Friday, 26 February 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 Bourgeois State is a Tool of Oppression and Repression

The operation of falsifying and dismantling communist theory, an operation that is part and parcel of the bourgeois counter-revolution in all its guises (democratic, Nazi-fascist, Stalinist) and with all its means (ideological, political, military), over the span of almost a century has resulted in the very sense of the foundations of Marxism being lost, especially amongst the younger generations.  The same concept of class, for instance, has suffered, being in turn denied or replaced with squalid inventions such as – the latest but certainly not the last –“multitudes”; or the concept of party, which particularly in the last few decades, has been watered down into vague fantasies, such as “movement”, “platform”, “fluid organism”, “tendency”, “pact” and so on, with increasing triviality; or even the very concept of communism which, apart from the ignorant and ridiculous delirium about its “end”, has in turn become, in mainstream jargon, a bloodless “redistribution of wealth”, a mystique of “social justice”, vain “degrowth”… and so on.

But the greatest of these falsifications and dismantlings certainly regards the concept of State, from which any historical cognition has been erased:  i.e. of an organism born out of development itself, both economic and social, from human groups succeeding one another over time and closely correlated with the appearance of a society divided into classes.  Thus an organism to which, at some point in historical and social development, is allocated the task of controlling and containing the antagonisms that inevitably issue from this same division, in favour of the class in power and against the classes subjugated to that power.

In what is one of our key texts, Friedrich Engels writes:

“The state is therefore by no means a power imposed on society from without; just as little is it ‘the reality of the moral idea’, ‘the image and the reality of reason’, as Hegel maintains. Rather, it is a product of society at a particular stage of development; it is the admission that this society has involved itself in insoluble self-contradiction and is cleft into irreconcilable antagonisms which it is powerless to exorcise. But in order that these antagonisms, classes with conflicting economic interests, shall not consume themselves and society in fruitless struggle, a power, apparently standing above society, has become necessary to moderate the conflict and keep it within the bounds of “order”; and this power, arisen out of society, but placing itself above it and increasingly alienating itself from it, is the state” (italics ours)[1].

In the other key text on the subject, Lenin, also following Engels and Marx, confirms:

“This expresses with perfect clarity the basic idea of Marxism with regard to the historical role and the meaning of the State. The State is a product and a manifestation of the irreconcilability of class antagonisms. The State arises where, when and insofar as class antagonism objectively cannot be reconciled. And, conversely, the existence of the State proves that the class antagonisms are irreconcilable. […] On the one hand, the bourgeois, and particularly the petty-bourgeois, ideologists, compelled under the weight of indisputable historical facts to admit that the State only exists where there are class antagonisms and a class struggle, ‘correct’ Marx in such a way as to make it appear that the State is an organ for the reconciliation of classes. According to Marx, the State could neither have arisen nor maintained itself had it been possible to reconcile classes. From what the petty-bourgeois and philistine professors and publicists say - with quite frequent and benevolent references to Marx - it appears that the State does reconcile classes. According to Marx, the State is an organ of class dominion, an organ for the oppression of one class by another; it is the creation of ‘order’, which legalizes and perpetuates this oppression by moderating the conflict between classes. In the opinion of the petty-bourgeois politicians, however, order means the reconciliation of classes, and not the oppression of one class by another; to alleviate the conflict means reconciling classes and not depriving the oppressed classes of definite means and methods of struggle to overthrow the oppressors” (in italics in the text) [2].

And for the moment, let us stop here.  The two passages are sufficient to humiliate all the petit-bourgeois and philistine “professors and publicists” of today and yesterday (a today that is even more crowded with them than yesterday was!).

And so, the organ of oppression of one class by the other.  This is what the State is, independently of the form this domination, this oppression, may gradually assume over time in history[3].  Not by chance, in re-establishing, against all deformation, the Marxist concept of State, Lenin would further explain that: “Imperialism - the era of bank capital, the era of gigantic capitalist monopolies, of the development of monopoly capitalism into state-monopoly capitalism - has clearly shown an unprecedented growth in its bureaucratic and military apparatus in connection with the intensification of repressive measures against the proletariat both in the monarchical and in the freest, republican countries.”[4]. Not only. He would also emphasize that: “Another reason why the omnipotence of ‘wealth’ is more certain in a democratic republic is that it does not depend on defects in the political machinery or on the faulty political shell of capitalism. A democratic republic is the best possible political shell for capitalism, and, therefore, once capital has gained possession of this very best shell […] it establishes its power so securely, so firmly, that no change of persons, institutions or parties in the bourgeois democratic republic can shake it”[5] (Lenin’s italics).

Once again, as quoted by Lenin, Engels then went on to recall: “The institution of a public power” and showing that:  “This public force exists in every State and does not consist simply in armed men [for the sake of clarity, the army, the ‘forces of law and order’ - ed.], but also real appendices, prisons and penal institutions of all kinds” [6]. This, to sum up, is the function of the State-policeman, which joins that of the State-entrepreneur, the capitalist State collective – the two faces of the class State.

Instead, the overriding vision – perception – today is that of a “State-arbiter”, of a State that is “super partes”, that administers collective justice honestly and to which every “citizen” knows s/he can turn with the certainty of being listened to and helped: a “kind-father State”, strict but fair (or, according to the scenario, a “kind-mother State” that dispenses warm nourishment!).  Briefly, an enormous Moral Body.  Thus the State really has become, in the blurred vision of the philistines, “the reality of the moral idea”, “the image and the reality of reason”, just as Hegel depicted it!

But there is more to be said. Precisely as a consequence of bourgeois society’s evolution in an imperialist direction – an evolution that has been established for over a century now and gradually “perfected” with all its implications and economic, political and social consequences – and of the progressive decay at all levels of that bourgeois society whose policeman and official it is, the State has thrown off many of its masks, basically maintaining and reinforcing its role as economic-financial entrepreneur (the collective capitalist that defends the national interests of national capitals) and its role as a tool of class oppression (the super-cop who deals with the proletariat).

It has discarded useless and cumbersome drapes: just to give two examples, it has abandoned education (the much celebrated “transmission of knowledge”!) and health (“care of the citizen”, from the child to the senior citizen, from the cradle to the tomb) to their own devices – sectors that are highly unproductive.  This has become as clear as daylight over the past few months dominated by the pandemic: everywhere in the world the State has delegated to “technicians” (who in turn have done no more than express the impotence, the arrogance and the quarrelsome mystifications of bourgeois science at all levels, contributing to create a widespread feeling of uncertainty and fear) the ideological-practical management of “scientific information” and health measures, reserving for itself solely those aspects regarding control, the defence of “law and order”, open or latent repression : the best example is the infamous Decree on Security (or “Decreto Salvini”, issued by Italian government), which has been modified – but only slightly – precisely in the last few weeks in the part dealing with immigration, so as to offer a little sweetener to the dreamers, whilst leaving intact and subject to further restrictions the parts half-hidden by demagogic rhetoric, which regard the crimes of blocking roads, occupying houses, pickets, etc. and which, for the more militant foreign workers, mean loss of their residency permits and thus forced repatriation – i.e. the most directly anti-proletarian measures for the explicit defence of private property.

Before proletarians can shake off these mystifications, carried forward moreover by those false pseudo-revolutionary friends who launch demagogic slogans such as, “make the bosses pay for the crisis by establishing capital tax on the wealthy” (and so with a State that turns from being the enemy into being a “defender of the oppressed”!), they will have to walk a difficult and rocky path, consisting of advances and retreats, clashes and revolts, blood and repression. But the objective remains the one pointed out by Lenin, who takes up the clear words spoken from Marx and Engels: “This course of events compels the revolution ‘to concentrate all its forces of destruction’ against the state power, and to set itself the aim, not of improving the state machine, but of smashing and destroying it[7]

They will be able to do so on condition they have the communist party at their head.

November 2020

 

[1]F. Engels, Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State, Chapter IX. Barbarism and Civilization.

[2]V. Lenin, The State and Revolution - Chapter 1. Class Society and the State.

[3]Independently of the form: the most evident and tragic example comes from the Italian Republic, with the mystification of “The finest Constitution in the world”, which, claiming to have outdone both the Statuto Albertino and the fascist règime (and being on the contrary, the perfect continuity of the bourgeois order), proclaims it wishes to ensure a sort of … “earthly paradise”.

[4]Lenin, The State and Revolution  - Chapter 2. The Experience of 1848-51.

[5]Idem. Again Lenin comments: “ “A standing army and police are the chief instruments of state power. But how can it be otherwise?” The State and Revolution - Chapter 1. Class Society and the State. This “can it be otherwise?” should be firmly engraved in our minds, now that mainstream Philistinism goes so far as to demand, as in the United States, the… ”abolition of the police”!

[6] Lenin, The State and Revolution - Chapter 1. Class Society and the State.

[7] Lenin, The State and Revolution - Chapter 2. The Experience of 1848-51.

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