Communism Critique


4 minutes

My impromptu critique of what I understand to be contemporary communist thought

So here's my critique of communism, which broadly corresponds to bakunin's critique of marxism except varying in some significant ways, I'll preface this clearly with saying I lean broadly semi-primitivist communalist for reference. I think that similar to how you say anarchists, by focusing on, eg. hierarchies, will reproduce, for example, the relations, I think the same, but the opposite (what a contradiction lol). I agree with you in the sense that I don't think we should be purely focused on hierarchy, but communism (maybe not as a rule, but broadly) is purely focused on class relations. Similar to how your critique of anarchism is minimizing class relations, my critique of communism is it minimizes everything *but* class relations.

There are a lot of things I could bring out, for example, Lenin explicitly states that factories (industrialization) require authority in the sense that everyone needs to come together and someone needs to herd them, not unsimilar to how Plato uses a ship analogy to justify his philosopher king (you need a captain to make smart quick decisions etc). But, I think more on the nose is that I think communism is unfit to challenge some more contemporary problems, namely environmental issues and, to a lesser extent, colonialism. On the environmental side we can return to my comment, the communist belief is by establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat and overthrowing capitalism we will be able to create a society that is sustainableish enough. Now, I've already written so much so I'm not going to go too long about this, but I believe accepting industrialization implicitly like this is doomed, I think industrialization and not capitalism per se is the great evil environmentally. Or, to put in other words, I think that technology built under capitalism can not be used for liberatory purposes the way my understanding of historical materialism implies.

The second example I brought up is colonialism. Again, I believe the thought here is by destroying capitalism, you destroy the roots of colonialism. But I would argue that colonialism, especially settler-colonialism and other forms of colonialism that occur within a country's borders and are often far more hidden from the outside, are not born of capitalism, but intersections between capitalism, industrialism, militarization, and though not exclusively European thought, in large part also European thought. I imagine on most of these points we agree, where I depart is I think you need to destroy every pillar before the building of colonialism collapses. I do not think that by destroying capitalism you either destroy the support structure underneath or destabilize the building enough to have it topple. I also think there is a historical and pragmatic aspect to my thought here. I might be more inclined to believe the communist thought here if the communists I interacted with in the movement were more focused on centering global south points of view and philosophies, but in my mind they see themselves in an ideological battle "beyond" colonialism. It is very dangerous to be beyond colonialism, because what these communists, which I suppose many would call tankies, do is reproduce the great game. There is a pervasive great game ideology within communist movements that leads to support of global and regional imperialists. I remember one communist at Ohio State saying, and I quote, "the United States is the great evil". I think that's a particularly extreme case, but the point is that in the pursuit of liberation if we presuppose we're beyond imperialism, beyond colonialism, that our ideology (which is not centered around those two things), will reproduce colonialism by its nature.

I could probably come up with other examples, but I think that gets across my fundamental critique. In essence, communism remains an ideology that is born within industrialist colonialism, beholden to industrialist (settler-)colonialism, and shockingly uncritical of industrialist (settler-)colonialism; whereas anarchist movements are far more open to centering global south perspectives and tackling problems that have been identified and developed since 1920 :p.