communist theory forum, february 14th

The Communist Theory Forum, hosted by The Commune, takes place from 2pm on Sunday 14th February at the Lucas Arms, Grays Inn Road, near London’s King’s Cross.

The Communist Theory Forum represents an attempt to establish an engaged research programme to think through the impasses of the left. The forum was established out of a dissatisfaction with most of the academic debates on the left, which rarely transcend scholastic studies. If you think of a journal such as the New Left Review, for all the good academic work contained within there is very little engagement with either the big questions of communist strategy in the 21st century, nor the nuts and bolts of real world praxis today. The debates are very rarely conducted from the point of view of what is needed to reinvigorate communist ideas to assist overturning the economic and political structures of capitalism. Continue reading “communist theory forum, february 14th”

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what will communist society look like?

The first of a series of communist discussion meetings in Sheffield. From 7pm on Tuesday 19th January at The Rutland Arms, 86 Brown Street, Sheffield S1 2BS.

Recommended reading for the meeting includes: William Morris – News From Nowhere chapters xii, xv and xvii; Cornelius Castoriadis – On the content of socialism; Karl Marx – Critique of the Gotha Programme parts iii and iv, as well as The Paris Commune from Civil War in France.

Continue reading “what will communist society look like?”

alternatives to capitalism: what happens after the revolution?

by Andrew Kliman
Marxist-Humanist Initiative

I.  Concretizing the Vision of a New Human Society

We live at a moment in which it is harder than ever to articulate a liberatory alternative to capitalism.  As we all know, the collapse of state-capitalist regimes that called themselves “Communist,” as well as the widespread failures of social democracy to remake society, have given rise to a widespread acceptance of Margaret Thatcher’s TINA – the belief that “there is no alternative.” Continue reading “alternatives to capitalism: what happens after the revolution?”

on the content of socialism

Cornelius Castoriadis, aka Paul Cardan, was the most prominent member of the Socialisme ou Barbarie group in France in the late 1940s-1960s, which advocated workers’ self-management in workplaces and society as opposed to capitalism in its private and state-run forms.

Here we present Maurice Brinton’s translation of Castoriadis’ classic On the content of socialism. The work is subtitled ‘From the Critique of Bureaucracy to the Idea of the Proletariat’s Autonomy’

Click here for part 1, here for part 2 and here for part 3. Continue reading “on the content of socialism”

collective decision-making and supervision in a communist society

by Moshé Machover: only the introduction is presented below, see the full document here.

The importance of this issue cannot be over-stated: it concerns the very essence of communism. If communism means anything at all, it means a radical eruption of democracy. Bursting its present narrow political confines, where it is allowed to hold truncated and partly illusory sway, democracy is to engulf all spheres of social life. This applies in particular to what is, under capitalism, the alienated sphere of economics: major choices that are now made behind the backs of society – imposed by private owners who monopolize wealth, or left to the chaotic play of blind market forces – will be decided consciously and collectively by the community concerned. The enormous extension of the sphere of collective decision-making will necessarily imply a corresponding expansion and deepening of the scope of public supervision, ensuring proper implementation of decisions. Continue reading “collective decision-making and supervision in a communist society”

twenty years after the berlin wall fell

November marks twenty years since the fall of the Berlin wall. This event represented one of the high points of a great mass struggle against the tyrannical order in the Eastern Bloc, and led to the downfall of the Soviet Union. But with the defeats of movements opposed to both these statist régimes and the free market, the popular movements of 1989 are now used to prove there is no alternative to capitalism.

wallfall

Here we present sections of a series of interviews with communists from the former Eastern Bloc focussing on the struggles of the time, what system really existed in the “communist” countries and what has happened to the working class over the last twenty years. Continue reading “twenty years after the berlin wall fell”

the spirit of utopia today

A talk by Mark Ellingsen at the recent Bristol Anarchist Bookfair

First of all I would like to make a distinction between utopia and utopianism, or the spirit of utopia. So let’s start with a couple of definitions which I think is close to how I see the two concepts:

Definition of utopia:

“The word describes an ideal community free from conflict which incorporates a clear set of values and allows the complete satisfaction of human needs.” (Burden 2006: 716).

Definition of utopianism:

“Critical and creative thinking projecting alternative social worlds that would realize the best possible way of being, based on rational and moral principles, accounts of human nature and history, or imagined technological possibilities. Utopian thinking invariably contains criticism of the status quo. It aims to overcome social inequality, economic exploitation, sexual repression, and other possible forms of domination that make well-being and happiness in this life impossible” (Kögler 2005: 939). Continue reading “the spirit of utopia today”