THE BITTER FRUITS OF THIRTY YEARS OF DEMOCRATIC PEACE AND CAPITALIST PROSPERITY
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The bitter fruits of thirty years of democratic peace and capitalist prosperity
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(The following manifesto has been distributed by our militants on the official celebration of the 30eth anniversary of the defeat of Germany in the 2nd imperialist conflict.)
»'Remember the imperialist war!' These are the first words addressed by the Communist International to every working man and woman; wherever they live and whatever language they speak. Remember that because of the existence of capitalist society a handful of imperialists were able to force the workers of the different countries for four long years to cut each other's throats. Remember that the war of the bourgeoisie conjured up in Europe and throughout the world the most frightful famine and the most appalling misery. Remember, that without the overthrow of capitalism the repetition of such robber wars is not only possible, but inevitable.«
Such are the words, which the Communist International inscribed in its statutes two years after the end of the first world slaughter. This was a call to proletarians of the entire world to the struggle for the revolutionary conquest of power and for the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, which is »the only possible way to liberate mankind from the horrors of capitalism«. In its heroic combat to slay the capitalist monster in a war-devastated Europe, the working class was defeated and the great internationalist message of the Bolshevik October was betrayed by Stalinism. Twenty years after the International's warning, the proletarians were once again called to shed their blood in a war which was presented to them as the final war, that of good against evil, of civilisation against barbarism, of liberty against slavery, of democracy against fascism, of the forces of progress against those of darkness, of humanity at last united against its cruel divisions, and of well-being and prosperity against misery and hunger.
It has been thirty years since the end of this pretended »war of liberation«. Once again the parties who claim to represent your final interests and the trade unions who pretend to defend your immediate interests urge you to celebrate the democracy which was victorious thanks to the Resistance, the peace which was assured thanks to the Great Alliance on the battlefields, the progress which was guaranteed thanks to National Reconstruction, and even the victory of socialism which is pretended to be possible from now on by the means of a peaceful, civilised, and legal evolution, without the utilisation of revolutionary class violence.
The facts harshly unmask all these promises which Marxism, from the time of its birth, has denounced as being lies.
Not only have these last thirty years not known a single hour of peace but they have consisted of a succession of bloody conflicts which the shameless dominant class dares to qualify as »local«, while actually these conflicts set whole continents ablaze and massacre entire peoples who are in revolt against an age-old oppression. On the field of battle as in the arena of commercial war, the pretended »united« nations have not ceased to struggle among themselves and to attempt to subdue each other. After the hot war, there followed the cold war; and the cold war was followed by the joint domination of the world by the two most powerful »allies« of the East and the West. However, all along the uncertain and troubled frontiers of this »peaceful coexistence«, these two avid merchants have disposed of mountains of cannons, tanks, and missiles in order to keep guard over these borders.
It is on the ashes of the second imperialist massacre - for the pretended »anti-fascist war« has been nothing other than this - that the economy has been reconstructed and that there arose the universal reign of well-being, of perpetually expanding affluence and of »work for all«. The new golden age which was promised in order to obtain your discipline at the front and, after the massacre, at the factory, soon vanished into thin air: for many years this »new era« has been synonymous with famine for the »third world«; today in all parts of the world it has for its name high prices, low wages, recession, unemployment, layoffs, a lower standard of living and an increase in the intensity of work.
Democracy has won, but it has inherited from fascism an always more heavy, more centralised and more oppressive state machinery from which the »free and equal« citizens vainly believe they can escape because the state accords them the right (just as one administers a drug) to express their opinion at always shorter intervals through the inoffensive means of the ballot. The promises of »independence« and »equality« of peoples vanish in front of the reality of always more profound disequilibriums between the rich and the poor countries and an always more severe dependence of the small nations on the superpowers of the world. In the same way, the harmony between classes under the banner of the eternal principles of »liberty, equality and fraternity« becomes obliterated in front of a reality which is vainly attempted to be hidden, that of capital's thirst for exploitation and expansion which is irreconcilable with the vital and elementary requirements of the workers.
As for the »national ways to socialism« - these multicoloured versions of Stalinism's infamous »socialism in one country« - they are also contradicted by the facts. In those countries which claim to have arrived at this goal - Russia or China, Cuba or the »people's democracies« - the market, wages, money and profit still reign; in short, there exist all other things which the proletarians suffer from in all the other countries. And in those places where socialism is held out as a bright prospect always near but never attained, one encounters only the servile submission of the »workers« parties and trade unions to the state and its laws. They offer to the dominant class a co-management of the economic and political crisis of the regime (that is to say, through the shedding of the sweat and blood of the proletarians); and what's more they even offer to help reinforce its arsenal for maintaining order and for safeguarding the bourgeois institutions, from the police to the army (and even the church).
Such is the reality of this »progressive democracy« which is celebrated as a conquest of the anti-fascist war, of the Resistance and of the democratic Reconstruction - a democracy which is the utmost version of popular and national fronts and of the conciliation between classes under the banner of the »general and common interests of the country«.
This reality is that of the increasing domination of capital. It is the same reality which Nazism and Fascism pretended to hide behind the deceitful veil of their »anti-plutocratic« crusades.
This only confirms the powerful truth of Lenin's words:
»Another reason why the omnipotence of »wealth« is more certain in a democratic republic is that it does not depend on defects in the political machinery or on the faulty political shell of capitalism. A democratic republic is the best possible political shell for capitalism, and, therefore, once capital has gained possession of this very best shell [...] it establishes its power so securely, so firmly, that no change of persons, institutions or parties in the bourgeois-democratic republic can shake it«.
What significance do these words have if it is not the condemnation without appeal of all the propositions of »structural reforms«, of »new politics« or of the alternate exercise of power by the Right and the Left within the framework of the bourgeois state, that is to say all those means by which you are urged to aid capitalism in overcoming this most recent of its cyclical crises - just as you were urged to aid it thirty years ago, by sacrificing your life.
The present crisis falls upon a world sick with »too much civilisation, too much industry, and too much commerce«. Capitalism can surmount it only in the manner described by Marx and Engels 127 years ago:
»on the one hand, by enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces; on the other, by the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of the old ones«;
in short by the means of a new world massacre, of a new cycle of insane rush towards a fictitious well-being founded on increasing exchanges of commodities. That is to say, the crisis can only be surmounted on the backs of the proletarians, only
»by paving the way for more extensive and more destructive crises, and by diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented«.
The infernal cycle of artificial prosperities which are paid for by devastating crises, and the illusory periods of peace which are paid for by awful wars, can be broken by the proletariat only through the destruction of the regime which necessarily provokes all these:
»Bourgeois states are most varied in form, but their essence is the same: all these states, whatever their form, in the final analysis are inevitably the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. The transition from capitalism to communism is certainly bound to yield a tremendous abundance and variety of political forms, but the essence will inevitably be the same: the dictatorship of the proletariat« (Lenin).
These words sum up the whole sense of our struggle for the reconstruction of the revolutionary world class party, the indispensable organ for the conquest and the dictatorial exercise of power by the proletariat.
For us it is not a question of announcing the coming of a supreme confrontation between the exploiting and the exploited classes through reciting an ancient »credo«, while passively and confidently waiting for better days.
Today the proletarian struggle is terribly late with respect to the capitalist crisis. However capitalism has increased by gigantic proportions the mass of dispossessed whom it has sent through the harsh school of the industrial forced labour camps and it has also increased the charge of potential antagonisms which are kindled by modern exploitation and oppression. The outburst of class conflicts requires the existence of social fractures, which the crisis provokes.
The explosion of these class conflicts, as well as their generalisation, is hindered and retarded by the weight of terrible decades and by the absence of the Marxist party. However, the forces of the class renewal and of the future revolution are forged in the present, whether it is a prosperous present or one of crisis. They are forged in opposing the united front of the bourgeoisie and opportunism with the solidarity of all the exploited in their struggle for bread and for work.
This struggle today signifies the rupture of all agreements of social peace and the refusal of all so-called common sacrifices by demanding large wage increases, a draconian reduction in the workday, a full wage for workers who are laid off, unemployed, or victims of lockouts, and the suppression of all discriminations among workers.
This defensive struggle is not yet an attack against capitalism, but it is the indispensable condition for it because
»by cowardly giving way in their everyday conflict with capital, [the working class] would certainly disqualify themselves for the initiating of any larger movement« (Marx).
This struggle is not yet a general political struggle against the existing order, although it is the terrain on which this latter is prepared. This preparation must be made with the methods and weapons which break with the submission to the »superior requirements« of the national economy, to the thirst for investment and expansion, to the laws of the bourgeois state, and to the lie of the common interests between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Without these methods and weapons the revolution cannot win.
The only effective weapons are those which refuse all solidarity with the bourgeoisie and with its state Which oppresses the colonies, the semi-colonies or other weaker states. They are those which aim at a fraternal union with the brothers of the colonies in a common struggle against a common oppressor. They are those which denounce all common interest with the bourgeoisie in its control of immigration and which seek a fraternal union of workers above the limits of nationality. They are those which deny all solidarity with the bourgeoisie in its rush towards »foreign markets« and in industrial and commercial competition. They are those which aim at the fraternal union of proletarians beyond all frontiers, as the indispensable condition for defeating the bourgeoisie's attempts tomorrow to hurl you into new imperialist feuds where you once again will be called to serve as cannon fodder.
The only methods, the only effective weapons, are those which solely obey the iron rules and the urgent necessities of the Class War, from the strike of solidarity between the workers of all different trades today, up to the armed insurrection tomorrow. Only the refusal of all forms of bourgeois political domination and the resolute decision to fight it can allow you to use these weapons without limits and reservations.
From the right as well as from the left comes the call for the working class to make »difficult sacrifices« for the fatherland that is in danger of death. The workers must prepare themselves for all sacrifices, but provided that it be for their own cause. Their war cry is:
Workers have no country! They have nothing to lose but their chains! They have a world to win!
International Communist Party.
Source: »Communist Program«, No.1, October 1975
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