The Red Menace

Letter to The Red Menace #4

Critical distance

Dear Friends:

The articles by Ulli Diemer were excellent and I wholeheartedly concur with his position on the relationship between Marxism and anarchism. (The same old tired rhetoric in Murtaugh's piece provided a nice foil for his analysis) Further, his characterization of the uncritical editorial policy of THE OPEN ROAD was right on target.

It appears from the quality of Diemer's articles that libertarian Marxism has established a critical distance between itself and the Marxist tradition and in particular, the dark Leninist side of that tradition. Now it's up to Murtaugh and the anarchist movement of which he is a part to establish their critical distance from the Bakunist tradition and, in particular, the dark Nechaevist side of that tradition, best represented in our own day by the Red Brigade terrorists, the Baader-Meinhoff gang, and the Symbionese Liberation Army.

Anarchists must make a choice between their real libertarian impulses and their tendency towards anti-intellectualism, romanticism, terrorism, and conspiracy. For starters, they might do well to read Murray Bookchin's “Challenge the Icons of Anarchism” in THE OPEN ROAD, No. 5, Winter, 1977-78. But, as Diemer points out, the anti-intellectualism of most anarchists is the major stumbling block preventing them from overcoming their uncritical past.

One can only hope that many anarchists will break with their uncritical past and join with libertarian Marxists to become free and equal partners in a new left libertarian movement.

David Bean
St. Catharines



Red Menace home page

A Libertarian Socialist Publication