Predictably, my last piece got the attention of the Angry Marxists who reacted with a focused polemic on myself, trying desperately to paint me as the enemy because I oppose their tactics. Given that they consider their own tactics as the only means to freedom for the oppressed, naturally they would call me a “liberal counterrevolutionary”.
There’s so much disingenuousness with this piece that it becomes humorous. From calling me the “chief moderator” of /r/anarchism1, to claiming that their group knew “what needed to be done to fix /r/anarchism for the marginalized groups”2, to claiming that now that they are gone, /r/anarchism has discussions on if marginalized groups are human3, to linking to my own post about questionable tactics and claiming that I “defend the rights of fascists”4
But I’m not doing to go into so much trouble in deconstructing their usual dishonest interpretations as I do have a salient point to make, which they brought up by saying the following.
“Banning,” so his argument goes, its malignant subtext brought clearly to the foreground, “is authoritarian. Let us ignore the authoritarian violence that oppressed people face every day and the million ways in which they are pushed further out into the cold by the strong arm of privilege.
This is a prime example of everything that is and was wrong with these people and why I was calling them authoritarian when they proclaimed themselves as “anarchists”. They consider that because authoritarian violence is being used against oppressed people every day, this somehow justifies authoritarian violence (or other means) from our side as well but not only does this not follow, but it goes against everything anarchism is about! Just because your opponent using some specific means, does not justify those means! This catastrophic flaw in their reasoning is exemplified with the very next phrase.
Authority is only unacceptable when it is turned against the oppressor
They attribute this as a quote, one assumes to me, which only further proves my point about their egregious dishonesty, given that I’ve never uttered any such thing. It’s obvious that they have completely misunderstood what I’m saying and put their own words into my mouth to prove their point, but in the process they only manage to betray their own ideological mistakes.
Authoritarianism is unacceptable always. Not only when it’s turned against the oppressors, or the oppressed. The fact that I would have to state this clearly to someone who self-identified as an anarchist for 10 years just shows that someone was very confused for a long time.
You will not dismantle authoritarianism with more authoritarianism, any more than you would oppress towards freedom!
I hate to repeat myself but “This is Anarchism 101 people!“. Your tactics colour your end results. If your tactics are authoritarian, then naturally the end result will not be anarchism. It might be state “socialism” that would oppress the whole working class on behalf of a new bureaucratic ruling class, or something else to that extent. If your tactics are all about violence and killing those you deem to be your enemies, then your end result will be a violent society (will it be socialistic? Who knows. Perhaps in name but probably it would end up as simple warlordism).
It is no wonder than a self proclaimed “anarchist” who loved to advocate authoritarianism and unchecked violence as the solution to oppression, would end up having an eventual break with anarchism. No shit. They never understood anarchism to begin with5! How some can go for 10 years calling themselves anarchist and never understanding (never mind advocating) actual anarchism is beyond me.
It is precisely because these people have a complete misunderstanding of what fighting against oppression requires that points out the bankruptcy of their ideology. When you have declared that the only possible solution is to kill your opposition, anyone who would check yours tactics is an opponent and needs to be killed (which is incidentally why the Angry Marxists are chock full of violent rhetoric). When you have declared that the only possible solution is to oppress the “reactionaries”, anyone who disagrees with this tactic is a reactionary that needs to be oppressed. It’s a self-perpetuating circle, with those who self-proclaim themselves the most radical at the top, controling the state violence and labeling people as counter-revolutionaty deserving a bad end. In sort, soon enough you’ll be repeating the Soviet Union purges of the early 20th century.
And this is why Anarchism gets so much hatred from the Angry Marxists and other Authoritarians like them. Because even though we agree on the end result and we are struggling to bring about the liberation of all oppressed classes (by the classes themselves), we do not support the same tactics. And not supporting the same tactics for an Angry Marxist is the pinnacle of betrayal. For the Angry Marxist’s tactics have been declared the only liberatory ones, therefore not following those tactics is not liberatory, therefore you are supporting the continued oppression, therefore you are a reactionary, therefore you need to be “shot in the neck and thrown in a ditch”.
It is for this reason that they misunderstand the anarchist call for appropriate tactics as a “constant call to restrain ourselves, to hold back, to wait, to watch our tone, to focus on the ballot, to put aside any thought of revolution.” It is easy to use rhetoric like this but it is untrue. Nobody wants to police your tone or make you hold back, but people are pointing out that your tactics are flawed. They will not bring about the end of oppression, they will reinforce it. They will not bring about the end of violence, they will perpetuate it. If I say to an anarchist “Don’t kill that politician, it will not bring about a revolution”, it is not the same as telling them to “put aside any thought of revolution”, anyone with a modicum of integrity can see the difference in these two sentences. But for some reason, dogmatic authoritarians seem incapable of making the distinction.
Anarchists do not want to police your tone, or focus on the ballot, or make you wait until after the revolution or any such nonsense (in fact, it is Marxist who have a history of making these requests), but they do ask that you consider using tactics that are compatible with Anarchism to achieve your goals. Authoritarians like the Angry Marxists think that they need to oppress in order not to be oppressed, and naturally they find the anarchists against them. They then use this as proof to claim that they prevented from throwing off their own oppression, when in reality it is just opposition to them oppressing others.
- Blatantly untrue. I exercise as much, if not less, power than the other mods and I limit it to what mandates I have receive [↩]
- completely ignoring all the other members of marginalized groups that outright and strongly contradicted them in larger numbers [↩]
- Blatant lie. We have no such arguments in /r/anarchism, nor had we ever. While nobody can prevent an obscure discussion between two people in some deep thread that nobody noticed, this is far from saying that “entrenching the rights of misogynist men, capitalists, homophobes, cissupremacists, and racists there, turning it into a place where the voices of the oppressed are always being overpowered by the same tired arguments about whether or not we are human“. This is just a complete and outright lie, which is unfortunately quite common from this group [↩]
- which even a cursory reading would show that is about tactics and means, and not “rights”. [↩]
- Btw, I love how they say that they don’t have a problem with all Anarchists and they have some Anarchist friends. Reminds me of the “I have a black friend” argument in all its cringeworthiness. [↩]