What in the world are we going to do?
Look at what everybody's going through
What kind of world do you want it to be?
Am I the future or the history?
— Coldplay, “Everyday Life”, 2019

The party-form has presided over the greatest successes of the communist movement across the world, most notably the revolutions in Russia and China. Governments produced by the communist party-form have done immense work to improve the lives of the people they govern by developing their productive forces, increasing literacy, and improving standards of living with regard to food accessibility. It is difficult, however, to claim that these developments are unique to countries with dictatorships of the proletariat. Defenders of capitalism also argue that capitalism has improved standards of living. The chief characteristics which set dictatorships of the proletariat apart from capitalist nations are not their improvements in living standards and literacy, but the steps they make towards realizing communism. These steps have included the suppression of the bourgeoisie, confiscation of private property by the state, and support for other liberation struggles. Furthermore, these states have undertaken the establishment of institutions and policies designed to lead to the dismantling of the state, the democratization of public property, and the abolition of the division between manual and intellectual labor.

Not all of these actions have caused the intended effects of realizing communism. While there are obvious limitations that have prevented some of these goals from coming to fruition — such as conflicts with outside enemies and the prioritization of the improvement of national living conditions — the mission to develop communist social relations has yet to be completed and appears unlikely to be completed any time soon. On the one hand, it is not as easy as simply pushing the socialism button and transforming relations of production overnight. On the other hand, we ought not to withhold criticism due to a fear of appearing too critical. The focus of this essay is to provide a critique of the party-form while proposing a possible alternative capable of accomplishing goals which the party-form has struggled to achieve.

One valuable criticism put forth by Josh Messite in his newsletter entries was that while countries run by socialist parties have made great steps towards development and improving their living standards, they have struggled to establish the massive social transformations required to bring about socialism.1 Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri also assert in their text Assembly that when it comes to the abolition of private property, a cornerstone of socialist transformation, “the socialist regimes that maintain the power of property and accumulate it in the hands of the state are a poor guide.”2 While Messite and Hardt/Negri may come to different conclusions (I do not believe Messite has such a harsh judgement to pass on socialist states), they both recognize that states which have professed a desire to transform social relations have not completed their task to date, even if notable progress has been made. Their ideas diverge slightly, however, when it comes to the party-form’s potential as a revolutionary tool. Hardt and Negri freely admit that they “have no sympathy for those who claim that, because of the weakness of the movements and the illusions of reform through electoral means, we need to resuscitate the corpse of the modern vanguard party.”3 If Messite’s assessments seem to those defending the vanguard to be too radical, I can only imagine how incensed they are by the fact that there are some on the left out there drawing from the Marxist tradition while rejecting beloved ideas like workers’ states controlling property and the establishment of parties altogether.

Hardt and Negri reject the electoral party and the vanguard party, but do not reject organization outright. In fact, an entire section of Assembly entitled “False assumption: Critique of leadership = refusal of organization and institution”4 addresses the misconception that the two favor an anarchist proposal involving no structure. Rather, Hardt and Negri propose that leadership should be used as a tool: flexibly and on special occasions. Further, they propose that strategy and tactics should be inverted from their typical position.5 Currently, it is generally understood that long-term strategy belongs to the leaders and short-term tactics belong to the movements. The aim is an inversion of this existing setup in which long-term decision-making is in the hands of the popular movements, while short-term decision-making belongs to leadership. Democracy in a movement is a difficult thing to bring about and maintain. Hearing from all of the disparate voices within a movement takes a great deal of effort, and “we do not (yet) have adequate means to confront immediate problems in a democratic way.”6 The inability of some problems to be solved democratically does not indicate to us that all major problems should be dealt with by a leader or leading organization. 

Hardt and Negri firmly disagree with the notion that a dichotomy between vertical and horizontal organizational forms no longer exists. Aside from the fact that their arguments rest upon the real differences between the horizontal and the vertical, so long as people advocate for organizational forms which can be described as vertical or horizontal, I believe the dichotomy is still necessary. While I dislike the terms and prefer to simply call an organizational form by its name and describe its qualities in more concrete terms, my feelings toward the adjectives “vertical” and “horizontal” have nothing to do with whether they are relevant in the popular discourse. If people start proposing semi-democratic methods with temporary leadership or modified party-forms designed to more readily bend to popular will, then I would be willing to say that perhaps those terms are no longer necessary. 

So what exactly do vertical and horizontal movements look like? What are the characteristics that set them apart? A vertical movement is one with a series of power structures maintaining order from the top down, while a horizontal movement has no top to speak of. Often this dichotomy is framed as mapping on to the dichotomy of organization and spontaneity, something which Andrew McWhinney touched on in one of our newsletters, drawing on the ideas of Rodrigo Nunes. Nunes argues against the idea that this dichotomy exists, telling readers that what is often claimed to be spontaneous is actually part of a larger organized movement, that, “spontaneity... does not mean the same behavior actualizing itself at once across a large number of people: it always starts somewhere; there are always some people who organize it.”7 This is a sentiment that can also be found in Assembly.8 What people call “spontaneous” is often not spontaneous at all, and is in fact part of a larger movement. Nunes argues that elements of spontaneity and organization and of horizontality and verticality are inseparable, something which is not radically opposed to Hardt and Negri. If a perfect horizontality and spontaneity do not actually exist, then does a true verticality actually exist? Seeing as a perfect top-down undemocratic machine is not what a Leninist party-form looks like, it is safe to say that neither truly vertical nor truly horizontal movements exist. Rather, they exist on a continuum depending on answers to questions like, “how democratic should our movement be?” “What do we do about internal dissent?” “How do we defend against counterrevolution and revisionism?” 

Hardt and Negri’s ideas differ from their opposition, both anarchist and Marxist-Leninist, in their demands for strategy-tactics inversion, temporary leadership, and a wholly democratic society beyond the revolution. They advocate for organization, temporary leadership, and the creation of nonsovereign institutions, all things which would aggravate anarchists who firmly believe that movements should be horizontal. At the same time, their ideas also aggravate those who are firm believers in the value of a vertical movement, one of whom I will respond to later, for failing to answer some questions of how this movement defends itself from external and internal attacks. 

I think attempting to break out of the discursive dichotomy between vertical and horizontal is a valuable idea. Nevertheless, I believe that though they themselves use the term horizontal to describe their inspirations, Hardt and Negri have crafted a better idea of how to incorporate democracy into an organized and structured movement than those who oppose them. To quote Assembly again, “this would not mean that centralized decision-making structures can be abolished, that a pure horizontality would be sufficient. In our view, in fact, under present conditions, a dynamic between verticality and horizontality, between centralized and democratic decision-making structures, is still necessary.”9 Hardt and Negri are careful to prevent readers from developing the idea that they support a movement entirely without leadership; they just insist on using the term differently than others have used it. 

Progressing through our newsletter entries gave me a refreshed perspective on how the communist movement is doing across the world. Too often have I forgotten that socialists in the global south are utilizing the party-form to great effect. I agree with Messite that it is not necessary to replicate what has succeeded elsewhere because conditions in the global north demand different approaches from the communist movement. We have seen that some of the party-form’s greatest capabilities have to do with development and material improvements in the lives of those who live under their jurisdiction. Lives are undoubtedly improved by the existence of socialist countries, but the question of passing into socialism has yet to find an answer. These states have been unquestionable successes, just not succeeding at every goal intended. These countries which have required campaigns of development in order to compete with capitalist powers have seen great improvements, but what of a country which is already a capitalist superpower? What does this then mean for those who live in some of the world’s wealthiest countries? While poverty exists in these countries, it is not poverty produced by a lack of development. If the party-form in power has seen more success in economic development than in social transformation, then what must be used in a situation where development is not the first priority? The party-form can take and hold power, yes, but what comes after this? Beyond all of the hypotheticals and theories and anything in between, what are the goals we have once society is under our sway? For some nations, the path seems clear, starting with the development of the productive forces. The Soviet Union and China are fantastic examples of nations which needed these developmental periods in order to catch up to the industrialized nations with which they sought to compete. That said, socialist revolutions are not necessarily limited to countries in need of development. The lack of revolution in the developed capitalist nations of the world can be traced to a variety of causes, only one of which is the comfort afforded by the exploitation of the global south. In places like the United States and Great Britain, the next steps must be taken towards achieving communism’s desired social relations, and this means making massive changes to the social relations of a developed society, something which has been a struggle for most communist movements. 

Rather than limiting analysis solely to the most well-known historical examples of the party-form, we must also consider the parties which exist today but are not in power. These parties in places like the Philippines, India, and Nepal are less focused on development and more on taking power and transforming society. A good example of these evolved currents within communist parties comes in Jose Maria Sison’s arguments for protracted people’s war as a revolutionary strategy, with nations currently unable to wage one biding their time and waiting to strike when the moment is right.10 These socialist parties are not content to establish something for their nations alone, but they actively value the proletarian internationalism which stands as a cornerstone of the communist movement. With parties that operate with different intentions than those in the past, the question then becomes, “regardless of intentions behind it, how capable is the party-form, should it obtain power, of making the drastic social transformation we are looking for?” In spite of previous struggles to transform society, I do not condemn the parties of the past for failing to transform society completely, as limitations prevented such transformation from coming to be.11 I merely have doubts about whether or not good intentions will prevent the parties of the modern day from repeating the actions of the past. It is these doubts which push me towards systems with little to no track-record, experimental as they are, with the hope that one of the alternatives will be capable of establishing something beyond capitalism. 

One real challenge to existing societal structures, as discussed by Cam W. in his piece “What is Communism?”,12 was the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution’s attack on the division of manual and intellectual labor. At the same time, the GPCR is not something easily replicated, nor was it successful. As a result, Messite and I look to other methods of social transformation in the hopes that they will successfully bring about a socialism which has yet to be seen. Messite prefers the commune-form of Alain Badiou, one which has been seen twice throughout history, in both Shanghai and Paris, rapidly changing social relations in each case.13 Both of these cases met with failure more quickly than  communist projects like the Soviet Union. Commune-form projects are ambitious and capable, but it remains to be seen if their work can be defended.

 I look to Hardt and Negri’s ideas about social transformation, ideas which largely focus on the dismantling of private property. To quote directly from the authors, “private property is not the foundation of freedom, justice, and development but just the opposite: an obstacle to economic life, the basis of unjust structures of social control, and the prime factor that creates and maintains social hierarchies and inequalities.”14 As previously mentioned, Hardt and Negri do not approve of the accumulation of private property by the state, regardless of who controls the state. This then requires a new formation of how to dismantle private property, which Hardt and Negri theorize by drawing on protest movements and legal traditions. One of the greatest inspirations for Assembly was the number of leaderless social movements which occupied public spaces and sought to make real changes in people's lives that would have laid groundwork for future projects. Examples of these range from New York’s Zuccotti Park encampments to Egypt’s Tahrir Square to the Indignados of Spain and the Gezi Park protests in Turkey. Whether these goals were aimed at increasing democracy or another form of material justice, their methods inspired Hardt and Negri. Hardt and Negri draw on one tactic in particular in their section on abolishing private property: the occupation of public spaces. These occupations and the temporary making common of the land they occupied are a model which can be emulated elsewhere.

Hardt and Negri draw on legal traditions from different countries. The American tradition, or the “bundle of rights” tradition, is the first of the two mentioned, and the second of the two is found in Europe, with specific references to Italy’s constitution and European legal theorists. Each legal tradition has its own perspective on property, and its own way to resist neoliberal projects supporting private property and labor rights. For Hardt and Negri, the American tradition, which involves conceiving of property as a bundle of rights (as theorized by John Commons),15 can be a key to conceiving of common property if and only if “the bundle of rights theorized by legal scholars were extended equally to society as whole.”16 As for the European tradition, the social perspective on labor and private property, it can be used to solve the issue of private property when “labor is socialized and the whole society becomes a terrain of valorization… the common becomes the key to productivity, whereas private property becomes a fetter that hinders productive capacities.”17 Hardt and Negri have written about this European tradition elsewhere in their works, discussing how the Italian constitution of 1948 even begins with “Italy is a democratic republic founded on labor.”18 It is this society of the common which stands as the ultimate goal; however, and these methods using legal traditions only stand as potential stepping stones to this finish line.

Some may be confused by this explanation, thinking that Hardt and Negri, in some error, have re-invented either public or private property in their conception of the common. However, the common does not belong to any one individual, nor is it the division of property into individual units for people to mark as their own, nor is it the accumulation of property by a state in which individuals can theoretically express their opinion. The common is the democratic governance of what used to be private and public property, with all involved in decision-making and labor. 

Hardt and Negri establish a handful of basic principles for the common in Assembly

  1. Rule one is the ecological rule, maintaining that we have to “treat the earth as common”19 and guarantee a future for the inhabitants of this planet. The idea of treating the earth as common is likely to stir memories of the phrase “tragedy of the commons,”20 which is the idea that only private and public property can protect the environment from our destructive tendencies. Hardt and Negri cite the work of Elinor Ostrom to help refute the notion that, without property, the commons would be left to ruin.21 
  2. Rule two emphasizes the idea that immaterial forms of property like intellectual property and code are already close to the common. 
  3. Rule three states that commodities produced by social labor should be “opened for common use”22 and that planning decisions should be made as democratically as possible.23 
  4. Rule four suggests that both urban and rural areas, “built environments and established cultural circuits” must be managed in common. 
  5. The final rule is that existing institutions dedicated to necessary services (healthcare, welfare, education, and housing) must be used for everyone and governed by everyone.24 

These five rules, simple as they are, help to lay the groundwork for what a society transformed by a democratic movement would look like. That is how all of this information about Hardt and Negri’s proposals links back to the party-form: these principles for how to construct a society after an uprising of the multitude conflict with those put forward by those in the past, those who have not succeeded in making the kinds of social transformation that we call for. They do not use the term communism to describe what they are after, and there are differences between the communism some have theorized and what they call for, it is true. Societies which have had uprisings led by the party-form have yet to transform society in either the communist or Hardt and Negri sense of the abolition of private property and the dismantling of the state. The visions for society are similar yet different, but neither has been achieved. Whichever vision you find more appealing, the issue in either case becomes how to get there. Luckily enough, strategies have been fashioned from both moments, past and present, and we have options for how to proceed. 

The main options, as I see it, are party-forms as they have existed in the past, modified party forms for the present (and it is debatable to what extent some ideas remain a party), or the partial horizontality and democracy of Hardt and Negri. If the party-form’s greatest achievements have to do with the increasing of GDP and the raising of living standards, is it really necessary (or a good choice at all) in places where these are not our objectives? In a country like the United States, should we really focus on tasks of development? There is a difference between needing better distribution of the wealth your country already possesses and desiring massive development as a country still filled with peasantry. Communist parties across western Europe and North America failed to bring about revolution while parties elsewhere oversaw developmental and national independence projects which faltered due to internal and external pressures and became the shells of their former selves we see today. 

We will only see so many June 2020s. We do not wish to repeat the squandering of a revolutionary moment to follow some “more pragmatic strategy." We will only occasionally see moments where political struggle rises to the forefront, and fumbling the ball when it is passed to us will cost us dearly, forcing us to yet again undertake the task of preparing for conflict. The problem naturally arises that there was no individual or group prepared to handle such an opportunity, and this is where proponents of different organizational forms will come forth spreading their ideas. We need organization to take place before another opportunity approaches, and it is merely a question of whose organization. Strategic maneuvers must be made before another burst of energy occurs, or else we will not be prepared for it.

I firmly reject the idea that an emulation of the Soviet Union is possible or desirable for the American situation. What the American situation requires is an organizational form and plan capable of making drastic changes to the structures of society, not merely making progress towards but truly abolishing classes, money, the division of labor, and the state. What this organizational form for the twenty-first century looks like is a subject which we have debated through these newsletters and dossier entries, with some of us coming down in favor of a party-form for our time, one which leaves behind undesirable aspects and goals possessed by our predecessors to be more adapted to the wants and needs of the modern day. A few of the suggested changes have included greater cooperation with forces outside the party, an abandonment of silencing internal dissent, and greater experimentation in strategy. I am in favor of all of these suggestions, especially terminating practices which limit free and open discussion. My chief concern is with the party structure itself functioning with an inclusion-exclusion dynamic in which one must be a member of this organization in order to participate in its democracy, while the organization of movements is much looser and does not revolve around membership. In addition, I also fear that even modified parties could return to and repeat the failures of previous parties, as there are plenty on “the left” wishing to take parties in that direction. 

But all of this is still to say that I do not oppose the construction of a party, just that I have reservations. I do not imagine that others approach the party with fewer or no reservations, just that their reservations do not, as mine do, lead them to alternative conclusions about what the ideal strategy is for the current moment. Let us not forget, of course, that the party-form is an agent of change which has brought about multiple socialist party-states and improved countless lives. In addition, the party-form aided multiple national liberation movements in establishing independence and similarly improving lives in the process. The problem I have is that for these optimistic stories to be told, we are required to forget how they end. Each of these stories ends in backstabbing and betrayal, even in places where the party-form was not in power, as detailed by Josh Messite in his article handling this important subject.25 Half of the article is devoted to discussing the different betrayals and internal splits of the Soviet Union and CPUSA. The events within the Soviet Union sent ripples across the world, each major event shaking the party in America as it lost members, compromised the vision, and created splinter groups.  

I argue for the semi-horizontal movements proposed by Hardt and Negri because I have belief in their effectiveness and ability to accomplish the demands placed upon “the left” in the twenty-first century global north. This argument, of course, requires that I go “all in” in my bet on this organizational form, as there is no hedging one’s bets when staking a serious claim. Hardt and Negri’s proposal captures my belief because I have immense fears about what happens if and when power is taken by the movement. How do we ensure that there is no complacency, no transfer of power to the wrong hands, no acceptance of any capitalist features we seek to eliminate? I am well aware that there are questions that I struggle to answer in my quest to advocate for this alternative, namely how the movements of the common defend themselves without state power. All talk of common militias can often be swept aside by the reality of organized armies in service of reaction, something which historically has been combated well by parties but (opponents will claim) not by horizontal or semi-horizontal movements. The truth of the matter is that horizontal movements have combated the forces of reaction successfully as in the Spanish Civil War, but the idea of horizontal movements being unable to defend themselves may find origin in the choice of movements upheld as positive examples of horizontality. Places like Tahrir and Rabaa Squares in Egypt and Gezi Park in Turkey which are rightly praised for some of their strides towards establishing novel organization are also known for the repression they faced and struggled to overcome. There exists a stalemate between those with plans whose history includes taking power through carefully planned and organized maneuvers and those with plans theoretically capable of transforming society through sweeping, immediate changes, and some kind of compromise is  necessary to achieve both goals. I believe that the suggestions and plans of Hardt and Negri amount to a compromise between party-focused politics and movement-focused politics. Some might believe that this conclusion has simply been built backwards, that I have adopted principles on how organization should be done and hastily assembled justifications for these positions, but this is not the case. I have both principles and a desire to break existing power structures, and the attempt made by some to pit these ideas against each other is indicative of the theoretically and practically impoverished state of the modern left. We see a drought of new ideas and increasing desperation as capitalism advances, power and wealth are consolidated, and climate change worsens. As I mentioned, Hardt and Negri did not produce a work in Assembly that was free of ideas ripe for criticism, and opposition to movement-led politics exists as a challenge to my belief that the text has real value to us twenty-first century communists. 

It is here where I will engage with a proponent of the party-form. Donald Parkinson’s “Without a Party, We Have Nothing”26 makes its position clear in its title. The article itself is a response to another article27 published by Cosmonaut around the same time, which addressed the Black Lives Matter protests seen in June 2020 and argued that in this time of uncertainty, it was important not to stifle the flames of the moment but to see what would result from them and create new forms of organization. 

Parkinson’s first line of critique is aimed at the idea that parties should be abandoned in favor of following movements in search of new organizational forms and new horizons. The chief subject of his criticism (aside from the other author), is one of the other author’s sources, Sylvain Lazarus. He attacks Lazarus for his assertion that in the merger of the party and state there was a clean break between the idea of organization before and of organization after. Lazarus asserts that because of this break we must move on from what existed in history, abandoning the party-form for something radically new and never-before-seen. Parkinson writes:

Lazarus’ periodization is essentially just an assertion of novelty to the expense of continuity, showing history as a series of sequences where each represents a clean break from the prior where a totally different type of politics is necessitated by history. What exactly changes in terms of socio-economic conditions to produce these sequences and necessitates the accompanying break in political frameworks is left to the imagination. Against this vision of history as pure novelty, we must instead see the continuity in history so as to better assimilate the accumulated past struggles of the proletariat and oppressed, building on the years of trial and error practice passed down to us by our forebearers to produce the institutions and knowledge that exist with us today.

I do not disagree with everything put forward in this quote, but it is worth responding to some of its objectionable content. I agree with Parkinson that history does not occur in phases which are clearly broken from each other. The world is not so simple as that, at least in my eyes. Where I disagree with Parkinson here is in his statements about building on past struggles and years of trial and error. It is not an opposition to growth from history, but an opposition to what I see as a lack of growth from history. What I see in this case for the party is an appeal to tradition much in the way that Taylor B. appeals to novelty. We are to learn from the parties and movements of the past, but this learning only serves to teach us how to lead our own parties. We are unable to fashion organizational forms for the moment and are instead bound to the maxim of “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”. We undoubtedly owe a debt to those who have come before us, and there is no escaping the legacy that our ancestors have created, but I disagree with any assertion which says we are so bound to them as to be unable to create any methods beyond those used by some of the historical figures we uphold. 

It is not as though there is no reason people have faith in the party, though. As has been previously mentioned, there are undeniable successes which have come as a direct result of the existence of communist parties. It seems that a false dichotomy has been created between the two positions of “We have nothing without a party” and “The party is dead, follow the people”. My aim is not to stand between these positions for compromise’s sake. My aim is to find a place in between these positions wherein we can acknowledge and learn from our history while not being bound to walk the same road as our predecessors. I reject both the notion of a clean break from the past and the notion that the past is all we have to offer. 

The thrust of Parkinson’s article could be broken down into three simple points:

  1. Taylor B and Lazarus are wrong to suppose that history necessitates a new form of organization due to some moment in the past which has broken us from it. 
  2. We cannot rely on improvisation and spontaneity, which, “turn towards liberal and anarchist ideas unless a coherent alternative is posed”29 to guide us through the current moment. 
  3. The party-form is not to blame for the failures associated with parties of the past, and, “rather than being the cause of bureaucratism and other sources of revolutionary degeneration, the party is the precondition for solving these problems.”30

All of these points seem to follow each other in a logical enough train of thought, so wherein lies the problem? The problem lies in the fact that there are organizational alternatives to the party which are simply not considered whatsoever. Either they are to be cast aside, considered part of the aforementioned turn to liberalism and anarchism brought about by improvisation and spontaneity, or they can be outright ignored, considered at best a decent hypothetical that could never work in practice. As previously mentioned, I believe organizations can exist and take effective action while not having structures which mirror those of the past. We simply have to consider the options available to us and recognize that one method may not fit all situations, even though life would be easier if that were, in fact, the case. 

This work is an effort to elevate an alternative to the party-form to the level of a competitor on the intellectual playing field. We have alternatives to this dichotomy of party-forms ripped from the pages of history books and terrorist cells that exist only in the imagination of anarchist adventurists. Whether you think Hardt and Negri have strayed too far from what made the party-form successful or you believe that they do not go far away enough, I believe that the blend of a commitment to democracy, opposition to oppressive state structures, belief in the necessity of organization and creating institutions, and a commitment to the end of private property makes for a concoction that can function as a catalyst for real societal changes that have not been seen elsewhere. Of course, these ideas are not above criticism. Other writers have been correct to point out that Hardt and Negri would have been better off being more concrete in their writings and answering more questions about how a society of this sort will be able to defend itself against counterrevolutionary efforts. At the same time, I am neither Hardt nor Negri, and I am incapable of providing their answers for them as to how a society of the multitude defends itself. For this and other reasons, I do not wish to tie myself to ideas I feel have room to be expanded upon. I do not make claims that this method is the only one to work in the twenty-first century, and I believe that Hardt and Negri are wrong to suggest that the party-form is dead and gone, even in the twenty-first century global north. Notably absent from this work are strong claims and assertions that only strategies I favor can resolve the crises faced by the modern left, and this is not without reason. I cannot, in good conscience, make claims that rule out certain forms of organization over differences I do not believe will prevent the establishment of a communist society. I do not believe that some of my fellow dossier writers are necromancers in their belief that the party-form can be brought back, rather that they are attempting to serve as doctors giving care to a gravely ill patient while the family waits to see what will happen. Some have already made the effort to move on from this loss, as Hardt and Negri have, but while a chance remains, others will not give up the fight for the life of the party-form, and I have great respect for their efforts. When it comes down to it, the truth of the matter is that while I disagree with the others’ judgements and prescriptions for the left of our era, we are all committed to the same cause: the destruction of capitalism and the establishment of a system beyond it. It is merely a matter of whose ideas and subsequent actions bring that about, and I have enough confidence to say that ours possess this potential.


  1.  Josh Messite, “Power, Development, and Transformation,” Patreon, Negation Magazine, August 5 2021.
  2. Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Assembly (Oxford University Press, 2017), 85.
  3. Ibid, 8.
  4. Ibid, 6.
  5. Ibid, 18-22.
  6. Ibid, 18-22. 
  7. Rodrigo Nunes, “It Takes Organizers to Make a Revolution”, Viewpoint Magazine, November 9, 2017.
  8. Hardt and Negri, Assembly, 21-22.
  9.  Ibid, 18.
  10. Jose Maria Sison, “On the Question of People’s War in Industrial Capitalist Countries” josemariasison.org, June 5, 2019. 
  11.  The lack of world revolution, developmentalist priorities, and the need to secure themselves against outside enemies, to name a few.
  12. Cam W, “What is Communism?” Philosophy of Construction, August 5, 2021.  
  13. Messite, “Power, Development, and Transformation,” Patreon, Negation Magazine, August 5 2021.
  14. Hardt and Negri, Assembly, 85.
  15. Ibid, 309.
  16. Ibid, 97.
  17. Ibid. 
  18. Hardt and Negri, “Labor of Dionysus: A Critique of the State-Form” Theory Out of Bounds, Volume 4. 1994, 54. 
  19. Ibid, 98.
  20. Ibid.
  21. Ibid, 99.
  22. Ibid 98.
  23. Social labor, as used by Hardt and Negri, refers to labor that works for and with others towards the reproduction of social conditions.
  24. Ibid.
  25. Messite, “The Messiah’s Arrival Part 3: Betrayal”, Negation Magazine. May 2021. 
  26. Parkinson, “Without a Party, We Have NothingCosmonaut Magazine. November 14, 2020. 
  27. B, “Beginnings of Politics: DSA and the UprisingCosmonaut Magazine. November 12, 2020.
  28. Parkinson, “Without a Party, We Have Nothing”.
  29. Ibid.
  30. Ibid.