Straightening the Dogs' Legs (Attempting the Impossible)

At the end of the Second World War, it was easily concluded that a few weeks would suffice to dispel the generous yet useless and vain illusion that great revolutionary armed movements of the working class would emerge, just as they had at the end of the First World War.

Once more, we'll refer to the two principal aspects of this complex development. Instead of being satisfied with the unconditional surrender of the enemy General Staff and the ruling political power, the victorious armies completely suppressed the functions of both, occupying all the territories of the conquered countries and setting up an indefinite state of military siege within them. On this basis, it was clearly impractical to use the favourable relation of forces between the proletarian class and the State defeated in war. It was equally impossible for the class to move from a position supporting or accepting the war to one of defeatism. The other element was the decomposition of the revolutionary movement. From 1922, around the time of the foundation of the Italian party, the 3rd International had begun a series of deviations to the right. In successive stages, the International had deserted all revolutionary positions, until it finally returned to the terrain of traitor movements of the Second International and the First World War. Or even worse.

On the other hand, these two elements of the relation of forces after the 2nd World War had been apparent not only at the start of the war, but right from the formation of bourgeois totalitarian ruling parties in various European countries. Thus, with the secure prospect of a new kind of "ideological war" having been established in the European camp, and of an "interclassist bloc" in the national camps, the deserters from communism tied to Moscow threw themselves into this politics in the most crass and disgusting way. All this was only made worse by their ceasing to be classists and communists, whilst remaining totalitarians, and by their cuddling up to the totalitarian Nazis for a time.

Taking these premises into account, it became apparent that the revival of the proletarian movement, in such a way as to rid it of the old opportunist scabies and its new and more debilitating syphilitic sores, would be a phase measurable not in years but in decades. The task of those groups which had kept to and defended the stance taken in 1919, a stance deserted by 99% of the communists who had subscribed to it at the time, turned out to be a long and difficult one; and it would start with a laborious settling of accounts with the counter-revolutionary disaster, which needed to be examined, understood and made use of with a view to a total reorganization.

For seven years now, the limited forces available in Italy (and perhaps they were even more limited in other countries) have worked towards this goal, reestablishing the historical facts and data, and carrying out analytical work. This has meant taking a resolute stand against any pessimism of the type given to such glib conclusions as: since things have gone so badly, first principles need to be abandoned and replaced – if not entirely, at least for the most part. The review Prometeo and the paper Battaglia Comunista have worked to uphold the central tenet of the continuity of the communists' theory and method of action.

Given the nature of the task and the means needed to accomplish it, it was equally clear that there would be no noisy impact on "Italian politics", certainly in the way the media or parliamentarians understand it. In fact, this was decidedly for the best; crude impatience has only ever made a difficult path even longer. Marxism, after all, has toiled for a century to kick out those inclined to such emotions; and when they are booted away, against the prevailing wind too, that's a good result.

The basis of this work has been the recovery of the movement's fundamental texts and theses, of its experience and history from its beginnings, and the comparison of recent historical facts with the original Marxist vision. What has been elaborated can be found distributed in various places and studies, with constant, untiring reference to the essential quotations.

Put bluntly, this is our position: new facts do not lead us to correct the old positions, nor to supplement or rectify them. Our reading of the first Marxist texts is the same today as it was in 1921 and before; and the same goes for our interpretation of the facts; the old proposals made regarding methods of organisation and action remain valid.

This work is entrusted neither to individuals nor committees and still less to bureaus; it is one moment and one area of a unitary operation which has been carried out for over a century, going well beyond the birth and death of generations. It is not inscribed in anyone's curriculum vitae, not even of those who have spent an extremely long time coherently elaborating and mulling over the results. The movement bans, and always will ban, extempore, personal and contingent initiatives being taken in this work of elaboration of key texts and even with regard to those studies which interpret the historical process around us.

It is babyish to think that with a pen, an inkwell and an hour or so, some good lad can coolly set out to write texts, or even that it can be done by the long-suffering "base" at the invitation of a circular; or by an ephemeral academic meeting, whether it be noisily public or clandestine. The results of such efforts can be disqualified from the start; especially when a set of norms of this sort is the work of those who madly over-estimate the effect of human influence, and human intervention, on history. Is it men in general, particular men, or one particular Man with a capital M who intervenes? It's an old question. Men make history, it's just that they have very little idea how and why they make it. In contrast, all the "fans" of human action, and those who mock what they allege to be fatalist automatism, are generally the very people who privately nurture the idea that their own wee bodies contain that predestined Man. And they are precisely the ones who have understood and can understand nothing: not even that history does not gain or lose one tenth of a second, whether they sleep like logs or realize their generous dream of thrashing about like men possessed.

With icy cynicism, and without the least pity for any super-activist specimens more or less convinced of their own importance, and for every assembly of innovators and would-be helmsmen, we repeat: "Go back to sleep!" you couldn't even set the alarm clock.

The task of setting theses in order and straightening dogs legs that are going astray all over the place – a task which always arises when least expected – requires much more than a short speech, or half an hour in some little congress or other. It isn't easy to compile an index of the places where it is necessary to plug up the holes, a work evidently seen as inglorious by those destined to "pass into history"; who are more inclined to knock the structure down than stop up the holes. Still, we think it might be useful to have just such a little index, which obviously won't be perfect and will contain repetitions and inversions. We point out correct theses and contrast them with the erroneous ones: though we don't call the latter anti-theses since such a term is easily confused with antithesis, which suggests two different theses side by side in opposition. We prefer to use the term counter-theses.

Simply for the sake of clarity, we divide the points we want to make into three, obviously interconnected, sections, which are: History, Economy and Philosophy (consider that word between quotation marks). Since the refutations of those theses which are blatantly bourgeois, and which stand in diametrical opposition to our own, are well-known, we will completely disregard them here. Sometimes we will take as counter-theses notions which are more than anything just improper formulations, but which have prevailed out of bad habit for so long they have given rise to frequent misunderstandings.

Historical Counter-theses and Theses

Counter-thesis 1. From around the beginning of the nineteenth century, society is divided into two classes in struggle: the bourgeois holders of the means of production, and proletarian wage-workers.

Thesis 1. According to Marx, there are three classes in the fully industrial countries:

1 - Industrial, commercial and banking capitalists;

2 - Landowners, in the bourgeois mode, with free market of agrarian land;

3 - Wage-labourers.

In all countries, but above all in those with barely-developed industry, and in the period in which the bourgeoisie has not yet taken political power, other classes are present in varying degrees too, such as: feudal aristocracy, artisans, peasant proprietors.

The bourgeoisie at first, then the wage-workers, begin to have historical importance at various times in various countries: Italy 15th Century – Low Countries 16th Century – England 17th Century – France 18th Century – Central Europe, America, Australia, etc., 19th Century – Russia 20th Century – Asia today. From this, very different areas and alignments of class struggles follow.

Counter-thesis 2. Proletarians are, and show themselves to be, indifferent to the revolutionary struggles of the bourgeoisie against the feudal powers.

Thesis 2. The proletarian masses struggle everywhere on the insurrectionary terrain to overthrow feudal privileges and absolute powers. In various times and countries, a central part of the working class ingenuously sees a real conquest in bourgeois democratic demands, for poor citizens as well. Another stratum sees that the bourgeoisie coming to power are also exploiters, but is influenced by the doctrine of "reactionary socialism" which wants to ally itself, in its hatred for the bosses, with the feudal counter-revolution. The most advanced part holds to the correct position: between the bosses and the workers exploited by them, there are no common ideological and "civil" demands. However, the bourgeois revolution is necessary: both to open the way to the use on a grand scale of associative mass production, which allows a new standard of living and greater consumption and satisfaction to the poor part of society; and to later render possible a social – that is, initially a proletarian – management of the new forces. Hence the workers strike out with the big bourgeoisie against the nobility and clergy, and even (Communist Manifesto) against the reactionary petty bourgeoisie.

Counter-thesis 3. Where counter-revolutions came after the bourgeois victory (feudal and dynastic restorations) the struggle did not concern the workers, because it took place between two of their enemies.

Thesis 3. In every armed struggle for restoration (examples of this are the anti-French coalitions) and against it (for example, the French republican revolutions of 1830 and 1848) the proletariat struggled, and had to struggle, in the trenches and on the barricades alongside the radical bourgeoisie. The dialectic of class struggles and civil wars showed that such help was necessary so that the property-owning and industrial bourgeoisie could win; but immediately after its victory this same group threw itself ferociously against the proletariat, which was aspiring to social advantages and power. This is the one path of the inevitable succession of revolutions and counter-revolutions: that historic insurrectional help to the bourgeoisie is the condition for one day being able to defeat it, after a series of attempts.

Counter-thesis 4. All wars between feudal and bourgeois States, or insurrections for national independence from the foreigner, have been a matter of indifference to the working class.

Thesis 4. The formation of national States with race and language uniform (as far as possible) is the best condition for substituting capitalist production for Medieval, and every bourgeoisie struggles to that end even before the reactionary nobility is overthrown. This arrangement into national States is a necessary transition for the workers (especially in Europe), since internationalism, immediately affirmed by the very first workers' movements, cannot be arrived at without overcoming the localism in production, consumption and demands which is characteristic of the feudal period. Therefore the proletariat struggled in its class interest for the liberty of France, Germany, Italy and the Balkan statelets until 1870, the epoch in which this arrangement could be said to be completed. While the alliance continued in the armed struggle, the differentiation of class ideologies developed, and the workers escaped from those that were national and patriotic. Of special interest to the future of the proletarian movement were the victories against the Holy Alliance, against Austria in 1859 and 1866, and finally against Napoleon III himself in 1870; always against Turkey and Russia; and conversely, defeats were negative conditions (Marx, Engels in all their works, Lenin's theses on war, 1914). All these criteria are applicable to the modern "Orient".

Counter-thesis 5. From the moment that in the entire continent, or continents, of the white race the bourgeois are in power, wars are those of imperialist rivalry; not only does no workers' movement have interests in common with the government at war, and continues the class struggle as far as defeatism, but the very outcome of the war in one or the other direction has no influence on the future development of the class struggle and proletarian revolution.

Thesis 5. According to Lenin, wars from 1871 and after the period of "peaceful" capitalism are imperialist, ideological acceptance of them is betrayal, and in 1914, whether in the lands of the Entente or in those of the Germans, every revolutionary workers' party had to carry out work against the war and transform it into civil war, above all by exploiting military defeat.

Any alliance in armed regular or irregular actions with the bourgeoisie therefore being excluded, the problem of the various effects of military solutions still has to be considered. It's vain to argue that the consequences of such an immense clash of forces are irrelevant. In a general sense it can be said that the victory of the older, richer, politically and socially more stable of the bourgeois States is more unfavourable to the proletariat and its revolution. There is a direct link between the unfavourable course of the proletarian struggle over the last 150 years – which has at least tripled the time calculated by Marxism – and the constant victory of Great Britain in the wars against Napoleon, and then against Germany. English bourgeois power has been stable now for three centuries. Marx set great store by the American civil war, but the latter did not result in the formation of a power capable of beating Europe; rather it formed a buttress to English power, and this buttress has gradually taken centre place through wars conducted in common, and not through direct conflict.

In 1914, Lenin clearly indicated the most favourable solution to be a military defeat of the Tsar's armies, which would have made possible the outbreak of class conflict in Russia: and he struggled with all his might against the notion that the worst hypothesis would be a German victory over the Anglo-French, though branding the German social-chauvinists with equal force.

Counter-thesis 6. The Russian revolution was nothing more than the outbreak of the proletarian revolution at the point where the bourgeois were weakest, and from which the struggle could extend itself to other countries.

Thesis 6. It's obvious that the proletarian revolution can only win internationally, and that it can and must begin wherever the relation of forces is most favourable. The thesis that the revolution must first commence in the country with the most developed capitalism, and then in others, is pure defeatism. But in order to strike at the opportunist position, the Marxists present the historical point quite differently.

In 1848, Marx considers that in spite of the violent Chartist struggles, the explosion of class revolution would not start out in industrial England. He regards the French proletariat as able to give battle by grafting itself onto the Republican revolution. Above all he considers as a point of support the double revolution in Germany, where feudal institutions are still in power, and he even sketches out in precise political dispositions the manoeuvres of the Germanic proletariat: first with liberals and bourgeois, against them immediately afterward.

For twenty years at least, and especially after 1905, the year in which the Russian proletariat appears as a class, the Bolsheviks prepare a similar perspective in Russia. It is based on two elements: the decrepitude of the feudal institutions which will be assailed in spite of the Russian bourgeoisie being as cowardly as it is, and the need for a defeat which, like the one inflicted by Japan, would provide a second opportunity.

The proletariat and its party, closely linked in doctrine and organisation with the parties of countries that have been bourgeois for some time, outline this task for themselves: to take on the struggle for the liberal revolution against tsarism and for peasant emancipation against the boyars, and thence the seizure of power by the Russian working class.

Many revolutions in history were defeated: some through not having succeeded in taking power; others through an armed repression which overthrew them (the Paris Commune); others without military repression, but through destruction of the social fabric (Italian bourgeois Communes). In Germany the expected double revolution overcame the first barrier militarily (and socially) but failed at the second. In Russia the double revolution overcame both the military barriers of civil war and crossed the first socio-economic barrier. It lost at the second barrier, to wit that from capitalism to socialism, although not due to an invasion from outside, but as a result of the international proletarian defeat beyond Russia (1918-1923). The efforts of Russian power today are directed not towards socialism, but towards capitalism, in its revolutionary march on Asia.

The historical turning-point which could have had its centre in Germany in 1848 or in Russia in 1917 can probably never reappear in the form of an internal national revolution: it's unthinkable that analogous world influence could be had, for example, by China – in any case already on the road passing from feudalism to bourgeois-ism.

The weak point for locally initiating the new international revolutionary phase could, from that time on, come only from a war lost in a capitalist country.

Counter-thesis 7. Granted that it is clear that the formation of totalitarian systems of government in capitalist countries has nothing to do with the restorationist counterrevolutions dealt with by theses 2 and 3, and that these totalitarian systems are an expected consequence of the economic and social concentration of forces, the recognition of a need for a proletarian-bourgeois bloc to restore liberalism in the economy and in politics, and adopt the partisan method of struggle, is therefore a fall into betrayal; and granted that it would also be a mistaken position, in the event of conflict between bourgeois States, to support the group opposed to the one planning to attack Russia – in order to defend a regime which nevertheless derives from a proletarian victory – no influence on the proletarian class perspective and revolutionary revival was to be attributed to the solutions of the second imperialist war.

Thesis 7. The historic problem is not exhausted by simply acknowledging that a crusaderist interpretation of the war – as "ideological" conflict between democracy and fascism – is just as bad as the justifications given for the 1914 war, viz., liberty, civilisation and nationality. On both sides the aim of the propaganda is to cover up the real goal, which is the conquest of markets and economic and political power; this is correct, but not enough. Capitalism will only come to an end by means of a series of explosions within the unitary systems that are the territorial class States: this is the process which needs to be identified and, if possible, accelerated. Since the advent of the imperialist wars, the possibility that it can be hastened by means of proletarian political and military solidarity is excluded. But it's no less important to decode this process of the ending of capitalism, and to adapt the strategy of the International of revolutionary parties accordingly. In place of principles such as these, Russian policy has substituted the cynical State manoeuvre of a new system of power, showing thereby that it is part of the constellation of world capitalism. From hence, the proletarian class movement will again have to surge forth resolutely. And the first stage is: to understand.

At the outbreak of war the State in Moscow reached an agreement with the one in Berlin. It will never be possible to criticise enough this historic turning point, accompanied as it was by the mobilisation of Marxist arguments on the imperialist and aggressive nature of London's and Paris's war – which the self-styled communist parties in the countries of the two blocs were invited to participate in.

Two years later Moscow's State allied itself with those of London, Paris and Washington, and redirected its propaganda towards demonstrating that the war against the Axis was not an imperialist campaign but an ideological crusade for liberty and democracy.

Of paramount importance for the new proletarian movement is not only to establish that revolutionary directives were abandoned in both these phases, but to evaluate the historic fact that in the second move the Russian State not only gained forces and resources for its internal capitalist advance, but also contributed to the war's conservative outcome. It did this by contributing an enormous military force, which averted a catastrophe at least in the State centre of London – for the nth time unscathed by the storm of war. Such a catastrophe would have been an extremely favourable condition for a collapse of the other bourgeois States, starting from Berlin, and for setting Europe ablaze.

Counter-thesis 8. In the present antagonism between America and Russia (with their respective satellites) it is simply a case of two imperialisms opposing each other as such; and it is to be denied that one or the other outcome – or lasting compromise – will determine great variations in conditions for the revival of the communist movement and for the world revolution.

Thesis 8. Making such an equivalence and parallel – when not restricted to condemnation of support for the State in any possible third war, of any partisan action on both sides, or of any renunciation of internal autonomous defeatist actions of the proletariat, where the forces exist – is not only not enough, but is a foolish position. A view of the way the world revolution will be attained (a view which is necessary even when history then belies the favourable possibilities, and without which there is no revolutionary party) is impossible without posing the problem of the absence of a revolutionary class struggle between capitalists and proletarians in America, and England, where industrialism is more powerful. It's not possible to separate the response to that question from the observable success of all the imperialist enterprises and their exploitation of the rest of the world.

The power systems in America and England have no other requirement but the conservation of world capitalism. It is a need for which they are well prepared due to a long historical kinesis of movement heading in that direction, and they proceed with measured step towards social and political totalitarianism (another inevitable premise to the final antagonistic clash). Whilst even in the satellites of this bloc advanced bourgeois governments are in place, in the other bloc, conditions have meant that the opposite is the case. Here one finds European and extra-European territories where more recent bourgeoisies struggle socially and politically against feudal remnants, and where the State formations are young and have a less consolidated framework. On the other hand, this bloc is reduced to using democratic and class-collaborationist deception in a purely superficial way, and it has already burned all the resources of the one-party and totalitarian government, thus abbreviating the cycle. Obviously it will fall into crisis if there is a collapse of the formidable capitalist system centred on Washington, controlling five-sixths of the economy that is ripe for socialism, and of the territories where there is a pure wage-working proletariat.

The revolution will have to pass through a period of civil struggle inside the United States: a victory in the world war would put this off for a time measurable in half-centuries.

Since the un-degenerated Marxist movement is today minute, its duty cannot extend to sending greater forces to internally break up one or the other system. Basically it's a matter of mustering those proletarian groups (still very few) which have gained an understanding of how Moscow's policy, and the parties which back Moscow, have for thirty years collaborated at the highest level in this consolidation of capitalist power into great organised systems: creating, first with false politics, then even with the help of millions upon millions slain, the main conditions for the success of its criminal subjection of the masses to the perspective of welfare and liberty under the capitalist regime and "Western and Christian civilisation".

The way in which the proletariat organised by Moscow has fought against the "West" in the Atlantic countries is, for this accursed civilisation, both its greatest triumph and best insurance: and that, unfortunately, also applies within the framework of predictions on the fate of a military attack which might be brought from the East.

Economic Counter-Theses and Theses.

The tendency of the cycle of capitalist economy is towards a continuous depression of the workers' standard of living, such as to leave barely enough to sustain life.

Thesis 1. Given that the doctrine of concentration of wealth into units that are ever greater in volume, and fewer in number, remains firmly in place, the theory of increasing impoverishment does not mean that the capitalist system of production has not enormously increased the output of consumer goods by breaking up small-scale production and consumption within closed islands, progressively increasing the satisfaction of needs for all classes. According to Marxist theory, having taken these measures, the anarchy of bourgeois production disperses nine-tenths of the energy so recently multiplied a hundredfold, and pitilessly expropriates all the medium-sized owners of small reserves of useful goods. It therefore enormously increases the number of those without reserves, who consume their remuneration on a day by day basis. In this way the majority of humanity is defenceless against the economic and social crises and the fearful destruction of war inherent in capitalism; and defenceless against its policy of exasperated class dictatorship, foreseen more than a century ago.

Counter-thesis 2. Capitalism is overcome whenever one manages to assign to the worker the quota of surplus-value taken from him (undiminished proceeds of labour).

Thesis 2. Capitalism is not overcome by restoring to the working community the quota of profit on the ten per cent consumed, but by returning the ninety per cent squandered through economic anarchy. This does not come about by costing the values exchanged in a different way, but by taking from consumer goods their character of commodities, by abolishing money wages, and by centralising the organisation of general productive activity.

Counter-thesis 3. Capitalism is overcome by an economy in which groups of producers have control and management of single enterprises and trade freely among themselves.

Thesis 3. A system of mercantile exchange between free and internally autonomous enterprises, as may be propounded by co-operativists, syndicalists and libertarians, is not historically possible and cannot be characterised in any respect as socialist. It is retrograde even compared to many of the sectors already organised on a general scale in the bourgeois epoch, adapted to the requirements of technical progress and the complexities of social life. Socialism, or communism, means that society as a whole is the only association of producers and consumers. Every enterprise system conserves the factory's internal despotism, and the anarchy which results from adapting to consumption the labour effort which is today at least ten times what it needs to be.

Counter-thesis 4. Even if control of the economy by the State and State management of productive enterprises isn't socialism, it nevertheless modifies the character of the capitalism studied by Marx; it thus modifies the prospect of its collapse and determines a third unexpected form of post-capitalism.

Thesis 4. "Economic neutrality of the political State" has never been anything but a bourgeois claim directed against the feudal State. Marxism has shown that the modern State does not represent the whole of society but just the dominant capitalist class. From the very moment it first put pen to paper, Marxism has declared that the State is an economic force controlled by capital and by the entrepreneurial class. State capitalism and interventionism are further forms of subjection of the political State to enterprise capital. They delineate the final, desperate antagonism of the classes, consisting not of a clash of statistical numbers, but of physical forces: the proletariat organised into a revolutionary party against the constituted State.

Counter-thesis 5. In view of the unexpected shape the economy has assumed, Marxism must, if it wishes to remain valid, try and find another third class which comes to power after the bourgeoisie — a human group of capital owners which has vanished today — and which is not the proletariat. Such a class is the one which governs and has privileges in Russia: the bureaucracy. Or rather, as is argued for America, it is the class of managers, to wit, the technical and administrative directors of enterprises.

Thesis 5. Every class regime has had its administrative, judicial, religious and military bureaucracy, the totality of which is an instrument of the class in power, but its components don't constitute a class, since class is the totality of all those who stand in the same relationship with the means of production and consumption. The class of slave-owners had already begun to disband, due to its inability to feed its own slaves (Manifesto), at a time when the imperial bureaucracy reigned still, and was struggling against the anti-slavery revolution and bloodily repressed it. The aristocrats had long known ruin and the guillotine, yet still the State, military and clerical networks battled on behalf of the old regime. The bureaucracy in Russia is not definable without making an arbitrary division between its big shots and the rest: in State capitalism everyone is a bureaucrat. This supposed Russian bureaucracy, and for its part, the American managerial class, are instruments, without a life and history of their own, in the service of world capital against the working class. The parameters within which class antagonisms operate correspond with the Marxist view of economic, social and political facts; they don't correspond to any of the old views, and much less to new constructions born of the present beclouded atmosphere.

"Philosophical" Counter-theses and Theses

Counter-thesis 1. In the present society, since economic interests determine everyone's opinions, the bourgeois party represents the capitalist interest, and that composed of workers, socialism. Therefore every problem can be resolved by means of consultation – not with the citizens as whole, which is the democratic bourgeois lie – but with the workers, who share the same interests, and the majority of whom can clearly see their class's general future.

Thesis 1. In every epoch the dominant opinions, culture, art, religion and philosophy are determined by man's position in relation to the productive economy and by the social relations which derive from it. Hence every epoch, especially at its peak and around the middle of its cycle, sees every individual tending toward opinions which not only don't derive from eternal truths or spiritual lights, but which don't even remotely represent the true interest of the individual, category or class. Instead they are largely shaped around the interests of the dominant class and the institutions which are proper to it.

Only after a long and painful conflict of interests and needs, after long physical struggles provoked by class conflicts, is a new opinion, and a doctrine proper to the subjected class, formed which attacks the grounds for defending the constituted order, and proposes its violent destruction. For a long time after the physical victory – a prelude to the long dismantling of traditional influences and lies – only a minority of the interested class is capable of plotting a secure course into the future.

Counter-thesis 2. Class interest determines class consciousness, and consciousness determines revolutionary action. By the reversal of praxis is meant the contrast between the bourgeois doctrine – according to which every citizen forms a political opinion, due to idealistic or cultural reasons, which may even prompt him to act against his own group interest – and the Marxist doctrine – according to which the group or class interests of individuals dictate their personal opinions.

Thesis 2. The reversal of praxis, according to the correct vision of Marxist determinism, means that whilst each individual acts according to environmental determinations (which include not only physiological needs, but also all the innumerable influences of the traditional forms of production) and only after having acted tends to acquire a "consciousness", imperfect in varying degrees, of both his action and his motives; and, whilst this also happens with regard to collective action, which arises spontaneously and due to material conditions before becoming ideological formulations, it is different in the case of the class party. Here are regrouped the advanced elements of the class and of society, who hold on to the doctrine of the future course. It is therefore the party alone which – not arbitrarily or by reason of emotional impulse but by proceeding rationally – is an element of that active intervention which in the language of the professional philosophers would be called "conscious" and "voluntary". The conquest of class power, and dictatorship, are functions of the party.

Counter-thesis 3. The class party constructs the doctrine of the revolution, and adapts it in response to the latest events and situations according to the new necessities and requirements of the class and the tendencies within it.

Thesis 3. A historical struggle of class revolution, and a party which represents it, are real facts and not doctrinaire illusion, inasmuch as the body of the new theory (which is nothing other than the identification of yet to be realised sequences of events on the basis of conditions and premises which can be detected in the preceding reality) was formed at a time when the class was making its historical appearance within a new disposition of forms of social production. The continuity of the class doctrine and party, in the broadest field of time and space, is the proof of the correctness of the revolutionary forecast.

With every physical defeat of the forces of the revolution there follows a period of bewilderment which manifests itself in revisions of chapters of the theoretical corpus, under the pretext of new facts and events.

The overall revolutionary plan will have proved itself valid only when and only if, once achieved, it can be confirmed that after every lost battle the forces reconstituted themselves on the same basis and on the same programme as that established in the "declaration of class war" (1848).

Any propensity to construct new, different versions of the theory – as evidenced not by philosophical or scientific lucubration but by a sum of historical experiences drawn from the century-old struggle of the modern proletariat – is equivalent, as far as Marxists are concerned, to a confession of having deserted.

* * *

Further clarification of these short synthetic accounts are scattered through numerous party writings, and reports on conferences and meetings.

Putting a break on dangerous improvisations does not mean that such work can be considered a monopoly, or an exclusive right, of anyone in particular.

Maybe more care could have gone into ordering the arguments, maybe it could have been presented more clearly or effectively. Activity and study will mean it can be done better, in another seven years, seven hours a week.

If little bunches of speedsters then show up, it will be proper to say: here are some of those men who only appear once every five hundred years. As we once recalled to the cold Zinoviev, who used to say that referring to Lenin.

We will wait for them to be embalmed. We don't feel we deserve such an honour.

Source Battaglia Comunista, nr. 11, 1952
Author Amadeo Bordiga
n+1 Archives Original Ref. DB -
Level of Control Null