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How many of you were Marxist/Maoist/ etc before you became anarchist?

+1 vote
Just curious :)
asked Apr 7, 2014 by unp89 (380 points)
not i.

[now i meet the character quota]
I was more of a vaguely libertarian/liberal punk kid.
On a side note I've been thinking about that question "Violence, what's your opinion?"  I want to say that I know now the difference between repression violence and resistant violence. I also want to thank you all for answering my questions. I'm been really learning a lot here :)
I was never a Marxist or Maoist, but communism and communist thinking had a role in getting me to where I am. I came to start developing the ideas that would later lead me to use the label "anarchist" in part through a class I took in jr. high that focused on Communism, and the history of the Soviet Union (this was during the cold war and it was a small alternative school...)

I distinctly recall conversations with friends where it was generally agreed that communism sounded great, but the implications of bureaucracy, domination, and control that a communist reality held were untenable. It took quite a while for me to get from this to anarchist (and I never sought to be part of a Marxist/Maoist tendency).
social democrat (i had an olof palme quote on my facebook) ---> chomsky/zmag 'libertarian socialist ---> ANARCHIST!

i skipped over punk and crimethinc :-P
"I'm been really learning a lot here"
ironically (since i was skeptical when you asked your first question), people like you are one of the main reasons for this site.

it's always nice when people take advantage of the site for what it's good for. :)
Thanks dot :)

8 Answers

+1 vote
i wouldn't say i was one, but i was in a group with some for a long time.

edit: i would tag this with "personal" and "history" or "personal trajectory" or something along those lines (at least along with the "marxism" tag, if not replacing it).
answered Apr 7, 2014 by dot (57,680 points)
edited Apr 20, 2014 by dot
+1 vote
I've always been an individualist since I was a child. This was translated, at first, as pro-capitalist libertarianism overtly while covertly I agreed that powerful individuals don't allow themselves to be defined by systems of power.

As I lost faith in libertarian pro-capitalist views, I absorbed a great deal of left anarchist and Marxist views for a period of time and tried to find a way anarchist and Marxist views could be reconciled. I wanted a synthesis of individualist anarchist views and Marxist views and through writers like Wolfi Landstreicher and Bob Black I found this. Though both are anti-Marxist, their views paralleled mine on communism and individualism, so I feel I fit somewhere around here more than elsewhere.

So I can't say I ever was a Marxist and definitely not a Maoist, but I can say I did try to understand these views and those who held them.
answered Apr 8, 2014 by hpwombat (4,850 points)
+1 vote
I was a socialist with an anti-authoritarian streak for a for long time.  I never called myself a Marxist and vanguardism always pissed me off, but my political/social/economic understanding of things was heavily influenced by Marx, and I still find Marxian ideas useful sometimes.  

I sort of started with democratic socialism and steadily moved in the direction of communist anarchism until I reached it.  My experience of the futility of political activism sanctioned by the state and/or social mores played a big part in that, although I always thought (and still think) the possibility and consequences of revolution are largely out of our hands.  

There were some problems I had with communism that I couldn't resolve, and I realized it was because I'm fundamentally an individualist.  I still feel some affinity with anti-authoritarian leftists, but I think that's mostly because of shared anti-capitalist views and the fact that most of my friends are leftists of one stripe or another.

Also I didn't really have a good grasp on what 'Maoist' meant in the western world until I read through some posts on here and realized that they were the leftists that had always pissed me off the most.
answered Apr 8, 2014 by Yosemite (6,280 points)
edited Apr 8, 2014 by Yosemite
0 votes
Never! But I was deeply involved in anti-nuke pacifism for a few years...
answered Apr 9, 2014 by lawrence (20,630 points)
+1 vote
I was a far right state communist going back to my early teens, essentially as a logical consequence of the particular kind of humanism for which I was an advocate. Working to fix the problem of the inefficiencies inherent to hierarchies eventually brought me to social forms of anarchism or perhaps anti-state communism.

Then I stopped being a humanist, and now I'm neither an anarchist nor a communist.
answered Apr 13, 2014 by StrawDog (1,770 points)
If you don't mind me asking, how do you describe your beliefs now? Just curious :)
In terms of political beliefs, it is probably most useful to say I have none. In the absence of a guiding moral truth with political implications, eg. that humans are a thing and that their suffering is bad, I am inclined toward apostasy.

However, another way of framing what has happened is that my political "world" has shrunk in the absence of a totalizing framework in which for my actions to have political meaning, now I concern myself solely with the extent of my immediacy and the people who comprise my "real tribe" such as it constructs itself. In this sense I might be called a political taoist.
0 votes
not me.

i always held strongly anti-capitalist ideas, but i never delved much into communist theory, beyond "marx for dummies" way way back.  for a number of years i was a (far?) left actictivisty type.  but once i started taking it seriously and began to really look at and understand the dynamics at play in the leftist world, i got completely disillusioned with the entire fucking thing. it was around that time that i got seriously turned on to anarchist thought.  while it took me a few difficult (for me) discussions with anarchists (of a post-left variety) to more fully grok the distinction between (post-left) anarchy and the leftism that i had become so frustrated with, once i got it, i was very clear. the ideas (as i understand them, obviously) resonated with me so deeply that i could not believe it took me so long to figure it out.

my sister is a hardcore marxist, and over the years we have had our share of good discussions and arguments. i think she would like to be more of an anarchist, but it turns out she clings so dogmatically to certain core liberal/progressive values that make such a transition (seemingly) impossible.
answered Dec 25, 2014 by funkyanarchy (12,210 points)
0 votes
I think when I was growing up and I started learning about the Cold War and the USSR/Cuba and what have you through history classes in secondary school, I had somewhat romantic views towards Marxist-Leninism simply because I had been taught that it was the only alternative to capitalism, and I knew that I hated capitalism. But I never really entered a full-on Marxist phase- I sort of receded back into liberalism for a while then I discovered Chomsky and spent a few months worshiping him. While a bit of an uninteresting character Chomsky used enough anarchist rhetoric to at least got me to consider that Anarchism wasn't so crazy an idea after all, and after that I started absorbing all manner of anarchist literature, first hovering around syndicalism then mutualism and now anarchism sans-descriptors (but leaning towards individualism). But I do know multiple anarchists who were once marxists, though most of them are now anarcho-communists which in a lot of respects isn't that far off.
answered Dec 28, 2014 by BloodyPeasant (300 points)
0 votes
I was born into a very Marxist, atheist family in the backdrop of rural england. In an environment where most teens have little or no social conscience beyond veganism, drug issues and the worrying self harm trend that's sweeping our age group at the moment, and whereby their only method of expressing their opinion on said concerns seems to be via poorly phrased arguments on their facebook feeds, I consider my more politically astute upbringing to be rather a blessing. So while I bear roots deep in the realms of Marx, the teachings of those like Larken Rose and George Carlin that taught me that Marx tries to hack at the ever growing branches of social inequality, instead of striking at the root and disengaging from organised society altogether. Ultimately they both want the same thing, the leveling of the social classes, albeit in two very different ways, so I wouldn't be surprised if there were more like me, jumping from one to the next. Most Marxists wanted to engage and influence their governmental body, scholarly anarchists seem to prefer stepping out and washing their hands of governmental law altogether. They bare strong ties, and in practice, politics might not be an absolute, Marxism could work, but the arguements of anarchism just seem more logical to me.
answered Jan 3, 2015 by N.R.Chiste (180 points)