Paper of the International Communist Party All issues Issue 13 May-June 2019 Pdf
The Communist Party
WHAT DISTINGUISHES OUR PARTY – The line running from Marx to Lenin to the foundation of the Third International and the birth of the Communist Party of Italy in Leghorn (Livorno) 1921, and from there to the struggle of the Italian Communist Left against the degeneration in Moscow and to the rejection of popular fronts and coalition of resistance groups – The tough work of restoring the revolutionary doctrine and the party organ, in contact with the working class, outside the realm of personal politics and electoralist manoevrings

Contents


For the Class Union

 

May 1, 2019
Proletarians Have no Country,
they are the International Working Class!
Against Militarism and War between Capitalist States,
for the Revolutionary Social War of the Working Class!

    The progress of globalization, accelerated in recent decades by the development of communications and transport, has involved every region of the planet in the hellish cycles of capitalist production. Production, based on the exploitation of waged labour and aimed exclusively at profit, is a volcano that constantly produces goods, mostly useless, in ever-increasing quantities. But capitalism, now in its phase of full economic, as well as intellectual and moral decline, tries to survive by exploiting every resource of the planet, natural and human.
    Political and economic power have been concentrated in the hands of a few members of the bourgeoisie at the head of very large companies, which own or control wealth comparable to that of an entire state and dominate the fate of the entire world.
    But it is Capital, an anonymous uncontrollable historical force, that determines the permanent clash between the different capitalists and national groups of capitalists and drags them inexorably towards the abyss of financial catastrophe.
    If, on the one hand, the extreme concentration of Capital increases, collects, strengthens and unifies the working class, on the other, together with the crisis of overproduction, it also ruthlessly ruins the small-bourgeois, mercantile and productive classes, who are now socially powerless, deprived of any historical role and program – even when they express their noisy rebellion, as we have seen recently with the Yellow Vests in France.
    Meanwhile, because of both the unstoppable progress of the crisis and the emergence of the new capitalist colossus, China, which has upset the previous imperialist balance of forces, the old international tensions have been exacerbated and new ones added. Already the major states have started the trade war, by means of tariffs, embargoes and blackmail, and local armed conflicts are being rekindled. It has now been proven that capitalism will never be able to keep its promise of ensuring a peaceful and harmonious development for the human species.
    On the contrary, the bourgeoisie is rearming its military forces in preparation for a new general imperialist conflict, in which they would call tens of millions of proletarians to massacre each other: while the misery of working humanity is growing, hundreds of billions of dollars are poured into the production of ever more lethal weapons.
    But the world war, this desperate last throw of the dice by the dying capitalist monster, will only impose itself after having divided the forces of its historical adversary, the international working class, pitting proletarians against proletarians. A nauseating “sovereign”, racist and xenophobic campaign has already started everywhere, with the sole aim of breaking the unity of the proletariat above the borders and preparing it for a new war.
    The pretext for this foul propaganda is the displacement of millions of men, who have always left the poorest countries, today in Africa, Asia, Latin America, a displacement which is itself imposed by capitalism; on the one hand, capitalism forces a growing mass of underprivileged people into misery through its rapacious imperialist exploitation, and on the other hand it has an insatiable demand for cheap labour.
    Millions more desperate people are forced to flee endless wars, fomented by the imperialist bourgeoisie to grab natural resources or to occupy areas of strategic and military importance, such as the Middle East or Central Africa.
    Capitalism has turned the world into hell for those who work. Proletarians everywhere see their conditions and presumed securities demolished day by day by the attacks of the ruling class, which is driven only by the lust for profit, and which today takes advantage of the weakness of the working class, threatened as it is by the economic crisis. Cutting wages, increasing hours and workloads, reducing any guarantee of employment, assistance in maternity, old age and illness are the measures taken by the bourgeoisie to defend their profits. The economic crisis, caused by the falling rate of profit and the overproduction of goods, pushes the bosses to intensify the exploitation of workers involved in the production process while others, more and more, are condemned to unemployment.
    In many countries, some of the workers are foreign immigrants, very often forced into illegality and blackmailed by the threat of expulsion; this wickedness, which is close to slavery, is maintained by the bourgeois state in order to increase competition between workers, poison their feelings and divide their forces.
    Instead, a single historical force stands objectively in front of Capital: the international proletariat, organized as a class, united above nationalities and races. This proletariat will once again become a class for itself, not a commodity for Capital, it will defend its living and working conditions by reconstituting its class unions, an indispensable instrument to unite its forces against the bosses’ attack. In this way it will learn both to expose the trade unions loyal to the bourgeois regime and the opportunistic parties that are false friends, and to wage war against the political, police and military apparatus that protects it.
    It will be led in this real class war by its vanguard, who will have joined the Communist Party, revolutionary and international, and its historically invariant program that cries out:
Proletarians have no country!
As class brothers and sisters, they will find themselves united in the world struggle for the overthrow of the regime of capital, for Communism!

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Report on the Mass Movement in Sudan

    Sudan has been shaken by a powerful mass protest movement since December 2018 with the slogans "freedom, peace and justice", “We are out [in protest], we are out [in protest] against those who stole our sweat [hard work]”  and "revolution is the people’s choice". Also opposition to the Darfur genocide was expressed with the slogans "You arrogant racist, we are all Darfur!". As it is common in Sudanese protests, women are playing a particularly important role in the movement, to the extent that it has been deemed a “women’s revolution” by the participants of the movement.
    The public reason that triggered the mass movement in Sudan was the rising bread prices. Sudan has a tradition of workers struggles, going back to 1903. The protests began in rural areas and in cities such as Atbara, where there is a strong tradition of independent trade unions. A leading force of the movement was one of these unions, the Sudanese Professionals Association (including the Agricultural sector, Geologists, Dentists, The pharmacists, Specialized Medical Associations) which served as an organizational backbone for the movement. The regime responded with mass arrests of labor cadres and leadership.
    In December 24, 2018, trade unions and professional associations called for a nationwide work stoppage soon after the protests started against price hikes and worsening economic conditions, and doctors vowed to continue their indefinite strike. The mass movement developed slogans against Omar al‑Bashir, the genocidal tyrant supported by the Muslim Brotherhood ruling the country since a coup d’etat in 1989. As the mass movement continued, so did class struggles, such as the port workers strike against privatization. All activities usually carried out in the Southern Port, Northern Port, the Green Port, Al‑Khair_Port, and the Osman Digna Port, in Suakin city were shut down by the workers who went on strike in different parts of the country in solidarity with each other. An important center of union activity within the protests seems to be The Alliance for Restoration of Sudanese Workers Trade Unions, which has also formally joined "the revolution" in early March, 2019, calling on all the “disbanded unions" to join forces with the protests.
    Nevertheless, it has been reported that unions and professional classes are no longer as active in the movement as they had been in the 80ies. Other than the unions, women’s and youth organizations are involved with the movement, as well as parties of the bourgeois left such as the Sudanese Communist Party, which is a part of the Alliance of the National Consensus Forces along with other bourgeois parties. The general orientation of this “Communist” party, unsurprisingly, is a return to democracy. There is no doubt there are many others who envisage such a future for Sudan, such as the rest of the signatories of the Declaration of Freedom and Change, which include the Sudanese Professionals Association and the The Alliance for Restoration of Sudanese Workers Trade Unions. As such, these unions are ready to become regime unions as soon as a democratic regime is established.
    The 2018‑2019 mass protests in Sudan are similar to two other incidents in the history of the country. The first, in 1964, was sparked by clashes between students and police at the University of Khartoum. These incidents mushroomed into a much wider protest movement that ended up toppling the military dictatorship of Ibrahim Abboud. The second, in 1985, broke out after years of economic unrest and, like today’s protests, was set off by an increase in the costs of basic goods, leading to a mass movement that forced Jafa’ar Nimeiri to step down. In 1964 and 1985, Sudan’s army intervened to support the transition to a multiparty democracy. It did this under pressure from junior and middle-ranking officers, and these decisions proved crucial to the overthrow of the rulers. This time too, after earlier reports that soldiers had intervened to protect protestors from police violence, the Sudanese army toppled Omar al Bashir and declared there will be two years of military rule, to be followed by free and fair elections. The defense minister in Bashir’s government, Awad Ibn Auf briefly became the face of the coup, only to be replaced following his resignation by Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Adelrahman Burhan as the head of the Military Council. Burhan, unlike Ibn Auf, isn’t accused of war crimes in regards to Darfur.
    The Sudanese Professionals Association rejected the army’s overthrow of al Bashir as a military coup and vowed to hold further demonstrations, as did many other organizations. In a post on Twitter, the SPA said it was demanding the "handover of power to a civilian transitional government that reflects the forces of the revolution". Furthermore, the professional union called for mass protests in defiance of the curfew announced by the military, declaring "To comply with the curfew is to recognise the clone rescue government". Nevertheless the SPA declared Ibn Auf’s replacement with Burhan as a "triumph of the will of the masses", while calling on the masses to continue their protests in front of army garrisons.
    Workers, and especially "professionals" are playing a very important role in the Sudanese mass movement but the democratic union leadership with their bourgeois party allies are in control of the movement politically. There is no indication anyone seriously hopes for a dictatorship of the proletariat in a situation and geography where a genuine, international Communist Party isn’t present.

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Sit-ins in the Quebec Health Sector: Women at the Forefront

    On February 14, 2019, about fifty nurses from Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean occupied the headquarters of their University Integrated Center for Health and Social Services (CIUSSS) to denounce the systematic use of mandatory overtime (TSO) to alleviate the lack of personnel in Quebec hospitals. While an overwhelming majority of nurses oppose TSOs, they are the rule and a major problem, affecting the quality of care and the health of workers in the sector. TSOs force nurses to work, sometimes up to 16 hours in a row, without any type of notice and force them to organize themselves through Facebook to try to get around them so they do not get trapped at work.
    The main reason for using TSOs is the lack of personnel in the health system. Quebec’s health care system has been in crisis for nearly three decades, bled by successive capitalist reforms. The shortage of manpower was greatly aggravated with the cuts of $ 963.4 million in the sector by Minister Barrette between 2014 and 2016.
    Last winter, spontaneous sit‑ins of workers began in Trois-Rivières, Sorel and Laval to oppose the TSOs without any support from their unions. The Federation of Nurses of Quebec, through its president, Nancy Bédard, even insisted on disregarding sit‑ins that claimed they were "absolutely not" controlled by the union. This obviously recalls the words of the former president of the FIQ, Régine Laurent, saying it was necessary "to find all the means, except the strike" in the negotiations with the government.
    All over Quebec, emergencies are overflowing. In some establishments, the occupancy rate of stretchers rises steadily up to 200% of that of regular beds!
    Visibility initiatives (buttons, t‑shirts) were organized by women workers (women are still in the majority in the health sector in Quebec). Demonstrations were also organized, the most recent having taken place on February 28, 2019 at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital.
    But the most visible and significant actions to date are the spontaneous sit‑ins that have occurred across the province. They show the generalized sluggishness and class instinct that express themselves in distrust, both with regard to the state and its iniquitous directives, but also to the regime unions and their class conciliation policies and co‑management of the capitalist disaster.

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IWW Summit and Strikes in Great Britain

    In recent issues of our newspaper we dealt with the resumption of the struggle in the United Kingdom by highlighting the capacity of some trade unions, which were born outside of the great regime Confederation, the Trade Union summit (TUC), to conduct particularly fierce struggles, often resorting to the real weapons of class unionism. The rejection of corporatism, the recognition of the role of the leaders of the TUC as agents of the ruling class within the working class, as well as the use of the strike with the aim of inflicting maximum damage to the enemy, have allowed these struggles to be channeled on a path that, if it continues to be followed, will reflect by all means on the growth of the entire movement of the working class.
    Encouraging signs of this were provided in early 2019: Uber drivers decisively occupied the headquarters of TFL (Transport for London); food delivery couriers went on strike in Bristol on January 18 and twice in Manchester (14 and 26 February)
    The security guards, cleaners and receptionists of the Ministry of Justice, organized with the union UVW (United Voices of the World) relaunched the fight with a new strike, finding support from the workers of the trade union PCS (Public and Commercial Services Union) in what was the first ever joint strike between TUC and non‑TUC unions. Only the use of scabs allowed the ministry to remain open during the 48 hours of strike, which still seriously hindered the performance of the ministry’s activities.
    Finally, on 26 February, the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB), the United Voices of the World, the Public and Commercial Services Union and the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) proclaimed a united strike in London involving all their "outsourced" workers, that is workers involved mainly in cleaning, catering and security services. They also organized a demonstration through the streets of the capital.
    A union that seems to currently embody a synthesis of the positive features of this resurgent class unionism is the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the organisation is divided into 18 territorial branches covering the different areas of the country. There is a coordination centre in Cardiff, and London has two branches.
    Last year has seen growth in the categories where the union has managed to penetrate and in some centres the couriers are no longer – as it was originally – the majority component. In particular, in Birmingham a number of workers from the local industrial centre, mainly consisting of car and chemical factories, joined the organization. In Manchester, where the northwest branch is located, there was a 50% increase in the number of members over the last year. The numbers are generally small, but they are rapidly increasing.
    Last year at the end of October the summit of the IWW of the United Kingdom was held in Sheffield and attended by our comrades. The day opened with a speech by a delegate to the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Sheffield. The TUC is a confederation that brings together the vast majority of the UK regime unions. Its policy is in clear conflict with the class unionism which guides the IWW.
    The intervention was aimed at inviting the members of the IWW to support the delegates of the TUC in their combative initiatives whenever it was needed. The reason for this, according to the speaker, was to be sought in the different attitudes of the delegates compared to the leaders of their unions, members of the TUC. Even if it should be noted that an increasing number of delegates from TUC organisations are pressing for greater combativeness from their trade unions and rejecting corporatism, as evidenced by recent strikes across the country, not least that of the RMT railroad workers, the reaction of the majority of those present at the IWW Sheffield assembly was negative.
    The day continued with the activity of different working groups. In one of them members of one of the two London branches reported on their organisational work in an industrial area of the city. It is interesting to know that these workers are openly inspired by what the SI Cobas has achieved in Italy in the logistics sector, demonstrating how positive examples of class struggle have the strength to cross national borders.
    The group of these union militants, even though they are part of the IWW, is also known by the name of Angry Workers of the World and concentrates its activity on an area near Heathrow Airport, the so‑called western corridor, where most of the food that ends up on the shelves of London supermarkets is prepared and packaged. Most of the workers in this industrial center are immigrants.
    The difficulties in organizing trade union work are linked to relatively better employment conditions than their class brothers in Italy and to internal differences within the workforce – expertly used by capital in accordance with the classic motto divide and conquer – like those between temporary and permanent workers and between different nationalities. For example, Polish workers tend to accept forced overtime with less reluctance, given the hope of returning to their own country in a relatively shorter time. Indian workers, on the other hand, have the advantage of knowing the language of the country, which makes them easier to promote to better paid positions, often managing other workers.
    Despite these and other problems, many have joined the union and organizational efforts will of course continue.
    The meeting ended with a general discussion and a summary of the day, during which various points were raised. One of them was the problem of the relationship between the different conflicting unions, with possible divisions, considered a problem that must be avoided, so as to reach to the maximum degree the unity of action of the working class, a vital necessity for the resistance to exploitation and immiseration today, and for the political offensive struggle to overcome exploitation tomorrow.
    Regarding this not secondary aspect, it should be noted that in the United Kingdom the combative trade unions – and sometimes not only those – tend towards unity of action more frequently than elsewhere, including Italy where this segment of trade unionism has developed the most so far. Not only do they strike together (even if the strikes are still sporadic and with little strength) but they exchange information and do not fail to do propaganda for each other. In some cases they even operate in symbiosis, as do the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) and the IWW, which jointly manage the Couriers Network, i.e. the national coordination network of Deliveroo and UberEats delivery couriers.

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Workers Shutdown the US Government Shutdown

Ending the government shutdown was the work of the proletariat, not the political class. For 35 days, between December 22, 2018 and January 25, 2019, the Federal Government was mostly shut down; only “essential services,” primarily the security apparatus, continued to operate, because Trump did not get his wall, even from a Republican Congress. The problem was exacerbated by the weakness of the incoming Democratic Congress, which had promised a Blue Wave that, it turned out, was little more than a drop in the bucket, and its servility to the agenda of the bourgeoisie. The end of the shutdown demonstrates two things: the impotence and cupidity of the political class, and the power of the proletariat.
    The political class demonstrated the inability of its leadership to achieve its objectives. Prior to the seating of the new Congress in early January, the government shut down because President Donald Trump threatened to veto any spending bill that did not include funding for his border wall. Even the Republican-dominated Congress could not pass a spending bill that included it. When the new Congress took office on January 3rd, the Republicans had lost control of the House and barely maintained their control of the Senate, and were deeply divided. The Democrats in the Senate, however, were content to allow business as usual, and did not attempt to challenge the unpopularity of the shutdown or the arrangement of power, for fear that encouraging a back‑bench revolt amongst the Republicans would encourage their own back‑benchers to revolt against them. Far more important to them were the perks and privileges of high office and the profit to be made off the misery of their constituents.
    In spite of the press’ fawning over the leader of the Democrats in the House, Pelosi, her repeated attempts at “negotiation” with Trump were, in the end, little more than theatre. The Democrats, traditionally seen as the party of the urban poor, and thus welfare recipients, as well as state employees, could ill afford to abandon the masquerade, but, as members of the executive committee of the ruling class, could equally ill afford to offend the powerful noise machine that the bourgeoisie cranks up whenever there is a hint that their will may not be obeyed by their agents in Washington. Hence they continued to prolong the agony. Finally, having gone over a month without pay, many of those “essential” workers who were not part of the bourgeoisie’s menagerie of security agencies, had enough. When air traffic controllers, airline pilots, and flight attendants began to make threatening noises about not being able to continue to work, and faced with the shut down of their critical artery of commerce, Washington took heed, and a spending bill was passed, re‑opening the government. It was this, and not the theatrics of the politicos, that ended the shutdown.

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Modena, 6 April 2019 - Class Solidarity

[Text of the ICP’s leaflet at a 1,200 worker protest in Modena, Italy in defense of rank and file unions.]

    The trial of the National Coordinator of the SI Cobas is part of an overall attack by the bourgeois regime [on rank and file unions]. This attack is being carried out against a  10 year long struggle in the logistics industry, which the SI Cobas union has been able to organize and represent.
    Through hard fights – made up of real strikes,  made without notice or predefined length, with pickets blocking goods and fighting scabs – thousands of workers have obtained important victories, wage and regulatory improvements. The SI Cobas has gone against the tide compared to other industries which have suffered defeats and retreats for years, seeing their living and working conditions worsen.
    The bosses’ aim is to prevent the extension of this struggle beyond the logistics sector. An enlargement of the working class’ front could lead the workers to rise from the dead end where the regime trade unions (CGIL, CISL, UIL, UGL) have led them. The rank and file unions could break the hegemony of these organizations, who defend the national economy – the interests of the bosses and the State. These regime unions have repeatedly shown that they constitute the first line of repressive action against the most combative workers. They are the ones who sabotage the strikes, signing downward agreements with the companies to try to stop the fight, thus offering justification to the police to attack and clear the pickets.
    Of course, repression against workers in struggle is carried out primarily by the bosses in the workplace. Disciplinary reprimands, suspensions, transfers and other measures that often prelude dismissal, but when these means and the dirty game of concerted unionism are not enough, the bourgeois regime intervenes in the first person, that is, the State, which now at every strike ranks in front of warehouses, factories, construction sites, carabinieri and policemen in order of war.
    Last December the Parliament passed a law – the so‑called Security Decree – aimed at immigrants, who represent a significant part of the working class. But the decree also attacked pickets and demonstions, in short, the freedom to strike. The decree is therefore against the whole working class, both immigrant and native. Of course, this  law is a further exacerbation of repressive actions against the entire working class and its struggles. These repressions carried out by the employers and the various governments with continuity over time.
    In January, courts condemned delegates, leaders and some supporters of SI Cobas for having participated in a picket at DHL Settala (Milan) in 2015. And now there is the trial of Aldo Milani [National Coordinator of SI Cobas]. The legislative, executive and judicial powers are in a common front in the defence of the bourgeois regime.
    Against this line‑up of advisaries, the proletariat can and must only count on its forces. Only by the extension of the workers’ struggle and strengthening of class unionism, its currents and its organizations, can generate a solidarity which constitutes a far‑sighted, not ephemeral defence. That solidarity is a needed prerequisite for the future offensive against capitalism and its political regime.
    Solidarity coming from "honest democrats", from cultural, legal and academic "personalities" must not be allowed to deceive the workers about the nature of democracy. A democracy which in the test of economic crisis and with the resumption of the proletarian struggle, will reveal its true face: the dictatorship of capital over the working class.
    We work for the unity of action by all the organizations and currents of combative unionism. We need to defeat the trade union opportunism which dominates in the base unions. Because their fragmentation and their methods of struggle by the majority of the current leaders, will not be able to defeat the regime’s trade unions.

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