On the Thread of Time
Equality of Nations Supreme Swindle
Battaglia comunista, no. 7 of 1951
The topic of war and peace, aggression and defense, is important enough to warrant further insistence in referencing the Marxist and Leninist doctrines with which we have reminded how “defencism” and “pacifism” should be banished to the realm of idealistic fantasies from which critical communism is a thousand miles away, and fully respond to the propaganda that works for the conservation of the bourgeois order.
Scientific socialism has had to deal, since its rise, with two classic “con tricks” of ideological and propaganda swindling: on the “domestic” scale the equality of individuals as prescribed in the law, on the “foreign” scale the legal equality of States, touted by bourgeois thought as “natural and eternal” truths finally realized by modern civilization and democracy.
But today one can’t read three lines of articles and writings labeled “socialist”, “communist”, and “Marxist” without seeing this horrific nonsense being repeated as if they’re unchallengeable dogmas, which stirred up stormwaves among the tufts of Papa Karl’s beard, stereotyped on the posters of our cramped and smoky socialist branches forty years ago.
If we knew we’d have gotten so far in doing basically everything besides actually cultivating Marxism, we would have looked for a bucket and sponge even then, and made a living by going around to render service to Lady Bourgeoisie, after her own deeds. Not a very lofty life goal, but still less disgusting than that of the present and Best leaders of the working class.Yesterday
The great natural law achievement of the equality of men got irreversibly super-teased when Frederick Engels, starting from the unaptness of the scientist Dühring who built his doctrine on a “two- man society”, A and B, in which A is equal to B, and therefore B is equal to A, to arrive in equal measure at X, Z, where sovereign citizen Mr. Whatnot traces one of his unforgettable historical “abrégés” showing the development of egalitarian criterion and demands from the primitive clan to caste, class, and within the very core of such concrete groups and forms. Engels remembers in a footnote, once he arrives at the capitalist period, that “This derivation of the modern ideas of equality from the economic conditions of bourgeois society was first demonstrated by Marx in Capital”. Here Engels is not alluding to the philosophical and historical critique of bourgeois egalitarianism already contained in the Manifesto, but to the demonstration that the economic exploitation of wage earners rests on the canon of “exchange between equal values”, the pillar of bourgeois justice.
Capitalism could not have emerged victorious without the abolition of feudal “class privileges”. This postulate ideologically presented itself as a conquest of human right and equality. The proletarians, Engels says, took the bourgeoisie at its word, carried the demand for equality from the legal to the economic realm, and demanded the abolition of classes. The demand for equality in the mouth of the proletariat has a double meaning: either it is naive reaction to the stark contrast between rich and poor, between the opulent and the starving, as in the early peasant revolts, and finds justification as a simple expression of revolutionary instinct; or it serves as a means of agitation to excite the workers against the capitalists in the capitalists’ own words, “and in this case it stands or falls with bourgeois equality itself”. But “In both cases the real content of the proletarian demand for equality is the demand for the abolition of classes. Any demand for equality which goes beyond that, of necessity passes into absurdity”.
“The idea of equality, both in its bourgeois and in its proletarian form, is therefore itself a historical product, the creation of which required definite historical conditions that in turn themselves presuppose a long previous history. It is therefore anything but an eternal truth. And if today it is taken for granted by the general public — in one sense or another — if, as Marx says, it “already possesses the fixity of a popular prejudice”, this is not the effect of its axiomatic truth, but the effect of the general diffusion and the continued appropriateness of the ideas of the eighteenth century."
But what else has “Marxist” propaganda been reduced to today? One wonders in the well- furnished working cabinets of modern leaders, in the highly refined preparation for agitational or partisan campaigns: what is there, then, today, that “is accepted by the general public”? And the interviews to be broadcast to the world by radio and the speeches to be monotonously gurgled out in parliamentary sessions or provincial congresses are all made of the exact same material...
“If therefore Herr Dühring is able without more ado to let his famous two men conduct their economic relations on the basis of equality, this is so because it seems quite natural to popular prejudice”. And not from anything else does it derive, if four altar boys around the world can triumphantly wave millions of signatures for Peace, “concrete” peace, “unconditioned” peace, peace in candid disguise, beyond which, under which there is nothing, which has no connection with the economic characteristics of the society in which we live, or with determined historical conditions; which is among the many eternal truths, and in defiance to the convulsions of history somehow flies in the beak of the very same dove from the time of Noah's ark...
Tè, zuca ccà![take this!] they say in Naples, sticking out their little finger, when they come across these unweaned babies.
Is it really so difficult to make ourselves understood, after a century of hammering on it? The socialists are not the knights-errant of the dream for Abstract Equality and Justice, but those who have realized that they live in the time when the pre-requisites for the abolition of classes, for a type of social production without class division, is being laid. A matter which isn’t about the equality of Mr. A with Mr. B, about no longer being able to be that duke and that meek artisan, but about the existence of machines, workshops, motor ships, about having taken place serious conflicts and collisions for the control of society and for power.
There is not a single comma to be changed in Engels' clarification from 1878 to the present, in our opinion, although there have been many professors and writers and Dührings since, compared to whom we are mere partisans, and that's all; just as there was not a comma that needed to be changed by one Lenin in 1920.
We will take up the thesis on the national and colonial question from the Second Moscow Congress. It begins thus, “1. An abstract or formal posing of the problem of equality in general and national equality in particular is in the very nature of bourgeois democracy. Under the guise of the equality of the individual in general, bourgeois democracy proclaims the formal or legal equality of the property-owner and the proletarian, the exploiter and the exploited, thereby grossly deceiving the oppressed classes. On the plea that all men are absolutely equal, the bourgeoisie is transferring the idea of equality, which is itself a reflection of the relations of commodity production, into a weapon in its struggle against the abolition of classes. (a sanctified formula, we interpolate, of the modern super-baloney, the number one lie, common to the agitation of Catholic priests, dollarized quakers and activists on that ruble payroll)”. Lenin was not the type to give his opponents a weapon, even one that was a “people’s achievement” such as the magic word of equality, for theoretical luxury alone. He points out, “The real meaning of the demand for equality consists in its being a demand for the abolition of classes”. Copied! Copied from Engels! Who himself protested at every step: all I do is copy from Marx’s manuscripts. The Marxist never invents, he always copies. Sorrowful, if this makes the “dignity of the human person” suffer. This simple concept is remade again and again with the flashes of genius from pigeon fanciers.
Lenin’s national theses supplement, in close relation, those of the First Congress on “Bourgeois Democracy and Proletarian Dictatorship”, with the classically and Marxistically faithful demolition of “democracy in general”, and of democracy as the and limit environment of the struggle between bourgeoisie and proletariat. Just as in those theses the possibility of a competition on equal terms between the exploiter and the exploited within the confines of law and the State is destroyed, in these he does the same with the “petty-bourgeois nationalistic illusions –“ already quoted by us “– that nations can live together in peace and equality under capitalism”. Lenin here discusses two major historical problems: one is that of relations between different “nationalities”, of different race, language and culture, within the same State; the other is that of relations between different nation-states. The first problem was highly topical for Russia in the transition from tsarism to sovietism: there were in the Moscow state one hundred peoples of the most diverse lineages. Lenin analyzes, on the way to complete equality of treatment, feasible only in an economy that has become communist and international, the transitional federalist solution, recalls the creation of autonomous republics, of the Baskhiri and Tartars “who had never had their own State”. He then deals, in this and many other documents, with the situation at the time in the relations among the States of the world.
On both points the bourgeois position must be reversed. Capitalist democracy flaunts belief in the “eternal principle” of the legal equality of nationalities in the same State. All citizens are under the rule of the same law even if they are of different or minority race and language. But this is nothing but a lie! There is no need to recall the treatment the Jews got in a thousand historical examples, the latest of which being the open State-backed racism in Germany, or the... even more recent of the British sinking of shiploads of human flesh within sight of the Palestinian coast*. Just think of the way the ultra-democratic USA treats black people, and the legal wisdom whereby a white man who rapes a black woman has merely engaged in an act of bad taste, but a black man goes straight to the electric chair, even without any formal evidence, as has happened lately.
Here we are interested in interstate relations. Just as the bourgeois lie reduces the social question to the verbal principle of the equality of citizens, so the “bourgeois democracies – even if they call themselves ‘socialist’” – and we would add that today they call themselves communist – “call the mere recognition of the equality of nations internationalism” but “considers national egoism inviolable”.
The nonsense of peaceful coexistence among nations and the principle of equality among them, which bills itself no less as a Leninist-Stalinist principle, could in fact only lead to the full recognition of “sacred” national egoism, and we see this very well in Italy. Indeed, it was narrated in Milan on St. Joseph’s Day that: “the working class when it calls for a policy of peace fulfills a national function and defends the interests of all Italians to whatever social class they belong”. By St. Joseph, did Lenin knew his chickens and pigeons!
What should communists do, according to Lenin, against the two lies, the domestic one and the international one? Thesis II says it: “clear distinction between the interests of the oppressed classes, of working and exploited people, and the general concept of self-styled national interests as a whole, which imply the interests of the ruling class” (take this home!). - “Equally clear distinction between the oppressed, dependent and protected nations and the oppressing, exploiting nations ... with the subjugation of the immense majority of the global population to a minority of rich capitalist countries”.
Have these historical facts changed today? Only those who are either so totally blind or on the payroll as to deny that at the top of these oppressor countries stands the “Leviathan” of America. And, by St. Joseph of the Kremlin, how the hell do you overthrow it, with the dove and with peace?
The bourgeois principle of the equality of nations is based on giving States a "legal" status. It has been given to men, to citizens in the individual State, claiming to have given uniform coverage and protection to concrete man A, and to concrete man B, little matter whether under such an ideal chlamys A’s belly is empty while B’s belly is stuffed full. This relationship is seen by us Marxists as the material consequence of there being a physical force: the State, i.e., the sword, the handcuffs, the jail, far above either individual A or B, and even above rebellious groups. This preponderant force manages to make A, B, and the rest of the alphabet walk within the ranks of its own normative discipline. These are charters, codes, laws, commandments and regulations: you shall not steal, you shall not murder, you shall not disturb the interests of the ruling class... The ingenious discovery of the capitalist epoch is that by conducting with the same formal laws the containment of the herd from A to Z, and by writing behind the judge’s back: the law is the same for all, the optimum conditions are ensured for a gang of businessmen to exploit the labor and misery of the masses.
The basic fiction of bourgeois law created the “legal” entity. It has no physical body or digestive stomach, no spirit or soul either, and therefore will not intervene in any capacity in the valley of Jehoshaphat, but moves through the legal net with the same protections as if it were a human letter of the alphabet. Not only shall man not rob man, but neither will the Firm, Corporation, Entity, Company and other similar dirty words, under the same sanctions that “protect” the “sanctity” of “natural persons”. And then we learned what the “Legal Entity" is and even, hats off, the Moral Entity.
The number two fraud of bourgeois democratism is to give even the States, internally sovereign, armed and able, which alone may abuse and violate their own “subject”; to give these States, in their relations with each other, a full legal entity; to pretend that these heartless monstrosities without any organs have a universal morality, a natural right, to give their “community” on the planet a “constitution” and a “charter”. It consisted in discovering, after the “human rights”, the other nonsense about “people's rights”.
In front of the thesis of the legal equality of human persons, our critique makes clear that it is not an “eternal truth” but a historically contingent expression of social relations between classes; it has a concrete application in history, but only for the purpose of social oppression.
In the face of the other, of the legal equality of State persons, i.e., the “principle of the equality of nations”, not only is the historical analysis repeated that shows the long history of State-State relations – classical antiquity, Engels recalls in his foreshortening, among other things, bequeathed the theory of a single world state that invested smaller communities with power, followed with the rise of capitalism by the new theory about the nation-state, one hundred percent autonomous – and it’s shown that these too were “passing truths”, which were born and died, but beyond that, Marxism has shown that on a real practical level, that principle of equality between States cannot even be held as a fiction in bourgeois times.
That the only law between social classes is brute force, the capitalist epoch has been able to conceal, in written law. It remains very true. But that the only law between States is force of arms is not just true, but not even concealable behind a “world charter”.
For this fiction, it is well understood, a “superconstitution”, a “superstate”, an earthly “superpolice” is needed. It is necessary to write that every State-person concurs and makes equal use of such an apparatus. Now this, which at the domestic scale cannot be done but can be written, at the world scale can neither be done nor written.
The same thinker of the bourgeois revolution Rousseau, who Marx recognizes was, in certain works, a powerful dialectician, spoke of “social contract” instead of “natural law”. He before Marx felt that thrust in the formation of organized human agglomerations is not a norm from outside, as from a divine will, and not even from some ethical imperatives “inherent” in all living things, but a confluence of interests whereby one “stipulates” to live in a certain way, since each can no longer live alone in his cave. Thus, before one could speak of a "law of States” one might speak of a “contract of States”. As the early troglodytes stipulated by holding the club in their primitive fist, today's States bargain at the green table holding at the ready their armies of land, sea and air.
These are the Federalist attempts, the League of Nations of the first war, the United Nations of this second one, against whose ideology we have repeatedly harbored the bombardment of quotations from Marx, Lenin and the Comintern. But to know that a morality of States is unthinkable, as is a morality of the political parties in struggle, to mock the famous “common rules of the game”, one does not even need Marx, even Croce is enough. The Turin people have forgotten even their Croce.Today
Under this legal equality of citizens lives social mafiosery, the gangsterism of capitalist exploitation; the exploitation of labor of those who work. Under the statutes of the UN is not even disguised the fact that certain ultra-powerful and imperial State bodies dominate and tyrannize the lesser ones. All the “general surveys” conducted by the Third International from 1919 to 1926 recognize this fact, which no longer has only the colonial expression, i.e. official and legal sovereignty of the dominant State, but the expression of the subjugation of the minor powers to the major ones, of the small to the “big” ones, so fashionable. Very simple as Lenin's thesis explains: there are not only “poor relatives” among solemnly “equal” citizens, but also among Nations and among States, made equal “in principle” by the... Wilsonist-Stalinist-Trumanist doctrine.
In the UN every State has a vote: big or small. Nothing more could be asked of “democracy at large”. Multiple votes? Oops! Every citizen in universal suffrage has one vote. But human persons, up and down, are of equal weight: from fifty to one hundred kgs, but States can have 22 million square kilometers (Soviet Union) or 1.5 (one and a half: Monaco). There would be the Vatican City that goes into the decimals, 0.49, but as we know, it is not an earthly kingdom.... What materialistic platitudes! The poor citizen of the American caricatures, the Average Joe who pays taxes and slaves away, kilo plus kilo minus, only votes for himself and is not able to shift majorities other than in exterminated herds; the professional criminal Costello, alone, moves a majority of Congress from one party to another. The more truthful corporatist fascist electoral system gave each employer as many votes as the number of his employees – a less deceitful expression of the true balance of power. How will we put it in the polls among State-electors?
In agreement among the three masters of equality theory, they got away with the right of veto. On really important issues the “heavyweight” State can oppose a numerical majority of many “featherweight” Statelets. It would be nice if this legal canon were applied among human persons: the defendant stands up and says: Mr. President, I’ll make use of the right of veto and decline your gracious sentence of twenty years imprisonment.
Scholars of natural law, encyclopedists, philosophers of sanctity, dignity and personality, please nose out the “eternal truths” of this “veto” business for me! The Lord himself looked quietly at Caiphas, looked quietly at Pilate, and picked up his cross. He did not think himself invested with the “veto”; he had not made as much of a career as an Acheson or a Gromyko.
This “contract” between free nations is one that not even Costello and Lucky Luciano would have passed between them.
And so what is the point of one of the authors of the theory, Stalin, coming to remind us of the automatic majority of the “aggressive core of the United Nations”: ten Atlantic Pact States, twenty Latin American countries? China has been declared an aggressor, while it has no vote because Chiang Kai-Shek has his, and not only because its vote and that of India (850 million men) weigh as much as that of the Dominican Republic (two million).
De Gasperi boasts that he is Atlantic not because his party reflects economic interests that dirtily fatten themselves with American protection while unmanaging the Italian province, but because he meets the requirements “of the legal majority at the United Nations”, and this despite the fact that... the Vatican City doesn’t vote there. Palmiro, shaken, replies: bravo, but the majority is not legal, because it supports things contrary to the very principles of the organization! Just outstanding. These superpoliticians are more debased than the notorious “sciur Panera” in their squabbling: how can I strike him if he does not stand still? No majority will prevent the minority from saying that it has violated common principles: only unanimity prevents this! Here is what happens to those who are reduced, like Stalin, to regret that the “moral” authority of the United Nations has been lost. Here are the political defeats that arise from renouncing one’s former doctrine. None of the skilful schemers that the Kremlin sends around could say: if you do not want to admit Red China, if you retain the seat to the nationalist one, it means that the former is a State outside the “contract”, outside the organization: how can you introduce a case against it as a defendant in your synedrium? But having admitted at the outset the Stalinist “principle” of eternal equality among all nations, they have lost even the chance to contest that such a practice destroys the hypocritical canon of international non-intervention in a State’s internal affairs; above all, it destroys what Engels dialectically affirmed for the Prussian Bismarck himself, the right to revolution. It erects the interstate gallows!
What is the way out, if that is the case, de jure or de facto? Playing with mollusk patience on "what the general public means per se," which do you arrive at moving? A legal majority in the elections of two Atlantic countries, France and Italy? Unlikely; in any case you do not shift that, already calculated by Stalin, in the United Nations. How, then, do you plan to get to break the Costello-Truman control over the entire legal apparatus that legally administers the planet, sadly built not by philosophy treaties and talk but by real force, from the mass murder of Bolsheviks in 1935 to the piles of corpses at Stalingrad? By playing on some imbecile definition of “aggressor”?
It’s a fact, Yankee imperial gangsterism is not preparing to attack anyone. But if it could be attacked, and truly fucked, what a beautiful thing would that be!