Part III: “The marxian church against anarchist “sectarianism””.
Anti-sectarian grammar achieved preeminence amidst the entanglements of the First International between 1864 and 1872. While during its first years the conceptual discrepancies between Proudhonians, Blanquists, Lassalleans and Marxists had been resolved without major tantrums within the International Workingmen’s Association (IWA), in 1868 tensions increased with the incorporation of Bakunin and a large group of like-minded people. The anarchists went so far as to demolish all the economistic onanism of Saint Charlie and his acolytes, placing in their sights the “gravest evil”. That is to say, the State (in particular) and all authority (in general). Thus, they erected their strongest theoretical specificity on the assumption that property or, generically, the relationship with the means of production, was not the only and excluding factor of “class” domination, but that the very instances of domination – and the State in particular – were also mechanisms that generated social groups that could be considered privileged.
On top of all that, the anarchists defended the full autonomy of the different sections of the IWA against the statutory centralism of the General Council tooth and nail. This position provoked the definitive rupture with the Marxists during the celebration of the V Congress of the Association in 1872. The theoretical-practical positions were irreconcilable and markedly antagonistic. For Saint Charlie, the International had to be the centralizing and guiding organ of the “movement”; while for the Russian anarchist and his comrades, it had to be a planetary conspiracy lacking a directing organ, centred on the concrete individual and his freedom; capable of eradicating all authority from the face of the earth, even that which was instituted in the name of the proletariat. By placing individual freedom and voluntary and autonomous association “before the historical development of society”, they received the eternal condemnation of the marxian Church and were accused of being “sectarians”; becoming the target of the wrath of Saint Charlie and his fervent sacristans. Continue reading “In Defence of Associative Specificity – Part III: “The marxian church against anarchist “sectarianism”” by Gustavo Rodriguez”