Anton Pannekoek

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(1873 - 1960)


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About Anton Pannekoek

Antonie “Anton” Pannekoek (2 January 1873 – 28 April 1960) was a Dutch astronomer, philosopher, Marxist theorist, and socialist revolutionary. He was one of the main theorists of council communism (Dutch: radencommunisme).

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This person has authored 89 documents, with 464,910 words or 2,945,799 characters.

Written: 1917;Source: The Class Struggle Vol I., No. 1, May-June, 1917;Translated: Lily Lore;Transcription: Sally Ryan for, June 2002. While the war is in progress, the highest duty of the socialist proletariat is the fight for its speedy conclusion. But even when peace has been declared, his struggle is not finished. For the effects of the war remain. New problems arise, and must be met. When the soldiers return to their homes, new misery and new want are grinning at them. Awful as have been the sufferings that war has brought, in one respect the lot of the proletarians is still worse in times of peace. In war times the workers are needed; the bourgeoisie needs their enthusiasm, their willingness to sacrifice, their... (From :
Source: Controversies: Forum for the Internationalist Communist LeftFirst Published: Anthropogenesis A Study Of The Origin Of Man By Ant. Pannekoek Sc. D. Professor University of Amsterdam; 1953 North-Holland Publishing Company AmsterdamWritten: 1944, under German Occupation of Holland;Markup, Editing, Formatting: Controversies: Forum for the Internationalist Communist Left and D. Walters for the Marxists Internet Archive. Preface The present study on Anthropogenesis was written during the war, in 1944, when through the German occupation of Holland ordinary scientific work was greatly impeded. Since the German Military Government had forbidden all publication in English and French, the Amsterdam Academy of Sciences decided that all i... (From :
Source: ?Published: In Reichenberg, 1912, under the title "Klassenkampf und Nation".Transcriber: Collective Action Notes (CAN)HTML: Jonas Holmgren Contents: Introduction The Nation and its Transformations The Bourgeois Conception and the Socialist Conception The Nation as Community of Fate The Peasant Nation and the Modern Nation Tradition and the Human Mind Our Task The Nation and the Proletariat Class Antagonism The Will to Form a Nation The Community of Culture The Community of Class Struggle The Nation in the State of the Future The Transformations of the Nation Socialist Tactics Nationalist Demands Ideology and Class Struggle (From :
Published: International Council Correspondence, vol. 2, no. 6. May 1936. Originally appeared in Dutch as "Communisme en godsdienst" in Persdienst van de groep van Internationale Communisten in April 1936. The article was published without attribution, but Pannekoek's personal notes make the authorship clear. For more information see the Association Archives Antonie Pannekoek.Note: The original text contains inconsistent capitalization and erroneous or unusual spellings. It has been noted that "Pannekoek strongly objected to correction of his somewhat peculiar English."Transcription/Markup: Micah Muer, 2017. I. The fierce struggle which Bolshevism has waged and is still waging against religion in Russia is particularly well adapted ... (From :
Source: Left, No 132, October 1947, p. 225-228. The first world war and the ensuing Russian and German revolutions raised new problems and brought about profound changes in the ideas of workers and Socialists. The German Socialist Party, the apparently powerful organization ready to conquer political dominance and thereby to establish Socialism, when in power turned out a means for reestablishing capitalism. In Russia the workers had beaten down Czarism and taken possession of the factories and the land; now State Capitalism brought them into stricter slavery under a new master class. And not reformism only was to be blamed; the most notable spokesmen of uncompromising radicalism, renowned as Marxists, such as Kautsky and Lenin,... (From :
Published: in Persdienst van de Groep van Internationale Communisten, no. 7, 1933.[1]Source: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive; reformatted by Micah Muer, 2019.Reformatting/Proofreading: Micah Muer, 2019. The assessment of the burning of the Reichstag in the left communist press once again leads us to raise other questions. Can destruction be a means of struggle for workers? First of all, it must be said that no one will cry over the disappearance of the Reichstag. It was one of the ugliest buildings in modern Germany, a pompous image of the Empire of 1871. But there are other more beautiful buildings, and museums filled with artistic treasures. When a desperate pro... (From :
There are numerous complaints in the scientific literature about the increasing destruction of forests. But it is not only the joy that every nature-lover feels for forests that should be taken into account. There are also important material interests, indeed the vital interests of humanity. With the disappearance of abundant forests, countries known in Antiquity for their fertility, which were densely populated and famous as granaries for the great cities, have become stony deserts. Rain seldom falls there except as devastating diluvian downpours that carry away the layers of hummus which the rain should fertilize. Where the mountain forests have been destroyed, torrents fed by summer rains cause enormous masses of stones and san... (From :
Published: Bulletin of the Provisional Bureau in Amsterdam of the Communist International, vol. 1, no. ?. February 1920.Transcription/Markup: Micah Muer, 2017. These differences can partly be traced back to the days of the rise of Communism. The opposition in Germany during the war, against the government and social democracy, had its origin in various centers and in various ways. K. Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg (with Fr. Mehring) maintained an unflinching and inexorable opposition against the war-policy, by means often of illegal writings, and were therefore kept in prison most of the time. The "Spartacus" group which they created constituted the extreme left wing of the "Unabhängige Sozialistische Partei" (the U.S.P., whic... (From :
Published: The New Review, vol. 2, no. 11. November 1914.Transcription/Markup: Micah Muer, 2017. I. Exactly half a century has passed since the International Workingmen's Association was founded in London under the leadership of Karl Marx. It went to pieces after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and the Paris Commune. Exactly a quarter of a century ago, at the Congress of 1889 in Paris, the new International was founded. This year the Congress at Vienna was to celebrate the double anniversary. But just a month before it was to take place the firebrand of international war was tossed into Europe from Vienna. With the outbreak of the European War, the new International, too, is disrupted. When the old International was founded ... (From :
Published: International Socialist Review, vol. 12, no. 9, March 1912.Translation: William E. Bohn.Transcription/Markup: Micah Muer, 2017.The elections to the German Reichstag have resulted in a great victory for the Social Democratic Party. In 1907 the Socialists entered the national assembly with 43 members, and by means of victories at by-elections this number was raised to 53. The great electoral battle of 1912, however, gives us quite a different story to tell. The first ballot, on January 12, gave the Socialists 67 seats, of which 25 represent newly conquered districts. The party of the working-class was, moreover, left as contestant in 121 reballotings. The second elections have netted 43 seats. Thus the Social Democratic grou... (From :
Publication: Politics, Vol. III, No 8, September 1946, p. 270-272;Transcribed: by David Walters/Greg Adargo, December, 2001;Source: Kurasje Council Communist Archives. In former issues of Politics the problem has been posed: Why did the working class fail in its historical task? Why did it not offer resistance to national socialism in Germany? Why is there no trace of any revolutionary movement among the workers of America? What has happened to the social vitality of the world working class? Why do the masses all over the globe no longer seem capable of initiating anything new aimed at their own self-liberation? Some light may be thrown upon this problem by the following considerations. It is easy to ask: why did not the workers r... (From :
Source: ?Published: 1927Transcriber: Collective Action Notes (CAN)HTML: Jonas Holmgren In the person of Hermann Gorter, the revolutionary proletariat has just lost one of its most faithful friends and one of its most notable comrades in arms. He figured among the greatest experts in Marxist theory and was one of the very few who, through conflicts and splits, remained invariably devoted to revolutionary communism. Gorter was born on November 26, 1864, the son of a well-known writer; upon completing his studies in the humanities, he was appointed institute professor of secondary education. While still young he composed Mei ("May"), a work of poetry which had an explosive impact on the world of letters in Holland and was immed... (From :
Published: Living Marxism, vol. 4, no. 5. November 1938.Transcribed David Walters/Greg Adargo, December, 2001. Organization is the chief principle in the working class fight for emancipation. Hence the forms of this organization constitute the most important problem in the practice of the working class movement. It is clear that these forms depend on the conditions of society and the aims of the fight. They cannot be the invention of theory, but have to be built up spontaneously by the working class itself, guided by its immediate necessities. With expanding capitalism the workers first built their trade unions. The isolated worker was powerless against the capitalist; so he had to unite with his fellows in bargaining and fight... (From :
Written: February 1919Transcribed: Adam Buick. In the December 1918 Socialist Standard we stated that if a General Election were held in Germany the working class there, having the vast majority of the votes, could place a Socialist Government in power should they desire to work for the establishment of Socialism. An Election has now been held, and its results must be exceedingly disappointing to those who claim that the riots in Berlin and other towns showed that the German working class were ready — nay, eager — to see Socialism brought into existence. The Press reports give the following as the result of the Election: Majority Socialists164 seatsIndependent Socialists24 seatsGerman Democratic Party77 seatsNation... (From :
Written: 1918;Source: Workers Dreadnought, 24 May 1919, reprinted from The Revolutionary Age;Transcribed: by Adam Buick. The logical result of the collapse of German Imperialism following the military defeat, was the revolution. On November 4th the revolt in Kiel occurred. The ferment manifested itself first among the sailors. Rumors of revolt among the sailors were heard during the past year, and the Independent Social Democrats defended themselves against the accusations of complicity. Now it broke out anew, stronger and more general, “by mistake” as the Vossiche Zeitung said. Revolutions often occur through such mistakes - the conviction among the sailors that the fleet was ordered out to hopeless combat. The sa... (From :
Published: International Socialist Review, vol. 15, no. 8. February 1915.Translation: Alfred D. Schoch.Transcription/Markup: Micah Muer, 2017. A terrible breakdown of the German social democracy — and of the Socialist movement in the other countries — came when the European war broke out. Before that German socialism seemed full size and full strength, admired by the Socialists of the world as an example no other country had been able to equal; those who knew how things were on the inside, however, were aware that not everything was as good and strong as it seemed. Now all socialism seems suddenly to have disappeared; now it is commonly believed in foreign countries that the entire party, filled with enthusiasm for the... (From :
Suddenly, like a meteor from the sky or an earthquake, the world-war has broken out over the unsuspecting and terrified nations of Europe. No one thought of war, no one really wanted it, princes and cabinet members were traveling or at bathing places — out came the ultimatum of Austria to the Servian government, and after a week of strenuous efforts to preserve peace the nations one after the other slid down into the abyss as if drawn by an irresistible fate. Never before was it made so plain that mankind does not make history according to its own will but is driven by external social forces more powerful than itself. Superficial newspaper writers seek to lay the blame on individual persons. One alleges as the cause of the... (From :
If it were necessary to believe the words of the spokesmen of the bourgeoisie, the working class has no worse enemies than the socialists. “For they speak out against the vices of current society,” they say, “ and lament the unhappy lot of the workers, but instead of thinking to bringing them immediate assistance they show the proletarian, in the future, a socialist society that, incidentally, will never be realized. Only those who, like us, place themselves on the terrain of the current order and who hold it to be eternal can dedicate themselves with ardor to the improvement, through means of reforms, of the conditions that exist today. And this is why all of us, liberals and anti-Semites, progressives and Cathol... (From :
Published: Unsigned in "Persdienst van de Groep van Internationale Communisten", 1933, no. 7, at the same time as the article Destruction As A Means Of Struggle. This translation was published in the International Communist Current journal Internationalism, No. 20, Summer 1979.Transcriber: John GrayProofread: Andy CarloffHTML: Jonas Holmgren Many divergent positions have been taken up on the burning of the Reichstag by Van Der Lubbe. In the organs of the communist left (Spartacus, Radencommunist) it was approved as the act of a revolutionary communist. To approve and applaud such an act means calling for it to be repeated. That's why it's important to understand what use it had. Its only meaning could be to hit, to weaken, the r... (From :
Published: International Council Correspondence, vol. 1, no. 12. October 1935.Transcription/Markup: Micah Muer, 2017. The intellectual middle class, the engineers, scientists, technical employes, etc. are a necessary part of industrial production, quite as indispensable as the workers themselves. Technical progress, in replacing workers by machines, tends to increase their number. Therefore their class interests and their class character must be of increasing importance in the social struggles. Their growing numbers reflect the growing importance of science and theory in the production of life necessities. In a communist society all will partake of scientific knowledge. In capitalist society it is the privilege and the special... (From :
Source: Letter to Sylvia Pankhurst in Workers’ Dreadnought, 30 September 1922.Transcribed: by Adam Buick. Dear Comrade I have read with much satisfaction your article on the program of the Irish Communist Party, and I think you are perfectly right in calling it a non-Communist program. Indeed, the essence of Communist thought is that the great transformation of society from Capitalism to Communism can only be accomplished by the common efforts of the workers themselves, all of them acting where they stand in the process of production. The belief that some foreign power, the State, may accomplish it for the workers by decrees and laws is a social-democratic belief — nay, only the most narrow-minded social democrats ... (From :
The relation of labor unions to the Socialist movement is in many countries the subject of sharp differences of opinion, even of bitter strife. The situation is by no means everywhere the same. In England, for example, after the breakup of the Chartist political movement in 1848 the union movement increased greatly and became a mighty organization of the workingmen. But this great body of workers remained indifferent to Socialism, or even inimical to it, and the Socialist party remained a small sect. In America the labor movement developed according to the English pattern. In Germany and Belgium, on the contrary, the situation is exactly reversed. There the Socialist party grew mightily in the first place; then the workers, who had... (From :
Written: 1952;Transcribed: by David Walters/Greg Adargo, December, 2001;Source: Kurasje Council Communist Archives. I would like to make some critical and complementary remarks about Comrade Kondor's observations on "Bourgeois or Socialist Organization" in the issue of "Funken" for December 1951. When firstly he criticizes the present-day role of the trade unions (and parties), he is completely right. With the changes in the economic structure the function of the different social structures must also change. The trade unions were and are indispensable as organs of struggle for the working-class under private capitalism. Under monopoly and state-capitalism, towards which capitalism increasingly develops, they turn into a part of the ... (From :
Autumn 1946 Amsterdam Dear Comrade. My friend, Paul Mattick, advised me to get into communication with you in order to investigate the possibility of publishing a book on the new aspect of working class movement. Under the influence of the depression and confusion in the 1920’ies among the socialist and labor groups, there arose in a group of leftist militants in Holland (connected with friends in Germany, England and France) the opinion that this crisis and apparent decline was in reality a transition and preliminary to the real coming fight for worker’s freedom. Whereas all socialist writers proclaim as their goal State-socialism, where the workers are dominated and commanded by managers in the shops, by a burea... (From :
Anton Pannekoek Letter to J.A. Dawson October 12, 1947 Holland October 12, 1947 Dear Comrade Dawson, I thank you very much for your letter of Sept. 16th, wherein you consent to my proposal to publish The Workers’ Councils, eventually; in parts as part of your monthly. So I send to-morrow the first part of the MSS. by sea-mail. It will take probably some months to reach you. ... When you publish it, I must make one very strict condition: That proof-reading is made with utmost care. Because of the distance I, of course, cannot make the proofreading myself; so I cannot take care that everything is correct. So I have carefully scrutinized the manuscript, that every letter and every comma is correct; you know that in English... (From :
[The following text is that of J.A. Dawson's containing extracts from Pannekoek's letter in citation marks] A recent letter from Dr. Anton Pannekoek contains such sound logic that I feel it should be passed along to all workers seeking the way to emancipation. Dr. Pannekoek writes me that he and his fellow Dutch workers have now hopes that their book (See S.S.R. December issue) will be published by a leading publishing house in London. Inter alia, he mentions that comrade Harris, of Newport, Socialist Party of Great Britain, has contacted him and offered an assurance of help by the Party in furthering the matter if negotiations with the particular publishing house fall through. Comrades in Australia will be heartened in our fight t... (From :
Source: Socialisme ou Barbarie, No 14, April-June 1954;Written: November 8, 1953;Translated: for by Mitch Abidor. Dear Comrade Chaulieu, I offer you many thanks for the series of eleven issues of Socialisme ou Barbarie that you gave to comrade B.... to give to me. I read them (though I haven’t yet finished) with great interest, because of the great agreement between us that they reveal. You probably remarked the same thing when reading my book Les Conseils ouvriers. For many years it seemed to me that the small number of socialists who expounded these ideas hadn’t grown; the book was ignored and was met with silence by almost the entire socialist press (except, recently, in the Socialist Leader of the IL... (From :
Source: Neubestimmung des Marxismus 1: Diskussion über Arbeiterräte, Berlin (West): Karin Kramer Verlag, 1974, pp. 27-30.Published: ‘Liberaler und imperialistischer Marxismus,’ Lichtstrahlen, nr. 7, 1915Transcriber: Daniel GaidoTranslation: Daniel Gaido, 2009 In this essay Pannekoek takes issue with the so-called ‘radical imperialist’ wing of the SPD—a group of extreme social-patriots that developed during the First World War and included some prominent former defenders of ‘orthodoxy’ and left-wingers such as Paul Lensch, Heinrich Cunow, Max Cohen and Konrad Haenisch.[2] It draws an interesting analogy with the so-called ‘Legal Marxists’ in Russia who ultimately became... (From :
Written: 1909Translated: 1912, Nathan Weiser.Transcribed: Jon MullerHTML Markup: Abu Nicole, proofed and corrected by Bas Streef;Source: Charles H. Kerr & Company, Chicago, USA Original Copyright, 1912. CONTENTS DarwinismMarxismMarxism and the Class StruggleDarwinism and the Class StruggleDarwinism versus SocialismNatural Law and Social TheoryThe Sociability of ManTools, Thought and LanguageAnimal Organs and Human ToolsCapitalism and Socialism I. Darwinism Two scientists can hardly be named who have, in the second half of the 19th century, dominated the human mind to a greater degree than Darwin and Marx. Their teachings revolutionized the conception that the great masses had about the world. For decades their names have ... (From :
Source: ?Published: Originally in "Lichtstrahlen", 1915Transcriber: Collective Action Notes (CAN)HTML: Jonas Holmgren "Until now, the philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx, Theses on Feuerbach Scientific theories do not emerge from the pure and dispassionate thoughts in men's heads. These theories serve practice, and are established in order to clear the way for men's essential practical tasks. They even arise as a result of practical needs, and change their form if the environment, society or needs change. For this reason, the same doctrine can assume completely different colorations over the course of time. What a great difference there is between t... (From :
1. Our Differences For several years past, profound tactical disagreement has been developing on a succession of issues among those who had previously shared common ground as Marxists and together fought against Revisionism in the name of the radical tactic of class struggle. It first came into the open in 1910, in the debate between Kautsky and Luxemburg over the mass strike; then came the dissension over imperialism and the question of disarmament; and finally, with the conflict over the electoral deal made by the Party Executive and the attitude to be adopted towards the liberals, the most important issues of parliamentary politics became the subject of dispute. One may regret this fact, but no party loyalty can conjure it ... (From :
Written: 1942;First Published: in English in the American journal New Essays, Vol VI No 2 Fall 1942;Transcription\HTML Markup: by Andy Blunden, for 2003.Source: John Gray's Archive. I The evolution of Marxism to its present stage can be understood only in connection with the social and political developments of the period in which it arose. With the coming of capitalism in Germany there developed simultaneously a growing opposition to the existing aristocratic absolutism. The ascending bourgeois class needed freedom of trade and commerce, favorable legislation, a government sympathetic to its interests, freedom of press and assembly in order to fight unhindered for its needs and desires. But the bourgeoisie found... (From :
Source: ?Published: Originally in "Der Kommunist" (Bremen), No. 27, 1920Transcriber: Collective Action Notes (CAN)HTML: Jonas Holmgren When the material situation is conducive to revolution, but the masses remain passive and are not at all inclined to revolt, doctrines then arise which seek to attain their goal by other means than the political revolution of the proletarians. So it was in France where, prior to 1870, the names of Proudhon and Blanqui were associated with two tendencies which, in different and opposed ways, elaborated the theories of the first seeds of future movements. Associated with the name of Proudhon, the petit-bourgeois critic of big capital, were those parts of the rising workers movement that sought to ... (From :
The middle class is the one which stands between the highest and the lowest strata of society. Above it is the class of great capitalists; below it the proletariat, the class of wage-workers. It constitutes the social group with medium incomes. Accordingly, it is not divided with equal sharpness from both of the other two classes. From the great capitalist the small bourgeois is distinguished only by a difference of degree; he has a smaller amount of capital, a more modest business. Therefore the question as to who belongs to this small bourgeois class is difficult to answer. Every capitalist who suffers from the competition of still greater capitalists denounces those above him and cries out for help on behalf of the middle class.... (From :
Published: The New Review, vol. 3, no. 2. February 1915.Transcription/Markup: Micah Muer, 2017. More than a conference of delegates from the Socialist parties of the neutral nations is needed to re-organize the International. Such a conference cannot even be an instrument for peace, for now that all the high-sounding resolutions of the Social-Democracy have become mere empty talk, no one feels any respect for its power. Even if the leaders of all Socialist parties should meet when the war is over, fall about each others' necks and forgive each other their nationalist sins, their "International" would be nothing more than an International of Leaders for the protection of common interests. An International that obediently falls ... (From :
Published: The Communist International, vol. 1, no. 2. June 1919. p. 165-170.Transcription/Markup: Micah Muer, 2017. I. Four years of war have wrought a decisive change in the nature of the world. A new world is surrounding us, thought but few of us have yet realized what it is that has changed. The proletarian world revolution has begun. Everybody is aware of it. The bourgeoisie sees it or guesses at it, — panic-stricken, it tries to save what can be saved and endeavors with all its might to keep its old power to build it up anew. The vanguard of the revolution forthwith accepts the challenge, and large masses of working men get ready for the fight, though not as yet clearly seeing, only instinctively feeling that the... (From :
Published: International Council Correspondence, vol. 2, no. 7. June 1936.Transcription/Markup: Micah Muer, 2017. I. During the world war small groups in all countries arose, convinced that out of this ordeal of capitalism, a proletarian revolution must ensue, and they were ready to prepare for it. They once more took the name of communists, forgotten since the old times of Marx in 1848, to identify themselves from the old socialist parties. The Bolshevik party, then having its center in Switzerland, was one of them. After the war had ceased, they united into communist parties standing for the proletarian revolution, in opposition to the socialist parties who supported the war politics of the capitalist government; and represen... (From :
Published: Modern Socialism, no. 2, pages 7-10. Winter 1941.Transcribed: by David Walters/Greg Adargo, December, 2001.Proofed: and corrected by Megen Devine, July 2011; Micah Muer, 2017.Note: A very close variant of the 1936 texts "Party and Working Class" and "The Party and the Working Class". The old labor movement is organized in parties. The belief in parties is the main reason for the impotence of the working class; therefore we avoid forming a new party—not because we are too few, but because a party is an organization that aims to lead and control the working class. In opposition to this, we maintain that the working class can rise to victory only when it independently attacks its problems and decides its own fate. Th... (From :
Published: International Council Correspondence, vol. 2, nos. 9-10. Pages 43-47. September 1936. The article was unattributed and was given the title "The Party and the Class" in the issue's table of contents.Transcription/Markup: Micah Muer, 2017.Note: A very close variant of the 1936 text "Party and Working Class" and the 1941 text "The Party and Class". The first traces of a new labor movement are just becoming visible. The old movement is organized in parties. The belief in parties is the main reason for the impotence of the working class; therefore we avoid forming a new party -- not because we are too few, but because a party is an organization that aims to lead and control the working class. In opposition to this, we main... (From :
Written: 1936; source unknown.Transcribed: by David Walters/Greg Adargo, December, 2001.Proofed: by Micah Muer, 2017.Source: Kurasje Council Communist Archives.Note: A very close variant of the 1936 text "The Party and the Working Class" and the 1941 text "The Party and Class". We are only at the very earliest stages of a new workers' movement. The old movement was embodied in parties, and today belief in the party constitutes the most powerful check on the working class' capacity for action. That is why we are not trying to create a new party. This is so, not because our numbers are small -- a party of any kind begins with a few people -- but because, in our day, a party cannot be other than an organization aimed at directing and ... (From :
Published: Left, no. 156. May 1950. Pages 6-11.Transcription/Markup: Micah Muer, 2017. I. THE COMMUNIST PARTIES give the name People's Democracy to their dictatorial governments in Russia and its satellite states in Eastern Europe. What does that word mean? Grammatically it is a pleonasm (an overdose of names). Democracy, literally translated, means people's rule, and was always thus understood; hence people's democracy means people's people's rule, or demodemocracy. It might seem that, since nobody in the world believes that a dictatorship may be called democracy, the imposed misnomer is accentuated by repetition so that it may be more easily swallowed. Just as in mathematics doubling of the negative sign produces a positive ... (From :
From: Persmaterial van de Groep van Internationale Communisten, No.7, March 1933;Written: 1933;Transcription\HTML Markup: Greg Adargo;Source: Collective Action Notes The burning of the Reichstag by Van Der Lubbe, reveals the most divergent positions. In the organs of the communist left such as (Spartacus, De Radencommunist), the burning is approved as an act of a communist revolutionary. To approve and applaud such an act means advocating its repetition. Hence it is necessarily good to fully appreciate its usefulness. Perhaps the fire's meaning could only be to affect or to weaken the dominant class: the bourgeoisie. Here, there can be no question. The bourgeoisie is not in the least affected by the burning of the Reichstag; its d... (From :
Written: 1952;First Published: in French in La Révolution Prolétarienne, Aug-Sept 1952;Transcription\HTML Markup: by Andy Blunden, for 2003.Source: John Gray's Archive; Introduction by Révolution Prolétarienne: Circumstances beyond our control delayed the publication of the following article by Professor Pannekoek: loss of a first manuscript between Holland and Paris, then difficulties of translation. However this delay may have an unforeseen advantage worth being announced: the comrades who publish the weekly socialist paper De Vlam in Amsterdam have formed a committee to commemorate the twenty fifth anniversary of the death of Gorter and they are publishing Pannekoek's article at the same time as ... (From :
In the history of philosophy we see before us the consecutive forms of the thoughts of the ruling classes of society on life and on the world at large. This class thought appears after the primitive communism has given way to a society with class antagonisms, at a stage when the wealth of the members of the ruling class gave them leisure time and thus stimulated them to turn their attention to the productions of the mind. The beginning of this thought is found in classic Greece. But it assumed its clearest and best developed form when the modern bourgeoisie had become the ruling class in capitalistic Europe and the thinkers gave expression to the ideas of this class. The characteristic mark of these ideas is dualism, that is to say... (From :
Published: International Council Correspondence, vol. 2, no. 6. May 1936.Transcription/Markup: Micah Muer, 2017. I The power of the capitalist class is enormous. Never in history was there a ruling class with such power. Their power is first, money power. All the treasures of the world are theirs, and modern capital, produced by the ceaseless toil of millions of workers, exceeds all the treasures of the old world. The surplus value is partly accumulated into ever more and new capital; partly it must be spent by the capitalists. They buy servants for their personal attendants; they also buy People to defend them, to safeguard their power and their dominating position. In capitalism everything can be bought for money; muscles an... (From :
Published: "Die besitzende und die besitzlose Klasse," Leipziger Volkszeitung, December 27, 1906. Collected in Der Kampf der Arbeiter : Sieben Aufsätze aus der Leipziger Volkszeitung, 1907.Translator: Rida Vaquas.Source: First appeared in English, with an introduction by Rida Vaquas, on the Cosmonaut blog.Transcription/Markup for MIA: Micah Muer, 2020.The political struggle that the socialist working class leads and of which every election campaign is an episode is not in the first instance a struggle about particular political institutions and legal demands, but instead a universal struggle between the propertied and propertyless class. To understand it correctly, it is necessary to take a close look at the combatants, the causes, and... (From :
First Published: International Socialist Review, Vol X, No 11, May 1910;Translated: by Wm. E. Bohn.Transcribed: by Adam BuickHTML Markup: Andy Blunden. The political struggle now going on in Germany is the heart of the whole European situation. Since the Revolution tumbled Russia from her predominance, Germany is not only the strongest military power on the continent but the greatest force in the European reaction. And it is in Germany, likewise, that the socialist-labor movement is strongest. Here the forces of revolution and reaction stand facing each other armed to the teeth; here will take place the first fateful battles of the revolution. I. Landed Nobility and Bourgeoisie What distinguishes Germany from America and Wester... (From :
Source: Western Socialist, November 1947; written in English;Transcribed: by Adam Buick. The acknowledged aim of socialism is to take the means of production out of the hands of the capitalist class and place them into the hands of the workers. This aim is sometimes spoken of as public ownership, sometimes as common ownership of the production apparatus. There is, however, a marked and fundamental difference. Public ownership is the ownership, i.e. the right of disposal, by a public body representing society, by government, state power or some other political body. The persons forming this body, the politicians, officials, leaders, secretaries, managers, are the direct masters of the production apparatus; they direct and regulat... (From :
Source: annex to Workers Councils;Translated: by Adam Buick;HTML Markup: Andy Blunden. Religion is the oldest and most deeply rooted of the ideologies which still play a role today. Religion has always been the form in which men have expressed the consciousness that their life was dominated by superior and incomprehensible forces. In religion was expressed the idea that there is a deep unity between Man and the world, between Man and nature, and between men and other men. With the evolution of labor, of the various modes of production, and of knowledge about nature, as well as with changes in society and the evolution of the relations between people, religious ideas changed. Today’s religious ideas were mainly formed four... (From :
Published: Left, no. 156. May 1950. Pages 22-24.Transcription/Markup: Micah Muer, 2017. The Editor, "LEFT" In his article "Accent on Equality" Wigham quotes a sentence written by Engels in his Anti-Dühring, and he derives from it that Engels was against equality of pay in socialist society. It must he remarked first that when Marx or Engels gave their ideas about the future this is no indication of what the workers will have to do under socialism; predictions are no prescriptions. And secondly that here Engels does not speak about socialist future but on the ideas, the demands, and the platform of the working class under capitalism. Against the confused expositions of Dühring on equality as an "eternal truth" he emph... (From :
Panic pervades the intellectual layers of American society. Whereas the peoples of Europe were used to war and damage, to destruction and insecurity in life, Americans felt safe in being separated by oceans from dangerous foes, until the atom bomb fell upon Hiroshima; the first scientists, realizing what it meant, called themselves "frightened men." There is no secret; and there is no defense. Within some few years Russia and many smaller countries can have their installations ready to make atom bombs by the hundreds, just like America. Atom bombs are the cheapest means of town-destruction; General H. H. Arnold computed that destruction per square mile by means of B-29 bombs cost 3 million dollars by means of the Hiroshima bomb ... (From :
Published: International Council Correspondence, vol. 2, no. 8. July 1936.Transcription/Markup: Micah Muer, 2017. The chief characteristic of fascism is that of organizing the petty capitalist and middle class with their narrow-minded spirit of private business into a mass organization, strong enough to check and beat the proletarian organizations. This class, squeezed in between the capitalist and the working class, unable to fight capitalism, is always ready to turn against the workers' class struggle. Tho it hates big capital and puts forth anti-capitalistic slogans, it is a tool in the hands of capitalism, which pays and directs its political action towards the subduing of the workers. Its ideas and theories are directed ch... (From :
Published: New Review, vol. 1, no. 17, June 1913.Transcription/Markup: Micah Muer, 2017.Many attempts have been made to explain the causes of Roosevelt's reappearance upon the political stage and the formation of the Progressive party. In these attempts emphasis has mostly been laid upon the increasing resistance of the lower strata of the bourgeoisie to the rule of the Trusts, as well as upon the necessity of catching the workers with social reforms; but it must be plain to everyone that the characterization of the new party as "petty-capitalistic" is inadequate. In the formation of this new party we have to do not only with a split of the old historic parties — for similar tendencies are found in the Democratic party as well... (From :
Source: ?Published: First published as a pamphlet under the pseudonym K. Horner in Hamburg, 1919; also later published in the KAPD journal, Kommunistische Arbeiterzeitung, in 1927. This translation is based on the latter version.Transcriber: Collective Action Notes (CAN)HTML: Jonas Holmgren Contents: Social Democracy and Communism 1. The Road Followed by the Workers Movement 2. Class Struggle and Socialization 3. Mass Action and Revolution 4. Democracy and Parliamentarism 5. Proletarian Democracy, or the Council System 1 The Road Followed by the Workers Movement The world war brought not just a violent revolution in all economic and political relations; it also completely transformed socialism. Those who grew up with G... (From :
The party-school in Berlin which was established last year by the committee of the Social Democratic party, did not spring up by chance; on the contrary, it is a quite necessary product of the conditions, into which, through its developments, the German party has come. In the beginning, when the labor movement was still small, and when it was comprehended only by a few chosen enthusiastic persons, the study of the scientific principles of socialism was eagerly pursued by them. They had time for it, and it was necessary for them, if they would win for the cause the mass of their comrades who either pinned their faith to bourgeois parties, or were indifferent; the bourgeois teaching had to be refuted, and the indifferent workingmen a... (From :
Source: The Call, 10 June 1920, p. 2Transcribed: Ted CrawfordHTML Markup: Brian ReidNote: A slightly different translation is also available.Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source. I During the first months that followed the German Revolution of November, 1918, there arose a cry of “Socialization.” It was the expression of the will of the masses to-give to the revolution a social meaning, and not to let it stop at reshuffling of persons, or at a simple transformation of the political system. Kautsky warned the public against a too r... (From :
Source: The Call, 17 June 1920, p. 8Transcribed: Ted CrawfordHTML Markup: Brian ReidNote: A slightly different translation is also available.Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source. It goes without saying that legal expropriation will also take place during the transition from capitalism to Socialism. The political power of the proletariat will take all the measures that are necessary for the suppression of exploitation. It will not content itself with limiting the former employers right of free exploitation by regularizing wages, hours of labor; a... (From :
Written: 1919;Version: Originally published as 'Die Sozialisierung' in Die Internationale, vol. one, nos 13-14, September 1919, pp. 254-259. French translation published in Le Phare (The Beacon) No. 7, 1st March 1920. This French translation reprinted in (Dis)continuté Issue 7 July 1999, from which this translation has been made. A slightly different translation is also available;Transcription/HTML Markup: Greg Adargo. Le Phare Introduction: Anton Pannekoek is one of the best theorists of international socialism. He belongs to the Dutch Communist Party. We are publishing a translation of one of his most recent and topical articles which appeared in German in the Marxist journal Die Internationale, founded by Rosa Luxemburg and... (From :
1. THE SOCIAL IDEAL. When we read the books of the official professors of social science on the subject of Socialism and Anarchism, we are astonished to find how little the sociologists, even those friendly to us, understand of the great scientific revolution which Engels called the Development of Socialism from Utopia to Science, a revolution now more than half a century old. Scientific Socialism, as established by Marx and Engels, combined into a harmonious unity two things which from the bourgeois point of view appeared to be irreconcilable opposites: on the one hand dispassionate objectivity, science indifferent to ideals, and on the other hand the passionately sought subjective ideal of a better society. Those who do not ... (From :
Published: The New Review, vol. 1, no. 18. July 1913.Transcription/Markup: Micah Muer, 2017.In the working class movement there are great differences of opinion in regard to tactics, in regard to the best method of conducting the struggle for the emancipation of the proletariat, and these differences often express themselves in acrimonious discussions and embittered internal conflicts. These differences can be cleared up and settled only by a thorough discussion of the fundamental principles of the class struggle. The question involved is this: how can the proletariat conquer political supremacy? Those who do not concern themselves with this question, who do not consider it necessary for the workers to carry on a struggle for the ... (From :
I If we try to find a key for the mutual relation of socialism and religion in the practical attitude of socialist speakers and writers and religious spokesmen, we are easily led to believe, that the greatest misunderstanding, confusion, and internal contradictions reign in this regard. On one side we see that numerous laborers, when joining the ranks of the socialists, also throw their theological faith overboard and often combat religion fiercely; moreover, the teachings, which form the basis and strength of present-day socialism, and which together form a entirely new world conception, stand irreconcilably opposed to religious faith. On the other hand, we see faithful adherents of Christianity, even priests, demanding sociali... (From :
Published: Science and Society, no. 4. Summer 1937.Transcription/Markup: Andy Blunden, for 2003.Proofed: Micah Muer, 2017.Source: John Gray's Archive I Marx's theory of social development is known as the "materialistic conception of history" or "historical materialism." Before Marx the word "materialism" had long been used in opposition to idealism, for whereas idealistic philosophical systems assumed some spiritual principle, some "Absolute Idea" as the primary basis of the world, the materialistic philosophies proceeded from the real material world. In the middle of the nineteenth century, another kind of materialism was current which considered physical matter as the primary basis from which all spiritual and me... (From :
Published: Left, no. 149. May 1950. Pages 49-53.Transcription/Markup: Micah Muer, 2017. Editorial Note. — The Editorial Board of "Left" is deeply honored at being permitted to publish this article by Dr. Pannekoek, the veteran Dutch Libertarian Socialist and, beyond question, one of the greatest living Socialist thinkers and scholars. — Editor, "Left." I In the second half of the 19th century the opinion spread widely among the workers that socialism can and must be won by a parliamentary conquest of political power; and it seemed well on the way. In the 20th century disappointment brought skepticism; reformist, so-called socialist, parties rose to power but deteriorated into agencies of capitalism. Many of the m... (From :
From: Rätekorrespondenz, 1936;English translation: International Council Correspondence, Vol.III, No.1, January 1937;Written: 1936Transcription\HTML Markup: Greg AdargoSource: Kurasje Council Communist Archives I. The term “State Capitalism” is frequently used in two different ways: first, as an economic form in which the state performs the role of the capitalist employer, exploiting the workers in the interest of the state. The federal mail system or a state-owned railway are examples of this kind of state capitalism. In Russia, this form of state capitalism predominates in industry: the work is planned, financed and managed by the state; the directors of industry are appointed by the state and profits are cons... (From :
Source: Western Socialist, January 1948, written in English;Transcribed: by Adam Buick. In the workers’ movement two chief forms of fight are distinguished, often denoted as the political and the economic field of fight. The former centered about elections for parliamentary or analogous bodies, the latter consisted in strikes for higher wages and better working conditions. In the second half of the 19th century there was a common opinion among socialists that the former had a fundamental importance, was revolutionary, because it set up the aim of conquering political power, and thereby revolutionizing the structure of society, abolishing capitalism and introducing a socialist system. Whereas the latter was only a means of r... (From :
First Published: unsigned article in Ratekorrespondenz, June 1934;Translated: by Adam Buick in Capital and Class, Spring 1977;HTML Markup: Andy Blunden. The idea that capitalism was in a final, its mortal, crisis dominated the first years after the Russian revolution. When the revolutionary workers’ movement in Western Europe abated, the Third International gave up this theory, but it was maintained by the opposition movement, the KAPD, which adopted the theory of the mortal crisis of capitalism as the distinguishing feature between the revolutionary and reformist points of view. The question of the necessity and the inevitability of the collapse of capitalism, and the way in which this is to be understood, is the most importa... (From :
Source: Le Socialisme, November 7, 1908;Translated: for by Mitch Abidor. The question of the relationship between reform and revolution has played a preponderant role in all debates these last few years. We saw this at the congresses of Nuremberg and Toulouse. People seek to oppose reform to revolution. Intransigent comrades, always preoccupied with revolution, are accused of neglecting reform. Opposed to them is the concept that says that reforms systematically and methodically realized in current society lead to socialism without a violent rupture being necessary. Contempt for reform is more anarchist than socialist. It is just as little justified as the reformist concept. In fact revolution cannot be opposed to... (From :
Publication: Southern Advocate for Workers' Councils, No. 33, May 1947, p. 2-3;Transcribed: by David Walters/Greg Adargo, December, 2001. I. Capitalism in one century of growth has enormously increased its power, not only through expansion over the entire earth, but also through development into new forms. With it the working class has increased in power, in numbers, in massal concentration, in organization. Its fight against capitalist exploitation, for mastery over the means of production, also is continually developing and has to develop into new forms. The development of capitalism led to the concentration of power over the chief branches of production in the hands of big monopolistic concerns. They are intimately connected... (From :
Written: 1917;Source: International Socialist Review, Vol. XVII, No. 8, February 1917, pp. 460-462.Translated: UnknownTranscription: Daniel Gaido, 2010Markup: D. Walters, 2010Copyright: Under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the V.I. Lenin Internet Archive as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above. Note. — The following article by Comrade Anton Pannekoek is from his magazine, “Vorbote.” It gives the views held by Left Wing Socialists in Europe and of the Zimmerwald conference. Comrade Pannekoek has long been regarded as one of the... (From :
First Published: International Council Correspondence, Vol.II, No.2, January 1936;Signed: J. Harper;Edited version: Root & Branch, No.6, 1978;Written: 1936;Transcription/HTML Markup:Greg Adargo;Source: Kurasje Council Communist Archives. How must the working class fight capitalism in order to win? This is the all important question facing the workers every day. What efficient means of action, what tactics can they use to conquer power and defeat the enemy? No science, no theory, could tell them exactly what to do. But spontaneously and instinctively, by feeling out, by sensing the possibilities, they found their ways of action. And as capitalism grew and conquered the earth and increased its power, the power of the workers also i... (From :
Source: A Pannekoek, “The Universal Crisis” The Call, 5 February 1920, p.2; translated from Esperanto original in Internacia Socia Revero.Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. The capitalist system, is in its death throes; its end has commenced. The world wide war destroyed the productive powers of Europe, drained the life blood of the peoples, and burdened the states with gigantic war debts. Many people, when the war finished, believed that the victorious countries, at least, could expect a period of expansion and recovery, during which capitalism would be rebuilt. But today it is dear that it will be impossible to rebuild it. In the conquered countries, stripped bare by the victors, economic stagnation and social ruin become... (From :
From International Socialist Review, Vol. 13, No. 8, February 1913, pp. 589-593 & No. 9, March 1913, pp. 663-665. Translated by William E. Bohn. Downloaded with thanks from Republished here under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 US. Marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL). DURING the closing months of the year 1912 the war against war has dominated the thought and action of European Socialism. Geographical and historical conditions give to war an extremely important role in the social evolution of Europe. In America there exists one great political unit in which immigrants from all lands amalgamate into a single mass; therefore America offers the best condi... (From :
Written: October 14, 1914.Translation: Alfred D. Schoch.Published: International Socialist Review, vol. 15, no. 6. December 1914.Transcription/Markup: Micah Muer, 2017. The war has already lasted two months and it is still undecided. What it has brought is a frightful destruction of human life and human happiness, not only for the soldiers, but also for the civil population; not only of property and food supplies, but also of architectural monuments and works of art impossible to replace. Belgium had been for many centuries the battlefield of Europe, but in spite of that fact the old cities, the wonderful churches, the treasures of art left by the Middle Ages, were still preserved when the first flourishing and powerful profit-mak... (From :
Published: Industrial Worker, February 7, 1948.Transcription/Markup: Micah Muer, 2017. Industrial Worker preface An unusual amount of effort is being expended currently in many publications to refute Marxism. LIFE magazine uses many pages for an article by John Dos Passos on "The Failure of Marxism" that has no more to do with its failure than crooked bookkeeping has to do with the validity of the multiplication tables. Perhaps the occasion is that February, 1948, marks the 100th anniversary of the enunciation of the basic historical teachings of Marxism in the "Communist Manifesto" of 1848 ... which doesn't seem to have much bearing on what passes under the name of "Communism" a century later. It is a pleasure under these cir... (From :
Thirty years ago every socialist was convinced that the approaching war of the great capitalist powers would mean the final catastrophe of capitalism and would be succeeded by the proletarian revolution. Even when the war did break out and the socialist and labor movement collapsed as a revolutionary factor, the hopes of the revolutionary workers ran high. Even then they were sure that the world revolution would follow in the wake of the world war. And indeed it came. Like a bright meteor the Russian revolution flared up and shone all over the earth, and in all the countries the workers rose and began to move. Only a few years after it became clear that the revolution was decaying, that social convulsions were decreasing, that t... (From :
Published: The Dutch edition was published as "De arbeidersraaden" by the Communistenbond Spartacus in Amsterdam in 1946 under the pseudonym P. Aartsz. The first English edition was published by J. A. Dawson in 1950.Transcriber: John GrayHTML: Jonas HolmgrenProofed: and corrected by Paul Germanotta for the MIA, April 2011. Contents: Preface to 1950 edition Preface THE TASK 1. Labor 2. Law and Property 3. Shop Organization 4. Social Organization 5. Objections 6. Difficulties 7. Council Organization 8. Growth THE FIGHT 1. Trade Unionism 2. Direct Action 3. Shop Occupation 4. Political Strikes 5. The Russian Revolution 6. The Workers' (From :
Published: First published in English in the International Council Correspondence, Vol.II, No.5, April 1936.[1]Source: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.Proofreading/Reformatting: Andy Carloff, 2010 (proofreading); Micah Muer, 2019 (reformatting). In its revolutionary struggles, the working class needs organization. When great masses have to act as a unit, a mechanism is needed for understanding and discussion, for the making and issuing of decisions, and for the proclaiming of actions and aims. This does not mean, of course, that all great actions and universal strikes are carried out with soldierlike discipline, after the decisions of a central board. Such cases w... (From :
Published: in De Nieuwe Tijd in 1920, in Kommunismus, the Vienna-based Comintern theoretical organ for South-East Europe; in Petrograd under the title Die Entwicklung der Weltrevolution and die Taktik des Communismus, and as a pamphlet including the ‘Afterword’ by the Verlag der Arbeiterbuchhandlung, the publishing house of the Communist Party of Austria. This translation by D.A. Smart was first published in Pannekoek and Gorter's Marxism (Pluto, London, 1978).Transcription/Markup: Andy Blunden, for 2003.Proofreading/Reformatting: Micah Muer, 2019.Source: John Gray's Archive. Theory itself becomes a material force once it takes a hold on the masses. Theory is capable of taking a hold on the masses... once it be... (From :


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