Gilles Dauvé

1947 — ?

Entry 13696


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About Gilles Dauvé

Gilles Dauvé (pen name Jean Barrot) is a French political theorist, school teacher, and translator associated with left communism and the contemporary tendency of communization.

In collaboration with other left communists such as François Martin and Karl Nesic, Dauvé has attempted to fuze, critique, and develop different left communist currents, most notably the Italian movement associated with Amadeo Bordiga (and its heretical journal Invariance), German-Dutch council communism, and the French perspectives associated with Socialisme ou Barbarie and the Situationist International. He has focused on theoretical discussions of economic issues concerning the controversial failure of Second International, Marxism (including both Social Democracy and Leninist Communism), the global revolutionary upsurge of the 1960s and its subsequent dissolution, and on developments in global capitalist accumulation and class struggle.

Among English-speaking communists and anarchists, Dauvé is best known for his Eclipse and Reemergence of the Communist Movement, first published by Black & Red Press (Detroit, Michigan) in 1974 and Critique of the Situationist International, first published in Red Eye, Berkeley, California. An essay from the first pamphlet, and the whole of the second article, were reprinted by Unpopular Books in London as What is Communism (1983) and What is Situationism respectively, in 1987. The first pamphlet was reprinted with a new foreword in 1997 by Antagonism (London). It includes Dauvé's own translations of two of his articles and one by François Martin, both originally published in Le Mouvement Communiste at the Wayback Machine (archived October 28, 2009) (Paris: Champ Libre, 1972). These articles develop Bordiga's critique of Second International productivism in light of Marx's writings on formal and real subsumption and the global uprisings of 1968, and theory of communization by drawing on council communist and Situationist traditions.

Dauvé also participated in the journal La Banquise, which he edited with Karl Nesic and others from 1983 to 1986. This sought to develop the new communist program suggested in Le Mouvement Communiste through a critical appraisal of post-1968 radical politics, including Situationist and autonomist experiments. It also developed the theory of society's real subsumption into capital. The editors describe their aims and influences in The Story of Our Origins at the Wayback Machine (archived October 28, 2009) (La Banquise, 2, 1983).

More recently, Dauvé, along with Nesic and others, has published the irregular journal Troploin, featuring articles on the collapse of both Leninist and Keynesian regimes of accumulation and the transition to "globalized" neoliberal expansion, the Middle Eastern conflicts, September 11, and the rhetoric and logic of the War on Terrorism. Many have been translated into English by Dauvé himself and are archived on the Troploin website.


Born in 1947, Gilles Dauvé has worked as a translator and a schoolteacher. He is the author of essays and books on the Russian, German, and Spanish revolutions, and on democracy, fascism, war, morals, crisis, and class. Most infamously, in English, his texts What Is Situationism? and Fascism/Anti-Fascism (both written under the pseudonym Jean Barrot) have led a legendary existence in the samizdat pamphlet underground.


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