I wrote an article for the Swedish magazine Subaltern.
The article is called “Differential rent, integral hunger – Amadeo Bordiga on Marx’ ground-rent theory and capitalist inability to feed humankind” and it’s a kind of condensed version of my old dissertation.
Here I put the first paragraph, but you can download the entire article here.
1. A brief introduction
Before starting to discuss the main topic of this article, i.e. the theoretical work that Amadeo Bordiga did in the early 50s on the issues of rent and the inability of capitalism to meet the basic needs of the population, it seems useful to mention briefly the Neapolitan communist biography without forgetting the position he increasingly assumed on the subject of intellectual property.
Amadeo Bordiga was born in Resìna (Naples) in 1889 to Oreste and Zaira degli Amadei. In 1910 at the age of twenty-one he enrolled at the Portici section of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI), after having declined the invitation to join the Freemasons. His political activity will be initially marked by a strong opposition to the war, writing articles of anti-militarist character in La Soffitta and L’avanguardia. After the victory of the Bolsheviks in Russia in October 1917, Bordiga was an active organizer of the groups directed towards the transformation of the party into a real revolutionary organism and was committed to the isolation of the reformists writing on the columns of Il Soviet that he founded in 1918. This newspaper became the organ of the Communist Abstentionist Faction within the PSI, the tendency that together with the one organized in Turin around L’ordine Nuovo, would give life to the Communist Party of Italy (Pcd’I) in January 1921 in Livorno. The contrasts with the Communist International and its progressive “Russification” is a subject that can not be dealt with in these pages. It is enough to remember here the direct confrontation that occurred in 1926 at the sixth “Enlarged Plenum” of the International in Moscow, where he provocatively asked Stalin if the Russian question were not taking over the agenda of the International. In the same year he was arrested by the fascists and placed in confinement where he remained for three years. In 1930, he was finally subject to a formal expulsion from the Party. His political activity started again after those so called “dark years” with the participation in the activity of the Internationalist Communist Party, founded in 1943. It was during this post-war years that Bordiga wrote his most important theoretical works, including the writings that we will discuss in this article. This theoretical work proceeded on the pages of Programma Comunista, which became the bi-monthly organ of the International Communist Party after an internal split with the group of Damen. This activity went on until 1970, when he died on July 25th.
The Neapolitan revolutionary wrote on several occasions against a personalistic conception of history, even within the proletarian movement. This stance extended to the revolutionary leader’s function, to which he was assigning a more “materialistic” role of instrument in the hands of the working class. From this anti-individualistic position comes the choice of anonymity, made by Bordiga in the writings following the Second World War. It is therefore in this spirit that I am going to talk about these writings: without denying the importance that specific individuals, leaders or not, have in the historical process, especially in its breaking points, we need a deep critique of the common conception of “leaderism”. In the words of Bordiga “the revolution will rise again terrible but anonymous”