Historically, anarchism in the Americas, Spain and now Syria sprung out of war. The Russian and Chinese revolutions as well. The French revolution happened just after the U.S. revolution and major French military losses over there. The U.S. revolution is less clear to me, but the there are general tendencies to identify.
1st: The chaotic state and disorganized production, logistics, temporary housing etc allowed for an easier transmission to a new system since the old one wasn’t really present anymore.
2nd: The revolutions all suffered great backlash. E.g. The French went back and forth several times between democracy, monarchy and empire for a century after the revolution. The Russian revolution was overtaken by an elite instead of the workers. The explanation is that the new system was superimposed on the old one rather than replacing it. In the case of Russia, the imperial version of FBI was simply subsumed under Stalin who could therewith maintain the system of repression that had fuelled parts of the uprising in the first place.
So, while the system was weakened, change was enabled, but the system was never completely gone, thus it would eventually return to full force, as we’re seeing in Russia and China today and recently even Cuba. In Spain, Mexico, Argentina, the nationalists swallowed the syndicates. Every single leg of the status quo must be broken, bending one or two bits of it can only be a temporary measure.
I don’t agree with either Hegel’s or Marx’ dialectics. I don’t agree with the singular focus on capitalism and I think there is a grey-area between capitalists and wage-earners. To understand revolution and to make it happen it is necessary to see the complexity of these issues and apply a complex solution. I’m not merely trying to fuse liberalism and socialism or egotism and communism. While I want to distance myself from anarcho-capitalists (whose ideology is a childish ‘tax is theft’) who are trying to steal anarchism and steer it into a new version of the same old capitalist status quo, I do wish to draw them in together with everyone else I disagree with. I’m not merely deconstructing previous ideologies; I’m pushing all the chess pieces forward simultaneously and proclaiming that this march does not have a goal; it is the goal.
In this vein, I don’t think the most advanced nation, or a section of a political party, must form a vanguard to pull the movement with it or that is has spring from the middle-class during a war as history suggests. That might be case, but I don’t see why it has to be. Instead I think much can be said for anarchist syndicates popping up like patches of mould throughout the world, eventually growing together and covering entire countries mainly driven by a growth from below. I don’t agree that violence is necessary, that the rich can’t be voted away, that reformism is reactionary. Reformism is a reaction, but realistically, it can act as another chess piece, whether as a place-holder or as a real improvement is only a theoretical question. I don’t accept any absolutist conclusions from theorists and thus I don’t accept the theoretical criticism of pragmatism.
This is also my attitude towards the debate on whether we should resolve internal disputes first or consider the enemy of our enemy as our friend. There is no theory, not yet at least, that demonstrates which is approach will succeed and which will fail; the pragmatist will be forced not only to deal with both aspects simultaneously, but also to deal with the criticism this will incur. Their enemies are not capitalists, they’re as much pawns as the rest of us, even the king and queen are nothing more than chess pieces. In reality there are no players so we can change the rules of the game at will. The enemy isn’t even reducible simply to capitalism because there are other aspects of society that are intertwined with capitalism and that would still amount to oppression even if capitalism could be disentangled and discarded. Examples, or near-examples, of this includes Nazi national socialism and Soviet state communism and pretty much every version of state capitalism pretending to cater to the unfortunate.
I don’t throw molotov cocktails. Maybe I should, but maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe I should embrace the idea that the potential for a virtual anarchist micronation already exists within the minds of everyone and since the state is an idea it can be destroyed by an idea as well. This is not incompatible with squatting or revolting, but it certainly runs along a seemingly different path. It could involve politics, but ideas are free to travel and congregate independent of context so there really is no dogmatic methodology to cling to.
Oh, and one last thing: a pacifist army. An army, whether structured or spontaneous, that uses only non-violent and non-coercive methods to prevent violence and coercion. Obviously, it would require actions like deflecting a blow, which technically is coercive in that it forces the attacker to not succeed in the attempt to hit you. However, the attacker wouldn’t get hurt or even be restrained so it’s not very coercive. It’s certainly possible for someone to corrupt this attitude and try to prevent coercion in coercive ways that are more reminiscent of a junta, and a de facto army can of course be corrupted by e.g. a corrupt general even if it didn’t have one to start with. That’s just reality though, can’t live with it, can’t live without it.
P.S. Just read a few snippets from Bookchin on libertarian municipalism and my thoughts on this are that it’s not very different from a nation-state even though the bottom-up decentralization idea of democracy is in line with municipalism. The problem is that it’s not enough to make it smaller, it has to be decentralized all the way down to the individual to be truly bottom-up. That means that the minimum size of organizations is always two individuals and not a municipality and if some wish to organize into an entire municipality, that would have to grow naturally and unconditionally into a non-preset type of community. Without this lowest-level-organization, and event produced through the interactions of two factory workers within the confines of the managerial structures of that factory might be at odds with the structurally disconnected decisions of the political assembly of the municipality.