The Anarcho-Leninist
Debate on the State

Do you have ideas or do ideas have you?
The debate question • In the period immediately following
a successful mass uprising against the bourgeoisie,
should the form (or forms) of organization adopted by the proletariat
to secure its ultimate liberation be understood to be a state?

The Action
The debate and relevant essays

debate action

The debate is over
Daniel has collapsed in Round three

relevant essays

Relevant or interesting essays
either by the debate participants themselves
or others with something worthwhile to say

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The Action so far ...


Round 1

Ben

Part 1 • Ben • Oct 5, 2002 • 3500 words

Without the goal of a state machine
controlled by the working class
we might as well proclaim that
bourgeois rule will last
until the stars refuse to shine
• Why is this question at the center of the struggle
    to create a revolutionary movement
    that is more than hot air?
• Why will the working class need a state?
• Who will control the mass media?
• The separation of speech and property
• Notes: • "dual power" • successful alternatives under bourgeois rule (Linux, AA) • separation of speech and property
Daniel

Part 4 • Daniel • Nov 11, 2002 • 6600 words

An Anarchist Replies

• Me, my motivations, and my basic argument

• Ben's Questions

• Its time for one of us to answer
  the debate question

• My Question for Ben

 
Part 2 • Ben • Oct 12, 2002 • 2800 words
The real reason for
the stink about the state
• The history of previous attempts to create a workers' state • A transparent machine • The universal sectarian answer to all difficult questions • Popularity of anarchism is the inevitable result of the theoretical bankruptcy of "Marxist" and "Leninist" groups • Cleaning up "marxism"
• Notes: • reformism • cargo cult Leninism
 
Part 3 • Ben • Oct 13, 2002 • 3100 words
A scenario for the overthrow
of bourgeois rule in the U.S. in
the middle of the 21st century
      • Why is a scenario important?
      • Here is the scenario
      • The most powerful idea of the present epoch


Round 2

Ben

Part 5 • Ben • Jan 1, 2003 • 8800 words

Finding the Confidence
to Build the Future

How will the working class keep supply chains running and bourgeois apologists from flooding
the airwaves on the morning after
bourgeois rule is broken?

-- Also please note --
important supplementary essays below:

The Future Transparent Workers' State
Will a workers' state be a brutal police state
or a machine controlled by workers?

Ben's first and second laws drive a stake thru the heart of the great fear nourished by anarchists and social-democrats alike. Ben also explains how all the sturm und drang about historical events of the 1920's and 1930's is rooted in the antagonist competition, today, for the warm, living bodies of activists. There is also a nice exposition on the nature and workings of the local left ecosystem.

politics, economics & the mass media when the working class runs the show
Ben sketches out major features of the organization of the workers' state
• competition between multiple political parties • Will there be elections? • The three economic sectors: • The evolution of the mass media (commercial media • state media • free media) • The interaction of the different media sectors

 
-- Also please note --
Ben's casual replies below:

Daniel

Part 6 • Daniel • July 1, 2003
10,700 words
An Anarchist Replies: installment 2

 
Illustrations below are from
Ben's supplementary essays:


Ben replies to a number of interesting issues raised by Daniel that were not directly related to the debate question. (posted to the pof-200 list)
casual A • Does it make sense to lump people into a bucket depending on whatever "ism" they currently believe is the least fucked up ? • Are cults a cure for happiness? • Lenin's attitude toward socialism from below • The lack of an organizational revolutionary model
casual B • Do Leninists want to shoot anarchists? • Can theory be decisive?
casual C • The necessity of public debate • Is communism inevitable? • How to ask for directions at a gas station
Now you can join this list and join the discussion!
 


Round 3

Ben

Part 7 • Ben • March 20, 2004 • 18,400 words

The World for which We Fight
Daniel
Part 8 from Daniel was due in Sept 2004.
Unfortunately, Daniel has collapsed.
There will be no part 8 (Ben, Jan 1, 2005)
The world in which we live is a world of imperialist wars, racism, unemployment, poverty, repression, ecosystem destruction on a vast scale and a culture of escapism, ignorance and spam. This world has been created and shaped by the laws of commodity production.

Millions of people want to see the emergence of a "better world" of peace, abundance and justice for all. Such a "better world" will require hundreds of thousands of activists to:

(1) understand the laws of commodity production,
(2) grasp the potential of the emerging revolution in communications,
(3) confront and resolve the crisis of theory, and
(4) build a conscious mass movement aimed at the overthrow
    of the rule of the rich and the creation of a world
    where nothing need be bartered, traded, bought or sold.

Includes six appendicies which total approximately 17,000 words:
Appendix A • Truth is always concrete
Appendix B • What google found on "the laws of commodity production"
Appendix C • Excerpts from and criticism of: "On the anarchist outlook of Noam Chomsky"
Appendix D • Love vs. prostitution (excerpts by Daniel with comments by Ben)
Appendix E • Ben replies to nine thoughtful questions by Daniel
Appendix F • The ascendency of the self-organizing moneyless economy
 


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Relevant Essays

Relevant or interesting essays either by the debate participants
themselves or others with something worthwhile to say

-- Essays not by Ben --

Because most of the writing here is by Ben Seattle,
essays by other authors will be highlighted here

Essay # 161 • Yhcrana Strikes Back! • December 14 • 1500 words
A Critical Analysis of Ben Seattle’s
"The Future Transparent Workers’ State"

"When the potential for a workers’ state to result in dictatorship is considered alongside the fact that statism will naturally create conflicting class interests, we must conclude that such a state cannot possibly be used to the advantage of the working class. And when we consider this conclusion alongside the fact that the workers themselves are perfectly capable of organizing a just society, then it becomes glaringly obvious that anarchism offers the working class a far more favourable system for social change than does Leninism or any other vanguardist ideology."
Thread 159 • 8 posts from the NWAnarchy List • October 11-12
Leninists are trying to grab our spotlight
with bullshit debates
My announcement that I intended to post installments from the Anarcho-Leninist Debate on the State was not received with enthusiasm on the NorthWest Anarchy email list
Essay 158 • Scotch Wallace replies to Ben's Part 1 • Nov 5 • 1100 words
A DeLeonist defends Revolutionary Cooperatives
Scotch is an activist working in Brazil with the MTL (rough translation: Land for Workers and Liberty Movement) that has launched several revolutionary cooperatives that have become, he notes, centers of "organization and class struggle". Scotch writes: "I certainly agree that the working class will need a machine, an organization. I further agree that the working class had better take hold of the capitalist state, and I can only see this happening through a working class political movement. The only problem is that the capitalist state is something that was designed to be useful to the capitalist class, and is of dubious utility to the working class. We had better begin to build our machine before we take control of the state. [...] The DeLeonists have an interesting point of view on this question. They certainly occupy the middle ground between the Leninists and anarchists on this question."
Essay 156 • Floyce White • Oct 1 • 1100 words
Communism Means Communes
A former "Marxist-Leninist" finds renewed inspiration in
the Paris and Shanghai Communes of 1871 and 1927
which got things done using "anti-organization"
Essay 155 • Yhcrana's reply to Ben • Oct 26 • 950 words
The Fallacy of the "Proletarian State"
• Worker influence on vs. control of the State
• Capitalism, per se, is not the enemy
• Regarding "vanguardist communism"...
-- All Essays --

The origin of many of these essays are replies
to questions asked by visitors to this site.

Essay 151 • Ben's reply to Irving (part 1) • Oct 14 • 1000 words
The future proletarian state and the media

Irving asked: "Ben, if your so-called "proletarian state" controls the media (ie, printing presses, paper supply, airwaves, etc.) isn't it logical to assume that, given the nature of every state to make self-preservation its primary concern, you state will either deny or put roadblocks in the way of those it deems "enemies of the state" (ie, anarchists and/or other socialist parties) to freely utilize the media? This is the experience of the Boshevik (counter) Revolution, is it not?"
In Part 1 Ben replies concerning the future:
• high "labor ratio" media vs. low "labor ratio" media
Essay 152 • Ben's reply to Irving (part 2) • Oct 16 • 1900 words
Why did Lenin suppress all competing trends
after the civil war ended in 1920?
In Part 2 Ben replies concerning the past:
• back from the dead
• smashing the equation
• why did they do it?
• "thank you very much but you are no longer needed"
• workers' state not possible without democratic rights
• suppression of political trends not possible under modern conditions
Essay 153 • Ben's reply to Eric • Oct 20 • 3300 words
Politics, Economics and the Mass Media
when the working class runs the show
Eric asked: "Under the worker's state you envision, do the majority of people still read/listen to/watch mass media? If so, how is the worker's state prevented from controlling content of mass media to help continue its own existence? I guess I'm pretty unclear on what the organization of the worker's state would be."
Ben replies:
• competition between multiple political parties
• Contradictions in society:
      • consumption vs. investment
      • local vs. international
      • ecosystems vs. development
      • gift economy vs. other sectors

• Will there be elections?
• The three economic sectors:
      • private capitalist • state capitalist • gift economy
• The evolution of the mass media
      • commercial media • state media • free media
• The interaction of the different media sectors
• Does this look like bourgeois rule?
• Added Nov 3 • Economic sectors in the transition period
Essay 154 • Ben's reply to Yhcrana • Oct 20 • 1000 words
How will workers control production?
Yhcrana asked: "Vanguardist communists often argue that because the vanguard party is comprised of "working class" people, placing production under state control and under working class control is the same thing. However, this isn’t true. Once a working class person occupies a position of power within the state, their working class status has automatically been negated. Instead, vanguardist communism places production under the control of officials who formerly belonged to the working class. Essentially, it replaces one ruling class with another. How would Ben respond to this?"
Ben replies: Workers' control is not possible without fundamental right to independent agitation and organization • state control is not workers' control
Essay 155 • Yhcrana's reply to Ben • Oct 26 • 950 words
The Fallacy of the "Proletarian State"
• Worker influence on vs. control of the State
• Capitalism, per se, is not the enemy
• Regarding "vanguardist communism"...
Essay 156 • Floyce White • Oct 1 • 1100 words
Communism Means Communes
A former "Marxist-Leninist" finds renewed inspiration in
the Paris and Shanghai Communes of 1871 and 1927
which got things done using "anti-organization"
Essay 157 • Ben replies to Red Star 2000 • Nov 2 • 1500 words
Liberating ourselves from darkness
redstar2000 asked: "What evidence is there that capitalist 'democracies' would ever allow a genuine workers' party to even threaten to win an election? • How does our use of the net hope to compete with the entertainment/distraction provided on the net by the capitalist class?"
Essay 158 • Scotch Wallace replies to Ben's Part 1 • Nov 5 • 1100 words
A DeLeonist defends Revolutionary Cooperatives
Scotch is an activist working in Brazil with the MTL (rough translation: Land for Workers and Liberty Movement) that has launched several revolutionary cooperatives that have become, he notes, centers of "organization and class struggle". Scotch writes: "I certainly agree that the working class will need a machine, an organization. I further agree that the working class had better take hold of the capitalist state, and I can only see this happening through a working class political movement. The only problem is that the capitalist state is something that was designed to be useful to the capitalist class, and is of dubious utility to the working class. We had better begin to build our machine before we take control of the state. [...] The DeLeonists have an interesting point of view on this question. They certainly occupy the middle ground between the Leninists and anarchists on this question."
Thread 159 • 8 posts from the NWAnarchy List • October 11-12
Leninists are trying to grab our spotlight
with bullshit debates
My announcement that I intended to post installments from the Anarcho-Leninist Debate on the State was not received with enthusiasm on the NorthWest Anarchy email list
Essay 160 • Ben gets brutal • December 11 • 8800 words
The Future Transparent Workers' State
Will a workers' state be a brutal police state
or a machine controlled by workers?

Ben's first and second laws drive a stake thru the heart of the great fear nourished by anarchists and social-democrats alike. Ben also explains how all the sturm und drang about historical events of the 1920's and 1930's is rooted in the antagonist competition, today, for the warm, living bodies of activists. There is also a nice exposition on the nature and workings of the local left ecosystem.
Essay # 161 • Yhcrana Strikes Back! • December 14 • 1500 words
A Critical Analysis of Ben Seattle’s
"The Future Transparent Workers’ State"
"When the potential for a workers’ state to result in dictatorship is considered alongside the fact that statism will naturally create conflicting class interests, we must conclude that such a state cannot possibly be used to the advantage of the working class. And when we consider this conclusion alongside the fact that the workers themselves are perfectly capable of organizing a just society, then it becomes glaringly obvious that anarchism offers the working class a far more favourable system for social change than does Leninism or any other vanguardist ideology."
 


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