Revolution or War

<p>Journal of the International Group of the Communist Left</p>

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Political Platform of the International Group of the Communist Left

The historical rupture provoked by the capitalist economic crisis that began in 2020, that germinated independently of the Covid-19 pandemic, which only fixed its precise moment and some particular characteristics, is mainly marked by the exacerbation of the class antagonisms and imperialist rivalries. As a result, the alternative "either world proletarian revolution or generalized imperialist war" imposes itself, guides and determines, in the final analysis, the course of the events of the present period which can only get worse. In the face of this historical dilemma, it is of the utmost importance that the communist minorities reaffirm the communist program as vigorously and precisely as possible and, to this end, update their political platforms, the most recent of which date back to the 1970s or 1980s [1]. This upgrading or updating is necessary if they are to be able to fulfill the task for which the revolutionary proletariat has brought them into being. In particular, the principles and positions of these documents must be the clearest and most unambiguous – if only because they provide the basis for the adhesion of the members – to make as efficient as possible the elaboration and application of the orientations and slogans by all the militants of the communist groups of today, of the party tomorrow, on the basis of the greatest political homogeneity, unity and discipline.

1) Primacy of the Fight for the Political Party of the Proletariat

The International Group of the Communist Left (IGCL) considers and defines the whole of its internal activities – re-appropriation of the lessons of the communist movement and elaboration of political positions – and external activities – general propaganda, intervention in workers’ struggles and towards other revolutionary forces – in relation to and as moments of the struggle for the constitution of the world party of the proletariat.
Starting from the principle that "the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles" [2], the Manifesto of the Communist Party establishes as early as 1847 that "every class struggle is a political struggle". First genuine programmatic document elaborated by the theory of the revolutionary proletariat, Marxism or historical materialism, it elevates this political class struggle to the requirement, also of principle, of the "organization of the proletarians into a class, and, consequently into a political party", making the latter an emanation of the class itself. In 1864, the statutes of the First International, the International Working Men’s Association (IWA), proclaimed that "the emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves." [3]
Far from being opposed and contradictory, the two principles, organization into a political Party and the emancipation of the workers by themselves, are closely linked and complementary. Only the party, because it is armed with the revolutionary theory and the principles of communism, can indicate the whole path leading to emancipation, that is to say, to communism, directing its march with determination and fixing its stages with precision. Only the whole proletariat, its great masses, by seizing and making their own all the party’s slogans, can realize them, in particular those of workers’ insurrection against the capitalist state and the exercise of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

2) The Proletarian Camp as Privileged Place of the Struggle for the Party

While the fight for the political party of the proletariat is at the center of its activities and interventions, the IGCL is not the party. It is only one component among others of the proletarian camp within which the forces called to form the party will define themselves, emerge and select themselves not on the basis of their numerical growth in itself, but on the basis of their programs, political positions and capacities of effective intervention in the proletarian struggles. The political forces and currents that belong de facto to this camp are those that still claim and have not betrayed in the past the principles of proletarian internationalism"the working class has no fatherland" – and of the dictatorship of the proletariat"the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions". These currents advocate proletarian political independence from – and class opposition to – capital and its political forces; they reject any support to this or that bourgeois fraction, including the left, any anti-fascist frontism or other, any form of nationalism, any so-called socialist character to the Stalinist ex-USSR. They also recognize that the Russian Revolution of 1917 was, far more than the Paris Commune in 1871, the first real experience of the exercise of the dictatorship of the proletariat with universal value.
This proletarian political space is, in fact, the privileged place of political confrontation and clarification between the political forces of the class. This process is a prerequisite for the elaboration and adoption of the principles, positions, program and the platform of the party. Consisting of groups, circles and organizations with different political positions and traditions, the dynamics of this camp are defined mainly by the evolution of the balance of forces, the opposition and confrontation, between what Lenin defined as pro-party and anti-party forces. Along with the intervention in workers’ struggles, the proletarian camp is the other privileged field of intervention and struggle that the IGCL develops in view of the regroupment of militant forces and the formation of the party.

3) The IGCL and the History of the Proletariat’s Political Parties

The IGCL lays claim to the First, Second and Third Internationals, each of which was in its time a true world party of the proletariat. Their theoretico-political lessons and achievements are part of the heritage of the revolutionary proletariat; they provide the indispensable programmatic framework for every communist group today, and the party tomorrow. The struggles of Marx and Engels against the remnants of utopian socialism, that of the left fractions – Rosa Luxemburg and Lenin being the most prominent figures – within the 2nd International and the parties of social democracy against revisionism and reformism, that of the left fractions within the Communist International (CI), and that of the fractions of the international Communist Left against the Stalinist theory of "socialism in one country" are an integral part of the corpus of theory and principles of the proletariat and of the communist program.
In order to base and make effective its permanent struggle for the party, the IGCL relies on the continuity that links the struggle of Marx and Engels in the First International against Anarchism and political indifferentism, that of Lenin against Economism (his book What is to Done?) to that of the so-called Italian Communist Left against all forms of Councilism – the modern version of political indifferentism and Economism. As founder and in the leadership of the Communist Party of Italy at its foundation in 1921, and then as a left fraction of the party, the Italian Left was the only current that fought consistently within the CI for the defense of communist principles that were being liquidated by the rise of opportunism within the International, first in its Zinovievist form, then in its Stalinist form before it became openly counter-revolutionary. It was precisely this open and frontal struggle within the CI, and then as a fraction of the CP of Italy, that allowed it to develop the programmatic and political foundations indispensable to the party of tomorrow and which found the Communist Left of today.
Among the various left oppositions and fractions within the CI, and then the various currents of the Communist Left from the 1930s to the present day, such as the so-called German-Dutch Left current, the IGCL recognizes and claims to be part of the exclusive struggle of the so-called Italian Left from the 1920s to the present day.

Basic Principles

The IGCL struggles for the party to be formed on the basis of the following principles:

4) The Party and Communist Consciousness

From the Manifesto’s principle that "of all the classes that stand face to face with the bourgeoisie today, the proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class" and from the first proletarian experiences, the Marxist theory deduced that organization and consciousness – "united by combination and led by knowledge" (Inaugural Address of the IWA, the 1st International) – represent the two main weapons for the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat.
The particularity of the proletariat compared to all the other revolutionary classes of the past is that it is both revolutionary class and exploited class. It is precisely because it is an exploited class by capitalism, and thus the last exploited class in history, that it is a revolutionary class. As an exploited class and without any power within capitalist society, except the power to sell its labor force to capital, the proletariat is subjected to "the ideas of the ruling class", the bourgeois ideology, even though it is also the class "from which emanates the consciousness of the necessity of a fundamental revolution, the communist consciousness.” (K. Marx, The German Ideology [4]) It is only during the rare revolutionary periods during which the whole of the proletariat struggles en masse that "the production on a mass scale of this communist consciousness" (idem), or class consciousness, tends – and only tends – to take place, i.e. to spread more or less in the proletarian masses, through the experience of the class struggle itself and through the propaganda and active intervention of the party – failing that, of the communist groups.
From this theoretical understanding of communist consciousness, it results that it has at least two essential dimensions which it is important to distinguish: its dimension of depth, or content, and that of its extension among the ranks of the workers. The first is permanent and continuous. It materializes in the party; absent the party then in its communist minorities, groups and fractions. "Theoretically, [the communists] have over the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly understanding the line of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement." (The Manifesto) This distinction between these two dimensions of communist consciousness is all the more important because:
- it supersedes and resolves the apparent contradiction between the submission of the proletariat to the dominant ideas of the ruling class and its capacity to produce a communist consciousness;
- and above all, it integrates this consciousness as an active and determining factor of the whole historical struggle of the proletariat, of all its moments, from the lowest to the highest, until the disappearance of the classes and the advent of the communist society.
Therefore, the party rejects and fights against any conception that aims at underestimating, or even denying, the active role of communist consciousness as a product and factor of the historical struggle of the proletariat. There is in particular a thesis which underlies this approach and which it must combat permanently, because it resurfaces regularly and particularly in periods of rising proletarian struggles. It is the understanding and the political position which reduces this consciousness to being only the – mechanical – product of the immediate struggles of the proletariat; that its development would depend on the ebb and flow of the class struggle; or that it would emerge directly from these struggles in the workplaces, or even only from the simple "sphere of relations between workers and employers (...) from the economic struggle", which Lenin fought against in his time (What is to be Done?). Such a vision makes communist consciousness a determined element only and never a determining one, never an active factor of the class struggle itself. It thus tends to underestimate the active and leading role of the party, often reducing its role to that of adviser or simple propaganda to the class, when it does not simply reject the party as counter-revolutionary.
Consequently, the IGCL makes the fight against the direct or indirect expressions of this vision within the proletarian camp, namely Economism and Councilism, one of its priorities.

5) The Tasks of Political Leadership of the Party

The party – if absent, the communist fractions and groups – is the privileged place where this communist consciousness is materialized, elaborated, developed, defended and expressed, which can only be held by a minority, more or less reduced according to the evolution of the class struggle, of the proletariat that has risen to this consciousness. The class party regrouping this minority is thus the main, if not the only, bearer and materialization of it. Thus, as the highest expression of this consciousness, it is a fraction of the working class. It is its most advanced, its most conscious and therefore its most revolutionary fraction.
Thus, the party is the only organ that can lead the proletariat to victorious insurrection, to the destruction of the capitalist state and to the dictatorship of the proletariat. For all that, its function does not stop at waiting for the great night of the Revolution at the risk of being passive and impotent on the very day when the insurrection takes place. The fight for the political leadership of the proletariat is permanent and accompanies the whole course of the class struggle, including in immediate and partial struggles, including in periods of retreat, even counter-revolution. And it will remain so under the dictatorship of the proletariat until the disappearance of the classes and therefore of the party itself. The latter, or the communist groups, because armed with the class principles and positions and with the capacity to understand the course of events and the relations of force between classes, is able to define the orientations and the slogans which enable the struggles of the proletariat to be as efficient as possible, even when retreat is necessary, and thus best allow the class to resist the daily attacks of capital or to launch itself successfully on the revolutionary path. Thereby, the proletariat becomes conscious of the path it has to follow and gets the will to do it. Thus gaining confidence in its own forces, that is to say in its capacity to fight and in the political authority of its party. This is how the proletarian struggles and the action of the party, dialectically linked, become moments and factors of the dynamic leading to the insurrection and to the class dictatorship.
The tasks of the party can be summarized as follows: the political battle against bourgeois ideology in all its forms, including those of even the most radical capitalist left; the propaganda for communist principles and their continuous elaboration in relation to the experiences of the proletariat; the active participation in all workers’ struggles, including for immediate demands, as political vanguard; the leadership of the workers’ insurrection against the capitalist state and the exercise of the dictatorship of the proletariat; and the equally active leadership of the management of power and the construction of communism.
In situations where the direct struggle against the capitalist state and for the dictatorship of the proletariat are not yet a reality, the party must develop the first three tasks in close connection with its active participation in the struggles of the proletariat, even if they are partial and immediate. By tackling today these tasks, the IGCL aims and struggles to assume the role of political leadership of the daily proletarian struggles and to develop from today a party intervention at the still modest level of its material and militant forces while fighting to convince the other components of the proletarian camp of the soundness of its party intervention.

6) The International Centralized Party

"Workers of All Countries, Unite! " is the slogan on which the Manifesto ends. As a product and factor of the historical struggle of the proletariat, the party is organized and functions on the basis of the very principles which govern the proletarian struggle: internationalism and centralism.
The international union of the proletariat is the first objective and the first condition for the advent of communism. The proletarian revolution will be international or it will not be. The communist program, bringing together all the historical experiences of the international proletariat, is itself international and universal. Nowadays, the proletariat no longer has specific national tasks or a minimum or transitional program to defend. In this sense, the different territorial parts or sections of the party, or of the fractions and groups called to constitute it, are not expressions of this or that local or national proletarian experience, but of the international proletariat as a whole. To defend that the party will be constituted on the basis of groups or nuclei as expressions of local experiences that will add up within it is another manifestation of the vision – of the same order as Economism and Councilism – that sees class consciousness developing mechanically from immediate struggles. The internationalist party of the proletariat is built from the start as an international party.
The centralization of the proletarian struggle – whatever its level, local, national or international – is another condition for effectively realizing the union of the proletariat. The dictatorship of the proletariat will be the effective materialization of this proletarian centralism. As a fraction of the proletarian class, the international party of the proletariat is governed by the same principles and its centralization is itself international. For the principle of centralism to be effectively realized within it, the party and its components must be really, i.e. politically, united and homogeneous. In this sense, centralism and unity of action, including party discipline, are closely linked to theory, program and political positions and, even more so, to the unity between the three. The rules with which the party equips itself – the statutes – and which are part of its political platform, cannot be reduced to "limits not to be exceeded" or "safety rails" along the party’s path that its members cannot cross. Above all, they constitute the central line of conduct and internal functioning that guides and enlightens the action of the party and its members insofar as this line of rules is founded and verified on the programmatic, political and even "tactical" unity of the party itself. The unity of program, principles and tactics is binding on the whole party, including its central organs. The orientations and decisions adopted by these bodies on the basis of the mandates given to them by the party as a whole are the concrete material expression and realization of international centralism. These orientations and decisions can only be – to be effective and feasible – the result of the party as a whole functioning as a collective. While adhesion to the party is of individual order on the basis of political conviction and militant will, the individual militants see their singularity superseded in the collectivity of the party, which is much more than the simple addition of the individuals who join it. Armed with the communist program and principles, the internationalist party of the proletariat is constructed from the outset as an international centralized organization.
Considering itself as an expression of the international proletariat, the IGCL functions and intervenes as a centralized international group whatever its actual locations and the size of its militant forces and fights within the proletarian camp to convince its other components to do the same.

7) The Revolutionary Theory of the Proletariat and the Party

The party bases its program, principles, political positions and action on historical or dialectical materialism, Marxism, which is the revolutionary theory of the proletariat. Rejecting any idealist approach, this theory is materialist insofar as it bases its understanding of history on the production and reproduction of real life and on the contradictions that arise from it. The contradiction between the productive forces and the relations of production which characterize capitalism, and of which the proletariat expresses the historical antithesis, generates the class struggle between capital and labor. In this sense, the economy considered as the production of real life is not the only factor of history, if only because it does not deal with relations between things or commodities, but between human beings, or more exactly between classes. It is only in the last instance that it is the determining factor. Among the other factors, the dynamics of the different class struggles throughout history act in turn on the march of history, to the point of sometimes even accelerating or slowing down the pace of development of the productive forces and of social relations. By rejecting any vulgar or mechanical, even fatalistic, materialist vision, Marxist determinism is therefore both historical and dialectical. The appearance and existence of classes are linked to historical phases in the development of production. But they are not the simple passive or mechanical product of this development. It is human beings who "make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. " (K. Marx, 18 Brumaire of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte)
Historical materialism provides the method and the only theoretical framework for the positions and achievements of the proletariat to be integrated into a coherent whole. By explaining the march of history through the development of the class struggle and by recognizing the proletariat as the revolutionary class that must abolish capitalism, it is the only conception that really places itself from the point of view of this class. Since the proletariat is the first and only class whose emancipation means the abolition of all exploitation and the emancipation of all humanity, its revolutionary theory is the only one capable of understanding social reality in an objective and scientific way. Far from being an abstract and idealist speculation on history, it is first and foremost a weapon of class struggle which the party must seize, or reappropriate, and which it must defend vigorously against all attempts to revise it – revisionism – and use rigorously to be able to intervene with the maximum efficiency, as the political vanguard and leadership of the proletariat, in the class struggle.
The IGCL tries to set the elaboration of its political positions and its action in the class struggle on the basis of the method of historical materialism and the principles which this latter, in a permanent and continuous effort, has developed throughout the historical struggle of the revolutionary class, the proletariat, of which it is today one expression among others.

8) The Party, the Proletarian Insurrection and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat

On the basis of historical experience, in particular of the Paris Commune of 1871 and the Russian Revolution of October 1917, but also of the retreat of the international revolutionary wave of 1917-1927, the party defends and defines its strategic and tactical orientations according to, and with a view to, the realization of the principles of workers’ insurrection against the capitalist state, of the destruction of the latter and of the exercise of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Without the action and leadership of the party, as the bearer of communist consciousness and armed with revolutionary theory, the victory of the workers’ insurrection, and a fortiori the exercise of the class dictatorship, are impossible. Real political action and leadership of the party cannot be decreed. They are both the result of the determined intervention of the communist minority which is the party and of the mass mobilization of the proletariat, or still of the development of the relation of forces between the classes of which the party is a product and an active factor. Effective political action and leadership of the party are realized when the proletariat seizes en masse, and then puts into practice, the orientations and slogans of the party, the insurrection itself and the class dictatorship, but also those of a tactical order in the course of the different battles preparing the insurrectionary assault.
It is only after the victorious insurrection and the disappearance of the bourgeois state that the proletariat will be able to organize itself as a dominant class under the political leadership of its party. This materializes in the unitary organization, i.e. regrouping all the proletarians, in workers’ councils or soviets based on the permanent mass mobilization of the class as a whole. Far from being an organizational guarantee in itself, there can be no such thing, far from any fetishism of democratic organization or self-organization, the workers’ councils can only maintain themselves as a unitary organization of the proletariat on the condition that they become organs of the insurrection and organs of the class dictatorship. In this sense, the influence of the party and its capacity to lead the proletariat before, during and after the insurrection itself and during the class dictatorship, is played out and verified in the fight it leads in the mass organizations of the proletariat, to defend and retain in the councils their insurrectional and class dictatorial character and becoming; and this against the action and inevitable intervention in these same unitary organizations of the counter-revolutionary bourgeois forces in the working class milieu.
The principles and the perspective of the proletarian insurrection and the dictatorship of the proletariat also guide and define the orientations and the interventions that the IGCL equips itself with and that it carries out on a daily basis, including in the immediate and local struggles. Indeed, the historical necessity and the future of the insurrection and the class dictatorship are also two gauges, or tools, allowing to measure on a daily basis, throughout its course, the very dynamics of the relation of the proletariat as a whole to the bourgeois state. In doing so, the IGCL can best develop the analyses and understanding of the particular, local, national and international relations of forces and determine the tactical orientations and concrete and immediate slogans which correspond to the immediate necessities of the proletarian struggles, as well as to their real immediate and local potentialities. It is thus an intervention of party, of political leadership, that the IGCL intends and seeks to develop permanently.

9) The Party and the Period of Transition from Capitalism to Communism

The aim of the proletarian revolution is to destroy the capitalist relations of production and distribution based on private appropriation and scarcity and to replace them with relations of production and distribution based on abundance and community. The party defends that the dictatorship of the proletariat consists in the proletariat using the class power of its mass organizations, the councils or soviets, to abolish the economic power of the bourgeoisie – the latter having already been dispossessed of political power by the victorious insurrection – and to ensure the transition to the communist society, that is a classless society. The primary function of the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat is to exercise repression against the capitalist class, which will not allow itself to be dispossessed without waging the most bitter and desperate civil war, or class war, possible against the proletariat. The other primacy or primary function, also of a political nature, of the dictatorship of the proletariat is that of the international extension of the proletarian insurrection and revolution to the countries where it has not yet taken place. As long as an island of capitalism remains in the world, as long as the bourgeoisie is not totally defeated on a world scale, the establishment of communist society cannot begin to take place and be accomplished in a real and lasting way.
The party can only base its positions on the exercise and function of the dictatorship of the proletariat during the transitional period itself on the unique, or almost unique, and limited experience of the Russian Revolution and the international revolutionary wave from 1917 to 1927, knowing that a large part of these lessons are of a negative order because of the international isolation of revolutionary Russia and the degeneration which resulted from it. In the first place, the party defends the proletarian character of the Russian Revolution. It is only on this recognition and defense of principle that it is possible to draw a critical balance sheet and lessons from the dictatorship of the proletariat in Russia. The experience, in particular its periods of difficulty, setback and then degenerating course, raised the question of the relationship between proletariat, party and state in the transitional period and made it possible to deduce that the party and the proletariat, both still distinct during the dictatorship of the proletariat, could not be fully identified with, let alone merged with, the state in the transitional period. Indeed, until the disappearance of classes and thus of itself as a class, the proletariat remains an exploited class and thus with specific class interests to defend in face of the whole society of the transitional period. The affirmation of the proletariat as an exploited and revolutionary class, i.e. the affirmation and development of its own class struggle including during the transitional period, is the condition and the way for the disappearance of all classes including its own.
Once the bourgeoisie has been defeated, the society which emerges from the international victory of the proletariat will still bear the stigmata of all kinds of capitalist society, thus necessitating a transitional phase. This phase will consist essentially in the progressive socialization of all the means of production and distribution, and therefore of all the non-exploiting classes and social strata, peasants, artisans, shopkeepers, small proprietors, etc., which will be integrated, through universal socialization, into the proletarian ranks. This period will still inevitably see the exchange of goods between these strata and the proletariat, until the former have been dissolved by the proletarianization of their members and the latter, having become a universal class, disappears with the disappearance of the classes. The principle which will govern this first phase of communism, a transitional phase, can be formulated as follows: "the one who does not work, does not eat", with the exception of course of children, the elderly and those physically unable to work. Still divided into classes, this transitional society will still be traversed by social contradictions and antagonisms between the remaining classes. In this, the proletarian struggle will inevitably be affected by periods or phases of advances and retreats during which the party will always have to put forward the international and historical interests of the proletariat.
The second phase, that of realized communism, that of the abundance of goods, will be that of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!". It will signal the disappearance of classes, the disappearance of the proletariat once it has become the universal class, the disappearance of the exploitation of human being by human being, of the division of labor, of the commodity and of value. Once the classes have disappeared and with them the proletariat itself, the party of the proletariat will also disappear as will the state, the semi-state, of the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.

The Class Frontiers

The party will have and will use the following class frontiers, which have the characteristic of principles because they have been settled by history, to be able to orient itself in the historical tornado which is coming and to direct the proletarian struggles with the maximum revolutionary efficiency.

10) Generalized Imperialist War and State Capitalism, Expressions of Capitalism’s Historical Decadence

The outbreak of the First World War, i.e. the first generalized imperialist war, and the international revolutionary wave which put an end to it starting from the Russian Revolution in 1917, mark and sign the main historical rupture experienced by capitalism, between its phase of ascendancy – and apogee which can be dated from 1870 to 1900 – and its entry into historical decline marking the fact that capitalism has finished accomplishing its historical task. As a product, expression and accelerating factor of this changeover, generalized imperialist war – previously non-existent – becomes the highest moment of the capitalist crisis. Since the end of the 19th century and the entry into its phase of decline, capitalism’s previous responses to its crises have become largely insufficient to respond to the level and scale reached by its contradictions. The butchery of 1914-1918 demonstrated that generalized war became both the highest expression and the only response of the bourgeoisie to the crisis precisely by the scale of the material and human devastation it inflicts. Only the massive destruction of capital, and therefore also of labor forces – the proletarians – in the first two world wars, destruction that was out of all proportion to the crises of the 19th century, destruction that was more devastating each time, could allow capitalism to experience new cycles of accumulation during periods of reconstruction, in particular that of the 1950s-1960s, and thus to keep itself alive.
This phenomenon of generalized imperialist war further constrained and accelerated the earlier process of concentration of capital into monopolies and trusts which had marked the pre-First World War period to the point of imposing on the different sectors and fractions of the bourgeois class their unity, willingly for the more powerful and experienced bourgeoisies or by force for the weaker and inexperienced ones, around each national state. The relentless and generalized development of the phenomenon of state capitalism throughout the 20th century, which accelerated particularly before, and in view of, the Second World War until today, corresponds essentially to three priorities for each national capital: to centralize and unify as much as possible all the fractions of national capital in view of international economic and imperialist competition; to build up the military power necessary for the defense of its interests in the face of antagonisms and in view of imperialist war; and to impose the social discipline directed above all against the proletariat which is indispensable for the successful completion of the first two tasks as well as for the maintenance of the power of the bourgeoisie in the face of its mortal enemy. The state apparatus is exercising ever more powerful, omnipresent and systematic control over all aspects of social life, as can be seen in recent decades, especially through modern digital techniques, the internet and social networks.
In this sense, the party must be very clear that state capitalism is first and foremost a political response against the proletariat and for the needs of imperialist war – itself the only bourgeois response to the economic contradictions and impasse of capitalism in its period of historical decline.

11) The Conditions of the Proletarian Struggle in Face of State Capitalism

It is fundamentally this concentration of the forces of capital around the state and against the proletariat, in particular against any expression of permanent struggle such as its mass organizations, which presently determines the conditions of the proletarian struggle. With the dominant state capitalism, the organization of the exploitation of the proletariat ceases to be an affair between the bosses of enterprises or corporations and the workers and becomes that of the state against the proletariat. From the beginning of the 20th century, the state acquires a wider dimension by taking charge of the unity of the different sectors of national capital in the face of international competition on the one hand and, on the other hand, of the whole bourgeoisie against any proletarian struggle by developing an ever more extensive and sophisticated apparatus. As a result, the struggles in a factory or a corporation, such as they could develop and sometimes succeed in wresting improvements in the workers’ condition in the second part of the 19th century, became more and more impotent. In doing so, the organizational forms corresponding to these conditions and methods of struggle, the unions preparing, organizing and even planning in advance long strikes by corporation, lost their raison d’être. The needs of generalized war and the development of state capitalism accelerated the process and imposed the definitive stifling of all permanent proletarian life, such as it could exist and develop in its mass organizations, trade unions, labor exchanges and mass parties. The totalitarian evolution of state capitalism, definitive, amplified and largely confirmed since the Second World War, no longer leaves any doubt that the conditions of class struggle are largely defined, apart from massive repression, by a sophisticated political apparatus, especially in the so-called democratic countries, and by the omnipresence of the dominant ideology as well as its dissemination by the mass media, newspapers, radios and televisions – and for twenty years now Internet and social networks – imposing on the great masses of the proletariat a permanent ideological and political submission which tends to break only when they revolt and struggle as a class against capital.
Faced with the unity of the bourgeoisie and the systematic intervention of the state aiming at silencing and suffocating all proletarian life, the proletariat responded – from the beginning of the 20th century – with the weapon of the mass strike whose very dynamic, the extension and generalization of the struggle beyond the workplace and the corporation, carries within it the confrontation of the whole class with the capitalist state and is determined, in the end, by the perspective of the proletarian insurrection and of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The revolutionary process in Russia from February 1917 until the workers’ insurrection of October 1917 is the highest manifestation of the reality and efficiency of the mass strike and, on this occasion, Lenin’s Bolshevik party demonstrated its mastery of the phenomenon as well as the indispensable role of the political leadership of the party for the mass strike to reach its end, the insurrection and the class dictatorship. The unitary organizational forms, i.e. gathering all the proletarians in struggle, unionized-non-unionized, active-unemployed, precarious workers-pensioners, etc, which correspond to the dynamics and the needs of the mass strike are the general assemblies, the strike committees and the workers’ councils – or soviets – accompanying and organizing strikes and street demonstrations. If the dynamic of the mass strike is determined by its finality, the workers’ insurrection, the forms of unitary organization with which it endows itself, the workers’ councils, are themselves determined by their function as organs of the insurrection and of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Mass strike and party, spontaneity and extension of the proletarian masses and communist consciousness materialized in the party, are not opposed. The spontaneity of the proletarian masses, as well as the extension and generalization of the proletarian struggles, demand, on the contrary, the intervention and action of the highest possible communist consciousness, and therefore the active and decided intervention of the communist vanguard.
Far from being guarantees in themselves, the unitary organizations – general assemblies, strike committees, councils, etc… – with which the proletariat equips itself in its struggles are in fact organs in which the bourgeois forces acting within the working class, unions, left-wing parties, leftists, also intervene to divert and sabotage the workers’ struggles. They are therefore places of class political confrontation that proletarians must assume if they want to develop their own struggle and make it as effective as possible, both from the point of view of immediate demands and from the historical point of view. It is up to the party to fight within them not only to ensure the political leadership throughout the development of its struggles but also to defend this unitary organization, the workers’ council, as an organ of insurrection and dictatorship, at the risk, otherwise, of seeing the bourgeois forces in the working class milieu empty them of their class content and turn them into organs contrary to the interests of the proletariat.

12) The Unions, Organs of the Capitalist State

The conditions prevailing in the 19th century meant that the working class equipped itself, often at the cost of bitter and bloody struggles, with permanent and professional organizations, unitary organizations of struggle, i.e. bringing together all the proletarians in struggle, intended to ensure the defense of its economic interests: the trade unions. These bodies played a fundamental role in the struggle for substantial improvements in workers’ living conditions in the second half of the 19th century, mainly in Europe and North America. They also constituted places for the regroupment of the class, the development of its solidarity and its immediate consciousness, in which the party – then also a mass party – actively intervened to make them "schools of communism". So, although the existence of these organs as organs of proletarian struggle was linked to a particular period of capitalism and, by that time, they had often already become significantly bureaucratized, they were nonetheless authentic organs of the class expressing the fact that capital had not yet invaded all dimensions of social life.
From the moment when the tendency towards state capitalism was asserted and became dominant, particularly for the needs of the First World Imperialist War, the capitalist state began a process of recuperation and integration of these mass proletarian organizations, particularly the trade unions, into its apparatus. This process was favored by the penetration of reformist and unionist ideologies and the emergence of a bureaucracy within them. Starting in August of 1914, the adhesion of the leadership of the main trade unions of that time to the campaign of national unity, and even if a large part of the members remained faithful to proletarian Internationalism, marked the beginning of this process. Its first manifestation was the fact that the union apparatuses actively participated in the mobilization of the workers in the first imperialist slaughter. Its second was their opposition, their sabotage and their active participation in the bloody repression of the proletariat’s attempts to destroy capitalism in the revolutionary wave that followed the war.
Once the war was over and the revolutionary wave defeated, the process of proletarian devitalization of the unions continued inexorably, especially in the 1930s, again for the needs of the coming war, by the dissolution of the old unions and the creation of new ones in the fascist countries and by the active participation – in exchange for the recognition of the rights of trade unions – of the American unions in the setting up of the New Deal and the European ones through the Popular Fronts in Western Europe. In the aftermath of the Second World War, directly reconstituted by the states where they had disappeared because of the war, completely integrated into the war effort for the victorious countries, mainly the United States, Great Britain and the USSR, the trade unions as a whole, their apparatus as a whole, became from then on definitively authentic defenders of capitalism, fully-fledged organs of the bourgeois state within the working class.
Since then, they have been kept alive, not by the working class, but by the capitalist state on whose behalf they perform very important functions:
- active participation in the capitalist state’s attempts to rationalize the economy, regulate the sale of labor power and intensify exploitation ;
- sabotaging the class struggle from within, either by diverting strikes and revolts into categorical deadlocks or by confronting autonomous movements with open repression.
Because the unions have lost their proletarian character they cannot be "reconquered" by the working class, nor can their apparatus constitute a space for the activity of revolutionary minorities.
The anti-proletarian character of the trade unions today is not conferred on them by their own mode of organization, by profession or industrial branch, nor by the existence of a union bureaucracy or "bad leaders", but by the impossibility, because of the generalized, universal and totalitarian extension of state capitalism, of keeping alive permanent unitary organs of real defense of the interests of the proletariat. Consequently, the capitalist character of these organs extends to all new organizations which give themselves similar functions, whatever their organizational model and the intentions they proclaim. This is the case of the "revolutionary unions" or "base unions", as well as of all the organs (committees or workers’ nuclei, workers’ commissions) which can subsist beyond the end of a struggle, even opposed to the unions, and which tend to constitute a genuine permanent organization of defense of the immediate interests of the workers. On this basis, these organizations cannot escape the spiral of effective integration into the bourgeois state apparatus, even as unofficial or illegal bodies. All policies of use, renovation or reconquest of trade union organizations, insofar as they lead to the re-invigoration of capitalist institutions, are fundamentally favorable to the survival of capitalism. After almost a century of unquestioned experience of the anti-worker role of these organizations, any position defending such strategies is fundamentally non-proletarian and counter-revolutionary.
Nevertheless, revolutionaries must not remain indifferent to the maneuvers and actions of the unions in the expectation of hypothetical proletarian movements spontaneously rid of their presence. When the latter are called upon, in fact forced, by their anti-proletarian function in the working class environment to occupy the terrain of proletarian struggles, to take initiatives and to call on the proletarians to participate in them, assemblies, strikes, demonstrations, in order to keep a minimum of credibility in workers’ eyes or even to prevent and anticipate any real dynamic of extension and unity in the struggle, the party and its members must not desert the imposed terrain, the assemblies, strikes, demonstrations, etc. simply because it would be called by the unions. On the contrary, they must seize these occasions of workers’ regroupment to fight against the orientations, the sabotage, and the syndicalist impasses by advancing slogans and demands favoring the development of the class struggle and by seeking to regroup around them the most combative proletarians. The party must be at the forefront of the daily political struggle that the proletariat as a whole must take up in its struggles against the bourgeois, particularly its trade unionist and left forces.

13) The Counter-Revolutionary Nature of the So-Called “Workers’” or Left-Wing Parties

The entirety of the parties or organizations which today defend, even conditionally or critically, certain states or certain fractions of the bourgeoisie against others, whether in the name of "socialism", democracy, anti-fascism, national independence, the united front, or the lesser evil – represented by the democratic and left-wing forces opposed to the right or the extreme right – which base their policies on the bourgeois game of elections, in the anti-working class activity of trade unionism or in the self-management mystification are organs of the bourgeois political apparatus: this is the case, in particular, with the "socialist" and "communist" parties.
These parties, in fact, after having constituted at a certain moment the real vanguards of the world proletariat, have subsequently undergone a whole process of degeneration which has led them into the camp of capital. While the Internationals to which they belonged (the 2nd International for the socialist parties, the 3rd International for the communist parties) died as such, despite the formal survival of their structure, in a moment of historical defeat of the working class, they each survived to progressively become often major cogs of the apparatus of the bourgeois state of their respective countries.
This was the case with the socialist parties when, in a process of gangrene by reformism and opportunism, most of them were led during the First World War (which marked the death of the Second International) to engage – under the leadership of their social-chauvinist right-wing, which had now passed over to the bourgeoisie – in the policy of national defense, and then to openly oppose the revolutionary wave of the post-war period, even to the point of playing the role of the executioners of the proletariat, as in 1919 Germany.
The final integration of each of these parties into their respective national states took place at different times in the period following the outbreak of the First World War. But this process was finally completed in the early 1920s, when the last proletarian currents were eliminated or left their ranks by joining the Communist International.
Similarly, the communist parties in turn went over to the side of capitalism after a similar process of opportunist degeneration. This process, which began in the early 1920s, and which was favored by the opportunist weaknesses that prevailed at the time of their constitution and adhesion to the Communist International, continued after the death of the Communist International (marked by the adoption of the theory of socialism in one country in 1928), until, despite the fierce struggle of their left fractions and after the elimination of these, they were completely integrated into the capitalist state during the 1930s with their participation in the armament efforts of their respective bourgeoisies for World War Two and their entry into the Popular Fronts. Their active participation in the Resistance during the Second World War and in the national reconstruction afterwards confirmed them as faithful servants of national capital and as the purest incarnation of counter-revolution. Since then, their membership to the left of capital has not been denied, as evidenced both by their participation in various left-wing governments and by their systematic defense, once in opposition, of national capital.
All the so-called revolutionary currents, such as Maoism – which is a simple variant of the Stalinist parties that have definitively gone over to the bourgeoisie – or Trotskyism – which, after having constituted a proletarian reaction against the betrayal of the communist parties, has been caught up in a similar process of degeneration to the point of taking part in the Second Imperialist War – or Anarchism – which, after having also taken part in the Resistance during the Second World War, is today situated within the framework of a similar political approach by defending a certain number of positions of the Socialist and Communist Parties, such as, for example, the anti-fascist alliances –, belong to the camp of capital. The fact that they have less influence or use more radical language does not detract from the bourgeois background of their program and nature, but makes them useful surrogates or stand-ins for these parties.
The party must lead an unceasing struggle against the campaigns and maneuvers that these organizations of the left of capital develop to divert the proletariat from its class terrain and from its confrontation with the capitalist state. The denunciation of the positions of these parties, including the most radical or leftist ones, is also an element for understanding the dynamics of the class confrontation in progress, the themes and the immediate objectives of the bourgeoisie, its lines of defense and attack against the proletariat, and for determining tactics and immediate orientations.

14) Frontism, a Weapon of the Counter-Revolution

At a time when the alternative proper to the period of historical decline of capitalism, proletarian revolution or generalized imperialist war, has become the only perspective that capitalism can present, there can be no common task, even momentarily, between the revolutionary class and any fraction of the ruling class, however progressive, democratic or popular it may claim to be. Unlike the ascendant phase of capitalism, its period of imperialism does not effectively allow any fraction of the bourgeoisie to play a progressive historical role. In particular, bourgeois democracy, which in the last century constituted a progressive political form against the vestiges of the structures inherited from feudalism, has lost all real political content. It remains only as a deceptive screen for the reinforcement of state totalitarianism, and the fractions of the bourgeoisie that claim to be part of it are as reactionary as all the others.
In fact, since the First World War, Democracy has proved to be one of the worst poisons for the proletariat. It is in its name that, after this war, the revolution was crushed in several European countries; it is in its name and against fascism that tens of millions of proletarians were mobilized in the Second Imperialist War. It is still in its name that capital tries to divert proletarian struggles into anti-racist, feminist, ecologist, identitarian, anti-fascist alliances, against repression or against totalitarianism, etc.
As a specific product of a period when the proletariat has already been politically, physically and ideologically crushed, fascism is absolutely not on the agenda at the present time and any propaganda about the fascist danger is perfectly mystifying, even though the democratic state is increasingly totalitarian. On the other hand, fascism or the so-called dictatorial, or illiberal, powers do not have a monopoly on repression, and if the democratic or left-wing political currents identify it with repression, it is because they are trying to hide the fact that they are themselves determined users of this same repression, to the point that they have the main responsibility for the crushing of the revolutionary movements of the class; for example, it was Social Democracy, not Nazism, that drowned the proletarian revolution in Germany in blood after the First World War.
In the same way as the popular and anti-fascist fronts, the united front tactics have proved to be formidable means of diverting the proletarian struggle. These tactics, which command revolutionary organizations to propose alliances with the so-called workers’ parties in order to "put them up against the wall" and unmask them, ultimately amount to nothing more than maintaining illusions about the true nature of these bourgeois parties and delaying the workers’ break with them.
The party must therefore permanently fight for the autonomy of the proletariat in relation to all the other classes of society. It is the first condition for the development of its struggle towards the revolutionary goal. The party denounces all alliances with fractions of the bourgeoisie, which can only lead to the disarmament of the proletariat in front of its enemy by making it abandon the only ground where it can forge its forces: its class ground. Any political current that tries to make it leave this ground directly serves the interests of the bourgeoisie and the party must clearly denounce any tactic of united front with bourgeois parties as counter-revolutionary.

15) The Parliamentary and Electoral Mystification

In the period of effective development of the capitalist system, parliament was the most appropriate form of organization of the political life of the bourgeoisie. As a specifically bourgeois institution, it has never been a favorite terrain for working class action, and the participation of the working class in its activities or in electoral campaigns was fraught with dangers that the revolutionaries of the 19th century never failed to denounce. However, in a period when the alternative of proletarian revolution or generalized imperialist war was not on the agenda, when the totalitarian control of the state, state capitalism, was not yet imposed, when mass organizations of the proletariat, parties and unions, could exist and develop, such participation allowed it both to press for substantial improvements in the conditions of the working class, to use electoral campaigns as a means of propaganda and agitation around the proletarian program and to use parliament as a forum to denounce the bourgeois politics. This is why the struggle for universal suffrage constituted, throughout the 19th century, in a large number of countries, one of the major occasions for mobilizing the proletariat.
With the entry of the system into its phase of increasing domination of state capitalism for the needs of generalized imperialist war, the parliament ceases to be an organ in which the different bourgeois fractions debate and settle their differences, which could leave space for the other classes. With the imperialist war and faced with the revolutionary threat of the proletariat, the executive definitely takes precedence over the legislative, the governments over the parliaments, which are now only recording chambers for government decisions. As the Communist International (2nd Congress, 1920) says, "the center of gravity of political life has at present been removed finally and completely beyond the bounds of parliament". The only function it can assume, and which explains its continued existence, is one of democratic mystification against the proletariat. From then on, all possibility for the proletariat to use in any way whatsoever an organ which has lost all effective political function, other than of mystification, ends. At a period when its fundamental task lies in the destruction of all bourgeois state institutions and thus of parliament, when it must establish its own dictatorship on the ruins of universal suffrage and other vestiges of bourgeois society, its participation in parliamentary and electoral institutions results, whatever the intentions of those who advocate it, in breathing a semblance of life into these moribund institutions.
Electoral and parliamentary participation today has lost all the advantages it had in the 19th century. On the other hand, it accumulates all the disadvantages and dangers, especially that of keeping alive the illusions about the possibility of a peaceful or progressive passage to socialism through the conquest of a parliamentary majority by the so-called workers’ parties.
Moreover, the use of elections and parliaments as instruments of agitation and propaganda tends to preserve the political patterns of bourgeois society and to encourage the passivity of the workers. While such a drawback was acceptable when a real proletarian life could develop permanently in mass organizations, it becomes a decisive obstacle at a time when the only task that is historically on the agenda for the proletariat is precisely that of overthrowing the old social order and establishing a communist society, which requires the active and conscious participation of the whole class, which can only materialize nowadays through the living process of the mass strike.
If the tactics of revolutionary parliamentarism put forwards by the CI were originally, above all, the manifestation of the weight of the past within the class and its organizations, they turned out, after a practice with disastrous results for the class, to be a fundamentally opportunist policy. Today, any electoral or parliamentary participation is clearly on a bourgeois terrain. The party refuses all electoral and parliamentary participation. It denounces the mystification of bourgeois democracy and advances the emancipation of the workers by themselves through their exercise of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

16) Self-Management, Self-Exploitation of the Proletariat

Self-management, i.e. the management of enterprises by the workers within a society which remains capitalist, if it was already a petty bourgeois utopia in the 19th century when it was advocated by the Proudhonian currents, is today a pure capitalist mystification:
- as an economic weapon of capital, its aim is to make workers accept the burden of the difficulties of the companies hit by the crisis by making them organize the terms of their own exploitation;
- as a political weapon of the counter-revolution, it has the function of dividing the working class by enclosing and isolating it factory by factory, district by district, sector by sector; of tying the workers to the preoccupations of the capitalist economy which, on the contrary, they have the task of destroying; of diverting the proletariat from the first task which conditions its emancipation: the destruction of the political apparatus of capital and the establishment of its own dictatorship on a world scale.
It is indeed only at this level that the proletariat will be able to take over the management of production, but then, it will not do it within the framework of each factory or enterprise, but at the international level and in a centralized way, nor within the framework of capitalist laws but by destroying them. The management of production by the proletariat, including at a given territorial level, can only be achieved once the proletarian insurrection has been accomplished and the class dictatorship exercised in the given territory, or country, or group of countries.
Historical experience teaches us that, on a large scale, workers’ self-management was one of the means by which Spanish proletarians were diverted from insurrection and the destruction of the bourgeois state during the Spanish War in 1936. Faced with the flight of the owners of many enterprises, the workers had no other recourse than to ensure production themselves; or, even more often, were encouraged to collectivize their enterprises by the anarchist CNT. Far from having suppressed capitalist exploitation, these collectivized and self-managed enterprises put themselves at the service of the war effort of the anti-fascist republican camp, which was just as bourgeois as the Franco camp, and redoubled the exploitation of labor while politically and ideologically chaining proletarians behind the bourgeois state before they were finally massacred on the military imperialist fronts.
Experience teaches us too that it can happen, in exceptional circumstances such as company bankruptcy or bosses disappearing during periods of massive class confrontation, that workers are forced to continue production in order to maintain their wages. In this particular case, while understanding the proletarians trying to establish an immediate and limited line of defense – it is not a question of condemning them in a dogmatic way – the party must fight any illusion or fetishism about workers’ self-management and warn that capitalist exploitation remains in force.
The party denounces as counter-revolutionary all political positions which, even in the name of proletarian experience or the establishment of new relations between workers, defend self-management. They participate, in fact, in the objective defense of the capitalist relations of production. In the same way, during the period of transition from capitalism to communism, the party will fight against any local or enterprise self-management and will defend the planned, centralized and international management of social production.

17 ) The Capitalist Character of the Former USSR, the So-Called Socialist Countries and China

Today, the USSR and its satellites, the so-called "socialist" countries, have disappeared with the end of the imperialist bloc of the East and the supposed socialism of China, Cuba and even Chavez’s Venezuela are no longer an illusion. The fact remains that the assimilation of state capitalism in its Stalinist form to one form or another of socialism is still used against the proletariat and its revolutionary theory, if only by maintaining the myth of nationalizations and other so called social measures, or of a welfare state. By transferring capital into the hands of the state, state capitalism creates the illusion of the disappearance of private ownership of the means of production and the elimination of the bourgeois class. The Stalinist theory of the possibility of "socialism in one country" as well as the lie of the so-called "communist", "socialist", or aspiring "socialist" countries have their basis in this mystifying appearance.
The changes brought about by the tendency towards state capitalism under its form falsely called socialist are not at the real level of the relations of production, but at the legal level of the forms of property. They do not eliminate the real character of private property of the means of production, but their legal aspect of individual property. The workers remain deprived of any real control over their use, they remain entirely separate from them. In the Stalinist countries, the means of production were collectivized only for the bureaucracy, particular form of the capitalist class in these countries, which owned and managed them collectively.
When a state bureaucracy assumes the specific economic function of extirpating surplus labor from the proletariat and accumulating national capital, it constitutes a class. But it is not a new class. By its function, it is nothing other than the old bourgeoisie in its state form. What distinguishes it in terms of its privileges is not the size of these privileges, but the way in which it holds them: instead of receiving its income in the form of dividends from the individual possession of shares in capital, it receives it from the function of its members in the form of function fees, bonuses and fixed remunerations under the form of a salary, the amount of which is often dozens or hundreds of times higher than the income of a worker.
In the economic field, Russia, even during the short period when the proletariat held political power there, could not fully free itself from capitalism. If the form of state capitalism immediately appeared there in such a developed way, it is because the economic disorganization caused by the First World War, and then by the civil war, brought to the highest degree the difficulties of survival of a national capital within the framework of the imperialist period and its particular necessities.
The triumph of the counter-revolution in Russia took place under the sign of the reorganization of the national economy with the most complete forms of state capitalism, cynically presented for the occasion as extensions of the October Revolution and construction of socialism. The example was repeated elsewhere: China, Eastern Europe, Cuba, North Korea, Indochina, etc. However, there was nothing proletarian, let alone communist, in any of these countries, where, under the weight of what will remain as one of the greatest lies in history, the dictatorship of capital reigned in its most decadent forms. The party denounces any defense, even critical or conditional, of these countries as an absolutely counter-revolutionary activity.

18) The Counter-Revolutionary Myth of National Liberation Struggles

Nowadays, while there is no longer a colonial empire as there was until the 1960s, and while the so-called anti-imperialist struggles and movements for national independence have lost their topicality, they still remain an ideological and political mystification that the party must fight. The reappearance of independent movements as in Scotland and Catalonia – in particular the ridiculous fiasco of the declaration of Catalan independence in October 2017 – have come to remind us that this mystification of national liberation can still be used against the proletariat and its unity in the struggles.
National liberation and the constitution of new nations have never been a task of the proletariat. While, in the last century, revolutionaries were led to support such policies, it was not with illusions about their exclusively bourgeois character, nor in the name of "the right of peoples to self-determination". Such support was based on the fact that, in the ascendant phase of capitalism, any formation of a new nation and a national capitalism, by eliminating the constraining vestiges of pre-capitalist social relations, constituted a step forward in the growth of the productive forces and of capitalism on a global level and so favored the emergence of a proletariat, a revolutionary class, in the nation concerned; just as, indirectly, it could favor the awakening and the struggles of the proletariat of the colonialist and imperialist power as Marx and Engels underlined it in their time, in particular with regard to Ireland and Poland vis-à-vis England and tsarist Russia. In a world now totally conquered by capitalism from the beginning of the 20th century and where imperialism now imposes itself on every state, national liberation struggles, far from being a progressive movement, began to be reduced essentially to a moment in the constant confrontation between rival imperialisms in which the proletarians and peasants enlisted, voluntarily or by force, participate only as cannon fodder.
Such struggles no longer weakened imperialism as a whole. If they weakened one imperialism, or an imperialist alliance, or even a bloc, it was to better strengthen another and the nation thus constituted was becoming itself imperialist since, at the time of decadence, of state capitalism and generalized imperialism, no country, big or small, can spare itself such a policy. This phenomenon, national liberation struggles inevitably dragging behind and in the service of one imperialist against the other, became definitive in the aftermath of World War II and the division into two imperialist blocs from the end of 1945 to the late 1980s. We can affirm that the cycle of national liberation struggles was definitively closed with the 2nd World Imperialist War.
Since then, while a "successful national liberation" had no other meaning than the exchange of one dominating power for another for the country concerned, especially during the time of the American and Russian imperialist blocs until the collapse of the USSR and the demise of the Eastern and Western imperialist blocs, most of the time for the workers, in particular in the new so-called "socialist" countries, it translated into an intensification, a systematization, a militarization of the exploitation by the new state capital which, as a manifestation of the current barbarity of the system, transformed the so-called liberated nation into a real concentration camp. Far from being then, as some people claimed, a springboard for the class struggle of the proletariat in countries which were still on the periphery of capitalism a few decades ago, these struggles, by the patriotic mystification they entailed and the mobilization behind national capital they implied, always acted as a brake and a diversion of the often fierce proletarian struggle in these countries. History has amply shown, at least since the end of the Second World War, and contrary to the assertions of the Communist International, that the struggles for national liberation did not give more impetus to the class struggle of the proletarians of the so-called advanced countries, the historical bastions of capitalism, than to that of the proletarians of the countries which were still on its periphery. Both had nothing to expect, and still have nothing to expect, from these struggles nor any side to choose. The most recent national liberation struggles, mainly those of the European countries of the former Eastern bloc exploding into a multitude of small nations, have largely confirmed both their alignment behind this or that imperialist power since their constitution, in spite of – or because of – apparent exacerbated nationalist impulses caused by their own history of oppressed nation. They represented a nationalist impasse for the proletariat directly concerned and confusion for the international, particularly European, proletariat. The clearest examples, and dramatic for the populations, are the Palestinian and Kurdish cases – peoples historically oppressed and systematically abandoned for having served this or that imperialism – which, supported by international leftism and in the name of national liberation, cannot do otherwise, if they have any inclination to do differently, than to put themselves at the service of this or that imperialism. As the Kurdish guerrilla has done to a large extent under the guise of fighting against the Islamist terrorism of Daesh by becoming the ground force of American imperialism in Syria.
In these situations or confrontations, the only slogan of the party can be, against the modern version of national defense, the one that was already adopted by the revolutionaries in the First World War: revolutionary defeatism, transformation of the imperialist war into civil war. Any position of unconditional or critical support for these struggles is similar, consciously or unconsciously, to that of the "social-chauvinists" of the First World War and therefore perfectly incompatible with coherent communist activity. Any support for national liberation struggles, even in the name of an oppressed nation, is counter-revolutionary today.

19) "Partial" Struggles as Ideological and Political Bourgeois Trap

Capitalism, like the class societies that preceded it, carries within it divisions and discrimination of all kinds, in particular racism, domination of women, homophobia, etc. Capitalism uses these particular forms of discrimination and oppression to divide the proletariat, divert it from its struggle, as well as to reinforce and extend the exploitation of labor power under the guise of egalitarianism, humanism and democracy. Historically, the end of slavery for black Americans freed them from their masters so that they could sell their labor power for a miserable salary in the factories and cotton fields. Feminism was used by capitalism as an ideological justification for the generalization of wage labor, and thus of exploitation, to women as well as men. In this sense, just like the end of slavery, the liberation of women from the remnants of patriarchy advocated by the various feminist movements, particularly since the 1960s and 1970s, served, and continues to serve, as a justification for proletarian women to also sell their labor power to capitalism. It was precisely for the purposes of the First World War that the capitalist exploitation of proletarian women’s labor, with men mobilized, was generalized for the first time in its modern form. Since then, the generalization of women’s wage labor has ultimately led to a halving of the value of labor power, and so a greater exploitation of the proletariat as a whole: whereas until the 1960s, in the central countries of capitalism, one worker’s wage supported a whole working class family, today it takes at least two wages, that of the woman and the man, to support increasingly miserably an entire family on all continents.
While it is true that the proletarian revolution will bring about new relations in all areas of social life, it is wrong to believe that we can contribute to this by organizing specific struggles on piecemeal problems such as racism, women’s condition, pollution, sexuality and other aspects of daily life. By their very content, partial struggles, far from strengthening the necessary autonomy of the working class, tend on the contrary to dilute it in the confusion of particular categories (race, gender, youth, etc.) which are totally powerless in the face of history. This is why bourgeois governments and political parties, above all left and leftist ones, have learned to recover them and use them effectively in the preservation of the social order. It is in the proletarian struggle, in its extension, in its generalization, i.e. in the fight for its unity in order to make it as effective as possible, that the proletariat in struggle overcomes, and in fact tends to abolish, all divisions, be they of skin color, gender, sexual preference, etc. It is by the suppression of the exploitation of the human being by the human being, by the abolition of capitalism and of the commodity relations, by the abolition of the division of labor and the disappearance of classes, achievable only through the exercise of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the highest point of its revolutionary class struggle, that divisions and forms of discrimination of any kind, in particular of skin color and gender, will come to a definitive end.
By fighting always and everywhere for the unity of the proletariat and its demands, the party displays and defends the unity and universality of the proletariat. Thus, it fights against all the divisions imposed by capitalism. In doing so, the party denounces all the ideological mystification put forward by the left of capital, particularly by the leftists, on the questions and theories of intersectionality, identity politics, etc., of ecologism, which aim, in fine, to tie the proletarians to the defense of the state and to bourgeois democracy.

20) Terrorism at the Service of the Capitalist State

The weapon of the mass strike and workers’ insurrection, responses of the proletariat to the conditions imposed by the development of state capitalism and the needs of generalized war, are the concrete realization of the principle that "the emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves." Forced to respond to capitalist, mainly state, violence with its own class violence, the latter is not a separate activity from the general proletarian movement and its struggles. The violence of the proletariat, whether it is defensive in the face of capitalist repression carried out by the state and its police, or even by private employers’ militias which are always only outgrowths of the anti-proletarian violence of the bourgeois state apparatus, or offensive as in the case of the proletarian insurrection, can only be the work of the proletarians themselves, that is to say, a mass violence.
In a general way, the communist party fights against any voluntarist conception and, in particular, any conception according to which small groups of individuals, including the party, could substitute themselves to the action of the class. In this sense, it rejects any form of putchist vision – a dedicated minority seizing power in the name of the proletariat, which was Blanqui’s vision and which was also widespread in the German KPD and KAPD at the beginning of the 1920s, as unfortunately illustrated by the Hamburg insurrection in 1923. The party also rejects terrorism or the use of violence by minority groups aiming at substituting themselves for the class as a whole, on the grounds that is the latter would be judged to be passive and should be awakened by example.
As an expression of social strata without a historical future and of the decomposition of the petty-bourgeoisie, when it is not directly the emanation of the war that the states are permanently waging, terrorism always constitutes a privileged terrain for the acts of manipulation and provocation by the bourgeoisie’s police order. Advocating the secret action of small minorities, it is in complete opposition to class violence, which pertains to the conscious and organized mass action of the proletariat.

21) The IGCL and the Conditions for the Formation of the Party

The IGCL defends and fights for the future party to be constituted on the programmatic basis of the above principles and positions. While the party does not exist today, the IGCL defends and fights within the proletarian camp, in particular vis-à-vis the other pro-party groups claiming to be part of the Communist Left, so that its components adopt and develop without delay the method, spirit, intervention and functioning of party from today. Indeed, the fight for it is permanent whether the conditions for the party’s formal formation exist or not.
It would be erroneous, and dangerous, to consider in a fatalistic or mechanical way that the party can only be constituted in the course of the revolution itself, or even during the pre-revolutionary thrust; that is to say as an immediate product of the struggle. In particular, to reduce the action of the party or of the communist groups to the passive expectation that the great masses of the proletariat will spontaneously recognize it, is a desertion of the daily and permanent struggle, including within the class itself, for the formation of the party. Likewise, it is erroneous and dangerous to believe that the constitution of the party is simply a matter of will and that it can be decreed at any time in a voluntarist manner. In particular, any conception that reduces the criteria for the formation of the party to the mere level of influence in the working masses of the communist currents and groups and to the number of members in their ranks, or any workerist or even sociological conception of the party, and which tends to take back and adopt a democratic point of view – the adhesion or the majority support of the proletarians to the party as a condition of action – is to be fought and rejected. Taking the result – the influence and political leadership – for the cause, this type of conception opens the door to artificial projects of party and its formation to the detriment of the dialectical reality of the class struggle and of the party-class relation.
The exacerbation of capitalism’s contradictions and the assertiveness and development of the proletarian struggle inevitably provoke an exacerbation of the divergences and a political decantation within the proletarian camp. Far from waiting passively for the latter to realize, it is up to its pro-party components, in particular those claiming to be of the Communist Left, to assume and accelerate the confrontation and clarification of these divergences, to push them to the point of decantation and the selection of the groups which will be called to constitute the party. There is in fact a historical interaction, a dialectical link, between the development of the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat and the struggle for the clarification of the programmatic positions, of the political platform, which should serve as a basis for the effective foundation and political unity of the party. History teaches us that the political party of the proletariat is formed around currents, fractions or parties which, following a political decantation and selection in relation to the development of the class struggle, have emerged as the main pole of regroupment and around which the party is formed. In general, this is due to their own history, in particular their links with the party of the past; by their capacity to defend proletarian principles; and to make their political orientations and slogans real elements and factors in the class struggle. They then become, and must fight to become, the pole around which the other revolutionary components, old that remained faithful to the principles, or new that are emerging and joining the programmatic positions of the communist fraction, regroup and form the party.
History also teaches us that the formation of the real party, always the result of a political struggle in the face of hesitations, reserves, doubts, reticence, or even opposition, is imposed at the latest as soon as the intervention, the orientations and the slogans of the communist groups or fractions become a permanent concrete element and factor of the situation, of the balance of power between the classes, even when they are still in minority, even if the masses do not yet take hold of them, do not yet realize them. Having become a permanent reference and orientation of struggle both by the development of the class struggle and by the committed and willful intervention of the communist fractions and groups, their orientations and slogans are objects and the immediate stakes of the very fate of the struggle and of the confrontation with the bourgeois forces in the working class milieu. Thus, and even if still in minority and not taken up by the whole revolutionary class, communist orientations and slogans become material forces and direct factors of the confrontation between the classes. Then, the formal constitution of the party takes on a real concrete historical meaning, is a real stake of the immediate situation and becomes an urgency. Then, the resolute fight for it is the absolute priority of the most consequent communist groups, as the experiences of the Bolshevik fraction in 1917 and of the Abstentionist Fraction in 1920-1921 in Italy teach us.
If it still exists and has succeeded in fulfilling the task it sets itself in this platform, the permanent fight for the Party, the IGCL will then disappear, will dissolve, and its members will join the International and World Proletarian Communist Party.

July 2021

Saturday 23 October 2021


[1See our statements on the platforms of the Internationalist Communist Tendency and International Communist Current

[2All quotations from the Manifesto are from the version available on https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch01.htm#007.

[3Karl Marx, The First International and After, Political Writings, vol. 3, Penguin Classics