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Which Party do we need
An abstract from La Voce, n.1, year 1, March 1999
We would like to show in this article that the experience of the proletarian revolution's first wave, and current society's analysis, concordantly teach us that the proletarian revolution takes the shape of a revolutionary long-lasting popular war and that the new communist party must be built in such a way as to become the leadership of the revolutionary long-lasting popular war, which, in a confused and dispersive way, is now developing before us. So that the popular masses may take the initiative, and gradually lead the war, and the far-sighted and able leadership of the working class organised into its communist party, with victory and the establishment of socialism as the ultimate objective. In short, to shift from a war that the masses are now enduring, defending themselves ineffectively and in a random way, to a war efficiently led to win. The new communist party must be built from an underground position, as a party that doesn't place its existence on the margins of political action which the imperialist bourgeoisie consider convenient to allow to the popular masses. On the contrary, it must be built on its own ability to be operative and exist, in spite of attempts by the imperialist bourgeoisie to its elimination. Only from such a position is the party better fit to make good use of available political margins. Only from a clandestine position will the party be able to gather the revolutionary forces that the development of class struggle gradually produce, direct, encourage and develop their quality and quantity so as to overturn the initially unfavourable forces' relation. We shall illustrate in this article our answers to the above stated questions . We, also, shall gradually publish in future editions of this magazine, other comrades' answers, so as to be able to gather and take advantage (throughout all our activity) of every available experience and elaboration. Right ideas are proved by practice and enriched by weighing up experiences and, through analysis, right ideas assert themselves as against wrong ones. Therefore, debates and ideological struggles become indispensable.
Proletarian Revolution's form
We shall begin by arguing on the form of the proletarian revolution, on how the working class prepares, carries out the seizure of power and consequently starts the socialist transformation of society. (1)
In the advanced countries, at the end of the last century and the beginning of Capitalism's imperialist era, the social democrats parties had already fulfilled the historic task of establishing the working class as a class politically autonomous. By doing so, they put an end to an era where numerous individuals, talented, inept, honest or dishonest, attracted by the struggle for political freedom and the struggle against absolute monarchy, police and priests' power weren't able to see the conflicting interests between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Such people didn't even remotely conceive that the workers could act as a socially autonomous force. Social democrats parties put an end to an era where many dreamers, talented at times, believed that it would be enough to convince rulers, and the predominant classes, about the existing social order's injustice and precariousness, so as to establish with ease, peace and universal welfare. They have dreamed of accomplishing socialism without any struggle by the working class against the imperialist bourgeoisie. Social democrats parties put an end to an era where almost every socialist, and generally "working class friends", saw in the proletariat only a social plague, and recognised with terror its development, together with the pace of industrial development. Therefore they thought of how to keep in check the industrial and proletarian development, so as to hold back "the wheel of history".(2) Instead, thanks to Marx and Engels' leadership the social democratic parties were able to establish, in the advanced countries, a political movement headed by the working class, that placed all its successes on the growing proletariat and on its struggle for the establishment of socialism. It was the start of the proletarian revolution.(3) The working class political movement was the subjective side, the superstructural expression of the proletarian revolution's mature conditions, whereas, capitalism's shift into imperialism represented the structural objective side.
The working class had already attempted the seizure of power: in France in 1848-50 (4) and in 1871 with the Commune of Paris (5) and in Germany, by taking part, in great numbers, in the political elections.(6) At this stage, it was possible and necessary to understand how the working class would be able to seize power and start the socialist transformation of society. There existed the conditions to tackle the problem of the form of the proletarian revolution. In the 1895 preface to a reprint of K. Marx's article (Class struggles in France 1848-50), F. Engels has carefully drawn up the balance of the working class experiences up to then, and clearly stated the thesis that "the proletarian revolution doesn't take the shape of an uprising by the popular masses that overthrow the existing government, during which the communists (taking part, together with other parties) seize power". The proletarian revolution takes the shape of a gradual building up of forces around the communist party, up to the reversal of those forces' relations, the working class must prepare to a certain extent, "already within bourgeois society, tools and conditions for its power". The development of revolutions during our century have corroborated, explained and enriched F. Engels' thesis.(7)
The socialist revolution's process is a complex matter which has its laws and develops all along a certain period.
Those that believe the working class can't overthrow the imperialist bourgeoisie and seize power, are mistaken (pessimists and opportunists are mistaken).
The successes achieved by the communist movement during the proletarian revolution's first wave (1914-1949) have confirmed in practice what Marx and Engels have theoretically inferred from the analysis of bourgeois society.
Those that believe the working class can easily and in the short-term, win, overthrow the imperialist bourgeoisie and seize power, are mistaken. Adventurists are mistaken. In our country we have already seen militarists and subjectivists at work. The defeats suffered by the communist movement during the proletarian revolution's first wave (in Italy, the "red biennium" -this year is the 80th anniversary), the collapse brought about by modern revisionism, after seizing, in the 50s, the leadership of the communist movement and, the defeat suffered in Italy by the Red Brigades at the beginning of the 80s, have also confirmed, in practice , this thesis.
The working class can win, overthrow the imperialist bourgeoisie, and seize power, though, through a long period of apprenticeship and hard struggles, various sorts of battles and the accumulation of every kind of revolutionary forces, particularly along the process of civil wars and imperialist wars that, during capitalism's general crisis upset the world so far as to change it. To lead successfully such a struggle and minimise inevitable mistakes, it is necessary to understand the nature of the process, its determining contradictions and the laws that govern its development.
It is due to the inherent capitalism's distinctive features that the process of mankind's development has set itself thus: wars between the popular masses led by imperialist groups, or wars between the working class and the imperialist bourgeoisie. It is a fact, a reality we can't avoid by our wishes or will power, but by putting an end to the imperialist era.(8) It is an obvious fact proven by 100 years of the imperialist era and by studies of our society's current trends. The situation is further complicated by the fact that, in its war against the imperialist bourgeoisie, the working class must exploit the contradictions between imperialist groups. The two different kinds of war (the working class war against the imperialist bourgeoisie and wars between imperialist groups) substantially intermingle and develop.(9) Which will be the predominant one, that is the question. Communists must do everything possible in order that in the war, the antagonist factions will be the working class and the imperialist bourgeoisie, so as to make possible at the end of the war, the emergence of the working class as the new ruling class, as the class that has won the war. Communists must lead the war in such a way as to press the imperialist groups into a struggle between themselves, to prevent them joining against the working class. This, the problem of the relation between tactics and strategy within the proletarian revolution. In disagreement with Engels' thesis (the working class may seize power only through a gradual building up of revolutionary forces), there are some people who describe the 1917 Russian revolution as a popular uprising ("Winter Palace assault") during which the bolsheviks seized power. The truth is that the establishment of the Soviet Government in November 1917 has been preceded by methodical accumulation of forces led by the communist party, that since 1903 was set up as an independent political force, existing and performing continuously and having as its final objective the seizure of power, despite its political rival aiming for its destruction. The establishment of the Soviet Government was preceded by the specific work done between February and October 1917, followed by a civil war and a war against the imperialist aggression that came relatively to an end in 1921. Relatively, because the attempts by the imperialist bourgeoisie to stifle the Soviet Union have been pursued by long and various anti-soviet manoeuvres in the 20s and 30s and by the Nazi aggression of 1941-1945. The 1905 Russian revolution took the form of a popular uprising without the previous accumulation of forces around the communist party which is why it didn't lead to victory.(10) An exemplary proof of the correctness and depth of Engels' thesis is given by the history of the 1919-1920 "Red biennium" in Italy. The omitted accumulation of revolutionary forces during the preceding period, the PSI's "revolutionary inadequacy", prevented the transformation of the masses' mobilisation into a socialist revolution, although the masses were largely oriented towards the PSI (affiliated to the Communist International) and towards the October Revolution and many had been trained in the use of arms during the first world war which was just over. There are people who maintain the idea that the unsuccessful attempt is ascribable to the reformist leaders (Turati, Treves, Modigliani, D'Aragona) active within the PSI and heading the CGL. There are others, who sustain that the reason for the failure was the lack of revolutionary leaders. We must consider that the whole of the trade union and socialist movement had developed within the limits imposed by revisionist and reformists, together with the majority of parties affiliated to the Second International. That development was limited to certain fields of the socialist movement, reserving to other subjects only verbal aspirations and grandiloquent declarations and programmes. It was a movement able to improve and increase the number of votes in elections, the number of elected representatives, magazines, cooperatives, trade union and cultural organisations etc., though unable to have even one armed detachment or some of the ruling class tools of power which, by law, are its exclusive rights. The whole of the Italian socialist and trade union movement had a lot of experience of claims and initiatives allowed by the law, but incapable of accumulating any experience within the ruling class' exclusive domains. The movement overstepped the limits of the bourgeois state's law only casually, along extemporaneous, spontaneous, limited initiative and during riots and tumultuous street battles springing from popular indignation or as a reaction to provocations by the forces of repression. A situation that involved wide participation by the socialist movement, although its leadership remained largely on the outside, so that it couldn't possibly have been trained to work out its specific task, either on strategic or tactical fields. Reformists didn't want a revolution and wished to avoid it with all their might. Maximalists (G. Menotti, Serrati, etc.) didn't know what had to be done so as to shift from claims to revolution and were often willing to stand aside. Even communists (Gramsci, Bordiga, Terracini, Tasca, etc.) didn't know what to do. They were fostering and spurring forward the movement of the masses requesting "the party", which they didn't lead or aspire to lead, to start a revolution whose process had never been worked out or experimented with the various necessary stages and tools for its unwinding.(11) In Milan (during the 9-10 September, 1920 meeting of the PSI's executive and the CGL's general council), when Tasca and Togliatti (taking part as representatives of Turinese workers then occupying the factories) were asked if the Turinese would be able to make an offensive sally from the factory, the answer was a clear no. Likewise, (during the general strike and April 1920 lock-out) was the answer by Tasca and Terracini as spokesmen for the Turinese workers, during the PSIs national council assembly in Milan, April 20-21. Frequently, during the following years, A. Gramsci had to acknowledge that they didn't know how to start the struggle for the seizure of power and they were asking the "party" to do it. On the one hand - the whole of the socialist movement was characterised (on the tactical level) by extremism and maximalism, as expressions of extemporaneousness and indignation by groups or individuals to whom the party didn't devote any practical training or political ideological guidance, still less, leadership. On the other hand, the movement was characterised by reformism on the strategical plane. Therefore, the movement 's general objectives assumed the shape of demands that the leadership directed to the government or the bourgeois state which, by its very nature, didn't wish to meet, or could possible have met. There, didn't exist (within the PSI) any party initiative or leadership with reference to training in the use of arms and military operations. Anything done about armaments or training, was the result of individual initiatives or the workers' experience, derived from military service for the bourgeoisie. This situation implied that the party wasn't able to devise any tactical or strategic military conceptions suitable to the character of the popular masses and the working class, conceptions different from those of the bourgeoisie and drawn by processing the military experience acquired by the masses during riots, uprisings and street battles. It's worthwhile to recall that both crucial tests (the strike in April and September 1920 occupation of factories) were an answer by FIOM's leadership to the employers' action. This corroborates the lack of preparation for revolutionary action by the PSI.(12)
The absence of the gradual building up of revolutionary forces, of a process, during which the working class would, to a certain extent (already within bourgeois society), prepare tools and conditions for its power, appear also to be the reason for the defeat of the German, Austrian, Finnish and Hungarian 1918-1919 revolutions: popular revolutions that led to the disintegration of the old state, though not to a new one, until the bourgeoisie built it up. The same thing is proved by other sharp political crises (Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Turkey, USA, England, France, etc.) that mark the end of the first World War and the years immediately following.
The history of Europe's 20th century (basically, the history of the war between the working class and the imperialist bourgeoisie) corroborates Engels' thesis. All bourgeois political crises and disputes between imperialist groups are subordinated to this underlying war. Though communist parties don't tackle the situation in this way.
In the 30s and 40s the French imperialist's watchword (faced with the rise of Nazism in Germany and its expansion in Spain, Czechoslovakia, etc.) was "better Hitler than communists". "Better Hitler than Bolshevism", "better the Japanese than the communists". This was the rule within American and English imperialist groups. The political line-up by "Democratic States" (USA, England, France) against the republican government throughout the Spanish civil war (1936-1939), was brought about by the same reasons. Finally, the imperialist bourgeoisie, in spite of the war going on between imperialist groups, led the second world war in the function of its anti communism. It's objective was the crushing of the communist movement in Europe, the crushing of the anti-imperialist movement for national liberation in the colonies and semi colonies and the choking of the Soviet Union. Strategically, the contradiction between the imperialist bourgeoisie and the working class was antagonistic, antagonistic, even if secondary was also the contradiction between imperialist groups. On the tactical domain the relations between the two contradictions was, throughout the second world war, of a variable nature.
On trying to answer the question: "Why, during capitalism's first general crisis, the communist party in imperialist countries weren't able to lead the popular masses to the seizure of power and the setting up of Socialism?" , the answer that we draw from weighing up experiences is the following: "Communist parties couldn't lead the popular masses to seize power because they didn't understand that the form of the socialist revolution was the long-lasting, revolutionary popular war". As a consequence of this misunderstanding, they wasted their forces on defeated uprisings (Hamburg - October 1923, Thallin - December 1923, Canton - December 1926, Shanghai - October 1926, February 1927, March 1927), or suffered the bourgeoisie's initiatives and provocations (Germany 1919, Hungary 1919, Italy 1920, Austria 1934, Asturias 1934) or else had a doubtful and contradictory political line (Germany 1933, Spain 1936-1939).
The communist parties' limits, in the imperialist countries, throughout capitalism's first general crisis (1910 - 1945), in short, consist merely in the misunderstanding of the socialist revolution's form, in the lack of understanding (and its necessary translation into political action) that civil war between the working class and the imperialist bourgeoisie, was the main form taken then by the class struggle. Communist parties (in imperialist countries) never paid much attention to this sphere as their principal strategic sphere with which to develop all their work, even the legal and pacific work. They faced with heroism and strength war and underground work when the political rival imposed it
(Italy and Yugoslavia in 1926, Portugal in 1933, Germany in 1933, etc.), but, as an exceptional event or a lull within a process that "should" have proceeded otherwise. Then, even communists believed that the proletarian revolution would take the shape of a war in the colonies and semi colonies. They didn't believe it would develop within "civilised" imperialist countries, although the bourgeoisie in the "civilised" imperialist countries had repeatedly shown its readiness to raze to the ground towns and countries, to decimate thousands of unarmed men, to use any means so as not to lose power and to favour foreign occupation ("better Hitler than communism") rather than the working class holding power. As evidence, is France's history in 1935 -1940. And yet, J.Duclos, one of the most important PCF's representatives at the time, together with M. Thorez, thus summarises the task of the communist party in 1935 France: "To have, as the labour movement's objective, the struggle for the defence and extension of democratic freedom in the face of Fascism".(13) The proletarian United Front and the anti Fascist Popular Front's political line (approved by the communist international's seventh congress, August 1935) was enforced in the imperialist countries as an alliance with political and trade union forces, without taking into account the need for the party's autonomy and the communist party's leadership within the United Front. As a consequence the communist party was exposed to continuous blackmail by the social democratic and bourgeois parties, made dependent (to a certain extent, in relation to its work towards the popular masses) on bourgeois parties and leaders, on their approval for its initiative, setting out tasks whose realisation was subject to their cooperation, unable to take the leadership and not conceiving the general movement as a war.
The fall of France May-June 1940, and the disposal of various National States facing Hitler's advance after 1938 (Czechoslovakia, Austria, Poland, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Yugoslavia, Greece, etc.), the collapse of Fascism in Italy, July 1943, etc., didn't lead to the proletarian dictatorship and the Italian communist party wasn't even able to give leadership to the popular forces that the old state's collapse released. The communist party didn't place itself in a position so as to be able to head the political movement in the new situation, didn't build up structures and gather experiences so as to be fit to lead the war. It did not conceive the proletarian revolution's form according to its real nature. It was objectively under the influence of conceptions valid at the time of the second international (as a party to the far left of bourgeois society's parties, as a party that struggles to assert the working class' rights within bourgeois society and as spokesmen of the working class' advanced section). Later on, during the Second World War, gradually and to a certain extent, communist parties took on the popular masses' direction against Nazi Fascism through the Resistance.
In Italy, even as of September 1943, the party still lacked a political line to shift its action on the war's plane. Moved only by individual initiative, for a few days, from the deserted or poorly defended barracks, communists recovered arms. To the soldiers (that scattered as a consequence of the shameful king's defection together with numerous officers), the party, for a few weeks wasn't able to give any organisation or instructions and only later, during September 1943, the party began to assume its duty as the antifascist war's organiser, leader and promoter, thus achieving great results. For the first time in their history the Italian popular masses were witnessing the work of a communist party leading a broad political action on tactical as well as strategic and military planes. On this account, we have rightly stated that the Resistance has been, up to now, "the highest stage reached so far by the Italian working class in its struggle for power".
In weighing in the balance from the 1936-1937 Spanish Civil War's experience, the (rebuilt) Spanish communist party has reached the following conclusion: "stating the long- lasting popular revolutionary war's way as the one towards which the PCE's experience was leading, though the PCE wasn't aware of". It was within this unawareness by the PCE, that the PCE (r) discovered the main explanation for the Spanish popular masses' defeat.(14)
In order that a state's collapse leads to the establishment of the proletarian dictatorship what is required is a previous "revolutionary forces' build up around the communist party" and that the collapse of the bourgeois state happens during a movement led by the party (the advance in Eastern Europe by the Red Army 1944-1945, China in 1949, Cuba in 1959 and the three Indo Chinese countries in 1975).
Mao Zedong has thoroughly developed all aspects, universally valid, as to the revolutionary forces' build up around the communist party, within the party, within the revolutionary classes and the revolutionary armed forces. He has called this process the long-lasting, popular revolutionary war, during which the forces gradually produced by social life's development are gathered by the communist party, trained, and engaged in the struggle (according to the principal "learn to struggle through struggle itself"), united and organised, having in sight their growth, so as to outnumber the imperialist bourgeoisie's forces.(15)
Mao has also studied and indicated the various stages through which the long-lasting popular revolutionary war develops.
The defensive, strategic stage: the bourgeoisie's forces are predominant, the revolutionary forces weak; the party's task consists of gathering, training and organising its forces for their employment in the struggle, avoiding however being compelled to a decisive, frontal engagement, aiming for the forces preservation and accumulation. The bourgeoisie looks for a decisive engagement, the party avoids it, keeping the initiative on the tactical plane.
The Strategic balance: the revolutionary forces have caught up with the imperialist bourgeoisie's forces.
The Strategic offensive stage: the revolutionary forces have attained superiority over the bourgeoisie's forces. The party's task consists of leading the revolutionary forces' attack and thus, definitively eliminating the bourgeoisie's forces and seizing power.
Obviously, it is up to us Italian communists to find out, after due consideration and verification in practice, the laws and concrete stages of the revolution in our country. Though we find explained in Mao Zedong's works the universal, long-lasting popular revolutionary war's laws, drawn from the experience of the proletarian revolution's first wave, corroborated by the various episodes that make it up.
Maoism isn't Marxism Leninism applied to China, or colonies and semi colonies. Maoism is the third communist thought's higher stage, after Marxism (Marx-Engels) and Leninism (Lenin-Stalin). Stalin, rightly, in his work 'On Leninism', 1924, proved that Leninism wasn't Marxism's application to Russia or backward countries, but Marxism belonging to the proletarian revolution's era. Now it was no longer possible to be Marxist without being Leninist. Likewise, today, we can't be Marxist Leninists without being Maoists: that would be equivalent to ignoring the proletarian revolution's first wave, which Lenin obviously wasn't able to draw the balance from. All attempts to assert Maoism as the communist thought's third higher stage become vain, loquacious talk if not grounded on the thesis that "the long-lasting, popular revolutionary war is the proletarian revolution's universal form". This thesis has been clearly formulated in the articles 'Marxism-Leninism-Maoism', 'Maoism' and 'The developing revolutionary situation', published in Social Relations no. 9/10 (1991).
Mao Zedong, in the 1930s and the 1940s didn't criticise the conception of the proletarian revolution then prevailing within the imperialist countries' communist parties. Quite the contrary, he showed their political line "widening democracy" (statement by J. Duclos mentioned earlier), to be the right political line in their situation, except for criticising those Chinese communists that wished to apply to China the PCF's watchword " everything by means of the Front", thus denying the Chinese communist party's independence within the anti Japanese Front. All the above reasoning is in agreement with similar questions, on account of which, Lenin stood up for the strategic, clandestine, Russian party's organisation, owing to the Russian particularity, until the Second International's collapse in 1914 showed in practice its universal necessity. Marxists draw from practice lessons contained in it, they don't fabricate theories. Ideas must prove valid in practice, negatively or positively, before turning down the former and advancing the latter. Communist parties in imperialist countries, have, during capitalism's first general recession, accomplished great tasks, have mobilised large masses and given a great contribution to victory over Nazi-Fascism. It has been somehow necessary, that the limitations contained in all such work came to the surface through the inability to take advantage of the victory over Nazi-Fascism and seize power, in order to understand and criticise them, so as to make the Maoist theory of the proletarian revolution's universal form an integral part of the communist movement's theoretic wealth.
The concrete development of the proletarian revolution in 1914-1945 has made clear (even in the imperialist countries) that the communist parties have been able to unite the working class and assert leadership over the other popular classes, only when directing and organising the popular masses' struggle against the imperialist bourgeoisie's regime. As long as the parties' action consisted of persuading social democrats, catholics etc. to form a common front, an antifascist common front, they achieved very few results. On the contrary, when they headed the war that the popular masses were to embark on, they were able to lead catholic workers, socialists etc.(and compelled their leaders to follow their line).
Does this mean to us Communists, that we have to proclaim a war not yet existent, so as to assert along its development the working class' leadership? When we state that the present general crisis finds its solution in the battle between the masses' revolutionary mobilisation and the reactionary mobilisation, we mean that the battle between classes and the battle between imperialist groups are more and more moving toward an armed conflict. In addition to declared wars, there is an undeclared one between the imperialist bourgeoisie (that must increase in value its capital, by crushing and subduing millions of people) and the popular masses, defending themselves in open order, as best as they can. The bourgeoisie fights this war by employing its available tools (money, economics' "objective" laws, "normal" social relations, boss and priests' prestige, current culture and the pressure of habits, the use of force, legal and illegal and state's institutions, etc.) thus driving millions to become redundant, depriving millions of people of the basic needs - food, homes, clothing, schooling, social care, etc. -stripping millions of their hard won rights. Aiming to stop all emancipation and organisation, eliminating the working class leaders that are trying to promote, organise, and lead the masses' resistance. Globally, victims of this widespread, undeclared war are numerous and greater than the declared war's victims which are occurring at the same time, granting that victims of hunger are only 30 million a year. In the rich, imperialist countries, the victims of the same war are the countless men and women, social outcasts, physically and morally shattered, brutalised, perverted, prostituted, and in a thousand ways humiliated and vexed. It is the famous "no longer existing class struggle" expression we find in the imperialist bourgeoisie's selfish declarations. It is the struggle that we communists must adopt, recognise, uncover its laws, get ready to successfully win it, driving on the battleground all forces aroused by life's social flow and by the struggle itself. We must wage our struggle in accordance with the class that must lead it, with the classes that will take part in the fight, classes from which our forces will come in accordance with the general relations between classes and the mutual influences between our forces and the enemy's forces.
Therefore the question is to be involved, being leading actors on this war's fields and not being taken by surprise by events. Directing today's work in view of this inevitable outlook, to always hold the initiative, even though today's forces relations are largely in favour of our opponents, and to understand this war's peculiar laws (that aren't those of a war in general, neither past war's laws nor imperialist war's laws). On this concrete battle's ground destiny will be settled, and all actions must be led in view of it. It is necessary to set up a right strategic hierarchy over our actions and then, step by step, settle the tactical hierarchy. As of now, we don't consider it a priority to propagandise the war, or to persuade with propaganda the working class and the popular masses to prepare for the coming war. It is not a question of "raising the masses' conscience" with our propaganda, it is mainly a matter of establishing a party able to work in relation to the war, able to lead and also promote the masses' struggle for peace against the imperialist war towards which the imperialist bourgeoisie is dragging us, even though, mindful of its past experience, it recoils from and fears it. Obviously, so as to succeed in this task it is necessary among other things, that we learn to see the imperialist bourgeoisie's economic, political and cultural concrete measures that are indeed leading toward an imperialist war (the reactionary mobilisation of the masses), able to see that the imperialist bourgeoisie is simultaneously waging a war of extermination against the popular masses. Those that aren't able to see all of this clearly, are withdrawing to opportunistic conciliatory illusions ("there won't be any war") or "declare war".
So as to avoid any misunderstanding, and taking into account the Red Brigades' precedent, that from the armed propaganda (for building up conditions for the communist party's reconstruction) have shifted to a "spread out war", which existed only in militarists' reverie (where, they therefore, found themselves alone, deserted by the masses, to the point of their forces' dispersal and corruption). We must state that war, as the proletarian revolution's main form is a particular war, different from any previous wars known to humanity. It is a new kind of war, it has new objectives, distinct from other wars: the conquest by the working class of the leadership over the popular masses in their struggle against the imperialist bourgeoisie, the seizure of power and the establishment of socialism. This war has its proper form of development, and the new communist party's specific task consists of the understanding of this war's particular form in our country, of taking over its leadership, and devising and enforcing methods and lines of action.
On the nature of the new Communist Party
The working class needs a communist party with the following characteristics:
1. The right political line, that is, a line able to gather and synthesize the popular masses' positive trend in the current stage (capitalism's second general crisis).
2. An organisational form suitable for carrying out its political line.
It is not the right procedure, to argue about the organisational form without first having dealt with the political line's question. The organisation springs out of the political line's realisation in practice.
The organisation must be suitable to the political line. It is the political line that defines the organisation, even though the organisation is the necessary condition for the political line's accomplishment. It is the political line that decides on the right organisation, not vice versa.
The working class needs a communist party. This, the first lesson that must be readily comprehensible to all of us, a lesson drawn from the historical experience as well as from capitalist society's analysis. The working class needs a communist party, because the communist party's leadership can't be fulfilled by the class as a whole. Only the working class' vanguard constitutes itself as a party. The (form-party) crisis, of which sociologists and political scientists are talking about so much, is nothing else than the bourgeois, reformist parties' crisis. The reformist political line is undergoing a crisis because capitalism's general crisis doesn't give any chance to the masses to get new reforms, reforms that can be achieved within a revolutionary movement, for which reformist parties are unsuitable. From this situation originated the reformist parties' crisis, parties that have lost the objective ground (the concrete reforms obtained during the period of human faced capitalism) on which their success was built. The parties of the DC regime have been going through a crisis due to the regime's crisis, a regime that worked for the reconciliation of conflicting interests (16). Likewise, in all imperialist countries, regimes that have embodied the bourgeoisie's rule during the period of development and recovery that followed the second world war, are in crisis. In the current period, there are many bourgeois forces ready to promote the masses' reactionary mobilisation, although their success is prevented by the bourgeoisie's fear of such a mobilisation, having repeatedly experimented with its possible transformation into revolutionary mobilisation.
The future communist party's political general line, is derived from the analysis of the situation mentioned when arguing about the proletarian revolution's form, explained from various viewpoints in the magazine 'Social Relations' and, extensively publicised by the CARC (17) It may be expressed in the following manner: "Joining up closely and without reservations with the resistance that the popular masses are offering and will go on offering to the development of the crisis, apply and understand the laws according to which this resistance develops; back up, promote and organise it, so as to make possible the working class' leadership's supremacy, transforming it in the struggle for socialism, adopting as the main working method and leadership, the mass line".(18)
This political line was put forward years ago. Its first proposition goes back to 1992 (19) and up to now, none of the FSRS (socialist revolution's subjective forces) in our country have raised any serious objections to it. Are we to believe that it has been generally accepted, or are we facing a situation where, on the one hand, we find out that "a serious theoretic and political debate is necessary" and on the other hand we don't see any effort towards such a debate or any arguing on what has already been produced? Anyhow, it is certain that none of the FSRS has put forward any proposition in relation to the future communist party's general political line.
We have repeatedly stated that none of the FSRS, not even the various CARC(committees supporting the refoundation of the new communist party) groups that have put forward and propagandised this line, were able to put into practice this political line, owing to the nature and quality of the forces in question (therefore, leaving out of consideration, quantitative factors that, for a relatively long time, can also be applied to the new communist party). Of what consists this quality that, being absent from the FSRS's forces, prevents them from putting into practice the future communist party's general line, but in limited, defective areas? It isn't class composition, because the communist party will struggle so as to organise in its ranks the working class' vanguard, though, at its beginning, the party's class composition will certainly have limits that will be eliminated only through struggle.(20)
We believe that the communist party's distinguishing features in relation to the FSRS, are a number of peculiarities of which the most important may be stated thus: the communist party is an underground party, though not a secret society. We shall now try to explain the meaning and reasons for this thesis.
The new communist party has a strategic task that consists of being the revolutionary forces' accumulation centre: the party, the front, the armed forces. Its task consists of gathering and using the revolutionary forces in their struggle for the revolutionary mobilisation (so as to surpass the reactionary mobilisation or, transform the reactionary mobilisation into revolutionary mobilisation), in the long lasting, popular revolutionary war, in the civil war, that is the synthesis of the popular masses' struggle against the imperialist bourgeoisie. The working class in order to stand as a class that struggles for power, must stand as an opponent, as a political force on the civil war's footing (whether conditions to be confronted will have entirely the form of the civil war, or the form of a war between imperialist states and groups).(21)
To lead to victory the accumulation of the revolutionary forces, we need a party that is well-founded on the working class, that has as its main objective the working class' power establishment and the removal of the bourgeoisie's power. A party, subordinating everything to this objective, that selects and moulds its leaders, its members, its organisations and relations with the masses in relation to this objective, that must be able to face the bourgeoisie's preventive counterrevolution and aggression. A party able to take advantage of the communist movement's 150 year history, that takes up Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as the leading theory.
Therefore, the party must be free from the bourgeoisie's rule. It can't live and act within the limits set up by the bourgeoisie, as another bourgeois society's party. Relations between the imperialist groups (and their reciprocal political forces) belong to a different category than the one to which belong the popular masses' relations (and the working class that is its only potential ruling class) with the imperialist bourgeoisie: they are relations developing according to different laws. In any case, those whom in one way or another, are persisting in regarding these relations as similar, and governed by the same laws, are falling victims to bourgeois politics and militarism. As a matter of fact, agreement behind the masses' back, and the imperialist war, are the two alternating forms the imperialist groups are using in dealing between themselves. Do we mean that the working class (and its political expression, the communist party) isn't, however, conditioned by the bourgeoisie? No. We mean that the communist party doesn't rest upon the bourgeoisie's tolerance in order to act, and that the party assures its existence and acts, in spite of the preventive counter-revolution which the bourgeoisie resorts to. We mean that the party, thanks to its materialist-dialectic analysis of the situation and, its ties with the masses, averts the counter-revolution's measures and turns them to its own advantage. The communist party is conditioned by the bourgeoisie as in a war where opponents are reciprocally conditioned, conditioned in each of the war's stages according to the forces ' relations in each stage (strategic defensive, strategic balance, strategic offensive), although not subjected to its laws or its State, as the masses, on the contrary, are subjected to in normal conditions.
Since its beginning, the communist movement (22) has clearly stated that the working class would seize power only by means of a revolution.
Subsequently, all revisionists and socialists' assertions about the peaceful, democratic, parliamentary way to socialism, were, in practice, denied by the same bourgeoisie that (as Engels had already stated in 1895), didn't have any scruples about "subverting its own legality", each time it became a threat to its power. Taking part in elections and , in general, in other normal bourgeois society's activities, is, for the workers' organisation, a useful tool to assert the working class' autonomy, though since the beginning of the proletarian revolution, such activities have been turned into counter-revolutionary fetters each time they were mistaken for tools for the seizure of power.(23)
The preventive counter-revolution's establishment as the bourgeois State's heart, makes methodical the bourgeoisie's engagement, so as to anticipate and block the communist movement's development. Thus, it isn't a new idea that the working class' power seizure must be accomplished through a revolutionary way. What is new is (since the working class' power seizure has become, historically, on the agenda) the leadership of its struggle for power. The communist party must be a structure free from the bourgeoisie's supervision and counter-revolution's preventive systems; that is, an underground party.
The working class can't successfully struggle with the bourgeoisie, can't stand as an opponent struggling for power, (can't lead the revolutionary forces' accumulation to the point of overturning the current unfavourable forces' relations), if it's leadership is subordinated to the bourgeoisie's power and laws.
It is not only a question of having an unlawful apparatus; all the parties belonging to the Third International had it: it was one of the conditions for admission to the Communist International, and it was the third of 21 conditions approved by the second congress (17 July-7 August 1920). It read thus: "in almost all European and American countries, the class struggle is entering the civil war's stage. In such conditions, communists can't trust the bourgeoisie's legality. They must establish everywhere, beside the legal organisation, an underground organisation able to perform, at the crucial time, its duty toward the revolution. In every country where, due to the state of emergency or exceptional laws, communists can't perform legally all their activities, they must, without hesitation, reconcile the legal with the illegal work".
The proletarian revolution's experience during capitalism's first general crisis (1910-1945), has made plain that countries, where communist parties could carry out all their work legally (if their work was successful in spite of the preventive counter-revolution), turned into countries where communist parties couldn't any longer do so. In countries where the imperialist bourgeoisie didn't have the necessary forces to realise independently such a change, for instance, France who in the 1930s, favoured foreign aggression and occupation to make this change possible . Where the working class has not given up its struggle for power, the class struggle has entered the civil war stage. Therefore, the working class must lead the struggle for the seizure of power, as a civil war. Anyhow, communist parties, if they intend to be so, can't, and don't have to trust "bourgeois legality". Communist parties were able to carry out all their work legally only where the working class had already seized power: in the socialist countries and red bases.
Experience shows that having an underground apparatus able to go into action "at the crucial time", isn't sufficient to make communist parties able to lead, successfully, the masses, nor to avoid being decimated. The revolutionary forces' accumulation and formation must be realised within bourgeois society, but only gradually and therefore, not through a legal way. The communist party must avoid (using the right tactics) being forced into a decisive engagement before having secured its revolutionary forces' superiority over the imperialist bourgeoisie. So it isn't enough, to build an underground organisation "beside the legal one". It is the party that must be an underground party. It is the underground organisation that must lead the legal organisation and ensure, no matter how, the party's freedom of action and uninterrupted duration. The communist party must be an underground party, and from a clandestine position, lead all legal organisations useful and necessary to the working class, to the proletariat and to the masses. This is the legacy from the proletarian revolution's first wave.
Experience has extensively shown that communist parties, so as to successfully fulfil their task, must "reconcile the legal work with the illegal work", meaning that the illegal work leads and is the foundation of the legal activities. Meaning that the illegal work is the main work and that legal activities are subjected to it. The illegal work is absolute, the legal activities are conditioned, relative to the forces' relation between the working class and the imperialist bourgeoisie, and relative to the ruling class' decisions. Experience has likewise shown that the necessity to reconcile the legal work with the illegal isn't an activity to be carried out only in countries where "due to exceptional laws or state of emergency" the bourgeoisie has already put a limit on the legal activity. It is a necessary activity to be carried out in every country before the bourgeoisie puts into function exceptional laws, or a state of emergency, and before the bourgeoisie enforces over the political activities of the proletariat more stringent limits than those enforced on the ruling class' groups. The imperialist bourgeoisie, anyhow, inflicts on the working class' political activity, on the proletariat and on the masses, concrete limits that don't apply to the ruling class' members (lack of time, money, places, culture, arms etc.), and in practice, makes the right legally recognised, rights void of any meaning a mockery to the great majority of the popular masses.
The third of the 21 conditions for admission to the Third International had been conceived with the aim of changing into bolshevik parties (Bolshevisation) the old socialist parties that, like the PSI, had joined the Communist International under the pressure of the masses, though they were inadequate for the role of the masses' leaders in their country's revolutionary movement.(24) The third condition was introduced so as to improve the "revolutionary inadequacy" of the old socialist parties queuing for admission to the Third International. The third condition was worked out so as to reconcile the resistance by socialist parties to transform themselves into parties fit to perform the task of the period. Finally, experience shows that the third condition was inadequate. In the imperialist countries, communist parties that came to life and embraced the third condition, manifested their unfitness to perform their duty, due also to the curtailed conceptions in relation to the underground work, persisting within their circle, conceptions that the third condition absorbs.(25)
It follows, that to conceive the communist party's activity as a strategically legal activity, to conceive legality as the rule and underground work as the exception (put into practice during emergencies), not anticipating the bourgeoisie when seeking the party's elimination, and not building the party with civil war as its function, means to ignore the proletarian revolution's laws. Communist parties that followed such a line of action (from the Italian communist party to the Chinese, (26) German, Spanish, Indonesian, Chilean, etc.) paid dearly for it.
A clandestine position doesn't stop the development of a wide legal activity related to the objective situation, on the contrary, it makes possible all sorts of legal activities, and less "revolutionary" initiatives that become tools for binding and organising the masses' backward sections on the side of the revolution. However, an underground organisation can't be improvised, and a party planned as a legal party for carrying out chiefly legal activities, that fall victim to the bourgeoisie's initiative is unlikely to be able to react effectively when outlawed and persecuted. Moreover, a legal party won't be able to resist effectively persecution, infiltration, corruption, intimidation, blackmail, and counter revolution's preventive, terrorist actions, such as the "dirty war", "low intensity operations", and other tools that the imperialist bourgeoisie is equipped with so as to counter the proletarian revolution's development. A legal party can't gather and train the revolutionary forces gradually produced by the movement of society, can't engage them, little by little, in the struggle for the further development of the revolutionary process, thereby training and forming them.
The communist party, therefore must have an underground leadership, must be a party that builds itself up from a clandestine position and, from that position, weave its "spider's web" and start, in every field, its manifold action. It must be strategically an underground party (hence, it will always have its clandestine, strategic hinterland) that devotes a section of its members to the legal work for the masses' mobilisation. It develops all legal structures allowed by the current, concrete conditions. In our country, the numerical relation between the legal and the illegal work for the current period and, for an indefinite length of time to come, will be tipping toward the legal side.
The new Italian Communist Party must have an underground, strategic leadership, although currently the masses still carry out the majority of their political, economical and cultural work in a legal way and few workers are ready to enter an underground activity. Defence and attack activities, nowadays, are largely carried out openly, permitted by the bourgeoisie, and though discouraged, not prohibited. It is useless to attempt (by propaganda and/or example) to persuade workers and the popular masses to quit the legal ground (the Red Brigades' militarist deviation consists just of this). Any attempt in that direction gives to revisionists, economicists and bourgeois a free field of action, as the bourgeoisie will surely prevent and outlaw cultural and political activities carried out by the masses. (It is certain that is going to be the direction the bourgeoisie will take; it is enough to look at "developments" already realised regarding freedom of strike action, thought expression, propaganda and workers' elective meetings. The bourgeoisie doesn't have any other choice, even if it knows, by experience, the dangers implied in taking such measures.). Only gradually, alongside the development of the communist party's action, of the working class and the masses (their organised resistance to the crisis' development to the war of extermination led by the bourgeoisie), only then, on the basis of experience, will the working class, the proletariat and the popular masses shift part of their struggles, of their forces, on to the war's side, that only then will become the main form of struggle along which the communist party will be able to lead the masses to victory.
In the early 20s, the PCd'I had underground machinery, but not an underground leadership. In 1926 it was outlawed and (forced to become clandestine) lost its leadership (Antonio Gramsci). Even in July 1943, it didn't care to take the opportunity on Fascism's collapse to build an army. It went on relying on the alliance with democratic parties, for a peaceful change from Fascism to a new bourgeois regime and, in September 1943, allowed the dispersal of its main army due to its inability to form a real leadership. It didn't take advantage of the power vacuum and military equipment that the flight of the King, together with the great majority of his officers, had made available to anyone able to fill it. Only during the following months, did the communist party place war on the front stage, building its anti-nazi, anti-fascist armed forces, and thus forcing all the other political forces (that didn't want to lose relations with the masses and wanted to have a say after the war) to follow the lead.
The KPD (German communist party) during the 20s, tried numerous revolts (not accidentally unsuccessful) and, in 1933 allowed the capture of its leadership (Ernest Thaelmann). It kept underground organisations, but wasn't able to mobilise on the war plane either communist workers (even though the KPD had obtained 5 million votes in the 1933 elections) or social democratic workers, jewish or other sections of the masses, victims of the nazis' political persecution.
The PCF (French communist party) in 1939 (the French government declared war on Germany on the 1st September) found itself in such a disorganised state that allowed the capture of thousands of its members, together with thousands of anti-fascists leaving the organisation almost wiped out. M. Thorez, PCF's secretary, answered the government's summons to arms! In June 1940, the PCF "asked" Reynaud's government to arm the masses against the nazi army which since 10 May was spreading all over the country. Obviously, the answer was the "French" government's decree ordering every "Frenchman" possessing firearms to hand them in to local police stations. Only after July 1940, following disputes between French imperialist groups that led to civil war (De Gaulle's manifesto from London dated 18 June 1940), the PCF started, with tenacity and heroism, to rebuild its organisation. Only in 1941, and gradually, the PCF adopted the revolutionary war as its main struggle.
What kind of lesson have we to draw from all such historical experience? That we have to build the new communist party from a clandestine base. This is strategical not a tactical matter. It is a decision to be taken now, so as to be able to carry out today's and tomorrow's tasks. The long-lasting, revolutionary popular war, is our communist movement's strategy and the current leading activity. Peaceful struggles are an aspect of the communist movement's tactics, and are now the most widespread aspect of the masses' activity. We can't afford to suffer the bourgeoisie's initiatives, nor let the masses' mobilisation precede us. We must take the initiative, precede the bourgeoisie and arrange our present, limited forces, so as to be able to organise and lead into struggle all the forces that capitalism's general crisis development will produce. Forces that will be expanded by the communist party's correct activity. Lenin was able to create a centre (stable and impregnable by the tzarist police for the party's activity in the Russian empire) in coming to Europe when it was still possible to travel. He didn't wait to be forced underground by the enemy. From the operational point of view it is less difficult to go underground while still a legal organisation than when we are already chased by the police and, taken by surprise by our opponent's initiative. We must take the example of the great Lenin, an example that history corroborates as correct, and adapt it to our condition.
What has been said up to now should be sufficient to clearly discriminate between the enterprise we work for (an enterprise that we call all the FSRS to work for), and all plans for "revolutionary parties within the law". What has been said should also suffice to discriminate between our enterprise and the various secret societies active in our country. Nevertheless, we will add a few more words about our argument. After the defeats suffered by the Red Brigades at the beginning of the 80s, the so called "strategic retreat line", hasn't led to self criticism in relation to the militarist deviations. Deviation, that was the main reason for the defeat. Nor, did it lead to the forces' build up for the reconstruction of the communist party, (27) quite the contrary, it has led to the birth of a certain number of secret societies. During that period, the bourgeoisie tried to consolidate its victory and, the movement's right (that represents the bourgeoisie's interests) stood for the liquidation of the revolutionary organisation, for getting back to a "lawful struggle". What the bourgeoisie was trying to get by means of persecutions, torture, special prison terms, rewards to informers "repentants or dissociated", the right of the movement forwarded by means of its liquidationist line. Credit must be given to comrades (that have formed secret societies) for their opposition to the right, and to the revolutionary organisation's liquidation. This is the positive side of their action. The negative side is revealed by their activity's general sterility and, by the communist movement's need for a communist party, not a secret society. Marx and Engels had already, during the 1840s, confronted and solved this same problem over which we are now arguing. The criticism by Marx and Engels of the secret society as an organisational form, is summed up in the manifesto of the communist party " The communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions". The secret society's most distinctive feature consists of its existence being known only to members. Members that are initiated by stages (initiation's stage) to the knowledge of objectives, conceptions and methods of the society's structure and functioning. Such a structure has been, and is suitable for associating around a leader or a tiny group of people, where each has a direct interest in protection and in general, for advantages that a secret society offers to its members. Such a structure is fitting to the bourgeoisie, due to its competitive position and the same structure is also fitting to some trades, in so far as their members aren't numerous, is a fact corroborated by history as well as a conclusion that can be drawn by reasoning over the above two circumstances. It is likewise obvious that it isn't an organisation suitable for gathering and training the countless revolutionary forces and raising up to political struggle a class prevented, by current social relations, from political activities. Marx and Engels took part in the Just men's League (that became the communist league) at the beginning of 1847, after its members decided to drop the characteristics of a secret society. The struggle against secret societies was a constant factor for Marx and Engels in the following years. In the letter to F. Bolte of 23 November 1871, in the middle of the struggle against the secret society created by Bakunin within the international, Marx stated that "the International has been founded for the replacement (with the right organisation for the working class' struggle) of the socialist or semi socialist sects. The socialist sects' development and the development of the workers' real movement are always inversely related. In so far as sects have (historical) justification, the working class isn't yet ready for an independent historical movement. As soon as it is ready, all sects become fundamentally reactionary....the International's history has been a constant struggle by the General Council against sects...." The secret society's structure is irreconcilable with a broad gathering of working class' forces, of proletarian and popular masses' forces around the party. It is irreconcilable with democratic centralism as the party's organisational principle. It is of vital importance to the communist party, to make sure that its existence, its programme, statute, orientations and particular lines, become widely known to the masses. The communist party doesn't struggle for its own hold on power, but does struggle for the working class' power seizure, for the building up of a "waning away" State power, namely, it struggles for a situation where the rule of the masses is exercised, as widely as possible, by the masses themselves. In the book 'What is to be done?' Lenin, upheld the need for an underground party where professional revolutionaries were the main component, though the structure he had in mind didn't have anything in common with a secret society. We may recognise the merits of secret societies that in our country, in the 80s, gathered around comrades that had been left by the defeat without guidance, and in very poor organisational conditions. Nevertheless, the absence of significant results by their activity should be a further proof to any comrade that doesn't see the inconsistency of a secret society with the communist movement. What we care most about, is to make evident the discrepancy that exists between an underground communist party and a secret society. Which is the main source for the communist party's forces? The masses. And how can the masses possibly lend their strength to the party if they don't know the party's programme, orientations and least of all, of its existence? Conceiving the party as a secret society means holding a world conception that underestimates the masses' revolutionary potentiality and, overestimates the bourgeoisie's power. The secret society is born out of a conception (very much like the militaristic conception) that places on the forefront techniques and, on doing so, drives the revolutionaries to engage the bourgeoisie in a field (covert operations' techniques, conspiracies, etc.) where it is much stronger than us. On the contrary, we must be linked with the masses and force the bourgeoisie to engage in a field advantageous to ourselves. It follows, that in the long run, a secret society drives the revolutionaries to certain defeat. In conclusion, the secret society is born out of an interclass conception of the world (like militarism), that lies in this: techniques are always the same for any social class. Militarists say: all classes fight their war using similar techniques. Secret society's followers say: conspiracy and clandestine operations are carried out by different social classes using similar techniques. We, on the contrary, believe that each class (if it does want to win) fights after its own fashion. The working class, as a vanguard class can drive the reactionary class, that is the imperialist bourgeoisie, to engage in its own terrain. The popular, revolutionary war, doesn't consist of an imperialist group wanting to snatch some wealth from another imperialist group. The popular, revolutionary war, consists of winning over the popular masses' leadership.
We are now left with the last objection: is it possible to form an underground party?
We are absolutely convinced that the forming of an underground party is necessary and possible. In the past, the working class did have, on various occasions, underground parties: in Tzarist Russia, Nationalist China, in Italy during fascism, and in other countries. Modern revisionists, have always fostered the idea of a powerful, omnipotent, terrorist bourgeoisie, when aiming to prevent the working class from having an indispensable tool for its revolutionary war. Priests' threatening slogans, such as : "God is everywhere", "God sees everything", "God is almighty", have been replaced (by revisionists and bourgeoisie's spokesmen) with "the CIA sees everything, is everywhere, is almighty" etc. and are fostering a band of murderers, spies, and mercenaries thirsty for money and advancement. Their opinion reads thus: if in the USA, revolutionary movements weren't able to develop, it was due to the CIA and the FBI's almighty power. In Italy, if the Red Brigades have been defeated it is, "thanks to the State that finally has decided to struggle in earnest". The ruling class' omnipotence has always been a topic of the ruling class' terrorist propaganda, and an excuse to opportunists and defeated groups without any will for self criticism or for recognising their mistakes. Were the ruling classes' fierceness and wits, able to halt the movement of emancipation of the oppressed classes, history would have been halted at slavery's era. Bourgeois society is full of contradictions and unstable factors, functioning, thanks to an unlimited number of institutions and dealings which have to rely on the deception and trampling of the masses. On the whole, it is a society that, compared with previous class society, has many areas favourable to the oppressed classes' activity. The chances for building up an underground communist party, finally depend on its ties with the masses and, this, in its turn, depends on the party's political line, and on its consistency with the objective conditions of the masses' struggle (although the masses aren't fully aware of this). This, is the key to success or defeat of a communist party. No matter how fierce and widespread the bourgeoisie's preventive counter-revolution, it has never been able to stop the activity of a communist party equipped with a correct political line, thanks to which, it has always been able to draw from the inexhaustible resources made up of the working class, proletariat and popular masses. It is exactly like the party we wish to build, the new Italian Communist Party.
1. On the socialist revolution's form, p.14-15 and p.38-44. CARC, F. Engels/10,100,1000 CARC for the communist party reconstruction, 1995, Social Relations' editions.
2. On this subject, see F. Engels, 'Socialism's evolution from Utopia to Science', 1882, Social Relations editions.
3. Lenin, F. Engels, 1895, complete works, vol. 2.
4. K. Marx, Class struggles in France from 1848 to 1850, works, vol. 10.
5. K. Marx, Civil war in France, 1871 and F. Engels, Introduction, 1891.
6. F. Engels, introduction to "K. Marx, Class struggles in France from 1848 to 1850", 1895, works, vol. 10.
7. Revisionists (E. Bernstein & Co.) and modern revisionists (Kruschev, Togliatti, etc. ) have repeatedly tried to "take advantage" from Engels' introduction of 1895. "Gradual accumulation of forces within bourgeois society? Certainly! Look to our more and more numerous parliamentary groups, able, influential, and heeded by the government. Our votes continuously growing, our trade unions with millions of members that ministers and industrialists heed and consult with due respect. Our flourishing co-operatives, our publishers, newspapers, cultural associations gathering the country's intelligentsia, and our extended relations in every important institution. This, the revolutionary forces' accumulation! ". It is a pity to make use of Engels work in such a way, that, even if he didn't see the 20th century's events, has made clear that care must be taken, made clear that the growing success on the election front by the social democratic party (proving the socialist movement's presence within the working class and its developing hegemony over the popular masses) wouldn't go on forever, and warned that the bourgeoisie would "subvert its own legality" when becoming a problem to its rule. Though the main problem isn't what "F. Engels did or did not say". The main problem is that reality, facts, and events, have made manifest that the accumulated forces, the subject of revisionists' arguments, have, in every crisis or serious struggle easily dissolved. Particularly when such forces were led by revisionists and, were the only "revolutionary forces". It is enough to recall Italy in 1919-1920, Indonesia in 1966, Chile in 1973. Such accumulation of forces has been a positive trend when it was the legal arm of a party, of a class, of the working class building up the real and determining revolutionary forces in a different way (we hold up as an example Russia in 1917).
8. It isn't by pure coincidence that self-proclaimed pacifists become war's supporters. Clamorous was the case of G. Sofri who became a supporter of the USA - European military intervention in the Balkans. Events go on developing against the pacifist's wishes, to the point where they either must side with one of the warring factions or against imperialism. Their pacifism can't transform event's development, so it is event's development that transforms their pacifism. Pacifism isn't a "third way". To some people it is a transitory stage to lining up for the war, to others, it is a political aim to prevent the popular masses' struggle against the imperialist bourgeoisie: they preach disarmament and peace to the unarmed masses, so as to leave free the fields of action to the imperialist bourgeoisie that is fully armed. A typical spokesman of pacifism's latter faction is Pope Woityla.
9. Concerning this subject, a model has been the second world war. It was, simultaneously, a war between imperialist groups and a war between the working class and the imperialist bourgeoisie. The contradiction between the two aspects determined the nature, progress and outcome of the second world war. Amongst those that don't understand this contradiction, or due to their opportunistic political attitude, refute it, there are some that see unilaterally one aspect (imperialist war) or (class war). Both groups get bogged down in a tangle of contradictions, unable to free themselves. On this contradiction that featured the second world war, see the article by M. Martinengo, 'The political movement in Europe during the 30s', in Social Relations n.21, 1999.
10. Lenin, The revolution of 1905, 22.1.1917, complete works, vol. 23
11. Please note, that the same people were, on the contrary, experienced and able to draw a plan for a general strike, founding of co-operatives, publishing houses, or leading an election campaign, etc. Briefly, for all activities that were the subject of the Italian socialist and trade union's movement and, of the majority of parties belonging to the Second International.
12. On this subject: the two letters (10 January and 2 April 1924) by A. Gramsci to Z. Zinni published in Rinascita n.17, 25 April 1964; and, the sixth chapter of 'The History of the Italian Communist Party' by P. Spriano. vol. 1, and chapter 14/15 in 'Proletarians without revolution' by R. del Carria.
13. From the preface by J. Duclos, 1972 and G. Dimitrov, oeuvres choisies, Edition Sociales, p.21/22. On the socialist revolution's form, the International communist centre did not have very clear ideas: for a certain period hoped (in particular in Italy and Germany) that in Western Europe, the seizure of power by the working class would be realised through improvised communist parties or, parties like the PSI, that had joined the Communist International only formally. Afterwards, it tried (unsuccessfully) to promote insurrectionary movements. Typical, is the publication by A. Neuberg 'Armed insurrection'. Later on, the 7th congress 1935, launched the anti-fascist popular front's line, which every party interpreted differently. The socialist revolution's conception as an insurrection, as the seizure of power within a short length of time (completely different is an insurrection as a tactical operation during a war, like the numerous insurrections in Italy in the spring of 1945), cages the communist party in a situation where the seizure of power by the working class becomes impossible, except in particular cases. As a matter of fact, during the period preceding the insurrection, the party and the revolutionary forces achieve great experience; though over a field that doesn't have anything to do with the seizure of power. The masses overstep legal activities (that have very little to do with the seizure of power and a new State) only on few occasions: under pressure of emotions, during riots, clashes and, by independent actions by groups or individuals, as a consequence of repression and provocations. These actions aren't co-ordinated actions of a war directed by the party, where the party leads the tactical operations of a war's plan and where our forces hold the initiative and carefully draw conclusions and teachings. Quite the contrary, such a party and its revolutionary forces, that don't have any experience of war's tactical and strategic action, of leadership and organisation of men destined to military operations, should turn into forces capable of rapid, energetic actions, so as to be able in a few days, or a few hours to decide the outcome, like in an insurrection!
14. PCE(r), the Spanish war, the PCE and the Communist International, 1993 - 1995, Social Relations editions.
15. Mao Zedong, on the long-lasting war, 1938, in Mao Zedong's works, Social Relations editions, vol.6
16. On the nature of the DC's regime, please refer to '27 March 1994's flop, in Social Relations n.16, winter 1994-1995.
17. The party's general line, in F. Engels/10,100.1000 CARC for the communist party's reconstruction, 1995, Social Relations editions.
18. From the CARC's statute, 1997 Social Relations, p.9.
19. Formulas may express concepts, though concepts aren't entirely comprised in a formula. If we make formulas independent from concepts, we follow the bourgeois jurist's fashion as to constitutions and codes, etc. With the result that each jurist, each organism, means different things with the same formula. If we read the CARC's publications, we discover, gradually, formulas slightly different from the party's general line, used to express the same concept. On doing so we try to express concepts more clearly, taking better account (within the formula) of a concept's aspect that has become relevant in practice. We try to make sure, that each time, the formula's elaboration is more complete, exact, and inclusive of various aspects.
20. Within the FSRS in Italy, there are some who maintain that the new communist party must have, from the start, within its members, strong and numerous groups of workers coming from the country's major productive centres. If these comrades think that the new communist party has to come out of a mandate by the various, current workers' organisations (as a "political shore" by COBAS, SLAI-COBAS, etc.), like the English Labour party, born out (as a "political arm") of trade unions, or like numerous socialist parties, such as the PSI, born out of workers' solidarity organisations and workers' defensive organisms, such comrades "are looking to turn back history's clock". If, on the contrary, these comrades are looking for the constitution of strong, numerous workers' groups, before the communist party's foundation, they are putting forward unreasonable demands, similar to other comrades' pretences, looking for a communist party already acknowledged by the masses as their leadership. Such pretences are contradicting the international communist movement's experience and the development of the communist movement in our country. These are arbitrary pretences that lead to an indefinite postponement of the communist party's foundation, that on the contrary, is now possible and necessary. We agree completely with the thesis that the formation of numerous and strong communist workers' groups will transform the new communist party, bringing it to a stage, for the attainment of which, our modest, initial steps may have contributed.
21. Refer to Social Relations n.4, 1989, p.26 - 31.
22. K. Marx - F. Engels, 'The German ideology' 1845 - 1846, works, vol. 5
23. This concept, is well explained in 'Leninism' by Stalin, 1924.
24. On this subject see the 'New Order's programmes and the Turinese Socialist sections, April 1920.
25. Is it enough, for a communist party to be an underground party so as to successfully carry out its task? Obviously not. The main factor, for the communist party's success, consists of its political line. If the political line isn't the right political line, being an underground party won't avoid the communist party's defeat. However, the underground structure will help the communist party to draw the right conclusions from its defeat and rectify its political line. The communist party's success depends on its ties with the masses, a wrong political line keeps the masses away from the party. If an underground communist party carries on with a wrong political line, in the long run, it will cease to exist, even as an underground party. Because, to be an underground party isn't possible without strong, growing ties with the popular masses.
26. We are talking about the Chinese communist party up to 1927.
27. On this subject see: CARC, F. Engels/10,100,1000 CARC for the communist party's reconstruction, 1995, Social Relations editions, and Pippo Assan, 'Cristoforo Colombo' Vine editions, Florence, 1988.