Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Communisation: in print

communizersCan we find alternatives to the failed radical projects of the twentieth century? What are the possible forms of struggle today? How do we fight back against the misery of our crisis-ridden present?
These are some of the questions posed in a number of recent publications on the ‘buzzword’ that is communisation, illustrating a rich history of thought that has its roots in the decomposition of proletariat ‘identity’ and the crisis of 1970′s capitalism. Bringing together voices from inside and outside of these currents Communization and Its Discontents treats Communization as a problem to be explored rather than a solution. Taking in the new theorisations of Communization proposed by Tiqqun and The Invisible Committee, Theorie Communiste, post-autonomists, and others, it offers critical reflections on the possibilities and the limits of these contemporary forms, strategies, and tactics of struggle.
Featured in the book is the work of Endnotes, a journal also worth exploring. The introduction to Endnotes #1, Bring Out Your Dead, nicely summarises a key debate between two major players in the development of communisation theory, and also provides a concise definition:
…groups like Mouvement Communiste, Négation, and La Guerre Sociale advocated a conception of revolution as the immediate destruction of capitalist relations of production, or “communisation”. As we shall see, the understanding of communisation differed between different groups, but it essentially meant the application of communist measures within the revolution — as the condition of its survival and its principle weapon against capital. Any “period of transition” was seen as inherently counter-revolutionary, not just in so far as it entailed an alternative power structure which would resist “withering away” (c.f. anarchist critiques of “the dictatorship of the proletariat”), nor simply because it always seemed to leave unchallenged fundamental aspects of the relations of production, but because the very basis of workers’ power on which such a transition was to be erected was now seen to be fundamentally alien to the struggles themselves. Workers’ power was just the other side of the power of capital, the power of reproducing workers as workers; henceforth the only available revolutionary perspective would be the abolition of this reciprocal relation.
Another recent addition to the literature is Sic, an international journal on communisation from Endnotes, Blaumachen, Théorie Communiste, Riff-Raff and more:
In the course of the revolutionary struggle, the abolition of the division of labour, of the State, of exchange, of any kind of property ; the extension of a situation in which everything is freely available as the unification of human activity, that is to say the abolition of classes, of both public and private spheres – these are all “measures” for the abolition of capital, imposed by the very needs of the struggle against the capitalist class. The revolution is communisation ; communism is not its project or result.
One does not abolish capital for communism but by communism…
This is only a brief summary as there are a number of other sources always arising on the topic, but there is much anarchists and other radicals can learn from some of the debates and theory listed above.

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