March 30, 2013

Camatte: Origin and Function of the Party Form (excerpts) The proletariat tends to oppose its own Gemeinwesen, the human being, to the capitalist one, the oppressive state. It has to expropriate this being to realize this real opposition. It can only do so if it organizes in a party. This is the representation of its being, its prefiguration. The whole life of the class, thus the party, is dominated by the movement for the appropriation of this being. Here the consciousness of the mission of the proletariat is expressed specifically as the appropriation of human nature. ... The party thus represents the Gemeinwesen. It cannot be defined by bureaucratic rules, but only by its existence, and the party's existence is its programme, the prefiguration of communist society, of the liberated and conscious human species. The corollary is that the revolution is not a question of forms of organization. It depends on the programme. Only one proved, that the party form is the one most suited to represent and to defend the programme. The organizational rules in this case are not adopted from bourgeois society, but derive from the vision of future society, as we shall show. Marx derived the orginality of the party from the proletariat's struggle. From the start the proletariat manifested itself an a new Gemeinwesen, it manifested the goal it tended to - a society without private property but with property of the species instead... ... An important characteristic of the party is derived from that, from the fact that it is the prefiguration of the...
Crowds and communes An eyewitness account (The Communards of Paris, 1871; edited by Stewart Edwards, 1973; 66-65): The women and children were swarming up the hill-side in a compact mass; the artillerymen tried in vain to fight their way through the crowd, but the waves of people engulfed everything, surging over the cannon-mounts, over the ammunition wagons, under the wheels, under the horses' feet, paralysing the action of the riders who spurred on their mounts in vain. The horses reared and lunged forward, their sudden movement clearing the crowd, but the space was filled at once by a backwash created by the surging multitude. Like breakers, the first rows of the crowd came crashing on to the batteries, repeatedly flooding them with people. The account describes how the people retake the cannons, cutting the artillerymen off from the main force of the brigade. The crowd offers them wine and meat rolls. One General Lecomte, having heard of the revolt and the fact that his troops had gone over to the rebels, appears on the scene. He orders the troops to fire. They refuse. A captain tells the general that it is he who must surrender. The General struggled and shouted, not to the infantrymen any more but to the Police and the Gendarmes: "Defend me! Fire! Fire!" But the infantrymen, the Federals, the crowd seized the Gendarmes, disarmed them and took some of them prisoer. Eighty of them were held in the mairie. The General gave in. He realized the full meaning of...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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