This Spring, The Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a series panels on “Radical ideologies today: Marxism and anarchism” in New York, Frankfurt, Halifax, Thessaloniki, and Chicago. The panel description reads: “It seems that there are still only two radical ideologies: Marxism and anarchism. They emerged out of the same crucible—the Industrial Revolution, the unsuccessful revolutions of 1848 and 1871, a weak liberalism, the centralization of state power, the rise of the workers movement, and the promise of socialism. They are the revolutionary heritage, and all significant radical upsurges of the last 150 years have returned to mine their meaning for the current situation. In this respect, our moment seems no different.
Herb Gamberg’s article “Anarchism through Bakunin: A Marxist Assessment” opens by claiming that anarchist theory has had little to no historical development since the 19th century, and that, apparently, “anarchism possesses no really developed theory in the first place”. ((Herb Gamberg, “Anarchism through Bakunin: A Marxist Assessment,” Platypus Review 64 (March 2014). So what is anarchism, then?
Herb Gamberg's "Anarchism Through Bakunin: A Marxist Assesment,” Platypus Review #64 (March 2014), is not meant to be a balanced discussion of Michael Bakunin’s strengths and weaknesses, nor is it a comparison of the strengths and weaknesses of anarchism and Marxism. It is a direct, full-throated attack on anarchism, using Bakunin as his focus in the name of Marxism.
JAMES HEARTFIELD’S REVIEW of Ian Birchall’s biography of Tony Cliff, founder of the British Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and therefore of the International Socialist Tendency, is a curious affair. Heartfield fails his readers by declining to situate himself in the story, as a champion of the changing perspectives of the late British Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), unique among British left groups in having evolved from Trotskyism first to a neither-left-nor-right iconoclasm and then to a pro-market libertarianism