Communism

‘Marriage for everyone’: only communist society can put an end to sexual discrimination

By announcing the forthcoming adoption of a law authorising gay  marriage, the French government has provoked a series of mobilisations and media debates where everyone is asked to choose their camp : ‘for’ or ‘against’ gay marriage.  The same thing has happened in other countries: in Britain David Cameron’s proposal to legalise gay marriage has created deep divisions in both the Tory party and the Anglican Church (which had already been convulsed by the scandalously radical idea of allowing gay priests and women bishops).

Communism is not a 'nice idea', Vol. 3 Part 10, Bilan, the Dutch left, and the transition to communism

After a delay which has been much longer than we originally intended, we are resuming the third volume of the series on communism.

Postscript to Decadence of Capitalism XIII: Rejection and Regressions

The aim of the original article was to respond to the widespread trend among a number of currents in or around the revolutionary movement to reject the notion of capitalist decadence, a foundation stone for the class positions contained in our platform. We pointed out that this tendency has affected elements in the communist left as well as those coming from anarchism or ‘libertarian’ versions of marxism. 

Decadence of capitalism part XIII: rejection and regressions

Over the past four decades, the insoluble nature of this crisis has become increasingly evident, you might have expected that a majority of those attracted towards internationalism over those decades would have been rather easily convinced that capitalism was indeed an obsolete, decaying social system. In reality, not only has this not been the case, but - and this is particularly true with the new generations of revolutionaries which started to appear on the scene during the first decade of the 21st century – one could even speak of a persistent rejection of the theory of decadence, and at the same time a real tendency for many who had previously been convinced of the concept to put it into question and even to jettison it openly.

Communism Vol. 3, Part 2 - Communism is not just a nice idea, but a material necessity (Summary of Vol. 1)

On the eve of the publication in book format of the first volume of our series "Communism is not just a nice idea", we summarise here the principle themes and ideas put forward in these articles.

1871: The first proletarian dictatorship

According to the popular misconception, which is systematically upheld and disseminated by all the mouthpieces of bourgeois ideology from the tabloid press to the professors of academe, communism means a society where everything is run by the state. The whole identification between communism and the Stalinist regimes in the East rested on this assumption.

And yet it is a total falsehood, reality turned on its head. For Marx, for Engels, for all the revolutionaries who followed in their footsteps, communism means a society without a state, a society where human beings run their affairs without a coercive power standing over them, without governments, armies, prisons or national frontiers.

The overthrow of commodity fetishism

In the first part of this chapter (IR 75), we began to examine the historical context in which Marx dealt with capitalist society: as the last in a series of systems of exploitation and alienation, as a form of social organization no less transient than Roman slavery or mediaeval feudalism. We noted that, in this framework, the drama of human history could be considered in the light of the dialectic between the original social ties of humanity, and the growth of commodity relations which has both dissolved these ties and prepared the ground for a more advanced form of human community. In the section that follows we concentrate on the mature Marx's analysis of capital itself - of its inner nature, its insoluble contradictions, and of the communist society destined to supplant it.

The study of Capital and the foundations of Communism

In the previous article in this series (IR73) we saw that Marx and his tendency, having come to terms with the defeat of the 1848 revolutions and the onset of a new period of capitalist growth, embarked upon a project of deep theoretical research aimed at uncovering the real dynamic of the capitalist mode of production, and thus the real basis for its eventual replacement by a communist social order.

The Revolutions of 1848: The Communist Perspective Becomes Clearer

Confident that huge social upheavals were about to take place, but aware that the nations of Europe were at various stages of historical development, the last section of the Communist Manifesto put forward certain tactical considerations for the intervention of the communist minority.

1848: Communism as a political program

The previous two articles in this series[1] have to a large extent focused on the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 because they are a rich vein of material on the problem of alienated labor and on the ultimate goals of communism as envisaged by Marx when he first adhered to the proletarian movement. But although Marx had, as early as 1843, identified the modern proletariat as the agent of the communist transformation, the EPM are not yet precise about the practical social movement that will lead from the society of alienation to the authentic human community. This fundamental development in Marx's thinking was to come about through the convergence of two vital elements: the elaboration of the historical materialist method, and the overt politicization of the communist project.

Communism: the real beginning of human society

Having examined the various facets of man's alienation, the next task Marx took up in the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts was to criticize the crude and inadequate conceptions of communism which predominated in the proletarian movement of his time. As we showed in the first article in this series, Marx rejected the conceptions inherited from Babeuf and still propagated by the followers of Blanqui because they tended to present communism as a general leveling-down, as a negation of culture in which "the category of worker is not abolished but extended to all men"

The alienation of labour is the premise for its emancipation

The next two articles in this series deal with Marx's first definitions of communist society, and in particular with his vision of communism as the overcoming of man's alienation. The article that follows therefore pays particular attention to the concept of alienation.

How the proletariat won Marx to communism

"The theoretical conclusions of the communists are in no way based on ideas or principles that have been invented, or discovered, by this or that would-be universal reformer. They merely express, in general terms, actual relations springing from an existing class struggle, from a historical movement going on under our very eyes." (Communist Manifesto)

From Primitive Communism to Utopian Socialism

The first aim of the series of articles we are beginning here is to reaffirm the marxist position that communism is not a nice idea. As Marx put it in The German Ideology"Communism is not for us a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality will have to adjust itself.

We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The condition of this movement result from premises now in existence".

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