The G.I.C. and the Economy of the Transition Period – Introductory Article
As a supplement to issue #03 of A Free Retriever’s Digest we publish a two-part article that introduces the major political–theoretical work of G.I.C., and attempts to clarify the main misunderstandings that still mark its reception. It is freely available for download here. The following presents its summary.
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‘To think of emancipation’, a century after the global revolutionary wave that began in 1917, is to question the very term emancipation. Who is the subject of this emancipation and who emancipates who, in a struggle that is anything but an ideological game between four walls. This emancipation has its source in the working class (manual and intellectual). It cannot be assimilated to a “struggle of the people”, whose “Cause” would be national and patriotic. ‘To think of emancipation’ in  is to look back at the great proletarian revolutionary insurrections in Russia and Germany and draw lessons from them at the beginning of the third millennium. In doing so, the revolution in Germany from 1918 to 1921 is an essential milestone, since it raised the question of the forms of organization of any revolutionary class struggle: workers councils, workers’ unions, revolutionary factory organizations, factory committees or action committees. Like the Russian Revolution, it raised – albeit to a lesser degree, in the absence of a real takeover of power – the question of socialization of the means of production, and therefore of the abolition of the capitalist system based on profit.
Continue reading “The Workers’ Councils in Germany 1918-23 (Part 1)”
‘Échanges et Mouvement’ on this summer’s mass revolt in Iraq
The Shatt al-Arab is the common estuary of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, more than a kilometer wide, in the proximity of Iran and Kuwait, and with Basra and Abadan as centers on the Iraqi and Iranian side respectively. In the 1950s it was still a prosperous region, not only because of the oil, but also for an incredible ecological riches, adapted to the salty sea water and the fresh water of the rivers, [surrounded by] more than 15 million palm trees and a great agricultural riches.
Three wars (Iraq – Iran 1980 – 1988, the Gulf war of 1990 – 1991 and the Iraq war of 2003), the bloody repression by Saddam Hussein in 1991, the present instability because of the Syrian conflict and the penetration of Daesh have annihilated this prosperity, and have caused irreparable damages to the ecological riches as well as to the agricultural activities. Moreover this annihilation has been aggravated by important punctures of the two rivers’ waters by Turkey, Iran, Kurdistan and the region of Baghdad. An inhabitant of the city of Basra sees it as follows: “Today the canals of the city are prone to filth. The turbines of the electricity plants stand still and the city of oil survives almost without electricity and drinking water. Half of the inhabitants are without a job.”
Continue reading “Iraq: The Sequels of the War against Daesh”
The 3rd, revised Edition in French (June 2018)
Back cover text
The German-Dutch Communist Left, represented by the German KAPD and AAUD, the Dutch KAPN and the Bulgarian Communist Workers Party, separated from the Comintern in September 1921 because of principled disagreements on all important questions: parliamentarism, syndicalism, united fronts, the Bolshevik party-state using anti-proletarian violence (Kronstadt). This radical current had the audacity to assert that it was not the “communist party”, but the workers’ councils that constituted the finally discovered form of the proletarian dictatorship, and thereby of the communist transformation. It attracted the ire of Lenin, who wrote in June 1920 his famous book on left extremism, “Left-wing” Communism: An Infantile Disorder, () to which Herman Gorter delivered a slashing response in his pamphlet Open letter to comrade Lenin. ()
Continue reading “Book Presentation: The German-Dutch Communist Left from its Origins to 1968”
The Author’s Introduction to the new Edition (Prepublication)
Despite the theoretical and political renown of Gorter and Pannekoek in the international labor movement, the Communist Left in the Netherlands is the least known of the left currents that emerged within the II. International, and later joined the Communist International. Their exclusion in 1921 from the Komintern wrapped the names that had symbolized the most intransigent internationalism in a veil of oblivion.
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» The end of 2017 was marked by the renewal of nationalist quarrels in Europe. After Scotland, and Flanders in Belgium, Catalan separatism resurfaced in its turn, as did, to a lesser extent, Corsican separatism. These independence movements affecting ‘old capitalist nations’ follow the creation of new nations after the explosion of the Eastern bloc, the Baltic countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, former Yugoslavia. Very often, these nationalist movements are supported by extreme right-wing parties, but not always (Catalonia and Scotland). () What do these nationalist movements represent and what are the stakes, and especially what danger do they pose to the international proletariat, and particularly that of the countries or regions under consideration? «
Continue reading “The IGCL on Marxism and the National Question”
« The struggles of May-June 68 in France have been part of a general wave of labor disputes and protests of various kinds (student claims, protests against the multiple wars in the world, a search for different values and ways of life…) that flourished from the second half of the 1960s until the beginning of the 1970s. All these conflicts expressed the accumulated tensions in society after two decades of very vigorous growth that jostled all the ideas and structures in place. They manifested to the highest degree the contradictions between the rapid development of the productive forces and the obsolete nature of the superstructures that coordinated them: economic, political, ideological, legal, family, cultural, moral super-structures, etc. These blatant inadequacies are at the basis of the explosion and the radical character of all these movements, not in the sense of an exit from capitalism – a perspective that was shared only by a very small minority at that time – but in the sense of challenging old structures that are not adapted to the new realities of the post-war period. The article “The significance of the struggles from 1966 to 1972” tries to draw up its tableau. Its first part is devoted, on the one hand, to the critical discussion of explanations commonly put forward to understand these events and, on the other hand, to lay the foundations of a coherent alternative explanation. »
(From the presentation of Controverses No. 5, May 2018)
The full version of this article has first been published in French on the Controverses website on May 11, 2018: La signification des luttes de 1966 à 1972. Hereafter we present an abridged version by the author. (Note from the editor)
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“ From Catalonia to the American Midwest, from “Brexiters” and Corsican separatists to Salvini and the German AfD, all over the world the petty bourgeoisie has played a leading role and has directed reactionary “revolts” under the pretext of the crisis… towards nothing. Not enough, it now enters a new and inevitable phase after the clash with reality: it has no alternative, no future to offer society. Its only option is to revitalize the fantasy of the “people”, interclassist entelechy, (1) a crappy and Utopian version of the nation, now turned into a pure delirium, a zombie political subject. ”
Continue reading “‘Nuevo Curso’: Proletariat, xenophobia and lumpenization”