Concerning the Center for Research on the Social Question
Declaring our solidarity with the struggles for a practical theory of the proletariat, through which that social class is today rediscovering the true nature of its existence and the fullness of its perspectives, which had been repressed, falsified or forgotten with the global crushing of the old worker movement;
that as revolutionary proletarians our individual liberation is contingent on the worldwide liberation of the proletariat;
that this liberation must consist notably in the abolition of the global economy, whose management is shared by the different states and dominant national classes, a management from which they derive the power that presently enchains humanity;
that the subjection of the masses to the economy consists not only in the subjection of the workers to the class and state owners of the means of production, but also in the enslavement of the individual to the rules of life, thought and action that follow directly from the commodity form of global production;
that the proletariat has been enchained up till now at least as much by its own servile acceptance of a servile life as by its forced submission to the laws of the economy, and that this subservience is now in the process of changing;
that the necessary conditions of its emancipation and of the subsequent free blossoming of a revolutionary social life remain the abolition of the economy and of the state, and in general of all forms of power or authority external to individuals;
that the weapon and the principal condition for bringing the present social war to a decisive victory is the appropriation and development by each proletarian of a form of thought bound up with his struggle and superior to the partial theories and scientific knowledge known up till now: revolutionary theory, born out of the struggles of the old worker movement and reemerging today in the war against the sociohistorical conditions of modern capitalism;
that in striving toward the goals it sets itself, this new revolutionary consciousness must develop against all the rules of dominant thought and consciousness;
that this is ultimately nothing other than each individuals mastery of the free theory of his own social existence something that has so far not known any lasting and decisive development;
that as a situationist has put it, what is above all important is that the workers become dialecticians and manage their own lives themselves, without any delegation of power;
that our era is seeing the appearance and action of the first worker dialecticians;
that our era now calls for the formation of international organizations of revolutionary proletarians which, with the support of their class comrades in every region of the world, will be able to hold their own against any other current power;
that it will require nothing less than this to counteract the lies, falsifications and daily humiliations by means of which our present masters maintain us in an organized ignorance of everything concerning the reality of life, and to finally give some solid bases to our struggle and make possible a decisive breakthrough;
our contempt for revolutionary pseudo-organizations that seek to constitute themselves on bases more limited than those described above;
that the rampant organization-mania of revolutionaries (which gives rise, as a natural reaction, to various honestly or tactically spontaneist tendencies) is a reflex left over from the worst traditions of the worker movement and from the long period of mass powerlessness that we have just gotten through;
that we consider the gesticulations, pretensions and daydreams of little radical groups to be as meaningless as a mundane petition;
that henceforth any revolutionary organization that presumes to present itself with an underdeveloped theory or practice should be considered a mockery and an insult to the other workers who are everywhere entering the struggle;
that a revolutionary organization should be judged by the fullness and radicality of its objectives and how it acts to attain them;
that it is now up to the workers themselves to create organizations in accordance with their objectives; and that what defines a revolutionary worker is not the practice of, or qualification for, this or that occupation, but his irreducible hostility to the institution of work;
our contempt for revolutionary sects and for autonomous groups that have no autonomy except within their little self-managed ghettos;
we founded, on 28 September 1973, the Center for Research on the Social Question (CRQS), an intentionally limited semiorganizational complement to our respective and distinct activities as revolutionary theorists; and which has since functioned according to the following rules:
The members of the CRQS are chosen from among the revolutionaries who have personally demonstrated their loyalty, their talents and their obstinacy in the struggle for practical theory, and who choose to associate within this semiorganizational framework while continuing to address the revolutionary movement in their name only. While a member of the CRQS, each comrade agrees to all the present rules, attends to their application, and fulfills all the practical duties that follow from them.
The organizational function of the CRQS is strictly limited to the material support it can provide to distinct activities conducted exclusively under individual responsibility. The CRQS does not seek to set forth or defend coherent collective positions, although the general bases of modern revolutionary theory are naturally recognized by its members. No enterprise can be conducted in the name of the CRQS apart from a few precisely delimited administrative tasks. In particular, neither public declarations nor practical interventions can be attributed to the CRQS; they remain solely the responsibility of their authors or signatories.
The managerial tasks on which depends the successful functioning of the present accord are equitably carried out by all the members in accordance with the rules of total democracy. The general assembly of the members has all power of decision; its majority decisions are executory.
Each member of the CRQS has the duty to resign, and if necessary to make public his reasons, (1) if he comes to consider that the minimum solidarity that he owes the other members is no longer justified by the nature of their theoretical or practical orientations; (2) if he considers that the limited formula of the CRQS is being maintained after it has outlived its usefulness; or (3) if he joins any other organization whatsoever.
Any member whose attitude or expressed positions contradict the present rules will be immediately excluded. A member will also be excluded if he has seriously failed in the implementation of a decision of the general assembly or if he has in any way fallen short of the principles of revolutionary honesty.
Each member of the CRQS is free, in accordance with his affinities and the needs of his practice, to establish alliances outside the association, on the sole condition that the other members are straightforwardly informed of them.
In accordance with the lessons it will draw from its functioning, the CRQS must fix a number of members beyond which it will divide itself into two groups, one of which will form a new and distinct association.
Openly declaring its aims, the CRQS shall each year elect a person legally responsible for the association [legally required in France for registering publications, etc.]. This person shall have no prerogatives over the other members.
The CRQS will be automatically dissolved (1) whenever the member solidarity that presently makes this framework possible is no longer sufficiently assured; or (2) whenever the reality of the revolutionary movement has made possible and defined better forms of organization.
FRANÇOISE BLOCH, JEANNE CHARLES,
JOËL CORNUAULT, DANIEL DENEVERT
The Déclaration à propos du Centre de Recherche sur la Question Sociale was first translated in 1974 by Robert Cooperstein, Dan Hammer, and Ken Knabb. The present version is a new translation by Ken Knabb (1999).
Two of the signed names are pseudonyms: Jeanne Charles = Françoise Denevert. Françoise Bloch = Nadine Bloch.