the conspiracy of equals and the birth of communism

Jean Léger examines the history of Gracchus Babeuf and his ‘Conspiracy of Equals’, a communist organisation which emerged during the French Revolution. First appeared as ‘Babeuf et la naissance du communisme ouvrier’ in issue 2 of critical Marxist journal Socialisme ou Barbarie (May-June 1949).

Babeuf was the first example of a militant formulating a coherent socialist doctrine, struggling for a “plebeian” socialist revolution, in his view indispensible for the reorganisation of the economy and society as a whole. These attempts at the first communist party and doctrine are of great importance to us: they allow us to understand how revolutionary thought has developed. They moreover offer the opportunity for a concrete analysis of the link between the revolutionary militant and the working class in a given historical period [1]. Continue reading “the conspiracy of equals and the birth of communism”

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”

sixty years of socialisme ou barbarie

Many of the ideas generally associated with May ’68 were in fact inspired by the journal Socialisme ou Barbarie, which is now being made available online. By João Bernardo at Passa Palavra slightly abridged for English-speaking readers.


On 1st March 1949 was published the first issue of the journal Socialisme ou Barbarie, which was produced regularly before finishing in 1965 with its fortieth issue. Now, in 2009, to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary, a collective of individuals and groups – “Projet de scannerisation de la revue Socialisme ou Barbarie” — has set itself the task of scanning-in all the issues and making them available online. The initiative has already put the first issue on their site. Recently there was a similar project with the Portuguese paper  “Combate” (1974-78). Continue reading “sixty years of socialisme ou barbarie”