Pantagruel, anarchist review of social, economic, philosophical and methodological analysis, 3 issues from January - October 1981
An anarchist review of social, economic, philosophical and methodological analysis. The problems which interest us most must not be closed within the narrow field of specialists, but brought to light through reading and debate among comrades. Even if this costs an effort, especially at first, it is something that requires to be done. Theory is not something that is different to practice; this desired difference originates in a misunderstanding. When we think of theory we imagine analyses full of numbers and figures, difficult words and complex concepts; when we think of practice we imagine beautiful actions of struggle, strong and not so strong organisations, realisations and transformations.
In fact it is necessary to distinguish between theory and theory, just as it is necessary to distinguish between practice and practice. Exploitation, with its terrible repressive organisations is “practice” on a grand scale, but a practice very different to the actions and organisations of liberation put into effect by the exploited. In the same way the “theory” which serves as an ideological cover for exploitation is very different to the theory which characterises the conditions of liberation.
During its progression the whole of the revolutionary movement develops a series of actions which constitute a practice, which is at the same time theory. One could say that the revolutionary movement is its own theory. In turn this movement, as a minoritarian component of a wider class front, constitutes a part of the wider practice realised by the exploited as a whole. The latter is also its own theory, therefore the revolutionary movement is a part of the theory and practice of the general class movement of the exploited.
The imbalance between those two practices (which are also theory) is demonstrated by their different positions concerning the self-organisation of struggles. The revolutionary movement in general possesses a greater awareness of the need for the selforganisation of the struggles than does the whole front of exploited or the class front at the moment. In turn, within the revolutionary movement itself, the anarchist movement possesses a still more acute consciousness of self-organisation, and comes to find itself in an even wider situation of imbalance with the class front as a whole.
It is precisely from this greater imbalance that there emerges a more pressing need for anarchists to widen their theory. This, as we have said, they do through being such, that is in their actions as anarchists, and in this - as part of the revolutionary movement - are their own theory. But it is precisely their actions that show how the self-organisational struggle project is far from being realised in the way outlined by anarchists : the class front is more fractured and contradictory than ever. It is necessary to go into the reasons for this lack of balance more deeply than the action in course is able to do. In saying this we do not mean that it is necessary to stop and reflect, (in which case we would be denying the range of theory resulting from action), but that it is necessary to integrate this with detailed and deepened analyses which consent us to modify our action at the opportune moment in order to better attain the desired results.
Once again, analyses for action: theory which finds its justification in the practice of attack against the exploiters and, becoming comprehensible in this key, becomes action itself.
No indulgence towards superficial and approximate attempts concealing themselves behind simplistic analyses which then translate themselves into brief catechisms placed into the hands of comrades with the badly concealed aim of indoctrinating them from above. What we will publish - within the limits of our possibilities - will seek to have its own depth of research and thought, its own wealth of particulars and instruments, its own difficulty of problem and theories. We shall not try to deceive comrades by making things out to be easier than they are concerning the analyses we manage to elaborate in the various fields we explore. Certainly no unnecessary recourse will be made to linguistic technicalities when that can be done without altering the depth of the research and the completeness of the analysis; we shall also include brief explanatory notes when we need to have recourse to rather difficult concepts not considered to be of common usage.
Comrades will not find a review which serves up their meal already chewed and ready to be swallowed. The reading of Pantagruel will sometimes be an effort, but we consider that the time has come to go beyond the commonplaces of lack of engagement and superficiality.
Let us perfect the instruments of our revolutionary struggle together. Pantagruel has no other aim.