Before I begin this essay properly I wish to come clean and state that a large amount of posts I had on this blog have been deleted. When I made the transition from vaguely Left-Libertarianish Marxist sorta Democratic Socialism to Anarchism I swore to leave my previous posts up as a reminder of my growth but relooking at them I find them so fucking embarrassing in their ignorance and stupidity that I had to get rid of them. I mean for fucks sake, I cite Hal Draper in one of them! Positively!
Every so often you will see Leftists cry for unity. I myself have done this in the past. However- and this should have been obvious to begin with- the idea is a total Utopia.
Why? Well for one- and once again obviously- there are many different branches of Leftism and although they may seem to superficially have things in common this is often bollocks. Continuing the the theme of obviousness, take Anarchism and Marxism. Both ideologies argue for a Communist utopia (although in the fourth paragraph you’ll see that even this is not necessarily so) but Anarchists argue to do so in a decentralised and Libertarian manner involving the self-emancipation of the workers. Conversely, Marxists argue for it to be done through political parties, whether they be done in a Vanguard (The Bolsheviks) or an essentially Liberal Democratic one (not a perfect example, but the British Labour Party is supported by some Marxists). It is likely that even if Marxists were somehow able to miraculously achieve Communism it still would not be the Communism that Anarchism would result in.
However even this isn’t fully accurate, as within Marxism there are Libertarian strands which argue along the same lines of certain strands- predominant ones- of Anarchism (incidentally- and obviously- this is an example where there could be some sort of pan-leftism, and indeed there has been).
Then take Anarchism, within it there are different currents, and not ones that argue for the same thing. The first Anarchist philosophy: Mutualism, features a market economy, so right away many Anarchist Communists would be against it. Then there’s the Post-Left Anarchism (considering it purports to be post-left it’s a bit of cheat to include it but I’m sure Pan-leftists try to include them so screw it) of Bob Black, which does not desire an egalitarian community and can simplistically be regarded as Classical Liberal but Anti-Capitalist (if that makes sense). Going even further there’s Anarcho-Primitivism which with its idea of regressing back to hunter-gatherer societies by now seems pretty divorced from Social Anarchy. And this is without mentioning Collectivist Anarchism (more or less dead as a theory and practice) and Individualist Anarchism.
To put it as succinctly as I can, I, as an Anarchist Communist feel I have about as much in common ideologically with a Leninist or Post-Leftist as I do with a Conservative, and this is essentially the problem with Pan-Leftism, as despite surface similarities these ideologies (the ones I mentioned and others I’ve forgotten) are alien to each other.