First published in 1995 in France: Section One, “The Historical Balance Sheet” includes chapters on: communist movements throughout history; Marx and Engels and communism; “Real” vs. “Formal” domination of capital and the importance of this distinction for understanding the failure of the old workers movements (capitalism was not “obsolete” prior to 1945). Section Two, “Perspectives”, contains an extensive discussion of: the economic roots of capitalism’s current crisis (the “final stage of its cycle”); the communist revolution; and socialism.
The end of politics: theses on the crisis of the regulatory system of the commodity form - Robert Kurz
In this essay first published in 1994, Robert Kurz examines the history of “politics” as the “regulatory system” of “the modern commodity production system”, from the inception of capitalism to its high point immediately after WW2—when “the last residues … of the pre-modern constitution” were eliminated and when “politics” was finally totally absorbed by “economics”—and its current crisis, heralding “the historical collapse of the system”, manifested as “the environmental crisis, the crisis of the society of labor, the crisis of the nation-state and the crisis of gender relations” in an era when democracy “is nothing but the completed subjection to the subjectless logic of money”.
Published in Now and After #3, 1978. Unionists, liberals, and leftists call for more jobs, but the revolutionary program is the supersession of alienated labor. Discusses Marx's theory of the surplus population, unemployment, the job as social control, weakening of the tie between income and work, and the abolition of labor.
In this concluding Part Two of his essay, Kurz examines the relationship of the ideas of Freud and Marx with respect to the concept of the “constitution of the fetish”, discusses the relation between “first nature” and “second nature” as a developmental process, and outlines the prerequisites for the quest for a tertium genus that will be the goal of the “revolution against the constitution of the fetish”, which is “identical with the supersession of the subject” as the latter has been conceived until now.
In Part One of this 1993 essay, Robert Kurz criticizes the largely unexamined assumptions underpinning the “vulgar Marxist” use of such political concepts as power, interest and domination; discusses the development of the more nuanced understanding of these concepts expressed in theories associated with the names of Weber, Michels, Trotsky and Freud; and assesses the role played by structuralism and systems theory in the establishment of an “apologetic” theory of subjectless domination which must be replaced by a “critical and revolutionary praxis” that is no longer Marxism of a “subjective-ideological type”.
Translator's introduction to the 1948 Chilean edition of Anton Pannekoek's Lenin as Philosopher - Lain Diez
A brief introduction to Pannekoek’s book on Lenin that defines the council communist tendency of Marxism as the long awaited bridge between Marxism and anarchism that promises to heal the rift of the Bakunin-Marx split in the First International. Written in the form of short “theses”, the text begins with a critical assessment of Trotsky’s opposition to Stalinism, supports Luxemburg’s and Mattick’s anti-Leninist critiques with regard to spontaneity and ends by agreeing with Karl Korsch’s negative identification of Leninism with social democracy as both being opposed to emancipatory socialism.
Pannekoek's experience of the German revolution led him to observe that the workers' own struggle needed continuously to break down regimes and forms resulting from previous struggles. This gave him a powerful analysis of opportunism and enabled him to perceive the dangers of mere representation of the working class.
The poll tax was not an act of pure madness but was an attempt to deal with the intractable problems of the public goods crisis that afflicted the developed world. The response by the labour movement is examined in the light of the ideas developed about the state. The internal politics of the anti-poll tax movement and the changes provoked by the poll tax and its failure are then discussed.