Socialists and Anarchists

We're resuming an – unhurried! – polemic with "Volontà" of Ancona, which from the 1st November has devoted a sesquipedal article to polemicising with us.

The anarchist columnist digresses first, then excuses himself in order to revolve a bit around his phobia for the state; and finally comes to the point that we have defined as essential.

The anarchists – we said – think that the economic expropriation of the bourgeoisie will be instantaneous, and simultaneous with the proletarian insurrection which will knock dawn the bourgeois power.

On this premise – which is simply fictitious – they construct their other illusion en the uselessness of every form of power, of state, of proletarian government.

This goes at the same time with the fallacy of the anarchist economic conception, based on the liberty of producers' and consumers' groups in the field of the production and distribution of goods – a conception that while superseding the bourgeois system of private enterprise, or that of Mazzinian associations a, remains well below the formidable original content of the communist economic concept: suppression of the "freedom of production".

Not understanding this gigantic task of the communist revolution, all convinced that it will suffice to kill off this cursed State (metaphysically thought of as immanent, independent of capitalism, the same whatever class possesses it!) because everything goes into place by itself – the anarchists imagine possible the instantaneous substitution of the socialist economy for the bourgeois one.

That we've hit the right key, is demonstrated by the polemical enormities which ''Volontà" resorts to in the face of our approach to the question.

To hold that after the political revolution there will continue to be bourgeois who aren't yet expropriated is , according to our anarchist friends, utopian socialism!

Engels, if he were to live again, would chase us back into the prehistory of socialism! Poor us... and poor Engels!

What if precisely utopianism used to dream of the new society without being conscious of the historical process which leads to it! What if precisely Marx and Engels indicated the necessary means of this process, fixing the exact criteria of which we are modest but dogged supporters! But let the columnist of "Volontà" reread; not only the constitution of the Russian Republic and the other documents of the Third International which we've recorded at another time, but precisely the last two pages the chapter "proletarians and Communists" of the Communist Manifesto. There he will see discussed the gradual process of expropriation after the conquest of power.

The whole problem of Dictatorship, which the anarchist journal has discussed chaotically, is right here. It's in the existence or not of the period ;and some socialists die if they don't immediately add transitory) or gradual expropriation of the bourgeois by the proletariat organised as dominant class.

We've written before in polemic with the anarchists that this period (of transition, its true, since there can't be a period that isn't transitional, if it has a beginning and an end) would last at least a generation.
Well then, in the work of comrade Radek published in "Comunismo" on the "Evolution of Socialism from science to action" and inspired directly by the doctrines of classical marxism, are these very clear propositions:
"Dictatorship is the form of rule, in which one class dictates its will bluntly to the other classes".
"The socialist revolution is a long process, which commences with the dethroning of the capitalist class but it ends only with the transformation of the capitalist economy into the socialist economy, in the workers' "cooperative" republic. This process will require at East a generation in every country, and this period of time Is exactly the period of the proletarian dictatorship, the period in which the proletariat with one hand must incessantly repress the capitalist class, while on the other which remains free, it can work for socialist reconstruction".

"Volontà" puts on our conscience an "opposition to the expropriating function of the revolution"!!

As if it was due to our caprice that the revolutionary process will be so complex, as Marx saw it and the above words of the... counter-revolutionary Radek described it.

The reasoning of "Volontà" is specious. Instead of dealing with the historical; social and technical possibility of its expropiation-insurrection, it devotes itself to showing that, if the management of socialisation is entrusted to a State the revolution will fail; even more if economic privilege is allowed to exist for a bit.

In possession of this magnificent sophism, our contradictor can become a good bourgeois again, presenting it to the capitalist world as a life insurance policy!

"Volontà" calls conservation of economic privilege the performance of that programme which according to us is the most rapid process of eradication of economic privilege.

We would wish – certainly – a more rapid one, as long as it could be developed on the surface of the planet that we inhabit, rather than among the wild fancies of anarchism.

But, to support the absurd concept of instantaneous socialisation, a marxism played by ear is invoked, and it's objected: there's economic privilege? It will determine political privilege. The state which you want to conserve, between the two classes of which you, socialists, want to conserve the privileged one, will choose to support the bosses' class.

But this is marxism fossilized into metaphysics! In the concept af the marxist dialectic the state doesn't have permanent characteristics and functions in history: every class state follows the evolution of that class: it's first a revolutionary motor, then an instrument of conservation. Thus the bourgeois state smashes feudal privileges in a colossal struggle, and afterwards struggles for the defence of those of the bourgeoisie against the proletariat.

But the coming to power of the proletariat (we paraphrase with our poor words the immortal thought of the Master) transcends the meaning of the accession of a new dominant class. The proletariat has – first in the lifetime of humanity – the consciousness of the laws of the economy; and of history, "in the triumph of its revolution human prehistory comes to a close".

The proletarian state breaks the bonds of the capitalist system to substitute it with a rational system of exercise of men's activity in the universal interests of humanity. The proletarian state remains standing during the period of elimination of the capitalist class, but doesn't create any other dominated class. Its historical task is the elimination of classes, with which will be eliminated the very necessity of the political power of the state.

This does not mean to say that future society will not have "representatives" and will not have central administration.

It only means that this will not have a political! function, because it will not have to act any more for one class of men against another class – it will only have economic and technical functions because it will usefully and rationally harmonise the action of all men against hostile nature.

Source Il Soviet, nr. 2, Jauary 11 1920
Author Amadeo Bordiga
n+1 Archives Copy of original Ref. DB -
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