International Communist Party On Organic Centralism

General Guidelines on the Foundations of Party Organization

from Battaglia Comunista, no.13, 1949

In republishing the 1921 Statutes of the Communist Party of Italy in 1949, the Statutes were followed by this brief summary intended both to reiterate its instrumental character and to frame it in that exact vision of internal relations, of an exquisitely dialectical nature, characterizing the class revolutionary party, which goes by the name of "organic centralism".

Whether or not there is a codified regulation (and for us it will never have a definitive and absolute character), what matters is that its inspiring principles are clearly presented to all militants, which these yes are invariant, being prerequisites for the good functioning of the organization and its unity in space and time, binding all the bodies, networks, and different functions into which the party is structured and whose complete integration (not brute equating) its very existence depends.

The intent of the text is to clarify a fundamental point of distinction for us in matters of Party organization.

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The Statutes and Regulations of the Party and its Federations and Sections, constitute the practically indispensable set of constant rules, of operation, connection and correspondence, that govern the life of the organization. Yet, with respect to the historical and social aims of the Party, they have a mere instrumental and intermediary character. In setting them and if necessary modifying them, there is no point in making recourse to the rules and regulations of other bodies such as that of the state and democratic parliaments, as there does not exist, as per the conception of the Communist Party, fundamental constitutional principles and criteria common to and surpassing the different social classes and their tasks of struggle in successive historical phases.

The party is not a brute heap of grains equivalent to each other, but a real organism, arisen from social and historical determinants and needs, with networks, organs and centers, differentiated for fufilment of diverse functions. The good relationship between such real needs and the best function leads to good organization and not vice versa.

Consequently, the general or partial adoption and use of consultation and deliberation on a numerical and majority-based criterion, when enshrined in statutes or technical practice, has a character of means or expedient, not a character of principle.

The bases of Party organization cannot therefore go back to canons peculiar to other classes and other historical dominations, such as the obedience to leadership hierarchies of varying degrees drawn from pre-bourgeois military or theocratic bodies, or the abstract sovereignty of the grassroots electorate delegated to representative assemblies and executive committees, peculiar to the legal fiction characteristic of the capitalist world; the critique and overthrow of such organizations being the essential task of the proletarian and communist revolution.

The proper relationship in their function between the central and peripheral organs of the movement is based not on constitutional schemes but on the whole dialectical unfolding of the historical struggle of the working class against capitalism.

Fundamental bases of such relations are on the one hand the continuous uninterrupted and coherent unfolding of the party’s theory as an evaluation of the development of the present society and as a definition of the tasks of the class struggling to overthrow it, and on the other hand the international link between the revolutionary proletarians of all countries with unity of purpose and struggle.

The peripheral forces of the party and all its adherents are obliged in the practice of the movement not to make on their own local and contingent initiative decisions of action that do not come from the central organs and not to give tactical problems solutions other than those supported by the whole party. Correspondingly, the directing and central organs cannot and should not in their decisions and communications valid for the whole party abandon theoretical principles or change the means of tactical action even on the grounds that situations have presented unexpected or unforeseen facts in the party’s outlook. In the defect of these two reciprocal and complementary processes no statutory resources are worthwhile, but the crises of which the history of the proletarian movement offers many examples are determined.

Consequently, the party, while it calls for the participation of all its adherents in the continuous process of elaboration which consists in the analysis of social events and facts and in the specification of the most appropriate tasks and methods of action, and realizes this participation in the most suitable ways both through specific organs and through the general periodic congressional consultations, by no means does it allow groups of adherents within it to come together in separate organizations and fractions and to carry out their work of study and contribution according to networks of connection and correspondence and internal and external dissemination in any case different from the unitary one of the party.

The party considers the formation of fractions and the struggle among them within a political organization as a historical process that communists found useful and applied when an irremediable degeneration of the old parties and their leaderships had occurred and the party having the revolutionary characteristics and functions was missing.

When such a party has been formed and acts, it does not contain within itself ideologically separated, let alone organized, fractions, it admits only individual adherents through base formations, and it does not apply the method of forming its own overt and covert organizations within other political parties, considering all these situations as pathological and contradictory to the character of strict unity of the communist struggle.