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.
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.
The Guignol in History – Amadeo Bordiga
Following the Thread of Time
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”.
Lessons of the Counterrevolutions – Amadeo Bordiga
Introduction to the 1981 Spanish Translation
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 Anti-capitalist Revolution in the West – 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 Historical “Invariance” of Marxism – International Communist Party (Amadeo Bordiga)
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 (Amadeo Bordiga)
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.
[b]The Revolutionary Program of Communist Society Eliminates All Forms of Ownership of Land, the Instruments of Production and the Products of Labor1
- 1. Turin Meeting, June 1-2, 1958.
Useful article about the relationship between Bordiga and Gramsci and the stalinisation of the Italian workers' movement.
This text by John Chiaradia was taken from Loren Goldner's website (see his intro below) and extensively cleaned up and put into PDF and eBook formats because I think it deserves to take its place in the corpus of material about Bordiga that's on libcom.
One of Bordiga's "ecological" texts in which he claims that cities are inherently unsustainable and imagines that communism will abolish them.
This text was only translated into English in April 2012 and was published on People and Nature:
- 1. "Specie umana e crosta terrestre", Il Programma Comunista no. 6/1952, 18 December 1952.
This is a wonderfully informative text about the political milieu that produced Bordiga, Gramsci and, of course, Mussolini... It describes the increasing radicalisation of the youth wing of the italian Socialists from 1910 onwards, leading to increasing adoption of anti-militarist, anti-nationalist and antiparliamentary policies by its most active members.
It's available online elsewhere in various various fragmented and badly proofread versions, so here's a cleaned up version.
(Published in: Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d'histoire XXXI, August/août 1996, pp. 199-226, ISSN 0008-4107)
A 1950 essay by Amadeo Bordiga on the dialectical method, reviewing the history of dialectics since the time of Zeno of Elea, summarizing the further development of dialectical thought and its culmination in the works of Marx and Engels, distinguishing Marx’s dialectic from the metaphysical dialectic of the German critical philosophers, French materialism and English empiricism, explaining its differences with regard to the traditional scientific method and illustrating its principles by way of an interpretation of the meaning of the “negation of the negation” in Marx’s abstract schema of historical stages, “individual property-capitalism-socialism”.
On the Dialectical Method – Amadeo Bordiga