Bordiga and Bordigism


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As per request of rudewhy.

Demands such as ‘the factories for the workers’, ‘the mines for the miners’ and other such schemes for ‘workers’ control’ were not socialist demands, since a society in which they were realised would still be a property society in the sense that parts of the productive apparatus would be controlled by sections only of society to the exclusion of other sections. Socialism, Bordiga always insisted, meant the end of all sectional control over separate parts of the productive apparatus and the establishment of central social control over all the means of production.So, for Bordiga, in a socialist society there would be no property whatsoever in the means of production, not just of individuals or of groups of individuals, but also not of groups of producers nor of local or national communities either. The means of production would not be owned at all, but would simply be there to be used by the human race for its survival and continuation in the best possible conditions.

ultra-globalism to horrify @luka destroy all cultures.

When the international class war has been won and when states have died out, the party, which is born with the proletarian class and its doctrine, will not die out. In this distant time perhaps it will no longer be called a party, but it will live as the single organ, the ‘brain’ of a society freed from class forces. [1956-7]

Bordiga’s conception of socialism was ‘non-democratic’ rather than ‘undemocratic’. He was in effect defining socialism as not ‘the democratic social control of the means of production by and in the interest of society as a whole’, but simply as ‘the social control of the means of production in the interest of society as a whole’.
The replacement of the boss and the bourgeois management by some ‘factory council’ elected as democratically as you want, in other words the replacement of the capitalist enterprise by an enterprise of a cooperative type, would not advance the necessary transformation of the economy by a single step. It is known that the attempts of workers’ producer cooperatives in the last century, even if they did have the merit of showing that one could do without the social person of the capitalist, were a resounding failure because they were not able to stand up to the bourgeois competition. It would be no different if the competition took place no longer between bosses’ enterprises and workers’ cooperatives but between as many workers’ cooperatives as there were enterprises. One of two things would happen: either the workers’ cooperatives would try to operate other than as capitalist enterprises and as all the other conditions would remain bourgeois (links by the intermediary of the market) they would be swept aside; or, if they intended to survive, they would only be able to operate as capitalist enterprises with a money capital, wages, profits, a depreciation fund and capital investments, credit and interest etc. The competition between them would not be abolished, so neither would the system of commercial contracts, nor civil law and the state institution needed to uphold it. [1967-8]

one for yer man znor
The bourgeois economy is a double economy The bourgeois individual is not a man but a business. We want to destroy all businesses. We want to abolish the double economy in order to found the single economy which history already knew at the time when the caveman, with his hands as his only tool, went out to collect as many coconuts as he had companions in the cave. [1948]

Bordiga preferred, as here, to speak of consumption being social in socialism rather than individual. This was because for him, although individuals would be free – at least in fully developed socialism – to choose which particular goods to take from the range of goods made available for individual consumption, they would not be free to choose which goods were made available. That would be a social decision made by the central administration in the light of what science indicated was best for the survival of the human race as an animal species. In other words, individuals would be consuming not so much for their own personal benefit as for the benefit of the whole species.
The point Bordiga was trying to make here was that not even in full socialism would individuals be able to consume whatever they might feel they wanted to; they would only be able to consume whatever society had decided should be available for individual consumption. Thus, to use an example Bordiga gave, people would only be able to smoke cigarettes if socialist society decided to produce them (which Bordiga thought unlikely); or people would only be able to visit the moon if socialist society decided to devote resources to provide facilities for all who wanted to go there.



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Bordiga’s idea that capitalism equals the agrarian revolution is the key to the 20th century; it’s certainly the key to almost everything the left has called “revolutionary” in the 20th century, and it is the key to rethinking the history of Marxism and its entanglement with ideologies of industrializing backward regions of the world economy.
Bordiga obviously does not provide the key to the “de-Russification” of the “lenses” through which the international revolutionary movement sees the world. But developed further, his focus on the agrarian question does. Into the mid- 1970′s, the “Russian question” and its implications was the inescapable “paradigm” of political perspectives on the left, in Europe and the U.S., and yet 15 years later seems like such ancient history. This was a political milieu where the minute study of the month-to-month history of the Russian revolution and the Comintern from 1917 to 1928 seemed the key to the universe as a whole. If someone said they believed that the Russian Revolution had been defeated in 1919, 1921, 1923, 1927, or 1936, or 1953, one had a pretty good sense of what they would think on just about every other political question in the world

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The people who pioneered deep house hit on the same thing mobb deep did; the uncovered an archetypal aesthetic space. These undeniable, unresistable sound worlds that work divorced from any time period or technological advances or lineages. You could play can you feel it and shook ones to Hitler, Henry the 8th, queen cleopatra and to the bloke who invented fire and they’d all have the same reaction. They’d all arrive at the same emotional place. They aren’t songs, but rather gods in a pantheon


"We want to abolish the double economy in order to found the single economy which history already knew at the time when the caveman, with his hands as his only tool, went out to collect as many coconuts as he had companions in the cave."

bordiga's prose is my favorite of any communist writer i've yet read. his conception of communism also feels sometimes ridiculously wide-ranging in terms of the history he concerns himself with + his anthropology


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All right, you fools stemming from the rotten bourgeois culture, that is what we insist on! And we have the right to do so because our discovery, the first-time use of the great key that resolves the contradictions and riddles of humanity, has already contained the scientific and critical knowledge that reveals your teachings – especially with regard to the older positions of human thought that you bourgeois believe to have buried forever under the vanity of your enlightened rhetoric – as hollow and unfounded fairy tales. Since then, and through this sudden light, we know that the brain-masturbation of opinion is a way too yellow-livered way to penetrate to the core of the most credulous of all faiths, a faith proclaimed in brute words, but born from the living womb of history. From what in a certain sense was a revelation (no supernatural, but human, in the sense of the fertility of the social forms of consciousness that Marx speaks of), we learned that the progress of mankind and the knowledge of the tormented homo sapiens is not continuous, but progresses in leaps and bounds, interrupted by sinister and disastrous crashes in the form of decaying, even rotting societies. We use pages written down here around 1850 – not because this is what a God would have ordered, or because the hand that glided over the pages would have been that of a Superman, but because they were written in the fire of the turn of time that had reached the thermal “phase” of the theoretical revolution, that reverbation that not only accompanied the practical revolution, but also anticipated it at that particular moment – to reserve the fools’ diploma for those guys who 100 years later make such an abominable use of the repulsive adjective “progressive”.
Drawing on the same source, we revile every superstition today in the process of counting equal personal opinions, and call a charlatan who uses this process at the level of society, class and even party; for while such a miserable or deceiver speaks of the class and the party as forces that transform society, he can only imagine them as parodies of today’s democratic bourgeois society, from whose gloomy puddle one cannot escape.
If now our ordinary adversary […] tells us at a certain point that we would only fabricate our own mysticism, whereas the poor guy thinks that he himself has overcome all fideisms and mysticisms and mocks that we could just as well bow to the biblical or Islamic, Protestant or catechetical stone tablets of Moses or the Talmud, then we reply that this does not at all lead us to assume the role of a accused who defends himself. Nor do we have – notwithstanding the fact that it is quite meaningful to annoy the philistine, who appears again and again in the picture – any reason to take the statement as an insult, according to which mysticism, or if you prefer, a myth, is still present in our movement for as long as it has not won in reality (because its victory precedes any further appropriation of human knowledge).
The myth, which appeared in many different forms, was not a fantasy of spirits who closed their eyes to actuality (as with Marx: at the same time “naturalistic” and “humanistic”); rather, it was an irreplaceable step on the only way to the appropriation of knowledge which, in class societies, can break out of large and widely divergent revolutionary cracks and can only develop freely in a classless society.
On these long stretches of way, armies of advanced seers and prophets made their way in the darkness as they persistently fought their way up again after each setback; in their minds was not science, but a myth, and the impetus of their revolutionary will was not yet knowledge, but mysticism. Now, however, these myths and mysticisms were revolutions, and because it was fights that carried out the rare advances, separated from each other for centuries, which advanced society, our respect and admiration for these pioneers is not diminished by the fact that their words have become obsolete and those of our doctrine stand in a completely different context.