‘Fundamental Principles of Communist Production and Distribution’ (G.I.C.,1935)

The first complete German and English editions

Habent sua fata libelli.”
(Books have their fates.)

The G.I.C. may be known to many for its main work, which first appeared in Germany in 1930 in the press of the A.A.U.D. Only few, however, are aware of the subsequent two revised and supplemented editions in Dutch language, in which the group has integrated its replies to contemporary criticisms from diverse quarters. The second one appeared in 1935 and would be the final version redacted by the group.

Despite a certain revival of interest in the council communist current at the end of the 1960s and during the first half of the 1970s, the G.I.C.’s main work would hardly find recognition among internationalist political milieus, and certainly not in its most developed version.

Two brand new publications at hand at last present the first complete translations of this final version in both German and English languages. The editor has focused on assuring an accurate text edition that is faithful to the original, and has largely abstained from interpretations or commentary, except for a succinct foreword.

We warmly recommend our readers to familiarize themselves with this fully developed version, which takes up the approach of Marx and Engels in the light of the dire defeats of the worker’s struggles in the initially successful October revolution in Russia, that ended in the disaster of Stalinist counter-revolution, and of the contemporary proletarian uprisings in Central and Western Europe that were defeated by both the (social-) democratic and the fascist varieties of bourgeois counter-revolution in addition.

H.C., March 5, 2020

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Capitalism, Wars and Epidemics (II)

The second part of this contribution opens with a historical sketch of wars and epidemics from capitalism’s early expansion since the turn of the 16th Century: the discovery of the “West Indies” and the ensuing conquest of the Americas by Europe’s incipient colonialism, as well as its  expansion to Africa and the “East Indies”, until the era of modern imperialism, since the First World War. It focuses on the ‘natural’ spread of lethal diseases and epidemics as a consequence of the interaction of hitherto physically separated populations across continents, under the conditions of a merciless exploitation of slave and forced labor.

It continues by developing on biological warfare that only became systematically developed in the context of modern imperialism by all major rivaling powers, alongside chemical and – after WW-2 – in addition to nuclear warfare. Military-scientific programs for ‘weaponizing’ a diversity of biological agents (bacteria and viruses, like for instance anthrax, botulinum, plague or Ebola) and the yet limited attempts at “testing” and “applying” them in war conflicts are briefly reviewed, including the telling example of the Aun sect in Japan (formally a non-state actor).

This part concludes with some theses for discussion, and a brief rejection of the speculation that the present Covid-19 pandemic would have originated from Chinese military laboratory experiments.

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Internationalist statements on the wave of protests and riots apropos of US state repression (Spring 2020)

A Rapid Press Overview

In the following we present a number of statements and press releases by groups, circles and authors claiming adherence to (proletarian) internationalism, mostly from US- or North American sources, apropos of the wave of international protests and riots sparked off by the police killing of Mr. George Floyd at Minneapolis (Minnesota). The concise ones have been adopted in full, the longer ones by extracting their conclusion.

The list does not pretend to be exhaustive and is supplemented.

The editor

(Last updated: Monday June 29, 2020)

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The murder of George Floyd sets the USA on fire…

A Statement by M. Lupoli (I.O.D.)

Yet another brutal murder of a black man by a policeman has triggered a wave of protests, involving thousands of protesters in the USA and beyond. As always, the bourgeoisie uses violence, racism and repression against workers and anyone who protests against its order. Although there are widespread and radical demonstrations, expressing widespread discontent, every revolt is condemned to be exhausted by the system in absence of the revolutionary party.

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France: Cheerful and quarrelsome 1st-of-May Days?

Some findings on the present

state of emergency

“This May 1st, 2020 is like no other. Today, no gathering in our cities to celebrate, as we have done for so many years, International Workers’ Day (…). And yet, the spirit of May Day, this spirit of solidarity among workers, has perhaps never been so powerful, so alive. For it is indeed thanks to the work, celebrated on this day, that the Nation holds.”

“Deprived of the rituals (sic) of this day, we feel today all the value, all the meaning. With this strong will: to rediscover as soon as possible the cheerful, sometimes quarrelsome, first of May Days, which makes our Nation. My dear compatriots, we will find them again, these cheerful first of May Days!” (i) [Little red book of President M. .., to be published?] (ii)

i Tweets section, La Croix, May 1st, 2020.

ii With a little imagination, one can easily give meaning to this mysterious M… The reading of “La P… respectueuse” (The Respectful Prostitute) by Jean-Paul Sartre can be a clue. This play is very contemporary since it is about a dominant class which acts in the name of the “common good” and finds a majority only concerned about its survival, without questioning the acts that are imposed on it.


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Capitalism, Wars and Epidemics (I)

What is behind the calls for national unity against the Corona-virus pandemic?

As the Corona-virus pandemic rapidly extends its devastating effects over the globe, government leaders have successively declared themselves “at war”, and impose “sanitary emergency measures” at different grades of “lock down”, varying from restricting social life and imposing self-isolation (as in Britain, Germany and the Netherlands) up to establishing veritable military curfews (as in Italy, Spain and France). They all call upon “national unity and solidarity” to combat the “invisible enemy”, while trying to enforce state control over the population, as a new global recession is unfolding.

The following contribution develops on the relation between the wars and epidemics of capitalism, drawing some parallels with the plagues in the early stages of its emergence (the 14th Century) and with the Spanish flu during World War 1. It situates the stakes of the present “Corona-virus crisis” in an ideological preparation for a global war.

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Revolt to carve out an individual existence within Capitalism?

Some necessary criticisms apropos of “Social Contagion – Microbiological Class War in China” (Chuǎng)

At the end of February, the Chuǎng collective published an elaborate article on the Corona-virus pandemic in China, Social Contagion. Microbiological Class War in China, that develops their reflections on its origins and societal significance along two axes: 1. “how capitalist production relates to the non-human world at a more fundamental level—how, in short, the “natural world,” including its microbiological substrata, cannot be understood without reference to how society organizes production”; “how capitalist accumulation produces such plagues” and 2. on the present state of Chinese society; on how the pandemic itself is “a contradictory instance of political crisis, making visible to people the unseen potentials and dependencies of the world around them, while also offering yet another excuse for the extension of systems of control even further into everyday life.”

Being one of the first publications that invite its readers to delve deeper into the structural and societal questions posed by a rapidly expanding, overwhelming virus pandemic, it has found a widespread interest in certain political milieus, as is shown by the variety of languages in which it has been translated, from Spanish to Russian.

The following statement by the French blog Pantopolis criticizes the group’s conception of the class character of Chinese society and its main contradictions, for showing a remarkable attachment to the state capitalist visions of Maoism.  One that we can find in their “Conversations with Lao Xie” (A State Adequate to the Task” in Chuǎng issue no. 2, 2019) as well.

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Corona-virus Pandemic: Legitimate Mistrust of the Governments

A statement by ‘Arbeidersstemmen’ (March 15, 2020)

The sudden succession of emergency measures taken by all governments in the Western hemisphere, presumably to counter or “control” the spread of the Corona-virus pandemic, as the stock-markets repeatedly crash, a recession of the world economy is underway and public life is increasingly disrupted, pose many questions.

In a first statement the ‘Arbeidersstemmen’ blog tries to take up the most urgent of them, relates the first manifestations of workers’ reactions to the state of emergency in crisis- and virus-ridden Italy, and puts forward some points of reflection to encourage workers of engaging in a collective struggle.

 

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From Corona to Crisis, Capitalism is the Plague of Humanity

A rapid overview of press releases from the internationalist milieus

After some hesitation, publications of the communist left and other internationalist groups were quick to publish about the questions that the ‘Corona-virus’-crisis poses to the working class and humanity, now that our exploiters and oppressors urge for national solidarity in the face of what in fact already is a pandemic.

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