The texts

About red texts

What this site is

This site archives communist documents. These documents are often available elsewhere, but are not always proofread or presented with simple formatting. This site remedies that.

This site is a personal labor. Documents I intend to read and re-read are proofread (mostly for formatting) and converted to plain text files that are very minimally marked-up with multimarkdown. These plain text files are then used to generate HTML -- which you see on the site -- but can also be used to generate EPUB, PDF, or even LaTeX files. This site contains the original plain text and HTML versions of the archived documents. You can access the plain text source files in a couple of ways.

  1. You can download individual text files at the index of plain text files.
  2. You can download a .tgz archive of all the plain text documents.

The text files display best when viewed in a text editor. Windows users will need a decent text editor such as notepad++, otherwise line breaks will not display. Windows users will also need a tool such as 7zip to open the .tgz archive.

Wait--what do you mean by communism?

All through history the exploited dreamed of a world without poverty and class distinctions: communism. Communism means an end to property, i.e., the right to exclude some people from the land and factories cultivated and built by past generations. In communist society production is for meeting human needs, not sale on the market. There will be no money, no rich and poor, no state to mediate the conflicts of a class-divided society. Communism is a unified human community.

In the 19th century capitalism grew productivity exponentially. Capitalism created an international, interconnected market. For the first time it was possible to coordinate production to satisfy the desires of all. Yet this possibility was overriden by the needs of the market economy. All that was produced is that which could be sold for a profit. Periodic crises threw workers into poverty amidst plenty. Even during booms the working class sunk deeper into relative misery. But unlike past exploited classes, the modern working class was born of socialized production and had no real property of its own. It was the first class capable of and needing to abolish property in general. It was the first class whose communism had a material basis.

In the 19th century capitalism laid the foundations for its own destruction without threatening the world with barbarism. Moreover, the working class was still small and centered in a few countries. The agenda of the working class, then, was to develop its own strength within capitalist society. Workers participated in unions, ran candidates in elections, and even took sides in wars between capitalist states and their feudal rivals.

The First Imperialist World War and the working class insurrections that ended it made communist revolution an urgent necessity and immediate possibility. In 1917 revolution spread from Russia to the rest of the world. Tragically, only in backwards Russia did the working class seize and hold onto power. Russia was a poor, peasant-dominated country, one ravaged by years of imperialist and civil war. The Russian workers could move ahead only with help from the working class abroad. This help never came; the parties of the right and left crushed the uprisings of the western European workers. To ensure the survival of the sole bastion of world revolution, the isolated Russian revolutionaries were compelled to use the revolutionary state to simultaneously repress the peasantry and rapidly increase the productivity of an immature capitalist economy -- all while preserving their autonomy as a revolutionary class. The hope was to hang on long enough for the western European revolution. This all failed. The Soviet Union survived and flourished, but only after the revolutionaries were integrated into, and then destroyed by, a state purged of any revolutionary content.

The rapid industrialization of the Soviet Union cost millions of lives but was an appealing model for the Third World capitalist class. Soviet "communism" became nothing more than an ideology of state-driven capitalist development for backwards countries. The "communist" countries that have existed -- from Mao's China to Fidel's Cuba to Chavez's Venezuela -- had and have nothing to do with the communism of the workers' movement.

In reaction to the degeneration of the Russian Revolution, a "communist left" emerged in the early 1920s. These communists -- the true heirs of the 19th century workers' movement -- were loyal to the Russian Revolution but against the compromises and betrayals the Russian communists and the Communist International made to defend the Russian state. The communist left, then as now, stood against capitalism and all its defenses: democracy, elections, unions, nationalism, national liberation, "social justice," and so on.

Red Texts primarily collects documents from this left communist tradition.

Lastly

This project was inspired by similar sites I used to visit. To the extent they still exist and I can remember them, these are listed in the links section.

If you have contributions, corrections, questions, comments, or whatever, send them to schalken at warpmail.net.

A word of warning

I don't endorse sites listed here. I have reservations about the persons or groups behind a couple of them. All the same, each site linked below should prove interesting or useful in some fashion.

Text archives (sites like this one, but better)

Political groups or individuals