Camatte's Primitivism: A Marxist Tribute To Bourgeois Ideology

22nd July 2013, 15:46

Firstly one thing should be noted: The Camatte of Bordiga was unquestionably a Marxist. A Marxist who had a decent understanding of existing capitalist relations and the superstructure built upon it (like Bordiga). But the shockwave of capitalist revolution that overtook the western world in the late 60's, the rise of a more efficient, new advanced capitalism, set Marxist intellectuals on their heads. And this is best signified by the failed uprising in 68, the last, desperate struggle for leftist hegemony, a final blow to the organized Left that we knew it, an uprising which towards its end revealed its true colors, an uprising which at best became subject to the whims of a newer bourgeois ideology. That is, Post-Modernism. The failure of 68 was a final signification to Camatte that proletarian struggle in itself no longer had any social context. For this reason, Camatte as an intellectual was incapable of recognizing something Althusser later could: Proletarian struggle (not "human struggle") was all the more possible, the problem resided with the fact that the mystifications of postmodernism, of bourgeois ideology were much stronger than they were before (therefore Communists should be forced to adjust to these conditions ideologically). Camatte revealed his true postmodernist colors when he recognized capitalism as a force which "adjusted humanity to her whims", i.e. A force which allowed us to create a final dichotomy, between "our roots", nature, and the forces of production. In this sense Camatte was the Marxist forerunner of Francois Fukoyama, because in a mediocre sense he believed history was over, there was no room for class struggle but instead this metaphysical bullshit, about "nature" and capitalism. This is postmodern in nature for several reasons: One, Marxists always recognized reality external from human social relations, that is, nature, the universe, etc. to be a neutral force which could be used to the advantage of any given class or social force. And rightfully so. But with the mystifications of postmodernism, (to the bourgeois ideologues) capitalism reached its final goal: The complete subversion of all of humanity to the capitalist mode of production (the end of history) so all that is left to us, the only ideological space left to us is opened up by that which is divorced from human consciousness, "nature" and so on. The point though, is that this is far from the truth. Humanity has always been subversed to whatever mode of production said humans resided in, the point is that capitalism has not overcome it's contradictions, that proletarian struggle is in itself a result of human subversion to the contradictions of the capitalist mode of production. Proletarian struggle can only exist through capitalist relations, nature does not exist, for capitalism exists in totality and Camatte's conception of nature was a direct reflection of the underlying foundations of capitalist social relations, sought through the lense of bourgeois ideology. Two, and this is quite simple for anyone to grasp, postmodernism entailed the end of modernity itself. Camatte was not a true primitivist because he was not a "pre-modernist" (that right is reserved for the forces of reaction with regards to feudalism, etc.). A great problem with the Left and the bourgeois superstructure as well, is the rejection of modernity or at least a rejection of refusing it's existence. Camatte's rejection of modernity's existence came with his rejection of class struggle as a whole. Instead of recognizing the underlying changes within the capitalist mode of production as a last resort of the bourgeoisie, Camatte recognized it as some kind of "final phase of development", exactly what the bourgeois ideologues intended to espouse with the development of postmodernist ideology and the solidification of neoliberalism. In the end, Camatte's critique of capitalist social relations pre-supposed the underlying ideological manifestations of the intimate interests of capital (neoliberalism), Camatte gave in to the class enemy, he ceded to them so easily what they desired, that is, the end of modernity (or recognizing it's continued existence). Camatte should be taken seriously only insofar as using him as an analysis of the kinds of reactions Marxists espoused to changes in the capitalist mode of production.