Socialism and Anarchy

In initiating our campaign against participation in the elections, we were expecting an objection which has no other function than to be obvious and give cause far some useful explanations: you are anarchists!

It has in fact come from various quarters: and even "Avanti" responding to an opportune work of comrade Boero who certainly reflects the opinion of the maximalist comrades of Turin - speaks of anarchist abstentionism.

For its part "Libertario", while it opportunely confirms the difference between its anarchist and our socialist thought, affects to depict us as people on the path of repentance, and imagines that we re for "conceding points" to the anarchists, and that by completing other steps, we'll end up recognising that... Marx has been vanquished by Bakunin.

Now it will be good to establish in front of everybody that we are and will remain socialists and marxists.

On the relationship between socialism and anarchy much is very often misunderstood. One frequently hears it repeated that the sole difference between the two schools is in the electionist and parliamentary tactic. It's said by many, even socialists, that in them the final goal, the vision of the future society, and also the vision of the revolutionary historical process are identical.

Finally not a few socialists thoughtlessly admit that in anarchism there is a method, a conception, more perfect, more pure, higher, on which it's logical to reflect every so often in order to see – if only through the judgements expressed by the followers of anarchy – whether we socialists are less than good and true revolutionaries.

For us, whatever is said of our aversion for elections, socialism and anarchism are different methods, and this second method is in itself erroneous, is based on an incorrect interpretation of society and history, does not identify itself with the real development of the revolution; and for this very reason is not the true revolutionary method, and the less can it be called "more revolutionary" than the socialist method, as many ingenuously believe.

The conception and tactics that alone correspond to the process of the class struggle and triumph of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie, are contained in marxism, and contemporary events are confirming this against all the forecasts, against Bakunin, Kropotkin, Sorel, as against Bernstein and the reformists from all sides.

The constitution of the proletariat into a class party, the conquest of political power, the dictatorship of the proletariat, that is the formation of a government, and the expropriation of capital completed systematically by this central power, representing the necessary process of revolution.

The order of the new communist society, reached in a far from brief period, will be characterised by the disappearance of class differences, and thus by the exercise of an out and out political power, with a system of production founded on the co-ordination and the disciplining of the activity of the producers and the distribution of the products by central organisms representing the collectivity.

All of these postulates, one by one, are rejected and criticised by anarchism.

This sees in the revolution not only the demolition of the bourgeois state, but of every political power; in the transformation of the economy, a spontaneous phenomenon subsequent to the suppression of the state, which will determine almost automatically the expropriation of the capitalists; in the order of the new society the autonomous movement of free groups of producers, from which would emerge a better distribution of products.

It would be interesting to discuss these substantial differences, to show, according to our point of view, the inferiority of the anarchist system compared to the socialist one.

However from now on it remains clear that the discussion which we engage in is a discussion by socialists and between socialists. The party must therefore establish whether the proletariat has to arrive at the political conquest of power by revolutionary or legalistic means; and whether intervention in the elections, even with many reservations and only with the intention of making maximalist propaganda, is not a condition for the failure of revolutionary action, an innocuous outlet of proletarian energies that the bourgeoisie wants to provoke in order to save its institutions from definitive collapse.

Source Il Soviet, nr. 13, March 16 1919
Author Amadeo Bordiga
n+1 Archives Copy of original Ref. DB -
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