Communising Measures

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boomerang
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Jan 4 2015 06:21
Communising Measures

Can those who understand communisation theory please give the rest of us some examples of "communising measures"?

I've read some intro articles on communisation theory, and like many find it a bit confusing. But one thing I picked up on is that communising measures are a big part of it, they're how communisation is put into practice. So examples would be great.

jojo
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Jan 4 2015 06:24

What is "communization theory"?

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jura
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Jan 4 2015 09:46

My knowledge of the communisation current is very limited, but I think that "communising measures" are those that disrupt commodity production and circulation and the domination of capital: e.g., direct distribution of goods (including looting), damage to economic infrastructure, the ousting of company cops from the workplace or state cops from the community, burning of property documentation, the opening of borders to migrants etc. My understanding is that the less probable they make the return to the "normality" of commodity production, and the more generalized and widespread these measures are, the better. The execution of such measures is "the production of communism". So, according to the communisation doctrine, it is not that the measures are taken by a victorious working class; it is precisely such measures which can secure the victory of the working class, by creating and nurturing "ruptures" in capitalist society. Struggles can then be evaluated as more or less mature by the extent to which they take communising measures.

I think all of this is a rather fancy way of saying that various aspects of struggles have the potential, to various degrees, to transform capitalist social relations, even though they are not thought of as such at first, and that it is through struggles that a future society can only emerge.

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 4 2015 11:34

Afaics, communisation theory (although not a homogenous body of thought), is broadly oriented in opposition to two things; the 'transitional phase' of traditional socialism and the self-management of capitalist relations (attributed to anarcho-syndicalism and council communists, which is debatable but that seems to be the position). So rather than a transitional phase of state managed non-communism, or a self-management of capitalist relations, communisation theorists would say communisation is revolution, not a programme of measures to be implemented 'after the revolution'.

But this still doesn't answer the question. I think the most useful way to think about communising measures is a way Endnotes put it, that 'communisation is a movement at the level of the totality'. So it's not a question of particular acts being communising, and enough of them adding up to communism/revolution, but that acts take on a communising character depending on the movement of which they're a part. This is all a bit abstract, so I'll give an example.

Let's imagine a single factory closes down, and is occupied, taken over and self-managed by its workers. This may or may not be a good thing; I doubt many communisation theorists, even those most critical of self-management would begrudge workers trying to survive, though some argue occupying to demand a higher severance package would be a better approach than assuming management of a failing firm. But a single act like this doesn't challenge the totality of capitalist relations, it would just swap a vertically managed firm for a horizontally managed one, leaving the 'totality' unchanged.

However, if factory takeovers were happening on a mass scale, such that they could start doing away with commercial/commodity relations between them; and at the same time there were insurgent street movements toppling governments; mass refusals to pay rent/mortgages and militant defence of subsequent 'squatting'; collective kitchens springing up to feed insurgents (whether they're 'workers' in a narrow sense, or homeless, or domestic workers, or unemployed or whatever); and free health clinics being opened either by laid off doctors/nurses, or in their spare time, or in occupied hospitals and other buildings...

If this was happening across several countries then we might be looking at a communising movement at the level of the totality; toppling state power, superseding commercial relations, making possible social reproduction (housing, food, health) without mediation by money, self-management of the activities necessary for this etc (rather than self-management of commodity production and wage labour). This would only be the case to the extent the movement grows and extends; if it was contained within a couple of countries say, then the movement could go into reverse and the acts may lose their communising character.

All the examples above have been seen, separately and on smaller scales, in recent movements - Argentina 2001, Arab Spring, Occupy etc. But to a communisation theorist (at least of the Endnotes variety), these acts are not already communising but only become so as part of an overall movement. Does that make sense?

gargantua
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Jan 4 2015 14:29

Some example of communist measures may be given in that article on libcom.

boomerang
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Jan 4 2015 16:59

Ok, so let's say in the Spanish revolution, would they (these communisation theorists) say that the village collectives that did away with money (or perhaps even used a points system) were doing communisation, but over in the urban areas where there was democratic self-management of industries but still selling what they made for money on the capitalist market, that this was not communisation?

So basically, anything to do with free distribution is communisation (or could potentially be if it's part of a big sweeping revolutionary movement - "at the level of the totality" as they confusingly put it), but anything that continues on with markets and money, even if it's democratically self-managed, is not and can not be communisation (and is therefore a waste of our efforts)?

Are they also saying that in a revolutionary movement, we need to focus on communising only and completely skip over democratically self-managed capitalism, even before the state is overthrown?

jojo wrote:
What is "communization theory"?

That's what I'm trying to find out!

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 4 2015 17:52

I think they'd disagree over Spain. The groups influenced by Théorie Communiste (and TC themselves) I think periodise the global class relation in such a way that communisation only became an objective possibility from the crisis of the 1970s. So it doesn't matter what the Spanish anarchists tried to do because it wasn't on the cards.

But then contemporaneous anarchist accounts aren't a million miles away from the idea that the movement needed to fully extend itself:

Gaston Leval wrote:
There was not, therefore, true socialisation, but a workers' neo-capitalism, a self-management straddling capitalism and socialism, which we maintain would not have occurred had the Revolution been able to extend itself fully under the direction of our Syndicates.

I guess a TC-type communisation theorist would say, no, "workers' neo-capitalism" was all that was on the cards even if everything else had gone as well as possible (or even more strongly, that counter-factual speculation is meaningless). But that's changed since the 1970s. There's various criticisms of this, like it being a rigid structuralism, a post-hoc determinism, Eurocentric.

boomerang wrote:
Are they also saying that in a revolutionary movement, we need to focus on communising only and completely skip over democratically self-managed capitalism, even before the state is overthrown?

I'm not entirely clear, but I think the argument is one of pushing immediately for communism to the maximum extent possible, rather than actively constructing 'transitional forms'. The discussion I've seen has been at quite a high level of abstraction, so I'm not entirely sure what this would include or exclude, which itself probably depends on the specifics of the movement in question and the extent of its development.

So say an Argentina 2001 type situation happened and locked out workers occupied and began self-management, they might be able to equalise wages but not abolish them, since they'd be islands in a capitalist market. But communisation theorists may well support this (I guess?*) while arguing the struggle needs to extend itself into other domains; mass refusals to pay rent could reduce need for wages, collective kitchens could start putting food on the table; and thus at a certain point the self-managed wage labour would be an obstacle to overcome, even if it has been one of the first measures. Presumably if these movements were of a significant scale the currency would be in crisis anyway, which would force non-monetary relations (and I assume communisation theorists would then argue against direct barter as commodity exchange by other means, and argue against 'alternative currency' on the same grounds).

If you want to read something a bit clearer, the stuff on recent struggles in Endnotes 3 (e.g. the Holding Pattern) is probably the most accessible I've seen from the communisation current.

* some may argue to abandon the workplace and immediately seek to meet their needs directly outside the market, e.g. looting etc. I think this would probably be a point of disagreement among communisation types.

Spikymike
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Jan 4 2015 19:13

boomerang,

If you haven't already done so take time out to read this text by Dauve from Troploin that takes a less periodised approach to 'communisation' theory:
http://libcom.org/library/communisation

Adé
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Jan 4 2015 20:56

Hi,

Abolition of both gender and class is communizing, abolition of private property, of separation beetween domestic (reproductiv) work and productiv work, abolition of every mean of exploitation and domination, including domination of nature...
Self-managment is not communizing, because managment is economy and economy is an capitalist point of view, communizing is figthing against all the capitalist and pre-capitalist forms of domination and exploitation i.e all the determinations that form this class society.
Communising is fighting WITH communists measures AGAINST the present society UNTILL the abolition of gender and classes and the UNIFICATION of Human society, "Naturalisation of mankind, humanisation of Nature".
Salut

jojo
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Jan 5 2015 01:36

Ade says that "communizing is fighting WITH communist measures AGAINST the present society..."

So what are "communist measures"? And where is the working class in all this? The working class alone is the bearer of communism. The working class alone invented and has developed through long struggle the concept of communism, what it'll be, and how to achieve it, and unless the working and revolutionary class defeats capital and sets about building the new communist society itself - the working class being the only revolutionary class around and thus the only class that can do this - we'll never get there.

Communization without a successful proletarian revolution is impossible. To go on babbling about it without understanding this simple fact is a preoccupation for avant garde members of the petty bourgeoisie. Rather like the way that hippies thought in 1967 that if you took enough acid and smoked enough hash (communist measures!) the world would be changed. It wasn't. It just looked weirder.

Adé
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Jan 5 2015 11:24

jojo :"The working class alone is the bearer of communism."
Working class is not "bearer" of communism. Working class is a class of capitalist society, it's a part of this society, without capitalists and exploitation what's working class?

" The working class alone invented and has developed through long struggle the concept of communism, what it'll be, and how to achieve it, and unless the working and revolutionary class defeats capital and sets about building the new communist society itself - the working class being the only revolutionary class around and thus the only class that can do this - we'll never get there."

In this way : 1st, working class defeats capital; 2nd, builds communism, so "communist society" is a kind of program already invented. Communization is another way : revolution is communization.
Of course this is only possible with " a succesful" and massive participation of proletariat.
This participation needs for the "working class" to abolish itself, the abolition of proletariat by proletariat is achieved by communist measures. Communist measures are the way for proletariat to superseed the division of society, fighting against all capitalist determinations with "measures" that prevent the capitalist class and the middl-class to stop their abolition.
Communising measures have nothing to do with hippies in 1967, anyway.
And, please, stop with "petty bourgeoisie" to rule out the "communisng measures".
The very point in my opinion is "Can a class of this society abolish all classes of this society?"
this never happened, but another situation never happened : a global society ruled by one "system", this is the situation now. It's not a guarantee of anything.

To conclude that comment i'll say the working class need to abolish itself as "working class", and this abolition is not merely a self-abolition (negation of a negation) but the unification of human society. If and when "working class" act as "working class" with the affirmation of itself (affirmation of labour), then the need of a capitalist class able to exploit them as "working class" is also affirmed.

(sorry of my broken english)
Salut

Adé
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Jan 5 2015 16:26

(trick)questions:
If"the working class alone is bearer of communism"(jojo), why don't we live in a communist society, right now? Working class exists at last since 200 years, so why the "bearer" doesn't give what it "bears"?
To be exploited and/or dominated need to be two : the dominant AND the dominated, or not?
So, the dominated/exploited must have some compensations, or not?
This "compensations" implies the submission and the affirmation to posit the role of dominated : see the gender issue and the affirmation of the importance of women as women (the care, and so on). Same case for working class, or not?
Jojo wrote about "hippies" in 1967, ok, but: There was no revolution in the sixties because of them?
or, because of no revolution the hippies came?
Yes, i know all this stuff is just " To go on babbling..." and i'm petit-bourgeois, o course, not a real worker, and right, i'm not a real worker, i'm only pretty superfluous french-spanish translator with no wage since two years, so a real worker, for example a docker (I live in a habour) lives just like a middle-class member (home owner, big cars,so on), what does he "bear"?
Down with all classes and with all the "bearers".
Salut everyboby.

boomerang
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Jan 6 2015 00:08

Thanks for your answer JK. So it sounds like self-management of production within capitalism can be seen as communisation only if it becomes part of a greater revolutionary movement where capitalism is challenged in other ways, as in the examples you give, people refuse to pay rent and mortgage, and there begins to be some free distribution -- and also, only if there are as soon as possible moves made to abolish wages and markets (which would become possible only when vital industries are under working class control).

In Spain, nearly all industry was self-managed by workers but within a market system, so if something like that happened in a country again today, my guess is the Communisation Theorists would criticize this as NOT being a communising measure, but as preserving capitalism, because at that point -- with nearly all industry under working class control -- it's possible to begin free distribution and abolish wages, or at least start to make steps in that direction.

Can someone let me know if I'm off the mark on any of this?

Joseph Kay wrote:
* some may argue to abandon the workplace and immediately seek to meet their needs directly outside the market, e.g. looting etc. I think this would probably be a point of disagreement among communisation types.

But this would be a shoot yourself in the foot tactic! Looting has a useful place in revolutions, but to abandon the workplaces and just go around looting all day... soon there'll be nothing left to loot. Can that faction of Communisation Theorists actually be this dumb?

~

Adé, I agree with most of what you're saying (as far as I understand it), but I think you misinterpreted Jojo. Jojo's point seems to be that communisation measures won't mean much unless there is ALSO working class power, which is true. (Yes, class needs to be abolished, but working class power is required to abolish class.)

This raises a question: Does Communisation Theory see the importance of building organized working class power?

Also, does CT see the importance of the need to confront and overthrow state power? Or does it imagine the state will just crumble once communisation spreads enough?

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Jan 6 2015 00:11
jojo wrote:
Communization without a successful proletarian revolution is impossible. To go on babbling about it without understanding this simple fact is a preoccupation for avant garde members of the petty bourgeoisie.

What is a proletarian revolution, though? A communist army fighting a capitalist army? Communists taking control of the government? Or is it the replacement of capitalist social relations with communist social relations? I think the great strength of communization theory is that it emphasizes socialist revolution as a transformation of social relations rather than the creation of certain organizational forms or the launching of an insurrection in itself. This transformation is certain to encounter resistance, of course the state and capitalists won't take a kindly view of people taking food from the supermarket as needed without regard to price and so on, but I doubt that Dauve, TC, etc. would deny that it would be necessary for the working class--or the former working class, in that communist revolution is the abolition of the social relations that the existence of classes are based on--to forcefully defend these gains to some extent or another. I think communization theory is useful in response to those whose conception of socialist revolution is a political organization coming to power or workers managing their workplaces (regardless of the content of this management) rather than the construction of "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need."

Spassmaschine
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Jan 6 2015 08:08

Good thread, good posts, JK, jura, Tyrion, Adé...

boomerang wrote:
Thanks for your answer JK. So it sounds like self-management of production within capitalism can be seen as communisation only if it becomes part of a greater revolutionary movement where capitalism is challenged in other ways, as in the examples you give, people refuse to pay rent and mortgage, and there begins to be some free distribution -- and also, only if there are as soon as possible moves made to abolish wages and markets (which would become possible only when vital industries are under working class control).

In Spain, nearly all industry was self-managed by workers but within a market system, so if something like that happened in a country again today, my guess is the Communisation Theorists would criticize this as NOT being a communising measure, but as preserving capitalism, because at that point -- with nearly all industry under working class control -- it's possible to begin free distribution and abolish wages, or at least start to make steps in that direction.

Can someone let me know if I'm off the mark on any of this?

Boomerang, you are more or less on the mark with this. The crucial point of most 'communisation theory' is to emphasise what it actually means to create communism, i.e. the transformation of social relations. Self-managed industry operating under a market system by definition does not involve the undermining of exchange relations, value - workers are continuing to sell their labour-power on the market; their relationship to capital is little different to if they worked for a private capitalist. TC elaborate on this, and its implications, in great detail (though extremely dense, abstract, jargon-laden language) in this text.

boomerang wrote:
Joseph Kay wrote:
* some may argue to abandon the workplace and immediately seek to meet their needs directly outside the market, e.g. looting etc. I think this would probably be a point of disagreement among communisation types.

But this would be a shoot yourself in the foot tactic! Looting has a useful place in revolutions, but to abandon the workplaces and just go around looting all day... soon there'll be nothing left to loot. Can that faction of Communisation Theorists actually be this dumb?

I think the argument to abandon the workplace and find direct ways to meet one's needs comes up when discussing struggles against the closure of workplaces due to unprofitability/capital flight etc. The conditions that made the business unprofitable don't vanish, so long as the workplace still exists to sell stuff on the market (and workers continue to sell their labour-power on the market). The most that can be achieved by occupying and self-managing the workplace in such a context is to keep on working, competing with other producers on the market, subject to the same market conditions that made the workplace close in the first place only with workers enforcing pay cuts, layoffs etc on themselves, rather than a boss doing it. Hence threatening to destroy the workplace to get a better pay-out, or looting it for things you can actually use, might make more sense and help one meet their needs for longer than self-managing the place. Nobody's advocating simply trying to drop out of capitalism (well maybe Tiqqun-types are, but it is debatable whether they fit under the rubric of 'communisation theory').

Of course, in the context of widespread occupation and insurgency, things might be different. If the workplace and its contents produce something useful in that context (rather than making stuff for exchange) or could be repurposed to do so, then occupying the place might make more sense than merely abandoning it.

That is my crude quasi-explanation anyway.

Quote:
Also, does CT see the importance of the need to confront and overthrow state power? Or does it imagine the state will just crumble once communisation spreads enough?

Both the Troploin and TC-inspired sides of 'communisation theory' are very clear about the need to confront and overthrow the state (I use 'clear' as a figure of speech, obviously their discussions of this question are often difficult to parse). It is perhaps a question that has been under-theorised, though various discussions of the limits of struggles failing to confront the state, or crushed by it, do deal with it to varying degrees. There is a somewhat interesting article by Noys looking at TC's approach to the military question, which I might post later if I can track it down; it is still very abstract though.

edit: here's the Noys article, skimming through again I am no longer sure how relevant it is http://libcom.org/library/war-time-occupy-communization-military-question-benjamin-noys

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 6 2015 08:09
boomerang wrote:
Thanks for your answer JK. So it sounds like self-management of production within capitalism can be seen as communisation only if it becomes part of a greater revolutionary movement where capitalism is challenged in other ways

That's my take on the Théorie Communiste position anyway: https://libcom.org/library/self-organisation-is-the-first-act-of-the-revolution-it-then-becomes-an-obstacle-which-the-revolution-has-to-overcome But then they're at pains to distinguish this from any idea that everyday struggles develop into revolutionary ones, so idk.

boomerang wrote:
This raises a question: Does Communisation Theory see the importance of building organized working class power?

I think it would be hostile to it as affirming working class identity, and because (at least TC) reject the idea that everyday struggles have any real relation to communisation. For TC this is where the structuralism steps in, I think; what you do or don't do is irrelevant because it's overdetermined by the present moment or something.

Adé
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Jan 6 2015 15:42

Tyron,

Quote:
Or is it the replacement of capitalist social relations with communist social relations? I think the great strength of communization theory is that it emphasizes socialist revolution as a transformation of social relations rather than the creation of certain organizational forms or the launching of an insurrection in itself.

Indeed.

Quote:
but I doubt that Dauve, TC, etc. would deny that it would be necessary for the working class--or the former working class, in that communist revolution is the abolition of the social relations that the existence of classes are based on--to forcefully defend these gains to some extent or another.

Right.

Quote:
boomerang wrote:

This raises a question: Does Communisation Theory see the importance of building organized working class power?

There will be no more "organized working class power" because workers cannot be leaders of anything, leninism is not just dead and stinking, it disappeared long time ago...say in the 1970's.
Work an labour cannot be a new basement of a new society, this WAS socialism. The story doesn't come back. Proletariat must abolish itself and for that reason abolish all the determinations that rule the whole society. This means a very hard stage of economic collapse, this means also to confront with all the apparatus of the states. This is a process of unification, end of gender assignation, de-proletarisation of the society and in the same time building communism, it's altogether or nothing at all...zat's the issue
Salut.

boomerang
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Jan 6 2015 16:30
Spassmaschine wrote:
I think the argument to abandon the workplace and find direct ways to meet one's needs comes up when discussing struggles against the closure of workplaces due to unprofitability/capital flight etc. The conditions that made the business unprofitable don't vanish.... Nobody's advocating simply trying to drop out of capitalism....

Of course, in the context of widespread occupation and insurgency, things might be different. If the workplace and its contents produce something useful in that context (rather than making stuff for exchange) or could be repurposed to do so, then occupying the place might make more sense than merely abandoning it.

This explains it. Thanks!

Joseph Kay wrote:
because (at least TC) reject the idea that everyday struggles have any real relation to communisation. For TC this is where the structuralism steps in, I think; what you do or don't do is irrelevant because it's overdetermined by the present moment or something.

I'd say they relate to communisation the way a seed relates to a fruit tree -- it might or might not grow into a fruit tree, but a fruit tree can't grow without a seed.

boomerang
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Jan 6 2015 16:43

@ Adé

I think I disagree with you here, but I'm not totally sure what you mean.

You say "Proletariat must abolish itself" but you how can it do this without building proletariat (working class) power (which you say we must avoid)?

You say a revolution "must confront with all the apparatus of the states." But who is confronting the state? Who is defending the state? Don't we still have to be aware of the class distinctions we're hoping to abolish in order to sort out who are likely allies and likely enemies are?

You say "Work and labour cannot be a new basement of a new society" -- it depends on how you're defining these words. Do you agree that production of goods and services is an essential part of any society? And therefore production has to be part of a revolution?

You say that a revolution "means a very hard stage of economic collapse", which is almost certainly true, but shouldn't one of our goals be to minimize it as much as possible? Forgive me if I'm wrong, but given the other things you've said, I'm not sure if you'd agree.

Adé
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Jan 6 2015 18:18

Workers Against Work
Labor in Paris and Barcelona During the Popular Fronts
Michael Seidman

This for those who speak, and speak again about Spanish "revolution".
The factories ruled by "the workers" were eventually ruled by the unionists of CNT (those anarchists were in a Republican goverment...funny, isn't it?) or by UGT (Union general de los trabajadores= workers general union, socialist).
CNT, and UGT were productivists as all the worker movement, they try to make the "simple" worker work harder because the danger of fascism. They (the unionists) support the Republic against the fascism together with all the left in Spain and everywhere, they became anti-fascists and this means : 1st support the republican goverment, and fight against the fascist, then make a Socialist revolution, and build (for some only) a communist society gradually. All that stuff is and was socialist program, not very far from leninism, at most. Some of the anti-fascist were only republicans and support the republic (this republic who repress and finally destroy the Asturian miners insurrection 1934, sending for the purpose the same soldiers who came back in 1936, the supervisor of this repression was Gal Franco, funny, or not?)

Quote:
Do you agree that production of goods and services is an essential part of any society?

Boomrang
Of course i don't agree.
Production, goods, services...and why not work, money, familly, police, and so on?
as a matter of a fact, we must eat, drink, have some clothes and some houses, but the category of "productions", "services, "goods",etc..BELONGS to capitalism, so it's wrong to think in this way. Communism is NOT a mode of production, it is, indeed the end of the separation of from one side society, and from other side production of anything you say.
I mean i don't understand the purpose of this kind of projections (= how to make food, garments,etc), we'll see if, and when time will come... We can only answer when we'll face the problem. It's no preparation needed.

Quote:
But who is confronting the state? Who is defending the state? Don't we still have to be aware of the class distinctions we're hoping to abolish in order to sort out who are likely allies and likely enemies are

?
The state will say and find his ennemy.
The allies will be found by communizing, the ennemies also, don't worry for this.
Those who confront the state( and all the allies of the state) are the people trying to escape of both, fighting against any "self-managment" or any attempt to came back, or to stop the movement of de-proletarization and communisation.

We don't need no previous preparation.

Salut everybodies
(yes, my broken english, you know...)

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 6 2015 18:28
boomerang wrote:
I'd say they relate to communisation the way a seed relates to a fruit tree -- it might or might not grow into a fruit tree, but a fruit tree can't grow without a seed.

The 'growth' metaphor is one TC specifically reject (see this footnote). Fwiw I don't think I agree with them, to the extent I understand the point, as it seems to me they counter an excessively continuous understanding of revolution as the sum of partial struggles with an excessively discontinuous one of communism as an absolute break.

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Red Marriott
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Jan 6 2015 19:17

For debate on TC's alleged determinism see article here and thread below it; http://libcom.org/library/notes-endnotes

boomerang
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Jan 6 2015 20:07
Adé wrote:
Production, goods, services...and why not work, money, familly, police, and so on?
as a matter of a fact, we must eat, drink, have some clothes and some houses, but the category of "productions", "services, "goods",etc..BELONGS to capitalism, so it's wrong to think in this way. Communism is NOT a mode of production, it is, indeed the end of the separation of from one side society, and from other side production of anything you say.
I mean i don't understand the purpose of this kind of projections (= how to make food, garments,etc), we'll see if, and when time will come... We can only answer when we'll face the problem. It's no preparation needed.

It sounds almost like primitivism. No production, no goods, no services? What?

You say we must eat, drink, have some clothes and some houses - what are these? They are goods. How are they created? Production.

And are you saying that this is all we'll be able to consume is these bare essentials? (Sorry if "consume" is another dirty word for you.) Is it communist austerity that you have in mind?

Maybe our only difference is semantics, and you have a particular definition of "production", "goods", "services" that most people don't, but based on standard definitions of these words, your idea of what "communism" is sounds terrible.

What you say about the state and how we will distinguish enemies and allies makes more sense to me.

boomerang
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Jan 6 2015 20:16
Joseph Kay wrote:
it seems to me they counter an excessively continuous understanding of revolution as the sum of partial struggles with an excessively discontinuous one of communism as an absolute break.

I've sort of picked up in this vibe too, in what I've read from them, and I can't wrap my head around it. Even in this discussion we've been having of communising measures, it's a build up, it's taking actions that break down capitalist relations and build communist ones, it's not an absolute leap from one thing to another. Where is the line drawn where they say this break happens? This part of CT seems silly as heck. (Yes, strong language, but I stand by it!)

boomerang
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Jan 6 2015 20:23
Spassmaschine wrote:
Both the Troploin and TC-inspired sides of 'communisation theory' are very clear about the need to confront and overthrow the state (I use 'clear' as a figure of speech, obviously their discussions of this question are often difficult to parse).

Well I'm glad to hear that.

Most class struggle anarchists agree that to confront the state we need to build dual power, usually this is recommended to be in the form of a federation of councils. Those who agree with the Friends of Durruti also call for some sort of military council elected from this federation to give strategic direction to democratic militias.

How would Communisation Theorists generally feel about this sort of thing? The only representative of CT on this thread has spoken against 'working class power', but most class struggle anarchists would say that a federation of councils is working class power, as are democratic militias.

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 6 2015 20:58
boomerang wrote:
I've sort of picked up in this vibe too

The most charitable reading is that most of the time some alternative programme is put forward it has features of capitalism (Endnotes talk about the council communists as self-managed wage labour iirc; you can certainly find anarcho-syndicalists in this vein; then there's Parecon, market socialism etc). Therefore programmes must be rejected since they'll inevitably reproduce aspects of capitalism, and since capitalism's an internally related totality, presumably therefore reproduce capitalism. Thus communism can only be discussed negatively, as what it is not (markets, wage labour, the state, gender relations...).

Obviously this can be questioned on various grounds: historical (i.e. there have been revolutionaries who've wanted to abolish money and the state asap); logical (that hitherto existing programmes reproduce capitalist features doesn't, in itself, prove they all must); theoretical (can just any old features of capitalism reproduce capitalism, or are there critical combinations/thresholds?). The underlying account of identity as sort-of unilaterally determined by the organisation of production, and in turn determining of struggle is also open to question.

But yeah, on the most charitable reading, communisation theory has developed as a critique of the failings of the workers movement and therefore emphasises the negative; on most unfriendly reading it's borderline primitivism substituting 'it'll be all right on the night' for specifying what communisation actually involves (or might involve).

Adé
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Jan 6 2015 21:28

Boomrang

Quote:
It sounds almost like primitivism. No production, no goods, no services? What?

I don't mean primitivism, i mean that when you say : goods, services and so on, you thinking like communism is something like capitalism but better, you're saying, wanted or not, communism as a mode of production. It's not about "dirty words", or nothing like that, it's just that once more: communism is not a mode of production. I wonder why you want to know how to produce, how to make that and that? Why do you want to know this things before revolution/communisation? Why if not to prepare revolution like a good party, saying :oh! A. will make the cake, and B will make the soup, and C. will sing a good song, and we'll dance all nite long.
Again an again this thoughts are just as nasty as "making soup for the future", this doesn't make any sense for me, and reminds me very, very much a kind of program, a socialist planification exactly. Every thing is planed...but what about the change that will occur on people that must fight against capitalism and state?
Communism is not a society of abundance, and in some ways, yes it will be " austere", because
what is important for a unificated society is nor abundance, neither "production", what is important is being unificated, prevent separation, care of every one else, lake of assignations, love of life, beauty, yes communism is about being more carefull and gentle with all living beings.

Oh! Yes Communization will be terrible, or will not be!

happy?
Salut good nite, sweet tight.

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Tyrion
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Jan 6 2015 23:13
boomerang wrote:
Adé wrote:
Production, goods, services...and why not work, money, familly, police, and so on?
as a matter of a fact, we must eat, drink, have some clothes and some houses, but the category of "productions", "services, "goods",etc..BELONGS to capitalism, so it's wrong to think in this way. Communism is NOT a mode of production, it is, indeed the end of the separation of from one side society, and from other side production of anything you say.
I mean i don't understand the purpose of this kind of projections (= how to make food, garments,etc), we'll see if, and when time will come... We can only answer when we'll face the problem. It's no preparation needed.

It sounds almost like primitivism. No production, no goods, no services? What?

You say we must eat, drink, have some clothes and some houses - what are these? They are goods. How are they created? Production.

And are you saying that this is all we'll be able to consume is these bare essentials? (Sorry if "consume" is another dirty word for you.) Is it communist austerity that you have in mind?

Maybe our only difference is semantics, and you have a particular definition of "production", "goods", "services" that most people don't, but based on standard definitions of these words, your idea of what "communism" is sounds terrible.

What you say about the state and how we will distinguish enemies and allies makes more sense to me.

I think this is a case of confusion caused by the rather obfuscatory language that seems unfortunately characteristic of communization theory.

Ade isn't calling for an end to production in itself, but rather for an end to the categorization of certain acts as "production"--and so worthy of receiving some sort of payment for doing--and other acts as "not production" and so unworthy of such payment. I think the emphasis on the abolition of this categorization makes more sense when we consider an issue that's repeatedly reared its head in the history of the working class movement: the tendency to create a sort of worker-friendly mirror to the existing capitalist order. We can see this in the creation of social democratic parties that mirrored bourgeois parties and performed a similar social role but with an electoral base of workers and with policies aiming to make capitalism gentler toward workers. We can see this in certain experiments with self-management that have only gone as far as putting workers in a position in which they're subject to the same market forces that ordinary bosses are. We can see this in the workerism of Stalinists, cheerleading the ability of workers to churn out even greater amount of commodities without capitalists supervising the process.

But as Marx wrote, communism is the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. I believe Ade's point is that the categorization of certain acts as "production" but not others (e.g. farming but not housework) is an element of capitalism in itself, tied to wage-labor and the creation of commodities. People will continue to produce in a physical sense in a communist society, but "production" as a social categorization of actions will no longer exist.

To make a very rough comparison, let's compare feudalism and capitalism. The death of feudalism and ascendance of capitalism didn't mean that serfs moved into castles and forced their former lords to till the land. It didn't mean that serfs kicked out their lords and continued to live essentially as before, but now under their own rule. It meant a total transformation of society in such a way that feudal social forms no longer applied. This is the case with communism to an even greater extent, since communism can't really grow within capitalism in the way that capitalism began its rise during feudal times.

jojo
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Jan 7 2015 05:58

I don't see the need to turn the word "production" into a dirty word. After all if there was no production we'd all be dead. The trouble with capitalism is that in this system production is for exchange not consumption. The bourgeoisie produces food to sell, not for people to eat. If you've got money to buy this food then you won't starve. If you have no money you will. This explains famine in Africa and the slow increase in malnutrition starting to show itself in kids in Europe. It's a shortage of money not a shortage of food.

Under communism a major aim initially, after the inevitable civil war (you don't really expect the bourgeoisie to give up all its privileges and ability to exploit without a fight do you?) will be to produce enough food to feed everyone. That's all of us; the whole of humanity. Planned production world wide will do away with malnourishment and starvation for ever! The bourgeois, and capitalism, could never achieve this spectacular improvement in every day life if they lasted another fifty years, because they only produce things to sell. That is the sad heart of this miserable life destroying system called capitalism. It's just production for exchange, so's the ruling class can collect the profits contained in the commodities they sell. They have no interest in people's needs. Just their own greed for profit.

This doesn't mean there's something wrong with the idea of "production" as Adi seems to think, because in fact what we need is more and more planned production as under communism, so that all human needs can be satisfied and humanity grow, mentally and physically, so that its enormous and as yet untapped potential can begin to be realized.

It's the same with health and education. Under communism we will produce more hospitals and better schools so that everyone can have a proper chance to grow. We will produce ourselves. We will produce better people and a better society! So there's no need to knock production at all, just to see it in a new light.

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Jan 7 2015 08:42

As for "production" being a dirty word, I think this has to do with the fact that there is a clear tendency in communization theory (of the Endnotes variety, and this goes back to some of the older Aufheben texts) to treat categories such as "concrete labor", "use value" and the like as historically specific categories which denote relations or entities specific to capitalism, i.e., ones that would be abolished in a communist society. Some of the texts view "use value" as somehow related to or tainted with "value" and state that there would be no "use values" (and hence no "concrete labor", i.e., production) in communism, just "things". (I think this is based on a misinterpretation of Capital.)

Adé
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Jan 7 2015 11:52

Tyrion wrote :

Quote:
Ade isn't calling for an end to production in itself, but rather for an end to the categorization of certain acts as "production"--and so worthy of receiving some sort of payment for doing--and other acts as "not production" and so unworthy of such payment. I think the emphasis on the abolition of this categorization makes more sense when we consider an issue that's repeatedly reared its head in the history of the working class movement: the tendency to create a sort of worker-friendly mirror to the existing capitalist order

Right.

Quote:
But as Marx wrote, communism is the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. I believe Ade's point is that the categorization of certain acts as "production" but not others (e.g. farming but not housework) is an element of capitalism in itself, tied to wage-labor and the creation of commodities. People will continue to produce in a physical sense in a communist society, but "production" as a social categorization of actions will no longer exist.

Right.

jojo wrote :

Quote:
The trouble with capitalism is that in this system production is for exchange not consumption

No it's not this way, just have a look the level of consumption in the all world since, the 1960's, take a look to China or to india...In fact, capitalism needs a high level of consumption and this is not opposite with the very fact that production is for exchange. Of course, many people are actually excluded of a high level of consumption, and it's also a need for a capitalist society in order to maintain a "reserve army" of superfluous prols, so the wages remain low, and so this superfluous mass have no desire but to be include in the system, and those who are already included (the real workers) fear to become superfluous and want to be part of this society, they want to be recognized as "real workers"...and so they affirm their utlity in the system that exploit them and exclude them when superfluous. That's the situation today.

Quote:
It's the same with health and education. Under communism we will produce more hospitals and better schools so that everyone can have a proper chance to grow.

One thing is "communizing measures", this isn't "full communism", because they exist against the capitalists relations, and communist "society" is not established.

But I doubt, anyway, that building more and more X or Y is a communist perspective.
I tell you Jojo, communism is not capitalism without lack of "social justice", it's neither a fair capitalism, nor " the soviet plus the electricity"...
Salut.