It is the ultimate reply to those who assert that when workers go on strike they are being 'greedy', while those who reap the profits from their labour are of course being 'reasonable'.
The whole text is well worth reading. I am reproducing the Introduction and section on Individualism and Collectivism as a way of introducing what Libertarian Communism really means.
Only when you and I really get fed up enough with the system that continues to steal our lives from us will we be willing to really consider taking our power back, and breaking the machine as our Luddite predecesors did.
As long we are happy as we are, then all our efforts will be to patchup the machine and make it work a little better while remaining cogs to be run down, ground up and spit out.
Theses On The Practical Necessity Of Demanding Everything
Council for Generalized Self-Management
Greed in its fullest sense is the only possible basis of communist society.
The present forms of greed lose out, in the end, because they turn out to be not greedy enough.
The repression of egoism can never totally succeed, except as the destruction of human subjectivity, the extinction of the human species itself, because egoism is an essential moment of human subjectivity. Its repression simply means that it returns in a hidden, duplicitous form. If it cannot show itself in the open market, it will find itself or create for itself a black market. If it is not tolerated in transparent n1 relations, the repressed self will split in two; into a represented self, a personal organization of appearances, a persona, and that which cringes and plots behind this character-armour n2. The repression of egoism, contrary to the dictates of every one of the so-called “Communists” (in opposition to Marx and Engels), from Lenin right down to Mao, can never be the basis of communist society.
The actual negation of narrow egoism is a matter of transcendance (“aufhebung” n3), of the transition from a narrow to a qualitatively expanded form of egoism. The original self-expansion of egoism was identically the demise of the primitive community. But its further self-expansion will resolve itself into a community once again. It is only when greed itself at last (or rather, once again) beckons in the direction of community that that direction will be taken. Here the ancient Christian truth that no earthly force can withstand human greed rejoins us on our side of the barricades.
We have no doubt that people are corruptible, but we know for ourselves that there are things more tempting, more seductive, than money, capital, and Power n1 - so much so that no genuinely greedy human being could possibly resist their allure - and it is upon this corruptibility of man that we found our hopes for revolution. Revolution is nothing other than the self-accelerating spread throughout society of this more profound corruption, of this deeper seduction. Currently, greed is always pursued and associated with isolation and privatism simply because everyone under the reign of capital is condemned to pursue greed in this narrow way. Greed doesn’t yet know its own potentiality.
Narrow greed will turn against itself. No more powerful weapon against greed could possibly be found than greed itself. There could be no more formidable tool for transforming narrow selfishness than this selfishness itself. In its own process, through its own development, it must discover a fuller form of greed, and a richer form of wealth. It must discover its own narrowness.
Our reversal of perspective on egoism n1, our detournement n2 of "greed," and the scandalous effect which this produces and is intended to produce in the prevailing consciousness, is no mere formal trick, and no arbitrary play on words. Words, and precisely because of their meanings, are a real part of history, of the "historical material," and of the historical process. To abandon them to their usurpers, to invent new words, or to use other words because of the difficulty of winning back the true, historic words, is to abandon the field to the enemy. It is a theoretical concession, and a practical concession, which we cannot afford. To do so would only add to the confusion, a confusion which, in part, forms the basis of the established order n3.
Our reversal of perspective, on the contrary, is clarifying within the very terms of the confusion. It is already a revolutionary act at the level of the subjective conditions of revolution: the reversed perspective - the revolved perspective - is the perspective of revolution itself. Ideology is the sublime hustle. The use-value of ideology is as a tool for exploitation - the ideologue uses ideology to con you into letting him put his egoism above yours, in the name of altruism, morality, and the "general interest." Our winning back in a positive connotation of a word like "greed" or "selfishness" - the central, universal, and mutually agreed upon prejoratives of the two extreme representations of modern capitalism, private capitalist and state capitalist ideology, which try to confine the totality of possible opposition within the universe bounded by their polar pseudo-opposition - is such an act because it locates precisely the point of their essential unity, the exact point of departure for a revolutionary movement which, by breaking away there, simultaneously, identically, and singularly breaks with both.
We use the words "communist society" to mean the direct opposite of that which masquerades as such in the present world namely, bureaucratic state-capitalism n1. That the classical private capitalist societies of the "West" - themselves maturing toward a form of state-capitalism - collude with "Eastern" powers in the propagation of this lie, is hardly an accident, and should come as no surprise. It is, rather, one facet among myriads of an "antagonistic cooperation" n2 which reveals the hidden essential unity binding together these pseudo-opposites.
The activity of simultaneous appropriation by each individual of all the rest, or of the appropriation of society by all at once inter-appropriation (realized inter-subjectivity, or co-property) - itself constitutes the totality of social production. This appropriation by all at once of all is none other than the resonance n1 state of egoism:
"Communism is the positive abolition of private property, of human self-alienation, and [is] thus the real appropriation of human nature through and for man. c3
The positive conception of egoism, the perspective of communist egoism, is the very heart and unity of our theoretical and practical coherence. This perspective is the essence of what separates us from both the left and the right. We cannot allow its fundamental importance to be obscured, or ourselves to be mistaken for either the right or the left. We cannot allow any Leninist organization to get away with claiming that it is only 'a little bit pregnant' with state capitalism.
"To be avoided above all is establishing 'society' once again as an abstraction over against the individual. The individual is the social being." n1 The expression of his life - even if it does not appear immediately in the form of communal expression carried out together with others - is therefore a manifestation and affirmation of social life. The individual and generic life of man are not distinct, however much - and necessarily so - the mode of existence of individual life is either a more particular or a more general mode of generic or generic life a more particular or universal mode of individual life.
The ideologies of anti-socialism are based on the misery of association (collective boredom, inauthentic association, etc.) a1 under contemporary conditions, that is, on the misery of association-as-alienation and as-estrangement. They are expressions of the poverty of social life - its virtual nonexistence as such - in the world of strangers, the bellum omnium contra omnes, which is capitalist society.
Communist individualism or individualist communism is the name for the solution to the riddle of pre-history, which, while it has momentarily, at times and places in this century, existed, as yet knows not its own name.
"Nothing is more to me than myself." c17
Thus, in a sense, all history has (in the long run and if only implicitly) been a process of individualization. This individualization reaches its highest point of advertisement in the epoch of corporate capitalism. But private property's "individualism" is naught but its most cherished illusion. The predominant characteristic of private property is a materialized reification where the egoism of its subjects (capitalists and workers alike) is suppressed and subordinated to the pseudo-subjectivity of the "economy for itself." n1 The truth of the capitalist society and its private property is not individual property, but dispossession - viz., the proletariat. The truth of private property is nothing other than the production, reproduction, and growth of a dispossessed and propertyless class, i.e., the class of wage-labour. Private property is thus the very negation of individualism and of individual property. For the overwhelming majority of its subjects, i.e. the proletariat, private property is by no means individual property, but rather it is loss (i.e. sale - alienation) of self, being-for-another. Even the capitalists are at best mere agents of capital - managers of their own (and of the general) dispossession. The mythical "individualism" of capitalist society can only be realized in its own negation and in the negation of the society from which it sprang. Thus the Paris Commune of 1871, the first realized "Dictatorship of the Proletariat," n2, c27 attempted to abolish private property in order "to make individual property a truth." c28 "The capitalist mode of appropriation, the result of the capitalist mode of production, produces capitalist private property. This is the first negation of individual private property, as founded on the labor of the proprietor. But capitalist production begets, with the inexorability of the law of Nature, its own negation. It is the negation of the negation. This does not reestablish private property for the producer, but gives him individual property [!] based on the acquisitions of the capitalist era: i.e., on cooperation and the possession in common of the land and of the means of production." c29 The revolution of generalized self-management is the movement from narrow to full egoism, egoism's own self-enrichment. It is egoism's ascent from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom.
Preamble To The Founding Agreements of
Council for Generalized Self-Management
We have woken up to discover that our lives are becoming unlivable. From boring, meaningless jobs to the humiliation of waiting endlessly in lines, at desks and counters to receive our share of survival, from prison-like schools to repetitious, mindless "entertainment," from desolate and crime-ridden streets to the stifling isolation of home, our days are a treadmill on which we run faster and faster just to keep the same pace.
Like the immense majority of the population, we have no control over the use to which our lives are put: we are people who have nothing to sell but our capacity to work. We have come together because we can no longer tolerate the way we are forced to exist, we can no longer tolerate being squeezed dry of our energies, being used up and thrown away, only to create a world that grows more alien and ugly every day.
The system of Capital, whether in its "Western" private corporate or "Eastern" state-bureaucratic form, was brutal and exploitative even during its ascent: now, where it is in decay, it poisons air and water, produces goods and services of deteriorating quality, and is less and less able to employ us even to its own advantage. Its logic of accumulation and competition leads inexorably toward its own collapse. Even as it links all the people of the world together in one vast network of production and consumption, it isolates us from each other; even as it stimulates greater and greater advances in technology and productive power, it finds itself incapable of putting them to use: even as it multiplies the possibilities for human self-realization, we find ourselves strangled in layers of guilt, fear and self-contempt.
But it is we ourselves - our strength, our intelligence, our creativity, our passions -that are the greatest productive power of all. It is we who produce and reproduce the world as it is, in the image of Capital; it is we who reinforce in each other the conditioning of family, school, church and media, the conditioning that keeps us slaves. When we decide together to end our misery, to take our lives into our own hands, we can recreate the world the way we want it. The technical resources and worldwide productive network developed under the old system give us the means: the crisis and continuing collapse of that system give us the chance and the urgent need.
The ruling ideologies of the world superpowers, with their interlocking sets of lies, offer us only the false choice of "Communism" versus "Capitalism." But in the history of revolution during this century (Russia, 1905; Germany, 191920; Spain, 1936-37; Hungary, 1956) we have discovered the general form through which we can take back power over our own lives: workers' councils. At their highest moments, these councils were popular assemblies in workplaces and communities, joined together by means of strictly mandated delegates who carried out decisions already made by their assemblies and who could be recalled by them at any time. The councils organized their own defense and restarted production under their own management. By now, through a system of councils at the local, regional, and global level, using modern telecommunications and data processing, we can coordinate and plan world production as well as be free to shape our own immediate environment. Any compromise with bureaucracy and official hierarchy, anything short of the total power of workers' councils, can only reproduce misery and alienation in a new form, as a good look at the so-called "Communist" countries will show. For this reason, no political party can represent the revolutionary movement or seize power "on its behalf," since this would be simply a change of ruling classes, not their abolition. The plan of the freely associated producers is in absolute opposition to the dictatorial Plan of state and corporate production. Only all of us together can decide what is best for us.
In setting down this minimum program, we are not trying to impose an ideal on reality, nor are we alone in wanting what we want. Our ideas are already in everyone's minds, consciously or unconsciously, because they are nothing but an expression of the real movement that exists all over the planet. But in order to win, this movement must know itself, its aims, and its enemies, as never before.
We do not speak for this movement, but for ourselves as of it. We recognize no Cause over and above ourselves. But our selves are already social: the whole human race produces the life of each one of its members, now more than ever before. Our aim is simply to make this process conscious for the first time, to give to the production of human life the imaginative intensity of a work of art.
It is in this spirit that we call upon you to organize, as we are doing, where you work and where you live, to begin planning the way we can run society together, to defend yourselves against the deepening misery that is being imposed on all of us. We call upon you to assault actively the lies, the selfdeceptions born of fear, that keep everyone frozen in place while the world is falling apart around us. We call upon you to link up with us and with others who are doing the same thing. Above all, we call upon you to take yourselves and your desires seriously, to realize your own power to master your own lives.
It is now or never. If we are to have a future, we ourselves must be that future.
February 16, 1974
n1 By "transparent" relations we mean relations beyond duplicity; relations in which the essential is also visible, i.e., in which the essence appears. "Transparency" is when you can see from the surface of social phenomena through into their core; when their truth is apparent on the surface. On the contrary, the social relations of capitalist society are opaque; shot through with a contradiction between appearance and essence; things are, more often than not the exact opposite of what they appear to be. For example, in capital, the apparent social imperative of the production of maximal use-value - "we're here to serve you"; "to produce a quality product", etc. - conceals their ulterior motive of the production of maximal exchange-value (profit), and this hidden, essential imperative reveals itself only where the two imperatives come into conflict, in which case the use-value is sacrificed to exchange-value (planned obsolescence, production of worthless products, fad products, destruction of crops and other products to keep prices up, and in general, the tendency of all products produced as commodity-capital to deteriorate in quality over time; the "tendency of use-value to fall." Marx envisioned the emergence of transparency in social relations as an aspect of the emergence of communist society, in the following words:
"Let us now picture ourselves, by way of change, a community of free individuals, carrying on their work with the means of production in common, in which the labour-power of all the different individuals is consciously applied as the combined labour-power of the community .... The social relations of the individual producers, with regard both to their labour and to its products, are in this case perfectly simple and intelligible, and that with regard not only to production but also to distribution .... (mystification] can, in any case, only then finally vanish, when the practical relations of everyday life offer to man none but perfectly intelligible and reasonable relations with regard to his fellowmen and to Nature....”
- Karl Marx, Capital, A Critique of Political Economy, book I, International Publishers, (New York, 1967). pp. 78-79, in Chapter 1, Section 4: "The Fetishism of Commodities and the Secret Thereof".
Character Armour: The sum total of typical character attitudes, which an individual develops as a blocking against his emotional excitations, resulting in rigidity of the body, lack of emotional contact, "deadness." Functionally identical with the muscular armor.
- Wilhelm Reich, The Function of the Orgasm, Meridian (New York. 1971), Glossary, pp. 359-360.
The involuntary modes of behavior that characterize armor are generally "learned" during childhood as a "rational" response to an irrational, oppressive world. Thus, armor is essentially not a thing located in each individual, but a social relation, a layer of callous, deadened to the self and other, built up in the wear and tear of (anti-)social interactions; in the agony and constant danger of alienated association. This is demonstrated in the following observation: change a person's social relations and his armouring, his character adjustment, will also begin to change to re-adapt, to become congruent again with his social life, his new relationships. Thus, it is erroneous to locate armour simply in the individual taken separately, although it is true that his social relations, his way of relating and surviving socially, may be “reflected” - mapped onto his body - in the form of muscular armouring; of a pattern of chronic contraction in the various muscular segments.
Character-armour is thus (1) the personal aspect of the spectacle. It is the personal organization of false appearances: self-representation; the self-spectacle. It is the self-image one seeks to project to others; the "front" one puts up; the role one plays: the "reputation" one accumulates. The projected, surface motives belonging to character are at the same time a surface denial and repression of certain forbidden, impermissible motives, which persist beneath the surface of character as ulterior motives, conscious or not. In their more conscious part, these ulterior motives express themselves as character in the form of lying, cheating, trickery, the con, hypocrisy, etc. - all the familiar backstage of the spectacle of "good character." Character is the very locus of interpersonal duplicity - precisely the "duplication" of the self (cf. Karl Marx, "Theses on Feuerbach", thesis IV, in The German Ideology, Progress Publishers (Moscow, 1968). p. 666, see also Marx's remark in his Preface to A Contribution To The Critique of Political Economy; "Just as our opinion of an individual is not based on what he thinks of himself, so we can not judge of such a period of transformation by its own consciousness." in Lewis Feuer, op. cit., p. 44.)
The production-process of character must thus be comprehended within the critique of political economy, as an aspect of the reproduction-process of capital, of capitalist society, as a whole. This process, the production process of proletarians, a special form of commodity production carried out in special factories known as "schools", "churches", "prisons", "families", etc., is usually referred to, in general, as "child-rearing", "education", or "socialization". It consists in (a) the destruction of subjectivity in its direct form, and (b) the development of a narrow form of subjectivity, in an indirect (perverted) form, mediated by authoritarian permission. It is the totality of the processes of "adaptation" necessary to make the proletarian "fit" to endure the "life" of a worker. When the process miscarries, as it often does these days, the product is said to be "unemployable" -useless to capital. In the "finished" product, the adult, character-armour is the repository, the objectification of this process, the location of all the stored programs, habits, practices, roles, and behavior patterns necessary to the proletarian survival kit - submissiveness, slavishness, self-contempt, passivity, obedience, irresponsibility, guilt, fear of freedom, and so on. Character-armour is the layer of frozen subjectivity that makes the worker functional as a worker in capitalist society, i.e., manipulatable as a pseudo-object. It is what makes the worker suitable for authoritarian management. It is what makes him (presently) incapable of self-management. The way through the problem is to have people not armored but “armed” - physically, psychologically, and theoretically - to bring what is involuntary more under conscious control.
n3 “To transcend (aufheben) has this double meaning, that it signifies to keep or preserve and also to make cease, to finish. To preserve includes this negative element, that something is removed from its immediacy and therefore from a Determinate Being exposed to external influences, in order that it may be preserved. - Thus what is transcended is also preserved; it has lost its immediacy and is not on that account annihilated. - In the dictionary the two determinations of transcending may be cited as two meanings of this word. But it should appear as remarkable that a language should have come to use one and the same word for two opposite determinations. It is a joy for speculative thought to find words which in themselves have a speculative meaning....”
- G.W.F. Hegel, Science of Logic, volume I, "Objective Logic", translated by W.H. Johnston and L.G. Struthers. Humanities Press, (New York, 1966), pp. 119-120; "Transcendence of Becoming." Observation: the Expression "to transcend"
n1 "All previous forms of society foundered on the development of wealth - or, which amounts to the same thing, on the development of social productive forces. Therefore ancient philosophers who were aware of this bluntly denounced wealth as destructive of community."
- Karl Marx, Grundrisse der Kritik der Politischen Oekonomie. Quoted in, Karl Marx, The Grundrisse, translated and edited by David McLellan, Harper & Row, (San Francisco, 1971, p. 120).
n1 By "Power" with a capital "P", we mean separate power; alienated power, whose major modern examples are state power and that social power known as "capital'. In state-capitalism, the highest form of capitalism, these two, always interpenetrate essentially, become one visibly. In pre-modern times, in Medieval Europe, the Church would be another example of separate social power.
We have no quarrel with "power' as such, that is, with self-power - the power of social self-determination and self-production; creative, productive faculties and power over one's own life. On the contrary; this is the very development and enrichment of individuality itself. On the contrary; The re-appropriation of ourselves, the repossession of ourselves from capital, the re-owning of alienated self-powers, is the essential purpose of our revolution, the communist revolution; and is our purpose in it. It should be obvious, then, from what has been said, that Power is the opposite of power. The greater the Power of the State and Capital, the more powerless, the more impotent are we, the proletariat, for that Power is nothing other than our lost, our alienated power; the labour power we sell to capital and the political power we give up to our "representatives".
It was necessary to say this because of the legions of moralistic masochists and worshippers of impotence presently traipsing through the spectacle, for whom we might otherwise have been mistaken. These self-castrated passivists believe that not just Power, but power also, corrupts, absolutely, and desperately “fear to touch it”, along with money and capital, out of dread of being instantly corrupted by it. They have never let themselves grasp that the only way to be safe from this pathetic “corruption” is to be - not beneath it, but beyond it.
For an account, unsurpassed in its brilliance, of the dialectic of self-powers and their alienation, see Lorraine and Fredy Perlman's book-length detournement of revolutionary ideology, Manual For Revolutionary Leaders, "by Michael Velli" (BLACK AND RED, P.O. Box 9546, Detroit, Michigan, 48202; pp. 11-49). (Unfortunately for all of us, the Perlmans decided to truncate their theory just at the threshold of its practice, by abstractly negating revolutionary organization - to the effect that all organization is hierarchical organization and all revolutionary organization is necessarily Leninist organization - and so end up embracing impotence for themselves as revolutionaries).
n2 Immanent critique is critique which bases itself in the same foundation, logical, etc., which forms the core or essence of the object of the critique; critique which locates itself inside its object. It thus locates the internal contradictions of its object - the self-contradictions - becoming a critique which is essential to the object of critique itself. Thus immanent critique is an intimate, internal critique, in fact, a self-critique of the object, a critique based on the internal standards of the object of the critique itself, and not an external or alien critique - a judgment from a standpoint outside that which is judged.
n1 By "total appropriation" we mean, in general, all-sided appropriation - that is, social relations not restricted to a specialized and compartmentalized interchange of "things" or of parts of people as "things" (money, commodities, images, etc.) -as in the present organization of social interaction according to roles, which enforces a strict separation of the various aspects and interests of life, "Total appropriation" is, among other things, where you are no longer confined to "talking shop" even in the shop.
By "total" appropriation of another person we mean, in particular, an appropriation of them which included in itself their appropriation of you; i.e. it can occur only when it is reciprocal, when each person is both appropriator and appropriated. This is unlike either the case of the appropriation of an object, which can't "appropriate back," or the partial appropriation (exploitation) of a subject; the appropriation of a subject as if an object, excluding, disregarding his or her desires, needs, expectations, and reciprocal appropriation of the appropriator. That is, we would mean that you appropriate their appropriation of you as itself a necessary part of them; include in the "them" that you "totally" appropriate their desires, needs, attitudes, and expectations with regard to you in some way; appropriate their subjectivity as the essential part of them; relate to it. “Total appropriation” is thus the encounter by a subject of another subject as a subject. It would involve the appropriation of the other person’s response to you, including of their response to your responses to them. True infinity. Total appropriation exists when you can (actually and directly - not just vicariously) appropriate someone else’s joy as your own.
One might very well say that there is plenty about contemporary "subjects" that one not only doesn't want to appropriate 'totally', but in fact doesn't want any part of. And to this we could only agree, with however the additional commentary that (1) most of what we don't want any part of is non-self, non-subjectivity (frozen subjectivity; armour) to begin with, and: (2) this negated subjectivity has to be dealt with in one way or another anyway: no matter what, it has to be faced, even in present-day society - perhaps 90% of the fuck-ups in present-day capitalist business-practice are due to such characterological "personality factors". And in the context of associated production, where sustained association is an egoistic necessity, the problem becomes a question of what is the best way of confronting these "factors", from an expanded-egoistic point of view. There is no doubt that "total appropriation" will be, among other things, a conflictual process, a fight. Direct "appropriation" - i.e., here-and-now contestation - of such "personality kinks" as they come up in the social (re)productive process, rather than in their avoidance or polite toleration which bespeaks an attitude of resignation to the person tolerated as a static being incapable of further self-development, and to the person tolerating as impotent to provoke change -can, where appropriate, render daily social interaction itself an accelerated "psychotherapeutic" growth process.
Expanded egoism, that is, total appropriation, is a process. Only as exploitation in social relations lives out its use-value will we begin to develop expanded egoism concretely. At the beginnings of communist society, radical subjectivity will not miraculously manifest itself in everyone, at the same time, to the same degree of intensity or sustainedness. The development will be an irregular process. To abstractly affirm an idyllic, non-conflictual image of total appropriation of another when in fact the other remains to varying degrees a frozen subject is to morally project and idealize total appropriation.
n1 By "egoism" we mean something which, in its full development, is quite different from, in fact, "infinitely" different from or opposite to "egotism". Egotism is personal practice in favor of one's self-spectacle, one's social image, one's persona. It is precisely, therefore, activity in the interest of one's non-self, truly selfless activity. Whereas, by egoism we mean, on the contrary, personal activity in the interest of one's authentic self, to the extent one recognizes and knows this self at any given time, however narrowly or expandedly. Egotism is spectacular, other-centered (alienated), the vicarious living of your own life; egoism is autonomous, founded on self-centration and on concrete, social self-knowledge. Egotism is thus one of the lowest forms of egoism. It is, like moralism, egoism by means of a projection, and turns into into its opposite.
n2 The term "detournement", employed especially as a technical term by Situationists, has been defined as the revolutionary practice "by which the spectacle is turned back on itself, turned inside out so that it reveals its own inner workings." See Loaded Words: A Rebel's Guide To Situationese, NEW MORNING, February, 1973, New Morning Collective (P.O. Box 531, Berkeley, California, 94701), p. 14 [also see: Loaded Words download in the at the Lust for Life website]
- Guy Debord, The Society Of The Spectacle, BLACK AND RED, (Detroit, 1973), thesis 111.“Until now, the most durable source of support for sustaining and enlarging the operation of the state-management has been the pattern of antagonistic cooperation between the U.S. state management and its Soviet counterpart."
- cf. Seymour Melman, Pentagon Capitalism: The Political Economy Of War, McGraw-Hill, (San Francisco, 1971), Chapter 9, "1984 By 1974? Or, Can The State-Management Be Stopped?", p. 215:
n1 The root definition of "resonance" coming from physics, from the mechanics of oscillators, is revealing here. For example: "(a) an abnormally large response of a system having a natural frequency, to a periodic external stimulus of the same, or nearly the same, frequency. (b) the increase in intensity of sound by sympathetic vibration of other bodies."
- C.L. Barnhart & Jess Stein, The American College Dictionary, Random House, (New York, 1964), p. 1033, "resonance, n.".
That is, mechanical resonance occurs when the natural frequency of oscillation -the 'immanent', 'essential', or internal frequency - of the resonating object is identical to the frequency of externally "forced" oscillation, i.e., to the external frequency.
Social resonance occurs as inter-recognition; when social individuals recognize themselves in each other, the other in themselves, and themselves in the world they produce; when they recognize their concrete universality. It occurs when what "society" needs of them is also what they need of themselves: their own production; their own development; their own self-realization; when what "society" needs of them is not imposed as an external, alien force, coercively by the state or unconsciously, as the "law of value," by capital, but as their own, internally generated self-force, welling-up spontaneously within them. From each according to his desire, to each according to his desire. This is possible sustainedly only once the necessary social conditions for such a recognition and such a need have been produced historically, i.e., only once certain relations of humanity to itself, - namely, inter-production - grasped early in an alienated form as the “eternal truths” of religions, have become fact, that is, become historically materialized.
- Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle, BLACK AND RED, (Detroit, 1970), last thesis in Chapter IV, "The Proletariat As Subject And As Representation".
n1 The term "anti-state" was employed by the Situationists to designate the organization of social self-management, the power of the workers' councils which, although it would be an administration of society, would not be a "state", but, on the contrary, hostile to every form of "state".
A well-known authority on Marx' views described the anti-state character of the Paris Commune thusly: "This was, therefore, a revolution not against this or that, legitimate, constitutional, republican, or Imperialist form of State Power. It was a Revolution against the State itself, of this supernaturalist abortion of society, a resumption by the people for the people of its own social life. It was not a revolution to transfer it from one fraction of the ruling class to the other, but a Revolution to break down this horrid machinery of Class domination itself.
"The spectacle within society corresponds to a concrete manufacture of alienation. Economic expansion is mainly the expansion of precisely this industrial production. That which grows with the economy moving for itself can only be the alienation which was precisely at its origin."
- Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle, op. cit., respectively Theses 16 and 32.
n2 It is important above all here to note that this "dictatorship of the proletariat" can be nothing other than the international power of the workers' councils itself. It is a dictatorship of the still-proletarian class over the remnants of the bourgeoisie and the bureaucracy, because it acts coercively against their efforts to re-expropriate social power and, whenever it (that is, the general assemblies of the workers) deems necessary, by force of arms. But it is an anti-state dictatorship, especially with regard to the suppression of the state-capitalist bureaucracy, with respect to which, the suppression of the state and the suppression of the class are one in the same (it goes without saying that the "suppression" of a class as a class, its destruction as such, does not necessarily entail the "destruction" or "liquidation" of the individuals who composed it; it is the class determination which is to be determinately negated here, not biological individuals, and social relations can not be negated without "negating" individuals). On the concept of the "anti-state", see first note to Thesis 46.
In a letter to August Bebel (March 18-28, 1875) Engels (as a delegation of himself and Marx) gave a critique of the draft programme of the United Social-Democratic Workers' Party of Germany. His severe criticism, particularly of its muddledly statist aspects, is of much significance not only for this particular programme, but furthermore it sheds much light toward a correct interpretation of virtually all of his and Marx's works:
c1 "Along with the constantly diminishing number of magnates of capital, who usurp and monopolize all the advantages of this transformation, grows the mass of misery, oppression, slavery, degradation, exploitation; but with this too grows the revolt of the working class, a class always increasing in numbers, and disciplined, united, organized by the very mechanism of the process of capitalist reproduction itself. The monopoly of capital becomes a fetter upon the mode of production, which has sprung up and flourished along with, and under it. Centralization of the means of production and socialization of labor at last reach a point where they become incompatible with the capitalist integument. This integument is burst asunder. The knell of capitalist-private property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated."
- Karl Marx, Capital, A Critique of Political Economy, Vol. I, International Publishers, 1967, p. 763, emphasis ours.
c2 The phrases "the associated producers", "free and associated labor", or "the associated workers", occur again and again throughout Marx' works when he seeks to name or characterize the social relation of production of communist society: association itself. This is something that Leninists of every variety scrupulously avoid mentioning for, with all their talk of the "socialist state" and "workers' governments", etc. they would much rather all this be conveniently forgotten. No more apt phrase could be contrived to name and describe the management of society as a system of workers' councils than precisely "the associated producers". A few selected citations of representative passages where this description occurs, are listed below:
- Karl Marx, Capital, A Critique of Political Economy, Vol. 1, International Publishers, (New York, 1967). p. 80; vol. III, p. 437, p. 607, p. 447.
- David McLellan. The Grundrisse, (Harper and Row, 1971) pp.152.
- Karl Marx, Capital (Vol. IV): Theories of Surplus Value (Part III), Progress Publishers (Moscow, 1971) p. 273.
- Karl Marx, “Writings on the Paris Commune” in The Civil War in France (First Draft), Hal Draper, Editor, Monthly Review Press, 1971, p. 155.
- Karl Marx, "Instructions For The Delegates of The Provisional General Council: The Different Questions" #5: "Co-operative Labour". p. 81 in Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Selected Works, Volume 2, Progress Publishers, (Moscow, 1969). Karl Marx, "The Nationalization of The Land." p. 290, ibid.
"Suppose we had produced things as human beings: in his production each of us would have twice affirmed himself and the other.... I would have been the mediator between you and the species and you would have experienced me as a reintegration of your own nature and a necessary part of your self....”
Citations 20-25 are found in annotation 1 of Thesis 46.
- See also: Karl Marx. The Civil War In France: The Paris Commune, International Publishers (New York, 1968), pp. 54-61, especially p. 58.
- See also: Guy Debord, Society Of The Spectacle, BLACK AND RED (P.O. Box 9546. Detroit, Michigan, 48202), (Detroit, 1970), thesis No. 179 in Chapter VII "The Organization of Territory".
- See also: “Situationist International No. 1”, Review of the American Section, June, 1969, p. 27.
- See also: Raoul Vaneigem, Notice To The Civilized Concerning Generalized Self-
c28 Karl Marx, The Civil War In France, op. cit., p. 61.
c29 Karl Marx, Capital, A Critique Of Political Economy, vol. I, op. cit., p. 763.