Communism before the revolution - Paul Petard

Internationalism - P. Petard
Internationalism - P. Petard

Paul Petard discusses the unobtainability of a future human community, unless the current struggle to meet needs and desires becomes the primary focus.

Submitted by Spassmaschine on July 3, 2009

.....If we accept that for the time being struggle is just ongoing, that we are “stuck” in a weak and fragmented class struggle, that there is no immediate possibility of the successful complete overthrow of capitalism in a central political physical action then in a sense struggles and revolts become liberated. They become liberated from the tyranny of “revolution”, revolution as a sort of political pantomime bolshevik style stunt. The struggles and revolts we make as proletarians and dispossessed can be judged and viewed on their own merits, as events in themselves that may be socially useful or not. They no longer have to be judged in terms of being subordinate moments in some grand mystical apocalyptic religious plan of “world communist revolution”. Communistic outbreaks exist now as a tendency and a form of practise in certain struggles and revolts around our labours (whether productive labour in capitalist production or other forms of labours such as service labour, reproductive labour, domestic labour, etc.,). So called “Capitalism” and commodity economy are not yet “total”, if they were it would be impossible to even think about communism. Struggles need and can create a communistic direction and program, but this involves practical strategy and useful winnable objectives. If it becomes an abstracted utopian vision a program runs the risk of being an alienated chore, an idealised projection to rule over us, a future event to which the present must be subordinated.

Apocalyptic Revolution= mythology; myths are sometimes useful, but they are myths nonetheless. Let us not knock utopian dreams and visions and myths too harshly, they can inspire us and motivate us. But today we have grown conscious of what they are, we don’t need to religiously believe in them. And let us not have any of this neo-primitivist/pseudo-primitivist rubbish of withdrawal into tiny groups paranoidly rejecting all tools, technology and social complexity to return to a non-existent past idyll. Communistic solidarity involves millions engaging in complex sophisticated mutually-interdependent social arrangements, and seizing technology and productive resources to create something new.

An instant global revolution against capital, bosses, commodities today to create world communism tomorrow is not possible in the present, why?, because it is only communistic struggle/solidarity in the present that can eventually break open a situation where a revolution against capital, bosses, commodities becomes possible in the future. In this sense communism comes before the revolution. Otherwise putting the revolution first becomes part of the process of prevention of communist struggle in the present (bolshevism etc.). “The communist revolution is the continuation as well as the surpassing of present social movements. Discussions of communism usually start from an erroneous standpoint: they deal with the question of what people will do after the revolution. They never connect communism with what is going on at the moment when the discussion is going on.” (Dauve, Eclipse)

“When communist workers gather together, their immediate aim is instruction, propaganda, etc. But at the same time they acquire a new need - the need for society- and what appears as a means has become an end. This practical development can be most strikingly observed in the gatherings of French socialist workers.[sic] Smoking, eating and drinking, etc., are no longer means of creating links between people. Company, association, conversation, which in its turn has society as its goal, is enough for them.” (Marx, Economic & Philosophical Manuscripts)

Despite minor grumbles about things like wage cuts, service cuts and the occasional excitement of “anticapitalist” protests (subcultural glamour scene of demo-luvvies), struggle might appear to have half disappeared in this corner of the world at the moment. But this is never the case. At first informally, half invisibly, millions of proletarians continually struggle to try and create subtle alternative networks of mutual aid and social support in daily life. These alternative communal networks are vital (and so too are social funds of provisions) and it is important to create them well in advance of outbreaks of overt class struggle, they will become an important building block in the process of building wider solidarity when the situation gets big. They are outside the bureaucracy of the trade unions. Indeed the daily life microbattles to try and invent and maintain some kind of alternative social fabric in opposition to capitalist conditions will themselves slowly add up into a more general pressure helping force bigger revolt out into the open.

Head teachers complain they have a problem with school pupils secretly communicating by text on mobile phones hidden under their desks. If a pupil in the class is secretly communicating with a pupil in a class in another school about what teachers she likes or dislikes, what clothes she wants to get for winter, and meeting up for coffee after school, she is not just talking about individual taste and consumerism. Such communication contains great potential for new ways of co-ordinating future solidarity.

“Capitalism” as a system is unevenly and disjointedly developed, it is never completely coherent or unified or total. Likewise the proletariat it creates and builds up beneath it is uneven and disjointed, there is no one big centralist proletarian party or single historic event that can overthrow the capitalist system in one fell swoop. Revolution is a drawn out lengthy process involving as much spontaneity and chaos as design.

Dictatorship of the proletariat for the abolition of wage labour.

Communism: World human community, internationalism, universal abundance and free access to all the necessities of life, space, resources, materials, food, social production for need and desire.

Taken from the Antagonism website.