George Walford: Repudiating the Repudiators
While we serenely analyse the behaviour of parties and movements, where does IC stand? Every issue makes it clear that we are opposed to the (A-)SPGB (and, though this is less emphasised, also to other “purist” anarchists and anarcho-socialists) and that locates us on the side of existing society in all its variety and with all its potentialities. We stand with the religious movements, the atheists, the humanists, the sciences hard and soft, the educational system and those opposed to schooling, with the prison system and the prison reformers and those who would do away with prisons, with the privatisers and the nationalisers, the conservatives and liberals, the labour-socialist, communist and Trotskyist movements, the feminists and their opponents, with all forms of Marxism except the (A-)SPGB’s, with the governments and the states and all anarchists except the purists. We stand with all the groups that take part in the operation of society, accepting, establishing, criticising, reforming and revolutionising it. We also stand with all the resistance and opposition each of them imposes on the others and all of them on each.
The society which they, together, constitute, has produced conditions under which millions starve year by year and thousands of millions are enabled to feed themselves. It has produced Paschendaele and pacifism, the Inquisition, Christ, Buddha and Tom Paine; nuclear weaponry and CND, Hiroshima and the Red Cross, the whaling ships and Greenpeace, poverty and the means to end it. It has produced Nazism and suppressed it. It has produced all the horrors of history and the achievements which surpass them. It has even produced the (A-)SPGB.
As one member of the society, now of five thousand million people, which has done all these things, we repudiate those who repudiate it, accept our share of responsibility for it and claim our share of the credit.
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The Germans call a motor-car a “Wagen.” When the Baader Meinhof people wanted wheels they usually helped themselves to a BMW, with the result that this car came to be known as a Baader Meinhof Wagen.
The makers now advertise their product as The Ultimate Driving Machine. Like the idea of being driven by a machine?
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Question: How many people accept s.i.? Answer: Approximately five thousand million.
They don’t all know they accept it, in fact very few of them do realise this. But they demonstrate their acceptance in a way that carries more weight than a verbal exprdssion of agreement: by acting in accordance with it.
Does this mean that s.i. accepts society as it is? Yes, provided that “society as it is” be taken in its full meaning, to include all the potentiality for change.
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MONOSODIUM Glutamate? Yes, by all means, provided it’s natural monosodium glutamate. But we don’t want any nasty chemicals.
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EUROPE NOW exports to the Third World its cast-off Marxism, as formerly it sent its old clothes and its worn-out religions.
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VERY BUSINESS-LIKE people, the ancient Romans. Even the standards of their legions carried the shopkeeper’s slogan: SPQR – Small Profits, Quick Returns.
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WHEN WATCHING the world go to hell in a handbasket (an old cliche is always a good one), and suffering guilt from your inability to do much about it, remember: Each of us is one among five thousand million, and carries a proportionate share of the responsibility.
Accept that, and it eases the load.
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A WEIGHTLIFTING friend has confessed the secret of his sport: The weights always win.
from Ideological Commentary 31, January 1988.