Aghis Stinas and Cornelius Castoriadis

Greek Communist Left and Socialisme ou Barbarie

Aghis Stinas was a member of Internationalist Communist Union, a small revolutionary group in Greece during WW2. This group took an internationalist position, opposing both belligerent blocks and the resistance movement, which was a proxy of one of the Allied imperialist block.

This group also had as a member Cornelius Castoriadis, who was a founder of the French group Socialisme ou Barbarie. We collect here writings of Stinas, and articles about him and the tendency he was a part of. Also links to articles by and about Castoriadis and Socialisme ou Barbarie.

"I would like to emphasize that the publication of S. ou B. involved considerable collective labor from beginning to end. All the important texts were discussed in advance by the group; the discussions often were animated, sometimes very long and a few of them ended in scissions. I always learned a lot in these discussions, and all the comrades of S. ou B. - those whose names are found in the editorial synopsis of the review and those who do not appear there - have played a part, in one way or another, in making these texts better than they otherwise might have been. I must mention in particular, however, the heroic figure of someone whom I still cannot name and who made clear to me in circumstances where death was present every day and at every street corner - and for him it almost never has ceased to be so - what a revolutionary militant is, and what a politics is whose thought recognizes no taboo. [I am speaking of A. Stinas, who has just published in Greek the first volume of his Memoirs... ] "

Castoriadis 1979

Stinas’ Memoirs



Memoirs – Sixty Years under the Flag of Socialist Revolution

The autobiography of Aghis Stinas is published in Greek and in French. We present here for the first time a translation of about a third of the book. We would welcome assistance in translating the rest of the book.

zipfile containing PDF of v0.95 translation

Text on Stinas by Arturo Peregalli

Arturo Peregalli, "Contro venti e maree. La seconda guerra mondiale e gli Internazionalisti del "Terzo Fronte". Grecia: Aghis Stinas e l'Unione Comunista Internazionalista", Colibì, Paderno Dugnano, 2002

This is currently being translated from the Italian. Please contact us if you would like to assist in translating this text.


Chapter 1 - The Thirties

Articles by or about Stinas

Revolutionary History - (Brititsh Trotskyists) have a number of other texts referring to Stinas

Review by Alison Peat of Agis Stinas, Memoires: un revolutionnaire dans la Grece du XXe siecle

Acronauplia debate

Stinas and Castoriadis

Socialisme ou Barbarie: A French Revolutionary Group (1949-65)

by Marcel van der Linden

“Socialisme ou Barbarie's most prominent intellectuals were Castoriadis and Lefort. Cornelius Castoriadis was born in 1922 and studied law, economics and philosophy at the University of Athens. Before the Second World War, during the dictatorship of Metaxas, he had joined the Greek Communist youth organization. However, when the Germans occupied the country and the Communist Party wanted to ally itself with the bourgeois resistance, Castoriadis rejected the decision. After a short period of political wanderings, he ended up with a small Trotskyist group led by Agis Stinas. This was a risky choice, because Trotskyists were threatened from two sides in Greece. The occupying power persecuted them whenever possible and in 1943 executed the most important leaders, among them Pantelis Pouliopoulos and Yannis Xypolytos. (4) When the country was 'liberated' in 1944, it was the Communists' turn. During massive 'mopping-up operations' they murdered at least 600 of Trotsky's followers, often after having tortured them. (5) This traumatic experience was a determining factor in Castoriadis' further development. The Trotskyist view on Stalinism, which he had supported only a short time before, seemed less and less correct.”

Available at the following links

Castoriadis and Socialisme ou Barbarie

Cornelius Castoriadis 1922-1997 – John Barker. A very favourable obituary.

Le roman de nos origines - La Banquise No. 2 (1983) “Barrot”/Dauve, et al, particularly the following sections

From the German Left to Socialisme ou Barbarie
The Situationist International

Cornelius Castoriadis/Agora International - extensive bibliographies and links in various languages.

Class against Class website has several texts by Castoriadis in his S ou B phase, as well as many other anti-statist Marxists.

On the Content of Socialism, Part One 
An 1955 article by Castoriadis, published in Socialisme ou Barbarie. Develops the idea of proletarian autonomy, or workers' management.
What Really Matters
An article by Castoriadis from Socialisme ou Barbarie. Asserts the importance of workers' perspectives.
The Role of Bolshevik Ideology in the Birth of the Bureaucracy 
An article by Castoriadis from his journal Socialisme ou Barbarie. A refutation of the Trotskyist claim that Soviet government only degenerated after Stalin's takeover.
The Marxist Philosophy of History 
An article by Castoriadis from Socialisme ou Barbarie. Explores how the philosophical roots of Stalinism were present in Marxism and Leninism.
The Proletariat and Organisation 
A 1959 article by Castoriadis, published in his journal Socialisme ou Barbarie.

Red and Black Notes have articles on many libertarian left and left communist tendencies

Communism in France - Socialisme ou Barbarie, ICO and Echanges - By Henri Simon

Socialism or Barbarism by Raya Dunayevskaya

The Legacy of CLR James

Introduction to the Johnson-Forest Tendency and the Background to “Facing Reality” and

Facing Reality 45 Years Later: Critical Dialogue with James/Lee/Chaulieu by Loren Goldner

Richard Gombin

The Origins of Modern Leftism at the Collective Action Notes site has a chapter dealing with S ou B at some length.

The Situationists and Socialisme ou Barbarie

All the links to texts by the Situationist International are to the Bureau of Public Secrets site, although several other sites also have large collections of SI texts.

Preliminaries Toward Defining a Unitary  Revolutionary Program

By P. Canjuers, Guy Debord  Canjeurs is the pseudonymn of Daniel Blanchard, and this text was written whilst he was a member of S ou B, but probably prior to Debord’s membership of it.

For a Revolutionary Judgment of Art

Instructions for an Insurrection

The Bad Days Will End

Ideologies, Classes, and the Domination of Nature

Now, the SI

Critique of the Situationist International
by Gille Dauvé writing as Jean Barrot

Section entitled “The S.I. and Socialisme ou Barbarie

Not Bored a Situationist inspired zine and website with several articles dealing with Castoriadis and S ou B

Art, Reification and Class Consciousness in the Situationist International

By David Black in Hobgblin, a British Dunayevskayaite magazine.

Bordiga on Socialisme ou Barbarie

Doctrine of the Body Possessed by the Devil – Bordiga, includes critical remarks on Socialisme ou Barbarie

“The problem is posed better in an interesting bulletin published by the comrades of the “Groupe français de la gauche communiste internationale” of which – with great pleasure - we do not know the names and personalities. Sensible questions are asked on the problem which deserve further development, and the problem is posed in contrast to the vision of the noted Chaulieu group, which is influenced by the theory of “decadence” and of the transition from capitalism to barbarism which inspires in them, however, the same horror as that of the “bureaucratic” regimes. A theory in which one does not know what on earth the compasses are indicating until they prattle about marxism. There are elements in the internal bulletin of our movement on the decadence of capitalism where we deal with the false theory of the descending curve. Without any haughtiness scientifically speaking, it is only foolishness to tell a story which reads: Oh capitalism, grab us, swindle us, reduce us to a worn out old dog not worth a kick in the ribs, we will quickly recover – all this just means that you are decaying. Just imagine that it is decaying...

As for barbarism, it is the opposite of civilisation and so of bureaucracy. Our barbarian ancestors, lucky them, did not have organisational apparatuses based (old Engels!) on two elements – a defined ruling class and a defined territory. There was the clan, the tribe, but still not the civitas. Civitas means city and also state. Civilisation is the opposite of barbarism and means state organisation, therefore necessarily bureaucracy. More state means more civilisation means more bureaucracy, while class civilisations follow one upon the other. This is what marxism says. It is not the return to barbarism, but the start of supercivilisation, which is duping us everywhere, that the monsters of contemporary state super-organisations dominate. But let us leave the members of Socialisme ou barbarie to their existential crisis. The bulletin we quoted refutes them in an article with the correct title: Deux ans de bavardage: Two years of chattering – No chattering here, please note!”

Revolutionary Oppostion to World War Two

As well the International Communist Union in Greece, there were small groups with a similar outlook operating in several other countires. See the following

Third Camp Internationalists in France During World War II by Pierre Lanneret

The Italian Communist Left by P. Bourrinet
The German-Dutch Communist Left by P. Bourrinet

Older versions of both the above books are also published by the ICC without Bourrinet's name.

No War But the Class War page on revolutionary opposition to the Second World War

Class War on the Home Front - Pamphlet produced by the Wildcat group in the '80s. It is concerned with the activities of the Anti-Parliamentary Communist Federation in the UK (mostly Glasgow) during the Second World War. It contains numerous articles from the APCF paper Solidarity.