Saturday, 2 July 2011

Marxism versus anarchism

The following event is taking place on Thursday. I intend to post my opening argument (as well, hopefully, as that from the AWL) on Property is Theft a review of the event* some time afterwards.

Merseyside Workers' Liberty debates Liverpool Solidarity Federation (SolFed)
Thursday, 07/07/2011 - 18:30 - 21:00
'Next to Nowhere' Social Centre
96 Bold Street
Liverpool, L1 4HY
United Kingdom
See Map

The fight against the cuts has brought a whole new generation of activists into political activity. Many people are coming to the conclusion that capitalism – the system by which a tiny minority of bosses dominate society, needs to be replaced if we are to end the horrors of the world we see around us; poverty, exploitation, war and ecological destruction.

Both Workers' Liberty and Solidarity Federation believe that this system can be replaced by something better – a society without classes where no one can exploit anyone else. We also share broad agreement that the agency for fighting for this new society is the working class – the people who under capitalism produce all the wealth yet do not control it.

Our members in Merseyside work together in struggles and campaigns against the cuts, against racism and fascism, sometimes agreeing, sometimes disagreeing, about how to take them forward.

Our big differences are that Workers' Liberty are Marxists: we think that to break the power of the bosses, the ruling class, workers will need to organise a 'workers' state' or 'semi-state' of our own. We also think that, although parliament cannot be used to overthrow capitalism, the working class should fight within it, for concrete gains such as the NHS.

SolFed are anarchists, who argue against all participation or voting in elections. They argue that any kind of 'state' can never be used as a tool and that 'taking power' in that sense will inevitably lead to the kind of horrors that unfolded in Russia and China under Stalin and Mao.

We are holding this debate in order to discuss and clarify our ideas about how we think the world can be changed. A big problem on the left is that this kind of thing does not happen enough – differences between positions and different groups are not debated in an open, healthy way.

UPDATE: If you're in London, there's a similar debate two days later featuring Iain McKay, author of An Anarchist FAQ.

* Due to events overtaking me, I haven't had time to write-up my opening speech or obtain similar from the AWL and so this broader overview will have to suffice.