7. What is to be done?

Submitted by Spassmaschine on December 17, 2009

Many people, especially on the left, reproach anti-political and anti-democratic communism with being hostile to theory, sometimes even hostile to practice and organisations as well. What do you think, and have you had similar experiences ? Don't these reproaches show the dogmatic and sterile attitude of those who can only imagine organisation and activity in their own way (i.e. unions, parties and campaigns), and who have a schematic view of theory/practice, spontaneity/consciousness, passivity/activity?

What do you think we could concretely do against the system of wage slavery and capital? What could and should our activities be ? How should people who hate the system of commodity, State and wage labour organise themselves, especially in these non-revolutionary times?

Only a developing social crisis can start to bridge the gap between theory and practice, among proletarians as among "revolutionaries". In 2007, communist activity is almost restricted to theory alone, and it's no easy task to define that "almost". Though we're not looking for glorious models, we don't pretend to do any better than some of our forerunners. Marx wrote in 1860 he'd known "next to nothing" about the party since 1852, since the dissolution of the Communist League, which was an "episode in the history of the party, which is spontaneously born out of the soil of modern society" (letter to Freiligrath, February 29, 1860). In the 1930s, Bordiga and Pannekoek stayed away from public activity for about ten years - which does not mean that they did nothing for those ten years. The present situation differs from 1967, for instance, when an event like the "Strasburg scandal" made it possible for a minority (small in numbers but largely exceeding the situationist milieu) to know and understand itself thanks to a shocking "coup", the symbolic and political impact of which (however we appreciate it) could not be denied.

It's quite difficult today to take part as a communist in a strike or an event like the anti-CPE movement in France. Saying "Nothing But The Revolution" would be meaningless. Watering down what we think to stay in touch with the masses has only meaning for those who indulge in politics.

It's equally pointless to tell strikers what they ought to be doing, and to tell them that what they're doing is leading them on the way to revolution without their being aware of it yet.

We're not lecturing the proles. We're not treating them as our teachers either.

Communists get organised, that is, they organise themselves: they don't organise others.

One of the worst illusions is the belief that all the conditions would be there for a revolution, all but one: organisation...

....or the information necessary for the proletarians to organise themselves. If the Renault workers keep on working while the Peugeot workers go on strike, it's not because they don't know what's going on in the Peugeot plants, but because the Peugeot conflict remains within the limits of an "industrial dispute" and does not bring into play something common to both firms and many others, something that would urge the Renault workers to put down their tools too. Circulating information is necessary : it's not a condition of the struggle or of its extension. Even in such a watertight place as a jail, any consistent strike or riot creates communication channels and spreads from one prison to another. Yet the propagandist always believes he will stimulate the workers by providing them with the indispensable counter-information.