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”

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issue 9 of the commune

The November issue of our monthly paper The Commune is now available. Click the image below to see the PDF, or see articles as they are posted online in the list below.

issue9cover

To purchase a printed copy for £1 + 50p postage, use the ‘donate’ feature here. You can also subscribe (£12 a year UK/£16 EU/£20 international) or order 5 copies a month to sell (£4) online here. If you want to pay by cheque, contact uncaptiveminds@gmail.com.

are we ready for a winter of discontent? – by Sheila Cohen

post strike: this is no deal – by Joe Thorne

underground pay deadlock – by Vaughan Thomas

what is the union bureaucracy? – by Alberto Durango

occupation and state building in the new afghanistan – by Jessica Anderson

mixed reactions to cwu-royal mail deal – interview with a communist postman

manchester students build solidarity with post workers – by Mark Harrison

honduras: democracy has not been restored – by Socialismo o Barbarie

month long strike in france: ‘papers for all!’ – interview with Seni cleaners and piece from Où va la CGT?

communism twenty years after the berlin wall fell – interviews with eastern european activists

scottish ruling class: division over union – by Allan Armstrong

obituary of chris harman – by Andy Wilson

university occupations in austria – interview with vienna student activist

question time row: did the straw man really slay the griffin? – by Adam Ford

communist recomposition and workers’ representation – by Chris Ford

‘full and open debate’ on post-no2eu project: ok, when? – by David Broder

building from below: the work of paulo freire – by Dave Spencer

the global commune, january 16th

activities of the commune around britain

 

yugoslav “self government”

by Dan Jakopovich

The Yugoslav experiment is a gold mine of experiences. As it is useful to learn about the positive aspects of this experience, it is also good to learn from Yugoslav mistakes and limitations.

Professor Stipe Šuvar humorously depicted the Yugoslav experience, in accordance with its underdeveloped material and cultural reality, as a form of “shephards’ self-government”. About 75% of the Yugoslav population were peasants prior to the Second World War. A leading communist and perhaps the single most important architect of the Yugoslav system of “self-government”, Edvard Kardelj, noted that Yugoslav pre-war electricity production was 59 times below the European average. Continue reading “yugoslav “self government””

reminder: january 19th reading group on self-organisation and communism from below

Our series of reading groups kicks off at 6:30pm on Monday January 19th with a discussion on the subject of working class self-organisation and “communism from below”.  Email uncaptiveminds@gmail.com to find out more info on the central London venue. The texts for this first meeting are:

The Communist Manifesto (click here)

Arguing against different conceptions of “socialism” prevalent at the time, such as paternalistic “utopian” projects, Marx and Engels’ 1848 Manifesto argues that it is the working class must take power in order to revolutionise society. Tracing the development of Western society through the ages, Marx argues that we must get rid of capitalist ownership and the repressive social order and create a new, free and collectively organised system based on the development achieved by humanity thus far.

The Civil War in France – Engels’ 1891 introduction (click here) and chapter five (click here)

Marx’s thundering eulogy to the Communards – the Parisian workers who seized power in 1871 in the midst of France’s defeat in a war against Prussia – and the new order they established, casting aside the state bureaucracy and standing army and taking control with their democratic working-class “commune”. Introduction by Engels traces French history in the intervening decades and summarises the work.

Communism and Society (click here)

This section of British communist William Paul’s 1922 work argues against conceptions of introducting socialism through Parliament, and like Marx in The Civil War in France denies that the working class can take over the existing state machinery. Paul’s piece focuses on the self-organisation of the class and the manner in which the organisation of struggles against capitalism prefigures the society which will replace it.

Socialism and self-management (click here)

Yugoslav Marxist Mihailo Markovic’s piece looks at different aspects of workers’ self-management, with particular reference to post-war Yugoslavia where organs expressing elements of workers’ democracy were in conflict with the state bureaucracy under Marshal Tito. He argues that the state and party should be replaced by organs of workers’ self management whereby the mass of the population make economic, political and social decisions for themselves.


the communist revolution and the necessity of workers’ self-management

by Chris Kane

If co-operative production is not to remain a sham and a snare; if it is to supersede the capitalist system; if united co-operative societies are to regulate national production upon a common plan, thus taking it under their own control, and putting an end to the constant anarchy and periodical convulsions which are the fatality of capitalist production – what else, gentlemen, would it be but communism, “possible” communism?

Karl Marx, The Civil War in France

The communist revolution is fundamentally different from the process imagined by those who see the capturing of Parliament or a coup d’état by an elitist party as an end in itself.  Marx, as is now well known, emphasised the self-emancipation of the working class: in 1871, amongst the conclusions he drew from the experience of the Paris Commune, he said that:  1. we cannot lay hold of the existing state machinery, 2. the commune was the political form at last discovered under which to work out the economical emancipation of the working class.  Alongside the Paris Commune we now have extensive historical experience of similar forms of workers’ self organisation by which to address its relationship to the communist society latent already in the class struggles within capitalism, whose potential has almost been realised in past efforts to reach the first phase of communism. Continue reading “the communist revolution and the necessity of workers’ self-management”

report on lrc conference

by Chris Ford

Over two-hundred people attended the conference of the Labour Representation Committee held under the title of ‘The Future of the Left’. On the one hand the LRC conference took some very positive steps and on the other we had a full display of many of the negative traits of the traditional left.

Continue reading “report on lrc conference”

issue 1 of the commune published

We are pleased to announce the publication of the first issue of our newspaper The Commune. You can order a printed copy (£1 per copy + postage and packing) by emailing uncaptiveminds@gmail.com or writing to The Commune, 2nd Floor, 145-157 St John Street, London EC1V 4PY.

click here for pdf, or see individual articles below

nationalisation is no answer for our class! – Editorial part one

the dual crisis of labour and capital – Editorial part two

civil service dispute on ice? – by Steve Ryan, Wrexham PCS

report of pro-choice demo 20th october

are we really fighting in unison? – by James Caspell, Lambeth UNISON

the crisis of capitalism – interview with Andrew Kliman, author of Reclaiming Marx’s Capital

henry paulson’s bureaucratic collectivist fantasy – by Ernie Haberkern

william morris: against ‘state socialism’ – by Terry Liddle

for institutions of workplace democracy – by Gregor Gall, Professor of Industrial Relations, University of Hertfordshire

the class struggle in iran – by David Broder

platform of the international communists