This issue of Stvar we dedicate to the anniversaries. Each effort that commences from historical years and epochal dates, however, is not only supposed to cope with the legacy and lessons of evoked events and figures, but also to question a certain (dominant) relation to the past and history. In other words, the task is not a commemorative one, that is, a fetishist relation to the epoch of decisive dates and big events, but rather the radical grasping of the materiality of history following its work where social contradictions require that fight for emancipation and progress is to be taken up. What is at stake here is not an academic requiem or a leftist memorial service to the era of revolutions and great revolutionaries; it is all about casting our gaze toward the past in order to better examine those moments where the past opens itself toward the future. The relation toward past, therefore, should contain perspectives of different future. Amputation of the future is nowadays one of the features of many current academic, scientific and ideological discourses. Once this perspective of different future has been eliminated, the resignification of Marx, Luxemburg, Kollontai, Lenin and others becomes possible, because their doctrines and results have been quite depoliticized. On the contrary, it is the memory that calls for struggle that is the main cognitive attitude toward the events remembered in the collected texts in this issue. Not nostalgic or collectionist remembrance but critical memory filled with hope.
The main question, thus, is that of radical social transformations, i.e. theory and practice of revolution. In this sense, Marx, Kollontai, Lenin and other Bolsheviks, and Gramsci as well, constitute the coordinates in which every theoretical practice that wants to offer resistance to capitalist expansion and its ideological forms is moving. The year 1867, when the first Volume of Marx’s Capital is brought out in Hamburg, then October 1917 in Russia, when all power went to the hands of Soviets, and 1937, when Gramsci dies after 11 years of fascist prison: these are three events that we are rethinking, highlighting and interpreting so that perspective of the change of the current social relations can be further developed and carried on. Publishing of the book after which nothing was the same anymore, a revolutionary uprising and conquest of the power, and then a death in jail are the coordinates of historical outcomes as well: these events can be seen as symptomatic dialectical-historical sequence. Firstly, in Capital Marx laid down foundations for the critique of political economy, indispensable frame for every understanding of production and social relations in capitalism, and then in 1917, in the greatest attempt of the organization of working masses, Bolsheviks undermined seriously the system of capitalist production and created the first worker’s state of that kind; and at the end, Gramsci’s death in 1937 somehow symbolizes a tragical outcome and defeat of all aspirations toward revolutionizing of social relations in the Western Europe. Instead of that, Europe got fascism and the years of destruction and sufferings. Although the 1937 is the symbolic year of defeat, it is also a testimony of hope and survival of a living idea that inspires thinkers and revolutionaries since Marx. Gramsci also handed down the huge material of his prison notebooks, as one of the most original attempts to critically elaborate Marx’s and Lenin’s doctrine in new conditions. Isn’t this task the same today?
Saša Hrnjez (STVAR 9, Časopis za teorijske prakse / Journal for Theoretical Practices No. 9 (Stvar, #9))