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Pannekoek and Workers' Councils - Serge Bricianer

Pannekoek and Workers' Councils - Serge Bricianer

Serge Bricianer on council communist Anton Pannekoek and his ideas on workers' councils.

Given its enormous circumfrence, it seems difficult to find a single entry into Pannekoek's theoretical work. Yet in seeking out those categories which unify his thought, one finds one particular area in which his thinking remains remarkably constant: the set of philosophical assumptions undergirding his political theories. Pannekoek's Marxism can, therefore, be made more intelligible by focusing on the key philosophical concepts he built his Marxism on early in his career and which he retained with only slight revision and reformulation throughout his life. The aim of this essay will be to explore these philosophical foundations and their implications through an examination of: (1) The basic Marx-Dietzgen synthesis on which his thought rests; (2) His extension and broadening of these categories into a conception of science and Marxism; (3) Some of the main implications these philosophical and scientific conceptions had for his political thought; (4) The final crystallization of these ideas in his unified philosophical, scientific and political assault on Leninism. In posing the question of Pannekoek as philosopher, it must be noted that his concern was not philosophy in the formal sense, but one of developing and understanding certain philosophical and scientific categories of analysis for practical application to a variety of more immediate political questions.

The decisive turning point in Pannekoek’s political career came with his break with the Comintern in 1920. By the late 1920s Pannekoek’s political development had carried him to a theory of the revolutionary self-organization of the working class based on the workers’ council structure, which he counterposed to all other existing forms of working class organization. The "Council Communist" movement, according to this theory, represented both the beginning of a qualitatively new revolutionary labor movement and the embryonic structure for a socialist reorganization of society. Although this conception represented a major departure from his previous thought, many of his main Council Communist themes are directly related to the problems Pannekoek had worked out earlier. The Dietzgenian dialectical theory of knowledge is here broadened into a political-philosophical theory uniting subject and object, in this case a completely autonomous thinking and acting working class fully conscious of itself in the context of a particular stage of development-a stage in which historical consciousness is reunited with practical organization, one in which the workers are transformed from “obedient subjects” into “free and self-reliant masters of their fate, capable to build and manage their new world.”

Contents:
The Formation of Pannekoek's Marxism by John Gerber
Author's Introduction
1. German Social Democracy
2. Tactical Differences within the Workers' Movement
3. The Kautsky-Pannekoek Controversy
4. The World War and the Workers' Movement
5. Russian Soviets and German Räete
6. Social Democracy and Communism
7. The Split in European Communism
8. World Revolution and Communist Tactics
9. Communism and National Liberation
10. The Council State
11. The Russian Revolution
12. Party and Working Class
13. Principles of Organization
14. Direct Action in Contemporary Societies
15. Production and Distribution in the New World

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Comments

mikail firtinaci
Apr 12 2010 11:12

A book by left communist Bricianer on Pannekoek and Workers' Councils

an account of very interesting life story of Bricianer;

http://www.kurasje.org/arkiv/13700t.htm#[35]

it seems his political interventions intertwined with many other figures like Marc Chiric, Canne Maier, Mattick and many other.