Book Review: Bloodstained

Bloodstained:  One Hundred Years Of Leninist Counterrevolution, edited by the Friends of Aron Baron

It should be stated at the outset that I am not a friend of Aron Baron nor am I supportive of leftist anarchists at all.  My feelings on the matter are fierce and have been frequently expressed and I need not repeat them here in detail.  This book is written from the point of view of various anarchists who lament the way that they were oppressed and butchered by tyrannical Communists over the course of the past century or so.  This is a predictable outcome, and the fact that it is entirely predictable has escaped contemporary anarchists who appear to be encouraging the same sort of massive counter-revolutionary response in our own present evil age.  My feelings upon reading this book were similar to my feelings about Alien vs. Predator, in that the book promised fighting between two monsters who are the enemies of mankind, and that I did not have a side and would be quite content if neither existed.  That said, I have to admit that all of the mean things that the authors of this book have to say about tyrannical nature of Leninists and other Communists is entirely true, if sometimes besides the point.

This book is about 250 pages long or so and it is written by a group of anarchists whose general points are that Communism is tyrannical (yup) and not as great a progress on the sort of bourgeois governments that existed in the West from the time of the French Revolution.  This is an important point–there has been on the part of human governments in general a lack of willingness to trust bottom-up emergent government without some sort of elite at the top.  There is a very good reason for this–human nature cannot be trusted.  Yet these anarchists, who on the one hand brag about the bombs they throw and the risings they engage in, at the same time act as if it was somehow unjust that Communists should view them as being unworthy to live given the harm that they did during Czarist Russia.  And as someone who is not very sympathetic at all to anarchism in the contemporary world, it is hard to see these people as anything other than self-serving hypocrites who lack self-awareness, even though one may very easily agree with their critique of Marxism.  Just because someone has the right enemies does not make them worth listening to, alas, concerning their own plans for society.

Those who read this book and appreciate it are likely to be those who think that genuine socialism has never been tried.  While this claim is generally subjected to an intense degree of ridicule, there is a sense in which the authors are right.  The reason for this is that anarchy makes a terrible basis for the organization of society, and those whose political views are expressed in random and horrific acts of terrorist violence are not the sort of people who can build a society on any grounds.  The lack of respect for life and property that one finds on the revolutionary left and the lack of organization and cohesion that one finds among anarchists tends to both inflame opposition among those who are more lawful and less chaotic than anarchists are, and then to ensure that this opposition comes with a lot more force than anarchists can cope with.  Other than Somalia, few nations have tried to govern themselves via anarchical principles, and when Anarchists have been influential for a time, they are almost always the first enemies of whatever order comes to be placed in a given area, and the authors of this book seem to know their heads are on the chopping block and not surprisingly resent it.  It is a shame they do not learn from it though.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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