when Whiggish attachment to liberty had long been consigned to the past (it was they who deported the trade union pioneers to Australia). Whigs and Tories became indistinguishable, and the party broke up. At that juncture it was the particular contribution of Disraeli to politics that he saw it was illogical that in the new, Liberal Party that inherited the Whig mantle, the urban working class should follow, not their old aristocratic “protectors”, but the very Liberal industrialists who were directly exploiting them. According to him, the natural new “protectors” of the exploited industrial workers were the reactionary landowners, who might well oppress the rural workers but had a common enemy with the factory proletariat in the manufacturing class. Given such an alliance, it seemed to him there was no reason why the Tories could not give up, their reactionary views, and become reformers at the expense of the Liberal industrialists. Universal suffrage could then favor the Conservatives-and would “dish the Whigs”. The policy was described by Carlyle as “shooting Niagara” . The sage reacted to it as did Bismarck when Lassalle tried to persuade him of this “natural alliance” too. It is in the nature of conservatism to distrust leaps in the dark, and “a leap in the dark” is exactly how Tories described their leader’s program. Yet it was a successful leap so far as they were concerned. Disraeli associated it with popular support for imperialism. And quick victories and painless patriotism, allied to a regard for working-class votes, meant that the Conservative Party got, and retains to this day, a degree of that vote. The Liberal Party was totally deprived of the only reason for its existence. For as the capitalist prospered under empire-building, he became an integral part of the ruling class. Joseph Chamberlain took the Liberal industrialists into the Conservative camp, but it was part of a general intermarriage of the top classes. After that, the working class could either look to the Conservative and Unionist Party as its “protector”, or form its own party. Eventually that came about. The Liberal Party ceased to have relevance except as an association for personal ambitions, historical loyalties and confused ideologies. The Labor Party, however, took on the old role of liberalism, and found the working class a new type of “protector” in the civil service.
There are always reasons, false only to the revolutionary, for supporting one party against another. Victory for Tweedledum means defeat for Tweedledee. In Austria, the social-democrats and liberals supported the fascism of Dollfuss against the nazism of Hitler. Many who had sworn never to vote Labor again because it had agreed to the H-bomb that could have ended the world, supported it after the Tories brought in a Rent Act that exacerbated the housing problem. Reasons for voting are magnified out of proportion, and made into political issues. It still remains true that parties are reflections of power interests, even though it may not always immediately be possible to identify one party with one class interest.
Some people find it understandably difficult to grasp the complexity of so many parties, once they have graduated from the discovery that there are more than two or three main ones. Understanding is not made easy by the hackneyed image of the parties or ideas standing from right or left like a row of ninepins waiting for the ball to hit them. The seating arrangements of the French Chamber of Deputies, on which the terms “Right” and “Left” are based, were no doubt a convenient way of spreading the crowd around that august body, but leave much to be desired in the way of explaining what political differences are all about, so long after the French Revolution.
Just as the British public has been persuaded by the advertising world that everyone is middle-class and should live up to that standard, so the French Deputies, after the Second World War discredited the Right Wing because of its collaboration with nazism, all wanted to sit on the left, leaving empty benches on the right. Only the resumed confidence of the Right, when the bourgeoisie felt secure from social revolution (thanks to the Communist Party), saved the Fourth Republic the expense of building a differently shaped chamber.
In many countries “right” and “left” have been used in a senseless fashion, merely to indicate an attitude to Moscow. For Moscow itself, to be more “left” than they was to be suffering, in Lenin’s phrase, from “an infantile disorder”. Yet the anarchists, for instance, whatever the newspaper reader might think, are not “more extreme” than the communists; they are at quite a different extreme. Half the defeats encountered by the anarchists as an organized entity have been the result of being persuaded that they are part of a natural “left wing” progression. The Communist Party is not nearer to the Labor Party than it is to the Liberals, nor are the latter necessarily farther away from fascism than the Tories (Lloyd George, for instance).
Once again we have recourse to a diagram. This supposes that there are two social considerations: individualistic and totalitarian. In the way in which we live, the basic determining factor is either the individual or the State. And there are two economic considerations: competitive and collective. The way in which we work is either capitalistic or socialistic. Ideologies relevant to the present time, not just theoretical adventures of which the inventive political mind is prolific but which fail to relate to current issues, can normally be understood in the relation of their social outlook to their economic. In this sense, the diagram is a rough-and-ready guide to political theory, and one can at least say for it that it makes far more sense than the drawing of a line from right to left, which up to now has been accepted as a suitable illustration.
From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org
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