Contemporary capitalism has long entered its final stage of development, namely its imperialist stage, and has now exhausted its progressive historical function. Its “parasitic and decaying” nature, in Lenin’s words, is increasingly evident. The fundamental contradiction of capitalist production relations, the contradiction between the social nature of production and the private appropriation of the product, has reached its final stage of maturity and has become a major obstacle for any further development of productive forces. The enormous socially produced wealth and the achievements of science and technology could allow a better, decent and serene life for everybody. Nevertheless, capitalist relations — based on the private ownership of the means of production and exchange, which allow the few to appropriate the fruits of labor of the many — are the cause of increasing inequality and injustice, mass impoverishment, exploitation, social and environmental decay. The indiscriminate plunder of natural and energy resources by the monopolies of imperialist countries and the increasingly widespread imperialist wars generate environmental disasters, which endanger the very existence of life on the planet, as well as humanitarian disasters that cause the exodus of tens of millions of people. In the major imperialist countries public expenditure aimed at maintaining pockets of labor aristocracy, unproductive jobs, increasingly heavy repressive, military and bureaucratic apparatuses and at supporting struggling sectors of capital have reached unsustainable levels and are pushing the upward trend of public deficit, financed through public debt. Public deficit is mainly reduced through harsh cuts in social public spending, but the primary surplus created by these policies is used to pay the interests on public debt, thereby implementing a further massive transfer of wealth expropriated from the working people to financial capital, defined, according to Lenin, as the result of the merger of industrial and bank capital.
Overproduction and over-accumulation crises are not an anomaly: they are the rule. They are an intrinsic feature of the capitalist mode of production, which cannot escape from their cyclical manifestation by virtue of the objective laws of accumulation and anarchy of production under capitalist conditions. Crises are increasingly frequent, generalized and devastating; recoveries are increasingly shorter and never restore pre-recession levels, showing a trend towards a progressive overall destruction of social wealth. From driving force of the development of productive forces, capitalism turned into a factor of their destruction.
Capital tries to cope with crises through restructuring processes, which allow it to preserve the socially average rate of profit and usually consist in policies of wage reduction, technological substitution (replacement of labor power by machinery) and changes in work management aimed at increasing productivity, namely the exploitation of the labor power.
The tendency to decrease nominal, actual and relative wage is another objective law of capitalist development, which, as demonstrated by K. Marx, works both in times of economic crisis and in times of economic recovery and drives wages towards, if not below, the level of subsistence. The (paid) working time, necessary for the reproduction of the labor power is reduced, while the surplus labor, namely the unpaid working time which the capitalist appropriates, is extended. On the other hand, at a macro-economic level, generalized low wages lead to a contraction of consumption, and therefore, of domestic demand, thus contributing to generate recessionary pressures. To resolve this contradiction, the State intervenes through mechanisms that compensate for low domestic demand by artificially creating private income at the expense of the public budget. Such measures as the “Citizenship Guaranteed Minimum Income” or the “Inclusion Income Support” are precisely the welfare tool which is used to mitigate the negative effects of low wage policies on demand by dumping their cost on general taxation, whose burden is borne up by waged workers, and service cuts, without affecting the profits of capitalists.
Under capitalist market conditions, the introduction of new technologies also allows a reduction of labor cost thanks to the replacement of the workforce employed in production processes; however, it leads at the same time to an increase in the organic composition of capital, that is the ratio between constant capital (buildings, land, machinery, plants, materials, etc. whose value is not transferred into the product at the end of a single production cycle) and variable capital (the labor power, which alone adds value to the product). Since the increase in the value of production is determined solely by the labor power, under capitalist market conditions, the increase in the organic composition of capital inevitably leads to a tendency of the rate of profit to fall, as scientifically demonstrated by Marx.
On the one hand, the downward trend in the rate of profit forces capital to partly self-destroy (unsold production as a result of market anarchy and the over-accumulated portion) in an attempt to increase the average rate of its remuneration (hence, redundancies, disinvestment and reductions in production capacity). On the other hand, capital is forced to intensify the exploitation of the labor force by increasing the extraction of surplus value. This leads to an increase in the time of unnecessary work (through the extension of working hours and the pace of work, as well as through the raise of the retirement age) and a reduction of direct wage (decrease in nominal, real and relative wage), indirect wage (cuts to social services) and deferred wage (lower pensions).
Public debt has been one of the main tools used to support the rate of profit by financing corporate tax and social security contribution incentives policies, credit facilities, state funding granted to different industry sectors and, today, also by establishing the Citizenship Guaranteed Minimum Income in order to compensate low domestic demand. The costs of this reverse form of “welfarism” are always dumped on the working class, who are forced to pay the bill of the bourgeoisie’s enrichment. The current crisis is therefore neither a financial crisis, nor a debt crisis, even less a health emergency crisis. Neither is it due to management faults, corruption, speculative activities, in other words, to correctable anomalies. It is rather a structural crisis which originates from the irreconcilable contradictions of the capitalist mode and relations of production, due to which restarting the cycle of reproduction-accumulation of capital becomes increasingly difficult.
Capitalism cannot prolong its agony without destroying social wealth, exacerbating the impoverishment of the working masses and accelerating the concentration and centralization of capital, at the risk of dragging the whole of humankind down into ruin.
The full-blown failure of all bourgeois theoretical models, from reformist and social-democratic to liberal-conservative ones, as well as such models as the “theory of degrowth” or “socialism of the 21st century”, shows that capitalism is not sick, but it is the disease. Capitalism cannot be reformed. The only real alternative to crises, wars and barbarism is its overthrow and the start of the construction of socialism-communism.
This objective fact is not in contradiction with the temporary success of counter-revolution in the USSR and other countries of the socialist block, an event that threw the working masses of those countries into unprecedented misery and caused the suppression of rights and the worsening of living conditions of workers even in the most developed capitalist countries. On the contrary, counter-revolution was facilitated primarily by the introduction of market elements into socialist economy, which have compromised its development and caused the restoration of the bourgeoisie as a class. In the very early years, the construction of Socialism in the USSR had to face the resistance of the old Russian proprietary classes, who still had a residual economic power, despite the fact that the working class had successfully wrested political power from them by paying a hefty price for that during the civil war that followed the October Revolution. The old expropriated classes were joined by other social layers generated by the contradictions arisen during the process of creation of the technical-material basis for the construction of socialism, which culminated with the NEP – for example, kulaks in the countryside, small businessmen and technicians who did not belong to the working class. The interests of these social groups, which were in conflict with the interests of the working class in power, formed the material ground for the continuation of the class struggle within Socialism and found their political expression even within the CPSU. Some members of its internal opposition were representing those interests and, in some cases, were keeping the same opportunistic positions they had before the Revolution. With the 20th Congress of the CPSU in 1956, the revisionist tendency, led by Khrushchev and Kosygin, became the majority. Within a few years they implemented reforms that reintroduced elements of market and private property into the Soviet economy, thereby starting a process that progressively undermined the economic, social, political, military, cultural and ideal bases of Socialism. In the following years, even though there were ideological and political opposition attempts, the CPSU leading groups did not reverse this process, but prevented the progress of the USSR toward Communism by keeping those capitalist elements which later would pave the way to counter-revolution. The gradual weakening within the CPSU of the positions that were expression of the working class’ interests also undermined its ability to wage an effective political, ideological and cultural struggle against the ongoing imperialist attack. This weakness, which as a consequence spread across the international communist movement, ultimately led to the openly liquidationist positions of the Gorbachev leadership during the counter-revolution period.
The Communist movement has lost a battle, but not the war. From an in-depth study of the first attempt to build socialism in the history of humankind, Communists can draw fundamental lessons that will help us wage our struggle in today’s world and lay more solid foundations for future endeavors, by learning from the analysis, based on the tools of Marxism-Leninism, of past mistakes and contradictions. The Communist Front (Italy) positively evaluates the overall historical experience of the USSR and the socialist countries, resolutely rejects any demonization by the class enemy’s propaganda and intends to continue on the path paved by the Great October Socialist Revolution in Italy as well.
Despite the temporary victory of counter-revolution in the USSR, this is the era of proletarian revolution. Capitalism is indeed in its final, rotting and parasitic, imperialist stage. Imperialism is not a form of international policy, but a precise stage in the social and economic development of capitalism; an economical-political category with distinctive features which set it apart from all preexisting forms of capitalism. Lenin identified its characteristics as follows: 1) The concentration and centralization of capital and the resulting formation of monopolies; 2) The merger of industrial and bank capital, concentrated in financial capital; 3) The export of capital separated from the export of goods; 4) The formation of international associations of capitalists for the partition of the world; 5) The accomplished partition of the world and the struggle for its new partition.
Imperialism is the highest, final stage of capitalism which, in its agony, threatens to cause “the common ruin of the antagonist classes” (K. Marx) and drag humanity into a new barbarianism. However, the transition to socialism is neither automatic, nor gradual, nor peaceful. This transition can only be accomplished through the revolutionary action of the organized working class, that overthrows bourgeois power and destroys its state machine, replacing it with the dictatorship of the proletariat. The age we are living in is, therefore, the age of imperialism and the proletarian revolution, which in Italy too can only be socialist and will take place without intermediate stages or gradual processes.
Following the temporary victory of counter-revolution in the USSR and the socialist block, imperialism, as defined by Lenin, has become the dominant system at a global level. The different degrees of concentration and centralization of capital and the different levels of accumulation in the various countries determine their position within a pyramidal structure, their relations of economic and political dependence and interdependence with the major imperialist powers, and their repositioning within the pyramid itself. This is one of the most evident manifestations of the law of unequal capitalist development. Even the former colonial or semi-colonial countries, once their bourgeois-democratic revolutions and national liberation have been accomplished, have taken the path of capitalist development and show today the distinctive economic features of its imperialist stage. Although some pre-capitalist elements still survive in these countries, they are indeed an active part of the imperialist pyramid. In this context, also the South American progressivism, inspired by the so-called “Socialism of the 21st century”, has proven to be incapable of going beyond the scope of monopolistic state capitalism.
While in Indochina contradictory processes, whose outcome is far from obvious, threaten to divert countries like Vietnam and Laos towards a definitive restoration of capitalism through a partial return to private property and forms of market economy, Cuba and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continue to strenuously resist attempts of imperialist subjugation. Despite the inhumane sanctions and criminal economic embargoes which these countries are subjected to since over 60 years and have been cynically exacerbated during the pandemic, despite the end of the solidaristic and equitable international relations they had with the USSR and the socialist bloc, they are still predominantly maintaining socialist relations of production as well as most of the social and cultural achievements of their revolutions. The Communist Front (Italy) expresses with full conviction its militant internationalist solidarity with socialist Cuba, the Communist Party of Cuba, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Workers’ Party of Korea, and fights for the lifting of sanctions and economic blockades which heavily afflict the peoples of those countries.
The active presence of the USSR and the socialist bloc on the world arena played a positive role against imperialism, by limiting armed conflicts and wars, by performing a propulsive function in the peoples’ anti-colonial liberation struggles, by supporting the activities of the communist and workers’ parties in capitalist countries and by contributing to create rules of international law which were more favorable to those struggles. It was a competition between two systems, two diametrically opposed development models. With the disappearance of the USSR and the world socialist system and the end of their international influence, the inter-imperialist contradictions, which were apparently set aside by the common objective of fighting socialism, have emerged again in their most lacerating form. Once that balance of forces disappeared, international law simply lost any function of deterrence and was replaced by the law of the strongest and the lack of rules, so that sometimes the aggressor doesn’t even care to justify his actions anymore, but uses the act of force and arbitrariness as tools of intimidation and affirmation of his power. In the past, the UN has often been used by imperialism as a body for ratifying and legitimizing arbitrary aggression, from the Korean War to the First Gulf War. Today, after the balance of forces has changed, this function of the UN has come to an end and has been replaced by the direct intervention of the major powers and imperialist alliances. They no longer care to get international legal support for their war plans, disguised as “peacekeeping missions” which, under the pretext of “defending democracy” or “protecting human rights”, bury any attempt to oppose imperialist plans under tons of “humanitarian” bombs. Evidence of this is provided by the wars in Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria, along with the growing military intervention in sub-
Saharan Africa, with the involvement of the US, NATO and single imperialist powers, including Italy, without any formal ratification by the UN. The irrelevance of the UN role under dominant imperialism is confirmed by the failure to implement its many resolutions on the Palestinian question, which still remains unresolved. The Communist Front (Italy), resolutely fights against Zionism and any other form of nationalism, chauvinism and religious fundamentalism, supports the just struggle of the Palestinian people for the creation of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, calls for the cessation and dismantling of illegitimate Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories, the release of all Palestinian political prisoners held in Israel and the right of return for the Palestinian diaspora, in compliance with UN resolution no. 194.
In particular, we express militant solidarity with the communists and the workers of Palestine, we strongly condemn the US administration’s provocative and irresponsible decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem, in recognition of Israel’s expansionist aims.
Competition today is all within the imperialist camp. Historic imperialist powers, such as the USA, France, Germany, the UK, etc., and more recently arisen imperialist powers, such as China and Russia, imperialist alliances, such as the European Union and the BRICS, and newly emerging imperialist countries, such as Iran, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, etc. which claim a hegemonic role at a regional level, are competing with each other for the control of outlet markets, supply sources of raw materials, especially energy, trade routes, information, data and new technologies, as well as for acquiring geo-strategic advantages on the political and military level. A generalized competition, which also takes place within imperialist blocs and alliances themselves, between their member states and their monopolies. This is the triggering reason for the wars that increasingly affect the planet and shows how, in conditions of capitalism, which has reached its final imperialist stage, the formation of interstate unions and alliances does not eliminate the competition typical of this socialeconomic formation, but gives it new and internationalized forms. Despite the process of growing internationalization and the increase in the share of global GDP originated by FDI (Foreign Direct Investment, an index of capital exports), domestic markets continue to have a predominant role in the reproduction of capital, which continues to maintain its own political organization based on the national state, as demonstrated by the competitive conflicts even within the imperialist alliances themselves and by the analysis of data on capital expenditure, R&D expenditure and the added value of parent companies, which are consistently much higher than those of foreign subsidiaries. The so-called multipolarity only increases the risk of war. Huge masses are forced to leave their countries of origin to flee not only war, but also imperialist “peace”, a peace with the gun to the heads of the peoples, which imposes on the weakest countries the plunder of their human and natural resources, often devastating their environment, which chokes them using the noose of debt and perpetuates misery, underdevelopment, illiteracy and disease. It is evident that a world order of this kind can only be based on the systematic use of violence to guarantee its domination: repression, destabilization, subversion, coups, war. In particular, Euro-Atlantic imperialism uses terrorism based on the most sinister religious obscurantism, as well as the so-called “color revolutions” as weapons of destabilization and pretext for aggression, in both cases by financially supporting and arming the most reactionary and, at times, openly fascist political formations.
In light of these observations, we firmly believe that alliances, such as BRICS or ALBA, or single capitalist countries, cannot be considered as part of an alleged “anti-imperialist camp” or, even worse, as the heirs of the socialist block, for the sole fact that they are opposing the US, the EU and their alliance system. Therefore, we think that an alignment of the anti-imperialist movement with the positions of these blocs or states must not be demanded. In the current situation it is no longer a question of anti-imperialist struggles for national liberation and independence, but a competition between blocs, alliances and states which have now fully entered the imperialist stage of capitalist development. Therefore, it is a conflict in which the proletariat must support no one else but its own class brothers.
Lenin and the experience of the Great October Socialist Revolution teach that Communists must be able to identify inter-imperialist contradictions and use them to advance the socialist revolution. On the other hand, Communists reject and fight with total firmness the positions of those who, ignoring the Leninist theory of imperialism, consider their state as a colony of others, thus effectively supporting their own country’s capital in its competition with foreign capital and this also applies to Italy. Such positions, which recall the reactionary theory of “proletarian nations”, can only lead to the dead end of the choice between one imperialism and another and are a deviation from the consistent anti-imperialist struggle, namely from the struggle for the revolutionary overthrow of the power of capital starting from one’s own country.
Inter-imperialist contradictions lead to clashes and realignments within the imperialist pyramid, to an open battle to acquire dominant positions. New axes and alliances arising from it bring about disputes and antagonisms that result in military conflicts, commercial and diplomatic wars and the renegotiation of agreements and treaties. In this context, we are witnessing a new alarming arms race, with the risk of a generalized war, which is postponed only thanks to temporary agreements that are ahead of conflicts of greater intensity. Therefore, the struggle against imperialist war is a crucial issue on which the Communist Front (Italy) intends to mobilize the workers in order to sabotage the war plans of capital. The primary task of the Communist Front (Italy) is to develop the struggle against the increase in our country’s military spending, against any participation of Italy in imperialist interventions and wars, against NATO and the presence of US military bases on our territory, denouncing the role and interests of Italian imperialism, its monopolies and the imperialist alliances Italy is an integral part of, practicing real and not purely formal proletarian internationalism, in close connection with the Communist and Workers’ Parties of other countries, with the World Peace Council and the other international anti-imperialist organizations. Therefore, we make no concessions to jingoistic positions that invoke social unity and peace in the name of an alleged “common interest of the nation”, since the working class has no “national interest” to defend in common with its exploiters. Nor do we make concessions to generic pacifism devoid of any class concept, which considers war from a moralistic point of view rather than as the natural result of inter-imperialist competition. As Lenin taught, there are just wars and unjust wars and Communists must use all possible forms of struggle to turn imperialist war, when and where it occurs, into revolutionary civil war to overthrow their own bourgeois state first of all and establish workers’ power. This is the only just war for the proletariat at the present stage.
THE EUROPEAN UNION
The European Union is the imperialist alliance which European monopolistic capital uses to pursue its general interests; but it is also the “clearing house” in which capital tries to find negotiated solutions in order to mitigate the effects of competition between states and their national monopolies. It is a tool of capital for its domination over the rest of society, which does not contradict the traditional national bourgeois state, but is added to it and strengthens its capacity for oppression. Therefore the EU is not an abstract entity that would limit national sovereignty by imposing an alien will, but an alliance between states, to whom monopolistic capital of each member country voluntarily delegates certain powers and functions, previously exercised by the national state, centralizing them in an interstate union. Internal competition within the alliance and the different specific weight of each member state, proportional to its economic and political strength, do not contradict the fact that the European Union is functional to the class interests of big monopolistic capital both national and European as a whole.
The reactionary nature of the EU, like any other imperialist alliance, is evident both in its policies of social massacre, aimed at finding the resources required to compete internationally, in particular with the USA and the BRICS, and in the essence and mechanisms of its bodies’ decisionmaking.
The founding treaties of the EU and the Euro are the expression on the legal level of the economic and political nature of European imperialism and a factor of strong oppression of workers. In a context where devaluing the common currency is not an option (which would in any case entail a reduction of actual wages due to the resulting inflation), competitiveness is sought primarily in terms of decreasing labor cost by reducing wages, increasing work productivity and intensity, cutting social benefits, dismantling the welfare state, extending working age, lowering the return on pension contributions, as well as through technological innovations of the production process and work organization, aimed at increasing flexibility and reducing the employed workforce. In other words, the EU treaties are the legal basis of the increasing exploitation of workers and worsening of their living standards. However, reverting to the former monetary sovereignty and the possibility of devaluing would not change the substance of the matter, since the pursuit of greater competitiveness would continue just the same on all fronts and the profit of capital would always be linked to the intensification of labor exploitation. This comes with a policy of cancellation of labor union rights, restriction of the right to strike, criminalization of the class struggle, pursued through the provision of new types of criminal offenses and the exacerbation of existing penalties. There are hundreds of Recommendations by the European Commission which demand that member countries apply policies of wage restraint (reduction), pension reforms to the detriment of retired workers, and the privatization of social and healthcare services; the European Court judgments and the European Commission Directives adverse to workers in favor of employers are equally numerous. Basically, the European Union and its bodies, on behalf of capital, hinder any attempt to improve the living conditions of workers.
The policies of budget austerity and market predominance without state intervention, adopted by the EU and the ECB and aimed at containing inflation at least until the 2008-2013 crisis, at reducing public deficit and debt and achieving a balanced budget, entailed unsustainable sacrifices for workers, had a depressing effect on domestic demand and never really brought European economies out of recession, albeit with different levels of resiliency from country to country.
The injection of liquidity, implemented by the ECB in an attempt to stimulate the recovery, was absorbed by the banking system without any actual results neither for the economy in general, nor for the conditions of workers in particular, except for a reduction in interest rates on public debt. Today, following the COVID-19 emergency, which has only accelerated the pace and deepened the severity of a new recession which Europe was already sinking into, the measures adopted by the EU and the ECB in order to cope with the new cycle of crisis might suggest a change in their policies. Actually it is not true.
The authorization, notwithstanding the Treaties, to allow deficit spending, budget gaps and the direct participation of the state in the capital stock of companies has an extraordinary character with clear time limitations. The goals of reducing the deficit / GDP and debt / GDP ratios and balancing the budget of member states remain the financial pillar of the EU economic policy. The insistence with which the EU requires member states to implement structural reforms that are detrimental for workers, from pensions, to employment flexibility, increase in working hours, cut in social spending, cancellation of labor union and strike rights, has even grown during the COVID-19 emergency: the implementation of the reforms requested by European capitalist monopolies has become the essential condition for obtaining the funds allocated to cope with the crisis, and a related control activity has been established, along with the power of the European institutions to suspend the disbursement in the event that big capital considers such reforms insufficient.
Furthermore, the huge financial means mobilized can by no means be considered as disinterested “aid”, both because their disbursement depends on the implementation of the reforms the capitalists require, and because they will try to make the workers pay the bill. In fact, if it is a question of loans, these will inflate public debt and even harsher policies of austerity and cuts will be implemented in order to repay them with interest; if, on the other hand, it is a question of nonrepayable grants funded by common European debt, they will be borne by the EU budget, which is financed by the member states contributions from their own public budgets and, therefore, from their general taxation system. It is therefore a matter of enormous financial means mainly in support of capitalist monopolies and their profit, which will be paid in both cases by workers.
Also the state direct intervention in the economy is aimed at supporting big monopolistic capital, from state guarantees on corporate debt (400 billion euros in Italy alone, a real nationalization of private debt) up to direct participation in the capital stock of companies that were already bankrupted before the COVID-19 emergency, with the aim to recapitalize and recover them at the expense of the state before giving them back to their owners. Among them there are even those who, not content, demand the state intervention to be limited to the injection of capital, without management responsibilities. In other words: “you give us your money and we spend it as we wish“. This logic of socialization of losses and privatization of profits goes beyond the conjunctural dimension and acquires structural features that characterize the economic action of the state in conditions of imperialism, that is, of monopolistic capitalism: the bourgeois state is never neutral, nor impartial, but takes on the function of “collective capitalist” and intervenes in support not for the general interests of society as a whole, but only for the particular interests of capitalists as a class.
Therefore, there is no reversal in the economic policy of the EU, as someone, even in the “radical” left, had affirmed for lack of analysis and, moreover, in tune with the sirens of pro-EU propaganda, but a further exacerbation of its anti-proletarian nature.
Capitalist restructuring entails the need to strengthen the most authoritarian and undemocratic aspects of bourgeois dictatorship, in the attempt to prolong the agony of capitalism by dumping the full weight of its crisis and the exhaustion of its historical function onto the shoulders of the working class and the workers. This is quite evident if we look at the nature and operating mode of the EU institutions. Decisions, which are binding on member states and overlap their laws up to the constitutional level, are taken by bodies that are not subject to the verdict of voters and, therefore, to any form of political mediation. The only elected body, the European Parliament, does not have significant powers and is just a body of ratification of decisions made elsewhere. This is an authoritarian institutional model for the management of capitalist restructuring that tends to deprive elected assemblies of any legislative and control role in favor of the executive power alone, in the name of “governance”: in essence, more power to governments, less power to parliaments. This does not alter the fact that the European Parliament too, like any other bourgeois parliament, carries out a precise function of political mediation between different lobbies and sectors of capital and plays an important role in the exercise of power by the bourgeoisie. The demand for greater powers to the European Parliament, promoted by the Party of the European Left, is in itself misleading and cannot be shared, as the core of the matter lies, once again, in the class nature of this institution and the EU, which are both functional to the interests of monopolistic capital, regardless of how the legislative and executive powers are distributed. Once again, it is important to stress that the executive bodies of the EU, such as the Commission and the European Council, in view of their composition and nature, are not alien entities opposed to national states, but rather are expression of the common interests of European capitalist monopolies as a whole.
In many EU countries an authoritarian, if not openly reactionary, involution of the political system is taking place through projects of constitutional changes and fraudulent electoral laws. Electoral thresholds, majority bonuses and other tricks in fact restrict the right to elect one’s own political representatives, with the evident purpose of eliminating all forms of mediation in the exercise of power and erasing, today and forever, the very possibility of political representation of the working class and social conflict in elective assemblies, which could hinder the “governance” wanted by the bourgeoisie. Communists, by radically criticizing formal bourgeois democracy and parliamentarianism, oppose these plans, not in order to preserve the current status quo, but to prevent further involution and slides in an authoritarian and reactionary direction which would even more undermine the workers’ rights and life conditions.
Everywhere, not only in the EU, social control over individuals, criminalization of the class struggle, police repression of political or labor union protests, and snooping on every moment of citizens’ private and social life are increasing. In particular, this is demonstrated by the formation of a European gendarmerie corps, called EUROGENDFOR, with extensive powers outside and above the laws and constitutions of the member countries, entirely free from the control by their parliaments and out of the jurisdiction of their courts. It is not difficult to envisage how it could be used in the repression of the class struggle.
Expenditure on armaments, militarization and the involvement of the EU and its single members in war missions abroad are growing, in an ever-increasing integration between NATO and CSDP (Common Security and Defense Policy), the armed wings of European capitalist monopolies. This trend is also expressed by the establishment of further military entities, such as the European Intervention Initiative (EI2), created as a structure external to the EU to overcome the inefficiencies of CSDP, but equally linked to the imperialist interests that rule the EU and the governments of its member states.
The US strongly insist on increasing the contribution of European countries to the NATO budget up to 2% of their GDP. NATO and the EU are strengthening their military presence on the eastern borders of the alliance and blatantly interfering in the political life of neighboring countries, from Ukraine to Belarus, supporting the most nationalist and reactionary fringes with substantial resources in an anti-Russian function. In the context of the inter-imperialist clash with Russia and China, the European military engagement in Africa, the Mediterranean and the Middle East is growing, with serious contradictions between the allies themselves. The cost of all this is borne by the workers of both Europe and the attacked countries.
The reactionary nature of the EU is also confirmed by the anti-communist hatred, which has now risen to be its official ideology. Today, the intensification of propaganda campaigns by the dominant class is an undeniable reality that takes advantage of the high level of control over media and cultural institutions in order to strengthen bourgeois hegemony, falsifying history to erase the memory of the struggles and achievements of socialism.
While the EU shouts out on the violation of human rights in other people’s homes, it remains silent on the persecution and physical attacks on communist militants and labor union activists, on the prohibition of communist propaganda and historical symbols, on the outlawing of communist and workers’ parties in many EU countries. The EU institutions try to give some legitimacy to the anti-communist hysteria by attempting to place Communism and Nazi-fascism, victims and executioners, oppressed and oppressors, on the same level, as in the shameful Resolution of the European Parliament of September 2019. They falsify history, denying the role played by the Red Army and the USSR, led by the Bolshevik Communist Party and Stalin, in the liberation of Europe from Nazi-fascist barbarity. On the other hand, the EU openly supports the coupist regime in Ukraine, which includes extremist nationalist and Neo-Nazi organizations, and does not hide its support for the more reactionary sectors of the Belarusian opposition.
The considerations made so far lead us to strongly and clearly reject the opportunist positions of the Party of the European Left and of those who believe that the problem consists in the Neo-liberal austerity policies of the European Union and that, therefore, the latter can be reformed to the benefit of workers simply by a change in its economic policies. Whether it is Neo-liberalism or Keynesianism, restrictive or expansionary policies, almost nothing changes for the working class and the people: it is anyway a question of bourgeois economic policies aimed at maximizing exploitation and profit. The problem is not the economic theory inspiring the policies of the EU, but its substantial nature as an imperialist alliance, created and run to insure a more stable domination of big capital on the internal level, as well as a greater competitiveness of European monopolies against international competitors and a more efficient capacity for exploitation, robbery and plunder on the external level. Since these are the nature and raison d’être of the EU, since it embodies the power of financial capital, which is its initiator and driving force, the EU cannot be reformed in the interest of workers and peoples, but it can and must be dismantled together with the relations of production that generated it.
Likewise, we firmly and clearly reject the positions of bourgeois sovereigntism and the so-called Right and Left Euroscepticism, of those who conceive the simple exit from the EU and the Euro, in the name of the return to national sovereignty (which has never really disappeared) and monetary sovereignty, as the solution to all of the workers’ problems. Such positions, lacking a class approach and awareness of the dialectical complexity of the issue, are the expression of the anxieties of the petty bourgeoisie and of marginal sectors of national capital facing the crisis. Those on the left who support such positions and the return to the forms of sovereignty of the past, deviate towards an inter-class line and become indeed allies of these sectors of the bourgeoisie.
The Communist Front (Italy) conceives Italy’s exit from the EU and the euro in a dialectical and class way. A revolutionary party that aims at seizing political power and fights for the establishment of socialism cannot avoid this question. In fact, no progress towards socialism is possible within the corral of the EU, which is in fact a further tool in the hands of the dominant class for the contraction of the workers’ economic and social conditions and the repression of the working class. Remaining in the EU empties the workers’ economic and social demands of any real prospect, because it hinders their realization by means of its regulatory system.
The EU institutions, however, are part of a wider bourgeois political system and do not contradict national institutions. For this reason, the simple exit from the EU in conditions of capitalism – a somewhat unrealistic hypothesis today because it is opposite to the current interests of Italian monopolistic capital – would not be in any case a step capable by itself to insure more favorable conditions for the working class, but would just lead to a mere repositioning of the country within other imperialist alliances, as happened in the case of Brexit. Therefore, the exit from the European Union must not be conceived as an intermediate stage or a preliminary struggle to be carried out, maybe, together with bourgeois political forces. The struggle for the exit from the EU must be strictly linked to the struggle for the seizure of political power by the working class.
The struggle for Italy’s exit from the EU is a necessary, but not sufficient condition to bring the working class to power if it does not come with the consistent struggle for the overthrow of capitalism and the bourgeois state. The exit from the EU we are fighting for, along with the most advanced part of the Communist and Workers’ Parties of Europe, does not mean going back to the previous forms of national sovereignty in capitalist conditions, but advancing toward socialism through a radical change in the relations of production and the class in power. Conceived in terms of dialectical complementarity between these two aspects, the exit from the EU and the Euro, as well as the denunciation of all the international treaties which are their legal basis, are essential points of the program of struggle of the Communist Front (Italy).
Italy is an advanced capitalist country, therefore subject to the general laws that define the capitalist mode of production, and it occupies a relatively important place in the worldwide imperialist system, despite historical weaknesses and territorial differences, both in the degree and the pace of economic development, that are endemic in Italian capitalism.
Although mercantile society and some forms of protocapitalism originated in Italy earlier than in other parts of the world, the formation of the national State and the bourgeois revolution that should have set up the definitive political establishment of capitalism took place relatively late, and were based on a class compromise between the industrial bourgeoisie, mainly located in the North, and the landowning aristocracy, mainly located in the South, where feudal latifundium rent was still persisting and the capitalist farm was struggling to establish itself and replace land rent. The intellectual organic to that social bloc was the enormous bureaucratic apparatus of the newborn unitary state, which was at the same time one of the tools of bourgeois oppression over society and its hard core of consensus, especially in the South, where for many years it was the only employment opportunity alternative to emigration and crime. This inherent weakness of the social bloc which was the basis of the liberal state in Italy partly explains its end, due to the rise to power of fascism, namely of the openly terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary part of financial capital. To an objectively revolutionary situation, such as the one at the beginning of the first postwar period during the Red Biennium, in a moment when the revolutionary political subject was lacking, industrialists and landowners, in defense of their class interests, responded with the suppression of formal bourgeois democracy itself. As far as class oppression is concerned, as Gramsci rightly pointed out, little changed: bourgeois democracy and fascism are two different faces of the same dictatorship of capital, so that repression, incarceration and anti-worker laws were just the same as those of the liberal state. The true innovation of fascism consisted in having militarily organized the petty bourgeoisie, a social layer intrinsically unstable, and having put it, along with lumpen-proletarian elements, at the service of capital against the working class, thus using it as a militia for doing the “dirty job” on behalf of the state, that is for violent and illegal actions which the state could not be directly involved in, passing them off, moreover, as popular anger.
State monopolistic capitalism took hold in Italy during the early years of World War One at the height of a process of concentration and centralization of capital supported by state war orders, which guaranteed enormous profits for private monopolies, including FIAT, owned by the Agnelli family, one of the main sponsors of fascism. The postwar crisis, which in Italy welded with the great depression of 1929, led fascism to found the I.R.I. (Industrial Reconstruction Authority) during the 30’s. Through this entity the state was taking charge of the capitalists’ bankruptcy by nationalizing loss-making companies. Fascism socialized losses, while profits remained private, the true “reverse welfarism” that always distinguishes the intervention of the bourgeois state in economy. In rural areas, fascism did not impair large estate, since landowners were among the main sponsors of fascism. The lands allocated to Italian peasants, who were suffering from centuries of misery and backwardness, were located only in the colonies, the spoils of the Italian imperialist aggression against Ethiopia, Somalia and Libya, while in Italy the rural ownership structure was not challenged by fascism.
The anti-fascist Resistance, in which the Communists were the driving force and the largest and most organized part, contrary to what official bourgeois historiography narrates, cannot be reduced to a set of military operations, aimed at the liberation from the Nazi invader and the reestablishment of national sovereignty. First of all, in the intent of most of those who took part in it, it was an armed political struggle for social liberation, a revolutionary civil war against fascism, both Italian and German, for the overthrow of the fascist state and its replacement with a state that was not the old liberal state, for a different, substantial and non-formal, democracy as opposed to the “democracy” of the class that had brought fascism to power. This general aspiration was connected with the conscious action of the most advanced sectors of the working class, which had as their consistent goal the overthrow of the capitalist mode of production that had generated fascism. This is the spirit of Resistance we claim as our own and are inspired by. Errors in the evaluation of the political and historical phase, a concept of the revolution as a gradual process, the acceptance of parliamentary democracy, bourgeois institutions and legality as the only battleground and an erroneous conception that turned the tactics of anti-fascist unity into strategy, led Togliatti, and the majority of the ICP leadership of that time, to deviate from the pursuit of the goals the Communists had been fighting for during the Resistance. Those members, who were opposing that drift and were keeping the most advanced values of the liberation struggle were excluded from the party’s leading bodies.
Shortly after the Liberation, the ICP was ousted from the government. State monopolistic capitalism further strengthened during the postwar reconstruction financed by US capital through the “Marshall Plan”, whose funds were flowing in with an anti-communist and anti-Soviet function, due to the strategical importance of Italy’s geopolitical position, while the newborn republic was recycling most of the cadres coming from the fascist bureaucratic and repressive apparatus. State companies, regulated by public law, were flanked by the system of State Holdings [state-owned joint stock companies], where the State was acting as owner (in whole or in part) and as an economic entity under private law. The state was performing the function of collective capitalist on behalf of the bourgeoisie, which held political power and etsablished State policies, and contributing on its behalf to the exploitation of the working class. For this reason, the Communists consider the mere slogan of nationalization to be not enough if it is not connected with the claim for workers’ power and control.
The process of capital concentration in Italy has progressed thanks to the action by the State, especially in strategic sectors with high capital intensity (particularly in the steel, chemical and petrochemical, energy, shipbuilding, mining, food, transport and communication industries). There was no economic plan, but the “programming”. It did not set mandatory quantity and quality targets, but just general guidelines of development to be actualized thanks to the weight of the public sector on the market, which, at that time, was also used as a tool to create political consensus through the rehiring of the labor force expelled from private industry as a result of technological innovation.
At that time, Italian capitalism was able to hold up inter-imperialist competition also thanks to the role, played by the State in economy, the use of public spending to support capital, with incentive policies for the private sector, tax breaks and social security contribution relief to the benefit of employers. The great workers’ struggles of the 60s and 70s, which ended in 1977 with the drift by the main labor union CGIL towards concerted action (the so-called “EUR line”), brought about important achievements on the labor union level, from wage increases and improvements of health and safety conditions in workplaces, to the Statute of Workers’ Rights. Although limited to companies with more than 15 employees, the Statute of Workers’ Rights set limits on the freedom of dismissal and established significant rights for labor and its organized representation. The Lira devaluation fostered the export of Italian goods and made it possible to ease the pressure on wages for competitive purposes. Certainly, Italy’s resilience and economic growth came with high inflation and an increase in public debt, but the indexation of wages and pensions to the cost of living (the so-called “sliding scale”), despite its quarterly delay, and the trade balance surplus which compensated more than proportionally the energy bill, helped to sustain domestic demand. In that period, the process of accumulation and reproduction of capital, basically held, albeit intermittently, allowing Italian capitalism to acquire an important position within the European and worldwide imperialist system.
Nevertheless, the increasingly rapid sequence of phases of economic crisis and stagnation led the bourgeoisie to initiating a process of restructuring and to unleashing, under the pretext of fighting inflation, an all-out attack on the working class and the labor movement aimed at dismantling the protections and rights, achieved in years of very hard struggles. In 1984, the “sliding scale” (wage indexation) was canceled by a referendum called by the employers, which was supported by the government led by socialist leader Bettino Craxi and poorly managed by a CGIL controlled by an ICP already standing on the path of revisionism and self-dissolution.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the socialist bloc, the bourgeoisie no longer had any restraint in dismantling of workers’ rights and achievements, in the destruction of that welfare state which had been the cornerstone of the social-democratic illusion.
With the transformation of the EEC into the European Union and the introduction of the common currency, strongly wanted and implemented by center-left governments, the dominant sectors of the Italian bourgeoisie replaced competitive devaluation and customs duties with new tools to attack more thoroughly the positions of the working class and the rights of workers.
Budgetary austerity measures and the reduction of public debt, inflated to finance banks and capitalists, resulted in an unprecedented social massacre, passed off as an objective need while it is in fact a precise political will. Privatizations, carried out by both center-left and center-right governments, have squandered public assets and the public sector of economy. Sometimes even taking advantage of state incentives, the acquisition of privatized public assets is often carried out with pure speculative intent, for example by junking plants and changing the destination of areas from production to residential use. The intertwining of corrupt politics, organized crime and capital is particularly evident and active in this process. However, as a further confirmation of how capitalism is still organized on the basis of the national state, starting from 2020 the State reserves the right to block any acquisitions of Italian assets by foreign companies or sovereign funds which could take advantage of difficult situations caused by the crisis and harm the strategic interests of the Italian monopolies.
Privatizations are often implemented through the fragmentation, or break-up, of large industrial concerns into smaller units, to facilitate their placement on the market. Contrary to appearances, this does not contradict the trend towards capital concentration. The use of outsourcing and the strong dispersion of the production system into micro, small and medium-sized production units hides the fact that these are either companies whose stock is held directly by large monopolies, or formally autonomous single-client contractors who supply only partial components of the product, have no direct relationship with the final market and, therefore, totally depend on the buyers. Thus, concentration and centralization of capital take place in a disguised and more flexible way.
In addition to manufacturing companies, also transportation, healthcare and personal care services, welfare, culture and education are being privatized. Fundamental human rights are being transformed into trade goods and sources of profit, effectively limiting their use to those who can afford to pay for them or even eliminating them. As for healthcare, the COVID-19 emergency has demonstrated the situation of total disaster into which this sector has been thrown by decades of cuts in public healthcare spending, in personnel, beds and facilities, by the lack of qualified professionals as a result of the establishment of admission quotas in medical faculties, by the increasing funding for private healthcare sector. Moreover, the conferral of healthcare jurisdiction to Regions has generated serious territorial inequalities. Claiming for the return of full jurisdiction to the central state to ensure an equal right to health for all citizens and the nationalization of the entire healthcare system is not enough: all the reforms, implemented by center-left governments and worsened by center-right ones, which transformed Local Healthcare Units into companies with the obligation of balanced or surplus budgets, based on private-sector criteria, must be repealed. Failing this, the return of healthcare to the state is just a meaningless slogan.
The devastating deregulation of the labor market, which ripened theoretically in the breeding ground of labor law scholars and attorneys belonging to the Left Democratic Party-Left DemocratsDemocratic Party, initiated by center-left governments and continued by center-right ones (minister Treu’s ”package”, law no. 30, etc.), has canceled the rights and protections of workers, up to and including the current freedom to dismiss, even in derogation of governmental suspensive provisions related to the COVID-19 emergency, by using extended interpretations of just cause for disciplinary or health reasons. Heavy restrictions are being applied to the right to strike and freedom of union representation, with the accessory acquiescence of the collaborationist confederal labor unions. These limitations entail criminal and administrative prosecution of social resistance and class conflict, as provided for by the infamous Security Decrees of the Lega-M5S government. The CCNL (National Collective Bargaining Agreement) has been deconstructed to the extent that corporate-level bargaining, where workers are weaker and more isolated, can even prevail on the provisions of the national agreement. Countless types of fixed-term atypical contracts have been brought in, which often exempt employers from tax, covered by the state, and social security contributions, dumped on workers. The cost of lower contributions is being borne by workers through the worsening of their retirement conditions and further raising of their retirement age. Finally, illegal hiring has been essentially legitimated through the so-called temp agencies, often organized in the form of cooperatives that brutally exploit their working members, devoid of any social protection.
Obviously, these measures, passed off as employment incentives, while they actually are incentives for exploitation and profit, have no positive effect on employment, as confirmed by the increase in number of unemployed people and first time jobseekers. Women too are seriously affected and discriminated in terms of salary and even of their right to maternity leave, due to the lack of social services and job retention guarantees.
Today Italy is one of the countries in Europe with the greatest job “flexibility”, where workers have less social protections; where the average salary of a metalworker with 32 years of seniority reaches 1,100 Euros per month (if there is no redundancy fund); where young people are forced to work with quarterly contracts for 400 Euros per month; where people die on the workplace for an hourly wage of 3.90 Euros with no social insurance; where sick people go to work in order to keep their jobs; where employers can freely fire workers; where work-related diseases and accidents in workplaces are a real war bulletin.
All of these circumstances are even more dramatic for workers in Southern Italy. Just think of the youth unemployment rate in those regions, which exceeded 50% even before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Special mention should be made of the connection between the dominant sectors of the Italian bourgeoisie and the Mafia organizations. The ties of criminal organizations with capital is demonstrated by their evident relations with big economic monopolies, by their “infiltration” into bourgeois institutions, by their alliance with fascist squads, by the use of mafia gangsters to suppress the protests of workers and rural laborers. Criminal organizations thus become a tool of preservation of bourgeois power, of which, in the current configuration, they are a product.
Today major mafia clans act as big economic entities both on the local and international level and also have the function to launder money of illicit origin, which is then injected into the economic system, thus becoming functional to the process of capitalist accumulation. The struggle against mafias in Italy was and is structurally part of the class struggle, as the experience of communist militants such as Peppino Impastato teaches us. The Communist Front rejects the rhetoric of the institutional struggle against mafias, which hides their link with private property, while the integration of mafia’s money into financial capital is complete, forgets the proletarian blood spilled by mafia, and opposes to crime the “bourgeois justice” to be applied, in a repressive sense, only to the proletariat.
Italian imperialism is fully involved and actively participates in the inter-imperialist competition in various hot spots on the planet, promoting, within the Euro-Atlantic alliance, the specific interests of its own monopolies (for example, ENI) in the Eastern and Central Mediterranean, in Northern Africa, particularly in Libya and generally in the African continent and Middle East. The number of Italian military, diplomatic and “cooperation” missions abroad increases, involving about 8,000 soldiers, military spending (twelfth position worldwide) and arms trade (ninth position) constantly grow.
Wages and pensions are being reduced, the welfare state is being dismantled by cutting benefits and increasing privatization of essential public services with the purpose of finding resources in order to find resources for banks, monopolies, imperialist wars, the Vatican and the repressivebureaucratic apparatus of the bourgeois state. Unemployment, especially among young people and women, is increasing; what remains of healthcare system, social welfare, schools and universities is shaped to match the interests of the capitalists, while the environment and the territory are sinking into the most frightening natural and social degradation. The time is ripe to relaunch the class struggle, organized and directed by Communists, to put an end to this dramatic decay and overthrow the system that inevitably generates it.
THE ITALIAN LABOR MOVEMENT
The working class in Italy is still the largest and most significant social group of employed labor, although many of the large industrial concerns have been dismantled as a result of a restructuring process that makes wide use of outsourcing, productive decentralization, sometimes with relocation of plants across national borders (offshoring), and technological replacement. The development of science and technology, placed at the service of capital, has given rise to new professional roles, who provide tangible and intangible services which are not only complementary, but even integrated into the process of producing material wealth and extracting surplus value. These figures swell the ranks of the proletariat of manual and intellectual labor in an increasingly precarious and flexible labor market, often legally registered as individual businesses, working members of cooperatives, or freelance professionals with a VAT number. Actually, they are contract workers with no protections, who carry out parceled tasks in the production process without any control over it, without any direct contact with the market and without any autonomy from their client, who can blackmail them. This dispersion of the proletariat is a powerful obstacle to its independent organization and unity, with heavy consequences in terms of loss of class consciousness and combativeness, to which the ICP’s revisionist and reformist drift, the opportunism of the radical left that followed it, and the confederal labor unions’ cooperative, if not collaborationist, involution have seriously contributed. In addition to the objective dispersion throughout a productive fabric functionally pulverized, but financially concentrated, these subjective deviations also contributed to the loss of class identity. Although the drastic worsening of the living and working conditions of the proletariat caused by the rapid succession and deepening of cyclical crises, the health emergency resulting from COVID-19, and the subsequent restructuring that capital is carrying out in response to them, have generated outbreaks of social resistance in the most advanced sectors of the class, we are still far from an upswing of mass combativeness, necessary to repel the offensive of capital and launch the counterattack.
In addition to the territorial dispersion of the working class, its fragmentation in a galaxy of unions, often more engaged in fighting each other than in organizing workers, and its low and constantly decreasing rate of unionization are a further issue. Grassroots labor unionism, although more combative than confederal unions, generally tends to reproduce, on a small scale, some degenerative processes of the latter and seems to have finished its cycle with the temptation to turn into movementist political organizations, which are neither parties nor labor unions, but promote generic social claims instead of organizing the class conflict in workplaces. In this context of backwardness of grassroots unionism, only some sectors of combative unionism stand out, which are also aware, in prospect, of the need for the construction of class-oriented labor unionism in Italy. In contrast with the general trend, they have been able to wage successful struggles in various sectors, such as logistics, in which porters and workers, after very hard struggles, managed to win wage increases, a concrete improvement in their living conditions, a partial reduction in the pace of work and a wide stabilization of precarious and temporary workers. From such examples we must draw useful lessons and examples to be shown to less combative workers. This overall condition of extreme weakness of the working class must be quickly remedied by fostering the difficult and contradictory process of union and class recomposition. Communists must be engaged at the forefront of this process and work to rebuild the unity of workers, raise their combativeness and organize them to effectively face the attack of capital with a new season of struggles, not only defensive but also offensive, not only of economic, but also of political nature, with a clear antimonopoly and anti-capitalist orientation. With this in mind, the Communist Front (Italy) promotes the unity of action of the most conflicting labor unions in order to regroup the most combative workers into a front that is able to relaunch class struggle and effectively oppose the restructuring plans that are being carried out by employers with determination and compactness. Only by directly engaging in struggles, developing and leading them, Communists can establish their roots in the working class and really perform their role as its organized vanguard. At the same time, the Communist Front (Italy) works for the international coordination of labor union struggles, through a close cooperation of the Italian class-oriented unions with the World Trade Union Federation. This is the only way to build a true class-oriented union on the one hand and, on the other, a revolutionary social bloc, grouped around the working class.
BUILDING THE COMMUNIST PARTY
The revisionist and reformist deviation progressively characterized the ICP’s line throughout the postwar period – from the theory of the Italian way to socialism to Eurocommunism – and culminated in its dissolution and transformation into the Democratic Party of the Left in 1991, effectively depriving the Italian working class of its vanguard party. Even the parties that, after the dissolution of the ICP, continued to refer to communism in their name and symbol, are characterized by right and left opportunistic deviations. The parliamentary perspective of these parties has totally monopolized their action with inconclusive results and set off an ever-increasing detachment from the working class and the popular masses. Parliamentary drifts – even in the absence of elected members – and the spasmodic search for media presence have replaced leadership activity and militant commitment to class conflict and real struggles.
The endless divisions and inconclusive practices that, as proved by facts, mark the failure of those parties, impose the need to leave behind the experiences and opportunist practices of the last thirty years. With the awareness that there is nothing more to administer, the Communist Front (Italy) aims at starting a process of construction of the communist party that avoids the reiteration of already failed practices and faces the challenge to build a new political entity maintaining the indissoluble bond with the principles of Marxism-Leninism and keeping up with the times in theoretical elaboration and revolutionary practice.
What we need to build is a communist party that is able to confront, in a still fragmented and disorganized context, the difficult task of reconnecting the revolutionary political vanguard to the most advanced and combative sectors of the working class, engaging in the real class struggle and not in “self-representation” in a simulated class conflict. Only by going back to practicing real struggle is it possible to build the political structure that organizes the vanguard of the revolutionary subject, free from the remains of the opportunistic experiences of the past and present. All the parties that in Italy claimed to be the bearers of the legacy of the ICP have confined themselves, in various forms, to conceiving the construction of the communist party exclusively on the electoral level, ending up simply basing their existence on the administration of the residual consensus accumulated by the old Party and proving incapable of winning over sectors of the working class to the cause of socialism. This is a conception that must be actively fought with the awareness that without the ability to make the most active and combative workers acquire class consciousness, without the understanding of the impossibility to separate the construction of the organization from the real labor movement, without constituting a concrete point of reference for the struggle of the combative workers in such a way that they join the communist party as a vanguard section of the working class, it will impossible to reverse the destructive spiral that has affected class organizations in Italy. Therefore, these considerations lead us to believe that any hypothesis of “cold” mergers between organizations is to be rejected because it is doomed to fail.
There is therefore the need to build a party that is firmly rooted among the working class and the workers, capable of combining the affirmation of the communist ideological identity on the theoretical level with the effective participation in the class struggle and its guidance on the practical level, ready to face any circumstance and to fight in any battlefield. To build a party that, looking critically and self-critically at the history of the communist movement, combines continuity with that experience’s most progressive and revolutionary achievements with a firm break with degenerations such as revisionism, reformism, opportunism, Trotskyism, extremism, dogmatism, ideological eclecticism and bureaucratism. To build a party whose analysis is based on historical materialism and dialectical materialism and takes Marxist-Leninist revolutionary theory as the guide for a likewise revolutionary practice, educating its militants to it and contributing to its creative development.
Keeping at the center of its political action the goal of overthrowing capitalism and bourgeois power through proletarian and socialist revolution, the Communist Front operates in the spirit of proletarian internationalism, both by practicing solidarity with refugees and immigrant workers and by strengthening its ties with the Communist and Workers’ Parties in other countries, exchanging with them analyses, opinions and experiences, always supporting those who fight against imperialist oppression and actively working to strengthen the coordination structures of the International Communist Movement, the European Communist Initiative and the International Communist Review, with the prospect of an internationally coordinated revolutionary strategy.
The full achievement of equality among peoples must be an inalienable goal of communists: it can and must be pursued through the recognition of the right of every nation and every people to self-determination and the right for every national, ethnic or linguistic minority to full and free development. The right of peoples and nations to self-determination must always be conceived according to the real interests of the proletariat and the development of the class struggle. Otherwise, as history has shown, national aspirations can be used as a fully integrated tool in imperialist plans, as happened, for example, in the dismemberment of former Yugoslavia and the USSR itself.
In current conditions of backwardness and weakness of the Italian labor movement, the construction of an anti-capitalist revolutionary bloc of social forces that brings together city and country workers, science and culture workers, unemployed people, self-employed workers and small entrepreneurs in the process of proletarianization – provided that they do not engage in capitalist exploitation of other people’s labor- cannot be separated from the prior re-establishment of the unity, autonomy, combativeness and class consciousness of the proletariat as a class “for itself”. This preparatory work is a primary duty of the Communist Front (Italy) and must be aimed at equipping the working class with a revolutionary program that enables it to be hegemonic within the social bloc gathered around it and insure that its allies share its class interests and goals as their own and universal. The social bloc allied with the working class must become, under the leadership of the Party, the driving force of the socialist revolution in Italy, in order to overthrow capitalism and the political power of the bourgeoisie, establish the proletarian dictatorship, namely the highest and most extensive form of democracy known to humankind, and start the construction of socialism-communism. To speak of alliances of the working class with other social strata without having first consolidated its unity, hegemonic capacity, self-awareness and consciousness of its historical mission as the class which, by freeing itself, liberates the entire society, means to fall into a dangerous inter-classist deviation which leads to the loss of autonomy, to subordination and defeat.
The Communist Front (Italy) fights against all discrimination and, therefore, struggles for civil and social equality among people, regardless of age, ethnicity, religious belief, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation which, in a context of low class consciousness, can become dividing factors within the proletariat. We actively fight against any discrimination within the working class that may undermine its unity. Full equality is not only the goal of our action, but also a founding principle of the Communist Front (Italy). Just as we criticize those positions that hide a general lack of interest in these issues behind the true centrality of the class conflict, so we firmly reject those positions that consider young people, women and sexual orientations as social categories regardless of class position, as “new subjects” that bring about change in society. The struggle for civil rights is in fact closely linked to the struggle for social rights, which alone allow formal equality to turn into substantial equality and are achievable only by eliminating the inequalities inherent to capitalism and the division of society into classes.
The Communist Front (Italy) must be ideologically, organizationally and politically equipped to exercise its leadership in a non-sectarian way, always maintaining its ideological and organizational independence and steadily keeping the helm toward the socialist revolution. The necessary flexibility of tactical action must never become a retreat or a deviation from the principles of Marxism-Leninism, nor a renunciation of revolutionary goals or fall into deleterious unitarism with other political forces. The Communist Front (Italy) turns down any participation in center-left coalitions and political alliances, inspired by vague projects of “leftist unity” or “unity of democratic forces”, and rejects any support for bourgeois governments, however they may be dressed, whether social-democratic or liberal-conservatives.
The Communist Front (Italy) is aware of the deceptive nature of bourgeois democracy, which is nothing but one of the forms of the dictatorship of capital,. However, it cannot be indifferent to authoritarian restrictions of democratic spaces, albeit formal ones. The Communist Front (Italy) keeps high anti-fascist vigilance, in the authentic spirit of the Resistance, and strongly opposes police repression and social control, as well as any attempt to further twist out of the Constitution. Although this latter remains a bourgeois constitution, it marks the limit of democratic rights below which we cannot descend, and its revision in a reactionary direction can only worsen the conditions of our struggle. Not defense of the status quo, therefore, but defense of what remains of our rights in order to force their extension.
Communists believe that parliamentary struggle is not decisive for the seizure of power by the working class. Nevertheless, it should be practiced, wherever and whenever possible and useful, along with other forms of revolutionary struggle, because it provides a way to test the effectiveness of political work and prominent platform from which Communists can spread their revolutionary program and expose to masses the deception of bourgeois democracy, revealing its oppressive nature. For communists, as it was well explained by Antonio Gramsci, parliamentary activity must be «[…]understood as an action that tends to immobilize Parliament, to tear off the democratic mask from the equivocal face of the bourgeois dictatorship and show it in all its horror and repugnant ugliness.[…] It is only for these revolutionary reasons that the conscious vanguard of the Italian proletariat has gotten into the electoral contest, and has firmly planted itself in the parliamentary fair. Not because of a democratic illusion or a reformist softening, » (A. Gramsci, L’Ordine Nuovo, November 15, 1919, I rivoluzionari e le elezioni).
Communists neither can limit themselves only to preaching their ultimate goals, nor can they focus exclusively on pursuing immediate goals. In other words, Communists must avoid both inconclusive maximalist drifts and reformist deviations. However, they must find and foster opportunities for struggle that closely link their ultimate goal with demands aimed at satisfying the immediate needs of the workers and must have the ability to transform the workers’ instinct into class consciousness in order to raise the workers’ struggle from the purely economic-unionist level to the political level, that is to say – simplifying – from the demand for bread and work to the claim for the totality of power. It is not, therefore, a question of setting demands for reforms to improve the system, but of identifying some essential guidelines of struggle on all the main issues, with slogans that worker can feel and share and that, at the same time, break the compatibility with the system, taking its existing contradictions to a higher stage and creating new ones. Each of our mobilization and struggle campaigns will be oriented according to the following guidelines:
Struggle for the end of any involvement of Italy in imperialist policies, for its exit from NATO and the closure of all US military bases on Italian territory. For Italy’s exit from the EU and the Euro, starting with the repeal of all European regulations that have affected the rights of workers and the popular strata, always linking these slogans with the struggle for workers’ power and socialism. Opposing imperialist sanctions and economic blockades, interference and destabilization, threats, aggression and foreign military occupations, siding in active solidarity with the peoples, workers and communist parties of the attacked countries.
For a foreign policy oriented in a clearly anti-imperialist sense and for the limitation of military spending to the sole defense needs of the Italian people.
Economy and Development
Disavow the portion of sovereign debt held by banks, financial institutions and big speculators, while protecting small savings. Prevent and ban offshoring with the provision for immediate expropriation to protect employment. Promote a plan for the re-nationalization of services that have been privatized over the years, subject to control by workers on the basis of centralized planning. Bridge the gap between different areas of the country in terms of industrial production and services provision with particular reference to Southern Italy.
Promote class solidarity between Italian and immigrated proletarians at every level, opposing all kinds of war between the poor and racist and xenophobic propaganda. Foster class unity and political and labor union organization of workers regardless of their nationality.
Bring back rescue at sea and the management of immigrants and refugees’ reception entirely under State control, on the basis of solidarity principles; claim for a real integration starting from asylum requests and an active role of the State to insure real integration and full enjoyment of rights, starting from asylum requests; support the struggle of immigrant workers for regularization and reject any measure that implies the acceptance of exploitative conditions in exchange for a residence permit.
Assert in every context the principle “work less, work all”; demand for full employment and the improvement of working conditions – wage and pension increase, reduction of working hours for equal wage, introduction of a minimum guaranteed wage, restoration of wage indexation to the cost of living, safeguard of safety at work and job security -, stressing on the contradiction between the possibilities offered by economic development and the profit of capitalists. Demand working conditions that enable work-life balance, with particular attention to the condition of women, who bear the heaviest burden of domestic and family care. Therefore, struggle to remove existing obstacles in order to insure full participation of women at all levels of employment.
Claim for the abolition of all kinds of precarious job, outsourcing and staff leasing through temp agencies; restore and extend the regulatory safeguards in defense of workers as originally provided for by the Statute of Workers’ Rights, starting with the right to reinstatement after unjustified dismissal and the true uprooting of illegal hiring of any kind; struggle against the fragmentation of contractual forms, which weakens the ability of workers to organize themselves. At the labor union level, struggle against all anti-strike and anti-union regulations, from laws imposing restrictions on the right to strike to agreements that effectively limit free labor union representation; claim for the restoration of the full validity of national collective bargaining and the general principle of its prevalence over corporate bargaining. Establish an open-ended unemployment benefit of not less than 80% of the last salary received until a new job is found. Strengthen workers’ control over health and safety conditions at work; harsher penalties for failure to comply with health and safety regulations; effective prevention of accidents at work and occupational diseases.
Struggle for lowering retirement to the age of 60 years, further lowered for arduous jobs, with a minimum pension equal to entry-level wages; abolition of the so-called “golden pensions” by establishing a cap on the pensions of managers, executive officers, bankers and members of parliament. Increase disability pensions and adjust them to the cost of living and, in any case, to the needs of the disabled person.
Claim for the separation of social security from welfare through the establishment of a single public pension system funded by general taxation and the increase in social productivity, rejecting the idea that pensions can only worsen due to demographic trends and the increase in life expectancy.
Struggle for a generalized reduction of taxation on labor income, with the prospect of its elimination, since in socialism taxation is replaced by the social appropriation of the surplus value produced, that is, by the revenues coming from socialized assets. Set, as immediate goals, the universal application of the principle of progressive taxation, the cancellation of indirect and consumption taxes, the increase in the taxation of large estate and rents, the active contrast to tax evasion and tax avoidance by eliminating all forms of tax amnesty with workers’ control over the end use of tax revenue.
Expropriate without compensation large landed estate and all the farms that are involved with illegal hiring and criminal organizations, drawing a plan for the development and protection of national agricultural production, starting from the public management of the job hiring services.
Promote this sector’s reorganization, based on cooperative entities, short supply chains and networks of integrated services, including logistics, in order to allow direct distribution of goods in cities by producers. Reject the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the Free Trade Treaties, which favor big monopolies in this sector. Establish a guaranteed minimum wage for farm laborers.
Struggle for an efficient public healthcare system, organized in a single national system, against the regional fragmentation that threatens the right to health. Increase structural investments in order to insure an adequate number of healthcare personnel and hospitals on the territory. Invest more resources in infrastructure and personnel with a view to prevention and not just treatment.
Struggle for free universal healthcare services, against the logic of “healthcare companies”, in which healthcare services are seen as a commodity; insure an adequate number of staff (doctors, specialists, healthcare workers, nurses) in order to meet the needs of workers and the people; for the abolition of healthcare co-payments and any kind of similar taxation on patients. Put an end to budget and staff cuts and privatization processes; nationalize private healthcare; abolish conscientious objection, provided for by Law no. 194/78 and implement family counseling centers and health services for children and teenagers.
Claim for free and accessible public social services (services for disabled and elder people), also as a means of freeing workers from their care obligations.
The Housing Issue
Struggle for the actual implementation of the right to housing, with rents that are aligned with salaries, against real estate rent and speculation, starting with the implementation of an effectively functioning public management of social housing and the redevelopment and maintenance of the existing public housing stock. Disclose the contradiction between the material availability of housing for everybody and capitalist property, which denies it, demanding expropriation without compensation of large real estate belonging to banks, building companies, estate agents, insurance companies and the Vatican, along with the allocation of homes to families and young couples who are on a waiting list for social housing.
Demand free public education accessible for everybody, which meets the collective interests of society and the popular strata and not those of business and capital. Struggle against the process of corporatization and privatization of schools and universities (promoted, among others, by the so called “Bologna process”), against the subordination of education to the interests of business and the widening gap between high-school and technical and vocational education, opposing the principle of knowledge to the logic of skills. Abolish funding for private education and promote the development of scientific research free from the logic of profit and aimed at satisfying collective needs, also through the fundamental, and currently neglected, sector of economic planning.
Demand the extension of compulsory education up to the age of 18, the abolition of school and university autonomy, the development of national plans for the implementation of the right to study and the maintenance and construction of school and university buildings, the abolition of limited enrollment for access to university. Struggle for quality education throughout the country, defending the legal recognition of degrees and certificates.
Culture and Sport
Promote the full development of human person, supporting the production and dissemination of culture and sports, with special attention to the enhancement of working-class and suburban areas. Develop a national plan for culture, increasing the opportunities of free access to museums, theaters and movies; defend our country’s artistic heritage and cultural institutions, threatened by the logic of profit. Set up a national plan for the promotion of artistic, architectural, archaeological and natural heritage.
Guarantee universal and free access to sport, actively promote popular, widespread and universally accessible quality sport against its commodification carried out by capital today.
Institutions, Parliament and State Organization
Opposing any compression in a pejorative sense of bourgeois democracy. On the electoral level, we support the pure proportional principle of “one person, one vote”, against all minimum thresholds, majority bonuses and majoritarian systems; we also reject any proposal to change the form of government to a presidential system. We support the establishment of the imperative mandate for members of parliament and the possibility to recall them. We promote a different principle of direct representation of workers, through election in workplaces and territorial assemblies. We struggle for the cancellation of the balanced-budget provision from the Constitution, for the abrogation of all agreements between State and Church, for a really secular state, for the modification of the distribution of powers between State and Regions as defined in Title V of the Constitution, in order to insure the uniformity of social services and healthcare throughout the national territory.
Justice and Security
Assert the need for a clear reversal of this legal system that is an exclusive prerogative of the dominant class. Firmly oppose any tightening of repressive legislation and the logic of “security” – like the so-called “Security Decrees” -, whose aim is to crack down on the workers’ struggle and treat social distress, crime and petty crime exclusively as a problem of public order. Assert the need for rehabilitative and non-punitive justice, redevelopment of prisons, respect for the dignity of inmates, and the enhancement of education and training in prisons, as well as the general preference for alternative sanctions other than imprisonment for petty crimes.
Support the full democratization of all Armed Forces and the Police, the integration of their ranks with cadres of proletarian origin, starting from the highest levels, and the guarantee of full labor union freedom.
Climate change and environmental devastation are the product of the laws of productive anarchy and capitalist profit maximization that result in an irrational use of natural resources. We affirm the need for the economic, social and science domains to be guided by the principles of environmental compatibility and respect for the cycles of regeneration of natural resources. Economic development must be ruled by a planning that takes into account the needs of all humanity and in order to to satisfy the needs of present and future generations.
We assert the principle of safeguarding Italy’s environmental and natural heritage and the need for a national energy conversion plan which, along with renewable energy sources, promotes maximum energy efficiency and, at the same time, research and technological development, while remaining grounded in the strategic goal of energy independence. Set up a national plan for territory securing from hydro-geological risk, for measures and infrastructures aimed at flood, earthquake and fire prevention instead of useless large-scale infrastructural projects.
Demand direct State intervention in environmental matters, for example: nationalization of the entire cycle of waste disposal and recycling in order to redeem it from the logic of profit, also pursued by criminal organizations operating in this sector; confiscation of the assets of companies responsible for environmental devastation in order to fund the decontamination works up to the full coverage of costs; modernization of production plants in order to reduce their environmental impact; contrast and prevention of environmental devastation and the issues caused by climate change; protection of biodiversity; promotion of food safety.
These are not proposals for reform, but demands, that take into account the essential, immediate needs of the workers and must be linked by communists to the political struggle for socialism, because they open up evident contradictions within capitalism and demonstrate the necessity of its overthrow. They are practically feasible, but they are in deep conflict with the interests of big monopolies and the bourgeoisie as a class, and therein lies the link between them and the political struggle for socialism-communism. It is not true that there is a lack of resources to implement these goals. The necessary resources are simply locked in the safes of capitalists, from whom they must be seized and made available for the development of productive forces through a revolutionary change of the current mode of production. This highlights the central importance of the struggle for the seizure of power by the working class, so as to be able to apply precise measures of economic policy in order to start the creation of the technical and material basis of socialism-communism. These include:
- expropriation without compensation and socialization of banks, financial companies, speculative funds and insurance companies;
- expropriation without compensation and socialization of the means of production and exchange and the whole sectors of mining, raw materials and energy, communication, distribution, transport and logistics;
- State monopoly on foreign trade, based on mutual benefit, cooperation, equity and equality of contracting parties;
- struggle against parasitic rent, in the first stage through the taxation of large estates and speculative financial transactions, subsequently with their expropriation and socialization;
- disavowal of public debt incurred by the bourgeois state, except for the shares held by small “private” savers;
- fight against any kind of diversion of resources from the development of society, from tax evasion and avoidance, to corruption and bribery in the state apparatus and public administration, providing for the confiscation of assets of both the corrupt and the corrupter;
- abolition of all tax privileges of the Catholic Church and other religious denominations, of tax incentives and state transfers in their favor;
- possible placement of public debt securities through direct subscription by savers, thus redeeming it from the blackmail of international speculation.
The resources thus released from the restraints of private appropriation by a minority of exploiters and parasites can be allocated to the development of the productive forces and to the satisfaction of the material and spiritual needs of the majority of society.
THE ISSUE OF POWER
The revolutionary overthrow of bourgeois power and the establishment of the proletarian dictatorship are strategic goals of the Communist Front (Italy) in order to start the construction of socialism-communism in our country as part of worldwide proletarian and socialist revolution. The general crisis of capitalism, which characterizes our era, brings about the emergence, in Italy too, of the objective conditions for the onset of a revolutionary crisis. Nevertheless, the subjective conditions – namely the existence of an organized revolutionary subject, conscious of its historical task and capable of aggregating around itself, with hegemonic capacity, an anti-capitalist social bloc that shares its positions and goals – are lacking.
A revolutionary crisis displays itself as a general nationwide crisis «only when the “lower classes” do not want to [subjective factor] and the “upper classes” cannot continue in the old way [objective factor]…», in a dialectical relationship between the weakening of the dominant class to the point that it is no longer able to rule society, and the full consciousness, by the most politically advanced sectors of the working class, of the necessity of a revolutionary rupture. Only the existence and the combination of objective and subjective factors can transform a revolutionary situation into an effective revolutionary overthrow, while in conditions of organizational weakness or political backwardness of the proletariat as a subject, the revolutionary crisis leads to a “tremendous reaction” by the bourgeoisie, as the coming to power of fascism taught us.
The Communist Front (Italy) is committed to developing the subjective factor, to building a Bolshevik-type party that is the vanguard of the working class and to accumulating forces for revolution through ideological, political and organizational activity in order to strengthen the party’s ties with the working class, foster its reorganization, spread scientific socialism and MarxistLeninist ideology within it for the working class to become aware of the necessity of a revolutionary change. This activity must be performed both nationally and internationally, in close coordination with the International Communist Movement, in order to strengthen its unity on consistent Marxist-Leninist and revolutionary positions, against any form of opportunism, reformism and revisionism within its ranks.
The struggle against bourgeois governments of any kind, for the implementation of the goals the Communist Front (Italy) has established in this phase, must be carried out on multiple levels, mainly in the streets, in the places of work and education, but also, whenever it is possible and useful, in elective institutional assemblies. Its outcome will depend on whether the working class and the social bloc grouped around it have the ability to cripple any bourgeois government and its legality through mass struggle, involving ever larger strata of workers, unemployed, young people and women. The resulting concrete correlation of forces, as well as the actual development of the forms of struggle and its scale, will determine whether the new government of the revolutionary social bloc is its direct emanation, initially without elections, or it is established, as an extraordinary event, within the formal mechanisms of bourgeois democracy.
What will be decisive is the maintenance of an unbreakable tie between this revolutionary government, the working class and the popular masses, and the promotion of their ever more active participation in the control and management of public affairs, through the bodies of the proletarian dictatorship – namely, the Councils of Workers’ Delegates at all levels, from the factory to the top of the state – and the mechanisms of delegated democracy. In the stage prior to revolution, the Councils of Workers’ Delegates, which must be established in every factory and workplace, are the fundamental organs of struggle around which the revolutionary forces gather. They prefigure the substance and form of the future socialist state and must become the forge of workers’ power, creating a state of contrast with bourgeois power, a dualism that the revolution will resolve in favor of the proletariat.
The Communist Front (Italy), on the basis of historical experience, is aware that there are no peaceful “parliamentary ways” of transition to socialism, nor intermediate phases of gradual structural reforms. These seriously misleading illusions are the result of the revisionist theory of the “national ways to socialism” adopted at the XX Congress of the CPSU and have become part of the theoretical arsenal of opportunism. As Lenin and Gramsci taught us, it is not possible to take the bourgeois state over through parliamentary majorities: it must be overthrown and replaced by the “machine” of the proletarian state. The theory of the “conquest of the state”, of the simple occupation of the “control room”, is one of the main limits we criticize in the so-called “socialism of the XXI century” and the experiences, inspired by it, incapable to find a way out from capitalism and defeat bourgeois power. Based on these considerations, we believe that the socialist revolution is the result of the accumulation of forces and the combination of all forms of struggle by the working class. Therefore, we equally reject parliamentary cretinism and wait-and-see attitude, as well as insurrectionist adventurism.
Socialism is the initial stage, the first step of communist society. It develops on the basis of general laws common to all countries, with characteristics that are relatively independent of their national, cultural and historical peculiarities.
The Communist Front (Italy), in line with Marxist-Leninist theory, identifies the following general characteristics of socialism, which are also the goals the Communist Front (Italy) pursues:
- the seizure of political power, total and undivided, by the working class and its allies and the establishment of proletarian dictatorship, the highest form of democracy, since it is the dictatorship by the majority of the exploited over the minority of exploiters;
- the socialization of the means of production, which abolishes private property over them and replaces it with social property in the hands of the State;
- centralized scientific planning of production and distribution under workers’ control;
- the general principle of distribution “from each according to his capacities, to each according to his work”.
There are no “historical” or “national” pretenses that can justify, in whole or in part, the denial or lack of these general characteristics of socialism.
The Proletarian Dictatorship
Since “the state is the organization of the political-juridical domination of one class over the other ones” (K. Marx), any state is synonymous with dictatorship. In each state / dictatorship, depending on the correlation of forces between the classes and the level of harshness of their confrontation at a given historical moment, the coercive, authoritarian aspects or the more consensual and democratic aspects may prevail from time to time.
The proletarian dictatorship, insofar as it is the exercise of the domination by the majority of the exploited over the minority of the exploiters, is the highest and most extensive form of democracy, the most advanced and ultimate state organization. The main bodies of the proletarian dictatorship, that will replace the bourgeois parliamentary institutions and give life to council democracy starting from workplaces, are the councils of workers’ delegates. They are organized vertically, starting from the council of the single productive unit up to the central level of the State and merge in themselves both legislative and executive powers, so as to insure that decisions are immediately implemented by those who made them. Delegates are elected by the workers themselves not on a territorial basis, but on the basis of their workplaces under imperative and revocable mandate. They are temporarily seconded only for the plenary sessions of the bodies they belong to but continue to perform their usual job without economic privileges. In this way the real control from below is guaranteed and the State is effectively the expression of workers’ power, without a layer of professional politicians detached from the world of labor and society. The bodies of the proletarian dictatorship base their functioning on delegated democracy and democratic centralism, so as to avoid permanent assemblies: maximum internal dialectic, maximum decentralization of discussion and responsibilities, maximum centralization of decisions, subordination of the minority to the majority and of the lower level to the higher. Therefore, the necessary search for consensus, without giving up on principles, within the revolutionary social bloc that has the working class at its center combines with the power of coercion against the class enemy.
Within the framework of proletarian dictatorship, the Communist Party plays its role as the autonomous vanguard force that leads and propels the process of construction of socialismcommunism, exercising its hegemony in society, without overlapping the bodies of workers’ power or substituting for them, but maintaining a dialectical relationship with them in the necessary distinction of roles.
The proletarian dictatorship does not in itself prohibit the existence of other parties and organizations, as long as they act within the socialist system and abide by its Constitution and laws. At the same time, it promotes the development and articulation of what Gramsci defined as “civil society” to distinguish it from “political society”, that is, from State organization.
In fact, it is the very exercise of proletarian power that is different from that of bourgeois power. On the one hand, the proletariat, by abolishing private property of the means of production and freeing society from exploitation, does not need the same massive bureaucratic and repressive apparatus the bourgeoisie needs to preserve its domination. On the other hand, by abolishing private property, it determines the progressive disappearance of classes and, ultimately, also of itself as a class, in a process that leads to the gradual extinction of the State and to the self-government of producers that will characterize the advanced stage of communism. It is therefore natural that, under the proletarian dictatorship, many State functions are directly taken on by “civil society”, although, in the first phase of the construction of socialism, the class struggle will generally tend to become harsher, due to the resistance of the bourgeoisie which, even if deprived of political power, but still economically and internationally strong and organized, will try to carry out attempts at restoration. For this reason, the bodies of proletarian dictatorship in charge of the repression of counterrevolution and the administration of justice, must be vigilant, efficient and inflexible until the final elimination of the bourgeoisie as a class.
The Socialization of the Means of Production
Private property of the means of production is at the origin of all social conflicts, since it generates the division into classes of society, between owners and non-owners, who are forced to sell their labor power in exchange for a salary that only allows their social reproduction as sellers of labor power. Under the capitalist mode of production, the value that labor power produces in excess of what is needed for its reproduction (the surplus value) is appropriated by the capitalist. This is how the exploitation of man by man is realized. Under capitalism, every aspect of human life is objectively subordinated to the purpose of extracting surplus value and obtaining profit.
The socialization of the means of production, in reverse, makes it possible to allocate what is produced in the working time and is not necessary for the reproduction of labor power no longer to private profit, but to the manifold development of society as a whole. The achievements of science and technology, under conditions of social property on the means of production, allow to increase social wealth to the point of creating a solid technical-material base for the satisfaction of the needs of society, both material and spiritual. In conditions of social property of the means of production, technical-scientific progress, instead of generating unemployment, will bring about an increasing reduction of working time and, therefore, more free time that man can devote to different activities. Through the socialization of the means of production, the emancipation of labor from exploitation is accomplished and the foundations are laid for the liberation from work as a forced activity for survival.
The progressive broadening of socialist economic relations, with the gradual overcoming of the mercantile character of production and exchange relations based on money, will allow the scientifically planned creation of the technical-material base of communism, namely, of the social wealth capable of satisfying the needs, individual and collective, material and spiritual, of the whole society, freed from exploitation and need.
Centralized Scientific Planning
Market and the competition between producers, caused by private property, generate waste and destruction of social wealth. The socialization of the means of production makes it possible to put an end to the disastrous anarchy of production, setting the conditions for the implementation of the planning of production, distribution and exchange, which gradually will lose their mercantile character.
In order to allocate resources and set production targets in the most effective and functional way to meet the needs of society, planning must be centralized and strictly connected to the exercise of one of the main functions of proletarian dictatorship, the workers’ control, which must guarantee the correct and precise flow of information and communication of needs and data from the bottom to the top, of the amount of resources that can be allocated and the targets from the top to the bottom, monitoring the mandatory implementation of decisions and the application of any corrective measures. Thanks to modern technologies, both from the point of view of hardware and software, but also of the networks that now interconnect the whole territory, it will be possible to quickly manage and process this amount of data and information: an extended, widespread and transparent collection and processing of data, in which the working class organizations in the various production units will be the irreplaceable driving force of socialist planning and construction.
The General Principle of Socialist Distribution
“From each according to his capacities” is a statement that already affirms a principle of social justice: no one, not even society as a whole, has the right to ask a member for more than he can give. Furthermore, it implies that these capacities are not frustrated or hindered, but, on the contrary, enhanced and supported, as a source of social wealth, along with their individual bearer. At the same time, it requires everyone to contribute to the progress and well-being of society.
“To each according to his work” establishes the principle that individual work is no longer exploited by the private owner, who appropriates the product of the work of others, but remunerated, in terms of direct wage, indirect wage (right to housing, free health care, free education, culture, safety at work, maternity and child care, job security, etc.) and deferred wage (pension) proportionally to the contribution that each person makes to the development of society, measured in hours of work.
Thanks to the growth of accumulated social wealth, namely, of the technical-material base of society, the extension of socialist relations of production to all sectors and levels of the economy, with the definitive transformation of cooperative and collective property into social property, and the progressive overcoming of mercantile-monetary exchange relations, the general principle of distribution will evolve into: “from each according to his capacities, to each according to his needs“. Since each individual may have different needs from those of another, this principle represents the negation of flattening, as it affirms equality in the recognition of the diversity of personalities and needs. This is the general principle of communist distribution. Communism is the society of true equality and freedom we are fighting for, in which the human being, finally free from exploitation, need, ignorance and superstition, will become the master of his own destiny and will emerge from his prehistory.
The Program of the Communist Front can only be modified by the National Congress or by a qualified majority of two thirds of the Central Committee members, bringing further elaborations, improvements and corrections, required by the real evolution of the class struggle at the national and international levels.