Translation: What is regressive anti-capitalism? by EmanzipationUndFrieden

What is regressive anti-capitalism? Notes on the difference between critique of capitalism and critique of capitalists (Original text)


by EmanzipationUndFrieden (Emancipation and Peace)

Since 2008, the crisis refuses to go away. The idea of an eternally prosperous market-economy is dead and gone, and so is the “critique of capitalism”. But, unfortunately, something lurks under this title: resentment. This is also true for part of the Left, who, although—I will grant you this—at least it fights the populist slogans about “those lazy Greeks who wait for our hand-outs”, in other respects is in the same category as what you can hear down the pub. Namely, when it rants about “greed, banksters, parasites and speculation”, it puts “left-wing critique” down to the level of a TV debate, of the Finance Minister or of Ms. Maier: “They are guilty!”

“You = greedy. Us = honest”

In the minds of the peddlers of resentment, the greedy and the lazy have something in common. “They are parasites and they deceive us, honest workers.” Protest movements such as Occupy and the movement against the “Stuttgart 21” exist mostly in the idea that “those above” cheat and lie to “us”. Sometimes it is simply “The Man”, sometimes the “politicians” or “parasites” or even the “greedy banksters and speculators” who are to blame for everything. This worldview stays well away from analysing social relations. It is the spontaneous, unthinking outcry against the outside world, which does not look further than the tip of its nose, it blames a few people as responsible for everything, and fervently defends the good, massive collective of honest dupes. “Critique of capitalism” as bad caricature.


Who came up with that picture?

“Labour = good. Capital = bad”

Although this regressive anti-capitalism is allowed to pass off as theory, it remains very short of the critique of capitalism we must make. The object of this criticism is only exploitation, ie. the production of surplus-value and its appropriation by capitalists. As necessary as this critique is, it is also important, in order to understand the nature of capital, to understand the crisis and to develop an emancipatory perspective. The key to this is to recognize that we live in a commodity-producing society, which is not driven by the production of material wealth, but by the recovery of value. In a society ruled by value, everything, even people, become commodities. Ultimately, value is the social relationship between individuals who confront each other as commodity-owners. The value of commodities is measured by the socially-necessary labour-time needed to their production or reproduction. Capital itself is self-expanding value. Thus: capital is in the end nothing else than accumulated labour. Then, regressive anti-capitalism claims commodity-producing and value-adding labour and establishes it as a positive opposite pole against capital. Therefore, it designs the working-class as bearer of social emancipation.

Although Karl Marx laid the foundations for a reflective critique of capitalism (which are overlooked by most Marxists), he was not always without his own problematic reductions. Unfortunately, mass-murderers such as Stalin, Mao, etc. used his unfortunate phrase “dictatorship of the proletariat” in order to claim a filiation to him. Even today, more-revolutionary-than-thou fighters despise “in the name of the working-class” the achievements of the bourgeois-democratic revolution and strive for a party dictatorship.

But the idea that commodities, value and labour are as natural as the air we breathe is no invention of the Left tradition. It originates from its never having called the bluff of commodity fetishism, which dominates bourgeois society (see MEW 23, 85ff.).


“Finance capital”—Obsession instead of analysis

As long as money is supposedly a means of exchange of commodities, that is, as long as it represents something concrete, it is deemed “perfectly natural” for the unthinking inhabitants of the commodity-producing society. There is some conscious discomfort when considering credit—but without it, the commodity production could not maintain itself. A significant aversion to the noticeable abstraction which rules society is made into an aversion to interest-rates—which are also necessary, since in the end the money-commodity also has its value. This feeling turns to complete hatred, as seen as it considers the figure of the speculator. Speculation in commodity production, the justification of which is not said to be material needs, but the anonymous market, is unavoidable. The commodity-subject, however, fantasizes about a good capital (which is supposed to be “productive”) and a bad capital (supposedly “unproductive”).

This misunderstanding of the nature of commodity-production also leads to the construction of an especially evil “finance capital”, which is supposed to be distinct from the lesser evil of “capital”. For example, Lenin’s imperialism theory is based on this assumption, which accuses this “finance capital” of all sorts of “machinations”, “swindles”, “corruption”, “parasitism”, etc. (see, LW 22, 187ff.), which paved the way for the spreading of conspiracy-fantasies among the Left. The “reformist” Left hardly differs on this issue from Leninists —no wonder, as Lenin had drawn a lot from the Social-Democrat theory-writer Hilferding. Many people who do not identify as “Left”, subscribe nonetheless to this most restricted critique of capitalism and direct all of their aversion uniquely against “finance capital” and its representatives. National-Socialists also directed and direct their hatred against the “nationless finance capital”. So once again, a large social consensus is reached from “extreme left” to “extreme right” against the supposedly “unproductive parasites”, which comes from a poor understanding of the relationships which underlies the commodity-producing society.


Dangerously close

There is no point avoiding the issue: this type of “critique of capitalism” is not far from anti-Semitic resentment. The film “Jud Süß” (1940) presents the hard-working, deceived “people like you and me”, against a greedy manipulative financer who is responsible for their misfortune, and ends up being hanged under popular acclaim. Over 20 million people, a record at the time, flocked to the cinema and watched with glee what they thought they felt and wished for. Hardly a year and a half later, the Wannsee Conference decided the organized extermination of the greedy who suck us dry… “Naturally” the greedy in the National-Socialist film was “the Jew”. But the same pattern is still at work today: Wherever it is believed that greedy people are to blame for our misfortune, the desire for blood is not far behind.

Cheap recipes from the pressure-cooker

Pseudo-alternatives, the twin sisters of such “analyses”, are on sale at every street-corner. Within an hour, social charlatans present, to a public who longs for simple answers, how-to guides for a better world. It is called something like “welfare economics”, for example, and goes like this: We all want what we all think is good, we write it now also in the constitution. Then we create some kind of monster called a “democratic bank” and, soon, all is well. As if we could make the expansion of capital right by a majority decision… The insipid idea that one should simply abolish interests makes its way. As if in a society in which everything is a commodity, money, the supreme commodity, could have no price. The remedy is supposed to come from “negative interest rates”. Just as if these had not just had a crisis. So the German state injects money into investments, to recover less than what they have put in (seriously). They hope that at least investors will recover part of their money. If we follow the interest critics, the crisis should now quicly disappear… Another magic trick which has great chances of realisation is what Attac has been championing for years. Governments now also demand a transaction tax on international investments. But the effects of this would be—even if we could close every “loophole” with the help of an international super-bureaucracy—marginal at best. Experiments in Sweden and other countries (Ministry of Information and Documentation of the Bundestag) show it: neither would there be an increase of investments into the so-called “real economy” in which capital is finding it harder and harder to reproduce itself (see below), nor would there be a significant increase in tax revenue: if the tax is “high enough”, and affects effective financial transactions, they will therefore not take place. If it is too low, they might result in a slight increase in revenue, but it does not change a single thing to the larger problem of the global house of cards crashing down.

False hopes in the state

Regressive anti-capitalism remains faithful to the state. No-one will expect a free association of emancipated individuals from people who places their hopes in a ruling apparatus. The so-called “real Socialism” was the worst offspring of state idolatry—a frightening mistake which left millions dead, oppressed and exploited. Disdain for individual freedom and democratic rights, collectivism and party dictatorship were presented as a result of economic order that—contrary to all propaganda—did not overcome capitalism, but only replaced society with an ineffective and bureaucratic state capitalism. Blind to this bitter experience, a zombie left still dreams of a “socialism of the 21st Century” and looks—again and again—in the embarrassing failure that is Leninism for answers.

But even “softer” forms of state advocacy are dead-ends. It is true that Keynesian recipes, which relied on state intervention and demand orientation, from Roosevelt’s New Deal to the successes of the 60s, but already in the 70s they stopped being effective. Only neoliberalism, with its brutal social consequences, could avert the ghost of inflation and “zero growth”. Blind to this fact, the superficial critiques of capitalism see “the neoliberals” as the root of all evil and believe in all seriousness to a trip back to the “social market economy” of the 60s.

The state is also treated economically not as a solution, but as part of the problem. It must do everything it can to maintain capital utilization. The least it works, the more its base falters: controlling fluxes only in “booming economies”. To wish that the state spent all the lovely money it put into bank bail-outs into education, environment, health and social issues is all too understandable. But that would be the death of a successful reproduction of capital, as it only functions today with trillions of fictitious capital. The state is trapped: if it makes stimulus packages to mitigate the crisis, it endangers its credit. If it strengthens and develops conservation programs, it is ruining the economy. Only a few countries like Germany could still displace the consequences of this dilemma to other countries such as Portugal and Greece. But the exported unemployment returns under the form of the euro-crisis. Even in China (declining growth rates, rising inflation) and in the US (constant maneuvering on the verge of bankruptcy), the state has its back to the wall.

Allusions to a reflective critique of capitalism

Nothing hinders real change more than hasty answers. That a compelling alternative to the market economy has yet to be established is not an argument to accept these. Radical, that is, going to the root of things (from the Latin radices), critique poses for example the question: Why must we always work more and longer, when we can produce much more material wealth today than ever before with very little work, thanks to microelectronics? Pushing back the age of retirement to 67 because fewer and fewer young people cannot pay for more and more old people? Rubbish! Thanks to skyrocketing labour productivity, we could we have long been working only 5 hours a week and quit at age 40 or so. But one should work to death and the others are “not needed”. People become superfluous when work finally becomes superfluous.

Why does so much evil follows so much good? Because in the commodity-producing society, the whole immense material wealth is forced through the bottleneck of commodities, value and money. And because of the self-expanding value (read: capital) obsessively saws the branch on which it sits: on the one hand he can only live by the relationship of labour, on the other hand it has to make work constantly superfluous (Marx make about “the capital … as a processing contradiction “, MEW 42, 601f). That is why capital can increasingly reproduce itself only as fictional capital – a Marxist term that explains a lot more than Hilferding’s and Lenin’s “financial capital”. And it is not random if the financial markets crash simultaneously with the productive power microelectronics revolution since the mid-70s. These crush the so called “real capital”, and are, on the other hand, the essential prerequisite for capital reproduction today to take place at all. Anyone who wants to eliminate the unreasonable demands of the capitalist crisis should stop dreaming of “regulating financial markets”, arresting “banksters” or lynching “the greedy”. The capital relationship itself must be overcome.

Women non-fiction writers, how I started a double-list on my ebook reader

So I started this blog all feminist, then value critique came along and it’s all about older white males. So, first of all, value critique has some female writers. Not many at all, and to be honest the only one I could name is Roswitha Scholz, who is very often presented as the partner/wife/widow of Kurz, which makes me cringe everytime. Despite the extreme minority of women involved in it, value critique does not ignore the issue of gender oppression, which leads to weird things like published collections of essays on gender oppression written largely mostly by men. There’s nothing much that can be done about this, apart from propagating these ideas and making sure gender opression is not ‘forgotten’ along the way.

Anyway, it made me think of how little I read by women these days, and especially how little non-fiction by women I read. I instored a double-list system on my ebook reader: like in meetings where women/minorities/people who have yet to speak get their own VIP list when they ask to speak, books on my reading-list written by women are not only in the category they belong to, but in a new category, very imaginatively called ‘women’. This list is much shorter than I am ready to admit, but as it does contain a bit of everything, I use it quite a lot when I have no idea what I want to read, and it has helped with establishing an almost fair gender divide in the books I read.

So, thanks to this fact, and the fact that I have decided to read vulgarisation books about almost anything for professional reasons, I can tell you that I will soon be writing about all these books I started reading: Demon Fish, by Juliet Eilperin; The Story of Stuff, by Annie Leonard; Now You See It, Cathy N. Davidson; Complexity: A Guided Tour, by Melanie Mitchell; Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen, by Anna Whitelock; Packing for Mars, by Mary Roach; 97 Orchard: An Edible History Of Five Immigrant Families, by Jane Ziegelman; Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan Jacoby.

It also means that David Graeber’s Debt will have to wait. I did start it but he manages to sound very boring and self-important in the dinner-party anecdote in the introduction, so I stopped…

Comments on AFAQ 2: Who do anarchists see as their “agents of social change”?

An Anarchist FAQ, published by AK Press, is too colossal, too intimidating to ‘review’, I have never read it. I doubt anyone ever has, apart from the editors and proof-readers who truly deserve some kind of medal. But I sometimes leaf through it, especially now that I claim to write ‘anarchist reviews’ which are really just my personal opinions, and I feel I sometimes need more insight on ‘what anarchists think of this’ (usually though, I just ask a couple of anarchists who care about whatever issue I’m writing about and that’s all). AFAQ is sometimes very English-speaking world oriented, and it is also geared towards a Trotskyism vs. Anarchism debate, because the people who frequently ask those Frequently Asked Questions are frequently Trotskyists. And really they are rhetorical questions aimed at making us maieutically realise the awesomeness of the vanguard leaders, and that is why I have so much admiration for people who actually answer them.


Anyway, as I started my quest to show that there are important convergences between anarchism and value critique, I was confronted with two over-simplifications: on the one hand, anarchists saying that value critique was post-marxist and rejected class struggle altogether, on the other hand supporters of value critique saying that anarchism had the same approach as orthodox Marxists when it came to the centrality of the class-struggle and the proletariat as revolutionary agent. The truth is, both currents agree on Marx’s analysis of class, capital and class-struggle within capitalism, and both disagree with traditional Marxist interpretations of how to break from capitalism.

I was wonderfully relieved to see that the question of anarchism’s view on class struggle and its link to social change was mapped to some extent by AFAQ H.2.7 “Who do anarchists see as their “agents of social change”?” (link here: ). I think this answer needs to be completed and made more actual (a large part has to do with establishing that Bakunin did indeed want the IWA to be a mass organisation of most of the proletariat. Establishing historical facts is good, but I think it is fair to say that is no longer the case of most anarchists, as it is no longer even the case of all members of the IWA afaik).

After this discussion, we will expose briefly the value critique view on the proletariat, class struggle and social change. To simplify, class struggle exists, it is often good, but it does not necessarily lead to emancipation for all, we need to emancipate ourselves not only as workers in the capitalist mode of production, but also as subjects in commodity society.

Eventually, I hope to show that both positions, if not identical, have a certain number of things in common.

Exciting times! Crédit à Mort, by Anselm Jappe


Today, I shall mainly compare an English translation of this book to the French original, shown here with our resident pin-up. I am ecstatic that people awesomely volunteered to translate this book, which you will soon be able to enjoy. Accessible value-critique essays, dedicated to someone with conflicting ideas (Jaime Semprun) instead of being obsessed with denouncing and belittling always more ennemies! If anyone knows of any publisher who would be interested though, that would be extremely useful!

This work made me realise that quite a few passages in Crédit à Mort are quite humoristic. Not laugh-out-loud funny, but they do make me want to pinch Anselm Jappe’s cheek. Either I’m just sad or he is a good writer.

An Anarchist review of Robert Kurz’s No Revolution Anywhere, Chronos Publications

2013 promises to be an interesting year for anarchist theory, on top of the AK Press release of The Value of Radical Theory: An Anarchist Introduction to Marx’s Critique of Political Economy, and the upcoming English translation of Anselm Jappe’s Crédit à mort (no publisher or title found yet, though), Chronos Publications have undertaken to finally publish some of Kurz’s essays in English. Under the title The Substance of Capital, it is expected for the end of June 2013. For the impatient though, they have already published a short pamphlet, titled No Revolution Anywhere in October 2012, introducing some of Kurz’s work, previously unpublished in English. For the curious, Libcom published quite a few of Kurz’s essays, and the Exit! website does have some English translations of their articles.

No Revolution Anywhere, Robert Kurz

No Revolution Anywhere, Robert Kurz

The quality and pertinence of Kurz’s writings have ensured its progressive dissemination across language barriers among anarchist circles for a long time now, leading to his planned conference at the St. Imier congress this summer. Sadly enough, he died shortly before. But English-speaking anarchists will be happy with this attempt at publishing Kurz, although the quality of the proofreading and some of the translation are somewhat lacking (for example, the substitution of “the coming revolt” for “the Coming Insurrection” obscures the meaning of a paragraph, and some sentences must be tweaked to make any grammatical sense at all). Last but not least, a text that the publishers claim was written in 1999 mentions the 9/11 attacks. However, technical difficulties are to be expected in any first publication like this one, and we have complete faith that they will be resolved by the release of the longer, better Substance of Capital later this year.

Another ‘technical detail’ to get out of the way, is the introduction in the presentation by the London group of something problematic that I have never witnessed in Kurz’s own writing: the depiction of political enemies as ‘pathological’ and ‘neurotic’. Of course, there was nothing ‘pathological’ and ‘neurotic’ about Marx’s work (or Kurz’s, for that matter) and tolerating mental distress sufferers to have any part at all in the elaboration of theory could only lead to its ruin by infecting the work of healthy minds… We have no doubt the writers were simply not thinking when they borrowed those images which are sadly common in the English language and made them their own. Still, it got me pretty upset, so be warned, it sounds more intelligent than calling them ‘gay’, ‘dwarves’ or ‘sissies’, because that’s the power of words of more than three syllables, but I’m not convinced it is fundamentally different. However; this slip should not tarnish Kurz’s work which, if it sometimes falls heavy into name-calling, remains to my knowledge quite politically correct about it.


Review of the introduction

In their introduction, I don’t think we can reproach the editors their lumping of Anarchists among the footsoldiers of the TUC. It is not true, but to the outside viewer, despite the involvement of many well-intentioned anarchists, the anarchist position has remained invisible in the anti-cuts movement. A comrade remarked:

we have been too timid in our critique of the “solutions” that other “lefty” groups propose.

I would disagree with the use of “other”, as we are not a lefty group, no matter how many quote marks you add, but I agree with the sentiment. Anarchists have been seen regurgitating the anti-austerity rhetoric, despite it being at odds with the anarchist view that austerity is not what we are fighting, but capitalism. This has always been a complicated position to present to the general public. In the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, even bourgeois newspapers announced the end of capitalism. Now, only a few years later, the TUC discourse did its job, and ‘radicals’ don’t dare fight anything more than ‘austerity’.

Obviously, we cannot blame the individuals involved in this campaign if they failed to make an anarchist analysis heard: on top of the lack of perspective in this movement, there was also a lack of alternative decision-making spaces, which meant that the TUC and leftist sects remained in complete control of the movement and its discourse. Of course, for a movement to develop demands or perspectives, from the most reformist to the most revolutionary, they need some structure in which to discuss and decide, call them councils of war or general assemblies (and we don’t mean the so called popular assembly launched in the Guardian by ‘personalities’ to assemble union delegates). There was very little achieved that questioned the control of unions and parties over the movement (and it is not going to get better, as apparently now ‘horizontalism’ is conveniently attached to the worst excesses of the Occupy movement by people like Paul Mason or David Harvey), consequently the whole movement was on the nonsensical format of the one-day strike, repeated up to every three month, with a central rally in London (sometimes Glasgow as well, where the possibility of any serious discussion of the real issues of capitalism are further drowned by the buzzing of the campaign for an independent Scotland who shamelessly highjacked the demo, promising free public services, no benefit cuts and/or full communism for all after the rapture/referendum). This format presents strictly no danger/opportunity to overflow into something more, and that is why the TUC sticks to it despite its total lack of effectiveness.

Once again, I must say that UK anarchists really should point out the fundamental difference between a one-day strike decreed by union bureaucrats and a strike until demands are met (or an unlimited strike!) instead of using a rhetoric of ‘it’s better than nothing’. One-day strikes only lead to ‘Vote Labour and you won’t have those days of disruption anymore’ (and to well-meaning people losing one day off their wages, while others just ignore it, which is justifiable, but can lead to complete disillusion and people scabbing when it actually matters, that is, when a strike needs to hold). How can anarchists make it so that instead of ending in a speech by Ed Milliband, a demo ends with a general assembly deciding on whether or not to go on strike again the next day? Not by being bussed out to London for the day would be a good start. Rant over.

However, the editors show some quite obvious intellectual dishonesty when they reduce the Cuts Café, which was lauded by the Guardian as “set up by UKUncut-types to foster face-to-face debate about protest and capitalism in the run-up to last Saturday’s TUC demonstration” to one internet comment on their page stating:

Lets hope to god this place actualy just makes some solid plans instead of having, as is more probable, 20 ‘meetings’ every day, concenring which topics to have for other ‘meetings’, to consist of bickering and hand signals. Dialogue Kills.

Now, the Cuts Café is quite an easy target, that the Guardian celebrates it in an article titled “The return of leftwing café culture” is ominous enough for people who remember the ATTAC alter-globalization cafés, but the truth is, it is a place that existed for 2 weeks, and failed to be the place where people could theorise together a sensible approach to this movement. Instead, they sat in circles listening to people give talks, playing guitar and painted banners. Being lectured, listening to music and painting do not sadly suffice to develop theory. I strongly suspect that a lot of people involved in this Café were either lefties (who think theory is the realm of the party, let’s not worry footsoldiers with it, we have dedicated thinkers paid to tell us what to do) or activists (who think theory is everyone’s private business, lets’ not start an argument but a show of hands who is up to do this or that, without discussing the theory behind it). Many things can be said about the limits of such a place, I am sure, both in a general way and for the precise example of the Cuts Café in London. However, taking a stupid comment on a webpage, that is not in any way ‘typical of the general tone’ (the rest of the comments are an Occupy-style declaration that instead of talking between radicals, they should invite “the plutocrats” to listen to their grievances, and a very mature discussion of disability and accessibility) is disingenuous. It is all the more stupid that if this one commenter complains about the fact that there is too much dialogue, it is indicative that there are in such places at least (numerous) attempts at dialogue. This is a very low level of argumentation on the part of the editors, which reminds me of some of the worst “Occupy is wrong” articles, which managed to be just as appallingly vacuous as the Occupy movement itself. It is not because you’re taking on an easy target that you can dispense with the normal rules of argumentation and resort to strawmen, bad rhetorics and insult.


About insults, I will say something here about why I think Kurz is so important for anarchists, but also what I find the most annoying about Kurz. I think Kurz is important because the fight between anarchists and orthodox marxists is so old, that we rarely express it in terms that are more than insults. This causes many problems, like young people who flee organisations like the SWP because they lack internal democracy to join anarchism. This can be a good thing, but it can also be the creation of a whole group of ‘anarchists’ who basically want a more democratic SWP. That is better than not realising the problem with the organisation of the SWP, but anarchism has other profound differences with orthodox marxism. The main one has to do with the relationship between class-struggle and the revolution. And that is the point where orthodox marxists lash out at you, calling you a petty bourgeois individualist, and why anarchists feel like they have to remind people that, yes, they do have a class analysis of society every two lines.

Kurz re-reads Marx in a way that reconciles Marx and anarchism, in a way that means we no longer have to claim that Marx is unparalleled for his description of capitalism, but that we differ on how to do away with it, which is the general simplified version anarchists give to the curious. And that is why Kurz is great. I am not saying his ideas are especially innovative, but they can be used as reference, in a way that ‘that conclusion we reached in our discussion after taking part in that dead-end campaign’ cannot.

Now, what is annoying when you read Kurz as an anarchist, is that he does not stop at exposing his reading of Marx positively, but goes on at length about why people who developed other more traditional readings of Marx are absurd. As anarchists, we have not waited for Kurz suddenly to realise that orthodox marxists were absurd and faced a dead-end with no communism in sight, and this aspect of Kurz is frankly quite tedious. And depending on the text, he can argue very well how Stalinists make no sense, or just be angry at them without much ground. As another comrade said:

Kurz just lashes out at others (quite narcissistically at times) and often just insults them: his analyses can be fab, his presentation and style of argument is shite.

However, the selected texts are not too bad in that regard and mainly just have bits that are a bit boring if you’re looking to sharpen your own understanding of capitalism and revolution rather than find yet another reason why orthodox marxists/ Coming Insurrection-types/ etc. make little sense.

By Way of Presentation

This interview sums up in short paragraphs some of the main points that Kurz makes in his articles: this is not just another cyclical crisis of capitalism, this does not mean this is the only ever time we could have a revolution, capital has reached its limit, and so on and so forth. I don’t see what objections anarchists would have to this which would have any kind of practical consequence (there are always other objections, but, although interesting, like in the case of question 5 contrasting his and Postone’s value critique, they do not lead to major disagreements in real life), apart maybe in number 8 where he lumps together alternative economy-types, Primitivists, but also what sounds like more anarcho-friendly anti-industrialism, which imho is concerned with “the abolition the capitalist rationality of the social synthesis operated by value, and of the calculation resulting from this rationality which is that of the economy of the firm”. I think there is possibly a convergence there, which is masked by Kurz’s ‘them vs. me’ style.

No Revolution Anywhere

This text owes its title to the abuse of the word Revolution to designate anything from ‘the Arab Spring’ to ‘the Occupy movement’. Kurz offers a more down-to-earth short analysis of recent social upheavals and reminds us of a few obvious facts, like the fact that violence is not in itself a sign or radicality, ‘theoretical renewal is long overdue’, ‘whoever is unwilling to grasp and fight against capitalist totality has already lost’ which will rejoice any anarchist. He then concludes on a call to everyone to support EXIT and its theoretical positions.

Now there is another text, which was aimed especially at anarchists, about why value critique is important. It was not previously released (I get the feeling the author thought that anarchists were unredeemable after all, but I might be wrong). I think it is interesting to compare and contrast this text to Kurz’s No Revolution Anywhere.

Beneath Contempt

This text is about capitalism and war. I have been trying to find some kind of impressions on the September 2012 “War starts here” anti-militarist camp in Germany (call here, ) to compare and contrast, but no luck so far.

The text starts with a long presentation of moder-day capitalism and the place of states, North and South in it. Then it criticises both the “regressive anti-Imperialists” and the “ideological supporters of crisis imperialism and lobbyists for the humanitarian-industrial complex”, and claims that we need to break free from capitalist ontologies, as usual.


These reviews are quite far from the text, mainly because the text as established in this pamphlet seems very erroneous. My German is pretty bad so I’m not always sure, but definitely compared with the French translation available on Exit’s website, there are significant discrepancies. This present edition is hard to get excited about, but I hope anarchists will build on this attempt, and publish and read Kurz in English.