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  •  Well, in all these cases (3+ / 0-)

    None of them succeed without the consent of the people, tacitly or otherwise, either through manipulation or conscious effort. There are far more of the working classes than there are of elite political leaders. The Maoists installed themselves as a ruling class in place of the rulers they defeated (statist "communism") with the harnessing of the masses to help them. When it was over, the people still had rulers in the form of the state (Kropotkin coined the term for this: state capitalism).

    In other words, people sought agency in people with influence, and have almost always been let down. The political process works well for elites, not so much for the working class.

    But the revolution in China was certainly direct action (!), even if the masses were duped into simply changing masters.

    Bakunin puts this far better than I can. As I've posted before, what Bakunin wrote 140 years ago could well have been written today.

    Here's a sample from The Basic Bakunin, Writings 1869-1871:


    From the beginning of history until today, there has never been a politics of the people, and by "the people" we mean the common people, the working rabble whose labor is the world's pabulum. There has only been the politics of the privileged classes, and these classes have used the physical force of the people to dethrone each other and to take one another's place. The people, in turn, have supported or opposed them only in the vague hope that at least one of these political revolutions—none of which could have been made without their help but none of which has been made for their sake—might alleviate somewhat their poverty and their age-old slavery. They have always been deceived. Even the Great French Revolution betrayed them. It eliminated the aristocratic nobility and replaced it with the bourgeoisie. The people are no longer called slaves or serfs; the law proclaims them free-born. But their slavery and their poverty remain unchanged.

            And these will remain unchanged so long as the masses of the people continue to be used as the tool of bourgeois politics, whether this is called conservative, liberal, progressive, or radical politics, even if it gives itself the most revolutionary airs in the world. Because all bourgeois politics, regardless of its color and its label, has at bottom but a single aim: to preserve bourgeois rule; and bourgeois rule is proletarian slavery.

    "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

    by ZhenRen on Fri May 16, 2014 at 10:05:38 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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