About red texts
What this site is
red texts archives communist documents. These documents are often available elsewhere, but are not always proofread or presented with simple formatting. This site aims to remedy that, at least for a small set of texts.
This site originally began as a personal labor. Documents I intended to read and re-read were proofread and converted to plain text files that were very minimally marked-up with multimarkdown. This work began on 2015-04-05 as a site hosted on neocities. Since 2015-08-05 has had its current domain. In September 2017 red texts became a collaborative project hosted on github thanks to the kind encouragement and hard work of xatasan. The plan is to have many comrades contributing new texts or fixes to existing texts, and, if they wish, hosting these texts on their own sites. Right now there are at least two mirrors, one at tilde.town and another at yuuko.tv, offering more formats and features than this site.
Our markdown files (using pandoc's flavor of markdown) can be got from the red texts project's github page. When viewing the text files, Windows users will need a text editor that handles the Unix-style line breaks that most operating systems use. One option is geany.
Wait--what do you mean by communism?
All through history the exploited have 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 the common labor of the exploited. In communist society production is for meeting human needs, not for 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 increased productivity exponentially. It created an international, interconnected market. Capitalism created -- for the first time in human history -- the possibility of satisfying the material desires of all. Yet this possibility was overridden by the needs of the market economy. What was produced was only what could be sold for a profit. Competition forced capitalists to attack wages at every opportunity. Periodic crises threw workers into poverty amidst plenty. As Marx put it, "accumulation of wealth at one pole is, therefore, at the same time accumulation of misery, the torment of labour, slavery, ignorance, brutalization and moral degradation at the opposite pole."
Still, capitalism played a progressive role in the 19th century. It laid the foundations for its own supersession. The rapidly growing working class -- the proletariat -- was born of socialized production and had no property of its own. It was the first exploited 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 imperialist competition and environmental destruction did not yet imperil the future of the human species. Moreover, the working class was still small and centered in a few countries. The agenda of the working class, then, was to bide its time and develop its own strength within capitalist society. Workers participated in unions, ran candidates in elections, and even took the side of the then-progressive capitalist states in their wars with feudal rivals.
This peaceful evolution dead-ended in 1914. The First Imperialist World War and the working class insurrections that ended it made communist revolution an urgent necessity and immediate possibility. Starting 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 trying to preserve their autonomy as a revolutionary class. The hope was to hang on long enough for the western European revolution. The "Socialist" content of the Soviet Union was thus wholly political. It existed only so long as the Russian state faithfully advanced the cause of world revolution. When Stalin declared "socialism in one country," consecrating a backwards capitalism as socialism, and ensuring there would be no revolution in the West, the Russian Revolution was finally and unmistakably crushed. 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" or "socialist" 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. They were or are societies in which the state has taken on the role of capitalist, a possibility foreseen even by the 19th century workers' movement.
In reaction to the degeneration of the Russian Revolution, a "communist left" emerged in the early 1920s. These communists defended the Russian Revolution but fought against the compromises and betrayals the Russian communists and the Communist International made in order to defend the Russian state. The communist left, then as now, stood against capitalism and all its defenses: democracy, elections, unions, nationalism, national liberation, anti-fascism, national defense, and so on.
red texts primarily collects documents from this left communist tradition.
This project was inspired by sites I used to visit such as the For Communism - John Gray website. 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 some 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)
- The Anarchist Library
- Archives Autonomies (French language)
- Association Archives Antonie Pannekoek
- Class against Class
- Collectif Smolny (French language)
- Collective Action Notes
- The Free Communist
- John Gray
- Kurasje - Council Communist Archive
- La Bataille Socialiste
- "Left-Wing" Communism -- an Infantile Disorder? (new site)
- "Left-Wing" Communism -- an Infantile Disorder? (old site)
- Libri Incogniti
- Marxists Internet Archive
- Material Necessity
- My scans on archive.org
- Red and Black Notes
- Red Texts mirror (mirror with more features)
- Red Texts mirror 2 (mirror with more features)
- Sinistra.Net - The Online Archives of the Communist Left
- Splits and Fusions
- The Sparrows' Nest Library and Archive
Political groups or individuals
- Against Sleep and Nightmare
- Anarchist Communist Group
- Breath and Light
- Communist Bulletin (UK, Defunct)
- A Free Retriever's Digest
- Gruppen Gegen Kapital und Nation
- Gulf Coast Communist Fraction
- Insurgent Notes
- International Communist Current
- International Communist Party (El Comunista)
- International Communist Party (Il Comunista)
- International Communist Party (Il Partito Comunista)
- International Communist Party (Il Programma Comunista)
- International Group of the Communist Left
- Internationalist Communist Group
- Internationalist Communist Tendency
- Internationalist Communists Oceania
- Internationalist Perspective
- Internationalist Voice
- Istituto Onorato Damen
- Left-Communist Group of Vietnam
- Loren Goldner's Homepage
- Materiaux critiques
- Mouvement Communiste
- Pale Blue Jadal
- The Poor, the Bad and the Angry
- Robin Goodfellow
- Socialist Studies
- Socialist Studies back issues
- Theorie Communiste
- Wildcat (Germany)
- Wildcat (UK)
- World Communist Group
- World Socialist Movement