On the movement of the “Yellow Vests” in France

The following communiqué by the International Group of the Communist Left has been released after the demonstrations on Saturday December 1st, which  appear to have been the apogee of the “yellow vests” mobilizations in France so far. Beyond a characterization of this movement as “inter-class” it provides some important reflections and an orientation that tries to overcome the impasse of this kind of movement.

 

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The Dilemma’s of Capitalism apropos of ‘Trump’ and ‘Brexit’

Crisis– Conflicts – Struggles – Populism (I.)

In A Free Retriever’s Digest Vol.2#4 (August – September 2018) we have published the introductory section of this article: “Trump and Brexit: A new economic and imperialist orientation?” that sets out the question treated. Hereafter you’ll find the integral article, including its main dish: an introduction into the concept of capitalism’s successive “productive orders”. From this angle of attack reflections are developed on the characteristics of the present period and its perspectives. As the author has revised his overview table of capitalism’s four main productive orders, we include the updated version as an annex.

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Supplement to AFRD #03 (June – July 2018)

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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The IGCL on Marxism and the National Question

» 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). (1) 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? «

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How to understand ‘May 1968’ in France?

« 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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‘Nuevo Curso’: Proletariat, xenophobia and lumpenization

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.

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The G.I.C. and the economy of the transition period (1)

Origin and meaning of the ‘Fundamental Principles’

The work Fundamental Principles of Communist Production and Distribution (further: Fundamental Principles) of the Group of International Communists (GIC) is an important text of the communist Left on the economic problems of the transition period from capitalism to communism. The GIC describes the relevance of the Fundamental Principles as follows:

As soon as the rule of the working class has become a fact in an industrialized country, the proletariat is confronted with the task of carrying through the transformation of economic life on new foundations, those of communal labor. The abolition of private property is easily pronounced, it will be the first measure of the political rule of the working class. But that is only a juridical act which aims at providing the legal foundation for the real economic proceeding. The real transformation and the actual revolutionary work then only begins.”  (1)

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The G.I.C. and the economy of the transition period (2)

Misunderstandings and anti-critique

In the foregoing, reference has been made to the misunderstandings that have arisen over time due to inadequate translations and summaries of the Fundamental Principles and unfamiliarity with the three preliminary studies. This section introduces the most important of these misunderstandings and corrects them with references to the 1935 version of the Fundamental Principles.
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Russian Revolution 1917-2017: What Alternative for State Capitalism?

An Invitation to a Debate

In a little known text the German revolutionary Jan Appel has pointed out, already in 1927, (1) that in “The State and Revolution” (2) Lenin deviates from the positions of Marx and Engels by adopting the reformist idea that putting the enterprises into the hands of the state” means ‘socialization’. As a consequence, Appel argues, the state cannot “wither away” as envisaged by Marx and Engels, but is bound to “develop into an enormous instrument of oppression as had not yet been seen in any society.” Jan Appel continues by sketching how, after having broken the bourgeois state, all power can remain in the hands of the workers’ councils in economic respect as well. Continue reading “Russian Revolution 1917-2017: What Alternative for State Capitalism?”

October Revolution 1917: Does Marxism lead to State Terror against the Working Class?

An Invitation to a Debate

This year the Russian Revolution of 1917 is ‘memorized’ in articles and documentaries. With the February Revolution the workers and soldiers wanted to put an end to Russia’s participation in World War I. But they only succeeded in putting an end to Tsarism. Because the Provisional Government continued participation in the World War, the workers’ councils seized political power in the October revolution and the Soviet Union came into existence. Continue reading “October Revolution 1917: Does Marxism lead to State Terror against the Working Class?”