Friday, October 19, 2012


I suppose it is odd after all these years to decide today to take a few minutes to explain in more detail where Scission is coming from and just who is the guy behind the curtain. I will attempt this now.  Please don't expect some well written manifesto, think of this more as something from the "notebooks."

I am a person who combines autonomous Marxism, white skin privilege theory, dual consciousness ( and duel power) theory with, obviously some Gramsci, an acceptance of some but not all EMPIRE related theory , combined with an  autonomous Marxist version of deep green resistance.

What does the above rambling actually mean.  A little about autonomist Marxism from my personal perspective. This is in no way intended to be in any way exhaustive, nor does it represent anyone's views but my own.

Most people trace autonomist Marxism back to the anti-Stalinism of the middle fifties. I go back further into its roots.
           Marx, including but not certainly limited to the Grundrisse, is a good starting point. Of course, Marx also wrote the basic line in one sentence. "The emancipation of the working class must be the act of the workers themselves."
            From there it would be onto some of the writings of Rosa Luxemburg, and to some types of left communism and the Workers Opposition in early Soviet days. I think it is back in there that you find the first inklings of what would become autonomist Marxism.
            The main articulation of this trend in the 50s, I think comes from CLR James (and from the Hungarian Revolution of 1956), and then onto Workerism or Operaismo and via people like Tronti, Bologna, and Negri right into the heart of the Autonomous movement in Italy of the 70s and 80s. I would include here the type of feminism represented most especially by the Wages for Housework movement.
            Of course, in America I would include Harry Cleaver, Midnight Notes, and ZeroWork.
            It is continued on with some of the theory of the Zapatistas and, at least, some of Empire Theory of Hardt and, again, Negri as well.
            Autonomous Marxist theory includes and centralizes around the self organization of the working class, construction of identity, grass roots struggles, and sees workers as the subject driving the class struggle and history (not capital as in the more traditional Marxist view). Autonomist Marxists emphasize the importance of the dynamic nature of class composition.
            Autonomous Marxists see the working class as not only autonomous of capital, but autonomous of any party.
            Autonomist Marxists have absolutely no use for the vanguard party, but do see a role for a Marxist organization (which, I feel, is best defined by CLR James).
            Autonomist Marxists, true to their name, respect allow for the autonomist development of various movements of the "multitude," for example, African American Liberation movement, Women's movement, Gay and Lesbian movement, Landless movements, youth and student movements, anti-war movements, etc. etc. etc.

Quite obviously I am opponent of the whole Leninist concept of the vanguard party.

PS: Everyone seems to spell autonomous differently. I seem to spell it different ways all on my own and from place to place."
            I oppose the whole concept, of the vanguard party.

Back in the 1970s I was with a small cadre organization called the Communist Workers Group (ML).  The person whom I somewhat humorously describe our “Glorious Leader” was a fellow by the name of Tom Clark.  We eventually had a following out as I began my journey away from the world of Marxism Leninism toward something new.  That said, I believe to this day that Tom was a genius of sorts and I learned a great deal from him (some negative, but mostly positive).  In recent years a final work of Tom’s has turned up and is at this time being prepared for an on line release soon by another former comrade of the group.  The title of the work is “State and Counter Revolution.”  It’s release will raise a howl of discontent, I predict.  Much of what immediately follows in the next paragraph owes  to that work.  Some of it I have always felt, but could never quite put together.
            One reason there has NEVER been true Marxian revolution can be found in the fact that virtually the entire "Marxist intelligentsia" has been petit bourgeois and bourgeois. This includes everyone from Marx and Engles to Lenin and beyond. This is not to negate the basics of Marxism or of the works of Marx, but when it comes to the practice of revolution and all the  organizing which leads to and continues, and completes it, what is necessary is the self activity and the self organization of the working class, not some party of petit bourgeois intellectuals and the like acting on BEHALF of the class, then as in revolutions such as 1917 eliminating Soviets of Workers and replacing them first with Soviets of some workers and peasants and other petit bourgeois elements, then eliminating Soviets altogether. That path leads to state capitalism, central planning, nationalization, socialism, but never true communism.

Socialism is not some preliminary stage of communism, it is antagonistic to it. It is just another form of capitalism. The working class must and can smash the state not merely seize it, must valorize itself, must eliminate surplus value based upon commodity exchange, must produce for itself not for some form of state capital, must in other words destroy the capitalist relations of production completely, etc. Only the working class can do all this. Only the working class is truly a revolutionary class whose final goal is the elimination of all classes, including itself.

Is there a role for some form of organization of Marxists (including Intellectuals) in all this. Yes, there is, but its role is NOT to replace the class, not to be its vanguard, not to take over. Its role is to assist and to support at most and to stay out of the way. Noel Ignatiev in a comment related to the late, great CLR James put it this way, "The task of revolutionaries is not to organize the workers but to organize themselves to discover those patterns of activity and forms of organization that have sprung up out of the struggle and that embody the new society, and to help them grow stronger, more confident, and more conscious of their direction. It is an essential contribution to the society of disciplined spontaneity, which for (CLR) James was the definition of the new world."

 The working class can and must develop its own "intellectual" elements in its own way. Is all this utopia? No, the working class creates communism every single day. It has demonstrated numerous times its revolutionary capacity.

The vanguard party idea was an understandable but flawed concept which has only served to prevent the true development of the class, and a true communist revolution.

 I would also add that by working class I absolutely DO NOT mean only the industrial proletariat. Marx spoke of the industrial working class when it was but a very small part of everything, but he could see it was the future and that even in his time was hegemonic in its outlook. Today, even if the industrial happens to be predominant in many places in sheer numbers, it is not the future, it is not hegemonic and it alone can no longer be called the proletariat. Just as Marx looked to the future, so must we.

            In addition to a grounding in Marxism, I have a continued belief in the theory that capitalism is upheld as a result of an ideology of white skin privilege. I could, of course, write page after page about white skin privilege theory, but rather than do that I suggest you search out and read what Noel Ignatiev and Ted Allen have to say about it.  There are various versions of white skin privilege floating around, but Noel’s and Ted’s descriptions come closest to what I believe

Further I am also a fierce supporter of and influenced by a militant struggle to SAVE THE EARTH from environmental destruction, maybe best exemplified by a Marxian interpretation of the deep green resistance movement.   We have already entered a period of history where everything I wrote prior to this may mean nothing.  There can be no communism of any kind if there is no life on the planet.  We are there.
I am talking about global warming and the environmental destruction of our planet. It will eventually devastate us all, whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Indians, all of us. Men and women, gays and straights, all of us.  Workers and capitalists, all of us. And not just us. All the free wild animals of the planet are being destroyed right alongside us. It is the creatures of the planet, the fish of the sea, the birds in the air, the great cats, the wolves, the bears that are the ones dying off right now. Not tomorrow, right now. They are being poisoned today. Their habitats are drying up, melting, dying even as I write this. 

Who is and will suffer first and the most amongst us – people of color, the indigenous, people in the developing countries, working people, the poor, the multitude.  Who will suffer last amongst us? You guessed it – white folks, the wealthy, the United States, Western Europe. Who causes most of the suffering – the rich, the powerful, the huge corporations, mostly white, mostly men, mostly the big developed countries.

What has to go to save the planet? Capitalism has to go, traditional states have to go, racism has to go, the way we organize our societies has to go, our current way of thinking itself has to go. We have got to understand that ultimately we, and the animals, the plants, and water and the air – we are all connected, all essentially one. We all live or we all die. 

I am not for going quietly into the night. The movement we build must be one that convinces more and more people to look beyond tomorrow morning and beyond the end of their nose. That is particularly difficult here in America. But we, you and I, must know time is simply running out. We either get this done in the next few years or we might as well throw in the towel. It is possible we are already too late.

I’m 63 years old. I’ll probably live a relatively normal life span (which doesn’t mean I don’t care about what happens, which doesn’t mean I don’t want the Earth to live on after me). I’ll tell you what, if you’re twenty, if your two, if your one of the famous unborn, well, you ought to be mad as hell at the rest of us. And you sure as hell will be one day. Only it may be when it is hot and dry, when there isn’t much to eat or drink. It may be while wars and civil wars rage across the planet as nations and regions run out of water, or food, or land, or power. When it gets like that people will fight back and with each other. However, it’ll be for nothing then.

  And by the way, the future is now. People are starving now. Islands are sinking now. Coastlines are going away now. Deserts are expanding now. Rainforests are disappearing now. The ice caps are melting now. Greenland is becoming green now. We can no longer look at  extreme weather and environmental catastrophes and ask if they are related to something more global, something bigger.  The “one incidents” are adding up too quickly. We can’t just shrug off the fact that every fish in the damn world is carrying carcinogens in their systems right now. We can’t shrug off the fact that mother’s milk is turning to poison right now. We can’t pretend that the great aquifers under the Great Plains States are drying up now. Tomorrow is today. 

We must act now.


Some of you have probably noticed that I have not discussed tactics. That is intentional. There are a number of reasons why I have made that choice. The internet is no place for such a discussion.  When the discussion of tactics does happen what we need is to find ways to effectively organize and educate ourselves and others in a manner which can most most efficiently and directly move forward the agenda of fighting global capital, white supremacy, white skin privilege, racism, the Empire, while trying to save the earth.

Of course,much is left out.  This isn't supposed to be some all inclusive document.  I haven't discussed sexism, I haven't discussed gender issues, I have not  said much about the indigenous etc.  Everyone one of these, and much more should be here, but I wasn't about writing a book.  I presume those of you who read Scission by now know that I consider all of these things important.  There is so very much to do.

NOTE:  Please feel free to point out typos, spelling errors, grammar problems, any stupid stuff you note.  Someday I may actually try to re write all this in a more serious way.

Also, feel free to make political comments, criticisms, corrections, whatever.  Although I am not looking to debate much about all this, as it is a statement of where I am and nothing more, I, like everyone, could certainly learn more from others.  I don't claim to be all knowing.  I could be totally off base.  However, I believe we all operate from some place that we believe to me generally correct and this is that place for me. 

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