"Le roman de nos origines" : History and genealogy of french ultra-left

Vincent Chanson


This paper focuses on the theoretical and political roots of the french ultra-left, from the left oppositional movements during the 20’s and 30’s (Italian and German-Dutch left communism ) to the post-war groups like Socialisme ou Barbarie or the Situationnist international. Initiated by small groups or reviews like Invariance (Camatte/Dangeville) or Le mouvement Communiste (Barrot-Dauvé) during the late 60’s and early 70’s, the ultra-left could be mainly characterized by a left critique of traditionnal worker movement - a critique of all type of “mediations” : party, unions, parliamentarism, etc -, and by a theoretical investigation of the concept of communism (as a proto-communisation concept). Then, my aim here will be to trace the genealogy/history of such currents, from the post-revolutionary era debates (legacy and critique of the russian revolution, the rise of fascism and authoritarian regimes, etc.) to the post-Second World War conjuncture (late capitalism analyses, State capitalism theory, Worker’s autonomy question, etc.), in order to explain this singular type of critical marxism.
Vincent Chanson (Phd student/Philosophy/Nanterre University)

left communism - ultra-left