"To delegate is to give up any possibility of direct action. The so?called
"supremacy" of democratic laws is nothing but an abdication, mostly
for the benefit of rascals".
Battaglia Comunista ? 1951.
The proletariat, in its tendency to organize itself in an autonomous class, needs to meet, to develop its press, to unite, to carry on strikes, to occupy factories, to organize direct action, to liberate confined comrades, to get arms. These tasks have been assumed with different results in all the periods of its historical fight, independently of the type of domination of the bourgeoisie : Bonapartist or parliamentary, republican or fascist.
The bourgeoisie's policy towards the proletariat consists in showing these needs as identical to all democratic institutions and liberties (free press, free association, amnesty,...). It is not only the classical liberal bourgeois who try to convince us that democracy is the best, but also all the pseudo?working class parties (socialist, Stalinian, Trotskist,...) which base their counter?revolutionary policy on the statement that the working class will reach socialism through the conquest and the defence of all those rights and liberties.
In fact, there is a basic opposition between the mass of bourgeois democratic liberties and the needs of the proletariat to get organized in its own class field. The positions the proletariat conquers in this field can never be mixed up with the so?called "working class liberties".
In the same way as two opposite classes exist, there are two fundamental conceptions of the workers'struggle. One is bourgeois, where one criticizes the lack of equality, of democracy, where one should fight for more rights and liberties. The other is proletarian, based on the understanding of the fact that the roots of all those liberties, rights and equalities, are essentially of anti?worker type. This leads to the total practical destruction of the democratic state with its equalities, rights and liberties. These two opposite concepts show the contradiction between, on one hand, the passive criticism ? to improve, reform, and in this way, reinforce the exploitation system ? and, on the other hand, the active criticism, our criticism ? the destruction of that exploitation system.
When the "right" tells us that the "left" is dictatorial and anti?democratic, that when the "left" reaches the government it does not respect the human rights and that our interest is therefore to wave the flag of democracy, to fight under its protection for pure democracy, is it a myth or do they have an objective interest in democracy ? When the left tells us in the name of "Marxism" that the "bourgoisie" and "capitalism" do not respect democratic liberties, that we have to defend them against fascist attacks, that we have to crave them wherever they do not exist, that this is the way to socialism, is it only a mass of opportunistic slogans or are they really fighting for democracy?
The bourgeoisie always tried to use the proletariat (then atomized workers, taken as isolated "citizens") as a social basis, as slaves to serve its own dominant class interests. In this way, we already understand in what way the bourgeoisie always tries to make the workers fight for a different interest than their own (this answers partly to the question). But do the bourgeoisies of left and right want democracy or not ? The tale of liberties and human rights, is it only a mystification without any material basis or is there an objective reality that produces this democratic mystification? Do we have to infer that no bourgeoisie fraction has any interest in having these rights and liberties of the citizens applied? (The corollary to this would be that the proletariat could avoid the bourgeoisie's dom?ination if it really fought for the defence of democracy). Or do we have to conclude to the contrary, that the fight of capitalists for the paradise of democratic rights is really the supreme will of the bourgeoisie?
Of course, the revolutionary marxist criticism we develop here is based on this last thesis: the mass of human rights and liberties correspond exactly to the ideal form of reproduction of capitalistic oppression. Let's see what this ideal form of democracy is and where it comes from.
THE PARADISE OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES
The party of order, the general party of the capital, or in other words, all the bourgeois parties, is totally unable to face the proletariat organized as a class and therefore as a party. That is why the main secret of capitalistic domination is to stop the organization of the proletariat in an autonomous force and there is nothing more efficient for the bourgeoisie than the mass of human rights and liberties to drown the working class, to dissolve it in the false concept of "people". When the proletariat stops existing as a class, when each worker is a good citizen, with his liberties, rights and duties, he accepts all the rules of the game that atomizes him and drowns him in the mass where his specific class interests disappear. As a good citizen, he does not exist as a class, this is the condition for democracy to work out.
But the reign of democracy as both "left" and "right"
promise in the name of socialism and/or liberty, where there would be no classes
but just citizens and free people, as any idelogical form of the bourgeoisie,
does not come from nowhere and does not remain just as a pure idea outside
the real world. On one hand, this world, "earthly paradise" of human
rights, obeys to a very precise material reality : the reign of circulation
of goods from which all the defenders of the capital draw their principles
and conclusions; on the other hand, all the mental forms, ideologies, which
derive from this reign are accep?ted by society and are therefore objective.
The dissolution of the working class in the dead world of citizenship is nothing
immaterial, even if it is based on the mystification of merchandise. One could
think that the millions of pages written by marxologists and other
capitalistic lawyers, the capitalistic state constitutions, the charts, the speeches,... only serve passively the bourgeoisie, whether it takes them into account or not, according to circumstances. But this vision forgets that these very papers reflect and strengthen reality, that they belong to the dominant ideology, which becomes a material force that reinforces and reproduces the whole society system. The laws and other official papers are just ideological products of capitalistic dictatorship which have the task to defend it.
In the sphere of circulation of goods, there are no classes; everybody is a citizen, everybody appears as buyer and seller of goods, equal, free and owner. Even when we buy or sell our own manpower, we are in the paradise of human rights and liberties. Each one is aiming at his own private interests in the reign of equality, liberty and private property.
Liberty: because the buyer and the seller of goods (including man?power) do not obey to any other rule than to their own free will.
Equality: because in the world of merchandise, everybody is a buyer and a seller, and everybody gets a value to the value contained in the goods he is selling, exchanging equivalent against equivalent.
Property: because each one appears, in the world of exchange, as an owner of his merchandise and he can only dispose of what belongs to him.
As free and equal owners, all citizens contract relationships giving rise to a natural brotherhood, which is the lawful reflect that guarantees liberties, equality and the identical possibility for each man to own goods. Any buying or selling of merchandise is the result of a free will contract between men who, because of the merchandise, are owners, free, equal and like brothers.
It is this fetish world of merchandise, where there is no place for classes
but only for men and citizens, that brings about the rights and liberties
that enable them to decide of the regulation and improvement of this world.
It is not only authorized to vote and to choose as a citizen, but it is also
possible to have one's delegates in democratic organs for which the liberty
of gathering, press, association, expression, etc. are guaranteed. The citizens
can associate as electors and eligible (in the bourgeois parties) or as buyers
and sellers of merchandises (in the trade?unions). Nothing is more natural
for the citizens than to found political parties, to try to work in the government,
in the ministeries, the parliaments, or the "soviets". No need for
any nobility certificate as a citizen, anyone, whatever his social position
(of which the laws never speak), can become a deputy, a minister or a president.
In the same way, as buyers or sellers of goods, they can associate and syndicate,
refuse to buy or sell if the deal is not good enough.To this corresponds another
mass of rights and liberties as the ones which rule private societies and
the pseudo?workers' trade?unions. The buyers and sellers of manpower, associated
as such (never as workers or as capitalists , since nobody owns anybody else's
work in the world of circulation of goods) can even interrupt the delivery
of the work value: it is the liberty of strike. In the same way, the citizen
who buys this merchandise can decide to buy another one, it is the liberty
of work. Or the citizen can decide to stop buying this merchandise: it is
the liberty of industry (under this reign, there is no lock?out.). Let us
not forget the rights of prisoners, or general amnesty, which can only exist
on condition that everybody behaves himself as a good citizen, a good buyer
and a good seller, as it is said by "Amnesty International" and
Some people will point out that nowhere such rights and liberties can be found, that everywhere there are prisoners, everywhere the right of strike is limited, that in this country the right of property is limited or in that country only one party is allowed, etc. All this is obvious. Nevertheless, in all these countries, there is a fraction of the bourgeoisie that will criticize the lack of democracy of different governments, and to do so, it must have a democratic ideal as reference. This is exactly what we want to explain and denounce. It is the only way to break with the bourgeois criticism of democracy and to recognize the enemy in all the defenders of pure and perfect democracy. Indeed, as well as democracy is the product and the reflect of the mercantile basis of the capitalistic society, it is also the reference of all the bourgeois criticisms which only aim at correcting the imperfections of democracy and where all the forces of counter?revolution concentrate in the periods of revolutionary crisis.
But is it possible that the bourgeois ideology could really imagine such a society, where there would be no prisoners because no one would steal and because no worker group would organize itself, where any strike would be strictly legal, where any association would group buyers and sellers to make sure the goods would be exchanged at the right price? Of course, yes. More than two hundred years ago the democrats had no problem in recognizing that the democratic republic should correspond to the "people of gods" as Rousseau said. Today the bourgeoisie, in its decomposition, is still unable to understand the limits of its historical perspective and holds on to its mystical ideas. If it found the need and the capacity to integrate all the religions it used to fight yesterday in the name of science, if it has now sanctified "Marxism?Leninism" that it used to attack yesterday, how can we doubt that it does not "honestly" long for the democratic paradise it has always fought for?
Man imagines god as a perfect image of himself, purified from all his contradictions. The capital imagines a perfect and everlast?ing reign because it is convinced that it is the positive pole of society, also purified from its contradictions (wealth/misery, growth/obstacle to the development of productive forces, "development" / "under?development", equality/oppression). It only sees itself identical to its positive pole (wealth, growth, equality, liberty, democracy,...). For example, it has a completely un-historical and mystical conception of the valorization of the capital, as if it could exist without periodical massive destructions of social productive forces. Even if it calls itself socialism or communism, the capital always builds its own categories, its own analysis, its own vision of the world, ignoring the unity and the deadly contradiction between salaried work and capital. One can therefore not be surprised that in this democratic world, no one is exploited, no one is imprisoned, that one can find only capital, wealth, equality, justice, growth and liberty.
THE CONTRADICTORY UNITY OF REALITY
Let us leave now the world of ideas and of capitalistic categories, of circulation and of citizenship, and let us return to the everyday world, the one of production and of capital valorization. The seller of working force is a worker, whether he believes in god or in democracy. In the factory he is nobody's equal, he is free of nothing, owner of nothing, not even of whet he manipulates. If he wants, the worker can imagine that his citizenship is only interrupted, that his qualities, liberties and properties have been left in the cloak?room and that he will get them back when he gets out. But he is completely wrong. In his eight (or more) hours of work, he consumes raw material and machines to produce usage values that remain property of the capital and in the other sixteen hours, during his holidays, he consumes food, beer, football or television to produce another usage value: his working force, which will be used only in valorizing the capital. Outside of the mystical and ephemeral paradize of circulation and of free elections, the worker remains a worker, whether he likes it or not; even when he fucks (whether by pleasure or to grow a family) he is only working force and valorization of the Capital. As such, he is neither equal, nor free, nor citizen, nor owner at any moment of his life. He is only a salaried slave. Even before he tries to organize himself to defend his worker's interests, he has already all equality, property and liberty against him.
But to penetrate into the real meaning of the mass of bourgeois rights and liberties, one must not only shift from the circulation sphere to the production sphere (in their contradictory unity) but also reach the essence of the class contradictions in the society. In this way, we understand that the first liberty of the proletariat is to be free from all property. In fact, the ancestors of the prol?etariat have been liberated by physical violence of any other prop?erty than that of their children and of their own working force. This liberty of all properties is the most important one. It deter?mines all the other ones. Thanks to this liberty, the proletarian is not only free to sell his working force, but also free to die of hunger (he and his childien), if he does not find a buyer. The equality under the reign of circulation of goods gives the worker the right to receive a value equal to the one of his working force and it is precisely this equality that takes away from him the product of his own work and warrants the capitalistic exploitation. Brotherhood is not a meaningless bourgeois slogan. It meant, practically, the brotherhood of the bourgeois against the proletariat; under the form of national and democratic fraternity, it helped tying hands and feet of the workers to their exploiters and bringing them to the massacre of class?brothers on the imperialistic battle?fields.
The true liberty, property and fraternity of democracy implies therefore a permanent situation of anti?proletarian violence. Rep?ression is one of the indispensable elements of imposition, reproduction and extension of democracy. A long time ago, Marx used to denounce the sacred trinity "Liberty, equahity, Fraternity" as equivalent to "Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery". Even more, the paradise of pure democracy ? where no one would complain of these liberty, equality, property, fraternity ? implies a higher level of realization of democracy, which also implies the full use of the terroristic machine of the democratic state with its various forms. For that, for example, there is no organic change between the liberal and the fascist form of the state, but only a process of purification of the state in its tendency to reach the inaccessible democracy.
Let us now examin some other democratic rights and liberties: the right of election means that every 4,5,6,7...years, the worker can dress as a citizen to go and chose his oppressors freely... That supposes of course, on one hand, a free electoral campaign, that means the liberty for each bourgeois fraction to invest in it following its means and, on the other hand, the liberty for the others to imagine that society might change with the coming of such and such party at the head of the bourgeois government. The so?called rights and liberties even give the workers the "privilege" to chose between the self?named "worker parties": to chose the one that will be the most capable of directing the state of the capital and to organize the massacre of the proletarians who would tend to ignore the directives of the big "worker" parties and who would refuse what the majority has decided.
The liberty of press and propaganda insures simply the free market in such a way that only the economic potential and the financial capacity of the different parties would assume the control and domination of public opinion and would guarantee the free application of the majority principle. In front of this economico?political apparatus of the dominant class, the workers have as alternative: either the liberty, right and duty to resign themselves, either the force and the will to organize themselves as a class, for which no right or liberty will ever be conceded.
"We theoretically agree that democracy is the domination system of the bourgeoisie", so would the socialists, the Stalinians, the Trotskysts, etc. answer, "but what we must do now is to fight for the rights and liberties that serve the organization of the working class right of reunion, of syndical action, of strike, of amnesty for political prisoners,... each time fascism attacks them. "What you don't understand", they would say, "is that we cannot fight for socialism without these rights."
Evidently, the capital hides that "theory" very well, but let us examine the practice of the rights and liberties contained in the program these so?called parties call "minimum" or transitory (of all these rights we will only examine those that are supposed to be "workers' rights").
"The right of reunion, of association, of syndicalization, the liberty
of press are rights granted to the workers, they are conquests of the working
class". So speaks the bourgeoisie (of left and right). After having produced
value every day for the capital, wearing out their force, their arms, their
brains, their sweat, their blood, their lives, the workers do not only have
the right to go and watch football or get drunk at the bar to divert themselves,
to be in a good shape and be good at work the next day, but also, the bourgeoisie
gives them the right to discuss, to syndicate and to send their "delegates"
negociate the price at which they will sell themselves. It is very logical
that a seller tries to sell his merchandise at high price and the capital
admits that the trade?unions change the unreasonable claims of the workers
into "righteous salary claims". These "righteous claims"
are those that permit an increase in the exploitation rate, big enough to
compensate the reduction of the profit rate. And it is even considered "legitimate"
by all the bourgeoisie as long as it does not touch the national economy.
There is no doubt that the trade?unions are the best specialists to formulate
these "right" and "legitimate" claims that do not hit
the profit of the capital. What else can we find in these
rights granted by the bourgeoisie ? NOTHING, absolutely nothing more.
In front of a real worker's association defending the worker's interests really, fighting for a real reduction of work time, for a real increase in relative salaries, the capital has no interest in accepting the right of association, of reunion, of press, of syndicalization, because these rights would necessarily attack the profit rate and the national economy. And then, democracy would not have any other alternative than to use its cops and syndicat troops. The parties never hesitate in using white terror against the "workers' class movement, and always in the name of democracy and liberty, of the right to work, of the respect of the trade?union's decisions... Without any doubt, the same thing will happen every time the workers' association will become a school for communism, every time the question of socialism will stop being a question of words and a struggle will be carried on, not only for the increase in salaries, but for the abolition of salaried work.
It must be very clear that the workers' associations, their press, their reunions and actions,... that are only based on the immediate and historical interests of the proletariat, must fight openly against the capital and its national economy. And in the name of the respect of legal syndicats, of the struggle against subversion, of the unity against provokers, of the defence of the national security, it is precisely these so?called liberties that will be used as repressive force against the class organization.
And this practice is very coherent with democracy. The repression is democratic because it strikes when the workers leave their uniform of citizenship to act as a class, when they stop accepting to be the well disciplined army of revalorization of the capital, for which the capital had given them these rights and liberties.
This proves that contrarily to what the bourgeoisie says, no right is granted to the working class when it acts as a class. These rights are only granted to the citizens, sellers of goods. The repressive terror for all those who do not accept to behave as good citizens, answers very logically to the bourgeois ideal of democratic paradise. There is no democratic paradise for those who do not respect democracy. As soon as the proletariat, organized as a class, tries to attack the capitalist dictatorship, democracy shows its terrorist face; as long as its dictatorship holds on firmly, democracy can show its liberal face to the stupid mass. This nice face of rights and liberties is therefore reserved only for the citizen, the one who bows down peacefully in front of the daily violence of the capitalist production system: the salaried work.
The same thing happens with the right of strike. The left wing of the bourgeoisie tells us that it has value against the capitalist superstructure. No right is ever given to the class, to the workers in their struggle, they are only given to the sellers of goods. As long as the workers accept to continue being simply a force of valorization of the capital. they have all the rights to act as any seller of goods: to claim the right value of his merchandise, to refuse to sell, to stop delivering usage value, etc. And of course, on the other hand, we find the rights of the buyer: the liberty of work (which means stoppage, lock out, etc.). With this liberty, the workers are the ones who remain every day more exploited, and more enslaved.
And when they make a real strike without caring for any right or liberty, when they really attack the bourgeois interests, no right or liberty exists any more; they are accused of being provokers, or agents coming from abroad..., the true class?strike is declared illegal, savage, anti?syndical,... which in fact it is. Consciously or not, any class struggle must fight against the legality of the reign of merchandise and must fight for its destruction.
And to do so, it cannot accept sheep, nor syndicats, nor the right to work, nor the right to strike. On the battlefield, when the workers fight against the trade unions at the service of the capital, they have no right at all. One must be blind or naive to believe the legalization of the strikes, which does not come from us but from our enemies, gives us any guarantee to win it or to protect us against the state repression. To the contrary, the legalization of the strikes is a way of the bourgeoisie to reduce the class strength of the strikes.
Another example is the "amnesty for political prisoners" requested by all the social democrats, pacifists, Trotskysts, humanists, priests of any imperialist side, but only at the condition they are made prisoners by a state of the other imperialist side. Each state keeps its own prisoners and, in the same time, asks for the liberation of its neighbours, in the name of the human rights of course. Besides, the humanists only claim to care for political prisoners at a time when international conventions such as the "European Judiciary space" relegate all actions of proletarian violence to the rank of "common law delinquency".
The funniest of all is that their campaigns (commities for Chilian, Argentinian, Salvadorian exiles, supporter groups for the RAF, the IRA, etc.) only aim at getting the signatures of humanist social democracies such as the German one, which does not retain many political prisoners since it has already eliminated most of them one by one. In any imperialist war, each state is ready to negociate some human flesh against investments or goods. And they keep talking about "amnesty" and "human rights". We know that all this confusion is the exact opposite of the solidarity needed by all our imprisoned comrades. The only solidarity is the class solidarity, which does not exist through the humanist speeches, the game of human rights between the USA and the USSR, which cannot be obtained by protest letters addressed to the capitalist butchers to ask them to torture a little bit less. But it exists through the struggle against the bourgeoisie in each country. Only the direct action of the working class with its own means (strikes, sabotage of the national production, etc.) will permit us to impose its strength, to liberate the present workers who are imprisoned, but also to lay down the basis to organize its own class power, its own dictatorship that will blow away the history of all the states and all the prisoners.
As all the other rights and liberties, the legal amnesty has nothing to do with the workers' struggle to pull the comrades from the jails because as long as the capitalist exploitation system lasts, there will be prisoners and particularly, proletarian prisoners. One must not only know that there is no guarantee against prison and torture, but also that prison and torture will always be used in the name of the defence of these rights and liberties. In the same way that, under capitalism, every worker is potentially unemployed, any worker who does not accept the rules of the citizenship game is, potentially, a prisoner. Repression, torture, murder are only applications of democracy.
Moreover, the meaning of an amnesty is that the prisoners are "forgiven" for what they did. That means of course that they would deny the actions for which they have been condemned, or at least, that they would express that the actions that were valid yesterday are no more valid today. In this way, the amnesty permits, in the name of the "christian forgiveness", to recuperate actions that, originally, attacked the bourgeois state, and became, with the coming of another bourgeois fraction at the government, "actions that are exagerated but understandable in the scope of the struggle against dictatorship...".
A good example of this is the amnesty conceded by the "young Spanish democracy". It mercied some "antifascist militants" above all to hide the fact that many emprisoned workers were fighting in the same time against Franco and against his antifascist cousins: in one word, against the whole bourgeois state. Some of the "anarchists" are still in the prisons that became "democratic" again.
For us, the liberation of our emprisoned class comrades can only be made by the claiming of their heroical actions. We do not hope for any grace or pity from a class that shows us daily that it never hesitates in accumulating millions of dead bodies to develop its "civilization". We know that only our organized and armed force can pull our comrades out of the fascist and antifascist prisons.
And this is true, precisely because our force is the continuation of these actions for which our comrades fell. This is why, not only we do not ask for an amnesty, but to the contrary, we claim the reasons for which they have been imprisoned. K.Marx already held this position when he answered to his judges : "We do not ask for any excuse nor any pity; do not expect any from us tomorrow".
In front of the capital, all proletarians are subversive. The fact of refusing to submit to its laws means, consciously or unconsciously, fighting for its destruction. This is why, with all the victims of the capital ("political" or "of common law"), we say: "We are all subversive. We are all guilty of wanting to destroy this inhuman world".
For all these reasons, the communist position about all the press, strike, reunion, amnesty liberties, about the legality, is to assert with no doubt that the organization of the proletariat is based on no right, no law, no liberty conceded by its enemy but to the contrary, is based on illegal action: the revolutionary organization for the destruction of salaried slavery. As Marx said: "We never kept this secret: the field on which we fight is not the legal one, but the revolutionary one".
That does not mean that we abandon a strike when it becomes legal, or that we do not publish and distribute revolutionary press when it can circulate legally or that we refuse to get out or prison when a judge sets us free. That would simply be reacting antithetic?ally on the same legal field.
One must not identify illegality and clandestineness. Any real strike is
illegal but not clandestine, even if there are secret preparations for it.
The organization of workers in class movements ? revolutionary councils, soviets,...
? stands on a completely illegal basis but it develops public activities.
The best example of that is the destruction of the bourgeois army by the proletariat.
When the soldiers unify with the rest of the working class, after a long work
of communist secret propaganda, when they start using their weapons against
the officers and destroy the capitalist army, they do not do it in a secret
way, but openly, though it is the most illegal action one can imagine. To
fight in the illegal field means assuming all the tasks, independently of
all the democratic rights and liberties, which are only decisions of our enemy
and therefore a strategy of the
bourgeoisie to fight us.
"Correlation of forces between classes and juridical formalization of an unavoidable situation".
Let us listen once more to the lawyers of the capital: "We are Marxists and we know very well that all these rights are bour?geois democratic rights, but the bourgeoisie is incapable to concede them or to maintain them, we must impose them and obtain them by force. We must fight today for the right of strike, for the amnesty of political prisoners, the liberty of reunion, of election, of press, etc." Some others will say that "one must fight for the autonomy of the working class to carry on the permanent revolution" or that it is only a step".
Have we ever seen a class that could stay autonomous,that could fight for its own class interests, while fighting in the same time for the purification of democracy, in other words, for the interests of its class enemies? This question finds no answer from the Trotskists and the Stalinians. In their democratic vision of history, the proletariat would not be the first class of history to be in the same time oppressed and revolutionary, but also the least autonomous and the most servile class of all history. While in their past revolts the slaves used to attack the slavery system and their masters, the serves used to attack all the medieval institutions, the church and the lords; these "Marxists" say that the proletariat should struggle for bourgeois purposes, with bourgeois means to pre?pare its own revolutions.
But what is the relation between a proletarian advance and the concession of such right or such liberty by the bourgeoisie?
Let us take an example : the situation in Argentina in 1973. For years, glorious workers'struggles took the prisoners out of their jails. At the same moment, the "bureaucratic" and "antibureaucratic" Peronists, the Trotsko?Morenists of the PST asked the workers to wait for the amnesty order, without knowing if it included the grave delinquency cases. The workers' struggle emptied Villa Devoto and permitted many comrades to reinstate the struggle. How should we interpret these facts? For the classical bourgeois parties, the coming out of prisoners is always a consequence of what they legally concede, for bourgeois parties that call themselves "worker's parties", it is the opposite: the amnesty orders are the great workers' victory. Both kinds of bourgeois parties agree to caracterize the juridical formalization as fundamental.
There is a difference between these two tendencies, but they are both tendencies of the same class : the bourgeoisie. They only disagree on the ways to kill the workers' movement, to integrate it democratically and to justify juridically the situation. But for all the communist revolutionaries, to the contrary, the victory is not to obtain decrees but that the prisoners could join their class brothers in the street. What about the amnesty? It is only a juridical manoeuvre of the bourgeoisie to try to integrate in its democratic legality what is happening in the streets and that it can no more avoid. Its aim is to turn the situation to its advantage.The coming out of the prisoners is disguised in amnesty by the juridical formalization.
There is the same opposition between the right of press and the existence of an autonomous workers' press. In general cases, the liberty of press guarantees the liberty of undertaking and the financial aspect is predominant. But in certain circumstances, the liberty of press can be extended to the workers' press as long as the latter does not have much influence and that it can be controlled by the bourgeoisie in its free circulation. But in a world where everything is merchandise, where everything tends to dissolve in the world of exchange, of money, of consumption, let us not have any illusion: the workers' press will never develop on that ground. The same thing happens with the right of strike. Let us leave aside the well?known case of strikes that do not attack the profit rate of the bourgeoisie. A strike is only recognized legally when the bourgeoisie is in a weak position and has no other solution to try to break a strike than to legalize it. Both cases are bound but in any way, the legalization never brings anything new to the proletariat in its struggle. Its force is only its organized and conscious force, before and after the legalization.
Another question for those so?called "Marxists' to think about: for what other reason would the bourgeoisie give any right to its historical enemy (the proletariat)?
If it were true that these rights and liberties would help the revolution, why hasn't there been any revolution in the countries that have a long democratic tradition, as the U.S.A. for example? Why did it develop in Russia, which had known centuries of Tsarism and only a few months of "democracy"? And why did it burst under the most "democratic" regime of the whole Russian history, the one of Kerensky? On what rights and liberties could the workers in Iran rely to defend their strikes of 78/79? In what way did the acknowledgment of the "Solidarity" syndicat in Poland help the workers' movement to develop and extend? Didn't it happen precisely to recuperate the movement by taking it away from its anti?capitalist aims to deviate it on the reform of the exploitation system, with the blessing of both the Pope and Brejnev?
Why shouldn't we ask for the right of revolution? In fact, it is quite normal that the democratic right or left bourgeoisie would try to impose its own "human rights" and would make no distinction between amnesty and the liberation of prisoners, the right of strike and the strike, the right of press and the existence of a workers' press. The heart of all this mystification is to consider the juridical formalization as a workers' victory while it is nothing but a weapon of the bourgeoisie.
Two ways of interpreting History
To defend its interests, the bourgeoisie needs to interpret history in its own way. It always tells us that we do not know history, that the working class has always struggled to obtain the right of vote, of strike. All the so?called worker parties reduce the history of proletarian struggles to a question of conquests of democratic rights in the aim of justifying their past, present and future actions.
These servants of the capital refuse to see the class antagonisms and the specific interests of the working class. They use the slogans of the masses which are still submitted to the dominant ideology to prove that the workers have always fought for pure de?mocracy and in this way, they kill a second time the millions of workers "democratically" slaughtered throughout the history of struggles. In doing so, they try to justify their functions of deputies in the bourgeois state apparatus. But one must replace the facts on their real basis (i.e. the immediate and historical interests of the proletariat, which are strictly opposite to the ones of the bourgeoisie), all these struggles aim at destroying the class society, whatever the momentary consciousness of the workers who live these struggles could be. "It does not matter much what a worker, or even the whole proletariat, can imagine what he is aiming at. What matters is what he is really and historically obliged to do".
We do not care about the flags that can float over the struggles, we care only about the enormous efforts of the proletariat to organize itself and fight the bourgeoisie. Therefore it is very logical that while the so?called "Marxists" consider that the universal suffrage is a conquest of the proletariat, we consider that any reform of the state is a way to perfect the domination methods of the bourgeoisie. The only true conquests of the working class are its struggle experience and its growing autonomy and power of organization. What remains of its struggles is the political conclusions that worker minorities can draw from their history. It is only through this "workers' memory" carried by minorities that the movement can avoid making always the same mistakes.
On the other hand, the interpretation of history based on the "democratic conquests" of the workers have led the defenders of this vision to the parliament and the ministeries. This is not surpris?ing. One must not forget that the capitalist class is the first dominant class of history for which the blood privileges are not determinant. Any citizen, even a "worker", can reach the bourgeoisie if he has good capacities to defend the bourgeois point of view: this is called social promotion. In this way, democracy can chose the best elements of a worker's origin to control more efficiently the workers' movement. Let us remember the example of the "worker" Noske, who became the leader of the massacre of the Berlin insur?rection of 1919, and who killed R. Luxembourg and K. Liebknecht, Leo Jogiches and thousand of revolutionary workers.
This system not only allowed some "workers" to reach a posi?tion of oppressors to their ex?class brothers, but also entire "worker parties" to be chosen by the capital to reinforce its dom?ination (for example: the parties of the 2nd International). So it is not surprising that these parties interpret history as a succession of steps leading to democracy.
As a conclusion, we should say that the two ways of interpret?ing history correspond to the interests of the two antagonistic classes of our society: either the struggle of the proletariat for the communist revolution, or the bourgeois defence of the democratic dictatorship of the capital.
What do the so?called Marxists want ?
Let us now leave the questions of parliaments, ministeries, governments, syndicats, directors,... and let us examin the follow?ing question: what "working class" does the left wing of the cap?ital wish to see, what would be the result of its politics, what social situation is it aiming at?
To accept their orders means striking for the defence of syndical rights, associating in the name of the liberty of reunion (with them and under their direction), talking in the name of the right of expression, electing the "worker" deputies in the name of democracy; and why wouldn't we also go to jail in the name of the right of amnesty and of the right of the prisoners, why wouldn't we risk our lives in the sacred name of citizenship ?
We are not exagerating: how many workers, who believed them, have ended prisoners or killed for having written on a wall the order of his own submission: "long live democracy, death to dictatorship".
The aim is evidently to take the proletariat away from its class field and to try to deviate towards the defence of democracy, all what the working class tries to do: strikes, reunions, press, discussions and its own dictatorship for the abolition of salaried work.
If the bourgeoisie reaches this aim, it can control in all details its domination system, and that is what has happened historically. When a fraction of the bourgeoisie is "worn out" by the use of power, it wishes to take a rest and leave the "opposite" fraction continue its work. The right wing would take care of the killing and emprisonment of the proletarians while the left wing would direct all the workers'claims towards human rights and democratic liberties. We could even imagine that a time would come when the workers would not even think of striking for their "shabby interests", when no mad group would have the evil thought of fighting against democracy or of making a revolution.
The left wing would have then helped building the earthly paradise of pure democracy in "convincing" the workers that their aim is to obtain democratic rights. But, of course, to "convince" the proletarians, words are not enough. So we will see our left humanists assassinate the "provokers". The left has as much experierce in repression as the right. No fraction of the bourgeoisie has the privilege of counter?revolutionary cannibalism.
Nevertheless, this earthly paradise cannot last even with the help of the bourgeoisie's left wing. Lenin was accused of being a German agent, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were killed by the Socialists in the name of democracy, torture was organized under Allende's regime as much as under Pinochet's. But all the capitalists will never be able to stop the struggles, which came back, always more violently, to destroy all the democratic illusions. And we, proletarians, will not strike for any right, we will strike for our own materialist interests, which are bound to our historical interests, we will fight to take our emprisoned comrades out of the jails of the capitalist state, without making any concession to parliamentarism or amnesty campaigns.
The so?called "Marxists", in their fight for the purification of Democracy, only long for the total submission of the working class, that means, its atomization in good citizens.
THE DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS ARE NEVER A WORKER' S VICTORY BUT ARE ALWAYS A WEAPON OF THE BOURGEOISIE
In this text, we have considered separately, for the sake of comprehension, the different aspects of the democratic rights and liberties, which in facts combine:
a) Pure democracy, a capitalist ideology where there is no class organization
but only citizens.
b) The tendency to purify the democracy, which leads to the changing of workers to citizens who only fight for democratic rights and liberties. Any class organization is an attack on democracy.
c) The juridical formalisation of unavoidable situations.
d) This formalisation tends to overturn the situation to the advantage of the bourgeoisie.
Of course, none of those points are on the side of the proletariat. They are all bound: as the reference frame (a) can only lead to a situation of relative democratico?terrorist stability (b) and as the strikes are too numerous, the pamphlets and subversive papers are uncontrollable, the bourgeoisie needs tolegalize the situation (c). So it authorizes some publications, it sets free some prisoners "who haven't committed grave crimes", it legalizes some strikes_ it is evident that it tends to break (d) the unity of the "agents of anarchy who do not respect democracy" and that it will find no other solution than to kill them: "now that the strikes are legal, we must be very strict with those who do not respect the right of work and who do not care for the interests of the state". And they will try to calm the others with crumbs as the "right of strike", "of expression", "of work",... How many times have we seen that situation.
Each time the bourgeoisie faces a difficult situation, far away from its democratic paradise (a), it formalizes juridically the situation (c), which is a decisive weapon (d) to obtain a normalized situation of democracy (b).
In this remodelled democracy (even if it is rotten since a long time) the liberal democrats, the syndicalists, the Stalinians, the Trotskists, the Maoists, the socialists will have the opportunity to meet and congratulate each other in the parliament lobbies: "The rights of citizenship have been saved, the workers return normally to their work and they will soon enjoy their civil rights".
One must not reach a situation of total political crisis of the bourgeoisie to understand all this. Nevertheless, it is in this limit situation that the proletariat must choose its alternative: either accept democracy and the counter?revolutionary disaster, or throw away the democracy as it has been done in only one historical example: the insurrection of October 1917 in Russia.
We are publishing this manifesto against war between Iran and Irak (a) written by a group of communist comrades from this area. This manifesto entirely materializes the emergence of workers'groups directly on the entirety of communist positions, against and in the bosom of capitalist war, being an expression of the important defeatist movements which are taking place in this area. In opposition to all "third?world"?myths, to all myths of "national liberation", of double revolution,... and also against myths denying the evident existence of communist forces acting against capitalism everywhere in the world, this manifesto materializes in the highest degree the necessary world?wide centralisation of communist forces. We appeal to all really proletarian forces to discuss this basic document, to translate and reprint it, as well as to continue our indispensable efforts to crystallize a real militant working community between internationalist groups (b).
note (a) In one year, this war has caused a 20 milliard dollars worth of destructions in Irak, and 50 milliard dollars in Iran. The cooperative committee of Gulf States is paying 13 milliard dollars a year to finance Irak. Moreover, proletarians from Marocco, Egypt, Jordania, Afghanistan, Thailand, Palestine,... are being enrolled for either side. Destructions of human lives, as well as of materials affect obviously more proletarians of those countries than those of the two countries directly involved. In one year 50'000 have been killed in Irak, and 75'000 were killed in Iran. In January 1982 the monstrous number of 270'000 killed on both sides was reached.
note (b) To contact our comrades having written this document, write to our postbox (without mentioning the name of the group): B.P.54 ? Bruxelles 31 ? 1060 Bruxelles ? Belgique.
Internationalist Communist Group.