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March 27, 2024 37 mins

Mia and James discuss the nearly forgotten second Algerian revolution during which workers seized factory and field and implemented workers self-management

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
Also media welcome TOI could out here the podcast being
recorded to were pays of pain killers.

Speaker 2 (00:11):
I'm your host to be a wong I'm fucking dying. Yeah,
it would be.

Speaker 3 (00:18):
Yeah, phantomal episode even waiting for it here it is.

Speaker 2 (00:23):
Yeah. And the other thing that's dying was dying has
died sort of was a bunch of French colonists in Algeria. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (00:34):
Yeah, the French Empire as a whole.

Speaker 2 (00:36):
One could say, yeah, thank God Jesus Christ, why did
you let these people have an empire? Terrible idea?

Speaker 3 (00:42):
Oh yeah, what's not an empire? The abroad France? Right,
like like the little parts of France which just happened
to be in Africa, totally a normal thing. Which particular
part of the French Empire? Are we talking about it?
Many many such cases of French French empire taking L's
not that that's unique to be also a British empire

(01:02):
to the load of els.

Speaker 2 (01:03):
Yeah. So today we're talking about Algeria, and I think
one of the things that I sort of realized about
how the Algerian Revolution is you remembered in the West
is okay, So there's there's the kind of the Frank
Herbert reaction where they saw people who were Muslim in

(01:26):
the streets and were like, holy shit, it went insane
for seventy years.

Speaker 3 (01:30):
Yeah, yeah, to.

Speaker 2 (01:32):
Be fair, to be fair, that was also poorly partly
being driven mad by the Portland Dunes, which, like you know,
like I get sometimes sometimes you're driven you're driven completely
insane by dunes. But you know, so there's that's there's
there's a sort of reactionary memory of it. There's a
sort of memory that functions in inside of like the
American military where you know, Algeria's you remember it is

(01:55):
one of the sort of like examples of failed kind
of insurgency.

Speaker 3 (01:59):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (01:59):
And then there's the memory inside of the American left,
which is largely confined to Finon and the movie The
Battle of Algiers. Yep, classic movie, to be fair, Yeah,
great movie, like nothing nothing, a good good movie. However, coma,
this is a real issue because the Battle of Algiers again,

(02:23):
great movie ends in nineteen fifty seven. Finan, great theorist,
dies in nineteen sixty one. Now notably, Algeria gains independence
nineteen sixty two. So okay. The issue with this is
that people kind of broadly know the outlines of the
first Algerian Revolution, but the second Algerian Revolution, the one

(02:45):
where the Algerian working class season is the control of
the means of production, attempts to run them autonomous league,
is just has completely faded into the mist of history.
I talk about it, no one has any idea what
the fuck I'm talking about. And this is kind of startling,
because you know, up until there's probably like there's like
a four year span where the Algerian Revolution is the

(03:07):
sort of like capital S capital R social revolution, like
it's the big one, is the one people all over
the world taking inspiration from, and then it kind of,
you know, it flounders out for reasons that we're going
to talk about, and also the culture revolution starts and
everyone lashes onto that. But it's sort of fascinating to
me that this the second part of the revolution, and

(03:31):
the part that everyone was really excited about, which is
the core of the revolution being workers self management, and
that being the sort of great theoretical innovation of Algeria
and socialism, that has just completely faded for memory. It's
just gone. And so today we're talking about that revolution. Unfortunately,

(03:54):
one of the most detailed studies on this I'm gonna
be citing from a lot is in Clegg's Worker Self
Management and AIA. Now this is a good book. However,
Comma Clegg is uh, he's he's a very specific kind
of Crimogeny Marxist guy.

Speaker 3 (04:12):
Yeah, I'm familiar with that kind of guy.

Speaker 2 (04:15):
Yeah, And so like the back third of this book
is him engaged in a protracted ideological war with phenomen
over the nature nature of revolutionary consciousness, which is largely
pointless and goes nowhere. So you know, but it is
a very very detailed and very useful account of what
actually happened after the First Revolution, like after the French

(04:39):
are forced to Pulo out of Algeria, and what happens
effectively is well, if we need to go back a
little tiny bit, so there are you know, there is
a a staggering slaughter of people who attempt to resist
French colonialism. Like a lot of the sort of techniques

(05:00):
that are going to be used in Vietnam, they are
going to be used all over the world, and kind
of insurgencies are developed in Algeria in this period. I'm
going to read a quote from Clagg about what they
were doing the use of air power in napalm to
clear cover made movement inside the country almost impossible. The
construction of mind and electrified barriers along the border with
Tunisia and Morocco kept the better trained and armed elements

(05:22):
of the army Deliberation Nationale from coming to support the
gorillas and moving in supplies. One of the most successful
moves encounter in gerrilla activity was the policy of regroupment,
initiated by General Chalet. This strategy, learned from their British
and Malaysia, involved moving the rural population out of areas
favorable to the gorillas and resettling them in camps under
military guard, and estimated two million peasants were treated this way,

(05:46):
creating vast social and economic problems for the future. So,
like they put two million people in concentration camps.

Speaker 3 (05:51):
Yeah, yeah, according it a very group more is a
fucking exercise in like and marketing. Rarely have I seen
something so Nefario he named like, we're regrouping them parentheses
in a fucking concentration camp.

Speaker 2 (06:08):
Yeah, and this is this is a strategy that you know.
So the British sort of start doing this in Malaysia.
A lot of it's derived from attempts to counter you know,
and this isn't really an episode about that utter and revolution,
but I won't talk about this a little bit. It's
it's it's designed as a way to counter sort of
MAOIs insurgency campaigns, which is the sort of you know,
the becomes the new template for like thees. Yeah, and

(06:32):
it's because it works really well, and you know, like
the key thing of MAOIs like well, I mean there's
a couple of things obviously, but like one of the
key elements of it is this is this line from Mao.
Is it like the gorilla moves to the people like
a fish moves through the sea. Right, So it's about
like it's about building social basis such that you know,
gorillas can move in and out of communities and not
get turned in and stuff and use them as terrain.

Speaker 3 (06:53):
I've had that particular Mao phrase paraphrase to me. I
think sometimes why people are where it comes from outs
and people who probably have just sort of come to
it through their own understanding or or heard it but
not realize the source of it. People who are not
certainly not Maoists all over the world, like I've I've
heard it in in the Middle East. I've heard it

(07:14):
in Africa, I've heard it in Asia. It's it's it
is a very important thing, and like it. Yeah, it
does make Garrida war esier if you can rely on
the population.

Speaker 2 (07:24):
This is something that's propagated through because because of the
success of sort of Mao's like gorilla insurgency, there's something
that's propagated through I mean through through obviously, like through
through communist parties, but I mean like a lot of
Islamist groups also pick it, like pick up a lot
of elements of it, because a lot of those groups
are trained in the Plos camps in the valley in Jordan,

(07:48):
and so like a lot of groups like all over
the world of completely unrelated ideologies all sort of picked
this stuff up. And the British response to this is
the British are fighting a communist insurgency in Malaysia and
they're like, okay, we're gonna do conscer ration camps for
our purposes. So obviously this is a you know, this
is an unfathomable atrocity, but it has enormous effects even

(08:08):
after the war ends, because suddenly, you know, okay, like
the war ends, the French are gone. But you know,
two million people have been taken from their homes and
locked in and locked in camps. And this has enormous
you know, I mean, this is this is enormous economic effects.
And the second thing that has really sort of stunning
economic effects are the Sore. There's been a class of

(08:33):
people in Algeria called the Colognes who are basically there
the colonists. They're not actually all French, a lot of
them are from other European countries, but they come to
be this sort of hardcore French ultranationalist, sort of fascist
turbo racists. I guess they're they're they're not quite the Rhodesians,

(08:54):
but they're they're only not quite the Rhodesians because they
didn't stay to fight it out. And when when the
French lose the war and when the French pull out,
these people just flee, like all of them were talking,
hundreds of thousands of people just are gone. I'm going
to read another quote from Cleig, because you know, if

(09:14):
these people had merely left, I think a lot of
what's going to happen in this revolution goes a lot better.
But they didn't just leave. Quote in June, a policy
of scorched earth was declared, inaugurating an orgy of destruction.
With his dream crumbling, the colonist's response was to destroy
this world, which I think is a really sort of elegant.

Speaker 3 (09:37):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I think that's you very well written
and it's funny. It's this thing that again, like you
see replicated so often. There was this slogan that they
used at the start, the serience of a war like
asado wee been in the country.

Speaker 2 (09:51):
Yeah, yeah, and it's it's this real you know. So,
so what the what the colins end up doing is
they end up just destroying, Yes, everything they can get
their hands on. They're destroying houses, They're especially destroying any
kind of sort of factory of technical equipment, anything they
can find. They're burning their lighting on fire. And the
other thing about Okay, so Auxuria is a colonial economy, right,

(10:13):
and the structure of the colonial economy is such that
you know, if you are a anyone who has any
kind of technical or manager gerial experience are all colonists, right.
Everyone else in the country is either doing subsistence farming
or has been fed as like these this sort of

(10:33):
like seasonal workers or really really badly paid sort of
contract workers on the on these sort of like cash
crap agricultural farms, a lot of orange production and stuff
like that. And so when the colonists flee the country,
suddenly like the entire technical managerial class, everyone with technical experience,

(10:55):
and also all of the bosses and the entire bourgeoisie
are just gone. And this takes everyone by surprise. The
Ethelen had assumed the Ethlens the the kind of like
umbrella organization that carried out the revolution. They it kind
of falls apart very quickly because it's it's not really
a coherent ideological group. It's just the sort of banner

(11:17):
that everyone who was fighting kind of attaches themselves to.

Speaker 3 (11:22):
Yeah, this is quite common, right, like national friends, ye,
or like popular friends very often do this post fore.

Speaker 2 (11:28):
Yeah, and these are disintegrated. But they had all expected
that the colonists were going to stick around, and they
don't because they're turbo racists, right, And the thought of
having to live in an Algeria world by Algeria, this
was like nope, I will fucking literally light the world
on fire and flee to France. You know what else
is going to light the world on fire and cause
people to flee to France.

Speaker 3 (11:50):
The products, products and services it's supporting to show.

Speaker 2 (11:53):
Yeah, so how how fucking good they are. It's gonna
it's going to cause the world to burn and make
people flee to France.

Speaker 1 (11:58):
Yeah.

Speaker 3 (11:58):
I have to think about that. When I think about,
like how big my pile of gold is, I think
that that match it's too small. I better just bend
all down and moved to France.

Speaker 2 (12:17):
And we are back now enter enter here. The heroes
of this episode, the workers Council, or very specifically, so
this is this is a French this is a French colony.
So in France and in Spain and in sort of
I guess the Romance languages. There, there was a concept
called autogiion. I'm pronouncing it really badly because I'm reading

(12:41):
the French version of it and trying to pronounce it
half in Spanish, the only one of these languages I
can even sort of speak. But it so it means
self management, and it basically it has this context of
of sort of like workers democratic self management. Right, if
you're if you're doing atostone, you're like the workers of
a factory have taken the factory and not running it themselves.

(13:02):
The most prominent example and at this point of self
management is Yugoslavia. Now this it's very the Uslavian version
is very, very weird, but as a way basically to
tell the Soviets to fuck off, Yugoslavia adopts a very
different kind of model of socialism than everyone else's. So

(13:22):
they're models based on the quote unquote the withering away
of the state. So they're you know, you have basically
these like reasonably democratic, like workers co ops that are
the sort of that are sort of their productive basis
of society. And these these co ops sort of compete
against each other on the market. But other hand, there

(13:43):
is a like a very large level of workers control
that's different from you know, like the US, which is
just a pure dictatorship of your boss in the workplace,
tells you what to do, and if you don't do what,
you get fired. Yeah, And so Algeria that's there, has
their own version of of self management. But unlike Algeria,

(14:06):
which is sort of effectively imposed by the top down
from the Comnist party. In Algeria, what happens is you
have this this enormous mass of workers who used to
work on these plantations, used to work in factories. There's
these huge colonial agricultural estates. And what happens is with

(14:27):
with the entire ruling class gone. And when I say
the entire ruling class, we're we're talking from all the
way up from you know, the highest level government officials,
through all all of your sort of capitalist bosses, right
down to sort of the middle management guys are gone. Yeah,
all those people just have disappeared. So what happens is
workers start taking over all of their all of their workplaces,

(14:51):
and they start forming workers councils. Right now, this is
this is driven largely by I mean, there's there's there's
there's a few different drivers. There's we'll get to the
ideological aspect. A lot of it is that these people
have no money and no one else is going to
run it. So there the workers who have now sees

(15:12):
all of this stuff are like, Okay, well we're gonna
we're gonna get the money we need to survive by
running by running all the stuff ourselves.

Speaker 3 (15:19):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (15:20):
And so this sort of starts in nineteen sixty two
and it sweeps across the country very quickly. I mean
there's a lot of real regions where it never really
takes hold. But largely what's happening is that permanent workers
who had been who had been workers at these firms
seize control of them. This has benefits and downsize. The

(15:41):
benefit of it is so there's an attempt by the
sort of the new Algerian sort of bushwise either the
sort of like small faction of Algerian capitalists to buy
up all this land. And there's a bunch of really
funny stories of these guys buying these estates and showing
up and the Workers Committee just kicking them out. Yeah, yes, eternities,
this is extremely funny. Yeah, there's also issues. So part

(16:06):
of what's going on is this is this is the
sort of this is the permanent workers taking over the
stuff with their people, right, and so a lot of
times like they'll they'll kick out seasonal workers because yeah,
so it's not it's not perfect, and there's a lot
of issues with it, right because this is this is
all being formed effectively, spontaneously about a bunch of extremely
desperate people.

Speaker 3 (16:26):
That's what I'm just so obviously like because it's me
the point of comparison, and I'm thinking of is the
Spanish Civil War, right yeah, and work is self management.
But there you have a workforce which is which has
been working towards collectivization for more than a decade in
some cases. And also, like this is the point actually
gets missed a lot in online discourse about the Spanish

(16:47):
Civil War, perhaps because people don't know as much as
they think they do that like there were anarchists in
all kinds of roles, Like when people talk about their
rooty column or whatever, like, there were absolutely anarchists, non
com missioned officers from the military who they relied on
heavily for advice. And the same is true with the
collectivized workplaces, right that there were anarchists in many roles,

(17:09):
you know, in shop stewards and things like that. Obviously
not in like the higher management roles. I think, yeah,
doing that is kind of incompatible with anarchism, and obviously
what we're dealing here with is anarchosyndicalism. For the most
part of the fire was more of a purest anarchist group,
but there you had people who'd been working towards us

(17:30):
for a long time, who have been planning for it,
and who did have people with a variety of experiences
in I think oversight might be a better word than
the management preps or like sort of organization. But they
were very successful. But that didn't just happen overnight. It
often gets presented as if it did, as if on

(17:50):
the eighteenth of July these people were just sort of
going to work and by the twentieth they were fully
formed anarchists running their own workplaces. But that's absolutely not
the case.

Speaker 2 (18:00):
And jury is the exact opposite of this, which is, yeah,
there's there's a very low level of political consciousness. There's
organization is almost non existent, because so I mean the
kinds of organizations that it existed are you know, you
have these sort of vanguard cells, but those are largely rural.
And then you have there there are some unions, but

(18:21):
they're not very they're not very large because they've been outlawed.

Speaker 3 (18:25):
Yeah, break ground, Yeah, like unbelievableression. Colonial context is extremely important.

Speaker 2 (18:31):
Yeah.

Speaker 3 (18:33):
Yeah, obviously Native mayor is blaming Algerian workers for not
being Catalanic.

Speaker 2 (18:37):
No, yeah, like this is this is this is the
French's fault and and you know, but but any such cases. Yeah,
but this seizure really takes everyone by surprise, because all
of the sort of leaders of fl and all leaders
of the various factions that assumed that either they were
going to sort of do I don't know, there's a
ideological conflict, but they they they always assume that they're

(19:02):
going to do some kind of like giant state light
industrialization project, right, whether it's a socialist one, whether it's
more Islamist one. And then suddenly they are they are
now all you know, it's like, okay, well your economy
is now on the Yugoslavian uh self management model because
all of these workers have just seized all their workplaces.
Now that there are there are a few organizations that

(19:25):
are are politically very supportive of this. The the UGTA,
which is Algeria's big sort of trade union, are very
politically socialist and they they are really the only people
in this entire country who are who are an organized
political body who actually want to see this thing work.
And so they do a lot of work helping me,

(19:45):
helping workers set up their their committees and spreading the revolution.
Their plan is to use this against any attempt to
set up basically a dictatorship by uh, you know, it's okay,
and this is where it gets sort of interesting because
very explicitly they are trying to stave off sort of
Soviet style socialisticatorship, right they are, And their plan is

(20:07):
we're going to use We're going to use the workers
councils as the as the basis of of an actual
sort of workers democracy against again against the sort of
orthodox like Marcus Leninist stuff. And this is another thing
that's going on too, is the army is a lot
more orthodox Marxist Leninists than either the workers committees or
the unions, and so a lot in a lot of
parts of the countries in the West, the army just

(20:28):
sort of rolls through, knocks off the workers committees and
seizes the land for itself. And that's a fiasco. But
now now pretty very quickly Ben Bella, who emerges as
as the sort of as the leader of Algeria after
a set of political maneuvering that we're not going to
get into here, is basically forced to and in nineteen

(20:49):
sixty three set a bunch of decrees saying that yeah,
these guys are people who run the economy, et cetera,
et cetera, but there's there are I want to talk
I want to actually get into something that is really
not talked about in ninety nine percent of the accounts
of this stuff, which is how do these councils actually work?

(21:10):
Because spoiler alert, this whole thing is going to fail
and all these people are going to be crushed, And
a lot of that has to do with how this
thing's set up, which is very badly because it is
a system designed by Marxists, and they're very sympathetic Marxist
to a broad extent. But unfortunately the way that these
that this is set up is that, Okay, so there's

(21:32):
an assembly, right, that's like all the workers in the
firm are in this assembly. The assembly elects this worker's council,
which has like ten people, and then that council elects
the management committee, which is the people who actually do
the management. So it has a president and there's also
a director supposed to represent the interest of the state
or whatever. And the issue with this is that it's

(21:54):
designed specifically to keep power out of the hands of
workers directly, right that that giant assembly it can't actually
make policy. The only thing they can do is approve
plans or disapproved plans set down by the management committee.

Speaker 3 (22:09):
Got it, okay. And these people at the management committee
wire presumably like representatives as opposed to delegates.

Speaker 2 (22:14):
Right, yeah, yeah, they're the representatives. They also have three
year terms and it may not I think they can,
but it's really hard. And and the other thing that
that that sort of destroys this is that they those
they there's a lot of sort of like election rigging
by the state who doesn't want these things to be
actual sort of democratic and the the and that this

(22:35):
leads into the bigger issue, which is state control. And
this is this is where I think, really this is
something that Clegg doesn't get into much because Clegg is
a Marxist, but this is where the Marxism of it
all really comes into play. But first, do you know
who's not a Marxist?

Speaker 3 (22:51):
Oh yes, almost certainly.

Speaker 2 (22:54):
Yeah, not Marxists. I think we I think we can
say not Marxists. All right, we are back. So the
biggest issue here, and this is something that was kind
of true in both Algeria and in the others kind

(23:16):
of big Marxist self management experiments in Chile, which is
that these the self managing firms don't have control over
a lot of the things that they need right, So
in Algeria, when when when the state essentially tries to
absorb all of this stuff, when it when it gets
sort of legitimized under under these decrees U there are

(23:39):
a lot of issues. One is that these self managing
organizations don't have control over their own money. So they're yeah,
you're paid, You're getting paid by the state, right and
you so you give the state your money and then
they they pay you. And this becomes a real issue
because the state goes, oh will the people in these
self managing things are act like privileged workers, so they

(24:02):
have permanent pay freezers. And also you can't reinvest your
profits back into the firm, which is a real issue.

Speaker 3 (24:10):
It's like a horrible combination of like and cap and
like styalinists like it without Yeah, I don't, I don't
want to like derail us too much. But this again,
like it's it's.

Speaker 2 (24:23):
So much worse than the Spanish system. It's so much worse,
Like every part of it is set up to fail.

Speaker 3 (24:28):
Yeah, and I think this should always get This is
the sort of discourse I am now going to derail that.
I'm sorry. This is the kind of like the online
like hammer and sickle in bio discourse that we that
we see so often, right, and you don't have to
pay attention to these people, and like you probably shouldn't,
but just just to like put it out there, I
think like an archao syndiclysm is right there. And it

(24:51):
allows for the like unions and syndicate which over overlook
a whole industry to coordinate between work it's committees and
ensure that you know, things get done and people get
treated with dignity, and and they also make enough money
or have access to the resources that they need to survive.
And when we try and like cut the corners off

(25:14):
this or kind of make a little college between this
and and barkist Leninism or state socialism, like neither thing
works and we just end up with this kind of
terrible hodge podge in which it doesn't it doesn't function, right,
But that that doesn't necessarily mean that work is self
management itself is invalid as a concept.

Speaker 2 (25:33):
It Yeah, and and and there's there's a lot of
things here that you know.

Speaker 1 (25:39):
So the.

Speaker 2 (25:41):
One of the big criticisms of this at the time
by by social intellectuals is people are going, well, there's
not coordination uh, you know, the firms competing against each other.
There's not broad economic coordination. It's like, well, yeah, that's
because that's because the state controls all their finances. They
don't they don't have the ability to do coordination with
each other. And yeah. The big thing, and this is
the thing that really actually kills this is that so

(26:04):
Cleig calls it marketing is controlled by the state. But
that's not quite what's going on. The other thing that's
controlled by the state is the state isn't has the
responsibility or and is the people who are in charge
of selling the products. And they just fucked this up completely.
They can't they can't figure out how to get like
the fruit that's being produced sold, right. The problem here
isn't is an output. Is that the the state is

(26:26):
doing things like I mean sometimes sometimes they they'll have
all these oranges. So a lot of the the Algeria
and agricultural economy is set up as a cash crop
economy and you're supposed to fight you so okay, and
it's it's never really worked very well. But the Algerian
state just completely shits the bed. And there's I mean,
this is like i mean, we're talking like tons of
fruit is just sitting there rotting a lot of the time.

(26:46):
What they do is they just dump in onto the
French market and for like basically zero cost and so
and you know, and so you get these things, and
you look at the sort of profit lost thing, and
you know, the sort of like right wing parts of
the state and this, Oh, I guess you like, I
guess they are right one. But the the sort of
anti self manager parts of theysteria going oh, well, look

(27:07):
at these these firms. They're hemorrhaging all this money. It's like, well, yeah,
they're hemorrhaging money because instead of actually selling the goods,
you guys are throwing all of their goods into a dumpster.
Like yeah, of course it's not working, right, Yeah.

Speaker 3 (27:17):
And it's a struggle of like post colonial economies. If
you in the French colonial system, like they've decided that
Algeria is going to be the place that makes oranges
for the entirety of the French I'm just sort of
manufacturing example empire here. Then evidently what once you once
you secede from that empire, you now have a fuck

(27:38):
ton more oranges than you need for Algerias. You're now
going to have to navigate and you might not have
enough well.

Speaker 2 (27:43):
And they can't even figure how to sell to other
Algerians too. That that that's that's the that's the problem
with the sort of state control of the market is
they can't they can't do either because they're completely because
the bureaucrats that are running this are completely incompetent.

Speaker 3 (27:55):
Right, yeah, man, I mean one can ague to states
incapable of at eating resorts is equally orfairly. But yes,
even so they've they've done a bad job even by
state standards.

Speaker 2 (28:05):
Yeah, and and and the and the and the subsequent
issue too is is because all of the finances are
controlled by this state, even the firms that are profitable,
and there are firms that are very profitable, they can't
reinvest their profit back into you know, improving efficiency or
do or doing the basic things that workers need, which
is having money to eat, because that money is that
all of that sort of capital is just being eaten

(28:26):
by the state. And so you know, there's an quote
Clay again, as the president of a self managed farm
said to me in nineteen sixty five, in this situation,
how can we persuade the worker that he is no
longer working for a capitalistic exploiter and like, well, yeah,
he objectively is right, he is, like the state is
stealing all of his money and then doing some stupid

(28:47):
bullshit with it.

Speaker 3 (28:48):
Yeah. I love that. They're like they're not quite joining
the dots there, like, yeah, these guys don't seem to
be getting it. Like maybe maybe they do get it.

Speaker 2 (28:58):
And this is this is one of these things where
you know, like I I Cleig, Cleig doesn't really draw
this line because he just I mean Cleig just refuses
to talk about either Hungary or the Spanish Revolution at all.

Speaker 3 (29:13):
Right, Yeah, and.

Speaker 2 (29:17):
Well he's a mouth, like that's the thing. He he
he is a he is a pro worker self management guy, right,
but he's a Marxist pro worker self management guy. So
she's distributing the failure this largely to like, well, there
wasn't sufficient consciousness. So it's like, well, no, like this system,
even if everyone wanted it to work, this system couldn't
have worked because it was set up in such a
way that it was. And this is something you know,

(29:40):
this is the part of why I want to talk
to you about. This was that if you look at
the way that the that the Spanish system is set up, right,
It's it's built off of coordination, like basically like sectoral
coordination between everyone who's doing a thing. Right, It's built
on resource sharing. If I'm remembering my stuff, I mean

(30:00):
they have basically they have a banking union, and people
put their profits into the into the banking union, and
then people can get money from the banking union to
reinvest in other places.

Speaker 3 (30:10):
Yeah, I think that's correct. It's also like, yeah, this,
I guess would that be called vertical integration if it's
the whole sector, even if it's.

Speaker 2 (30:19):
They do this thing which takes advantage of both of
the advantages of self management gives you, which is one
like and like sort of you know, and it's like
socialist self management.

Speaker 1 (30:29):
Right.

Speaker 2 (30:30):
You have the advantage of scale, which is that you're
now instead of competing as each other, you're now coordinating
an entire sector, right, and you're you're producing stuff that
you're producing stuff for need. And then on the other hand,
you have the other thing that's supposed to be the
advantage of self management, which is that the workers themselves,
who are the people who are supposed to understand the

(30:51):
production process the best, can make decisions over how they're
going to do things. But then if you look at
the Algerian system, because it's because it's set up by Marxists,
it's specifly designed such that basically like you're you're, you're
instead of you actually managing yourself, you're you're just electing

(31:11):
your boss and then your boss manages, right, Yeah, and
that's not actually good. This is and it's weird because
looking at this, right, this is actually a worst system
in terms of self management, I think in a lot
of senses than the Chinese one, because the Chinese system
is not designed for self management. But you can't fire people.
So because because you can't fire people, you have to

(31:31):
listen to what people think and what people sort of do.
Is this system, I don't know. It pisces me off
because this is a revolution that very very easily could
have worked, but it was you know, there's there's intentional
sabotage by the state because most of the sectors of
the state don't want this to work.

Speaker 3 (31:50):
And then.

Speaker 2 (31:53):
Just structurally from the way it's set up, it's it's
it's doomed to fail from the beginning. And the consequence
of this is that in Nice sixty five ben Bella
gets overthrown in a coup by another sort of but
basically the army, a sort of state socialist faction of
the army, and they hold on to power by basically

(32:13):
turning Algeria into an oil economy. Yeah, and dismantling this
entire thing. And it, I don't know, it makes me
really angry because the the the like the actual Algerian
ruling class had the right idea and then they just
got completely fucked by everyone who was supposed to be

(32:36):
leading them or you know, the people who were supposed
to be selling the stuff that they made, people who
are supposed to be reinvesting, all the people who ended
up with the financial control just completely screwed them. And yeah,
I don't know, it's it's it's really it's it's it's
really depressing in a lot of ways. But on the

(32:57):
other hand, right, like it does, it doesn't. It doesn't
have to go like this, Right, you don't have to
hand control of your workplace over to some fucking guy
in the Department of Agricultural Waste Management or whatever so
he can use your origines for fertilizer. Like you can

(33:18):
simply not do this.

Speaker 3 (33:20):
Yeah, I mean I don't know the exact situation that
these workers found themselves in, and maybe there was you know,
like a degree of sort of need to get reproducing
in order to solve hunger issues.

Speaker 2 (33:30):
But yeah, you simply do not have to do that.

Speaker 3 (33:33):
As many examples, I'm thinking of the collectivized farms in
Spain as well, because perhaps they would have been a
better example, right, I guess there it was slightly different
because it was somewhat of a collectivized community that in
turn collectivized the land as opposed to collectivizing the agricultural labor.

(33:53):
And then you have this sort of source of labor
which is not inherently tied to the land in that
like you know, when when there was a need, like
for instance, I'm writing a book right now and then
writing about the Druti column, and like they would because
they had less rifles than they had fighters, they would
rotate their fighters off the front line during the harvest
time and have people help with the harvest, and then

(34:18):
they didn't like need those people the rest of the year. Right,
So they were able to incorporate like temporary surgeries in
labor without it being like destructive to their model, because
it was the idea was like a collective community as
opposed to a collective as opposed to like just the
workplace being this island of a pseudo collectivization, like like

(34:39):
you're saying in Algeria. Also, shout out to the Iron
column who I've been writing about recently, who solved their
supply side issues by leaving the front line and raiding
the cops because they didn't have enough guns either, so
they simply took them from the cops. Yeah. Incredibly based, Yeah,
very big.

Speaker 2 (34:58):
Yeah, I think I think that's it's kind of the
point that I want to end this on, which is that,
you know, this is something that that contributes to the
collapse of Yugoslavia too, is that if you know, the
the dichotomy that got forced on people in the twentieth
century was you can either choose two. Okay, so your

(35:23):
choices are you get a you get a sort of
you get a stalinist planned economy completely run by the state,
or you get a bunch of workers cooperatives competing against
each other. And those are, like you're those are your
two models of socialism, and those both suck and both
are set up to fail from the beginning because they're
not actually you know, you're you're, you're, you're, you're not
actually doing the thing, You're not actually having the entire

(35:48):
the entire class as a class, you know, abolishing itself
and then also managing managing production in such a way
that people are cooperating to produce what people need instead
of everyone fighting over like either well, instead of either
the state setting a steel quota and having that be
the entire goal of the economy, or like seventeen co

(36:13):
ops and the like both producing all producing the exact
same kind of coffee. Try to figure out who can
produce it more cheaply.

Speaker 3 (36:19):
Yeah, we we can do better, Yes we can, and
we have. And what we should describe for I guess
I know. If people want to read about the Spanish Revolution,
there's a ship ton of books on libcom. I would
say's book is pretty good in a Spanish Revolution. Mary
Bookchin has a book that the heroic he is of

(36:40):
Spanish anarchism. Able Paz has many books. Yes, you can
spend time on libcom and read a lot about collective
production in the Spanish Revolution, and for free, which is nice.

Speaker 2 (36:51):
Yeah, this's been tickel happen here, go take over your
workplace and then also help everyone else take over theirs
and coordinate with each other.

Speaker 3 (36:59):
Yeah, that would be very nice, and then we'll turn
an interview with you on the podcast Yay.

Speaker 1 (37:10):
It could Happen Here as a production of cool Zone Media.
For more podcasts from cool Zone Media, visit our website
coolzonemedia dot com or check us out on the iHeartRadio app,
Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts. You can
find sources for It Could Happen Here, updated monthly at
coolzonemedia dot com slash sources. Thanks for listening,

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