Capital and community:
the results of the immediate process of production and the economic work of Marx
by: Jacques Camatte
Translation: David Brown
Published: In French as Capital et Gemeinwesen (Paris: Spartacus, 1976). This translation published by Unpopular books, London 1988.
Transcription, markup & minor editing: Rob Lucas, 2006
Public domain: This work is completely free.


This brief study, starting from the attempt to situate the Results of the immediate Process of Production is linked in fact to the entire work of our party in its effort to clarify and to sytematize the corpus of our theory, collating it with the socio-economic movement. Marxism has had to struggle not only against direct and insidious opponents, but especially against those who, at a certain moment, found a place for themselves inside the workers' movement. Long before those people, who sought to undermine the theory on a theoretical level, came the revisionists, who, even during the lifetimes of Marx and Engels, put to one side or falsified important sections of their work. The Critique of the Gotha Programme or the 1895 'Preface' to the Class Struggles in France are the best known cases. But there was also Volume IV of Capital expurgated by Kautsky, and the Grundrisse and the Results which had to await the 1917 revolution before being brought to the attention of the proletariat.

As we said in the 'Conclusions' to this work, clearly the proletariat was sufficiently hardened by Capital Volume I alone to conclude its revolution. Unfortunately 1871 and later the period 1917-1926 showed the difficulty of the struggle, and each time the counter-revolution led to doubts about the theory inside the working class. It could only begin again if preceded by a long work of recuperation of the theory.

We need all our forces to resist the attack of revisionism, doubt and defeatism in this society in which the counter-revolution triumphs as never before[1]. All so-called new phenomena on which these three viruses proliferate were already described by Marx, as was the increasing importance of the circulation period in the life of capital: devalorization. Attacks on these three viruses may seem desparate, given the weakness of the forces available to us, however this has already been done. One has only to discover it in the unpublished works.

History grants a period of truce to the revolutionary movement during which it can criticize itself and finish with the hang-overs of the past. If we know how to use it collectively to complete the work initiated by Marx and Engels, we will thereby .win a huge victory, a certain guarantee for the future class struggle.

Rosa Luxemburg tried to clarify the relationships between marxist theory and the needs of the proletariat in the conduct of its class struggle during her notable struggle against revisionism:

"But Marx's creation too, which as a scientific achievement is a titanic whole, transcends the plain demands of the proletarian class struggle for whose purposes it was created. Both in his detailed and comprehensive analysis of the capitalist economy, and in his method of historical research with its immeasurable field of application, Marx has offered much more than was directly essential for the practical conduct of the class war.

"Only in proportion as our movement progresses, and demands the solution of new practical problems do we dip once more into the treasury of Marx's thought, in order to extract therefrom and to utilize new fragments of his doctrine. But since our movement, like all practical struggles, inclines to go on working in old ruts of-thought, and to cling to principles after they have ceased to be valid, the theoretical utilization of the marxist system proceeds very slowly.

"If, then, today we detect a stagnation in our movement as far as these theoretical matters are concerned, this is not because the marxist theory upon which we are nourished in incapable of development or has become "out-of-date". On the contrary, it is because we have not yet learned how to make an adequate use of the most important mental weapons which we had taken out of the marxist arsenal on account of our urgent need for them in the earlier stages of our struggle. It is not true that, as far as the practical struggle is concerned, Marx is "out-of-date", that we have superseded Marx. On the contrary, Marx in his scientific creation, has outstripped us as a party of practical fighters."

"It is not true that Marx no longer suffices for our needs. On the contrary, our needs are not yet adequate for the utilization of Marx's ideas."

"Thus do the conditions of proletarian existence in contemporary society, conditions first elucidated by marxist theory, take vengeance by the fate they impose upon marxist theory itself. Though that theory is an incomparable instrument of intellectual culture, it remains unused because, while it is inapplicable to bourgeois class culture, it greatly transcends the needs of the working class in the matter of weapons for the daily struggle. Not until the working class has been liberated from its present conditions of existence will the marxist method of research be socialized in conjunction with other means of production, so that it can be fully utilized for the benefit of humanity at large, and so that it can be developed to the full measure of its functional capacity." [2]

Now "our needs" force us to use marxist theory in its totality. It is because the opposite has been realized, or because this has not been realized, that there is an apparent stagnation of Marxism, a stereotyped fixation in the explanation of a phenomenon which has certainly evolved in the meanwhile, but whose evolution was described in Marx's work.

There are complex phenomena deriving from the autonomization of capital. One wishes to explain them using the analysis of Capital Volume I, or, at best, by recourse to the law of the tendential fall in the rate of profit. Capital Volume I, however, explains a process detached from apparent phenomena, and the question is how to understand these in relation to the real movement. The tendential fall in the rate of profit is only the expression of the contradiction between valorization and devalorization, socialization and privatization, which Marx analysed in detail in the Grundrisse. The means of study is becoming increasingly inadequate for the reality to be studied, not because of Marxism's weakness, but because it has been put out to grass. Another example is provided by automation which was explained in the same work. In a certain sense, Marxism has been mummified in its explanation of liberal capitalism, and, one adds, Lenin completed it with Imperialism. Marxism has frozen because it has been possible to "stabilize" the same social relations, the material community of capital includes everything and limits to the maximum the movement of its own disaggregation. Consequently Marxism, the theory of social movement, has been transformed into a metaphysic of capital, simultaneously losing its foresight and description of the future society. To be able to realize that, supposedly it would first be necessary to construct communism. Therefore, generally only a part of this theory describing the birth and development of capital is used, and this is the didactic form which brings it to a halt, and in which Marx was constrained to present it so as to make himself understood. The part where Marx shows the being in its becoming (value in process); the impersonal being which becomes man himself the material community; this is not used. Marx described communism more than once as the culmination of the evolution of the real capitalist movement, as the transitional period in which the communist form is so powerful that capital scarcely succeeds in enclosing and containing it. This transitional period is the one Lenin talked about and which we are now living.

Finally the historical thread found throughout Marx's works, was masked, veiled and then lost. It is the thread linking the two great periods of human history- primitive communism and scientific communism. The human community has been destroyed, the proletariat's mission is to provide society with human power. The substrate of this transformation lies in the real movement - the whole economic movement tends towards communism. The aspiration of the proletariat is thought approaching reality, because reality precedes the idea. Society can only be emancipated by the Proletarian Revolution. The question of the community is therefore the CENTRAL question of the proletarian movement. It can be presented synthetically as follows:

(a) Primitive human community.

(b) Its destruction and the development of two movements: that of value and that of human expropriation.

(c) Formation of the material community at the moment of the fusion of the two movements which were previously separate: capital - value in process.

(d) Scientific communism, the rediscovered human community which integrates all the acquisitions of previous periods.

How can one pass from (c) to (d) if the proletariat does not constitute itself as a party, a community which grafts itself onto the real movement, communism imprisoned by capitalism?

The proletarian movement's appeal to Marxism seems like a claim to a derisory, ridiculous armament only because it does not use Marxism's entire theoretical field and this is another form of the abandonment of its historical task. The huge reinforcement of its enemy forces the proletariat to REVIVE MARXISM IN ITS TOTALITY. In other words, the restoration is not only the rectification of the errors of Stalinists, Khruschevists and Trotskyists, but also the return to the COMPLETE WORK and confronting reality with it. This also enables one to explain and refute the skeleton of Marxism of every offical theory propagated under that name.


1. The reader should note that this text was finished in late 1966. The end of the counterrevolutionary period appeared from May 1968 onwards, as we said in Mai-Juin 1968: theorie et action (Invariance Série I, n. 3, 1968 - republished in Invariance Serie III nn: 5-6 pp. 47-51)(Note of 1972)

2. 'Stillstand und Fortschritt im Marxismus', Vorwärts (Berlin) Nr. 62, 14.3.03., now in Rosa Luxemburg Gesammelte Werke Band 1 (1883-1905) Zweiter Halbband (Dietz Verlag, Berlin-E., 1972) p. 368. English translation in Rosa Luxemburg Speaks ed. Mary-Alice Waters (Pathfinder, New York, 1970)'p. 111.