In March 1976, two documents were anonymously mailed to New Spaoe from Sav-ona, most oertalnly by Edizioni International, who handle Italian editions of works by Camatte. The publications were mimeographed, blaok on white, 21x29*5 ore* corner-stapled, unillustrated, Knglish-language translations— one consisting of lk sheets (a cover- preface, and 12 numbered pages), the other of I4. sheets numbered pages); neither identifies the translator, publisher, or distributor. The cover of the longer one reads:

It consists of a long "letter1 by Camatte 4c Collus dated 9 April 69, first published as an article titled "De 1 • Organisationff (which they translated as "The Organization"), in Invarlance. Vol. II, No, 2, in 1972, The above oover suggests that it was later reprinted as a Supplement to Invariance, Vol, III, No. 1 (November 75), from which the translation was taken-The second dooument—alluded to in the initial paragraph of the "lotter"—is headed:

(This surely means that it is a translation of an article titled "Transition," by Collus & Camatte, which appeared in Invariance, Vol- I, No. 8, in 1969-)

A number of people saw the documents at Now Space, discussed them, and decided it would be worthwhile and interesting to turn them into a pamphlet. Various individuals in (and traveling between) Chicago, Detroit, and Ann Arbor took responsibility for furnishing and selecting illustrations, retyping the documents, correcting the few typographical errors, changing the translated title to "On Organization," laying the pamphlet out, shooting (photographing) the result, making plates, offset printing about 1500 oopies, and collating, folding, binding, and trimming them—finishing up on 10 September 1976. No "hired" help or facilities wore used, and little or no money changed hands in doing all this. Along with several individuals at New Space, Beni Memorial Library agreed to distribute it.

To do this, I am sending a copy to every address I have. Thm people involved in producing the pamphlet would like to know your reaction to it (I will pass your comments on), I would truly appreciate any ihaterlals you might have or come aoross that you think the Library might be able to use, and if or when you have occasion to respond, please return to me the postage stamps on the envelope. But, as with everything I distribute, I do not wish to put anyone under any obligation to do anything. Also,






The Organization



III. Prix:



though I am poor, donations of money are gratefully refused. Even if you want multiple copies to sell, please do not advance money but contact me instead with an offer—preferably in terms of barter for something you have whioh the Library can use.

2 October 1976


This is a translation of an article first published in 1972 under the title MDe I'organ-isation" in the French journal INVARIANCE (Annee Vf serie II, no. 2).

Issues of INVARIANCE are available from: Jacques Camatte

B.P. 133

83170 B r i gnoIes FRANCE

Translated into English by and available through: ED IZ1 ON I INTERNATIONAL

C.P. 177


North American reprint available from:








Reprinted and produced in Chicago and Detroit. Labor donated. Special thanks to Black and Red, Detroit.

"The Wandering of Humanity" - an English translation of two essays from a 1973 issue of INVARIANCE, is available from: BLACK AND RED P.O. 80X 95*6 DETROIT, MICHIGAN 48202

The following letter [dated 04. 09. 69) lad to the. dissolution of t\le group which had begun to form on the basis of the position* bet forth In Invariance. The letter opened an important area of reflection and debate which has gone on since, certain conclusion* of which have already been discuss ed in "Transition", no. 8, serie I.

Although certain points raised by the letter have been partially dealt with, others have hardly been touched upon. That's why it's necessary - given the importance of making an ever more clean br.eak with the past - to publish it now. Our publishing it should enable the reader to appreciate the work accomplished thus far, and what still remains to be done.

Since it is simultaneously a break land thus a conclusion) and a point o& departure, the letter contains a certain number of imprecisions, seeds oft possible errors. We shall indicate the most important ones in a note. In addition, since it was possible j$or us then, once we had rejected the group method, to outline "concretely" how to be revolutionaries, our rejection of the small group could have been interpreted as a return to a more or less Stiineiian individualism. As if the only guarantee from now on was going to be the subjectivity cultivated by each individual revolutionary! Not at all. It was necessary to publicly reject a certain perception of social reality and the practice connected with it, since they were a point of departure for the process of rac.ketization. If we therefore withdrew totally from the groupuscule movement, it was to be able simultaneously to enter into liaison with other revolutionaries who had made an analagous break. Now there is a direct production of revolutionaries who supersede almost immediately the point we were at when we had to make our break. Thus, there is a potential "union" which would be considered if toe were, not to carry the break with the political point of view to the depths of our individual con6 ci.ou6ne.64 e6 . Since the e66ence o f politic6 i6 fundamentally repre6entation, each group 16 forever trying to project an < image on the. 6ocial 6creen. The group6 are alway6 explaining hou) they repre6 ent them6elve6 in to be recognized by certain people, a6 the vanguard for repre6enting other6, the cla66. Thi6 i6 revealed in the famou6 "what di6tingui-6he,6 u6" oh variou6 6mall group6 in 6earch of recognition. A11 delimitation i6 limitation and often lead6 rapidly to reducing the delimitation to 6ome repre6entative 6logan6 for racketi6t marketing. All political repre-6 entation i6 a 6creen and therefore an ob6tacle to a fu6ion of force6. Since repre6entation can occur on the individual a6 well a6 the group level, recour6e to the former level would be, for u6, a repetition of the pa6t. (Camatte. /972)

Both of us scoff at being popular. Among other things our disgust at any personality cult is evidence of this. I have never permitted anyone to make publicity out of the numerous testimonials of admiration with which they've overwhelmed me in various countries...When Engels and I first joined the secret socity of communists, we did it on the condition sine qua non that they repeal all statutes that would be favorable to a cult of authority

MARX to BL0S--10.11o1877

MEW. 34, p.308

It is possible to avoid the dirt in bourgeois intercourse or in its trade? Dirt is its natural element.•• The honest infamy or the infamous honesty of the solvent morality appear to me not a bit superior to the unrespectable infamy which neither the first Christian communities nor the Jacobin club, nor our own deceased League could free themselves of entirely. In bourgeois intercourse, however, you get used to the fact that you lose your sense of respectable infamy or of infamous respectability.


O trv


























ol 2



















29 . 02.1860. MEW. 30, p#492

The establishment of capital within material existence and therefore within the social community is accompanied by the disappearance of the traditional personal capitalist, the relative, and sometimes absolute, diminution of the proletariat, and the growth of new middle classes. Each human community, no

matter how small, is conditioned by the mode of existence of the material community. The present mode of existence derives from the fact that capital is able to valorize itself, therefore exist and develop, only if a particle

of it, at the same time that it becomes autonomous, confronts the social ensemble and places itself in relation to the total socialized equivalent, capital. It needs this confrontation (competition, rivalry); it exists only by differenciation. From this point, a social fabric forms based on the competition of rival "organizations" (rackets).

It reproduces a new financial aristocracy, a new variety of parasites in the shape of promoters, speculators and simply nominal directors; a whole system of swindling and cheating by means of corporation promotion, stock issuance, and stock speculation, It is private production without the control of private property.

Capital (International Publishers), Vol, III,


Expropriation extends here from the direct producers to the smaller and the medium-sized capitalists themselves, It is the point of departure for the capitalist mode of production; its accomplishment is the goal of this production. In the last instance it aims at the expropriation of the means of production from all individuals. With the development of social production, the means of production ceases to be means of private production and products of private production, and can thereafter be only means of production in the hands of associated producers i.e., the latterfs social property, much as they are their social products* However, this expropriation appears within the capitalist system in a contradictory form, as appropriation of social property by a few credit lends the latter more and more the aspect of pure adventurers.

Ibid., pp. 439-440

As home of the production process (the creation of value), the business enterprise restrains the movement of capital, fixes it at a particular location. It therefore must overcome this stabilization, lose this fixed character. So the propertyless enterprise

arises, which still allows for a mystified yield form of surplus-value. Here the constant capital is equal to zero, so only a small advance of capital is necessary to get

the "business" rolling. Finally/ there are even fictitious enterprises, thanks to which the most unchecked speculation develops.

Today, capital constantly appears in the form of an "organization". Behind this word - synonymous, in the glorious days of labor conflicts,

with brotherhood in an open struggle, but now merely a hypocritical fiction about common interest among businessmen, administrators, technicians, unskilled workers, robots and watchdogs - behind the inexpressive and anti-mnemonic-trademarks of the companies, behind the terms, "elements of production" and "stimulation of national revenue", capital still fulfills its old repulsive function? a function far more unworthy than that of the entrepreneur who personally contributed his intelligence, courage and true pioneering spirit at the dawn of bourgeois society.

The organization is not only the modern depersonalized capitalist, but also the capitalist without capital because it doesn't need any...

The business organization has its own plan. It doesn't establish a reliable business firm with assets but a "corporate front" with a fictitious

capital2. If anything is paid in advance, it is merely to gain the sympathy of the government agencies which examine bids, proposals, and contracts.

This reveals the falseness of the stupid doctrine that the state or party bureaucracy constitutes a new ruling class which screws proletarians and capitalists alike, a ridiculous hypothesis, easily rejected from a Marxist viewpoint. Today the "specialist" is a beast of prey, the bureaucrat a miserable bootlicker.

The organization Jiffers from the worker commune (a libertarian illusion which cannot be found within any defined boundaries) in that, in each form, rather than equality of performance in a common work, there is a hierarchy of functions and benefits. It can't be otherwise when the firm has autonomy in the market and must present a profitable balance sheet.

Recent reports from Russia concerning the regional decentralization and enlarged independence of particular concerns show that the trend is towards an explosive extension of the contract system, by which the state hires itself out to organizations in all sectors of the economy, organizations which are actual business gangs, with a changing and elusive personnel composition. This is similar to the

various greedy forms which characterize the modern construction industry in all contemporary capitalist systems.

A. BORDIGA, "The economic and social structure in Russia today" il programma comunista, no. 7. 1957. Edition de L'oubli. 1975. pp. 230-31.

Not only does the state hire itself out to gangs, but it becomes a gang (racket) itself. Nevertheless, it still plays the role of mediator.

Absolute monarchy (which itself is already a product of the erowing bourgeois wealth and develops to a point where it becomes incompatible with the old feudal relations) necessitates in a determinate way a general power that affirms itself through egalitarian forms. The absolute monarchy must be able to exercise this power on all points of the periphery; it needs this power as the material lever of the general equivalent; of the wealth that becomes increasingly effective and powerful in its forms and increasingly independent from all special, local, natural, individual relations.

K. MARX, Grundrisse der Kritik der politischen Okonomie (Europaische Verlaganstalt, Frankfurt) p.873

The state appeared in its pure form, with the power of the general equivalent, at the time of the growth of the law of value in the period of simple commodity production. In the phase of formal domination of capital, when capital had not yet dominated the law of value,


the state was a mediator between capital and both remained of prior modes of production and the proletariat itself. The credit system was still undeveloped and had not yet given rise, on a large scale, to fictitious capital. Capital still needed a rigid gold standard. With the passage to real domination, capital created its own general equivalent, which couldn't be as rigid as it had been in the period of simple circulation. The state itself had to lose its rigidity and become a gang mediating between different gangs and between the total capital and particular capitals.

We can see the same sort of transformation in the political sphere. The central comnit-tee of a party or the center of any sort of regroupment plays the same role as the state. Democratic centralism only manages to mimic the parliamentary form characteristic of formal domination. And organic centralism, affirmed merely in a negative fashion, as refusal of democracy and its form (subjugation of the minority to the majority, votes, congresses, etc.) actually just gets trapped again in the more modern forms. This results

[i] unclear in original copy of translation.

in the mystique of organisation (as with fascism). This was how the PCI (International Communist Party) evolved into a gang.

The proletariat having been destroyed, this tendency of capital encounters no real opposition in society and so can produce itself all the more efficiently,, The proletariat's real essence has been denied and it exists only as an object of capital. Similarly, the theory of the proletariat, Marxism, has been destroyed, Kautsky first revising it and then Bernstein liquidating it. This occurred in a definitive manner, for no assault of the proletariat has succeeded since then in reestablishing Marxism. This is only another way of saying that capital has succeeded in establishing its real domination. To accomplish this, capital had to absorb the movement which negates it, the proletariat, and establish a unity in which the proletariat is merely an object of capital. This unity can be destroyed only by a crisis, such as those described by Marx. It follows that all forms of working class political organization have disappeared. In their place, gangs confront one another in an obscene competition, veritable rackets rivalling each other in what they peddle but i-dentical in their essence.


The existence of the gangs derives therefore from the tendency of the capital to absorb its contradictions, from its movement of negation and from its reproduction in a fictitious form. Capital denies, or tends to deny, the basic principles on which it erects itself; but, in reality, it revives them under a fictitious form. The gang is a clear expression of this duality:

- the boss who commands - caricature of the

(and his clique) traditional in


- the collective form - caricature of com

munity based on common interests

The movement of negation is thus reabsorbed in the gang, which is the realization of appearance. The gang also fulfills another requirement of capital: it replaces ail natural or human presuppositions with presuppositions determined by capital.

In its external relations, the political gang tends to mask the existence of the clique, since it must seduce in order to recruit* It adorns itself in a veil of modesty so as to increase its power. When the gang appeals to external elements through journals, reviews, and leaflets, it thinks that It has to speak on the level of the mass in order to be understood. It talks about the immediate because it wants to mediate. Considering everyone outside the gang an imbecile, it feels obliged to publish banalities and bullshit so as to successfully seduce them. In the end, it seduces itself by its own bullshit and it is thereby absorbed by the surrounding milieu* However, another gang will take its place, and its first theoretical wailings will consist of attributing every misdeed and mistake to those who have preceded it, looking in this way for a new language so as to begin again the grand practice of seduction? in order to seduce, it has to appear to be different from the others.

Once within the gang (or any type of business) the individual is tied to it by all the psychological dependencies of capitalist society. If he shows any capacities they are exploited immediately without the individual having had a chance to master the "theory" that he has accepted. In exchange, he is given a position in the ruling clique, he is made a petty leader. If he fails to show capacities, an exchange takes place all the same; between his admission to the gang and his duty to diffuse its position. Even in those groups that want to escape the social givens, the gang mechanism nevertheless tends to prevail because of the different degrees of theoretical development among the members who make up the grouping. The inability to confront theoretical questions independently leads the individual to take refuge behind the authority of another member, who becomes, objectively, a leader, or behind the group entity, which becomes a gang. In his relations with people outside the group, the individual uses his membership to exclude others and to dif-ferenciate himself from them, if only - in the final analyse - so as to guard himself against recognition of his own theoretical weaknesses. To belong in order to exclude, that is the internal dynamic of the gang; which is founded on an opposition, admitted or not, between the exterior and the interior of the group. Even an informal group deteriorates into a political racket, the classic case of theory becoming ideology.

The desire to belong to a gang comes from the wish to be identified with a group that embodies a certain degree of prestige, theoretical prestige ror intellectuals and organizational prestige for so-called practical men. Commercial logic also enters into "theoretical" formation. With a growing mass of ideological commodity-capital to realize, it becomes necessary to create a deep motivation so people will buy commodities. For this the best motivation is: learn more, read more, in order to be above, in order to be different from the mass. Prestige and exclusion are the signs of competition in all its forms; and so also among these gangs, which must vaunt their originality, their prestige, in order to attract notice. This is why the cult of the organization and the glorification of the peculiarities of the gang develop. From that point on, it's no longer a question of defending a "theory", but of preserving an organizational tradition (cf. the PCI and its idolatry of the Italian left).3

Theory is also often acquired for use in political maneuvering, e.g., for supporting one's attempt to gain a leadership position or for justifying the removal of a current leader.

The interior-exterior oppostion and the gang structure develop the spirit of competition to the maximum. Given the differences of theoretical knowledge among the members, the acquisition of theory becomes, in effect, an element of political natural selection, a euphemism for division of labor. While one is, on the one hand, theorizing about existing society, on the other, within the group, under the pretext of negating it, an unbridled emulation is introduced which ends up in a hierarchization even more extreme than in society-at-large; especially as the interior-exterior opposition is reproduced internally in the division between the center of the gang and the mass of militants.

The political gang attains its perfection in those groups which claim to want to supersede existing social forms (forms such as the cult of the individual, of the leader and of democracy). In practice, anonymity - understood simply as anti-individualism - means unbridled exploitation of the gang members to the profit of the direction clique, which gains prestige from everything the gang produces. And organic centralism becomes the practice of hypocrisy, since the double-dealing that one finds in those groups which lay claim to democratic centralism occurs anyway, in spite of the denial that it's going on.

What maintains an apparent unity in the bosom of the gang is the threat of exclusion. Those who do not respect the norms are rejected with calumny; and even if they quit, the effect is the same. This threat also serves as psychological blackmail for those who remain. This same process appears in different ways in different types of gangs.

In the business gang, modern form of the enterprise, the individual is kicked out and finds himself in the streets.

In the youth gang, the individual is beaten up or killed. Here, where we find revolt in its raw form, delinquency, the lone individual is weak, lacks protection, and so is forced to join a gang.

In the political gang, the individual is rejected with calumny, which is nothing but the sublimation of assassination. The calumny justifies his exclusion, or is used to force him to leave "of his own free will".

In reality, of course, the different methods cross from one type of gang to another. There are murders linked to business deals just as there are settlements of account that result in murder.

Thus, capitalism is the triumph of the organization, and the form the organization takes is the gang. This is the triumph of fascism. In the U.S. the racket is found at all levels of society. It's the same in U.S.S.R. The theory of hierarchical bureaucratic capitalism, in the formal sense, is an absurdity, since the gang is an informal organism.

An alternative at the theoretical level is the exaltation of discipline, the demand for the purity of the militant (cf. the group "Rivoluzione comunista" which broke with the PCI in 1964 on the question of the creation of a true elite of militants who would do nothing but bring back to life the positions of "ultra-bolshevism" that Lukacs saw as the alternative to the opportunist mass party, which the German Communist Party had become in the space of two years; cf. "Towards a Methodology of the Problem of Organization" in History and Class Consciousness) . This is like saying that on tKe level of sexual life the alternative to the decay of values is asceticism. Besides, in abstracting itself from reality, this view creates a gulf between theory and practice.

All this expresses the growing separation of the individual from the human community, poverty in Marx's sense. The formation of the gang is the constitution of an illusory community. In the case of the youth gang, it is the result of fixation on the elementary instinct of revolt in its immediate form. The political gang, on the


contrary, wants to hold up its illusory community as a model for the whole society. This is Utopian behavior without any real base. The Utopians hoped that through emulation all humanity would eventually be included in the communities they created but these communities were all absorbed by capital. So this line from the inaugural address of the First International is more valid than ever: "The emancipation of the workers must be the task of the workers themselves . "

At the present time the proletariat either prefigures communist society and realizes communist theory or it remains part of existing society. The May movement was the beginning of this prefiguration. It follows from what has been said that the proletariat can in no way recognize itself in any organization since it already suffers them in other forms. The May movement clearly demonstrates this.

With the proletariat broken, its immediate form of existence is the process of capital itself. The workers1 parties in Marx's time were produced by the immediate movement of the prole-

tariat of that period. Their fate was to play the bourgeois parliamentary game. Today, now that the apparent community-in-the-sky of politic constituted by parliaments and their parties has been effaced by capital's development, the "organizations" which claim to be proletarian are simply gangs or cliques which, through the mediation of the state, play the same role as all the other groups that are directly in the service of capital. This is the groupuscule phase. In Marx's time the supersession of the sects was to be found in the unity of the workers' movement. Today, the parties, these groupuscules, manifest not merely a lack of unity but the absence of class struggle. They argue over the remains of the proletariat. They theorize about the proletariat in the immediate reality and oppose themselves to its movement. In this sense they realize the stabilization requirements of capital. The proletariat, therefore, instead of having to supersede them, needs to destroy them.

The critique of capital ought to be, therefore, a critique of the racket in all its forms, of capital as social organism; capital becomes the real life of the individual and his mode of

being with others (cf. on this subject: Marcuse, One Dimensional Man and Galbraith, The New Industrial State) The theory which criticizes the racket cannot reproduce it. The consequence of this is refusal of all group life; it's either this or the illusion of community. On this subject, we can take up again Engel's critique given at the congress of Sonvillers. What he said at the time about the International applies today to a group. It can be summed up as follows: In Marx's time the proletariat couldn't go as far as negating itself - in the sense that during the course of the revolution it had to set itself up as the dominant class: 1848, 1871, 1917). There was a definitive separation between the formal party and the historic party. Today the party can only be the historic party. Any formal movement is the reproduction of this society, and the proletariat is essentially out-

side of it. A group can in no way pretend to realize community without taking the place of the proletariat which alone can do it. Such an attempt introduces a distortion which engenders theoretical ambiguity and practical hypocrisy. It is not enough to develop the critique of capital, nor even to affirm that there are no organizational links; it's necessary to avoid reproducing the gang structure, since it is the spontaneous product of the society. This ought to be the basis of the critique of the Italian left and of our mode of existence since the break with the PCI.

The revolutionary must not identify himself with a group but recognize himself in a theory which does not depend on a group or on a review, because it is the expression of an existing class struggle. This is actually the correct

sense in which anonymity is posed rather than as the negation of the individual (which capitalist society itself brings about). Accord, therefore, is around a work which is in process and needs to be developed. This is why theoretical knowledge and the desire for theoretical development are absolutely necessary if the professor-student relation - another form of the mind-matter, leader-mass contradiction - is not to be repeated and revive the practice of following. Moreover, the desire for theoretical development must realize itself in an autonomous and personal fashion and not by way of a group which sets itself up as a kind of diaphragm between the individual and the theory.

It is necessary to return to Marx's attitude toward all groups in order to understand why the break with the gang practice ought to be made:

—refuse to reconstitute a group, even an informal one (cf. The Marx-Engels correspondance, various works on the revolution of 1848, and pamphlets such as "The Great Men of Exile", 1852).


—maintain a network of personal contacts with people having realized (or in the process of doing so) the highest degree of theoretical knowledge: anti-follow-erism, anti-pedagogy? the party in its historical sense is not a school.(J)

(/). - To talk re-assuming again an attitude, adopted by Marx at a certain moment ojj hi* revolutionary activity resulted &rom a profound (ail-ure to understand that the phase, o i capital's formal domination has been completed. Marx had to take a position only valid ior that period. Furthermore, his theoretical position on the subject the party is not as rigid as the letter indicates here.. What is even less acceptable in the above assertions is that they could lead to a new theory o<j consciousness coming irom the outside by way &n elitist theory o^ the development o{ the revolutionary movement.

The refusal oi all organization is not a simple anti-organizational position. To leave it at that would be to again manifest a desire lor originality, to try to set oneself up as di^ierent and thereby reach a position irom which to attract people. From there the movement racketization would begin all over a~ gain.

Our position on the dissolution o£ groups derives irom the study ofi the becoming otf the capitalist mode o£ production on the one hand, and our characterization o\5 the May movement on the other. We are deeply convinced that the revolutionary phenomenon is in motion and that, as always, and especially in this domain, consciousness follows action. This means that in the vast movement oi rebellion against capital, revolutionaries are going to adopt a definite behavior - which will not be acquired all at once - compatible with the decisive and determinative struggle against capital.

Marx's activity was always that of revealing the real movement which leads to communism and of defending the gains of the proletariat in its struggle against capital. Hence, Marx's position in 1871 in revealing the "impossible action" of the Paris Commune or declaring that the First International was not the child of either a theory or a sect. It is necessary to do the same now. Those who wish to enter in liaison with the work set forth in this review in order to develop it and ensure a more detailed, precise and lucid exposition, ought to direct their relations along the lines indicated above in the discussion of Marx's work. Failing to do this,

We can preview the content of such an "organization". It will combine the aspiration to human community and to individual affirmation, which is the distinguishing feature of the current revolutionary phase. It will aim toward the reconciliation 0|( man with nature, the communist revolution being a revolt also of nature4 that we will be able to survive, and avert the second of the two alternatives we face today: communism or the destruction of the human species

In order to better understand this becoming organizational, so as to facilitate it without inhibiting whatever it may be, it is important to reject all old forms and to enter, without a priori principles, the vast movement of our li~U-erat<ton, which develops on a world scale. It is necessary to eliminate anything which could be an obstacle to the revolutionary movement. In given circumstances and in the course of specific actions, the revolutionary current will be structured and will structure itself not only passively, spontaneously, but by always directing the effort toward how to realize the true Gemeinwes en (human essence) and the social man, which implies the reconciliation of men with nature (Camatte, 1972).

they will relapse into the gang practice.

It follows from this that it is also necessary to develop a critique of the Italian communist left's conception of "program". That this notion of "communist program" has never been sufficiently clarified is demonstrated by the fact that, at a certain point, the Martov-Lenin debate resurfaced at the heart of the left. The polemic was already the result of the fact that Marx's conception of revolutionary theory had been destroyed, and it reflected a complete separation between the concepts of theory and practice. For the proletariat, in Marx's sense, the class struggle is simultaneously production and radicalization of consciousness. The critique of capital expresses a consciousness already produced by the class struggle "and anticipates its future. For Marx and Engels, proletarian movement = theory = communism.

Mr. Heinzen imagines communism to be


a certain doctrine which springs from a definite theoretical principle as its nucleus and draws further consequences from it. Mr. Heinzen is very wrong. Communism is not a doctrine but a movement springing from facts rather than principles. Communists presuppose not such and such a philosophy but all past history and, above all, its actual and effective results in the civilized countries... In so far as communism is a theory, it is the theoretical expression of the situation of the proletariat in its struggle and the theoretical summary of the conditions of the liberation of the proletariat.

F. Engels "The communists and Karl Heinzen" Article 2, MEW 4, p. 321-322.

Actually, the problem of consciousness coming from the outside did not exist for Marx. There wasn't any question of the development of militants, of activism or of academicism. Likewise, the problematic of the self-education of the masses, in the sense of the council communists (false disciples of R. Luxembourg and authentic disciples of pedagogic reformism) did not arise for Marx. R. Luxembourg's theory of the class movement which, from the start of the struggle, finds within itself the conditions for its radicalization; is closest to Marx's position (cf. her position on the "creativity of the masses", beyond its immediate existence).

This shows the necessity of superseding the bourgeois form of perceiving and conceiving social reality and taking up again, as Marx did, Hegel's demonstration of the mediate character of any form of immediacy. For, it is characteristic of "scientific" thought to accept the immediate fact as the real object of knowledge without perceiving and conceiving the mediation which underlies it. It is on the basis of such gnoseology that in capitalist society social


appearance becomes reality and vice-versa. The real being of the proletariat is hidden and the class is perceived in its apparent form of life. This is what gives to the problem of consciousness coming from the outside and the fact that when the proletariat manifests its true being (1905-1917) , everyone is left stupified, dumbfounded.

The Italian communist left, in spite of its more acute capacities in the domain of the theory of the proletariat did not in 1950 make a definitive break with its past (1919-1926). Its critique of Trotskyism, of council communism, etc., did not achieve the integral restoration of Marx's notions of the party and of the proletariat. Because of this, its official position and its real essence oscillated between a conception of program as a "Marxist school" and a Trotskyist-brand petty activism. This second aspect became dominant after 1960 due the fact that a clique of gangsters totally foreign to the the theory and to the proletariat took possession of the "school", thanks above all to its continuing ambiguity on some problems of vital importance: the union question and the notion of "vanguard of proletariat", which was actually rejected in acts and in official discussion but which persisted in the official canon of the party. It was then that the Martov-Lenin debate on the question of organization was resurrected, which demonstrated that this current was definitely dead, and led to its third-class funeral during May '68.

It should be noted that since we left the PCI we have tried to remove the ambiguity discussed by our doing our best to reveal the positive aspects of the left. This only resulted in our cultivating the left and becoming its most extreme expression (cf. the articles of Invariance). And this led us to fall back into a group practice. Although we considered our group "informal", it carried with it the inevitable tendancy of substituting itself for the

proletariat. It is no longer a question of arguing about accommodation in the heart of the left but of recognizing that if there has been accommodation, it is because even from the start the theory wasn't integrally a theory of the proletariat. Thus it is no longer adequate to say that the creation of the party in 1943 was premature; it's necessary to say that it was an absurdity. Accordingly, it's necessary to break with our past and return to Marx's position.

This letter has been written not so much as definitive and exhaustive treatment of the themes discussed, it is intended as a break with the "whole" group past. The signatures which follow are intended to emphasize this break and do not indicate that we have dropped our previous position on the subject of anonymity.

JacqutA Camattt. - Gianni Collu

TRANSITION [--I nva r i ance, no. 1, serie I, 1969]

The starting point of the critique of the existing society of capital has to be the reaffirmation of the concepts of formal and real domination as the historical phases of capitalist domination. All other periodisations of the process or the autonomization of value, such as competitive, monopoly, state monopoly, bureaucratic, etc. capitalism, leave the field of the theory of the proletariat - the critique of political economy - to begin with the vocabulary of the praxis of social democracy and leninist ideology, codified by Stalinism. All this phraseology, with which one pretends to explain "new" phenomena, really only mystifies the passage of value to its complete autonomy, that is, the objectivization of the abstract quantity in process in the concrete community. Capital as a social mode of production realizes the real domination when it succeeds in replacing all the social and natural presuppositions by the correct forms of organization which mediate the submission oF the whole of physical and social life to its real needs of valorization. The essence of the Gemeinschaft (community) of capital is the organization. Politics, as an instrument of mediating the despotism of capital, disappears in the phase of the real domination of capital. After using it fully in the period of formal domination, it can be disposed of when capital becomes total being, organizing life, experience and its subordinates rigidly. The rigid and authoritarian managerial state of the equivalent forms in the social relations (Urtext = primitive version) becomes an elastic instrument of mediation in the business sphere. Consequently the state and politics less than ever are subjects of the economy and by that, "bosses" of capital: today more than ever, capital finds its real strength in the inertia of the process which produces and reproduces its specific needs of valorization as human needs in general. (The defeat of the revolutionary movement of May 1968 was a patent manifestation of this "occult" power of the society of capital). The economy reduces politics (ancient art of organization) to a pure and simple epiphenomenon of its real process. It lets it survive as the museum of horrors such as parliament or the parties and groups. The destiny of the other instruments of mediation of ideology is identical. They still enjoyed a certain apparent autonomy (philosophy, art, etc.) during the period of formal domination, as survivals of the previous epochs. All distinction between ideology and the social mode of production is destroyed and, today, value that has achieved autonomy is its own ideology. That explains very clearly all those who defend their ideologizing, pretending to achieve science, and founding epistemology to do this. The latter is in fact merely a discourse on value in the second degree. Science having been incorporated in the production process, all discourse on the limits and possibilities of the science is in fact a discourse on the profitability of concepts and their effectiveness in the production process of consciousness, which is only an aspect of that of capital.

The theories of the workers' movement have grasped this social process in order to mystify it. For these theories, for example, absolute subordination and the insertion of the state as a particular moment of the process of valorization becomes the exact opposite, that is, state capitalism, since capital is no longer seen as a social mode of production and life but as a mode of management, bureaucratic, democratic, etc.... From this point of view, it is vital that the revolution no longer become the overthrow of one existence and the affirmation of another, but a politico-statist process, and the organization is the key problem. One cannot otherwise explain the prepon-s derance of the categories mentioned above:

state capitalism, bureaucratic, etc, inside the workers' movement, which merely bracket the real being of capital as value in process, in order to affirm the centrality of one of its epiphenomena theorized as the supreme phase, new phase, etc....On the contrary, one must remain on the ground of the critique of political economy (the critiques of the existence of capital as an affirmation of communism) to understand the totality of social life in the period of the reduction of it to a means of the production process. In fact the society of capital makes itself appear superficially divided into fields that are apparently opposed and thus gives rise to separate descriptions of them: sociology, economics, psychology etc.... the existence of all those "fields of research" merely explains in mystifying the unified reality, totality, created by value, which absolutely escapes the everyday means of perception and criticism by its autonomization. That is why all "critical theory" wishing to found itself on the raising up of one or other sector ends by reducing itself to having neither sub-

ject nor object. Without subject as far as the proletariat in the field of the great development of capital diminishes relatively and absolutely in percentage, its characteristics dissolving -into the generic sea of the "working population", a category which exactly expresses the quantitative preponderance of the new middle classes. It is therefore logical that the centrality of the proletariat in the revolutionary process vanishes. Without an object to the extent that exchange value as an abstract object in a material being (Grundrisse) escaped from all immediate self-determination. One must say about this imperceptibility of the real tendencies of capital in the epoch of the real domination, that the most obvious manifestation that is witness to its fetishism is afforded us by the concept accepted by all the innovating theories, critical or apologetic, of industrial society and its appendix, the society of consumption. This concept becomes possible in so far as the process of valorization (thus the life needs of capital) dominates to an increasing degree and to an always more exclusive extent. The labor process which Marx defined as the organic exchange between man and nature, where activity has an end in view leading towards the creation of use values. To the extent that it always produces a more immediate identity between the two processes, capital tends to present its own general needs as exclusively and immediately identical to the needs of humanity. In fact, given the real domination of its own existence* this mystification seems to be based rationally on the moment which sociability, conviviality, customs, language, desires or needs, in a word, the social being of humans, are nothing other than the need for valorization of capital, internal composition of its own enlarged-reproduction. If capital dominates everything to the point of being able to identify itself .with the social being, it seems, on this basis, to disappear. This is the most glaring fetishism ever produced by exchange value in the history of

its own autonomization. A "neutral" category can arise on this base, like that of industrial society and its rejection of the society of consumption. Thus all possible distinction between abstract labor which valorizes capital (the proletariat), or which makes possible the total existence of its being (new middle classes), and human activity in general as it unfolded in precapitalist epochs disappears from the facts.

It was stated before how capital can come to present itself as a "rational system" or at least as inescapable. It is necessary to see how it attempts to slow down or fix the revolt of the proletariat, this being what always constitutes its potential negation. Given the minority nature of the proletariat in the met-ropoles of capital, capital operates by isolating it and circumscribing it in a ghetto "to where the proletarian violence forms. One must state at once that the proletariat's existence, when it manifests itself as a class,

occurs in an immediately destructive dimension, the positive negation of the material community and all its forms of organization. We can see this community of action in the actions of the black proletariat of the USA. It is constituted on the basis of the vital necessity of destruction and the consciousness of the identity of the objectives, which Marx saw as the authentic party of the proletariat, necessary historical production of the contradictions of the society of capital. The most important moment in the manifestation of communism in praxis is constituted by the positive negation of democracy, that is, by the refusal - when it raises its own material necessities to the highest level - to accept any division between decision and action, thus the division between being and thought on which, in the past, was built the possibility of a political leadership based on the mechanism of direct democracy (cf. soviets and councils) or, more generally, on which the mechanism of democratic-despotic representation is founded, inside the

old art of organization of society from outside, that is - politics. The proletariat which set fire to "advanced capitalism" has concretely begun to realize philosophy. Similar actions started to confirm themselves in Europe (May '68) and in Italy, such as the last exemplary actions of the Turinese proletariat. The attempt by the political rackets of the most varied kind to organize (that is, to substitute themselves for the functions already assumed by capital) seem to have been doomed to failure, just as was the case with the anala-gous efforts in the USA after each revolt of a certain importance. The motive is simple: the rackets want to lead politically what demonstrates itself in the facts to be the most complete negation of their being and ideology: the racket form and politics. These movements are never usable nor can they be "squared off" given their profound reasons, as they appeared and disappeared and, if they must reappear, it

is solely to generalize themselves on a more and more catastrophic level for capital.

The contradiction that affects many of these political rackets stems from the fact that they simultaneously theorize the autonomy of the proletariat (seen, in certain cases, as the collective worker). But, to call for autonomy, that is, the separation form capital - despite this being to say nothing - is to demand an abstraction since the proletariat cannot exist save for capital being posed at the same time. Autonomization can be seen only as the initial phase of the negation of the proletariat, thus the destruction of capital. The proletariat discovers that its role in the process of valorization is constantly diminishing and so is drawn to the conclusion of the uselessness of its wage slavery and breaks the chains which shackle it to capital. It advances its own negation - already operating under the reign of capital, but in a mystified form with the generalization of wage labor - in all social reality, and its disappearance is that of classes too. The separation from capital implies that the proletariat constitutes itself in a party personifying its self-negation, be-

cause it implies the formation of the Gemein-wesen (community) which will dominate the autonomized whole and will make it work for the satisfaction of human needs.

The theory of the party - theory of the proletariat - cannot be taken solely from the so-called political texts of Marx and Engels, such as the Manifesto and the IWMA resolutions, etc., because these texts consider the proletariat especially in its immediate reality and envisages the formal party, of that period, to be possible. Then the proletariat still had to generalize its existence, push for.the development of capitalism and, if it took power and constituted itself as the dominant class, would still have had to fulfill tasks which were later performed by capital. Today only the historical party is possible. Any formal party is only an organization rapidly reabsorbed in the form of a racket. It is the same with all groups, structured or not, that wish to work for the reformation of the party or for the creation of councils. The historical party can only be realized by the movement of the proletariat constituting itself as a class. One cannot understand such a movement except by the study of the works of Marx (Ca£-ital, Grundrisse) where he examined the capit-alist mode of production profoundly. It is there that tha proletariat and its future in liaison with capital are integrally explained.

All other explanation of the formation of the party, such as that founded on the theory of consciousness from outside, rests on the implicit negation of the propositions the proletariat will be the realizer of the theory.

The job of a review is thus not to be the organ of a formal or informal group, but to struggle against all the false "theories" produced by past periods and simultaneously to document the future of communism.

Gianni Collu - Jacques Camatte


The concept* oh hormal party, historic party are explained, in Jnvariance no. 1, *erie I. 196& the concept* oh formal domination oh capital and real domination oh capital, in Invariance no. 2, *erie I. 1968.

1 POB 609 ANN ARBOR KI k8l07 U & A,

2  "{ictitiou*" ih iiom "{into" in t\te original

Italian, which dot* not coimpond to the, tiKm

3  kmadeo Boldiga and the theoreticians close to him uoeie known as the Italian communist lefit. Mole "the. Italian le£t" levels to the. Italian le^t-communist tradition: the. le{t opposition in the. Italian socialist paity [1910/12 1921), the. direction o { the Communist Party o{ Italy [ 192 1- 1924), the. lekt opposition in the Communist Patty o{ Italy (1924-26 ), the le{t-communist {taction in Belaium and Fiance [Bilan and Piometeo: 1926-43), the reconstruction o^ Italian le(t communism [Battaglia Comunista, Prometeo 1944-52), and the. International Communist Party (il programma comunista: 19 52-70; Bordiga died in 1970). [Translator's note).


4  against capital. Moreover, it is only through a new relation with nature.