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In collaboration with other left communists such as François Martin and Karl Nesic, Dauvé has attempted to fuse, critique, and develop different left communist currents, most notably the Italian movement associated with Amadeo Bordiga (and its heretical journal Invariance), German-Dutch council communism, and the French perspectives associated with Socialisme ou Barbarie and the Situationist International. He has focused on theoretical discussions of economic issues concerning the controversial failure of Second International Marxism (including both Social Democracy and Leninist "Communism"), the global revolutionary upsurge of the 1960s and its subsequent dissolution, and on developments in global capitalist accumulation and class struggle.
Among English-speaking communists and anarchists, Dauvé is best known for his Eclipse and Re-emergence of the Communist Movement, first published by Black & Red Press (Detroit, Michigan) in 1974 and Critique of the Situationist International, first published in Red Eye, Berkeley, California. An essay from the first pamphlet, and the whole of the second article, were reprinted by Unpopular Books in London as What is Communism (1983) and What is Situationism respectively, in 1987. The first pamphlet was reprinted with a new foreword in 1997 by Antagonism (London). It includes Dauvé's own translations of two of his articles and one by François Martin, both originally published in Le Mouvement Communiste (Paris: Champ Libre, 1972). These articles develop Bordiga's critique of Second International productivism in light of Marx's writings on formal and real subsumption and the global uprisings of 1968, and revise Bordiga's theory of communization by drawing on council communist and Situationist traditions.
Dauvé also participated in the journal La Banquise, which he edited with Karl Nesic and others from 1983 to 1986. This sought to develop the new communist program suggested in Le Mouvement Communiste through a critical appraisal of post-1968 radical politics, including Situationist and autonomist experiments. It also developed the theory of society's real subsumption into capital. The editors describe their aims and influences in The Story of Our Origins (La Banquise, 2, 1983).
More recently, Dauvé, along with Nesic and others, has published the irregular journal Troploin, featuring articles on the collapse of both Leninist and Keynesian regimes of accumulation and the transition to "globalized" neoliberal expansion, the Middle Eastern conflicts, September 11, and the rhetoric and logic of the War on Terrorism. Many have been translated into English by Dauvé himself and are archived on the Troploin website, .
Selected works in English
- Eclipse and Re-emergence of the Communist Movement
- Critique of the Situationist International, 1979
- The Story of Our Origins
- The Perplexities of the Middle Eastern Conflict
- Grey September (on the issues raised after September 11, 2001, with Carasso and Nesic)
- Back to the Situationist International
- "The text surveys the Italian and German lefts, Socialisme Ou Barbarie and the Situationist International and describes the theoretical development of the French ultra-left."Re-collecting our past - La Banquise
- Communisme et Question Russe, (1972), Futur Anterieur (includes the essay 'Capitalisme et communisme' translated in Eclipse and re-emergence of the Communist Movement
- Gilles Dauvé Library (Libcom.org archive of Dauvé best-known English texts)
- Jean Barrot (John Gray's archive of earlier French, English, Italian, and German pieces)