Friday 1 May 2015

Authoritarianism and Revolution? Kumbaya!

Let's suppose it's 11:00 pm of a Sunday. Tomorrow is a working day and you are in bed (you are not in the U.S.).

Suddenly, loud music comes from the street. You look through the window: some white teenagers have a party in the middle of the street.

You ask them to keep it down. They politely refuse: “This is a free country, dude” -- they say. “We have the right to party. You are a killjoy impinging on our freedom.”

You come back into your place and call the police. The cops arrive and order the kids move somewhere else.

Is this coercion? I think so. An exercise of authority? Obviously.

The teenagers refuse, with determination: “We don't accept your authority, dude”.

When the cop tries to handcuff the one speaking for the group (another coercive, authoritarian act), the kid produces a handgun and points it straight to the cop's face.

The cops shoot him and the kid drops dead. The other teenagers look terrified: the girls shriek and cower behind their car; the other boy is petrified. You yourself are shaken.


Now, let’s go over the whole thing just to make sure we understand the situation.

Was the cop using coercion against the kids? Yes.

Was he trying to impose his authority over them? Yes.

Did he use violence and force against them? Yes.

Were the kids terrorised? Yes.


Now, for the big questions: Would you blame the cop for that? Is that your fault, for calling the police?


I'll speak for myself: I wouldn't blame the cop or yourself. You were protecting your peace. The cop acted in self-defence. If the kids had just kept quiet or moved away, as repeatedly asked, there is no reason to believe things would have escalated. If the boy had not produced a weapon, he might still be alive and kicking.


That was just a hypothetical. But if it ever happened, and you were either the cop or the neighbour who called him, you would pray to God the judge is a Marxist, because if the judge were a sanctimonious Keynes-wannabe, you would be in deep shit.

You see, workers (like the neighbour) must not impinge on the freedoms of those who exploit them, because if they did, they would be coercing them and that’s bad.

Workers cannot self-organize against an organized enemy, because if they did, they would be authoritarian (like the cop) and that’s worse.

Workers cannot use violence -- even in self-defence -- against those who use violence against them, because if they did the oppressors would cower in terror (like the surviving teenagers) and that’s just, like, the worst, really.

Yup. All those things are bad, like, totally bad … when the workers do them against the exploiters … only. Workers must appeal to Kumbaya my Lord … Keynes. Capitalists can choose between Lord Keynes or Adolphe Thiers.

Like Engels said:
“Therefore, either one of two things: either [A] the anti-authoritarians don’t know what they’re talking about, in which case they are creating nothing but confusion; or [B] they do know, and in that case they are betraying the movement of the proletariat. (here)

Take your pick: [A] or [B]?


Related Reading:
Social Democracy in The Communist Manifesto. October 14, 2014.


  1. That guy's series of posts on Marx have been a car crash. I don't know Hedlund has the patience to keep responding in the comments. Why he suddenly got a bee in his bonnet about Marx I don't know. Maybe it's to do with Philip Pilkington falling silent and nature abhoring a vacuum?

  2. My opinion about that guy in two words: religious fanatic.

    After all, his moniker is "Lord Keynes"...

  3. Well, people who claim to be sympathetic to Marx can be just as bad.

  4. Well, Mark, I don't quite share McCrea's views; but in reality, criticism of Marx, the man, is not what really bothers me. At worst, it may be unfair to the man (and yes, Marx was a contradictory man; he wasn't a saint). But, whether the criticism be fair or unfair, Marx is dead. From his point of view, praise and scorn are irrelevant.

    What really, really pisses me off, is that the hypocritical, buffoonish, dishonest, infantile criticism scum like MegaMaynard nominally directs against Marx or against Marxism, is in reality directed against the ideas that Marx represents; ultimately, it's directed against the workers. And we, unlike Marx, are not dead.

    You don't need to go any further than M'Lord's post to understand that. For him, workers need to embrace the ideas of Keynes, as embodied by the Fabians, the Social Democrats and such. They are our shepherds, we are their flock; they decide, and we gratefully, respectfully, shut the fuck up.

    Okay, let's follow that logic. Let's accept what Piketty called the 30 glourieuses are the best workers (in developed countries!) could possibly aspire: Workers' Paradise lasted from 1940-50 to the 1970s. Let's further assume workers owe all that to Keynes, the Messiah and his miraculous ideas. Let's assume there are no other workers in the world.

    After at least 40 years failing day in and day out, is that the best that piece of shit has to offer us? Why the fuck should we be happy with a repeat of something that already failed? If Keynes, the Real McCoy, the Messiah, failed, why should his pimple-faced Second Coming, a bad copy of a failed original, succeed?

  5. This does my weary soul good. Thanks for the balm, comrades. :)

  6. Glad you enjoyed it, Hedlund.