Alexander Berkman said it in 1929

Given that the “Who CARES? Act” is the Burgfriendenspolitik of the modern US economy, Alexander Berkman’s characterization of social democrats from 1929 has relevance. The present ruling class action is a mere looting spree and mass theft, as opposed to outright mass murder as was the case in 1914, and Berkman was writing within a different cultural context. The old bourgeois culture he’s describing has long been replaced by the culture of the technocratic managerial elite. But the analogy between now and 1914 otherwise holds.

“One by one those features of Socialism which were really, significant, educational, and liberating were sacrificed in behalf of politics, to secure more favorable public opinion, lessen persecution, and accomplish “something practical,” that is, to get more Socialists elected to office. In this process, which has been going on for years in every country, the Socialist parties in Europe acquired a membership that numbered in the millions. But those millions were not socialistic at all; they were party followers who had no conception of the real spirit and meaning of socialism; men and women steeped in the old prejudices and capitalistic views;  bourgeois-minded people, narrow nationalists, church members, believers in divine authority and consequently also in human government, in the domination of man by man, in the State and its institutions of oppression and exploitation, in the necessity of defending “their” government and country, in patriotism and militarism.

Is it any wonder, then, that when the Great War [World War One] broke out Socialists in every country, with few exceptions, took up arms to “defend the fatherland”…and so the “Socialists” of every country and their followers went on slaughtering each other until ten million of them lay dead, and twenty million were blinded, maimed, and crippled.

It was inevitable that the policy of political, parliamentary activity should lead to such results.”

Alexander Berkman, What is Communist Anarchism?

Categories: Anarchism/Anti-State

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