Capitalism is not a mode of management but a world society whose fundamental social relations are wage-labour and the commodity economy.
Russia, China and all the so-called “socialist” or “communist” nation-States, parties, or fractions of nation-States, are capitalist: the task which confronts proletarians in State capitalist areas is the same as anywhere else – not to democratise the party, but to overthrow the capitalist class and its Party-State and other weapons.
Trade unions, as institutions aiming to determine the price of labour-power and to play a role at various levels in the management of capitalist exploitation, are only another obstacle in the way of proletarian revolution. The spectacle of self-managing them, or democratising them, or of building new unions (anarchosyndicalist “rank-and-file”, or “independent” like Solidarnosc) is counterrevolutionary: the unification and escalation of the proletariat’s class struggle means their destruction.
Nations have historically been merely conflicting or concurring areas of exploitation. The proletariat has no country: its interests do not lie in any sort of a “front” with any bourgeois force of any country, whether a straight national or regional unity with a fraction of the ruling class, or the same thing under the title “Workers’ Front”, “Popular Front”, “Anti-fascist front”…
Parliament and elections, referenda, etc., are a means by which capital feeds democratic ideology, with the State representing an illusory community: the representation of proletarians and their exploiters as being “free and equal” citizens of the nation-State, in order to mask class domination. Neither voting nor merely abstaining challenges the power of the ruling class. Communist revolution can only win by destroying parliament and parliamentarism in all its forms.
Parties, whether parliamentary or anti-parliamentary, whether “right”, “left”, “centre”, “far right” or “far left” are bourgeois institutions aiming to manage national capitals, whether or not their aim is to overthrow one capitalist order in order to be the bosses of another one. The left, like the right and the centre, of capital is merely the political expression of strata with interests in certain methods of managing capitalist exploitation: the far left of capital, whether or not they “critically support” the left, are merely upholders of a more “radical” method of doing the same. Those parties who aim to “represent” or to “lead” the working class (or to “orient” it), namely to be vanguards who substitute themselves for it, are – like the others – direct enemies of proletarian self-emancipation, which can only be the act of the proletariat itself or will not be at all.
Ideology is thought submissive to and imposed by exploiters or would-be exploiters; if it is accepted by proletarians it only corresponds to a belief that they cannot challenge the totality of their present conditions of poverty, or that this can only be effected by relying on forces outside of themselves, to leaders, parties, churches, unions, or indeed to the representation of critical theory by those who would make it into a religion, a lie, and hence opposed to proletarian revolutionary practice and to any real – necessarily practical – critical analysis of past or present proletarian subversion.
Communist revolution demands the self-unification of proletarian class struggle, across all the divisions hewn by capital in the proletariat as a whole (chauvinisms, …) and in the heads of proletarians (corresponding both to the acceptance of ideology and to the fundamental expropriation.)
It will only come about through a combination of theory and practice where theory does not fall from the heads of leaders but comes from proletarians’ experience of daily life under capitalist power (wage-labour, unemployment, unwaged labour, …) and when the determinant motive force (discontent) escalates from struggle against further deteriorations in survival conditions given the deepening crisis towards war against the conditions of this society as a whole, by means of a theoretico-practical development including the discussion, appropriation and discovery of lessons from the development of capitalist society in all spheres and from past and present struggles.
Intervention and Organisation of Revolutionaries
Consciousness exists neither spontaneously nor homogeneously nor yet fully, for anyone. Those proletarians who already recognise themselves as revolutionaries are not leaders, not sources of “ultimate truths” – they are a secretion of the whole movement and should organise themselves efficaciously in order to intervene in struggles, and therefore should aim to achieve an audience amongst their class, who they do not claim at any time now or in the future to lead or to represent, their aim being their dissolution as separate revolutionary minorities into the revolutionary richness of a mass movement. Organisation of revolutionary minorities is primarily a tool for intervention, but a static critique which does not learn from its own practice is merely a caricature of a living and critical revolutionary critique.
The fundamentals of revolutionary organisations are:
- They must constantly struggle against reproducing alienated forms in their own functioning – hence they must practically reject federalism, centralism, deafness, clique mentality, zombified wooden language, any kind of localism, …
- They should aim to intervene on communist political positions in struggles; the content of their interventions should clearly attack bourgeois mystifications and ideologies, specifically including the alienated representation of class struggle and revolution by recuperators, insofar as present struggles define their own consciousness in alienated fashion. The terrain of abstractly applauding every struggle (in the arrogant vein “You can’t be expected to go beyond looting yet!”) or stupid schoolmarmish chiding for not following an ideological line (in the vein “Don’t loot! It reproduces commodity fetishism!”) is counterrevolutionary. All those who would be professional educators (herding the proletariat) or “possessors of the class’s future consciousness which only has to be injected” must be rejected. Revolutionaries do have certain ideas about the present period of capitalism (in fact to work out a clear critique of the period is an important task) in the sense which includes trying to understand and criticise present and past proletarian struggles, and they aim at all moments to radicalise their critique; but they are not cheerleaders; they must try to criticise the weaknesses of struggles and to criticise their contradictions.
Workers’ Councils, Proletarian General Assemblies
Experiences of class’ struggles this century have posited the form of the Workers’ Council, taken to mean general assemblies of proletarians (unemployed or employed) coordinating by means of mandated revocable delegations, to be the most adequate form of proletarian power and communication. This form does not guarantee victory, but it remains the form where proletarians are confronted continuously with the practical needs of their struggle. The revolutionary realisation of these needs depends on the passionate content of their discussion, decision, execution and organisation.
Revolutionary Workers’ Groups
Whilst the movement towards the suppression of existing conditions progresses by means of an escalation of discontent towards generalisation and radicalisation (certainly not without setbacks), minority revolutionary workers’ groups (not necessarily based in an enterprise) can play a part in the maturation of class consciousness. They do not “prefigure” Workers’ Councils, nor anti-union strike committees, nor communism. They are in no way “that which builds the new society within the shell of the old” which has always been a bourgeois mystification. Their perspectives should be of intervening on political positions and of aiming practically to coordinate with each other. These veritable groups of communist workers must explicitly reject the view that they are the “nuclei” of future Workers’ Councils which would supposedly come from their own organisational expansion. They are fundamentally minority interventional organisations: no revolutionary mass self-organisation of the proletariat is evisageable outside of a revolutionary moment – it cannot be “prefigured”.
Dictatorship of the Proletariat
The dictatorship of the proletariat is the destruction of all powers external to the absolute power of the proletariat over the productive forces and over everything else. This is a class dictatorship, the means by which the proletariat abolishes the social prerequisites of classes including itself. This necessitates political measures such as the destruction of the State and its organs, the armed suppression of all counterrevolutionary alliances/forces, and the extension of the revolution.
Communism can only exist on a world scale: proletarian revolution may start in a particular geographical area, but it can either extend to other areas or face destruction, internally or externally. The only perspective for proletarians who may exercise power over an area is one of continuing the revolutionary class war which they will have already started. This necessitates an armed struggle against the military and social power of capital. As such, there is a transitional phase where arms and social violence will still exist, exercised between two class powers. At the moment of the proletariat’s final victory, social violence will cease to exist: the absolute power of the Councils is not the end of the revolution but the beginning.
Communism is a society without money, wage-labour, State, commodity economy, exchange value, separation between productive enterprises and other forms of activity (games, …), private or State property. It is a society of “From each according to his/her ability, to each according to her/his needs”, understood in material and non-material senses. It is a society of world human community, where the world is a sensuous extension of human desires and the interplay of desires (which will clearly be more conscious of themselves because there will be no unnatural barriers to their realisation: it is not suggested for a moment that they all exist as well-formed desires under capitalism), where the “senses have become theoreticians in their practice” and where “nature has lost its mere utility in that its use has become human use), WHERE THE PLEASURE OF ONE IS INSEPARABLE FROM THE PLEASURE OF ALL. Communism is a society of the continuous and conscious transformation of life, where individuals recognise themselves in a world they have created – a society which has abolished human prehistory and alienation and has replaced them with conscious history, the world-historical existence of individuals.
This Period of Capitalism
This period is one of an accelerating crisis of the capitalist mode of production. Since the beginning of this century, of the unification of what was already a world market, capital has been locked in a cycle of periods corresponding to war-reconstruction-crisis. The present period is one of limited wars outside of the imperialist metropoles (in Africa, Middle East, Central America, …) in relation to the contraction of internal and external markets which is experienced by all national capitalists, East West and South.
The crisis has a tendency towards provoking further discontent which raises the possibility of the radicalisation and generalisation of this discontent (THE END OF PROLETARIAN MISERY THROUGH SELF-ORGANISED REVOLUTION) but inversely raises the possibility of the further atomisation of proletarians which would permit the channeling of this discontent into cohesive nationalist ideologies (democracy, fascism, ‘anti-fascism’, …?…) which in turn would be the political prerequisite for capitalism to enter humanity into a period of the third world imperialist butchery this century (THE END OF LIVING DEATH THROUGH ACTUAL DEATH). The old mode, the real movement tending towards social revolution, exists now, and those who are revolutionary now can and most contribute now, although there is an undeniable element of waiting – to deny this would be tantamount to substitutionism or to a view that revolutionaries can satisfy themselves within this society (!). Let revolutionary passion find a practice which is enlightened by theory and which enlightens theory!