Editorial #3–4, winter-spring 2003

This time we have the pleasure to present a really stuffed issue, dominated by two themes: class composition and the new world order.

Riff-Raff opens up with a text written by the German group Kolinko, thoroughly giving an account of the concept class composition. The core of the concept is that there exists a close relation between the form of the production and the struggle, that type of production and position within the process of production determines the forms and the possibilities of struggle. Properly used the concept can be a powerful dialectic tool for a comprehension of the dynamics of capital and the class struggle.

In the text a distinction is made between »technical» class composition and »political». The technical composition indicates how capital form and divide the work force through work division, technology etc, while political composition indicates how the workers overcomes the division and use the means of production as a starting point for struggle. In this way capital shapes the conditions for the struggle and form the working class, while the struggle in turn overcomes the limits and restructure capital.

In the text Kolinko analyse different aspects of class composition, which influence methods and perspective in the struggle, as the workers’ relations to each other, the work and the commodities. Kolinko also discusses the interesting question of what is needed for the struggle to circulate and lead to a position of power against capital. Contrary to those who just want to follow the spontaneity of the struggle, Kolinko is of the opinion that we must seek points of strategic importance for the future. One example they put forward is sectors that are in the centre of the development, where the global character of the production is evident, as well as the link between the state and capital.

After Kolinko’s analytic account of the concept follows two articles that connects to the theme from concrete experiences of struggle. In »Work organization and workers’ autonomy» Johan Forsberg gives an account of his experiences from the struggle in a warehouse. In the article it appears that just the transport-sector could be such a strategic point Kolinko talks about. Transports have become a key-sector in the just-in-time-capitalism of lean production, and sets the pace of the whole society-machinery. When it comes to technical composition new global gigant corporations have emerged, where all kinds of transport-workers, warehouse- and terminal-workers, postal-workers and workers in call-centers are brought together. When it comes to political composition this yet implies new possibilities, as traditional national and professional borders are crossed and different categories of workers get in touch with each other.

But class composition can also be studied from the particular workplace and Forsberg shows how the struggle in the warehouse was about the company introducing new production-lines to attack the workers’ unity, control and autonomy. He also gives a detailed report of methods of struggle and recommend what is called »faceless resistance» – methods that directly hit against the employer without forewarning, are easy to apply and often leads to immediate result. Besides this the article gives an account of the history of the hidden resistance as well as of militant inquiry. In addition a questionnaire is appended for those who want to document experiences in their workplace and a lot of recommended literature is given.

In the third article Marcel makes the faceless resistance visible such it was expressed in a small hamburger-bar. One point in the article is that class struggle can be something fun – to escape from work and use the worktime to one’s own amusement. Because the restaurant was small the owner himself worked and was one that worked hardest. This did not lead to an increased loyalty with the company, but rather to an increased consciousness. The struggle was not foremost directed against the boss, but rather against work as such. Marcel shows that it is not determining if a company is big or small, private, state-owned or cooperative, because all companies are subordinate to the same economic laws. Capitalism rules the capitalist, not the other way around. With hamburgers as example the article also gives an account of the antagonism between use-value and exchange-value.

In the fourth article, a bit besides the themes of the issue, Loren Goldner discusses the significance of the agrarian question, folowing Amadeo Bordiga’s ideas. In the preface Goldner writes that the existence of the U.S.S.R. effectively contained the anti-capitalist currents that existed before the revolution, as the Dutch and German council-communists and the Spanish anarchists. The Italian communist Bordiga was, according to Goldner, one of the most important theoreticians among these revolutionary currents, but today one of the least known.

In the article Goldner arguments, following Bordiga, that the agrarian revolution is central for a comprehension of capitalism as well as the U.S.S.R. and social democracy. The roundabout way over the state both these tendencies have taken was simply a substitute for the bourgeoisie revolution and contributed to push capitalism into it’s intensive phase. On the other hand the tendencies had nothing to do with communism. What is at stake today according to Goldner is to free marxism from this burden to be able to renew the revolutionary perspective and consider the real movement towards communism.

At the time of writing this editorial the preparations for a war against Iraq are in full progress and already when printing and distribution are done the next bloody human victim in »the war against terrorism» can be a fact. Therefore Riff-Raff this time is concluded with two articles considering »the new world order» and the situation in the Middle East.

An introducing article discusses the causes and the function of wars under capitalism and the significance of oil as lubricant in the global accumulation. Among other things the war in Afghanistan is taken up, which must be seen from the perspective of the country’s importance as a transport-route, not least for oil, and its strategic significance in the Central-Asian region, with its oilfields. But the war also functioned as a primitive accumulation, through crushing Afghanistan’s agrarian and nomadic economy, and forcing urbanization and proletarization. The background to today’s political Islam is also discussed in the article.

Then follows a longer article »Behind the twenty-first century Intifada», translated from the british journal Aufheben. The article shows the strength in adopting a dialectic perspective of class struggle. Too often Israelites and Palestinians are considered as two homogeneous groups standing against each other. In the article the region’s history instead is delineated through a dual perspective of class struggle, where the Jewish and Arab workers’ struggle respectively propel the development, while they at the same time stand in a complex relation to each other. All in the frame-work of the capitalistic world market, the strategic vicinity of the oilfields and the US domination in the region.

On one hand Aufheben gives an account of how the Jewish workers’ struggle resulted in different forms of class compromises, provided that the Palestinians were subordinate on the labour market and that settlements have been established in the occupied territories. On the other hand an account is given of how the PLO have tried to neutralize all Palestinian workers’ struggle through directing it exclusively against Israel. In this way Jewish and Arab workers are put against each other and the class solidarity between them, the only thing that could resolve the conflict, is today more distant than ever. With the peace process the Israeli capital wants to economically integrate Israel in the region and break up the agreement with the Jewish workers. The Intifada have made this impossible, which have lead to today’s crisis for Israel, while at the same time the terror against the Palestinians have been intensified.

From this issue on we do not consider ourselves as Folkmakt’s theoretical organ. Behind this there is no ideologically motivated split. The reason is instead that we see it as an unnecessary boundary to be attached to any specific organization, though are aim is to be a forum for everyone who is interested in workers’ autonomous struggle. This also means that we have broaden the editorial collective, which now consists of persons with different organizational and theoretical experiences.