organisation and class struggle: august london commune forums

20 07 2010

August will see a series of London public meetings on different historical experiences of communist organisation and class struggle. The meetings are open to all, and are all on Monday evenings from 7pm at the Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, near Old Street.

We have chosen three historical examples of organisations which – in our political view – represent a highly developed experience and practice, mainly due to the high points of the movement at the time. We invite you to debate the past and present of Faridabad Majdoor Samachar/Kamunist Kranti in India (2nd August); the history of   Potere Operaio in Italy (late 1960s – early 1970s; 16th August) and Big Flame in the UK (1970s; 30th August).

We will try to debate these experiences both in terms of their historic background and their current relevance for our search for an organisational practice within the proletarian terrain. Both Potere Operaio and Big Flame transformed and finally dissolved themselves at general social breaking-points of crisis, namely the 1973 and 1979 convulsions of global capital. What does that mean given that we now pose the organisational question while looking into the open void of recession (or even a double dip recession)?

More details on first meeting below.

The Monday 2nd August meeting is on Kamunist Kranti (Communist Revolution). The organisation is active in Faridabad, an industrial suburb of Delhi – they publish a monthly workers’ newspaper and distribute it within the industrial belt. The roots of the group go back to the time of the State of Emergency in the mid-1970s, when many young students and workers were attracted by the militant rural resistance of the Maoists.

The end of the 1970s, after lifting of the State of Emergency, saw a mass upheaval of radical workers’ struggles in the main urban centres – and a subsequent brutal repression by the ‘People’s Government’. The comrades of Kamunist Kranti decided to work in the ‘Indian St.Petersburg’ of the time, in Faridabad. They adopted a Leninist political frame-work and practice: setting up a radical union-structure, workers’ reading groups and a workers’ newspaper.

During the 1980s the group was part of many struggles in the huge industrial areas, the group saw many traditionally led struggles being defeated – despite militant efforts and sacrifices. On the background of these experiences the group started to self-criticise some of the fundamental political notions of ‘leadership’, ‘representation’, ‘centralised struggles’.

They went through a process of re-reading Marx, Luxemburg and other ‘left-wing’ communist thinkers. They changed the character of their publication, focussing more on the day-to-day workers’ experiences than on ‘criticising’ the other left groupings. They developed a new language, addressing many aspects of daily alienation in radical terms, such as the school system, the divisions between generations, the urban life of speed and spectacle – on the background of industrial working class power for social transformation.

A friend who has stayed and worked with Kamunist Kranti for some time will share his experiences.

For more info or to register your interest email uncaptiveminds@gmail.com

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5 responses

28 07 2010
29 07 2010
Bill Butlin

The only member of Big Flame that I ever knew was a guy called Marcus Russel who went on to manage Oasis.

30 07 2010
Chris

Was that a turn to the right or ultra-leftism?

30 07 2010
Bill Butlin

I quite like Oasis and have a few of their CDs but as an old geezer I accept I’m no expert. Marcus was a serious Socialist, who used to be called an Ultra Left by the campus Euro Communists- but that was thirty years ago – I used to drive him bonkers by quoting Lenin at him when we were at a meetings – what a dogmatic bore I must have been thirty years ago.

Looking forward to the Big Flame meeting.

31 07 2010
David

We had to switch round the Potere Operaia and Big Flame dates because we got a speaker for the Big Flame forum who could only come on the 30th. He is a former member of that group who was active in the Merseyside Ford plant in the 70s.




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