The Communist Necessity: Prolegomena To Any Future Radical Theory

The Communist Necessity: Prolegomena To Any Future Radical Theory

J. Moufawad-Paul

Language: English

Pages: 168


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

“There was a time when we proclaimed that we were part of a beautiful and fragmented chaos of affinity groups, conflicted organizations, disorganized rebels, all of whom were somehow part of the same social movement that was greater than the sum of its parts. We were more accurately a disorganized mob of enraged plebeians shaking our fists at a disciplined imperial army. Years ago we spoke of social movementism but now it only makes sense to drop the ‘social’ since this phase of confusion was incapable of understanding the social terrain. Disparate, unfocused, and divided movements lack a unified intentionality; they have proved themselves incapable of pursuing the necessity of communism.”

The Communist Necessity is a polemical interrogation of the practice of “social movementism” that has enjoyed a normative status at the centres of capitalism. Despite the fact that the name “communism” has been reclaimed by a variety of important intellectuals, J. Moufawad-Paul argues that, due to a failure to grapple with the concrete questions connected to historical moments of actually making revolution, movementist praxis remains hegemonic. More of a philosophical intervention than a historiography or political economy, The Communist Necessity engages in a quick and pointed manner with a variety of authors and tendencies including Alain Badiou, Jodi Dean, the Invisible Committee, Tiqqun, Théorie Communiste, and others. Moufawad-Paul argues that a refusal to recognize contemporary revolutionary movements from the 1980s to the present results in the reification of a capitalist “end of history” discourse within this movementist conceptualization of theory and practice.

Originally written as a small essay on the left-wing blog MLM Mayhem, The Communist Necessity has been expanded into a pocket-sized treatise that sketches out the boundaries of the movementist terrain, as well as its contemporary ideologues, so as to raise questions that may be uncomfortable for those who are still devoted to movementist praxis, particularly if they define themselves as marxist. Aware of his past affinity with social movementism, and some apprehension of the problem of communist orthodoxy, the author argues that the recognition of communism's necessity “requires a new return to the revolutionary communist theories and experiences won from history.”

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spectacular with each heightened level of struggle.[9] Maybe the desire to cling to movementism speaks more to a desire for a political purity free from the taint of necessity. Beneath this desire for purity, then, a fear of necessity: we do not want to confront what it would mean to address the dilemma of socialism or barbarism because the only movements we endorse are those that have never developed far enough to treat this question as anything more than an abstraction. But this was

these days) he is worth mentioning because so many of these “new” attempts at reclaiming communism often speak his name. There are other names and other attempts, and those that were not preserved by academic and publishing institutions were forgotten by the end of the 1980s when the communism they sought to revise was supposedly defeated. More than a critical reflection of supposedly “orthodox” communism, these eclectic or overly academic communisms are the symptom of a larger problem: the

constellation of attempts to reboot communism by calling it something different, by making its past either taboo or meaningless, by resorting to a self-defeating philosophy where the idea of a “true” communism is eternally conjured in order to dismiss past revolutions due to their inability to demonstrate fidelity to this pure idea. Beneath these attempts to alienate communism from its past we occasionally discover moments of Platonic idealism. Out there, somewhere, is the idea of True

leadership. […] What tends to happen in those times is either we put aside and ‘hide’ our real points of view (or even defend viewpoints we don’t believe in), or we begin to develop bureaucratic practices to impose our minority viewpoints and keep the positions we attained in one movement or another.[35] Action Socialiste’s experience is paradigmatic of trade-union activism on the part of communists; this economism is experienced, in greater or lesser degrees, by every communist who has

with social reform. Similarly, it was only after Lenin that the term “socialism” became the theoretical designation of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Theoretical terminology was ironed out over the course of revolution and, if we believe that revolution is the locomotive of history, we cannot go back to a pure marxism before the first world historical, communist-led revolution in Russia. [5] PCR-RCP, How We Intend to Fight (, 13.

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