(From the pamphlet Sul Filo del Tempo - no 1, May 1953).
1. We use the expression “Marxism” not in the sense of a doctrine discovered or introduced by the person Karl Marx, but in reference to the doctrine which arose with the modern industrial proletariat and which “accompanies” it throughout the course of a social revolution – and although the term “Marxism” has been speculated upon and massively exploited by a series of anti-revolutionary movements, we nevertheless retain it.
2. Marxism, in the only valid sense of the word, is faced today by
main groups of adversaries. First group: those bourgeois who claim that
the mercantile capitalist type of economy is the ultimate one, that its
historical overcoming by the socialist mode of production is a false
and who, very consistently, completely reject the entire doctrine of
determinism and class struggle. Second group: the so-called Stalinist
who claim to accept Marxist historical and economic doctrines even
putting forward demands (in the advanced capitalist countries too)
are not revolutionary but identical to, if not worse than, the politics
(democracy) and economics (popular progressivism) of the traditional
Third group: the professed followers of the revolutionary doctrine and
method who however attribute its present abandonment by the proletarian
majority to initial defects and deficiencies in the theory; which
therefore, to be corrected and updated.
Negators – falsifiers – modernizers. We fight all three, but today consider the modernizers to be the worst.
3. The history of the Marxist left, of radical Marxism, or more precisely, of Marxism, consists of a series of battles against each of the revisionist “waves” which have attacked various aspects of its doctrine and method, setting out from the organic monolithic formation which roughly corresponds with the 1848 Manifesto. Elsewhere we have covered the history of these struggles inside the three historic Internationals: fought against utopians, workerists, libertarians, reformist and gradualist social-democrats, syndicalists of the left and right, social-patriots, and today against national-communists and populist-communists. This struggle, in all its phases spanning four generations, is the heritage not of a few big names, but of a well-defined, compact school, and in the historical sense, of a well-defined party.
4. This long and difficult struggle would loses its connection with the recovery to come if, rather than drawing the lesson of “invariance” from it, we accepted the banal idea that Marxism is a theory in “continuous historical elaboration” which needs to adapt and draw lessons from changing circumstances. Invariably such is the justification used to excuse all the betrayals, of which there has been such abundant evidence, and every revolutionary defeat.
5. The materialist rejection of the idea that a theoretical “system” which arose at such-and-such a moment (or worse still, arose in the mind, and was systemized within the work of, a given man, thinker, or historical leader, or any of those things combined) can encompass the entire course of future history, its laws and principles, in an irrevocable way, shouldn’t be understood as a rejection of the notion that systems of principles can be stable over extremely long periods of time. In fact their stability and resistance to attack, and to being “improved” as well, means they constitute a major weapon in the armory of the “social class” to which they belong, and whose historical task and interests they reflect. The succession of such systems and bodies of doctrine and praxis, is tied not to the advent of outstanding man, but rather to the succession of “modes of production”, that is, to the types of material organization of the living human collectivity.
6. Although obviously having recognized the formal content of the bodies of doctrine of all the great historical eras as wrong, dialectical materialism does not deny that they were necessary for their time; much less does it imagine that error could have been avoided by improved thinking on the part of the sages and legislators, or that their errors could have been spotted earlier, and corrections made. The reason and explanation for every system is contained within its life-cycle; the most significant ones being those which have remained most unchanged organically over the course of a long period of struggle.
7. According to Marxism, historical progress in the realm (above all) of the organization of productive resources is not continuous and gradual, but is rather a series of consecutive, widely spaced leaps forward which cause profound disruption in the entire social-economic apparatus, shaking it to its very foundations. These are genuine cataclysms, disasters, rapid crises, in which everything changes very quickly after having stayed the same for a very long period of time, as with the physical world, with the stars in the cosmos, with geology and with the phylogenesis of living organisms themselves.
8. Since class ideology is a superstructure of the modes of production, it is not shaped by the daily flow of particles of knowledge either, but appears within the chasm produced by a violent clash, and it guides the class whose expression it is – in a substantially monolithic and stable form – through a long series of struggles and convulsions until the next critical phase is reached; until the next historical revolution.
9. It was actually the doctrines of capitalism, after having excused all past social revolutions up to the bourgeois one, which would declare that history would from that point proceed along a slowly ascending path with no further social catastrophes, inasmuch as ideological systems would thenceforth gradually absorb the flow of new conquests made in the realm of pure and applied knowledge. Marxism has shown the fallaciousness of such a vision of the future.
10. Marxism itself isn’t a doctrine which can be moulded and remoulded each day by adding and changing “bits” of it (patching it up more like) because it is still counted amongst those doctrines (even if the final one) which function as a weapon of a dominated and exploited class which needs to overturn social relations; in the process of which it is subjected, in a thousand and one ways, to the conservative influences of the traditional forms and ideologies of the enemy classes.
11. Although it is now possible – or rather it was possible from when the proletariat first appeared on the great historical stage – to catch a glimpse of the future society without classes, and therefore without revolutions, it must be stated that the revolutionary class, in the long period leading up to that time, will only have completed its task insofar as it had pressed forward using a doctrine and methodology which had remained stable, and which had been fixed in a monolithic program for the duration of the terrible struggle – with the number of followers, and successfulness of particular phases and particular social battles, remaining all the while extremely variable.
12. Although, therefore, the ideological endowment of the revolutionary working class is no longer revelation, myth and idealism as it was for previous classes, but positive “science” instead, it nevertheless still needs a stable formulation of its principles and rules of action, which fulfill the purpose and have the same decisive efficacy as the dogmas, catechisms, tables, constitutions; and the ‘books of guidance’ such as the Vedas, the Talmud, the Bible, the Quran, and the Bills of Rights had in the past. The profound errors of form and substance contained in those books did not detract from, indeed in many cases they contributed to, their enormous organizational and social force, which was first revolutionary, then counterrevolutionary, in dialectical succession.
13. In the same way that Marxism excludes any kind of search for “absolute truth”, by seeing doctrine not as evidence of a timeless spirit or abstract reason, but as an “instrument” of work and as a “weapon” of combat, it postulates that, when exerting yourself to the utmost and in a pitched battle, you don’t send your tools or your weapons “off for repair”, but rather, in order to win in both peace and war, you need from the beginning the right equipment and weapons to brandish at the enemy.
14. A new doctrine cannot appear at just any historical moment. There are given, very characteristic – and also very rare – periods in history when, like a dazzling beam of light, one can appear; and if the crucial moment is not recognized and the terrible light not faced, it is no good resorting to little candles instead; by which the way is lit for academic pedants and fighters of little faith.
15. For the modern proletarian class, which arose in those countries where the great capitalist industrial development first got underway, the darkness was pierced shortly before the middle of the nineteenth century. From then on, the integral doctrine which we believe in, which we must, and want to, believe in, would contain all the necessary data to shape and describe the long course, stretching over centuries, which will be needed to verify it, and reaffirm it, after countless struggles. Either this position remains valid, or the doctrine will have shown itself to be false, and the announced appearance of a new class with its own character, program, and revolutionary function in history will have all been in vain. Whoever therefore sets out to change parts of the Marxist “corpus”, its theses and essential articles which have been in our possession for around a century now, saps its strength far more than he who renounces it in full and declares it aborted.
16. After the “explosive” period, in which the very novelty of the new revendication gave it a clear and sharply delineated form, there followed, due to the worsening situation, a period which may be (in fact is) characterized by an equilibrium in which we have not enhancement and development but rather involution and degeneration of so-called class “consciousness”. The moments when class struggle becomes accentuated are – as the entire history of Marxism proves – the moments when the theory comes back to make glorious affirmations of its origins and of its first integral expression: suffice to recall the Paris Commune, the Bolshevik Revolution and the first post world war period in the West.
17. The principle of the historical invariance of doctrines which reflect the tasks of protagonist classes, and also all the potent referring back to founding principles, stands opposed to the gossipy assumption that every generation and every season of intellectual fashion is more powerful than the previous one. It rejects the whole silly film show which portrays the relentless advance of civil progress, and other such bourgeois prejudices from which very few of those who lay claim to the adjective ‘Marxist’ are really free. It is a principle which applies to every great historical period.
18. All myths are an expression of this, above all the ones about demigods, or sages, who had an audience with the Supreme Being. Laughing at such imaginings is stupid, and Marxism alone has discovered the real and material sub-structures underlying them. Rama; Moses; Christ; Muhammad; all the Prophets and Heroes who initiated centuries of history for the various peoples, all are diverse expressions of this real fact, which corresponds to an enormous leap in the “mode of production”. In the pagan myth Wisdom, that is, Minerva, emerges from the brain of Jupiter not by the dictation to flabby scribes of entire volumes, but because of the hammering of the worker-god Vulcan, who had been called on to alleviate an uncontrollable migraine. At the other end of the historical spectrum, faced with the illuminist doctrine of the new Goddess Reason, there arises the giant figure of Gracchus Babeuf, who, rough and ready in his theoretical presentation, tells us that physical material force impels us far more than reason and knowledge.
19. There is no lack of examples of restorers in the face of revisionist degenerations, as Francis was with respect to Christ when Christianity arisen to redeem the meek made itself comfortable in the courts of the medieval signori, so were the Gracchi with respect to Lucius Junius Brutus; and as so many times the standard-bearers of an up and coming class had to be with respect to the revolutionary renegades from the heroic phase of previous classes: struggles in France, 1831, 1848, 1849 and innumerable other phases throughout Europe.
20. We take the position that all the great events of recent times are just so many clear-cut and conclusive confirmations of Marxism’s theory and predictions. This we relate above all to those controversial points which have provoked (once again) major defections on class terrain and embarrassed even those who deem Stalinist positions to be completely opportunist: these points are the advent of totalitarian and centralized capitalist forms in the economic as well as the political field, the managed economy, state capitalism, the open bourgeois dictatorships; and, for its part, the process of Russian and Asian social and political development. We can thus see confirmed not only our doctrine, but that this doctrine was born in monolithic form at a crucial time.
21. Whoever succeeds in pitting the historical events of this volcanic period against the Marxist theory will have proved it wrong; will have completely defeated it along with it all attempts to deduce the main features of historical progress from economic relationships. And not only that, he would have successfully proved that in every phase new events require new deductions, new explanations, and new theories, and consequently would have proved the viability of new, different means of action.
22. One illusory way out of a current difficulty is to allow that the basic theory should remain subject to changes, and that today is actually the very day to write a new chapter of said theory; such an act of thought being thought capable of turning the unfavourable situation around. And it really is an aberration when such a task is taken on by small groups of laughable strength, or worse still, when the ‘new thinking’ emerges from some free discussion which, Lilliput like, mimics bourgeois parliamentarism and its famous clash of individual opinions, which isn’t the latest, most up-to-date resource but just ancient foolishness.
23. At present we are at the lowest point of the curve of revolutionary potential, and therefore centuries away from the next of those moments which will be conducive to the appearance of a new historical theory. In the present situation, with no imminent prospect of a great social upheaval, it is not just the political disintegration of the global proletarian class which is the logical result; just as logical is the existence of small groups which know how to maintain the guiding historical thread of the great revolutionary course, stretched like a great arc between two social revolutions, on condition that these groups show no desire to spread original ideas but remain strictly attached to the traditional formulations of Marxism.
24. Criticism, doubt, and questioning of all the old entrenched positions was a decisive feature of the great modern, bourgeois revolution whose gigantic shock waves would overwhelm the natural sciences, the social order, and the political and military powers, and then go on, in much less iconoclastic leaps, to come up with the sciences of human society and of historical progress. All this was in fact the result of an epoch of profound turmoil which straddled the feudal and landed Middle ages, and industrial and capitalist modernity. The critique was the effect and not the driving force of this immense and complex struggle.
25. Doubt, and examination of individual consciousness, are expressions of the bourgeois reformation of the compact tradition and authority of the Christian Church. Once transformed into the most hypocritical Puritanism, and under the banner of bourgeois conformity to religious morality or to individual rights, they would launch and protect the new class domination and the new form of subjection of the masses. The proletarian revolution takes the opposite path: individual consciousness is nothing and concordant direction of collective action is everything.
26. When in the famous Theses on Feuerbach Marx said that
philosophers had done enough interpreting of the world, and the time
come to change it, he did not mean to say that willing change
the change itself, but that change, determined by the clash of
forces, comes first and only then critical consciousness of it by
subjects. Indeed, the latter don’t act on the basis of decisions which
each has developed separately, but on the basis of influences which
science and precede consciousness.
And in passing from the weapon of criticism, to the criticism of weapons, one actually transfers everything from the thinking subject to the militant mass, in such a way that not only rifles and cannons serve as weapons but, above all, that real instrument which is the common, uniform, monolithic and steadfast doctrine of the party, to which we are all subordinated and bound, bringing gossipy and know-it-all discussion to an end.
1. A current but unoriginal objection, considering it has already been used to justify the worst episodes of the movement’s degeneration, devalues clarity and continuity of principles and incites us to ’be political’ and immerse ourselves in the activity of the movement, which will show us the road to follow. Don’t stop and make a decision on the basis of a thorough evaluation of texts and weighing up of previous experiences, but press forward non-stop into the life of action!
2. This practicalism is a distortion of Marxism, whether highlighting the resolution and vigour of leaders and vanguard groups at the expense of doctrinal scruples, or when referring back to some ’class’ decision, or consultation of the majority, with an air of having chosen the path that most of the workers, impelled by their economic interests, preferred. These are old tricks, and no traitor who sold-out to the dominant class ever departed without claiming, firstly, that he was the best and most active ’practical’ proponent of the workers’ interests and, secondly, that what he did was due to the manifest will of the mass of his followers... or electors.
3. The revisionist deviation, such as Bernstein’s evolutionist, reformist and legalitarian deviation, was actually profoundly activist rather than ultra determinist. It wasn’t a case of replacing the far too ambitious revolutionary goal with the little the situation allowed the workers to obtain, but of closing one’s eyes to the dazzling vision of the historical arc saying: getting results now is all; let us set ourselves lower targets, and aim rather at immediate goals which are local and transitory rather than universal, and then it may be possible to get results thanks to our will power. Pro-violence syndicalists such as Sorel would say much the same, and end up doing the same: the former aspiring more to wringing legislative measures from parliament, the latter to victories in the workplace and within the trade: both of them though turning their backs on historical tasks.
4. All these, and the hundred and one other types of “eclecticism”, which have claimed the right to change fronts and indeed entire doctrines, started with a falsification: that such a continual adjusting of one’s aims and changing of direction can be found in the writings of Marx and Engels. In all our work, with the use of copious in-depth studies and quotations, we demonstrate the continuity of the line, and we have illustrated it by referencing passages and fundamental theories from the very earliest texts, which used the same words, and drew the same conclusions.
5. So the myth of Marx’s two consecutive “souls”, the young and the old, is very shallow: the former supposedly idealist, voluntarist and Hegelian and, under the influence of the last tremors of the bourgeois revolutions, extremist and insurrectionist; the latter, allegedly a cold scholar of contemporary economic phenomena who was positive, evolutionist and legalitarian. On the contrary, it is the repeated deviations, in the long sequence we have explained so often, be they extremist or moderate in the banal acceptation, which, unable to cope with the revolutionary tension of dialectical materialism, have relapsed into an analogous bourgeois deviation which is idealist, individualist and “pro-consciousness”. All it is, is just idle gossip about irrelevant details, passivity; in fact total revolutionary impotence on a historic scale.
6. Suffice to recall that at the end of the first volume of Capital, in which the expropriation of the expropriators is described in a footnote, the corresponding passage in the “Manifesto” is just repeated. The economic theories of the second and third volumes are just developments off the main trunk of the theory of value and surplus value set out in the first, and utilising the same terms, formulae and even symbols. And all Antonio Graziadei’s attempt to undermine this unity will be in vain. The separation of the analytical descriptive part of capitalism from the programmatic part is a fiction as well. Degenerates have always proved incapable of grasping the power of Marxism’s critique of utopianism, and of democracy for that matter. It isn’t a matter of dreaming up some aim and feeling one has done one’s bit by dreaming about it, or that the dream’s rosy hue will inspire people to make it a reality, rather it is a matter of discovering the goal to be physically reached, and heading directly towards it, knowing that human blindness and ignorance will not stop it from being achieved.
7. What is certain is that Marx had established the link (already
by the best utopian socialists) between this distant achievement and
actual physical movement of a social class already in struggle: the
proletariat. But it is not enough just to comprehend the dynamic of the
class revolution as a whole. If one knows the overall construction of
work, a work he was unable to complete, you can see that he still
given his final word about the impersonal nature and activity of the
even though what he did think and write about it was very clear.
With such a treatise the finishing touches are put to the entire economic and social construction, in the only way which is consistent with the method which allowed it to be established in the first place.
8. It isn’t enough for Marxist determinism to reject the idea that the quality and activity of men of exceptional value, in the realm of thought and practical struggle, is the motor cause (motor cause, as ever, not to be confused with operating agent) of historical events, and to put class, understood as a statistical groups of individuals, in its place; that would simply be shifting the ideal factors of consciousness and collectivity from the individual to the multitude. It would just be exchanging an aristocratic philosophy for a demo-populist one: the latter farther from us than the former. It’s a matter of reversing the location of cause, taking it out of the realm of ideas and into the physical material world of events.
9. The Marxist thesis states: it isn’t possible, first of all, for consciousness of the historical road to appear, in advance, within a single human brain. This is for two reasons: firstly, consciousness follows, rather than precedes, being, that is, the material conditions which surround the subject of consciousness itself; secondly, all forms of social consciousness – with a given delay allowing them time to get generally established – emerge out of circumstances which are analogous and parallel to the economic relations in which masses of individuals find themselves, thereby forming a social class. Historically the latter are then led to “act together” long before they can “think together”. The theory of this relationship between class conditions, and class action and its future point of arrival, isn’t required of persons, in the sense it isn’t required of a particular author or leader; nor is it asked of “the class as whole”, in the sense of a fleeting lump sum of individuals in existence at a certain time or place; and much less can it be deduced from an extremely bourgeois “consultation” of the class.
10. For us the proletarian dictatorship isn’t a consultative
imported into the proletariat, but the organised historic force which
a given moment, followed by a part of the proletariat (not even the
expresses the material pressure which brings down the old mode of
production, opening the way to the new, communist one.
Another important factor always given due emphasis by Marx, is that of the deserters from the dominant class who pass over to the revolutionary camp, offsetting the action of the huge masses of proletarians who serve, and are in material and mental bondage to, the bourgeoisie; and who, in a statistical sense, almost always form the majority.
11. There is nothing about the Russian revolution which has led our
current to ascribe its negative outcome to it having violated internal
class democracy, or to make us think twice about the Marxist and
theory of the dictatorship; whose final judge and shaper won’t be
or organisational formulae, but the historical relations of forces
The complete abandonment of the terrain of class dictatorship is instead revealed by Stalinism’s complete inversion of the revolutionary method. No less than all the others, the ex-communists, whenever they move onto democratic terrain, place themselves in the realm of popular and national democracy. In Russia, no less than outside it, their entire policy is one of abandoning class aims for national aims; even if we adopt the usual simplistic description of this policy as the state’s espionage network abroad. Those who attempt to take the democratic road are embarking on the road to capitalism; and that includes the wishy-washy anti-Stalinists who shout about suppressed proletarian opinion in Russia.
12. Countless Marx quotations could be used to show this impersonal
aspect of historic events, without which the theory of the latter’s
would be inadmissible.
We know that only the first volume of his great work Capital was completed by Marx. In his letters and prefaces Engels would recall how difficult it was to set the second and third volumes in order (the fourth, a history of rival economic doctrines, was easier).
Engels was even unsure about the correct sequence of the chapters and sections of the two books, which represent a study of the overall process of capitalism in its various forms; not in order to “describe” the capitalism of Marx’s day, but to show that, whatever happens, the general tendency of the process is not towards equilibrium and a ’regimen state’ (like a perennial and constant river without drought and without flooding), but towards a series of ever deepening crises, and towards the revolutionary collapse of the “general form” under investigation.
13. In his 1859 preface to the Critique of Political Economy, the first draft of Capital, Marx, after having dealt with the three classes of modern society: landowners, capitalists and proletarians, tells us he intended to cover three other topics: “State, international trade, and world market”. We find “The State” covered in the Paris Commune text of 1871 and the classic chapters by Engels, and indeed in State and Revolution. “International commerce” is covered in Lenin’s Imperialism. It is a historical school we are dealing with, not the ’Opera Omnia’ of one particular individual. The theme of the “World market” is today inscribed in flaming letters in the book of current events, which no-one knows how to interpret, and which a dying Stalin briefly touched on with his feeble theory of the double market. And if only all the various ’researchers’ weren’t so prone to thinking in terms of peoples and countries, and of those bankrupt ideologies of the bourgeois age: Peace, Liberty, Independence, Sanctity of the person and Constitutionality of electoral decisions!... they would find the spark which will ignite the world capitalist conflagration of the second half of this century.
14. After having dealt with the way in which the social product gets
divided up amongst the three main classes, forming their economic
(less precisely, income): rent, profit and wages; after having shown
handing the first over to the State wouldn’t change the capitalist
and that not even the handing over of the entire surplus value to the
would overstep the limits of the form of production (insofar as there
still be the same squandering of living labour, that is to say the high
expenditure of time and effort, as under the enterprise and commercial
form of the system), Marx concludes the strictly economic part, thus:
characterises the capitalist mode of production is the production of
value as the direct aim and determining motive of production. Capital
essentially capital, and does so only to the extent that it produces
value” (Communism will only produce surplus value which isn’t
But the cause isn’t to be found in the existence of the capitalist, or indeed of the capitalist class, for these are not only just effects, but unnecessary effects at that. “Whereas, on the basis of capitalist production, the mass of direct producers is confronted by the social character of their production in the form of strictly regulating authority and a social mechanism of the labour-process organised as a complete hierarchy (i.e. bureaucratic!) – this authority reaching its bearers, however, only as the personification of the conditions of labour in contrast to labour, and not as political or theocratic leaders as under earlier modes of production – among the bearers of this authority, the capitalists themselves, there reigns the most complete anarchy within which the social interrelations of production assert themselves only as an overwhelming natural law in relation to individual free will”.
Keeping to the formidable invariance of the original text is therefore all that is required to link the would-be ’updaters’ to that murky, and most slipshod of bourgeois prejudices, which seeks to blame every social inferiority either on the “individual will”, or, at most, the collective “responsibility of a social class”. Whereas it was entirely clear from then on, whether it was the individual capitalist or the capitalist class which might here and there cease to be the “personification” of capital, that capital itself would continue facing us, confronting us, as a “social mechanism”, as an “overwhelming natural law” of the production process.
15. The latter is from the formidable concluding chapter of Capital,
chapter 51, volume III, which completes the “description” of the
economy but also “evokes” the spectre of revolution on every page.
Chapter 52 which follows is little more than a page long, and is the
in which a tired Engels writes under the final, incomplete line, in
“Here the manuscript breaks off”.
Title: “The Classes”. We are on the threshold of the rovesciamento della prassi, the reversal of praxis, and having ruled out individual will, we move on to discover the agent of the revolution.
First and foremost the chapter says: we have set out the laws for capitalist society in its pure form, with the said three classes, but this doesn’t exist even in England (and it doesn’t in 1953 either, over there or elsewhere, and nor will it ever exist, just like the two material points endowed with mass to which Newton’s Law reduces the cosmos).
“But the question to be answered is this: what constitutes a class?”. “At first glance – the identity of revenues and sources of revenue”. “However, from this standpoint, physicians and officials, e.g., would also constitute two classes, for they belong to two distinct social groups, the members of each of these groups receiving their revenue from one and the same source. The same would also be true of the infinite fragmentation of interest and rank into which the division of social labour splits labourers as well as capitalists and landlords – the latter, e.g., into owners of vineyards, farm owners, owners of forests, mine owners and owners of fisheries, etc.)...”.
The thought, and the sentence, breaks off here... But it is enough.
16. Without demanding royalties for just the one line, we can
the chapter which was interrupted by the death of Karl Marx (which he
have considered an arbitrary individual incident, and who was
to quote Epicurus on such occasions; a philosopher to whom the young
had dedicated his thesis). As related by Engels: “Every event which
from necessity carries in itself its own consolation”. It is pointless
to have regrets.
It isn’t identifying sources of revenue, as it appears “at first glance”, which defines class.
With one blow, syndicalism, workerism, labourism, corporatism, Mazzinism and Christian socialism are knocked off their pedestals once and for all; including all past versions and those yet to come.
But our conquest went well beyond getting the ideologues of the spirit and of the individual, of the liberal society and of the constitutional State, to recognise, in a half-hearted way, that different professions and trades have collective interests which cannot be ignored. More than anything our initial victory lay in establishing that, with regard to the “social question”, even in such a reduced form, it was useless to stick ones nose in the air and close ones eyes to it. It would penetrate the modern world. But spreading through it in a capillary fashion is one thing; it is quite another to smash it to smithereens.
It is worthless, statistically, to define classes in a “qualitative” way according to monetary source of income. It is even stupider to select them in a quantitative way according to the “pyramid of earnings”. For centuries this has been raised: and in fact the State census in Rome is all about income scales. For centuries simple arithmetic operations have shown to the philosophers of poverty that reducing the pyramid to a more level prism, but on the same foundations, will just create a society of paupers.
Is there, qualitatively and quantitatively, a way out from these myriad difficulties? A senior civil servant is paid a salary, and therefore according to time, just like a wage earning labourer who works, let’s say, in a State saltworks; however the former’s income is higher than many merchants and industrial capitalists who live off profit; the labourer’s salary is higher not only than many small peasants’ income, but also more than that of many minor landlords living off rent...
A class isn’t defined by income statements, but by historical position within the gigantic struggle by which a new general form of production overtakes, overthrows and then replaces the old one.
It is stupid to consider society as simply made up of the sum of its individuals understood in an abstract sense, but it is no less stupid to see class as simply made up of individuals understood as economic units. ’Individual’, ’class’ and ’society’ are not pure, idealist categories. Since they are constantly altering within time and space, they are the products of a general process, whose sovereign laws have been worked out by applying the powerful methods of the Marxist approach.
The concrete social mechanism propels and moulds individuals, classes and societies without “consulting them” on any level.
A class is defined by its historic task and the road it takes, and our class, via an arduous dialectical point of arrival to be reached only after immense effort, is defined by the revendication that the class itself should actually cease to exist in a statistical quantitative and qualitative sense; a demand made particularly with regard to itself (since it has little or no interest in advocating the disappearance of its enemy classes, a process well underway already).
Today the class as a whole appears before us in a state of constant flux: as nowadays it is for Stalin, for a capitalist state such as Russia, for a gang of MPs and would-be MPs who are much more anti-Marxist than Turati, Bissolati, Longuet and Millerand ever were.
17. Therefore all that remains is the party as the existing
which defines the class, struggles for the class, and when the time
governs for the class and prepares for a time when there will be no
and no classes. On condition, that is, that the party doesn’t belong
to particular men, doesn’t succumb to the cult of the leader; that it
goes back to defending, with blind faith if necessary, its
theory and rigid organisation; and the method which doesn’t set out
sectarian preconceptions, but knows that in a society which has
into its typical form (like Israel at year zero, and Europe at year
one has to strictly apply the battle-cry: those who aren’t with us are
1. Given the current situation in which revolutionary energy is at an all-time low, the party’s practical task is to examine the historic course of the struggle in its entirety, and it is a mistake to define this as an activity of a literary or intellectual type and to contrast it with who knows what descent into the thick of mass action.
2. Those who acknowledge our critical judgement that the present
of the Stalinists is totally anti-classist and anti-revolutionary, and
who see the 3rd International’s bankruptcy as worse than the 2nd
in 1914, must choose between two positions: is it something we shared
Lenin, the Bolsheviks, and with the founding platform of the Comintern
and the victors of October that maybe needs to be dropped? We say no;
what the Left has had to fight against since then needs to be dropped,
whilst everything else, subsequently betrayed by the Russians, still
3. The seriously mistaken manoeuvre after the First World War, prompted by the faltering revolutionary movement in the West, may be summed up as various attempts to forcibly speed up the phase of insurrection and dictatorship by exploiting legalitarian, democratic and labourist means. This mistake, which was mainly perpetrated at the alleged heart of the working class, at the point of contact with the social traitors of the 2nd International, was bound to develop into a new form of political and social class collaboration with the capitalist forces, national and global, and become a new form of opportunism, and a new form of betrayal.
4. Because it was felt the international Party, firmly rooted in an established theory and organisation, should broaden its influence, influence was granted to enemies and traitors, and it ended up not only without the hoped for majority, but without the compact historical nucleus which had characterised the party of those days. The lesson is never to employ any such manoeuvre or method ever again. No mean feat.
5. It was futile to expect the situation in 1946, at the end of the Second World War, to be as fertile as it was in 1918 because of the greater severity of the counter-revolutionary degeneration, because of the absence of strong nuclei capable of existing outside the wartime military, political and partisan blocs, and because of the different policies adopted by the occupying forces to police the defeated countries. The situation in 1946 was clearly as unfavourable as it had been after the major defeats of the Communist League and the First International in 1849 and 1871.
6. Since an abrupt return by the masses to an organising activity suited to a revolutionary offensive is thus not conceivable, the best result that can be expected in the immediate future is a restating of the true proletarian and communist goals and demands, and a reaffirmation of the lesson according to which every tactical improvisation which changes from one situation to the next under the pretext of taking advantage of unexpected factors within them, is nothing but defeatism.
7. The stupid actualism-activism which adapts its gestures and moves to the immediate facts of the day, a veritable party existentialism, must be replaced by the reconstruction of a solid bridge linking the past to the future, and whose main lines the party sets out for itself once and for all, forbidding members, but especially leaders, from tendentious attempting to seek and discover “new paths”.
8. This bad habit, especially when it slanders or neglects doctrinal work and the restoration of theory, just as necessary today as it was for Lenin in 1914-18, assumes that action and struggle are all that matter and ends up destroying Marxist dialectics and determinism, replacing the immense historical research into the rare moments and crucial points on which it is built with a dissolute voluntarism, which then adapts itself in the worst and crassest of ways to the status quo and its wretched immediate perspectives.
9. This entire methodology of our ‘seasoned class warriors’ can easily be reduced not to a new, original form of political practice, but rather to a bad copy of old anti-Marxist positions. Its way of conceiving of history is idealist, à la Croce, in that it believes the historical event is non-predictable by scientific laws and that it is “always right” to rebel against any prediction of human society’s future course, or the rules which govern it.
10. The first priority is therefore to present again, supported by our classic party texts, the integrated Marxist vision of History; of the historical process; of the past revolutions that have happened up to now, and the characteristics of the one to come which will see the modern proletariat overthrow capitalism and install new social forms. The key claims and demands must be presented again as they first appeared over a century ago in their original breadth and grandeur, and in such a way as to liquidate the banal formulas with which they have been replaced; and not only by those in the Stalinist quagmire, but by many others as well, all of them passing off for communism what are in fact pettily bourgeois, popular demands slanted towards achieving demagogic success.
11. Such an undertaking is long and difficult and it requires years;
on the other hand, the balance of forces in the global situation will
take decades to be overturned. So every stupid and falsely
revolutionary short-term adventure seeking must be rejected with
disdain, as it is a characteristic of those who do not know how to
stand firm on the revolutionary position and who abandon the great
highway for the blind alleys of short-term success, as many examples
in the history of deviations show.
1. With the gigantic recovery after the First World War, potent on a worldwide scale and in Italy resulting in the formation of a strong party in 1921, it became clear that the most pressing postulate was the taking of political power and that the proletariat could not take it by legal means but only by using armed action; that the best opportunity arises from military defeat of one’s own country; and that the political form which will follow victory is the dictatorship of the proletariat. Social and economic transformation occurs later, and its prior condition is the dictatorship.
2. The Communist Manifesto clarified that the social measures which would follow, to be realised and accomplished “despotically”, will differ – the road to full communism being very long – according to the level of development of the productive forces in the country where the proletariat conquers power, and the rapidity with which this victory is extended to other countries. It indicated the measures appropriate then, in 1848, for the most advanced European countries, and emphasised that they weren’t the whole of the socialist programme, but rather a group of measures which it qualified as transitory, immediate, variable, and essentially “contradictory”.
3. Subsequently (and this was one of the elements which misled some
into supporting a more flexible theory, continually re-elaborated on
basis of historical evidence) many of the measures originally viewed as
the responsibility of the revolutionary proletariat were carried out by
the bourgeoisie itself in this or that country, for example: free
instruction, State bank, etc.
But this didn’t authorise anyone to believe that the precise laws and predictions concerning the transition from the capitalist mode of production to the socialist one, with all its economic, social and political forms, had changed, it merely meant that the immediate post-revolutionary period – the economy of transition to socialism, preceding the subsequent lower stage of socialism, and the final, higher stage of socialism, or full communism – would be different and slightly smoother.
4. Classical opportunism consisted in having people believe that all of these measures, from the highest to the lowest, could be applied by the bourgeois democratic state, in response to pressure from, or even after having been legally conquered by, the proletariat. But if such were the case these various “measures”, if compatible with the capitalist mode of production, would have been adopted in the interests of continuing capitalism and postponing its collapse, and if incompatible, the State would never have adopted them.
5. Today’s opportunism, following a formula of popular and progressive democracy within the framework of the parliamentary constitution, has a different, worse historical task. Not only does it delude the proletariat that some of its own measures can be entrusted to an inter-classist and multi-party State (that is, as far as yesterday’s social-democrats are concerned, it relinquishes the dictatorship) but it even drives the organised masses to fight for “popular and progressive” social measures which are directly opposed to those to which the proletarian power has been committed ever since 1848 and the Manifesto.
6. Nothing better illustrates the total ignominy of such an involution than a list of the measures which will need to be drawn up in the future, when there is a real prospect of taking power in a country of Western capitalism, to replace (a century later) the list in the Manifesto, although its most characteristic measures would still be included.
7. Here is a list of such demands:
– Disinvestment of capital, namely assignment of a much smaller part of total production to goods which are instrumental and non-consumable.
– Increasing the costs of production in order to be able to pay, for as long as wages, markets and money survive, higher wages for less working time.
– Drastic reduction of the working day, to at least half of the hours currently worked, by absorbing unemployment and anti-social activities.
– Reduction in the volume of production with a plan for lower production that focuses on the most necessary areas; authoritarian control of consumption to counter-act the promotion of dangerous and unnecessary goods, and the forceful abolition of activities dedicated to propagating a reactionary psychology.
– Rapid breaking down of business and company boundaries with the forcible transfer not of personnel but of objects of labour (productive activities), in order to move towards the new plan of consumption.
– Rapid abolition of welfare of a mercantile type in order to substitute it with social provision, up to an initial minimum, for non-workers.
– Cessation of building of houses and workplaces around cities, big and small, with a view to attaining a uniform distribution of the population in the countryside. Reduction in the congestion, volume and velocity of traffic and its prohibition when unnecessary.
– Resolute struggle, through abolition of careers and qualifications, against professional specialisation and the social division of labour.
– Obvious immediate measures, akin to the political, in order to bring schools, the press, all means of transmission, of information, and the leisure and entertainment network, under the authority of the Communist State.
8. It is no surprise that the Stalinists and the like, and their
in the West, are today calling for the exact opposite; and not only in
their “institutional” or politico-legal demands, but also in their
“structural” or economic-social demands. This allows their actions
to run in parallel with those of the party which leads the Russian
and the ones connected to it, in which the task of social
is to effect the passage from pre-capitalism to full capitalism, with
entire baggage of economic, social, political and ideological demands,
all orientated toward the bourgeois zenith: and viewing with horror
the feudal and medieval nadir. These filthy renegades in the West are
the more contemptible insofar as that peril, still physical and real in
parts of Asia in turmoil today, doesn’t exist, as anyone can see, in
the triumphant capitalarchy across the Atlantic, whose
languish under the latter’s civil, liberal and national-unitary heel.
1.As well as avoiding an eclectic approach to party tactics, the position of the Communist Left is to be clearly differentiated from the coarse simplification of those who reduce the entire struggle to the dualism forever and everywhere repeated of two conventional classes, the sole ones to act. The strategy of the modern proletarian movement consists of precise and established lines applicable to every hypothetical future action, which are related to the distinct geographical “areas” into which the inhabited world is divided, and to distinct temporal cycles.
2. The first classic area in which the interplay of forces gave rise to the irrevocable theory of the course of socialist revolution was England. From 1688 the bourgeois revolution suppressed feudal power and rapidly eradicated feudal forms of production, from 1840 the Marxist conception of the interplay of three basic classes could be deduced: bourgeois landed property; industrial, commercial and financial capital; and the proletariat struggling against the first two.
3. In Western Europe (France, Germany, Italy, smaller countries) the bourgeois struggle against feudalism lasts from 1789 to 1871, in the course of which situations arise in which the proletariat allies itself with the bourgeoisie when the latter engages in armed struggle to overthrow feudal power; but it is an alliance in which the workers’ parties already refuse to have their ideology confused with that of the economic and political apologias of bourgeois society.
4. In 1866 the United States of America finds itself in the situation Western Europe will be in post 1871, after having destroyed spurious capitalist forms through its victory over the rural and pro-slavery South. From 1871 onwards, radical Marxists in the entire Euro-American region reject all alliances and coalitions with bourgeois parties on any grounds whatsoever.
5. The pre-1871 situation, as in point 3, endured in Russia and in other countries of Eastern Europe until 1917, and here the challenge already familiar from 1848 Germany was posed: to provoke two revolutions, and consequently to struggle to accomplish the tasks of the capitalist revolution as well. The condition for passing directly to the second, proletarian revolution was a political revolution in the West. This did not occur, although the Russian proletarian class nevertheless succeeded in capturing political power on its own, and holding on to it for a few years.
6. Whereas today one can consider that in Eastern Europe the capitalist mode of production and exchange has supplanted the feudal mode, in Asia the revolution against feudalism, and even older regimes, is in full swing, conducted by a united revolutionary front of bourgeois, petty bourgeois and working classes.
7. The analysis so far carried out amply illustrates that these attempts at double revolutions have had different historical outcomes: partial victory and total victory, defeat on the insurrectional terrain accompanied by a victory on the socio-economic terrain and vice versa. What the semi-revolutions and counter-revolutions teach the proletariat is fundamental. Of the many examples, classic ones are: Germany after 1848 – double insurrectionary defeat for bourgeois and proletarians, social victory of the capitalist form and gradual establishment of bourgeois power; Russia after 1917 – double insurrectional victory for bourgeois and proletarians (February and October), social defeat of the socialist form, social victory of the capitalist form.
8. Russia, at least its European part, today has a fully capitalist mechanism of production and exchange, whose social function is reflected politically in a party and a government that has carried out all possible strategies for allying with bourgeois parties and states in the Western region. The Russian political system is a direct enemy of the proletariat, and it is not possible to conceive of any alliance with it, it being understood however that bringing about the victory of the capitalist form of production is a revolutionary result.
As regards the Asian countries, where localised agrarian economy of a
patriarchal and feudalistic type still predominates, the struggle of
the “four classes”, which is also political, is a factor in the
victory of the international communist struggle, even when in the
short term the outcome is the establishment of national and bourgeois
powers, both through the formation of new regions where socialist
demands will be in a position to be enabled later on, and through the
blows that these insurrections inflict on Euro-American
1. Once agreed on how to evaluate the global post-Second Imperialist War phase, with it clearly understood that the consolidation after two victories of the central imperialist capitalist powers does not (and cannot) exist alongside a likewise consolidating Workers’ State building socialism in the east; their relationship being rather that between mature forms of capitalism and younger and newer forms, which may encounter each other both within the global mercantile economy and in armed conflicts in order to gain access to markets with many fracture points possible; attention should be shifted to the transition in the West from full-blown capitalism to socialist society: a revolution that will not be of the “impure”, double variety.
2. Same as the data items on the Russian social economy in Stalin’s “official” version have been traced back by ourselves to those that classically defines capitalism, dispelling the two theses that they are either socialist or a “new” form previously unknown to Marxism (the second thesis even more woeful than the first), so also does the data on the economy in the West and in particular in America, which is accepted as the “official” source of dirty propaganda in the “free world”, entirely tally with the Marxist description of capitalism, from which can be deduced the inevitable course – belying all apologetics about equilibrium and progress – of domestic production crises, wars over markets, revolutionary collapse, destruction of the capitalist state, proletarian dictatorship and elimination of bourgeois forms of production.
3. Once installed the capitalist mode of production can only sustain itself by continually expanding, not the endowment of resources and systems of the sort that would improve people’s lives by reducing risks, suffering and overwork, but the mass of commodities produced and sold. Since the population grows at a slower rate than the mass of products it is necessary to convert the masses into major (of what is irrelevant) consumers, and into new means of production, in an ever repeating cycle. This is capitalism’s essential feature, inseparable from the increased productive power of the material mechanisms which science and technology have made available. Every other feature pertaining to the statistical composition of classes, and the interplay, undoubtedly influential, of the administrative, legal, political, organizational and ideological super-structures, is merely secondary and accessory, and does not alter the terms of its fundamental antithesis to the communist mode of production, which is contained unchanging and invariant, since the time of the 1848 Manifesto, in the proletarian revolutionary doctrine.
4. Across the whole of the global economy the characteristic indicators of the appearance of capitalism and the capitalist process, as established in Marx’s monolithic evaluation, have occurred again and again and indeed intensified: continuous, ruthless expropriation of all those in possession of reserves of commodities and means of production (artisans, peasants, small and medium traders, industrialists, hoarders) as per the laws derived mainly from the cycles of English capitalism. And as follows as regards the accumulation of capital: an increasing mass, both in absolute and relative terms, of the instruments of production, continuously (and pointlessly) added to and replaced; concentration in ever fewer “hands”, rather than “heads” (pre-capitalist concept) of these social forces in gigantic factory complexes and productive enterprises, unknown before. Untrammelled expansion, after national markets were formed, of a global one: dissolution of the world’s last surviving enclaves of direct labour-consumption.
5. This series of confirmations of a rhythm much faster than even our theoreticians expected is provided first and foremost by the data on the American economy, by United States production figures and the continuously rising domestic consumption there. The question is, can such a form of society keep on developing ad infinitum, without any upsets, or should we expect instead sudden jolts, deep crises and shockwaves to shake the system to its very foundations? Let alone the instability which exists at every level in this frenzied post war period, two massive world wars, and a huge inter-war crisis which affected the entire economic system are answer enough, shattering as they do the image of this so-called prosperous society, supposedly on its way to levelling living standards and individual wealth, composed of a middle class without class extremes, and, what’s more, without any trade-union struggles or any parties with anti-constitutional programmes. Nowadays even the most banal assessment of the American sub-structure would admit that the old non-bureaucratic, non-military, federal administrative State, which used to be contrasted with the bellicose European powers struggling for hegemony, is dead and buried. The figures for America in this connection, in both absolute and relative terms, far outstrip anywhere else in the world at any time in human history.
6. The description of such an economy, even if for the moment basing our deductions only on domestic relations, which are held to be stable within the acknowledged instability of international questions (the old theory of keeping out of the affairs of foreign countries which are ‘nothing to do with’ America on the other hand having been renounced!) leads directly to all of the Marxist laws and the historic condemnation of the capitalist mode of production, which no-one can stop in its course towards catastrophe and revolution. America’s massive network of factories and plants, the biggest in the world, and the industrialization of every sphere of activity to the greatest degree possible reveal a society which has overtaken all others as regards the power of “dead labour” (Marx), that is capital crystallized in machines, buildings and the mass of raw and semi-worked material, over “living labour”, that is the unceasing activity of living people involved in production. The much boasted about liberty on the juridical level cannot disguise the weight and pressure of this corpse, governor of living beings.
7. The worker’s improved standard of living considered as the mass of what he consumes reduced to an equivalent measure of value only serves to confirm the Marxist laws reagrding the increased productivity of labour. The statistics around certain key dates (1848, 1914, 1929, 1932, 1952) are shocking, but they still conform to our predicted cycle. If in ten years it is boasted that wages have gone up by 280 percent while the cost of living has increased by 180 per cent, it means the worker with his 380 salary can buy 280, that is, the improvement is reduced to 35%. Over the same period it has been admitted that productivity has gone up by 250%! Therefore the worker who gives three and half times as much receives only one and third: exploitation and surplus value has gone up enormously. All this has made it abundantly clear that the law of increasing impoverishment doesn’t mean a reduction in nominal or real wages, but rather that a larger amount of surplus value has been extorted and a greater number of people have had their last reserves expropriated.
increase in the productivity of labour, which over the course of
capitalism’s cycle in America has been tens of times over, means
that with the same labour time tens of times more products can be
processed than before. At one time the capitalist used to advance
his capital in the proportion of one unit of labour to one of raw
materials; now it is one of labour to ten or twenty of raw
materials. If his profit margin were to remain in the same
proportion to the value of the product sold, his profit would
likewise be ten or twenty times greater. But for that to happen the
ten or twenty times greater quantity of product would have to find
purchasers. And so the capitalist contents himself with a smaller
“rate of profit” and increases the workers’ remuneration,
let’s say doubles its real value per every tenfold increase in
productivity: at the same time the sale price goes down because the
commodity contains two and not ten units of labour, and customers
are to be found among his own staff. Here we have the law of the
fall in the rate of profit with the increase in the productivity of
labour and with the organic composition of capital (the constant
part in relation to the whole) improved. Now all of the deductions
about the impossibility of this system dragging on indefinitely
depend on the verification of the law of the declining rate of
profit (which, see Dialogue with Stalin,
Stalin imprudently or pro-capitalistically dumped).
Against these positions, and ever more so to the extent they become more pressing and obvious, the communists oppose their’s: let living labour dominate over dead labour! Let the increase in productivity be converted not into an equivalent amount of useless (when not actually harmful) products, which is madness, but into improving the conditions of living labour, by drastically reducing the length of the working day.
which in 1850 Engels had already defined as the country in which the
population doubles every twenty years, is also the country where
productivity triples every ten years, and thus is multiplied by six
every twenty years (or, with the law of geometric progression
dreamed up by Stalin for Russia, nine-fold); but this doesn’t mean
that “European” socialism isn’t applicable there, but rather
that it much closer to the overproduction crisis and more exposed to
the explosive pressure of capitalism. By making credit more
available to proletarians, who are thereby enabled to buy luxury
items ‘on tick’, proletarians are turned, in an economic sense,
into more perfect “paupers”, without savings to fall back on:
proletarian balance sheets are now no longer just about possessing
nothing, but about mortgaging a mass of future labour in order to
get back to
owing nothing: actually a kind of partial slavery. At the social
level all this consumption corresponds to networks of influence,
often of a corrupting and degenerate nature, which serve the
interests of the ruling class, inculcating the habitual tendencies
and ideologies that most suit it. The monstrous publicity and
advertising machine constrains the proletariat to use its surplus
earnings to buy articles of consumption which encapsulate false and
often dangerous illusions. On top of capital’s despotism in the
factories, the personal liberty of prosperous America adds a further
despotism and dictatorship over the exploited class by means of
standardised ‘packaged’ consumption; it is a dictatorship which
operates by creating absurd needs in order to keep worker’s busy
in their free time and to keep the wheels of commerce turning.
The same effect is achieved by awarding a tiny share of factory dividends to supplement annual salaries. The relevant statistics indicate that even in the best case scenarios the additional earnings add up to no more than 5%, which is very quickly recuperated from the naïve “shareholder” who has been duped into working even harder.
theory of recurring and ever more serious crises has as its basis
the rise in productivity and the decline in the rate of profit. It
will only become redundant when those characteristic indicators of
capitalism’s course no longer exist. The latter certainly can’t
be said for America, and the same goes for our [Italian. ed]
industries, where for instance in the steel sector they want each
worker to produce not 80 tons per annum as now, but 200 tons as in
America. Who wouldn’t prefer 4 per cent of 200 rather than 5 of
The intrinsic economic crisis, that is, of the “abstract” America (as per Marx) that had to eat everything it produces, has been formulated and represented graphically in all its relentless, inexorable curves. A model based on commodities that oscillate around the average cost of bread leads us to conclude that today a pound of bread which the worker acquires with the remuneration for 6 minutes of his working time would have needed 17 minutes back in 1914. The working population has certainly significantly increased as a proportion of the population as a whole. So how will American citizens gobble up three times the amount of bread they ate in 1914, maybe ten times as much as in 1848? To avoid bursting we advise them to stick to croissants! At a certain point not a single pound more of bread will be sold on the one hand, and on the other the worker will be sacked, and won’t be able to buy any bread in any case. This is why black Friday will still come, and will get ever blacker.
solution is to stuff full of bread the peoples who up to now ate
millet, rice and bananas (maybe the Mau-Mau got it wrong?). And to
do that you begin by bombing anyone who prevents you offloading your
cargo, and then you bomb the millet, rice and banana sellers. That’s
imperialism for you. If the Marxist theory of crises and
catastrophes seems to fit like a glove, so do its theories on
imperialism and war; and the data from 1915 on which Lenin’s
ws based is today provided by American statistics which are ten
times as virulent.
Among other things these statistics make a comparison between the standard of living in America and in the other countries which trail behind it; first the allies then the enemies. If a pound of flour is worth 4 of those six minutes of bread time in America, it is worth 27 in Russia, say the American statistics. Even if the figure for Russia is actually less, what is sure is that in the Eastern zone the laws of rising productivity, on the composition of capital and the declining rate, still have a long way to go, much to the consternation of those who have misread the conditions and time scales of revolution.
Having got the first piece of artillery in place and launched the first V2, maybe from the moon, what is certain is you have to strike right at the heart of the American system in order to put a real brake on the crazy expansion of consumption and production, by showing it is indeed true that “man does not live by bread alone”, but that if said man can produce his daily bread in six minutes, then if he works for over two hours he is not a man but a total idiot!
question why there is no communist party with an uncompromisingly
revolutionary programme in America, even though such a programme is
eminently relevant and conditions have matured to the extent that
total collapse seems possible, is a major historical problem which
has global implications. The third opportunist wave which split the
Marxist movement in the period immediately after the First World War
had three aspects: reduction of the form of production developing in
Russia to capitalism; abandonment of communist demands by the
Russian political State; policy of military alliances by the latter
and of political alliances by the parallel parties in the West in
pursuit of bourgeois and democratic demands.
The abrupt transition from eulogizing the American capitalist regime as friend and saviour of the global proletariat to denouncing it as enemy of the working class, as if it had only become such in 1946, was bound to further sabotage the revolutionary preparation of the proletariat in America, and put obstacles in the way of a genuine class party developing there. It will only be possible to move on from this situation by taking all the following steps: demonstrating that it is not socialism that is being built in Russia; that if the Russian State goes to war it will not be for socialism but because of imperialist rivalries; and above all that in the West democratic, popular or progressive objectives are not only of no interest to the working class but they actually serve to keep the rotten capitalist system on its feet.
this lengthy work of reconstruction, which has to keep abreast of
the advancing crisis of the western and American form of production
for which all the decisive objective conditions have been met, and
which, no matter what policy changes are made at a domestic or
global level, can only be postponed for a matter of decades, we
mustn’t succumb to the mirage that new devices or alignments
devised by so-called history scholars might provide a better
explanation than that of the original Marxist construct, which, if
correctly understood and observed, will be seen to have already been
confirmed by historical events. The conditions that shape ideology,
consciousness and will is not a different problem or one that is
regulated by different influences to those under which events,
interests and forces take shape. The communist party fights for the
future situation in which less working time will be spent on
producing life’s essentials, and works towards that future result
by using all real developments as leverage. That conquest which
seems rather paltry when expressed in hours, reduced to a merely
material calculation, represents a gigantic victory, the greatest
possible, compared to the necessity of everyone slogging and slaving
away. Then again, with capitalism and classes suppressed, the human
species will still be subjected to needs dictated by natural forces,
and ‘freedom’, as a philosophical absolute, will still remain a
In the whirling vortex of today’s world whoever who rather than seeking the guiding thread of this impersonal view of future conditions, worked out over generations, would rather come up with new remedies inside their miserable heads and dictate new formulas, they are to be considered worse than the most damnable conformists and servitors of the capitalist system and those who preach its eternity.