Wrongly overlooked thinker
David Broder reviews Pietro Basso's 'The science and passion of communism: selected writings of Amadeo Bordiga (1912-1965)'
Fifty years since his death on July 23 1970, some of Amadeo Bordiga’s most important texts are finally available in English. The newly published Science and passion of communism presents numerous hitherto untranslated writings from across Bordiga’s career - from his activity as an anti-war oppositionist in the 1910s Socialist Party to his role as founding leader of the Communist Party of Italy (PCd’I)1 in 1921, his face-to-face confrontation with Stalin in 1926 and his post-1945 studies of incipient capitalist relations in Russia.
In a previous article I remarked on the 1912-26 period, focusing on Bordiga’s conception of the relation between party and class, and how it differed from that of his friend and antagonist, Antonio Gramsci.2 Given the existence of that piece - but also the choice of texts which editor Pietro Basso has made for this volume - here I will focus on the period after Bordiga’s expulsion from the PCd’I, and those of his writings less connected to immediate political practice.
Indeed, after 1930, one can hardly speak of Bordiga’s personal political involvement at all. That year saw both his removal from the PCd’I and his release from exile on the island of Ponza, to which he had been confined by the fascist regime. This sparked not a Trotsky-style bid to rebuild the bases of his leadership, but rather a withdrawal from politics: he would later claim that there was “nothing to be done”.3 The PCd’I’s new leaders around Palmiro Togliatti now wrote him out of party history - first smearing him as a fascist-collaborationist, then refusing to mention him.4
Having been a charismatic leader for the various anti-war oppositions in the 1910s Socialist Party, in the 1930s Bordiga made no similar attempt to cohere the dissident forces in the Stalinising PCd’I. More than simply reacting against the ‘cult of personality’, Bordiga increasingly denied his own individual role; even when he resumed writing in 1944, he signed his articles Alfa’, or not at all, to emphasise his impersonal contribution.5
This radically anti-individualist - even self-negating - posture was deep-rooted in Bordiga’s theoretical outlook, from the notion of communism as the full development of “social man” to his view of Marxism itself. As the avowed defender of a so-called “invariant doctrine”,6 whether embodied in formal organisation or the “historical party” (a communist side, which endured despite defeats or disorganisation), Bordiga was contemptuous of those who claimed to “innovate” on the doctrine formulated by Marx. He mocked all claims of “sophistication” and “originality”, which, he alleged, proved to be so many means of preparing the ground for opportunism and renegacy. In a rather troll-like bid to invite attacks on his own “dogmatism”, Bordiga proclaimed that Marxism’s truths were carved on “tablets of stone”7 and mock-subserviently referred to the Marx-Engels duo as “Uncle Carlo” and “Big Freddie”. Yet even this cheeky tone seems to conflict with the stink of sterile inflexibility generally said to have hung around him - his often witty style belying the image of a rigid and uncreative thinker.
There are many reasons to doubt that Marx’s studies on such questions as the Russian social formation were really as “complete” as the PCd’I founder suggested - if he insisted that Marx’s ideas were the product of the evolution of human thought rather than sprung from individual genius, the evolution was now over. But we can also doubt Bordiga’s own self-proclaimed lack of originality. His ambition to uphold “Marx’s original doctrine” was the organising principle of his writings. But claims of restoring orthodoxy are an old form of heresy - and inevitably posit some historically specific understanding of that orthodoxy, to be defended against other recent elaborations. Bordiga first proclaimed his intent to uphold the “science of economic determinism” in the 1910s, well before he had studied Marx closely.8 But especially in the period following World War II, he developed a much deeper and more expansive critique of the direction the workers’ movement had taken in the periods of the Second (1889-1916) and Third (1919-43) Internationals.
Notwithstanding the valuable collection Murdering the dead, published by Antagonism Press in 1995, The science and passion of communism (a title in Brill’s ‘Historical Materialism’ book series) is the first English-language selection of Bordiga’s writings to cover both the chronological spread and thematic diversity of his interventions. The fine translations by Giacomo Donis and Patrick Camiller allow non-Italian speakers fresh insight into what Basso charmingly calls the “goldmine” of Bordiga’s vast array of research. The mere existence of these translations will allow for more fruitful discussion of what Bordiga actually did and said rather what can be gleaned from ‘Google Translate’. But Basso’s introduction and editorial choices are particularly to be credited for emphasising the global scope of Bordiga’s insights, and his special use as a thinker on the colonial countries, imperialism and the world revolution.
Back to the future
We get a sense of the original thrust of Bordiga’s writing when we look at the “programme for advanced capitalist countries” he drafted in May 1953. As Basso describes, whereas the 1848 Manifesto of the Communist Party was premised on a dual revolution, which included democratic “tasks”, as well as measures to erode private capital, Bordiga proposed an immediate programme relevant to his own present: or rather to a great crisis he predicted “by 1975”.
Even if the transition to communism would be long and arduous, Bordiga did not just outline the maximum programme eventually to be arrived at, but rather steps which would overturn the logic of capital accumulation. This programme was drastically at odds with the logic of a single nation-state ‘building socialism’ through a war economy; rather, it pointed to planning to meet human need, in the sphere of production as well as consumption. This document is worth quoting at length - Basso summarises its points as follows:
(a) ‘Disinvestment of capital’: namely, destination of a far smaller part of the product to instrumental rather than consumer goods.
(b) ‘Raising the costs of production’ to be able to give higher pay for less labour-time, as long as wage-market-money continues to exist.
(c) ‘Drastic reduction of the working day’, at least to half the current hours, absorbing unemployment and anti-social activities.
(d) Once the volume of production has been reduced with a plan of ‘underproduction’ that concentrates production in the most necessary areas, ‘authoritarian control of consumption’, combating the fashionable advertising of useless/damaging/luxury goods, and forcefully abolishing activities devoted to reactionary psychological propaganda.
(e) Rapid ‘breaking of the limits of enterprise’, with the transferral of authority not of the personnel, but of the materials of labour, moving towards a new plan of consumption.
(f) ‘Rapid abolition of social security of a mercantile type’, to replace it with the social alimentation of non-workers, up to an initial minimum.
(g) ‘Stopping the construction’ of houses and workplaces around the large, and also the small, cities, as a first step towards the population’s uniform distribution in the countryside. Prohibition of useless traffic to reduce traffic jams, speed and volume.
(h) ‘Resolute struggle against professional specialisation’ and the social division of labour, with the abolition of careers and titles.
(i) Obvious immediate measures, closer to the political ones, to make schools, the press, all the means of the diffusion of information, and the network of shows and entertainment subject to the communist state.
Two things in particular stick out in this programme. One is the total lack of reference to the forms of decision-making, or indeed its outright anti-democratic impulse - more on which below. But what we essentially have here is a programme to begin planning production and distribution, putting an end to the creation of unnecessary needs and breaking down the divisions of firm and professional hierarchy. If the ending of the division between town and country is often taken for one of the least realisable demands in the 1848 Manifesto, Bordiga’s text points to a far more extensive ecological critique of capitalist accumulation than had ever been attributed to Marx.
As against the view of socialism as concentrated industrial development, Bordiga seeks a more peaceable form of existence focused on the free development of the human species. For “blazing in opposition to the bourgeois concept of individual freedom” is “the communist concept of time available for the species - for its material and mental development, and its harmony of delights” (p474). This would come from greater leisure time, but also an end to the wasting of human potential by “unemployment and anti-social activities.”
It might be contended that, having withdrawn from mass-facing politics into Programma Comunista - essentially a study circle, as distinct from those of his comrades who built a new Internationalist Communist Party and focused on more propagandistic-agitational questions - Bordiga was here building castles in the sky. A few years ago one left-communist group issued a book whose title spoke of Communism: not a ‘nice idea’ but a material necessity;9 it could well be objected that all Bordiga had to answer the pressing demands of human existence was indeed a set of ‘nice ideas’ - and clearly his post-war writings belonged to an essentially theoretical domain.
Yet, the PCd’I founder was anything but a utopian plotting a future state of harmony, in abstraction from material conditions. To the Neapolitan communist it was clear that the conditions for the growth - we might better say, orchestrated creation - of a communist social order are already prepared within the technical conditions created by capitalism. He drew on Marx’s “formidable expression: the social brain” to highlight the immense creative powers that the new order could draw on: “the knowledge of the species [and] science … are not private inheritances, and potentially belong entirely to social man” (p468).
Here, Bordiga provided an early yet little known commentary on the Grundrisse. Itself long-ignored, Marx’s manuscript from 1857-58 was first published in Moscow in 1939 before being issued in the German Democratic Republic in 1953; Bordiga could read it thanks to the private translations produced in the late 1950s by his French comrade, Roger Dangeville, long before this work was published in any western country.10
Decisive were Marx’s comments on automation. If it has become fashionable in our own time to assert that technology is destroying the material basis of working class politics among the Fordist workforce, already in the 1950s Bordiga sharply rejected this argument. In the excerpt included in this volume, entitled ‘Who’s afraid of automation’, Bordiga scorned any “Luddite” impulse or the suggestion that the danger to workers’ existing jobs should lead communists to somehow oppose technology. Rather, the scientific advances today captured by capital must be radically repurposed, precisely in order to serve human need:
... the enemy monster [industrial fixed capital, as opposed to human labour] hangs over the mass of producers, monopolising a product that concerns not only all present human beings, but the entire course of the species down through the millennia. This product is the science and technology elaborated and deposited in the social brain. Today, with the degeneration of the capitalist form, this monster is killing science itself, misgoverning it, criminally exploiting its fruits, squandering the heritage of future generations.
In those pages [of the Grundrisse] the current phenomenon of automation is theorised and predicted for the distant future … the monster becomes a beneficial force for all humanity, enabling it not to extort useless surplus labour, but rather to reduce necessary labour to a minimum - “all to the advantage of the artistic, scientific, etc education of individuals”, who have now been raised to the condition of social individual.
… When the proletarian revolution puts an end to the squandering of science, a work of the social brain; when labour time is reduced to a minimum and becomes human joy; when the monster of fixed capital -capital, this transient historical product - is raised to a human form, which does not mean conquered for man and for society but abolished - then industry will behave like the land, once instruments such as the soil have been liberated from any form of ownership.
Building on capitalism
Such a reading was decisively inspired by Marx, but no simple replication of some unambiguous ‘classical Marxian position’; it sometimes jars with the Marxian notion of capitalist social relations becoming a “fetter” on the (necessary or desirable) expansion of the productive forces.
This element of Bordiga is valuably explored in a 1995 article by Loren Goldner, mentioned in passing by Basso, which characterises Bordiga’s positions as a rejection of the notion of socialism as a “substitute bourgeois revolution”. Here, Goldner refers to a notion implicit in the idea of ‘permanent revolution’ (but also in thinkers like Karl Kautsky) that the workers’ movement must complete the “tasks” of a bourgeois revolution which the capitalist class left unfinished.11 Such an approach was present in the thought of Gramsci, but radicalised in Togliatti’s Communist Party, which combined the claim to democratise politics with the promise to pursue the “modernisation” of the Italian economy - meaning, its faster and more rational capitalist development.
Bordiga did battle against this approach, with its implicit focus on ‘the wrong people in charge’, as opposed to a recognition of how capital in fact thrives on decay and destruction. He stood far from ultra-left currents that rejected the need to seize power, but so, too, from the idea of producing a layer of ‘better’ or more ‘democratic’ administrators of capitalism. Capitalism did not produce misery and catastrophe because it was somehow incomplete or badly run. Such a stance was apparent right from his first battles in his native Naples, and indeed in his rejection of any ‘culturalist’ focus on raising workers in bourgeois culture.12 As against the various attempts in the Socialist Party to declare the south’s backwardness cause for alliances with do-gooder social reformers, moralist ‘anti-corruption’ forces or secularists (often meaning Freemasons), Bordiga portrayed a more complicated relationship between his city’s poverty and its islands of industry - its conditions also being inseparable from those of Italian capitalism as a whole.
If such an analysis did bear even a passing resemblance with Trotsky’s “combined and uneven development”, Bordiga did not share the Russian’s positive view of industrialisation - as expressed in his 1936 judgement that in Stalin’s Soviet Union “socialism … confront[ed] capitalism in tons of steel and concrete”.13 For Bordiga, this was capital accumulation, even if the capital was nationalised. But, as Goldner highlights, the Bordiga of the 1950s-60s was also centrally concerned with the countryside - considering capitalism “first of all the agrarian revolution, the capitalisation of agriculture” and the dominant trait of the Soviet kolkhoz the development of a petty-producer capitalism.14
This in no way contradicted his positive view of the New Economic Policy (NEP) and the positions of Nikolai Bukharin, it in any case being impossible to ‘build socialism’ through shock industrialisation; for Bordiga, where Lenin “sacrificed” elements of socialism through the NEP in order to defend the bridgehead of the world revolution, “With Stalinism it was the international revolution that was sacrificed, intensifying the transition to large-scale industrialism” (p270).
Hence Bordiga rejected both the idea (as per Karl Korsch) that October 1917 was a merely bourgeois revolution and the idea that it was possible to ‘build socialism’ by growing a nationalised, industrial economy. Rather, the proletarian revolution at the political level had been accompanied by a bourgeois social revolution in the rural economy; the decisive thing in allowing the growth of socialist ‘elements’ would not be the relative weight of state or private property in Russia, but rather the progress of the socialist revolution worldwide. Even the nationalised firm built up constant capital, extracted surplus-value and, decisively, created webs of managers at the interface between firm and (global) market. This evidenced not ‘state capitalism’ in the sense of a final, centralised phase of rationalisation, but rather a society in transition toward capitalism, as both inherited feudal relations and all remaining vestiges of proletarian political power were overcome by the slow rise of an incipient, interstitial capitalism.
Bordiga was forthright about the counterrevolutionary role of Stalinism as a political force. Not only did the Comintern’s Moscow-based leadership rapidly move to subvert its internationalist character - turning it into a foreign-policy organ of the Russian state and then dissolving it completely - but Stalin’s industrialisation policy was a spur to capitalist development. Yet Bordiga’s position was not focused, as in the Trotskyist approach, on a critique of ‘bureaucracy’ (and defence of democracy) nor especially targeted against Stalin, the individual. Rather, in the developments in the USSR, Bordiga focused on the underlying economic rationale which explained the evolution of this social formation, recognising its ‘revolutionary’ aspect not in the existence of nationalised property, but precisely in its bourgeois character - building far more than had ever been possible under the tsarist ancien régime. As he explained in an extensive 1951 lecture on the Russian social formation,
Lenin glimpsed the possibility for his party to be the carrier of the proletarian political revolution throughout the world and, in the meantime, also of the capitalist social revolution in Russia: only with victories on both fronts could Russia become economically socialist. Stalin says that his party implements economic socialism in only one country (Russia); in fact, his state - and party - has been reduced to being the carrier of the only capitalist social revolution in Russia and Asia. Nevertheless, over the heads of individual men these historical forces work for the world socialist revolution.
Our evaluation of the Chinese revolution is no different. In China too, workers and peasants have struggled for a bourgeois revolution, in various phases, and they can go no farther. The alliance of the four classes - workers, peasants, intellectuals and industrialists - reproduces the alliances (fully in line with Marxism in doctrine and in tactics) in France 1789 and Germany 1848. Nevertheless, the destruction of the age-old oriental feudal structure will be an accelerator of the world proletarian revolution, on the condition that it spreads to the European and American metropolises.15
Such a statement may seem surprising from a figure best known for his strict opposition to class compromises - indeed as an ultra-left critic of the communist parties’ ‘popular fronts’. Indeed, we often hear from Bordiga’s detractors that his intransigence was primarily of a moral character, at odds with real-world events and able only to proclaim its own ‘purism’. Such an approach would appear to shine through in his rejection of democracy.
This owes partly, as Basso notes, to Bordiga’s failure to distinguish between (a) the greater power of bourgeois democracy to build consensus and even exert repressive force, relative to tsarist or despotic regimes and (b) the need to defend the workers’ movement’s democratic space to organise. Bordiga moreover posited an identitarian view of the Communist Party as a force defined by its opposition to the world of bourgeois democracy - a notion radicalised by his 1960s indulgence of Jacques Camatte’s notion of the party as the true human community (Gemeinwesen) in formation.
Yet, writing in the 1950s, Bordiga guarded against the idea that the world situation was reducible to a direct contest between socialism and capitalism, and still less that this could be identified in any given national context: any claim that there was a ‘choice’ between building the one or the other in Russia or China would have been thoroughly idealist. These were not countries in a ‘final stage’ of capitalism, as if about to turn the page to the socialist tomorrow. If anything, the formally invoked political legacy of 1917 provided a remaining ‘fetter’ - eventually to be cast off - on the development of nakedly capitalist social relations. Russia had once had a ‘state feudalism’ and now a short-circuited ‘state capitalism’;16 but this latter was neither unprecedented nor outside of global capitalism. It was the rising capitalist social relations which were bound to impose themselves over the state bureaucracy, rather than the other way around.
In this same vein, Bordiga resisted what he called the political “indifferentism” among his own comrades, including with reference to the “gigantic movement of emancipation” in the colonial world. At the Comintern Second Congress back in 1920 he had doubted the significance which Lenin attributed to the colonial world, yet this increasingly became part of his understanding of the Russian Revolution’s own global role. He had been appalled by the demagogy of the Congress of the Peoples of the East, held in Baku, in which Grigory Zinoviev had declared “holy war against the English and French capitalists” in a bid to seek out colonial-nationalist allies for the Russian state.
Yet, even while he maintained his critique of third-worldist ideology and Stalinised socialism, Bordiga could recognise the anti-colonial revolutions of the post-1945 period as precisely that - revolutions. It would be no more possible to build socialism in Ghana or the Congo in the 1960s than it had been in Russia in 1917. Yet these revolutions expanded the field for capitalism and the rise of the working class, and complicated the advance of US capitalism’s global hegemony. For Basso, whereas in the 1950s
the link-up that the Second Comintern Congress in Moscow and Baku [in 1920] had projected between the workers of the world and the oppressed peoples was a long way off, Bordiga pointed to the extraordinary emancipatory value of the anti-colonial revolutions and uprisings for the worldwide proletarian movement. The advent of neo-colonialism … and the current rise of former ex-colonial countries, above all China, to the rank of major capitalist powers, in no way contradict this grand internationalist strategic vision.
As Bordiga expected, the potential strength of the international proletariat has continued to increase, acquiring greatest specific weight precisely where the national-popular revolution went furthest. This has created objectively more favourable social-economic conditions for a new cycle of proletarian uprisings even more effectively internationalised than in 1917-1927 (p94).
Bordiga contended that even non-proletarian revolutions in the ‘orient’ could help create the conditions for proletarian revolutions in the west, in a unitary and global process. Already in 1926, he had insisted that Soviet state policy on even ‘internal’ questions should be determined by the whole Comintern, for it was but one bridgehead of revolution.
In 1953, his outlook on the necessary interconnectedness of the world revolution was further developed in ‘The factors of race and nation in Marxist theory’, alongside ‘The multiple revolutions’. For Bordiga, it was clear that Stalin had inverted Lenin’s internationalism, denying the unitary character of world capitalism and postulating the peaceful coexistence of different centres of capitalism and constituted military power. He saw this as no different from the “petty bourgeois theory on the juridical equality of nations in a capitalist regime” condemned by Lenin back in his 1920 theses on the national and colonial questions (p397).
Bordiga rejected the “metaphysical” error of seeing only a “duel pitting the pure forces of modern capital against industrial workers”; only falsely could the communist left be accused of “denying and ignoring the influence of every other class and every other factor on the social struggle”. Rather, the anti-colonial revolutions were such a factor, even when their bourgeois character was fully recognised. Hence,
For those countries of Asia where an agrarian local economy of a patriarchal and feudal type is still predominant, the - also political - struggle of the ‘four classes’ must be considered an element of victory in the communist international struggle, when national and bourgeois powers arise as an immediate result, both because new areas are formed that are suitable for further socialist demands, and because of the blows struck by these insurrections and revolts against European-American imperialism.17
But, just as Lenin’s strategy in 1917 was decisively premised on victory also in the west, the fate of the anti-colonial revolutions would also depend on this. Only then could the proletarians seize the means of production and
share them with the economies of the backward countries with a ‘plan’ that, like the one already offered by the capitalism of today, is unitary, but, unlike that one, does not seek conquest, oppression, exploitation and extermination (p401).
This book is an anthology (if a necessarily incomplete one) of a life’s work; and, as I have mentioned, here we chose to make minimal reference to Bordiga’s most directly political activity in Italy between 1912 and 1926, favouring a focus on his post-war writings. Without doubt, connections could usefully be established between these two periods, including with regard to the role of the peasants, artisans and the majority of the members of the early PCd’I who did not work in large centres of industry.
There are also further important themes in this collection which point to Bordiga’s great role as an anticipator: for instance, his writings (over 60 years ago!) on the rising importance of personal debt in sustaining the welfare of US proletarians/consumers, or indeed his text on the Watts Riots in Los Angeles in 1965, recirculated online and given a fresh lease of life by the events of recent weeks.
I ought to fully disclose my own interest in this volume: I am an editor of the Historical Materialism book series which published it. Bordiga would, as Basso readily admits, have hated to be praised for his originality; and nor would he have liked to be treated as an object of biography (I can also disclose that I am writing a biography of Bordiga). He had no time for “scholarship”; despite his own vast erudition and his Programma Comunista research group’s en masse collection of data on the Soviet economy, his writings were devoid of any signals of academic propriety - even to the point that he cited “a children’s comic I saw” in order to poke fun at that Marxism which courted respectability in the universities.
Sieving his works for his utterly minimal references to his own inner life or personal biography, we get the sense of a militant wracked by an epochal defeat, yet entirely at ease with his exclusion from polite society. Even back in 1924, asked to stand for parliament after a first spell in prison, he replied that he was not interested in “cashing in” his role as a “victim”.
Bordiga will never be sainted in the manner of Antonio Gramsci; and what Basso aptly calls his role as an “anticipator” of great questions posed to Marxists today (notably on automation, the reduction of working time and ecology) is perhaps rather marred by the poor circulation of these ideas at the time he was studying them. For Sandro Saggioro and Arturo Peregalli, authors of a work on the “dark [or obscure] years” between 1926 and 1945, Bordiga’s retreat from political activity could be compared to Marx’s own periodic turns to study in moments of defeat. Yet, whereas Marx would forever pursue a deep interest in the political developments of the workers’ movement, for Bordiga nothing could be done but study the fundamental defeat that had been suffered.
For many decades, even the results of this research have had a tiny readership - and even with this collection, most comrades without library access will be waiting for the much cheaper paperback edition in 2021. But, when you do get your hands on a copy, you will be in no doubt that Bordiga is a wrongly overlooked thinker.
It was renamed the Italian Communist Party (PCI) upon the dissolution of the Comintern in 1943; for left communists this name change illustrates the shift from the world communist party path in Italy to the formation of a ‘national-popular’ and patriotic Communist Party - though in truth the ‘Italian’ name is sporadically present throughout the party press even in the 1920s.↩︎
‘Bordiga and the fate of Bordigism’ Weekly Worker December 19 2013.↩︎
See A Peregalli and S Saggioro Amadeo Bordiga: la sconfitta e gli anni oscuri: 1926-1945 Milan 1998.↩︎
In preparation for a 1951 special issue of the PCI journal Rinascita, marking “Thirty years of life and struggles of the PCI’, Togliatti instructed his comrades that there should be no mention of Bordiga’s ideas, “even to attack them”.↩︎
As Luigi Gerosa notes, Bordiga did not extend this principle of anonymity to writings connected to his professional work as a civil engineer, even though these did concern political questions related to urban policy. See Gerosa’s L’ingegnere fuori uso. Vent’anni di battaglie urbanistiche di Amadeo Bordiga, Napoli 1946-1966 Formia 1996.↩︎
See, in this collection, ‘Considerations on the party’s organic activity when the general situation is historically unfavourable’.↩︎
As per the title of ‘Tavole immutabili della teoria comunista del partito’ (Programma Comunista, 1959), the piece considered the “key” to the communist theory of the party to be the abolition of the role of the individual.↩︎
. Luigi Gerosa, editor of Bordiga’s collected Scritti from 1912 to 1926 (a still unfinished work), masterfully reconstructs the order in which Bordiga lay his hands on Marx’s works: see his introduction to Archivio della Fondazione Amadeo Bordiga (Formia 2013). Gerosa also refers charmingly to the portly Bordiga heaving around a suitcase full of books and papers, which was sadly lost during a return train journey to Turin in 1951.↩︎
International Communist Current Communism: not a ‘nice idea’ but a material necessity London 2007.↩︎
Roman Rosdolsky’s famous reading was published in German only in 1968 and in English a further nine years later: The making of Marx’s ‘Capital’ London 1977.↩︎
L Goldner, ‘Amadeo Bordiga, the agrarian question and the international revolutionary movement’ Critique No23, 1995. The version available at cominsitu.wordpress.com/2019/01/18/communism-is-the-material-human-community-amadeo-bordiga-today-goldner-1995 features an interesting preface by Goldner, written for the 2002 Swedish edition - albeit one overoptimistic in growing interest in Bordiga.↩︎
Indeed, in the Socialist Youth before World War I, Bordiga flatly opposed the notion, derived from German Social Democracy, that the party’s role lay in the cultural elevation of the masses, rather simplistically insisting that the working class would learn its own viewpoint from direct involvement in class struggles; this also set him against the ideas of Antonio Gramsci’s L’Ordine Nuovo after 1919.↩︎
Cited by L Goldner op cit.↩︎
Bordiga does at times use the expression ‘state capitalism’, but in order to deride its explanatory power; he insists that state capitalism is fully capitalism, not a transition away from it or a final stage.↩︎
See ‘The multiple revolutions’ (May 1953) on p406 of this book.↩︎