|EiLE English - Contents|
Provisional Commission of the Central Committee
BP3 - 4, rue Lénine - 93451 L’Île St Denis (France)
Against the economism, for revolutionary political struggle for the communism!
The only possible future for the
mankind is socialism!
The struggle to establish socialism has to lead any other struggle!
In Italy the bourgeois left wing has, with past April’s elections, crashed again. It had previously split into two sides. The larger one had drawn the correct conclusion that bourgeois left wing is in this phase of no longer avail for anyone, either bourgeoisie or people’s masses, it had gone over bag and baggage to the right wing and it had constituted the Democratic Party (DP). The smaller one had tried to endure by setting up the Rainbow Left that has been just wrecked in the elections. The efforts under way to revive it, by means of conferences, agreements, reorganizations, arrangements and constituent assemblies, ideas of old gurus like Rossana Rossanda or Mario Tronti, will come to next to nothing. Because in this phase really bourgeoisie doesn’t need the bourgeois left wing, and people’s masses can no longer get anything out of it. The Prodi-D’Alema-Bertinotti government has shown that on a large scale. Bourgeois left wing has been that part of bourgeois political world which, to keep Papal Republic, has been mediating for decades between imperialistic bourgeoisie and people’s masses, moderating wishes and appetites of the former and granting something to the latter. It has for some years been no longer the moment of mediation and of concessions! Bourgeois left wing have been by then outlasting the social role it had really played in the past. Its remaining strength was the vestige of the strength attained by communist movement in the fight against fascism, in the Resistance and in the struggle conducted against the establishment of Papal Republic in the postwar period. The modern revisionists (Togliatti, Berlinguer & Co.) had succeeded, by means of a crafty, long and painstaking activity, in twisting the communist movement’s strength and in turning it in Papal Republic’s favour. Bourgeois left wing hasn’t for years been so living on its means: it has been living on communist movement’s reputation. That’s why it doesn’t have the strength, today, to get back on its feet from having crashed with past April’s elections.
Imperialistic bourgeoisie, Papal Court with its clergy, the Criminal Organizations, inside the present regime, and its external godfathers, the US imperialists and the Israeli Zionist groups, are going rightward, towards people’s masses’ reactionary mobilization, unending war and blackest reaction. With oscillations and hesitancies because the memory of how it has ended badly for them with the fascism and the nazism is still vivid, but that is the way which their interests and their nature drive them to.
People’s masses have no other way out of the current economic, political, social, moral, intellectual and environmental decay but establishing socialism and resuming at a higher level the way shown by the first socialist countries.
These are the two alternative ways for our country, both possible and realistic. In both possibilities no chance for the bourgeois left wing. But which of the two ways will prevail?
None of the two ways traces a route which events will inevitably follow. Nobody can guarantee that things will rather go somehow than other, because the route that events will really follow will be decided first of all by the action we communists will develop, by the forces we will be able to mobilize and to organize in the first place among workers and in the second place among other classes of the people’s masses; by how much we will with creativity and concreteness develop the revolutionary people’s war that is the only way to establish socialism; by the development of oppressed countries’ people’s masses’ resistance and by the communist movement’s renewal in the world; by the position of the government and of the bourgeoisie’s several components, of Vatican, of US imperialists and of the several further movers and shakers belonging to the field of imperialistic bourgeoisie.
The main obstacle so that people’s masses take with decision the way of establishing the socialism consists in the backwardness of us communists, in our intellectual and moral limitations: relevant our understanding about the characteristics, the forms and the results of the nationwide and worldwide progressing class struggle and our determination and daring at urging it along.
One of the great limitations we communists are affected by is the weight of economism in our ranks. Many of us don’t draw yet at present a sharp distinction between struggles of claims and struggle to establish socialism. They therefore combine still less them the proper way. Some people, who honestly too think they are communists, have even kept proclaiming that workers and the rest of people’s masses will manage to establish socialism by developing broader and broader, more and more coordinated, more and more combative struggles of claims. They have kept proclaiming that the main function of communists would be to promote the development of struggles of claims. That communists would collect and would form revolutionary forces mainly if not exclusively by struggles of claims. That the way to socialist revolution would consist in “politicizing the struggles of claims”. That struggles of claims, come to a given level of quantitative development, of generalization and of strength, would inevitably turn into political struggle to establish socialism.
This is the view we call economism.
This view was already being several times put to the test of facts in imperialistic countries during the first wave of proletarian revolution, and in our country in the seventies of last century too. It always proved itself a failure. The way to revolution consists in winning over the advanced workers and the advanced exponents of the other classes of people’s masses to the struggle in order to establish socialism. The historical experience and the analysis of bourgeois society have several times proved that communists can carry this enterprise out, they provide us with enough teachings to do it again and show also us the important but auxiliary role the struggles of claims play in this enterprise. We have to rely on communist movement’s experience and to get rid of the class struggle’s view based on economism, in order to go with sureness towards the victory. Wanting for oneself a bigger share of what bourgeois society can today offer to those who have enough money to pay for it, do not lead to the same kind of activity and organization which wanting a communist society leads to. The economism-based class struggle’s view is opposed to the one of conscious and organized communist movement, synthesized today in Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Economism has been polluting the conscious and organized communist movement from origins, and it is no accident that it has reproduced under a little changed forms despite its practical failures and its being repeatedly refuted by numerous communist leaders, among which we can mention Lenin ( What Is to Be Done? 1902) and Gramsci (in his polemic against Trotsky and the followers of his).
What the historical bases of the economism are?
Following the capitalist mode of production have established itself, two big conflicting classes have formed in the society: the bourgeoisie and the working class.
The struggle between these two classes took at the beginning the form of an economic struggle. A group of workers organized and got struggling, now in one factory, now in another, against a single capitalist, to alleviate its own conditions. That struggle concerned just distribution of product and working conditions. It didn’t yet involve the bases of the system of exploitation (the system of production) and the political and cultural superstructure that defends it. The objective of the workers’ struggles wasn’t to eliminate exploitation, but to mitigate it, to raise wages and to improve working conditions.
That collective, open and organized fight, although limited in its objectives, nevertheless disrupted, from the point of view of all ruling classes, “the natural course of events”: the exploited people’s subjection to their exploiters. Not only the directly concerned owners have so come into action against it, but all the social system’s powers, the State in the first place, with its force, and the clergy by its sermons, its anathemas, its blackmail and its devious manoeuvring. The capitalists, on their part, besides resorting to blackmail and dismissals, have developed on a growing scale methods and techniques in order to divide the workers. They contrasted individuals and small groups with the mass of workmen, with their struggle organizations and with their class solidarity. The merely economic struggle unites exploited people to successfully fight against the owners. It can yet divide exploited people as well, it can lead some of them to win owners’ favour or to improve their own conditions at the expense of others. Bourgeoisie systematically seeks to turn every contradiction between itself and exploited people into contradictions among exploited people’s groups.
The limits and the obstacles that early form of workers’ struggle met are so evident. It has historically played nevertheless an important role, because it has trained workers to fight against the capitalists and it has spurred them getting organized. So its limits just contained the conditions for the outgrowing of its primitive form.
State’s and clergy’s intervention in defence of the capitalists in economic struggle helped (and still helps) workers to realize that their fight had to take a political nature and to upset the whole society regulations. Bourgeoisie had in a sense paved the way for the workers: it had imposed, by its own representative bodies, limits on State’s free activity and favourable laws for its own activities. The workers too had to impose laws and rules in their own favour on hostile State (political struggle for the reforms) and to withstand its repression. Exploiting classes, in order to defend their own power, presented their State as an institution above classes, conformable to the whole society and responsible custodian of society’s general interests. Democratic State is in actual fact above each individual capitalist and it is conformable to the whole bourgeoisie. Exploited people had so been seeking to force bourgeoisie’s State to restrict exploitation and repression by laws and rules. To freely fight, workers had to shake off the clergy’s intellectual and moral influence.
It’s what has happened in every country little by little as it has become bourgeois. With the mentality (the philosophy) the development of merchant and capitalist economy creates in the people of bourgeois - and on the way to become such - countries, the workers have been able and have had to carry out struggles of claims. They’ve had to this end to join forces, to constitute themselves into trade unions, to collectively demand this one or that one from the proprietors and from Authorities.
Marx and Engels elaborated in that context the communist world view. Contemporary scientific, historical and social researches had already shown up the existence of classes and their struggles. Bourgeois historians had described the historical development of the struggle between the classes in modern society. Bourgeois economists had described bourgeoisie’s and proletariat’s economic anatomy. Marx and Engels went beyond. They proved that the existence of the classes is only bound up with particular historical phases in the development of production, that the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat and that this dictatorship itself only constitutes the transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society.
The working class had, by Marx and Engels contribution, at its disposal the communist world view, thanks to which recognizing its role of leading class in the course of outgrowing capitalist society and of transition towards communism. Its particular fight against owners became the decisive part of mankind’s general struggle to extend beyond capitalism. Working class was the promoting and leading class of this struggle.
The economism has, from then on, turned to a counter-trend towards communist movement, a view that has opposed Marxism, a view that has overestimated the role of struggles of claims to the detriment of revolutionary political struggle in order to establish socialism, a view that has contrasted the spontaneous struggles of claims, i.e. having started on the basis of bourgeois world view too, with the struggle to establish socialism, which can develop only on the basis of the assimilation of communist world view.
Why the economism has gone on existing and reproducing?
The economism is at the same time 1. the spontaneous conception of the proletarian who no longer resign himself to the maltreatment he is subjected, but who is still ideologically dominated by the bourgeoisie (he still has a mentality peculiar to the bourgeois society) and 2. the bourgeois (i.e. promoted by the bourgeoisie) policy for these proletarians. From that come its persistence and its reproducing in a thousand different forms.
The economism is the proletarian’s “spontaneous” conception. The proletarian educated by the bourgeois society, with the mentality (the spontaneous philosophy) he absorbs from the bourgeois society, with the mentality created and made natural by the merchant practice, of selling and buying, reaches the struggle of claims. The proletarian is a workforce seller, the owner wants to pay for it as little as possible, the proletarian tries to sell it at the higher possible price. So he finds the power of association as a means suited to this end. That is the business or professional organization, the trade union and in this it has originated and continually regenerates the trade-union struggle, the struggle of claims, as one call it, in and out the factory.
The economism is the intellectual and moral scope which the bourgeoisie tries to confine the proletarian in, when the civilization general conditions are such that it is impossible to prevent the struggle of the proletarian classes against owners and to forbid their professional association for this purpose. In Italy it has been the philosophy on which the CISL [ Italian Confederation of Workers Trade Unions ], the UIL [ Italian Federation of Trade Unions ], the ACLI [ Italian Workers Christian Associations ], the “yellow” (i.e. friends of the owners) and corporative trade unions were born and have lived: “the worker has the right to improve and until he restricts himself to this his struggle is legitimate”. There are countries such as Germany where, by law and by contract, the business and professional organizations of proletarians are forbidden to deal with something else. In Anglo-Saxon countries (USA, Great Britain, Australia, etc.) for decades by now, within preventive counter-revolution regimes, proletarians have carried out also tireless struggles of claims, organized by bourgeois trade unions or led by followers (sometimes very combative too) of economism, anyway, and the business and professional organizations of proletarians don’t go beyond the wage and contractual claims.
The struggles of claims are essential to the proletarian classes. The proletarians oppose with struggles of claims the owners that drive wages as down as possible, that try to squeeze as much as possible workmen in every field, the Authorities that extort taxes, impose restrictions and eliminate attainments. The proletarians use the power of their organization and of their number, they take advantage of the need the owner has of them as a class (he can do without one or the other worker, but not without them all), of the consent and votes which the Authorities make use of, to demand better wages, working conditions and general conditions. Up to that we communists and the followers of economism all agree. Up to that there are disagreements with who support instead the consultation with owners, the compatibility, the workmen’s collaboration with the owners, the sacrifices policies, the resignation to the less badly.
The divergence between we communists and the followers of economism begins from this point on. The followers of economism assert that sooner or later the workers through the struggles of claims reach the political struggle.
What the political struggle consists in, here’s the first topic which many followers of economism are reticent or ambiguous about. A struggle against the government and the Authorities to induce them to make favourable or at least less iniquitous laws and rules, to allocate benefits, to build council houses, etc., or a struggle to take power and to establish the socialism? Italian followers of economism, those which honestly consider even themselves communist (those, to give concrete examples, which lead Proletari Comunisti (RossOperaio) [ Communist Proletarians ( WorkerRed )], Rete dei Comunisti [ Communists’ Network ] , etc. which constitute varied gradations of economism followers) won’t tell you the political struggle restricts itself to the first thing in their opinion. But actually they talk to the workers only about the first thing, they leave in the background the issues of the strategy and the tactic for the seizure of power, they mix up trade union with party, organizations for the struggle of claims with organizations for the political struggle, the organizations they build are suitable only for the first type of political struggle.
The leaders of Rete dei Comunisti, [ Communists’ Network ] even explicitly say you that the function of political organization is to serve as a political bank (i.e. in the bourgeois institutions) for the workmen’s struggles of claims, it is to drive the bourgeois authorities to make laws and rules that are favourable to the workmen, it is to support the struggles of claims and the relevant organizations by the prestige and the authority of the state office.
The closest followers of economism to us communists, and we can mention Proletari Comunisti (RossOperaio) [ Communist Proletarians (WorkerRed) ] as an example, don’t deny that communists’ duty is to promote a suitable awareness among the workmen that it is needed establishing socialism and learning to build it, but they assert the struggles of claims are the only or the principal way by means of which the workers reach to realize they have to fight in order to seize power and to establish socialism. “Do we want to bring workers to fight in order to establish socialism? Well, let’s promote struggles of claims, let’s organize them so as they carry out struggles of claims that are more and more excessive, more and more general, more and more combative (“militant”), having more and more ambitious objectives, and you will see that sooner or later the workers will reach enough to understand that it needs to finish with the owners and to take the power in hand”. Because the State intervenes in a thousand ways in the struggles of claims in support of the owner: which is certainly true. Because in a large number of struggles of claims the State is itself directly the owner, it is involved as the principal antagonist. And really proletarians’ normative conditions and in some cases economic ones too come from the State policy. Which is certainly true and it’s all the more truer and important in the imperialistic countries where the economy is highly collective, where the bourgeoisie with the State are merged into the State monopolistic capitalism. It does to consider the speculation which at the moment is getting zoomed up price of fuels, of foodstuffs, of other consumer goods and of a large number of services, ruining the employees, the pensioners and a lot of self-employed workers. “Then - it’s the conclusion the followers of economism draw - who wants to establish socialism has to promote and to foment struggles of claims. Workers understand the necessity of that, while they would make nothing of it if we talked to them about communism and socialism. Doing struggles of claims they will run into the State and will be compelled to realize that political struggle is essential. One mustn’t talk to the workers about communism and socialism. They would get frightened, they would grow apart from us, they would not even be listening to us. Let’s instead talk about wages, working conditions. These are “concrete” things: the workers can understand them because they directly experience them (that is, we communists say, they spontaneously get them as well, without we communists too). If we organize successful claims, the workers will follow us and we will manage a little at a time to bring them to fight in order to establish socialism too”. The thousand versions of economism that pollute the communist movement start by this point. They can in some periods and countries manage up to choke it off, because the communists don’t fight economism vigorously and effectively enough.
In our country the state-controlled trade unions, particularly the CGIL [ Italian General Confederation of Labour ], and the grass-roots trade unions (the alternative ones) are full of communists that are supporters (promoters) of a sort of “Long March toward the communism by struggles of claims”. The FSRS [Forze Soggettive della Rivoluzione Socialista ( Socialist Revolution Subjective Forces )] are imbued with economism. Proletari Comunisti (RossOperaio) [ Communist Proletarians ( WorkerRed )] declares that “only trade-union struggle is concrete”. That to be a communist leader it has to be “a recognized trade-union leader”. Our ranks are not immune from it too. When a comrade arrives at a new workplace, it’s “natural”, it’s “unavoidable” he tries to organize some claim. If struggles of claims are not progressing, after all (although he repeat a thousand sentences of the Party showing the opposite) it seems to him “there isn’t class struggle” there, that “they all are backward”. When an organism has to decide upon what to do, the mind often races only to the struggles of claims which can be promoted. And there are always plenty of useful and necessary struggles of claims, both for workers and for the other classes of people’s masses, so many are the owners’ and Authorities’ misdoings. In this period still more than in the last years. Insomuch that each communist organism should wonder what else kind of mass activity it carries out but to promote struggles of claims.
The struggles of claims and the struggle of the communists
Actually workers carry already out by themselves struggles of claims and it suites them if communists help them. Is this the central aspect of communists’ function, yet? Is it true that struggles of claims spread and grow stronger, and sooner or later inevitably become political struggle in order to transform the social system?
Experience shows really different things from those the followers of economism maintain. There are first of all the workmen of Anglo-Saxon countries, the most advanced capitalist ones in the world, and the workmen of other countries too, including ours, which have carried out and are carrying out tireless struggles of claims, but they haven’t managed and are still far from managing to realize that to resolve their troubles and to stop struggling in the same meshes (with ups and downs, taking today a step forward and tomorrow a step backward if not two, at the mercy of the initiative of owners, of speculators, of bankers, of clergy and of their governments), they have to establish socialism; and still more far from having built a suitable organization for the purpose.
So, where the communists don’t carry out a specific action to promote that awareness and to set up that organization, struggles of claims don’t bring the workers either to the awareness or to the organization which we are writing of.
There are instead numerous examples of countries and of historical periods in which communists carried out the propaganda and organization task which we are writing about, combining it with struggles of claims against owners, with political struggles against governments and Authorities in order to get reforms and with any other type of struggle for limited and immediate objectives, and using each of them as a communism school. Communists have several times managed there to create a vast movement of workers and members of other classes of the people’s masses having the suitable awareness and organization so as to fight in order to establish socialism. Suffice it to think, back in Italy, about the Red Two-year period (1919-1920) and the Resistance (1943-1945) with the directly following years, before the modern revisionists got the upper hand in the communist party and a little at a time, by a lot of effort, tact and astuteness, they turned it into a bourgeois left wing party (i.e. dealing with struggles of claims, but not with socialism, and defaming the communist movement actually). Suffice it to think about the October Revolution and the Soviet Union, the Chinese revolution and the People’s Republic, the many other socialist and new democracy revolutions the communists led during last century and those they still lead today.
Let’s more carefully consider things now. Advanced and heavy as the demands we make to owners and the claims we put forward may be, combative as the struggles of claims we carry out may be, they still keep something qualitatively different from wanting to seize power, eliminating the owners, establishing socialism and building a society without owners and with no longer class divisions. They are two quite different matters. There is a jump between them. Movements concerning claims so differ from the struggle for socialism in the objective first of all.
The history of all countries documents that working class, by means of its strengths alone, with the mentality the bourgeois society creates in the workers, is able to elaborate just a concerning claims awareness, i.e. the conviction that getting united in trade unions it’s a necessity, as well as it is carrying out the struggle against owners, demanding this or that necessary law for the workers, etc. from the Government. The socialism and communism doctrine has arisen from philosophical, historical, economic theories which had been elaborated by the property-owning classes’ learned representatives, the intellectuals, and which have been reworked by Marx and Engels. It is a world view which the workers can assimilate only thanks to a specific action carried out by the communists.
All modern countries’ history nevertheless shows as well that workers are more receptive to communist theory (to Marxism) than the other classes. It is easy to understand why. The workers constitute with the bourgeoisie one of the two classes of the big production, and modern society bases itself on the big production, on the collective productive forces, on the more and more extreme division of labour among production units and departments and on their combination. Communism in the modern, current sense of term, resumes and carries on the intellectual, moral and practical development brought into human history by the bourgeoisie, and it overcomes the contradictions that bourgeoisie, the last of the exploiting classes, cannot overcome, the contradictions (in economic, political, social, intellectual, moral, environmental matters) in which mankind is struggling nowadays and which bring its very survival into play. The workers are for their position able to understand all that more than any other class, in spite of the intellectual and moral condition which bourgeoisie holds them in, because the way which communists propose is as well their particular emancipation from the bourgeoisie that they in vain seek with struggles of claims which they spontaneously reach too, with the spontaneity peculiar to a workman of the bourgeois society, obviously.
The revolutionary political struggle for socialism and communism
The replacement of capitalism with communism is an objective law of capitalist society. Mankind cannot indefinitely persist with capitalism: the decay which imperialistic bourgeoisie has led mankind in confirms that. Marx and Engels traced this law examining capitalism nature, and it is a part of the communist world view. The necessity of such a replacement is not dictated by the views and the feelings of men: it is dictated by the practical relationships the men experience. These gave rise to the necessary views and feelings so as to accomplish the replacement. The working class effects this law; it transforms reality in compliance with this law by means of its communist party, its mass organizations, its struggles, its direction over the rest of proletariat and of people’s masses. However, only the communist party is able to give the working class a revolutionary orientation, and it makes socialist revolution a possible enterprise. Practical experience spurs the working class to assume the role of leader of all other classes of people’s masses in their struggle against imperialistic bourgeoisie. But practical experience turns to awareness and to systematic and large-scale course of action only by means of passages which the working class, for the social condition which bourgeoisie relegates it to, cannot spontaneously and in a body carry out. The workers getting mobilized to this end, the advanced workers, have to organize into the communist party. The communist party, which so becomes the working class’ leading and organized detachment, is conformable, at the highest level of consciousness and organization, to the working class’ leading role and takes the whole class to play this role towards the rest of people’s masses. It, in a scientific and organized way, profits by practical experience of the working class and of the other classes of people’s masses so as to develop their consciousness and their organization up to make them able to establish the socialism.
The followers of economism, like all followers of the “spontaneism” (the attitude in favour of grass-roots initiative), rule out or undervalue the role of conscious and organized component in the workers’ struggle development, they unilaterally rely on spontaneity instead of elaborating the experience of spontaneous movements, that is they preach and above all they practise the “spontaneism” and leave the bourgeoisie the monopoly in ideological field, they don’t fight so that the masses assimilate on a growing scale the communist world view and so that it become the guide to their activity.
In the field of the struggle for the socialism there are obviously different levels of awareness and different degrees of organization. We communists are one of them too and the communist Party intends to be the highest awareness level and the highest organization degree. That’s why it sets going a consequent policy of recruitment, of its own members’ training, of its own leaders’ selection, of its own ranks’ purge, it practises criticism-self criticism-transformation and struggle between two lines inside itself and it works according to the principle of the democratic centralism. It asks, in short, the members of the Party for an awareness first of all, that is the adherence to communist world view. In the second place it asks them for a conduct, an effort, a care and a devotion to the cause which are quite exceptional also among the workers. All that is derived from the experience of the communist movement which goes on by now for 160 years and has achieved great successes, beyond comparison during human history, even if in the last decades of last century it has suffered reverses and defeats. The communists before them haven’t lost heart. They have looked for the reasons for these reverses and have corrected errors and overcome limits that had weakened the communist movement to such an extent that the bourgeoisie and the clergy which were on the decline, have prevailed again. The renewal of communist movement progressing in the world and in our country as well, under the auspices of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and following the strategy of the protracted revolutionary people’s war, confirm and will verify the effectiveness of the discoveries made and of the corrections introduced. The successes attained by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) are an encouraging signal on this course and an important example.
So, the struggle for socialism and communism is not the most advanced, most radical and most general struggle of claims: socialism and communism are not at all claims. There is the same difference that exists between a child who demands and requires this one or that one from his mother and an adult who becomes emancipated from mother and does his way. Communism and socialism are first of all a dream, a daydream, a realistic dream like the Pisarev’s ones of which Lenin writes in What Is to Be Done? (the classic treatise against economism, written more than one hundred years ago: we mention it as a proof of how “new” the economism is).
“There are rifts and rifts,” wrote Pisarev of the rift between dreams and reality. “My dream may run ahead of the natural march of events or may fly off at a tangent in a direction in which no natural march of events will ever proceed. In the first case my dream will not cause any harm; it may even support and augment the energy of the working men... There is nothing in such dreams that would distort or paralyse labour-power. On the contrary, if man were completely deprived of the ability to dream in this way, if he could not from time to time run ahead and mentally conceive, in an entire and completed picture, the product to which his hands are only just beginning to lend shape, then I cannot at all imagine what stimulus there would be to induce man to undertake and complete extensive and strenuous work in the sphere of art, science, and practical endeavour... The rift between dreams and reality causes no harm if only the person dreaming believes seriously in his dream, if he attentively observes life, compares his observations with his castles in the air, and if, generally speaking, he works conscientiously for the achievement of his fantasies. If there is some connection between dreams and life then all is well”.
Communism and socialism are so a dream, but they are a scientific discovery too, made by Marx and Engels, the founders of communist movement. A discovery whose truthfulness is corroborated by the experience of about 160 years of practical fight.
The followers of economism deny the workers that dream and that discovery. They whish we didn’t talk about them to the workers, just as they need it badly. Workers are immersed in the economic, political, social, intellectual, moral and environmental decay which bourgeoisie has driven them in, and no one else talks to them about communism and socialism, except that to demoralize still more them denigrating the great feats carried out by communist movement. We communists on the contrary centre our talks and aspirations on that dream and that discovery. We don’t tell the workers and the other classes of the people’s masses what they already know and already do, but what they need to know, and no one else tells them, to put an end to sufferings of the day. One can appraise our ability from how much we gain a hearing.
Further important differences between communists and followers of economism
But the communists don’t differ from the followers of economism just because they promote, from at once on, among workmen the assimilation of communist world view and the struggle in order to establish socialism, while the followers of economism promote only struggles of claims. Further important differences follow just from here.
The movements concerning claims and the struggle for socialism actually do not differ only in the objective. Also the structure of an organization concerning claims, the relations which it is built on, the statutes which rule it are inevitably different from the structure of the communist parties which have as their central aim the struggle against the bourgeoisie and its State to take power and to establish the socialism. Just because the two types of organization have different objectives. The hallmarks of members and leaders, the aptitudes they are required to have and their training are different in the two types of organization, because dissimilar are the struggles they have to conduct, the situations they have to face, the tasks they have to carry out.
The organization for the struggle of claims is “spontaneous”. There is no need to have acquired the communist world view to take part in, and to promote struggles of claims. All the proletarians can so join the trade-union organizations, provided that they observe the statute rules, which have to be just those needed to struggle of claims. Trade union and any organization made for struggles of claims have by their nature to be wide and open to the broadest participation. Wherever there are struggles of claims or they are needed, it is necessary to build fit organizations for promoting them.
The organization in order to establish socialism is whereas built when and where there are not struggles of claims too, even where struggles of claims cannot be there. Communists even build party cells into hostile field: inside the armed forces, the police, the Carabinieri Corps, among the magistrates, the prison guards, the bourgeois State officials, everywhere. The communist who goes into an environment, doesn’t first of all and on all occasions look for what struggle of claims he can promote. He looks in that environment for who is most accessible by the communism ideals, most able to understand them and generous enough to embrace them and to join up with the struggle to assert them.
A communist looks for the most advanced members in any environment and mobilizes them beginning from what they are, collecting the contribution they can give, fostering their training: that is making any struggle and any activity a communism school.
Who are the advanced members? We can broadly speaking single out four categories of advanced workers and advanced members of the other classes of people’s masses:
1. those who personify the tendency to rebuild communist party; this tendency can show itself in several ways: in disinterestedly joining a party even though one is not satisfied with its activity, in the effort to set any particular matter in a society’s transformation-reform general context, in the awareness “it is necessary to be united”, etc.;
2. those who disinterestedly perform a leading role over their fellows in the defense struggles, whether they belong to trade unions or not;
3. those who disinterestedly take on, some way or other, the task to unite and to mobilize their own class fellows to resolve the specific problems which gradually they have to face;
4. those who personify further favourable tendencies getting generated among the masses, like for instance those who try to be aware of the way things are, those who are curious to know other situations, those who are curious to know political structures’ platforms and methods, those who want to make themselves useful, etc.
These four categories aren’t wholly superimposed. A communist tries in all circumstances to identify the advanced members, to realize in what way each of them is advanced (which of the four categories he belongs to) and to develop, on the basis of his favourable aspect, a relation with him, to take him to assimilate the communist world view and to enlist in the communist party or at least to cooperate with it.
The communist organization really demands from its members special characteristics which are not common at all among people’s masses today.
Communists and followers of economism so differ in the kind of organizations they build as well. The communists build both organizations for the struggles of claims and organizations which fight in order to establish socialism: the two kinds of organizations are different and the communists combine them the most opportune way for the struggle in order to establish socialism. The followers of economism either only build organizations for the struggles of claims or jumble the two kinds of struggles in the same organization: they by means of that produce organizations which are stunted as trade unions and unsuitable as communist parties.
But there is more. Quite specific conditions get originated in imperialistic countries especially over the general crisis; they hinder the development in large of the struggles of claims outside the context of the struggle to establish socialism and prevent from achieving significant and enduring attainments, and quite the opposite they lead to the elimination of the attainments gained before. Let’s consider two types of them.
1. In most developed capitalist societies, in which capitalism has reached its highest development stage, the society is now planned in such a way, its economic structure is so collective that any claim of a part of the people’s masses is prejudicial to the interests of another part or it is at least used by bourgeoisie as a pretext to prejudice the interests of another part or to get a political advantage from it (dividing and contrasting the people’s masses, subduing them to itself, etc.). If workers of the factory X effectively oppose the close-down, owner shuts down the factory Y, maybe in another country, and he points out the workers of the factory X to the workers of the factory Y as responsible of their trouble. The pensioners wanting a decorous pension become the ruin of country’s economy. If road accidents decrease, car repair shops, car factories, surgeries and undertaker’s firms close down and many workmen are dismissed. If people who smoke decrease, tobacco factory’s workers, tobacco growers and tobacconists are in trouble. The whole society is built this way.
Now then, in the socialism there is a place and a respectable role for anyone is prepared to honestly contribute to society life. The struggle to establish socialism so unites workmen and people’s masses who the struggles of claims within the scope of present bourgeois society would set some against others. It, too, so enables to develop the struggles of claims on a scale which the followers of economism actually can’t reach.
2. In periods of economic crisis, when the unemployment is rampant, it becomes harder carrying out struggles of claims. One often struggles, strikes, and gets a little or none. Tomorrow the inflation will eat into the rise you secure today. You compel the owner not to dismiss and the day after tomorrow he goes bankrupt or delocalizes. Struggle of claims seems meaningless.
Just in these periods the struggle for socialism gives the struggles of claims too a sense, if they work as effective communism schools and bring workers and people’s masses that take part in the struggles of claims nearer to the struggle in order to establish socialism, if they fortify their determination to fight, broaden their organization, urge the best of them to enlist in the communist party. Communist awareness and organization in turn infuse strength into the struggles of claims and develop solidarity among workmen and people’s masses of different firms, sectors and countries, united against owners, clergy and their governments, to establish the socialism.
But there is some more. Another important mobilization is at the moment been kept extending too; it is carried out by a part of people’s masses: the self-employed workers. Fishers, hauliers, small dealers, shopkeepers, breeders, farmers, etc. The progression of the crisis and the speculative bubbles’ succession, the increase in the price of oil and the further manoeuvres that capitalists, protected and favoured by the bourgeois Authorities, carry out, compel millions of self-employed workers to a two-pronged struggle to keep afloat. Some of them can make up for that at proletarians’ expense, increasing prices, but they are affected by falling-off in sales. Others haven’t even got such a safety valve because their customers are the capitalists. There are so vast conditions so that self-employed workers, too, get mobilized large-scale against the government and against big capitalists, financiers, speculators, with the objective to impose an economic policy which takes into account their difficulties.
If it is guided by a revolutionary strategy, derived from communist world view, working class can direct by its communist party the rest of people’s masses (so the self-employed workers as well) to perceive the common enemy and to join its own forces to proletarians’ ones against it. If communists succeed in getting the advanced workers to set the establishment of socialism as central objective of their fight, the working class can see and get the rest of people’s masses to see the definitive solution of their problems in being united in the fight to shake capitalists and their rotten system off, and in the struggle to build new socialist countries. All things that working class cannot do if it is entirely taken up by struggles of claims merely, as the followers of economism want.
The more the working class sets as its struggle’s main objective the construction of a society in which there is a place for all those who are prepared to honestly work, the more it can take advantage of the self-employed workers’ struggles and promote them actually as a part of its struggle to establish socialism. It can carry, in conclusion, all those who are somehow dissatisfied with the capitalism onto the socialist revolution.
Not “politicize economic struggles”, but “make each struggle of claims a communism school”
To sum up, we communists differ from followers of economism in the central objective of the fight we are carrying out by now, and in the kind of organizations we set up. We can besides develop, just thanks to that, struggles of claims in large under present conditions too, unlike the followers of economism, and we can extend the working class’ hegemony to the self-employed workers too, and mobilize to vastest possible extent them under the working class in the struggle to establish socialism.
While the followers of economism proclaim in vain the objective of big struggles of claims, elaborate platforms of union demands and “unifying objectives”, launch the watchword “generalize the struggles of claims” at every turn, we communists set the objective to overthrow the Papal Republic by the Protracted Revolutionary People’s War and, thanks to that, we will organize big struggles of claims too, as several times and in many countries we have done before.
We communists actually support struggles of claims and political struggles of claims too, all sorts of activities done in order to drive bourgeois Authorities to make laws and to lay down rules that are favourable to the people’s masses, to allocate public money for the people’s masses by benefits, public works, schools, health system, etc. and to reduce tax collections and similar ones (prescription charges, stamps, etc.), to curb prices that eat into the wages and the employees’ salaries and that bleed self-employed workers dry. But we promote in the workmen the awareness the other classes of the people’s masses and them need to establish socialism and we spur them by all means to get organized in the form which is necessary to realize this objective, wiping out the Papal Republic established in the postwar period.
We communists see and get the people’s masses to see in the socialism the birth of a new world, the communist world they will themselves plan with their mind and will shape with their hands, free at long last to fully perform, at the highest level mankind have reached, the political, social, intellectual and moral activities which differentiate the human kind from the further animal species.
We won’t achieve socialism by “politicizing struggles of claims” and using the proletariat as a mass to manipulate, to subvert the bourgeois social system taking advantage of its class opposition to bourgeoisie in the orbit of bourgeois society itself. We will get to socialism profiting by the objective fact that bourgeois society has built in the proletarians the most similar kind of men to the man of the future that could be built outside future itself.
Marxist view proved that workers are destined to become the best champions and the leaders of the other exploited classes in the struggle to establish a new social system: thanks to theirs “spontaneous” opposition and dispute against the bourgeoisie, thanks to the aggregation and concentration their particular social condition creates, thanks to the organization their economic condition spurs them to set up. The condition of future mankind is in embryo in their current condition, it is a germ which will flower as they will shake off the oppression and the exploitation, the social marginalization and the alienation which are the negative, old aspect of their condition. It is not a question of “politicizing the workers’ economic struggle” for we communists, but of bringing to them the awareness of the new world that is in embryo in the condition they are affected by in the bourgeois society.
It is in embryo in their condition the organized collective work, the association, the common interdependence and the equal social dignity, the cooperation of everyone for a common objective, which requires spiritual and practical unity for an aim that transcends any individual but it is a work of their association.
The communists’ watchword before the economic struggles and the rest of the struggles of claims, both political ones (i.e. with the purpose to drive political Authorities of the hostile State to take certain measures) and the ones directed against individual proprietors and others notables of the regime, is “make each struggle of claims a communism school”. The struggle to establish socialism is the necessary context in order to develop struggles of claims in large and with more immediate successes, besides answering the questions that capitalism, come to an advanced degree of development, puts about mankind’s future.
The struggle to make Italy a new socialist country is the necessary context so that the political awareness and the organization of native and immigrated people’s masses of Italy grow in large and their struggle for the attainments’ defence and widening and for a respectable and secure job for everybody, their resistance to the progression of the crisis, their struggle against the high cost of living, against speculators and against the Papal Court and the other Authorities that support them, against the fascist and racist activity of fascist action squads members and against the Criminal Organizations, for civilization and welfare develop strongly and successfully!
Let the most advanced workmen, women, young people enlist in the ranks of communist Party, of the organisms of the resistance and of the mass organizations and contribute to the communist movement’s renewal!
Strengthen the central clandestine structure of (new)Italian Communist Party, multiply the number of the clandestine Party Committees and improve their running , develop the work on the four fronts pointed out in the Work General Plan !
Build in every firm, habitation zone, mass organization a clandestine committee of the (new)Italian Communist Party!