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some information on Monsieur Dupont
07/17/2009, 4:58 PM
Filed under: update

Preface… (or some notes on anti-political communism)

We’ve recently started carrying Species Being by Fere Dupont who is one half of Monsieur Dupont, a collective anti-political communist project meant to critically intervene into what they call the pro-revolutionary milieu, a term they use to describe the active minority of people who consciously desire and work toward revolution (against all domination).  As most people associate communism with its mystification, the emphasis on the dictatorship of the proletariat, and vulgar, orthodox Marxism, we feel a tension in the appropriation and affirmation of “communism”.  Such a word carries with it the baggage of its discourse (most of which should be discarded in whole), and also provides an entryway into a linguistic battlefield over its meaning and practice.  Perhaps it can be worthwhile to appropriate this word as an act of war against the left, make it offensive, make it dangerous, make it embarrassing, etc to all who have contributed to the ruin of the potentiality of something other than the development of productive forces (inherently alienating) and a linear progression of history.

We are currently very critical of certain elements of the writings of either Dupont’s, (mainly in their structural determinism and some language), but we find participating in this anti-political dialog to be extremely worthwhile.  Anarchism/anarchy/whatever/communism do not necessarily mean different things.  They are particularly interesting in this instance when they do mean the same thing, or for what is held in common.  But we acknowledge for anti-authoritarians to appropriate communism it must be done very carefully, tactically, and critically.  It must be more than political ideology, category, or revitalization of dead discourses.  Therefore we see the value in an engagement with ideas while steering clear of strict identification.  We can affirm communism as a relation, without being communists.

Ardent Press is due to reprint Nihilist Communism by Monsieur Dupont.  As soon as they recieve them from the printers we will be ordering copies and have them available for cheap.  Maybe people will get together and talk about these ideas.

Information

For some time one of them had been a member of the British Anarchist Federation, the Manchester-based communist group Subversion and the rank and file organization the Communication Workers Group. They had both been employed by Royal Mail as postmen and from this experience they developed a common understanding of class struggle through a six year long correspondence. One of them now writes as frére dupont.

Their writing is informed by anarchist, situationist and Marxist politics, and they are declaredly anti-leninist and anti-organizational. They link their ideas on economic determination of social form to two theoretical precedents, the communists Paul Mattick and Sam Moss.

The situation at present, they argued, is characterized by the failure of propaganda and recruiting organizations to either convey ideas outside of the milieu or recruit a mass membership, and that even at the most basic level revolutionary consciousness has not addressed this circumstance. The motivation for their intervention was to strike against ‘milieu patriotism’, and the ‘reduced political language’ of political activists. They had become increasingly frustrated with the failures of leftist organizations, which they perceived as unconsciously promoting bourgeois structures and ideologies. By contrast they wished to re-connect ideas to lived experience of capitalist conditions, thereby breaking the hold of ‘specialists’ of revolutionary theory particularly where these experiences contradicted received organizational responses. Their intervention coincided with a growing discontent within the anarchist milieu at the role of ‘activists’ and their writing continues to have a small influence within what has become known as the anti-politics milieu.

The duo discuss the origin of their adopted name in the text Why Did You Join The Anarchist Federation For The Second Time? The name Monsieur Dupont can be seen as a conscious development from a long tradition of collective pseudonyms (or the multiple-use name) which became a particularly popular motif during the ‘90’s, e.g. Luther Blissett, within the Stewart Home influenced section of the London and Italian avant garde, see the entries on Unpopular Books and London Psychogeographical Association. It may be noted that in French Dupont (literally ‘of the bridge’) is roughly the equivalent of Smith in Britain or Doe in the US – in so far it is recognized as an archetypal ‘ordinary’ name.

Their writings are controversial. They describe themselves incoherent and cynical, understanding that this is a ‘natural’ response to the world. They rely heavily on logical fallacies in order to make their arguments.

‘To say, as we do, do nothing … This is not to say do nothing.’

-from Wikipedia on Monsieur Dupont

A Few Texts…

Nihilist Communism

Letters Journal

Your Face is so Mysteriously Kind

Councilism, Solutionism & The Communist Critique (new zine)

Do you want to be, or don’t you want to be…soft, like me…? (new zine)

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3 Comments so far
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Hmm, I too see what seems to be a resurgence in talk of communes and communism in ostensibly anti-authoritarian texts. I’ve not yet read any of Dupont’s work but couldn’t ignore it in the Call nor in Beasts of Burden. Despite the quite negative connotations that “Communism” espouses, I am drawn to ideas about communes that give some structure and intentionality to the more nebulous “mutual aid.”

One thing that has interested me of late is the conceptualization of communes. It seems obvious that communes form among friends, but how might communes form around needs? How might they exist for groups of people not necessarily familiar with all involved? How fluid can we make the lines of entry or exit in something inherently exclusive?

As an example, I’ve heard about some folks in traveling carnivals or renaissance fairs that communize their health needs in two ways. First, they pool a small portion of their wages which is neither a substantial burden on them nor a substantial contribution to the pool. It is, however, a thread that ties them to the commune. Secondly, a few times a year they hold auctions where hand made goods and services are offered to carnival/fair patrons. These auctions provide the vast majority of funds for the commune. Certainly, this practice relies on the continuation of a number of undesirable things, but it seems to provide for those people at present. Additionally, it functions without each participant needing to know all the others intimately and the lines of entry and exit are flexible to allow short or long term participation.

A short list of needs:

Housing
Transport
Health Care
Mental Health
Safety/Defense

How is it to be communized?

Comment by Rorschach

“How is it to be communized?”

This is definitely the question on a number of peoples minds lately, or it’s especially of interest to some people in the US while people in Europe have been talking about the idea for quite some time now (such as Dauve, Guerra Sociale, and others).

The language we use to describe this and the practices which bring it about are a process and this “developing towards” is itself communization.

Comment by toutniquer

Sorry I haven’t been able to adequately reply, yet.

Comment by toutniquer




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