Our Review answers a need.
In France there is no independent, international review for the young, dedicated to revolutionary studies.
The mouthpieces of most of the youth movements are in thrall to the adult movements and prey to the latter’s doctrinal conformity and tactics.
However, within all the socialist, labour, revolutionary parties there are lots of youngsters looking to escape from their elders’ worn-out systems and the bureaucratic discipline of their elders.
Likewise, inside or on the fringes of the official tendencies, sincere and honest revolutionaries are rejecting the old credos and catechisms and are questing after an interpretation of the facts and a method of action that would take account of the new factors that the events of our age have revealed and to the influence of which they are subject.
Increasingly, the various schools of socialism appear to be falling short in their responses to current issues. Each faction of the socialist movement offers a more or less coherent system, but reality partly or entirely demolishes that as events put them to the test.
Reformism, Bolshevism, syndicalism and anarchism are doctrines, the dogmas of which are no longer whole cloth in the view of any militant. It is high time that there was an overhaul of all our socialist and revolutionary ideas through a fresh re-examination of reality, yesterday’s and today’s.
Our aim is to see REVISION become a rallying point, a point of potential contact for all who, under a range of labels, are thinking and striving along the same lines towards a free, humane socialism, a libertarian socialism. By libertarians we mean all revolutionaries that refuse to neglect the human side of socialism and who see the social struggle and the new society only in terms of a basis in authentic democracy.
Our Review is to be independent of any oversight by any organization, committee or party. That way we will be in a position to openly criticize the uncertain and craven policy of the leaders of the 2nd International;
The treacherous policy of the Third, which led in the USSR to the Stalin dictatorship and to communist parties which, for all their labour grassroots, and due to the lack of internal democracy, amount to nothing more than embassies and outreaches of soviet imperialism;
The hyper-critical, sterile doctrinarian approach of the various communist oppositions;
The opportunism and purism one finds closely bound together in certain anarchist tendencies.
But there will be more to us than the work of criticism. We aim to grapple in detail and concrete terms with the many issues posed by revolutionary insurrection and organization. We shall strive after libertarian solutions to revolution in relation to the political and social situation of a near future, within the context of actually existing forces.
The Review, then, is not going to be newsy, in terms of offering item-by-item coverage of events of the day. Instead, we mean to offer a series of over-views of the political, economic and social situation in different countries – in Spain, with the wealth of experiences there; in Russia, the birthplace and cradle of a new exploiter class; in Germany and Italy where capitalism survives by adjusting its structures; in France, where we will commit to examining specific issues that may be raised by a revolution in the country, and matters of burning relevance such as the colonial question.
Such effort cannot proceed other than with the assistance of teams of young people who refuse to lug around prejudices dating back to far-off times, who reject metaphysical or moral solutions offered to social issues and seek to make a stand only on scientific and humanitarian grounds.
We should therefore like to rely as little as possible on cooperation from “official militants” and organizations that are all by virtue of their partisan patriotism incapable from getting to grips with objective examination of the issues. We do not mean to query their competence, but to our way of thinking this is our way of sloughing off a number of dogmas and principles to which we may individually cling, even though the facts contradict them, day in and day out. That way the young will have some chance of making their voices heard. But it goes without saying that the militants for whom post-war experiences have not remained dead letters will have a place in this Review.
Only later can we justify the international-ism we aim to endow the Review with, as we manage to connect with other groups or circles in which experience has replicated the same frame of mind as we share, upon whom the same worries have imposed themselves, and which have driven them to carry out the same inquiries; and their existence is manifest within a range of far-left currents. Such connections will be all the more necessary as militants are most often ignorant of movements and inquiries taking place around the world and ignorant of the complexity of issues.
Finally, we hope that, through the documentation gathered and the manifold experiences analysed, following such collaborative studies, in a free spirit of debate and questing after the truth, a revolutionary current stripped of the dead weight of tradition and the accoutrements of conformity can emerge. We call upon all the combative and clear-eyed young to help us in our endeavours.
Marie-Louise BERNERI, from the Libertarian Students; Suzanne BROIDO, from the Libertarian Students; Luc DAURAT, from the Anarchist-Communist Youth; René DUMONT, from the Anarchist Union; Greta JUMIN, former member of the Communist Youth; MARESTER, from the Anarchist-Communist Youth; Jean MEIER, from the Autonomous Federation of Socialist Youth; Jean RABAUD, from the Socialist Students Charles RIDEL, from the Anarchist-Communist Youth; SEJOURNE, expelled from the J.E.U.N.E.S.
From REVISION, No 1 (February 1938) http://archivesautonomies.org/spip.php?article1405
Translated by: Paul Sharkey.