CRISIS AND SELF-MANAGEMENT
This is the road to be taken :
1. The Workers' Community and the Human Community
Besides self-management, much has been said, with respect to Lip, about human warmth, the rediscovery of the joy of living, etc., not only in the large meetings and solidarity marches (we already have seen what they stand for), but also within the enterprise itself. These ideas appear again and again in the interviews with the "Lips"; we finally can know ourselves; everyone was able to express himself. . . Even many of those who recognized the limits of the struggle let themselves be carried away by the carnival atmosphere at the beginning; they believed something of that atmosphere would be maintained and that the form of the "Lips'" struggle had a "dynamic" all its own, independent of its limited content.
In fact the archaic character of the productive process of the Lip Watch Co. not only did not stop the workers from wanting to safeguard their enterprise by any means possible but also allowed them to form a homogeneous group confronting the personified enemy : their boss. When the boss went bankrupt and disappeared because of the uncompetitive character of his capital, the workers found themselves with their tools and their production process negated and inert. The requirement that they start up the production process themselves could only be sustained by the sort of enthusiasm that affirmed a new-found sense of community.
Any sort of breakdown within a community sooner or later leads to the formation of a new community which, at the outset, provokes enthusiasm within the newly formed community. For the workers of the Lip Watch Co., however, the break with their previous community was profound not only because as proletarians they were deprived of the means of subsistence (which was the origin of their new found sense of community) but especially because they could once more make use of the objects and motions which they had been deprived of; the reformation of the Lip community as a collective capitalist on the basis of the disappearance of the "exterior" constraint of bosses, directors, etc., must have induced quite suddenly a tremendous feeling of enthusiasm.
First of all, we can directly compare this sort of fraternization with the fraternization which marked the formation of workers' cooperatives in the nineteenth century and, more recently, the numerous communities of work which arose in France at the end of the last war. In fact, even at this simple level, there are fundamental differences, but before taking them up it is necessary to understand the points of similarity and their origin.
The communities of work that emerged from the war developed in areas where the destruction of productive forces had been great, and in those sectors of production where there was little constant capital at the outset. In a general way, the rebirth of such communities in a form approximating workers' cooperatives, was made possible by the rejuvenation of operating capital during the war combined with the generally archaic character of French capitalism as a whole. Proclaiming equal wages and equality in management, the few individuals involved in these new productive units evidently believed quite sincerely that they were founding socialist enterprises in the manner of the nineteenth century workers' movement ! A good example of this is furnished by the community of work Boimondau (makers of Dauphine watch-cases) at Valence in the Drôme.
This community was founded by Christian socialists, anarcho-syndicalist and other socialist militants who were known in the Resistance in Vercours (the Drome and Ardéche region witnessed a tremendous destruction of men and materials thanks to this important Resistance cell). It involved a watch factory around which was build a city housing this mini-capitalist collective and its family. The ensemble of factory-habitations was given the evocative name Watch City. General assemblies were regularly held to take collective decisions on everything from the running of the enterprise to leisure time; for example, an attempt was made to establish "sexual liberty" by decree.
Similarly, at the new Lip there was a tendency to create a communal life organized around the enterprise : meetings, sandwiches, little festivals were held, it seems, almost daily.
But there the comparison ends because if, at Boimondau, there was a real equality of wages at the outset, at Lip we have seen that the preservation of a wage hierarchy was an imperative necessity in the creation of the collective capitalist : at Boimondau the framework of the general re-accumulation of French capitalism allowed the worker community to take shape in relative "purity." However, the impossibility of capitalist reproduction at Lip could allow the Lip collective to exist only as a "bastard" workers' community.  Boimondau was a product of the destruction of the forces of production. Lip was created by their contradictory development. At Lip no new enterprise was born. Rather the old was saved by a sort of modernization.
Rocard in vain declares, to justify this sort of management, that several hundred communities of work were created just after the war:  some sociologists have in vain exhumed the Boimondau experiment.  However today the idea of the commodity labor power taking control of its own situation has an entirely different meaning.
For the same reasons another fundamental difference appeared : in addition to outside organizations and groups of militants the Lip workers were joined by numerous outsiders from the Palente section of Besangon and from other parts of France.
This concentration at Palente had two complementary origins : French society being capitalist, Lip's survival, as we have seen, was a vital imperative for the city and surrounding region. Additionally, this material community could only develop in contradiction with its own bases; it could no longer organize, in its usual form, the totality of human beings which it pretended to include in itself (e.g., hippy communes, etc.). Those not part of "marginal communities" were subject to the contradictory movement involved in the decomposition of social relations : hence the growth of "delinquency." The instability of capitalism's material community,  profound origin of its intolerable character, makes every type of breakdown attractive, even if it is carried out on the reactionary basis of wage labor and the appropriation of the product for sale on the market by the producer himself, as was the case at Lip.
The violent battles following the occupation of the factory by the CRS [national guard] can be considered as a sort of proletarian outpouring -- not an expression of solidarity in defense of the factory itself (those arrested said they came "to see" or "to enjoy themselves"), but a violent expression of a desire to take part in a breakdown when the occasion presented itself.  It was no accident that many of those sentenced had delinquent records. Moreover, such events have occurred more or less regularly for several years whenever the conditions for a riot or the smallest disturbance have existed. That is the origin and the content, apparently inexplicable, of the violence distinguished by its "hooligan" stamp -- thus its profundity and limitation.
In effect, contrary to the Lip workers, the mass of proletarians expending their labor power in specifically capitalist processes of production are so interchangeable that the existence and life of this or that enterprise is of no concern to them. Thus as anonymous victims of the rising organic composition of capital, they find themselves unemployed (often for the young this means there is no possibility for them to enter the global productive process), they feel no compulsion to organize against a specific antagonist.  The enemy which has victimized them is not any capitalist in particular but capitalist society as a whole which they perceive more or less confusedly.
Without a generalized crisis, the rejection of labor power is nothing but one of the necessities of reproduction for global capitalism. These proletarians form an industrial reserve army necessary for capitalism's general expansion since they exert a pressure that keeps wages down; however, the fundamental difference between the nineteenth century army of the unemployed and the present one is that the latter can gather in the most developed capitalist metropoles as relatively stable communities of lifetime unemployed limited in size only by the extent to which the productive forces have developed with respect to the relations of production. Thus over the last twenty years in the U.S.A. there have developed ghettos of black proletarians who can manifest, by their uprisings, as in 1965, their need for a human community; but these revolts immediately reached their limit and were checked by the impossibility, in that period of general expansion, of attacking the heart of capitalism : the relations of production.
However, in the absence of a general crisis, the weakness of those temporarily included as well as those permanently excluded becomes a potentially revolutionary force when the crisis embraces all of society-that is to say when the movement to devalorize ends up by prevailing over the valorization movement and the capitalist mode of production is forced to reveal its ruin.
Because the general crisis has at its root the nature of capitalism which consists of accumulation by autonomous enterprises, the proletariat can form itself as a class only by overcoming the enterprise (and no longer as groups within the enterprise) to create a unified mode of production freed from the detour between production and consumption created by exchanged value, and which reveals its absurdity during a crisis.
The proletarian mass, undifferentiated by its work, which incorporates in a banal way this "class within bourgeois society which at the same time is not a class of bourgeois society" in the crisis finds itself constrained to break the last link and can no longer reproduce itself as a category of Capital. This class-in-itself tends to organize itself as a historical party which affirms its future in the human community; this class has no "future" save in its own suppression. The formation of the human community is the result of the development of the productive forces by the community of Capital and is the only historically possible supersession of Capital's community. In integrating this development by which it radically transforms work, the human community destroys in a positive manner the ideology of work, which capitalism had made into something negative : labor time finally disappears as the sole measure of social wealth to the benefit of "free time."
In fact communism carries with it the end of the division of labor time/leisure time by fusing all activity into activity necessary for the production and reproduction of humanity; the resulting fusion would consequently not be carried out on the basis of the labor of men alienated into citizen-producers as was the case in the worker community. Thus timed production of time-producers which was the Lip Watch Co. is doubly negated in the good company of money.
But if the organization of the proletariat as a class-for-itself directing itself toward the construction of the human community tends to be as much a product of the global development of capitalism as it is a product of the inability of capital to reproduce itself, the result isn't automatic or inevitable.
"Let us rebuild the ENTERPRISE
2. The Self-Managed Counter- Revolution
In capitalist society revolution and counter-revolution form a linked pair though radically antagonistic to each other. The two are joined in the contradictory movement which is indispensable to capitalist reproduction and at the same time fetters that reproduction. The crisis which is simultaneously the explosion of the contradiction and the beginning of its resolution thus implies the continual emergence of revolution and counter-revolution.
The two are carried forward by the dominant movement of devalorization : the counter-revolution, because this important devalorization is then necessary for a later revalorization; the revolution because such a period of devalorization broadcasts its decrepitude.
Consequently, while the revolution must cut short any later revalorization, the counter-revolution must first of all take over devalorization with the hope of rationalizing the contradictions. However, given the depth of the present contradictions, the counter-revolution can only develop one perspective for a capitalist resolution : the massive destruction of productive forces.
This development thus implies that the revolutionary movement might be inhibited and sporadic revolts might not attain their objectives and be crushed (consider the repression of revolts in little developed or underdeveloped capitalist nations which have already suffered the first violent blows of the crisis : Greece, India, Ethiopia, Bolivia, etc.).
On a more immediate level of proletarian activity and consciousness revolution and counter-revolution reflect the impossibility of reproducing the capitalist community which, on a global scale, has disorganized the life of the disoriented proletarians. The dissolution of the form of consciousness corresponding to material conditions in a state of auto-destruction implies the formation of a new consciousness reflecting new conditions.
For the proletariat within a crises-riddled capitalism, the dissolution of a consciousness linked by ideology to a self-valorizing Capital is immediately translated into the raised consciousness of being a class without reserves, possessing only its labor power.
Forced to take steps to reproduce its lost means of existence -- or to reproduce a much lower standard of living because of the brutal fall in real wages-the proletariat sees in the situation it confronts the possibility of two types of responses :
1) a spontaneous tendency to personify the historical movement of the productive forces that signals the superannuation of the capitalist mode of production and calls for a communal organization on a human basis;
2) a tendency to locate the origin of all these evils in secondary capitalist phenomena that mask the roots of the contradiction and hinder the historical movement. 
A superficial anti-capitalism is born which feeds on various ideologies and which the earlier dissolution of consciousness aids in developing. These ideologies share a common desire to resolve the crisis for the proletariat by economizing on proletarian revolution and by putting forward a mish-mash of reactionary and reformist measures. They reflect a tendency towards communitarian reform on the thin basis of lingering capitalism.
Thus the fascist and democratic responses (popular front) to the crisis of 1929-30 implied an unprecedented holding on to the principle of wage labor just at the moment when wage labor was in the process of self-destruction. This was made possible by the destruction of the revolutionary movement.
If the proletariat is the class of consciousness the breakdown of its alienated community will neither result from nor automatically involve the rise of a new mode of production. Unlike previous revolutionary classes, the proletariat is not supported by the irresistible force of value, which it must destroy. To carry out its work it has nothing but its humanity.
Hence the importance of revolutionary theory in the communist movement. "Class of consciousness" doesn't mean that "the revolution first occurs in the head" as various academics and other modernists pretend. They only reflect capitalism's tendency to suppress every form of social activity and social existence for a growing portion of its slaves. The "importance of theory" doesn't mean the proletariat has to be forced to become conscious, as all sorts of militant pedagogues have attempted to do (for example, to say to the Lip workers that they can or must transcend their practice).  Very simply, communist theory, inherent in the contradictory movement of Capital, will tend to be produced on a more spontaneous and broader scale than at present, at the level of practical revolutionary measures to be taken.
Today as the traditional figure of the capitalist entrepreneur tends to disappear completely, the depth of the crisis is signalled by the fact that in some countries self-management is becoming a plausible counter-revolutionary force. Doubtless it is only one of the components of the counterrevolution and probably will coexist with or oppose other forms, but it is possible to outline the practical function of self-management already evident from the inherent character and content of the crisis. If the depth of the crisis determines the extent to which the work force takes charge of itself, then self-management (which is to say the reorganization of the crisis of capitalist society) can develop only in the industrialized countries where the organic composition of capital is not very high, notably France and Italy. The crisis is by definition a lack of profit. In these countries the proportion of variable capital is still large enough so that during an initial period it might be possible to struggle against the disappearance of profits by radically lowering the value of the work force. To be sure, this also would be done in countries with a very high organic composition of capital, but with the difference that the role of living labor being relatively small in those countries, they would not require a type of social organization especially adapted to this objective. As we have seen, in these countries -- especially the U.S.A. -- the logic of excess profit is already included in profit itself.
Self-management is a way of having the work force control the contradiction between valorization and devalorization because all society would then be organized to lower the value of that living commodity, labor. It is a question of the population taking over activities previously run by Capital and which consequently increase the expense of the upkeep of the work force. We can already partially see the content of this sort of self-management in diverse parallel survival networks formed in recent years (parallel schools, unofficial nursery schools, clinics, food co-ops, etc.). It is significant that with the beginning of the crisis the mass media have begun to publicize, some of these experiments (for example the favorable presentation of "free clinics" on the television program of March 31, 1974).
At the level of the enterprise, self-management develops at first in the sectors where the low rate of profit cannot be compensated for by raising productivity via an increase in the technical composition of capital since the crisis is, precisely, a lack of capital necessary for such investments. However, an increase in productivity can be obtained by further subjugating the work force to the production process : by eliminating various forms of proletarian resistance to the real domination of capital (absenteeism, sabotage) it is possible to increase the intensity and speed of the work process. Various attempts at "the enrichment of work" and especially the organization of autonomous work groups (Donelly, General Food, Volvo . . . ) fall into this trend since they result from capitalism's difficulties with valorization since the end of the 1960's; they remain, however, very limited experiments inasmuch as capitalism has yet to reproduce them on a global scale.
The deepening of the crisis, by raising the issue of self-management, will generalize and widen such experiments which must be given an adequate framework.  From this perspective, new profits will be obtained from the increased productivity and the decrease in unproductive costs, since self-management, as the name implies, consists of conferring part of the tasks of managing capital to the work force itself.
Thus within the enterprise self-management's inherent function is not to lower the value of the work force but to be the adequate framework, the form in which the work force is militarized and is adapted to this sort of rationalization of production.
In this hypothetical development, that is the victory, if only momentarily, of the counter-revolution, self-management attaches the workers to the enterprise; it maintains the link which is essential for the social fabric, while at the same time, it carries out a movement transcending the enterprise -- a movement that transforms society into a community of poverty. Concentrated self-management will be the counterrevolutionary response to the potential transcendence of, the enterprise by interchangeable workers which self-management attaches to and assembles within the popular, national state. In effect, if self-management has as its chosen terrain the industrialized countries with a low organic composition of capital, this is not only a result of the productive structure of these countries but is equally determined by the level of the world economy. Areas with a much higher organic composition of capital always have more difficulties in finding the profits necessary for the reproduction of capital, but their higher organic composition allows them to manage in their own favor the transfer of value in the course of exchange with less developed areas (unequal exchange). This increase of value constitutes the excess profits which are more and more necessary to them and which follow from the fact that merchandise sold contains less work than that for which it is exchanged. But for this transfer to work it is necessary for each country with a high organic composition constantly to enlarge their area which explains why the most developed countries are always forced into free exchange (e.g., the U.S.A. and the agricultural Common Market).
As the need for excess profits increases in a crisis situation, the countries with a high organic composition of capital will try to force other countries into their exchange zone. But in a situation of world-wide crisis, these other countries will be less disposed than ever before to tolerate this flight of value, and will try to defend themselves from this by organizing their autarchy. Self-management will play a role in the organization of this autarchy and in the general militarization of the population against the overdeveloped countries, which will then be defined as the enemy. (This antagonism can already be seen emerging today between France and the U.S.A.)
Self-management could thus well become a war mechanism for those countries in a feeble economic position, a mechanism of the third world war which such a conflict of interests can provoke.
Thus the sort of militarization of work and organization by neighborhood that self-management represents at its base, would naturally extend to the militarization, pure and simple, of the producer-citizen. Self-management exists only with respect to the totality and the organization from top to bottom of all the capitalist categories.
The rationale for such a "self-managed state" would be anti-imperialism which it would exacerbate. The capitalist extreme left will be called to play a central role in this war mechanism, as the evidence shows in the patriotic mobilization in the Lip conflict and its support for one camp against the other in the last Arab-Israeli War. It is significant that in a party like the French Socialist Party which presents itself as a government party, one fraction -- the CERES -- can be formed on the bases of self-management and violent anti-U.S. imperialism. It is no less significant that the French Communist Party itself believes that "the Way in which the question of self-management is posed today has evolved positively," and "communists are second to none in the field of self-management."  Finally we must notice the purest Gaullist faction at loggerheads with "U.S. imperialism" -- the "progressive front" concurs entirely with the leftist organizations on the full gamut of their programs (not to mention the royalists of the N.A.F. who have proclaimed themselves partisans of self-management)
Self-management appears to be on its way to becoming the new form of the Sacred Union.
However the autarchy of the self-managed countries threatens to strengthen certain contradictions. If it is true that these countries have on the average a low organic composition of capital, still we have seen they also have highly developed enterprises which cannot have any interest in autarchy. They also encounter hostility from other, less developed branches of enterprise which cannot survive declining profits, being at the heart of the crisis which is synonymous with the liquidation of the smaller economic sectors. Thus a conflict of interest arises over the way in which surplus value is divided up, the less developed enterprises and sectors attempting to set up mechanisms to shift the fall in value onto sectors with a higher organic composition of capital.
This unequal exchange reflects the unequal development of different regions which, with the emergence of the crisis, bring about an upsurge of regionalist violence and; its corollary, theses about "neo-colonization of the interior."
On a more acute level, these antagonisms could lead to a capitalist civil war which would carry out a part of the destruction of productive forces, the destruction necessary for Capital.
Self-management might also develop as a political or rather administrative form of management of internal antagonisms. If we say "administrative" it is because these insoluble conflicts of interest would be one of the reasons for an authoritarian organization of society. If today the counterrevolution in these countries implies an unprecedented participation by the wage-slaves of capital in the maintenance of their slavery, the integrity of all the essential categories of the capitalist mode of production requires a superior force (the metamorphosized but very real State) which links all the separate parts and assures the cohesion of a chaotic society : any other idea of self-management (as part of the bourgeois fiction of liberty and equality) is nothing but a reactionary utopia, a dream that capitalism, even "self- managed," is bound to explode. 
Just as the social democratic program, elaborated during the festival of capitalist reproduction (before 1914) was only a reactionary utopia which finally was realized in the Popular Front and above all in Nazism, so the crisis' imperatives can only be reduced by ultra-left schemas into recipes for saving capitalism.
If the revolutionary proletariat's autonomy will be unquestionably affirmed when it constitutes a class-for-itself, the counter-revolution also implies a certain autonomy of the "proletariat" as a class that maintains capitalism. Furthermore, with respect to all the committees and other organs of the base that arise in the heat of the crisis, it will be absolutely necessary to constantly appraise the content of their activity, likewise the content of the movement of which it is part without being diverted by the forms they might borrow.
 The accumulation of capital at Boimondeau marked the end of the self-management experiment. Little by little, the wage hierarchy was reestablished; one, or rather two owners emerged from the community. The enterprise set up new wage scales on new bases. These low wages were the making of one of the two enterprises which employed convicts upon their release from prison. Most of the employees lived outside Watch City which had nothing communal about it but its name (many workers were fired after May '68 for having gone on strike). The enterprise lived on in agony and after many ups and downs was finally liquidated, sold, in 1970. (information about the enterprise, here given very briefly, was provided by an old Boimondeau worker who witnessed the end of the communal self-management period and a comrade who worked there shortly after '68.)
 Le Monde, January 29, 1974. As for the many offspring of this worker community only a handful survived more than a few months or years since most were an immediate, palliative response to the disorganization of post-war capitalism and to the momentary absence of capitalist investors (who also appeared, in a way, at the "Lip community").
 G. Friedman in Le Monde, March 22, 1974.
 The tendency of capitalism to form material communities after 1945, incarnate in the Welfare State in the USA, is not the same thing as the disappearance of internal antagonisms, nor the creation of a real community of men, even if alienated. On the contrary, that capitalism is forced to found such communities in its metropoles is the result of the ineluctable development of its contradictions (evaded beforehand by the adoption of Keynesian theories) and has as its content the extreme fragmentation of society into atomized individuals. Just as giving commodities a value (valorization) includes the destruction of value, so Welfare, by its nature, contains the personified contradiction of capital-the living proletarian. "The bourgeoisie lets the proletariat fall so low that it must feed it rather than being fed by it" (Communist Manifesto, 1848). In fact, beyond the bourgeoisie of 1848, Capital, as a social relation, collides with the proletariat and is incapable of creating a harmonious community. To speak of a "material community" is to acknowledge the impossibility for the "capitalized" proletarians (during the postwar cycle of expanded reproduction) to form themselves into a distinct class; such a situation turns "traditional" revolutionary militancy into a disaster, transforming it into simple racketeering. But the crisis of capitalist reproduction will provoke the destruction of the material community and simultaneously speed the reorganization of the counter-revolution to a degree equalling the degree of social disorganization : self-management wherever feasible; another reason for specifying precisely the type of organization now developing.
 For Révolution Internationale (in No. 5, New Series, B.P. 219 75827 Paris Cedex 17) the confrontation with the CRS marked a class unification and the passage from economic to political struggle, because the workers had gone beyond the framework of the factory. However going beyond the framework of the factory in itself is not enough to determine the proletariat (or a fraction of it) as a class for itself, unless it occurs on a virtually revolutionary basis (was it to defend the collective capitalist of Lip that the class would be formed ? !). In fact the enterprise's existence could not continue anywhere; the formation of the proletariat is implied only in going beyond the dynamic of capitalism-the reproduction of capital. But, on the contrary, the Lip workers constantly went beyond the limits of their locality in making trips here and there without ever going beyond their enterprise whose preservation was the very content of their struggle. R.I.'s way of seeing things results from its fundamentally political conception of the communist revolution with its corresponding partyist outlook.
 See, for example, Le Monde, April 2, 1974 : "The Lulus of Abbaye," and "Employment Difficulties for the Young in the South."
 In reality this twofold tendency is likely to become manifest in the form of antagonisms and proletarian fractions personifying first one, then the other, like the one which arose in Germany in 1919-21 and which was only reinforced by the development of contemporary capitalism. (See Négation No. 2, Intervention Communiste No. 2, and Bulletin Communiste of May, 1973. H. Simon, B.P. 287, 13605 Aix-en-Provence.)
 The text "Critique du conflit Lip et tentative de dépassement" [A criticism of the Lip conflict and an attempt to transcend it] , (P. Laurent, 32, rue Pelleport, 75620 Paris) is an example of that programatic conception of communist theory : in part it explains to the workers what they are supposed to do and not do. The diversion of Lip Unité (of unknown origin but reproduced by Quatre Millions de Jeunes Travailleurs, B.P. 8806, 75261 Paris Cedex 06) substitutes itself, pure and simple for the Lip workers in order to make them say what they should have done if ... if what, in fact ? This manner of working tends to conceal the programatic conceptions of the above. In general, the diversionary method expresses the impossibility of any sort of (even a. potential) revolutionary affirmation of a movement. It is not by accident that this method was set up as a "subversive practice" by the Situationists in a period when the proletariat was totally under the domination of Capital.
 The crisis of the 1930's, when there was no question of self-management, saw in German shoe factories the suppression of assembly line work which had just recently appeared. This "de-rationalization" -- a new rationalization adapted to the crisis -- was then a vain attempt to compensate for unemployment. (See Carl Steuerman [pseudonym for Otto Rühle], La crise mondiale, Paris : Gallimard, 1932, p. 50.)
 l'Humanité, February 15,1974.
 It is clear that the work force, on this level, cannot at the same time be both agent and object of Capital; also the role of agent would naturally be taken over in the self-managed State by a coalition coming from the most "progressive" fringe of economic and political managers (Bidegain, Neuschwander, J. Delors, Edgar Faure, for example), bureaucrats from the Left and New Left, including their trade unionist counterparts, not to mention a fraction of the working class drawn from the base via various committees and councils (Monique Piton and other members of the Lip Action Committee were given an audience by E. Faure -- doubtless taking care of the little man).