1. A little about us

Submitted by Spassmaschine on December 17, 2009

Please let our readers know a little bit about yourself, your latest works and perhaps the discussion and activity you are involved in, and your plans for the future.

Basically, we write what we'd like to read but nobody else writes, so we have to write it ourselves.

First, a few negative points:

There's little chance that a person who's never once felt the urge to blow anything up will write meaningful subversive stuff. But the same is true of a person who has never felt some derision when looking at bookshelves full of revolutionary books and archives, or at the infinite availability of similar books and archives on the Internet. There's no relevant theory without an awareness of the limits of words in general and theory in particular.

No theoretical revolutionary effort is a direct expression of proletarian revolutionary activity, let alone the only one or the best one.

No intellectual key opens the door unto a total comprehension of human evolution. Theory can only grasp fragments of reality, especially in fragmented times like ours. It's pointless to claim to build the party of the proletariat. It's equally pointless to go for an all-embracing understanding of past and present. The difference is that party-builders can hardly disguise their unsuccessful attempts at creating factory cells, whereas the inadequacy of grand theories is less plain to see.

Many revolutionary magazines re-write current events in Marxist language. We'd rather take the risk of a prospective approach. That includes looking in to the future, and this activity can often be faulty in its method and predictions. Still, better to be wrong than to publish texts where nothing is at stake.

Communist theory does not mean theorising the inevitable coming of communism. "I'd rather, once and for all, assign a distant future to revolution than have it forecast every day by professional revolutionaries that are proved wrong every day." (E. Coeurderoy, 1854)

Some comrades are never surprised by anything, and are always able to integrate any event within the framework of a dialectic that preordains everything. It's natural for them when a NATO armada takes on little Serbia. It's natural for them when ex-State capitalist China becomes a major economic power in fifteen years. Prophets of the past or recent past are never wrong. Unlike them, we on the other hand don't have an answer for everything. Theories that claim to explain everything explain in fact very little.

Denouncing the bourgeois, the intellectuals, the left, the leftists, the media, etc. is meaningless.

When the bourgeois claims life is getting or will get better, there is no point in retorting it is in fact getting worse and worse.

Before, this society used to say: capitalism is good for you. Now it says capitalism may be good or bad, but there's no other option, so let's make do with it. Before, revolutionary thought was obscured. Now "it's contained by overexposure" (K. Knabb), by a permanent self-castigating self-critique that puts the blame on everything but the essential. The "repressive tolerance" of the 1960s has turned into a constant transformation of criticism into an ever-flowing verbal Niagara that dilutes the potential subversive content of criticism. Revolutionary activity can't be exactly the same when The Communist Manifesto is only to be found in specialised bookshops, or when we buy it in paperback.

Consequently, our purpose is not to circulate information. Revolution is not a party affair : it's not an educational affair either, whether taught by an enlightened teacher-leader, or self-taught in a bottom-up approach.

The taste for polemics is usually proportional to an inability to act upon reality. We don't reproach anyone with this inability, just with the habit of making up for it through verbal violence.

When we spot a flaw in a group or a theory, obviously this leads to disagreement. But whenever we're interested in a group or a theory, it's because of its strong point, however debatable it can be. So theoretical discussion means pointing to the strong point of whatever we discuss. Political feuds do the exact opposite: they concentrate on the shortcomings of the opponent and fish out the most questionable quotes, because the aim is not to understand but to debunk.

In a more positive way:
We've dealt with themes as different as capital and labour today, the Kosovo war, "September 11", religion, child/adult relationships, justice, classes, US imperialism, crises, the 2005 estate riots in France... We'd like to write on the content of communism, war, the SI, democracy, primitivism, ecology, 1968, the Internet, the Jewish question and Palestine, Oaxaca, the lumpenproletariat, classes again, Turino in 1920 and 1969, the evolution of language..., and to review the history of the slave trade by O. Pétré-Grenouilleau, Jared Diamond's Collapse, utopias like Zamiatin's We, Brave New World, 1984 and The Dispossessed..., to publish articles from the "Italian" Left review Bilan (1933-38) and the French group GLAT (1959-76), as well as short texts by resisters, such as Antonin Artaud's letter to the Congress in Defence of Culture in 1935 and pages from Armand Robin, etc.

This is not a list of works in progress, nor a foretaste of future readings. Only a small part of our plans will see the light, partly because changing circumstances change our desires and priorities. We're only mentioning these items to show our attempt to contribute to what the Situationists called a unitary critique. The common ground of all these themes is the interest in the ways a proletarian community (and a future human one) emerges and asserts itself, is decomposed and then recomposes itself.

An inquisitive reader of revolutionary books, pamphlets and leaflets might wonder how capitalism can still be thriving, as most of these texts describe a system ridden with deep contradictions, erupting into one crisis after the other and causing worldwide revolts soon to turn into revolution. On the contrary, we've got to understand how this world goes through so many crises, and sometimes through revolutionary attempts, and overcomes them. How does capitalism hold out ? The negative forces that work upon society and the positive forces that keep it going are closely related: since they must address the same world, revolution and counter-revolution act upon the same reality. Bringing to light the strength of the positive, for instance the forms of freedom or universality permitted and promoted by capitalism, is necessary in order to grasp how this positive is heavy with contradictions that create revolutionary possibilities.