Pannekoek and Workers’ Councils


Le site Libcom a mis en ligne une numérisation pdf  de la traduction anglaise du livre Pannekoek et les Conseils ouvriers (EDI, 1969), qui consistait en une sélection de textes d’Anton Pannekoek choisis, traduits et présentés par Serge Bricianer. Nous avions publié la critique par H. Chazé de ce livre qui était parue dans ICO en 1970 (cf. ici).

pdf externe

Début de l’introduction de John Gerber:

The Dutch Marxist theoretician and astronomer, Anton Pannekoek (1873-1960), has remained a largely neglected and unknown figure in the history of European socialist thought.  Yet Pannekoek’s long life and political career spanned several distinct stages of socialist history, resulting in some of the most significant and fundamental contributions to twentieth-century Marxist thought. His political maturity coincided with the rise of Social Democracy, his death with the rise of the New Left; his writings left their imprint on both movements. Despite his professional commitment to science, the contours of Pannekoek’s political activity are almost without parallel. Prior to 1914 he participated as a militant in both the Dutch and German Social Democratic parties, taught in the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) schools, and collaborated with Kautsky on the Neue Zeit. Along with Rosa Luxemburg, he emerged as one of the leaders of the left wing of the German SPD, gaining fame with his 1912 Neue Zeit polemic against Kautsky. Pannekoek was one of the first in Europe to understand the fundamental contradictions and weaknesses of the Social Democratic movement and to anticipate its eventual collapse. Following the outbreak of the First World War, Pannekoek was the first to call for the formation of a new International, and later became a leading figure in the Zimmerwald anti-war movement. Although he had played a major role in the initial formation of European Communism and was a leader of the Comintern’s Western European bureau, Pannekoek emerged in 1920 as a formidable left-wing critic of Leninism, becoming a leading theoretician of the left-Communist Kommunistischen Arbeiter-Partei Deutschlands (KAPD). Under the pseudonym Karl Horner he gained fame as Lenin’s adversary in Left-Wing Communism; An Infantile Disorder. From 1929 until his death in 1960 he was the intellectual mentor of the quasi-syndicalist « Council Communist » movement.
Given its enormous circumference, it seems difficult to find a smile entry into Pannekoek’s theoretical work. Yet in seeking out those categories which unify his thought, one finds one particular area in which his thinking remains remarkably constant: the set of philosophical assumptions undergirding his political theories. Pannekoek’s Marxism can, therefore, be made more intelligible by focusing on the key philosophical concepts he built his Marxism on early in his career and which he retained with only slight revision and reformulation throughout his life. The aim of this essay will be to explore these philosophical foundations and their implications through an examination of: (1) The basic Marx-Dietzgen synthesis on which his thought rests; (2) His extension and broadening of these categories into a conception of science and Marxism; (3) Some of the main implications these philosophical and scientific conceptions had for his political thought; (4) The final crystallization of these ideas in his unified philosophical, scientific and political assault on Leninism. In posing the question of Pannekoek as philosopher, it must be noted that his concern was not philosophy in the formal sense, but one of developing and understanding certain philosophical and scientific categories of analysis for practical application to a variety of more immediate political questions.

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  1. Neues aus den Archiven der radikalen (und nicht so radikalen) Linken « Entdinglichung Says:

    […] Bataille socialiste Controverses N°3Pannekoek and Workers’ CouncilsDouble réponse à MM. de Mun et Paul Deschanel (Guesde, […]


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