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Posts Tagged ‘REVOLUTION’

“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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“So the very first question people in this country must ask in considering the question of revolution is where they stand in relation to the United States as an oppressor nation, and where they stand in relation to the masses of people throughout the world whom US imperialism is oppressing. The primary task of revolutionary struggle is to solve this principal contradiction on the side of the people of the world. It is the oppressed peoples of the world who have created the wealth of this empire and it is to them that it belongs ; the goal of the revolutionary struggle must be the control and use of this wealth in the interests of the oppressed peoples of the world. It is in this context that we must examine the revolutionary struggles in the United States. We are within the heartland of a worldwide monster, a country so rich from its worldwide plunder that even the crumbs doled out to the enslaved masses within its borders provide for material existence very much above the conditions of the masses of people of the world. The US empire, as a worldwide system, channels wealth, based upon the labor and resources of the rest of the world, into the United States. The relative affluence existing in the United States is directly dependent upon the labor and natural resources of the Vietnamese, the Angolans, the Bolivians and the rest of the peoples of the Third World. All of the United Airlines Astrojets, all of the Holiday Inns, all of Hertz’s automobiles, your television set, car and wardrobe already belong, to a large degree to the people of the rest the world.”

— The Weather Underground, “You Don’t Need A Weatherman To Know Which Way The Wind Blows” (via womanhoods)

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“The Revolution of Sicily,” in The Illustrated London News, July 7, 1860.

Top: “Massacre of people by the royal troops at the Convent of the White Benedictines, Palermo. – From a Sketch by Frank Vizetelly. See Supplement, Page 19. 

Above: Volunteers on board the ‘Washington’ proceeding to Palermo. – From a Sketch by T. Nast. – See Supplement, Page 19.  (caption notes Captain Feard (Garibaldi’s ‘Englishman’) and Captain de Rohan.)

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“Our programme does not contain anything about change, reform or transformation, but rather the smashing of these three foundations of civilization: family, property, state.

This civilization whose dawn we have shown must experience its apocalypse before us. Socialism and communism come after and stand above civilization, just as civilization followed barbarism and stood above it. Socialism and communism are not a new form of civilization:

“Since civilization is founded on the exploitation of one class by another class, its whole development proceeds in a constant contradiction.”

If, therefore, Truman, Stalin and Churchill find themselves under the same anti-barbaric roof, and Chaulieu and some other relics want to have their place there as well – we remaining ones prefer to stay out with Marx, Engels and Lenin.

It may be confusing that communism has not yet emerged from a downfall of civilization; but it is completely ridiculous to confuse the satisfaction of capital about this fact with a threat of barbarism.

So it is an utterly banal and pathetic mistake to try to explain the stagnation of class antagonism and anti-capitalist revolution with the help of volitional factors and malevolent police gangs.

However, a cardinal mistake is to try to plant on us, after the level of capitalist civilization that we proclaimed as the last and worst level, a new, unforeseen class civilization. It is nonsense to search for a third class in order to then place this state as the state of this ruling class – which is not identical to the bourgeoisie – where it itself is supposed to be only the staff of the state, a staff that is not a new figure. We have understood and analysed this through all class struggles and successive forms of state.

Another mistake, as we have seen and will see, is the following stepladder: private capitalism – state capitalism – socialism. If this trio were to dominate the stage, the conclusion of the French left’s “bulletin” would be unavoidable: No condemnation and shame, but rather an alliance or support for the second stage – so that state capitalism, whether the Prime Minister is a Hitler or a Stalin, can face us alone as soon as possible.

Already immediately after the First World War, at the first appearance of fascism in Italy in 1919, we solved the historical and strategic question: No joining a liberal-democratic bloc against fascism – and just as little any bloc forming with fascism against the liberal bourgeoisie. We also immediately said why: Because they are not two social classes, but one and the same.

To have practiced the bloc strategy, even in both directions, is enough for us to explain the retreat of our revolution.

The hollowest construction is the one that wants to confront this infamous world (whose potential, however, is exceptionally high) of capitalist civilization  (and also the majority of the proletarians, who are now being used as a result of major historical mistakes) with the alternative of the “spectre of barbarism”: “Even if there is no revolution that gives birth to a new world and it may be suffocated, is the disintegration crisis of today’s society still occurring, so that we cannot come to socialism, but fall back from civilization into barbarism?” From pure brain caliber this threat does not frighten any bourgeois and does not encourage any proletarian to fight. No society disintegrates because of its internal laws, its internal necessity, if these laws and this necessity do not lead to the uprising of a human mass organized with the weapons in hand – something we know and expect. There is no death without trauma for any “class civilization”, no matter how corrupt and disgusting it may be.

As far as the barbarism is concerned, which is supposed to arise spontaneously after the death of capitalism as a result of its disintegration: If we regard its disappearance as a necessary condition for further development, which then had to lead inevitably through the swamp of the subsequent civilization, then there is nothing so terrible about its characteristics as a human form of coexistence that an unexpected return could frighten us.

How against Rome the wild hordes were needed – so that so many and so great useful contributions to the organization of people and things will not be lost – which were unconscious contributors to a much bigger revolution still far away in time, we want the gates of this bourgeois world of profiteers, oppressors and butchers to be struck by a powerful barbaric wave capable of burying this world among itself.

But just as there are borders, walls and curtains in this world, all forces, even though they compete against each other, are gathering around the tradition of this very civilization.

When the revolutionary movement of the working class becomes strong again, organizes and arms itself, and when formations emerge that do not adhere to the civilization of an Acheson or Malik, then these will be the barbaric forces that will not disdain the ripe fruit of modern industrial potential, but will snatch it from the throat of the exploiters by breaking their still sharp teeth.

Socialism will therefore welcome a new and fruitful barbarism, such as the one that came down the Alps and rejuvenated Europe; It had not destroyed but honoured the centuries-old fruit of knowledge and arts preserved in the womb of a vast realm.”

– International Communist Party, Forward, Barbarians!

1951

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“Underlying all this is a profoundly important phenomenon: all human life, from the very beginning of its development within capitalist society, has undergone an impoverishment. More than this, capitalist society is death organized with all the appearances of life. Here it is not a question of death as the extinction of life, but death-in-life, death with all the substance and power of life. The human being is dead and is no more than a ritual of capital. Young people still have the strength to refuse this death; they are able to rebel against domestication. They demand to live. But to those great numbers of smugly complacent people, who live on empty dreams and fantasies, this demand, this passionate need just seems irrational, or, at best, a paradise which is by definition inaccessible.

Youth remains a serious problem for capital because it is a part of society which is still undomesticated. The lycée students demonstrated not only against military service and the army, but also, and just as much, against the school, the university and the family. Schools function as the organization of the passivity of the soul, and this is true even when active and libertarian methods are used; the liberation of the school would be the liberation of oppression. In the name of history, science and philosophy, each individual is sent down a corridor of passivity, into a world surrounded by walls. Knowledge and theory are just so many insurmountable barriers which prevent one individual from recognizing other individuals, making dialogue between them impossible. Discourse must proceed along certain channels, but that’s all. And then at the end of the pipeline, there is the army, which is a factory for domestication; it organizes people into a general will to kill others, structuring the dichotomy already imprinted in their minds by the secular morality of “my nation” and “other people”, all of whom are potential enemies. People are trained and educated to know how to justify the unjustifiable – the killing of men and women.”

– Jacques Camatte, “Against Domestication.” 

In French in Invariance Année VI, Série II, no. 3, 1973. This translation Falling Sky Books, Kitchener, Canada in 1981.

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“Thus the bourgeois class, as soon as it has first won power over feudalism, arrives at a state order according to its needs, in its interests, for its use. Its wishes are decisive, its attitude determines. For it is authority. Its state is an authoritarian state.

In the capitalist economy all commodities develop the tendency to follow the market in order to be exchanged there. This market can be a shop, a department store, an annual market, a fair or the world market. The market is the point to which the centripetal force of all commodities tends. It is, however, also the point from which the centrifugal force of all commodities pushes apart again as soon as they are exchanged, i.e. fulfilled their capitalist purpose. If the commodity is money, the market is stock exchange or bank. Always the market stands at the middle point of a process working in two directions. The market is the centre.

To the law of motion of the capitalist economy corresponds that of the bourgeois state. All the forces of the government collect at one point, there receive their orders and then act back centrifugally. The bureaucracy escalates up to its highest peak, the minister; the army organisation up to the generalissimo; there the decision is taken, the command given, the decree proclaimed; and with the precision of a mechanical apparatus, the organisation functions according to the will of one head, the centre, down to its last errand boy and lowest organ. Only the central office is autonomous: it is the brain and thinks for the whole. Its decision is definitive, it is to be obeyed unconditionally. Strict order and discipline prevail.

In the feudal era, when every socage-farm with its copyholders formed a small economic unit, more or less self-contained and self-supporting, the individual’s power to give orders did not have much scope. One was situated beside the other and each was to the same extent his own master. The system of organisation in which every part of the whole enjoys its full autonomy is called federalism. The feudal state, then, had been a federal state.

The bourgeoisie had gained from the conditions of its capitalist economy the insight that centralism was in many respects superior to federalism. Especially insofar as it united all the dispersed and isolated forces into a whole. They came out in favour of a centralised will and therewith won the ability to do great things. When the capitalist brought the hand-workers together in the factory, went over from domestic industry to co-operation, finally evolved this into manufacture, he went through practical schools of centralism. All the experiences and knowledge thus gained the bourgeois class now utilised in establishing its state structure. It needed a large centralised mechanism that obeyed every finger-touch at the highest point. A mechanism with which it, the small minority, could be the brain, issuing commands, accomplishing its will. And with which the large mass, the proletariat, was subjected to its dominance through strict order and discipline. This mechanism was provided by the centralist system of organisation. It made possible in the best and surest way the domination of few over many. So the bourgeoisie created its state for itself as a centralised state.

In the capitalist economy the production of commodities soon becomes mass production. But the absorption capacity of the existing market is quickly sated. New, bigger selling outlets become necessary. Capitalism develops a drive to expand, which threatens to burst the boundaries of the state. Thus every young capitalist state seeks, through wars, conquest, colonial acquisitions, etc., to become a bigger state. This requires a certain mental and spiritual preparation and influencing of the citizens – a certain ideology which interprets the pressure towards expansion and extension in the interest of profit as the expression of imaginary forces and needs, and lyingly converts warlike conquests into achievements for the common good. This ideology invents the concept nation, exploits sentiments about home and fatherland and misuses them for class-interested purposes of enrichment. It deals in national interests, national honour, national duties and national responsibility, until it gets involved in the national war, which is falsified into a war of national defence. To wage the war a national army has been provided, the schools have been made into abodes of national incitement; in national politics a special national phraseology has been cultivated which furnishes every war, however notoriously for plunder and conquest, with the requisite intellectual and moral justification. When the SPD defended the world war from 1914 to 1918 as a national war, when the KPD, during the collapse of the Ruhr, joined in supporting the national defence of the Ruhr zone alongside Schlageter, then both parties proved their character as national auxiliary organs of the bourgeois state, which is always a national state.

The capitalist economy, once it has entered the arena of large-scale enterprises and beyond that, the formation of stock companies, has created for itself a complicated apparatus of management, very appropriate for its requirements. In it all forces are well weighed up against each other, all functions cleverly distributed, all individual actions bound into an exact collective action. The technology of the machine is its model.

In broad outline, the management structure of a modern large factory looks like this: nominal owners and with them actual interested parties, and so the real beneficiaries of the capitalist large-scale concern are the shareholders. These come together in the shareholders’ meeting which passes important resolutions, exercises control, calls in reports, relieves and appoints officials, and concedes wages. From the shareholders’ meeting issues the board of directors, which supervises the management, comes to final decisions, constitutes the supreme court in all the vital questions of the works, but is still responsible vis-à-vis the shareholders’ meeting.

An image of this large-scale industry’s machinery is the bourgeois state. There the bearers of a mandate from the electorate sit in the parliament, a large meeting of shareholders entitled to vote who, discussing and resolving, equipped with important powers, decide about the weal and woe of the state as a whole. From its midst issues the board of directors, the Cabinet, which has the task of looking after, with special care and heightened vigilance, the interests served by the functioning of the state machinery. The Cabinet members (ministers) represent the state at its highest point; they supervise the work of the management bureaucracy placed under them, make the big contacts within the competing firms abroad, i.e. the capitalist foreign states, but always they stay dependent on Parliament and responsible to it; by it they are appointed and recalled.

As in the assembly of shareholders, so too in Parliament questions and proposals often manage to be carried through and dismissed which already are foregone conclusions and are only put to the vote for form’s sake. They have already been put forward and decided on in another place, whose importance more or less strongly controls the vote of the shareholders’ meeting or the parliament. This other place is identical with the offices of the great banks or of the captains of industry. Here, where the most significant decisions of the capitalist economy come down, the decisive resolutions of bourgeois politics are passed. And indeed by the same people in the same case. For politics is nothing other than struggle for the legal protection of economic interests – is the defence of profit with the weapons of paragraphs in law, the securing of the capitalist system of exploitation with the means of state authority.

With tirelessness and zeal the bourgeoisie has worked at the construction of its state form and at the development of its legislature. For this it found its most reliable tool in Parliament, which in turn found its auxiliary organs in the parties. Today, having reached the highest peak of capitalist development, big capital feels the power of Parliament and parties as burdensome. It avoids it by Enabling Acts, military dictatorship, and shifting important authority and decisions to other bodies in which the representatives of capital and economic concerns have the upper hand (state economic council). Open antagonism towards Parliament and parliamentarism is no longer at all concealed in big-capitalist circles; in fact attacks directed against parliament and parliamentary government are debated quite openly without inhibition. The slave, Parliament, has done his duty. When the idea of a Directory was being discussed in the bonapartist tendency, Herr Minoux was selected as the supreme holder of power. Herr Minoux the General Director of Stinnes.”

– Otto Rühle, From the Bourgeois to the Proletarian Revolution. 1924.  Translation was first published by Socialist Reproduction in co-operation with Revolutionary Perspectives in 1974. The translation was made from a German edition of the text published in 1970 by IPTR (Institut für Praxis und Theorie des Rätekommunismus, Berlin)

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“It is easy enough, presented with the theme of revolution, to bemoan its disappearance as a horizon, to despair at the willingness of so-called radicals to throw their arms around the knees of the latest SYRIZA. It is similarly easy to understand how once-revolutionary factions came to be prone in the first place. If there was a systematic global project of the postwar era, it was not “neoliberalism”; it was the annihilation of revolution as a plausible human goal, and the concomitant destruction of any content for the idea of emancipation, until people at the end of human history would associate it with full employment.

But the Pascalian wager of revolution seems no less self-evident: there will be a revolution, a series of them, or the world will end for humans. It has already ended for those condemned to misery, utterly indentured or utterly dispossessed as a condition of birth.

So let us assume there will be a revolution, an emancipatory one, not the kind mentioned often enough by Elon Musk or the Marinho brothers of Grupo Globo. Where might it begin? This is not an easy question, and not one to which we need know the answer in advance. If I had to guess, I would look at places where social antagonism is pitched so high as a practical fact, as a consequence of extreme polarization, that it is already beginning to exceed state management, where the rich are rich enough to hire shooters, and to need them. This is just a guess, one way among many to think about this, but it’s a start. Once it pops off, a series of problems will present themselves, not the least of which is how the revolution will sustain itself, cut off from market goods. Brazil, with its prodigious agricultural productivity, offers real possibilities — even if, once the semi-temperate southlands are seized, capitalist organization of production is broken immediately, as one hopes. These are factors we might look for, then: dramatic and increasing use of private security, and ready arable land that can serve as what a friend calls the “belly of the revolution” against the closure of the world market. These are only two coordinates. It unfolds according to many. Neither you nor I will tell it how to unfold. Once begun it will have to spread, of course. Or not spread, exactly, but erupt elsewhere. People will start the day organizing their lives around the free sharing of communal goods, and end the day defending this.”

– Joshua Clover, “Heliopolis and Helipad.Los Angeles Review of Books. September 23, 2017

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