(new)Italian Communist Party
Four main issues to be debated in the International Communist Movement Part 1
The Communist are distinguished from the other revolutionaries because they have a more advanced understanding of the conditions, of the forms and the results of the class struggle and on this base they always pushes it forward.
(K. Marx e F. Engels - Manifesto of the Communist Party, 1848 - Paraphrase)
15 March 2010
BP3 4, rue Lénine 93451 L’Île St Denis (Francia)
Four main issues to be debated
in the International Communist Movement
This document deals with:
1. the issues we think important for carrying out the struggle for getting a higher unity in the International Communist Movement,
2. our positions about those issues,
3. the documents in common languages (English, French, Spanish) where our position are explained in a thorough way.
Issues about which carry out the discussion
The issues about which we think it is necessary to carry out the discussion in the ICM are four:
1. the evaluation of the communist movement (first wave of proletarian revolution and first socialist countries, crisis of the communist movement and modern revisionism, new birth of the communist movement on the basis of Marxism Leninism Maoism);
2. the theory of the (first and second) general crisis of capitalism in imperialist epoch and the connected developing revolutionary situation;
3. the regime of preventive counter-revolution established by the bourgeoisie in the imperialist countries;
4. the strategy of the protracted revolutionary people’s war.
The positions of the (new) Italian Communist Party about the four issues of the discussion.
The evaluation of the communist movement (first wave of proletarian revolution and first socialist countries, crisis of the communist movement and modern revisionism, new birth of the communist movement on the basis of Marxism Leninism Maoism, prospects of organization of the International Communist Movement).
1.1 The first wave of proletarian revolution and the first socialist countries.
We indicate as first wave of proletarian revolution the one that developed in the first part of last century, together with the development of the first general crisis of capitalism (see below: “The theory of (first and second) general crisis of capitalism in imperialist era and the connected developing revolutionary situation”). In short, the general crisis produces a developing revolutionary situation. It is a revolutionary situation in which the features described by Lenin protract and become more and more accentuated: so, it becomes easier for the communist party to build the process that brings the working class to seize the power. As a matter of fact, the developing revolutionary situation connected with the first general crisis of capitalism was marked by the seizure of power in Russia, China and elsewhere, that is by the creation of the first socialist countries, by the destruction of the colonial system, by the construction of communist parties practically in all the countries of the world and by great conquests of civilization and welfare wrung by people’s masses in the imperialist countries: in short by the first wave of proletarian revolution.
Evaluating this first wave of proletarian revolution and the history of the first socialist countries we need to put three questions to ourselves:
1. Why, during the first wave of world proletarian revolution, in the first part of latest century, the communist movement has not been able to establish socialism in any imperialist country
2. Why, after a first initial period of shining development and great victories, the first wave of word proletarian revolution lost the momentum and the driving force of human progress it had all over the world?
3. Why the first socialist countries, that had come to cover one third of humanity, after an initial period of great achievements, more and more slowed down, decayed until they collapsed or they changed side and anyway they lost the role of red base of world proletarian revolution they initially carried out?
1.1.1. Why, during the first wave of world proletarian revolution, in the first part of latest century, the communist movement has not been able to establish socialism in any imperialist country?
Communists distinguish themselves from other proletarians because they have a more advanced understanding of conditions, forms and effects of the class struggle and, on this basis, they drive it more and more onwards (Manifesto of the Communist Party, 1848). When such understanding is not enough advanced, Communists act blindly. They do not necessarily have a wrong line: instinct and class ties can make up for their lack of understanding. Anyway in those cases they are taken by surprise by the real effects of their activity. Considering their whole activity, their successes in transforming reality and their defeats, we understand also the positive they did being unaware of it, and we learn to do it consciously, and so we can foresee the real effects and to build more advanced tasks on their base. During the first wave of proletarian revolution, the communist movements did blindly many positive tasks. Just because it worked blindly, it has neither been able to reap the fruits nor to make a universal use of some of them. The defeat we suffered obliges us to evaluate again its activity and to get a more advanced understanding of conditions, forms and effects of the struggle between proletariat and bourgeoisie.
The parties of the first Communist International failed to establish socialism in any imperialist country
1. because they had not a right conception of the nature of socialist revolution, so they had no scientific knowledge of the strategy to make the socialist revolution: the protracted revolutionary people’s war,
2. because they did not have a right conception of the general crisis that was going on.
They lacked the knowledge that the socialist revolution, unlike the bourgeois revolution and other revolutions occurred in the course of human history, is not something that breaks out, that Communists have to wait for or which they have to prepare themselves for by making propaganda, by mobilizing people’s masses in every country to make claiming struggles and by taking part in bourgeois political struggle, by organizing the working class and the rest of the masses in trade unions, in mass organizations and in the communist party. On the contrary, the socialist revolution is a process promoted and led by the communist party, campaign after campaign, during which the party strengthens and consolidates, collects and forms the revolutionary forces organizing the advanced elements of the working class and of other classes of people’s masses, as well as in its own ranks, in mass organizations which clump around the party (revolutionary front), and builds, extends and strengthens step by step a new direction on the broad masses, a new power which is opposed to that of the bourgeoisie and hugs him more and more in a vise until supplanting it, as a rule through a civil war unleashed by the bourgeoisie when it is with his back to the wall, grabbing the whole country and establishing socialism.
This process is the construction of the revolution and is the revolutionary people’s war in the imperialist countries. Facing the advancement of people’s war and the encirclement, the bourgeoisie normally reacts rousing civil war. In the imperialist countries the communist parties of the Communist International, not having a scientific conception of the revolutionary people’s war, could not respond adequately to the bourgeoisie when it threatened or roused the civil war: they retreated before it started (the most representative cases are France in the years of the Popular Front and after the Resistance, and Italy after the Resistance), or carried out the war in the wrong way and were defeated (the most representative case is Spain 1936-1939). We draw similar lessons also from the experience of Italy in the early ‘20s, of Germany and other European countries in the ‘20s and ‘30s.
The parties concerned did not have a scientific conception of the protracted revolutionary people’s war and, therefore, neither of their leadership role in this process, of their role of Staff of the working class. The awareness of being leaders of a protracted revolutionary people’s war would lead them to enhance even reformists’ struggles, to exploit the antagonistic contradiction between reformists and fascists, to exploit the contradictions within the ruling class, to build the revolutionary front of people’s masses, to put the foundation for building the revolutionary armed forces in various countries as soon as they had the right conditions. The awareness of being leaders of a protracted revolutionary people’s war would lead them to give top priority to clandestine activity, to constitute themselves as clandestine parties or anyway become clandestine on their own initiative. They maintained instead a simplistic and subordinate conception of the clandestine activity, such as an activity pending or in preparation for the clash that would take place when the revolution had broken out, or else for the attempts of insurrection that the communist parties made without considering the concrete situations and then failing. They did not have the initiative and then gave a free hand to the initiative of the bourgeoisie that stroke them in advance, breaking his own law, decimating the ranks of political parties, arrested and sent to death their main leaders (Gramsci, Thälmann).
Ultimately, the concerned parties had a mechanistic conception of the revolution (as something that happens thanks to factors external to us) and not dialectical materialistic (as something that happens thanks to our subjective action if it corresponds to the laws of reality).
The Russian Communist Party acted essentially blindly, although in general it followed a right line and then managed to seize power and build the first and most powerful socialist country, the USSR. The Chinese Communist Party developed the theory of protracted revolutionary people’s war strategy only in the 30s. The science of protracted revolutionary people’s war is one of the five main contributions of Maoism to communist thinking.
Which was the strategy of the parties of the first Communist International for the conquest of power in the imperialist countries?
In fact, the communist parties of the imperialist countries were lacking a strategy and ranged between attempts of insurrection and waiting for breaking out a revolution which by its nature could not break out. Or they reduced socialist revolution to an insurrection roused by the party or they were convinced that the socialist revolution would start from a revolt of people’s masses determined by worsening of their material conditions.
Now, the insurrections roused by the communist parties failed regularly. The only insurrections roused by the communist parties that were successful were those they roused as particular battles within a war already in progress.
In the second case, the revolt would not have been determined by the communist party: the communist party, which until then had developed mass organizations and made propaganda, would have taken the direction of the revolt. Communist parties supported, promoted, organized and directed the claiming struggles of the working class and of the other classes of people’s masses on one side (trade unions), and on the other they were making propaganda of socialism and were involved in bourgeois politics as the leftmost among the parties involved in this struggle. But these two policies were separated between themselves, that is to say they were not specifically and consciously combined in a strategy for seizing power step by step in a relationship of war with the class enemy. They were not consciously combined firstly to make bourgeoisie’s life impossible and then to tackle successfully the civil war that the bourgeoisie would rouse. So even when and where they were efficiently carried out and produced effects that subverted the existing political order, they did not make the communist party able to get strong positions to withstand the class enemy when it roused the civil war against communist and popular forces.
The separation between the support of the claims of the masses and the propaganda of socialism instead generated in the party two unilateral, opposite and complementary trends: economism and dogmatism. These two deviations then prevented the communist parties from producing an effective strategy for the conquest of power, and persist today in Marxist Leninist parties as the main obstacles to the new birth of the communist movement.
1.1.2. Why, after a first initial period of shining development and great victories, has the first wave of word proletarian revolution lost the momentum and the driving force of human progress it had all over the world?
The first wave of world proletarian revolution lost momentum and driving force of human progress that it had
1. because the communist movement failed to advance in the imperialist countries, that is it failed to transform any of them in a socialist country,
2. because, for this reason and for internal reasons, the socialist countries declined until the majority of them collapsed or changed sides.
In the communist parties and in the international communist movement the left wing (the members most resolutely dedicated to the cause of the revolution) was unable to successfully cope with their responsibilities: this allowed the right wing (the members more susceptible to bourgeoisie’s influence, the modern revisionists) to take the leadership of communist parties and of the International Communist Movement and to bring it to ruin.
Some comrades insist on believing that communist parties are monolithic. This would be the only one known exception to the contradictory nature of reality, acknowledged by the dialectical materialist conception of the world. In reality, experience shows that the bourgeoisie exerts its influence in the communist movement (and that the communist movement exerts its influence within the bourgeoisie and the clergy). In any communist party, its members and its instances are distinguished among them by the different degrees in which are influenced by the bourgeoisie, by varying degree of understanding of reality (contradiction between true and false), by the different sensitivity to the new (contradiction between new and old). The quantity turns into quality and in every party, stage by stage, there is always a left (which pushes forward) and a right (which hampers). Normally the two wings cooperate and complement each other, in every movement or transformation. In some circumstances, the contradiction between the two rival wings becomes antagonistic: then the left must expel the irreducible right, otherwise the party declines and degenerates. The science of struggle between the two lines in the party is one of the five main contributions of Maoism to communist thinking.
1.1.3. Why did the first socialist countries, that had come to cover one third of humanity, after an initial period of great achievements, more and more slow down, decay until they collapsed or change side and anyway lose the role of red base of world proletarian revolution they initially carried out?
The analytic evaluation of the first socialist countries: struggle between two lines in socialism or bureaucratic degeneration?
According to some comrades, the decline of the first socialist countries was due to the fact that they degenerated into bureaucratic societies. Why did they degenerate? What can we do about it? They do not explain it, because their conception is groundless. It is a wrong argument that substantially converges with semi-anarchist and anti-communist positions of Trotskyites. In fact, for a certain period no socialist country (as no communist party) could do without a bureaucracy, that is professional officers, distinct from the rest of the masses for their professional preparation, responsible for carrying out functions of management and other direction functions until and to the extent the mass organizations will not be able to carry out them by themselves. The assumption of these tasks by the masses is a goal of socialism, but its achievement will require some time and will mean the extinction of the state as an institution separate from the rest of society and that has a monopoly of violence, then the extinction of the division of society into classes: so when that goal will be achieved, we shall be in a communist society. The establishment of socialism does not abolish at once the contradiction between who manages and who is directed , between intellectual work and manual labor, between organizational and executive work, between men and women, between adults and young, between city and countryside, between advanced and backward sectors, regions and countries. These are seven major differences and contradictions that can and should be removed in every country and the world, only in stages after the establishment of socialism, during the transition to communism, during the socialist phase. In essence this is what Marx says it in his Critique of Gotha Program (1875). The experience clearly shows that, in the history of the first socialist countries, the socialist state and the mass organizations formed two poles of a contradictory unity and that the class struggle concerned the very line with which the Communist Party dealt with this contradiction.
Some comrades insist on doing a wrong analysis of of the first socialist countries, an analysis contradicted by the experience and sterile. According to these comrades, “in the new society for a long period there are still classes: the working class and peasant workers closely allied to each other, but there are also the remains of ousted and expropriated classes. Throughout this period, these residues together with elements that degenerate and oppose socialist construction, strive to regain power. Because of this, class struggle will continue to exist in socialist society “(Enver Hoxha, Imperialism and Revolution, 1978, pp. 268 of the French edition, Tirana 1979). Experience shows a completely different course of events. In all of the first socialist countries, the restoration of capitalism has been promoted by a large and prominent part of the communist party. In the first socialist countries the bourgeoisie consisted of those leaders of the party, of the State and of the mass organizations who wholly or partly opposed to the steps necessary and possible to overcome those contradictions. This is quite obvious, given the nature of socialist society and the contradictions which animate its development, but it has not been easy to understand. The class analysis of socialist society is one of the five main contributions of Maoism to communist thinking.
Then in the socialist society, the struggle was not between whether or not a bureaucracy has to exist, the question on which Trotskyites and anarchists focus their attention, but on the line the party followed, that Maoism and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution of the Chinese people put at the center of attention. Throughout the first phase of the existence of the first socialist countries, the bureaucracy, well-directed by the communist party, has made an excellent and essential work on behalf of socialism.
The withdrawal of the first socialist countries began with the prevalence of the right line in the two lines struggle within the communist parties who directed both the State (consisting of officials, and so the bureaucracy) and the mass organizations. The left line was opposed to the right one implementing steps in the construction of socialism, while the right line gave or supported bourgeois solutions to the problems of development of socialist society. Progresses achieved in the construction of socialism, in the relations of production (ownership of productive forces, relations between workers in the labor process, product distribution), in the rest of social relations (politics, law, culture, etc.), in the conception, in the consciousness of men and women, were the changes that moved socialist countries away from capitalism and pre-capitalist modes of production and brought them to Communism. They are listed in the Manifest Program of the (new) Italian Communist Party, chap. 1.7.4 (http://www.nuovopci.it/eile/en/in080619.html).
The left line prevailed throughout the first phase, for the Soviet Union from the October Revolution until the prevalence of the revisionists in 1956; for the democracies of Eastern and Central Europe from 1945 to 1956; for the People’s Republic of China from 1950 to 1976. The first stage was followed by a second one, marked by the conquest of the directions of parties by the revisionists and by their attempts to restore capitalism gradually and peacefully (for the USSR and the Eastern and Central European democracies from 1956 to the end of the 80s, for the Republic of China since 1976 and is still going on). A third phase, begun in the USSR and in People’s Democracies in Eastern Europe in the late 80s and still going, is marked by the will to restore capitalism at any cost, and then by a violent and destructive confrontation between the classes.
1.2. Crisis of the communist movement and modern revisionism
Why have modern revisionists managed to take the leadership of the communist movement and take it off road?
The modern revisionists have managed to take the leadership of the communist movement because the left wing of the communist parties had insufficient understanding of the conditions, forms and effects of class struggle. The parties acted blindly.
The left wing had not a scientific understanding of the general crises of capitalism typical of the period of its decadence, that is of the imperialist epoch (general crisis for absolute overproduction of capital). It continued to reason on the basis of Marx’s analysis about the cyclical crisis of the first half of the nineteenth century (The Capital Vol. 1), even if Engel, already in the preface to the 1886 English edition of that volume of The Capital, indicated that those decennial cyclical crises had been supplanted by a long depression.
The left wing had no scientific knowledge of the strategy for the conquest of power in the imperialist countries (protracted revolutionary people’s war).
The left wing had not a correct understanding of the political regime of the imperialist countries (regime of preventive counter-revolution).
The left wing had a mistaken analysis of class composition and class struggle in socialist countries.
In the stage before World War II, the communist parties of the imperialist countries acted blindly and constantly ranged between sectarian confrontation and opportunist conciliation, between dogmatic sectarianism and unprincipled collaboration, between struggle without unity and unity without struggle. In general, they gave a rightist interpretation (“all through the front”) of the line drawn by Anti-fascist Popular Front elaborated by the Communist International.
Since the end of World War II, the left wing could not provide adequate solutions to the problems that the situation put on in the agenda.
The right wing of the communist movement (the modern revisionists) had an easy time, facilitated by the force of tradition and by the support of reactionary forces, in imposing a reformist line, where the communist party acted as the left wing of a political alliance directed by the left wing of the imperialist bourgeoisie and the working class renounced to seize the power.
After the modern revisionists had taken the direction, the left wing opposed them, both within and outside the communist parties, in a dogmatic way, without a correct understanding of the reason of its defeat by modern revisionists, of the reason why the revisionists have had the upper hand on the left wing and had taken the leadership of the communist movement. It only raised the banner of the restoration of the principles of Marxism-Leninism that the modern revisionists were repudiating and condemned the betrayal of the cause of socialist revolution by them: it veered into dogmatism. This position of the left wing destroys the confidence in our cause and paralyzes the revolutionary spirit: in fact, nothing and no one can guarantee that sooner or later a leader does not betray, nothing can prevent the bourgeoisie from exerting some influence in our ranks. The left wing came to adopt a conception of the world individualistic or even clerical, anyway not Marxist, not dialectical materialist. They are not the individuals who make history. Depending on the cases, they may betray or be heroically dedicated to the cause. Who today is a hero, tomorrow can become a traitor and vice versa. Individuals change, for better or for worse. Parties change: they either progress or regress. The masses led by the Communist Party make history. The effectiveness of the leadership of the party depends on the conception that guides it and by the line it implements. It is the struggle within the party which prevents the influence of the bourgeoisie from strengthening beyond certain limits, which makes the conception of the world and the party line advance, which develops the revolutionary character of the party and its link with the masses.
The left wing missed some fundamental contribution of Maoism, that is the scientific knowledge of the mass line as a primary method of direction and work of communist parties, the two lines struggle in the communist parties, the nature of classes in socialist countries, as well as the strategy the protracted revolutionary people’s war. These contributions are still missing by organizations that do not take Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as the third and higher stage of communist thinking and by the organizations taking it in a dogmatic, abstract and formal way (as in Italy, Proletari Comunisti that even call themselves Maoist Communist Party).
1.3. New birth of the communist movement on the basis of MLM
The evaluation of the first wave of proletarian revolution and the establishment of the strategy that the communist parties must follow to successfully promote and guide the second wave of the proletarian revolution can be summed up in the conception of the world designated by the term Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. The main contributions of Mao to this conception are the five mentioned in the article about the Eighth Discriminating Factor (2002) [The eighth discriminating factor in EILE http://www.nuovopci.it, translated in English, Spanish, French, see below in “Texts” Section]: the protracted revolutionary people’s war as universal strategy of the proletarian revolution, however to be applied under the particular conditions of each country, the revolution of new democracy as a particular strategy of the oppressed semi-feudal countries in the world imperialist system, the class struggle in socialist society based on the seven major contradictions that socialist society has to deal with, the mass line as the primary method of work and direction of the communist party, the two lines struggle in the communist party as a principle for the development of the party and for his defense from bourgeoisie’s influence.
1. The protracted revolutionary people’s war
The protracted revolutionary people’s war is the strategy that we Communists of the imperialist countries have to follow for leading the working class to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat, to begin the phase of socialist transformation of society and to contribute to the second wave of world proletarian revolution.
2. The new democratic revolutions
The new democratic revolutions are the strategy of Communists in neocolonial countries oppressed by imperialism, where the bourgeois revolution (the abolition of the relations of personal dependence and the dominance of commodity production) for the essence has not yet been accomplished.
3. The class struggle in socialist society
In socialist society, the bourgeoisie consists of leaders of the party, of the state and of other social institutions that support the road to capitalism.
To be continued.....