The present period is the most stormy and convulsive period in history. Globalization now manifests itself as a global crisis of capitalism. Given the depth of the crisis and the worsening conditions, things are developing very quickly. The stage is set for a general revival of the class struggle, and in fact, this process has already begun.
What distinguishes Marxism from Anarchism? Why two theories, by what are they distinguished from each other, what are their relative merits, and which of the two theories, or which combination of their ideas, is the best tool for fighting capitalism and the bourgeois state? Such a process of questioning is necessary for any revolutionary, as an attempt to grasp and conquer revolutionary theory.
Many superficial explanations have been given for the conflict between Marx and Bakunin, between Marxism and Anarchism. Some commentators have resorted to personality flaws to account for the conflict. A more promising line of explanation of their intractable differences, however, lies in an investigation into the profoundly divergent philosophical frameworks that served as the points of departure for their respective political analyses. As will be shown below, their foundational concepts are so incompatible that even their points of agreement are rendered more illusory than substantive.
The recent anti-capitalist demonstrations have brought together many different groups protesting against the destruction of the environment, racism, the exploitation of the third world, and also many ordinary young people protesting at the state of things in general. This article debates the anarchist ideas of some of the groups organising these protests.
Whilst one does not find in Noam Chomsky any specific critique of Marx’s writings (he admits he is not a Marx “scholar”), there are a number of inferences that Marxism represents an authoritarian tradition, although this is qualified by regular references to a supposed “left libertarian tradition”. Heiko Khoo looks at some of the ideas of Chomsky, showing how he misrepresents – or doesn’t even understand – genuine Marxism.
There have been many splits in the history of the Marxist movement. The enemies of Marxism seize upon this fact as proof of an inherent weakness, an intolerant spirit, excessive centralism, bureaucratic and authoritarian tendencies and so on. The same arguments were used in the First International (IWMA), when Marx and Engels were obliged to wage a ferocious struggle against the followers of the anarchist Bakunin. The document that we published in installments, Fictitious Splits in the International is a useful reminder of the differences between Marxism and anarchism. We believe it deserves a careful reading for the lessons it has for Marxists today.