Nuevo Curso on Communist Morality: Loneliness

“The first act of effective consciousness, now as always, is to come together, study and recover the theory and history of our class and begin to understand and analyze reality with these instruments.”

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We publish an English translation of this article by our comrades in Spain for the painfully relevant content that is presented here. The worst ills engendered by capitalism – impoverishment, starvation, malnourishment – are of a brute physical nature, but there is also the aspect of capitalism that engenders social alienation, the psycho-social degradation of the very subjective experience of the worker. We members of Gulf Coast Communist Fraction know all too well the social atomization concomitant with the everyday grind of life in the predominantly service-based economy of Southwest Florida that employs the mass of precarious workers. Precarious workers in Southwest Florida maintain the lawns of some of the most expensive properties in the entire United States, properties that are vacant for all but a few weeks due to being some multi-millionaire’s third or fourth piece of real estate, only for these workers to arrive to their own isolated living spaces spending their leisure time alone watching Netflix and consuming drugs. Precarious workers in Southwest Florida serve food, at essentially piece-rates, to the tables of some of the most profitable high-end restaurants located in some of the most expensive shopping districts that regularly attracts bourgeois tourists from everywhere, from the Northeastern United States to Germany; yet these workers are some of the most lonely people one could meet. Real estate and vacation magazines constantly rave about the Naples-Fort Myers area being a must-go vacation destination free of worries or hardships, the popular perception of this area is it being a little paradise detached from the reality of urban or suburban life in the United States. Tourists and “snowbirds” (a colloquial term coined by the local residents to refer to retired bourgeoisie who reside in Southwest Florida during the winter and go back to their homes in the North for the summer) find it hard to believe that any of the local year-round residents of this area, no matter how much of a precarious wage-slave, experience any hardship. However, any year-round resident of Fort Myers or Naples knows the first complaint they have of living here is the profound sense of boredom that plagues them everyday. With over half of residential neighborhoods being gated communities that threaten prosecution if an outsider from another neighborhood enters without proper authentication, an almost total absence of public space, lack of social activities that don’t involve eating at a restaurant or shopping at a store, even these available social activities only being afforded by the bourgeois tourists, Naples-Fort Myers doesn’t have a civil society. All there is to life here is commuting alone in one’s car from home to work to home to store to restaurant to gas station to drug dealer’s place back to home to do it all again. The personal car is the true home of the precarious worker in Southwest Florida, and the commute is their primary social activity outside of work.

We also know very well that the situation described is not unique, and it becomes increasingly apparent that the mind-numbingly artificial malaise that defines life in Naples and Fort Myers is a foreshadowing of the capitalist future to come. This is why, in a sense, we do view our daily activity as communists as resisting the social alienation that blinds us to our class character of human solidarity.

Gulf Coast Communist Fraction

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Letter from the International Group of the Communist Left

“One of the first aims of any new communist political group or circle, and even isolated militants, is to “re-appropriate” – critically and not as an absolute dogma – the lessons and the experience of these political parties, fractions and currents. Why such a need ? Because it would be useless and endless to make this huge work again when it has already been done by the previous generations and the historical currents of the Communist Left; also and above all, because it would be engaging in a wrong and dangerous path, the one of ignoring the past experiences on which the present revolutionary positions of today, or the program of the future party, are and will be based upon.”

Introduction

We publish here some comments on our draft “Points of Unity” from the International Group of the Communist Left.

Gulf Coast Communist Fraction

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Marc Chirik on the Role of Fractions and Regroupment

“Because our period of decline is particular, the fraction – the type of normal organism in a period of normal decline – gives way to a new type that is more elementary, more fragmentary, more organically distant from the old movement –  more like a group. And this is not a pun, a simple substitution of terminology. Just as the fraction has particular tasks, different from those of the Party, so the group’s own tasks are different from those of fractions. It is not only a type of political organization of the class, more elementary, more primitive, but it is distinguished by its function.”

Introduction

We publish here an excerpt from the letters by Marc Chirik, a partisan of the French Communist Left, while living in Venezuela, sent to us from the International Communist Current.  The excerpt is meant to help clarify the distinction between the fractions, which were a direct product of previous parties, and the groups which lack such an immediate continuity. It is our pleasure to present this short extract.

Gulf Coast Communist Fraction

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Nuevo Curso on Communist Militancy

“From Babeuf and Marx to us, revolutionary consciousness is the ray of light created by the clash between exploitation and the exploited, it is human subjectivity in rebellion against an objectivity that perverts and denies that same subjectivity, without which man is not man but a thing. Either our subjectivity accommodates the outside world to its requirements -there can be no others- or it submits itself, in slavery, to the nauseating existing objectivity.” – Grandizo Munis, Revolutionary Consciousness and Class for Itself, 1976

We republish an English translation of Nuevo Curso’s entry on communist militancy

Gulf Coast Communist Fraction

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Benjamin Peret on the History of Unions

“Even when trade unionism adopted the principle of class struggle, it never proposed, in its daily struggle, the overthrow of society; on the contrary, it limited itself to grouping the workers together with a view to defending their economic interests within capitalist society. Sometimes, defense takes on the aspect of a fierce struggle, but it never has the purpose, implicit or explicit, of transforming the working class condition through revolution.”

Introduction

When we published our ‘These on the Union Question’, our close associates from Nuevo Curso pointed out that there was something missing in our theses: a historical explication of how the union-form went from a defensive organ of the working class to an instrument fully integrated into capital. Nuevo Curso rightfully explain that it is difficult to understand the role of unions in the statification and monopolization characteristic of the declining phase of capitalism without understanding their birth in the rising phase of capitalism and subsequent adaptation to existing society. Here, we present a translation of Benjamin Peret’s essay on the history of unions, provided to us by Nuevo Curso. Along with Grandizo Munis and Natalia Sedova Trotsky, Peret was part of the Spanish Left that broke with the Fourth International in 1948. This essay by Peret is the first part of ‘Unions Against Revolution’, which is more widely known in the English-speaking sphere for the second part that includes the entry from Grandizo Munis. We’re pleased to introduce this first English translation of Benjamin Peret’s writings on the union-form to a wider audience.

Gulf Coast Communist Fraction

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Theses on the Union Question

Introduction

If one observes the draft points of unity for our Fraction, they will notice a point that is glaringly absent from it: the union-question. The union-question was a significant point of contention among the members of our Fraction; some having strong unionist-sympathies, others identifying with the historical positions of the Dutch-German Left on unions, and the rest being neutral on the issue. Those members who carried unionist-sympathies were dues-paying members of the Industrial Workers of the World for a little more than a few years, though never part of an official general membership branch. For these reasons, the union-form was not dealt with in our points of unity. It wasn’t until correspondence and coordination with Workers Offensive (based in Miami) that we further developed and solidified a position that was cleared of any unionist illusions.[1] We owe it to our discussions with Workers Offensive in formulating our theses.

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