Daniel Guérin - CGT, PSOP, and Libertarian Marxism

CGT, PSOP, and Libertarian Marxism

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Early on, he started political activism in the revolutionary syndicalist magazine La Révolution prolétarienne of Pierre Monatte. He traveled to Lebanon (1927–1929) and French Indochina (1929–1930) and became a passionate opponent of colonial ventures. In 1932, he joined the Confédération Générale du Travail, a syndicalist trade union; in the mid-1930s, he entered Marceau Pivert's movement Gauche Révolutionnaire ("Revolutionary Left"), a current of the SFIO Party. When the Gauche was excluded from the SFIO, he became one of the leaders of the new Parti Socialiste Ouvrier et Paysan (PSOP - "Workers and Peasants Socialist Party"), and was at that time quite close to Leon Trotsky.

In 1933, he traveled to Nazi Germany, an experience which inspired him to author Fascism and Big Business, in which he detailed the roots of nazi ideology and its ties to capitalism. Gradually, his ethos edged further left, eventually developing into a combination of Marxism and anarchism. In his essay Libertarian Marxism?, he stated a belief that Karl Marx's philosophy should be judged complete at the Paris Commune, in which he appended his original plans for a two-step revolution, first abolishing class, then abolishing government, into a more immediate, libertarian process. A brief summary of his ideas can be found in his own words:

"To call oneself a libertarian marxist today is not to look backwards but to be committed to the future. The libertarian marxist is not an academic but a militant. He is well aware that it is up to him to change the world - no more, no less. History throws him on the brink. Everywhere the hour of the socialist revolution has sounded. Revolution - like landing on the moon - has entered the realm of the immediate and possible. Precise definition of the forms of a socialist society is no longer a utopian scheme. The only utopians are those who close their eyes to these realities." (Why Libertarian Marxism, 1969)

Read more about this topic:  Daniel Guérin

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    There’s something about Marxism that brings out warts—the only kind of growth this economic system encourages.
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