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888's picture
Joined: 30-09-03
Jun 1 2011 21:56

Is there more to communisation than merely Marxists once again arriving at an anarchist position - this time that communism must be established immediately, with no transitional stage - but having to re-frame it due to the ideological burden that Marxists carry that require them to justify the idea in Marxist terms of materialism and historicity?

waslax's picture
Joined: 6-12-07
Jun 1 2011 22:20

I don't think any Marxists have ever claimed that "communism must be established immediately". The question is really more about what is possible, rather than what "must be", as if communism can simply be willed into existence in a moment. I think the "communisation" tendency of Marxists argue that the world has changed vastly since 1917-36, to such an extent that the transition from capitalism to communism can now be accomplished in a much shorter time period than it could back then, and that the process should begin immediately, as opposed to the old (orthodox?) Marxist view that political supremacy is the only task initially, and that economic and social transformation only comes sometime later (during an extended 'transition period').

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
Joined: 14-03-06
Jun 1 2011 22:30

afaik the argument Endnotes make is that 20th century revolutionary movements were preoccupied by forms of organisation (Marxists/Leninists with the party/state, syndicalists/councillists with unions, councils at the point of production etc), whereas 'communisation' concerns itself with the content. secondly, iirc they argue there were significant changes to capitalism in the late 60s/70s which make such a project now possible (whereas previously it couldn't have been).

i'm somewhat dubious about the first claim tbh; whilst there were obviously people who fetishised their favoured form, there were syndicalists from Pouget to the FORA/CNT debates in the 20s and 30s who discussed at length the content of creating communism, to what extent things could be taken over and self-managed and to what extent the organisation of production must be immediately transformed during expropriation etc. Same with the councillists like Pannekoek, who was pretty indifferent to forms of organisation (seeing them as organic products of struggles), and stressing the content of workers' direct action as primary.

i'm partly on board with the second claim, i think the workers' movement in the developed world has yet to come to terms with the restructuring of capital and changes in class composition from the late 60s. and if we hold the Marxist idea of Uneven and Combined Development, that the most 'advanced' sections of capital anywhere sets the horizon of possibility for the whole world system, then in principle even though those changes are concentrated in a cluster of Western countries they could 'change the game' on a global scale without lapsing into eurocentrism. But i'm sceptical of the specifics i've read, and would tend to share your reaction, to which this piece and subsequent discussion provides a decent substantiation imho.

klas batalo's picture
klas batalo
Joined: 5-07-09
Jun 2 2011 05:07

have the clearest articles i've seen on the subject. i used to be a lot more confused until recently reading these. and i had even done workshops on the subject!