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.

The attacks that cause bloodshed throughout the world are the rotten and poisonous fruit of capitalism in its imperialist phase

This summer’s attacks in London and Sharm el Sheikh (and those that are likely to follow, as the loudspeakers of the middle classes never cease to predict in a sensationalist and equally interested manner) lead us to make some necessary reflections.
The evident increase in the barbarism of every aspect of communal living, which we have been witnessing for some time, is directly related to the putrefaction typical of the imperialist age.  The agony of the capitalist mode of production expresses its destructive tendencies to the utmost:  far from yielding gently in a general downward curve, instead it rears up in a succession of peaks of aggression and destruction on a military, political and, most of all, social plane, in the same way as the development of its production forces rears abruptly, with increasingly severe and profound tugs and crises, preparing the culmination that will only be defeated by war or revolution.
As Lenin wrote in Imperialism (1916):  “Monopolies, oligarchies, the tendency towards domination instead of freedom, the exploitation of a growing number of small, weak nations by an increasing number of richer and more powerful nations:  these are the characteristics of imperialism, which create a parasitical and decaying capitalism.  The tendency of imperialism to form the rentier State, the loan sharks whose bourgeoisie makes a living by exporting capital and ‘detaching coupons’ becomes increasingly clear.  It would be a mistake to think that this tendency towards decay excludes the rapid increase of capitalism: on the contrary.  In the age of imperialism the individual branches of industry, the individual strata of the bourgeoisie, the individual countries reflect one or the other of these tendencies to a greater or lesser extent.  In overall terms capitalism grows far more rapidly than before, except that this growth not only becomes generally more unequal but the inequality manifests itself especially in the decay of the stronger capitalist countries […]”1
 .  All the destructive elements in capitalism, as a society divided into classes and founded on the “war of all against all”, are thus enhanced, multiplied and exasperated until – unless the proletarian revolution interrupts this infernal progress - they end up in the supreme battle, a new imperialist war:  as has already happened twice during the course of the previous century (without counting the hundreds of “minor wars” that accompanied the two world wars, preparing them and following in their wake, thus preparing new ones).  Onto this very scenario come the series of attacks and massacres of the last few years, the most recent of which were, in fact, the bombs in London and Sharm el Sheikh.
As communists, used to interpreting reality scientifically without getting lost in pipe dreams, we guard against any crass “conspiracy theory”.  We are not concerned with trying to discover the mind behind the action, if Al Qaeda really does exist and is not, instead, an invention of the secret services, or which of them in particular it is:  these are all questions to which there will never be answers and which, in fact, are of relative interest to us, since – for the reasons outlined above – we consider imperialist putrefaction as the breeding ground for similar acts, within an irresistible tendency of the capitalist production mode towards the interimperialist clash, the impact between  opposing bourgeois interests, at times within the same national bourgeoisies.  Our considerations are different and regard the openly anti-proletarian nature of these acts, from whatever side they come or are inspired.
In the first place, they inevitably produce panic and disorientation, a sense of vulnerability and impotence, diffidence and division – and this is what the ruling class in all countries (united, in this case, however much they may be divided on other planes) desires more than anything else at a time when the economic crisis is worsening worldwide and social peace risks being compromised in the, perhaps, not too distant future.  The suffocating burden of counter revolution, which has been weighing on the proletariat for eight decades now, and preventing it from rediscovering its class response, is now joined by a further disorienting and paralysing element, which also causes splits at the heart of the world proletariat, setting national segments and “ethnic groups” against one another.  In the second place, these acts offer the ruling class the opportunity to make their structures of rulership and control more severe and to strengthen, centralise and improve their repressive apparatus, to drill their military and police “in the field”, to make the presence of the state felt more and more strongly as the cudgel of the class in power and to induce in “public opinion” a sort of generalised consensus for it, even in its most cynical and brutal aspects (let us consider, in particular, the case of America and the Patriot Act, the recent plan to use the army for internal policing, and the case of England).  The democrats and reformists raise their voices to lament the “increasing erosion of democracy”:  we know, and declare, that this is an irreversible trend of the bourgeois state, certainly not set in motion yesterday but inherited entirely from Fascism – in the “triumph of those directives that went under the name of fascismo and which, according to the real dialectics of history, the defeated left as a heritage to the victors,” as we wrote towards the end of 1945, when the wretched post-war period prepared by the Second World War began (emblematically inaugurated – it is as well to remember – by Hiroshima and Nagasaki) – a war whose blood and mud still clings to us and which, in turn, is preparing a new world slaughter2
In the third place, what is always “blown up” to be a “clash of civilisations” (and is really already an underground war between bourgeoisies, complete with disloyal moves and mutual warning signs) is of excellent use as an outlet for situations of extreme social tension, which, even in the advanced West, are capable of setting off uncontrollable explosions, joining with a return of working-class struggles under the influence of the crisis.  In the days following the London attacks, it emerged that unemployment in Leeds’ Islamic community (where the “material perpetrators” of the attack seem to have come from) stands at over 20%:  a stack of dynamite, which is only prevented from exploding by deviating the anger and desperation from the historically necessary class clash and channelling it, instead, into the blind alley of national, “ethnic” and “religious” conflict.  Whilst pouring out tons of disgusting, tear-jerking rhetoric, the bourgeoisie rejoices at the first, excellent result achieved:  unity amongst the different sectors of the world proletariat (with or without guarantees, “native” and “immigrant”, etc.) is delayed and obstacled and the elements of division and opposition are aggravated.  In fact, all the rhetoric on the “clash of civilisations” has no other aim than to cause internal splits in the world proletariat, at a time of particular weakness and dispersion:  and all this becomes even more “effective” when the rhetoric (of little importance whether in the words of Bush or…Oriana Fallaci!) alternates with cruel and devastating acts.  What we are experiencing is really a further phase in the anti-imperialist clash which is proceeding towards the outcome of a third world war.  As for any process linked to the very nature of the capitalist mode of production, it is not a gentle, linear process but full of convulsive leaps and bounds, fluid and contradictory:  and therefore increasingly violent and destructive.  It is murky:  the opposing blocks cannot yet be distinguished, because the contradictions have not yet reached the limit, level or “moment” (in a physical sense), that will produce the necessary polarisations in the capitalist universe, around which blocks and alliances can be formed (and by the way, as history and theory teach us, these can never be considered stable and definite).  Therefore it is a process that will prove to take a long time yet and whose “barbaric acts” will be directly related to the progressive imperialist decay on the one hand and to the delay in a return of a combative world proletariat, with the revolutionary party reborn on solid, monolithic theoretical, political and organisational bases rooted in it, on the other.
This is a process that thus requires more attention from revolutionaries, in order to interpret its developments and trends and, from this interpretation and condemnation, to move on and consolidate those initial, meagre responses from the proletariat that will inevitably be sparked off by the worsening crisis.  The points that it will be necessary to insist on are the following:

  • the purely capitalist nature of the process taking place, linked to the contradictions inherent in the capitalist mode of production now in its imperialist phase, particularly at times of acute economic crisis;
  • the ever-approaching, though distant prospect of ending up in a new world war, of which these acts (and all the others that will be counted, for example, in the bloodbath of the middle eastern situation) are merely the harbingers;
  • the dynamics of a clash between bourgeoisies (and even, in some cases, between different sectors of the same national bourgeoisie, as the case of Saudi Arabia, the situation in Iraq and the case of the ex-Soviet area itself demonstrate, amongst other examples), which develops both within the western area and within the emerging bourgeoisies (eastern or middle-eastern), and between all of them, and which aims at participation in the world share-out, securing increasing incomes (it will therefore be necessary to fight all the ideological constructions regarding the “clash of civilisations” and “war on terrorism”, but also those regarding “good and evil types of capitalism”, regarding “Arab anti-imperialist radicalism” and the nature of the “Islamic masses as an avant-garde in the fight against imperialism”, etc.);
  • the anti-proletarian nature of all that is happening and will continue to happen with growing frequency (it will therefore be necessary to combat any chauvinistic, racist or ethnic temptations within the proletariat);
  • the need for the first, timid proletarian responses to emerge against direct and indirect attack from the national and international bourgeoisie and for them to place at the centre of their own immediate prospects the rebirth of organisms to defend their living and working conditions;
  • the need (made all the more evident and dramatically urgent by all this) of consolidating and extending the revolutionary party internationally, since without its guidance (consisting in science and organisation) the world proletariat is destined to succumb to the blows that first prepare the way for the imperialist war and then spark it off.

These are the bare but essential bases on which to rebuild and reorganise a proletarian force capable of resisting the attack by capital, in the perspective (neither immediate nor simple) of guiding it to an assault on bourgeois power, putting an end to a mode of production which, even in daily life, is proving increasingly barbaric and violent.

1. In connection with the “putrefaction of the stronger capitalist countries,” Lenin gives the example of England:  today this position is clearly held by  the United States.

2. From “The Prospects of the Post-war Period in relation to the Party’s Platform”,  published in what was then our theoretical  review, Prometeo, and now in Per l’organica sistemazione dei principi comunisti, Edizioni Il programma comunista, 1973, p.144.  

International Communist Party

(International Papers - Cahiers Internationalistes - Il Programma Comunista)


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