Revolution or War n°25

(September 2023)

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New World, Old World (Battaglia comunista, ICT)

That we live in a world in constant becoming now seems even superfluous to remember, so lapidary is it. “Todo cambia” [Everything changes], as the symbol of Argentina’s singing Mercedes Sosa used to sing, referring to the things of the world as it passes and goes.

We live in an age where you go to sleep at night and get up the next morning with a message on WhatsApp announcing, “Dear sir it was nice to have you in our big and beloved family, but circumstances, stronger than us, impose on us, with great sorrow ... in short, I don’t know if you understand, we no longer need your services. As of today you are dismissed.” Greetings and kisses. See? Todo cambia, todo cambiaa? But why didn’t the bosses fire before? Well sure, the way has changed, however, even just ten years ago these methods were still not used. This is also the sign of the times, just by breathing (possibly well protected), you can feel the change in the air every minute. Industrial/technological revolutions follow one another at a frantic pace, and at every turn of the tide, trawling takes its victims with it. The bourgeoisie looks no one in the face, not even its mother, because the mother or father, to which it genuflects is only one: Profit. Todo cambia, but not profit, not exploitation, not wage labor slavery, not layoffs. Todo cambia, but, as Tomasi di Lampedusa said in The Leopard (not coincidentally a nobleman), “One must change everything to change nothing.” Indeed, one must change everything precisely to keep the proletariat increasingly subjugated to the interests of capital. Change everything to keep the chains of wage labor slavery always tightly around the necks of the wage-earning masses. But let us proceed in order.

Industrial Revolutions

A premise first, we do not want to make a historical treatise on the industrial revolutions, especially with regard to the past centuries, but simply fix in the memory the most important steps, from the historical point of view, of the path of modern capitalism.

The first industrial revolution began to take its first steps in the second half of the 18th century, almost exclusively in Britain, between the 1760s/80s and the first half of the 1800s. From a technological point of view, the discovery that gave a formidable boost to production was undoubtedly the steam engine. But the discoveries in technology especially in textiles, which were followed by mining, iron and steel, and mechanical engineering; were increasingly accompanied by a complete revolution also in a new organization of labor: the first factories and the new division of labor arose, with great concentrations of masses of workers. There began for the nascent working class and the proletariat the modern hell, new technological tortures so well recounted by Engels in his Condition of the Working Class in England. Even with the obvious differences, the fate of the oppressed always beats the same chime.

“This condemnation to be buried alive in the mill, to give constant attention to the tireless machine is felt as the keenest torture by the operatives, and its action upon mind and body is in the long run stunting in the highest degree.” (Engels) [1]. The misery of the ’buried alive,’ of today’s stellar, modern, civilized society, passes like a raging fury over modern workers without leaving a visible trace, but it clouds consciences and brains as never before. A silent and invisible fury that sweeps whatever stands in its way. Even today, whatever one may say, the proletarians who are ’lucky’ enough to be exploited are automatons in the service of automatons. The ultimate goal, profit, has not changed. What has changed are the feelings, the anger, the eyes, yes the eyes of the working class that have become clouded and can no longer distinguish in the masters their enemy. Engels again quotes a poem in his writing that expresses with great efficacy, the “opinion of the English workers on the factory system”: “His priesthood [the bourgeoisie] are a hungry band, Blood-thirsty, proud, and bold/‘Tis they direct his giant hand, In turning blood to gold/For filthy gain in their servile chain All nature’s rights they bind/They mock at lovely woman’s pain, And to manly tears are blind/The sighs and groans of Labour’s sons Are music in their ear/And the skeleton shades, of lads and maids, In the Steam King’s hell appear.”

We wanted to report almost in full this cry of pain of the English workers against the bourgeoisie, in this case against its tool (the steam engine). But it is a cry of pain that should resonate throughout the world; it is a cry of pain that surely Russian and Ukrainian mothers, women and men know well. Because those hundreds of thousands of dead on the altar of the interests of the imperialist bourgeoisie of all the actors in the war, it is “Music” to the ears of these criminals, but it is the same as in 1845, the same legitimate “Music” daughter of that steam engine, of that loom with the “iron arm”; it is a cry of pain that should be turned into rage; it is a cry of pain that should unite proletarians all over the world against the common enemy: The bourgeoisie, capitalism.

The Second Industrial Revolution

This was immediately followed by the second industrial revolution, which began almost uninterruptedly in the second half of the 19th century (around 1860) and spread to several European countries. It continued until about the end of 1915. This period was marked above all by the application of electricity on a large scale, with the obvious spin-offs to electric machines and thus to the locomotion and construction of new machines and new products; then the internal combustion engine was invented, followed by the automobile. This opened up new horizons in all fields. “Industrial gigantism” with factories of thousands of workers was becoming more and more established. Both finance capital and so-called globalization began to take their first steps. The United States and Germany overtook Britain, world trade was doing business as never before. “Fordism” (the putting into practice of Taylorism), i.e., the parcelization of work, the assembly line (as we can see, the bourgeoisie makes things clear right away), which reduced man similar to a monkey, (with all due respect to the poor animal), endlessly repeating the exact same operation throughout the work shift, (a clear example in this regard is provided by C. Chaplin in Modern Times), draining him of all psycho-physical energy. But even today on assembly lines, albeit with the help of robots, information technology and a new organization of work – think of just-in-time, of Japanese origin, which almost completely eliminates warehouse inventories – Fordism is still alive and well.

The third-industrial revolution is identified, in a nutshell, with the transition from mechanical and analog technology to digital electronic technology, i.e., information technology, It begins to take its first steps in the second half of the 20th century. Before delving into the dark forest of further revolutions, fourth, fifth etc., it is interesting to point out the teachings of the Great Treccani Encyclopedia , in reference to the Industrial Revolution: “The Industrial Revolution was the very expression of that liberal revolution (sic!) which replaced the king by God’s will with a nation and a state. In this nation, individuals were established less and less by the blood rights acquired from their ancestors, and more and more by the ability to accumulate sufficient wealth to be co-opted into the command system of the society in which they lived.” The masterminds produce the ideological crap apt to keep the working masses subjugated, and in so doing they confirm all the more the validity of obsolete and antiquated Marxism: “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force.” (K. Marx, German Ideology)

We leave behind the world of yesterday by repeating, once again, that it is always the mother of all revolutions. We do so with a premise that could easily have opened our writing. We begin again with Marx and Engels: “The bourgeoisie cannot exist without continually revolutionizing the instruments of production, then the relations of production, then the whole set of social relations. By contrast, the first condition of existence of all previous industrial classes was the unchanged preservation of the old system of production. The continuous revolutionizing of production, the uninterrupted shaking of all social conditions, the eternal uncertainty and movement distinguish the epoch of the bourgeoisie from all others.” [2]

The New Way

The epoch we are going through confronts us with epochal changes. All the best intelligentsia of the globe is prone at the feet of capital with the hope of getting it out of the “entanglements” and giving it new life. The “production of ideas” follows material production step by step in its constant changes and upheavals. From right to left it is all a teeming with debates on the goodness of the eternal “best” society ever, despite all its flaws.

One author who caused a sensation with the release of his book in 1995, titled The End of Work, was U.S. economist and sociologist Jeremy Rifkin. He predicts how, with the ever-increasing use of computers, robotics, and automation increased and tend to continue to increase unemployment. He shows, with data in hand, that despite a sharp increase in labor productivity, unemployment continues to rise: “Despite a 2.8 percent growth in the economy in 2002 and a rapid 4.7 percent growth in labor productivity-the most conspicuous increase since 1950-more than a million workers have exited the job market in the past year.” [translated from the Italian version]

Rifkin (militant in the peace movement since the Vietman War years) offers his wonder recipes, which are already concluded in the subtitle of his book, The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era. That is, in order to avoid the dystopia of a barbaric and criminal world as a consequence of the array of hundreds of millions of unemployed, underclass and criminals as a result of the most intense automation ever in human history, he proposes the utopia of... volunteerism, the third sector as he calls it. To substantiate his thesis he resorts to Alexis de Tocqueville and his moral associations: “In democratic countries, knowing how to aggregate is the mother of all other knowledge, and on its progress depends that of all others.” [3] Had we known that voluntary associations were enough, historically, to build C. Fourier’s modern phalanstery (again, not to stray too far from Tocqueville), we could have turned our energies to building the perfect community, without masters or capitalists. But perhaps today the time is ripe to implore the Musks, the Bezos, Goldman Sachs: Let us pass, we are volunteers.

Today the debate is overwhelmingly about Artificial Intelligence (AI), and especially its effects, which many, if action is not taken in time, call disastrous (perhaps).

Before we move through acronyms (ChatGPT, LLM, BigG, Bard), it would be useful to remember that hand in hand with the military war, which currently sees Ukraine as the hottest point, it is useful to recall that a war, no less bloody, is being played out in the global markets in chips and semiconductors of which Taiwan is the world’s undisputed leader. Late last year Biden had enacted severe restrictions on U.S. companies, prohibiting them from “exporting critical chip-making tools to China”, also “companies of any nationality will be prevented from supplying Chinese entities with U.S.-component hardware or software.” These measures seek in every way, to put its major rival/enemy in trouble in the high-tech and AI sector; the rival just shortly after, responded just as harshly. Micron Technology (a U.S. multinational company active in various types of semiconductors), was “banned by Xi’s government, decreeing a trade blockade.”

The Present and the Future

And now let us take a closer look at what the present and future holds for the working class. On the horizon, unfortunately, we see only tsunami-like waves. But let us unravel the mysteries of new technologies. Of course, we are not interested in the mainly technical aspect, except for a cursory glance; that is a field of expertise of computer scientists at all levels. What we are particularly concerned with is the fallout, in all respects on the proletariat at large.


More precisely ChatGPT (OpenAI) Chatbot Bing GPT-4. Let us first explain what a bot is: A bot is a computer program designed to mimic or replace the actions of a human being by performing automated, repetitive tasks. And so far we are still in the “old”, because those who tinker with PCs will have happened dozens of times to have to answer forms that at the bottom contain a box to check off “I am not a robot”, after, however, correctly typing deliberately distorted alphanumeric characters (also known as CAPTCHA). The chatbot, on the other hand, is already a much more sophisticated leap forward: “Basically, it is software that simulates and processes human conversations (written or spoken), enabling users to interact with digital devices as if they were communicating with a real person.’ ChatGPTis in order of time the latest revolution in the field of Artificial Intelligence:

“More specifically, it is a large language model (LLM) designed to produce human-like text and converse with people, hence the “Chat” in ChatGPT. GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer. The GPT models are pre-trained by human developers and then are left to learn for themselves and generate ever increasing amounts of knowledge, delivering that knowledge in an acceptable way to humans (chat). Practically, this means you present the model with a query or request by entering it into a text box. The AI then processes this request and responds based on the information that it has available. It can do many tasks, from holding a conversation to writing an entire exam paper; from making a brand logo to composing music and more. So much more than a simple Google-type search engine or Wikipedia, it is claimed. Human developers are working to raise the ‘intelligence’ of GPTs. The current version of GPT is 3.5 with 4.0 coming out by the end of this year. And it is rumoured that ChatGPT-5 could achieve ‘artificial general intelligence’ (AGI). This means it could pass the Turing test, which is a test that determines if a computer can communicate in a manner that is indistinguishable from a human.” [4]

The AI sector has determined but more importantly will determine a no-holds-barred competition among the five biggest Big Tech companies: Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Meta, whose revenues are around 1,47 trillion dollars; to give an idea of what this means, just think that the GDP of Spain (the fourth largest in the EU), is around 1,4 trillion euros. Despite the dangers threatened about AI: ’annihilating humanity,’ Elon Musk (the founder of Tesla) is already at work creating his own creature to compete with ChatGPT; it will be called TruthGpt. Meanwhile, to combat the dominance of Google, the Chatbot Bing GPT-4 the search engine of Microsoft since early May this year is available for everyone. But Google also launched again in May its BARD, also based on LLM (Large Linguistic Model). And while Big Tech with their bosses in person and teams of well-meaning philosophers and intellectuals, devoutly religious of holy capital, lament about the catastrophic effects of AI, they all jump into the new gold seam because profit is profit and everything else can go screw itself: let Samson and the entire human race perish.

The employment effects of today’s technologies of robotics, automation, and work organization – see also smart working (intelligent work (?) being done at home) – are already showing their impact: “According to, which records job cuts across the industry, some 152 thousand employees were laid off by 2022 from more than 1,000 companies. Another report by the firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, which has been tracking the labor market for nearly 30 years, says the biggest spike in layoffs in the technology sector occurred in November, with nearly 53 thousand cuts. The figure is the highest monthly total for the industry since 2000, when the firm began keeping detailed track of the tech industry. It is also the highest year-over-year number of layoffs for the industry since 2002.”(2) Amazon, Twitter, Meta, in the second half of 2022 made tens of thousands of layoffs. We are talking about the technology sector alone, and the forecast for 2023 is no different.

“The level of robotics use has nearly doubled in the major capitalist economies over the past decade. Japan and Korea have the highest number of robots per production employee, over 300 per 10,000 employees, followed by Germany with over 250 per 10,000 employees. The United States has less than half as many robots per 10,000 employees as Japan and the Republic of Korea. The rate of robot adoption increased during this period by 40 percent in Brazil, 210 percent in China, 11 percent in Germany, 57 percent in the Republic of Korea, and 41 percent in the United States.” [5] This is the future, and here is what lies ahead: “Artificial intelligence could replace the equivalent of 300 million full-time jobs. That’s one of the highlights of the report by Goldman Sachs, which mentions that about two-thirds of occupations are exposed to some degree to IA. Some more and some less. In fact, a quarter of the labor activity in the United States and Europe are likely to be totally replaced. According to the report, those who lose 50 percent or more of their daily workload due to a bot.”

The future? Will it be more or less distant? Hard to say. As Marxists we are not used to reasoning with a crystal ball. We leave that to magicians, priests and hucksters. We can only say that the “compensation theory” will tend to “compensate” less and less, that is, workers who are “set free” in one sector will with increasing difficulty find jobs in other sectors or branches of production. But from this Marxian theory we come to its most important law: The tendential fall in the profit rate, precisely as a consequence of a different organic composition of total capital. Roberts and other “Marxists” while striving to understand (?), continue to use capitalist categories even in the language: “Robots and AI will intensify the contradiction under capitalism between the drive by capitalists to raise the productivity of labour through ‘mechanisation’ (robots) and the resulting tendency for the profitability in this investment for the owners of capital to fall. This is Marx’s most important law in political economy – and it becomes even more relevant in the world of robots.” (Ibidem) Aside from the fact that his explanation is rather smoky, that a “Marxist” would turn the falling trend of the profit rate, into the falling trend of profitability, is all telling, and mind you that in his article and posts, he never talks about profit but always about profitability. But he continues in his narrative by quoting another “Marxist” sympathizer John Lanchester: It seems to me that the only way that world would work is with alternative forms of ownership. The reason, the only reason, for thinking this better world is possible is that the dystopian future of capitalism-plus-robots may prove just too grim to be politically viable. This alternative future would be the kind of world dreamed of by William Morris, full of humans engaged in meaningful and sanely remunerated labour.” What then he means by alternative forms of property would be interesting to know. But those already exist and are called private property: i.e., the form and basis on which today’s social edifice stands: the capitalist state. Then we come to the slums of the better enlightened bourgeoisie with “meaningful and sanely remunerated labour.” What does it mean that we will be paid with sanitized and disinfected money? So money one of the fundamental categories of the capitalist system will continue to circulate in a celestial world? And this is where Mark Zuckerberg may come to the rescue with his “Metaverse” and plunge us into a virtual world, where instead of cocaine, there will be goggles to keep us always suspended in the void, hovering ethereally in the heavenly world of angels. We are on the verge of vomiting... Not least because as soon as we take off the goggles we find ourselves in the usual bourgeois pigsty.

But back to the true Marxist, Roberts: “Indeed, the biggest obstacle to a world of super-abundance is capital itself. Well before we get to ‘singularity’ (if we ever do) and human labour is totally replaced, capitalism will experience an increasingly deeper series of man-made economic crises” But how, first he picks on capitalism, “the biggest obstacle”, and then? It’s man’s fault for causing the crises: the metalworker on 1,000 euros a month, the unemployed person on zero euros, the maid, the garbage collector, Musk, Soros all together passionately. Ooh la la! But it’s not over because finally, served on a golden platter comes the solution to the enigma that has given us so much trouble, here it is: “A super-abundant society where human toil is reduced to a minimum and poverty is eliminated won’t happen unless the ownership of the means of production changes from private control (capitalist oligarchy) to ownership in common (democratic socialism). That’s the choice between utopia and dystopia.” (Ibidem). So what was needed, tomorrow morning, a year from now, no hurry, is that we go to the bourgeois capitalists and tell them, hat in hand, as befits polite people, excuse me gentlemen will you step aside?, because we have decided to establish democratic socialism, if you agree.

The reality is quite different, let us leave these Marxists of Holy Natal to their fate, to their pastures. Enemies of the proletariat on a par with the “real” enemies.

The former in good company with fake “communists”, are on the opposite side of the barricade, always ready to turn the other cheek, always willing to reason to “set things right”. There is no example in history of the bourgeoisie willingly surrendering its power. The latter are criminals who do not disdain for one minute to send millions of proletarians to the pavement, to laugh in the faces of the starving, to send tons of goods to the scrap to keep prices from falling, to spend trillions on armaments, to send millions of proletarians to the slaughterhouse, as they have always done. And when we say criminals, we don’t do it just to say something bombastic, we do it because we always have before our eyes the children, women, old people, men who croak every day for the dirty interests of those who should disappear from the face not of the Earth, but of the universe. Because we don’t stand for making this an everyday normality, like drinking a glass of water. These criminals are the capitalist bourgeoisie. Their interests are irreconcilable with the interests of the vast majority of society. The emancipation of the proletarians, their liberation from the slavery of wage labor, from slavery in general, passes through the violent destruction of the capitalist social organization and its state, No conciliation is possible. But to achieve this goal the proletariat must organize itself as “one man”, and to do so it must build with self-denial and sacrifice its main instrument, the International Party to lead it toward the only dream worth dreaming: a society without classes and without masters, the future communist society.

Battaglia Comunista, August 2, 2023



[2. Translated directly by the IGCL from BC’s Italian version.

[3. Idem.