Who we are
Why ‘n + 1’
The term 'n + 1' was used by the Communist Left in 1958, in an article regarding the sequence of the modes of production. The term refers to the mathematical induction principle, Peano’s 5th axiom and Poincare’s complete recurrence principle, and describes the dialectic unity of two opposites:
1. the material continuity in the transition from a mode of production to the next (no new category comes up from nothing);
2. the total breakdown in such a transition: ‘n + 1’ (communism) goes beyond all the previous categories, by transforming or denying them.
Such categories prove essential for the future society, which, at the same time, gives birth to categories diametrically opposed to those belonging to ‘n’, ‘n -1’ etc., that is capitalism and all the previous societies.
The content of the term ‘n + 1’ is not a novelty: in fact, it is the strict formalization of the method on which Marx bases the revolutionary theory of sequence of social and productive forms and that he states in the Introduction (1857) to a Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy.
‘n + 1’replaces other terms greatly abused in history by various opportunistic currents, and excludes any reference to political archetypes and ‘-isms’ of different kind. It does not send preconstituted messages to a passive audience (as television does, for example). On the contrary, it stimulates readers’ interactivity and tests their tendency to become ‘lectores in fabula’, that is, to play an active part in the message.
By using the term ‘n + 1’, we wish to stress our distance from the marxist-leninist liturgy and language, which have become nothing but a symptom of conformism, comparable to many others existing in this society.
According to Marx, communism is the whole material process of becoming. Therefore communism is not an imaginary model to be applied in the distant future, but a reality which produces its effects right now. It is not an utopia, or a philosophy among others: it is the material movement towards a superior social organization.
Communists are not those who ‘want’ communism, but those who see it already working (as an unceasing process, which makes obsolete the present socio-economical organization) and who behave accordingly.
Communists do not profess a philosophical belief, that is one of the many ‘interpretations’ of the world, but they join something which truly exists.
The project shown in this web site started in 1981 with the purpose to take up Marx’s scientific work. Its structure is the product of a common activity involving people from different places, and not of pre-fixed organizing principles or statutory rules.
We have nothing to do with the huge historical falsifications still based on Marx’s name. Shortly before dying, Marx himself had to state not to be a ‘marxist’, in order not only to denounce the distortion of the revolutionary theory, but also and particularly to stress his rejection to identify a theory with a person.
Our work is linked to the Internationalist Communist Left, that was a firm antagonist both of mystifications and personalizations for sixty years.
Although we are not a political party, we deem it impossible to achieve a social change without the future development of a revolutionary party: not any party, but the one expected in the Communist Manifesto. Such an organization cannot be ‘established’ or ‘built’, but it will spring from the clash of great forces pushed by the contradictions of capitalism itself. Deep economical and social upheavals, or even a general warfare, will make these enormous potentialities raise.
The term ‘party’ does not mean a mere political structure, but the absolute antithesis of any organizing form so far expressed by class societies. According to Marx, the revolutionary concept of organization has to be consistent with the future of mankind, and not take old organizations as a model, even those which were actually revolutionary in the past.
The modern revolutionary theory, originated from the development of the social productive force, i. e. capitalist form, is the expression of the anti-form movement par excellence. At the beginning, some re-formist components were tolerated, but only because the permanent revolutionary process would have swept them away, like ‘old frills’.
The re-formist (social democratic) phase stopped the revolutionary process and took the ideology of the re-form of capitalism to extremes, paving the way for the war and the success of fascism. Fascism was precisely the dialectical accomplisher of the re-formist claims.
The would-be proletarian parties soon espoused the democratic antifascism (the worst result of fascism) and allied with the democratic wing of bourgeoisie, in this way falling into the worst con-formism, that is the firm support of the existing social form. They therefore joined the American imperialism in the war, calling the proletariat to fight in favour of the strongest bourgeoisie, and at the end of the war, they only apparently dismantled the corporative fascist regime.
The Internationalist Communist Left (so-called italian) combated any degeneration in all the above mentioned three phases. It was violently against the re-formism and con-formism of the ex-proletarian parties, and was the only Marxist current in the world which did not betray the continuity with Marx, Engels and Lenin, taking up their analysis of the capitalist maturity and its impressive phenomena. For this reason, the theoretical elaboration and the struggle experience of the Communist Left are our inalienable heritage and constitute integral parts of our present work.
We have nothing to do with the currents which have somehow contaminated the revolutionary theory with democracy, antifascism, re-formism, trade-unionism, Third Worldism, pacifism, environmentalism etc. They were and are ‘constructive’(by now irreparably con-formist) inside this society.
Tomorrow’s communist party will overcome any re-formist and con-formist hypothesis. Since the revolutionary party will lead the destruction of the existing social form, it cannot draw any model of organization from the present society. As the past revolutions and their leading parties were anti-formist, so will be the next one.
Obviously we are, as Marx was, outside all utopian and voluntary tendencies of anarchist and libertarian nature (in particular the recent ones), which originated as a reaction to the trivial marxist-leninist conformism and to the modern totalitarianism. Communists do not consider freedom a moral concept, but the practical overcoming of the need which binds man to nature, not to mistake for a vulgar individual existentialism or, worse, for a reactionary community and autonomist localism.
In accordance with the Communist Left, we think that the structure of the real revolutionary party will be organic and not democratic-hierarchic. Today, we can anticipate the organic work by rejecting any category expressed by the capitalist society. And we take this refusal as the basis of our activity.
A work plan
Our aim is to reach those who are fed up with the ‘marxist’ con-formism, loathe clichés and 'communist' liturgy, and feel communism as something real.
Our activity is based on frequent meetings, and on drawing generalizations from the results of different partial works. Our method is to link specific topics together, then relating them to the whole (Marx: "I haven’t discovered anything, I’ve only used a new method to link up what others have already discovered").
Our work excludes any exchange of personal opinions on the theoretical heritage. Today’s greatest socialization of production springs from social intelligence, and the globalization of human relations itself contributes to the development of a global brain. A step back to ancient organizing conceptions, typical of the tribal or parcel mode of production, would be foolish (even if involving a small number of people).
A close link between personal contributions and a general plan has always characterized the work of the Left (and consequently our own work). On the other hand, such an interconnection marked out also the highly socialized production in factories. The difference is that in our work, any individual contribution is not alienated, but connected with the global structure of the theory to which the empirical data, coming from the dynamics of communication, are submitted. This excludes any debate on opposing theses, which always leads to conflicts that would need democratic procedures to be tackled.
We do not deny the existence of differences among people. Equality is a vague concept, still related to religion or to law. In this society it is not only a useful hypocrisy: in fact, the equality of individuals as commodities is materially based on the equality of the exchange values on the market. For this reason, in spite of the wide social differences, anyone is involved in the equalitarian ideology, through democratic institutions.
We oppose the concept of organicity to the one of equality. The cells of a living organism are differentiated and take part in the whole process. An organic whole always improves the efficiency of its differentiated parts, because only in this way any individual cell can give the best of its potentialities to the general organism (as Marx stated in his notes of 1843).
Organicity excludes organizing formalisms, when not essential. Today every social productive activity is centralized, planned, correlated; in short, it is in keeping with the technical standard reached by the ultramature capitalism. Socialized technique and work are natural part of mankind, and appeared in history since the highly organized ancient communities. Therefore, discipline and centralism do not come from a moral or statutory rule, but are the practical result of the organic relation between individuals as a whole and their aims.
The Communist Left asserted that revolutionary militants "might aim to create a fiercely anti-bourgeois setting, which largely anticipates the main features of the communist society", and defined the party as "the projection of tomorrow’s Man-Society into today’s reality". The Communist Party of Italy (section of the Communist International from 1921) had neither secretaries nor headquarters. Five people were enough to coordinate all the party’s activities: in fact, the militants’ network was perfectly adherent to the revolutionary programme and was consequently able of self-organization (just like a living body).
Our project is therefore based on a historical real experience, not on personal ideas, and our subsequent analysis (not comparable with a mere work of preservation) is the result of a dynamic of struggling forces. We think that only such a project can give rise to a structure which largely anticipates tomorrow’s party and society.
Many of our meeting reports and our writings have been published in ‘Lettere ai compagni’ (‘Letters to comrades’), which started to be printed in 1981 and, as far as 1999, were sent free to anyone interested in. Today our main instruments of propaganda are the review 'n + 1' and Internet. Volumes and booklet (including articles and more detailed treatments of various subjects) are collected in the series ‘Quaderni Internazionalisti‘.
We participate, to the extent that given possibilities allow, in every expression of class life, through speeches, leaflets, public conventions etc. We believe the trade-union has become a consolidated mechanism of the bourgeois social control, but we consider even more dangerous for proletarians, the current proliferation of sectorial organizations, which are more or less similar to trade-unions.
Proletarians have been for ever deprived of the trade-union as their own class instrument, and this result is fundamental for the preservation of capitalism. Nevertheless, as the proletarians’ economical organization is essential to the development of any political revolutionary movement (that is of the communist party), we believe a trade-union work absolutely necessary, whenever it is possible.
We cannot foresee future developments: there might be favourable circumstances for the violent reconquest of the existing structures, which would be deeply altered, as well as hardly conceivable social dynamics might give rise to new structures or even new forms of economical organization, going beyond the mere trade-unionism.
As the protection of its own theoretical and struggle heritage is vital for any political movement, we attach great importance to collecting, keeping and reproducing documents. Therefore we are placing in archives all the works produced by the Left, with translations in several languages. We shall digitize and enter all the available documents, so making them usable for anyone who could be interested in.
We thank in advance for any contribution to the archive’s expansion by sending articles, letters, translations, pictures and any further documentation of or about the Left.