International Communist Party Against Capitalist Wars

To the Imperialist War the Proletariat Opposes the Firm Will to Achieve Its Historical Program

(From Prometeo, issue 1 of November 1943)

The crisis that suddenly erupted on the Italian political scene after twenty years of the Fascist regime highlighted the gravity of the social malaise that concerned not only the responsibility of this or that politician, this or that body, but the entire system of the ruling class, in its institutions and in its economic and political structure. That is to say, it was visible even to those least able to analyze social phenomena that the capitalist framework had been struck to death, while its political forces were ignominiously exhausting themselves in a comedic series of betrayals, cowardice and corruption.

The proletariat finally felt the oppressive framework of the bourgeois organization crumbling around it and saw, perhaps for the first time, its nerve centers such as the army, the judiciary and public security broken! It seemed to be the end not only of Fascism, but of the economic system that had made it possible, and yet it was only the first act of a social drama in which the proletariat would eventually be able to play the role of the great victorious protagonist. We have said it seemed so, because the debacle that fell on our country, even though it showed that the process of decomposition and disintegration was underway, which is the first and essential condition for the resumption of class conflicts, did not express, nor could it express on the political level, the revolutionary force capable of exploiting for its own ends an evident and even so rare situation of favor. And it could not express it not because the crisis was not very deep and the situation was not sufficiently revolutionary, nor because its subjective element was lacking, i.e. the proletariat with its physical strength and its intelligence and will to fight, but only because the relations of force were objectively still in favor of the class adversary.

Nobody wanted to understand that, similar to the Spanish episode, in the first phase of this clash of imperialisms, our country suddenly found itself to be the testing ground, the tragic arena in the second act of the same immense competition. It was therefore a vain illusion to think that fascism could be eliminated by a palace conspiracy while the German colossus remained standing and in our house.

Every class revival, every struggle for the freedom and emancipation of the proletariat had necessarily to take into account this harsh reality constituted on the one hand by the German armed forces under the fascist flag and on the other by the allied armed forces under the democratic flag. Fiction in both cases and simple tactical expedient necessary for the capitalist rulers to neutralize and conquer ever larger masses of proletarians. Modern warfare needs arms and consciences as much as it needs coal and iron.

A classist conduct of the struggle should have led the proletarian parties, after a thorough analysis of the real nature of the present conflict, to place on the ideological and therefore political level the definition of both belligerents as different faces of the same bourgeois reality; both to be fought because they are both intimately linked, regardless of appearances, to the same iron law of the preservation of capitalist privilege and both fighting thoroughly, to the death, against their true, common enemy: the proletariat.

Instead what happened? Exactly the contrary. At the moment when the impossibility for the bourgeoisie to continue its war was most evident, and maneuvers were being made in the upper echelons to prevent the open crisis from pushing the proletariat into the foreground, here was the providential blockade of the anti-fascist parties as a decisive factor, three-quarters aware, of the maneuver of circumventing this and doping up the masses. The advocates of internationalism became the heralds of national defense (but only against the Germans!); the exponents of the class struggle prepared to consider English imperialism as a provisional ally of the proletariat. Just like the socialists of ’14 that Lenin branded as traitors. The astonished and dismayed masses have taken the bait of the anti-German crusade, in part obeying the atavistic voice of hatred against the German oppressor, a distant and unconscious sediment that has formed in the souls of many Italians and that revolutionaries must be able to identify and overcome, because it is precisely on this sediment that all the reactions up to now have relied for their wars of robbery and extermination. We alone have dared to go against the current. Our party, already at the time of the Spanish Civil War, had analyzed that movement on a class basis, without letting itself be influenced by sentimentalism and by that false rebellious “atavism” which has nothing to do with Marxism, which leads to exalting action by bending the ideas and theory of the revolution to opportunism. At that time, only our party recognized the character of the Spanish events, which were destined to be exhausted if a revolutionary party was not expressed at the time of the crisis itself, and it dared to rudely say that the republican attempt to channel the fighters who had risen from the barricades into the ranks of a republican army as opposed to Franco’s national army, meant distorting the movement, that is to say, shifting the axis of the armed conflict from its original class ground to that of imperialism on which the fascist forces on one side and the Anglo-Franco-Russian forces on the other had already more or less openly aligned themselves. And the party was proven correct on this, because its criticism and its consequent attitude became strong and were guaranteed by the correct interpretation of Marxist thought.

But it is not by chance that we have mentioned the analogy between today’s situation in our country and that in Spain.

In fact, we believe that the bourgeois collapse of our country, determined by the course of the war, does not offer a serious possibility for the final struggle of the proletariat as long as occupying forces, whatever they may be, remain on our soil; for them an eventual revolutionary solution to the crisis, presently controlled by these forces, would mean giving up the economic and strategic exploitation of the country.

On the other hand, we consider it our urgent task to disengage the masses from ideological and sentimental influences towards this or that belligerent, which implies an open struggle against the traditional socialist and Stalinist parties, which have made the anti-German and anti-fascist ferment a motive for imperialist collaboration and betrayal of the proletariat.

Even now we are alone to fight the rough and difficult class battle and, faithful to the ideal intransigence and to the tradition of the internationalist Marxist movement, we prepare ourselves for the coming struggles by preparing organs and spirits for the triumph of the proletariat, leaving to the revolutionaries... of national defense the much easier task of waiting for the victory over the Germans and fascism and the longed-for reward of a popular government from the English.