Antonia Birnbaum- The invention of communism in the early Marx

Why talk about communism today?* A first point everybody will be agreed upon: the spectre of communism is not haunting Europe, nor for that matter any other region of the world. The only place where ‘communism’ is a positive name for anything is China, where it designates the ruling party of one of the most powerful capitalist nations of the world. In the immediate conjuncture, there are no real forces or conflicts that directly call for a reappraisal of communism. However, certain questions linked to its reappraisal do appear to be at stake in conflicts that are taking place.
For example, is it not the case that violence of the oppressed is a strategic political means? Is it not time to question its permanent disqualification, which goes hand in hand with the aggravated monopoly of state violence? This is a question raised by Slavoj Žižek in a recent article in Le Monde diplomatique a few months ago. Speaking on the radio about the USA, he argued that conflicts take legal form so rapidly there that they are immediately deactivated as politics. We need to situate politics back within social struggle. I would like to add another question: how do we deal with the prescribed logic of compromise, of ruse, of deferral, that implicates us in the very capitalist dismantling and competition we strive to deflect? In the 2009 university strike in France, the students of Paris 8 wrote in a leaflet: ‘We don’t want a supposedly reformed future, we want a real present, now.’ To that I can only add: me too. (...)