|Last update on 25 November 2019
|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
As many expected, the occupation of the city of Afrin in Syrian, or Western Kurdistan, by the Turkish Armed Forces, and their Syrian National Army proxies, better known as the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army, following a short battle that took place between 20 January - 24 March 2018, was only the beginning of the Turkish offensive against the Syrian Democratic Forces, the military alliance controlled by the Democratic Union Party, the affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers Party in the region. Since the occupation of Afrin, Turkey had its eyes on the rest of the territory controlled by the Kurdish nationalists and their allies. The Trump administration, who had supported the SDF against the Islamic State, was opposed to such a move and proposed a 30 kilometer deep buffer zone into Syrian Kurdish territory to appease Turkey, though it was uncertain who would enforce it. The SDF protested, as most of the major urban areas they controlled would fall within the buffer zone. Eventually, the Erdogan government sent its troops alongside their FSA proxies, supposedly to enforce the buffer zone on 9 October 2019.The Turkish government is careful to portray its war effort as just a military operation. Yet President Erdogan aims to resettle the occupied territories with the refugees of the Syrian civil war who live in Turkey, numbering nearly 4 million. Moreover, the Turkish State and companies have been providing services and fulfilling contracts in the occupied regions. In other words, Turkey is essentially planning to annex all the territories it conquers until the Syrian civil war is resolved. Besides, organized religion in the country, controlled by the State, have mobilized to spread propaganda of a glorious conquest. Turkish capital, including the staunchly pro-Western Turkish Industry and Business Association, the regime union confederations, and mainstream opposition parties such as the Kemalist and social democratic Republican People’s Party and the Good Party, their far right allies have all came out in favor of the war effort. In particular, the RPP has called on Erdogan to immediately get in contact with Assad, citing that no one, other than the Turkish and Syrian States, have described the Syrian Kurdish nationalists and their allies as terrorist.
Nevertheless, there are many, ranging from the left wing of the RPP to the Kurdish social democratic Peoples’ Democratic Party with ties to the PKK, from the Stalinists to the trotskists, and including left-wing union confederations such as the Confederation of Public Workers’ Unions and Confederation of Progressive Workers’ Unions and engineers’ and doctors’ professional associations, who are opposed to the invasion. Their reasons vary: some are more interested in the territorial integrity of the Syrian State; others are declaring support for the Kurdish nationalists; all of them, however, basing their opposition to war on a democratic idea of peace. Nevertheless, Erdogan government takes opposition seriously, and has went on to arrest over a hundred social media users for their posts against the war.No one among the international community of bourgeois States other than Pakistan, Qatar and Azerbaijan openly supports the Turkish invasion. The EU is the most major amalgamate of imperialist powers to oppose the invasion, followed by the Arab League. Turkey, a regional imperialist power, feels confident enough in its position to threaten the EU that if the EU calls Turkey’s operation an invasion, the 4 million refugees will be allowed to go to Europe. It should also be mentioned that local powers such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Iraq and the Syrian government itself have condemned the Turkish invasion.
The US on the one hand threatens extreme economic sanctions, pushed by the most major bipartisan parliamentary effort in Trump era, while withdrawing its troops from SDF held territories and emphasizing the friendship between the two countries, in effect giving the Turks the green light. Indeed, the SDF are merely tactical allies of US imperialism against the Islamic State, whereas Turkey, a member of NATO, is a long term strategic partner. Even if Turkey and the FSA destroys the SDF completely, the Americans will still be on the table, this time through Turkey.The Russian State, the other major imperialist power active in Syria, is also happy about the situation, hoping it will strengthen the Assad regime’s hand. Early on, the Russians expressed that they will be working towards an agreement between the SDF and the Assad regime. Soon, an agreement was reached, and the Syrian army started moving north. The cost of this alliance for the SDF remains to be seen since the Syrian government wasn’t offering them desirable terms in earlier negotiations. This being said, the Assad regime had given military support to the SDF in Afrin by sending the National Defence Forces militia, and according to PYD sources, has offered generous military terms, including the closure of the airfield to Turkey, positioning soldiers in key areas in the border and, after repelling the Turkish attack, working towards taking back Afrin without taking over cities from the PYD affiliated democratic assemblies.
The tradition of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or the PKK, is the dominant political tendency of the Kurdish national bourgeoisie in Northern, or Turkish, and Western, or Syrian Kurdistan. The most powerful Kurdish nationalist military organization of Eastern, or Iranian Kurdistan also belongs to this tradition, along with a minor party in Southern, or Iraqi Kurdistan which is under control of the conservative Kurdistan Democratic Party and the social democratic Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. The ideology of the PKK has officially changed from Stalinist national liberation to democratic confederalism, giving up the 150 year old Kurdish national aspiration of independence in favor of autonomism.PYD didn’t come to power in Western Kurdistan through a revolution: it was handed power by the Assad regime who withdrew from Kurdish areas to fight the civil war. Especially as they and their multi-ethnic allies advanced out of the Kurdish areas in their fight against the Islamic State, they opted to promote themselves as North and East Syria instead of Western Kurdistan.
At the same time the PYD regime, ever respectful of private property and capitalism as declared by its constitution, tortured and killed dissidents, opened fire on protesters, and engaged in repressive policies against Arabs, Assyrians and other minorities. The fact that the SDF is under attack by a regional imperialist State which overpowers them is no reason to support what is in essence an anti-proletarian regime.
The proletarian attitude against the Turkish invasion of Syrian is not an abstract call for peace, but a call for revolutionary defeatism, for the workers in arms to fraternize and turn the imperialist war into revolutionary civil war.
This call can only be made by a powerful and truly revolutionary Communist Party, which unfortunately exists neither in Turkey nor Kurdistan yet.
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South America has experienced constant rioting and turmoil in recent months. Ecuador has experienced many days of bloody unrest. Some of this turmoil has spread to Argentina and Bolivia, and are aspects of a wider trend.
In Chile, immediately preceding these riots, there were protests over the continued increases in subway ticket prices. Groups of young people organized to skip the subway turnstiles in the Capital Santiago. All over a modest increase, from 800 to 830 pesos or about 0.03 US$. However, it must be considered that in Chile the minimum wage is 310,000 pesos per month, or about 430 US$. The cost of utilities and electricity has also risen to be comparable to most American and European cities. These increases have exacerbated workers and middle classes in the process of proletarianization.After a few days, the government deployed the police forces to the turnstiles across the city. This led to the escalation of the protests and the first riots: destruction of the turnstiles and the burning down of a number of subway stations. All resulting in the Friday October 18th incendiary bomb assault on the headquarters of the power company, Enel, totally destroying it.
That evening President Sebastián Piñera, having learned of the incidents in the capital, proclaimed a state of emergency. He dispatched the police and carabineros to the nerve centers for the Santiago Metropolitan area. This did not stop the spread of the protests, expressed above all in the "cacerolazos". Processions of demonstrators beat pots, alluding to the difficulty of filling them. Along with processions of cars that sound their horns as a sign of solidarity to the gatherings of demonstrators. In a few hours the protests spread to many other cities in the country.
It was then that President Piñera
appeared on television, denouncing the protests as works of delinquency. He
announced the revocation of the increases in metro prices. Piñera also
delegated General Javier Iturriaga to manage public order. This is as a
choice that sounds threatening to Chilean workers. Both for the involvement
of the army in politics, and the fact that General Iturriaga belongs to a
family of soldiers notorious for their ferocity with which they perpetrated
infamous crimes against political opponents. Especially for the family’s
careers during the time of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. It is
therefore not surprising that Iturriaga soon proclaimed a curfew in most
However, on the first night of the curfew, thousands of protesters defiantly remained in the streets. Supermarkets and goods depots were stormed and plundered in various parts of the country. Where the mass media all over the world diminish the severity of the struggle in Chile, videos in which the military is seen shooting to kill have been circulating on social media.
After a Sunday with at least eight deaths, the days following saw an intensification of demonstrations and strikes. These demonstrations also saw the mobilization of proletarian strata including the miners in the Antofagasta region. The mobilizations were able to make classist economic demands: increases to the minimum wage and the meager pensions of the Chilean proletarians.
On Tuesday, October 22, processions
with hundreds of thousands of participants erupted across Chile’s main
cities. A sign that the anger of the proletarians and of ruined middle
classes do not fear the bullets of army nor the tanks.
At the end of the day, three others were killed by the carabineros. However, the president was forced to make economic concessions of some importance: an increase in the minimum wage from 310,000 to 350,000 pesos, 20% increase in basic retirement pensions allowance, and the cancellation of the recent increase of 9.2% in electricity tariffs.
At the same time, in the style of
every bourgeois demagogue, Piñera introduced a tax rate of 40% on incomes
above 8 million pesos (11,004 US$) and a reduction in the salaries of public
administration staff. A reduction in allowances and the number of
parliamentarians as well as other cosmetic positions were also announced. As
if it is not capitalism but only its parasitic political apparatus that is
responsible for the harsh conditions of workers.
It is of some note that Piñera is forced by circumstances to revive the "reform" of retirement pension allowances imposed by his older brother José, acting as Minister of Labour under the Pinochet regime. The continued survival of the people and institutions of the dictatorship, betray its formal end in 1990, in proving once again that a democratic regime is but the mask of the ferocious dictatorship of capital.
But that is not the reason for the exacerbation of proletarian rage. The real cause is the global economic crisis that has already taken its first steps in slowing down the growth of the manufacturing sector in several large industrial countries. In the background of the South American protests is a drop in the prices of raw materials of which these countries are producers of. Because of the decrease in global demand, Chile is affected by a 6% fall in copper prices, which contributes significantly to Chile’s export income.
A false representation of social
dynamics, passed off as Marxist determinism, wants riots to come only when
the classes are forced to starve. In reality, this is a mechanistic and
simplistic parody of Marxism. The "prosperous" Chile remains a weak link in
the imperialist chain. Meanwhile the proletarians who have generated its
growth in recent decades are driven by the crisis to regain a part of the
surplus value extracted from them.
The story of the class movement that is shaking Chile is a matter of great concern for the international bourgeois class: "if it can happen in Chile, a prosperous and socially modern country, then it can happen anywhere”. The media all over the world, in charge of reproducing the ideology of the ruling class, repeats themselves.
What most fears the greedy and
murderous bourgeoisie is the contagion of the storm throughout Latin
America. In one of his delirious speeches, President Piñera, cautioning
against a coarse conspiracy theory, literally said "we are at war with a
powerful enemy”. This time we agree with him. Indeed, this powerful enemy
exists, but unfortunately it still does not have an organization that is up
to its historical tasks. This powerful enemy, nightmare and terror of the
bourgeoisie of every climate, is called the world working class. And the
organization in which it will recognize itself is called the International
Since October 17, the streets of Lebanon are burning. It is not a new bloody civil war thrown by the various imperialist forces, nor the armed intervention of some imperialism within the territory. The Lebanese proletariat and the middle classes, in a rapid process of proletarization, have taken to the streets with unusual demonstrations and unusual calls for unity and solidarity among the various ethnic and religious groups, for their living and existence conditions, constantly threatened by the economic-political crisis in which the country is plunged, calling for widespread revolt, with a hatred of the entire bourgeois political system and its corruption.
Lebanon, being a crossroads in the Mediterranean Sea, is a home of different ethnic, religious and national groups, a holder of a glorious past, a place of constant conflict and maneuver of the different regional imperialist interests, today finds itself with an unusual reality.
The past has shown that the
governments in Lebanon in modern times, due to the plurality of its
population, are unstable and anchored on sectarian agreements of the
different ethnic groups, and of these with imperialism in turn. This is the
case of the current government, led by President Al Harari, the result of
the concentration of different bourgeois political sectors, Hezbollah one of
them, Christians, Sunnis, under the auspices of the international
But the economic situation of the country, with a debt among the three largest in the world (!) Equal to 152% of its GDP, with a level of unemployment that borders 37% among young people, still in the process of rebuilding after the bloody civil war, it is precisely the heavy stone that has to carry on the back of the young Lebanese proletariat. The Lebanese government, in constant fiscal deficit, resorts to the usurers of global capitalism, and these in turn ask for guarantees for their "help". This supposed help for the "benefit of the country". which is in the interest of a bourgeoisie fully adhered to the game of capitalist chess, is opposed to improvements in the living conditions of the proletariat, and is about them that cut measures are directed "for the good of the country".
The austerity measures, directed by the Government, such as the cut in pensions, cuts in the salaries of public employees, and the last one, that sparked the present crisis, a tax on the use of the WhatsApp application of 6 dollars monthly, due to a drop in the collection of national teleoperators companies, have driven the proletarians and the middle classes to revolt. In a country where the majority of the working class does not earn more than 300 dollars per month, and unemployment among the youngest is so great, the explosion was only a matter of times and moments.
Capitalism at the global level is showing the beginning of a new great economic crisis of global magnitude, the bourgeois desperately tries to save its profit rate, trying to increase the percentage of benefits that constantly fall, through different methods of cuts in the living and working conditions of the proletarian, of the worker class, the producing class of the surplus value.
A series of manifestations around the globe appear in reaction to the austerity methods, to improvements in living and working conditions, showing a tendency towards the awakening of the proletarian class, which does not distinguish between nations, race, religion, but the division between the classes within society. Ecuador, Chile, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Haiti, now Lebanon.
In the case of the Middle East, the former unit of Arab capitalism, Pan-Arabism, today shows itself as a forgotten scam of the past, which is giving way to the real and unique progressive struggle: that of classes, that of the conditions of living and work, in first revendicative, and then in the future political-revolutionary.
It is from this point of view,
admirable as in a country that lived an extreme civil war, fueled by the
tactics of division of the bourgeoisie into groups of sectarian unity, today
show such unity of action around the defense of their common economic
interests. Palestinian Arabs, Christian Arabs, and Muslim Arabs, among
others, around the same demands and side by side. This certainly in a small
country like Lebanon, is a great step forward.
Unfortunately, this is carried out without the necessary class organization, which give direction to this impetuous show of strength in a class revendicative way, according to the working class methods, towards class objectives. This is the result of almost a century of counterrevolution, which has turned the once strong labor movement and its class unions into effective collaborators of the world bourgeoisie, but the main reason above all has been the liquidation of its World Communist Party at the hands of Stalinism.The reorganization of the working class around class unions, and the intervention of the World Party in this direction, is the most important work today, in light of recent events, for the workers and communists of the world. This process will be a long and hard process, like as has been the reconstitution of the destroyed World Communist Party, today in the International Communist Party.
This reorganization can only be possible with the awakening of the proletarian mass around the world. This is the real terror of the world bourgeoisie, which prefers to protect in a low profile all social explosions, but augustly this is an inevitable, necessary process, as we have defended even in the worst epochs of counterrevolution, against all the detractors and liquidators, who switched to the enemy side.
Today here, in the same place and in the same historical class line, the International Communist Party, faithful to Marxist principles after decades of counterrevolution, and on the eve of the great global economic crisis, is ready to lead the revolution of tomorrow, towards our final goal, the species plan, full Communism.
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48,000 members of the United Auto Workers of America (UAW), the regime union representing Auto Workers in the United States, went on an unexpected strike at General Motors from the 16th of September to the 25th of October. The strike cost GM more than $2bn, according to Wall Street estimates. It closed 34 GM manufacturing and distribution facilities across the USA. It also disrupted operations in Mexico and Canada.
General Motors, which produces the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC,
and Cadillac brands in North America, is North America’s largest
It’s hard to discuss workers’ demands as there was no plan and no real
membership discussion before the strike vote occurred. The UAW leadership
was seen as using the strike as an attempt to regain legitimacy amongst
workers after a series of scandals. As typical of regime unions, the
scandals continued and the leaderships’ handling of the strike has only
increased anger towards them.
Labor Notes magazine observed: «The strike was declared suddenly, with no guidance from
top bargainers on its goals. When I visited the picket line at
Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly on the first day, workers couldn’t tell me what
they were going out for. But remarkably, a consensus soon emerged. Most workers I
interviewed over eight visits to the line said their top priority was
“make everyone equal” or “hire the temps”».
The above quote shows how workers are open to stuggle when
they feel and see that what is going on is a real strike. So the methods
of struggle are as important as goals. This is the reason why the ICP
always fights to organize real strikes: without notice, with no
estabilished deadline, with picket lines to stop entry and exit of goods
and to wipe away the scabs.
Pay for GM workers is a series of tiers, depending on when
you started. Older workers get paid more for work than more recently hired
workers - this a provision pushed through by the “progressive” Obama
administration in the U.S. Govern-ment’s bailout of GM in 2008. More and
more GM is also using temporary (precarious) workers who have no work
guarentee and no benefits. In the US, the notoriously expensive health
care system is provided, if provided at all, by your employer. By
implimenting tiered work scales and through the use of temporary workers,
the company can lower costs in providing health care, placing workers in
Corruption in the UAW
Just before the GM strike was called a series of
corruption charges were brought by the US Federal Government against
primarily UAW officials but some company executives as well. The charges
dealt with bribes and kickbacks given to UAW officers.
We have to say that in our view is not just the corruption
that make a union a regime one but its principles, its methods of
struggle, its internal life, and its whole history, since founding
forward, across the class struggle. Nevertheless corruption cases like
these are a manifestation of the nature of a union which has gone over to
the side of the bosses for decades.
There are small pockets of organized internal resistence in the UAW. The current UAW was called a “One Party State” by a militant and former official back in the 1950s. Since that time the union has become the party of the corporations.
Since 1990 there have been some well organized caucuses
within the union fighting for a pro-worker direction.
“New Directions Caucus” especially seemed to have some movement until its leadership was pulled into the union leadership.
“Soldiers Of Solidarity” was more of a rank and file insurgency in the first decade of the 2000s.
Today there are no well organized rank and file groups.
The Solidarity Review is a group organized around
publishing articles critical of the present leadership, which is
important, but really has no organization.
“Autoworkers Caravan” is a protest movement more in line with Soldiers of Solidarity - loose knit and mainly a social networking phenomenon, but unfortunately not as organized as the Teachers union groups which won so much.
Canada and Mexico play important parts in Auto
manufacturing in North America. Mexico makes many of the parts to be
assembled in the United States - so the finished product can be marketed
as “American made”. Canadian auto manufacturing is much more integrated
into the much larger American market with many parts and assembly plants
located in the Canadian provience of Ontario - just across the Windsor
River from the center of American production in Detroit, Michigan.
The Canadian Auto Workers and American union were the same
until 1985 when the Canadians split because of American union’s
willingness to sign concessionary contracts, often to the disadvantage of
their Canadian members. The American habit of ignoring their Canadian
fellow workers again popped up when the American’s showed no organized
solidarity with the Candians wildcat strike against the closing of a GM
assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario which would eliminate 2,500 production
jobs at the plant and 2,500 union workers in auto parts suppliers, etc.
The Canadians repaid the American’s lack of solidarity in kind.
The Maquiladora are special economic zones of Mexico which
provide low cost labor for American industry. In Silao, Guanajuato, Mexico
at least five workers at the GM - Silao plant were fired for trying to aid
the American strikers by advocating a strike in that plant, a slow down
against increased production to substitute for lost American production as
well as advocating workers leaving the corrupt regime union. For more on
the Maquiladoras see “Wildcat Strikes in Mexico” in “The Communist Party”
Class Unionism’s lack of Organization vs the Regime Unions
The contract which came out of the strike negated the strikers’ desires
articulated on the picket lines above. Multiple tiers of pay continue,
temporary work remains temporary rather than permanent, health care costs
and risks are being dumped upon the workers. The contract was accepted by
a 57% to 43% margin. The success was ensured through a number of bribes
such as tying bonuses to yes vote.
The failure of the strike is being widely presented as a case of greed
and betrayal by the company and union officials. This is an important flaw
First of all, capitalist companies are against the workers not because of
the bosses’ greed but because capitalist competiton imposes a need, in
order to survive, to exploit workers. This exploitation will grow more and
more as the global economic crisis advances.
Secondly, it is incorrect to talk about a betrayal by the UAW leaders.
This union and its leaders, like the whole AFL-CIO, have been for decades
openly with the bosses and for class collaborationist unionism. The only
class the UAW leadership could betray is the bourgeoisie - somethning that
they will never do. The attitude of UAW leaders in this strike is just a
confirmation of the regime nature of this union.
But this is just half of the problem. The other is the lack of
organization by workers willing to fight and the militants of class
unionism, inside and outside the UAW.
The strike failed because there was no counter-organization to the bosses and their union hirelings.
The militants of class unionism have to coordinate themselves to get recognition from workers in struggle that they are the real alternative leadership in the struggle and to achieve the possibility of effectevly jointly organizing an opposition to regime unionism.
This “Coordination” can’t be built on a party basis. It can’t be a united front of parties – of any nature – but a united front of militant workers for class unionism. To keep it’s own nature it has to be open only to workers, employed and unemployed, not to members of other classes or social strata.
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On October 21, the Professional Staff Congress announced that the union has formed a contract proposal with the City University of New York. They stated, and the pro-contract faction repeated, that the proposal represents a “historic” victory for the union and its members, and listed all its supposed benefits. These statements were calculated to deceive the rank and file. The truth is that the proposed contract, if ratified by a vote of the membership, will only maintain and legitimize the exploitation of the vast majority of CUNY workers.
Others have already outlined the proposal’s failures, but a few of them are worth repeating. The proposal does little to address the poverty wages paid to adjunct instructors, nor the precarious conditions of their employment. The increase in adjunct pay from $3,222 to $5,500 per course comes with the requirement of one office hour per course each week, to be spent in university facilities under the university’s watch. Additionally, the increase in pay will not go into effect until Fall 2022, three years from now, meaning that inflation will have reduced its real value significantly. Other salaried workers will see a 2% annual increase in their pay, applied retroactively from 2017 to 2022, for an overall increase of 10.41%. It does not take much consideration to see that a 2% raise is only 0.3% above the national rate of inflation, meaning that in real terms overall salaries by 2022 will only be 1.62% above those in 2017. Considering that rents in New York City have increased by over 5% in the past year alone, this cannot truthfully be called a raise.
This is the “historic” contract trumpeted by the PSC leadership: a marginal increase on poverty wages for adjuncts with more supervision and much higher demands, and stagnant wages for everyone else. This, as college buildings crumble, classes get larger or get cancelled, and students suffer through tuition hikes. How can the union leadership call it a victory?
The International Communist Party observed decades ago that “the indispensable instruments for opposing the mobilization of the exploited masses are the trade unions officially recognized by the State”. We call these regime unions. The PSC as it currently stands serves exactly this function. The leadership who betray adjunct lecturers are themselves adjuncts to the power of the bourgeoisie, expressed through the capitalist State.
The main enemy of the working class remains the bourgeoisie, and most of the blame for our situation lies with the university administration, the mayor, the governor, and the financiers who support them. However, the PSC leadership’s collaboration with these exploiters, and their deception and secrecy throughout the entire bargaining process, has done everything to help the administration’s cause. Now they attempt to sell the membership on a contract that delivers almost nothing. They have oriented themselves against the working class, attempted to sabotage its organic activity, and now promote a surrender to the bourgeois State.
The PSC Delegates Assembly (DA) on November 7 was an utterly shameful spectacle. The objective was clear: jam the contract through as quickly as possible, and woe to the opposition. Woe, also, to the members of the union who chose to attend the DA. Members were relegated to the back of the room, to be scolded like children by the pro-contract faction, the so-called New Caucus around union president Barbara Bowen. There was no opportunity for them to address the DA. One member who politely requested to do so was voted down by a huge majority.
The most odious element of this nonsense was the intimidation of the members present by the pro-contract faction, aided by the security at the hotel in which the DA took place. The situation was this: two members opposed to the contract repeatedly heckled the union president. For their sins, all members present were surrounded by about three security guards from the hotel and about three pro-contract delegates. These sentries kept watch over the membership for the rest of the meeting.
Is this what dues-paying members of a trade union deserve: to be relegated to the back of the room, prevented from speaking to the body, and intimidated by some New Caucus loyalists and three hired thugs? The heckling certainly got out of hand, but its cause was desperation: one heckler said he was an overworked adjunct, basically broke, with no health insurance. It was also a symptom of the membership being prevented from speaking to the DA before this critical vote. It did not warrant the collective intimidation of all members present – and, without question, it was intimidation.
Predictably, the contract proposal passed the DA by a vast majority, accompanied by jeers from the pro-contract delegates towards the rank and file. CUNY workers can expect more of this kind of treatment under the contract recommended by the ruling clique. The bullying exercised by the leadership last night is a twin to the abuse adjuncts will suffer under the productivity increases included in this contract. A no vote will be the first step in putting the present leadership in their place. The vote will not be the end of this struggle, however. Whatever the result, the rank and file must organize and act on their own accord, outside and against the opportunists who have shown their true colors in the present contract campaign.
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Capitalism has entered the global crisis of its economy. The masters and their political regimes of all countries – whatever the ideology with which they try to disguise their bourgeois nature – are working to unload the effects of this crisis on the working class in order to postpone the inevitable catastrophic collapse of this dying mode of production.
For years, in fact, the living and working conditions of the workers have been under attack and in on-going deterioration. The regime trade unions (in Italy CGIL, CISL, UIL) have all prevented any real organization of a defensive struggle. They sign give-back national and corporate agreements and limit real struggles to being divided by company and by category.
Base trade unionism – developed by the most combative workers because of the CGIL went to the side of the bosses – also finds themselves in a crisis both because a good part of its leaders did not know how to prepare the base of the members to the harshness of an open clash, demonstrating not to have a really class trade union conception, and because they conducted a war against each other subordinating to it the basic needs of the movement of workers’ struggle, first of all the unity of action of the workers.
The SI Cobas is the only base trade union which has in recent years has been able to strengthen itself. By building a militant workers’ movement through a long series of hard strikes, the SI Cobas has built itself through the methods of genuine class unionism. But the employers and regime trade unions have succeeded limiting it to the logistics industry – except for important but small exceptions – and especially among immigrant workers.
In order to extend this movement to the majority of the working class,
it is necessary to pursue a line of UNITY OF ACTION OF WORKERS AND OF
- We need to show other workers the strength and the combativeness of workers in the SI Cobas as much as possible. We must push for joint strikes with workers still members of the regime unions, to help free them from regime control. As well we have to push those organized in the other base unions, to support their more combative groups against the opportunism of the leaders;
- to promote and fight for unified actions of the whole combative trade unionism (grassroots trade unions and opposition in the CGIL) as the most favorable condition for the deployment of strikes – at company, territorial and category level – that come as close as possible to the force necessary to really set the workers in motion;
- to fight within each combative trade union organization to organize unitary coordination to support each individual struggle, to intervene in disputes with the aim of offering workers an alternative to the regime’s trade unionism.
It was only as a result of such work that a real general strike could be organized tomorrow. The work to be done today is to try to unite the hundreds of struggles against dismissals for company crises, which are kept isolated by the collaborationist trade unions, those against the repression of employers, which affects more and more workers and militant trade unions, those of national agreements renewals involving millions of workers, starting with logistics, and then moving on to metalworkers, railroad workers and the public sector.
To engage in the construction of organizational fronts with political parties – which are just political fronts – is opposite of workers united actions and of the combative unionism. This operation only perpetuates and aggravates the division in the action of the militant trade union movement, since each trade union leadership subordinates strikes and demonstrations to the support of its own political front.
The task of the evolutionary proletarians, and of class union militants, is to build a trade union struggle movement as united and strong as possible. It is on this material basis, and working to this end, that each party will have to show that it is capable of directing the working class from the trade union struggle to the higher, and necessary, revolutionary political struggle which will break capitalism.
As for the revolutionary communist party, it cannot be born from any political front, which, supporting the illusion of being stronger because they are more numerous, is instead a very weak constructions, ready to collapse at the first social and political earthquake, built on the basis of ambiguous positions, lack of clarity, and therefore opportunism.
On the contrary, the authentic Communist Party is the result of the entire historical path of the proletarian struggle of almost two centuries, which has defined and selected – separating and discarding schools and currents – its theoretical characteristics, program and tactics, through the lessons of huge battles and of tragic defeats.
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On 20 August last, the St. Raphael Center for the Blind in Bolzano informed us that Marco Giacomelli had died. Our comrade, with serious sight problems and not being able to take care of himself, was a guest of that institution for several years.
Two years ago a group of our comrades visited him and found him in good health and lucid mind: he wanted to give us his archive of texts and his party correspondence. Returning a year later he was completely absent without even showing signs of recognizing us.
Marco was born on 19 January 1928 in Tiene, in the province of Vicenza. Son of a single mother, he lived with his grandmother until the age of 6. His mother had to leave the village and look for a job far away. When his grandmother died, he was put into boarding school. Then he alternated short stays with his mother, who had married in the meantime, with stays in various schools until the age of 14.
At that age he began to work in a machinists as an assistant to an old communist of the 1921 Communist Party of Italy, who had to emigrate because he was banned by the fascists. From that comrade Marco first heard of communism. At first a few words almost whispered during work, then real meetings, especially on Sundays, in the public gardens of Bolzano where he was erudite on the Manifesto, the Russian revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat...
When he was 17 years old, when the war was over, he joined the Communist Party of Italy (PCI). He dedicated himself to party activities, spread the press, proselytized and founded the "Red Star" cell. His faith in the PCI, however, began to falter when the Communists voted for Articles 7 and 49 of the Constitution: how can religion and democracy reconcile with Communism? In 1949 he did not renew his card, left the party and formed an anarchist group in Bolzano and joined the "Anarchist Groups of Proletarian Action", an interregional organization. The PCI, as per Stalinist method, refused his resignation from the party and expeled him for "anarchic-trotsko-bordighism".
Throughout his life he was a skilled proletarian worker, and he also knew what it means to study. It’s no coincidence that in 1953 he helped found the Popular University of Bolzano.
In 1956 his organization, which had changed its name to "Libertarian Communist Party", merged into a grouping called "Quadrifoglio" with the Stalinists of "Communist Action", the trotskists of "Red Flag" and "Battaglia Comunista".
Disgusted by the tactics of "Quadrifoglio" and, by now, a reader of the "Programma Comunista", in 1958 he joined the International Communist Party where, with renewed enthusiasm, he put himself at the complete disposal of the party.
After the "dirty split" of 1973, he was the first among the older members to leave the Bolzano section of Programma and join our party. He wanted to make clear to everyone that he wasn’t joining a new party but re-entering the party he had joined in 1958.
In the party, as long as it had the strength, it contributed to the drafting of the press, to its diffusion and propaganda, and also wrote reports on difficult subjects.
Three times he organized the Party’s General Meetings in Bolzano, as well as several public conferences, with outside speakers providing the propaganda.
Even after his illness, when he could no longer carry out political activities, he continued to keep in touch and to encourage his comrades to work.
We will try to keep our promises.
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