Appeal to sympathisers of the communist left (Australia)

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nastyned
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Apr 24 2010 22:19
Devrim wrote:
waslax wrote:
Absolutely council communism is a part of left communism. Only sectarians would deny it.

Yes, I agree.

Then why did they abandon the term left communism and adopt the term council communism?

Skraeling
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Apr 24 2010 23:54
Devrim wrote:
Skraeling wrote:
i think there were a few councilist groups in australia in the 1970s that were basically copies of the british group solidarity.

I am not sure that the groups in the Castoriadis tradition were councilists though. I think that council communist means a bit more than communists who were in favour of councils.

Does that make me a sectarian?

I don't think it means that I am writing off these people all together, and it is interesting in itself, but I wouldn't really call them council communists.

on what grounds are groups in the Castoriadis tradition not councilists (esp. in their earlier years)? do you mean that you think they were not council communists?

Bourrinet in his book claims that SouB, Solidarity etc were not council communists, but councilists, which to him seems to represent an anarchist degeneration of council communism. (i've only read his later non-ICC version tho). sidestepping his degeneration claim, it seems to me that groups that propose that workers' councils would be the centrepiece of a new society can be called councilist. whether they are council communist, as in inheritors of the dutch/german tradition, is very debateable, i agree.

and to Tim B and Andy, thanks very much for your info. very exciting in fact. as you can see, i'm ignorant of the SMG and Australian councilism/libertarian communism/libertarian socialism/whatever label you wanna call it. so great to be pulled up on all that stuff, all i had read was gleaned from Takver's radical tradition website.

Tim B: fantastic to hear you are doing primary research into SMG. great to fill that particular gap in australian history. i didn't know the SMG was so large. i'd be interested in many things about the SMG eg. since they had a student base, their relationship with class struggle (and if they considered student struggle and activism as part of class struggle). i'll email you some of my queries.

I've done a fair bit of research into their NZ equivalents, but they were much, much smaller and ephmeral and in the end more situationist. also pretty much completely inneffective. also not so student based, more lumpen actually. happy to share my research with you, will email soon.

ps/ sorry to derail this thread some more, opening up the definitional can of worms... hope the ICAN thing goes well.

Skraeling
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Apr 25 2010 00:05

oops, under my definition of councilism above, it could mean anything. i mean, many trots could be called councilists. so i better go think about that some more...obviously yes councilism means more than councils!

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@ndy
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Apr 25 2010 06:48

Inre 'councilism', I reckon Gombin's accounts are useful.

http://libcom.org/library/origins-modern-leftism-gombin
http://libcom.org/library/radical-tradition-gombin

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Devrim
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Apr 25 2010 10:51
nastyned wrote:
Then why did they abandon the term left communism and adopt the term council communism?

In the twenties the German left used both interchangeably.

Devrim

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Devrim
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Apr 25 2010 10:54
Skraeling wrote:
on what grounds are groups in the Castoriadis tradition not councilists (esp. in their earlier years)? do you mean that you think they were not council communists?

I think that you answered your own question:

Skraeling wrote:
oops, under my definition of councilism above, it could mean anything. i mean, many trots could be called councilists. so i better go think about that some more...obviously yes councilism means more than councils!

On a basic point, the council communists saw themselves as Marxists, whereas Castoriadis empathetically rejected Marxism.

Devrim

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Devrim
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Apr 25 2010 11:00
Tim B wrote:
fyi the SMG did sometimes call themselves council communists (though they mostly used the term 'libertarian communist'. A classic I guess! )

Their political programme 'Workers' Council Democracy not Parliamentary' in particular expounds views in a very councilist vein. More so than the standard Castoriadias support of councils, I'd say.

I'd quote slabs for evidence but.it's really early in the morning here and I need to get at least some sleep...

Thanks for the information, Tim. You have no need to quote any evidence. You seem to have a lot of information about what you are talking about, and I am sure that you are right.

I had never heard of the group before, but was just going on what a previous poster said:

Quote:
if i may but in from across the tasman, and if you include councilism as part of the broad left communist tradition, i think there were a few councilist groups in australia in the 1970s that were basically copies of the british group solidarity.

Devrim

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Devrim
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Apr 25 2010 11:03

Nic, are you planning to include people from New Zealand in this? After all, you speak the same language, and I am sure that Auckland is closer to Sydney than Perth (at least that is how it looks on the map on my wall).

Devrim

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Devrim
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Apr 25 2010 11:08
Tim B wrote:
I've done some research on the Brisbane Self-Management Group (SMG) for a thesis, which i'm currently writing.
...
A 1974 conference in France, comprising an array of non-Leninist organisations throughout Europe, as well as the SMG, illustrates this well. Of all the groups present the SMG delegate disagreed most vehemently with the representative of London Solidarity!

Tim, what conference are you talking about? If you are looking for primary sources for your research, I wouldn't be surprised if we don't have the minutes for something like that somewhere.

Devrim

nastyned
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Apr 25 2010 11:33
Devrim wrote:
nastyned wrote:
Then why did they abandon the term left communism and adopt the term council communism?

In the twenties the German left used both interchangeably.

Devrim

That doesn't answer my question. Never mind here's another one: is it really useful to use the same term for people draw a large amount of inspiration from the Bolsheviks and people who published work with titles like 'Anti-Bolshevik Communism' and 'The Struggle Against Fascism Begins With The Struggle Against Bolshevism'?

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Devrim
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Apr 25 2010 12:14
nastyned wrote:
Devrim wrote:
nastyned wrote:
Then why did they abandon the term left communism and adopt the term council communism?

In the twenties the German left used both interchangeably.

Devrim

That doesn't answer my question. Never mind here's another one: is it really useful to use the same term for people draw a large amount of inspiration from the Bolsheviks and people who published work with titles like 'Anti-Bolshevik Communism' and 'The Struggle Against Fascism Begins With The Struggle Against Bolshevism'?

I am sorry if I didn't answer your question. I wasn't trying to avoid it. I will try again. Perhaps They wanted to draw a larger distinction between themseles and what they considered to be 'party communists' implying that they were a different current completely and not the 'left wing' of something they rejected. I can only speculate though, and although that seems reasonable to me, I don't actually know the answer.

On your second question I think the answer is yes. Of course label is merely an attempt to catorgorise. Humans do it in all fields including politics.

Do we classify the SWP as Trotskyists? Generally yes, yet they reject the idea of 'degenerated workers states', which I think is one of the defining elements of Trotskyism.

Are the council communists 'left communists'? I would say yes if we take 'left communism' to mean the historical descendents of the groups who broke with the politics of the Third International in the early twenties, just in the same way that we include the SWP as Trotskyists. Yes this is a completly non-homogonous group in that it includes people from hard-line ultra-Bordigists to people such as Otto Rhule. Nevertheless, it does have meaning as a historical catorgory.

Devrim

N. Rossi
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Apr 25 2010 12:43

Big thanks to Skraeling and Tim for their contributions regarding the SMG. I had never heard of the group before now and appreciate being corrected! If anyone else has anything to add on the history of left communist sympathisers in Australia, please do let us know. Whilst the unions and mainstream parties have extensive records and lots of acedemic studies, there is almost a total void when it comes to the smaller, less formal and, often most subversive groups. Uncovering and reassimilating this history is an important task for communists in Australia, I think.

Skraeling wrote:
maybe N Rossi you could ask Max for me (i am writing something about councilism/situationism in australasia in the 70s)

I can try and pass on a message, sure. Interesting to hear about the peice you are writing. Would love to have a read once it's done, of course.

Alot of this talk about the history of left communist sympathisers in Australia has actually motivated me to want to pursue this topic in the discussions. Amongst the comrades in Sydney who authored the appeal one of the topics I proposed for the initial round of discussions was, for lack of a better phrase, 'What is the Communist Left'. This is something I think I will pursue, expanded now to emphasise the task of coming to terms with the history of revolutionary minorities in Australia.

Nic.

Spikymike
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Apr 25 2010 16:15

N.Rossi.

Please see message sent to your personal message board.

Thanks.

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Lugius
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Apr 25 2010 18:12

Ok, I understand that some left communists didn't go to private schools - you are all formally inducted into The Heroes of the Proletariat Hall of Fame. But where did you get the full catalogue of bourgeois attitudes? University? I am I right? Just call it plebian intuition

Did I call someone a name? Hurt some feelings? Get a real problem, precious darlings. How will you go when the lower orders give you some backchat?

Some corrections are called for;

The IWA was founded in 1922 (That's in the twenties, right?) as an international federation of revolutionary unions and therefore NOT a political organisation. Political organisations seek political power by definition.

Anarchism is revolutionary by definition. There is no hyphenated anarchism

Left Communists are Marxists and as such are authoritarians. Why are authoritarians posting to a libertarian website? Are there not Marxist websites to post on?

If I wanted to read Marxist rubbish I would log on to a Marxist website. Either that or find a cafe located on campus.

You are free to talk Marxist kak anywhere but this lib.com That stands for libertarian.

On the topic of name-calling; it's Marxist stock in trade to not only make all anarchists responsible for the 'crimes' that any anarchist may have committed. (real 'Makhno was a pisshead' or made up by lenin 'Makhno was antisemetic') but anyone that they determine to be an anarchist. Whilst insisting that they be judged only by their particular sect.

This precisely the kind of intellectual dishonesty that Marxists including Left Communists are reknown for.

I dare one you hypocrite uni students have a go at the ideas of anarchism.

Lugius

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Devrim
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Apr 25 2010 18:19
Quote:
Ok, I understand that some left communists didn't go to private schools - you are all formally inducted into The Heroes of the Proletariat Hall of Fame. But where did you get the full catalogue of bourgeois attitudes? University? I am I right? Just call it plebian intuition

It doesn't apply to me. I left school at 15. Do you think there is something wrong with working class people going to university though?

Devrim

nastyned
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Apr 25 2010 19:18
Devrim wrote:

Are the council communists 'left communists'? I would say yes if we take 'left communism' to mean the historical descendents of the groups who broke with the politics of the Third International in the early twenties, just in the same way that we include the SWP as Trotskyists. Yes this is a completly non-homogonous group in that it includes people from hard-line ultra-Bordigists to people such as Otto Rhule. Nevertheless, it does have meaning as a historical catorgory.

Devrim

As I understand it 'left communists' was the term for those on the left wing of the Bolshevik Third International. It would make sense for me to use the term for those that still consider themselves to be on the left wing of Bolshevism, but not for those that have broken completely with Bolshevism.

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Devrim
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Apr 25 2010 19:30
nastyned wrote:
Devrim wrote:
As I understand it 'left communists' was the term for those on the left wing of the Bolshevik Third International. It would make sense for me to use the term for those that still consider themselves to be on the left wing of Bolshevism, but not for those that have broken completely with Bolshevism.

I don't think 'bolshevism' really has much meaning today except as a historical term. Personally I don't consider the ICC to be 'bolshevik'. Others in the ICC may disagree with me, but I wouldn't describe us as 'bolsheviks'. Yet 'left communist' has a historical meaning, and I think we are in that tradition.

Devrim

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waslax
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Apr 25 2010 22:43
Devrim wrote:
On a basic point, the council communists saw themselves as Marxists, whereas Castoriadis empathetically rejected Marxism.
Devrim

I don't think Castoriadis rejected Marxism until some point in the '60s, around '65 I think. But he was involved with SouB from '49 on, and in the '50s had some comradely correspondence with both Pannekoek and C.L.R. James. So I think Castoriadis was a councilist Marxist from about the late '40s to the mid '60s. Of course, he had a huge influence on Solidarity in the UK, but I think that was mostly his work after having rejected Marxism.

Spassmaschine
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Apr 25 2010 23:09
Lugius wrote:
various incoherent gibberish

Lugius, before you accuse others of being the class enemy, I think you should explain what you are doing typing shite on the internet at 5:30am ON A PUBLIC HOLIDAY!!!! Hardly the behaviour of a true member of the working class.

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Steven.
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Apr 25 2010 23:47
Lugius wrote:
Ok, I understand that some left communists didn't go to private schools - you are all formally inducted into The Heroes of the Proletariat Hall of Fame. But where did you get the full catalogue of bourgeois attitudes? University? I am I right? Just call it plebian intuition
blah blah

You should have seen the notes on this forum saying that there is to be no flaming.

Desist from this baseless smearing and insults. If you have a political point to make, make it using a rational argument backed up with some sort of evidence. Smearing of groups and individuals is not permitted on libcom.

Tim b - that information you have on SMG looks very interesting. If you have any of it in electronic format we would love to have some of it in our online library. Or if there is an article outlining the history or something like that that would be great as well. To post stuff to our library just click submit content - library. Or if you have any technical problems you can ask in feedback and content Forum, or just e-mail stuff to us to post up. So do you think there would be any way of us getting any of that information on here?

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shamass
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Apr 26 2010 04:31
Quote:
waslax wrote
Quote:
Devrim wrote:

On a basic point, the council communists saw themselves as Marxists, whereas Castoriadis empathetically rejected Marxism.
Devrim

I don't think Castoriadis rejected Marxism until some point in the '60s, around '65 I think. But he was involved with SouB from '49 on, and in the '50s had some comradely correspondence with both Pannekoek and C.L.R. James. So I think Castoriadis was a councilist Marxist from about the late '40s to the mid '60s. Of course, he had a huge influence on Solidarity in the UK, but I think that was mostly his work after having rejected Marxism.

Castoriadis "rejected" Marxism in his article 'Marxism and Revolutionary Theory' published over a few issues of SouB in 1964. This was later turned into the book 'The Imaginary Institution of Society' published in the 1970s.

Castoriadis had already begun to reject "Marxism" in the 1950s, insoafr as he argued that the real contradiction in capitalist societies was between "directors" and "executants" of production, rather than between the forces and relations of production. However as some have argued, notably Postone, the contradiction between forces and relations of production has everything to do with the positivism of Marxism - in its Second and Third International variants and its many other "orthodox" manifestations - and little to do with Marx's critique of capital.

Along similar lines Castoriadis had begun to reject Marx's theory of the tendency of the rate of profit to decline from at least the late 1950s - i.e. around the time of the publication of 'Modern Capitalism and Revolution.'

Ultimately I believe Cadtoriadis was sort of "half right." He developed a critique of Marxism based on Lukacs and Korsch, but then illegitimately shunted the positivist content of Marxism onto Marx. As Debord argued he attempted to overcome the "problems" he identified by added eclectically to the bits of Marxism he agreed with; thus the "latest" developments in social theory (circa the 1950s and 60s) were attached by Castoriadis. Interestingly Castoriadis didn't appear to understand - or even acknowledge - the centrality of value-form critique in Marx. Something Debord had a better idea of, if not fully worked out.

Also I'm not sure if Castoriadis ever rejected councilism. He seemed to continue to subscribe to a version of it under the idea of "autonomy", which was not the equivalent of working class autonomy; rather he believed in the necessity for people to establish and reestablish autonomous institutions against the what he considered the inherent tendency of institutions to become ossified and reified moments of human practice.

N. Rossi
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Apr 26 2010 05:53
@ndy wrote:
Further, while there's obvious similarities between the kinds of positions advanced by way of the Southern Advocate, I think Dawson's position was closer to what might be termed 'council communism' than 'left communism', although again, much depends on how such terms are defined, and whether strictly or loosely (as later commentators discuss).

I would actually go further than this to include the somewhat dubious (maybe this is my false understanding, correct me if I'm wrong) relationship Dawson had with syndicalism and the IWW. This is certainly not a reason to exclude Dawson from any history of left communism in Australia, nor should similiar relations bar people today from participation in the discussions we have proposed, in my opinion.

Nic.

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Apr 26 2010 05:57

Nic, did you see this question?

Quote:
Nic, are you planning to include people from New Zealand in this? After all, you speak the same language, and I am sure that Auckland is closer to Sydney than Perth (at least that is how it looks on the map on my wall).

Devrim

N. Rossi
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Apr 26 2010 06:00
Devrim wrote:
Nic, are you planning to include people from New Zealand in this? After all, you speak the same language, and I am sure that Auckland is closer to Sydney than Perth (at least that is how it looks on the map on my wall).

Good question Dev. I think this is maybe a matter we will deal with as it arises. In it's current form the appeal is not address directly to comrades in the immediate region outside of Australia. However, you are certainly correct regarding the proximity, cultural similiarities and political relations between Australia and New Zealand.

If comrades in New Zealand or elsewhere in the immediate region are interested in the appeal, we would of course love to hear from them and will investigate the options for their participation if this is what they want to pursue. Please, write to us. smile

If comrades in New Zealand who are sympathetic to our proposal and are willing to circulate the appeal amongst their contacts we would greatly appreciate this.

Nic.

N. Rossi
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Apr 26 2010 06:06

Thanks to Steven. I think it's best we just ignore Lugius from here on in. It is obvious he isn't interested in serious discussion, just attempts to derail and sabotage the thread.

Also, thanks to SpikyMike and Dev for the reminders. Sorry I took my time, been snowed under with things lately and trying to sort them out.

Just to let everyone know aswell, we will try and respond to all emails including more concrete proposals by the end of next week. Please try and write to us in the mean time if you haven't already. smile

Nic.

Skraeling
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Apr 26 2010 06:48
shamass wrote:
Quote:
waslax wrote
Quote:
Devrim wrote:

On a basic point, the council communists saw themselves as Marxists, whereas Castoriadis empathetically rejected Marxism.
Devrim

I don't think Castoriadis rejected Marxism until some point in the '60s, around '65 I think. But he was involved with SouB from '49 on, and in the '50s had some comradely correspondence with both Pannekoek and C.L.R. James. So I think Castoriadis was a councilist Marxist from about the late '40s to the mid '60s. Of course, he had a huge influence on Solidarity in the UK, but I think that was mostly his work after having rejected Marxism.

Castoriadis "rejected" Marxism in his article 'Marxism and Revolutionary Theory' published over a few issues of SouB in 1964. This was later turned into the book 'The Imaginary Institution of Society' published in the 1970s.

Castoriadis had already begun to reject "Marxism" in the 1950s, insoafr as he argued that the real contradiction in capitalist societies was between "directors" and "executants" of production, rather than between the forces and relations of production. However as some have argued, notably Postone, the contradiction between forces and relations of production has everything to do with the positivism of Marxism - in its Second and Third International variants and its many other "orthodox" manifestations - and little to do with Marx's critique of capital.

xcuse me ignorance, but what do you mean by positivism? i'm none too clued up on the ortho marxist tradition.

but yes, seeing the major contradiction as between order givers and takers is not Marxist, more anarchistic perhaps. and of course that type of analysis may lead to 'the enemy is middle class' type stuff, and a-historical analysis. also here is an interesting 1970s critique of it from your side of the pond which i re-read last nite. this is some Australian responding to a strategy paper of the Brisbane SMG (Cardan=Castoriadis for those who don't know)

Quote:
This leads on to another point: with the exception of industrial workers and lower clerical workers most members of hierarchies are both order-givers and order-takers. (One cannot save students this way because just as with children, theirs is an order-taking situation they grow out of. Neither children nor students form a class in any ordinary sense). The criterion gives no clue to the -characterisation of these intermediate grades. Indeed one might wonder if there are any pure order-givers at all. The individual capitalist is not autonomous far from it. The hierarchy criterion gives no guidance for social analysis once one goes beyond the bottom of the pyramid. Yet a concentration on the bottom of the pyramid is exactly what the article on 'Strategy and Tactics' accuses the writer in VRAB of having done. The Cardan criterion hence delineates almost exactly the same group as the Marx criterion (sale of labour power for production). It applies perhaps to a larger number of societies but only because with Cardanist principles it is impossible to distinguish between different types of societies. For the same reason it is impossible to understand how they work.

sourced from here

Shamass wrote:
Ultimately I believe Cadtoriadis was sort of "half right." He developed a critique of Marxism based on Lukacs and Korsch, but then illegitimately shunted the positivist content of Marxism onto Marx. As Debord argued he attempted to overcome the "problems" he identified by added eclectically to the bits of Marxism he agreed with; thus the "latest" developments in social theory (circa the 1950s and 60s) were attached by Castoriadis. Interestingly Castoriadis didn't appear to understand - or even acknowledge - the centrality of value-form critique in Marx. Something Debord had a better idea of, if not fully worked out.

hmmm. i'm not well read in Castoriadis, but wasn't he was an economist at some stage? sure, that don't mean much at all, but could you mean more Castoriadis understood Marx's value-form critique, but unwisely chose to ignore it/sidestep it based on his analysis of the bureaucratic trends in capital of his day? does that make sense?

Shamass wrote:
Also I'm not sure if Castoriadis ever rejected councilism. He seemed to continue to subscribe to a version of it under the idea of "autonomy", which was not the equivalent of working class autonomy; rather he believed in the necessity for people to establish and reestablish autonomous institutions against the what he considered the inherent tendency of institutions to become ossified and reified moments of human practice.

yes, but surely councilism is by defn Marxist and thus sees the primary conflict as relations of exploitation and not relations of authority? ie. councilism is not all about working class autonomy, just as i thought its not all about workers councils. there are many other ingredients.

also, just to throw another point into the mix, there is the influence of Trotskyism on Castoriadis and SouB, and also the Johnson-Forest tendency for that matter. Some argue that residues of Trotskyism existed in Castoriadis and SouB, and it was only when some in SouB came into contact with council communism that they started to fully eject Trotksyism eg. Benoit Challand in a recent paper. (i guess Challand is talking of the minority in SouB that later formed ICO - workers information and correspondence). If true, you could argue that the Castoriadis strand of SouB was rather eclectic, maybe spanning traditions, than being purely libertarian socialist.

finally, just to add a further request: does anyone know anything about situationist or 'situ' groups in Australia in the 1970s? i have heard there was a 3-4 person one in Perth that then moved to Sydney, had conflict with the carnival anarchists, and then split up. any more info or leads i could chase? (i have contact with a few ex-carnies, but wouldn't mind more). it's difficult chasing up situs when they don't write their own history.

Skraeling
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Apr 26 2010 06:59
N. Rossi wrote:
[
If comrades in New Zealand or elsewhere in the immediate region are interested in the appeal, we would of course love to hear from them and will investigate the options for their participation if this is what they want to pursue. Please, write to us. smile

If comrades in New Zealand who are sympathetic to our proposal and are willing to circulate the appeal amongst their contacts we would greatly appreciate this.

Nic.

there's literally only about 4 in the whole country (NZ) that i can think of including myself that would be even potentially interested, but i will pass your appeal on.

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shamass
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Apr 27 2010 12:02

sorry i accidentally posted an unfinished comment and am now too tired to continue. until later...

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waslax
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Apr 28 2010 08:21
nastyned wrote:
Devrim wrote:

Are the council communists 'left communists'? I would say yes if we take 'left communism' to mean the historical descendents of the groups who broke with the politics of the Third International in the early twenties, just in the same way that we include the SWP as Trotskyists. Yes this is a completly non-homogonous group in that it includes people from hard-line ultra-Bordigists to people such as Otto Rhule. Nevertheless, it does have meaning as a historical catorgory.

Devrim

As I understand it 'left communists' was the term for those on the left wing of the Bolshevik Third International. It would make sense for me to use the term for those that still consider themselves to be on the left wing of Bolshevism, but not for those that have broken completely with Bolshevism.

But the Third International was not homogeneous, and not entirely Bolshevik in its first few years. People can debate when thorough 'Bolshevization' occurred. In any case, the German-Dutch left communists in the KAPD and KAPN (Holland) broke with the Third International, and with the Bolshevism they saw as increasingly dominant within in it in 1921. (Third International was founded in 1919.) The Italian communist left didn't split with the Third International until 1928, by which time it was of course completely controlled by Stalin and his henchmen. Also, I don't think the Italian com. left ever really saw themselves as breaking with 'Bolshevism', as they saw Stalin and co. as betraying the latter. It is this difference between the two wings of the communist left that often leads to confusion when generalizing about 'left communism'. The fact is, there are a number of voices (including the ICC and the IBRP/ICT) who defend the Italian com. left's view of this history, while there are very few defending the German-Dutch left's view. Still, there are solid reasons, as Devrim says, to classify both tendencies as being 'left communist'.

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waslax
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Apr 28 2010 08:36
shamass wrote:
Quote:
waslax wrote
Quote:
Devrim wrote:

On a basic point, the council communists saw themselves as Marxists, whereas Castoriadis empathetically rejected Marxism.
Devrim

I don't think Castoriadis rejected Marxism until some point in the '60s, around '65 I think. But he was involved with SouB from '49 on, and in the '50s had some comradely correspondence with both Pannekoek and C.L.R. James. So I think Castoriadis was a councilist Marxist from about the late '40s to the mid '60s. Of course, he had a huge influence on Solidarity in the UK, but I think that was mostly his work after having rejected Marxism.

Castoriadis "rejected" Marxism in his article 'Marxism and Revolutionary Theory' published over a few issues of SouB in 1964. This was later turned into the book 'The Imaginary Institution of Society' published in the 1970s.

Castoriadis had already begun to reject "Marxism" in the 1950s, insoafr as he argued that the real contradiction in capitalist societies was between "directors" and "executants" of production, rather than between the forces and relations of production.

Yes, I do believe you are right about that. I had forgotten about that. But didn't he substitute the directors/executants relationship for the capitalist class/working class relationship, largely as a result of his understanding of the increasingly bureaucratic nature of 'modern capitalism', both in the 'Communist' bloc and in the west? Rather than for the forces of prod./relations of prod. relationship? I don't know when he made this change, but I think you are right it was in the '50s. Before that I think he defended a 'Marxist' perspective, although it may well have been tainted with residues of Trotskyism, as Skraeling notes.