This article approaches transition as a problem on its own right, through the cases of the Paris Commune of 1871 and the Fatsa ‘Commune’ of 1979. Transition has received scant attention as an object of theoretical inquiry. Prior to Etienne Balibar’s suggestion that the history of the mode of production occurs at the intersections between political struggles and economic contradictions, a theory of transition had not been explicitly explored. Problematizing transition can reveal what is ‘ruptural’ about ruptural moments, indicating the limitations of the prevalent mode of production. This investigation builds on the Althusserian theory of temporal lag, and considers aspects of the cases in order to translate its insights into the historical events, and conversely to develop theoretical initiative based on findings. An examination of outstanding figures and events in the cases suggests that they can inform a theory of transition and address certain challenges of contemporary radicalism.
- Louis Althusser