Introduction to Blaumachen

German auto worker lies down on the job

Article introducing the politics of Greek communist group, Blaumachen.

Submitted by Ed on February 8, 2009

The political group Blaumachen came into being in Thessaloniki in June of 2005. The word "blaumachen" is one of the traces proletarian struggles have left on the German language and its meaning has been established as: swing the lead. Those involved in this project have participated in various social struggles together and from January of 2004 in Tristero collective. The necessity of overthrowing capitalist society led us beyond Tristero.

As subjects faced with the objective reality of capitalism, we begin with the presupposition that today labour, value and profit are the essential determinants of life. We claim that capital, far from being a thing, is a social relation and we believe that only by understanding reality in class terms can we practically contribute to the social struggles. Theory, as a concrete critique of the totality of the capitalist world, is a weapon in our struggle against capital and it is practical to the extent that we claim that the only practical solution to our problems is overthrowing capital.

Capital is the contemporary form of class domination. It's a contradictory social relation, and this is expressed in its periodic crises. We understand crisis as a result of the proletarian struggles. But apart from rupture, crisis is the chance for capital to restructure itself. Capital draws solutions out of these same struggles, since the latter haven't gone beyond their limits. Class struggle is the driving force of history and it constantly transforms capital. Proletarian reality is a contradictory one. On the one hand, we are just material to be exploited, while on the other we constitute the potential negation of the world of capital, the revolutionary class.

Capitalism is a transitory form of social relations, which will be abolished. The proletarian revolution, the subjective power of the class, will be the abolition of the proletariat itself, the storming at heaven.
Communism is the revolutionary movement of the proletariat towards the overthrowing of capital. Communism is an incessant movement towards the transcending of all the limits of our struggles and the abolition of every division among us. Communism is not a fair economic organization of society; it is relations and actions bearing the tendency towards human community. In this sense, we call ourselves communists.

Blaumachen… a brief history of the word
“Blue Monday” (Blauer Montag) stands for “Monday holiday” in German. Traditionally, working “with only half strength” or not working at all on Mondays was a habit in a lot of small enterprises and guilds. The origin of this habit and the word blaumachen as well (“make blue” and later “swing the lead”) lies back on the peculiar process of dying textiles in dyers’ guilds in central Europe.

Until synthetic colour was invented, choosing clothes’ colour had been rather a question of money than liking. Blue, as opposed to other colours such as deep red, could be easily produced. Textiles were dyed with the use of indigo’s leaves. The process of producing blue colour demanded the weather to be warm for about two weeks. As for the equipment, only a tube was necessary which should remain under the sun. Indigo’s leaves were covered by a chemically peculiar liquid…it demanded fresh human urea. The mixture of urea and indigo was fermented under the sun; alcohol was produced and the pigment was released from the leaves. The chemical process was unknown during the middle ages, but the colour producers knew that adding alcohol into the mixture would result in a greater proportion of the pigment. Nevertheless, alcohol wasn’t directly added into the mixture, because of the risk the colour would become more expensive. It was added in a different way: old recipes mentioned that the colour would become extremely good by the use of men’s urine; men who had consumed large quantities of alcohol.

Yet even this wasn’t enough for the production of the blue - the lousy colour of the mixture was still there. For the blue to be released the materials had to dry under the sun. The apprentices had nothing to do apart from stirring carefully the mixture during the whole day, adding more urine whenever evaporated and above all adding alcohol; for, the better the quality of the mixture the greater the production of the pigment and the more lively the colour.

Although stinky, the production of the blue was a pleasurable procedure. The producers worked breathing fresh air and drinking a lot of alcohol. Thus, when the workers and their friends, after the weekends’ drinking, lay in the sun on Mondays waiting for the result, they were all “blue” and “made blue”.