Posts Tagged ‘communism’

“Personally, I don’t understand the compulsion to mine history for words that might describe what’s to come. The fact is that the approaching flood has no name. Any title it might take is presently lost in the noise of its gestation, maybe just beginning to be spoken in a language that we can hardly recognize. There will be no Commune because this isn’t Paris in 1871. There will be no Dual Power because this isn’t Russia in 1917. There will be no Autonomy because this isn’t Italy in 1977. I’m writing this in 2017, and I don’t know what’s coming, even though I know something is rolling toward us in the darkness, and the world can end in more ways than one. Its presence is hinted at somewhere deep inside the evolutionary meat grinder of riot repeating riot, all echoing ad infinitum through the Year of our Lord 2016, when the anthem returned to its origin, and the corpse flowers bloomed all at once as Louisiana was turned to water, and no one knew why. I don’t call people comrade; I just call them friend. Because whatever’s coming has no name, and anyone who says they hear it is a liar. All I hear are guns cocking over trap snares unrolling to infinity.”

– Phil A. Neel, Hinterland: America’s New Landscape of Class and Conflict. Reaktion Books, 2018.

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“Communist Jailed As Church Robber,” Montreal Gazette. October 18, 1938. Page 10. 

R. Lepage Gets Seven Years After Pleading Guilty to Over 20 Charges

Pleading guilty yesterday to more than 20 charges of theft from churches in Montreal and surrounding districts, Roland Lepage, 28, alias Fred Way, self-styled Communist, will serve the next seven years in St. Vincent de Paul penitentiary as the result of sentences imposed upon him in Police Court.

The accused objected to being charged with breaking and entering the churches, telling the court ‘that when the door is open and you walk in that is not breaking.’ The charges were amended to read plain theft and the accused pleaded guilty.

Lepage was given three five-year-terms by Judge Maurice Tetreau on three charges of theft, the three sentences to run concurrently. Brought before Judge Guerin, he was given two years on each of 21 charges of theft, the sentences to run concurrently but he will begin to serve these sentences only after he has completed the five-year term.

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“The Polish Workers’ Paradise,” Montreal Gazette. September 2, 1980. Page 07.

Poland’s crisis is a forerunner of what could happen in the Soviet Union

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“Shipyard workers at Gdansk defy Polish leader Edward Gierek’s orders to return to work,” Montreal Gazette. August 27, 1980. Page 07.

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“While it is true that the proletariat
cannot just take the machinery of the State into its own hands and make it operate
in its interests, the same thing may be said of the machinery of the economy.
All the proponents of self-management, and particularly all our contemporary
mystics of self-management, have yet to understand that there is a
discontinuity between capitalism and communism. In fact, the movement of the
occupation of the factories and the theory of the BO correspond to a stage of proletarian
retreat, a stage in which the totality of capital represented by the State can
no longer be confronted directly, since it is not simply a matter of a handful
of individuals. The factory occupations movement is a movement that binds the
proletariat to the means of production, that makes it dependent on them. By occupying
the factories, the proletariat does not escape the socialization of capital,
which makes all human beings interdependent, but puts itself at its service.

The proletariat has withdrawn, defeated, to the places of its immediate
existence and, instead of calling it by its real name, all kinds of theoreticians
have presented this retreat as a new form of struggle, a new means to attain a
really revolutionary consciousness. The occupation of the factories without the
destruction of capital in its existence (the community of capital) can only
lead to the paralysis of capital; but the working class is also paralyzed,
immobilized, remaining so to speak within capital. If production in the
factories is resumed (self-management), then one implicitly accepts the rationality
of capital, since one restores capital without the capitalist and his
repressive appendages: foremen, psychologists, etc.; one approves of the
division of society into enterprises and therefore one accepts the resumption
of production even in those factories whose products are contrary to the
interests of humanity, like automobile factories.

It is obvious that the discourse concerning
the destruction of the State, considered simply in its anti-state dimension, is
limited to exposing the generalized state-worship that has swept over the vast
majority of the population. On the one hand, if society engenders a
State—society is the totality of social relations—the State tends to become
society as the inevitable correlate of the access of capital to the material
community. Capital, Marx says, develops a coercive relation; as a result, this element is
found in all organizations dominated by capital and therefore it is also
characteristic of the State in its activity as coercive agent that springs into
action when economic coercion, derived from the rationality characteristic of a
particular process of production, is no longer sufficient. That is to say,
employing the old terminology, the situation is no longer characterized by
having civil society on one side and the State on the other, but rather by the
penetration of the latter into all of society’s organizations.

Recalling what Marx said about the
nationalization of the land, that the land cannot belong to either the direct
producers or even to any particular generation of humanity, but rather to the
species as a whole, Bordiga emphasized the fact that the communist revolution
cannot serve to benefit a single class, regardless of how universal that class
may be. Were it to do so, it would remain in the stage of the generalization of
the proletariat and would not proceed towards its abolition. If one then
declares that every person should become a producer, one mutilates humanity at
the same time that one casts aside an entire historical-practical acquisition;
man does not have to intervene directly, personally, in order to produce! And
furthermore, such a demand is revealed to be more and more contradictory with
each passing day. As a consequence of the enormous productivity of labor, the
act of production can no longer define man; only human activity, the
development of the human forces as ends-in-themselves, can be the fundamental
determination of a humanity that is finally liberated from capital.”

– Jacques Camatte, “The KAPD and the proletarian movement.

Invariance, Series II, No. 1

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“Charge of Complicity In Breaking ‘Padlock’,” Ottawa Citizen. July 25, 1938. Page 03.

Two Men Who Tried to Wire Constables Inside Their Own Car Escape But Man Who Helped Them Charged With ‘Complicity After the Fact.’

Canadian Press.
QUEBEC, July 25. – F. X. Lessard, self-styled ‘only living Communist to break open a Duplessis padlock for Communists.’ remained in the cells today while friends considered means of raising bail of $1,200 set Saturday by Judge Hugues Fortier when the 40-yer-old carpenter appeared before him on a charge of ‘willfully breaking a provincial law.’

Behind bars also was Henri Beaulieu, the man police charged with ‘complicity after the fact’ in the escape of two men who tried to imprison guards in their automobile Friday while Lessard entered the home authorities padlocked two days before because of the carpenters alleged Communistic activities.

When police went to the six-room Lessard dwelling last Tuesday to advise the family the flat would be locked up for a year under the special law aimed at halting the spread of Communism, it was the authorities’ third visit to homes occupied by the carpenter. Twice before they had seized literature from Lessard’s dwellings.

Away at work when police told Mrs. Lessard the family would have to evacuate the premises ‘within 24 hours,’ the carpenter again was absent when two detectives arrived the following day to execute the withdrawal order. His blue-eyed, middle aged wife and two children were marched from their home singing the ‘Internationale’ and the ‘Young Guard’ after refusing to remove their furniture. 

Two policemen immediately were detailed to guard the abandoned flat, located in to the top of a tall building below steep St. Sauveur cliff.

Curious lookers-on frequently engaged the two guarding officers in casual conversation and the police saw nothing to arouse their suspicions when two men approached their parked car Friday ostensibly for a chat.

But the officers were startled suddenly to notice their ‘callers’ slyly were binding the car’s doors with strong wire and when the guards attempted to seize the men the pair fled – just as Lessard walked along the sidewalk, pulled open a street door, and ran up three flights of stairs to his former home.

Drawing revolvers, the policemen followed and on reaching the top of the stairs they found the ‘padlocks’ (official seals of Quebec province) had been smashed. Lessard, calmly walking about the kitchen, made no resistance to arrest.

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“…If union, the intelligent cooperation of different individuals, in short, if life in love, the organic life, is the only true and real life, you will understand that it is only after a long series of struggles that union, that this understanding between men, was able to be achieved. As long as men did not have this understanding they had to struggle amongst themselves, and history up till now has only been a recital of these struggles. From very early on they were obliged to enter into intercourse with each other. As they learned to know the produce of nature and the man-made productions which surrounded them, needs were awakened in them and the exchange of products became all the more necessary; no single country, no single people, no single individual, is able to produce everything itself. However, in the beginning the exchange of products consisted uniquely in this: when then the strongest entered into contact with the weakest he fought him and robbed him. The first form of exchange of products was precisely this robbery with murder. And just as the first form of exchange of products or of intercourse was robbery with murder, so the first form of production or labour was slavery. The victors did not content themselves with stealing products, they also wanted to seize hold of the producers; so they soon realised that it was more advantageous to reduce the surviving conquered to slavery, and to exploit them in this way, than to consume them by indulging in cannibalism. Egoism thus became more and more refined. It is on this historical basis, gentlemen, that production and intercourse have developed to the stage of free competition, in which we now live, even though we refuse to admit to ourselves that this intercourse still rests on the same egoistic basis of mutual exploitation which was its origin. However, a glance at our situation clearly shows us that, today as yesterday, we sell ourselves and exploit each other. This exploitation has no doubt become more refined over the ages, but it has not thereby become more human; rather has it become more inhuman since at the present time the more we are forced to sell ourselves willingly and mutually, the less we are able to escape from this traffic in men, the more universal has this become. So we all have to peddle our life-activity in order to buy in exchange the life-activity of other men – and what is the sum total of all our faculties and of all our forces, which we throw on the market and which we must turn into money, but our own whole life? It is not our body, which we only touch from the outside, but its real force that constitutes our life. When we sell this force of ours we ourselves sell our very life. Money is the mark of slavery; is it not therefore but human value expressed in figures? But men who can be paid, men who buy and sell each other, are they anything but slaves? How can we begin to escape from this traffic in men as long as we live in isolation and as long as each person has to work for himself on his own account in order to gain the means of existence? Who gives us the means of life, the means of our physical and social activity if we don’t gain them by buying and selling our own life? We are living in the midst of an eternal contradiction, of a perpetual struggle. It is the contradiction of intercourse in constant expansion in the midst of isolation. We are separated from each other, each one of us lives and works only for himself, yet none of us can for an instant do without each other. Whereas each person needs the production of the whole accessible human world, from China to North America, in order to live and act as a human, they are limited to their own isolated force to obtain all that they need. It is not useful activity, real physical and intellectual energy, fair work that decides the lot of individuals – for what is the greatest force of an individual in face of the world? – but chance and common trickery: he who in this gamble is able to pocket as quickly as possible the most human value expressed in figures, money. These are the blind and immoral powers which determine the destiny of man!

When the live life-consciousness has awakened in man, the perverted nature of our social relations has of course been felt; but it was not also understood that the perverted life-consciousness, from which men were just beginning to free themselves, was just as much a product of the perverted life, the perverted world within which men have lived until now, as inversely this perverted world was a product of life-consciousness that has not yet attained maturity. The interaction between real social life and the life-consciousness was not seen as well. The latter, religion, politics, Church and State, the theoretical expression of practical egoism were criticised and it was thought that the world could be reformed in this manner, without realising that this would be just as fruitless as a doctor wanting to cure a disease by suppressing its external symptoms. Perverted consciousness and its manifestations, Church and State, are nothing but the symptoms of a perverted life – the picture of a real body which will not change just because a different and more beautiful picture is made of it.

Gentlemen, the era of political and religious revolutions has, however, come to an end. People realise that the egoist life-consciousness and its forms of existence, the Church and State, will disappear of their own accord, but not before the egoist life, working for one’s private account, the traffic in humans disappear. As long as this practical egoism has not disappeared talking to man about philosophy, freedom, reason and love will be fruitless. The mass of men will not believe that human life and life in general is love, truth and freedom. They will see in egoism with its whole train of misfortunes the fundamental characteristic of human nature, which in fact it is as long as men are separated, living and working for themselves. Perhaps you are thinking that I contradict myself and that it is sometimes love and sometimes egoism that I take for the real life, the life of natural man. But, gentlemen, human nature is not a monolith, a single body which is and remains unchanged; human nature has to develop and, at present, it is as little developed as society. You cannot draw any conclusion about human nature from judging the mass of our contemporaries. One thing however is certain: if one man can have a true life-consciousness, then all men can – and if they do not, this is not the fault of human nature, otherwise all of us who are meeting here would not have the slightest idea of the real life since we are ourselves only men – but of external circumstances that have not yet allowed all men to completely develop their nature.

When it is said that communism, as an idea, is a very fine thing but is unrealisable, no more is being said than what the theologians and philosophers, priests and statesmen have always said. This is to consider oneself as superior to the mass of men. If you, gentlemen, consider communism to be a good thing in itself that is because you consider that life in love and reason constitutes the true life. However, you believe that your life-consciousness will not be able to develop in all individuals. Why do you believe this? Because you cannot envisage this consciousness developing other than by theoretical instruction – such as all the priests and philosophers have practised until now without for that banishing brutality and ignorance, wickedness and foolishness from the world. But the development of human nature can also take place in another, in a practical way, and not only can it take place in this way but it will in fact come about only or mainly or essentially in this way. So let us abandon the theoretical form, let us not imagine that we will convert the world by our ideas. Communism is not a theory, not some philosophical system which will be taught us. Communism is the end-result of the historical genesis of society.”

– Moses Hess, “Speech on Communism, Elberfeld, 15 February 1845.” 

Rheinische Jarbücher zur gesellschaftlichen Reform, Darmstadt, 1845.

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