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Tag: Amadeo Bordiga

The Test of Communism (Bernes, 2021)


by Jasper Bernes (2021) PDF

Communism is an old idea in the world. Let’s call it ancient, for it may as well be our antiquity. We need not track down its origins in the alleyways of insurrection, only know that millions have struggled and died in its name. In this sense, it is not just an idea but a real force in history, product of and factor in a proletarian movement that has for at least two centuries now posed the overcoming of capitalism by classless, stateless, moneyless society. In fact, what’s remarkable about the history of the workers’ movement of the last two centuries is that this real ideal has until recently not only seemed inevitable but obvious. Even where they disagreed, violently, about how to achieve such a state of affairs, anarchists, communists, socialists, Marxists, syndicalists, and even some liberals, all stood joined by a common vision of a future classless society.

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The original content of the communist program (Bordiga, 1958)


By Amadeo Bordiga

The original content of the communist program is the obliteration of the individual as an economic subject, rights-holder, and agent of human history

Marxism and property

One topic that we have frequently found ourselves occupied with is that of the formula which in the communist program correctly counterposes the post-bourgeois historical era to the current one. To this topic was dedicated the old study in the first issue of Prometeo on “Property and Capital” [1]. We discussed, and at our last meeting in Turin [2] we returned to it with thoroughness, the most common propagandistic formula of pre-war socialism: the abolition of private property in the means of production (and of exchange). We use the parenthesis because this is how it is written in a fitting text by Engels.

The noun abolition has never been satisfactory. It reeks of a volitional act, and as such it is good for anarchists and (logically) for reformists. The adjective private raises the question of whether the relationship which we denote by the word ‘property’ should disappear in communist society, or only change its subject.

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Communism is the Material Human Community: Amadeo Bordiga Today (Goldner, 1995)


Kevin Sloan, Our Modern Animal, 2013

Preface to the Swedish edition of Communism is the Material Human Community: Amadeo Bordiga Today (Riff-Raff)

Loren Goldner, 2002

The core of the following text was actually written in 1988, before the collapse of the Soviet bloc, and was then slightly modified for its first publication in English (1991) to briefly take note of the 1989–91 »events». Over the past decade, it has been translated into seven other languages. The fact that it was written prior to the collapse (a collapse whose imminence I, like so many others, did not foresee), and continues to arouse international interest a decade later, is one indication that, whatever its flaws, it succeeded in resonating with some deep preoccupations of the contemporary world.

Indeed, since 1988, interest in the work of Amadeo Bordiga has only increased1, and seems on its way to eclipsing (hopefully with happier results) the earlier 1960s/1970s fascination with Antonio Gramsci, who was, not incidentally, Moscow’s point man for the eradication of Bordiga’s influence from the Italian Communist Party in the mid-1920’s.Of course, the great majority of »Gramscians» of the 1960’s and 1970’s were hardly aware of Gramsci’s real political role, but then they were hardly interested in the real politics of their own era either. The postwar Gramscians, particularly in the English-speaking world (we are thinking of figures such as Carl Boggs, admirer of 1970’s »Euro-communism») rode on the wave of »culturalism» which included the Frankfurt School and French post-structuralism, which appeared to them (as to the broader social stratum from which they came, the radicalized middle classes) as the worthy successor to »vulgar Marxism». (Had they been more than dismissively aware of Bordiga, they would undoubtedly classed him with such »vulgar Marxism».) The Gramscians, like other currents of the culturalist camp, greatly preferred discussions of cultural hegemony to the »vulgar Marxist» issues such as the critique of political economy, not to mention the »art of insurrection», and the decline of their influence parallels rather concisely the decline of the illusions of culturalism. Capitalism benefited greatly from the »cultural radicalism» of the 1960’s, which turned out to be a large part of the managerial wisdom of the 1990’s3.

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Weird and Wonderful Tales of Modern Social Decadence

by Amadeo Bordiga 1956

First Published: Il programma comunista, no. 17


Andrea Doria

The safety of sea travellers seemed, with good reason, to have been assured for the future, both historically and scientifically, by the first application of mechanical motors to ships, and all the more so with the construction of metal hulls. After a century and a half of technical “improvement”, the safety of the passenger is now relatively greater when compared with the old wooden sailing boats which were prey to both wind and sea. Naturally the “achievement”, the most idiotic one, is speed, even if special clippers in about 1850 won the “blue ribands” from steam ships, while there was — then too — not insignificant playing the cotton exchange between Boston and London. The faster the thief, the more a thief; but a quicker fool is no less a fool.

Nevertheless the period of the greyhounds of the sea lies behind us — it corresponded to the period after the First World War. Even before this war huge tonnages had been reached. The Titanic, which went down by the bows in 1912[1], was over 50,000 tons although it’s true that the speed during its maiden voyage, during which it struck an iceberg, did not exceed 18 knots. After a half-century there have been only two cases of liners on the North Atlantic (be they French, English, German or Italian) much over 50,000 tons. Since the last war the largest launched was the United States (53,000 tons). The two exceptions are the English “Queen Mary” (81,000 tons) and “Queen Elizabeth” (84,000 tons), keels laid before the war and still in use[2]. The brand new American ship took the blue riband from the English one which in turn had won it from the French “Normandie” in 1938, the latter being destroyed in the war. Sailing speeds in the last period have risen above 30 knots. The Andrea Doria, the largest post-war Italian ship along with its sister ship Colombo (the pre-war Rex was 51,000 tons) was only 29,000 tons but with a good top speed.

Thus the race to have the biggest ship, which was the prelude to the great disaster, has ceased, but so too that for the fastest speed which so enthralled Italy during the fascist period. The reason is that the person in a hurry can take a plane which, with its small crew, does not kill off more than fifty a go. The sea crossing (with sun and fine weather on the southern route preferred after the Titanic disaster) is more a pleasure trip or cruise — the hugely powerful engines required to thrust these massive giants at enormous cost (one knot is gained and a few hours are knocked off the crossing, wasting thousands of extra horse-power and increasing fuel consumption in proportion) at a rate of knots, are no longer requested by passengers and do not suit the company. Thus the logic of the situation now shows that it is best to build middle size middling speed ships for the passengers who are not at the summit of (economic and political) business dealings and so are not forced to fly. The newspapers told us that the unfortunate passengers saved from the Andrea Doria did not want to return by air: once bitten, twice shy, by the great civilisation of technology….

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