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Socialisme ou Barbarie

Christos Boukalas


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Socialisme ou Barbarie (Socialism or Barbarity) (henceforth S/B) was a libertarian-socialist group active in France between 1949 and 1966. Named after a phrase by German communist Rosa Luxenburg , S/B was founded by Cornelius Castoriadis (aka Paul Cardan) and Claude Lefort. The group made a deep mark in French radical thought and practice via its publications (the reviews Socialisme Ou Barbarie, Tribune Ouviere , and Povoir Ouviere) and the participation of leading left intellectuals, including Guy Debord , Gérard Genette, Pierre Guillaume, and Jean-François Lyotard. It influenced the Situationists through Guy Debord, and Daniel Cohn-Bendit proclaimed that in his interventions during May 1968 he was largely “plagiarizing” S/B views. The group grew out of the French Trotskyite Party (PCI). In 1946 Castoriadis, Lefort, and others established a separate tendency to register disagreement with the PCI's conceptualization of Stalinism. Stalinist regimes were then dominating Russia and Eastern Europe; they were rising in China and Southeast Asia; and controlled Western European “communist parties.” The PCI saw Stalinism as an accidental diversion from socialism, easily rectified through recourse to Marx and Lenin's program. Hence, it defended Stalinist regimes as the “lesser evil” to bourgeois ones. The newly established tendency saw Stalinism as organic to the development ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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