Solidarity with the Greek People

Tagged as: cuts repression
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Demonstrate in solidarity with the Greek people

It was in Greece that the concept of democracy - rule by the people - was born.  Now the Greek people are bravely protesting against the government in Athens which is trying to impose  extreme austerity measures on them in order to bail out the international bankers, as supported by politicians and governments throughout the European Union.

The Greek people are showing the way forward.  Tell the capitalist bankers and their politicians to fuck off.  Let us demonstrate in solidarity with our Greek brothers and sisters.

Assemble in Old Market Square, Nottingham at 18.00 onwards on Tuesday, 14th. February.  We will:

1. Express our militant solidarity with the Greek people.

2. Demand that the Con/LibDem Goverment abandon their austerity programme.

3.  Demand that Labour Nottingham City Council ditch their cuts budget.

4.  Hold an open democratic forum to discuss how we can effectively deal with our home-grown oppressors and exploiters in Britain.

Are you up for it?  Spread the word, inform your contacts. Bring banners, placards,etc.. Be there.

Email Contact email: rosslonghurst@talktalk.net

Comments

fuck democracy

The ancient Greeks had all the time in the world to develop democracy since ancient Greece had a massive immigrant slave class which did all its dirty work 'the Metics' (as did the Spartans, their slaves were called Helots), ergo democracy and militarism always went hand in hand with a leisured class feeding off a slave class. nothing changed - democracy was rotten from birth. destroy civilisation.

Not Inappropriate, Just Stupid

Not Inappropriate, Just Stupid

Defending democracy?

I thought you were a Stalinist, Ross?

Political Baby Talk

Calling people a "Stalinist" is the sort of political baby talk that anarchists and other leftists engage in as a substitute for serious discussion and criticism. For the record, I am a communist and, yes, I do consider that the international communist movement during Stalin's time had some great achievements as well as serious shortcomings. As for the anarchists, they have many shortcomings but no significant achievements.

As for "democracy" - rule by the people - I am aware that anarchists are against it. Part of anarchist doctrine is a refusal by the individual to accept a collective decision if it does not suit him. It is this sort of petit bourgeois individualism which partly explains the failure of anarchists to make any revolutionary breakthroughs anywhere, unlike communists.

Grotesque comments

I would not normally get involved in such pathetic squabbling, but due to some of the grotesque comments made here I feel the need to intervene.

To start with, Ross says that "Calling people a "Stalinist" is the sort of political baby talk that anarchists and other leftists engage in as a substitute for serious discussion and criticism." Whilst that might sometimes be the case, in this case it is clear that Ross admires Stalin's reign as well as that of Chairman Mao. He is regularly found parading with a banner depicting these brutal tyrants.

Lest we forget, Stalin was responsible for mass executions and purges of his political enemies, show trials, the deportations to Siberian and Central Asian gulags of some 14m people (a large proportion of whom died of diseases and malnutrition) and a death toll from famine of 4-5m. He was a man of no principle other than doggedly holding onto power at whatever cost, as evidenced by his pact with Adolf Hitler and the Nazis whilst they were winning the war.

Mao was similar in his bloodthirsty tyranny, carrying out regular purges such as the Cultural Revolution in order to maintain a reign of terror. He was also responsible for narcissistic and fantastical policies such as the Great Leap Forward which resulted in an estimated 15m excess deaths due to famine.

It is hard to see how either of these sociopaths, for whom tens of millions of deaths meant nothing, can seriously be considered worthy of idolisation. Those in the West who supported them and their ideas have long been considered ideologically bankrupt and worthy of contempt. Hence the shorthand - 'Stalinists'. There is no need to engage in debate of ideologies so obviously anti-human as these.

"As for "democracy" - rule by the people - I am aware that anarchists are against it."

This is untrue. Anarchists are in favour of genuine participatory and consensual rule by the people as opposed to the violent monopolisation of public opinion practised in 'democratic' states or the dictatorships that authoritarians are fond of.

"Part of anarchist doctrine is a refusal by the individual to accept a collective decision if it does not suit him. It is this sort of petit bourgeois individualism which partly explains the failure of anarchists to make any revolutionary breakthroughs anywhere, unlike communists."

Your 'petit bourgeois individualism' is what most people would call autonomy and self-determination. I wager that most would rather have the opportunity to opt out of a collective decision making process (at the price of disengaging from the collective endeavour) rather than be continually at the mercy of the powerful in society as your vision of communism seems to entail.

Incidentally, probably the most popular strand of anarchism is anarchist communism, which puts emphasis on collective action and communist abolition of property.

The idea that your vision of communism has been successful and that anarchism is a failure condemned to the dustbin of history is laughable. How many Maoists walk the streets of the UK today? A tiny and aging handful. Meanwhile, the ideas of anarchism continue to find new life in the youth movements of today, including the Greek anti-austerity movement, ironically enough. Greece's anarchists have been at the forefront of the anti-austerity protests whilst Stalinist scab unions have been defending the government.

Solidarity with the Greek people! Death to the anti-human ideologies of the authoritarians!

Democracy or Chaos?

Before I return to the important issue of democracy, I will just point out that the comments of 'Anarchist' on Stalin and Mao are identical to the sort of thing the bourgeoisie and their apologists come out with. This, I think tells us more about the ideological direction from which 'Anarchist' is coming from than it does about what actually happened in Russia and China.

I will quote from George Woodcock's widely regarded survey of anarchism:

"No conception of anarchism is farther from the truth than that which regards it as an extreme form of democracy. Democracy advocates the sovereignty of the people. Anarchism advocates the sovereignty of the person. This means that automatically the anarchists deny many of the forms and viewpoints of democracy. ... But the anarchist opposition to democracy goes deeper than a dispute over forms. It involves a rejection of the idea of the people as an entity distinct from the individuals who compose it; it also involves a denial of popular government. ... Particularly, the anarchist rejects the right of the majority to inflict its will on the minority. ... In reality the ideal of anarchism, far from being democracy carried to its logical end, is much nearer to aristocracy universalised and purified."

This, I think, is a fair summary of the general position on democracy of anarchists of different kinds.

The method favoured by most anarchists for collective decision-making which preserves their individual sovereignty is to arrive at a "consensus". This involves discussing a matter until everyone involved arrives at the same conclusion. In my experience this is a highly undemocratic way of arriving at a decision. What happens is that it is usually a few assertive people in a group who determine the decision made regardless of what other views are present. These self-selected leaders prevail because they browbeat the other participants and by droning on indefinitely, exhaust the rest of the group. This is indeed an aristocrcy, rule by a few. The classic and brilliant critique of this sort of anti-democratic nonsense is 'The Tyranny of Structurelessnes' by Jo Freeman, An American feminist. Having explicit, formal voting procedures when necessary gives everyone a voice.

A good example of the negative impact of anarchist ideas about organisation is provided by the new student movement. In late 2010 the students got off to a good start with their militant demonstration in London followed by occupations in many universities including the University of Nottingham. But then the anarchists started to divert the students away from action on the issues of fees and cuts in the direction of how they should be organised. This resulted in endless discussions on how they might create "non-hierarchical, horizontal, non-threatening" structures which got nowhere. Meanwhile what could have been a powerful student movement frittered away.

As a communist, my analysis as to the principal reason why socialist transformation eventually foundered in Russia and China was the failure to develop real, mass proletarian democracy. This allowed a new type of state bourgeoisie to emerge within the system and restore capitalism. Mao Tse-tung became aware of this danger and the last ten years of his life was spent fighting the Cultural Revolution in China to try to get the workers and peasants to seize power from the capitalist roaders. But it was too late and there has been full capitalist restoration in China.

As Mao said, "The problem of democracy has not been solved". An urgent problem for those who wish to overthrow capitalism and proceed along the path to communism is to put forward ways in which it will be possible to have genuine democratic decision-making in societies consisting of tens and hundreds of millions of people. Anarchist small group consensual discussions are not the answer.

Some anarchists are genuine revolutionaries with whom I co-operate in political work and for whom I have respect. However I know that many of these people are deeply frustrated by the egoistic and ineffectual antics of many of their fellow anarchists. Time for a change, I think.

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The Tyranny of Tyranny

"I will just point out that the comments of 'Anarchist' on Stalin and Mao are identical to the sort of thing the bourgeoisie and their apologists come out with."

I imagine our comments on paedophilia would be similar as well. What's your point. When something's so obviously wrong almost everyone will condemn it.

I think most of the rest of your comments can be countered by an anarchist response to 'The Tyranny of Structurelessness' - The Tyranny of Tyranny: http://libcom.org/library/tyranny-of-tyranny-cathy-levine