Moral Economy, Power and the Yellow Vests

Moral Economy, Power and the Yellow Vests

The following is our translation of an intriguing text by Samuel Hayat, a French political scientist, published on Dec. 5th 2018. It offers a thought-provoking analysis of the moral economy of the Yellow Vests movement which should also provoke conversations about other social/radical movements and their attachment to normative moral claims about the economy or the present world we are forced to live in.

It’s difficult not to be swept up by the movement in progress. The whole thing is disconcerting, including for those who make a profession of researching and teaching political science: its actors, its modes of action, its demands. Some of our best established beliefs have been called into question, notably those related to the conditions and bliss of social movements. Hence the necessity, or at the very least the desire, to put out it in the open some reflections stemming from the open comparison between what we see in this movement and the knowledge base relating to other subjects. Besides the research of the movement in progress, let us hope that the indirect light born of the comparison with other fields offers up something different on what has taken place.

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The Vests Are Always Yellower On The Other Side — An Italian Dispatch Editorial

The Vests Are Always Yellower On The Other Side — An Italian Dispatch Editorial

The following is a rousing editorial from Italian comrades at Common Ware translated by a friend of the project, Asmodeus.

The insurgency of the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) has obtained an important contingent victory, bending the government to its will and forcing it to retract the increase in gasoline and excise taxes. This result was not obtained through representative channels, but rather through weeks of clashes with the police, barricades, blockages of circulation, and the destruction of many different objects that don’t necessarily have anything coherent in common, just as there isn’t anything coherent about the composition of the mobilized participants.

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Dec. 1st – Pushing the Disorder Further & Response by Alerta Comunista (Greece)

Dec. 1st – Pushing the Disorder Further & Response by Alerta Comunista (Greece)

What follows is a translation of a blog post by Carbure. It is a collaboration between ourselves & Otto Mattick. The original text was published on Dec. 3rd, 2018.

Saturday December 1st, the Gilets Jaunes movement had ceased to belong and be the movement of lower-class White France which it was at the beginning. Given the predictable refusal of the State to satisfy the smallest demand (as evidenced by the refusal or inability of the “spokepersons” of the movement to meet the Prime Minister), also given the derisory aspect which any demand takes on in light of our intolerable existence, and thanks to the convergence in an urban setting of ALL rage, the revolutionary content of the current period beings to appear under the crust of discourses and ideologies, and this content is disorder. The question is now where will what has started end or how far what has started here will be able to create disorder. Already those who made up the origin of the movement serve as a rear guard of what they have started, making appeals to reason and demanding a return to republican order within the pages of Le Journal du Dimanche. They were the incarnation of the start of the movement and their reluctance demonstrates enough what this movement is no longer. They would be satisfied with a moratorium on raising fuel prices, on raising the price on anything or organizing a referendum on the energy transition, right when an emerging movement wants to take whatever is in its path and can no longer crystallize itself around any discourse or demand; save for the repetition of “Resign Macron” as a sort of mantra calling on nothingness and the disappearance of all that this world represents. “Resign Macron” is at once the political limit of this movement and also a call for the end of all politics.

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A Historical Awakening: Gilets Jaunes mov’t dispatch from the island of La Réunion

A Historical Awakening: Gilets Jaunes mov’t dispatch from the island of La Réunion

The following is a translation of a text retrieved from Lundi Matin, published on Nov. 26th 2018. It is a dispatch from the French territory of La Réunion: an island east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. It was translated by Otto Mattick and edited by Ediciones inéditos.

The Yellow Vests movement on Reunion Island

The trigger of an historic awakening

You have probably already read it somewhere: “Reunion Island is all fire and blood”, “riots”, “outbreaks of violence in Reunion Island”. Since the beginning of the movement, on 17 November 2018, and for nine days now, Reunion Island has experienced a social revolt on a scale never known before. A curfew was introduced on November 20, and lifted this Sunday, following a respite. A new week of blockades is expected both on the roads and at strategic points, such as the East Port, the prefecture or Gillot airport.

The confused media and politicians are trying to demonize the movement with provoking phrases, some rumors of anti-white racism follow by the usual discourse aimed at separating the “nice Yellow Vests” from the “bad young casseurs1. However, the reality is much more complex than the Reunionese and [French] metropolitan media suggest.

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Anti-politics…explained

Anti-politics…explained

Here is our attempt to explain what anti-politics means to us and how we link it to communization and ultimately to communism.

Anti-politics: action and theory that posits itself against the sphere of politics (and therefore also political-economy). Politics being the sphere of power, alienation, mediation and domination. In this way anti-politics questions & attacks the mediation & coercion found in democracy; the centrality & domination of the economy (whether capitalist or not) in our lives, patriarchy & its deadly logic; settler-colonialism & its persistence; questions whether the breadth of human desires could ever constitute a unitary & enumerated positive program and opens itself up to the possibility of affinities of shared antagonism with those who do not explicitly express themselves politically but nonetheless attack that which anti-politics is set against (i.e. rioters).

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“The proletariat of Brazil was defeated by democracy, not dictatorship.”

“The proletariat of Brazil was defeated by democracy, not dictatorship.”

The following is analysis from a Chilean comrade. While we don’t agree with the final statements, we feel the analysis in this is rather illuminating for this moment. After our English translation follows the original Spanish.

The far-right has never ascended to political power to then destroy the working-class and halt its revolution. Each time the far-right has come to power it is because the working-class has already been destroyed. By whom? By democracy. By progressivism. By the Left.

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Radical anti-gentrification

Radical anti-gentrification

An anti-gentrification strategy which counters the “good local business” to the “bad, ‘gentrifier’ business,” and thus does not question capitalism itself, is a strategy which may garner popular support, but it is one which is ultimately shallow & reformist in nature. It confuses the symptoms of gentrification for the causes. If we take gentrification as an opportunity to truly interrogate what housing means under capitalism for proletarians, we would see that this society will always have us living as close to the edge as possible.

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AUDIO – Contra Aztlán Plática

AUDIO – Contra Aztlán Plática

We are happy to share the audio recorded by Marco Amador at the Contra Aztlán event which took place at La Conxa in Boyle Heights, a space run by Las Ovas on Sept 5th, 2018. The discussion here was frank, open and at times confrontational. Things were said that we did not agree with, but others in the group would interject and point out how so-and-so could be in the wrong, or mistaken. The participants spanned generations and different identities; would switch from English to Spanglish to Spanish; came from different political positions; but we all shared a desire to interrogate what is, not only, Chicano Nationalism but what is Chicanx identity in relation to other oppressed identities. We may help facilitate another event on this same topic in the coming weeks, so if you have any reactions to this audio please keep an eye out for a future event. If you cannot make it you can always send us your responses as a comment on here or email us at ediciones-ineditos@protonmail.com.

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Cuadernos de Negación – Against the Valorization of Life – Part I

Cuadernos de Negación – Against the Valorization of Life – Part I

We have decided to undertake the task of translation the whole of CUARDERNOS DE NEGACIÓN 11th issue (May 2018), entitled “Contra la valorización de la vida” (tr. Against the valorization of life). Here we present the first part of our translation. What follows is their work. All footnotes are from CUADERNOS unless otherwise noted. We feel this issue functions as a great way to introduce value-form theory to those adverse to critiques using Marxian categories since CUADERNOS do not use them to merely prop up notions of the dictatorship of the proletariat, or better management of production, or arguments for a transitional stage to communism: instead they show themselves to be clearly for the wholesale abolition of capitalism along with the features which weigh on those of us who are proletarians: work, our basic needs converted into commodities, wage-labor, general impoverishment, alienation and the general abstraction of daily life. A pdf of the text re-formatted into the design of the original can be found here..

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