These archives contain a wide variety of material related to those threads of the Marxist tradition which have emphasized the self-activity of the working class. "Autonomist "is used here in several senses: 1. the autonomy of the working class vis a vis capital, 2. the autonomy of workers vis a vis their official organizations, e.g., trade unions or parties, 3. the autonomy of various sectors of the class from each other, e.g., that of blacks from whites, women from men, etc.
I use the term "threads" because it is only fairly recently that elements of this tradition have emphasized the concept of workers autonomy. Previously an understanding and appreciation of autonomy could often be found only within some parts of various Marxist movements. For example, the Council Communists emphasized the autonomy of the working class vis a vis capital and the party in their political writings but often forgot about the idea when they turned to the theory of capitalist crisis. Similarly, there have been Marxists who have very much understood the ability of the working class to initiative struggle against capital (taking the offensive rather than being purely reactive) but have had no sympathy for the notion of the autonomy of struggles within the class.
Much of the material included in this archive has been written as contributions to the elaboration of Marxist theory and pratice. Other materials touch on issues of working class autonomy but are not written by Marxists, e.g., there are commentaries on various political movements, writings of anarchists who would not call themselves Marxist (though they might well accept the label autonomist), campesinista writings which emphasize the autonomy of peasant struggles, and so on. As a byproduct of a long term research project, these archives include whatever materials I have found to be of interest in exploring both the history of thinking about workers autonomy and possible ways of elaborating such theory and pratice.
These archives are being made available to the movement to acclerate the circulation of struggle, both from place to place and through time. As many contemporary Marxist historians have discovered the reconstruction of bottom up history, of our history, of the history of our struggles and of our thinking about our struggles, is generally very difficult. Materials pass from view and are forgotten, or they are lost or destroyed, and so on. What histories do exist are often written by outsiders with no direct experience or sympathy for the movements described. The various elements of the Marxist tradition that I am calling "autonomist" have been largely outside the mainstreams of Marxism, alien and critical of both orthodox Marxism (Leninist, Trotskyist, Maoist) and Critical theory (Frankfurt School, etc) for neglecting the self-activity of workers in favor of the study of capitalist power.
To facilitate access to the materials in the archive, may, eventually, be indexed in several ways. For the moment only one index is available:
Alphabetical Index (complete) (file size: 386k)
In the course of my research on these traditions of "autonomist" Marxism I have written a few things which have dealth with various aspects of this approach to Marxist theory and politics and compiled an annotated reading list for teaching purposes. These are currently available on the Net.
"Introduction" to Reading Capital Politically, Austin: University of Texas Press, 1979.
"Interview" with Massimo de Angelis, Vis a Vis, 1995.
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