Red Star vs. Hammer and Sickle: The Fall and Rise of Alexander Bogdanov
As it is well known, the Hammer and Sickle symbolise Lenin’s strategy for the Revolution, which Lenin thought achievable if the alliance between the industrial proletariat and proletarian peasantry is maintained. The symbol came about as a product of an official competition held after the October Revolution. Originally it was aimed for the upcoming May Day celebrations, but it has become the symbol of Marxist-Leninist socialist and communist movements, parties and states globally. On the other hand, the Red Star symbol refers to a future communist society that is yet to come about. Although its history has not yet been established by research, Red Star symbolism overlaps with the sharp image Alexander Bogdanov masterfully portrayed in his 1908 novel, which bears the same name. Bogdanov’s Red Star was published many times, especially after the October Revolution, when Bogdanov was one of the leaders of the Proletkult movement and later on, and accepted as the starting point of the genre of Bolshevik sci-fi / utopian novel. My talk will be about the fall and rise of Alexander Bogdanov and the importance of his ‘lost paradigm’. I will present an overview of his scientific, utopian, and revolutionary politics, the decay of his contribution, as well as its re-discovery and renewal. Contrasting the anti-authoritarian line of his politics to Lenin’s – which Bogdanov explicitly dubbed as an authoritarian one well before the Revolution – I will be using the metaphor of clashing symbols: Red Star vs Hammer and Sickle.
Google workers announce new global union alliance
Tech workers check their phones as they wait for a bus to Silicon Valley. Google workers announced Monday a new global union alliance. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 25 (UPI) — Google workers announced Monday a new global union alliance to hold the company accountable.
The new alliance called Alpha Global, in recognition of Google’s parent company Alphabet, was formed in coordination with Union Network International Global Union, a global union that brings together 20 million workers from various sectors in the service economy, according to a UNI Global Union post.
Farmers Block Roads Across India in Protest Against Farm Laws
Labor-Value Commodity Chains The Hidden Abode of Global Production | MR
So all these big developed countries, they have their own protection measures to face globalization. But a country like us, we are so naive, so innocent, so young. We are a developing country. We don’t have expertise in making this kind of regulation. Indonesia in the end becomes the target market. We have to open [our market], people come in. Some investments come in because our labor is very cheap. But in the end of the day, what happens? They’re selling their products here, mostly, and we don’t have any protections.
The quotation above is taken from one of the interviews I conducted with top managers at two companies in Indonesia. Interestingly, the opinion expressed by this interviewee, a representative of capital from the global South, is predicated on the persistence of the hierarchical world economy, a phenomenon that is recognized by all classes in the South, but which has recently been the subject of a renewed debate among Western scholars, including those on the left.
The Tech Worker Resistance | IRL
Season 5: Episode 4
There’s a movement building within tech. Workers are demanding higher standards from their companies — and because of their unique skills and talent, they have the leverage to get attention. Walkouts and sit-ins. Picket protests and petitions. Shareholder resolutions, and open letters. These are the new tools of tech workers, increasingly emboldened to speak out. And, as they do that, they expose the underbellies of their companies’ ethics and values, or perceived lack of them.
In this episode of IRL, host Manoush Zomorodi meets with Rebecca Stack-Martinez, an Uber driver fed up with being treated like an extension of the app; Jack Poulson, who left Google over ethical concerns with a secret search engine being built for China; and Rebecca Sheppard, who works at Amazon and pushes for innovation on climate change from within. EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn explains why this movement is happening now, and why it matters for all of us.
Kızıl Hamlet, Alexander Bogdanov’un düşüşü ve yükselişi
Örsan Şenalp, 17 Mayıs 2019
Kendini Marksist olarak tanamlayan bir çok düşünür, yazar veya militan, genellikle Lenin’in hışmına uğramış isimleri öğrenmekle veya bunların yazdıklarını okuyarak zaman kaybetmek istemez. Bunun nedeni açıktır. Rus Devrimi sonrasında Lenin’in Marksizm versiyonunu, Marx’ın düşüncesini pratiğe geçirmiş olandır. Bundan dolayı onu felsefi ve bilimsel anlamda en iyi anlayan ve belki de aşan yorum varsa eğer bu onunki olmalıdır. Haliyle onun eleştirdiği diğerleri de geçersiz olmalıdır. Her şekilde Rus Devriminin gerçekleşmesi, kendisini Kautsky ve Plehanov’un Marksizmini aşan o konuma yerleştiren Lenin’in Marksizm anlayışının da en doğru ve otorite konuma ulaşan versiyon oluğunu iddia etmeye olanaklı bir ortam yarattı. Yani Gramsci’nin daha sonra geliştirdiği anlamında sol üzerinde bir hegemonya kurmaya. Böylece Lenin’in Marksizmi aynı zamanda onun liderlik otoritesinin de doğal kaynağı olarak kabul görerek Sovyetler Birliği Komünist Partisi (Bolşevik) çatısı altında kurumsallaşmıştır. Lenin’in Kautsky ve Plehanov’a devrimden önce gerçekleştirdiği şiddetli eleştiri, devrimden sonra (1917-1925 arası) kollektif bir şekilde, parti politikası olarak ve Komintern eliyle ulusal ve uluslararası alanda en geçerli Marksizm olarak ‘Leninizmin’ adı altında doktrinerleştirilmiştir. Daha sonra Trotsky, Zinovyev, Kamenev ve diğerleri, ve hatta Buharin’in kendisi de, bu doktrinerleştirme sürecinde rol alarak Lenin’den sonra Leninizm’in varisi olmaya aday birer fraksiyona dönüşecektir. Fakat bu süreci Stalin’in 1935 tarihli The Short Course (Parti Tarihi Hakkında Kısa Kurs) kitabı noktalamış, bu kitapla Stalin Leninizmin Marx’ı da aşan bir doktrin olduğunu ilan ederek Stalinizmin de zamanı gelince Leninizm’in yerine geçebilmesine zemin hazırlamıştır. Böylelikle Marx-Engels-Kautsky-Plekhanov ve Lenin çizgisi, Stalin’in bu kitabıyla dogmatik ve skolastik bir Marksizm düşüncesine dönüştürülmüş ve dondurulmuştur.
Lenin’nin eleştirel oklarına hedef olup daha sonra Marksist düşünce ve politika alanından dışlanan veya Ortodoks Marksizm kilisesinden aforoz edilenler arasında en yaygın olarak bilinenler yine sırasıyla Kautsky, Plehanov ve Bukharin’in isimleridir. Bunların aksine 1930-1950 arasını kapsayan Stalinist dönem sonrasında yeniden hatırlanması ve keşfedilmesi en uzun süreyle geciken isim ise Alexander Bogdanov olmuştur ve bunun bir nedeni vardır. Aşağıda bu neden üzerinde durmadan önce şunu hatırlatmak istiyorum ki Bogdanov’un tekrar keşfi zamanlama olarak Gramsci’nin yeniden keşfiye (Hapishane Defterleri’nin ortaya çıkmasıyla) örtüşür. Unutluşunun nedeni Bogdanov gibi Lenin’in gazabı değil de Mussolini’nin zindanları olan Gramsci Hapishane Defterleri’nin İngizlice çevirilerinin yapılması ile 1970’lerden itibaren dünya çapında tanınırlık kazanmış ve 20. Yüzyıl’ın en önemli düşünürleri arasına girmiştir. Buna karşın Bogdanov’un, Lenin ve Plehanov karşı duran ve Gramsci’yi de derinden etkileyen düşüncesi ancak günümüzde, o da kısıtlı olarak gün ışığına çıkabilmiştir. Lenin’in Bogdanov’a karşı olan hasmaniyetinin yaptığı etkiyi Gramsci’nin 1922-1924 yıllarında Moskova’da Bogdanov’un Kızıl Yıldız romanını gizlice, sevgilisi ve daha sonra karısı olacak olan Julia Schucht ile beraber İtalyanca’ya çevirişinin hikayesinde görebiliyoruz (Ghetti, 2016). Gramsci Julia’ya gönderdiği notta, 1923 Eylül’ünde Bogdanov’un parti ve devrim karşıtı aktivitelerde bulunma suçlaması ile tutuklanmasına atıfla, artık kendisinin de bir karşı devrimci olduğunu hicvetmektedir. Gramsci bu hicvi yaparken o sırada henüz tamamladıkları anlaşılan Kızıl Yıldız romanının çevirisine gönderme yapar. Bu notu kendisinin Bogdanov’un fikirlerini yakından takip ettiğinin gizli kalmış bir kanıtı olarak okuyabileceğimiz Gramsci, biliyoruz ki 1919’da L’Ordine Nouvo’da yayınlanmak üzere Bogdanov’un devrimci sanat üzerine yazdığı iki makalesini İtalyanca’ya çevirmiş ve bunları yayınlamıştı. Kızıl Yıldız’ın Gramsci ve Juila trafından yapılan çevirisiyse, Gramsci metni yine gizlice Rusya’dan çıkarmaya çalışmışsa bile, İtalya’ya dönüşünde hapse atılması ve bunu takiben İtalyan Komünist Partisi’nin kontrolünün Stalin’in desteklediği Togliatti’ye geçmesiyle ortadan kaybolmuş ve asla yayınlanamamıştır. Bunun dışında biliyoruz ki 1921 yılında Gramsci ve yoldaşları, Moskova’da 1917 Ekim devriminden bir hafta önce Bogdanov ve Lunacharsky önderliğinde kurulan Proleter Kültür organizasyonunun İtalya şubesini Turin şehrinde açmışlardı. Noemi Ghetti’nin tesedüfen gün ışığına çıkan Gramsci’nin bu notlarından derlediği bilgiler ışığında yeniden değerlendirebiliyoruz ki Gramsci’nin ideoloji, kültür ve kültürel hegemonya konularındaki orjinal düşünceleri Bogdanov tarafından 1900’lerin başında dile getirilen ve 1910’larda geliştirilen düşünceler ile neredeyse bire bir paralellik göstermektedir. Yani Bogdanov’un düşüncesinin Gramsci’nin öncüsü olduğunu görmek artık mümkündür. Gramsci’nin düşüncelerinin savaş sonrası dönemde marksizm ve eleştirel toplumsal düşünce tartılmaları üzerinde yaptığı etkiyi göz önüne aldığımızda, onu derinden etkileyen Bogdanov’un çalışmalarının 1900-1920 yılları arasında devrim Rusya’sında gerçekleşen belki de en önemli ve en zengin Marksizm içi tartışma ile beraber unutulmuş olmasının ne anlama geldiğini daha iyi anlaşılabilir.
Ne Bogdanov adının ve düşüncesinin başına gelenler ne de Lenin’in Bogdanov’a karşı husumeti sadece onun en şiddetli Lenin eleştirmenlerinden biri olmasıyla ilgili değildir. 1903-1904 sürecinde Menşevik-Bolşevik ayrımında Lenin ile beraber Bolşevik grubun en önemli ismi olan Bogdanov, aynı zamanda 1905’de Lenin sürgündeyken, St. Petersburg merkezli olmak üzere tüm Rusya’da Bolşevik kanadın çalışmalarını da yürüten isim olmuştur. Yani, 1905 devrimi sırasında Bolşevik hareketin kontrolü pratikte Bogdanov’un elindedir. Bu gerçek inanılmaz şekilde Sovyet döneminde yazılan 1905 Devirm tarihi çalışmalarından neredeyse tamamen silinmiştir. Bunun yanında, Lenin’in temsil ettiği otoriter-liderlik pratiğine karşı duran, politik pratik ile derin bir felsefi ve bilimsel birikimi sentezleyen Bogdanov, felsefe alanında da Menşevik kanadın liderleri, Plehanov ve en başta Axelrod – Ortodoks olmak üzere onun takipçileriyle, şiddetli bir polemik yürütmektedir. Yani bir yandan Bolşevizmin Rusya içindeki önderi konumundadır diğer yandan da anti-Plehanovcu bir Marksizm inşa etmektedir. Böylece aslında topyekün Bolşevizmi temsil etmeye aday bir lider olarak yüksemektedir. Bu durum Bogdanov’u Lenin’in gözünde açık bir tehdit haline getirmiştir. 1905’i izleyen baskı ve gerileme sürecinde, kurulacak Devlet Dumasına parti temsilcilerinin (RSDLP) katılıp katılmaması hakkında yapılan tartışmada Lenin, Bogdanov’un önerdiği boykot konumu arkasında birleşen tüm diğer Bolşevikler’i karşısına alır ve Menşevik kanat ile yan yana durarak Duma’ya katılımı savur. Böyle bir manevra açıktır ki Lenin’in Bolşevik liderlik için Bogdanov’u açıkça rakip olarak ilan etmesi ve ona rest çekmesi anlamındadır. O yıllarda Lenin, daha sonra dönek ve şövenist olarak saldıracağı Plekhanov’u ‘Rus Marksizminin Babası’ ve kendi ideolojik hamisi olarak kabul etmekteydi. Bogdanov ise, yukarıda değinildiği gibi, Plekhanov çizgisini Rus Marksizmi okullarından sadece bir tanesi olarak görüyor ve eleştiriyordu. Rus Marksizmi okullarından diğer bir tanesi de kendisi ve yoldaşlarından oluşan eleştirel çizgisiydi. Bu grupta Bogdanov dışında Gorki, Lunacharsky ve Bazarov gibi, Boşevik kanat içinde veya onu destekleyen etkili isimler bulunuyordu. Plekhanov’un Bogdanov ile girdiği polemikten yenilerek çıkması, onu kendi teorik babası ve Bogdanov’u da en ciddi rakibi olarak gören Lenin için alarm zillerinin çaldığı an olmuş olmalı. Zira Lenin’in Bogdanov’u ilk önce politik alandan daha sonra da tarih sahnesinden silecek ve Lenin’in ölümüne kadar sürdüreceği saldırıları tam da 1907-1908 itibariyle başlayacaktır. Bu yıllarda yazdığı ve yayınladığı fakat o dönemde ilgi görmeyen Materyalizm ve Empriokritisizm kitabını Lenin, Bogdanov düşüncesini ve politik kişiliğini iğdiş etmeye adamıştır. Lenin’in kitabı, Bogdanov’un Plehanov’dan talep ettiği ve Plehanov’un asla girişemediği cevap olarak tasarlanmıştır. Bu hamleyi takiben Lenin 1909’da, elindeki fonları kullanarak Bolşevik kanadın yayın organı Proletarya (Proletarii) dergisinin genişletilmiş yayın kurulunu Paris’de toplar ve Bogdonov’un editoryal gruptan ve Bolşevik merkezden dışlamasını sağlar. 1910’da toplanan Plenium’da ise Bogdanov çevresinde toplanan Vpered (İleri) grubu da parti içi bir fraksiyon olarak tanınır. Buna rağmen, Vpered grubu 1911’de dağılır ve Bogdanov bu olaydan sonra parti-politikasından tamamen koparak kendisini bilimsel ve kültürel çalışmalara verir.
Plehanov’un bu dönemde başlayan şoven tutumu 1914’de savaş yanlısı bir tutuma dönüşünce Lenin bu sefer ona karşı saldırgan bir posizyon alacak ve 1914-15’de meşhur Hegel ve diyalektik okumlarına girişecektir. Bu okumalar sonucunda kaleme aldığı Felsefe Defterleri’nde Lenin Plehanov’un felsefi otoritesini alaşağı ederek onu ve kendisi de dahil hiç bir Rus Marksistinin Hegel’i, diyalektiği ve dolayısı ile Marx’ı hiç bir zaman anlamamış olmadığını ilan eder. Bir anlamda kendisini Kaustky ve Pekhanov’un takipçisi olma zincirinden kurtarmaktadır Lenin. Düşüncesindeki dönüşümü aldığı notlara açıkça yansıtan Lenin bu notları asla yayına hazırlamayacaktır. Bunun nedeni bu notlarının Lenin’in kendi Marksist geçmişini de şüphe altında bırakmasıdır, özellikle de Materyalizm ve Empriokritisizm’i yazarken ki bilgisizliğini gözler ününe sermektedir Lenin (Anderson, 2014). Yine de, bu okumalarla yeniden şekillenen düşüncelerini o dönemde Plehanov’a ve diğer ‘sosyal şoven’ döneklere karşı geliştirdiği eleştirilerinde ve temel analizlerinde kullanır. Ekim Devrimi sonrasındaysa Lenin’in prestiji, tanınırlığı ve politik etkisi sınırsızca artmıştır. Böyle bir ortamda Bogdanov bir kez daha, bu sefer hızla büyüyen Proleter Kültür hareketinin önderi olarak çıkar Lenin’in karşısına. Lenin’in takip eden hamlesiyse, hakkındaki görüşleri ve felsefi konumu tamamen değişmesine rağmen, 1918’de ölen Plehanov’u Rus Marksizminin Babası olarak kutsamak ve 1921’de Materyalizm ve Empriokritisizm’in ikinci baskısını, yeni bir Bogdanov karşıtı kampanya çerçevesinde yayınlamak olur. İlk baskısı okunmayan ve hatta Lenin’in Felsefe Notdefterleri’nde kendisinin bile aciz bulduğu kitabının ikinci baskısı hem Rusya içinde hem de uluslararası alanda büyük bir etki yapar. Lenin’in tamamen polemik amacıyla yazılmış ve felsefi bir değer taşımadığı görüşü genel kabul gören bu kitabı, SKP(b) yayın organları tarafından Sovyet-Rus Devrimin liderinin muazzam felsefi eseri olarak lanse edilir. Lenin’in Bogdanov’a vurduğu en kalıcı de darbe bu olur. Bundan sonraki kuşaklar Bogdanov’u bu kitap üzerinden okuyacak ya da daha çok okumayacaktır. Örneğin Karl Korsch, Anton Pannekoek, Louis Althusser gibi etkili Marksist düşünürler, Stalin’e ya da yeni-Hegelciler’e karşı Lenin tarafında olduklarını iddia ederlerken Bogdanov’u okumadan ona Lenin’in Materyalizm ve Empriokritisizm’i üzerinden saldırırlar. Stalin ise kendi döneminde rakiplerini ortadan kaldırmak ve tarih kayıtlarından silmek için Lenin’in Bogdanov’a olan husumetini referans alır. Buharin’e karşı yürüttüğü kampanyada örneğin Stalin Buharin’in Marksizmden sapan bir Bogdanovcu olarak suçlar. Stalin döneminde Sovyet rejimine karşı kapitalist dünyadan gelen dış tehdit, İkinci Dünya Savaşı ve sonrasında Soğuk Savaş’a dönüşen ortam Lenin-Stalin çizgisinin etkisini ve Bogdanov’un unutulmuşluğunu pekiştirmiştir.
Bogdanov üzerindeki Lenin sansürü o kadar vahim bir düzeye ulaşmıştır ki Kautsky, Bernstein, Luxemburg, Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, Buharin, Plehanov, gibi Marksizmin tüm diğer önemli isimleri hakkında yayınlanan çok sayında biyografiye karşılık, Bogdanov’un ilk İngilizce biyografisi ancak geçtiğimiz yıl, 2018’in Aralık ayında basılabilmiştir. Ne yayınevleri, ne sosyalist ve komünist partiler, ne de diğerleri yüz yıl boyunca Bogdanov davası konusuna girmek ve onun hakkında yorum yapmak istememiştir anlaşılan. Bir ömür boyu süren çalışmalarının sonucunda usta tarihçi James D. White tarafından kaleme alınan Kızıl Hamlet: Alexander Bogdanov’un Hayatı ve Fikirleri bu nedenle sadece bir kişisel biyografi olmanın ötesine geçer. Aynı zamanda 20. Yüzyıl Marksizmini anlama ve yerli yerine oturtma anlamında bir boşluğu doldurmaktadır Kızıl Hamlet. Kitap ayrıntılarıyla ortaya koymaktadır ki, Bogdanov ve yoldaşlarının temsil ettiği Marksizm yorumu birçok anlamda, 1945 sonrasında, Batı’da ve Doğu’da, gelişen yaratıcı ve üretken Marksizmlerin öncülüğünü yapmış çok önemli ve değerli bir birikimdir; böylesine bir kaynak neredeyse bir asır boyunca gözlerden uzak kalmıştır. Böylelikle eşitlik, özgürlük ve kardeşlik adına, kurtuluş adına yeni kuşaklar ondan yararlanamamış, küresel kapitalizm onun yokluğunda kök salmış, komünizm fikri neredeyse bütün mevzilerini kaybetmiştir. 1950’lerden bu yana, ilk olarak Sovyetler Birliği’nde ortaya çıkan Sibernetik tartışmaları çerçevesinde gündeme gelen, giderek de dünya çapında gelişen Alexander Bogdanov’un rehabilitasyonu süreci James White’ın bu çalışması ile taçlanmıştır diyebiliriz. İroniktir ki, ortaya çıkan tablo bize, Marx’tan sonra onun düşüncesini gerçek anlamda ileriye taşıyan en önemli düşüncelerin, bir asırdır sanıldığının aksine, Lenin değil onun ezeli rakibi olan Bogdanov tarafından geliştirdiğini göstermektedir. Okadar ki, bugüne değin Bogdanov’un ötesine geçen tutarlılık ve kapsamda yapıtlar ortaya koyabilen eleştirel bir düşünce akımı ve teorisyenin çıkmamış olduğunı görüyoruz. İster istemez akıllara ya yüz yıl önce öyle olmasaydı sorusunu geliyor, bir de ya bu yüz yıl farklı olursa sorusu. Kızıl Hamlet Marksizmin yeni bir re-konstrüksiyonu için zamanın geldiğini haber vermektedir.
Anderson, K. B. (2014) “Revisiting Lenin’s Hegel Notebooks, 100 Years Later” (Lenin’in Hegel Notdefterleri’ni 100 Yıl Sonra Yeniden Ziyaret Etmek), Socialism and Democracy, Vol. 28: 1 (2014)
Ghetti, N. (2016) La Cartolina di Gramsci: A Mosca, tra politica e amori 1922-1924 (Gramsci’nin Kartpostalı: Moskova’da siyaset ve aşk arasında 1922-1924), Donzelli editore.
White, J. D. (2018) Red Hamlet: The Life and Ideas of Alexander Bogdanov (Kızıl Hamlet: Alexsander Bogdanov’un Hayatı ve Fikirleri), Historical Materialism Book Series, Brill.
It will take a Revolution to them back!
Following the 9/11, the West, led by the US and the UK states, governments and ruling classes, the Europeans and many local elites hanging in the tail, has launched a war on democracy. Neo-cons and Zionists have names this endless war they kicked off “war on terror” which is composed of illegal occupations, covert operations, organized coups and civil wars that disintegrated series of sovereign states; turning them a source of real terror, slavery, and barbarism, as in Iraq, Libia, and Syria. This war on democracy based on lies, threats, corruption, and manipulations. From the beginning of the war democracy and ‘liberalism’ got undermined at home (in the West) and globally, and the rise of more terrorism, more wars and fascisms guaranteed. The revaluations of the real nature of this war by Manning and Snowden, publicized by Wikileaks with Assange, caused and become a symbol of broader counter organizing and resistance to the rising global fascism. Most of the mainstream liberal media and academia was cowardly silent. In passing weeks the 18 years loop was closing. In the wake of Bradley (Chelsea) Manning’s and Julian Assange’s arrests, terrorist Netanyahu was re-elected in Israel as prime minister. While this was happening, one of the top global political economists, Kees Van der Pijl was being targeted by the Zionist Israeli lobby, since he was tweeting about US gov. zionist Isreali gov. involvement in 9/11. Previously such accusation was successfully avoided, by pressures and threats on academia and media, and turned into a conspiracy, mainly feeding into the resurgence of the extreme right wing. This time, by highlighting capitalist-zionist ruling class base, backed by scientific research, in such a conjuncture Van der Pijl’s analysis put forwards the naked truth. It becomes clear today that fascism emerged and it is irreversable with the means of democracy. Manning and Assange’s arrests signify a historical turning point. If we give Manning and Assange silently to these monsters it will take a revolution to get him back.
The ’emergence’ of the new worldview was with Tektology, not Systemology; with Alexander Bogdanov, not Ludwig Von Bertalanffy!
by Örsan Şenalp
In 1927, German professor Johann Plenge (1874–1963) did publish his review of the first edition of the German translation of Alexander Bogdanov’s Tektology: General Science of Organisation (1926). The very same year Ludwig von Bertalanffy, who would later be known as the founder of the General System Theory (German Allgemeine Systemtlehre — GST), completed his dissertation in which he developed his initial ideas. The following year, in 1928, Bogdanov died as a result of a blood exchange experiment he conducted with a student who survived Malaria in the end, and von Bertalanffy published his new study titled Kritische Theorie der Formbildung (Critical Theory of Development) in Berlin.
Plenge’s review of Tektology was negatively critical. He thought of Bogdanov and his bold attempt as flawed. To him, Bogdanov was intoxicated by Marxism and in Tektology he was dismissing all the differences amongst the vast variety of types of organization and degree of complexity amongst the systems under investigation. He also highlighted Bogdanov’s claim that his science was “distant from morality as mathematics” to warn the reader that such an approach has the potential to generate an ethicless total-control mechanism, similar to one indeed created by Stalin later on.
However, Bogdanov himself openly made similar warnings about the dystopian future applications of such science with much emphasis, especially in an authoritarian framework like Lenin’s creation. Bogdanov was someone who gave a lifelong struggle against Lenin’s authoritarian politics and the result of his struggle was a political demise and the removal of his name from official Russian historiography (White, 2019). Whereas Plenge was someone who did dedicate his efforts to creating a personality cult of his own. Later on, Hayek would accuse Plenge of being one of the inspirations for the rise of national-socialist ideology (Hayek, 1944).
Ironically, Plenge’s complaints about Bogdanov’s Tektology of not recognizing the differences in forms and contents between varieties of ‘organizations’ of systems -for instance by conscious man or self-organization in nature etc., he was missing the point Tektology was making. That point was the argument for the need for a non-reductionist meta-science that is investigating possible generalizations, common organisational patterns and principles to all complex wholes, no matter physical, material, social or psychic or otherwise. Tectology was that unifying science. Exactly this premise later become the main point of the GST, as it was proposed by von Bertalanffy and his colleagues. Beyond that, most of the principles proposed by von Bertalanffy between 1927 and the 1950s can indeed be found in an almost word-to-word identical fashion in Bogdanov’s Tektology, which was written and published between 1912–1929, in its original Russian.
Well-known systems thinker Milan Zelený quoted from N. N. Mosieev, in his 1988 article entitled Tectology, that: “All systems problematic, undertaken by L. von Bertalanffy and his followers, is contained, practically in toto, within the theory of organizations of A. A. Bogdanov, but not vice versa. For these reasons, it seems to me that the “general systems theory” represents a significant step backwards in comparison with Bogdanov’s “Tektology” which, after its author’s death, was unfortunately never reissued in the Russian language. [This should certainly be corrected in 1989–90, M.Z.]” (note is original by Zelený).
Since then, the similarities between GST and tektology, and to what extent tektology exceeded the GST have been shown, by other systems thinkers such as Vadim Sadovsky, George Gorelik, Peter Dudley, and Arran Gare. According to Peter Dudley: “Bogdanov’s work anticipated the (entire) systems quest of the twentieth century” (Dudley, 1996). Indeed, when one studies tektology and compare it to the development of systems thinking in the second half of the 20th century one finds out that all the piecemeal developments and discoveries of systems concepts, mechanisms, and principles: such as open-closed systems, bifurcation, emergence, self-organization, self-regulation or feedback mechanism, autopoiesis as well as a concrete methodology for studying the variety of systems were actually addressed and integrally described in Tektology.
In pursuing his negative critique, Plenge was also joining the term ‘general systems’ science/theory/doctrine’ for the first time; suggesting that it should be a replacement for the term ‘tektology’. The term ‘system/s’ is used 23 times in the article and several times to redescribe tektology as a general science of systems of reality (Plenge, 1927). Thus it was Plenge who coined the term ‘general systems’ to refer to tektology in 1927. However, the term later comes to be solely associated with von Bertalanffy’s work (Boulding, 1956/2004; Hofkrichner, 2005 and 2010). This fact alone requires historians of science and ideas to reconsider the legacy of the General System Theory and its position. Besides this and more importantly, the issue of Bogdanov’s influence on von Bertalalnffy’s GST needs clarification. Since it is a fact that both Tektology and Plenge’s review of it got published in von Bertalanffy’s own native German and this happened at the time Bertalanffy was concentrating on the topic. Namely, he was working on his initial ideas of the ‘general system theory’ from 1926 on; that is the year part I of Tektology was published in German (Bogdanov, 1926).
Between 1924 and 1926 Von Bertalanffy was studying at the University of Vienna and writing his PhD dissertation -titled (translation) “ Fechner and the Problem of Integration of the Higher Order “ (BCSSS archive)- under the supervision of Moritz Schlick. According to Pouvreau, when von Bertlanffy was studying biology there “five hours a week he went to the lectures of Moritz Schlick (1882–1936) on “Logic and Epistemology” and took part in a seminar organized by this neo-positivist philosopher and founder of the famous “Vienna Circle” in 1929.” (Pouvreau, 2009). Milan Zelený claims that -by referring to Finnish systems scientist Ilmari Susiluoto’s work (1982)- Moritz Schlick, “… the author of General Theory of Knowledge (Allgemeine Erkenntnislehre) in 1918”, “… was backing Bogdanov in his lectures.” (1988, p. 332). In this article Zelený refers to Susiluoto, yet Susiluoto himself clarifies, in his article, that he could not find any proof for Schlick passing information to von Bertalanffy about Bogdanov and his Tektology. What Susiluoto indeed claimed was that Schlick did back Bogdanov when he stood up against the criticism of Einstien’s relativity theory in Russia, after the 1917 Revolution. And he backs this with a reference to the 1923 symposium edited by Bogdanov and his friends (Bazarov and Yushkevich) on Einstein’s theory -titled Einstien’s Theory of Relativity and Its Philosophical Interpretation and published in Moscow. In this book, the principle article was that of Bogdanov entitled ‘The principle of relativity from the organizational point of view’ (Bogdanov, 1923). And the second article after Bogdanov’s was by Schlick.
The fact that one of von Bertalanffy’s favourite teachers on the topic of epistemology, who was his thesis supervisor and with whom he would stay connected until his death after an attack by a Nazi supporter student in 1936, knew about Bogdanov and his work (which was highly relevant to the dissertation von Bertalanffy wrote) makes things very curious. Von Bertalanffy published his first book two years after completing his doctoral dissertation. The year second part of Tektology came out in German and soon after that Bogdanov passed away. Von Bertalanffy was so fresh in his studies on the idea and so closely following the debates related to the ‘unity of science movement, which was popular in Vienna and Berlin circles. Both Bogdanov and Plenge were well-known figures to both these circles, which makes things even more interesting. Moreover, Hayek, to which von Bertalanffy refers in his “An Outline for the General Systems Theory” (1950), devoted an entire chapter on Plenge in his Road to Serfdom. Hayek and von Bertalanffy were both present at the 1960 Symposium on Principles of Self-Organization, organized by Heinz von Foerster, well-known cybernetician and relative of Hayek and Wittgenstein. These connections do increase the chance that von Bertalanffy knew Plenge and they decrease the chance that von Bertalanffy did independently develop his ideas from those presented by Bogdanov. Yet still, he never referred to or credit his precursor, even after the rediscovery of Tektology in the 1960s in Russia (Pouvreau, 2009). Von Bertalanffy was explicitly and consciously anti-ideological, especially in terms of Marxism. In addition, Marxism was seen as a threat in academic circles in general, in Germany and the US. Therefore reference to the work of a known Bolshevik leader would have meant the end of von Bertalanffy’s career as well as his GST. Thus he might have remained silent on the issue.
After von Bertalanffy died in 1972, Bogdanov (and Tektology) gained wider international recognition as the forerunner and precursor of systems thinking and cybernetics. We will never know how would have von Bertalanffy reviewed Tektology if he had lived through the 70s and 80s. Yet to a large extent because of von Bertalanffy’s silence this recognition remained rather limited. In the end, von Bertalanffy and his GST still get the most credit even today as the founder of the systems paradigm, enjoying this recognition against the historical facts. The new generation of systems thinkers takes von Bertalanffy’s foundership status for granted. When suggesting to see Tektology as an attempt to build a general system science (Allgemeine Systemtlehre) Plenge was also offering another, shorter, term general “systematology” to use instead. It is very ironic that a similar term ‘systemology’ is being suggested 80 years later, by new-generation systems scholars (Pouvreau and Drack, 2007) to replace the term with von Bertalanffy’s GST, celebrating it as a full-fledged science of systems.
All in all, taking together the fact that the terms ‘general system theory’ (Allgemeine Systemslehre) and ‘general science of systems’ were already coined in the 1920s by Johann Plenge to describe Bogdanov’s tektology and the fact that Tektology was inclusive many of the terms and principles suggested by von Bertallanfy and presented more (Dudley, 1996) we need to finally conclude that it was not von Bertalanffy and his GST but Bogdanov and his Tektology was the moment of emergence of the new worldview that called later in the 20th century systems (and later complexity) science/thinking. What emerged with Tektology, in its original form, however, was a critical and historical unifying science, to serve as a tool for building new systems and eventually a new world to be replaced with capitalist one; instead of being a tool-box for solving its problems or managing the complexities it encountered from the point of view of the ruling classes. In Bogdanov, the new worldview (as picked up by von Bertalanffy) is meant to be developed from the point of view of the ruled and oppressed (the part left out by von Bertalanffy). This latter aspect gave the main characteristic to Bogdanov’s work and it meant taking social power relations and inequalities at the core. It also meant taking social classes as part of the societal whole ontologically. These main aspects of Bogdanov’s Tektology were shaved off or missed in von Bertalanffy’s version.
Since the early 2000s, there emerged a discussion on the nature of the development of the systems paradigm and calls were made to understand the reasons behind its relative failure (in becoming a genuinely general/universal science with a clear and unifying methodology and principles, as it was promised yet not delivered by von Bertalanffy and his colleagues like Boulding, 1956/2004). Thus prominent figures in the systems science/thinking community have been debating on the issue and inviting their colleagues to return to the origins for a re-evaluation (Rousseau et. al. 2016). Rousseau and at. al. even developed a proposal for such a model for a ‘really general’ General Systemology (2018). Yet although they do themselves make the call, the sources where they return at best is again the work of von Bertalanffy and those who work with him. The emergence is one of the key concepts for the scholars and experts of system and complexity science/thinking, thus, it is a serious contradiction that systems and complexity scientists/thinkers insist on referring to von Bertalanffy as the founder and the inventor of the GST and not seriously engaging with the general and unifying methodology proposed by Bogdanov in Tektology, decades earlier.
Even if there was no case of plagiarism whatsoever to talk about (for von Bertalanffy’s work) there is an urgent need for broader recognition of and engagement with Bogdanov’s work and his Tektology; not only as the precursor of the GST (as well as Cybernetics, OR, etc) but as a value in itself. The current situation is misleading and promoting a wrong conception of ‘the emergence of systems/complexity thinking itself’ and as a result, new researchers are missing an important source of inspiration and knowledge. Even more, ironically, Marxian and post-Marxian scholars and theorists who were inspired and influenced by systems and complexity science/thinking do not know about and recognize Bogdanov and Tektology; amongst them worldwide recognized scholars and philosophers such as Immanuel Wallerstein, Jurgen Habermas, Gilles Deleuze, Jaques Derrida, Michael Foucault, Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, Bob Jessop, Antonio Negri, so on so forth. This must change and it is high time to turn from a historical mistake and make the correction.
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science, page: His Life — Bertalanffy’s Origins and his First Education. Retrieved 2019–02–04 Archived July 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
Bogdanov, A. (1923) “Printsip otnositel’nosti s organizatsionnoi tochki zreniya” (The principle of relativity from the organizational point of view), In: Teoriya otnositel’nosti i ee filosofskoe istolkovanie (Moscow, Izd. t-vo Mir, 156 pp.), pp.101–122. [Articles also by M. Schlick, V.A. Bazarov, P.S. Yushkevich. RGASPI, f.259, op.1, d. 36 (printed text) Kremlin Library; RGB (Russian State Library)]
Bogdanov, A. A. (1926). Allgemeine organisationlehre (tektologie), book I. Hirzel. Berlin.
Bogdanov, A. A. (1928). Allgemeine organisationlehre (tektologie), book II. Hirzel. Berlin.
Boulding K. (1956/2004) “General Systems Theory — The Skeleton of Science”, in Management Science Vol. 2 №3, April 1956, 197–208. Reprinted in E:CO Vol. 6 Nos. 1–2, Fall 2004, 127–139.
Dudley, P. (1996) “Back to Basics? Tektology and General System Theory (GST)”, Systems Practice, Vol. 9 №3., 273–284.
Hayek, F. A. (1944) Road to Serfdom, GeorgeRoutledge&Sons.
Hofkirchner, W. (2010) General Systems Theory: The Origins of General Systems Theory. Online at: www.hofkirchner.uti.at/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/GSTcombined.pdf
Hofkirchner, W. (2005) “Ludwig von Bertalanffy. Forerunner of Evolutionary Systems Theory”, in: Gu, J., Chroust, G. (eds.) The New Role of Systems Sciences For a Knowledge-based Society, Proceedings of the First World Congress of the International Federation for Systems Research, Kobe, Japan, CD-ROM (ISBN 4–903092–02-X), 6
Plenge, J. (1927) “Um die Allgemeine Organisationslehre”, Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv, 25. Bd. (1927), pp. 18–29, online at: https://ia802808.us.archive.org/1/items/PlengeReviewOfTektology/Plenge%20Review%20of%20Tektology.pdf [Google translated version of Plenge’s review is online at: https://docs.google.com/document/d/125b9eToOruGxJ1HL4sv5SsCupz0XX-sJg4dKlUNfQZY/edit?fbclid=IwAR18hpcKwGAQVlwz_KbRQd0nHyYkLZRRbI0pu7F15iDGiTzL07uHhlXayzE%5D
Prouveau, D. (2009) The Dialectical Tragedy of the Concept of Wholeness: Ludwig von Bertalanffy’s Biography Revisited, ISCE Publishing.
Pouvreau, D. and Drack, M. (2007) “On the history of Ludwig von Bertalanffy’s “General Systemology”, and on its relationship to cybernetics”, International Journal of General Systems, Vol. 36 №3 June 2007, pp. 281–337.
Rousseau, D. et. al. (2018) General Systemology: Transdisciplinarity for Discovery, Insight, and Innovation, Spingler.
Rousseau, D., Bellingham, J., Wilby, J., & Blachfellner, S. (2016) “In Search of General Systems Theory”, Systema, pp. 76–99.
Susiluoto, I. (1982) The Origins and Development of Systems Thinking in the Soviet Union, Dissertationes Humanarum Litteratum no. 30, Academia Scientarium Fennica, Helsinki, 1982.
White, J. (2019) Red Hamlet: The Life and Ideas of Alexander Bogdanov, Historical Materialism Book Series, Brill.
Zelený, M. (1988) “Tectology”, International Journal of General Systems, Vol. 14, №4, 331–342.
Bogdanov was the founder of ‘Critical’ ‘Cultural’ ‘Western’ ‘Marxism’ as opposed to Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant versions of religious and scholastic Marxism(s)
The below is the list of Alexander Bogdanov’s main works in book format.
And here is the Russian language list compiled by one of the editors of the Alexander Bogdanov library, Evgeni V. Pavlov: https://bogdanovlibrary.org/main-works-1/
Bogdanov’s books in Russian:
Bogdanov A. Short Course of Economic Science. Moscow, 1897; St. Petersburg, 1899; 1905; Moscow, 1920; 1922; 1923; 1924; Petrograd, 1922; 1923; Kharkov, 1922; 1923; Kursk, 1922; Novgorod, 1922; [15 editions]
Bogdanov A. Key Elements of Natural Studies. St. Petersburg, 1899
Bogdanov A. Cognition from Historical Point of View. St. Petersburg, 1901
Bogdanov A. On Psychology of Society (Articles of 1901-1904). St. Petersburg, 1904; 1906
Bogdanov A. (as Ryadovoy). Olminsky M. Our Misunderstandings. Geneva, 1904
Bogdanov A. Empiriomonısm: Articles on Philosophy. Vol. 1. Moscow, 1904; Vol. 2. Moscow, 1905; Vol. 3. Moscow, 1906
Bogdanov A. Red Star: Novel-Utopia. St. Petersburg, 1908; Moscow — Leningrad, 1924; 1929; [6 editions]
Bogdanov A. Destruction of a Great Fetishism. Faith and Science. St. Petersburg, 1910
Bogdanov A., Stepanov N. Course of Political Economy. Vol. 1. St. Petersburg, 1910; Vol. 2. Moscow-Prague, 1919-1920; 1925; [3 editions]
Bogdanov A. Cultural Task of the Present. St. Petersburg, 1911
Bogdanov A. Engineer Menni . Fantastic Novel. St. Petersburg, 1912; Moscow, 1918
Bogdanov A. General Science of Organisation. Tektology. Vol. 1, 2. St. Petersburg, 1913; Berlin — Petrograd, 1922; 1927; Vol. 3. Berlin — Petrograd, 1922; 1925; 1929; [3 editions]
Bogdanov A. Philosophy of Alive Experience: Essays. St. Petersburg, 1913; Moscow, 1920; 1923
Bogdanov A. Introduction in Political Economy (in Questions and Answers). St. Petersburg, 1914; Moscow, 1917
Bogdanov A. Science about Common Consciousness. Moscow, 1914; 1918; 1923
Bogdanov A. Question of Socialism. Moscow, 1918
Bogdanov A. (as Werner N.) For What does Society Develop? Vyatka, 1918
Bogdanov A. Introductory Course of Political Economy. Moscow, 1918; 1920; 1924; Kazan, 1918; Tashkent, 1918; Tyumen, 1920; Kharkov, 1921; Yekaterinoslav, 1921; Ryazan, 1923; Saratov, 1923; [11 editions]
Bogdanov A. The Elements of Proletarian Culture in Development of Working Class. Moscow, 1920
Bogdanov A. Essays on General Science. Tektology. Samara, 1921
Bogdanov A. On Proletarian Culture: 1904 — 1924. Leningrad — Moscow, 1924
Bogdanov’s books in English:
Bogdanov A. A Short Course of Economic Science. Ed. by S. M. Dvolaitsky. London: Communist Party of Gr. Britain, 1923; 1927
Bogdanov A. Essays in Tektology. The General Science of Organization. Transl. by George Gorelik. Seaside California, 1980
Bogdanov A. Tektology: The General Science of Organization. Transl. by George Gorelik, 1989
Bogdanov A. BOGDANOV’S TEKTOLOGY Book 1 Ed. by Peter Dudley, 1996
Bogdanov A. Red Star: The First Bolshevik Utopia. Ed. by Richard Stites, Ann Arbor: Ardis Publishers, 1982; Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1984; 2006
Bogdanov A. The Struggle for Viability: Collectivism Through Blood Exchange, 2002
Bogdanov A. The Philosophy of Living Experience, 2016
Bogdanov’s books in German:
Bogdanow A. Die Kunst das Proletariat. Leipzig Wolgast, 1918
Bogdanow A. Uber der Kunstnachloss; Die Kritik des Prolet. Kunst. Leipzig, 1919
Bogdanow A. Was ist proletarische Dichtung. Berlin: Seenol, 1920
Bogdanow A. Die Wissenschaft und die arbeiter Klasse. Berlin— Wilmersdorf: Dia Diaktica, 1920
Bogdanow A. Algemeine Organisationslehre (Tektologie). Bd. I. Berlin, 1926; Bd. II. Berlin: Hirzel, 1928
Bogdanow A. Ruga Stelo. Fantasia romano. Leipzig, 1929
Bogdanow A. Sowjetphilosophie. Darmstadt: Hrsg. W. Goerdt, 1980
From the above list itself, it becomes crystal clear that it was not Ernst Bloch, Karl Korsch, Gregory Lukács nor Antonio Gramsci, nor the early Frankfurt school philosophers, nor Althusser who did produce the first systematic Marxist work on ideology, consciousness, cognition, and culture. It was Bogdanov who opened the path, starting from 1897 and developing his ideas in more than 6 books focusing on cognition, culture, and ideology both in an integral way to the critique of political economy and as an autonomous field of inquiry.
This fact alone makes Bogdanov the most important Russian follower of Marx, Engels, and Dietzgen, who upgraded historical materialism for the 20th century and shattering the myth of ‘critical’ ‘cultural’ ‘Western’ Marxism. This makes Bogdanov the precursor of all the others, who were aware of Bogdanov and his work, as Gramsci who secretly translated Bogdanov’s Red Star (see Ghetti, 2016) during his time in Moscow in a collaboration with his wife Iulia.
To remember, and put in perspective, Bogdanov’s major contributions are:
1. Production of first vernacular study book on Marxian political economy.
2. Production of the standard version of the Russian translation of Marx’ Capital.
3. Production of first systematic work on ideology, culture, cognition, consciousness.
4. Production of the first communist utopian novels: Red Star and Engineer Menni
5. Production of the meme of Red Star, as the symbol of future communist, collectivist, comradely society.
6. Production of Tektology, as the emancipatory alternative to reactionary Cybernetics, General Systems Theory, Chaos and Complexity Sciences.
7. Production of the first form of “Input-output” analysis, as the core of the democratically planned economy.
Every contemporary Marxian, or radically critical thinker and militant should, therefore, be questioning and knowing very well how about of the demise of such an important figure and work, by conscious and continuous efforts of the ‘makers’ and ‘the leaders’ of the ‘revolution’, Lenin first and Stalin after him, those who made gods and prophets of emancipatory praxis out of their personal cults, which has became one of the major religions of modern times, as the main cause of the great failure of emancipatory praxis before capitalism. Similarly, it is essential to see how this massive body of forgotten work, offering a revolutionary new paradigm have preceded and exceeded those Westerners like German critical theorists and French post-structuralist, both influenced and manipulated by the development Cybernetic apparatus, developed by US imperial army, and became part of it in the post-War and Cold War era.
A new theory, science, and practice; a praxis of revolution, which is capable of simultaneously building cultural, political, economic hegemony and alliances, is on the rise as an inevitable and unstoppable force.
The Global Tapestry of Alternatives
The Global Tapestry of Alternatives
The world is going through an unprecedented crisis engendered by a dominant regime that has resulted in deepening inequalities, increasing and new forms of deprivation, the destruction of ecosystems, climate change, the tearing off of the social fabric and the dispossession of all living beings with immense violence. However, the past two decades have witnessed the emergence of an immense variety of radical alternatives to this dominant regime and to its roots in the capitalist, patriarchal, racist, statist, and anthropocentric forces. These range from initiatives in specific sectors such as sustainable and holistic agriculture, community-led water/energy/food sovereignty, solidarity and sharing economy, worker control of production facilities, resource/knowledge commons, and inter-ethnic peace and harmony, to more holistic or rounded transformations such as those being attempted by the Zapatista and the Kurds in Rojava, to the revival of ancient traditions or the emergence of new worldviews that re-establish humanity’s place within nature and the values of human dignity, equality and the respect of history.
The Global Tapestry of Alternatives is an initiative seeking to create solidarity networks and strategic alliance amongst all these alternatives on local, regional and global levels. It starts in the local interaction among alternatives, to gradually organize forms of agreement at the regional, national and global scale, through diverse and light structures, defined in each space, horizontal, democratic, inclusive and non-centralized, using diverse local languages and other ways of communicating. The initiative has no central structure or control mechanisms. It spreads step by step as an ever-expanding, complex set of tapestries, constructed by already existing communal or collective webs, organized as alternatives to the dominant regimes, each of them autonomously weaving itself with other such webs.
It organizes mechanisms of interaction between those regional and national structures and with the societies, in which they exist, in diverse languages and different means, promoting periodically regional, national and global encounters, when the conditions allow for them, as well as close and synergistic linkages with existing organizations, like the World Social Forum. The Global Tapestry of Alternatives is about creating spaces of collaboration and exchange, in order to learn about and from each other, critically challenge each other, offer active solidarity to each other whenever needed, interweave the initiatives in common actions, give them visibility to inspire other people to create their own initiatives and to go further along existing paths or forge new ones that strengthen alternatives wherever they are, until the point in which a critical mass of alternative ways can create the conditions for the radical systemic changes we need.
- A small group of activists from several regions of the world started the initiative, which community-led its structure as it takes shape in different parts of the world. The initial group will continue supporting the initiative as long as necessary. It has some sponsors, who subscribe to this document and will try to weave itself with similar initiatives around the world. Anyone interested in following the evolution of the initiative or participate in it may write a mail to email@example.com.
ACT 5: THIS TIME IT’S INTERGALACTIC | A call out from the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests), for solidarity actions everywhere!
ACT 5: THIS TIME IT’S INTERGALACTIC
A call out from the gilets jaunes (yellow vests), for solidarity actions everywhere.
On Saturday the 15th of December 2018.
It began as anger against neoliberal climate policies, a revolt againstunfair petrol taxes that pass on the cost to working people ratherthan the rich and the very multinationals most responsible for polluting our planet. Now four weeks later, it has become a popularuprising for dignity, a rebellion against the elite and their world,a cry for equality. It has evolved into a powerful refusal ofrepresentation, of spokes people, political parties and unions. Wehave all been overtaken by what has been happening, everyone hasbecome more than themselves; because we areimpossible to define, the only code we have is a colour code, all theother codes are broken. We are too diverse and decentralized to becalled a movement, too different to be categorized, let’s simply saywe are an uprising ! Some in Europe have tried to turn this into anemblem of ideas from the extreme right, attempting to instrumentaliseour heterogenity..The yellow vests was at first a piece ofroad safety equipment, now it become an unprecedented event whichopens up the fault line that charts our future, a chasm we mustbridge, between social and environmental justice. It invites us allto make a choice between the political classes and the people,between closing borders and opening possibilities, between despairand hope.
This Saturday 15th of December, will be a key moment, ACT 5. Each Saturday has been called an act, an acknowledgment that the most beautiful popular theatre takes place in the streets, when we are dressed in costumes of fluorescent yellow, swarming like disobedient bees. During the week days, our call has been to block the flow of the economy – roads, oil refineries, factories etc. Already the minister of the economy is saying that more than 10 billion euros have been lost and that France’s economic growth will be affected. Every Saturday the instruction is to shut down consumption – supermarkets and malls – and to gather around symbols of state power – the president’s palace in Paris and the prefectures in the regions. Whilst all the world’s cameras have been focused on the capital’s Champs-Elysee, our swarm of yellow vests does not come from the metropolises, but from the forgotten peripheries, and the uprising continues with blockades in villages and towns up and down the country. Those of us who cannot spend our days and nights in the makeshift cabins that have popped up on occupied the roundabouts, or join those shutting down motorway toll gates, bring cakes, palettes for firewood, hot morning coffee or legal advice to those who have never disobeyed a law before.
In theatre, Act 5 is the final one, it either ends with catastrophe or victory. This Saturday the future of this rebellion is in the balance, this is why we are calling on you, across the world and beyond, to join us, to put on your yellow vests and take action in solidarity. In the past, France has already provided the spark that set light to the powder keg of history, and today’s sparks needs the breath from afar to keep it alight. This Saturday we need to show that Act 5 is not the last one and that we are still writing the script and becoming actors of our own lives.
In the lead up to Act 4, last Saturday (8th December), the French state tried to put out the fire with the weapon of fear, “people are going to come with guns…they are ready to kill” the Minister of Interior told the cameras. He announced France’s biggest police mobilisation since May 68 – 89,0000 officers across the country, twelve armored vehicles in Paris, helicopters firing tear gas, water cannons. “The republic is safe” he reassured the nation. Then they began to arrest and humiliate high school students rising up against the reform of the school system and people who had made call outs on the social media networks which have been the lifeblood of this uprising. But it did not work, we did not stay at home, tens of thousands of us came out for Act 4, and continued to call for Macron’s destitution. 1700 of us were arrested (hundreds as preventative arrests), over 200 injured, some journalists stopped from doing their work by the police and riots breaking out in several cities.
The elite, and their live TV channels are dumb struck, they try to label, to understand, they search for spokes people, a representative, clear demands. But they are looking for the old world, we are making the new one. Their greatest fear is that despite their attempts to split us, to claim we are far right, or far left, ‘violent hooligans’, ‘professionals of chaos’, the population remains with us, 72 percent, whilst only 18 percent are in favor of Macron, according to recent polls. To their ridiculous fantasy labels, many of us reply we are simply revolutionaries, we are those who were once nothing in the eyes of power, and now make it tremble.
On Monday night, President Macron, whose deep contempt has poured fuel on the fire, broke his aloof silence, 23 million watched him live as he tried do fein authority and calm the anger. He promised things he had promised never to fold on two days earlier: a small raise in minimum wage, no tax on overtime. (The petrol tax was already cut last week). He never mentioned the word ecology and made sure that the rich and capital would not be taxed. But few were duped by the crumbs he threw us, as the yellow jackets watched, every announcement was booed: “He doesn’t give a shit about us… Macron has not grasped the extent of what was happening,” said one to the press “we are now asking to change the system !”
Huddling around a bonfire in the middle of a roundabout, one of us reminded everyone about the force of friendship we have made this month, “We meet, we kiss. Our silence killed us.” he says “We’ve been silent too long. We were invisible. Yellow saved us.” Meanwhile scrawled on the walls and chanted everywhere are the words “we do not just want to survive, but to live”.
Last Saturday in Paris a cop, told one of us: “If you want to stay alive, go home.” His chilling words simply echo the violence that all governments are prepared to use when they feel like the people have become ungovernable. The yellow vest was once an everyday symbol of safety, a colour to avoid danger, now it has become a magic cloak of visibility, a fluorescent force that asks who will be in charge of safeguarding our fragile future, either those who see it as an opportunity to make money, increase their control of the population, or the people…
We were once invisible, just nothing, we are now everywhere…
Saturday 15 December, ACT 5 this time it’s intergalactic, block everything (especially French multinationals, symbols of the French state and banks in your territories).
La Maison du Peuple St Nazaire
As we finish this call to action, we hear that Egyptian authorities have ordered commercial outlets to restrict the sale of the yellow vests fearing that Egyptian protesters might copy us, especially in light of the eighth anniversary of the 2011 spring…
Read and spread the word in other languages: https://giletsjaunesintergalactiques.home.blog
Gramsci was Italy’s answer to Bogdanov
Since the 1960s and 70s Marxian thinkers came to believe that it was Gramsci who developed the first systematic ideas and concepts, building on Marx and Lenin’s ideas, on the issues of ideology and culture, and developed a unique conceptualization of hegemony, as an integral part of a theory of state and civil society. The influential contributions based on Gramsci readings of Althusser, Laclau, and Mouffe, Miliband, Poulantzas, Anderson, Frankfurt School theorists, cultural studies of Stuart Hall, French post-structuralists have come to inform the most important debates on the state, classes, ideology, MNCs, social movements, new imperialism so on.
However, below quotation from the preface to the English translation of the first ever Marxian Political Economy study book, by Alexander Bogdanov, shows clearly, that 30-40 years prior to Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks, there emerged the first-ever systematic study of ideology, culture, and social consciousness, both as an integral analysis or critique of the political economy, and as an independent study titled: The Science of Social Consciousness. Bogdanov’s conceptualization and the strategy of cultural hegemony and revolution clashed with Lenin’s concept and strategy of political hegemony and revolution. Anderson mistakenly identified that Lenin’s conceptualization and strategy, based on political dominance as the main influence on the ideas Gramsci later developed. However, it has become obvious since the 80s that Bogdanov’s work, which caused the notorious strategical rivalry with Lenin, actually was the main influence on Gramsci’s thought and
“The chapters on ideology in this and the other courses by no means serve as supplements to the main subject. Ideology is an instrument for organizing economic life an is consequently an important condition in economic development. Only within these limits and in this connection is it touched upon here. It is dealt with independently in a special textbook “The Science of Social Consciousness” which is written in a form similar to this.”
Download the book: https://monoskop.org/images/d/d8/Bogdanov_Alexander_A_Short_Course_of_Economics_Science.pdf
Against the Logistics of Exploitation (Stockholm Meeting, Nov 23-25) | Transnational Social Strike Platform
- Read the first program outline: https://www.transnational-strike.info/2018/10/26/against-the-logistics-of-exploitation-program-outline-stockholm-meeting-nov-23-25/
- Unions and collectives from Sweden, UK, Germany, France, Poland, Italy, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Spain, Norway, Slovenia, Slovakia and Czech Republic have confirmed their presence. Please in order to take part in the meeting fill in this registration form: https://goo.gl/forms/MKJnOiKzRZA3GqMI2
- Read the call out in several languages: https://www.transnational-strike.info/2018/05/24/against-the-logistics-of-exploitation-stockholm-november-23-24th-2018-tss-meeting-call-out-2/
- Check out the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/342866613135963/
#Googlewalkout employee interviews | Vox
Nearly 17,000 Google employees walked off the job yesterday.
The Google walkout was about sexual harassment as well as a lack of transparency and accountability at the company, employees said.
Nearly 17,000 Google employees walked off the job yesterday as part of a massive, worldwide protest against the company’s mishandling of sexual harassment cases.
The walkout, which was organized by seven Google employees, was a response to a New York Times report on the multimillion-dollar payouts offered to high-level employees who had been accused of sexual misconduct. Some protesters carried signs that read, “Happy to quit for $90m,” a reference to the exit package Google gave Andy Rubin, the creator of Android, who was forced to leave the company in 2014 after an employee accused him of forcing her to perform oral sex on him. “What do I do at Google? I work hard every day so the company can afford $90,000,000 payouts to execs who sexually harass my coworkers,” read another.
It was also an opportunity for Google employees — who have repeatedly clashed with senior management on a number of topics, from censorship in China to the company’s role in government projects — to put forth a vision for a better, more equitable company.
“A company is nothing without its workers,” the organizers wrote in a piece for the Cut. “From the moment we start at Google, we’re told that we aren’t just employees; we’re owners. Every person who walked out today is an owner, and the owners say: Time’s up.”
Some of the employees who chose to speak with me about why they protested asked to be referred to by a pseudonym and to not specify which campus they work at, but felt that it was important to come forward. Two of the three people who agreed to speak with me are men, as are nearly 70 percent of all Google employees, according to the company’s annual diversity report.
All of them emphasized that despite enjoying their jobs, they felt responsible for creating an environment where anyone could thrive, regardless of gender, race, or ethnicity, and where no one was afraid to report harassment or assault. They also referred to past Google controversies, like the sexual harassment reported by former Google software engineer Kelly Ellis, who quit the company in 2014 because of its “sexist culture”; and the fact that internal company communications, including a video from an all-hands meeting, were leaked to the right-wing website Breitbart.
Despite the massive size of the protests and the fact that Google sanctioned the walkout, support for it wasn’t universal. One employee told me that there were “people in the company who are against the walkout” and disagree with the organizers’ demands. (It’s worth noting that James Damore, the author of an “anti-diversity” manifesto who was fired in 2017, had plenty of ideological allies at the company.) Those who did participate in the walkout, though, view it as a necessary step in the ongoing fight toward equity and transparency at one of the world’s biggest companies.
Their responses have been condensed and edited for clarity.
Global Climate March on December 8: Climate Alarm
A proposition of international protest from France after the big succes of
the march for the climate in september 8 (more than 130 000 people) and
The main platform calling is “It Is Still Time” https://ilestencoretemps.fr/
Facebook group for local organizators
34 events in France
Paris : https://www.facebook.com/events/340482030052960/
Albi : https://www.facebook.com/events/377405346158161/
Amiens : https://www.facebook.com/events/632419823827121/
Angers : https://www.facebook.com/events/342163226551570/
Angouleme : https://www.facebook.com/events/963243080528752/
Argenteuil : https://www.facebook.com/events/1838096812906264/
Aubenas : https://www.facebook.com/events/1083895785103950/
Auxerre : https://www.facebook.com/events/2293210097374509/
Blois : https://www.facebook.com/events/485364671949397/
Bordeaux : https://www.facebook.com/events/346142159473427/
Boulogne Sur Mer : https://www.facebook.com/events/577558846008294/
Bourg en Bresse : https://www.facebook.com/events/2156001251077038/
Charleville Mezières : https://www.facebook.com/events/336834623749070/
Grenoble : https://www.facebook.com/events/2386206288273423/
La Rochelle : https://www.facebook.com/events/257898164916662/
Marseille : https://www.facebook.com/events/1877597305650005/
Montélimar : https://www.facebook.com/events/1366722196798290/
Montpellier : https://www.facebook.com/events/940904046108417/
Moulins : https://www.facebook.com/events/1417096901726777/
Mulhouse : https://www.facebook.com/events/1961680483910423/
Nice : https://www.facebook.com/events/290963651746730/
Orchies : https://www.facebook.com/events/1838096812906264/
Rennes : https://www.facebook.com/events/324248818129039/
Roanne : https://www.facebook.com/events/908550399341288/
Saint Die : https://www.facebook.com/events/329085477671506/
Saintes : https://www.facebook.com/events/1967374956691053/
Saint Etienne : https://www.facebook.com/events/2124039551257537/
Saint Malo : https://www.facebook.com/events/310182309799302/
Senlis : https://www.facebook.com/events/486467295181427/
Tarbes : https://www.facebook.com/events/2165308190168696/
Toulon : https://www.facebook.com/events/2679769178915433/
Toulouse : https://www.facebook.com/events/259970081328765/
Uzès : https://www.facebook.com/events/2425259121027537/
Vannes : https://www.facebook.com/events/108600473425370/
Thousands march across France to demand climate action
The huge crowds brandished colourful banners that read, “Change the system, not the climate” and “#ThereIsStillTime”.
An estimated 10,000 people took to the streets in eastern city of Lyon, while between 2,000 to 3,500 marched in southwestern Bordeaux. In Lille, the protest drew “more than 3,000”, according to police.
“The public outrage is justified because so many warnings are being ignored by governments around the world,” Rajendra Shende, chairman of the environmental organisation TERRE, told FRANCE 24.
The last major climate change protest in France – which drew an estimated 115,000 people nationwide, according to organisers – was held on September 8, a little more than a week after the country’s former environment minister Nicolas Hulot resigned from office, disappointed over the lack of progress on climate change and other issues.
Hulot was succeeded by François de Rugy, who hailed Saturday’s turnout as a “call to action”.
“I applaud those who marched for the climate this afternoon across France. Everyone’s mobilisation is a call to action!” he tweeted.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)
Proletkult (is back!), the fiction, by the Italian collective Wu Ming | via Noemi Ghetti
“Bogdanov imagined pulling out his revolver and shooting his heart. Then he would have tied the anchor to the corpse, he would have knocked it overboard, and he would have thrown the gun behind his body. The stories of Leonid Voloch would be lost forever at the bottom of the gulf. His journey on the socialist planet would have died with him. A philosophical story. A novel of science and fantasy that no one would ever read “.
Moscow, 1927. Let your stories mingle with reality to the point where you come to life: is not this the secret dream of every narrator? This is what happens to Aleksandr Bogdanov, writer of science fiction, but also revolutionary, scientist and philosopher. While preparations are under way to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution and the showdown between Stalin and his opponents is approaching, the author of the famous Red Star receives a visit from a character who seems to have come straight out of the pages of his novel. It is an opportunity to retrace the steps of a life lived on the edge of the abyss, between insurrections, exile and wars, chasing the ghost of an old lost companion along the way. A search that will deeply shake the convictions of a lifetime. “They head to the exit, passing between the models on display. The different rockets seem to reveal the provenance of their designers. That of Max Valier, South Tyrolean, is a spindle of metal and German will, with two stubby wings, similar to arms, each ending in a pointed missile. The spaceship of Federov is a tin whale, full of mysterious diverticula and extroflexed trumpets, which one imagines to navigate melancholy and Russian to other galaxies. Goddard’s lunar torpedo is a giant, no-frills, pragmatic, and Yankee bullet. The Esnault-Pelterie aircraft are butterflies of French elegance, while the four-stage rocket engine with a double reaction engine, of the Italian Gussalli, is baroque from the name ».
Original Italian text follows (above is Google translated)
The Class Strikes Back Self-Organised Workers’ Struggles in the Twenty-First Century
Specific case studies dealing with both the Global South and Global North assess the context of local histories and the spatially and temporally located balance of power, while embedding the struggle in a broader picture of resistance and the fight for emancipation.
Contributors are: Anne Alexander, Dario Azzellini, Mostafa Bassiouny, Antonios Broumas, Anna Curcio, Demet S. Dinler, Kostas Haritakis, Felix Hauf, Elias Ioakimoglou, Mithilesh Kumar, Kari Lydersen, Chiara Milan, Carlos Olaya, Hansi Oostinga, Ranabir Samaddar, Luke Sinwell, Elmar Wigand.
Publication Date: 3 January 2018
YouTubers Union! | via Felix Stalder
Welcome to the official homepage of the YouTubers Union!
We are a community based movement that fights for the rights of YouTube Creators and Users. Our core demands are:
- Monetize everyone – Bring back monetization for smaller channels.
- Disable the bots – At least verified partners have the right to speak to a real person if you plan to remove their channel.
- Transparent content decisions – Open up direct communication between the censors (“content department”) and the Creators.
- Pay for the views – Stop using demonetized channels as “bait” to advertise monetized videos.
- Stop demonetization as a whole – If a video is in line with your rules, allow ads on an even scale.
- Equal treatment for all partners – Stop preferring some creators over others. No more “YouTube Preferred”.
- Pay according to delivered value – Spread out the ad money over all YouTubers based on audience retention, not on ads next to the content.
- Clarify the rules – Bring out clear rules with clear examples about what is OK and what is a No-No.
Everyone is welcome to join – we need you! No matter if you are PewDiePie or just a user.
You don’t have to pay any money and you have zero obligations.
You can join us simply be becoming a member of our Facebook group and/or by joining our forum.
On 2nd March 2018 Jörg Sprave released a video entitled “Creators, Users… To Arms! Join the YouTubers Union.” The Youtube union was Born, It was created as a way to give Youtube creators a voice. The goal being to encourage, or force Youtube to consider the opinions or creators and recognise their important contribution to the platform. When Jörg first announced his intention to form a union there was a flood of support from large and small creators as well as viewers. The main purpose of the Union is to give creators a voice which is loud enough to matter to Youtube, one that is loud enough that it cannot be ignored.
Jörg has made it clear that he intends to run the Union as a democracy, operating as it’s leader only for as long as it is required to facilitate the Union’s foundation. Afterwards there would be a leadership vote and decisions made on a management structure as the need arises. In the short term it is far more important that we recognise the need to talk with one voice, rather than deciding the specifics of our goals. Jörg did lay out some goals as a starting point in his original video in order to get the ball rolling and he has bee instrumental in both organising the formation of the union and encouraging participation and discussion as we move forward in deciding the next steps to take.
Here is Jörg’s original video
For more information you can check out the Youtubers Union Forum, or the Facebook Group.
‘Nothing to lose but your chains’ – Rethinking Global Labour: After Neoliberalism via Linda Clark
RONALDO MUNCK, in conversation with Rebecca Gumbrell-McCormick.
Friday 2nd November, 6pm, Room 101, 30 Russell Square, Birkbeck, University of London.
Post-financial crisis, many have bemoaned the demise of labour as a political force given relentless globalization and the increased insecurity and precarious nature of employment for many workers. In his new book, Ronaldo Munck challenges this view and heralds a new era in which a new global working class and their organizations can resist capitalism’s onslaught. Join us for a discussion of the challenges and opportunities for workers in the UK and worldwide. Contributions from the floor are encouraged and there will be plenty of time for questions and discussion.
RONALDO MUNCK is Head of Civic Engagement at Dublin City University and a Visiting Professor of International Development at the University of Liverpool and St. Mary’s University, Nova Scotia. He has authored or edited more than 30 books on topics related to globalization, international development and social movements, including Contemporary Latin America, Marx 2020: After the Crisis and ‘Rethinking Global Labour’ (Agenda Publishing, 2018)
REBECCA GUMBRELL-MCCORMICK is Senior Lecturer in Management, Birkbeck, University of London. She is the author, with Richard Hyman, of ‘Trade Unions in Western Europe: Hard Times, Hard Choices.’
Rethinking Global Labour was published in September 2018. It is part of the ‘Building Progressive Alternatives’ series from Agenda Publishing.
‘A much needed book … should be read by everyone interested in understanding and building a truly international labour movement.’ – Melanie Simms, University of Glasgow
‘A remarkable book. It is a powerful call for labour to return to its social movement origins and fulfil its historic role in a post-globalized world.’ – Edward Webster, University of Witwatersrand
‘A wide-ranging, multidimensional and thoughtful discussion of the future for the workers of the world.’ – Goran Therborn, University of Cambridge
From the Introduction:
‘Traditionally, both industrial relations theory and the somewhat pessimistic tradition of Western Marxism have a tendency to view workers as passive and trade unions as purely reactive organizations. Yet all the factors that have led to a decline in labour’s power in developing countries – such as offshoring, restructuring and lean production – have also led to a recomposition of labour on an international scale and the creation of new forms of organization that challenge and resist the worst of capitalism’s onslaught.
Today – as workers, – be they settled or migrants, rural or urban – face an economic order that has had no clear strategy since the 2007-2009 crisis, they are forced increasingly to seek alliances across geographical regions and gender, age, race and ethnic divides. By joining together, not only do they stand to lose their chains but they can also be part of constructing another more humane world.’
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