INSANE DIALECTICAL EDITIONS
"Where we see the fire of class antagonism, we bring gasoline." --INSANE DIALECTICAL POSSE
These writings, taken from the stories and ideas of those past and present engaged in revolutionary activity, are an attempt to show the dialectical interrelationship of theory and practice at the unmediated heart of class struggle. We are demonstrating the insane possibilities that are the kernel of each of these struggles, yet, which are often misjudged as "failures" by mainstream Leftists --”who engage in endless means/ends debates that fetishize results, rather than seeing the revolutionary potential of working class initiative, spontaneity and imagination. Taking after Marx, we want to reverse this activist detour and turn the class war back on its feet and acknowledge that the emancipation of the working class will be the task of the workers themselves. We reject all formulas for vanguard parties, as well as reformist schemas for worker self-management, and find the sectarian (Stalinist, Leninist, Trotskyist, Maoist, Social Democrat, Green, trade unionist, etc.) Left to merely be the left-wing of capital, often acting to recuperate rebellion to accelerate capital's ability to reproduce itself. From these efforts, written by working class radicals themselves as their accounts of struggles and their theorizing of the possibilities for new ones, we draw the lesson of rejecting top-down bureaucratic organizational forms. We believe that organization is nothing other than organized struggle, in which forms organically develop out of the content of the struggle. These organizational structures when allowed to link up, generalize and then spread across sectors, regions and borders; to include the waged and un-waged, women and men, the young and old, people of all races and ethnicities; essentially the entire international proletariat will become the dialectical unity, synthesizing form and content, to realize our human potential for gemeinwesen -- a borrowed German term meaning human essence, the collective being of the human species -- which is the goal of communism. The publication of INSANE DIALECTICAL EDITIONS is our effort to contribute the imaginative fuel "our gasoline" to help build this wildfire of revolution.
Editions currently in print
CLASS STRUGGLE BEYOND UNIONISM: BOSTON AREA PUBLIC WORKERS FERMENT 81-82, by Loren Goldner (1993). Interview with Scott McGuire about his involvement in attempts to fight against the cuts and layoffs in the public sector after the passage of Proposition 2 _ in Massachusettes in 1980--modeled on California's Proposition 13. The development of the struggle, and its cooption by union bureaucrats, also closely follows the pattern of the recent (March 2004) defeat of the 70,000 Southern California grocery workers. Learning lessons drawn from McGuire's experience, shows the absolute necessity for class struggle to go outside and--more and more these days--against the unions.
CRITIQUE OF THE SITUATIONIST INTERNATIONAL by Jean Barrot [a.k.a. Gilles Dauve ]. This article was first published in the American journal Red-eye #1 (Berkeley, 1979) and was translated by Louis Michaelson. It was never published in French and the translator's introduction refers to it being a chapter from a proposed book on the history and ideology of the revolutionary movement--this was also never published. Dauve, as Jean Barrot, wrote for the journal La Banquise in the 1980s, and this article came out of their reckoning with the political currents they came out of and this is probably the sharpest and most lucid critique of the S.I. ever written.
THE LIMITS OF MATTICK'S ECONOMICS by Ron Rothbart (1980), draws together the crisis theory of Paul Mattick, Sr. and Cornelius Castoriadis into a more coherent, and consequently more useful, understanding of revolutionary possibilities. By describing the strengths and limitations of both approaches, Rothbart shows how theory cannot be just draped over reality to fit with an overall plan, but must constantly evolve into a more articulate expression of human emancipation. Capitalism is understood here as an inherently antagonistic social relation, and that the duality of internal/external forces which threaten its existence turn dynamic theory into fixed ideology.
REVOLUTIONARY OPTIMIST by Neil Fettes (2000), together with BACK TO THE FUTURE: THE CONTINUING RELEVANCE OF MARX by Martin Glaberman and Seymour Faber (2000). The first is an interview with Martin Glaberman conducted by Neil Fettes and the second a text he co-wrote about the centrality of the working class to revolutionary struggle and the usefulness of using a Marxian methodology. Glaberman worked in factories for 20 years and was involved with CLR James in groups that broke with Trotskyism -- and the idea of a vanguard party -- and developed a critique of its state capitalist nature of the USSR in the early 1940s. His group was also notorious for starting and participating in Capital study groups, even with young Detroit factory workers who went on to form the League of Revolutionary Black Workers in the 60s. He was helpful and supportive to IDP starting our Capital study group. He died at the end of 2001 and will be sorely missed.
CLASS WAR LESSONS: FROM DIRECT ACTION ON THE JOB TO THE '46 OAKLAND GENERAL STRIKE by Stan Weir (1996). This article originally appeared as UNIONS WITH LEADERS WHO STAY ON THE JOB in the book "WE ARE ALL LEADERS": THE ALTERNATIVE UNIONISM OF THE EARLY 1930s, edited by Staughton Lynd, and is an account of Weir's revolutionary education working on Liberty ships during World War II and how his teachers were the veterans of the 1934 San Francisco General Strike, who saw it as their duty to share the lesson of always using direct action to fight the class struggle, whether against the officers on the ship or the union bureaucrats on shore. Many of the '34 men had been prepared for their participation in that strike because they had worked--and fought the bosses--side by side with older Wobblies who had taught of their struggles in the 1910s. This powerful account ends with Weir's participation in the little-known Oakland General Strike of 1946. Weir mission was to keep within the tradition and this piece is his gift to help inform our struggles today.
WHEN INSURRECTIONS DIE by Gilles Dauve (1999). This text shows how anti-fascism, without being explicitly anti-capitalist, can be the fatal flaw of revolutionary activity--as it was in Spain in the 1930s. Dauve also analyzes the development of fascism in Italy and Germany. He critiques how Democracy, Fascism and Stalinism are all moments of capital and must be critiqued and fought against without illusions.
Coming soon: Reprints and original accounts of class struggle from everywhere
INSANE DIALECTICAL POSSE
I.D.P. SF Bay
c/o Red & Black Reading Room
Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library
6501 Telegraph Avenue
Oakland, CA 94609