Communism is the negation of capitalism. A movement produced by the development and success of the capitalist mode of production, which will culminate with the destruction of the latter and the birth of a new type of society. Where there currently exists a world based on wage labour and the commodity, there must instead be a world where human activity will never take the form of wage labour and where the products of that activity will not be objects of commerce. Our era is the era of this metamorphosis. It displays the conjuncture of the basic elements of the capitalist crisis and all the requisite means for a communist resolution of this crisis. To describe the principles of communism, to examine how they will ensure the future life of humanity, and to show they are currently unfolding right before our eyes—these are the objectives we shall try to achieve in this text.
• Science Fiction?
We would like to depict the world of tomorrow, the communist society we desire. This will not take the form of an attempt to rival science fiction or journalism by presenting a report on the life of the peoples and the animals of the future. We do not have a time machine.
Despite the intriguing nature of the question we cannot predict who will win the war between slacks and skirts, or between the sausages of La Garriga and those of Mallorca. Nor can we even guarantee that humanity will have a future. What makes us so sure that we will not be erased by a nuclear war or a cosmic cataclysm?
Nevertheless, prediction is desirable and possible. We want to describe communist society on the basis of its general regulatory principles. It is necessary to show that tomorrow can be more than just an improved or reformed version of today.
In order not to give the impression of taking too much for granted, we shall go into detail and we shall provide examples. You do not have to take this seriously. You can take it or leave it.
The future is not neutral. Capital has a tendency to occupy and subjugate all social space. But it cannot organize the commerce of its commodities and its wage workers between past and future the way the science fiction authors imagine it will be done. Capital takes revenge for this failing on the field of publicity and ideology. It invites us to live in the future now, to buy the clock or the car or the washing machine of the future. Images of a capitalist future fill our present.
To discuss the communist organization of society, despite the risk of error, is to begin to lift the stone slab that is crushing our lives.
The old question of the reactionaries, “But what do you propose as an alternative?”, must be immediately rejected. We are not in the business of selling ideas. We do not have to advertise a society that does away with the market the way one advertises a new brand of soap. Communism is neither an object of commerce nor of politics. It is their radical critique. Communism is not a program that can be submitted to the vote of electors or consumers, not even if it is a democratic vote. It is the hope of the proletarian masses to abandon forever their condition of being mere electors or consumers. Those who put themselves in the position of simple spectators, who believe they can judge without getting involved, are excluded from the debate.
If it is possible to speak of the revolutionary society this is because it is already being born within the society of the present.
Some people will find our propositions insane or naïve. We do not expect to convince everyone. If such a thing were possible, it would be very disturbing. We would rather have readers who have to rub their eyes before granting credence to our positions.
The proletarian revolution will be the victory of simplicity over a servile and sterile science. All of this calls for care around demonstrations. There is a risk that they will take place not in the tranquillity of the laboratory but violently and palpably.
Before saying what communism is, we have to make some things clear right away. It is necessary to denounce the lies surrounding it and to clearly express just what communism is not. Since communism is such a simple reality, so closely linked to everyday life, with which it is identified, the worst counter-truths have not failed to proliferate around communism. This is a paradox only for those who are unaware of the fact that in the “society of the spectacle” it is precisely the meaning of what is quotidian and familiar that must be rejected.