But let’s return again to Charonne. I find it very revealing of the Party’s attitude which, both today and yesterday, glorifies the fallen comrades but never recalls why the demonstration was held in the first place. One hears only of an abstract and mythic anticolonial struggle. Many of us can bear witness with lucid memories: if there was a February 8, 1962 and before it a December 19, 1961, these united demonstrations in which everyone’s divisions and sectarianisms were put aside, it is only because the terrible event of October 17, 1961 happened, of which the Party never speaks, nor anyone else for that matter.
The problems of Althusser’s text and other recent interventions appear to me to lie elsewhere. What does it mean that “the party must be fundamentally outside the State,” with the clarification that it is “through its activity within the masses”? What does it mean to “tear the party away from the state”? Do we not find here an ideal (and idealist) conception of a party?
Tags: In Translation
We must start again on the basis of an irreversible pluralism, and look to move past paroxysmal – and today, caricatured – forms that have led up to this critical moment wherein every mass workers’ organization is in upheaval, and replace them in the face of the unresolvable alternative of passivity or ephemeral revolt. No matter its concrete shape, the outcome of the crisis of the party-form depends on the simultaneous transformation of all the organizations of the workers’ movement (none of which have every been purely composed of workers).
Once we manage to avoid identifying a “political center” and “theoretical” center in advance, from identifying the elaboration of a strategy with the application of a pre-established vision to the course of history, it might be possible to overcome the dilemmas of “democratic centralism” and the “right to tendencies.”
I would like to briefly return to what might be the central problem of political subjectivity, where Marxist thought encountered its limit and ultimately hit an impasse: the party-form and its conflictual relationship with another “form,” that of the “women’s movement” and, consequently, feminism.
Chiara Giorgi: Karl Marx’s representation of communism was that of an alternative to capitalism, the ground for which it had in fact already prepared. This idea opened up one of the main questions of communism, namely the very notion of transition. In The Philosophy of Marx, you have observed that, far from embracing an evolutionist view, the transition foreseen by… Read more →
I think that Althusser’s project had, from his first articles, a double dimension, political and philosophical. Obviously, one of the appealing aspects of Althusser’s project was that he never wanted to sacrifice either of the two dimensions to the other.