Online archive of Sic, a journal about communisation produced jointly by Endnotes in the UK/US, Blaumachen in Greece, Théorie Communiste in France, Riff-Raff in Sweden, and certain more or less informal theoretical groups in the US (New York and San Francisco) and various individuals in France, Germany and elsewhere.
Sic is an international communist discussion group and publishing project born in 2009 in a period of excitement in the wake of a global financial crisis and an international wave of riots, movements and revolutions. The founders of Sic were already involved in other journals – Théorie Communiste in France (who left the project in August 2013), the Anglophone Endnotes, (the now defunct) Blaumachen in Greece, Riff-Raff in Sweden – and the earlier international journal Meeting, appearing in four issues in French between September 2004 and June 2008. Since 2009, other individuals and groups from the Czech Republic (Přátelé komunizace), the US, Switzerland, Greece and Spain have joined. The members participate as individuals with their different backgrounds.
Sic is grounded upon an assessment that Théorie Communiste made at the end of the 1970s: the crises of the workers’ movements and the concomitant restructuring of the capitalist class relation have issued in a situation where there is no longer a recognised worker’s identity to be turned against capital. This look in the rear-view mirror casts a new light on the present. Globally, struggles over wages and conditions no longer play a systemically integrated and integrative role within capitalist accumulation. Gone are the days of a ‘régime of accumulation’ based on a de facto class compact, or on the collective bargain between productive capital and dominant strata of the working class in the centres of accumulation, with real wage increases traded off against ‘productivity’ increases. Instead, struggles for the defence of the proletarian condition – for the proletariat to reproduce itself as proletariat – are ruled out of bounds or ‘illegitimate’ by capital. It is the impossibility for proletarians to affirm themselves as what they are within this society, as well as the new forms of women’s struggles and struggles over ‘race’ (or against racialisation) that have developed since the 1960s, that makes the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ and the ‘period of transition’ obsolete today. But unlike the hegemonic theoretical tendencies of these past decades, we do not conclude from this historical assessment that we must or could abandon the concept of capital as an objective social relation of exploitation; nor does our depressing present lead us to dream about a revolutionary working class that must wake up from its slumber, or ‘realise its power’. Rather, faced with the impossibility of the defence of the proletarian condition in the struggle against capital, proletarians are compelled to call into question the class relation itself. The revolutionary horizon has thus been transformed. In a society where the conditions of the production of surplus-value and the reproduction of these conditions coincide, capital cannot be abolished for communism but only by communism, or more specifically, by its production. Communisation is not a period of transition, but rather, revolution itself is the production of communism.
This common ground comes with a shared approach, which is to consider actual struggles, whether or not we are directly engaged in them. The horizon of communisation is given in the conflicting internal tendencies of actual struggles for the defence of the proletarian condition, or as a result of the internal distancing produced within these struggles, whether these take the form of ephemeral, limited bursts of riots, self-management, self-organisation, etc. Any revolutionary dynamic engendered by the configuration of the class relation and the determinate character of class antagonism in the current period will be given in the fact that the objective limits to the defence of the proletarian condition – limits imposed by the new configuration of the class relation – can only be overcome, within struggles themselves, through communising measures which dissolve all objective categories of the capitalist economy and thus the class relation itself. Through such a revolutionary dynamic, these objective limits will constrain the proletariat to adopt communising measures as a practical necessity of struggle. This horizon of communisation allows us to elaborate practical notions, i.e. abstractions for an understanding of actual struggles, as well as for a scrutinising of the categories at play in our discussions. To say Sic, ‘that’s how it is’, is not to record struggles, but to engage critically and to form a general picture.
Sic is made up of all kinds of discussions, texts or other forms that can be broadly situated within this common ground: everything can be brought to the discussion table, the only requirement is to link the topics raised back to this common ground. If you want to join Sic, then contribute with something to our discussions or our publishing project by sending it to info [at] sicjournal [dot] org.
Minister of Sic
Minister of Sic
GerryK wrote: Minister of
As is typical with Samotnaf, a bunch of that article is untrue smears, however it is true that Woland has stopped his association with the ultra left and is now an official (although not a minister) in the Syriza government.
Which parts are smears?
Which parts are smears?
Spassmaschine wrote: Which
I see that the article has now been edited to include responses which correct some of his what you could generously call "errors" in his initial piece.
But the title is inaccurate, calling him a "minister", decrying the "silence" on the issue from Blaumachen, which basically hasn't existed in nearly a year, he claimed TC organised meetings on Syriza, which they didn't and claimed a member of Blaumachen spoke at them, which they didn't. Then he tries to somehow tie the selling out of one member to the politics of the groups, which is petty and ridiculous. People from all elements of the political spectrum change their views, but that doesn't mean that the previous political perspective was invalid in some way (even though politics-wise I'm more of a fan of TPTG than Blaumachen, although Blaumachen had an excellent name)
Samotnaf apologises for his error in his later response, which he blames on being "impatient". However checking your facts isn't "impatience", it's a basic thing you need to do before writing something: particularly if it's something where you are making allegations about and attacking comrades.
Which of course is something which there has been previous form about.
This post has been removed
This post has been removed because it did abide by our site's standards -admin
admin: Samotnaf temporarily
admin: Samotnaf temporarily banned while we investigate a comment which we have unpublished
Samotnaf has sent me this via
Samotnaf has sent me this via a PM and over the phone he said I could send it here if I felt like it. So here it is:
Just seen this bit about my article, and Steven's deceitful comments.
1. Steven writes " the title is inaccurate, calling him a "minister"
He is a minister - a junior minister.
2. He says: " decrying the "silence" on the issue from Blaumachen, which basically hasn't existed in nearly a year" The silence decried is that of Sic, not specifically Blaumachen.
3. He says "claimed TC organised meetings on Syriza, which they didn't and claimed a member of Blaumachen spoke at them, which they didn't" It's true I claimed TC organised the meetings, and when I recognised my mistake I publicly admitted it. It was based on the fact that it was advertised on a TC site, the only site I had seen (up till then) in which the ad for the meetings appeared. But it is definitely not true that an ex- member of Blaumachen did not present the meeting. He'd been a member for several years up until its dissolution, a dissolution which was not made public until after the publication of my text. This was originally put up on the ads for the meeting but was taken down after an email from the TPTG sent 3 or 4 days before the meeting. The fact that either the organisers lied or they were misinformed by Andreas, the former Blaumachen member, is not something I can possibly know about.
4. As for his " he tries to somehow tie the selling out of one member to the politics of the groups, which is petty and ridiculous. People from all elements of the political spectrum change their views, but that doesn't mean that the previous political perspective was invalid in some way" The guy from Blaumachen and others round it had at the beginning of this year been planning to write a book on the state with Woland but shelved it when he became a minister. He had had very close relations with Syriza since 2012, yet this was of no interest to his fellow Blaumachen members nor the people round Sic, who published an article by him in Sic 2 which came out in Februrary 2014. "Petty and ridiculous" ? You decide.
5. Steven writes: "Samotnaf apologises for his error in his later response, which he blames on being "impatient". However checking your facts isn't "impatience", it's a basic thing you need to do before writing something: particularly if it's something where you are making allegations about and attacking comrades."
The only thing I apologise for is the fact that I claimed TC organised the meeting. Steven, however, has yet to apologise for the complete and utter distortion of his post - "Which of course is something which there has been previous form about"
What? You banned him, for
What? You banned him, for exposing this? Surely, whatever his "administrative" mistakes-- minister, junior minister, official, whatever, the exposure is critical to the development of some sort of movement independent of Syriza?
The question is-- support for Syriza, yes or no? Do you push for Syriza to submit every action it contemplates to the parliament, and then agitate for a vote against Syriza's commitment to paying the IMF, to honoring the debt?
Hey, not for nothing, but if you're banning Samotnaf for bring this to light when almost everybody else has sealed his/her lips, all I can say is "fuck you"-- you've made a big mistake and it's you who should be banned. Or something.
This sounds, unfortunately, and with greater, far greater consequences, like the Aufheben horseshit, where it appears that advising the police was just so much realpolitik.
S. Artesian wrote: What? You
No, of course not and we have never done anything even vaguely like that. We didn't even ban him after he breached our posting guidelines in one way, then another, then asked us to ban him.
Samotnaf posted a comment pretending that admins censored his comment. So he has been temporarily banned for faking censorship of his posts by the admins, while we decide collectively what to do about this flagrant and dishonest use of our forums.
maybe you should have a look at our Syriza archive to get pretty clear answer to this?
Spoiler alert: it's a massive "no". I even said, above, that politically I agree more with TPTG than Blaumachen. However that doesn't mean I think that dishonesty, smears, personal attacks and outright lies are a helpful contribution to the workers' movement. What do you disagree?
What 'outright lies' has
What 'outright lies' has Samotnaf told?
In his article on 'Aufhebengate' I recall him making the point that 'small acorns of self-recuperation grow into mighty oaks of counter-revolution'... seems rather prophetic, unfortunately.
Steven. wrote: However that
Dishonesty, smears, attacks and lies aren't helpful. But where's your evidence of these? The postscripts by TPTG, Samotnaf etc to the Minister for SIC article, which clarify most of the issues you later object to, were added on 16/4/15, only a couple of days after the text was first published, and over 2 weeks before you claimed on May 1 that the article contained "untrue smears" (as opposed to what, 'true' smears?). You say:
But this applies equally to yourself. In your eagerness to label Samotnaf a dishonest smearer, you are ignoring the substantive content of the linked document and engaging in smears yourself. How is this a helpful contribution to the ‘worker’s movement’?
Of course it is possible that Woland simply woke up one day and fell into the position of Secretary-General of a government ministry. But is this likely? Woland was the most prolific theorist in Blaumachen (at least of those texts circulated in English). How does one go from total opposition to the state, to becoming a high-level state functionary? Are we to take it that there is no relationship between the theory one produces, that one can easily on the one hand theorise the need for a total opposition to existing society, and on the other hand lead workshops for the cops and military or build a career as a high-level bureaucrat? Or is it more complex than that, is there a relationship to what we write and think, and how we act? Do our lives, the actual material situations we inhabit, not influence the things we write? And do the things we write and think allow us to justify the weird double-existences we inhabit? If our wage work (for those of us ‘lucky’ enough to have it) is not up for debate, how can we be sure it has no reflection in our theoretical activity? If it is taken as given that everyone here is against SYRIZA, then surely trying to understanding SYRIZA’s recuperation of the movements of the squares is essential. The point is not to dismiss everything that BM, Aufheben or whoever have produced, but to scrutinise it, to see how these Jekyll-Hyde moments come to be, and maybe, learn something from it to stop future movements being so easily recuperated? I write this as someone with a lot of time for much of the stuff coming out of the ‘communising current’ in general, and Woland/BM’s ‘era of riots’ theory in particular. I don’t see anything petty or ridiculous about trying to examine relationships between the ‘politics’ of these groups and the activities of their participants. Communist theory is after all the ruthless criticism of everything existing.
I think this is the crucial point to the various texts by Samotnaf, TPTG, Wildcat and others around ‘Aufhebengate’ and ‘Wolandgate’ – not to merely slag-off JD or Woland, but to draw attention to the relationship between profession and movement; to examine the role such people play in the capitalist division of labour, the costs they pay for a professional career. Slurs, and refusals to engage with the substance of these arguments, are not helpful contributions at all.
Meanwhile, some of the
Meanwhile, some of the participants in Woland's anti-state reading group have put together a statement on the Woland Affair:
(English translation is halfway down)
Samotnaf wrote: This post has
Samotnaf posted the above comment (now republished), falsely stating that admins had edited out the content of his post due to 'standards'. This was not true, so we unpublished the post, and have temporarily banned him while we discuss it.
07/05/15: edited to add we have now un-banned Samotnaf, but this is a final warning. Faking admin posts is completely dishonest and unacceptable.
Spassmaschine has brought
Spassmaschine has brought some sense back into this discussion. Admin's may have been technically correct in their action but best not to inject comments here based on past personalised attacks around the 'Aufhebengate' affair that readers can still find on this site if they wish.
Steven wrote: Quote: the
I quoted Samotnaf as saying:
Steven has yet to answer a single one of these points. Why?
GerryK wrote: Steven has yet
TBH I've had better things to do, then I forgot about it. But I'll give it a go now
On this, I personally I'm not sure. Samotnaf says he is a minister, I e-mailed Blaumachen (former members) and Endnotes asking for their view on it when I first saw the piece, and Blaumachen said he is not a minister. I tried googling it but all I could find was that he is a general secretary in a ministry. So perhaps someone who knows more about the Greek government could clarify.
That is clearly untrue: he is very clear in his article he is attacking both. This is what he said:
And if that wasn't enough he then says it again:
On this I can't say I know for a fact either way. Blaumachen told me he wasn't a member, Samotnaf says he was.
Personally I'm aware of Samotnaf being dishonest in attacking people, whereas I have no knowledge of Blaumachen being dishonest, so I would think it more likely they were telling the truth. But if anyone knows for sure please say.
What is it Samotnaf thinks I have distorted? I've quoted from the original article, making it clear Samotnaf is now trying to say he wasn't saying something he clearly said twice!
Well I don't really want to open this can of worms again as there was lots of discussion at the time but in his Copout article he said that JD was a co-author of the Chaos Theory article with Clifford Stott. Which is not true. (Yes we know that he agreed to be named as a co-author to meet his publishing targets as the authors of the article used his research, however this is not the same thing, and he acknowledged this was a mistake and completely rejects the article. Which of course was a completely stupid thing to do but it doesn't make what Samotnaf said true.
And above Samotnaf has tried to pretend we censored one of his comments. Which is completely dishonest.
I read the article on the day it came out. When I saw it linked to again I didn't click on it to re-read it, so I wasn't aware it had been added to.
what "smears" have I engaged in?
As Spikymike comments, this is a good and valid question.
Personally I too find the politics of the communisation current overall to be abstract and almost millenarian in outlook, and not of much practical use.
Serious discussion of this, and the conflicting roles of radicals who work for the state or academia is certainly worth having. But exaggeration, point scoring and dishonesty are entirely unhelpful.
Not wanting to dull the
Not wanting to dull the intellectual rigour of this conversation but I find it absolutely hilarious that in all the discussion, no ones's yet bat an eyelid that Samotnaf has just blatantly lied about us censoring his posts, going so far as to fake an admin comment to make it look like we had!
S. Artesian is probably the funniest example with his rapid insinuation that libcom is censoring people in a bid to support Syriza (what the actual fuck?!) before quickly disappearing but even Spikymike and Spassmaschine, who actually steer the convo towards something more constructive, seem to ignore it, as if it's completely normal to write fake posts to undermine radicals you don't like.
I also think it'd be useful to stop all this "Samotnaf said this", "no, he said that" (and for GerryK to stop playing the role of his messanger boy). He's a registered user on this website and can post himself what he wants to say. I think it's absurd that he continues to play the martyr while asking us to ban him and pretending we're deleting his posts.
To say that someone who was
To say that someone who was knowingly named as co-author of a work was a co-author is hardly a “smear” – one can split hairs about the actual meaning of having yourself named as co-author if you want. But Dr J has since willingly co-authored with Stott anyway - so "this can of worms" has never really closed. Dr J is still happy to collaborate, co-publish and be publicly associated with Dr Stott, who continues to work closely with police on refining their practice. Eg, it was Stott who conceived and oversaw the introduction of the ‘police liaison officers’ who harass demonstrators and activists and who were initially trialled in Brighton; http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/sep/04/sussex-police-criticised-harassment-protester-liaison
Dr J’s name also appears on several other works as co-author with Stott.
The police seem to know the value of Stott & co’s work even if apologists try to downplay it;
Quote: Steven has yet to
I think that is obvious. 'Who are the libcom group?' - bureaucrats, academics, celebrity-siblings, journalists, IT professionals, doctors... Of course, they dress it up in the language of class struggle. Bureaucrats become 'council workers', professors become 'education workers'. But it is clear they defend Syriza because they know - perhaps only in their unconscious, though we see it too clearly - that when the time comes they too will be the ministers of austerity, spouting mealy mouthed lies about 'objective conditions'.
I didn't disappear, anymore
I didn't disappear, anymore than Steve "wouldn't answer a single one of these points." I too had more important things to do.
The point I raised about Syriza was not in direct relation to "Libcom's position." I don't think this is anything other than what it is-- a listserv. The point was raised because it seemed to me that charges were being raised against Samotnaf that were really petty, and deflecting, obscuring the main, and only real point.
Now, as Hudson said in Aliens, maybe I haven't been keeping up on current events... [but I have], and please stop me if I'm wrong, but the "skinny" on this sound and fury is that, advertised on a website of a group, or association, or something that is generally considered communist, small c, and anti-Leninist, anti-Stalinist, anti-collaborationist, was a meeting, talk,so-called assessment of the situation in Greece by a current collaborator with the Syriza government who was NOT identified as such; and this current collaborator was a former participant in one or more "left communist" formations who had yet to be identified and repudiated for what he was and what he had become.
Samotnaf exposed this. Good for him. And good for us. That's the point of saying the issue is acceptance, tolerance of, participation in the charade of Syriza as anything other than a mechanism for suppressing class struggle. That's the point, the only point that really matters in this discussion.
You want to make a big thing about Samotnaf "posing" as the Libcom admins? Don't you get the joke? WTF was Woland doing but posing as what he wasn't in order to perform his act of self-aggrandizement.
PS. As for Steve's responses: now he's not sure about this, he's not sure about that etc.etc. Earlier however he was sure enough to charge Samotnaf with lying, smearing etc.etc.
Quote: Bureaucrats become
While Aufhebengate for sure didn't reflect well on the libcom group, I am sorry, whatever the fuck their professions/jobs are don't matter one bit. That's you working clarseness speaking as if being working class is an identity. And the libcom group has never defended Syriza, quite the opposite.
So why lie? Whatever good critiques you may have, supported by evidence even will just make it so much harder to trust.
Define bureaucrat please. If it's anyone who works for the state, then I'm a bureaucrat. But so are 7 million other people in the UK, and a few hundred million globally, so it makes the term entirely meaningless.
None of us is an academic, the celebrity sibling comment is a joke, and what on earth is wrong with working in IT or being a doctor? Who do you go to when you're ill, or who do you call when your internet's down?
And please find one comment or article where any of us have ever defended Syriza? You may want to have a look through our Syriza archive to help with your research: http://libcom.org/tags/syriza
Quote: None of us is an
It is throwing middle class professional shit on the wall to see what sticks. Yet again revealing the shallow identity politics of the poster; at best the poster just have hangups since the 1950s. The professor comment really seals it though; it is typical of the identity crowd to shit on anyone in academia (weirdly reflecting the general hate society have for the freeloading teachers, what with their months long summer vacation) not realizing that the majority of professors are that in title only, many, like in the US, being paid maybe $1000 per course per term at the maybe 6 different colleges they have managed, against the odds, to get a course to teach. And to top it off, it is in some places impossible to find teaching gigs during the summer; and you can't get a job as a barista unless you lie about your education. But hey, at least we get a "summer break" so all is peachy. But nope, that is not good enough for this crowd: real communists work in factories and get their hands dirty!
Cue the responses about the "ideological function" of teachers...
I emphasise "it did abide by our site's standards ".
Since removing a post for abiding by the site's standards doesn't make sense, it must surely be a joke. It may not be funny, but banning someone temporaraily for making an unfunny joke and then reinstating them but warning them they will be banned permanently if they repeat the offense should mean that everyone from libcom admin and half the posters get temporarily banned and then warned if they make an unfunny joke again that they will be permanently banned. Perhaps the standards of this site should include: "Anyone making a "gag" that doesn't make us laugh will get a gag". Maybe I should be gagged for making that one. Maybe. But anyway libcom admin should certainly be banned because they're a bad joke and no-one's laughing.
They all come out of the
They all come out of the woodwork; seriously dudes it's been years. You guys really are starting to be like the Alex Jones crowd. but just sad rather than funny.
Khawaga wrote: It is
yeah, good points. I wouldn't have any issues with any of the libcom group becoming academics as such, but the fact is none of us actually are
well, if people believe it to
well, if people believe it to be true and also believe it to be true that academics are for some reason the bastion of ideological purity for bourgeois society (not completely wrong on that assertion), then the libcom group are death camp guards. Then it doesn't matter what your jobs really are.
Spycatcher's post is obvious
Spycatcher's post is obvious bullshit and trolling.
The issues are what they always were: was somebody "posing" as a left communist in fact acting, assisting, aiding, the bourgeoisie "manage" "suppress" "deflect" class struggle, and was that person exposed?
Steven wrote: Well I don't
Then why’d you think he would carry on being named as co-author in works equally as damning from any radical perspective? The blurb from his 2013 book co-edited with Stott makes clear how the theory and its conclusions are equally applicable to and overlap across both public order and mass emergencies;
This also makes clear the application of their theories in multiple situations;
Red Marriott wrote: Steven
I'm not defending him, I've never even met him and I've not read any articles he's written. I'm just saying a fact, that he didn't write Chaos Theory