Amadeo Bordiga

The historical cycle of the political rule of the bourgeoisie - Amadeo Bordiga

In this article first published in Prometeo in 1947, Amadeo Bordiga examines the history of the political forms of bourgeois rule and posits that it has passed through two stages (the early “heroic” period followed by the “golden age” of bourgeois democracy) and is now entering its third stage, characterized by the eclipse of “private initiative” and the rise of totalitarianism, as was demonstrated by the forces at work in World War Two, concerning which he says that “the fascists lost the war; fascism, however, was victorious”, because the victors are compelled to employ the “authoritarian and totalitarian methods that were first tested in the defeated countries”.

Teaching old dogs new tricks: Counter-theses and theses - Amadeo Bordiga

In this 1952 article from the “On the Thread of Time” series, on the eve of a split in the Internationalist Communist Party, Amadeo Bordiga sets forth his refutations (“theses”) of the innovators who stray from the correct doctrine of Marxism with their “dangerous improvisations” (“counter-theses”) in the fields of history, economics and philosophy—modestly claiming that his arguments might be rendered more “clear and convincing” if one were to devote “seven years” of “study and activity”, “seven hours a week”, to the task—with an ample selection of provocative epigrammatic comments on such topics as World Wars Two and Three, communism, bureaucracy, totalitarianism, ideology, etc.

Value, time and communism: re-reading Marx - Gilles Dauvé

Dauvé re-examines Marx and looks at some of the contradictions in his work on work, value and labour-time.

The factors of race and nation in Marxist theory - Amadeo Bordiga

A book-length essay illustrating the principles of historical materialism with respect to the role of race and nation in the “cycles” that were preconditions for the communist revolution, tracing the human saga from pithecanthropus and Adam and Eve to the Trieste Crisis, with sections on Greece, Rome, the German barbarians, feudalism, the rise of the bourgeoisie, the European wars and national liberation struggles of the 19th century, and the Paris Commune, interspersed with incisive comments on the individual (a “puppet”), the family (it “will be destroyed after the victory of communism”), national languages (they “will perish with” capitalism), etc.

The guignol in history - Amadeo Bordiga

In this 1953 article from the “Thread of Time” series, Amadeo Bordiga addresses the role of the great man or “man of destiny” in history, whose modern representatives he calls “Guignols” (grotesque puppets)—devoid of individuality, vacuous, two-dimensional receptacles for the cult of personality—from Napoleon to Eisenhower, and situates this phenomenon in the context of the historical materialist doctrine of Marx and Engels as expounded in the latter’s text, Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy.

Lessons of the counterrevolutions - Amadeo Bordiga

A 1953 text in which Amadeo Bordiga examines the lessons of counterrevolutions from the defeat of Spartacus to the Battle of Legnano in 1176 and from the Peasant War in Germany of 1525 to Stalinism (“State capitalism is not a semi-socialism, but just plain capitalism”) and recapitulates some “fundamental positions of Marxism”, which he describes as a “doctrine for the understanding of ... counterrevolutions”, since “everyone knows how to orient themselves at the moment of victory, but few are those who know what to do when defeat arrives” and “it is necessary to understand the counterrevolution in order to prepare the revolution of tomorrow”.

The anti-capitalist revolution in the west - Amadeo Bordiga

In this concise1953 programmatic text presented at the Genoa Meeting of the International Communist Party, Amadeo Bordiga sets forth a series of theses outlining the perspectives for revolution in the post-war world, and emphasizes that it will have to take place in the West, because of its more advanced capitalism, rather than in the less developed capitalism of Russia, based on Marx’s theory of the increasing productivity of labor and the falling rate of profit, and refers to the absence of a “communist party in the U.S. [with] an integral revolutionary program”, despite the maturity of the objective conditions there, as a “major historical problem”.

The historical "invariance" of Marxism - Amadeo Bordiga

In these 26 theses presented at the Milan Meeting of the International Communist Party in 1952, Amadeo Bordiga sets forth his conception of the “invariance” of Marxism, utilizing colorful examples from the histories of religion, mythology, ideology and science as well as the class struggle, denouncing “modernizers” (he says they are worse than Stalinists) “weasel assumptions”, “foolish clichés”, “bourgeois prejudices”, “aberrations”, and “nonsense”, and everything that stands opposed to the “common doctrine of the party, uniform, monolithic, and invariable, to which we are all subordinated and bound, putting an end to all chattering and know-it-all discussions”.

The revolutionary program of communist society eliminates all forms of ownership of land, the instruments of production and the products of labor - Partito Comunista Internazionale

In this 1957 text drafted for the Partito Comunista Internazionale, Amadeo Bordiga, with his usual acerbic wit, restates some of the “invariant” principles of Marxism, denounces the idea that communism means collective or individual “property” or “ownership”—terms he subjects to historical analysis as transitory juridical forms—argues in favor of social usufruct as the concept most adequate for the future classless society, ridicules the “metaphysical and idealist” error of the “immediatists” who hold that “socialism is a struggle for the individual liberation of the worker” and, just to rub it in, condemns drinkers and smokers as “usufructuary traitors” against the health of the species.

Amadeo Bordiga and the myth of Antonio Gramsci - John Chiaradia

Plaque commemorating Gramsci in Moscow

Useful article about the relationship between Bordiga and Gramsci and the stalinisation of the Italian workers' movement.