|International Communist Party|
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Every class struggle is a political struggle (Marx).
A struggle which limits itself to obtaining a new distribution of economic gains is not yet a political struggle because it is not directed against the social structure of the production relations.
The disruption of the relations of production peculiar to a particular social epoch and the overthrow of the rule of a certain social class is the result of a long and often fluctuating political struggle. The key to this struggle is the question of the State: the problem of "who has power?" (Lenin).
The struggle of the modern proletariat manifests and extends itself
as a political struggle with the formation and the action of the class
party. The specific features of this party are to be found in the following
thesis: the complete development of the industrial capitalist system and
of bourgeois power which issued from the liberal and democratic revolutions,
not only does not historically exclude but prepares and sharpens more and
more the conflict of class interests and its development into civil war,
into armed struggle.
The communist party, as defined by this historical foresight and by this program, accomplishes the following tasks as long as the bourgeoisie maintains power:
a) it elaborates and propagates the theory of social development, of the economic laws which characterize the present social system of production relations, of class conflicts which arise from it, of the State and of the revolution;
b) it assures the unity and historical persistence of the proletarian organisation. Unity does not mean the material grouping of the working class and semi-working class strata which, due to the very fact of the dominance of the exploiting class, are under the influence of discordant political leaderships and methods of action. It means instead the close international linking-up of the vanguard elements who are fully orientated on the integral revolutionary line. Persistence means the continuous claim of the unbroken dialectical line connects the positions of critique and struggle adopted by the movement during the time course of a series of changing conditions;
c) it prepares well in advance for the class mobilisation and offensive by appropriately employing every possible means of propaganda, agitation and action, in all particular struggles triggered off by immediate interests. This action culminates in the organisation of the illegal and insurrectional apparatus for the conquest of power.
When general conditions and the degree of organisational, political
and tactical solidity of the class party reach a point where the general
struggle for power is unleashed, the party which has led the revolutionary
class to victory through the social war, leads it likewise in the fundamental
task of breaking and demolishing all the military and administrative organs
which compose the capitalist State. This demolition also strikes at the
network of organs, whatever they may be, which allege to represent the
various opinions or corporative interests through the intermediation of
bodies of delegates. The bourgeois class State must be destroyed whether
it presents itself as the mendacious interclassist expression of the majority
of citizens or as the more or less open dictatorship wielded by a government
apparatus which pretends to fulfil a national, racial or social-popular
mission; if this does not take place, the revolution will be crushed.
In the historical stage which follows the dispersal of the apparatus of capitalist domination, the task of the political party of the working class is as vital as ever because the class struggle – though dialectically inverted – continues.
Communist theory in regard to the State and the revolution is characterized above all by the fact that it excludes all possibility of adapting the legislative and executive mechanism of the bourgeois State to the socialist transformation of the economy (the social-democratic position). But it equally excludes the possibility of achieving by means of a brief violent crisis the destruction of the State and a transformation of the traditional economic relationships which the State defended up to the last moment (the anarchist position). It also denies that the constitution of a new productive organization can be left to the spontaneous and scattered activity of groups of producers shop by shop or trade by trade (the tradeunionist position).
Any social class whose power has been overthrown, even if by means of terror, survives for a long time within the texture of the social organism. Far from abandoning its hopes of revenge, it seeks to politically reorganise itself and to re-establish its domination either in a violent or disguised way. It has turned from a ruling class into a defeated and dominated one, but it has not instantly disappeared.
The proletariat – which in its turn will disappear as a class alongside all other classes with the realization of communism – organises itself as a ruling class (Communist Manifesto) in the first stage of the post-capitalist epoch. After the destruction of the old State it represents the new proletarian State, i.e., the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The precondition for going beyond the capitalist system is the overthrow of bourgeois power and the destruction of its State. The condition for bringing about such a deep and radical social transformation is the creation of a new proletarian State apparatus, capable of using force and coercion just as all other historical States.
The presence of such an apparatus does not characterise communist society,
it instead characterises the stage of its construction. Once this construction
is secured, classes and class rule will no longer exist. But the essential
organ of class rule is the State – and the State can be nothing else. Therefore
communists do not advocate the proletarian State as a mystical creed, an
or an ideal but as a dialectical tool, a class weapon that will
slowly wither away (Engels) through the very realisation of its functions;
this will take place gradually, through a long process, as the social organisation
is transformed from a system of coercion of men (as it has always been
since the dawn of history) into a comprehensive, scientifically built network
for the management of things and natural forces.
The role of the State with regard to social classes and collective organizations shows fundamental differences, if we compare the history of the regimes that spring from the bourgeois revolution, and the situation after the victory of the proletariat.
a) Revolutionary bourgeois ideology, prior to its struggle and final victory, presented its future post-feudal State not as a class State but as the people’s State, based on the abolition of every inequality before the law, which it presented to be sufficient to assure freedom and equality for all members of society.
Proletarian theory openly asserts that its future State will be a class State, i.e., a tool wielded by one class only, as long as classes exist. The other classes will be excluded from the State and «outlawed» in fact as well as in principle. The working class having achieved power "will share it with no one" (Lenin).
b) After the bourgeois political victory and in keeping with a tenacious ideological campaign, constitutional charters or declarations of principles were solemnly proclaimed in the different countries as a basis and foundation of the State. They were considered as being immutable in time, a definitive expression of the at last discovered immanent rules of social life. From then on, the entire interplay of political forces was supposed to take place within the insuperable framework of these statutes.
During the struggle against the existing regime, the proletarian State is not presented as a stable and fixed realization of a set of rules governing the social relationships inferred from an idealistic research into the nature of man and society. During its lifetime the working class State will continually evolve up to the point that it finally dissolves: the nature of social organization, of human association, will radically change according to the modifications of technology and the forces of production, and man’s nature will be equally subject to deep alterations always moving away more and more from the beast of burden and slave which he was. Anything such as a codified and permanent constitution to be proclaimed after the workers revolution is nonsense, it has no place in the communist program. Technically, it will be convenient to adopt written rules which however will in no way be intangible and will retain an "instrumental" and temporary character, putting aside all jests about social ethics and natural law.
c) Having conquered and even crushed the feudal apparatus of power, the victorious capitalist class did not hesitate to use the force of the State to repress the attempts of counterrevolution and restoration. However the most resolute terrorist measures were justified as being directed not against the class enemies of capitalism but against the traitors of the people, of the nation, of the country, and of civil society, all these hollow concepts being identified with the State itself and, as a matter of fact, with the government and the party in power.
The victorious proletariat, by using its State in order to "crush the unavoidable and desperate resistance of the bourgeoisie" (Lenin), will strike at the old rulers and their last supporters every time they oppose, in a logical defense of their class interests, the measures intended to uproot economic privilege. These social elements will keep an estranged and passive position vis-à-vis the apparatus of power: whenever they try to free themselves from the passivity imposed upon them, material force will subdue them. They will share no "social contract", they will have no "legal or patriotic duty". As veritable social prisoners of war (as in fact were the former aristocrats and clergymen for the Jacobin bourgeoisie) they will have nothing to betray because they will not be requested to take any ridiculous oath of allegiance.
d) The historical glitter of the popular assemblies and democratic gatherings hardly disguised the fact that, at its birth, the bourgeois State formed armed bodies and a police force for the internal and external struggle against the old regime and quickly substituted the guillotine for the gallows. This executive apparatus was charged with the task of administering legal force both on the great historical level and against isolated violations of the rules of appropriation and exchange characteristic of the economy founded on private property. It acted in a perfectly natural manner against the first proletarian movements which threatened, even if only instinctively, the bourgeois form of production. The imposing reality of the new social dualism was hidden by the game of the "legislative" apparatus which claimed to be able to bring about the participation of all citizens and all the opinions of the various parties in the State and in the management of the State with a perfect equilibrium and within an atmosphere of social peace.
The proletarian State, as an open class dictatorship, will dispose of all distinctions between the executive and legislative levels of power, both of which will be united in the same organs. The distinction between the legislative and executive is, in effect, characteristic of a regime which conceals and protects the dictatorship of one class under an external cloak which is multi-class and multi-party. "The Commune was a working, not a parliamentary body" (Marx).
e) The bourgeois State in its classical form – in coherence with an individualist ideology which the theoretical fiction universally extends to all citizens and which is the mental reflection of the reality of an economy founded on the monopoly of private property by one class – refused to allow any intermediate body other than elective constitutional assemblies to exist between the isolated individual subject and the legal State centre. Political clubs and parties that had been necessary during the insurrectional stage were tolerated by it by virtue of the demagogic assertion of free thought and on the condition that they exist as simple confessional groupings and electoral agencies. In a later stage the reality of class repression forced the State to tolerate the association of economic interests, the trade unions, which it distrusted as a "State within the State". Finally, unions became a form of class solidarity adopted by the capitalists themselves for their own class interests and aims. Moreover, under the pretext of legally recognising the trade unions, the State undertook the task of absorbing and sterilizing them, thus depriving them of any autonomy so as to prevent the revolutionary party from taking their leadership.
Trade unions will still be present in the proletarian State as long as there still be employers or at least impersonal enterprises where workers remain wage earners paid in money. Their function will be to protect the standard of living of the working class, their action being parallel on this point to that of the party and the State. Non-working class unions will be forbidden. Actually, on the question of distribution of income between the working class and the non-proletarian or semi-proletarian classes, the worker’s situation could be threatened by considerations other than the superior needs of the general revolutionary struggle against international capitalism. But this possibility, which will long subsist, justifies the unions’ secondary role in relation to the political communist party, the international revolutionary vanguard, which forms a unitary whole with the parties struggling in the still capitalist countries and as such leads the proletarian State.
The proletarian State can only be animated by a single party and it would be senseless to require that this party organizes in its ranks a statistical majority and be supported by such a majority in "popular elections" – that old bourgeois trap. One of the historical possibilities is the existence of political parties composed in appearance by proletarians, but in reality influenced by counterrevolutionary traditions or by foreign capitalisms. This contradiction, the most dangerous of all, cannot be resolved through the recognition of formal rights nor through the process of voting within the framework of an abstract "class democracy". This too will be a crisis to be liquidated in terms of force relations. There is no statistical contrivance which can ensure a satisfactory revolutionary solution; this will depend solely upon the degree of solidity and clarity reached by the revolutionary communist movement throughout the world. A century ago in the West, and fifty years ago in the Czarist Empire, Marxists rightly argued against the simple-minded democrats that the capitalists and proprietors are a minority, and therefore the only true government of the majority is the government of the working class. If the word democracy means power of the majority, the democrats should stand on our class side. But this word both in its literal sense ("power of the people") as well as in the dirty use that is more and more being made of it, means "power belonging not to one but to all classes". For this historical reason, just as we reject "bourgeois democracy" and "democracy in general" (as Lenin also did), we must politically and theoretically exclude, as a contradiction in terms, "class democracy" and "workers’ democracy".
The dictatorship advocated by marxism openly claims to be necessary because it is impossible that it be unanimously accepted and furthermore it will not have the naiveté to abdicate for lack of having a majority of votes, if such a thing were ascertainable; then it will not run the risk of being confused with a dictatorship of men or groups of men who take control of the government and substitute themselves for the working class. The revolution requires a dictatorship, because it would be ridiculous to subordinate the revolution to a 100% acceptance or a 51% majority. Wherever these figures are displayed, it means that the revolution has been betrayed.
In conclusion the communist party will rule alone, and will never give up power without a physical struggle. This bold declaration of not yielding to the deception of figures and of not making use of them will aid the struggle against revolutionary degeneration.
In the higher stage of communism – a stage which does not know commodity
production, money nor nations and which will also witness the death of
the State – trade unions will be deprived of their "reason to be". The
party as an organization for combat will be necessary as long as the remnants
of capitalism survive in the world. Moreover, it may always have the task
of being the depository and propagator of social doctrine, which gives
a general vision of the development of the relations between human society
and material nature.
The marxist conception, that of substituting parliamentary assemblies with working bodies, does not lead us back into "economic democracy" either, i.e. into a system which would adapt the State organs to the workplaces, to the productive or commercial units, etc., while excluding from any representative function the remaining employers and the economic individuals still owning property. The elimination of the employer and the proprietor only defines half of socialism; the other half, the most significant one, consists of the elimination of capitalist economic anarchy (Marx). As the new socialist organization emerges and develops with the party and the revolutionary State in the foreground, it will not limit itself to striking only the former employers and their flunkies but above all it will redistribute the social tasks and responsibilities of individuals in quite a new and original way.
Therefore the network of enterprises and services such as they have been inherited from capitalism will not be taken as the basis of an apparatus of so-called "sovereignty", that is of the delegation of powers within the State and up to the level of its central bodies. It is precisely the presence of the single-class State and of the solidly and qualitatively unitary and homogeneous party which offers the maximum of favorable conditions for a reshaping of social machinery, which is to be driven as little as possible by the pressures of the limited interests of small groups and as much as possible by general data and by their scientific study applied to the interests of collective welfare. The changes in the productive mechanism will be enormous; let us only think of the program for reversing the relationships between town and country, on which Marx and Engels insisted so much and which is the exact antithesis to present trends in all known countries.
Therefore, the network modelled after the working place is an inadequate
expression which repeats the old Proudhonist and Lassallean positions that
Marxism long ago rejected and surpassed.
The definition of the type of links between the organs of the class State and its base depends first of all upon the results of historical dialectics and cannot be deduced from "eternal principles", from "natural law", or from a sacred and inviolable constitutional charter. Any details in this regard would be mere utopia. There is not a grain of utopianism in Marx, Engels stated. The very idea of the famous delegation of power by the isolated individual (elector) thanks to a platonic act emanating from his free opinion must be left to the foggy realms of metaphysics; opinions in actuality are but a reflection of material conditions and social forms, and power consists of the intervention of physical force.
The negative characterisation of workers’ dictatorship is clearly defined: the bourgeois and semi-bourgeois will no longer have political rights, they will be prevented by force from gathering in groups of common interests or in associations for political agitation; they will never be allowed to publicly vote, elect, or delegate others to any «post» or function whatsoever. But even the relationship between the worker – a recognised and active member of the class in power – and the State apparatus will no longer retain that fictitious and deceitful characteristic of a delegation of power, of a representation through the intermediary of a deputy, an election ticket, or by a party. Delegation means in effect the renunciation to the possibility of direct action. The pretended "sovereignty" of the democratic right is but an abdication, and in most cases it is an abdication in favor of a scoundrel.
The working members of society will be grouped into local territorial
organs according to their place of residence, and in certain cases according
to the displacements imposed by their participation in a productive mechanism
in full transformation. Thanks to their uninterrupted and continuous action,
the participation of all active social elements in the mechanism of the
State apparatus, and therefore in the management and exercise of class
power, will be assured. To sketch these mechanisms is impossible before
the class relationships from which they will spring have been concretely
The Paris Commune established as most important principles (see Marx, Engels, Lenin) that its members and officials would be subject to recall at any time, and that their salary would not exceed the wage of an average worker. Any separation between the producers on the periphery and the bureaucrats at the centre is thus eliminated by means of systematic rotations. Civil service will cease being a career and even a profession. No doubt, when put into practice, these controls will create tremendous difficulties, but it was long ago that Lenin expressed his contempt for all plans of revolutions to be carried out without difficulties! The inevitable conflicts will not be completely resolved by drawing up piles of rules and regulations: they will constitute a historical and political problem and will express a real relationship of forces. The Bolshevik revolution did not stop in front of the Constituent Assembly but dispersed it. The workers’, peasants’ and soldiers’ councils had risen. This new type of State organs which burst forth in the blaze of the social war (and were already present in the revolution of 1905) extended from the village to the entire country through a network of different levels of territorial units; their formation did not answer to any of the prejudices about the "rights of man" or the "universal, free, direct and secret" suffrage!
The communist party unleashes and wins the civil war, it occupies the
key positions in a military and social sense, it multiplies its means of
propaganda and agitation a thousand-fold through seizing buildings and
public establishments. And without losing time and without procedural whims,
it establishes the "armed bodies of workers" of which Lenin spoke, the
red guard, the revolutionary police. At the Soviet meetings it wins over
a majority to the slogan: "All power to the Soviets!". Is this majority
a merely legal event, or a coldly and plainly numerical fact? Not at all!
Should anyone – be he a spy or a well-intentioned but misled worker – vote
for the Soviet to renounce or compromise the power conquered thanks to
the blood of the proletarian fighters, he will be kicked out by his comrades’
rifle butts. And no one will waste time with counting him in the "legal
minority", that criminal hypocrisy which the revolution can do without
and which the counterrevolution can only feed upon.
Historical facts different from those of Russia in 1917 (i.e. the recent collapse of feudal despotism, a disastrous war, the role played by opportunist leaders) could create, while remaining on the same fundamental line, different practical forms of the basic network of the State. From the time the proletarian movement left utopianism behind, it has found its way and assured its success thanks not only to the real experience of the present mode of production and the structure of the present State, but also to the experience of the strategical mistakes of the proletarian revolution, both on the battlefield of the "hot" civil war where the Communards of 1871 gloriously fell and on the "cold" one which was lost between 1917 and 1926 – this last was the great battle of Russia between Lenin’s International and world capitalism supported in the front lines by the miserable complicity of all the opportunists.
Communists have no codified constitutions to propose. They have a world of lies and constitutions – crystallized in the law and in the force of the dominant class – to crush. They know that only a revolutionary and totalitarian apparatus of force and power, which excludes no means, will be able to prevent the infamous relics of a barbarous epoch from rising again – only it will be able to prevent the monster of social privilege, craving for revenge and servitude, from raising its head again and hurling for the thousandth time its deceitful cry of freedom.