It would be absurd to consider that the problem which the European revolutionary movement has, the existance of two divergent tendencies, is a mere question of Party yes or Party no, a mere matter of joining or not a “fashion”, the reconstruction of the Communist Party, the Party of the working-class. Basically, it is a question of the existance of considerable divergencies in the appreciation of the character of the European revolution, the proletarian internationalism, the political organization of the masses, the role and objectives of the guerrilla armed struggle, the strategy and tactics,etc.
In this article we intend to examine these divergencies in the light of marxism; we intend to examine, as far as possible the economic roots and the class origins of the politics developed by the “anti-imperialists”, their main ideas and concepts, and finally, the relationship that their political “project”, their strategy and tactics have with the most recent events that have taken place in Europe, specially in their relationship with the working-class and communist movement.
This examination will allow us to prove that the “anti-imperialists” do not have a communist political program, that their tactics consists only of the “anti-imperialist” activity against the USA, against the NATO, and that their objectives and ideological positions, far from representing those of the working class, are nearer to the class positions maintained by important sectors of the petty-bourgeoisie. These sectors facing the advance of the monopolies of the multinational corporations and the extension of their domain to all the bourgeois sectors and social groups, have seen lessened all their old prerrogatives and their influence in society, and frecuently, they have been ruined and dispossessed which explains to a great extend their radicalism.
This is the already known phenomenom of the proletarianization of the lower layers of the petty-bourgeoisie which suffer in a very characteristic way a strong pressure of the monopolies. We cannot deny that this strongly radicalized leftish movement, which is basically reformist, keeps important ideological connections with these layers in a proletarianization process and that,if we have to be frank, their anti-imperialist proposal for unity and their concept of attacking the state against the leading sector of the monopolies and against the NATO, have much to do with that proletarianization process.
One of the most important achievements of the guerrilla movement appeared at the beginning of the 70’s in Europe, is to have broken the false bourgeois-reformist peace in the capitalist European institutions, managing to lead the masses attention towards the revolutionary perspective. But some groups blinded by the most outstanding successes that the guerrilla activity has allowed to achieve,continue as if nothing had changed since then. They do not consider that it is now unavoidable to undertake the revolutionary tasks that have been historically abandoned, inserting the guerrilla activity within a wide political, military and organizational movement which is being prepared and extended everywhere. It is true, as the very facts have proved, that in the period from the beginning of the 70’s to the 80’s was imposed, to a great extend, that way of armed activity as a means of making revolutionary politics in the imperialist countries.
But now the conditions are mature enough; that is why if we continued in the same way as before, we would be injustifyingly insisting on a unilateral and self-defeating practise for the European revolutionary movement. To solve this problem we need to reunify the revolutionary forces with regard to marxism-leninism, we need to start to elaborate a proletarian program for the socialist revolution and build a solid and ideologically united leninist Party. There is no doubt that, from a wider military and political view, from the proletarian class positions, and in front of the most immediate and also the long-term objectives set by the socialist revolution to the proletariat, our political and military tasks can be laid down more successfully. As the most immediate political task, shows up the strenghthening of the Communist Party and the elaboration of the Minimum Program for the socialist revolution, the unmasking of the bourgeois policy and its reformist and revisionist policies, etc.
On a military plane we have to centre on the tasks concerned with the creation of a small army of proletarian fighters which have to learn to have a good knowledge of the protracted people’s war and the modern military technics, to synthesize in military tasks the political line of the political movement of resistance, etc. Although we are in the first stage of the revolutionary war, we should not forget that our long-term objectives are the people’s insurrection and the arming of the masses. Nowadays, given the current correlation of forces, the guerrilla leadership must select scrupulous and precisely their military activities in order to facilitate the accumulation of revolutionary forces and improve the achievement of the political tasks that have been entrusted to the organized forces of the resistance movement. To outline it, we could say that, broadly speaking, these last ones are the main objectives of the guerrilla, its military minimum program.
Till not so long ago, due to politic and historic conditions, we could admit that the revolutionary activity would be centred mainly on the military struggle. But nowadays, it is urgently needed -and any delay in this way is damaging- to undertake the tasks that we have described previously. The longer it will take us to understand and undertake these politic and military tasks, the more difficult and dangerous would become the way leading to the Socialist Revolution. To elaborate the program of the revolution is a task that requires a long time and the synthesis of many fighting experiences. But it is very damaging and an enormous mistake to refuse or reject its elaboration. Those who adopt this attitude show little or null interest to change in a real way the present society.
We want to attract the attention of the European revolutionaries on the important political process which is taking place nowadays all over Europe: the growing confluency of the communists with the most advanced sectors and elements of the proletariat. Our duty consists of making possible that this semi-spontaneous process would be accomplished consciously and take place in the most organized and guided way possible. The objective conditions to achieve it are favourable in a good proportion: ample sectors of the working-class, the most combative and advanced ones, need a proletarian and communist Organization to guide them and a revolutionary Program to fight for.
At the same time, the current economic capitalist depression, the cut down of the bourgeois social programs, the unemployment and poverty of vast popular sectors and the continuous dismissal of large numbers of workers due to the plans of monopolist re-structuration make thousands and thousands of workers join the struggle, ready to fight for the conquest of Socialism; these workers are more and more conscious of their historic responsibility and are identified with their class, ready to undergo the maximum sacrifices to step forwards the cause of the proletariat. The obstacles and reformist prejudices promoted by the “welfare” or “post-industrial” society have been left behind as old ideological relics of the postwar monopolism.
1. Our internationalist conception
Opposed to those who think that nowadays the practice of the proletarian internationalism consists of creating small supranational military organizations, futile poor imitations of the NATO, we defend that it is still valid the conception that for the communists it is a duty to persist on making the revolution in their own country and contribute to its triumph all over the world.
Taking into account the present conditions we think that each one’s contribution must be fundamentally based on the following points:
1) To participate with determination in the ideologic discussion and in the debate on the principles, the strategy and tactics and on the most immediate tasks of the communists which is taking place everywhere. As far as our material conditions allow, we have been taking part in that discussion for a long time, contributing with our experiences, defending our positions of principles and criticizing fraternally the positions of the others. We have thus participated in the small debate about the internationalism, about the tasks we think are nowadays undelayable for the communists (such as the construction of the Party, and the denounce and unmasking of all types of opportunism). We have also given our opinion about which must be the role and the function of the guerrilla armed activity, which is the character of the current inter-imperialist contradictions, etc. writing several articles about it.
2) To support morally and materially the ideological and political struggle of our comrades in other countries. We think that the best way to give a moral support is through the frank and open criticism, through pointing out the weaknesses of the others and their origin, and through making ours their just defense of the communist positions, defending and backing up their struggle against the militarist and opportunist ones, and, in an outstanding way, to support the resolute and just combat against the bourgeoisie and its state, against imperialism notwithstanding that, in some cases, we do not completely share the pursued objectives.
The kind of internationalism we are referring to is above all the differences that exist between these two lines we are talking about, and it makes easier not only the relationships, but also the rapprochement, and the exchange of experiences and colaboration in general subjects, as well as the joint struggle against our common enemy: the bourgeois state and imperialism. Only by means of an open, frank and unreserved criticism, recognizing each other’s positions and accepting the just criticism, are we able to keep a colaboration and a productive mutual support.
This is the reason why, due to the situation that the European revolutionary movement is undergoing, we cannot avoid pointing out clearly and definitely the basic differences between these two lines; if this were done in a different way we would run the risk of being misinterpreted, with the prejudice that this brings about. Our motto is to advance resolutely in the building of the Party, the organization of the working class and the protracted people’s war; fighting through criticism the militarist tendency and the Pan-European militarism; fighting for the socialist revolution and the proletarian dictatorship in Europe, forging little by little the alliance and brotherhood of all the proletarians of the continent, based -in first place- on our own forces, on the inmense forces of all the workers who combat capitalism daily.
Given the remarkable radical turn that the working strikes and fights are taking everywhere (opposed to the revitalization projects of the decadent capitalism), the revolutionary communist tendency of the movement is starting to find a great backing and support so that we can foresee its strengthening, influence and development. We can understand the great confussion which our approach and defense of the true internationalist positions and of the communist program of the working class, produces among the “anti-imperialists”; it couldn’t be other way when they lack an authentic classist, proletarian program.
Their proclamed “internationalism” of the “Front” is nothing but an obsolete Pan-Europeism which has no other apparent aim than a denuclearized, demilitarized, green and NATOless Europe. This purpose is utopian and unattainable outside a entirely communist world, although it is the ideal and illusion of a prosper, humane and peaceful capitalist society. This tendency, if it were carried out till its last consequences, would be reactionary and conservative notwithstanding its hardened and combative anti-NATO disposition.
2. Marxism and idealism
The components of the “anti-imperialist” tendency use to call themselves marxist, but their marxism has little to do with the main principles defended by Marx, Engels and Lenin, besides they do not take into account the historic and dialectical materialism. As far as we know, marxists start from an economic and social analysis of the struggling classes in our society, of the form of production and of the historic phase in order to elaborate a proletarian program and its communist strategy. To carry out this task, they distinguish between the so-called objective conditions (those that are imposed to the proletariat and to its leading vanguard) and the subjective ones (those in which the proletariat decides which are its strategy and tactics, etc.).
When we study the documents of the RAF we notice a lack of this kind of analysis. From the analysis of the RAF we want to point out particularly their mistakes in their concepts of proletarianization and international proletariat. They affirm, for instance, that the social classes cannot be defined by the “position that they occupy in the production process”. It is sufficient to remember that, for Marx and Engels, and specially for Lenin, in their analysis of the classes and of the class struggle in the capitalist society, that definition of the classes was always an impregnable fortress of marxism and materialism.
And, on many ocasions, they warned that renouncing to it led to the marsh of idealism, opportunism and chauvinism. It is clear that behind the concepts of “militant proletarianization”, the “alienation and the process of becoming bourgeois of the workers”, the “processes in the base”, etc. lies the spoiling of marxism. In this way, the “anti-imperialists” proclaim that “the class” -in abstract- is formed by “the ones who have understood the destroying character of the system”, and that “this basis of the proletarianization is the cause that all people present in the base process, in the resistance, etc. come from all the layers of the people”. As we see it, the conceptions of the RAF move away from leninism, and it would be important to ask ourselves which circumstances have made possible the ideological stagnation of the “antiimperialist” tendency.
We think that these are the following ones: first of all, the disorganization and confussion of the working class (at the moment when these groups appeared) due, mainly, to the revisionist theories born at the warmth of the 20th Congress of the SUCP (Soviet Union Communist Party) ; besides, we have to take into account, that all this takes place in a period of relative social peace and even in a period of capitalist prosperity. In the second place, the lack of true communist parties that would face the new situation, provoked the appearance of new revolutionary groups which were to a great extend ignorant of the traditions and revolutionary experiences of marxism-leninism.
These groups confront the State with the most efficient method which is, in principle, at their reach: the armed struggle, but completely unarmed ideologically. Since they lack a firm leninist spirit and since they do not understand the need of building a party capable of agglutinating, organizing, educating and leading the most advanced elements of the working class, they will turn sooner or later towards opportunist or bourgeois positions: the ideological conceptions which they end up assuming are closer to those of Proudhon or Bakunin than to those of Marxism.
Undoubtedly, this can be partly blamed on the advance and extension of the monopolies and trusts to all the economic sectors of the capitalist society, crushing or reducing the interests of the petty-bourgeoisie, which has provoked an important general discontent among these sectors. Although this is true, it cannot be accepted that these sectors, suddenly radicalized due to their special situation, are the ones that represent the interests of the proletariat, its objectives and its class positions. Only out of the workers, the most exploited and impoverished class of the capitalist society, will come the most advanced elements of the masses, the vigorous strength capable of overthrowing the power of the imperialist bourgeoisie. It is the duty of the communists to attract the layers which are in a proletarianization process to the proletariat program, in order to make them understand that there is no other way than the proletarian dictatorship and socialism, to criticize their desperation and opportunism, their lack of vision and their narrow-mindedness, etc. or at least to neutralize them.
On the other hand, and coherently with the characterization we have made of them, the “anti-imperialist” comrades, corroborating their positions of idealistic confussion, try to convince us that the main contradiction in the metropolies is the one between State and society. As far as we know, marxism has never spoken of a contradiction between State and society, but, starting from an analysis of the classes, it has proposed that the main contradiction is the one existing between the bourgeoisie and its State and the proletariat.
And it has always considered the State to be a machine of oppression of a class on the other; -in essence- an oppressive military machine organized and addressed against the oppressed and exploited class, the proletariat. The State is the most important organ which the bourgeoisie has in the power, as instrument of the class struggle against the proletariat. This the most essential part of the State. Hence, the proletariat concentrates its efforts on overthrowing the State of the bourgeoisie to replace it by another one, the proletarian State, the dictatorship of the proletariat. Confronting State and “society”, as the “anti-imperialists” do, means to place the State out of society, as a superior being above it; it means to deny the class character of the State.
It means, at the same time, to consider it as a malignous and superfluous being, so that the objective planned by the revolutionaries would be to destroy any trace of the State, as Bakunin proposed in his time. In this way, together with their predisposition against the State and the lack of a communist program, a class program, the “anti-imperialist” propose -in accordance with the contradiction State-society- an interclassist alliance to combat the State which in their view, is the one that causes all the problems of the capitalist “society”.
Although in one of their documents they say that their revolutionary policy in the metropolies “has nothing to do with a conception of the world”, we are seeing that this is not true. We believe that it is closer to the facts to admit that their conception of the world obeys to the situation of the petty-burgeoisie which crushed by the transnationals and finding no hope for the future, centres all its attacks on the imperialist State, specially on its military machinery and alliances. These attacks do not have other perspective than the fight itself that they carry out, and they are quite like the workers who broke the machines thinking that in this way the exploitation of the proletariat would finish: they were mainly the old ruined sectors of the craftsmen and small bussiness owners who were displaced by the wide mechanization.
The struggle of the reformists differs radically from that of the communists, in that the latter is aimed at organizing the working forces in the spirit of communism in the strategy of protracted people’s war, in the most immediate strategic objectives, etc. It cannot be other way when the “anti-imperialists” consider the proletariat not as an objective fact of the capitalist “society”, but as an act of conscience. They affirm that the subjective is the essential part and that it is “decissive to fight the imperialist centres” since, the imperialist centres “do not produce in a natural way -parting from the objective contradictions and from the existing conditions…- any revolutionary condition, but only destruction and putrefaction”. It is a great subjective mistake, characteristic of the wilfulness, to keep these positions, since in order to achieve the triumph of the revolution, concrete revolutionary conditions must be given, and these must be, on the first place, objectives; although the objective revolutionary conditions are not enough on their own to overthrow a regime or a government -since these do not fall if they are not kicked-, they are indispensable.
This is the reason why it is necessary to develop the subjective conditions with regard to the workers, the most numerous and exploited class and the most advanced, disciplined and resolute one in the capitalist society. For this it is necessary to create a mature, disciplined proletarian party, which is intimately linked to the revolutionary movement of the working and popular layers, which organizes them, raises their conscience and prepares them for the revolution.
But the “anti-imperialists” do not talk about this. For them the proletariat does not exist objectively. They come to say that only by means of an act of conscience, by means of the assumptions of the positions of the international proletariat, broadly speaking, will the individuals become proletarians. Marx, however, linked the concept of the proletariat to the very process of the production of goods under capitalism, to the extorsion that the worker suffers as a producer since he is expropriated from the goods he produces. This is really what interests the worker as a class, as it is written on his banner the motto expropriation of the expropriators. It is also this fact, this contradiction present in each productive cell of the capitalism, the germ where the proletarian conscience is born, the powerful combating force of the proletariat.
Something very different from what the RAF defends. If as revolutionaries that want to change the reality, we understand the circumstances of the backwardness of some sectors of the working class, the role of the working aristocracy against the vast mass of over-exploited workers, of semiproletarians, unemployed, etc., then we must also understand that the only way of transforming the “class in itself” in “class to itself” is by means of a working party. The “class in itself” is the working class as it is present in the capitalist process of production disintegrated, disconnected, and without conscience of its situation. History has proved us several times that only by means of the proletarian party is it possible to organize and unite the working class so that it will intervene politically, as an independent force, in the class struggles of their country, conscious of its historic role and of the objectives of socialism and communism; this is the “class for itself”.
But against this we are talking about, the “anti-imperialists” unilaterally replace the politic and economic conditions of the country and the need of the Communist Party, by the subjetivist consideration of hatred and rage, which are also very important for the struggle against the bourgeoisie but insufficient. On this base -the one of hatred and anger- they say that “the revolutionary front is now developed in the centre”. Not on the shoulders of the proletariat called, as Marx and all the marxist affirmed, to overthrow the capitalist society, to be the gravediggers of the capitalist society !
For the “anti-imperialists” the proletariat “is constituted by those who combat imperialism”. In this context of militant combat the workers, confronted today with the capitalist overexploitation plans, would not be, in their eyes, proletarian and would not deserve any interest unless the strikes in the companies “abandon the institutionalized and despicable field of the mere opposition”. Thus, we would be relegating to a very secondary place an important task of the communists which consists of joining the most advanced elements, organize them and take advantage of the real conflicts in the companies to educate them in the weapon of marxism and make them advance in the path of the revolution. However, the RAF seems to aim at exploiting the working struggles only when these come out the established flaw -something very common if we take into account the deep capitalist crisis- and turn them into a weapon against the NATO.
The communist do something very different, they try to turn each factory into a fortress of the proletariat party and the struggle against the NATO into another front in the struggle against capitalism, imperialism and for the dictatorship of the proletariat. The economic struggle of the workers, apart from being an inevitable conflict in capitalism, it is an essential weapon to improve their living conditions and, at the same time, is a very useful weapon of communism to fortify the revolutionary conscience, to spread the proletarian program, etc. The proletarian party must concentrate its activities on the big factories of the country, but not to build trade-unions or to describe the wickedness of imperialism and NATO, but to organize the workers in the principles of communism, to fortify the proletarian solidarity, to introduce the program of the socialist revolution, support their fights, etc.
It must combat wholeheartedly the revisionists and all kinds of opportunism and reformism, denounce the restructuration plans of the monopolies, forge in the struggle working organizations independent from the bourgeoisie and the reformists, extend the movement of popular support, the pickets, support the guerrilla struggle and promote the incorporation of the workers to the armed struggle. History has proved that the revolution has triumphed where the revolutionaries have based themselves on their own forces, developing the revolutionary struggle in their country. This, in our case, means to work for the strengthening of the working revolutionary movement and therefore, the tasks that we have mentioned above, should be carried out.
The other revolutionary countries, socialist and progressive in the world have always supported the country which is carrying out its revolution, but without the condition of relying on our own forces, there is nothing to do. And relying in our own forces in Europe means to rely on the powerful competitive capacity of the proletariat, the main and leading force of the revolution. The working class is the class that figths against capitalist society more resolutely and enthusiastically, therefore it is the only one that can overthrow it and build socialism. To think other way is to forget the abc of marxism.
3. Communist party or national liberation front ?
Which are the coincidences that exist, within the European revolutionary movement, between the anti-imperialist tendency and the communist one? Broadly speaking we could summarize these coincidences in the struggle against the bourgeoisie and imperialism and the defense of the armed struggle. The strategies, the way of conceiving the revolution, its objectives and the relationship of one tendency and the other with the revolutionary political struggle of the proletariat, are the aspects that differenciate us.
The anti-imperialist tendency is fundamentally centred on the preparation and execution of armed actions with different results, against the facilities of the Atlantic Treaty and the NATO. These actions are within the context of what they call “the strategy against their strategy” and the supranational “unity” of the revolutionary guerrilla organizations -a distorted interpretation of internationalism. Even in the cases in which their attacks were directed against notorious businessmen and politicians, these have been carried out due to their relation to the NATO, the arms race and the war. Can we talk of a strategy when theirs is subordinated to the imperialist one?
The armed actions carried out by the RAF and Action Directe lack a proletarian political program, are characterized by their spontaneism and do not have another political objective than the strictly military one. Taking into account the current situation of the European revolutionary movement, the positions maintained by the anti-imperialists create confussion in an important sector of the revolutionary forces, deviating it from its authentic objectives and delaying thus its necessary development.
Taking into account the fact that Germany is now the meeting point of two irreconcilable antagonic fields, socialism and capitalism, we can observe there better than in any place, the role played in the present-day world by the military organizations of the anti-communist alliance. Then, it is easy to understand, due to the historic and politic conditions of Germany, that the revolutionary movement there has tended to insist more on the form of an anti-imperialist military alliance, than on its class contents; more on the external power of imperialism than in the tasks of organizing, clarifying and trying to lead the working class in order to be able to end not only with the imperialist alliances but also, and what is more important, with the classes and the method of production that makes them possible.
The “anti-imperialist” proposal of a West-European front is an unadequate transposition of the National Liberation Fronts of the colonies and semicolonies. The RAF, which has always considered these movements to be a political model of universal validity, in spite of the fact that the difference between Europe and the Third World countries is evident, has always aspirated to become a similar movement. This simplistic and unilateral analysis was, sometime ago, maintained by the Jruchovists and hardly criticized by Mao Zedong, since it “tends to substitute subjectively all the contradictions that exist in the world by only one”.
It is unnecessary to say that we can achieve very little with a scheme like that in Europe. It is true that the peoples and the nations of the Third World have contributed with very rich experiences to the European proletarians. But wanting to reproduce or to copy the experiences of other peoples without any criticism has produced negative results throughout history. The supposed confrontation between imperialism and “liberation” is not correct. We would have to talk about a confrontation between capitalism and socialism, between the imperialist “national bourgeoisie” and the national revolutionary proletariat, between the State of the monopolist bourgeoisie and the proletariat that struggles to impose its dictatorship and its State.
The proposal of the “anti-imperialists” corresponds more to the revolutionary political strategy of other latitudes where, together with an exiguous proletariat exists a peasantry that constitutes the main force of the population, and also, a petty and medium national bourgeoisie. In Europe, however, the peasantry is, as a general rule, inferior to 10% while the proletariat is the one that constitutes the inmense majority of the population and there is a lack of a true national bourgeoisie which claims the revolution or could join it, among other things, because the time of the democratic-bourgeois revolution has been left behind long time ago in Europe.
In our time the communists in each country must consciously help the proletariat of their country to fight against their bourgeoisies, to unmask the bourgeois political line (the bourgeois opportunism) and its plans of exploitation and oppression, to organize the working class independently of the bourgeoisie and the corrupt trade-unions which are integrated into the system, to denounce the class colaboration of the reformist and revisionist parties and to struggle against them, etc.
Hence, the communists persist on forging a powerful marxist-leninist party able to lead the proletariat in its revolutionary struggle against the monopolist, finantial and land-owning oligarchy and its State.Without this proletarian party, the revolution is advocated to the most outstanding failure. Without this party, all the attempts at organizing the armed struggle for the achievement of communism would be void. Besides, the best support that we can give to the national liberation movements of the colonies and to the struggle against imperialism is to make the revolution in our own country, basing on the powerful forces of the proletariat and the people.
Text from the Karl Marx Commune, Soria Prison (Spain) February 1987