‘Radencommunisme’ (1938): Trotsky and Council Communism

In August 1938 appeared “Radencommunisme”, with the subtitle “Marxist monthly journal for autonomous class movement”, as the theoretical organ of “council communist groups” in the Netherlands. This joint edition by the G.I.C. and the group ‘Proletenstemmen’ (“Proles’ Voices”) envisaged a reorientation of the council communist movement both in terms of a continuing theoretical deepening and of developing a wider presence within proletarian milieus, in view of the emergence of a new worker’s movement, in rupture with the historically obsolete conceptions of syndicalism and the mass party of the old worker’s movement.

From this journal 16 issues were released, before the Nazi-German occupation of the country rendered public political activities impossible in the course of May 1940, and the G.I.C. quasi instantaneously ceased to function, as it was not prepared for clandestine activity.

‘Radencommunisme’ (1938 – 1940)  lists the articles we had occasion to translate or revise in English, starting with its editorial of August 1938.

As a first elaborate contribution, the new journal opened with the first of a two-part article, sharply contrasting the views of Trotsky and his followers (the concept and role of a “Bolshevik-Leninist” vanguard party), to the council communist view on the dictatorship of the workers’ councils: Trotsky and Council Communism (‘Radencommunisme’, 1938).

The Workers’ Councils in Germany 1918-23 (Part 2/2)

This is the second and last part of the historical summary article by Ph. Bourrinet on the workers’ councils in the proletarian struggles of 1918 -1923. The first part has been published in A Free Retriever’s Digest Vol.2 #6 (December 2018 – January 2019) and can be read on this web blog as well.

 

Continue reading “The Workers’ Councils in Germany 1918-23 (Part 2/2)”

The Workers’ Councils in Germany 1918-23 (Part 1/2)

 

Introduction

‘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 [2018] 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 1/2)”

On the Extreme Margins of the Centennial of the October Revolution

The Legacy of 1917 We Can Affirm. By Loren Goldner

The year 1917 is most closely associated with the Russian Revolution, but it is more important to locate  that revolution in the global tidal wave of  working-class struggle  from 1917 to 1921 (continued up to 1927 in China), which forced the end of the first inter-imperialist world war (1914-1918).
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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?”

Topic: Marx and the Question of the State

Max Hempel (1927) or: Marx and Engels versus Lenin’s ‘State and Revolution’

Jan Appel’s critique from 1927 of the ‘Bolshevik’ regime in Russia and Lenin’s ‘State and Revolution’ has been republished in an annotated edition in German on the web site “Left Wing” Communism – an infantile Disorder? Likewise a re-edition of its adoption by the G.I.C. from 1932 has seen the light of day in Dutch. These documents refute the myth that the historical German-Dutch communist left was virtually bereft of a realist appreciation of the question of the state, as propelled by quite some partisans of ‘the party’ and others in the internationalist milieu. Continue reading “Topic: Marx and the Question of the State”