Anarchosocialist "Democracy"

The fact that many anarcho-socialists advocate democratic procedures is itself ample evidence that they are not anarchists, for democracy is meaningless unless the majority can compel the minority to submit to its will. But the events in Catalonia suggest that even they have are not much concerned with democracy either. Not only did they implement a government, they implemented an undemocratic and unconstitutional government.

The undemocratic actions of the Anarcho-socialists would not be particularly undemocratic if they had an ideology and their organizations had a constitution whereby the elected leaders have a mandate to do as they please until the next election. Their actions were objectionable because they were taken in defiance of their theory and of the constitutions of their organizations.

Similarly there would be nothing offensive in their undemocratic actions if they were real anarchists, acting for themselves as individuals and taking responsibility for their own individual acts, but instead they exercised state power in the name of their followers, and did not bother to obtain their followers consent to it.

Burnett Bolloten The Grand Camouflage: The Spanish Civil war and revolution. page 159

"The decision of the CNT and FAI to enter the cabinet caused a profound stir in the libertarian movement. Not only did it represent a complete negation of the basic tenets of Anarchism, shaking the whole structure of Libertarian theory to the core, but, in violation of the democratic principle, it had been taken without consulting the rank and file. [See resolution approved by the regional congress of the Catalan CNT in April 1937, as given in article by P.Bernard (Bernado Pou) in Universo, May 1, 1948, in which this fact is mentioned]"

Ronald Fraser Blood of Spain, page 184

But more was evidently needed. The choice was between working class and popular front power. There were no alternatives.
The decision in favor of the latter was reached at a secret meeting [...] The decision was kept secret.
The Catalan CNT sprang its surprise: Three CNT ministers were joining the new Generalitat government: The militia committee was to be dissolved, and with it all the local committees.

Ronald Fraser does not draw any conclusions from the fact that these decisions were made in secret by an organization that was supposedly functioning by participatory democracy.

Since this announcement was a surprise, I draw the inference that the local committees were not consulted about their dissolution and therefore that they were a mere pretense, like the worker's Soviets of the Soviet unions, powerless and impotent, mere window dressing to maintain the charade of mass participation in the affairs of the masters and mass support for whatever the masters happened to will at that particular moment. Because they were not functioning in accordance with their own theory and constitution, I infer that they were not functioning in accordance with any theory or constitution.

A collectivist anarchist condemned the formation of the militia committee as follows

In practice the committees had been separated from the rank and file and their members transformed from delegates into representatives ("leaders" in every sense of the word) who started to make policy decisions on the rank and files behalf, without bothering to consult them.
This shows clearly the role of the CNT committee members (see also "Towards a Fresh Revolution" by the Friends of Durruti). They used their new found influence in the eyes of Spain to unite with the leaders of other organizations/parties but not the rank and file. This process lead to the creation of the "Central Committee of Anti Fascist Militias" [...]
This first betrayal of anarchist principles led to all the rest, [...]
Instead of pursuing anarchist policies (and past CNT policy as indicated from congresses), the committee members started to pursue their own policies. Far from NOT seizing power themselves (as the Trotskyites lament, their definition of "workers power"), the CNT and FAI committee members seized power within their own organizations. [...]

He complains that the "Central Committee of the Anti Fascist Militia's" was not organized in accordance with anarcho-socialist principles. But the Central Committee created a police force with a special privilege of exercising force, impermissible to ordinary mortals. Are we to conclude that if the Central Committee was organized in accordance with anarchist principles, it would have been perfectly in accord with anarchist principles for it to create a police force with a special privilege to use force?

In effect he makes the same complaint for Catalonia as for every other socialist revolution. "If only the leaders had been more virtuous."

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