Components of the communisation thesis (emphasis added). These are annotated as notes for a future essay. Most of my disagreement is with the insurrectionism, the romantic sense of violence and destruction in a death match wherein everyone spontaneously, that is, without mediation, destroys value, wage, state, etc and in the course of this spontaneous, global destruction, achieves unity. It's communism as organism. Not surprisingly: 'the situation decides.'
Consider this in comparison with Schmitt on the sovereign as the one who decides the exception. It's an inversion, one of total, global determination. The effect is completely messianistic: what sort of situation could decide globally, particularly in the context of a death match?
1. Critique of a politics that reinforces the proletariat when the goal of communism is the abolition of the proletariat.
During the period preceding the crisis of the 1970s and the restructuring, the proletariat’s struggle had a double meaning, no doubt contradictory but ultimately based nonetheless on the same premise. On the one hand, the struggle could pursue immediate objectives, such as an improvement of working conditions, an increase in wages, and social justice. On the other hand, the struggle also had as a result, and sometimes as an objective, the reinforcement of the class of labour relatively to the class of capital, and even, tendentially, the overturning of the bourgeoisie. These two aspects were conflictual, and the antagonisms between the proponents of ‘reform’ and the proponents of ‘revolution’ were permanent. Ultimately, however, the struggle as such could mean either of them. The struggle for immediate advantages and the struggle for future communism were articulated together around the idea that victory could only come through a reinforcement of the working class and its combativity. Needless to say, the debates cutting across the working class were as many divisions between proponents of revolution or reform, of parties, unions or workers’ councils, etc. – that is to say, between leninists, leftists, anarchists, etc. But they shared an experience of struggle where the proletarian class, without being unanimous or even united (which it never has been), was nonetheless a visible social reality in which all workers could easily recognise themselves and with which they could identify themselves.
2. Analysis of collapse of form of subjective existence of working class in pulverization of the workers' movement.
What about now? If the debate between ‘reform’ and ‘revolution’ has simply disappeared since thirty years, it is because the social basis that gave it meaning has been pulverised. The form which gave a subjective existence to the working class for a century and a half – i.e. the workers’ movement – has collapsed. Parties, unions and left-wing associations are now ‘citizen’ or ‘democratic’ parties, etc., with an ideology borrowed from the French Revolution, that is from the period preceding the workers’ movement. It is however obvious that neither the proletariat nor capitalism have disappeared. So what is missing?
3. Specification of loss of "possible sense of victory" in context of partial victories secured by institutionalized unions.
At first sight we could of course say that it is the possible sense of victory which has been modified. Without at all idealising previous periods, nor under-estimating retreats, we could say that since the beginning of capitalism, the working class has staged struggles that have translated into real transformations in its relation to capital: on the one hand, through what was concretely achieved – regulation of the working day, wages, etc. – and, on the other hand, through the very organisation of the workers’ movement into parties and unions. Any struggle and any partial victory could take the form of the reinforcement of the proletariat, whereas every defeat could appear as a temporary retreat before the next offensive. It is true that this reinforcement was at the same time a weakening. Partial victories and the institutionalisation of the unions’ role were factors tending to make the communist perspective increasingly more distant. As years went by, this perspective became evermore remote and hypothetical.6 Yet the general framework of struggles – notwithstanding all their limits – was the reinforcement of workers against employers.