[OPE-L] The Paris Commune, the State, and Venezuela

From: Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
Date: Sun May 15 2005 - 17:29:06 EDT

[Michael L wrote:]
> [...] to create a state of the Paris Commune-type (the kind that 
> Marx advocated).


Whether the Paris Commune was a state is controversial.  For
Bakunin the Paris Commune was a "clearly formulated negation 
of the state."  

Most anarchists wouldn't agree that the Paris Commune was a state.
< http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/anarchism/writers/anarcho/commune.html >
< http://question-everything.mahost.org/History/ParisCommune.html  >
< http://www.enrager.net/history/articles/paris-commune-1871/ >
They could therefore support the Commune and still oppose the state
without being inconsistent.

From a certain perspective, the autonomous area in Chiapas might
be seen as similar to the Paris Commune.  Indeed, autonomy was
one of the central principles of the Commune since the society based
on the communes would be based on the "absolute autonomy of
the Commune ... assuring to each its integral rights and to each Frenchman 
the full exercise of his aptitudes, as a man a citizen and a labourer.  The 
autonomy of the Commune will have for its limits only the equal autonomy 
of all other communes adhering to the contract; their association must ensure 
the liberty of France" ("Declaration to the French People")  
< http://struggle.ws/anarchism/writers/anarcho/commune.html >

Anarchists and autonomist Marxists would agree that it is necessary to
have *organization*  to defeat reaction and that the masses should 
mobilize for the purpose of *self-defense*.  I would think that they would
welcome the arming of poor citizens of Venezuela outside of the 
confines of the state (i.e. in neighborhood and community organizations)
and  the beginnings of  workers' control in the factories.  It would
seem to me therefore that they could support the Venezuelan revolution
as a process without supporting Chavez the person or endorsing the state.  

What is most important is not whether one supports Chavez.  What
is important is that in the ongoing class conflicts in Venezuela, one
takes the side of the poor and working class against bourgeois 
forces and the reaction.  I.e. the critical question is: which side of 
the barricades are you on?    I  have no fear that John H or  other 
autonomists (or anarchists, for that matter) will find themselves on the 
wrong side of the barricades in Venezuela.  Do you really think that if 
there was another coup attempt or an imperialist provocation that 
John  would be indifferent or on the wrong side?

In solidarity, Jerry

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