Boris Souvarine: Black October – Ten Years of the Russian Revolution (1927)

“Leninism is the Opium of the International”

Boris Souvarine (1895-1984) was a co-founder of the French Communist Party and activist in the Communist International. He broke from the party in 1924 and became a critical supporter and part of the anti-Stalinist opposition within the international communist movement, observing and analysing the degeneration of the Bolsheviks from a revolutionary force to the political organisation of a new ruling stratum in Soviet Russia. When discussing if and how to address the centenary of the Russian October Revolution in datacide, we came across the text Black October by Souvarine. This text appeared in 1927 in the journal Bulletin Communiste, one of the mouthpieces of the communist opposition in France. This insightful text has, as far as we can see, never been translated into English before. With hindsight it can be judged as too optimistic despite its harsh criticisms of the regime, but the catastrophic developments that turned the Bolshevik takeover into a full fledged counter-revolution had not completely unravelled in 1927. Of course we are aware of the other critiques of Bolshevism coming from both left communist and anarchist circles, some of which are easily available in English. Others are still relatively obscure, especially the critiques from the French, Italian and German dissident Marxist milieus. We are documenting a crucial assessment of a particularly lucid writer for the first time in English here. Illustrations by a.a.a

The tenth anniversary of the October Revolution was a paradoxical celebration with many contradictions that obscured the general meaning of the evolution of the first proletarian state. [Read more →]

LAST SURVIVORS OR FIRST MUTANTS? – Notes on Surplus Population

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LAST SURVIVORS OR FIRST MUTANTS? [1]
Notes on Surplus Population

“For all I was the thing
in history –
the barbaric; the semi-barbaric; the savage
that was me”

– John La Rose

Writing in April 1975 the Race Today Collective reiterated to a bemused leftist, who accused them of touting the same views on unemployment as the then home secretary Keith Joseph, that they, on the contrary, were of the view that “capital seeks to create a reserve army of mobile labour in the whole world, and that the young black wageless are part of such a reserve army.”[2] This theme of the ‘black wageless’ had also been taken up by publisher and activist John la Rose who, in an earlier issue of Race Today, offered that the “wageless black youth, by withholding their labor, are challenging the rule of capital in a fundamentally revolutionary way”[3]. They were, La Rose contends, withdrawing from the work ethic and crucially, refusing to compete with their fellows and making a break with “mundane social conceptions”. The Race Today Collective may well have offered that amongst such ‘mundane’ social ideas were those often voiced by the mainstream left whom it contended was treacherous to the ‘wageless black youth’ demoting them from working class to lumpen status and unsuccessfully tempting them into ‘Right To Work’ marches. [Read more →]

Cut-Up-Marx 11-20

 

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Illustration by Matthieu Bourel

Cut-Up-Marx Eleven

An element of capital
Labour itself
– Existence –

Placed in
and in
the valorisation
process

The worker
only real in terms of
the dead fact

(p.98-97)

Cut-Up-Marx-Twelve

Use value
like the form
would be spoilt
without further work
in endless ways
as twist is turned
will make of it
once more
the earlier work
[Read more →]

Cut-Up-Marx Ten


Tearing down
of all this

Well-defined bounds

Existing needs

The deification of
national boundaries
as the object
of consumption

Subdue it
of its power
for the first time
this cycle
elevated
intellectual escape
self-justifying nothing

(p.99)

Cut-Up-Marx Nine

The method of plunder

must be production

There must be
robbery

There is a prevalent
property

The concentration
could introduce
a lonely
aid of serfs

The conquering people
answered
just as briefly
in the trivial form

(p.31)

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