The Finnish Bolshevik is Wrong About Anarchism Part 2: The State



hey everyone according to the Finnish Bolshevik the Marxist perspective on the state is as follows the state is all the oppressive mechanisms like the police and the army and all that secret police intelligence service whatnot and then the the bureaucracy which is needed to run things at this stage of development the state is the result of class society whether it be society where the ruling class is the capitalist class or where the ruling class is the proletariat when there's no more class society when you know no more class conflicts then we don't need the state anymore the Finnish Bolshevik contrasts this Marxist analysis of the state with the anarchist analysis of the state according to him anarchists they say the state is the root of all evil and that it should be abolished this is incredibly naive and denies class struggle I've actually heard a very well-known anarchist on YouTube called a narco Pak who I actually have a lot of respect for say that he stopped being a Marxist because anarchism supposedly offers a more in-depth in-depth analysis than Marxism and dialectical materialism because anarchism according to him doesn't doesn't restrict and reduce itself to only economics like he says that Marxism does that anarchism doesn't attribute inequality and all kinds of bad things to economic relations like Marxism does but to power relations this is actually completely backwards and not more in depth but much more simplistic power relations themselves don't come from nowhere where are results of economic relations where do the bankers get their power loo they just get power magically and then they have money because of that no they have money and because of not because of the money they have power that's wrong it's not even just money it's the economic relations bankers controlled capital so they have power sure cops don't control the economy but they serve the ruling class which gives them that power denying that social ills are the results of economic relations and saying they're merely the results of power is denying the class nature of capitalist society the class nature of the state and denying class struggle itself now we already know that anarchists deny the class nature of the state the truth of the matter is though that states are controlled by people with class interests States in themselves don't do anything this anarchist claim that states in themselves cause all problems helps the bourgeois in hiding the class nature of the capitalist state and propagating the myth that capitalist states represent the interests of all classes of society equally and not merely the interest of the capitalists anarchists and capitalists are ideologically in the same boat here they both deny the class nature of the state elsewhere he expands on what he means by this when I said that anarchists deny class nature of the state what I meant was that they see the state as such as being the root of all problems you know fascists believe in the state as such it's generally a right-wing conservative idea that the state is some kind of universal force which like goes beyond classes that the there is no specific class nature of the States that the state is some kind of power above classes that is a universal power serving the interests of all classes in typical anarchist fashion they take this right-wing idea and they just turn it on its head traditional right-wingers they say that the state is something objective something that you know guards the interests of all classes anarchists on the other hand say that basically the total opposite of that they say that the state is something that is bad in itself regardless of what class controls it the states the state is some kind of independent force but instead of being an independent positive force is an independent negative force for the finish bolshevik this way of thinking about the state leads to a false understanding of the USSR China Cuba and so on you guys think that the proletarian state and the capitalist state are the same thing that is why you guys in your philosophical outlook are the same as right-wingers the Finnish Bolsheviks view can be summarized as follows anarchists understand society in terms of power relations but fail to conceptualize the economic underpinnings of power as a result they ignore the class nature of the state and instead view it as an embodiment of power which exists independently of the economy and so of class society this leads them to mistakenly think that despite their different class character worker states and capitalist states are the same since they are both in body mints of power this negative evaluation of all states in turn reflects the false anarchist view that the state is the root of all problems in society the Finnish Bolshevik provides no textual evidence from anarchist offers to support this interpretation his single source for this interpretation is to not very good videos I made several years ago called why I'm no longer a Marxist hearts one and two I made the videos private once I realized that I was presenting a critique of a certain version of Marxism as a critique of Marxism as a whole I rewatched the videos and I at no point say that we should ignore the economy and just talk about power I at no point deny that many forms of oppression have an economic underpinning I at no point say that the state isn't connected to the economy or that the state is just an embodiment of power I at no point deny the state's role in reproducing class Society I actually barely talked about the state all I said was that there are forms of domination such as patriarchy which cannot be reduced to or entirely explained by the structure of the economy I then said that the problem of seizing state power is that the practice of exercising power over other people transforms the party leadership in to tyrants concerned with preserving their power rather than abolishing it I would play a clip to prove this but I find 18 year old me far too cringe-inducing so you're going to have to trust me the Finnish Bolshevik not only inaccurately represented what I thought but also inaccurately represented analyst views on the state to demonstrate this I will have to explain a how anarchists define the state be what anarchists mean by the ruling class and see what anarchists think about really existing state socialist societies like the USSR with this in place I shall show that anarchists do not consider the state to be the root of all problems in society the difficulty with explaining how anarchists define the state is that different anarchists use different terminology Kropotkin sometimes distinguishes between government and the state and other times uses the terms as if they are equivalent in some moods he says anarchism is self-government and in others says that anarchism is no government Malatesta in comparison thought that and a kiss should speak of government rather than the state because the word state has many meanings that anarchists aren't talking about it's all very confusing I will explain this in lots of detail in a future video in this video I'm going to simplify things by only using the term state anarchists generally define the state as a hierarchically and centrally organized institution which uses violence to reproduce classroom and is controlled by a ruling minority in their interests against the masses Malatesta defines the state as quote the aggregate of the governor's such as Kings presidents ministers members of parliament who have the power to make laws to regulate the relations between men and to force obedient to these laws in short the power to force others to do is they that minority of governor's wish the state so understood is quote the brutal violent arbitrary domination of the few over the many which in addition acts as quote an instrument ordained to secure domination and privilege to those who by force or cunning or inheritance have taken to themselves all the means of life and first and foremost the soil whereby they hold the people in servitude making them work for their advantage for Kropotkin the state is quote the force – which minorities resorted for establishing and organizing their power over the masses the state therefore quote not only includes the existence of a power situated above society but also a territorial concentration as well as the concentration in the hands of a few of many functions in the life of societies a whole mechanism of legislation and of policing has to be developed in order to subject some classes to the domination of others it's important to note here that anarchists do not define the state exclusively in terms of its function as an instrument of class rule but instead argue that in order to be a state an institution must in addition to this have a particular organizational form it must be hierarchical centralized and controlled by a minority for both grow Potkin and Bakunin the modern state as opposed to ancient states like Rome first emerged in the 16th century over the next few centuries there was a process of quote military police and bureaucratic centralization which occurred in parallel with the development of capitalism this is because as bakunin potat quote modern capitalist production and bank speculation require enormous centralized states which alone are capable of subjecting the many millions of laborers to their exploitation who as Kropotkin wrote the modern state developed as quote a society of mutual insurance between the landlord the military commander the judge the priest and later on the capitalist in order to support each other's authority over the people given this anarchists held that quote the state considered as a political power state justice the church and capitalism are facts and conceptions which we cannot separate from each other in the course of history these institutions have developed supporting and reinforcing each other the idea that the state reproduces class society in general and capitalism in particular permeates the writings of the classical anarchists Bakunin for example claims that quote the state is the organized Authority domination and power of the possessing classes over the masses recluse I quite right that quote the present function of the state eight consist foremost of defending the interests of landowners and the rights of capital Malatesta argues that quote the landowners able to claim that land and its produce as theirs and the capitalists are able to claim as theirs the instruments of labor and other capital created by human activity because the dominant class has created laws to legitimize the assertions that it has already perpetrated and has made them a means of new appropriations Burkman writes that quote the government needs laws police and soldiers courts and prisons to protect capitalism for goldman quote the state is necessary only to maintain or protect property and monopolies i could go on and on the finish bolshevik is therefore entirely wrong to claim that anarchists ignore the class nature of the state far from ignoring it Anika's hold that one of the defining aspects of the state is its role in reproducing class rule and serving the interests of the capitalist class anarchists do not however think that capitalists are the only class which composes the ruling class according to the modern anarchist theorist and historian Lucien van der volt the ruling class is composed of two groups economic elites quote who own or control the means of production through private and state companies such as the CEO of Apple or the top managers of state-owned companies like China tobacco and political leads quote who own or control the means of administration and coercion mainly through the state apparatus such as generals politicians ministers and high-ranking civil servants given this the power of the ruling class quote rests on two institutions that centralized power and wealth so that this minority can rule the majority the popular classes and these two institutions are the corporation and the state would share the basic feature of top-down rule by and for an elite exploitation of workers their priority of ruling class interests this is not a new perspective in anarchist theory Malatesta argued in 1997 that while quote the state is the defender the agent and the servant of the propertied classes it also constitutes a class by itself with its own interests and passions when the state the government is not helping the propertied to oppress and draw people it oppresses and robs them on its own behalf political elites quote constitute a class who are to politics as property owning classes are to economics given that the state is a hierarchically and centrally organized institution wielded by a political elite in their interests it follows that to quote bakunin the state is placed by its very nature and position above and outside the people and must inevitably work to subordinate the people under rules and for objectives foreign to them always bakunin rights elsewhere states are in essence only machines governing the masses from above through a privileged minority allegedly knowing the genuine interests of the people better than the people themselves as a result quote the state has always been the patrimony of some privileged class or other a priestly class and our static class a bourgeois class and eventually a bureaucratic class this leads us to the anarchist analysis of state socialist societies like the USSR China and Cuba most anarchists argue that these societies were not in fact socialist but to instead state capitalist they do so for the following reasons anarchists view capitalism as an economic system based on a division between capitalists who own the means of production and direct the productive process and workers who do not own the means of production and must engage in work as instructed by the capitalist socialism in contrast is understood as a society which this division is collapsed workers both own the means of production and direct the productive process themselves given these definitions socialism cannot in practice be achieved through the state the state is a hierarchically and centrally organized institution ruled by a political elite if the state becomes the owner and manager of the economy then the economy will in practice be owned and managed by the elite who controls the state the elite may proclaim that the working class are the ruling class and that the means of production are collectively owned but this is false the state owns the means of production and the state is ruled by the self-proclaimed leaders or representatives of the working class rather than by the working class themselves this contradiction between rhetoric and reality is similar to how under Western representative democracies politicians claim that they represent and serve the people when they actually represent and serve the rich and powerful state socialist economies therefore rest on the same capitalist division between those who own and command and those who do not own and obey the rulers of the state such as the USSR Central Committee Politburo and general secretary perform the same role as that of the capitalist owning and managing the economy under market capitalism the economic elite and the political elite are largely two separate groups that exercise power through two distinct institutions the corporation and sustained on the state capitalism the economic elite and political elite exercised power through the same institution the state and are frequently the same group of people market capitalism and state capitalism are not the exact same economic system but they do share an important common characteristic a ruling minority who economically oppressed the working class through hierarchical and centralized institutions based on relationships of command and obedience this perspective can be seen throughout anarchist discussions of state socialism according to bakunin the leaders of the Communist Party will quote create a single state bank concentrating in their own hands or commercial industrial agricultural and even scientific production and would divide the people into two armies one industrial and one agrarian under the direct command of state engineers who will form a new privileged scientific and political class Kropotkin wrote that anarchists quote cannot look upon the coming revolution as a mere substitution of the state as the universal capitalist for the present capitalists elsewhere Kropotkin concluded that quote to hand over to the state all the main sources of economical life the land the mines the railways banking insurance and so on as also the management of all the main branches of Industry in addition to all the functions already accumulated in its hands education state supported religions defense of the territory etc would mean to create a new instrument of tyranny state capitalism would only increase the powers of bureaucracy and capitalism Malatesta similarly wrote that quote whoever has power over things has power over men whoever governs production also governs the producers who determines consumption is master over the consumer this is the question eva things are administered on the basis of free agreement among the interested parties and this is anarchy or they administered according to laws made by administrators and this is government it is the state and inevitably it turns out to be tyrannical the consequence of this is that a dictatorship of the proletariat that was institutionalized through the state would in reality quote be the dictatorship of party over people and of a handful of men over party if a self proclaimed workers state was based on the workers themselves directly owning the means of production and collectively organizing the economy in particular and society in general then it would not be a state and the anarchist sense of the word this is because it would be based on the collective self-determination of the majority rather than minority rule the Koonin makes this very clear in state ISM and anarchy he writes quote what does it mean the proletariat raised to a governing class rule the entire proletariat had the government the Germans number about 40 million were all forty million be members of the government the entire nation will rule but no one will be ruled then there will be no government there will be no state but if there is a state there will also be those who are ruled there will be slaves we can now see how misleading the Finnish Bolsheviks claims are anarchists do not ignore the different class character of workers States and capitalist States because they view the state as an embodiment of power that exists independently of the economy and kists actually argued that these workers states were worker states in name only because they were controlled by a ruling class of economic and political elites rather than by the workers themselves from the anarchist perspective their rejection of really existing state socialism is based on an accurate understanding of the class nature of these states and of the relationship between these states and the economy they controlled and the working class that they oppressed along both economic and political dimensions anarchists do not ignore what class controls the state but instead point out that the working class do not the Finnish Bolshevik might respond to this by arguing that the anarchist characterization of really existing state socialist societies is sistar eclis inaccurate doing so would entirely miss my point all I am arguing here is that the Finnish Bolshevik in accurately portrayed analyst views on the state not that the anarchist views are themselves accurate that is a separate question we can now turn to whether or not and a kiss think that the state is the root of all problem the short answer is no anarchists consider the root of social problems to be oppressive hierarchical social relationships and argue that two of the most damaging hierarchical social structures are capitalism and the state importantly they hold that these two social structures are interconnected with one another because capitalism relies upon the state to reproduce itself this can be seen in Kropotkin x' claimed that quote and the kists in common with all socialists of whom they constitute the left-wing maintained that the now prevailing system of private ownership in land and our capitalist production for the sake of profits represent a monopoly which runs against both the principles of justice and the dictates of utility they are the main obstacle which prevents the successes of modern technics from being brought into the service of all so is to produce general well-being the anarchists considered the wage system and capitalist production altogether as an obstacle to progress but they point out also that the state was and continues to be the chief instrument for permitting the few to monopolize the land and the capitalists to appropriate for themselves a quite disproportionate share of the yearly accumulated surplus of production consequently whilst combating the present monopolization of land and capitalism altogether the anarchist combat with the same energy the state as the main support of that system not this or that special form but the state altogether whether it be a monarchy or even a republic governed by means of the referendum the great importance that anarchists placed on abolishing capitalism can be seen in the fact that the first point of Malatesta XANA kist program of 1899 was the quote abolition of private property in land raw materials and the instruments of labor so that no one shall have the means of living by the exploitation of the labor of others it is only after this point that Malatesta calls for the quote abolition of government and of every power which makes the law and imposes it on others if anarchists as the Finnish Bolshevik claimed viewed the state as the root of all problems then surely Malatesta would not have done this nor do anarchists limit themselves to critiquing capitalism and the state for Goldman quote while anarchists agree that the main evil today is an economic one they maintain that the solution of that evil can be brought about only through the consideration of every phase of life individual as well as the collective the internal as well as the external phases Kropotkin likewise argued that anarchists held quote that the whole of the life of human societies everything from daily individual relationships between people to broader relationships between races across oceans could and should be reformulated historically this led anarchists to critique such things as organized religion authoritarian schools sexism racism and homophobia in the modern anarchist movement combating patriarchy queer phobia ableism and racism has taken on an even greater importance than it did historically modern anarchists will place special emphasis on the way that these forms of oppression interact with and are perpetuated by capitalism and the state but they will not reduce them to capitalism and the state instead they will focus on the specific character of these forms of hierarchical social relationships and the specific mechanisms through which they are reproduced patriarchy for example is perpetuated through socialization into gender roles the enforcement of the gender binary and the subordination of women trans and non-binary people the state plays an important role in reproducing patriarchy such as the Tory government in the UK cutting funding to domestic abuse shelters or the police victim blaming women who are raped but the state is not the main cause of patriarchy this way of theorizing makes zero sense of anarchists view the state as the root of all problems the Finnish Bolshevik is once again entirely wrong I hope that listeners are noticing a pattern here the Finnish Bolshevik says things about anarchism that are false and does so with a huge amount of confidence despite providing zero textual evidence for his interpretation this is all the more worrying when one considers that many of the points I'm making have already been made at length in the anarchist FAQ I do not have a problem with Marxists critiquing anarchism I merely wished that Marxists would first gain an accurate understanding of anarchism before they decided to try and critique it to not do so is to lack basic intellectual integrity if you like this video please follow me on Twitter and help fund my PhD by supporting me on patreon have a nice day everyone




Comments
  1. 6:44 patriarchy can be explained from a materialistic economic stand point far better than whatever voodoo magic nonsense you wanna use to explain it.

    "transforms the party leadership to tyrants" and then they lose their votes and thus their power? you have to realize the power you obtain is different from the kind you obtain in a capitalist society. In a capitalist country, if you have money you can use it however you want to exercise your power snd you have the government defending you by pointing their guns towards whoever who opposes you but in a socialist context if you do that, since the government assets are distributed amongs the people, people can freely oppose your tyranny, there's no reason for them to allow it to happen.
    In capitalism, hierarchies are self-sustaining. In socialism, hierarchies are not self-sustaining.

  2. Im sorry but this dude sound so dry. Ppl often hide this narration as intellectual, civilized, etc. Im an anarchist but damn. He will turn ppl off. Finnish Bolshevik sound ginuine and not staged. He sound like he reading someone else's material that he is not sure of. A lack of realness. Good info though.

  3. Nice example how lables are pretty much useless as people often have wildly different understanding what they stand for.
    Plus there is no shortage of people who will deliberately distort and straw man labels so its not a problem that will go away any day soon.

  4. But how does anarchism deal with espionage via a fascist government? Direct democracy is very open to espionage, the capitalist class will always try to sabotage the socialist experiment. At least until there is no longer a capitalist class I view states as essential players on the world stage for destroying fascism and capitalism.

  5. Very Foucauldian this particular take on Anarchism is. Good video.

    Except the state is not simply the institution we know to be the state. If we follow Gramsci's terminology, the aspect of creating consent opens new avenues of analysing state machinery, thereby bringing within the fold of Marxist analysis, the family, education, culture and the various other ISAs.

  6. Your entire bit about "party leadership" proves fin bol right in his assessment of your fundamental misunderstanding about the class character of states.

  7. I love you and the claim that anarchists consider the state the root of all problems made me laugh out loud…

  8. Hello! I hope you can soon do response videos to his two videos "Actually Existing Anarchism" part 1 (on Ukrainian revolution) and part 2 (on Spanish revolution). They're a mix of truth, partial truths, and outright lies. The fact that there is some truth makes the lies more convincing and more dangerous.

  9. I think the finnbol may have made a mistake even when describing the Marxist position. He thinks bankers have power or control? But they do not really have control, maybe the illusion of control. The real control lies in M->C->M1. Bankers are quite powerless compared to the real driving force of capitalism.

  10. Thank you for another great video. I 've been reading on anarchism and communism the last 2 years but it seems I haven't not even scratched the surface yet! Well, since you are for sure more knowledgeable, I would like to ask you:
    can you have someone else making a decision for you representing you without crashing you through his authority? I feel like, sometimes it is better to leave decisions to other people, only though when they have more knowledge, which they will use for the better and not to dominate.
    Would really appreciate a respond by anyone actually with knowledge on the topic.

  11. is there some way you can balance the audio in the future? it's harsh on the ears and cumbersome to keep switching the volume. good video though!

  12. Out of curiosity, if anarchists define the state as highly centralised, would worker’s militias and militia based armies therefore constitute as exclusively non-state entities? I think Marxists and anarchists have very different concepts of what constitutes a “state”

  13. Syndicalism/many ideas of libertarian socialism ultimately amount to turning every single worker into a small-time capitalist and using force to prevent these people from becoming big-time capitalists

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