communists in situ

leberwurst proletariat

Month: January, 2021

Mattick and Council Communism in Miserable Times: Critique Between Defeat and Crisis

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A reading list by A New Institute for Social Research, 2021

See also: Theses on the Council Concept

A few accounts of the emergence of the tendency

New theory, new practice

Against and beyond the old movements

The critique of organization

From depression to fascist war

Mattick’s critical theory vs. postwar society

The Economic Foundations of Council Society (Canne-Meijer, 1948)

Henk-Canne-Meijer-1961

1954, Henk Canne Meijer and Gé Hoogland

by Henk Canne-Meijer

Originally published in Dutch in Radencommunisme, 1948, as part of the Dutch and German communist left’s debate about the period of transition from capitalism to communism. The text later appeared in pamphlet form in 1972, from which this translation was made. – via marxists.org. See also: The Dutch and German Communist Left (1900-1968) by Philippe Bourrinet

Preface

Only about a year ago we accomplished a new, a fourth, edition of the study by the Dutch prewar Group of International Communists, which first appeared in 1931: The Fundamental Principles of Communist Production and Distribution.

As this G.I.C. published a second edition in 1935, it wrote in a preface: “At present the politico-economic ideal of the masses, of either socialist and communist or of catholic, christian or of neutral workers, envisages the State as the big, general caretaker of their interests. The practical implication is that the masses are orientated towards state capitalism, even if they are not conscious of it.“

The preface payed attention to the fact that this situation had its origins in a truth of experience from the period that lies behind us; that the conditions of struggle are completely different in the forthcoming period; that henceforth the self-determination of the masses, born from the necessities of the struggle, becomes the guiding principle of the new ordering of social life.

Under these circumstances the “Fundamental Principles” became a theoretical writing against old state socialist conceptions in the first place.

How these necessities of the struggle and, accordingly, the new experiences have articulated themselves was the problem that occupied Jan Appel, Henk Canne Meijer and B.A. Sijes in this study of 1946, as former members of the G.I.C. (who had fused with the Communistenbond Spartacus). At present, parties and parliaments lose significance and interest. Be it with clarity, or in part still confused, the workers generate waves of strikes and enterprise occupations throughout the whole of Europe.

November 1972
Spartacusbond and Uitgeverij De Vlam

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Onward Barbarians (Endnotes, 2020)

Image:

An anti-government protester returns a tear gas canister to police during clashes in Santiago, Chile, on March 6, 2020. Esteban Felix / AP

by Endnotes, Dec 2020

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At the beginning of May 2020, hunger riots erupted in Santiago, Chile. Lockdowns had deprived men and women of their incomes to the point of near starvation. A large movement of self-organized community kitchens soon spread across the country. Later in the month, riots spread through Mexico in response to the police murder of Giovanni López — a construction worker who had been arrested for not wearing a mask — while thousands of despairing migrant workers broke the curfew in India. Some Amazon warehouse workers in the US and Germany had begun to strike in protest at poor COVID-19 safety protocols. (1) Yet these stirrings of workers’ struggle in the world’s largest retailer were quickly drowned out, at the end of May, by a mass movement of unprecedented size that swept across the US in revulsion at the live-streamed police murder of George Floyd. Largely initiated by black residents of Minneapolis, the uprising was quickly joined by Americans from every place, race and class. In the first riots and demos one could even spot a few supportive militiamen in a Querfront worthy of the age of QAnon. (2)

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A Guide to Value-Form Theory

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via reification of persons and personification of things (2021)

It’s winter in the middle of a global pandemic. You have time on your hands and you like to read. Maybe you’ve stumbled across Heinrich twitter and want to know what the hell is going on? Maybe you’ve read Michael Heinrich’s Introduction to all 3 volumes of Capital or you listen to (and patronize) Reel Abstractions, but you still want to read more value-form theory (at least until Science of Value comes out?)

This blog post will introduce you to other important contributions and contributors to value-form theory. I have tried my best to include free links to all of the readings. If the reading does not have a link, you may be able to find it somewhere else for free online. I am also happy to take suggestions for what to add. I wrote this quick and off the top of my head. 

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The Big Takeover

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by Jarrod Shanahan, Hard Crackers, Jan 7th, 2021

On January 6th a determined mob from across the United States descended on Washington, D.C. They rumbled with police, overturned barricades, breached the perimeter of the United States Capitol, and smashed their way into the building itself – all while both houses were in session. Inside, the insurgents played cat and mouse with police and federal agents, gleefully traipsing the evacuated halls of Congress and the Senate, and marauded through the offices of high-level politicians, who escaped a direct confrontation by a matter of minutes. The scene at the Capitol was replicated in miniature across the US, with large crowds menacing state houses in Washington state, Georgia, Arizona, Oklahoma, and others. But nothing compared to the spectacle playing out in the nation’s capital.

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The State of the Pandemic (Toscano, 2020)

Taladrid-Spain

by Alberto Toscano, Historical Materialism 28.4 (2020) 3–23

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The Covid-19 pandemic has further intensified a crisis in the functions and the perception of the state. It has also revealed underlying contradictions in both mainstream and radical ideologies of the state. A desire for the state as guarantor of public welfare vies with fear of the state’s hypertrophic capacities for surveillance and control. Following a brief exploration of the intimate modern connection between plagues and the state, the article tries to map some of the ways in which the state has been at stake in political and theoretical commentaries on the pandemic. Is an epidemiological politics from below, beyond the plague state, possible? Can recent emergency measures be seen as incomplete or inverted anticipations of a communist use of the state of exception? Or is the primacy of the political we are currently experiencing a mere fetish, indissociable from the rule of capital?

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