Bordiga archive
German/Dutch Left archive

Bordiga versus Panekoek

“Instead of taking a snapshot of society at a given moment (like the old metaphysical method) and then studying it in order to distinguish the different categories into which the individuals composing it must be classified, the dialectical method sees history as a film unrolling its successive scenes; the class must be looked for and distinguished in the striking features of this movement. In using the first method we would be the target of a thousand objections from pure statisticians and demographers … who would re-examine our divisions and remark that there are not two classes, nor even three or four, but that there can be ten, a hundred or even a thousand classes separated by successive gradations and indefinable transition zones. With the second method, though, we make use of quite different criteria in order to distinguish … the class, and in order to define its characteristics, its actions and its objectives, which become concretised into obviously uniform features among a multitude of changing facts; meanwhile the poor photographer of statistics only records these as a cold series of lifeless data. Therefore, in order to state that a class exists and acts at a given moment in history, it will not be enough to know … how many merchants there were in Paris under Louis XIV, or the number of English landlords in the Eighteenth Century, or the number of workers in the Belgian manufacturing industry at the beginning of the Nineteenth Century. Instead, we will have to submit an entire historical period to our logical investigations; we will have to make out a social, and therefore political, movement which searches for its way through the ups and downs, the errors and successes, all the while obviously adhering to the set of interests of a strata of people who have been placed in a particular situation by the mode of production and by its developments.”

“...persons with the same fundamental conceptions unite for the discussion of practical steps and seek clarification through discussions and propagandise their conclusions, such groups might be called parties, but they would be parties in an entirely different sense from those of today. ”


publishers note

Introduction - Bordiga versus Pannekoek - Party, Class and Communism


Party and Class - Bordiga

Party and Class - Pannekoek


Russian Edition Бордига против Паннекука
Turkish Edition Bordiga'ya karsi Pannekoek

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