In this 1988 essay, Jacques Camatte reassesses the continuing relevance of Bordiga’s emphasis on the need for a “radical break” (scisma) with democracy—a view that Camatte maintains is “not the exclusive property of the extreme right”—which, since the prospect for communist revolution was nullified by the victories of the United States in the two world wars, must now, according to Camatte, serve as the presupposition for another radical break—a break with the culture that is the product of the Enlightenment and its cult of science and productivity—and our reconciliation with nature.
Dialogue with Bordiga – Jacques Camatte
“Communism is the knowledge of a plan of life for the species.”
For Bordiga (1889-1970), the revolution can only arise from a radical break. The communist revolution became possible after the revolution of 1848, provoked by a new kind of eruption in history: the proletariat that emphatically breaks with democracy and must seize control over the productive forces, transformed and exalted by capital, in the sense of a human development that would attain its full reach in communism. In the series of revolutions of the species, the Russian revolution is the only one that tangibly and indisputably proves the truth of the theory of the proletariat: Marxism. Thus, the two major axes of Bordiga’s thought: to preserve the radical break (the invariance of theory), which implies demonstrating how the whole development of modern society is tending to erase this break in order to produce a feeble ecumenism, thanks to the anti-fascist crusade that infused new life into a democratic mystification a thousand times more dangerous for the revolution than fascism itself; and to defend the proletarian character of the Russian revolution and its paradigmatic basis: the conscious intervention of a group of humans that had foreseen the revolutionary course long in advance: the party. On this basis, and on the basis of the study of the “historical course of capitalism”, Bordiga predicted the opening up of a new revolutionary cycle for the period of 1975-1980. This cycle began a few years ago, but will it attain its full development in accordance with Bordiga’s prediction? No. In contrast to his class-based perspective, however, Bordiga offers many elements that can be useful for conceiving the unfolding of a non-class revolution that proceeds towards the realization of the true human community (Gemeinwesen) (see the Introduction to Bordiga’s book, Russie et révolution dans la théorie marxiste, Spartacus, 1975).
We previously published a pamphlet (special issue of Invariance, November 1975) and an article (Invariance, No. 8, Series III, 1980) under this same title, “Dialogue with Bordiga”. At that time it was necessary to assert, on the one hand, the preeminence of Bordiga’s contribution in the work of the Italian communist left and, on the other hand, and most importantly, to discern its originality and continuing validity.
The resumption of this dialogue has been occasioned by various events that confirm several of Bordiga’s predictions, as well as by the need to precisely define and reaffirm the radical break mentioned above. In any event, given the fact that next year will mark the centenary of his birth and that such a time is always a moment for historical review and reflection, we shall get an early start and reflect on the relation between Bordiga’s work and our own future.
The texts that follow constitute an attempt to spotlight the Bordiguist positions that we have so often expounded.1 It is necessary to call attention to them due to the deviations of certain elements associated with the extreme left, not for polemical reasons, but rather to preserve our intransigence-originality, and to draw a line between our positions and theirs.
First of all, “Le temps des abjurateurs de schisme”2 gives us an opportunity to recall his essential thesis: the need to separate ourselves from the existing world and therefore from democracy, in its most highly developed form in the West or in the form in which it is currently being introduced in various non-western countries, or even with democracy itself as a perspective. This entails an affirmation of distancing and a proclamation of the need for struggle, which implies Bordiga’s other essential imperative: his passion for communism.3
The preservation of this radical break4 requires a major struggle against revisionism. It is obvious that at the present time this struggle has, for the most part, a merely historical value, both from an objective point of view, that is, a point of view that embraces the different protagonists, as well as from a subjective point of view, that is, the one that pertains to the protagonists who are directly linked to the revolutionary proletarian movement. Its preservation nonetheless possesses great importance as a reference point in conceiving a definition of just what that phylum really was. On the other hand, however, it is not the struggle against revisionism, but rather the clear-cut and irreducible delimitation of revisionism in its current form—which has been adopted by certain elements associated with the ultra-left—a delimitation that we have already articulated and to which we must once again refer.
The current situation, characterized in particular by the liquidation of the results of the Second World War,5 is a terrain that is favorable for once again questioning—above all on the part of people in the countries that were defeated in that conflict—the history of the 20th century. The contemporary revisionist current corresponds to an analogous project erected on foundations that have nothing in common with the fundamental positions of the proletarian movement.6
Furthermore—we must insist on recalling this fact—the fundamental positions of the proletarian movement, clearly and precisely expressed by Bordiga, are much older than contemporary revisionism and are rooted in the Marxist current; the refusal to embrace the triumphant ideology that issued from the conclusion of the war of 1938-1945 was therefore not just a simple knee-jerk reaction. Let us briefly recapitulate:7
• The fascists lost the war, but fascism won. We must add, although it has not been exhaustively demonstrated, that fascism was nothing but a particular form of democracy; it is a social democracy.
• The maintenance of the dictatorship of capital on a world scale is made possible by means of the despotic actions of the US, the heartland of war par excellence. This thesis contradicted—and still does—the claims of the democrats who presented the USSR as the bastion of despotism, or the claims of various revolutionaries who considered the USSR to be the headquarters of the counterrevolution.
• The German region (East Germany and West Germany, plus all the countries under German influence, such as Austria) is still the nerve center of the communist revolution of the future (see “Vae victis Germania”).8
These theses constitute so many assertions. As such, they have a limited interest, but their mere enumeration is not enough to establish Bordiga’s place in the historic course of the 20th century. We also have to indicate their roots. Thus, the revolutionary importance of the German region is related to the strategic perspective of the revolutionary Marxist current as a whole.9
This last thesis is connected with another thesis that is utterly discordant with the democratic ideology: in both the First as well as the Second World War, it would have been better if Germany had been the victor, since, being the weaker power, it would not have been able to dominate the world and the communist revolution would then have been able to undergo further development. The same perspective applies to a Third World War between the US and the USSR, because Bordiga claimed that the most favorable outcome for the development of the communist revolution would be the defeat of the United States.
This perspective is also based on an analysis of the relations between the US and Europe, in which Bordiga demonstrates that the consistent policy of the US is to ensure its hegemony over Europe; hence his article, “Agression à l’Europe”. It can be said that Bordiga’s anti-American position is clearly illustrated in many of his texts. However, this position is not exclusively his own, either. We have already pointed out that Engels, near the end of his life, called attention to the economic war waged by the US against Europe in the agricultural domain.10
Incorporating the contributions of the Marxist current, we can state that the whole history of the 20th century is determined by this aggression of the US against Europe11 and that the victory of the US was at the same time the defeat of the communist revolution. Thus, Bordiga’s intransigent opposition to US policy expressed an internationalist, class-based point of view on a world scale.
It is not necessary to provide details from Bordiga’s various articles on this topic, because at the present time it is a thing of the past, just as the prospect of a Third World War or the further development of the communist revolution is also a thing of the past. Nonetheless, Bordiga’s theoretical contribution is fundamental for a correct understanding of our present situation.
In “Gloses en marges d’une réalité IV”, in Invariance, Series IV, No. 3, we said that its defeat in Vietnam in 1975 marked the beginning of the end for the US. We may also add that to a certain extent it also indicated the failure of US aggression against Asia on the military, but not the economic, plane. For, as Bordiga predicted, China, for example, sold itself to the center of world capital (see the next Note, below).
At the same time, we must recall Bordiga’s rejection—a position that we also share—of the American propaganda that depicted Japan as the aggressor and as responsible for the conflict with the United States.
Having said this, we must also point out that we are now facing a new situation where we have to examine the role and the effectiveness of the interventions of various powers such as the US, the USSR and China, especially with respect to the fate of Asiropa.12
With respect to the current situation, just as in the case of the prospect of the advent of Homo Gemeinwesen, Bordiga’s work is no longer relevant, but this does not mean that it is entirely without interest. A work may be relevant for different time periods depending on its anticipatory power as well as on the unfolding of events. Bordiga foresaw an important crisis for the years 1975-1980, which he said would necessarily result in the communist revolution. The crisis definitely occurred, although not in accordance with the modalities that he predicted; but there was not—nor will there be—a communist revolution. The failure of the latter to take place implied the extended development of the capitalist mode of production, especially in non-western regions, as well as the persistence of certain characteristics of this mode of production that Bordiga had revealed and of various conflicts such as the one he discussed in “Agression à l’Europe”. As we said above, however, this is over and done with and we must clearly specify what we mean by the potential death of capital that, in a certain way, is a proof of the validity of Bordiga’s predictions, but not in the terms that he used.
So, in what respect is his work still relevant? Above all else, his theoretical stance: the affirmation of a radical break. Thus, we return to our initial postulate. We may justifiably reproach people like those associated with “The Old Mole” (La Vieille Taupe),13 which is a proponent of the new revisionism, for having abolished the radical break, which increasingly leads them to defend democratic values.14 Furthermore, their position bears the seeds of an immense danger: underestimating or ignoring the enormous contribution of the Jewish community to the process of education of the West, to the process of knowledge, to the struggle against domestication. A danger that is even more serious than the threat of an unalloyed anti-Semitism to which they might more or less easily succumb.
We can direct the same reproach at all those who, on the extreme left, adopt the anti-Soviet theme. In this case—as we have demonstrated—they not only once again rally to the democratic ideal, but more or less openly defend the western dynamic and especially US policy.
As for all those who have come to the proletarian movement while preserving their primordial, original positions, determined by their own particular histories, such as the members of the Situationist International and the whole litter of pro-situs,15 they never understood the radical break, so they cannot be reproached for having repudiated it.
Their contribution can be acknowledged, but one can by no means integrate them into the revolutionary proletarian phylum.16 This admonition is even more applicable to certain academic theoreticians who at one time or another participated in small leftist groups, such as Baudrillard or Lyotard, but who are actually the vultures of the proletarian movement and are used as theoretical crutches by the rest of the intelligentsia.
In the current state of decomposition, the affirmation of the radical break is even more necessary than publishing the work of the person who was its most ardent defender.
Without this affirmation, the proletarian movement is indistinguishable from the bourgeois movement, considered in its broad historical scope. Without it, one cannot pose the question of understanding the importance of the intervention of a class and, in some cases, of its most conscious elements, in the given historical sense of the term, that is, in relation with the very movement in which they intervene. For it could be said that the proletarian movement as a whole has sought to accelerate a particular development, while at the same time trying to orient it towards a different goal: to assure production for humanity rather than production for the sake of production. In short, it sought to abbreviate the lifespan of the capitalist mode of production at the very moment when the latter had hardly even established a foothold in the West. This movement testifies to western humanity’s awareness of the grave dangers that threatened those who were exposed to capitalist development.
However—precisely as we have demonstrated—the various revolutions of the 19th century, as well as those of the 20th century, only reinforced capital and enabled it to conquer new regions. As a result, the contributions of the proletarian movement would have proven to be derisory and ridiculous, and would seem to have nothing in common with the dynamic of the establishment of a human-feminine community, if one overlooks precisely the radical break occasioned by the entry of the proletariat on the historical stage.
By not overlooking this fact one prevents the link that connects the different generations that have opposed domestication from being disrupted or even mystified.
If one must seek a subjective cause of the non-realization of the proletarian project, it might be found in the fact that revolutionaries did not seek to deepen this radical break. They remained firmly anchored on the terrain of their enemy. They did not sufficiently develop a different dynamic that owes nothing or almost nothing to the Enlightenment, to science, to productivity, etc. And this task was all the more necessary insofar as they were compelled—in a way—to attempt to cause an entire historical development to disappear.
Now that this process has been abolished, the radical break is even more necessary, because otherwise the immense rebellion that spans more than a century would be erased and capital would present itself as a modernized and continually-refreshed eternity, that is, it would present itself as if it had always been a necessary and regular development and as if it must be maintained indefinitely.
To maintain the radical break is to maintain the effectiveness of the revolt against the domination of capital, against domestication. However, given the potential death of capital and the insufficiency of the impulse of refusal required for the radical break, it is necessary for us to break with the whole dynamic of the departure from nature, with the dynamic of separation upon which this culture has been erected.
We must engage in a radical break on an even more vast scale: the radical break with culture, which requires the abolition of that other radical break, the one that separates us from nature. We must reconcile ourselves with nature.
The rejection of culture does not imply that we want to live in ignorance and return to an original purity! All of this points to a thematic of refusal generated by the straying of Homo Sapiens. It involves an attempt to understand the long period of separation from nature, as well as the period of the production of various tools that will allow the species to integrate itself with nature at the same time that it realizes its capacity for reflection. At this point one must confront language, logic, science, etc., just like the hammer or the computer, as well as other tools that must be encompassed in another praxis, which obliges us to understand their genesis, their field of application and the repercussions that they have had on the process of becoming of Homo Sapiens.
This radical break with culture will be even more difficult to accept than the radical break with democracy. Its realization can only be pursued if the radical break with democracy has been consciously carried out or has taken place on its own (this is conceivable in situations of transformation). This is why—besides all the other reasons mentioned above—it is so important for us to affirm Bordiga’s work on behalf of the radical break with democracy.17
His works serve as a historical reference point to prevent us from foundering in a lack of differentiation and in the evanescence in which the species currently finds itself in the West, where men and women no longer take their process of becoming and their powers of creation seriously;18 they worship at the altar of the ephemeral and self-contempt, since they are never equal to what is constantly proposed and repeatedly announced by advertising, as the discourse of capital becomes autonomous. They live because it is an immanent necessity that they cannot control. To do otherwise has always been rather difficult, and it would therefore be hard to blame them for this omission. The worst thing about this, however, is that they do not engage in reflection, but surrender to obliviousness….
We proclaim: we must irrevocably leave this world. Let us continue with our dialogue with Bordiga.
First, we are publishing a certain number of essential texts which were largely unknown, and then a series of quotations that serve to illustrate our claim concerning the importance attributed by Bordiga to the radical break.
It was also necessary to publish Bordiga’s texts on the theoretical evaluation of anarchosyndicalism (see, in particular, “Les fondements du communisme révolutionnaire”, Invariance, Series I, No. 3);19 there we will find another facet of the need to impose the radical break. Bordiga rejected the anarchosyndicalist current because it broke with proletarian internationalism by engaging in the glorification of the proletariat as producer, by obscuring the profound reality of capital (the production of surplus value) and by proclaiming the absolute primacy of action over theory. When it comes right down to it, while the anarchosyndicalists, and especially the Sorelians,20 rejected democracy, they also glorified the civilization of ancient Greece and Rome, which implied that they did not really make a clean break with democracy. Furthermore, Sorel, like Berthe, thought that the proletariat must save civilization (see the following works by Sorel: Reflections on Violence, Materials for a Theory of the Proletariat, From Aristotle to Marx, The Ruin of the Ancient World, The Decomposition of Marxism, On the Utility of Pragmatism).
Many fundamental elements of the anarchosyndicalist tradition would therefore play a role in the construction of the fascist program. This is why Bordiga had no illusions about anarchosyndicalism and correctly perceived the continuity between revisionism and anarchosyndicalism on the one hand, and fascism on the other. This explains why he would declare that fascism contributed nothing new with regard to theory, but that it was innovative on the practical level, on the level of organization.
Thus, fascism was at first constituted with the help of a distortion of Marxism, restricting the mission of the proletariat to the national framework: the proletariat must save the nation; in order to do so, it must no longer be the nullifier of capital and therefore of wage labor, but must instead be the true producer. In other words, the fascist program consisted in the attempt to obscure a reality, which implied the partial resolution of the problems posed by that reality.
Inevitably, however, sooner or later the total solution was realized but only with the elimination of those who violently opposed the established order. That is why the society of that time that was victorious over the revolutionary proletariat could write history in its own way and deny the determinant role of the revolutionary proletariat, both on the plane of the struggle as well as on that of theory.
We have said it thousands of times: the whole content of fascist theory, for almost a century, either consists of a by-product of Marxism, or is totally determined by Marxism, insofar as theoreticians are attempting above all to eliminate it, which by the way expresses the contemporary absence of autonomy and creativity.
The phenomenon of fascism must be considered as the product of an entire historical period in the West. For the theoretical content of the West—concerning which we shall conduct an in-depth examination in the future—was elaborated by theoreticians who held divergent positions, and were sometimes even members of opposed camps. We have spoken of anarchosyndicalists, and of revisionists, but we have also discussed Jaurès and other socialists; and we can add Marcel Mauss, Durkheim, Gabriel Tarde, etc.
When it comes right down to it, the fiasco of the proletarian revolution in 1871, the integration of the proletariat that has been underway at least since the turn of the century, and the blockade imposed on the revolutionary phenomenon in the Slavic regions after the war of 1914-1918, called for a different approach to the process of becoming of the species. Such an approach had to be conceived and implemented on every level: political, scientific, literary, artistic. Those who laid claim to the work of Marx were incapable of performing this task and were therefore also incapable of providing our times with the symbolic representations needed for an immense mass mobilization. Fascism was able to satisfy the immediate impulses of the masses with its shallow syncretism because it provided a new type of organization and called for effective action. But it also attracted intellectuals, who discovered in the initial fascist ideology, if not a comprehensive response to their concerns, at least a sympathetic echo. This is why a large proportion of the intellectuals of the late 1920s and 1930s flirted, with greater or lesser enthusiasm, with the fascist movement. And this is the clearest testimony of the superficiality of their reflections and their inability to really conceive of a different type of society. It is also an indication, however, of the fact that, when the theoretical capacity (and, one might very well add, the theoretical will) to understand the process of development that is taking place withers and dies, intellectuals from diverse backgrounds will take refuge in the exaltation of a past that might actually have been real at various moments in the evolution of the species, and in “mystical values” like blood, race, etc., because they evoke lost roots; at the same time that their sense of certainty disappears, they try to justify their claim to occupy a particular position in the social body (even at the expense of the community!).
More profoundly, this phenomenon is an indication of the domestication of the species, the confirmation of the fact that it has gone astray.
Existentialism, in the form that it assumed after the Second World War, participates in the two phenomena mentioned above. It expressed the victory of superficiality and impotence. Henceforth, the species—at least at that time in the West—was no longer capable of facing reality. Thus, the simultaneous exaltation of action and the revelation of the inefficacy of action. To flee from absurdity and to found a praxis, a theoretician like Sartre turned to the “revaluation” of Marxism. What we have here is a shoddy hodge-podge comparable to fascism.
Moreover, the current that set forth to “enrich” Marxism—in fact, to revise it, according to Bordiga—flirted with existentialism, as Bordiga pointed out. We are talking about “Socialisme ou Barbarie”,21 which would subsequently adopt yet another transformation of Marxism: structuralism.
This is why anti-democratism, anti-Americanism, etc., are not the exclusive property of the extreme right. This calls for an explanation of the work of theoreticians who, like Bordiga, have championed these positions more effectively than anyone else. This is all the more necessary now that, as we pointed out above with respect to the new revisionism, various elements are trying to use certain aspects of the theoretical contributions of the Italian communist left to support a perspective that remains completely within the democratic framework. And, by doing so, they are undertaking an immense project of reduction that makes a total homogenization possible.
Ultimately, all those who have really proposed to establish a new praxis—whether or not they are recognized by posterity—have had a great hermeneutic preoccupation; that is, they have been constantly occupied with establishing the radical break they advocated in order to make it more precise, to clarify it and to clearly distinguish it from all interpretations that threatened to erase its radicality; at the same time, they consistently upheld a given tradition. That is why Bordiga often speaks of the sacred texts of communism, but it also explains how he was able to avoid the various democratic pitfalls into which the theoreticians who sought to revise Marxism have fallen.
After the selection of quotations concerning fascism and the Second World War, and the impossibility of both a Third World War in the near future, and a communist revolution, we provide a few quotations on the evolution of the USSR after the 20th Congress and Khrushchev’s reforms, to show that Bordiga was not mistaken on the famous question of State Capitalism and everything it entails.
As for Stalinism, we must note that it amounts in part to a vast reduction of Marxism; it is the theory of socialism in one country. Like fascism, it is an expression of the shift from the international to the national arena, and this insofar as it involves a mission of the proletariat, since otherwise there would be an immense gulf separating the two ideologies.
Returning to Bordiga, we should point out that the confession of the non-socialist nature of the USSR, which he considered inevitable, is first being expressed not in Party congresses, but in newspaper articles. Thus, in Le Monde (August 30, 1988), it is reported (see “Les avatars du socialisme soviétique”) that Yuri Afanassiev, the Director of the Institute of History, wrote a letter published in Pravda in which he declares: “I do not consider the society created in our country to be socialist. It is not even a ‘reformed’ socialism.” And it seems that a certain number of adepts of the measures implemented by Gorbachev would agree with this characterization of Soviet society.
Finally, we are publishing excerpts from a long article, “La détente, aspect récent de la crise capitaliste”—written not by Bordiga but by Fabbroccino—which constitutes a more detailed exposition, especially on the historical level, of certain positions Bordiga expressed in the above-mentioned quotations. We will also point out that this comrade broke with Bordiga in 1960, accusing him of not wanting to get involved in immediate struggles and of being content to engage in theoretical work without concerning himself with the misery of the proletarians (see his article, “La modestie révolutionnaire”).
“We are beginning to understand that the Earth
Is the place of life, rather than of judgment.”
“Who knows if, for the terrestrial globe, which is also an animated being,
of which the zoological study is so far from being completed, who knows
if humanity is not its brain-matter?”
The idea of restating Bordiga’s positions (especially with respect to the recent events in the USSR), and the choice of articles and quotations, are the work of François Bochet, without whom this pamphlet would never have been written.
Translated into English in October-November 2017 from the Spanish translation, “Diálogo con Bordiga”.
Spanish translation by Colectivo Germinal of the original French text, “Dialogue avec Bordiga”.
Source of the Spanish translation: http://colectivogerminal.org/2017/07/06/jacques-camatte-dialogo-bordiga-1988/ (first posted on the website of Colectivo Germinal on July 6, 2017).
The original text in French is available online at: http://revueinvariance.pagesperso-orange.fr/dialogue88.html.
- 1 This essay is an introduction to a pamphlet containing a selection of quotations, passages and articles from Bordiga’s works [American translator's note].
- 2 Bordiga’s original title was “Tempo di abiuratori di scismi” (Il programma comunista, No. 22, 1965); this text has yet to be translated into Spanish [Note of the Spanish translators]. [In English, the title could be translated as “The Time of the Repudiators of Radical Breaks”—American translator’s supplemental note.]
- 3 See Jacques Camatte, “Bordiga et la passion du communisme” (Bordiga and the Passion for Communism), originally published by Spartacus in 1972 as the Introduction to a book with the same title; available in English translation at: https://libcom.org/library/bordiga-passion-communism-jacques-camatte [American translator’s note].
- 4 Scisma in Italian [American translator’s note].
- 5 We will attempt to provide an explanation for this phenomenon in “Gloses en marge d’une réalité V”.
- 6 We have already addressed this question in “Évanescence du mythe anti-fasciste” in Invariance, Series IV, Special Issue, September 1986.
- 7 We previously examined these points in Invariance, Series I, No. 6: “La Gauche Communiste d’Italie après la guerre”. For the “Thèses de la Gauche”, see Invariance, Series I, No. 9.
- 8 Bordiga’s perspective on this issue is expressed in a large number of articles.
- 9 See “Le KAPD et le mouvement prolétarien”, Invariance, Series II, republished in the Special Issue of September 1987 [translated into Spanish by Colectivo Germinal].
- 10 “The whole of the European agricultural system is being beaten by American competition” [“The Mark”, 1892]. We previously referred to this text in Note 10 of the text, “La révolution russe et la théorie du prolétariat”, the Introduction to Amadeo Bordiga, Russie et révolution dans la théorie marxiste, Spartacus. We have also commented on the fact that some Russian populists had already noted this aggression of the US against Europe.
- 11 “Thus, the whole policy of the American bourgeois State between the wars was a continuous and direct preparation for an expansionist struggle at the expense of Europe”, “Sul filo del tempi”, Battaglia comunista, No. 4, 1949.
- 12 See “Gloses en marge d’une réalité V”. [Asiropa is a Camattian neologism referring to the conjoined continents of Asia and Europe, also known as Eurasia—Note of the Spanish translators.]
- 13 An ultra-left bookstore and collective operated by Pierre Guillaume, formerly a member of Socialisme ou Barbarie (see Note 20) and Pouvoir Ouvrière (its members also included such militants, among others, as Castoriadis, Lefort, Lyotard, Soury…). Militants such as Jacques Baynac, Françoise Martin, Gilles Dauvé (also known by his pseudonym, Jean Barrot), and Denis Authier participated in the collective…. In the late 1970s its leading figure, Pierre Guillaume, would obsessively drift towards “revisionist” positions on Nazism, which would lead to a split with other members of the collective such as Gilles Dauvé. The latter’s views on these developments may be consulted in “Le roman des nos origines” (http://www.lchr.org/a/41/kf/romtit.htm) [Note of the Spanish translators]. [An English translation of Dauvé’s text, entitled “Re-collecting our Past”, is available online at: https://libcom.org/library/re-collecting-our-past-la-banquise (American translator’s supplementary note.]
- 14 Having said this, we do not reject the contributions of Rassinier, Faurisson or Guillaume. For us, as we have said thousands of times, questioning the ideology that justified the Second World War, and therefore denouncing the propaganda of the Allies concerning the Jewish “holocaust”, basically goes without saying and cannot be a subject of dispute. The main thing—which is not found in the works of the authors cited above—is to try to understand why we have witnessed such a powerful resurgence of this nauseating ideology with its timid questioning and, certainly, to the degree that the West really integrates its recent history, to that same degree will it use the existential myth that replaces the various founding representations absorbed by capital.
A great deal can also be said concerning the manipulation of history that westerners think of as a Soviet monopoly. In fact, the biggest manipulators and experts in propaganda are the British (even if they still are, the Americans are very good students). This is why it seems completely natural to us that it should have been an Englishman, George Orwell, who wrote 1984. In this work he restricted himself to revealing the mechanisms used by his countrymen during the Second World War. It was not a prophesy of the future. The author was quite aware of this fact; at first he wanted the title of the book to be 1948.
- 15 The Situationist International was for the most part a French communist collective that was formed in 1957 and was situated on the councilist terrain. With its intention to dissolve the separation between everyday life, art and politics, its theoretical production had a great resonance in May ’68. Its most well-known member was Guy Debord, author of The Society of the Spectacle. The pro-situs are people from subsequent generations who, without belonging to the Situationist International—which dissolved in 1972—considered themselves to be its heirs [Note of the Spanish translators].
- 16 Concerning the integration of the contribution of isolated currents or individuals situated outside of the proletarian current, see “Discontinuité et inmédiatisme”, Invariance, Series III, Special Issue, July 1979.
- 17 More and more of Bordiga’s works are being published and translated. However, their authorship is often erroneously attributed. Thus, the article, “La structure organique du parti est l’autre face de son unité de doctrine et de programme” was not written by Bordiga, but by Domenico Ferla. In Bordiga et la passion du communisme, published by Spartacus, we provided a list of the meetings of the movement of the Italian communist left, but we did not rigorously indicate which of their resolutions and documents were written by Bordiga. It will be of interest to do so some time in the future. This concerns the later meetings, because the earlier ones were entirely presided over by Bordiga and their official resolutions and position papers were also written by him. For now, we will merely note the following: the meeting of Florence III, June 1958—“Class Struggles and States in the World of the Non-White Peoples, the Vital Historical Field for the Revolutionary Marxist Critique”—is composed of three parts, of which the second was not written by Bordiga.
- 18 This is the final expression of a long historical phase. With the autonomization-exaltation of the power of creation, the capitalist mode of production began to take off in the 16th century, which underwent an extraordinary artistic flowering, often linked to science, and witnessed the glorification of the engineer and, on the plane of philosophy, the postulate that man is a being who creates himself (see the Italian philosophers, especially Pico della Mirandola, or the French, such as Charles de Bouelles). We discuss this question in the chapter, “Réactions au devenir hors nature” in Émergence de Homo Gemeinwesen. In other words, what we are talking about here is the dissolution of an important presupposition for capital.
- 19 A Spanish translation has been published by Ediciones El Comunista [Note of the Spanish translators]. For an English translation, see: https://libcom.org/library/fundamentals-revolutionary-communism-amadeo-bordiga [American translator’s note].
- 20 The followers of Georges Sorel (1847-1922), the French theoretical founder of revolutionary syndicalism, which served as the basis for anarchosyndicalism. Sorel rejected Marxist theory because he considered that it was not scientifically valid, but was only of value for the redemptive moral role that it attributed to the proletariat, which is why his work was of interest to Antonio Gramsci, who referred to Sorel in several of his writings [Note of the Spanish translators].
- 21 A French Marxist collective, with its journal of the same name, that existed between 1948 and 1965, whose leading figures were Cornelius Castoriadis and Claude Lefort, and whose members also included such different thinkers as Guy Debord (see Note 14 above), Jean-François Lyotard and Henri Simon. It devoted most of its theoretical work to an examination of the nature of the USSR, which led it to articulate the theory of bureaucratic collectivism and to claim that the USSR had generated a new class, the bureaucracy, which replaced the bourgeoisie as the ruling social class [Note of the Spanish translators].