Wednesday, 20 October 2021

WHAT DISTINGUISHES OUR PARTY: The political continuity which goes from Marx to Lenin, to the foundation of the Communist Party of Italy (Livorno, 1921); the struggle of the Communist Left against the degeneration of the Communist International, against the theory of „socialism in one country“, against the Stalinist counter-revolution; the rejection of the Popular Fronts and the Resistance Blocs; the difficult task of restoring the revolutionary doctrine and organization in close interrelationship with the working class, against all personal and electoral politics.

“United Europe”? Myths and realities

The Illusion of Power Behind the Myth of a United Europe

The enlargement of the European Union to include 25 member states in May 2004, and the signing of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe in October 2004, led to no end of analysis and comment concerning the exceptional nature of the event and the apparent strengthening of the “new” European power. After the monetary union of twelve of these countries and the subsequent creation of the Euro zone did not the event mark, after all, the end of the line for European nation-states as they slowly but very surely sacrificed their sovereignty on the supranational community altar of the European Union? In this regard it comes as some surprise to see how close the official positions of the established bourgeois chancery-sponsored news-making machine are to those of certain self-proclaimed communist or internationalist groups and organizations. Ever since the birth of the euro, the latter have never missed a chance to disorient still further the proletariat with pompous dissertations whose deceitful starting point is none other than the “end” of the nation-state. So (the argument runs), the “new facts” proved that Lenin and the Left’s classic analysis concerning the impossibility of a pacific creation of a United States of Europe, and the reactionary nature of these states in a capitalist context, could no longer hold water. 
Marxism has always defined the bourgeois state as an “essentially capitalistic machine” bent on maintaining the current means of production (complete with its oppression of the exploited class) through its monopolistic hold on organized state power. The existence of the national State, wielding centralized political power in whatever size or shape, be it democratic or dictatorial, and characterized by a common system of law within determined borders, is the norm in a capitalistic mode of production. And, under capitalism, state rivalry is irrepressible in the same way as the rivalry (and the existence) of companies is in business: both are expressions of a society divided into classes and based upon the private appropriation of the social product and monetary and commercial exchange. A society of this kind is anarchic (insofar as it cannot guarantee a plan for the development of the species because it is founded upon autonomous, individual and competitive production decisions aimed at the extraction and appropriation of greater shares of surplus value strictly bound up with the private ownership of the conditions and means of production) and contradictory (insofar as it inevitably brings with it an imbalance between production and consumption, between classes and also between states; this imbalance can only be remedied by means of crises and wars, at an increasingly destructive cost in terms of resources and human lives). 
The kind of alliances and agreements established between states – like those within single states – necessarily come across as transitory (and by no means irreversible) configurations that the political superstructure of rule exercised by the dominating class attributes to itself, in accordance with its own contingent objectives at home and on the world market, and depending also on the internal and external conditions relating to the struggle between classes and states, or rather, on the existing equilibrium between classes and states. State sovereignty is a question first and foremost of political and military strength (political autonomy at home and abroad); after that it is a question of economic autonomy (sovereignty of a monetary nature, and involving fiscal and budgetary policies). Historically speaking, only with the cessation of political autonomy does the nation-state cease to exist, and we shall in fact demonstrate that neither the introduction of the euro nor the possible ratification of the European constitution can alter such a fundamental characteristic of capitalism. Neither is little more than an instrument employed by diverse bourgeois classes within European states during this phase (which may last decades) to counteract what rival powers have imposed on the world markets, each with a view to defending their own national interests. 
During the imperialist era of capital, monopoly supplanted the system of competition from which it took its origins, and competition was transformed into an increasingly ruthless and intense struggle for the division of worldwide spoils. Even the “bulk” of a State (its demography, its domestic market and its capacity to manage and channel financial flows) and the search for a “continental tonnage” more in line with the latest competition worldwide thus became important factors in this struggle. Failing to recognize this means understanding nothing of the dynamics governing capitalist growth and running the risk of getting bogged down in the mire of the most baleful bourgeois demagogy (be it that of the glossy middle class magazines or that of the woolly analytical contortions of would-be revolutionary journals, it matters little). By confounding the appearance and outer layer of phenomena with the reality and essence of capitalism and its trends, one necessarily drifts in the direction of the bourgeoisie and away from the historical interests of the proletariat. The invariance of Marxism accompanies that of opportunism, and it is for this reason that the rigorous struggle against the latter must be invariant and incessant (especially in terms of the  “revaluations” of Marxism), whatever the strengths of the Party are in this long and corruption-ridden phase of counter-revolution and stagnant class struggle. We have always maintained, and shall continue to maintain, in accordance with the entire unexpurgated Marxist doctrine on the State and on imperialist wars (difficult concepts to understand, and equally difficult to digest because of the rough and ready lucubrations of left wing opportunists), that it is impossible to achieve the centralized political unification of European countries by means of the euro. We also hold (and the facts never cease to bear us out) that it is illusory to imagine the linear action of presumed long term trends which, by bringing about the creation of a unified European economic-political pole in the shape of a continental state, and starting with the creation of the single currency, will lead instead to an imperialist battle (and mutually opposing war fronts) between the European Union bloc and that of the United States. In other words, the birth of the euro (and its preservation) does not imply a corresponding birth of a united political subject, the EU, destined to complete on a political level what is instead destined to remain an economic and financial alliance.
Neither should it be forgotten that the number of countries abiding by the Maastricht Treaty and the euro, and those belonging to the political European Union, does not coincide. This may well be of significance in terms of the mysterious process of integration, a process which seems destined to remain piecemeal and, therefore, out of keeping with the myths and illusions of Europe the “Great Power” cherished by the petite bourgeoisie (more than by the big money) and opportunists. The nationalism of the European bourgeoisies will never be cancelled out by the creation of a new supranational body which, according to those who sing its graces and various “European” social-chauvinists, represents the latest big new thing in the development of contemporary capitalism. War fronts will emerge among states united ad hoc according to the specific requirements of national capitalism. This will occur as soon as the crisis enters its critical phase and war is understood to be the only necessary and possible prolongation on a political level for the safeguarding of capitalism. The process of European “integration” began in the aftermath of the Second World War, starting off with the coal and steel sectors and culminating in the Common Market and the European Economic Community. The post-war process of accumulation in major European countries like France, Germany and Italy certainly received a boost as a result of this integration, but the process never went beyond the “confederative” stage. If, on the one hand, this meant certain countries were given an incentive to intervene more decisively and autonomously in world markets (in accordance with their own national interests), on the other it brought about a web of contradictions deriving from the absence of an integrated political front (up until the Nice Treaty decisions were taken on a unanimous basis) and an increase in these contradictions inherent in all processes of enlargement. This was especially true after the admission of Great Britain, which regarded – and shall continue to do so – Europe as being synonymous with a continental market. Measures to control currency fluctuations – right up to the proposal for monetary union – were then taken with a view to exercising greater and more direct control over internal demand; and, following the expansion of the financial markets, efforts were made to have a greater and more direct say in the way financial flows – which decreed the whys and wherefores of the new race to divide up the planet and all its resources – were governed.
The driving force behind these processes had always been the needs of French and German capital. These needs were by no means univocal: German priorities were expansion in the east and the recovery of a legitimate international policy, while the French went about maintaining their agricultural production and African colonies at a reduced cost, and sought to re-establish something of the “grandeur” which had been lost in the wake of wartime defeats. However, these needs came together in a post-war world dominated by the supremacy of American finance and production and, later, in reply to the international crisis of the mid-seventies and the new Asian competitiveness on world markets. The Maastricht Treaty and the introduction of the euro effectively made for a Franco-German alliance in anti-American terms, and the times and conditions governing the introduction of monetary union were dictated by the requirements of commercial and financial rivalry, especially as regards the creation of a single capital market and the development of direct foreign investment. Yet this too was a contradictory process: in exchange for French backing for reunification, Germany (whose GDP made it the real powerhouse of Europe, as well as the third most powerful economic power worldwide and the second in terms of its trade) was forced to give up the mark, thus depriving itself of full sovereignty in monetary policy (even if the new European Central Bank models itself on the Bundesbank and shares its aims) and weakening its own industrial and commercial power as a result of “community” requirements which must necessarily take into consideration other members and the conditions they impose.
The policy of “enlargement” – usually preceded by massive investment of capital and the delocalization of non-strategic segments of manufacturing – has allowed for territorial expansion towards the east, albeit in the absence of a precise strategy in new European geopolitics as far as the fixing of eastern borders is concerned. What is more, by advancing the process of “integration” in the east (a familiar German objective involving the consolidation of the central-European industrial ring around Germany, and subordinating the interests of the south, the Mediterranean and Africa to this priority) a clear signal is being sent out as to where the real power lies within the European Union. It is the guiding principle of expanding German capital which emerges triumphant from this process, and it comes as no surprise that America is seeking to thwart such a principle by admitting ex-Soviet bloc countries into NATO and through the creation of new ad hoc alliances under its personal supervision (like GUUAM, which includes Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldavia), all in an effort to strengthen its own position in Eurasia. 
Other contradictory aspects of this process of enlargement (at present the EU counts 25 members, but, controversially, it is shortly due to include Turkey, and Ukraine has made a request for entry which is certain to ignite relations with Russia) are the continuing lack of certainty which characterizes EU politics, and the two tier level which has resulted from countries belonging to the ‘Euro Zone’ and those which are excluded. The case of Turkey is especially significant here: firstly,  in terms of American political interference (Turkish membership would mean that her allies within the EU would be further strengthened and would gain more direct control over the all-important Caspian-Caucasian-Middle Eastern area, an area close to the heart of stars and stripes imperialism); secondly, because any ambitions cherished by EU members in relation to foreign policy and security (the much acclaimed ESDP) would be nipped in the bud, hostage to American vetoes and, at most, employable in operations subject to American and Nato decisions and authorisation. That this is, indeed, true is evident from the fact that those in charge of the European ESDP (ex-ESCP) are always ex-Secretaries of NATO: despite the creation of a readily mobile Rapid Reaction Force, a single European army and a united military policy remains very much a pipe dream, a victim of Anglo-German tensions. What is more, the famous “separable but not separate capacities” contained in NATO doctrine, a phrase referring to the deployment of European armed forces, is an encoding of how the European confederate order confirms its subordinate status to the USA and hence its limited autonomy.
Further proof of this subordination came with the so-called “colour revolutions” in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan (and also with the current policy towards Belarus), where the real need for a European foreign policy (geared towards creating a closer relationship with a Russia whose position has not been overly weakened) had to give way to the American insistence on the export of democracy, thus favouring a further extension of Yankee imperialism in Central Asia. Although it may seem paradoxical, the more the European Union opens its doors to new members, the more the power of its community policy is watered down, and this can only lead to a recoil back to the beginning: the interests of each country’s capitalism and its alliances according to its own imperialistic requirements. For this reason our Party has always asserted that European unification in the imperialist era could only come about under the iron heel of German political militarism and, therefore, always in war, never in peace, and always against the interests of the European and world proletariat.
One of the characteristics of the imperialist phase of capitalism is the increasingly fierce struggle, at all levels, between states bent on securing better positions for themselves in the carve up of the world and the allocation of surplus value extorted from the planet by world capital. The idea that this struggle required the formation of “blocs” or alliances in certain phases is by no means new, for the process of capital concentration is reflected – at a political level – in the need for greater demographic, economic and military weight than in the past, in conformity with the conditions which the struggle imposes. The creation of such alliances is nothing new in the power politics of  imperialist plunderers, and the reasoning behind this process – as well as the more or less violent breaking-up of alliances – is always to be sought in the relations of capitalist production. And, as politics in China and Japan have demonstrated (witness their attempts to create a common financial and commercial area in Pacific Asia – also including South Korea – through ASEAN, or the Association of Southeast Asian Countries), such alliances among states are certainly not the exclusive right of America and continental Europe. It would, however, be a mistake to consider these alliances (or blocs, or poles of attraction) as irreversible elements in contemporary inter-imperialistic conflict. This would only seem to confirm the existence of a confrontational trend between what might be termed “European capital” and “American capital” behind the very real battle between the euro and the dollar: a hypothesis of this kind necessarily leads to an over-simplification of reality, and reduces the entire development of historical processes to a mechanistic cause-effect relation and to what Engels (tongue firmly in cheek) abruptly called the reduction of history to a first degree linear equation. The creation of an economic bloc or an alliance is an effect of the growing socialization of production and the intensification of competition in the world market: in this way, bourgeois states seek to safeguard those interests of theirs which are threatened by other nations whose influence has grown in the wake of the uneven development of capitalism and the changing shifts in power that necessarily follow. The mistake, serious enough in itself, takes on a more deceptive air (and thus becomes part and parcel of the attempt to disorient and disarm the proletariat) when, in the name of a so called “anti-Americanism”, the virtues of an unreal European unification are praised to the skies as an area of peace and development and as a “moderating” element in an increasingly unstable international order writhing under the lash of eternal crises.
Adopted by the twenty-five member countries on 18th June 2004 and signed on the following 29th October, the new “Constitution” inspired people to speak of an act that officially ratified the “historical” birth of the political Union. In actual fact (as some less accommodating observers hastened to point out), this was not the birth of a Constitution but, rather, the signing of an international treaty (both in terms of the content and the aims of the agreement) between states which retain and maintain their national sovereignty (including the right to stipulate agreements and other international treaties – even of a bilateral nature – outside of the commercial arena). As we emphasized earlier, the existence of the euro as the common currency of certain EU member countries in no way belies this scenario. Indeed, if anything it serves to amplify its contradictory nature: fiscal policy will, for some countries, be the only available instrument of economic policy (since monetary and interest rate policies have been delegated to the Fed), together with that of labour costs (more hard times ahead for the proletariat in the name of competition!); while other countries (like Great Britain) will retain possession of all their powers in terms of economic policy and intervention. The euro was the financial answer on the part of certain European countries to the decline in European industry and commerce in the wake of fierce Asian competition, especially that of China and India.
Obviously, this solution – in an imperialist era, when financial capital prevails – was based upon the more representative grounds of American monopolistic rent: the role of reserve currency (still 70% for the dollar as opposed to 13% for the euro) and international currency of exchange which, up until now, had served to protect the United States (in addition to its significant military machine) from those selfsame pressures. The truth of the matter will soon out when the costs of the adjustments that the crisis will impose on diverse European bourgeoisies have to be quantified (and shared out). Take the case of Italy, for example: the heartsick pleas for revival of “Made in Italy” industry on the part of the selfsame President of the Republic (who never fails to remind Italians that they should “feel European”); the bungles of the agricultural sector (where production surpluses combine with price support policies to demonstrate, at one and the same time, the degree of sheer waste which capitalism in its mature years involves, and the extent of the catastrophe for those European countries forced to find somewhere to place these surpluses to safeguard their profitability); and the cries to defend the “national” banks (and, therefore, the national industries, given that mixed bank and bank-company cross shareholding models have emerged anew all over Europe) from takeover bids on the part of financial groups in Spain and Holland, of countries in the EU that is …
Precisely the banking and insurance sector (when, typically, financial capital calls the shots) exposes the weaknesses and wishful thinking which lie behind projects of unification: despite the directives and recommendations of the Brussels bureaucracy, this sector has witnessed virtually no mergers between institutions and companies from different countries. The reason for this may be attributed mainly to the firm opposition of the central banks within each country. Given what is at stake, this comes as no surprise, and the exception represented by British banks (with their predilection for foreign – especially American – capital) is hardly representative: partly as a result of sterling’s survival, it is precisely Great Britain that is challenging Germany to become the main financial marketplace in Europe (complete with all the profits to be had from a monopoly on currency and share transactions). The heart of this hefty and highly articulated “Treaty” which goes under the name of “European Constitution” is its Third Part, which concerns “The Policies and Functioning of the Union”. Here we find what the present day European alliance is really all about: firstly, it is a union preoccupied with supporting the process of accumulation and concentration of capital during a period when overproduction and the drop in profit margins have led to ever fiercer competition in all walks of life. Above all, however, it is a clear legal framework whose aim is to establish the conditions for new and ever more serious attacks on the proletariat and society in terms of pensions, wages, security and labour conditions: the existence of European “populaces” will be sacrificed on the altar of the market, freedom of settlement and the free circulation of capital and goods, all rounded off with sermons on “common destinies”, “permanent peace” and “economic development”.
In these propagandistic campaigns, the official left and the right are perfectly in agreement and express identical positions – like all the good little puppets of capitalist impersonal action. Just as clear is the swindle (with a view to supporting election campaigns for ratification on the part of those countries backing the Treaty, and which have to express their wishes after a referendum) perpetrated by means of the “official information” contained in booklets distributed by the hundreds of thousands: the imaginary “rights” of “European citizens” and the astonishing virtues of integration are all nattered on about at length while (no coincidence, this) Part III is almost completely ignored. Still, that’s only the part containing more than 70% of the Treaty’s articles (322 out of 448). Democratic information indeed!

At the time of the creation of the European Common Market, and in direct reference to the anti-proletarian sirens of the “myth of a United Europe”, we held that “Europe, a jungle of nationalisms and a battlefield for world wars, expects to bury its past and pacifically build up a vast economic unit able to compensate for the loss of imperial colonies and to reach – if not supersede – the great powers.” 1 At that particular moment in history, this necessity to rebuild an industrial system (outside of rival American influence) which would re-launch the imperialist ambitions of the European bourgeoisie was primarily an expression of the needs of French and German capital, clinging firmly to the alliance with the petite bourgeoisie of the services industry and agriculture and the aristocracy of the working class and white collar workers. “Theoretically,” as we wrote in the aforementioned article, “the building of a United Europe is based upon the assumption that production can be regulated by monetary means. But the mere uttering of such an assumption is enough to understand its flimsiness: how can a superior unit of production (Europe) be created through the construction of a market only?” The question has hardly lost any of its eloquence over time: the selfsame characteristics of capitalistic production relations have, in fact, determined the tendency towards the socialization of the means of production, thus requiring the bourgeois classes to reply (in the absence of the historical solution consisting of the proletarian revolution which bases itself on that tendency) to this contradiction with the national base of accumulation, by means of inter-state cartels, currency and free exchange areas and commercial unions. And this (disregarding all the rhetoric and the diverse abbreviations – including the latest one with its more openly “political” character) is precisely the pit into which capitalist Europe has fallen. And it will never be able to crawl out again. According to Marxism, the bourgeoisie can never free itself of its national base, even if the conditions and dynamics of capitalist development are destined to become increasingly international and the creation of the world market was the last “mission” of capitalism (by no means a recent phenomenon, no matter what the advocates of globalization say). The disunited Europe will, in reality, be a product of inter-imperialistic contradictions, of the powerful and impersonal forces expressed by the objective nature of capitalism which, at a certain level of systemic contradictions will impose anew “national” solutions (and alliances subordinated to “national interests”) to ensure that the carving up of the world market, areas of influence and the surplus value extorted from the world’s working classes, will be to its own advantage. The rhythms and duration of the economic crisis will determine the character of this evolution and, more importantly (in accordance with the changing power relations among states as well as the equilibrium among the classes) its mutation into imperialist warfare. For capitalism the latter is the final extreme act of its parasitical conservation and its political and military defence against a superior mode of production and the international class which represents it, besides being a way of “regulating” the carve up and establishing new relations between states.
Indeed, the worsening of the crisis further intensifies nationalism and antagonises the bourgeois classes because it continually gives rise, on an ever wider scale, to all the contradictions inherent in the valorisation of capital which many had believed had been overcome following the creation of the commercial bloc or the currency area. Only when nation states have been defeated by means of the proletarian revolution and the establishment of the proletarian dictatorship, which will lead to the disappearance of a class divided society and result in a superior form of economic organization, will we finally be able to speak of genuine European unity. But this will be part of a worldwide process, so the idea of “Europe” as such will be nothing more than a geographical expression.

EU Contradictions Put Union Under Pressure

The outcome of recently held referendums in France and Holland concerning the treaty establishing a so called Constitution for Europe has inevitably led to a series of chain reactions. Any wishful thinking unification-wise has been put very firmly on the ropes and Community bodies have been forced to put the skids on the process already underway. And the procrastination of the British government over the whys and wherefores of its possible adhesion to the Treaty itself has been readily imitated by other member States intent upon suspending their own planned referendums.
In the last years we have frequently emphasized the point that, notwithstanding the establishment of the euro, the process of supranational European unification is destined to be a pipe dream. How could it be otherwise in a capitalistic world whose production processes are ultimately bound up with the accumulation of capital, and where the battle among rival companies and States to secure a healthy slice of  world production (and a position whereby they may have a greater say in what happens to that production) is waged without limits? Capitalism fosters crises and wars as regulatory elements of an unequal process of development. Since this brings about changes in the balance of power between states, alliances (among states, as among rival companies) become all-important. These alliances are always based upon the privatistic economic and social relationships of capitalism and cannot be anything but transitory in nature. The surmounting of national limits (which is also an unavoidable consequence of world market development) cannot be legitimized by forms of political expression which are the product of a class society. Any attempt to do so cannot be understood in terms of “peace” (the surmounting of national egoisms, the union of peoples and similar baloney) but, rather, as another instrument of “war” and the representation, on a political level, of the process of centralization and concentration which goes hand in hand with the accumulation of capital. The European Union cannot escape from this dynamic, and any vain attempt to transform what is, to all intents and purposes, an inter-state alliance (run by inter-governmental committees) into political union is doomed to fail under the burden of systemic contradictions which – as history will confirm – refuse to acknowledge voluntarist answers.
The failure of the June 2005 European summit over the question of the 2007-2013 budget confirmed for the umpteenth time the existence of resistant latent nationalisms in the bosom of the present-day EU, now 25 members strong. The community budget, of which 75% is destined for agriculture and so-called structural funds (i.e., funds aimed at shoring up the less wealthy economies of certain regions within the EU), failed to gain approval as a result of eternal squabbling among EU member states over who should give and who should receive. Germany, France and Great Britain were particularly inflexible, digging their heels in when it came to discussing budget contributions and the destination of the funds. If the truth were told, behind the oh-so-careful weighing of each single word on the part of these three states lie contradictory visions as to what Europe should actually be, and these contradictions have inevitably become more acute with the process of enlargement in the east. Add to this unwelcome brew a robust economic crisis and it is easy to see why it has become increasingly hard (not to mention expensive, as far as the defence of national interests is concerned) for title contenders to get on. The oft-quoted day of reckoning is nigh: during the war against Iraq the various sides (for and against American unilateral policy) had already demonstrated how Germany – despite years of heavy foreign investment in ex-Soviet satellite countries – was unable to maintain even political sway over Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Rumania. In the meantime, Great Britain managed to find allies (Spain and Italy this time round) to support its own pro-American position, neatly acting as a bridgehead for Yankee imperialism at the centre of the European Union – also for purely self-interested national reasons which include the monetary and financial autonomy of Sterling. The absence of an autonomous arms industry and army has proven to be the final nail in the coffin of a common foreign policy: the lack of the latter is an objective fact which corresponds to the impossibility of establishing a united policy which is something more than mere mediation or co-ordination. For Germany – effectively the major EU contributor and its minor beneficiary – this was a point of no return, and it won’t be long before the current equilibrium within the EU is undermined (irrespective of all the politely phrased declarations and official reshufflings). Germany’s efforts to pursue an extension of its own power politics by counting on community representation (and on the fact that such representation afforded a safe guarantee that there would be no rebirth of the “German monster” after reunification and the collapse of Soviet imperialism) have now come to a close. In the last decade of the twentieth century, the German economy averaged a 1.7% annual growth rate (less than the rest of the EU and only half that of the USA), losing positions especially in the fields of high-tech and industry. Over very recent years, the growth rate has dropped to an average of 0.5-0.7%, contrasting with an EU average of 1.5%. The unemployment rate has risen dramatically too, panning out at about 10% of the active workforce today, and the German percentage of world trade has plunged from 11-12% to 8-9%. The introduction of the euro may initially have been conceived of as representing a re-dimensioning of the area of the Deutschmark, with countries adhering to monetary union being required to pay for the costs of budget adjustments by means of higher interest rates and the loss of exchange mechanism procedures geared to attaining more competitive prices on the international market. Today, however, Germany is the very power which finds itself prisoner of the parameters and limits imposed on national accounts by Community policy. Ironically perhaps, this has been brought about in concomitance with Germany’s efforts to restructure its armed forces (a policy initiated in 1994 following the Karlsruhe constitutional court sentence which allowed the Bundeswehr to operate outside of its area, and speeded up with interventions in Kosovo in 1999 and the Horn of Africa in 2002), an increasingly expensive process undertaken to satisfy the German bourgeoisie’s desire to establish anew that freedom of political action geared to defending national interests.
The proletariat – buttered up and weakened by its official trade unions – has paid a very steep price for the privilege of supping at the table of “European unification”. The euro – above all the policies which established its central character and the timing of its final introduction, especially the Maastricht Treaty – has so far turned out to be the means by which the European bourgeoisie has been able to launch its almost unhoped-for – and unchallenged – attack on the material conditions of European workers. In the name of flexibility, workers now find themselves in an extremely precarious situation: the workplace has become more despotic and the workload heavier, but there is always unemployment or other forms of sub-employment as an alternative. Health and pensions are continually under attack. All this has worsened considerably the conditions of the proletariat (not to mention white collar workers), and insecurity about employment and the future in general (especially for entire generations of younger workers) has become the general norm in the European “labour market”.  Sycophantic newspapers sympathetic to the regime allude to this norm as an icon of modernity, then cry crocodile tears following reports of a collapse in consumer purchases. Everything points strongly in the direction of Marx’s theory of “growing poverty” which hoards of opportunists and hacks of the adverse class have sought hopelessly to measure by means of high or low salary levels.
Official unemployment figures for the entire Union have grown from 7.4% to 8.1% in the period 2001-2004, reaching high points in Germany (see above) and, especially, in recently admitted eastern European states. The mass salary percentage as a proportion of total product (as far as such statistics have any meaning) has dropped from 70% prior to the Single European Act in Maastricht to little less than 68% today, the lowest point since the 1960s. A somewhat trite answer to the question: “Who is Europe for?” The dynamics behind the establishment of a European economic bloc (successful insofar as it has maintained the competitiveness of European capital) and a political bloc (unsuccessful due to the irrepressible antagonism of rival capital) have been characterized by the need for European capital to become more instrumental and of greater importance on the competitive world imperialist stage. Inevitably, then, these dynamics could never have been anything but reactionary when it came to the historical interests of class and the proletariat, European and non. The whole set up is destined to collapse under the impact of particularisms encoded in the DNA of bourgeois classes in each nation and which, under the lash of the crisis, will become accentuated to the point of open opposition in the defence of individual interests in the world market. There can be no about-turn based on the same premises, and the proletariat must resist the siren calls for a “Social Europe”, a “Europe of nations”, a “Legal Europe”, etc. The conciliatory gestures of the bourgeoisie and the calls for sacrifices on behalf of Europe or the nation (and thus on behalf of the national economy and profits) must be spurned. Instead there must be an intransigent defence of material conditions which must ultimately lead to a class reorganization on the economic as well as social field, under the guidance of the Party and Marxist doctrine. This is the only way to achieve a classless and nation-less society.

1. Cf. “Il mito dell’Europa Unita” (The Myth of a United Europe”) in Il programma comunista, nos. 11 and 12/1962 [back]

International Communist Party

(International Papers - Cahiers Internationalistes - Il Programma Comunista)


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