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 blazing banlieues in Paris loudly proclaim the need for the revolutionary party

What we wrote in 1977 about the riots that broke out one summer’s night in New York following a power cut (and this is taken up again in this same issue of Internationalist Papers, in the article regarding the New Orleans disaster) applies perfectly to what happened between the end of October and beginning of November in the Parisian banlieues. Whole communities in the proletarian outskirts poured onto the streets to protest against the umpteenth episodes of police brutality, evening after evening cars were set fire to and the most visible symbols of class oppression and social inequality were attacked – from police stations to banks. Recently the social thermometer has not ceased to rise, in a France which, at the end of September, had already experienced the fierce fight of the seamen and dockers in Bastia and Marseilles, too hurriedly hemmed in (on several sides) within the confines, perfectly acceptable to capital, of a “nationalist protest”. Now the anger of the young suburban proletariat – exploited, confined in ghettoes, in the stranglehold of an economy experiencing an ever-deepening crisis, persecuted by a police force that is well known for its unrelenting harshness and obtuse cynicism – has exploded suddenly and definitively: giving further proof of the ever-increasing ill-being that capitalist society harbours within itself, the violence that it exudes from every pore, its total and organic inability to solve any one of the problems that it itself provokes. It is a whole mode of production that gives a practical demonstration of its own bankruptcy and that the young proletarians of the squalid and suffocating suburbs have brought to trial, instinctively and directly – with anger and rebellion.

But – we wrote then and repeat today – it is not enough to state this, nor is it sufficient to feel oneself instinctively on the side of the exploited rebels. What is needed is the lucidity to add something more. In other words, to say that these outbreaks – of extreme importance as signs of the fever growing within capitalist society and the limits beyond which “endurance” cannot go – explode and will increasingly continue to explode but, left to their own resources, are destined to pass without a trace (except, unfortunately, that of more dead proletarians), to recede into frustration or – worse still – to be channelled into the cul de sac of anarchist rebellionism as an end in itself or into ethnic or religious fundamentalism, both of which deny any revolutionary class prospects.

This is why communists must forcefully affirm that the rebels of the banlieues are proletarians, contrary to all the manoeuvres going on to present them simply as “immigrants” or as belonging to one or the other ethnic, national or religious group.  But they should also confirm that these proletarians do not automatically become the “avant-garde of their class” just because they rebel against social and police oppression. In all this the revolutionary party is lacking – and this is the most dramatic lack of all:  in other words of the only organ or tool capable, after a long period of work in contact with the working class and thus recognised by them as being a true and reliable guide, of taking up the impulse from below, gathering the anger and energy bursting from the depths of a foul and rotten society and directing it at the real bastion of capitalist power – the State – in order to take possession of it and overthrow it, in order to build its own dictatorship on the ruins as a bridge towards a definitively class-free society.  In the presence of class struggles, which will become more and more widespread, and increasingly acute and violent clashes with all the forces that wish to keep them in check, the revolutionary Party is the only link in the chain that can weld together the proletarian movement and the spontaneous response that the latter can advance both in the economic and in the social fields, into a political class struggle, directed towards uprising and the seizing of power.  This is the only way which, under ripe objective and subjective conditions (including – we must not forget, to the shame of all volunteer efforts – the inability of the bourgeois class to deal with the social crisis) will make it possible for the proletariat to find a way out of the dead ends and ghettoes in which they spend their daily life, even when rebelling with virulence.

The banlieues in flames, today in Paris and tomorrow in some other place, must constitute the umpteenth exhortation to communists to devote the best of their efforts and passion, courage and determination to strengthening, extending, establishing the world revolutionary Party, the only possible guide for allowing the proletariat to draw all the lessons from the flames of today’s isolated struggles, so that they will be able in the future to channel them victoriously into the battle for a new, classless society.

International Communist Party

(International Papers - Cahiers Internationalistes - Il Programma Comunista)


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