Saturday, 05 December 2020

Democracy and the Bourgeois State are two constant enemies of the Proletariat

The nature of the uprisings that have been taking place during the last few months in the area stretching from the Maghreb to the Arabian Peninsula, the way they have been covered in the international media and the “imitation effect” that has been witnessed in several countries reveal the degree of manipulation and mystification by which, thanks to the work of its aides and lackeys, the ruling ideology still manages to curb and trick the exploited proletarian class, by deluding and paralyzing it.

First let us get things clear.  As we have demonstrated in several articles, what happened in the Maghreb and surrounding areas was initially a wave of proletarian uprising, ridden and gradually deviated and channelled towards the dead-end of democratic claims by sectors of the bourgeoisie and petit-bourgeoisie which, faced with the persisting economic crisis, took advantage of this to try and make its own “class needs” felt:  intolerance for the rigid structures of the “old” régimes and a demand for more freedom of action by the former (bourgeoisie), the anxiety of keeping afloat and pleas to be saved by the “powers that be” (the state unions, the army) by the latter (petit-bourgeoisie), fearful of growing proletarization.  The whole of the technical-linguistic “armoury” ranged as symbol and privileged vehicle of these claims (the media, the social networks, the “coloured squares”, the “Arab spring”, the “jasmines”, the orange movement, etc. etc.) explicitly declares, in its substantially inconclusive nature and declared inter-classism (and thus its own vulnerability and lack of substance in the face of reactions by the “old” as well as the “new” régimes), the bourgeois and petit-bourgeois nature of the hat skilfully popped onto the head of a movement arising from a proletarian rebellion driven by the needs of day-to-day survival.

Repercussions on an infinitely smaller scale were soon to be seen on the northern shores of the Mediterranean, too:  in Spain, for example, with the “indignados” movement , but also in France and, in an even more miserable form, in Italy, where the recent elections have allowed all of the petit-bourgeois mud accumulated over decades at the bottom of the inter-classist swamp to rise to the surface.

At the centre of these claims were mostly the “appeal to democracy” and the “appeal to the State”: and it is right there that the depths of the abyss that has been dug over almost ninety years of counter-revolution can be measured.

We communists have always been quite clear as to the nature and role of both “democracy” and the “bourgeois State”.  The former is merely the form that class domination takes: whilst exalting the “power of the people” (this is the meaning of “democracy” - and it is no coincidence that in ancient Greece where it first came into being, helots and slaves were excluded from the “people”), no attention is paid to the fact that, different classes with opposing interests agitate within this undifferentiated “people”, and that they are therefore not all “equal” in terms of living and working conditions and therefore  in terms of truly understanding the dynamics of collective living and making themselves heard.  Not only this: the very interests of the dominion by the ruling class over the past century have ended up by draining all those exquisitely bourgeois claims of any real significance, apart from becoming a sort of bait: the imperialist transformation of capitalist society has produced profound and permanent changes in the way power is managed, centralizing it, exasperating its repressive nature, emptying any apparently democratic container (parliament, and then all the various forms of so-called “participation” – right up to the condominium meeting!) of any reality or significance.  Already in 1917, backed by the whole of Marx’s and Engels’ analysis of the forms of capital’s dominion, Lenin reminded proletarians all over the world that “the democratic republic is the best possible packaging for capitalism,” and “for this reason capital, after having taken possession […] of this packaging – which is the best – bases its power on such strong, such safe foundations, that no change, either in people or institutions or parties in the area of the democratic bourgeois republic can shake it”, and finally that “universal suffrage [is] a tool of bourgeois dominion” (State and Revolution, Chap. 1).

The events that followed the Second World War have merely confirmed (and, indeed, consolidated) this evaluation: the dictatorial régime of capital, once it no longer needed to reveal itself as brutal and explicit in its dominion, returned to democraticforms, giving proletarians the illusion that, thanks to the latter and through them, their conditions would steadily improve, making revolutionary uprisings useless.  Yet,in actual fact, the fascist dominion over capital in its imperial phase was maintained and, indeed, has grown monstrously: economic-financial centralization and concentration, the preponderance of the executive powers, profound and widespread militarization of society, the positioning of union organizations in the state mechanism, the creation of various Leviathans (those totalitarian nation-states over which bourgeois intellectuals waste endless words without managing to draw the due conclusions!), obsessive recourse to the polls, to the same extent that any democratic process is emptied of its real value and significance, the repression of any sign ofintolerance by the exploited class, the insistence on nationalist and patriotic rhetoric…

The same arguments apply to the “appeal to the State”, without any specification as to what characterizes it.  Just as “democracy” has become the one supreme value, so the State – which for us communists is the armed wing of bourgeois power, and a faithful husband to Madame Democracy – has become an … impartial organism, a good father, strict when necessary, but reassuring in times of crisis, to be turned to for help and rescue.  Once again Lenin, and again following the analyses of Marx and Engels, demonstrated that instead “the State is the organ of class dominion, an organ for the oppression of one class by another; it is the creation of an ‘order’ that legalizes and consolidates this oppression, moderating the class conflict,” – and, when it is no longer possible to moderate it, intervenes with all the “wisdom” of its own laws and its own magistrates (another class organism, and not neutral and impartial as the bourgeoisie and petit-bourgeoisie would have us believe) and with all the violence of its own legal and illegal organs of repression.

For entire hordes of petit-bourgeois terrorized by the economic crisis and the very real prospect of precipitating (horror of horrors!) down amongst the “people of the abyss”, “democracy” and “State” are the two things that still have to be saved – the miserable, patched-up lifebelts that they scramble to inflate constantly by means of their decent feelings, cheap commonplaces and rhetoric, revealing their characteristic inability to come up with any political project that does not rely on keeping this feeble and poisonous mode of production on its feet.

The proletarians who, perhaps without fully realizing it, taste the delights of bourgeois dominion in all its various forms and through all its means of repression, should be very careful: their slogan should not be “more democracy and more State”, but a refusal to be deluded and curbed by the former and open struggle against the latter.

International Communist Party 

("Il programma comunista", n°4, luglio-agosto 2011)

From England’s burning cities

When a complete blackout extinguished all the lights in New York in summer 1977, plunging the metropolis into a long night of riots, we drew “three simple truths for the proletariat” [1]  from the episode.  The first two were only too evident:  the extreme vulnerability of the capitalist mode of production, not excluding, indeed above all, its phase of peak imperialist centralization; the violence and anger that are exuded from every pore of bourgeois society, the peculiar fruit of this “best of all possible worlds”.   Since then, thirty-five years have gone by and other revolts have repeatedly taken place all over the world (not forgetting that for the whole of the ‘60s the U.S. ghettoes never ceased to burn): in Los Angeles, in Brixton, in China, in Argentina, in Mexico, right up to the Parisian banlieues in 2005, the anger exploding on the streets of Athens during 2010, the social earthquakes that shook almost all the countries on the southern coast of the Mediterranean in the first half of the year (earthquakes whose initially proletarian nature we have emphasized – authentic “assaults on the bakeries” by the hungry and desperate lacking any reserves to fall back on – and the way they were subsequently “captured” and channelled into the democratic course of things by a part of the petit bourgeoisie aiming at reforms that would not, however, upset the status quo).   On a smaller but no less significant scale, in Italy there have been the uprisings by the proletarian immigrants of Rosarno at the beginning of 2010 and more recently at Nardò – direct, immediate reactions against the beastly exploitation they were subjected to – as well as the rebellions that are constantly happening in the concentration camps set up to deal with the so-called clandestine immigrants.  

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Between the economy and the environment, the world of Capital is collapsing everywhere

Let us ask ourselves a few innocent little questions:  is it at all possible that this society (the society of Capital to put it clearly), with all its amazing technology, with its advanced socio-environmental answers, with its stunning scientific development, with its admirable community organization, with its staggering network of highly sophisticated communications, and so on, should then find itself at the complete mercy of an overflowing river which submerges a substantial part of an ultra-modern city like Brisbane in that super-advanced nation called Australia, causing endless victims and damage, or of the torrential rains pouring down on the region around Rio de Janeiro, in a Brazil that is one of the “BRIC” nations (in other words the high point of contemporary aggressive capitalism), destroying entire cities and claiming something like 4-5000 victims?   Is it conceivable that in this sort of situation (as had already happened at the time of the tsunami that devastated vast areas of South East Asia in December 2004, or hurricane Katrina in summer 2005, or the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010, and in hundreds and hundreds of similar episodes of “non natural catastrophes”) it should then be discovered that it is all the fault of unauthorized building work, neglect of the territory, concrete gone wild, the arbitrary use of waterways, insane erosion of the soil, geometrical progression in the accumulation of misery at one end of society, inexistent or inefficient civil defence services?  Is it conceivable in all these cases (hundreds, thousands, throughout at least two centuries of history) for the populations affected to invariably be the poorest, the most hard suffering, unlucky and exploited and – thanks to the grasping interest of “rebuilders” thirsting after quick and immense profits – for them to remain in this state (if not worse) over the following years and decades, thus (without variation) swelling the growing mass of those devoid of reserves who flee from everything in search of a means of survival, even the most wretched?

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Against nationalism! a militant, international proletarian front!

As the economic crisis deepens, contradictions apparently far removed or safely buried rise to the surface again: the conflict between capital and labour, the polarization of wealth and poverty, the wretchedness of daily life and the uncertainty of survival, inter-imperialist contrasts, the destruction of the environment and the absolute inability by capital to remedy the ills it has caused… The system is becoming more and more unstable, more and more destructive and self-destructive.   Recent and ongoing events along the southern shores of the Mediterranean and the Arabian peninsula are the clearest demonstration of the instability caused by the deep crisis in the capitalist mode of production, as, indeed, are the growing tensions and centrifugal impulses that we have been witnessing for some time within what was to have been “Fortress Europe”, the supposed third power standing between the United States and the Far East.

The nuclear tragedy in Japan, moreover, is something more than a chance accident, clearly revealing – twenty-five years after the similar accident in Chernobyl – the devastating character of a mode of production that has, from the very beginning, upset everything and, in particular, the relationship between the human species and the earth’s crust: a character that has been made even more devastating by its imperialist phase, which has raised the destructive potential of capitalism to its maximum power.

The ruling bourgeois class is not blind to all this: it is well aware of what is happening, though powerless to control or manage it and destined to perish together with the tottering edifice it has constructed.  It knows this from historical experience and class memory and thus also knows how to react: it does so through its parties, its combative military organizations (police forces, armies, legal and illegal structures), its means of mass communication, its obedient servants in the fields of politics and trade unionism (the so-called “opposition”, the so-called “defenders of the workers”), the rhetoric it pours out from thousands of loudspeakers of all types (rights, democracy, the Constitution, non-violence, social peace, etc.).

The main ingredient in all this is the appeal to the Nation, which lately has become more and more insistent and widespread. In all countries, it is the reappearance of these contradictions that encourages capital, its State and its ruling class to tread harder on the accelerator of nationalism every day.  We saw this a few years ago in France, it is constantly to be seen in Great Britain and the United States, it can be seen in Germany and Russia, it can be seen in “Italietta”, celebrating 150 years of national unity under the banner of a patriotic collective embrace, with the corresponding waving of red, white and green flags.  Nationalism – destined to grow daily in boorishness and vulgarity – is the card that the ruling class has to play against the thousand and one dangers looming on the horizon. And it translates into thousands of different languages and can wear hundreds of different masks: the obtuse pride in the past, the removal of all the profound class fractures and the bloody reality that this has meant, the construction of some little lay or religious image to believe in firmly and prostrate oneself in front of… But it is also looking to the future: making “our” country stronger and more competitive, pulling “our” economy out of the quagmire of the crisis, defending “our” beaches and “our” borders from invasion by barbarians, safeguarding “our” language and culture, “our” living space… Things already heard and practised in the years leading up to the world wars.

Because this is exactly what nationalism prepares for: the tightening of ranks, when objective circumstances are in place and the demand for it is loudly voiced in the name of “saving the threatened fatherland”, to move on at the opportune moment to a war effort: with no internal resistance, no spanners in the workings of the war machine, at any level – in the field of production, discipline in the factories, social and military mobilization, law and order and “culture”, and so on.At the right moment, national capital will be in need of an army to defend itself against other national capitals (and at the same time to assault them), engaged in the same effort – and an “army” means closed ranks, being reliable, disciplined, efficient at all levels, on the warfront as in the back lines, in the war fought with weapons as in the war of words, deeds, ideas and passions.

At the same time, this progressive intensification in national, patriotic and chauvinist rhetoric is accompanied by a strategy (also the fruit of historical experience) of incessant segmentation, the obsessive creation of barriers, borders, separate territories within which individuals, groups, social layers and classes are caged.  A gigantic national Lager is created, consisting of separate compounds, divided off by mutual mistrust and intolerance, built upon hate and competition.The Nation, incensed and exalted as a single entity, then becomes a container for “identification and expulsion centres”, both real and metaphorical ones: exactly like the “best of all possible worlds”, the world of progress and freedom is increasingly turning out to be a universe of islands on a collision route, glowering at one other and doing each other down as soon as they can, while at the same time, within every nation, the segmentation increases, isolating and fragmenting, distancing and separating.  In fact, this is the only way that the pot can be brought to the melting point necessary for the war effort.  Divisions are made today, so that fusion is easier tomorrow.  The two strategies are not opposites: they converge dialectically – towards sacred national unity by taking the precaution of previously fragmenting each component of it. Read more ...

Against the “holy alliance” of the imperialist bourgeoisie and its train of pacifists and partisans: class defeatism

As communists and internationalists, we know, through memory and the science of history, that, in the age of imperialism, any mission, whatever mask it may wear, is a war mission.  The attack on the latest puppet in the imperialist chain, Colonel Gheddafi, is no exception.

Imperialism does, in fact, mean more international competition, more aggressive trade wars, export of capitals that inevitably enter into conflict with one another, control over the sources of raw materials and their transport routes and thus the attempt to exclude competitors, right up to the uncontrolled explosion of conflicts that start out as local and then, in perspective and where favourable material conditions exist, become worldwide.

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Il Programma Comunista

Kommunistisches Programm

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