Blog post

A revolutionary party is a way to f*** everything up, methodically

Frédéric Lordon explains why the current moment necessitates a revolutionary party – an organization whose goal is to destroy existing capitalist institutions.

Frédéric Lordon14 April 2023

A revolutionary party is a way to f*** everything up, methodically

**This article originally appeared in Révolution Prolétarienne on 21 Dec 2022.


Last Friday, several activist figures were present at the birth of a new revolutionary organisation in France. Among them was the philosopher Frédéric Lordon, who, despite our disagreements, honoured us with his presence. Here is his intervention.

There is a slogan that comes from another sector of the left, but it’s not without interest. It was heard in particular among the anti-reservoir[1] and climate activists. This slogan says: ‘It’s vital to fuck everything up [tout niquer]’. And it’s true: at the point we’ve reached, it’s vital to fuck everything up, but, I would add, methodically. 

What is a revolutionary party? It’s an organisation which proposes to methodically fuck everything up – to start by fucking everything up... There’s another slogan I’m quite fond of at the moment. You’ll be surprised how original it is… It runs: ‘There is no alternative’. 

If you think you’ve heard it before, you’re wrong. We are not talking about the same thing. My slogan says that, at the point we’re at now, if we want to avoid ecocide, i.e. anthropocide, then we need capitalocide. And that there is no alternative – but this time for good. 

In these conditions, there’s a definite logic: capitalocide means the downfall of capitalism; and the downfall of capitalism is a process of a well-identified kind: a revolutionary process. What is a revolutionary process? It’s an impulse of the masses. This does not mean pure spontaneity. Here we come back to the question of method. The method must have definite locales. One locale in particular: a revolutionary party.

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In the term ‘revolutionary party’, the word ‘party’ could cause confusion. For example, the Constitution of the Fifth Republic stipulates that ‘political parties and groupings shall compete in the expression of suffrage’ – that is to say: behave properly. But that’s not what we mean. It’s no longer the time to behave properly – since it’s the time to fuck everything up – nor to accept in any way the political institutions of capitalism and follow their rules. This does not mean, to my mind, paying no attention to what’s happening – we’ve already had that debate, and we’ll likely have it again.

In any case, the paradox of the present period is that the perspective of revolution has never been so urgently needed, even though it’s hard to find any organisation still claiming a revolutionary perspective. Which is why – by simple logic – when I become aware of one, I can hardly refrain from expressing my sympathy for it.

Sandra Lucbert, who spoke earlier, was speaking from a remote place – art. I’ll speak of something still more remote: the bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie doesn’t give a toss about the working class – to an unimaginable degree. The climate, on the other hand, is starting to scare some people. It’s freaking out young people, it’s freaking out college graduates – the future executives of capitalism – and it’s even starting to freak out journalists. For all the predictable institutional, political and media resistance, something is opening up in people’s heads, a new availability of minds is being formed. But this availability will only lead to anything if the last illusions, the false promises of being able to manage somehow, the false hopes of being able to hang on to everything, and the whole range of sedative avoidances, are actively removed. This will take some work. It’s a job that is also among the tasks of a revolutionary party – part of the method. 

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People will tell me that a revolutionary party doesn’t concern itself with the bourgeoisie, that its task above all is to combat it, and above all in the workplace. And that is not wrong. But it’s not completely true either. Counter-hegemonic work, in its construction, also targets the bourgeoisie, at least some of its fractions. A system of domination is all the more fragile when a significant section of the dominant no longer believe in it themselves. An order of domination is that much easier to overthrow when it has become more friable within. Now, a part of the bourgeoisie can break away: the part that understands that its material interests also include its earthly interests. But it will only do so if it is brought round to seeing, without any escape route, that the enemy of its material interests, redefined in this way, is capitalism.

Unless it takes this route, the bourgeoisie will never abandon of its own accord the capitalist division of labour which places proletarians at its service – through the exploitation which makes for its wealth, and the generalised slavery which supports its way of life. One can choose to fight it head-on. This was the first version of the class struggle. But one can also add the strategy of weakening the bourgeoisie spiritually, so to speak. I believe that in the history of the class struggle, there has probably never been anything as powerful as the contemporary earthly situation to make it falter.

Apart from a hard core of fanatics ready for anything to the last ditch, it is necessary to remove from the bourgeoisie the very desire to fight to preserve an order which is now becoming unfavourable to it. When the bourgeoisie – a part of the bourgeoisie – has been brought to the point where it is convinced, if not to give up its arms, at least not to resort to them, and when it is disoriented and no longer knows what to do, then our time will come.

Translated by David Fernbach 

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[1] The mobilisation against mega-reservoirs for industrialised agriculture, violently repressed by the police at the beginning of April at Sainte-Soline (Deux-Sèvres) – Trans.

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