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‘What has the October Revolution done for women in the West?’ Notes for a response to Alexandra Kollontai

Angela Dimitrakaki

In 1927, at the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution, the leading socialist revolutionary Alexandra Kollontai wrote: ‘The October Revolution affirmed the importance of working women. The October Revolution has created those conditions which will ensure victory for the ‘new woman’.’[1] These were, alas, not prophetic words, given especially that they formed part of Kollontai’s answer to the following question (also her article’s title): what has the October Revolution done for women in the West? Yet it would be a political error to consider Kollontai’s answer to her own question as merely ‘disproven’ by history; and it would be a greater political error to consider Kollontai’s question irrelevant to the left’s struggles of today. Kollontai’s revolutionary optimism led her to formulate a question the enduring significance of which she could not have possibly foreseen at the time she formulated her answer. It is a haunting question, precisely because it can be asked unmodified 90 years after it was posed, exceeding the chronological framework of the October Revolution as such and despite the fact that ‘the West’ now exists as a globally expanded territory subsumed to, or at least orchestrated by, capital. This article is intended as a tentative exploration of this question’s reverberation in a contemporary context, marked by the left’s disempowerment and women’s oppression and rampant exploitation in the expanded capitalist lifeworld once signified by Kollontai’s ‘West’. This tentative exploration revisits three issues that pertain to the legacy of the October Revolution for women in the global West: feminist agency, ‘the importance of working women’, and organising women.

 

On the legacy of feminist agency

Arguably, very few questions posed about the October Revolution at the time, and from within the Soviet Union, remain as politically relevant and fraught today as Kollontai’s, despite the still honoured tradition of acknowledging the secondary importance of ‘the woman question’ within an emancipatory struggle that is assumed to be broader. And this ‘woman question’ is one that, no matter its ramifications and ideological twists since the days of Clara Zetkin and Kollontai, is typically handed over to Marxist, materialist and socialist feminists. From the former West to the former East, the feminists have to unpack, address and debate the issue amongst themselves in the niche market of ‘special issues’. [2]  Should I point out that Marxist, materialist and socialist feminists – and feminists in general- tend to be women?

The rift demonstrated by the divide between the primary and secondary issues of revolutionary discourse has preoccupied generations of female comrades, as most recently researched by Cinzia Arruzza in her Dangerous Liaisons: The Marriages and Divorces of Marxism and Feminism, an apt update on what used to go in the 1970s by the name of ‘The Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism’.[3] How many such marriages and divorces we are yet to see remains a matter of speculation, with greater certainty being attached to the projected inability to overcome the fundamental separation. Even the widely discussed and influential concept of intersectionality remains of use to feminism rather than to Marxism, as if only women (the addressee of feminist politics) are subject to the combinatory effects of gender, class and race. To begin with then, one thing that the October Revolution did not do for women in the West and at home was to complement ‘the woman question’ with ‘the man question’. For all the self-conscious distancing of female socialist leaders (and certainly Kollontai) from ‘bourgeois feminism’, the ‘woman question’ focused on the development of a feminist (I will call it that, despite the objections I imagine Kollontai would have) consciousness and agency that would be available only to women. And this is pretty much what so-called bourgeois feminism also did. In saying this, there are two things that need to be stressed.

First, regarding the issue of feminist agency, the political choice of advocating such agency in terms of belonging to women exclusively has characterised women’s movements at large. The general idea has been that developing such agency would help women liberate themselves. But at the same time such a conception of agency implied that women would have to liberate themselves from men rather than from structures where both women and men were, and are, implicated. The perception that feminist agency applied (and applies) to women has led to a culture where men – some, progressive men- were to be merely sympathetic to the feminist cause rather than engage with it as their own. These men would question the structure but not in relation to the lived outcomes of the structure of the gender divide as regarded (and as regards) their own position of privilege. But after all, as Terry Eagleton noted years back, the ideology was in ‘the park bench’:

Ideology[…] is not just a matter of what I think about a situation; it is somehow inscribed in that situation itself. It is no good my reminding myself that I am opposed to racism as I sit down on a park bench marked ‘Whites Only’; by the act of sitting on it, I have supported and perpetuated racist ideology. The ideology, so to speak, is in the bench; not in my head.[4]

The bench is reserved for whites, and yes this is unfair, but what can the white man do when exhausted but use the bench? What can the male artists and male professors and male politicians do but use the bench marked ‘men only’ when they have such important things to show, say, and do, of benefit to all?

Seen in this light, the reproduction of normative hierarchies embedded in the gender divide rests in the absence of a radical agency (when ‘agency’ denotes the capacity and consciousness of thinking and acting towards achieving results) that would encompass the conscious and collective dis-identification from (male) privilege. That would be a demand for giving up rather than claiming, and it would have significantly expanded and complexify the remit of ‘feminist agency’ (typically limited to ‘claiming and gaining’ and therefore open to women as those who would claim and gain). Such a different approach to agency would have rested on a socio-economic realism mobilising a dialectic between having and not-having, accepting that, in a reality structured by antagonisms the field can never get even without the intersection of losing and winning. In short, such a two-way demand would have engendered a relational, and even dialectical, conception of feminist agency.

Such a demand was not what we inherited from the October Revolution, which is why in 1921 Kollontai had written another article called ‘Sexual Relations and Class Struggle’, where the effort to convince her readership about the risks of underestimating the pervasiveness of women’s oppression for the revolutionary cause was palpable.[5] It may come as a surprise to the contemporary reader of that article that its core argument is actually about the fabric of class relations in which normative sexual relations are inscribed and traverse than about the relations between the sexes – which could have encompassed an economic dimension. Rather than doing this however, Kollontai speaks about the peasantry clinging to its traditions, about a structure of romantic love premised on ownership of the loved one’s spirit rather than (just) body, about how society (the Soviet society she lived in) treats women whose conduct appeared to oppose this framework. The contemporary reader would be struck by how little the 1921 text would have to change in order to describe the reality of sexual relations and the distribution of power that runs through them nearly a century later, and in the expanded West[6] – and in that sense, what the October Revolution has done for women in the West was to raise the suspicion that even a major emancipatory experiment (the October Revolution) might lack the capacity to revolutionise such a fundamental social division as the naturalisation of women’s subjugation and propose a dialectical feminist agency as the core of a transformative social contract. The marginalisation of Kollontai’s ideas in the Soviet Union as such found its match in her marginalisation in western feminism, becoming in itself a symbol of the limits to the October Revolution.[7]

 

On the legacy of ‘the importance of working women’

It is questionable whether ‘the importance of working women’, mentioned by Kollontai in 1927, was affirmed by the October Revolution. Rather, the importance of working women came to be affirmed by capitalism in its re-constitution as a service economy at some point in the 1960s and 1970s, when women entered the ‘productive forces’ in far greater numbers (and outside the context of a war, where women are usually called in to replace the missing male working class). This happened as neoliberalism’s dismantling of labour rights was becoming concrete but also as the women’s liberation movements in the West were articulating their demands – the latter not constituting a unified plane of claims but rather demonstrating the difficulty of bringing together ‘women’ as a social force, even within this or that national space.

Lasting to this day, the reconstruction of capitalist production in post-Fordist terms has generated a new lexicon of exploitation with the ‘feminisation of labour’ as its key term. As for the ‘new woman’, hailed by Kollontai, neither her victory nor her existence was ensured. If the adjective ‘new’ must be applied, ‘woman’ became the ground of capital’s ‘new’ experimental procedures concerning the limits to, and content of, the working day. Until recently, the experiment was highly successful: women proved that the working day need have no limits and can be filled with extraordinary amounts of paid and unpaid labour – the first in the office or factory, the second at home and even in the community and activism.[8] A noted variation of the western-capitalist experiment went as follows: other women, mainly but not exclusively from ‘developing’ or ‘post-socialist’ economies’, were called in to play the role of social-reproduction immigrant labour in taking poorly paid jobs in the middle-income western household. Another, less noted, variation has seen the school day extended to cover the paid working day of parents, but overall the trend is for the welfare state to withdraw (as an untenable ‘luxury’), effectively forcing women who ‘chose’ motherhood to seek part-time contracts, with all that this entails. Principally, it has so far entailed the lack of women’s financial independence, an affirmation of the wage relation and the social subjectivity that this engenders, and a weakening of labour rights.

The experiment began being perceived as less successful only when capitalism, in the geographies it was thus far seen ‘to work’ (that is, the original West), could no longer fulfill its obligation to provide paid labour on a mass scale. In a context of generalised precarity and underemployment, a range of critical positions appeared. These included, indicatively, a critique of liberal feminism’s collusion with capital in its devaluation of labour (Nancy Fraser); a critique of capital’s usurpation and exploitation of key demands of feminist struggles (Hester Eisenstein); a critique of the glorification of work in relation to feminist demands and women’s emancipation (Kathi Weeks).[9]  It is unsurprising that in 2015-16 in Poland, a country whose trajectory has been in large part determined by the October Revolution, a political party (PiS, or Law and Justice) could win elections on the promise of child benefits just after two and a half decades of post-socialist ‘transition’.[10] Indeed, subsidy programmes such as Poland’s ‘Family 500+’ must be placed alongside the mobilisation of religion to attack women’s right to abortion in the same country: both policies are an attempt to draw women back to their ‘traditional’ roles, which are of course ultimately economic ones. The service of women’s unpaid labour to capital – not least because it ensures the reproduction of labour-power- has been widely discussed in social reproduction debates in Marxist feminism since the 1970s and yet numerous issues remain unresolved. But the October Revolution, as it evolved, made apparent that ‘traditional roles’ was an ideology that even state-socialism had to rely on to organise, and regulate, the ideal combination of publicly performed and private/domestic labour to advance productivity. This is perhaps one reason why in the current revival of social-reproduction debates in Marxist feminism we are not exactly flooded with analyses of the legacy of the October Revolution. The legacy of the October Revolution in this domain is that it failed to bring forth the lasting radicalisation of social reproduction necessary for the generation of a communist society as the future of humanity’s emancipation from capitalism.

 

On the legacy of organising women

All that said, in Poland’s Black Monday (3 October 2016) we also witnessed an interesting twist of the plot: the fact that women were part of the workforce – that they were ‘working women’ contributing to production- enabled them to hold a strike addressing the threat of the abortion ban and therefore their place in reproduction. As noted even by the conservative western press, this newer strike ‘was inspired by a women’s strike in Iceland in 1975’, while the legacy of the October Revolution remained completely buried. The conservative western press also commented on the fact that that the strike failed to halt the economy and that it ‘didn’t have a huge visible impact in the sense of affecting economic life in Poland’ – and questions should arise in relation to that failure: was it a question of numbers or was Poland’s capitalist economy somehow immunised against such a strike? The press also noted that ‘some men helped out, cooking soup and serving sandwiches’ [emphasis mine].[11] The Polish women were successful as the Polish government, met with such forceful opposition, curbed its criminalising-women plans – in a country where the extant legislation already made it difficult for women to exercise control of their role in reproduction and therefore also in production. Yet this summary of the strike (by BBC News) offers food for thought as it exemplifies the persistent difficulty of organising women as workers.

This difficulty is a widespread phenomenon in the globally expanded West, as even in the old, ‘core’ West the gender pay gap persists across the board – for instance, the University and College Union (UCU) in the UK, representing many thousands of workers in the higher education sector, asserted that ‘in 2016, women are still paid a little over 12% less than men’.[12] And yet, despite the fact that female workers in this particular sector are often conversant with feminist theory and the complex history of women’s struggles, they have so far failed to be mobilised and sustain gender-specific strikes to serve their own interests and that of the sector overall. The Russian Women’s Strike (23 February 1917) in Petrograd (nowadays St Petersburg) remains something less than a footnote in any such contemporary struggle, despite the emphasis across Marxist groups on the significance of the event – for example, by the Trotskyist site of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT).[13] The perspective introduced by Miriam Martin on the IMT site is, somehow strangely, the one more generally upheld in the West about the October Revolution in relation to women’s struggles. This perspective contends that the important gains towards gender equality in the early days of the October Revolution, including the role of women workers in bringing forth the revolutionary 1917, were annulled by the advent of Stalinism. Stalinism effectively meant and signaled the irrelevance of the October Revolution for women worldwide, its impact leading Martin to the following formulation: ‘There is more to learn from the Russian revolution than from any other failed revolution’ [emphasis added].[14]

The above phrasing is revealing as regards the complex registering of the October Revolution in the social imaginary overall. What it reveals is the conflict between a positive assessment of a ‘nationalised and planned economy’ (in Martin’s words) as essential – specifically so for women’s struggles over both production and reproduction- and the overdetermining framework of the October Revolution as a failure. I am referring to a broader ‘social’ rather than a ‘Western’ imaginary because when it comes to the apprehension of the October Revolution as a ‘failed revolution’, it is nowadays, in a global state of capitalist hegemony, hard to draw a dividing line. An assessment, offered in 2016, along the lines of ‘the socialist era is over, and we need to radically rethink the idea of communism’ resonates across the former Cold War-divided Europe, although the majority of the people concur only on the first part of the above sentence (‘the socialist era is over’).[15] Without arguing that we have exhausted the possibilities of theoretical reflection, it can nonetheless be argued that a rethinking of communism striving to disassociate this term, as the horizon of struggle, from the failures of socialism has been underway for decades, and it has certainly intensified in the context of the post-2008 crisis of capitalism as a crisis of social reproduction.[16]

Significantly, the idea that capitalism is connected to a crisis of social reproduction precedes 2008, although it becomes popularised after that year.[17] But the past ten years is also when it became apparent that capitalism uses the commons as a ‘fix’ to prevent a social explosion as the state withdraws from its customary care duties.[18] In the past ten years we have also witnessed the afore-mentioned revival of materialist feminist debates over social reproduction, the nuances of which are impossible to describe here. What is notable in this revival however is, first, the loss of confidence in the state leading a coordinated ‘nationalised and planned’ solution to social reproduction as a non-gendered terrain and, second but equally important, an intensification of voices that critique work as the axis of subjectivity and struggle – including women’s struggle.

The centrality of ‘the working woman’ (to remember Kollontai) is undermined in this context – again, for reasons that cannot be even summarily presented here but among which generalised precarity retains a complex material and ideological role. A number of theorists have pointed to the difficulty, or even impossibility, of organising a ‘precariat’ as a force against capital, outlining the precariat’s differences from the proletariat that arose as part of the industrial revolution in the 19th century.[19] Although these positions tend to (predictably) disregard gender, women are most certainly a notable part of the so-called precariat, and in some cases they can even be the majority. If, following a theoretical trend, we see the distinction between production and reproduction as irrelevant within the post-Fordist economy, then women (carrying the vast burden of domestic duties and community building) emerge as an overwhelming majority within the precariat. In many ways, the problem facing women in the West – which in Kollontai’s analysis was the capitalist world, a world that is now hegemonic in, or in relation to, any other world- is connected with the concrete steps to be taken in organising in this context but also with the ideology that subtends any such steps. Let me give an example: as I write these lines, a strike to end the ban on abortion is planned in Ireland for International Woman’s Day on March 8, 2017. It is worth quoting at length from the organisers’ call:

This strike is based on non-traditional strike actions for human rights that we have witnessed in other parts of the world. In October of last year, thousands of people in more than 60 cities in Poland went on strike to protect their access to abortion, and won. The strike will not be an industrial strike in the traditional sense. It will be inclusive of all types of work, and we encourage participants to be imaginative in how they approach the action. […] If it’s possible, book a day off work in advance. If you are less affected by the lack of abortion provision in this country, show your solidarity by offering to cover colleagues’ hours on the 8th of March. […] Stage an event at 12 noon or on your lunch break to remember the 12 women who have been forced to travel for abortion that day, and every day. If you are a business owner, consider giving a day off to your employees or completely closing the business on that day, with no cost to your staff. Withdraw your domestic labour on the day. Consider all the work that you’d typically do on that day, and how withdrawing from it might highlight the contribution that you and millions make every day to a country where we do not have access to basic healthcare.[20] [emphasis added]

The call frames women’s rights as human rights (even referring to ‘people’ rather than ‘women’), and the highlighted phrases above signify the strategy adopted: to not merely consider ‘working women’ as a bloc; to not merely consider women working in the public domain together with those whose labour is rendered invisible in their homes as a bloc; above all this, the call invites business owners (the owners of the means of production) to agree to hurt their business by closing it down for a day, in the assumption that the abortion right is of interest across classes and constitutes a trans-class issue. It is a strategy adopted precisely because organising women along class lines (and following the legacy of the October Revolution) has become so hard. Despite this, the organisers appear to know that ‘halting the economy’ is the only language heard and understood these days in Ireland and anywhere – or else, it would be enough to call for women to abandon their social-reproduction labour as an adequate and effective form of protest. This is why the language adopted prioritises a traditional working-class weapon: the strike. The contradictions encountered in the call suggest that the latter incorporates the desire to overcome the production/reproduction binary but also acknowledges the need to succumb to ‘capitalism realism’, in the famous expression of Mark Fisher, and opt for a strategy that ultimately reflects the primacy (for capitalism) of productive labour executed in the public domain.[21]

My point in discussing the above ‘case studies’ is that at present women are receiving conflicting messages –significantly, by women and in the context of a feminist continuum- about how to proceed with their emancipatory struggles. On the one hand, women are addressed as a potential bloc that can break the productive/reproductive labour divide and even bring forth an anti-work ethos in a radical re-conceptualisation of social reproduction that would thus not be subservient to capital’s needs. In many ways, the new communism currently imagined cannot but rest on a drastic rethinking of social reproduction in the broadest sense – in the understanding that we (including women) enter production in order to secure social reproduction as the every reproduction of life (both as bios and zoe).[22] On the other hand, women are addressed as ‘working women’ but in a context where widespread precarity has come to signify the defeat of the working class to the point that the appropriateness of the very term ‘working class’ is questioned. The calls to let go of a subjectivity fashioned through, and around, labour (‘working women’) have intensified right when women are coming to realise that their participation in production can offer leverage in struggles concerning their oppression and exploitation via reproduction. When The Invisible Committee says ‘we will be outside production’,[23] it cannot be assumed that this ‘we’ does not encompass women. But what is assumed is that the lessons of women who had, and have, to carry their struggles while outside the remit of productive labour have not been learned – and possibly have not even been studied outside feminist circles.

What has been studied however, in the very contexts where such gender-blindness can be observed as regards the formation of a ‘we’, is the October Revolution as a failure. Significantly, this is a failure that is seen to rest on the glorification of labour and production, including ‘working women’. The failure of the October Revolution is explicitly connected with the inability to abolish the identity of the proletariat – which is, ultimately, a labour identity. This over-investment in the working subject, this prioritisation of the economic relation, is what unites capitalism and the socialist (for some, communist) restructuring associated with the October Revolution. And this appraisal is also offered in radical discourses that far from neglect the construction and perpetuation of the gender divide and it role in the reproduction of the capital relation.[24]

 

From failure to defeat: a starting point for women’s struggles

In 2017, one hundred years after the International Women’s Day became a catalyst the October Revolution, the ‘woman question’ remains an issue. Significantly, it remains recognisable as the very same issue addressed by revolutionaries like Kollontai and Zetkin – as if a century had not happened. The fundamental parameters, frameworks, and discourses relating to the ‘woman question’ remain unchanged. There is still a need to have an ‘International Women’s Day’ as in 1911, when Zetkin organised the first such day – except that over a century later nearly every day of the calendar is a day dedicated to an issue that is seen as a problem, that requires some kind of awareness and, therefore, some kind of struggle. I will refrain from offering examples of such special, single-issue days, for my point is that the so-called women’s issue has been lost in the avalanche of fragmented politics and non-politics covering the globe. Kollontai was right to make the case – in ‘Sexual Relations and Class Struggle’ as in other of her texts – that the women’s issue was possibly the major social issue at the core of revolutionary politics. The various ‘revolutionary’ societies that spiraled out of the 1917 break with ‘business as usual’ returned to the question of gender. Suffice to watch a film such as ‘Early Works’ ( both from Yugoslavia’s Black Wave of left-dissident films of the 1960s, to grasp that not only the issue was not resolved in communist or state-socialist (make your choice!) societies, but that left cultural critique often did not manage to proceed beyond the reduction of the woman question to issues of sexuality in ways that left behind the consideration of the gender divide. Arguably, and despite important differences, this has often been the case with liberal feminism. Where then do we go from here?

The three issues that I have identified as an outline towards formulating a response to Kollontai’s question – what has the October Revolution done for women in the West? –  are at present both negatively and positively inflected. On the one hand, the issues of feminist agency, the ‘working women’, and the organising of women into a political force remain problematic because the evolving paradigm of the October Revolution did not prove to be placed that far from the solutions found in capitalism’s trajectory in the West. This is nonetheless a devastating conclusion for the most significant breakthrough of the 20th century: that a workers’ revolution was ultimately possible. On the other hand, the acceleration of history by crisis-capitalism in the 21st century has renewed the interest in feminist politics, providing a new framework for revisiting the legacy of October Revolution in relation to the unresolved ‘woman question’ that must, this time, be articulated as also a ‘man question’. History won’t be repeated as a farce but will most likely continue as a tragedy, at least as far as women are concerned – unless, that is, the so-called failure of the October Revolution is re-scripted by the contemporary women’s movements as a complex defeat that they must own, acknowledge and learn from.

 

 

[1] A. Kollontai, ‘What has the October Revolution done for women in the West?’, Ogyonok 41, 9 October 1927, from Alexandra Kollontai: Selected Articles and Speeches, Progress Publishers 1984, https://www.marxists.org/archive/kollonta/1927/october.htm Accessed 3 January 2017
[2] I borrow the term ‘former West’ from the research platform initiated by the art centre BAK in Utrecht. Between 2008 and 2016 Former West investigated the impact of the end of the Cold War in the re-drafted map of Europe after 1989. For details see http://www.formerwest.org/Front
[3] See Cinzia Arruzza, Dangerous Liaisons: The Marriages and Divorces of Marxism and Feminism, Merlin Press 2013 and Heidi Hartmann, ‘The Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism: Towards a more Progressive Union’, Capital and Class 3/2 (1979), available at http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~hoganr/SOC%20602/Hartmann_1979.pdf Accessed 28 January 2017
[4] Terry Eagleton, Ideology: An Introduction, Verso: London 1991, p40.
[5] An English translation of the essay can be found at https://www.marxists.org/archive/kollonta/1921/sex-class-struggle.htm Accessed 24 January 2017. To contextualise this piece read also Teresa L. Ebert, ‘Alexandra Kollontai and Red Love’, Solidarity (undated), https://www.solidarity-us.org/node/1724 Accessed 24 January 2017.
[6] For a re-scripting of Kollontai’s 1921 article see Angela Dimitrakaki, ‘Sexual Relations and Class Struggle, the Next Century’, presented as a performative lecture at Assemblies: Acts of Social Urgency and Imagination, a durational artwork by Jenny Marketou, on 21-22 October 2016 and in the context of the Athens Biennial 2015-17 ‘Omonoia’. The paper is available at http://edinburgh.academia.edu/AngelaDimitrakaki
[7] Moreover, as Teresa L. Ebert notes, ‘charges of sexual extremism, including the “glass of water theory” [sex as a mere biological need that needs to be satisfied], have been widely attributed to Kollontai—both in the West and in the Soviet Union—as a way of ideologically distorting and undermining her transformative understanding of human interpersonal relations and social change’. Ebert, op. cit. At least until recently, and as Ebert also notes, ‘aside from a brief revival of interest in the seventies and early eighties, Kollontai is largely forgotten among feminists and socialists alike’.
[8] On this triple burden, see Marion Von Osten, ‘Irene Ist Viele! Or What We Call ‘Productive Forces’’ in Julieta Aranda et al, eds, Are You Working Too Much? Post-Fordism, Precarity, and the Labor of Art, Sternberg Press: Berlin 2011.
[9] See Nancy Fraser, ‘Feminism, Capitalism and the Cunning of History’, New Left Review 56 (March-April 2009): 97-117; Hester Eisenstein, Feminism Seduced: How Global Elites Use Women’s Labor and Ideas to Exploit the World, Paradigm Publishers 2009; Kathi Weeks, The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries, Duke University Press: Durham NC 2011.
[10] Lorenzo Berardi, ‘The Family 500+: Poland’s New Child Benefit Programme’, New Eastern Europe (3 March 2016) http://neweasterneurope.eu/articles-and-commentary/1909-the-family-500-poland-s-new-child-benefit-programme Accessed 2 January 2017
[11] ‘Black Monday: Polish Women Strike against Abortion Ban’, BBC News (3 October 2016), http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-37540139 Accessed 23 January 2017
[12] Letter to UCU members posted on 15 November 2016. For more information see https://www.ucu.org.uk/equality Accessed 24 January 2017
[13] See Miriam Martin, ‘Remembering International Women’s Day 1917 – The Gains Made for Women by the Russian Revolution’, In Defense of Marxism (8 March 2007), https://www.marxist.com/international-womens-day1917.htm Accessed 25 January 2017
[14] Ibid, unpaginated.
[15] Agon Hamza, ‘From the Other Scene to the Other State: Jameson’s Dialectic of Dual Power’ in Slavoj Zizek, ed, An American Utopia: Dual Power and the Universal Army, Verso: London 2016, p. 150.
[16] This re-thinking has been taking place across conferences and meetings as well as in publications. Its urgency is perhaps highlighted by the fact that two meetings on communism took place in Europe just in January 2017: the major international C17 conference on communism in Rome (18-22 January) and the symposium Communism: Solution as part of The Kids Want Communism international project in Athens (21 January 2017). Regarding publications, see indicatively Kostas Douzinas and Slavoj Zizek, eds, The Idea of Communism, Verso: London 2010.
[17] See George Caffentzis, ‘On the Notion of a Crisis of Social Reproduction: A Theoretical Review’, The Commoner 5 (Autumn 2002), pp1-22.
[18] See Massimo De Angelis, ‘Economy, Capital, and the Commons’, in Angela Dimitrakaki and Kirsten Lloyd, eds, Economy: Art, Production and the Subject in the 21st Century, Liverpool University Press: Liverpool 2015.
[19] Norbert Trenkle, ‘Struggle without Classes: Why There Is No Resurgence of the Proletariat in the Currently Unfolding Capitalist Crisis’ in Neil Larsen et al, eds, Marxism and the Critique of Value, M C M’: Chicago 2014.
[20] See the full length call at https://www.facebook.com/events/200800163721646/ Accessed 25 January 2017.
[21] Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative, Zero Books 2009.
[22] In Greek, ‘bios’ refers to socially embedded life  while ‘zoe’ refers to life in general (note that the Greek word for ‘animal’ is ‘zoon’, meaning ‘that which is alive’. Despite Agamben’s assertion that ‘we know longer know anything of the classical distinction between zoe and bios’, the distinction in Modern Greek is clearly maintained. See Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen, Stanford University Press: Stanford 1998, p.187.
[23] See Jason Smith, ‘Since the End of the Movement of the Squares: The Return of The Invisible Committee’, The Brooklyn Rail (3 June 2015), http://brooklynrail.org/2015/06/field-notes/since-the-end-of-the-movement-of-the-squares-the-return-of-the-invisible-committee Accessed 20 January 2017
[24] Indicatively see the widely article Endnotes, ‘Communisation and Value Form Theory’, Endnotes 2 – Misery and the Value Form issue (2010), https://endnotes.org.uk/issues/2/en/endnotes-communisation-and-value-form-theory Accessed 19 January 2017

 

 

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