Communization & decolonization

Recently we were asked about our thoughts on communization & decolonization and this essay is our response.

It should first be noted that the communization milieu is indeed European in origin and largely does not address our settler-colonialist reality in the so-called Americas. Its largely European writers are conceptualizing from a different context than we live under in the so-called Americas (& other colonized lands).

Then why do we still talk about communization?

Those of us that work on this project still find value in communization theory because it demonstrates a clear way to bring about the conditions for communism immediately.

But what is communism:? For us, and fellow travelers, communism is not a mode of production. It is not just a economic system of ‘fairer’ wealth distribution. It’s a broad spectrum of lifeways that are based on communal social relations, including (but not exclusive to) mutual aid, solidarity, the collapse of the production / consumption binary (thus, the abolition of work), the abolition of the State, abolition of money, the abolition of value, the abolition of race & gender as a site of oppression, the abolition of cis-hetero-patriarchy (and all that entails, like compulsory heterosexuality). Some also call this anarchy. A negation of what props up Western capitalist civilization.

We are not interested in a transitional stage, as ‘revolutionary socialists’ call for, or in an incremental way, as those calling for ‘dual-power’ or ‘building the commune.’ Those of us that work on this project are not indigenous, but we do have indigenous ancestry. As we have had our ties cut off to our much-more communal lifeways of our respective indigenous ancestors, we are left to find other possible roads towards a free & communal life without misappropriating contemporary or ancient indigenous lifeways (though understanding these lifeways will be paramount to the successful project of assuring a free, communal way of life that does not doom us all). We do not claim that communization would replace indigenous resistance & revolt against the settler-colonial capitalist world, rather we maintain that we understand that without this resistance & revolt the settler-colonial capitalist world will remain.

It should also be noted that although communization theorists employ Marxian 1 We make a distinction between Marxist & Marxian, as other pro-communization theorists do. This is because we view most Marxist variants as distortions of Marx’s critique of capitalist political economy. So by Marxian we note that Marx developed these categories & concepts. categories & concepts, they do not see these categories & concepts as eternal. We recognize them as tools which Marx developed to understand & critique capitalism (of his time) and not necessarily eternal categories & concepts that will / would / should always exist. We will not carry these concepts into a post-capitalist, de-colonized world. If anything, the communism which we write about would be a clear rupture from not only capitalism, the State, patriarchy, white supremacy but from Western civilization itself. This is why communization theorists often call themselves communists and not Marxists.

What communization theory largely offers is not a rigid program, but an understanding of how capitalism functions (with its embedded contours of race & gender) and what it would mean to abolish it. It allows for space for improvisation & flexibility when it comes to the actual process of what communism (or anarchy) could look like. There is no rigid party line.

Communism is not a state of affairs to establish (or impose) but rather it is the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. And if the communism Marxists, and some anarchists, are attempting to establish retains the same settler-colonial relationship to the land then it’s not communism at all. Settlers building a commune on occupied land still maintains a class society. A class society where settlers are indeed still preventing indigenous people from reproducing their lifeways, as they see fit.

Now decolonization, like communism, is a vast topic. And like full communism, decolonization (or anti-colonialism) will vary from place to place, bio-region to bio-region, etc. A one-size fits all plan does not exist (and should not exist) and the creation of such a plan would grind against our strong anarchist inclinations.

We can think about communization and decolonization as two aspects of the same weather system. Communization would attack the capitalist social relations which exist on occupied land, but clearly it would not go far enough. We’re writing from occupied Tongva territory, known by its original name Tovaangar, and to merely create communism (anarchy) and make no attempt to restore native lands to their original inhabitants would (once again) not be communism at all. Decolonization (anti-colonialism) reminds us that there is more to be done.

The coupling of communization & decolonization recognizes, especially with ever-intensifying climate change, that settlers do not deeply, or even superficially, understand the deep natural history of the land they are on. Here in so-called Los Angeles we are constantly facing the increasing danger of massive wild fires. But wild fires are an ancient part of this landscape. The ecology of the landscape made famous, via its mass particularization, around the world depends on fire for its rejuvenation. What has caused an increase of danger for humans is not just climate change bringing less rain and hotter weather, but also the fact that unmitigated capitalist development has made it profitable to build in places which would previously burn with little effect on human life: hilltops, in mountain forests, etc.

Communization works as a corrective on Marxism and Left-Anarchism which merely call for a different kind of management of production (worker self-management, state-run management) instead of a fundamentally different set of social relations. Even Marx noted that communism is part of the human community’s return to a re-connection with the land, instead of capitalism’s attempt to control & extract as much value from it (though we are also critical of humanism as well). Since the beginning of colonization, Indigenous people across the world have repeated that the settler-colonial-capitalist way of life has not only been genocidal but has also been an unmitigated act of ecocide.

This is our understanding. A work in progress, but our understanding. There can be no ‘decolonized socialist state,’ just as there is no such thing as ‘scientific socialism.’ A way of life cannot be a science. What we desire is to see the words communism, and even anarchy, to eventually be forgotten and instead live in a world where we can be intimately connected to the land and to each other, and understand that this disconnection is an alienation much more ancient than the alienation we have from our labor under capitalism.

𝔢𝔡𝔦𝔠𝔦𝔬𝔫𝔢𝔰 𝔦𝔫𝔢𝔡𝔦𝔱𝔞𝔰
𝐚𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐢-𝐩𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐣𝐞𝐜𝐭
𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐚𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐡𝐲 & 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐬𝐦

Revolution: program or communization?

Originally published in French by Agitations on Jan. 6th 2019, this is an introduction to communization theory. What follows is our translation and suggested further reading at the end.

According to communization theory, born in the 1970s, the worker’s movement first knew how to positively affirm itself, but then little by little began to decompose during the 1960s, and that this whole cycle of struggle was known as “programmatism.2A term used to describe when the broader Left put forth political programs as part of their strategy where a definitive pathway to socialism would be listed.

Communization, counter-revolution & the Yellow Vests

Some exchanges published in the comment section of Des Nouvelles du Front, a French-language website which serves as a clearinghouse for texts of interest to the communization current. The comments are lifted from here. Translated by our collaborator in France, Otto Mattick; edited by us at Ediciones inéditos in Los Angeles, CA.

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.

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).

Getting Rid of Work by Gilles Dauvé

What follows is a long essay by the French communization theorist, Gilles Dauvé. It is a long read, a read which varies in content and tone but a text which masterfully summarizes the communist critique of work. The original can be found here at Troploin. He also dutifully notes that without the abolition of work there can be no communist revolution or communism. We hope you enjoy reading this as much as we enjoyed translating it. ¡A la chingada con el trabajo!

Here you will find a lightly modified chapter 3 from the book “From Crisis to Communization” published in 2017 by Editions Entremonde.

False construction sites

Building-Freeways-Image-8-1

In 1997, in the French department of Sarthe, some 20 workers were constructing a section of highway under the direction of an engineer employed by a large company, BTP. After two months the engineer was arrested: no one had ordered the work that was partially done, which with an initial financing, the false construction site manager had successfully hoodwinked both banks and public organizations. Between 1983 and 1996, Philippe Berre had been convicted 14 times for ordering false construction sites. In 2009, “The Beginning,” a film inspired by this whole adventure was released, displaying a population struck by unemployment which briefly found work and hope. Phillippe Berre was not motivated by personal gain, but rather by the need to do, to be of use, to reanimate a group of workers. In 2010, once again, he took on this role while helping those affected by Cyclone Xynthia.

Against Non-Life

Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 10.04.31 AM

[From Chile. Originally published at El Radical Libre, written by the ‘Anarquía y comunismo’ bulletin. Originally published in Spanish, translated into English by ediciones inéditos.]

Today the desire to cast off our current way of life is taken as common sense. Whether it’s the life of others we desire to take on or a completely different way of life; striking a commodified humanity is the passive acceptance of the existent which clashes with generalized dissatisfaction.

The Real Death of Politics

AN EDICIONES INÉDITOS ORIGINAL

Trump has been sworn in, the Left and Liberals have come out in droves to denounce a president whom Congressman & Civil Rights Leader , John Lewis, has declared illegitimate. Though the grounds for illegitimacy, as he states, are not necessarily based on Trump’s racist, sexist, isolationist, ultra-nationalist, anti-queer agenda but rather that he is the subject of a Russian conspiracy. (Though we have had presidents who have been slave-owners, rapists, leaders of genocide, fervently anti-queer and yet they were able to complete their terms.) Others more generally decry Trump as a Neo-Fascist set to bring 1939 onto American soil. The U.S. Radical Left clamors to revive itself and swell its numbers. Though this Radical Left has chosen, more and more so, to speak the language of politics rather than of revolt (or revolution). This Radical Left sometimes speaks of communism as a set of affairs to be installed, and to which proletarians must be won over to, rather than the means by which proletarians will free themselves.