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from Negation, No. 3 1973

Table of Contents


This is a translation of "Lip et la contre-révolution auto-gestionnaire" first published in the French journal Négation in 1973, and also apparently as a separate pamphlet. The translation was made by Peter Rachleff and Alan Wallach and was published as a pamphlet by Black & Red in Detroit in 1975.

Négation was a successor to a council communist group called Archinoir, formed in Grenoble in 1968, which produced three issues of a journal of the same name in 1969/70. Archinoir had collaborated with the group Informations et Correspondances Ouvrières. Négation left the ICO in September 1972. It produced three issues of its journal before disappearing.


An impressive number of pamphlets and texts have appeared dealing with the Lip conflict. This theoretical activity has generally followed some practical or agitational activity by the authors regarding this conflict unique since 1968.

The writers of this pamphlet have not taken part in this activity. As soon as the struggle of the Lip workers assumed its form, attractive for others, it appeared clear to us that this struggle -- in its content -- was not ours; thus the critique that we were then making remained concerned with its immediate aspects and we did not feel compelled to publish it.

With the evolution of the conflict, certain among us considered a brief publication which would concentrate on the intrinsic limits of this workers' struggle and would contrast it with forms of resistance presently dominant among workers (absenteeism, sabotage, etc.).

Because the collaboration that these comrades began with others in order to do this turned out to be impossible, we met again in order to transform their original text in a manner which brought us to a progressive reflection. In effect, it became more and more evident to us that "Lip" represented not only a struggle in which we recognized none of our aspirations for a human society, but rather that this struggle was simultaneously a particular expression of the contemporary capitalist movement and a sort of anticipation of the formation of our enemy : the capitalist counter-revolution. It is therefore not surprising that this text is dense, for it was necessary to introduce the critique of the Lip conflict with a long analysis of the workers' movement and the capitalist movement, although necessarily abridged. Nor is it surprising that it went beyond a simple critique in embarking on an analysis of the self-managed counter-revolution.

This latter point will later on be stated precisely and developed through various texts and perhaps by a publication bearing specifically on the revolutionary and counterrevolutionary movements which are now taking place.


We undertook the translation of this text because we found it to be one of the most stimulating analyses of any subject we had encountered in too long a time. Although we did not agree fully with all aspects of the analysis, we felt that we had gained immensely from our grappling with it. It is in the hope that you will also benefit from a confrontation with this pamphlet that we have translated it. We encourage you to discuss your reactions to it among yourselves, and to communicate them both to us (c/o Black & Red) and to the original authors (Nicolas Will, 151 rue de Belleville, 75019 Paris, France). We would like to express our special thanks to Ron Rothbart and Fredy Perlman. We hope this text will further an on-going dialogue among all of us who seek to better understand the world in which we live so that we might better share in the project of totally transforming it.

For further information, and alternative points of view on the Lip struggle, we can suggest the following (by no means exhaustive) bibliography :

"Lip : une brèche dans le mouvement ouvrier traditionnel," Mise au point, No. 2.
"Lip revu et corrigé," La lanterne noire.
"Lip : The Organization of Defeat," Internationalism, No. 5.
"Lip : c'est bien fini," Lutte de classe, March 1974.

Peter Rachleff Alan Wallach

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