Communisation and its Vicissitudes
Next Sunday (18/3) 6pm at Colorama (52-56 Lancaster Street, London SE1).
We will also talk about:
- Communisation and politics
- Struggles in Greece
Please join us and distribute to all those you think will be interested. (Request by our hosts: please do not distribute via Facebook and Twitter.)
Some information about Sic & Communisation
Sic aims to be the locus for an unfolding of the problematic of communisation. It comes from the encounter of individuals involved in various projects in different countries: among these are the journals Endnotes, published in the UK and the US, Blaumachen in Greece, Théorie Communiste in France, Riff-Raff in Sweden, and certain more or less informal theoretical groups in the US (New York and San Francisco). Each of these projects will continue to exist on their own. Also participating are various individuals in France, Germany, and elsewhere, who are involved in other activities and who locate themselves broadly within the theoretical approach taken here.
In the course of the revolutionary struggle, the abolition of the division of labour, of the State, of exchange, of any kind of property; the extension of a situation in which everything is freely available as the unification of human activity, that is to say the abolition of classes, of both public and private spheres – these are all ‘measures’ for the abolition of capital, imposed by the very needs of the struggle against the capitalist class. The revolution is communisation; communism is not its project or result.
One does not abolish capital for communism but by communism, or more specifically, by its production. Indeed communist measures must be differentiated from communism; they are not embryos of communism, rather they are its production. Communisation is not a period of transition, but rather, revolution itself is the communist production of communism. The struggle against capital is what differentiates communist measures and communism. The content of revolutionary activity is always the mediation of the abolition of capital by the proletariat in its relation to capital. This activity does not constitute an alternative in competition with the reproduction of the capitalist mode of production, but rather the latter’s internal contradiction and its overcoming.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a whole historical period entered into crisis and came to an end – the period in which the revolution was conceived in different ways, both theoretically and practically, as the affirmation of the proletariat, its elevation to the position of ruling class, the liberation of labour, and the institution of a period of transition. The concept of communisation appeared in the midst of this crisis.
During the crisis, the critique of all the mediations of the existence of the proletariat within the capitalist mode of production (mass parties, unions, parliamentarism), of organisational forms such as the party-form or the vanguard, of ideologies such as leninism, of practices such as militantism in all its variations – all this appeared irrelevant if revolution was no longer to be an affirmation of the class, whether it be workers’ autonomy or the generalisation of workers’ councils. It is the proletariat’s struggle as a class that has become the problem, i.e. has become its own limit. This is how the class struggle signals and produces the revolution as communisation in the form of its overcoming.
In the contradictory course of the capitalist mode of production since the 1970s the affirmation of the proletariat and the liberation of labour have lost all meaning and content. There is no longer a worker’s identity facing capital and confirmed by it. The revolutionary dynamic of contemporary struggles consists in the active denial – against capital – of the proletarian condition, even within ephemeral, limited bursts of self-management or self-organisation. The proletariat’s struggle against capital contains its contradiction with its own nature as a class of capital.
The abolition of capital, i.e. the revolution and the production of communism, is immediately the abolition of all classes and therefore of the proletariat. This occurs through the communisation of society, which is abolished as a community separated from its elements. Proletarians abolish capital by the production of a community immediate to its elements. In this way they transform their relations into immediate relations between individuals – between singular individuals that are no longer the embodiment of a social category, including the supposedly natural categories of the social sexes of woman and man. Revolutionary practice is the coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity, i.e. self-transformation.
This minimal approach of communisation constitutes neither a definition, nor a platform, but exposes a problematic.
The problematic of a theory, here the theory of revolution as communisation, does not limit itself to a list of themes or objects conceived by theory; neither is it the synthesis of all the elements which are thought. It is the content of theory, its way of thinking, with regards to all possible productions of this theory:
- the analysis of the current crisis and of the class struggles intrinsic to it;
- the historicity of revolution and communism;
- the periodisation of the capitalist mode of production and the question of the restructuring of the mode of production after the crisis at the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s;
- the analysis of the gender relation within the problematic of the present class struggle and communisation;
- the definition of communism as goal but also as movement abolishing the present state of things;
- a theory of the abolition of capital as a theory of the production of communism;
- the reworking of the theory of the value-form (to the extent that the revolution is not the affirmation of the proletariat and the liberation of labour).
By definition no list of subjects coming under a problematic can be exhaustive.