From Crisis to Communisation
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“Communisation” means something quite straightforward: a revolution that starts to change social relations immediately. It would extend over years, decades probably, but from Day One it would begin to do away with wage-labour, profit, productivity, private property, classes, States, masculine domination, and more. There would be no “transition period” in the Marxist sense, no period when the “associated producers” continue furthering economic growth to create the industrial foundations of a new world. Communisation means a creative insurrection that would bring about communism, not its preconditions.

Thus stated, it sounds simple enough. The questions are what, how, and by whom. That is what this book is about.

Communisation is not the be-all and end-all that solves everything and proves wrong all past critical theory. The concept was born out of a specific period, and we can fully understand it by going back to how people personally and collectively experienced the crises of the 1960s and ’70s. The notion is now developing in the maelstrom of a new crisis, deeper than the Depression of the 1930s, among other reasons because of its ecological dimension, a crisis that has the scope and magnitude of a crisis of civilisation.

This is not a book that glorifies existing struggles as if their present accumulation were enough to result in revolution. Radical theory is meaningful if it addresses the question: How can proletarian resistance to exploitation and dispossession achieve more than aggravate the crisis? How can it reshape the world?



Publié par
Date de parution 01 février 2019
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781629633039
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0025€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


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From Crisis to Communisation
Gilles Dauv
This edition copyright 2019 PM Press
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be transmitted by any means without permission in writing from the publisher.
ISBN: 9781629630991
Library of Congress Control Number: 2015930885
Cover by John Yates/Stealworks
Layout by Jonathan Rowland based on work by briandesign
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
PM Press
PO Box 23912
Oakland, CA 94623
Chapter 1: LEGACY
1: Back to the 1960s-70s
2: Three Steps to Capitalist Dominion
3: Excursus
3.1: Back to 68
3.2: The General Strike, an Eye-Opener
3.3: Maturation
3.4: Portugal and Poland: Inextricable Problem and Solution
1: End of Classism
1.1 Classism in Crisis
1.2 Class Out of Fashion
1.3 The All-Inclusive Class
1.4 From Class to Individuals
2: Facing the Conundrum
3: The Common Good
4: Adieu to Disappointment and Spleen
5: In a Nutshell
6: If It s That Simple, Why ?
7: The Word
Chapter 3: WORK UNDONE
Road Work Unreal
1: Working Substance
1.1: Work Is Class
1.2: Work Reduces Every Activity to a Common Substance
1.3: Wage-Labour Turns Work into a Commodity
1.4: Work Is Separation
1.5: Work Is Productivity and Accountancy
1.6: Work Is Reducing Everything to a Minimum of Time
1.7: Under the Rule of Work
2: Neither Work nor Economy
2.1: Production Is Not Economy
2.2: Communism as Activity
1: Why Civilisation ?
2: A European Civil War
3: How Capitalism Globalised Its Crisis of the 1960s and 70s
4: Neoliberalism Fallacy
5: Wages, Price, and Profit
6: The Impossibility of Reducing Everything to Time
7: Shareholder Capitalism
8: A Class Out of Joint
9: The Money God That Fails
10: Quantifying the Qualitative
11: Forbidden Planet?
12: No Capitalist Self-Reform
13: Deadlock
14: No Creative Destruction Yet
15: Social Reproduction, So Far
1: Resistance
1.1: The Autonomy Paradox
1.2: Autonomy/Communisation
1.3: Labour Movement Resurgence
1.4: Proletarian Drive and Bourgeois Outcome
2: Going Beyond Class?
2.1: Occupy/Transform
2.2: Radical-Reformist Complication
3: Communism as Ideology
4: The Improbable Art of Crisis Assessment
5: No Revolutionary Subject without Subjectivity
1: An Anti-work and Anti-proletarian Insurrection?
1.1: Self-Critique of Work
1.2: Anti-proletarian Acts
2: From Work to Activity?
3: How Will Communisation Satisfy People s Basic Needs?
4: Abundance v. Scarcity?
5: A World without Money?
6: Parasitic Activities?
7: Too Late to Save the Planet?
8: Daily Life Changes or Big Issues?
9: From Worker to After-Dinner Critic?
10: What about Gender?
11: What about Violence?
12: Who Would Be the Communisers?
13: Reaching the Tipping Point?
14: How Relevant Is This Questions and Answers List?
1: Polemics
2: It Takes More Than a Step Aside
3: Decoupling Proletarian from Worker
3.1 The Two-Stage Postulate
3.2 What Worker Identity?
3.3 The Great Simplifier
3.4 The Ratchet Effect
3.5 I Bring You Good Tidings
4: Crossover Identity Politics
5: The Proletariat as a Contradiction
For several years now, the theme of communisation has led to controversies that are very often ill-informed, Bruno Astarian wrote in 2010. 1
An understatement. In recent years, communisation has become one of the radical in-words, whose popularity extends far beyond the regrettably called communisers. In a transatlantic game of Chinese whispers, the notion has developed into an elasticity of meaning and is now a blanket term covering a wide range of attitudes and theories. 2 The differences among these are both substantial and consequential. 3
A truly valid and stimulating approach to revolution is mixed with a deceptive reconstruction of history that divides it into two completely different phases and presents a catastrophe-happy view of the present, akin to a final crisis theory, though nobody expresses it in such plain words.
Many communisation theorists behave as if they had found the solution once and for all and present our time as a period when the proletarian movement has and can only have one goal: communism.
In spite of its extremist outlook, is it all that different from what could be heard in 1970? In the bygone days of workerist Leninist party-building and counterculture experimenting, a lot of radicals also believed their version of revolution meant changing everything: We want the world and we want it now! Forty years later, communisation serves as a convenient reference point, like Marxism (or, for others, anarchism) to which a very heterogeneous set of ideas can be added: it provides people with a supposedly solid and undisputed common ground on which they feel free to combine class, gender, race, alternative art, and perhaps ecology. If capitalism is about to die, everything is permitted.
Here is our basic disagreement with a lot of communisers : They regard communisation as the long-wanted and at-last-found answer to the revolutionary question, and consequently regard themselves as providers of this ultimate answer.
There is no privileged vantage point where the meaning of all history is revealed, and one of the main points this book will make is that the idea of communisation was and remains a product of its time. The communisation concept depends upon a specific period, a specific crisis, and the other major crisis we are now going through has bearing on its evolution.
This is neither a history of ideas nor an impersonal story. We will have to recall where a number of comrades came from and what they did in the late 1960s, what part they played around 1968 and how they understood it, went back to Marx, to the German-Dutch and Italian Lefts, and read the Situationists, how the notion of communisation emerged and what has become of it since.
1: Back to the 1960s-70s
Let s start with a hard fact: in the 1960s and 70s, the proletarians did not cross the Rubicon.
Fordism had reached its zenith at the same time as it intensified work and as dissatisfaction about consumer society started to grow. That double cause resulted in the combination of worker unrest and a critique of daily life, which launched a long proletarian wave.
When the movement lost its critical edge, its manifold aspects turned into fragmented piecemeal transformations. The workplace became the scene of a neo-unionism, albeit with little new union creation. Armed violence disconnected itself from social disturbances. Women s action withdrew into feminism. The critique of the party led to the launching of grouplets, and the critique of vanguardism ended in rank-and-filism. Rebellious marginality got integrated into acceptable street culture. The critique of daily life gave birth to alternativism and cyberindividualism. Instead of anti-imperialist and anti-military actions, the 2003 Iraq War coincided with the heyday of consensual pacifism.
This was no novelty: revolutionary failures unleash reaction and recuperation.
The big turn lay elsewhere: no radical grassroots organisation was born out of this worldwide storm, even in countries which were at the peak of the movement, and those organisations that emerged were short-lived, or merged with former organisations, unions usually. The Argentine Cordobazo popular uprising of 1969 did not create large sustainable organisations, and neither did the widespread worker insubordination and street rioting in the mid-1970s in Italy. New bodies or breakaway unions spring up all the time, with little foothold in the working class.
This major change went rather unnoticed at the time and still is.
All previous unrest or insurrectionary periods had resulted in the creation of new forms, whether party, union, or autonomous body. In the West and in Japan, since the demise of the Spanish Workers Party of Marxist Unification (POUM) in 1937, no far-left party with strongholds in the workplace has been founded and has managed to fight on. Nothing comparable to early twentieth-century social democracy, Stalinist parties, or the 1930s CIO. Syriza is just about capable of moderating unrest in Greece: it proves incapa

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