Hi. Welcome to the site. Please check out the About Us, and if you have a question about crime and/or punishment, perhaps look at some previous questions along those lines first.
Welcome to Anarchy101 Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers about anarchism, from anarchists.

Do you know any critic of the concept of "communisation" ?

+4 votes
As it's evelopped in the international journals for "Communisation" like "Meeting" and "SIC". Also embodied by groups such as "Endnotes","Riff-Raff", Blaumachen, TPTG, or "Communist Theory" (french).

I saw that the new york situationnist group "not bored" wrote a long critic of SIC first journal, but it's a general critic, and not especially against the concept of communisation.

By the way, I'm not sure we should reject, as anarchists, the whole concept, as I know that some anarchists have used it as a synonyme of "immediate communism" (embodied by expropriation, "autoreductions" and takings) as a way to challenge the dynamics of property and commodity, and their sacred dimension. Especially in Italy since 1977's social insurrection. Long time ago before all these groups started to make this concept their new politco-theorical rattle.
asked Apr 23, 2014 by okapy (2,740 points)
Please help. I'm really in need of reading such things. ;-)
Could you give us an overview of what you mean by "Communisation"?  Sometimes the European and North American terms don't transfer (as i'm sure you well know.)
And it would be interesting on its own accord for those of us who are still trying to sort out the various factions.  :)
Well, well, WELL... How to say ?

"The overcoming of all existing conditions can only come from a phase
of intense and insurrectionist struggle during which the forms of strug
gle and the forms of future life will take flesh in one and the same process,
the latter being nothing else than the former. This phase, and its specific
activity, is what we propose to call by the name of communisation.
Communisation does not yet exist, but the whole present phase of
struggles, as mentioned above, permits us to talk about communisation
in the present. " from "What is communisation ?" Léon De Mattis (SIC n1.).

Right ? I also saw somewhere that it was defined as something like "The process by which the class (proletariat) abolish itself and the existent society aka capitalism and the state". Originally, communisation was an concept forged in Italy since 1977 and maybe before, that was in the same time a synonym of "expropriation / taking" and "direct communism". That is to say a movement that would be smashing the state, private property and realise communism without "stages" or "phases". Which, to many people, should be easely integrated to a modern anachist or at least anarcho-communist, -autonomous, insurrectionnary- perspective).

The problem is that the new "philosophical" and political definitions proposed by more or less recent publicatinos seems way more complicated, and complexifying in terms of implication, political positions and references. Especially with the "SIC" international journal (with important participation of french authors).

I feel like most of them, especially the french ones for what I know (like De Mattis), are very marxist (and some of them, like him admit it) and sometimes using a kind of "autonomous" and pseudo-anarchist ("more anarchist than the anarchists") interpretation of marxism. Which seems highly problematic to me, among many other things. Despite of this, many french comrads or compas with anarchist affinities seems to like them, or be seduced by their writings. What makes me feel a bit sceptical about all of this, is that it seems there isn't much critique and counter-theory of these writings among anarchists or other anti-authoritarian autonomous. That's why I'm searching for it :-)
I just realise that in amerika, you call this "communization". It's written  "communisation" in british english, most of the time. I know some american autonomous had written some stuff about it these last yers, but I don't remember who.

To get more informations, you can check here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communization
and here : https://libcom.org/tags/communisation

I think that the wikipedia page is closer to the "SIC" conception of communization. So you have to be carefull with the history and definition that they make. But it's a source like another. I also think that the simplest definition of term defended by the Tiqquns (even I don't like them for many reasons) is closer to what most people hear by "communization" and the original meaning of the term. So it's maybe not that bad that the term have been popularized by The Coming Insurrection (which is a big mix "pot pouri" of all european autonomous tendencies and academic philosophical concepts) in the US. Even it's still to be criticized (like T.C.I).
well, i asked for it.
thank you, okapy, for taking the time to try to explain this.
you are probably wise to view any 'seductions' with suspicion.

regretfully, my own views are devolving to something along the lines of:  "i've got a shovel in my hands, anyone got a fucking problem with that?"  Not very eloquent, but gets the dirt moved.

1 Answer

+4 votes
An important question that I having been working to formulate.

Given that no response has been posted here for two months and I identify as a communist rather than an anarchist myself, I guess the answer to your question, so far, is no.

(I have not read this but might be useful: http://libcom.org/blog/terrain-encounter-social-anarchism-communisation-08112012)

The only critiques I have been able to find are from other communists.

Another problem is that all the communization theory I have come across directly situates itself around the 'question of communization' and thus does not claim any kind of coherence or agreement between the various groups. Before a general critique of communization could be made, a sketch of what is shared by all the the communisateurs is needed. Thats what I'd like to do eventually but I wont attempt it here. Instead I'll summarize some of the things I've been reading.

The communist critiques of communization I know of fall along two general poles:
1)an attack on a specific group as a representative of all communization theory coming from apologists of workers' power or a transitional period (Leninist, Maoist, Councilist, Situ, etc). Thats where I would situate the Not-Bored Critique I think (having skimmed it), as well as this critique: http://libcom.org/forums/theory/communist-critique-communization-theory-19042012
The most interesting critique in this category (as well as the debate in the comments) is Mathijs Kruls' "Endnotes: A Romantic Critique?". http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=11909.
Krul points out the continuity between communization theory (via Endnotes) and the big C communist tradition: "this was a problem of which even the earliest Marxists were well aware, as shown for example by Lenin’s discussions of the Russian Revolution’s 'state capitalism', or the ill-fated ‘two stages’ view of first-socialism-then-communism, the Maoist emphasis on the persistence of bourgeois relations after the revolution, and so forth."

One useful thing for an anarchist in these critiques is that, insofar as your antagonism towards these organizational forms of communism is shared by the communisateurs, some reproachment or finding common ground is possible between anarchist thought and whichever communization theorist is being critiqued.
For example, you can take the below critique as a positive aspect of communization (Krul intends anarchism as a dis):
"The practical critique of all capital’s mediation seems to leave us with nothing but sabotage for its own sake — the politics of fin-de-siècle anarchism and nihilism."

2) 'Friendly' critiques between groups from within communization, in SIC or elsewhere. Here I would include "Limit Analysis and its Limits" in SIC 2.
http://sicjournal.org/en/limits-analysis-and-its-limits

An excellent place to look is in the journal, Letters, which as an 'anti-political communist journal', undermines/questions many of the assumptions of the economic and structuralist mode common to many communization theorists.
Two pieces that have been especially useful for me for getting outside of the communization headspace have been:
a)"Reflexions around Call" in Letters III, which articulates a critique of the description of immediate communism in Tiqqun's "Call" as practices which are entirely possible within capitalism, as a kind of self-ghetto-ization, what the writer calls 'alternativism'. Instead, for the writer communism must not be entirely realizable in the present but on another horizon beyond the limitations of the present.
b) "Letter to Pan Sloboda" in Letters IV, which asks the question 'are communizing measures possible at all?' Or in other words, is there really a link between communizing measures in the present (expropriations, auto-reduction, interventions into distribution) and a future communism as a global condition?

Of course, an anarchist critique could come from entirely different places. For instance, I can imagine a critique of Communization based on a rejection of sociological forms/ scientific certainty/reason entirely. Or for what could possibly be a rejustification of the figure of the militant. Or a egoist/individualist critique of massification, however self-abolitionary. Or on the retention of the word Communism at all, if communization is in fact just a means to anarchy.

Hope some of this made sense!
answered Jun 25, 2014 by graeme (300 points)
edited Jun 25, 2014 by graeme
O something that I forgot to include. Not a critique of communization exactly but related:
Wolfi Landstreicher has a critique of The Coming Insurrection coming from an egoist/individualist perspective in AJODA #70/71 (Anarchy: a Journal of Desire Armed). Wish I could find a link!
Thanks for all these references. I think I'll find some of my hapiness in it. And Yes, some critiques from other points of view should negatively include positive aspects , and vice versa.
...