communists in situ

leberwurst proletariat

Month: April, 2014

The revolution will not be won in a straight line

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Some fractions of the insurgent proletariat will be smashed, others will be “turned back”, rallying to measures for the conservation of survival. Other insurrections will pick up where they leave off. Certain of those turned back or bogged down will resume wildcat expropriations, and the organisation of the struggle by those who struggle and uniquely for the struggle, without representation, without control by anyone in the name of anything, thereby taking up once again the constitution of communism, which is not a goal of the struggle but rather its content. Counter-revolutionary ideologies will be numerous, starting perhaps with that of the survival of the economy: preserving economic mechanisms, not destroying all economic logic, in order to then construct a new economy. The survival of the economy is the survival of exchange, whether this exchange uses money, any kind of voucher or chit, or even simply barter, which can be adorned with the name of mutual aid between workers! The situation where everything is for free and the complete absence of any form of accounting is the axis around which the revolutionary community will construct itself. Only the situation where everything is for free will enable the bringing together of all the social strata which are not directly proletarian and which will collapse in the hyper crisis. Only the situation where everything is for free will integrate/abolish all the individuals who are not directly proletarian, all those “without reserves” (including those whom revolutionary activity will have reduced to this condition), the unemployed, the ruined peasants of the “third world”, the masses of the informal economy. These masses must be dissolved as middle strata, as peasants, in order to break the personal relations of dependence between “bosses” and “employees” as well as the situation of “small independent producers” within the informal economy, by taking concrete communist measures which force all these strata to join the proletariat, that is, to realise their “proletarianisation.”

Proletarians who communise society will have no need of “frontism”. They will not seek out a common program for the victims of capital. If they engage in frontism they are dead, if they remain alone they are also dead. They must confront all the other classes of society as the sole class not able to triumph by remaining what it is. The measures of communisation are the abolition of the proletariat because, in addition to its unification in its abolition, they dissolve the basis of existence of a multitude of intermediate strata (managerial strata of capitalist production and reproduction) which are thereby absorbed into the process of communisation and millions (if not billions) of individuals that are exploited through the product of their labour and not the sale of their labour-power. At the regional level as much as at the global one, communisation will have an action that one could call “humanitarian”, even if this term is currently unpronounceable, because communisation will take charge of all the misery of the world. Human activity as a flux is the only presupposition of its collective, that is to say individual, pursuit, because, as it is self-presupposing, it has no conception of what a product is and can thus give plentifully. The proletariat, acting as a class, dissolves itself as a class through these acts of seizure, because in them it overcomes its “autonomy”.

– the suspended step of communisationSic 1

M-C-M’

Marxism and the Critique of Value aims to complete the critique of the value-form that was initiated by Marx. While Marx’s “esoteric” critique of value has been rediscovered from time to time by post-Marxists who know they’ve found something interesting but don’t quite know which end is the handle, Anglophone Marxism has tended to bury this esoteric critique beneath a more redistributionist understanding of Marx. The essays in this volume attempt to think the critique of value through to the end, and to draw out its implications for the current economic crisis; for violence, Islamism, gender relations, masculinity, and the concept of class; for revolutionary practice and agency; for the role of the state and the future of the commons; for the concepts that come down to us from Enlightenment thought: indeed, for the manifold phenomena that characterize contemporary society under a capitalism in crisis.

Edited by  Neil Larsen, Mathias Nilges, Josh Robinson, and Nicholas Brown

Download the PDF

[via mcmprime.com]

just do it

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5 Reasons the Strike in China is Terrifying! (to Transnational Capitalism)

by Ashok Kumar

48,000 workers at the Chinese shoe supplier to Nike and Adidas, Yue Yuen (part of the Pou Chen Group), have been striking since 14 April. Workers went on strike to demand that the company repay years of stolen social insurance payments, implement a significant wage increase, and sign legal labour contracts (having found that the company had been making them sign fake work contracts for nearly 20 years). The company had responded by offering a measly wage increase and cost of living payment that the workers rejected. The sheer scale and longevity of the action represents an historic turn in the formation of global capitalism. There are a number of reasons why this strike is terrifying not only for the supplier factory bosses in China but also for transnational capitalism.

1. It’s the largest strike in modern China.

Simply put, there hasn’t been a strike of this scale and magnitude in modern China. While strikes in China usually end once demands relating to a particular issue have been met, this strike is indefinite and escalating: a kind of collective bargaining by riot. The demands here are more structural; the workers have rejected the crumbs off the bosses’ table, and it is now spreading to neighbouring provinces. Changes in Chinese production can have reverberating effects on global production. As Jacques Rancière put it: “The domination of capitalism globally depends today on the existence of a Chinese Communist Party that gives de-localized capitalist enterprises cheap labour to lower prices and deprive workers of the rights of self-organization.” Due to strikes, real median wages in China have risen 17% per annum since 2009, and are now nearly five times what they were in 2000. Escalated strikes of this unprecedented scale will only deepen the crisis for industrial capitalism.

2. Chinese state repression is tempered.

Although there have been arrests made at Yue Yuen, in recent years the Chinese state has been less inclined to repress the militant actions of workers like decades past. This should be understood as a calculated economic decision to rebalance the economy towards consumption: more wages means more spending power. The state is less interested in ensuring depressed wages in order to entice foreign investment, and access to consumer debt has expanded in China soaring by 67% in the past five years – far above the US’s 10% in the same period – spawning a burgeoning false economy. A 2012 International Monetary Fund report sees the Chinese economy as being in a process of reorientation, with a greater emphasis on internal investment and a transition away from export-led growth. If this move is successful, it will deepen the crisis of profitability and accumulation in the ‘real economy’, at least in the short term, for international capital. Capital depends on the Chinese State to continue its role as comprador; a shift away from this configuration undermines industrial capitalism’s bottom-line.

3. It’s too big to cut-and-run.

The footwear industry has, up until recently, remained decidedly “buyer-driven”, meaning brands and retailers – not the producing suppliers – are the drivers of the global value chain. This meant that if workers struck at a factory, buyers (such as Adidas) would simply ‘cut-and-run’ to the next sweatshop. However, as production has begun to consolidate in a few countries, smaller suppliers have been absorbed by larger ones. These large suppliers have expanded horizontally across the supply chain to include warehousing, logistics and even retail. This development has led to the emergence of quasi-supplier monopolization, leading to greater value capture at the bottom of the supply chain, and more capital expenditure at the supplier-end into innovations in technology and production processes further augmenting value capture. This is found especially in footwear. China’s Pou Chen Group is the largest casual footwear manufacturer in the world, producing 250 million pairs of shoes per year and accounting for 20% of the world’s athletic and casual footwear market. Pou Chen is one of Nike and Adidas’s ‘strategic partners’: what workers can see as a ‘backbone shop’ because it offers economics of scale and agglomeration unmatched by any other supplier. As such, rather than being purely ‘buyer-driven’, both the transnational brand and Pou Chen are mutually dependent. This could be seen as a process of buyer-supplier dependency rather than asymmetry. These changing dynamics inform strategy. Greater value capture at the supplier-end means less power for brands to dictate prices, however it could create greater levels of bargaining power for workers at larger suppliers, independent of the brands. It is now extremely costly for companies such as Adidas and Nike to cut-and-run from large-scale suppliers such as Pou Chen.

4. The price of consumer durables is rising.

Since the crisis of the 1970s the economies of the post-industrial west have benefited greatly from mushrooming debt and cheap consumer durables like shoes. As workers make greater demands in China through mass strikes, labour costs will increase as will the price of consumer goods in the industrialized economies. This factor, coupled with falling real wages in the west, a downward resetting of asset prices, accelerated automation of both the service and industrial sector, and a reduction of debt-financed purchases, will have the net effect of plummeting consumer buying power. As Bruce Rockowitz, CEO of Li & Fung which handles 4% of China’s exports to the US, stated in 2011: “It is the end of cheap goods.” Rockowitz went on to claim that none of the alternative sites suggested will come close to curbing costs and inflation like southern China. Predicting that the price of goods will rise by 5% per annum (optimistically), he stated that “there is no next” after China, noting that Li & Fung’s sourcing operation had already seen price increases of 15% on average between 2010 and 2011.

5. It’s gone global.

Local organizations in Guangdong province and Hong Kong which have been supporting striking workers have called upon international allies to take action to force Adidas to intervene and ensure workers’ demands are met. Since 23 April there have been actions spreading globally from Taiwan, Melbourne, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Milwaukee and New York. Actions have been planned at Adidas stores in Manchester, Oxford, and London for 25 April.

epic fail

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(#myNYPD, #myELAS, #myBFE, #myLAPD #MiPolicia #MiPoliciaMexicana)

Schlemiel

Larry+David+and+the+Hipsters+larrydavid

This schlemiel from Chełm gets to work and he’s almost half an hour late. “You should of been here at 8:30,” growls the foreman. “Why?” says the schlemiel. “What happened at 8:30?”

It’s A Tough Economy!

[One part fantasy noir, one part all-too-real workers’ inquiry for the perennially underemployed, It’s A Tough Economy! plumbs the psychological depths of the current economic crisis through surrealist illustrations and claustrophobic prose. The following is a short excerpt from Jarrod Shanahan’s It’s a Tough Economy!]

toughcover

It’s A Tough Economy!

by Jarrod Shanahan 

The waking have one world in common; sleepers have each a private world of their own.

-Heraclitus

I. The Screen

My eyes flitter open to a dark Brooklyn apartment, a sink that never stops dripping, and a dull headache to match. The space is sparse but it will do, as it has done, as it must. Grubby naked walls frame a checkerboard of weathered linoleum tiles interspersed with the bare wooden squares left behind by others long come unstuck. Nicked and chipped sticks of creaky furniture dot the floor and line the walls as they once crowded curbs on my neighborhood trash day. A metal gate rusted firmly over my one window to the outside catches the street light and casts the shadow of interlocking bars across the entire room—hardly abating my gnawing claustrophobia, but at least lending it an air of poetic melodrama which is decidedly preferable to ordinary everyday hopelessness. This gate is firmly and irrevocably locked with a long-lost key, leaving me praying modestly for an apartment fire anywhere but the main doorway, my only route of escape. And this battered, world-worn, and barely fastened front door opens to a hallway of creaking and splintered boards poised to alert me to the approach of whatever misguided bastard decided this to be a good place to rob. The sink drips on, calmly, consistently, infuriatingly. Here I can come and go whenever I want and nobody cares, as long as I pay my rent. Nobody tells me what to do. Nobody owes me anything. I am completely and utterly free.

What time is it? How long have I been sleeping? The light makes me wince. I have such a headache my hair hurts. My mouth is parched, creaking open like a rusted hinge, and my hands feel caked in dry mud, splitting and flaking. At first my arms and legs refuse to leave the unfortunate position in which I fell asleep, melded around the hard contours of my couch like a wilted flower. They yield only with a wretched, painful fight. My sinuses throb, suspending everything around me in a fog.

Well, back to this.

After day after unemployed day of hour after uninspired hour of applying for job after unattainable job and hearing absolutely and remarkably consistently nothing back, I have begun to lose hope in the whole endeavor entirely. How is it, I can’t help but wonder, that am I less employable than I was when I was eighteen years old? Why is it that nowadays, nobody even wants to string me along with a prospective position in order to scam me? Why does nobody want me to wire them $500 in advance of an interview to be paid back with interest upon my arrival? Where is my hapless heiress embarked on a frantic blind-emailing search for her inheritance-rescuing prince charming? I haven’t even received a single request for my social security number in weeks and at this point I’m so lonely and defeated I’d probably give it up in full knowledge of the con. Maybe whomever steals my identity can do a better job with it than I’ve managed to all these years. Maybe they can get a nicer apartment. Maybe if they use my identity to get a job, I can do it part time, or go in when they’re not feeling well? Or take it over if they find a better one? I’d gladly pay a finder’s fee. I’ve flooded every corner of this immense city with cheerful, professional, visually-striking resumes on par with every tutorial I’ve suffered through and every template I’ve scoured for clues. And as I’ve continuously received nothing in return save an endless gaping silence as large and looming and ominously hollow as life’s greatest mysteries—less like the calm preceding a rainstorm than that of a lifeless body tumbling anonymously through empty space at the most remote and starless corner of the unknown universe—it has become impossible to even imagine anyone on the other end of my job applications. The specter of undeniable and utterly crippling futility, always nipping at my heels at even the best of times, has almost overcome me. And no sooner did I admit to myself that I’m almost ready to give up, that my body took the cue, and just went to sleep…

RING RING RING RING 

There it goes again! I thought it was part of a dream I can no longer even recall. Don’t hang up! I don’t see the phone anywhere. In the fragmented street light this room looks utterly foreign, its every contour assuming a menacing grotesque shape. A fearsomedemonwith a horrid contorted visage springs from the shadow of my tattered overcoat slung over a wobbly old chair, which hardly of the netherworld, is sulfuric in odor alone. I shrink back at the sight of a ferocious beast of prey poised to tear me to shreds, until it scampers across the window sill and darts into an unseen mouse hole. These damned papers are all over the place. The phone could be anywhere…

RING RING RING RING

Why does the state send you a hundred pages in the mail when the only piece of information you need to know is that food stamp benefits are only available for people who already have a steady job and can provide their four most recent pay stubs ending with the previous week, so that if you’re completely out of luck, you’re completely out of luck…

RING RING RING RING

Of course, its under the classified pages. Since I feel about as necessary to the current job market as the printed classifieds, it made sense to pick up a copy. I figure we can at least keep each other company in our shared obsolescence, and at the very least, it matches my landline phone. Maybe I’ll buy a used boat while I’m looking for work, or go on a date with a sane, commitment-minded divorcee. Maybe I’ll adopt a lovable playful tabby cat in need of a good home and we can be lovably, playfully, unemployed, together.

RING RING RING RING

Don’t hang up!

“This is Jarrod speaking.”

I drop this line exactly as prepared, but speaking rattles my sinuses. I can’t remember the last time I spoke out loud. In my endless rehearsals for this day, which I had begun to doubt would come, I have planned to sound professional with an underside of approachability; all business in the right places, but no stranger to good clean all-American horseplay; a real go-getter who can pithily wisecrack at the absolute right moment, like a Hollywood action hero strolling cavalierly from an explosion that nips his heels but leaves him unscathed. You know, the kind of guy you want on your side when the going gets tough, and to bullshit with in the time in between. Cool boss material. At once I’m glad I practiced this, because I think I nailed it. They’re on the hook now.

“I am wonderful, and you!… That is wonderful… Why yes, wonderful! I have read the job description thoroughly and I would say that I am interested. Of course I have other offers at the moment… Yes, of course… Wonderful!”

If only I had any clue to which position this is was in reference, out of the hundreds of applications I have sent out in a somnolent haze since losing my job who knows when. Why do they always assume you know exactly who they are? I could always ask, but I‘ve already lied, and now there’s no turning back. My head is throbbing. I venture a guess.

“As soon as I read the words ‘Innovative creative start-up seeking productive associate’, I knew my search was over… Oh no, yes, no I said ‘Seeking self-starting innovative associate for creative productions!’ Of course. Sorry, I just got out of an interview and the reception is bad here. Let me move to a different part of this lobby… There, can you hear me? Great… Describe myself? In a word, innovative. Another word? Creative. Most of all, I’m a leader. Not afraid to make the hard decisions. I’m most comfortable working independently. I’ve been called a… self-starter…. Sure, tell me about the position…”

I press my hand to my forehead. It’s burning hot. Is this natural? What is my temperature supposed to be, 125 degrees? No, that’s the temperature at which an egg cooks. When was the last time I ate anything? I wonder when I’m going to realize that I’m hungry… And then I do. Or had I already, prior to formulating the question? The voice on the other end drones on, firing off rhetorical questions and answering them in rapid succession before I get a chance to hazard a response. Eventually a prolonged silence hints that my turn to reply has come.

“Oh yes, I understand that this position is not directly creative. What I meant to say is that… I understand creativity to extend to… the smallest detail, that may seem mundane to most people but to me seems… creative. Take… tying your shoes… for instance! There are… infinitely… many ways that can be done. What if the rabbit runs up the tree… and runs around in tree for a while… and still gets to the hole… but even faster? Doing the everyday, in a creative way! That is how I define innovation. And what’s more, when I said that I like to work independently I meant of course, working within a team. So I’m one thing… and the team is another thing… but I am within the team… as my own thing… and within the team… as its own thing… as a team player. So we’re on the same page there! And of course this position isn’t for a team leader, I know that! I meant to say that… I am a leader… with regards to myself… in my position on the team… with regards to itself! In a word, I’m a real self-starting innovative independent team player. Or… that’s at least what I’ve been told. Yes I’ll hold…”

Fuck! Where did I get the idea that they wanted a team leader? What the hell was I even talking about? And how is it that ten minutes ago I didn’t even know this job existed but now I can’t imagine my life continuing without it? And I still have no idea what it is! I may as well hang up and go back to sleep. Maybe I’ll beat this headache once and for all.

“Come in right now? No problem! Well… I have another interview, but I suppose I can move some things around and come right in!” At once I notice that its pitch black outside. What time is it?

“That’s perfect, I’ll be right in. Thanks, me too. Thanks, you too.”

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How Communism Will Never Come 

the-three-skulls

[guest post from CiS-Frankfurt]

 1.

The means through which an age understands another is often expressed through its vanity. Petrarch’s adjournment of the dark ages was less a commentary on the brutality and dearth of “the period of realized unreason”, than a veneration of his own time. It was a manner of disassociation, of carving out a demarcated epoch in which a distinctly human achievement served as the criteria for chronological register; the radiance of the vernacular sonnet outshines the ignoble residue of Roman glory. In short, it was a Weltanschauung of the present, rather than the simple act of repudiating the past. The anatomy of the present contains the key to the anatomy of the past.

2.

In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, the past presents itself as an immense accumulation of suspended moments, each of which cohere within a sequential continuum whose cascading fragments necessarily gravitate towards the present. Allured by promises of either appraisal by the nostalgic, or disapproval by the progressives, the past heedlessly directs itself to the jagged and lustering pathologies of the present. There it is beckoned by the tendential logic of capital to constitute, in its own inverted image, the represented antecedents and successors of lived experience. Simply put, what are the defense mechanisms of an epoch incapable of experiencing historical depth?

3.

To unpack the affliction, one must convene upon the wound. There, one discovers, yet again, that universal measure pervading the concrete wealth of society with little discrimination. Indeed, time is the weight of all commodities, their real common substance whose invariable and spatialized scrutiny renders all that is heterogeneous and non-identical forcibly equal within its abstract and empty continuum. Value expands to a desolate rhythm of innumerably commensurate units, a steady pulse of homogeneous intervals illuminated by the neon linearity of a heart rate monitor.

 4.

Once time no longer returns with the seasonal rhythm of agrarian society but instead passes under a linear succession of events, the substance of value inverts the determination of time by events into the determination of events by time. This triumph of abstract time is its transformation into a time of things, the time of commodities. Here, the meaning of inverting activity as the measure of time units into time units as the measure of activity becomes clear: the subservience of the qualitative to the quantitative. Under new calibration, cyclical time has no recourse but to display the sphere of circulation, a qualified repetition in which all rotation – from fiscal cycles to vacation time – is directed towards future cycles of accumulation.

 5.

As Cezanne has demonstrated, linearity can be the greatest falsifier of experience. The time of things is distinguished by its irreversibly directional, and above all, universal nature, one in which all events are subsumed under its abstract units of measurement. The working day overcomes the natural limitations of the rising and setting of the sun as an unprecedented exactitude administers the demands of labor. It is not coincidental that the Soviet labor regime procured “the fastest watch in the world”. As a perniciously real illustration of Newtonian “absolute time”, this uniform and homogeneous vacuum is divisible into equal, constant, and non-qualitative units which leaves man, in the best scenario, as a mere carcass. With the ancient line between time and organic sequence torn asunder,physiological rhythm is displaced by mechanical tempo adequately exemplified with synchronized marching. For the rest, jetlag makes for a great conversation starter.

 6.

There is temptation to grasp time as a withering force of physical transformation, evidenced in the decrepit remains of a pillaged vitality that chooses between resentment and senility. Abstract labor appears as physiological labor. Alongside the gaze of decomposition and the penance of experience, the categories of age, in their autonomy, derive from the circuits of production and circulation: a predictable lifespan of distinguishably serialized episodes each with their own differentiated commercial expectations. Here, the generic acquires a real and true existence through the idiosyncrasies of the aging individual. Adolescence did not exist for the Greek sensuality of antiquity; nor did the elderly formally require care.

7.

As the germ bears in itself the whole nature of the tree, and the taste and form of its fruits, so do the first traces of abstract time contain the whole of history. Through the tautological telos of accumulation, capital inaugurates a perpetual present that shatters any past or future that isn’t under the grace of credit or obligations of debt. The prescience of abstract time sees nothing beyond itself, unfolding a circuit for producing surplus value that relishes in an entirely self-referential succession. Within its eternal continuation and amidst meager dramatizations, nothing ever happens – the repetition of the same majestic ruin. “The system of history, the elevation of the temporal to the totality of meaning, abolishes time and reduces it to an abstract negation.” Instantaneously, the same day appears the world over.

 8.

The resulting timelessness projected imbues, over time, a set of deceptively honest idiomatic expressions wherein time is “saved”, “spent”, “stolen”, “liberated”, “wasted”, and desperately “cherished”. Here, what is said is what is meant: time assumes a relentless objectivity that has been accorded the enthralling and magnificent ability to level mountains, ravage kingdoms, and extinguish stars.

9.

Despite this, the commodity contemplates itself as its own historical culmination whilst chattering on in its own essentially atemporal language. Robinson Crusoe christens his primitive “Friday” because he will never forget his own origins, and, of course, to rightly laud his own accomplishments. The unremitting detritus is repurposed and fabricates a faculty of historical apprehension grounded within the invariable and universal schematic of the commodity, establishing the conditions of possibility for the total commensurability of historical knowledge. As capital expands, so too does the criteria of historical comparison. The form of unconscious historical consciousness expressed by Thucydides, for example, can only be contrasted with that of Eusebius of Caesarea from the ubiquitous perspective of abstract time. There is no standard by which to measure the diplomatic pleading of Corinth with that of the cunning of Titus against Jerusalem except by way of a universal historical continuum in which all of the past is rendered interchangeable. The temporality of capital periodizes history as a whole. There is little fluctuation in the exchange rates between Mahatma Gandhi and Genghis Khan. Even when there is, drowning in relativism “history remains one vast analytic proposition.” For this, Hegel may or may not have been a Keynesian. History becomes the ideal commodity for mimetically collapsing use-value into exchange-value: the relation between historical moments affirms and denies difference insofar as it contains the identity of the non-identical and the identical. With an allergy to revisionism and half an education, historical correlation has never been so painless.

 10.

The administration of the world is also the administration of its history. Curious to learn the frequency of its own birth pangs, the commodity unearths an omnipotent display to survey under its temporal narration. Periodizations are always heuristic devices. Unlike previous ages in which historical moments or actors were repelled into barbarism and thus outside of history, the historicity of the commodity wields thorough tolerance for admitting a manifold of subjects. The fluctuation of rationality, to take an example offered by Voltaire, now occurs within history, rather than as history. From molecular resilience to celestial maneuvering; the pilgrimage of a cigarette to the fall of Rome: all plural developments are legitimate under its equitably fixed stare, an invariable canvas in which the history of sovereigns and of third wave feminism speak the same language. The movement of capital comprehends all other movements.

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Land and Liberty

New text from Research & Destroy. Sharper than an ice pick as always.

against the new city

Pietro 3

[foreclosures in the East Bay]

1.

Debt, wage-labor, rent. These are the three scourges of the modern, fully capitalist world, the three faces of exploitation that confront the proletarian of today. Rent might be the least examined of these terms, the landlord all too easily conflated with banker and boss. Perhaps this is because rent is one of the most naturalized of property relations – a tax one pays for the simple crime of existing in space dimensional, of being a body not always in frantic motion, a body needing rest. The idea that space can be owned in the same way that one can own an object is so strange, if one thinks about it, that it is hardly surprising few of us actually do, that the landlord is forgotten about when we list the enemies we will send up the steps of the guillotine…

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Vandals! Vandals! Vandals!

Brazil is coming.

A Communist Haggadah for the Passover Seder

[Once upon a time in land far, far away, Brooklyn circa 2011, some communists in situ realized that both the standard and radical versions of the Passover Haggadah were very stupid. So they decided to make their own communist version for their Seder. The following Haggadah is the first time this is being published online. It follows all the traditional 15 steps for easy use,  but each section has its own rifts within. Follow at your own risk. Chag sameach and remember, next year in Diaspora!]

A Communist Haggadah for the Passover Seder

exodus

[pdf] [booklet]

compiled by Jacob, Danielle & Scott

April 18th, 2011 Brooklyn

 

The Seder Plate:

seder plate

 

Maror – Bitter Herbs: Representative of the harshness of our wage slavery.

Karpas – Green Vegetable: Representative of the spring season, the swerve, and the possibility of new growth including the welcoming of new comrades and friends, and the strengthening of friendships already consummated.

Charoset – Mixture of Fruit and Nuts: Representative of how the material means of production, the mortar for the bricks, is also our material means of reproduction.

Beitzah – Egg: Representative of the possibility of new forms of life and not simply new life as such. It is the symbol of the future, after the swerve, after the rupture, after the flood, what-have-you. It is an affirmative form of life, life for life’s-sake, not for the sake of life alone.

Zeroa – Lamb Bone: The lamb bone is representative of three ideas: 1) It is a instrument of marking, a way of understanding our comradeship as the ancient Hebrews understood theirs. Through this we may understand who is with us, who our comrades are, who our fellow travelers are. While our numbers may be small, our intentions are significant. 2) As an instrument of marking, it gives us great caution and great hope. It represents the danger of marking one as with/against us, but also the possibility of spreading the knowledge that we are privileged to have achieved with the aid of our comrades. Finally, 3) it is a symbol of sacrifice and death, of what is left behind. Of the endings that precede new beginnings, of the drawing closer between us, of our alliance’s rebellion against the powers of capitalism’s decree for formal, material, productivity.

Candle Lighting:

BAH-ROOCH AH-TAH AH-DOH-NOI EH-LOH-HEH-NOO MEH-LECH HAH-OH-LAHM AH-SHER KEE-DEH-SHAH-NOO BEH-MITZ-VOH-TAHV VEH-TZEE-VAH-NOO LEH-HAD-LEEK NER SHEL YOHM TOHV.

The 15 steps:

  1. Kadesh –  Sanctification of the day, marked by blessing the first cup of wine.

There are four mandatory cups of wine on Passover, spaced out over the course of the Seder. One interpretation of them is that they signify God’s four promises of liberation to the Israelites. Since God died in the 19th century, and since there were probably no Israelites in Egypt, nor an exodus, we will interpret the four cups as representing the four cardinal virtues required for the revolution in the present moment.

The first cup signifies the virtue of Friendship.

הַגָפֶןפְּרִי בּוֹרֵא הָעוֹלָםמֶלֶךְ אֱלֹהֵינוּ יי אַתָּה בָּרוּךְ

Baruch atah adonai elohaynu melech ha’olam borei p’ri hagafen

 

  1. Ur’chatz – Washing of hands before the vegetable.

We pass a bowl of water around the table; each person pours water over their neighbor’s hands, helping them wash.

 

3. Karpas –  We dip a green vegetable in salt water. We take a bite. We discard the rest.

The salt water on our table traditionally represents the tears of the Israelite slaves. The green vegetable usually represents the possibility of new growth. This year, let the salt water remind us of our own wage-slavery, and let the green vegetable remind us of the emancipatory potential, the swerves within it.

הָאֲדָמָה פְּרִי בּוֹרֵא הָעוֹלָםמֶלֶךְ אֱלֹהֵינוּ יי אַתָּה בָּרוּךְ

 Barukh atah adonai, eloheinu melekh ha’olam borei p’ri ha’adamah

 

4.Yachatz – Breaking the middle matzah.

We break the matzah into two pieces, and hide one half, called the Afikomen. The Afikomen represents the rupture that we seek with the current state of things. This rupture, this break, comes from within the traditions we have, and yet hidden from them as well.

“From struggles over immediate demands to revolution, there can only be a rupture, a qualitative leap. But this rupture isn’t a miracle. Neither is it the simple realisation on the part of the proletariat that there is nothing else to be done other than making the revolution, given the failure of everything else. “Revolution is the only solution” is just as inept as talk of the revolutionary dynamic of demands-based struggles. This rupture is produced positively by the unfolding of the cycle of struggles which precedes it, and we can say that it still forms a part of it. This rupture is prefigured in the multiplication of swerves within the class struggle between, on the one hand, the calling into question by the proletariat of its own existence as a class in its contradiction with capital and, on the other hand, the reproduction of capital which is implied by the very fact of the proletariat’s existence as a class. The concept of the swerve designates the dynamic of this cycle of struggles, which exists in an empirically verifiable manner.” [Theorie communiste]

We exist in this rupture.

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Hämmer, Brecheisen, und Messer: Die Räumung des Berliner Refugee-Camps

Vice Berlin,  TAZ

Der Berliner Innensenator Frank Henkel und Polizeipräsident Klaus Kandt können zufrieden sein. Die Räumung des Flüchtlingscamp auf dem Kreuzberger Oranienplatz erfolgte ohne die befürchteten Ausschreitungen und Krawalle und vor allem ohne dass Polizisten auf Geflüchtete einschlagen mussten. Die Flüchtlinge haben ihre Zelte selbst abgerissen—zumindest teilweise. Die heutige Aktion könnte als Lehrstück dienen für zukünftige Fragen, wie man eine Protestbewegung langsam zermürbt und schlussendlich kampfunfähig macht.

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In aller Herrgottsfrühe machte sich heute Morgen gegen sechs Uhr eine Gruppe von Flüchtlingen auf, die selbstgezimmerten Hütten auf dem Platz abzureißen. Bewaffnet mit Hämmern, Brecheisen und Messern zerstörten sie nach und nach alle Zelte und Behausungen, egal ob die jeweiligen Bewohnern den Platz verlassen wollten oder nicht. Dabei kam es zu extremen Spannungen zwischen den Bewohnern untereinander, wobei diejenigen, die den Abriss vorantrieben, extrem gewaltbereit wirkten.

Es wurden Messer gezogen und mit den mitgebrachten Werkzeugen gedroht. Immer wieder kam es zu Handgreiflichkeiten. Die anwesenden Unterstützerinnen und Unterstützer standen vor dem Problem, dass sie nicht, wie erwartet, der Polizei gegenüber standen, sondern jenen Menschen, die sie eigentlich unterstützen wollten. Letztendlich ist es sogar ihnen zu verdanken gewesen, dass Schlimmeres verhindert werden konnte. Von der Polizei fehlte bis zum späteren Nachmittag jede Spur.

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Das Geschehen des heutigen Tages ist das Ergebnis eines taktischen Vorgehens, das schon vor Monaten einsetzte. Dilek Kolat, Integrationsministerin von Berlin, erklärte sich im Januar bereit, das Problem Oranienplatz zu lösen. Zu diesem Zweck lud sie zu einem runden Tisch und empfing mehrere Delegationen aus dem Flüchtlingscamp. Als klar wurde, dass die Geflüchteten höchst unterschiedliche Ausgangslagen und Ansprüche stellten, begann Kolat, sukzessive gewisse Gesprächspartner auszuschließen und andere zu bevorzugen. Gegen Ende konzentrierte sie sich auf die Gruppe der sogenannten Lampedusa-Flüchtlinge, die im Gegensatz zu anderen Asylsuchenden gültige italienische Papiere haben, denen sie aber Geldzahlungen, eine Unterkunft und eine Duldung versprach—immerhin für ganze sechs Monate.

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Den anderen Flüchtlingsaktivisten war dieses Angebot zu wenig, da in dem vorgelegten Kompromisspapier auch keinerlei Garantien gegeben werden konnten, außer dem Versprechen auf eine wohlwollende Einzelfallprüfung. Trotz allem gelang es Kolat, einen Teil der Flüchtlinge zu überzeugen, den Kompromiss anzunehmen, ein Umstand, der die Bewegung zutiefst spaltete. Hinzu kamen noch Streitigkeiten um die Verwendung von Spendengeldern, wobei auch hier wiederum die Lampedusa-Gruppe schwere Anschuldigungen gegen Flüchtlingsaktivisten und Unterstützer erhob.

Geld sei veruntreut worden, Geld, das die Bewohner des Oranienplatzes dringend bräuchten, zumindest dringender als die politische Bewegung. Die ursprünglichen Forderungen—Abschaffung der Residenzpflicht, Abschaffung der Lagerunterbringung, Stop aller Abschiebungen—traten immer weiter in den Hintergrund. Nicht von der Hand zu weisen ist allerdings, dass die Spendenbereitschaft der Berliner Bevölkerung und die Solidarität mit dem Refugee-Camp über die letzten Monate hinweg immer weiter nachließ, so dass zuletzt kein Essen mehr ausgegeben werden konnte und die Bewohner des Camps nicht mehr wussten, wie sie überleben sollten. All diese Faktoren führten letztendlich zu einer Gemengelage, in der ein paar Refugees im Angebot des Senats nun also einen Strohhalm zu sehen glauben, der ihnen die Chance auf ein würdiges Leben zu bieten scheint. Für diese Chance gingen sie dann also heute morgen los und demolierten ihre Hütten und die der Anderen.

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Wenn Menschen in ihrer Verzweiflung alles tun, um ihre Situation zu verbessern, so ist das eine Sache. Wenn die Politik allerdings diese Menschen instrumentalisiert und gegen andere Menschen in der gleichen Situation aufhetzt, dann ist das perfide. Menschen, die mit extremen Gewalterfahrungen traumatisiert sind, über Stunden ihrem eigenen Schicksal zu überlassen und mit Waffen aufeinander losgehen zu lassen, ist mehr als nur fahrlässig.

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Bei jeder mittleren bis größeren Schlägerei ist spätestens nach fünf Minuten die Polizei da. Heute bedrohten sich auf dem Berliner Oranienplatz Menschen mit Stahlrohren und Messern, ohne dass auch nur ein Ordnungshüter in Uniform erschien. Schlussendlich tauchte die Polizei gegen 15 Uhr auf, um die letzten verbliebenen Aktivisten auf dem Oranienplatz zu räumen. Weiträumig wurde der Platz abgesperrt, so dass niemand mehr ins Innere der Absperrungen gelangen konnte. In nur 20 Minuten wurden sämtliche Sitzblockaden aufgelöst und die letzten 200 Protestierenden vom Platz entfernt.

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Das Refugee-Camp auf dem Oranienplatz scheint nun vorerst Geschichte zu sein. Der Kampf wird allerdings fortgesetzt werden, versicherten Aktivisten, und bis in die frühe Abendstunden hielten sich auch noch die letzten fünf Demonstranten auf einem Baum, den sie am Nachmittag besetzt hatten.

 

and what we actually did in lisbon

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CIS Berlin and Lisbon sections in action.

 

Scenes from the class struggle in portugal

Recently, members of CiSSi (Communists in Situ-Section Internationale) went to Portugal, Brazil, and Spain to document the class struggle there. Here is the first of our results.

Scenes from the class struggle in portugal 1/2

Scenes from the class struggle in portugal 2/2

Sind wir es wert?

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Strikes at Lufthansa, strikes in  bus services, trash collectors, bus drivers, teachers and nurses, and strikes at Amazon. Deutschland, was ist los?

Ver.di, the mass service workers union, is organizing these strikes, taking advantage of Germany’s position right now in Europe, its low unemployment rate, its labor laws. Their slogan is “Wir sind es wert.” It means “We are worth it.” But are we? At the same time, german ministers are discussing making a law that would deport eu-citizens who are unemployed after 3 months back to their country of origin. Unlike most countries in europe and north america, germany has had no popular squares movement of youth and disaffected proles, no wild riots of the poor, no nothing. Instead, some good old strikes for higher wages with moderate success. Whereas in other countries, mass protests and occupations occur while the country’s economy stays mostly unaffected, in germany the economy is directly targeted, shutting down airlines, bus services, logistics centers, yet there are no mass movements to amplify it. When klassenkampf extends these strikes to society at large, then we’d be really es wert.