Commies and Left-Anarchists on the ARV/ATS Perspective

A shitty commie website has this to say about yours truly:

In this context, I want to make a few explanatory comments about some anarchists that I cite. I’m interested in the section of anarchism in the tradition of Bakunin, Parsons, Malatesta, and Durruti that is variously described as social anarchism, class struggle anarchism, anarcho-communism or anarcho-syndicalism. I’m only concerned in passing with the primitivists, the “national anarchists,” or any of the various schools of lifestyle or individualist anarchism, and I am aware of the distinctions between these approaches and those of the class struggle social anarchists. I also wanted to use modern sources connected to some important areas of on-going anarchist experience and theory in Spain, Italy, and Latin America.

I have referred to Larry Gambone on a couple of points already. My major reference will be to Tom Wetzel of the Worker Solidarity Alliance (I think). They both express substantial positions on questions I think are important. However, I have not read many of their writings and my understanding of their positions may be inaccurate or incomplete. While both of them are clearly distinct from other important anarchist trends, I’m not sure to what extent each of them reflect the class struggle social anarchism views that I would like to engage and I make no claims in that regard. I don’t even know if they would agree with each other on the topics being considered.

I’m choosing Wetzel because of some of his writing on working class organization and culture, his specific criticisms of Bolshevik attitudes towards working class autonomy, and the base-building dual power/dual organization perspective which he shares. I initially found his stuff on the “What in the Hell…” blog and ZNet, but have read only a small fraction of what he has written. I presume a more complete collection can be found on the WSA site. Wetzel appears to share a class analysis of capitalism that hasn’t persuaded me to date, but I do recognize the compelling problems that it addresses, specifically with reference to understanding post revolutionary Russia and China. I don’t think any differences over class analysis are significant to this discussion. I may also be mistaken on this point.

My ignorance makes Gambone a more dicey choice. I first encountered his “Porcupine Blog” on National Anarchist websites, including Troy Southgate’s neo-fascist, “Synthesis” magazine. A lot of Gambone is on Keith Preston’s more “anarchist,” and certainly more eclectic, National Anarchist, “Attack the System” site. (Wetzel’s ZNet “Re-imagining Society” article is included there as well but at least his name is misspelled.)

(I think the National Anarchism phenomenon merits way more of our attention than it has received – that won’t surprise any of the unlucky handful familiar with my positions on neofascism. However, Preston is obviously attempting to cast a wide net in his red/brown merger project, and it’s quite likely that he includes writings from a number of people that would be quick to disassociate from national anarchism’s key particularist organizing tenets. Hopefully this includes Gambone.)

Larry Gambone responds:

I totally reject, and have nothing what so ever in common with, so-called national anarchism. (I am an anarcho-syndicalist with Platformist leanings and a member of the IWW.) Indeed, I have written an article against NA in Freedom and this same article can be found in my recent book “View From Anarchist Mountain.” How a lot of my writings ended up on NA sites happened when I was promoting mutualism as an alternative to so-called free market libertarianism. At this time, I encountered Keith Preston, who liked what I wrote and copied it. From there, the NA’s picked it up. I should add at this time, Keith was not an NA, but a rather unorthodox “regular anarchist.” I disagreed with his idea of uniting everyone, including far right and street gangs against the system, but never thought he was involved in the far right.

I initially posted on response to this and the commies predictably deleted it. I very much respect Larry as he’s one of my favorite left-anarchist writers and I consider his “The Myth of Socialism as Statism” and his biography of Proudhon to be core ARV/ATS guiding documents. That said, why should an anarchist aspire to be “regular”? Why should anarchism be exclusively of the Left? And as for the “far right and street gangs against the system” question, who’s winning on that one?

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