Friday, December 31, 2010

The Conspiracy Industry and the Lure of Fascism

"The fallacy is what has been termed the "conspiracy theory of history," the notion that conspiracies explain everything that's wrong with society. This is a reversal of reality. It is political economy, not conspiracy theory, that explains what is fundamentally wrong with society—understanding power relations and wealth inequities."

by Bill Weinberg, World War 4 Report

New York City's WBAI Radio—flagship of the progressive, non-profit Pacifica Network, where I am a producer—unfortunately provides a case study in the increasing embrace of right-wing conspiracy theory by the remnants of the American (and global) left.

The most useful propaganda device in this ongoing hostile take-over of the rump progressive forces has been an exploitation of the traumatic events of September 11, 2001. Alex Jones, who trumpets anti-immigrant bromides alongside 9-11 pseudo-exposés, now rivals Noam Chomsky as an icon on lefty websites. Where our rhetoric once invoked the military-industrial complex and even the sacrosanct capitalist system, today our ire is frequently targeted at such arcane entities as the Bilderberg Club, the Bavarian Illuminati, and stranger things.

WBAI provides a useful case study because it has followed the same trajectory as many of basically progressive inclination since 2001. What began as an examination of seeming anomalies in the case of 9-11 has lured some of our best minds down a black hole of irrationality that ultimately leads—and this, as shall be demonstrated, is not just hyperbole—to fascism.

Critical Inquiry versus Conspiranoia
Before detailing the dynamics of this deterioration, it is necessary to define some terms for the discussion—and particularly to draw a distinction between legitimate critical inquiry and what we may term "conspiranoia"—a state of perpetual paranoia about conspiracies in high places, in which the improbable and even faintly impossible is treated as a fait accompli if it supports the proffered theory. It may begin with pre-planted explosives or missiles bringing down the Twin Towers, but it frequently doesn't end there—because once you abandon reason, anything goes.

Those who raise such criticisms are inevitably accused of supporting the "official story." This is where the distinction is critical. The question of what was degree and nature of the Bush administration's complicity in 9-11 is a legitimate one. It is also, alas, one the historians are going to be arguing about for generations to come, just like they are still arguing about the Reichstag Fire, the JFK assassination, the Gulf of Tonkin and the sinking of the battleship Maine. There is likely never going to be a definitive answer to it. That doesn't mean that inquiry isn't worthwhile. However—especially as concerns our activist efforts against the war(s) and loss of freedoms—there is limited utility to getting obsessed with the minutiae of 9-11.

The output of the lugubrious mini-industry which has sprung up around 9-11 conspiranoia has become increasingly toxic over the passing years. The most innocent of the DVDs and books are just poorly researched, merely exchanging the rigid dogma of the "official story" for another rigid dogma, no more founded in empiricism or objectivity. But, not surprisingly, lots of creepy right-wing types have got on board, using 9-11 as the proverbial thin end of a wedge.

The reason this is is not surprising is clear to anyone who understands the dynamics of the populist end of the political right—and the rise of classical fascism in Europe in the first half of the 20th century.

It also has to be made clear in this context that conspiracies, of course, exist. Contragate was a conspiracy; Watergate was a conspiracy; and whoever was behind 9-11, it was a conspiracy. Whether it was al-Qaeda, the Bush administration, the CIA, Mossad or the Illuminati, or any combination thereof, it was a conspiracy—obviously. Conspiracies exist, and are worthy of examination. The fallacy is what has been termed the "conspiracy theory of history," the notion that conspiracies explain everything that's wrong with society. This is a reversal of reality. It is political economy, not conspiracy theory, that explains what is fundamentally wrong with society—understanding power relations and wealth inequities. The conspiracies are merely a symptom of the prevailing political economy—just like war, terrorism, bad propaganda and fascism.

Fascism in its classical form is predicated on the notion that there is a hidden elite—whether it is the Jewish bankers or, in updated versions, the Trilateral Commission, Bliderbergs, Illuminati or shape-shifting reptilians (about which more later)—that controls everything, and is "the" problem.

These entities aren't "the" problem, nor do they control everything; nor, often, do they even exist. The Trilateral Commission does exist; you can go their website. The Bilderbergers have no website because they don't exist in any formal sense; they are just a group of bankers and industrialists who periodically get together in a high-end hotel and kick back martinis and schmooze. The Illuminati existed two centuries ago; it doesn't exist any more. The shape-shifting reptilians assuredly do not exist.

The obsession with conveniently hidden elites serves to let off the hook the very real elites that are in plain sight. It has become utterly unfashionable to say it, but the problem ultimately is not the power of hidden elites, but that we live under the capitalist system. This is why conspiranoia is inevitably a useful tool of those who seek to distract us from class analysis.

The Slippery Slope to Shape-Shifting Reptilians
WBAI's embrace of conspiracy theory started with the comparatively innocuous 9-11 musings of the Loose Change videos, the first to be offered as fund-drive premiums. But it is predictable that it got increasingly sinister and wacky from there. Some of the ensuing 9-11 conspiracy hucksters promoted by WBAI not only didn't have their ducks in a row in terms of research, but were creepy fascistic types. Eric Hufschmid, producer of the Painful Deception video, has a website full of anti-immigrant xenophobia and Holocaust revisionism. Of course, he uses the soft-sell approach—in the 9-11 video there isn't any xenophobia or Holocaust denial. You have to go his website to see that he's a xenophobe and revisionist (read: likely Nazi-nostalgist).

Next was WBAI's promotion of The Money Masters, a DVD purporting to expose the international banking conspiracy to undermine American sovereignty. This was pretty much straight-up right-wing nationalism, and had, at least, a strong fascistic undertone. The next entry was Spanish conspiracy guru Daniel Estulin, author of The Secrets of the Bilderberg Club, who asserted that Obama was put in power by the Bilderbergs to impose "socialism."

Finally, in the summer 2010 fund drive, WBAI crossed the line—promoting a real, live neo-Nazi: a former British sportscaster by the name of David Icke, who hawks a book entitled Alice in Wonderland and the World Trade Centre Disaster. This is his lure to draw in newbies who can then be indoctrinated with far stranger and more unsavory things. Icke's is soft-sell neo-Nazism, but neo-Nazism nonetheless; you don't have to dig very deep to find it.

In the material aired on BAI, Icke spoke about the Bilderbergs and the Illuminati. But what he actually believes (or says he believes) lies behind the global power nexus can be gleaned very easily by going to his website, In Icke's world, behind the the Bilderbergs and the Illuminati is the Rothschild banking family and associated powerful Jews—who are literally held to be inhuman. They are, in fact, reptilian aliens from the Fourth Dimension who have mysterious shape-shifting abilities and can assume human form. (I'm not making this up—go to the website.)

The ideology behind all of this comes straight out of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the notorious anti-Semitic forgery which was a pillar of the Nazi propaganda system. It purports to be a secret document revealing how the Jews secretly control the world, using both capitalism and communism as instruments to bring governments to their knees. Icke's bizarre zeitgeist is a mere reworking of the Protocols, which he in fact extensively cites on his website.

The shape-shifting-reptilians thing is admittedly Icke's own little twist. It is a fairly common device of DIY Nazism to assert that the Jews are actually non-human. The Christian Identity movement, which pervades much of the rural radical right in the US, believes that only the white race is truly human; the other races are either sub-human or non-human. The brown-skinned "mud people" are sub-human. The Jews are the non-human offspring of Satan. Both must be exterminated, although the Jews with somewhat greater urgency due to their greater power.

For the Christian Identity cultists, Jews are Satanic offspring because everything is seen through their idiosyncratic spin on the Bible; for Icke they are shape-shifting reptilians, exploiting popular interest in (and credulity about) extra-terrestrials. Both take the Protocols as their starting point.

The Paradoxical Anti-Fascist Rhetoric of Contemporary Crypto-Fascism
Today—at least, hopefully, on WBAI—you don't get very far by openly calling yourself a neo-Nazi. In fact, a standard of contemporary populist invective is to compare our present-day oppressors with the Nazis. How do Icke and his ilk square this?

By applying Hitler's own ideology and propaganda techniques to Hitler himself.

In Hitler's world, everything bad was the creation of evil Jews in high places. So of course, David Icke says Hitler was created by the Rothschilds. In fact, he goes beyond that to argue that Hitler was a Rothschild. And therefore Hitler, like most of those who run the world, was in fact not human but a shape-shifting reptilian from the Fourth Dimension.

This theory is expounded in a screed entitled "Was Hitler a Rothschild?" In a time-honored method of such propaganda, Icke mixes a few grains of truth amidst the sinister wackiness. Although considerably less so today, the Rothschilds were certainly a powerhouse of high finance in the 19th century, and funders of the early Zionist movement. But, betraying his hand rather too quickly, Icke in the second paragraph refers to the Rothschilds as one of Europe's "black occult bloodlines," "working in league with the Illuminati House of Hesse." Then he really cuts to the chase: they are "one of the top Illuminati bloodlines on the planet, and they are shape-shifting reptilians."

Icke seizes on the popular rumor in Germany that Hitler's grandmother was impregnated by a Rothschild baron for whom she worked as a maid. Icke cites a book by a US intelligence analyst, Walter Langer, who looked into this theory after the war and in 1972 published his findings under the title The Mind of Adolf Hitler. If you go to the library and read the book for yourself, you'll find that Langer ultimately decided the rumor was insubstantial.

Icke, however, has no doubts. "[T]here was no way that someone like Hitler would come to power in those vital circumstances for the Illuminati, unless he was of the reptilian bloodline," he writes, adding that "the same bloodline has held the positions of royal, aristocratic, financial, political, military, and media power in the world for literally thousands of years. This is the bloodline that has produced ALL 42 of the Presidents of the United States since and including George Washington in 1789... The World War Two leaders, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin, were of the bloodline and also Freemasons and Satanists. They were manipulated into office, and their country's war effort funded, by the Rothschild's and the other Illuminati bloodlines."

Icke asserts: "These people are NOT Jews, they are a non-human bloodline with a reptilian genetic code who hide behind the Jewish people and use them as a screen and a means to an end." He seems to think this disclaimer lets him off the hook for anti-Semitism.

In a page on his website boosting the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Icke even deigns to write: "I speak for Jews who oppose this secret plan which was concocted by Cabalist bankers and rabbis centuries ago and revised periodically. These self-appointed Jewish leaders have put all Jews in jeopardy. They are establishing their world tyranny by stealth—manipulating current events, re-engineering society and controlling perception."

But his tone quickly changes to that of a barely veiled threat: "All Jews will be blamed for the disproportionate role many Jews play unless more speak up and are counted."

Elsewhere on his website, Icke has a photo of a billboard that was placed on a roadside in Iowa by a local Tea Party chapter (improbable allies for BAI listeners) that reads "RADICAL LEADERS PREY ON THE FEARFUL & NAIVE" below portraits of Hitler, Lenin and Obama. The portraits are labeled, respectively, "National Socialism," "Marxist Socialism" and "Democrat Socialism." Icke writes: "Is the Obama-Hitler billboard correct? ...The billboard suggests that Obama is a radical socialist leader similar to Hitler and Lenin. This is, in fact, a true comparison, which is probably why it was papered over so quickly. Obama, Hitler, and Lenin were all initially financed by Rothschild money. If we look at the historical record, we can clearly see that all three leaders were originally puppets of the House of Rothschild."

This is particularly telling. Icke, for all his wackiness, is on a spectrum with the Tea Party movement, which is being mainstreamed with terrifying rapidity. And whether Icke himself is deeply delusional or a mere charlatan, it is clear that many of the Tea-Baggers genuinely think they are anti-fascist—even as they embrace such fascistic elements as paranoid anti-communism, vague but shrill populism, and (too often) open racism.

Leftists Take the Poisonous Bait
This relates to why WBAI and the Pacifica network, which should be a foremost bulwark of resistance against the rise of fascism in this country, are promoting fascism.

The left is complicit in eroding its own vigilance against fascism by using the word "fascism" as a mere baseball bat to beat our enemies with, often with little regard for its actual meaning. Many elements of the reigning system are frighteningly fascistic (aggressive wars, repeal of basic rights, the privileged position of corporate power); many elements of the increasingly conspiranoid opposition culture on the grassroots are also fascistic, despite its relentless anti-fascist rhetoric. This opposition culture consistently misses the boat on the populist lure of fascism, especially in its incipient phases.

Hitler and Mussolini talked a good populist game during their rise to power. Before they each cut their deal with big capital, they even talked a vaguely anti-capitalist line. Hitler posed himself as standing up for the "Little Man" and German sovereignty against the Jewish banking conspiracy—especially in the period from the Beerhall Putsch through the rise of the Brown Shirts, the more populist element of the Nazi apparatus. Then in 1934—the year after Hitler achieved power—the Brown Shirt leaders were betrayed and unceremoniously killed in the Night of the Long Knives. This happened just as Hitler was consolidating his deal with the big German capitalists, the Krupps and the Farbens, who would later avail themselves of slave labor in the concentration camps.

Early fascism nearly always plays to populism and purports to be protecting the little guy against the machinations of all-powerful elites. The error the fascists make—or, more cynically, the lie that they tell—is that "the" problem isn't class stratification but those occulted elites pulling the strings behind the scenes, who can be neatly extricated from the system. And who better to extricate them than the heroic truth-teller who is exposing them? This is both the fundamental fallacy behind fascism, and the psycho-political instrument by which it achieves power.

Failure to grasp this is a grave error, and it is practically universal on the contemporary left. Even Chris Hedges, who should really know better, incorrectly employs the word "corporatism"—used especially by Mussolini to describe his system—to refer to fascism's deal with the bankers and industrialists. That deal was certainly a defining element of classical fascism, but that isn't what the word "corporatism" referred to. It referred to another defining element of fascism: the "incorporation" of populist institutions such as trade unions into the apparatus of the ruling party. This element is invisible to nearly all on the left who today warn of impending fascism.

Most of those who invoke Mussolini's famous "fascism is corporatism" quote ironically do so to refer to the opposite of what they really mean. The corporatist (centralist, clientelist) elements of the US system, instated in the New Deal era, have today been largely dismantled in favor of a corporate (free-trade or "neoliberal") state—that is, one dominated by the big corporations. Classical fascism had both corporatist and corporate elements, using corporatism to control populist currents, and divert popular rage from the ruling class and onto scapegoats (Jews and communists); too many on the left today make the error of only seeing one end of the fascist equation.

Blind to the populist element of fascism, we become vulnerable to its propaganda. Amazingly, among those to exhibit this error in recent days is none other than longtime leftist icon Fidel Castro. Since stepping down from power, Havana's elder statesman has been writing a lot for his blog, "Reflections by Comrade Fidel," which is posted on the website of the Cuban news agency Prensa Latina. His Aug. 19 entry was entitled "The World Government"—traditionally a canard of the political right, which sees the globalist conspiracy as one of the left. The entry consists in its majority of an extended excerpt from Daniel Estulin's The Secrets of the Bilderberg Club. There isn't the slightest initmation that Fidel is quoting Estulin in any sense other than favorably.

Most ironically of all, the Estulin quote includes a citation to far-right cult-master (and convicted credit-card fraud felon) Lyndon LaRouche, in which he portrays the "Aquarian Conspiracy" of the "counterculture" as an insidious tool for social control. Those who can remember back to the 1980s will recall that LaRouche was a big booster of Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative ("Star Wars") program, which was instrumental in driving Cuba's Soviet patrons to collapse. In true fascist style, LaRouche weds paranoia about sinister banking conspiracies with a vicious anti-communism.

So why is Fidel Castro embracing a writer who, in turn, embraces Lyndon LaRouche? It may be cruel to speculate that it has to do with his advancing years, but Fidel did have the humility to step down from power when he felt he was no longer up to it. Maybe his handlers should clue him in that he should stop doing his blog.

But there is, of course, a bigger political point here.

The conspiracy theory of history has right-wing roots, and remains inherently a phenomenon of the right. Its origins are in the writings of the reactionary 18th-century Jesuit Abbé Barruel, who blamed the French Revolution on the medieval Order of Templars. His emulators blamed Freemasons and the Illuminati for the assault on Europe's old order. This became the template nearly a century later for the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. This document first emerged along with the pogroms, in which Jewish villages were attacked and burned as Jews were scapegoated for the rising of revolutionary currents in the Russia of the czars. It was later adopted by Hitler, and justified his Final Solution. Conspiranoid thinking was seen in America in the anti-communist hysteria of the Cold War, heyday of the John Birch Society; and then in the "New World Order" scare of the '90s, heyday of the militia movement. Since 9-11, the conspiracy milieu has been in a state of hypertrophy, becoming a virtual industry.

Conspiracy theory is what fascism gives the "Little Man" instead of a fundamental change in the system and an overturning of oppressive power relations. Especially with the Tea Party and allied movements perfectly poised to exploit the ongoing economic agony in America and bring about a genuinely fascistic situation in this country, it is imperative that we don't fall for it.


Bill Weinberg is editor of World War 4 Report and, for the moment, co-producer of the Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade on WBAI-FM in New York City, an anarchist-themed talk-show featuring the best in world music.

(Note: This is not the website of the Bilderbergs; they have no website because they don't exist.)
(Satire, evidently)

Rule by Idiocy: WBAI Falls for Right-Wing Conspiracy Theory
by Bill Weinberg,, July 2001

From our Daily Report:

Ahmadinejad joins 9-11 conspiranoids
World War 4 Report, March 7, 2010

See also:

Aw Shut Up Already, Will Ya?
by Bill Weinberg, World War 4 Report
World War 4 Report, September 2006

Thursday, December 03, 2009

President Obama does not understand the world, and he hopes you too do not understand.

"Since the days of Franklin Roosevelt, and the service and sacrifice of our grandparents and great-grandparents, our country has borne a special burden in global affairs. We have spilled American blood in many countries on multiple continents. We have spent our revenue to help others rebuild from rubble and develop their own economies. We have joined with others to develop an architecture of institutions -- from the United Nations to NATO to the World Bank -- that provide for the common security and prosperity of human beings. ....

We have not always been thanked for these efforts, and we have at times made mistakes. But more than any other nation, the United States of America has underwritten global security for over six decades -- a time that, for all its problems, has seen walls come down, and markets open, and billions lifted from poverty, unparalleled scientific progress and advancing frontiers of human liberty. ....

For unlike the great powers of old, we have not sought world domination. Our union was founded in resistance to oppression. We do not seek to occupy other nations. We will not claim another nation's resources or target other peoples because their faith or ethnicity is different from ours. What we have fought for -- what we continue to fight for -- is a better future for our children and grandchildren. And we believe that their lives will be better if other peoples' children and grandchildren can live in freedom and access opportunity."



"As a country, we're not as young -- and perhaps not as innocent -- as we were when Roosevelt was President. Yet we are still heirs to a noble struggle for freedom. And now we must summon all of our might and moral suasion to meet the challenges of a new age. ....

In the end, our security and leadership does not come solely from the strength of our arms. It derives from our people -- from the workers and businesses who will rebuild our economy; from the entrepreneurs and researchers who will pioneer new industries; from the teachers that will educate our children, and the service of those who work in our communities at home; from the diplomats and Peace Corps volunteers who spread hope abroad; and from the men and women in uniform who are part of an unbroken line of sacrifice that has made government of the people, by the people, and for the people a reality on this Earth."

and again,

"This vast and diverse citizenry will not always agree on every issue -- nor should we. But I also know that we, as a country, cannot sustain our leadership, nor navigate the momentous challenges of our time, if we allow ourselves to be split asunder by the same rancor and cynicism and partisanship that has in recent times poisoned our national discourse."

yet again, ....

"It's easy to forget that when this war began, we were united -- bound together by the fresh memory of a horrific attack, and by the determination to defend our homeland and the values we hold dear. I refuse to accept the notion that we cannot summon that unity again. (Applause.) I believe with every fiber of my being that we -- as Americans -- can still come together behind a common purpose. For our values are not simply words written into parchment -- they are a creed that calls us together, and that has carried us through the darkest of storms as one nation, as one people. ....

America -- we are passing through a time of great trial. And the message that we send in the midst of these storms must be clear: that our cause is just, our resolve unwavering. We will go forward with the confidence that right makes might, and with the commitment to forge an America that is safer, a world that is more secure, and a future that represents not the deepest of fears but the highest of hopes."

~President Obama, West Point speech, 12-01-09.[1]

The views expressed by President Obama, the Commander-and-Chief of the United States armed forces and front man for the Neo-liberal multinational capitalist Empire, in his West Point speech last night are as much offensive as they are naive. It truly takes a man of great privilege and unquestioning loyalty to the free-market to devise such a clever argument as to why “we” as global citizens under the boot of NATO forces should submit to his multilateral war on behalf of multinational capitalist interest. Empire wants to expand the Middle-Eastern market at the expense of: our lives, our world, our created use-value currently being subsumed by exchange-value, and our collective psychological well-being. ....

President Obama represents order being brought back to a Society of the Spectacle which had an eight year run at a child-like theocratic controlled lordship only rivaled by the very religious fanatics that the simple-minded born again Christian zealots who clutch their sexually frustrated husband or wife in front of the TV in fear of the conditions their true master creates and recreates decade after decade. This order is economic order, it has many names: Capitalism, the free-market, Democracy, Western Civilization, freedom loving nations, national interest, and many more. This order that Obama is presenting on stage has many consequences: war, poverty, death, boredom, global warming, exploitation, slavery, manufactured fear/consent, and a constructed mass narrative that attempts to reassure us all that the very phenomenon that creates, uses, and amplifies the very crisis we find ourselves in will end this capitalist madness. This order has one interest, maintaining capitalism/profit. We are currently under the boot of sociopaths who only feel compassion for an economic system and will take any action in order to protect and remain the beneficiaries of this very real and dangerous system, capitalism. ....

The order being implemented by President Obama and NATO forces is not a kind or gentle system, it is a capitalist plan to regain control of a stumbling system which is heading towards apocalypse. This apocalypse was haphazardly constructed by American policy makers who are living 60 years in the past and who are so blinded by their nationalism, racism, and religious/fascist fueled fantasies that they could not even conduct a simple matter of class war carried out by their fathers before them. President Obama represents order and logic being brought back to an irrational system riddled with dialectical contradictions. The election of Obama represents this very sigh of relief that “we” are no longer held hostage by religious fanatics but after this sigh “we” again took a deep breath before “we” were stripped of all secondary issues to bask in the horror that is multinational capitalist/imperial hegemony. This is the order President Obama has brought to the world citizenry. A world where all illusions are caste aside and we are faced with one war, class war. We must engage in this class war because it is upon us, our everyday lives and everyday interactions are at stake.....

We can only thank President Obama for freeing us from the grips of Bush/Cheney sadistic fanaticism but you peel back the fanaticism and you find three friends who fulfill three distinctly different roles for one father. Their differences in actions represents the attitudes and actions of three brothers: one being young dumb and so eagerly wishes to impress the older brother, the second being currently right for the job because he is calculated and cool, and the third hoping that his bullshit and once upon a time heady days of high school cool will get him through the last years of his career. This is the American political system, a system that only wishes to discuss morality tales and hopes that no one will engage in class warfare. ....

What “we” do is what is of interest not their grand stories of faith or economy.....

.. ..

-From an anarchist-communist who enjoys the fact that the American political system has emerged from the eight year blunder created by a retarded man-child. Maybe now we can again begin to fight against Empire and not its horrible symptoms.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Time for Revolution & Self-valorization.

(a.) Undifferentiated worker (1848-70). Time as natural envelope, the time of the proletarian-slave.

(b.) Professional worker (1870-1917). Time as timepiece. Time as a dialectical meditation. The time of the prodcuct.

(c.) Mass worker (1917-68). Time flux. The time of production.

(d.) Social-multinational worker (1968 onwards). Time as structure, social time. The time of reappropriation and self-valorization.

"Time is not relation, nor residue, nor subtraction: it is the ontology of the proletariat and its possibility of self-valorization. And self-valorization is liberation."
~Negri,(Time for Revolution).

Prince Kropotkin.

by: Harry Cleaver.

This paper was written for and presented to the Conference on Pyotr Alexeevich Kropotkin organized by the Russian Academy of Science on the 150th anniversary of his birth.

The conference was held in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Dimitrov on December 8 - 14, 1992. It was the first such conference to be held on Russian soil since the Revolution in 1917.

by Harry Cleaver
Associate Professor of Economics
University of Texas
Austin, Texas

Kropotkin, Self-valorization And The Crisis Of Marxism Options
Abstract The collapse of the socialist states and the ongoing crisis of Western capitalism -both brought on by pervasive grassroots opposition- demands a reconsideration of the issue of the transcendance of contemporary society by anarchists and Marxists of all stripes. Such a reconsideration should include a reexamination of the thinking of earlier revolutionaries as well as of their experiences within past social upheavals.

With respect to the issue of transcendence, there are traditions of Anarcho-Communism and Marxism whose similar approaches to the question of the recreation of society warrant renewed attention and comparative consideration. These include the analyses of Peter Kropotkin of how a new society could be seen to be emerging out of the materiality of capitalism and those of "autonomist" Marxists who have argued that the future can be found within the present processes of working class "self-valorization" -the diversity of autonomous efforts to craft new ways of being and new forms of social relations. This paper examines these two approaches and compares and contrasts their ways of handling the issue of builting alternatives to capitalism. It ends with a call for the application of these approches in the present crisis.


The collapse of the Soviet regime has left the peoples of Russia and of the other nations it once dominated in the midst of crisis. As the old social structures are torn apart a new set of threats has appeared but also a new freedom. This is the meaning of crisis: new dangers and new opportunities. On the one side, there is the obvious (and only partially televised) mad rush into the power vacuum created by the dissolution of communist party authority. Various coteries of would-be authorities are vying to fill the vacuum and concentrate power in their own hands. Some of these coteries are new; a variety of new political parties and coalitions have been whipped together and now seek a piece of the power pie. Others are old; from the efforts of ex-CP members to regroup (or change their stripes) to the foreign forces, especially those of Western capitalism, which seek to reshape society in their own image. On the other side, less obvious and less discussed, the collapse of the communist regime by loosening the old mechanisms of domination and control has certainly created some wider possibilities for people to take the initiative, to act in their own interests, to take a larger control over their own lives.

The situation today seems to be both more volatile and more open than it has been at any time since 1917. For revolutionaries throughout the world the big questions are how and to what degree will the peoples of the former Soviet Union be able to take advantage of the situation to gain more freedom for the self-determination of their own lives?

At such a time, the reexamination of past revolutionary thought and experience becomes urgent. Although such moments of crisis are never the same, and always have to be grasped in their uniqueness, nevertheless there are obviously lessons to be gained from looking at the past and comparing the present with it. Therefore, it seems most appropriate in Russia today, in the midst of an open-ended social and political crisis, for anarchists -indeed for all those who would transcend the old social order- to reexamine the life and thought of Peter Kropotkin, certainly the deepest and most creative thinker of all the Russian revolutionary anarchists. Indeed, it was just such political archeology that allowed Kropotkin in the period of the Russian revolutions from 1905 to 1917 to use the French Revolution and the Paris Commune as vehicles to help his comrades and the Russian people think about the possibilities and dangers that lay along various paths of political change. Today, we have not only 1789 and 1871 as historical points of reference, but also the experience of the Russian Revolution and several others in the 20th Century.

In what follows I highlight one particular aspect of Kropotkin's thinking about revolutionary change and social evolution: his approach to the question of the emergence of post-capitalist society. His approach, I will argue, is not only one of enormous contemporary importance but is also close to one utilized by a small number of revolutionary Marxists in the West. Given this similarity, it seems to me, their work should be of interest to those inspired by Kropotkin's just as they should find in Kropotkin's efforts inspiration for their own.

Kropotkin and the Transcendence of Capitalism
There are many different issues involved in the general notion of "transcending", or going beyond, the current social order. As a revolutionary militant Kropotkin was acutely aware of many of these, both practical issues of political struggle and more abstract issues of the character of human social evolution. From the time he began to participate actively in anarchist politics, he was involved in evaluating and embracing or rejecting a variety of political tactics and strategies: e.g., terrorist politics of the deed (like assasination attempts against the Tsar), tactics of expropriation (armed robberies), revolutionary propaganda (contributions to bourgeois journals, the publication of militant newspapers, the preparation of scientific book-length treatises), the stance to adopt vis a vis trade unionism and syndicalism or the activities of other political groups (social- democratic parliamentarism, the formation of the soviets, Bolshevik centralism) and the role to play in such world- historical events as World War I and the Russian Revolutions.

At the same time, however, Kropotkin sought to base such judgements in a more general understanding of the nature of human society and of the historical character of its evolution. It was to provide such a general understanding that he pursued his researches on "mutual aid", published a variety of articles on that subject and eventually a substantial book containing a considerable mass of collected data. That work was not merely a scientific critique of Huxley's narrow Darwinism, it was also aimed at providing a foundation for his anarcho-communist politics by demonstrating that there was an inherent tendency in human society, as well as in a variety of other animal societies, for individuals to cooperate with other members of their species and help each other rather than to compete in a war of all against all.

In his research he traced the manifestation of the "law of mutual aid" down through history. He found it sometimes triumphant, sometimes defeated by the contradictory forces of competition and conflict but always present and providing the foundation for recurrent efforts at cooperative self- emancipation from various forms of domination (the state, institutional religion, capitalism).

In this founding of his politics in an analysis of a continuing and developing aspect of human society, Kropotkin differentiated himself from all utopian approaches to the creation of a new society. On the one hand, he was obviously sympathetic to the efforts of some of his predecessors those he called "modern socialists". On the other hand, he was hostile to the "Jacobin Utopias" of revolutionary centralizers.(1) He came to be quite explicit about his differences with those who would draw up blueprints for the future. "As to the method followed by the anarchist thinker," he wrote in 1887, "it is entirely different from that followed by the utopists . . . He studies human society as it is now and was in the past . . . tries to discover its tendencies, past and present, its growing needs, intellectual and economic, and in his ideal he merely points out in which direction evolution goes."(2) Thus, Woodcock's characterization of Kropotkin's The Conquest of Bread (1892) as a "proposition" rather than a utopia must be judged inadequate. In that book Kropotkin was presenting the results of research into those concrete developments in the present which constituted elements of a post-capitalist society. He was not just sketching "how a different kind of society might begin to emerge". He was showing how the future was already appearing in the present!(3)

This focus on tendencies, or developing patterns of concrete behavior, differentiated his approach from both early utopians and later Marxist-Leninists by abandoning the Kantian "ought" in favor of the scientific study of what is already coming to be.(4) Neither Fourier nor Owen hesitated to spell out the way they felt society ought to be organized, from cooperatives to phalansteries. Nor were Lenin and his Bolshevik allies reluctant to specify, in considerable detail, the way work should be organized (Taylorism and competition) and how social decision-making ought to be arranged (top down through party administration and central planning).(5)

Kropotkin deepened the research necessary to root his politics in the concrete trends of the present in the later 1880s and 1890s. Settled in London after release from the French prison at Clairvaux, he was able to devote much more of his time to research. It was the work of the next few years -those leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1905- that provided the material for the articles on mutual aid, industrial decentralization, the division of labor, agricultural development, and so on, that would be collected to form the three books in which he provided a vision of the future rooted in the past and the present: The Conquest of Bread (1892, 1906), Fields, Factories and Workshops Tomorrow (1899) and Mutual Aid (1902).

Kropotkin's researches into the actual working of society both revealed to him, and then came to be guided by, a general principle which he treated most systematically in his writings on mutual aid. The progression of human evolution (including periodic revolution), he argued, occurred through the working out of the conflicts between the "law of mutual struggle" and the "law of mutual aid". What this meant empirically was that one could always find, at any point in history, or within the social context of ones' own struggles, divergent manifestations of these forces. On the one side were the institutions and behaviors of mutual struggle such as narrow- minded individualism, competition, the concentration of landed and industrial property, capitalist exploitation, the state and war. On the other side were those of mutual aid such as cooperation in production, village folkmotes, communal celebrations, trade unionism and syndicalism, strikes, political and social associations. However, in Kropotkin's view, these "laws" were not so evenly balanced as to leave the course of human history totally indeterminant. On the contrary, he thought that the law of mutual aid could be seen, through the course of history, to be ascendant. Within the context of the 19th Century, he argued, not only the survival of the peasant village but also the rapid growth of industrial progress was due primarily to the growing scale and efficacy of cooperation, not "competition" as capitalist ideologs always argued. "For industrial progress", he wrote, "mutual and close intercourse certainly are, as they have been, much more advantageous than mutual struggle."(6) And if the development and expansion of mutual aid lay at the heart of human progress, then it was only logical to base both ethics and politics on this understanding. The work of the anarchist was to attack the impediments to this development and to help organize its growth.(7)

In his researches then, Kropotkin sought to discover, and to separate as much as possible for the sake of clarity, the contradictory embodiments of these two tendencies. Sometimes this was relatively easy -as in the case of the survival or rebirth of peasant village communes. These lived, or were reborn, in relative geographical and cultural isolation and their communal institutions and behaviors could be, and indeed had been, studied (by the populists) directly. It was not hard to demonstrate how the peasants collaborated in building roads and irrigation ditches, in taking care of their forests, harvesting, in producing milk and dairy products,in building hourses, in preparing dowries and in a host of other areas of work and life.(8)

But the more the social phenomena he studied had been reshaped by the rise of capitalism, private property and the world market, the more difficult and subtle his analysis had to be. He had to seek out and identify, at every level, from the local workshop and industry to the global organization of the economy, signs of the forces of cooperation and mutual aid working at cross purposes to the capitalist tendencies to divide all against all. It remains singularly impressive that he was able to do this. He was able to cut through the rhetoric and the reality of competition to perceive and demonstrate the omnipresence of social cooperation at all levels of society. Where economists emphasized static comparative advantage, Kropotkin demonstrated the dynamic countertendency toward increasing complexity and interdependence (cooperation) among industries -a development closely associated with the unstoppable international circulation of knowledge and experience. Where the economists (and later the sociologists of work) celebrated the efficacy and productivity of specialization in production, Kropotkin showed how that very productivity was based not on competition but on the interlinked efforts of only formally divided workers.

When, for example, he turned his attention to the relationship between the urbanization of industry and the relative neglect of agricultural production, he did not merely attack the former and lament the later or evoke nostalgic pastoral images of the past. Instead, he sought out and explored situations where this ecologically and socially crippling specialization was already being overcome, as in the culture maraichere around Paris -where the wastes of the city were being reunited with the soil to the benefit of all. Such living examples, he argued, were manifestations of the counter-tendency of a cooperative interdependence and constituted at least one way forward in this domain.

Similarly, he ferreted out and analysed multiple examples of the tendency to reunite industry and agriculture via a movement of the former toward the later, the persistence or relocation of industry in rural villages and towns. He neither denied nor simply criticized the growth of large scale industry but pointed out not only that its size was often a function more of capitalist profit making than of technology and also that it could be seen to continually stimulate a parallel growth of small complementary industries on the margins of towns or in the villages. Thus, when he spoke of "the pronounced tendency of the factories toward migrating to the villages", he was indulging neither in wishful thinking nor mere prophecy.(9) Kropotkin's work of this sort was "scientific" in the usual sense of being based on empirical observation and on developing an analysis that was consistent with and made sense of the data.

My present interest in this aspect of Kroptokin's efforts lies less in the accuracy of his observations and extrapolations than in his method of work. It is of importance to study, as many have done, where he was right and where he was wrong. That is to say which of the tendencies he identified became dominant and which have faded away or been overwhelmed.(10) But the importance of discovering these things lies not in the judgements we make of the accuracy of his perceptiveness, but rather in the renewal of his method. His work fascinates not because it gives us formulae for the future but because it shows us how to discover tendencies in the present which provide alternative paths out of the current crisis and out of the capitalist system. As that system has developed in the years since he wrote, some of the alternatives he saw were absorbed and ceased to provide ways forward. Others have survived. Others, inevitably, have appeared. Our problem is to find them.

The Crisis of Marxism and the Question of Transcendence
In an important sense, Marxism understood as the activities of those who call themselves Marxists has been in a state of crisis throughout the 20th Century. As Kropotkin saw quite clearly, the rise of first social-democratic Marxism and then of Marxism-Leninism turned Marxism into an ideology of capitalist and socialist domination. Whether among the social-democratic contenders for power in Western Europe, or among the Leninist-Stalinist holders of power in the Soviet Union, Marxism was transformed from a theoretical analysis of the antagonistic conflict between capitalist exploitation and workers' struggles for self-liberation into a theoretical justification for centralized power and socialist accumulation. This was the heart of "orthodox Marxism" in all its guises throughout the world.

A central issue, viewed as of only theoretical importance in the rest of the world, but of immediate concern within the Soviet Union, was that of the processes by which capitalism could be transcended. The formulation of the problem was that of "the transition" and the solution was "socialism". In a linear and teleological development through which all societies must pass, capitalism had to be replaced through a process of transformation (called socialism) which would gradually produce communism. In the West social-democrats sought such transformation through marginal modifications of the state's role. In the Soviet Union, Marxist-Leninists set out to achieve the transformation rapidly through their control of the state and central planning. In both cases, of course, whatever the degree of success, "socialist" accumulation was little more than capitalist accumulation and continued the subordination of most people's lives to the treadmill of endless work under corporate or state supervision. What improvements people were able to achieve they had to fight for -in the USSR as in the West. Inevitably Marxism came to be perceived even by those who were at first deceived- as just one more rationale for power and exploitation. The most general crisis of Marxism, therefore, has been its rejection by millions of workers as an obstacle rather than a help to their struggles.

Outside and against this process of turning of Marxism into an ideology of domination, however, were various revolutionary tendencies which still drew on Marx's work to inform their struggles and which rejected both social- democratic and Marxist-Leninist versions of his theory. The most interesting of these, those that are relevant to my current purpose, have been those which insisted on the primacy of the self-activity and creativity of people in struggle against capitalism.(11) Within the space of these tendencies there has developed a coherent critique of "orthodox Marxism" that includes not only a rejection of the concept of "the transition" but a reconceptualization of the process of transcending capitalism that has remarkable similarities to Kropotkin's thinking on this subject.

This insistence on the autonomy of working class self- activity, not only vis a vis capital but also vis a vis the "official" organizations of the class, e.g., the trade unions and the party, leads me to use the name autonomist Marxism to designate this general line of reasoning and the politics associated with it. With respect to the issue of transcendance, the emphasis on workers' autonomy has led to the rejection of the orthodox Marxist argument that the only path to a post-capitalist society lies through a transitional socialist order managed by the party commanding the state in the name of the people. On the contrary, the process of building a new society, like the process of revolution itself, is seen as either being the work of the people themselves, or as being doomed from the start. Thus one of the earliest political tendencies within which this approach appeared after the Russian revolution of 1917 was that of "Council Communism" which saw the "workers councils" in Germany, or the soviets in Russia, as new organizational forms constructed by the people. As with the anarchists, they too saw the Bolshevik take-over of the soviets (like that of the trade unions) as subverting the revolution and beginning the restoration of domination and exploitation.

Over the years this emphasis on working class autonomy has resulted in a reinterpretation of Marxist theory that has brought out the two-sided character of the class struggle and shifted the focus from capital (the preoccupation of orthodox Marxism) to the workers. That shift has led to many new perceptions, not least of which has been the recognition that the "working class" is itself a category of capital -one that denotes a condition which people of all sorts have struggled to avoid or to escape from.(12) As a result, not only has there been a recognition that capitalism seeks to subordinate everyone's life (from the traditional factory proletariat to peasants, housewives and students) but that all those peoples' struggles involve both the resistance to this subordination and the effort to construct alternative ways of being. It has been in the observation and study of this last phenomenon that autonomist Marxists have been led to the same kind of research that Kropotkin pursued in his efforts to discover emerging trends of mutual aid working at cross purposes to capitalist domination. The theoretical framework has been somewhat different, but the character of the work has been the same.

The differences in the theoretical frameworks can be found, of course, in Kropotkin's eschewing of Marxist class analysis. While there was considerable overlap in many aspects of the analysis of capitalism (e.g., in its historical origins in the seperation of the producers from their means of production), Kropotkin's guiding thread was a theory of human nature and society quite different from Marx's. His contending "laws" of mutual struggle and mutual aid have but little counterpart in Marx's theories of class struggle and unalienated cooperation. As Kropotkin made clear, for him these were tendencies inherent in all life, including human life, whereas for Marx class struggle was seen as a phenomenon which had arisen in history only with emergence of classes and could be surpassed by a classless society. The two came closer to each other in their respective analyses of alienation and cooperation. Both saw and deplored the crippling of the individual that resulted from the way capitalists divided labor and pitted workers against each other. Both also recognized and analysed the fundamental force of cooperation which was at the heart of both past and current levels of productivity. Moreover, there was a parallel between Kropotkin's insistence on the way the tendency of mutual aid asserted itself and Marx's insistence that workers' expanded their own self-organization in response to capital's exploitation.

In Marx's own writings, however, especially in the GRUNDRISSE (1857) and CAPITAL (1867+), the historical analysis provided much more detail on capitalist domination than on working class subjectivity. It took considerable work, over a period of decades, for autonomist Marxists to draw out of those texts and to develop on their own a systematic Marxist analysis of working class autonomy that would parallel Kropotkin's work on mutual aid. That work evolved from a study of how the pattern of capitalist development was determined by working class negativity (blocking and forcing changes) to the study of the positive content of those struggles (which capital seeks to stem or coopt).

An important step in the development of this kind of analysis was the articulation of the concept of working class "self-valorization" against the valorization of capital. A concept generated in the intense class struggles and cultural revolution that took place in Italy and the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s, self-valorization denoted not merely the self-activity of workers, but those aspects of struggle which went beyond mere resistance or negation to the creation of new ways of being.(13) Because the term has been developed in a way that conceptualizes working class self- valorization not as unified but as diverse, it provides a theoretical articulation of the tradition within autonomist Marxism of recognizing the autonomy not merely of the working class but of various sectors of it. To both recognize and accept diversity of self-valorization, rooted like all other activity in the diversity of the peoples capital seeks to dominate, implies a whole politics -one which rejects traditional socialist notions of post-capitalist unity and redefines the "transition" from capitalism to communism in terms of the elaboration from the present into the future of existing forms of self-valorization.(14) In other words, communism is reconceptualized in a manner very much in harmony with Kropotkin's own views, not as a some-day-to- be-achieved utopia but as a living reality whose growth only needs to be freed of constraint.(15)

Like Kropotkin's studies, such efforts to discover the future in the present were based not only on a theory of collective subjectivity but on empirical studies of real workers in action. Just as Kropotkin studied the past to inform the present, so have these autonomist Marxists. Just as he investigated tendencies in both agriculture and industry, as well as their interrelationships, so have these Marxists. Where Kropotkin went back to the French Revolution and the Commune, these researchers have explored moments of class conflict and working class self-activity such as the liberation of London's Newgate Prison in 1780, the slave revolt in San Domingo in 1791, the IWW struggles in the 1910s, the German workers' councils in 1918 and 1919, the industrial mass- worker sit-downs of the 1930s, the Italian factory worker revolt against the unions in the 1950s, the Hungarian workers' councils in 1956; the student and women's movements of the 1960s, the struggles of peasants and the urban poor in Mexico in the 1970s and 1980s, and so on.(16) Such studies have been carried out with a focus on self-activity and in a growing number of cases, the research has focused on new forms of social cooperation.

As in the case of Kropotkin, some of the clearest results have come from the study of rural areas, of the self-activity of peasants in their villages. Despite the ongoing urbanization of the 20th Century, vast numbers of peasant cultures have continued to survive and to grow and develop. As in the past, their isolation would seem to make them readily susceptible to analysis. Yet research has shown that such isolation is only relative, their self-activity has constructed networks of connections among different groups both in the countryside and with urban areas. Not only do many of the cooperative activities of the sort that Kropotkin observed continue, but such networking has provided the means to circulate both information and struggle in ways that extend the notion of community far beyond the isolated locality even beyond national frontiers. In Mexico, such networks have been called "hammocks" because rather than trapping the participant they are adaptable to the specificities of local needs and projects.(17)

Parallel to such work on rural areas, especially in the Third World, has been the study of the evolving pattern of domination and struggle in urban industrial areas. But whereas Marx, and orthodox Marxism, focused almost exclusively on the factory, the development of autonomist Marxist theory has traced the extension of capitalist domination throughout social life and outlined the emergence of the "social" factory, i.e., the integration of private life (home, school, etc) into the reproduction of capitalism.

Unlike Western critical theory, however, this extension has been seen to involve an equal extension of conflict and struggle which has been transforming both the meaning of work and the content of social cooperation and mutual aid. The object of research has become one of discovering past and emerging patterns of cooperation, especially those that repeatedly slip the constraints of capitalist instrumentalization.

With respect to the current period of crisis and restructuring, some Italian and French theorists of working class autonomy have suggested that at the heart of the current crisis of capitalism is a new kind of working class subjectivity which is replacing that of the mass worker. They suggest that only by understanding the positive characteristics of that subjectivity, which ruptured capitalist control and continues to defy its present efforts at subordination, can we understand either those efforts or the emergent possibilities of liberation. One early characterization of this new subjectivity (which is actually seen as a diversity of subjectivities) was that of a new "tribe of moles" -a loose community of highly mobile, drop-out, part- time workers, part-time students, participants in the underground economy, creators of temporary and ever changing autonomous zones of social life that forced a fragmentation of and crisis in the mass-worker organization of the social factory.(18) Another characterization has been that of the "socialized worker" which focuses on how the crisis of the social factory has been generated precisely by a subject whose self-activity in all moments of life challenges the fabric of capitalist control.(19) Within the interpersonal interactions and exchanges of information that they associate with the "computer and informational society", these theorists believe to have identified an increasingly collective appropriation of (i.e., control over) "communication." The analysis runs as follows: the period of mass production was characterized by radical divisions between and within mental and manual labor (both within and outside of the factory) that limited daily participation in any kind of collective system of interactive communication to a small minority of skilled workers (e.g., engineers and scientists) -this was a continuation of the same divisions both Kropotkin and Marx condemned. However, the dynamics of the class struggle has increasingly forced a spatial and temporal recomposition of work that is undermining that division. On the one hand, automation has been dramatically reducing the role of simple manual labor -increasingly in the "service" sector as well as in manufacturing. At the same time, the needs of global coordination and continuous innovation have expanded not only the role of mental labor but its collective character, creating ever more jobs that require the manipulation of information flows, intelligent and informed decision making within production, independent initiative, creativity and the coordination of complex networks of social cooperation.(20) The essential point is that at a social level, these developments embody the adaptation of capitalist command to the emergence of an increasingly independent collective subject whose self-organization of essentially intellectual work and play repeatedly outruns capital's ability to limit and control it. The pattern discovered in the case of the garment industry in the Veneto region of Italy provides a striking modern illustration of that movement toward the villages of which Kropotkin perceived in the 19th Century. What these Marxists have shown is how this creation of the fabbrica diffusa was initiated and carried through by the workers themselves so powerfully and so autonomously as to force capital to adapt. What study of a parallel evolution in the Parisian garment industry has revealed is a new level of cooperative self-management by highly independent workers.(21)

At a much broader level, indeed to some degree at a global level, we can also see how computer communication networks are being, increasingly, appropriated by people for their own uses. Originally constructed and operated to facilitate the development of technology at the service of capital (ARPANET), contemporary networks (e.g. INTERNET, BITNET) have not only been largely constructed by the collectivities which use them -and retain the material stamp of that autonomy in their uncentralized and fluid technical organization- but constitute a terrain of constant conflict between capitalist attempts at reappropriation and the fierce allegiance of most users to freedom of use and "movement" throughout the "cyber" space they have created and constantly recreate. The most visible evidence of this autonomy, and of the class character of the confrontation involved, is the conflict between the "hackers" who repeatedly break down the barriers to free movement created by capital in its attempt to harness and control these networks and the state.(22) They mostly became visible in the U.S. as a result of the recent wave of inept state actions aimed at disrupting and repressing their activities.(23)

Less visible but more important are the myriad participants of the networks who, operating from personal or institutional (academic, corporate, or state) entry points, utilize the technology not only for their "official" work but in the pursuit of their (and their friends') own interests. What has been striking over the last few years has been the constitution of a proliferating network of networks almost totally devoted both to the subversion of the current order and to the elaboration of autonomous communities of like-minded people connected in non-hierarchical, rhizomatic fashion purely by the commonality of their desires. Examples include not only independent networks like PeaceNet, EcoNet, or the European Counter Network, but also radical nets within official nets, such as Pen-L (the Progressive Economist Network) and Activ-L (the Activist Mailing List) within Listserv on BITNET.

What needs to be emphasized here is that these networks are not constituted merely by "computer nerds" -introverted middle class kids who like to play with computers- but by far the greater number of participants in these collectivities are workers in a diverse array of institutions. While some networks such as the Progressive Economist Network may be constituted mainly by academics, others such as PeaceNet or the European Counter Network involve people in all kinds of activity and all kinds of struggle. What has been remarkable about the proliferation of the "personal" computer in the U.S. (which is more extensive than anywhere else) has been the way it has rapidly evolved into a gateway of communication and mobilization linking otherwise isolated people and movements. In striking contrast to the first generation of arcade-style computer games, which were widely interpreted as contributing (like television) to the collapse of social being into screen-glued and purely reactive protoplasm, the modem and the spread of communication nets are providing the sinew of a growth of large scale collective social cooperation in dramatic ways.

The Implications The common element in these two approaches to the problem of transcending capitalism is the search for the future in the present, the identification of already existing activities which embody new, alternative forms of social cooperation and ways of being. This search and its results are, it seems to me, what made Kropotkin's research and writings so appealing and exciting when he was alive and still give them a freshness that inspires. It was not just that he was an inveterate optimist whose hopes were bright (but doomed); it was rather that he knew how to see and to make others see the beginnings of better paths into the future. It has been that same character has made the contemporary work of "autonomist" Marxists so interesting. As a replacement for an exhausted and failed orthodoxy they offer a younger, stronger Marxism, one that has been regenerated within the struggles of real people and as such, has been able to articulate at least some elements of their desires and projects of self-valorization.

In either case, there are implications to be drawn from the methods employed. In the midst of crisis, as much of the world is today, including Russia and the other nations of the former USSR, ways forward must be sought in the self- activity of the people themselves. Only there can "solutions" be found, and only there can the power to implement such solutions be mustered. In 1917 Kropotkin saw the dangers in the crisis: both those of reaction and those disguised in the garb of revolution, whether parliamentary or Bolshevik. In 1992 we again need to identify and name the dangers: whether in the Congress of People's Deputies or in the offices of the International Monetary Fund. In 1917 Kropotkin also knew where to look for the power to oppose those dangers and to create the space for the Russian people to craft their own solutions: in the self-activity of workers and peasants. In 1992 we again need to look about us to see where such power may lie and work for its mobilization, both within Russia and without for it is no longer as isolated as it was then and the experience of the last two decades have taught that for all peoples everywhere, an important source of support for self- realization lies in the mobilizations of others, often far away.(24) In 1917, as we know, the power of workers to resist both reaction and centralization proved inadequate partly because the spokespersons of the later cloaked their intentions behind a bright rhetoric of revolution. Today, in 1992, such rhetoric is no longer possible and in its place there is only the drab, alienating language of national and supranational state officials.

What Kropotkin did then, and what it would still behoove us to do today, was to seek out and understand the desires and self-activity of the people, and then to articulate them in ways which contribute both to their circulation and to their empowerment. The only way to honor Kropotkin's work in a meaningful way is to continue and develop it within the present context. Now, in the midst of crisis, let us seek out and support, as he did, the sources of popular innovation and strength, while at the same time identifying and combating all obstacles to their development.

As a stranger in this strange land, I would like to hear from the Russian participants at this conference about what they draw from Kropotkin that is of use to them in dealing with the present crisis? I would like to learn from them where the spirit of mutual aid still thrives amidst the ruins of the Soviet Union? I would like to hear what are its possibilities and what local dangers threaten its growth? In turn, I am sure that a few of us know something about the dynamics of these things on the other side of the world. So let us con-spire together. Let us tell stories of struggles and movements and possibilities, the kind of stories Peter Kropotkin used to tell, and see what we can do together.

1 For an example of Kropotkin's sympathetic comments on the utopians see his preface to (Kropotkin 1906). On Fourier's influence on Kropotkin and other Russian anarchists see (Avrich 1967, p.36) , (Woodcock and Avakumovic 19 , p. 317) , and (Cahm 1989, pp. 7, 8, 11) . For his attack on the "Jacobin Utopias" see (Kropotkin 1882), republished in (Kropotkin 1885), and later included in (Kropotkin 1892, 1906).
2 Quoted from (Kropotkin 1887). Reprinted in (Baldwin 1970, pp. 46-78). Kropotkin repeated the same argument in almost the same words some 23 years later in (Kropotkin 1910).
3 The phrase is Woodcock's in his introduction to The Conquest of Bread; the emphasis is mine.
4 Even though Kropotkin's earliest movement toward revolutionary politics was motivated, in part, by his observations of proto-communist social behavior (in Siberia and in the Swiss Jura), his focus on actual tendencies rather than ideal "oughts" and "shoulds" emerged out of his political work over a period of years. His early 1873 essay for the Chaikovsky Circle "Must We Occupy Ourselves With an Examination of the Ideal of a Future Society?", for example, is replete with "shoulds" and lacks the focus on the future in the present which comes to be so characteristic of his later work. See (Kropotkin 1873, pp. 46-116).
5 See, for example, (Lenin 1918) . At least in the case of the early utopians, they sought to imagine better alternatives to the existing order; whereas Lenin, as the cited essay illustrates, was too often all too quick to simply adapt the most sophisticated capitalist methods.
6 "Conclusion" to (Kropotkin 1902, p. 233) .
7 At the level of ethics, Kropotkin's "ought" never disappeared. What changed was that he came to root his prescriptions in a detailed analysis of what was already going on. Thus his anarchist calls for the transcendence of capitalism were not merely anguished moral protests but intended to articulate the forces of change already at work.
8 (Kropotkin 1902, pp. 184-205).
9 (Kropotkin 1899 , p. 151).
10 As in the commentary provided by Colin Ward to each chapter of FIELDS, FACTORIES AND WORKSHOPS TOMORROW in the Freedom Press edition.
11 For an (incomplete) sketch of these tendencies see the introduction to (Cleaver 1979).
12 See, for example, (Tronti 1964) .
13 The concept of self-valoriztion or "autovalorizzazione" is Antonio Negri's (Negri 1991).
14 On the reformulation of the transition from capitalism to communism and on the limits of the concept of socialism see: lesson 8 in (Negri 1979b, 1991) and Harry Cleaver, "Socialism" in (Sachs 1992).
15 This reconceptualization is in keeping with Marx's concept, long abandoned by most orthodox Marxists, that "Communism is for us not 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." (Marx 1845-46)
16 The studies refered to are: (Linebaugh 1992) ; (James 1963) ; (Cartosio 1973); (Buonfino 1973); (Bock 1976); (Bologna 1972); Mario Tronti, "Capital and Labor" postface to the 1972 edition of (Tronti 1964); (Panzieri 1973); (Alquati 1975); (James, Lee and Chaulieu 1958) ; (Carpignano 1975); (Dalla Costa and James 1972); (Roufignac 1985); (Cleaver 1988); (Esteva 1983).
17 See (Rouffignac 1985). On "hammocks" see (Esteva 1987).
18 (Bologna 1977). In English as "The Tribe of Moles" in (Red Notes & the CSE, 1979). The term "temporary autonomous zone" is taken not from Bologna but from (Bey 1991).
19 The term "socialized worker" (operaio sociale) was coined by Romano Alquati in (Alquati, Negri and Sormano, circa 1976) and taken over and broadened by Antonio Negri's since the late 1970s. On this evolution see (Wright 1988), (Negri 1979) and his "Archeologia e proggetto. L'operaio massa e l'operaio sociale" in (Negri 1982). This last is also available in English as "Archaeology and Project: The Mass Worker and the Social Worker" in (Negri 1988).
20 See: (Coriat 1990) and (Lazzarato 1990). This tendency to overcome the division between manual and mental labor is obviously one which would have keenly interested Kropotkin who called for reinforcing any such development.
21 Fabbrica diffusa translates as decentralized or diffused factory. See (QUADERNI DI TERRITORIO 1978) and (Mattera 1980). This analysis has been partly based on a study of working class self-activity in the Italian and French garment industries. (Negri, Lazzarato and Santilli, 1990).
22 See (Levy 1984).
23 See (Sterling 1992). Other state interventions have occurred through juridical and police actions in defense of "intellectual property rights" (i.e., the control over the reproduction of software) against the pervasive "pirating" and sharing of programs. The communist character of the free redistribution of innovation is apparent and has taken legal form in the proliferation of "shareware" and "freeware" widely available for downloading from computer networks.
24 The examples are legion but most obvious are those of Vietnam, South Africa, Nicaragua and Palestine. In each case it has only been through the mobilization of international support that enough space and resources could be gained to keep the struggles for autonomy alive.


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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

LET LENIN DECOMPOSE (A Decade of Revolutionary Theory and Praxis 1968-1979)

INTRODUCTION: Communism a Social Current.

“From organs of revolution they had to become organs of reconstruction.”
~Anton Pannekoek.

“Dictatorship of the Proletariat, well and good, gentlemen, do you want to know what his dictatorship looks like? Look at the Paris Commune. That was the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.”
~Karl Marx.

Communism needs to be understood as a social current that flows smoothly through society and as a true working-class perspective where workers can act for themselves. Communism does not necessarily and no longer solely defines a futuristic classless society based upon an ideology. Rather, Communism is a means for the working-class to struggle against capitalism and depending on which way the working-class presents itself in relation to capitalist production the class is either communist or reformist. The communization of the workers’ struggle comes from the workers own activity and revolutionaries are able to articulate the communist character within the workers’ struggle by analyzing the workers relation to production. In comparison to the Leninist interpretations of communism and the workers’ struggle, revolutionary class-consciousness needs to be transplanted upon the working-class where as the Italian and Dutch communists opposed Lenin’s theory and began consolidating a communism left of Leninism.

Council-Communism, or Left-wing Communism heavily influenced by Anton Pannekoek writings became a more worker centered revolutionary theory based on factory self-management. Whether Council-Communism and self-management theories were going to be enough for workers to significantly alter their relationship with capitalism, only the workers’ struggle and time could tell. 1968 marked the beginning of a new production process and the consolidation of the global economy where world politics and tensions began taking on a more class conflict dynamic. Global conflicts had become less focused on ideology and more centered on managing post-colonial landscapes with tense conflicts between capitalism and workers. In a post-colonial world, both imperialist policies and economic plans were being restructured and so too the left began to redefine itself in relation to capitalist developments. Council-Communist theory reemerged in the 1960s as students and workers had grown tired of Stalinist controlled unions and the unions self-proclaimed monopoly on left-wing activity. As work was becoming more socialized and capitalist control was extending past the factory, the working-class was counteracting capital’s new attempts at exerting control over society. As the new form was taking shape, students and workers were set on reinventing their role within capitalist society while simultaneously attempting the total subversion of bourgeois society. Both, French and Italian struggles from 1968 to 1979 had the ability to act and build a new theory at the same time. In France, Daniel Cohn-Bendit articulated the frustrations of French students and workers and for Italy Mario Tronti and Antonio Negri were to become influential Communist theoreticians and activists in what could be understood as a civil war based on class lines. Détente became an important component for world leaders to combat the new class dynamic in a post-imperialist global economy. During a relatively stable economic period the working-class induced a crisis upon capitalism and thus began to communize the workers struggle in a post-imperialist world.

From Council-Communist critiques of Leninism to a decade of student-worker uprisings, a new Communist subject was formed which no longer needed the Party to articulate the needs and desires of the working-class. 1968 contains two opposing identities, one of rebellion and rejuvenation and the other a new era in capitalist control over not only work but all social life. Capitalism reinvented itself in 1968 because it had to; capitalism was forced to change due to the reemerge of working-class militancy. Imperialism had turned inward and in an attempt to colonize everyday life a student-worker movement erupted. Left-wing communism was not something that interested the workers and students, Left-wing communism emerged within the struggle because older and more obsolete forms of organizing were no longer applicable to the material conditions or production relationships of 1968. The Italian movements, more so than the French, developed passed the Council-Communist tradition and came to understand their relation to capitalism on a more socialized plan. The Social Factory allowed capitalism to fully subsume all of social society into its production process and through this transformation the mass-work then became a socialized-worker. In all fairness to France and its radicals the Italian crisis did last a decade which allowed for more development and resistance. Therefore Italy’s section will take on a more historical narrative form in order to better articulate the impact the new class categories on production relations, their impact on class relations, and finally their antagonistic potential.

FRANCE 1968: Communism Breaks with the Party.

“Daniel Cohn-Bendit is the most dangerous scoundrel in France.”
~President Charles de Gaulle.

“Their nightmares are our dreams...”
~Daniel Cohn-Bendit.

“The site yielded a pneumatic drill. The students couldn’t use it, of course—not until a passing by building worker showed them how, perhaps the first worker actively to support the student revolt. Once broken, the road surface provided cobbles, soon put to a variety of uses.”
~ Solidarity, 1968.

The French avant-garde beginnings and eventual student and workers’ insurrectional climax of the May-June events which resulted in the abandonment of the Communist Party by the left, the Party subsequently abandoning communism, and students and rank-and-file workers reintroducing Communism as a social relation caused the production process to become a perpetual class-war between capitalism and the working-class. No longer can Communism be understood as an ideology but rather as a social current and tool for the working-class. 1968 dotted the entire globe with uprisings, peace movements, and the resurgence of working-class militancy which encompassed a new communistic approach to combat both capitalism and hegemonic parliamentary politics. The French working-class showed significant progress in class-consciousness by breaking with the Party to better articulate their own needs and political desires, based upon the realization that the Soviet model and European mixture of social democracy and Stalinism had both become a barrier in the workers’ struggle. Communism was to reemerge in the crisis of 1968 as a fully conscious social current embodied and exercised in the newly transformed working-class. Students frustrated with classical studies, material, and intellectual poverty and rank-and-file workers abandoned by the Party (Communist Party) were pushed to antagonistically reconstitute their own relation to capitalism and the state. Though the May-June events came to a close the effect on class composition and production processes were irreversible.

The working-class did not suddenly reject what was to become Euro-communism, the shift from revolution to reformism, or the parliamentary system. Rather, the 1968 and post-1968 working-class were a continuation of the Council-Communist tradition and the tendency for workers’ spontaneity and autonomous character to organize an entire class to confront capitalist social relations by placing society in a state of reconstruction and revolt . After two world wars and financial crises, the left-wing tradition rose from the material condition which both produced and was a product of the communization of the workers’ struggle. 1968 was the result of a long process by workers divorcing themselves from the Party which traditionally, but no longer, had defined and articulated their needs and desires. The mediation between capitalism and workers was no longer needed because the working-class had now found its own voice and ability to act beyond the limits of parliamentary politics. Students and workers, fighting for the liberation of everyday life against the colonization of life and the freeing of social spaces in the streets of Paris, in the streets around the world, and later on throughout all of Italy in the 1970s showed a significant reintegration of Communist theory and working-class action. The reemergence of Communism as a true working-class perspective and social tool for workers against capitalism was now separated from State-socialism and could be used again by the workers themselves.
The culmination of all this was due to struggles in the past which produced a more coherent and conscious working-class subject on a global scale. Whether it was Vietnamese guerillas that instituted the Tet Offensive to bury the World’s last quasi-imperialist military venture, the World’s university students now integrated into the production process, social activists, communists, anarchists, feminists, and/or rank-and-file workers, all these subjects and their singular struggle became one common struggle that forced capitalism into a new economic era and changed the face of global politics forever.

From difference, a new Communist subject with multiple centers arose from a new mode of production in an attempt to seize control over not only the factory but of life; simultaneously and in competition with global state powers and capitalism workers fought over the implementation of this new social and more politically involved production process. Governments on both sides of the Iron Curtain and in the East and West shared a common interest in preservation of state power and the stabilization of the global economy; governments moved for the cooling down of the Cold War to collectively focus on internal tensions brought on by the intensification of class conflict. A period of Détente ensued as a reaction to the communization of the workers struggle because traditional methods, which are within the realm of parliamentary politics, had become obsolete in the mediation of class tensions. World leaders were forced to collectively deal with the new international revolutionary subject. And now, the workers had abandoned the old methods and choose to reinvent how the working-class would interact with capitalism. The separation between worker and world leader grew and so too did the level of worker militancy. Détente became one of the first moves by governments around the world to collaborate against an internal and common social force that broke free from the hegemonic control of parliamentary politics. With a rupture in societal control, measures were taken and new forms of power relations on a global scale were instituted to temporarily regain control and repress new forms of social organizing that had emerged as a result of the workers’ struggle. Paris, much like other metropolitan centers had become epicenters for resistance within a new era in capitalism. To fully understand the motivation and consciousness of students and workers during the Parisian riots in 1968 one must see the connection to Council-Communism or Left-wing Communism and the May-June events.

Looking back before moving forward is necessary in order to understand the significance of 1968. Gilles Dauvé, as Anton Pannekoek, understood there exists two different means in understanding communism and its relationship to the masses. As understood by Lenin, consciousness needs to be introduced to the masses and by left-wing communists, class consciousness itself originated from within the conditions experienced by the workers themselves. “Marx’s analysis and his scientific socialism as a whole are not the product of “bourgeois intellectuals,” but from the class struggle on all its levels under capitalism”. Class consciousness is not separate from the class itself and to imply the need to mechanically manipulate the class struggle to take a desired shape is to deny the working-class of its own ability to act. “The System of production developed in Russia is State socialism. It is organized production with the State as universal employer, master of the entire production apparatus. The workers are masters of the means of production no more than under Western capitalism”. Instead, the Council-Communist would look at the workers own initiative and means of organizing for themselves to oppose capitalist domination over the workers labor-power as a strength and not a weakness. Before the centralization of the soviets (councils) under the Bolshevik party, a self-management system was in place to coordinate the workers movement in Russia.

“Russia showed the European and American workers, confined within reformist ideas and practice, first how an industrial working class by a gigantic mass action of wild strikes is able to undermine and destroy an obsolete state power; and second, how in such actions the strike committees develop into workers councils, organs of fight and self-management, acquiring political tasks and functions”. Self-management was a way for workers to seize control over the means of production and reorganize their labor-power in a manner that would best suit their needs and their struggle. Dauvé points out that, “Lenin’s theory was not at the root of the defeat of the Russian revolution. Lenin’s theory only prevailed because the Russian revolution failed”. The self-management argument was resurrected in 1968. Though it may have been articulated more through communist groups active during the May-June event, Parisian workers shared the skepticism of the Party controlled unions as the rank-and-file marched beyond the factory walls uniting with students in wild cat strikes, an important characteristic of Council-Communism. Not without critique does Council-Communism reemerge in 1968. “The theory of workers’ management analyses capitalism in terms of its management. But is capitalism first of all a mode of management? The revolutionary analysis of capitalism started by Marx does not lay the stress on the question; who manages capital? On the contrary: Marx describes both capitalist and workers as mere functions of capital: “the capitalist as such is only a function of capital, the laborer a function of labor power”. In other words having a self-managed factory under the control of workers is not enough to free labor-power from capitalist social relations. “Capitalism is not a mode of MANAGEMENT but a mode of PRODUCTION based on given PRODUCTION RELATIONS. Revolution must aim at these relations,” which will become more clear in the Italian workers struggle of the 1970s. In 1968 and beyond, workers began to focus on both the refusal of work and attempted to consolidate a movement against capitalism. Capitalism was understood as a production relationship manipulating all aspects of social life no longer just the hours spent in the factory.

The summer of 1968 erupted in riotous revolt across the globe and in Paris students of Nanterre University led the student uprising which had its origins in 1966. The Strasbourg University scandal were the Marxist and Times named “anarcho-situationist” group, Internationale Situationniste along with students in the student government AFGES (Federal Association of Strasbourg Students) produced over 10,000 copies of the Situationist pamphlet, “On the Poverty of Student Life, considered in its economic, political, psychological, sexual and intellectual aspects and some means of remedying it” as a critique of the monotonous life at the university. “These publications express ideas and aspirations which, to put it mildly, have nothing to do with the aims of a student union”. Strasbourg University like Berkley’s free speech movement in the US marked an early on commitment by university students to subversive activity and the desire to transform academic life into a vehicle for social change. As Daniel Cohn-Bendit and thousands of Nanterre students went on strike and demanded quick reforms and re-organization of the university setting these actions resembled council-communist attempts at seizing control of the factories. Early on Cohn-Bendit was threatened with expulsion from the university by Dean M. Grappin who had called in the riot police to suppress the strike. At the end of a massive riot between students and the police Cohn-Bendit was allowed to remain.

Cohn-Bendit described the situation as a struggle that was not, “against Fascism but against bourgeois authoritarianism. The mediocrity of university teaching is no accident, but reflects the life style of a civilization in which culture has become a marketable commodity and in which the absence of all critical faculties is the safest guarantee of “profitable specialization of university studies”. The only way to oppose this type of stupidity is to attach all those academic restrictions whose only justification is that they exist: curricula, tests; set lectures and competitive entrance examinations.” Cohn-Bendit and the Nanterre students organized under the “22 March Movement” were interested in a total restructuring of their university experience and the role academics plays within society. The social sciences came under attack because these fields had become integrated into capitalist production and the reproduction of labor. “The evidence is all around us. Industrial sociology is chiefly concerned with fitting the man to the job; the converse need to fit the job to the man is neglected”. French student radicals were tired of being workers producing knowledge and not getting paid and therefore the, “revolutionary youth naturally has no other course than to join with the mass of workers who, starting from the experience of the new conditions of exploitation, are going to take up once again the struggle for the domination of their world, for the suppression of work”. Up to twenty-five per-cent of France’s student body rose up against their socially impoverished lives but not in solidarity with workers. Rather, students and workers realized their struggle as the “de-colonization of everyday life” and from this both their interests and their struggle had become a common struggle. With a flood or radical activity on universities and the eventual spilling over into the factories and the streets of Paris, the de Gaullist regime instituted a police crack down on the students and workers and Paris would soon become a barricaded war zone during the May-June event of 1968.

By mid May France’s largest unions (the CGT, CFDT, and FO) were striking on in solidarity with students strikes, against police violence, and for “long-neglected” wage increases and better retirement contracts. The Renault plant, which at the time was the biggest automotive plant in Europe, in Paris was shut down due to strikes and less than twenty-five percent of the workers at Renault were not unionized. Early on the Stalinist controlled CGT leadership attempted to disperse “outsiders” but the rank-and-file shout “democratie ouvriere” and supported “disruptors” to continue selling non-union authorized pamphlets and newsletters. Students, rank-and-file workers, and organized unions rallied and being to demonstrate as a united mass against their poverty. A student-worker mixed contingent within the demonstration numbering around 80,000, of a demonstration that totaled anywhere between 800,000 to one million, marched together despite the CGT’s attempt to keep students and workers separate. CGT officials and Communist Party leaders succeeded in dispersing the majority of union demonstrators before workers and students, the “dubious element” of trouble-makers” could mingle. The tensions between CGT leadership, Communist Party officials and the more autonomous characters of the May-June events forced students and workers to abandon these older institutions in search of new methods to impose change on society. “What distinguishes March 22 and groups such as the anarchists and Situationists from all other groups is that they work not for the “seize of power” but for its dissolution”. The concept of power was what drove the Stalinist unions and students apart from one another.

Eventually Sorbonne or the University of Paris came under the control of the “Sorbonne Soviets” (worker-student councils) and the Communist Party swiftly changed their attitude concerning students since the student-worker movement was growing very large. After 13 May the Communist newspaper l’Humanite stopped attacking the students and claimed to support their movement. Giant meetings were held on the Sorbonne campus at the amphitheatre where the “soviets” gathered to form the “Assemblees Generales” to further the insurrectionary discussions and make decisions regarding demonstrations, strikes, and to openly debate political theory.

“Cohn-Bendit confronted J. M. Catala, General secretary of the Union of Communist Students in front of the packed auditorium. The scene remains printed in my mind. “Explain to us [says Cohn-Bendit], why the Communist Party and the CGT told their militants to disperse at Denfert Rochereau, why it prevented them joining up with us for a discussion at the Champ de Mars? And Catala responded, “simple really…the Joint Sponsoring Committee had not sanctioned any further developments…” [And Cohn-Bendit lashed back], “On the day of the revolution, comrade, you will doubtless tell us to forego it, “because it hasn’t been sanctioned by the appropriate sponsoring committee”.

Following the debate, the General Assembly voted that the “Sorbonne Soviets” did not form to merely reform the universities but would also actively work for the, “total subversion of bourgeois society”. By 16 May the Sud Aviation plant at Nantes, the Renault factories, Nouvelles Messageries de Presse in Paris, Kleber Colombes at Caudebec, the Naval Shipyards at Le Trait, etc. had all become occupied by workers and students who coordinated a massive leaflet campaign to coordinate occupations and inform participates on current events. Students and workers demanded changes in the production process and “refused to accept a degrading “modernization” which means we are constantly watched and have to submit to conditions which are harmful to our health…and our status of human beings”. As the occupations, demonstrations, and numbers in the streets increased the CGT continued to push for moderate talks and a calming down of militant activity. At the Renault plant the CGT leadership went so far as to post a placard, “Workers Beware! For some months the most diverse publications have been distributed by elements recruited in a milieu foreign to the working class…The titles may vary but the content has a common objective: to lead the workers away from the CGT and to provoke divisions in their ranks, in order to weaken them…It is therefore important not to allow these people to come to the gates of our factory, to sully our trade union organization and our CGT militants”. The trade union bureau went as far as to claim that the students and rank-and-file workers that did not agree with the CGT as part of some fascist element which was part of some conspiracy for capital to regain its factories. As the situation began to dissipate the Situationists issued a called for the maintaining of factory occupations. On 22 May the Committee for maintaining the occupations declared,

“in the space of ten days workers have occupied hundreds of factories, a spontaneous general strike has totally interrupted the activity of the country, and de facto committees have taken over many buildings belonging to the state…all the old ideas are swept aside and all the radical hypotheses on the return of the revolutionary, proletarian movements are confirmed…Such a process would lead to the formation of workers councils making decisions democratically at the rank-and-file level, federating with each other by means of delegates revocable at any moment and becoming the sole deliberative and executive power over the entire country”.

As suggested by Pannekoek with wild strikes and workers councils, the Situationist suggested a similar formation of federated workers councils not to seize power but destroy it. “At the present moment…workers have no choice but to organize themselves in unitary rank-and-file committees directly seizing all aspects of the reconstruction of social life, asserting their autonomy vis-à-vis any sort of politico-unionist leadership, ensuring their self-defense and federating with each other and nationally”.

By 27 May the government had promised massive increases in the industrial minimum wage and a general ten per-cent increase on wages. When June rolled around most strikes and student uprisings had either stopped or been brutally stopped by armored police bands. And as a result in the high police presence, on 10 June two Renault factory workers were killed. Finally by the 12 June demonstrations were banned and some political groups were even outlawed. The de Gaullist regime implemented a global policy to quell internal unrest and restore order to the nation-state. Radicals blamed the Bolshevik nature of CGT and the Communist Party leadership in abandoning working-class politics in favor of reform and in an attempt to appease both capitalists and parliament. The global uprising and movements of 1968 had come to a stand still and without gaining any significant social change these uprisings had proven to the established political order that the working-class was once again willing to take to violence and occupations to defend its interests and even go beyond reformism and begin to exercise a revolutionary character if necessary. In September of 1968 the CIA issued a report with the heading, “Restless Youth” and described, “their [the youth] dissatisfaction with all forms of peaceful political change, and it is unlikely that the radicals will be brought to accept—in the foreseeable future—democratic methods of attaining their goals” . The CIA pointed out Cohn-Bendit’s international connections with West German and Eastern European radical student groups and the exchange between different groups as a case of international political instability. Demonstrations and political actions happened on both sides of the Iron Curtain and, “leaders during the late 1960s questioned many of the inherited assumptions about hostility between capitalist and communist states. And jettisoning long-standing policies—such as “nonrecognition” between the two Germanys and between the United States and China—the great powers now affirmed one another’s legitimacy as sovereign states”.

And properly so, the very idea of sovereign power was being called into question by student-worker movements around the world.
An analyses that government secrecy and the cooling down of the Cold War between nation-states turned in on itself and saw its own respective civilian populations as the greatest threat to international stability indicated world governments’ commitment to side with one another against their internal enemy. Détente “normalized” the Cold War and replaced the external fear upon an internal enemy, the homegrown radical. Before Détente world leaders divided between Communist and Democratic nations openly critiqued their opposite until internal unrest pushed the two camps together allowing the global leadership to see their commonality. On 29 May 1972, the State Department issued a Bulletin, “Text of Basic Principles”, which outlined set dialogue and new political procedures following the global unrest and internal dissent within both the democratic and communist countries could get behind in terms of dealing with unruly populations. These principles were used by global governments to remain silent about one another when using force or questionable tactics to silence internal opposition and political threats. The principle read as followed, “First…difference in ideology and in social systems of the USA and USSR are not obstacles to the bilateral development of normal relations based on the principles of sovereignty, equality, non-interference in internal affairs and mutual advantage”. The CIA’s interests on the French movement, social unrest, and especially the character of Daniel Cohn-Bendit were based on legitimate fears that the interconnectedness between the movements of 1968 could potentially move beyond mere protests and riots into a revolutionary stage. “According to one student leaflet, the “defeat of American imperialism in Vietnam” and the “radical crisis in the United States” gave formerly powerless people an opportunity to change the politics of the Cold War [and the CIA took this new sense of power as a very serious threat]. The mobilization of…“proletarianized” students and workers would promote an international “democratization of power” across Europe, North America, and Asia”. After the crisis of 1968 was resolved through violence, order had been restored into the hands of governments, and the cooling down of the Cold War to a point of international cooperation between the Party and the market driven West they emerged and remained committed to defending themselves against internal social unrest. Workers were now only able to further their struggle outside traditional methods and the workers struggle had taken on an anti-parliamentary character.

ITALY (1968-1979): Communism’s Autonomy.

“In different periods they have voluntarily taken on different roles- as actors, as prompters, as technicians, or stage-hands – whilst all the time waiting to wade into the theatre and attack the audience. So how does the working class present itself today, on the contemporary state?”
~Mario Tronti.

“The extremists responded militarily because all other responses had become impossible.”
~Antonio Negri.

The Italian left, much like other parts of Europe, have a strong and traditionally Communist/leftist orientated labor movement and during the 1970s when western European labor movement began to be absorbed by the ideals of social-democracy and reformism, Italy’s labor movement remained both militant and theoretically tied to radical leftist theories. Italy being the home to the largest communist party in Western Europe, the Italian Communist Party (PCI), consequently housed the largest left leaning working-class. As early as the 1950s, Italian workers had already recognized autonomous organizing methods as options and workers began organizing their workplaces into autonomous collectives. In post-fascist Italy, reconstruction ushered in the Italian “miracle” with rises in commodity output and consumption. With the increase in agricultural output through mechanized farming a second migration flooded the northern industrial triangle of Genoa, Turin, and Milan and concentrated production into regenerating infrastructure: housing, electricity, petrochemicals, ferrous metals and automobile production. Italy quickly, “matched prewar levels by the end of the 1940s; by 1953 it had jumped another 64 per cent, and had almost doubled again by 1961”. Italian partisans had overthrown Mussolini’s regime and much of Italy’s prewar capital remained within Italy do to wartime demands. Though in the middle of the Cold War, communist tendencies were tolerated and, “the Communist party…the party of the Resistance, the only one that had really been antifascist,” remained intact and provided both workers and capital an avenue for communication. Workers’ resistance to fascism within the factory led to workplace takeovers and seizures. The strength of post-war Italian communist tendencies and working-class organizing forced the state to grant wage increases and improved conditions. Aspects of the Italian social and economic conditions that differed from the rest of Western Europe was the working-class.

The celebrated and eventual working-class abandonment of the PCI and the shortcomings of the post-war economic “miracle” subsequently would lead to a crisis, a crisis brought on by working-class resistance. If the defeat of Italian fascism, the restoration of industry to prewar levels, and a doubling in production output by 1961, all being positive economic and social indicators, did not led to economic crisis, what did? “If any major obstacle to accumulation existed, therefore, it was the working class itself.” The political environment, being open to communist tendencies, working-class strength, and economic growth within such a social condition theoretical investigation flourished along side working-class actions. By 1969 the Italian government was run by the Christian Democratic party but, 35 per cent of the vote still rested among various Italian left parties, a social dynamic that would prove uncontrollable.

Various influential Communist journals: Quaderni Rossi (Red Notes) 1960-1966, Classe Operaio (Working Class) 1964-1967, and later Potere Operaio (Workers’ Power) 1968-1972 and Autonomia all encapsulated and articulated working-class refusal to be mere cogs in industry. Communist theoreticians: Mario Tronti, Raniero Panzieri, Romano Alquati, and Antonio Negri organically grew out of Italy’s political and economic environment to critically analyze both capitalist strategies and working-class attempts to both adapt and dismantle capitalist domination. Alquati’s theories along with Quaderni Rossi would prove to be a transitional period within communist theory leaving behind both Gramsci style communism and surpassing council-communist organizing that had traditionally dominated the economic field over the political. Splits within the 1960s Italian left was a result of the currents changing or attempts to re-establish class domination. Traditional organizations’ inability to fully anticipate capitals restructuring of society would make these organizations obsolete and outdated when it came to confronting the new social character of capitalism. The self styled autonomous methods of organizing and the continuous bureaucratization of the PCI led both the rank-and-file and radicals to continue organizing outside traditional models and methods preparing for a new stage of economic development that would be met with intense resistance. A new strand of Italian Communism emerged termed Operaismo (Workerism) which was heavily influenced by Alquati’s self-management ideology proposed within Anton Pannekoek’s Council-Communist tendencies and later was fully developed by Mario Tronti and Quaderni Rossi. Quaderni Rossi and Workerism argued for Communist organizing to have a working-class or Workerist perspective and further developed the theoretical rift between Leninism and Left-wing Communist tendencies. Through a rereading of Marx and new analysis of contemporary capitalism and the role of the working-class within capitalism reintroduced the working-class as an active subject. The working-class being the only creative class within capitalism and now no longer did only over production bring about an economic crisis but so too did the working-class struggle.

“The power of workers resides in their potential command over production, this is, over a particular aspect of society. Capitalist power, on the other hand, rests on the real domination over society in genera… [And]...Capitalist power seeks to use the workers antagonistic will-to-struggle as a motor of its own development. The Workerist…must take this same real mediation by the workers of capital’s interests and organize it in an antagonistic form, as the tactical terrain of struggle and as a strategic potential for destruction.”

And by so doing the working-class both developed and surpassed Council-Communism by recognizing the workers’ need to organize resistance upon the means of production but to also engage capitalist domination in its totality by going beyond both self-managed control over production and the political, the Party. The Workerist communist subject challenged capitalism as a mode of production and social control not just the management of capitalism. To further clarify, “a concept that puts capitalist development first, and workers second…is a mistake. And now we have to turn the problem on its head, reverse the polarity, and start again from the beginning; and the beginning is the class struggle of the working class”. Communist organizing and the working-class did not need to take a strict Council-Communist economist position or politically Leninist line to further its objective. Rather, the political objective for working-class resistance is to force concession and reforms upon capitalism and then use these reforms to further radicalize the movement towards revolution. Again, the working-class class threw the entirety of capitalism into question and openly opposes its production relationships. “This is not to be confused with the creation of a political program; we must resist the temptation to carry this theoretical out-look immediately into the arena of the political struggle- a struggle which is articulated on the basis of a precise content, which, in some cases, may even contradict (quite correctly) our theoretical statements”. If working-class consciousness was to take a true Communist shape then it would need to be developed organically through struggle and not mechanically applied upon the working-class.

Tronti drew the distinction between working-class and labor power and as Marx concluded that the working class exists in two forms: “class in itself” and “class for itself”. Meaning when the working-class produces surplus-value it is a “class in itself” under capitalist domination and antagonistic forces are neutralized but when resisting and moving beyond mere labor-power it was a “class for itself” and becomes Communist. Capitalism being a system built on labor-power and the working-class being that power, the working-class then actually embodies all political power within society and autonomist organizing allowed a process of self-valorization to shatter the capitalist notion of laborers as mere labor-power.

By the 1970s, capital’s domain had stretched well beyond the factory and entered into more social spaces, thus, the Social Factory had been created to counteract workers’ strength within the factory. The crisis of the mass-worker spawned restructuring of social relations in reaction to the workers struggle and the transformation of all society into a factory finally blurred the lines of free time and work. Now, all aspects of society and interaction were absorbed and integrated into the means of production. In an attempt to displace and neutralize mass-workers’ power by creating new forms of extraction in different social sectors, the working-class struggle itself was transplanted and took on new forms of struggle against state programs and capital. Capitalist and state planning had become one. No longer did the PCI represent the workers as an antagonistic force. Rather the PCI and affiliated unions became capital’s weapon against the autonomous class consciousness of the working-class. The old style communism had transformed itself into a mediator between capital and the working-class. Old style communism not only mediated the classes but also attempted to pacify militancy and autonomist organizing through various political maneuvers and compromises. The working-class did not abandon the communist party, the Party seized being Communist.

“At the highest level of capitalist development, the social relation becomes a moment of the relation of production, the whole of society, becomes an articulation of production; in other words, the whole of society exists as a function of the factory and the factory extends its exclusive domination over the whole of society. It is on this basis that the machine of the political state tends ever-increasingly to become one with the figure of the collective capitalist”.

From within this newly organized social relation between the economy and workers all of society became subsumed under production processes, new arenas within society opened up for resistance, and throughout the western world: governments, corporations, and civic institutions came under attack from newly organized rank-and-file movements, feminist organizations, student movements, and minority struggles intended on carrying on the struggle of the mass-worker. A new Socialized-worker would conduct a new class war within capital’s new Social Factory.

As in the United States, student-syndicalism organized under the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society), The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and other minority parties similar to the Panthers, second wave feminism, and radicalized rank-and-file unions all organically grew out of capitalism’s attempt to displace working-class organization and power within the factory by deindustrialization but the new class composition inside the Social Factory proved difficult to contain as a secure source of control. It would not be until the mid-1970s that the Social Factory fully bloomed and new groups emerged: Porto Operaio, Autonomia Operaia, Autonomia Feminista, and the Metropolitan Indians to challenge old style communism and capitalist domination. Theoretician and radical professor at the University of Padua, Antonio Negri coupled the Social Factory to his theory of the Socialized Worker to further analyze the latter half of 1970s workers’ movement. Italian movements, more so than others, has the ability to both act out and state the nature of their actions simultaneously. The separation between theory and praxis is not only a mystification but also contradicts the very nature of class struggle; the working-class as well as Communism are not the people but comes from the people and for the same reasons working-class consciousness is not something that needs to be delivered onto the working-class but grows from the working-class organically. The working-class ceases to be reformist and breaks with its bourgeois heritage and seeks to recreate society through the class struggle. “In particular, the working class has left in the hands of the traditional organizations all the problems of tactics, while maintaining for itself an autonomous strategic perspective free from restrictions and compromises”. In the aftermath of 1969s Hot Autumn, communist attitudes of work being dignified and that “workers don’t break the law,” was challenged by the workers own actions, a squatter movement, self price reduction campaigns, and workers using their labor to benefit their own communities. As the PCI moved closer to parliamentary politics eventually leading to the 1970s Historic Compromise, the working-class gravitated towards more autonomous forms of resistance and intended on carrying on their struggle without Party approval. The Party can attempt to incorporate working-class struggle within parliamentary politics and mystify class conflict with political concessions and reforms but the conflict continues to flow through society and continues to act as an antagonistic force bringing capitalism to a crisis.

In the wake of France’s 1968 struggle, Italy underwent tense conflict during the Hot Autumn of 1969 were five and half million workers and the coordinated efforts of students organized under Movimento Studentesco (Student Movement) went on strike. The city of Milan was completely shut down, factories were occupied and sabotaged, and at the Mirafiori Fiat plaint in Turin, one of the largest Fiat factories, workers and students declared, “we want it all.” White-collar office workers, the new element within the working class, struck for better pay similar to Milan’s telecommunication workers strike in 1968 that openly called for a humane and “anti-authoritarian way of working.” During the Hot Autumn the engineering section was responsible for the lose of 71,181,182 hours due to the unrest in 1969 alone. A new form of striking was coordinated called a “Hiccup” where different areas of a factory would go on strike at different times rendering the production line useless. The government’s response was mass arrests totaling 13,000 and 35,000 workers were eventually fired in attempts displace worker militancy. By 1970 wages had drastically increased by nearly 35 per cent but by 1972 due in large part by inflation, housing, and public transportation costs the reforms won were reabsorbed. Through inflation capitalism renders the gains obsolete and enables the higher costs of labor-power to be extracted by increasing the cost of living.

What was to become popularly discussed as Autonomia and the Movement of 1977 evolved from Potere Operaio which dissolved in 1973 due in part to a rebirth of feminism and the feminist critique of 1968 Marxists groups allowing for the evolution of Italian Marxism. Government repression, the Historic Compromise, and the 1973 oil and food crisis allowed capitalist restructuring of both the economy and work place delivering a crushing blow to mass-worker organizing. In 1974, 134 million labor hours were lost due to strikes and a high percentage of labor power was lost due in part to absenteeism; and as the autonomous character of working-class continued past the break up of 1960s Workerism theory and praxis developed in unison through struggle into the 1970s. Autonomia was officially formed in Bologna 1973 and the refusal of work as both practice and theory converged as a new tool for the Italian working-class. Self reduction of electricity and water costs, housing occupations, and in both Turin and Piedmont 150,000 homes were powered by workers coming to turn back on power to households after neighborhoods had been cut off. The new movement shifted the struggle outside the factory walls in an attempt to radicalize less traditional areas of society declaring that the class conflict has a new social dynamic and class relations are no longer contained within the factory walls. The working-class underwent a self-valorization process in opposition to capitalism and the newly constructed social dynamic. Through the late 1960s into the 1970s Italian student movements and worker movements flowed in unison and merged to oppose government repression, mass arrests, and fascist attacks as on the Rome campus in 1966. As the student movement won open admission during the 1960s student enrollment jumped from 400,000 in 1968 to one million by 1977. In the wake of the 1973 oil crisis, rampant inflation, poor housing, and the following high youth unemployment rates transforming the universities into areas of working-class resistance and the Socialized Worker exploded in the Movement of 1977 against the capitalist Social Factory.

Italy witnessed what the media termed as the Second March on Rome as workers and students organized into riotous insurrection like demonstrations all over Italy. In Bologna, a communist city after the Historic Compromise, a left-wing militant lay dead after the mayor called in armored police car to crush the demonstration. In Rome, Luciano Lama, chairman of the Communist-controlled trade unions, was violently thrown off the campus as both the urban proletariat and student militants violently clashed with police and Lama’s entourage. A group calling itself the Metropolitan Indians inspired by autonomist theory clashed with the PCI and later the police which solidified the split between official communist run unions and the autonomist movement. Violent clashes between the working-class student body and workers against the police became a battle front within the Social Factory. The Workerist concentration inside the factory was replaced by Autonomia and a new form of resistance outside the factory and into the Social Factory was forged in struggle. Workers gravitated towards youth culture interests, as in Turin, where female workers attended courses on women’s health, medicine, and politics.

Feminist organizing against Catholic morality and for more bodily control through birth control and contraceptives, which had only become legal in 1973, altered the autonomist movement and its theories. Women and feminist issues had challenged the 1960 Marxist climate and by 1976 tens of thousands of women marched through the streets of Rome, some dressed as witches, calling for political change. The PCI betrayed the women’s movement in 1976 by reforming legislation on abortion but made it the doctor’s choice, a “kick to the teeth” and by 1977 women’s collectives and women dominated unions had left the PCI to join the Autonomia resistance. Within some factories, women labor and union membership was as high as 30 per cent yet within the PCI and PCI affiliated unions women only represented 6 per cent of union officials. Second wave feminism responded to both internal and external discrimination. Frustration over a lack of voice within the left mobilized women to react and reorganize the left to better include women’s issues but more importantly integrated feminism and Marxism. After Italy’s migration from agricultural production to Fordist industrial production under the Italian “miracle” women within labor had dropped by one million and the 1960s had brought women’s labor under patriarchal structures within the home. Italy’s modernity had placed once rural women into urban dwellings resulting in less freedom and unpaid menial labor within the house. Feminist organizations like Lotta Feminista and Autonomia Feminista called for a women’s right to a wage for her housework.

Expanding upon Marx’s origins of the family and the division of labor within capitalism it was declared, “Her workday is unending not because she has no machines, but because she is isolated,” and, “She herself was thereby trapped within pre-capitalist working conditions and never paid a wage”. In 1978 women’s unions owned the right to 150 hours paid schooling on conscious raising seminars and cultural centers were created. Women’s centers were opened and by 1978 abortion reform making abortion legal was won. Only 32 per cent of voters in 1981 wanted to repel the 1978 reform and autonomist women’s organizing had left its mark on Italian society. The autonomous women’s movement, having merged with and theoretically inspired the counter cultural youth movement and autonomist movement, allowed Italy to witness the power of an autonomous social movement to force change through extra-parliamentary means.

As government repression began to take its hold on the movement and an increase of factionalism grasped the movement the first stage of self-inflicted defeat had come into fruition. “Having cut themselves off totally from the representatives of the traditional left, which proved incapable of either providing adequate political forms for the expression of counter-power or of controlling it, the social movements were thus dragged into the abyss of an extremism that was becoming increasingly blind and violent.” The movements response to the Historical Compromise with the kidnapping and killing of Christian Democratic Leader, Aldo Moro by the Red Bridges led to the break up and collapse of worker-student movements and eventually the arrest, conviction, and eventual exile of thousands of radicals. On 7 April 1979 Antonio Negri, along sixty other intellectual activists were arrested, falsely tried and convicted. Negri was accused and charged as being a Professor who corrupts the young, “armed insurrection against the state”, and mastermind behind the Red Bridges’ kidnapping and killing of Aldo Moro.

“Fortunately, with the constitution of 1948, the death penalty had been replaced by a life in prison…the extreme left found itself between the Christian democrats, the party of the bourgeoisie, and the Communist party! The Communist party considered us…dangerous… [and], feared that we would split the party.” In defense of the nation-state and parliamentary prestige the PCI, “taught the Christian Democrats the usefulness of Stalinist trials—absolute condemnation, eliminating one’s enemies, crushing them”. Through massive repression and mass arrests and exile of activists a movement was crushed but the resistance of the Socialized Worker persists.

“Italy was the first country where the struggle did not take place on the factory but permeated society as a whole: there were demands for the “autoreduction” of rents and the cost of public transport tickets, for example—one struggled for a better life. In Milan…there were neighborhoods that had been “liberated” and where neither taxes, nor transport charges, nor rents were paid. Self-managed…these were neighborhoods where another form of [social] organization could be experimented with… If the police came into the neighborhood, they were immediately expelled. All available houses were occupied—empty apartments were taken over and inhabited”.

The Social Factory was a new staging ground for absorption of profit but also, resistance fell onto all social spaces in and outside factory walls. It was not capitalism that brought about this new stage of production. Rather, the working-class and collapse of working-class power in the 1960s and 1970s brought about a socialized work force and with that being said it can be understood that , “nineteen sixty-eight was not a revolution—it was the reinvention of the production of life”.

CONCLUSION: Communism Endures.

“In the postmodernization of the global economy, the creation of wealth tends ever more toward what we will call biopolitical production, the production of social life itself, in which the economic, the political, and the cultural increasingly overlap and invest on another.”
~Antonio Negri & Michael Hardt.

“Dismissing both Keynesianism and socialist work ethic, Post-Fordist capitalism puts forth in its own way typical demands of communism: abolition of work, dissolution of the State, etc. Post-Fordism is the communism of capital.”
~Paolo Virno.

“Ya Basta!” (Enough Already!)
~EZLN (National Zapatista Liberation Army).

1968 does not mark defeat but a loss within an ongoing class conflict and due to class recomposition by capitalism and the new structure of capitalist class relations after the crisis of 1968 domination and power encircled all of life in order restore both order and siphon surplus-value through the Social Factory. Every aspect of life had become political and every aspect of life had become absorbed within the production process. “From this point of view, the recomposition of life [and class decomposition by working-class resistance] was fundamental: one of the slogans of the 1970s was, “we want it all”. This is what is important: everything”. Beyond Lenin and Council Communism the Italian autonomists realized that a post-1968 capitalist era had come into fruition, the Party and factory councils had become, Obsolete Communism for the socialized-worker to expropriate everything, “de-colonize” life. In order for the working-class to become an antagonistic force against capitalist domination which organizes all of social life, the newly defined working-class would have to be organized into socialized-worker councils to oppose capital’s reach beyond the factory and into society. Class conflict now existed everywhere in society and within the new communist subject exists both the body and mind of revolution. Theory and praxis had become more intimate than ever.

The working-class divorced itself from the Party and emerged as an autonomous subject able to articulate its own desires and needs. Ever since Marx, the idea of workers’ emancipation being the workers’ own doing was theoretically argued and potentially possible but, now in post-1968 the worker has divorced itself from the Party and exercises its will autonomously and criminally if necessary to “de-colonize everyday life”. Though both these movements eventually dissipated their impact on social and capitalist production remain. The working-class will remain and continue to revolt and force capitalism to reorganize its production process because surplus-value depends upon labor-power and it is impossible to separate the worker and labor-power. Capitalism remains but so does the working-class, an antagonistic communistic social force that has the power to throw even a stable economy into crisis.


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Cohn-Bendit back at Sorbonne From CHARLES HARGROVE-Paris, Wednesday morning

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The Times Diary Cohn-Bendit ontemplates the LSE What redress when computers err? A challenge fo the ex-BBC men PHS

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Issue of 1968 raised at Giscard lunch for intellectuals Lifting of French ban sought by Herr Daniel Cohn-Bendit From Ian Murray.

The Times, Tuesday, Feb 09, 1971; pg. 5; Issue 58094; col A
May, 1968, still casts its shadow over workers From Patrick Brogan

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Foreign Report May 1968: a fete or a revolution? Charles Hargrove

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May, 1968: a break

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To The Left Of The Maoists

The Times, Wednesday, Dec 03, 1969; pg. 6; Issue 57733; col A
Communists defend gaoled editor From PETER NICHOLS.

The Times, Monday, Dec 15, 1969; pg. 4; Issue 57743; col E
Milan police hold 40 extremists FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT.


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