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(en) The Bad Days Will End - a new left libertarian publication

From Edmond Caldwell <bronterre@earthlink.net>
Date Fri, 11 Feb 2000 09:17:21 -0500

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

The following is the introductory article of a new publication called
"The Bad Days Will End," subtitled "for council communism / libertarian
socialism."  The first issue is twelve pages & its contents are listed
in the last paragraph.  I hope to bring it out quarterly and with less
reprint & more original material as time goes on.
Ill be mailing out copies of the first issue free for those who are
interested, so drop me a note w/ your address if you are (although
people on the aut-op-sy list will have already seen two of the major
pieces).  Please excuse the cross-posting of this message to multiple
Ed C.

Introducing "The Bad Days Will End"

"The Bad Days Will End" is a bulletin advocating libertarian
communism the overthrow of capitalism by the international working class
and the creation of a truly egalitarian society from below, by means of
autonomous, radically-democratic, and voluntarily-federated workers
organizations.  "The Bad Days Will End" draws its inspiration from the
revolutionary traditions of council communism, "left" communism,
situationism, autonomist marxism, and the Italian New Lefts autonomia
movement and studies of class composition, "Chicago Idea" surrealism,
and the traditions of anarchist-communism and anarcho-syndicalism.  The
most significant work being done today is that which gets beyond the
sterile debates of "marxism versus anarchism."
As diverse as these tendencies are, they do share some common traits,
including anti-parliamentarism, anti-statism, and anti-vanguardism.
Whatever their differences, they would certainly all subscribe to Marx's
assertion that "the emancipation of the working class must be the task
of the workers themselves."  Thus "The Bad Days Will End" regards none
of the above mentioned tendencies, nor the organizations and historical
figures associated with them, as having delivered the "last word" in
revolutionary theory and practice.  Rather, these tendencies represent
points of departure for future efforts.
Ultimately, "The Bad Days Will End" sees communism not as a "program"
nor as a goal of the distant future but as the living historical
movement of resistance and revolution by workers and the oppressed
ourselves against our exploitation by capitalism and the many plagues
that capitalism drags in its wake racism, sexism, homophobia, national
chauvinism and religious bigotry, fascism, imperialist war, and the
ecological destruction of the planet.  Unlike the leninists, we do not
believe that our fellow workers, left to their own devices, can attain
only "trade union consciousness" and require the intervention of a
vanguard party of hierarchically-organized professional revolutionaries
to bring to them the blessings of "revolutionary consciousness."
Workers are driven by the very conditions of their existence to acts of
defiance from the open defiance of factory occupations, wildcats, and
general strikes, to sabotage and slow-downs, to the covert defiance of
absenteeism and other forms of the refusal of work all of which
necessarily possess a revolutionary dimension and dynamic.  The genuine
content of this dynamic is nothing other than the complete negation of
every aspect of capitalnot "nationalization of the means of
production," but the complete abolition of capitals relentless
imposition of  work, of wages and wage labor, of money, of the division
of labor, of private property and social classes.
 Thus communism is something far more broadly and radically other than
the seizure of state power (which usually means by a vanguard party
claiming to act in our interests).  Capital represents the exiled
subjectivity of the working classit is a social relation which appears
as an inhuman thing and communism is nothing but the return of this
subject (our exiled humanity) to itself.  Crucial to this process are
aspects of class struggle which are usually ignored (when not openly
sneered at) by the traditional revolutionary organizations (the
leninists, trotskyists, maoists), including the "revolution of everyday
life," the recovery of the erotic and ecstatic, the "liberation of
desire," and the unchaining of our utopian impulses.
Therefore libertarian communists support whatever promotes the
independence, creative self-activity, and self-organization of the
exploited and oppressed against the bosses, bureaucrats, and cops.
Libertarian communists do not seek "leadership" of various struggles,
but they assist ongoing struggles while drawing out and articulating
their revolutionary implications; they aid in the spreading of
information about class struggles past and present, and they help to
create, maintain, and broaden networks in the international circulation
of class struggle.  "The Bad Days Will End" believes that any
organization wishing to contribute to the liberation of humankind must
be prefigurative, incorporating in every aspect of its practice the
democracy, egalitarianism, and absence of authoritarianism and hierarchy
which are the essence of communism itself.
This means shifting the focus from the "official" workers
organizations, the trade unions and the "workers" parties.  These
organizations have become fully integrated into the capitalist system
and state, and their social function is to coopt and derail our
struggles.  Nor can these organizations be reformed into genuine
instruments of workers power by a "revolutionary" leadership with a
"revolutionary" program,  as the leninists claim.  The leninists
themselves act as the "left wing of capitalism," and historical
experience  has  shown  that  their  program  can bring about only state
capitalism, with themselves as the new bosses.  Instead, we must look to
those "unofficial" organizations that the workers themselves create
spontaneously in the course of their struggles forms of organization
which change as the working class itself is continually recomposed in
its contest with capital.
Thus libertarian communists oppose whatever contributes to
mystification, apathy, and division among workers or increases our
crippling reliance on ostensible "leaderships" of every ideological
stripe.  This means challenging racism, sexism, and national
chauvinism all weapons the rulers use to pit us against each other.  But
this also means fighting against the influence of the self-proclaimed
"revolutionary vanguards" of the leninists just as much as against
nationalist demagogues, trade union bureaucrats, reformists, liberals,
and open reactionaries.
These paragraphs, in spite of their "manifesto" tone, are intended as a
statement of the most general principles and perspectives.  So much is,
and should be, up for debate; there are many significant differences
between the tendencies and groups within this broadly-defined
anti-statist, anti-market, "libertarian left," differences which must be
discussed and clarified even as grounds for common work are discovered.
This publication does not intend to present ready-made recipes for
revolution, nor pretend that it has arrived upon the scene with all the
long-awaited answers to urgent political questions.  Rather, it seeks to
encourage the exchange of views and open debate on all these matters.
Please contact "The Bad Days Will End" by email or snail-mail with your
comments, questions, or quarrels.
In this issue, we are pleased to print one of the best short analyses of
the Seattle anti-WTO events around, "Seattle:  The First U.S. Riot
Against Globalization?" by Loren Goldner.  Goldner is one of the most
important writers and thinkers of the "ultra-left" milieu today, and his
"Communism is the Material Human Community:  Amadeo Bordiga Today," and
"The Remaking of the American Working Class" available at the Collective
Action Notes website are required reading.  Next, we print a recent
debate between a leninist tendency and a well-known representative of
autonomist marxism, Harry Cleaver, author of Reading Capital
Politically.  Finally, we reprint the document from which this
newsletter takes its name, "The Bad Days Will End," from Situationist
International #7 in 1962.  In the wake of the Seattle events and having
crossed the threshold of a new millennium, this documents call for a
renewal of revolutionary theory and praxis is as timely as it was when
it was written.  The illustrations in this issue are by Mexican
radical-populist artist Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913).

The Bad Days Will End is published by Merrymount Publications.
Subscriptions are $5.00 for 4 issues, $10.00 overseas.  Write for
sample issue.

Mail to / payable to:
Merrymount Publications
P.O. Box  441597
West Somerville, MA  02144

email:  bronterre@earthlink.net

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