Bourgeois attempts to channel proletarian struggles on an international scale and Invariant struggle for the proletarian rupture.
Against summits and counter-summits 
Approximately ten years ago, in October 1993 to be precise, we took stock of the situation by portraying the struggles that characterize the current phase of capitalism, without taking into account any elements particular to specific confrontations. Since then, nothing has fundamentally changed with regard to those general characteristics. The current events confirm the main features that we presented then: international attempts to channel proletarian revolts and obvious signs of rupture, still systematically characterised, from the proletarian point of view, by strengths and weaknesses similar to those we had highlighted. The capitalist society catastrophe, that continues to take shape and aggravate, as well as the tendency for radicalisation of the contradictions and confrontations, bring up once again the issue of the revolutionary leadership and the destruction of the international capitalist dictatorship. Facing today's barbarity, the issue of the proletarian social project (the social revolution, the destruction of the commodity society) re-emerges as the only possible alternative.
This text, while presenting a brief analysis of the development of the balance of forces between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, is a denunciation of the “new” attempts made to channel the proletarian energies, and more particularly those that take shape through these summits and anti-summits that seem to dominate the international reality; various pseudo-radical ideologies that emerge from the clash. As a direct product of a debate between proletarians openly considering the issue of international power and destruction of the universal capitalist dictatorship, this text is also a contribution to the fight of the proletariat for its autonomy. It is then a weapon of the struggle for the constitution of a self-direction breaking away from all the ideologies that intend to maintain us chained the old social-democrat chariot, redecorated for the occasion with some new garments.
In Communism n°9, we had already signalled that the traditional forms of bourgeois containment had lost most of their lure. We pointed out that the traditional forms of struggle, such as “strikes” organized by the trade unions, pacific demonstrations, and even the national political system and its electoral circus didn't trigger much enthusiasm anymore. “The old mediations of the state no longer act as a buffer, and when this proletariat which some thought was dead and buried, reappears, it emerges suddenly and with great force: refusing all mediations, unstoppable by insignificant little strikes, pacific "promenades" or election promises.”
We also noted that contemporary struggles characterised by violent and uncontrolled proletarian explosions directed against private property and all political and social forces that defend it. Since then, these explosions of proletarian rage against capital have repeatedly renewed, distinguished by “violent and resolute action of the proletariat that descends upon the streets and violently confronts the whole state apparatus”, as we mentioned in our text. The number of countries –Iraq, Venezuela, Burma, Algeria, Morocco, Rumania, Argentina, United States (Los Angeles)- where this type of explosion occurred has continually increased: Albania, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Ecuador, Argentina once again (Santiago del Estero, Neuquén…) Bolivia, Algeria (Kabylia). Every time, these examples reveal the same bourgeois incapacity to contain the struggle, marked by a violent opposition to everything that the present society stands for (including political parties and trade unions of the democratic opposition), and by expropriation of bourgeois property, more or less organized and led by vanguard elements. “Brushing aside ancestral prejudice, defying state terrorism, proletarians grab what they need, trying in the process to destroy all mediations to which capital condemns them: money, salary, labour…”
Facing this human tendency to directly re-appropriate one's own life, we noted, in 1993, that the bourgeoisie invariably counterattacked with their eternal “carrot, stick and misinformation”. Manipulation of information and systematic concealment of the universal content of those revolts, presenting them as “student” riots, or “miner”, “Palestinians”, “Kurds”, “Muslims”, “Berbers” …We also pointed out that the bourgeois counterattack was always based on the granting of some minor concessions and on the development of a selective repression, aiming at isolating the proletariat from its vanguard elements. In that text, we also analysed the weaknesses of the current proletarian struggles (short-lived riots, terminally defeated, lack of permanent proletarian associationism, absence of a worker's press, lack of historic memory, ignorance of the revolutionary program…), as well as the need and possibility of overcoming these weaknesses and turning this discontinuous process of uprisings into an ascendant process leading to social revolution.
The left-wing bourgeoisie's need to reorganize itself: renovation attempts.
The current left-wing bourgeoisie endorses the program that the social democracy has always defended: lesser evil, democratism, populism, trade unionism, pacifism, support to the so-called “third world”… But in this society, where the devaluation of capital proceeds unbridled, where commodity must be labelled “new” to be sold and where ideological production is wholly integrated into the commodity production, the old ideas of the dominant class also need to be incessantly recycled to remain effective at containing the social assault. More than anyone else, the left-wing bourgeoisie's renovation attempts comply with this tendency, widely subscribing to the “neo” fashion: “neo” Marxism, “new” left-wing, anti-“neo”-liberalism…
The immediate motive of these renovations is directly generated by the capital's necessity to respond to the deficiency experienced by the bourgeoisie every time the proletarian wrath expresses itself outside and against the traditional containment measures of the class struggle.
A third element that has forced the left-wing bourgeoisie to recycle and put on new garments to conceal its putrefied body and hideous face, resides in the socio-economic catastrophe of the countries labelled “socialist” by the bourgeoisie, as well as in the subsequent deterioration of the image of the related left-wing. In actual fact, neither the Trotskyites’ critical support “with reservations” policy, nor the radical Maoism escaped the collapse. With an implacable clarity, the system those movements so dearly defended (unreservedly or not) confirmed to have never been anything else but the most brutal exploitation of the proletariat. Without the excuse of any revolution –or social counter-revolution, as they so often claimed - the dominant class of those countries simply and openly declared its preference for “capitalism and democracy”. The whole international left-wing bourgeoisie was then forced to repudiate its life-long love affair with these references and start searching for other fables to try and remain credible. Only certain leftist fractions of the social-democrat spectrum continue, through their support for Castrism, to obstinately cling to the defence (unreserved or not) of this monstrous Stalinist offspring called “socialism within one country” .
But the left-wing bourgeoisie has no autonomy with regards to the right wing -even on a terminological basis- it follows in its wake. The particularities it endorses have always been determined by the evolution and contradictions of the world capital's cycle, and even when they seem different, looking closely, most of the time they appear to be the same old stories, told differently. So, to the ideologies of the worldwide bourgeoisie, victor of the Second World War – democracy, human rights, anti-terrorism, anti-authoritarianism, anti-fascism… -, were added the ideologies of the fractions most maltreated by free trade. In reality merely the vulgar antithesis of what the international free-tradist dominant bourgeoisie presently still enforces. Every time the classic free tradist politics (which has nothing to do with anything “neo”) adopt a new terminology (globalisation, global village,…) the old leftist bourgeoisie pseudo anti-imperialist defines itself on the basis of the “anti” prefix: anti-globalisation, anti-neo-liberalism…
Even the supporters of national liberation, considering their catastrophic results and their out of date discourse, started recycling themselves into anti-globlalists…
In reality, there is nothing new under the capitalist sun. All this is nothing more than cheap chatter, a terminology made up by international capital, backed up by publicity agencies that seek to improve its image and enforce its present objectives pretending they are something novel. Capital is worldwide by essence, it has always been global. Historically, the starting point of capitalism is not the nation (as Marx said, the world market precedes the national market), but the revolution of the world market (that existed for quite a long time). This occurred at the end of the 15th century through the generalisation of value on a world scale and found its conclusion in the 16th century with the impossibility of a capitalist accumulation without a conquest of the production, and, terminally, through the historic subsumption of humanity by capital. In capital's history, the global always precedes the particular or local. Free trade is the general politic of the hegemonic fraction of capital, well before the origin of the worldwide market or the origin of the worldwide money. This brings us back more than a thousand years ago, and since then, this politic has constantly opposed the interests of the protectionist fractions. Free trade and anti-free-trade (with or without the adjunction of the “neo” prefix), globalism and anti-globalism, the regionalism… are nothing but distinct expressions of the everlasting battle fought by the bourgeois fractions. One defends the upholding of protectionism, source of its accumulation, and the other, more coherent in the strict application of the rule of value on an international scale, is willing to breach this protectionism.
If nowadays the instruments of fabrication of public opinion so insistently emphasize these tendencies, represented in a roughly caricature way by the international summits and bourgeois anti-summits, it's precisely to trick the proletariat into a struggle that is not its own, and try to provide a response to the explosions of proletarian rage in which the exploited aim at re-establishing the struggle on real classist grounds. Social democracy, as historic counter-revolutionary party intended for the proletarians, tries to pull it out of the streets and prevent direct action to maintain the proletariat's submission to a number of mediations that turn it into a manoeuvrable support force to the inter-bourgeois struggle .
Ideas and personages of the "neo" left wing
During the 70's and the 80's, it called itself the “new left-wing” and gathered a wide spectrum of social-democrat ideologies, claimed more democracy, more socialism, more anti-imperialism, more state, more populism, cursing the large corporations, the monopoles…
Today, it goes by the name of anti-globalisation, anti-free-trade, anti-International Monetary Fund, anti-worldwide trade... it preaches in the name of the civilian society and a diffuse citizenship and defines itself through an opposition against the financial and multinational capital, and, in its wide majority, in favour of the “Tobin” tax… But in reality, it's the one and the same dog, even though it wears different collars.
Indeed, the left-wing bourgeoisie on the whole was able to become aware of its own incapacity to contain the proletariat, but, in the image of this greyish recycled paper hoping to be sold as “new”, it decided to mobilise its forces around the so-called “globalisation”. It tries to focus everything on the major assemblies of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, or any other apparatus of the world state of capital.
Trade unions and political parties in decrepitude, feminists and ecologists having lost their credibility, Keynesian economists, all kinds of pacifist and libertarian movements, philanthropists, journalists, third-worldists and “anti-imperialists”, non-governmental organizations and humanitarian organisms, bankrupted farmers and animal-rights associations… all of them, without exception, seek a new political virginity by mustering against these meetings. Has-been political stars, completely disavowed, reappear in public and summon citizenship masses with the intention of defying the summits organized by official representatives. In the carnival-like context of these flashy folkloric parades, pacific and docile, under strict surveillance by the law-enforcement forces and the trade unions (like the powerful European Trade unions Confederation), a heterogeneous variety of personalities like the leaders of the support committees to Marcos' pseudo-guerrilla or that caricature of radical farmer called Bové (already re-baptised “the Roquefort Walesa” in regards to his coherence in his bourgeois aspirations), or even bygone personages of the “caviar” left-wing,… try to constitute a “global option”, that truly brings nothing new in regards to the old bourgeois socialism of the 19th century. And let us not forget to add to this charming picture, the “anti-globalisation” support of openly rightist, nationalist, fascist and pro-nazi personages and organizations, like Charles Pasqua, former Minister of the Interior in France, or the LePenist youth of the French Front National.
The common denominator of the anti-globalisation holdall is the pretence of establishing a capitalism that would supposedly be “more human”, more democratic, that is to say, one which would reinforce the democratic and citizen domination on the human species. The watchwords against globalisation, the IMF, the World Bank, “neo”-liberalism clearly confirm that it is not a matter of destroying capitalism, but rather perpetuating it.
-------ENCADRE p7 (fr)
A part of the bourgeoisie is desirous of redressing social grievances, in order to secure the continued existence of bourgeois society.
To this section belong economists, philantropists, humanitairans, improvers of the condition of the working class, organizers of charity, members of societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals, temperance fanatics, hole-and-corner reformers of every imaginable kind. This form of socialism has, moreover, been worked out into complete system.
Karl Marx, Manifesto of the Communist Party, 1848
The Attac association (Action for a Tobin Tax of Aid to the Citizens) –the name alone is already rather remarkable – is the meeting point of old social-democrat structures and personalities, merely given a new physiognomy. It represents undoubtedly the most important international institution of the anti-globalisation scene. Alongside, stand many other networks, federations and organizations, a mingling of ideological movements, trade unions, political parties, charities, religious organizations and NGO, such as the Tri-Continental Centre, the Worldwide Women's march, the 2000 Jubilee, the Continental Social Alliance, the People's Global Action, the “Monde Diplomatique”, the “Ya Basta” association, the Global Resistance Movement, the Farmer's Confederation.
Although they introduce themselves under a variety of aspects and platforms, these organizations are, as we have previously said, the result of the leftist bourgeoisie's recycling that by any means attempts to regain a bit of credibility, and to put forward, with regards to the current capitalist catastrophe, a reformist alternative responding to the increasingly uncontrollable explosions of the international proletariat. Just to give an idea of how much the program of these organizations replicates the old bourgeois reformist program, we shall quote and emphasize some considerations extracted from the constitutive platform of the Attac association and the World Social Forum of Porto Alegre.
So, Attac does not claim to fight against capitalism, but against what it calls “financial globalisation”. To do so, it proposes to use the Tobin Tax and to hamper speculation. The platform starts as follows:
“The financial globalisation aggravates the economical insecurity and social inequalities. It bypasses and belittles people's opinions, the democratic institutions and the sovereign states in charge of the common interest. It substitutes them with purely speculative logic expressing the exclusive interests of international corporations and financial markets.”
Its conception of the world is based on the good old social-democrat method consisting of only considering the consequences, denying the determinant causes, and analysing only a few particularly notorious and harmful manifestations of capitalism, and omitting that these are the necessary and inevitable products of this whole social system. The same way social democracy founded its revisionism on the imperialism presented at that time as a novelty, today Attac elaborates its own on the pseudo-novelty of financial globalisation. In times past as in present, something “new” had to be put forward to justify politics aiming at reforming capital. In both cases, it is only about diverting the proletariat from its struggle against the very foundations of the capitalist society.
The social-democrat theories of imperialism and ultra-imperialism (Kautsky) constitute the keystone of this manoeuvre. Yesterday as today, this theory conceives capitalism to have entered a new phase, distinct from those of the past, and that would have transformed its essential nature. According to this theory, capitalism in its imperialistic phase formally centralises itself in a world decisional centre –or several ones in dispute-, based on the concentration of financial capital (defined as the merging of banking capital and industry capital), the large monopolist international corporations, the exploitation of capitals and the competition between corporations and governments for the apportionment of the world.
Therefore at the beginning of the 20th century, just like today, the novelty would have then been the world domination of financial capital and monopolies, as it was explicitly theorised at the time by the right-wing social democrat Rudolf Hilferding. Lenin adopted this theory in his famous pamphlet on imperialism. Today as in times past, with Attac and all the “anti-globalisation” groups, social democracy claims to stand against this financial capital, demanding more democracy and more state control from capital: “people's opinions, democratic institutions and sovereign states”.
It is easily noted that behind these associations, these old and new physiognomies, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, new: it is nothing but the old rotten program of social democracy, that has always called for a “more social” (sic), “more human”(sic) capitalism against the notorious dehumanisation produced by capitalism itself. Today as in times past, all of them put forward “people's opinions”, that is to say populism, in opposition to proletarian classism. They put forward “democratic institutions” in opposition to the classist position of struggle against these institutions to enforce proletarian dictatorship, and finally, they put forward the “sovereign states in charge of common interest” in opposition to the classic revolutionary standpoint of utter destruction of the bourgeois state, and all this bullshit about the sovereignty of the state. For, as Marx and Bakunin affirmed, the greater the sovereignty of the state, the harsher the oppression for its subjects. Attac is an openly social-democrat expression, that, as such, denounces the increase of wealth and poverty and would like the citizen opinion and pressure on the states to regulate capitalism's excesses. From an historic point of view, it defines itself as a right-wing social-democrat expression, because it doesn't allege any opposition to capitalism itself and to the contrary, claims to be in favour of the freedom generated by capitalism to achieve its goals. It appeals to the governments for a control of this freedom (not to be abolished!). In no way does it criticize productive capital, nor, of course, capitalist exploitation (the extortion of profit is implicitly legitimated). It contests capital's benefits it considers excessive with regards to the undeniable widening of misery and the non-productive speculation. As if, once again, it were possible to deal with the consequences without dealing with the causes.
The constitutive platform of Attac states: “Capitals' total freedom of circulation, the tax heavens and the explosion of the volume of speculative transactions drive the states into a frantic race to obtain the favours of the big investors … Such evolution engenders a permanent increase in capital's income to the detriment of labour's income, the generalisation of precariousness and extension of poverty.”
Attac doesn't even try to conceal its dread for the social revolution and admits its function is to avoid it at all costs, even if this is all said using a fashionable terminology: “To respond to the double challenge of a social implosion and a feeling of political despair demands a civic and militant compromise.” While we're at it, and as it is also a very fashionable trend, we note that among the current social democracy, freethinker’s style, or in the libertarian spheres, the whole of the classic concepts has been revised, re-interpreted and re-adapted to conform today's likings, by removing from them any classist content. Because it has reached decisive importance, we'll call attention to the falsification related to the concept of exploitation, keystone of the constitution of the proletariat as a homogeneous world class. According to the new interpretations, exploitation wouldn't be the surplus value extortion, which, directly and objectively, unifies in misery the whole proletarianized humanity, and which, historically, was decisive for the proletariat to recognize itself as a class.
That’s why one can sometimes hear: “they make me work so hard it is exploitation!” As if work wasn’t always exploitation! Or: “the workers of such and such country are exploited.” As if those from the other countries weren't exploited! Or else: “multinational corporations are exploitive institutions”. As if local ones weren't exploitive! It is also said that “monopolies exploit and destroy the planet's resource” as if it wasn’t capital itself that exploits and destroys everything! As if capital didn't dictate the action of every business of this planet! We can also hear: “imperialists exploit us!” as if there were any non-imperialist bourgeois or any bosses that do not exploit! And finally, we are asked to believe that we are not subjected to exploitation, that exploitation is not this world's rule, but merely constitutes an exception, an extreme case that only applies in very distant places. “In the countryside, in the third-world countries.” The further we believe it to be, the better it suits social democracy: So the remedy to this should be “to manifest solidarity with their misery, accept austerity and protest less here” To this we must add that, for them, solidarity has nothing to do with the classist concept of our struggle, but in reality belongs to the Judeo-Christian concept of guilt and sin and calls for a charitable attitude. It is then still a matter of a typical worldview of the dominant class and its openly bourgeois socialism.
This falsification leads to many others, such as the very concept of proletariat, which they mention as little as possible. And when they refer to it, they confine it into a mere sociologic category (the workers, as imposed by Stalinism), never as an evolving revolutionary subject, which deprive the proletariat of all revolutionary perspective and denies the fact that it bears the only social project alternative to the current world: communism, the human worldwide community.
Returning to Attac, we can obviously note that the measures they propose are in full coherence with their social-democrat worldview: taxation of the financial capital, major state control over profits and tax heavens, claims for more democracy: “to this end, the co-signers hereby create the association ATTAC (Action for a Tobin Tax of Aid to Citizens)… aiming at deterring international speculation, tax the capital's income, sanction tax heavens, prevent the generalisation of retirement funds, and, in a general way, re-conquer the fields lost by democracy to the financial sphere and oppose all new renunciation of the sovereignty of states on the pretext of the ‘right’ of investors and merchants.”
The Social Forum of Porto Alegre of January 2001(that the organizers intend to renew every year) constitutes one of the examples of summit-meetings (parallel anti-summit par excellence of the leftists bourgeoisie), a widened expression of the old social-democrat ideology, elegantly adorned with in vogue features like the congresses and counter-congresses. This forum's program closely resembles the invariant program of the left-wing bourgeoisie: “pleading for a democratic agrarian reform with usufruct for the land cultivators, access to water and seeds, demanding cancellation of the external debt and reparation for the historic, social and economic debts occasioned by the external debt, elimination of the tax havens, effective application of human rights, opposition to all forms of privatisation of natural resources and public goods, calling for people's sovereignty and a demilitarised planet” The “proclamation of social movements” holds the program of all associations, trade unions, parties, present in Porto Alegre, and is filled with the most remarkable affirmations of the bourgeois credo. It is an apology for a capitalism devoid of all the harmful consequences inherent to its being, that engenders neither poverty nor misery nor unemployment, for a capitalism that does not destroy nature, for a non-patriarchal capitalism, for a capitalism without racism, in short for a fair and equitable capitalism in which everyone would live in perfect harmony. “We demand a fair commercial system that ensures full-employment, food sovereignty, fair trade and well-being.”
That is a pre-eminently bourgeois discourse, according to which, after correcting a few excesses and injustices, capitalism would embody… the well-being society! Cynical apologies of the bourgeois society into which the right wing doesn't even dare to venture, openly admitting this is all impossible!
Another recurrent aspect of this anti-globalisation ideology is the claim for an increased support for what they call the third world, some going as far as requesting 0.7% of the GDP. What the promoters of this program do not say, it is that such an aid for development does not mainly apply to hospitals, schools or other projects linked to capitalist development, but it is also directed (nearly the whole of it, in certain countries) into the financing of local armies (so they can buy weapons from the countries that provided the aid), financing and training of police officers specialised in anti-subversive and anti-riot action (it is through those aids the Algerian, Peruvian, Congolese torturers are offered training in France, Belgium, etc…), buying tear gas produced by Shell with the raw materials from those third world countries, the support for conducting massacres (“genocides”, “holocausts”), like in Rwanda…
This is, roughly, the anti-globalisation ideology designed by social democracy, or more precisely, by its right wing. But some expressions are notably more left orientated, and correspond to other fractions of this historic party of bourgeoisie destined to the proletariat. Indeed, bourgeois leftism, which formerly defined itself through the defence of so-called socialism in such-and-such country or of such-and-such “worker's state” that are now considered as more or less degenerated, today keeps a low profile, and does not dare speaking of socialism in positive terms anymore, and even less of socialist block, but continues to characterize itself through a politically correct anti-capitalism. As we'll analyse further in this text, these leftists, along with the liberal extreme left-wing, today re-baptised as libertarians, attempt to respond to the class contradictions that arise, and more particularly to the currents that among the proletariat express a rupture with the bourgeois society. We shall examine those class contradictions in order to further evaluate and understand these expressions.
------ Photo Marcos
The bourgeoisie negociates the percentages of financial capital.
Marcos doing propaganda per ATTAC
The proletariat will destroy capital.
Probably one mystifies the importance of these summits and counter-summits, insofar as, for its good working capital does need neither international conferences, nor summit meetings. The keystone of homogeneity in the decision making of capital is essentially based on the fact that the dictatorship of the rate of profit exists everywhere, that it is the origin of any decision, the essence of each economic directive, the reason of living of capitalism, always and everywhere in the world. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the multinationals and governments, the parliaments and local administrations, the associations of states and consortiums, the trusts and the small concerns, they all put into effect, whatever is the importance of the decision to take, the criteria of profitability of capital (their own capital as well as the one under their administration); and in the same way, within the concerns, from the highest leader to the last worker, they all are forced to apply these criteria if they want to keep their post, and this apart from the fact that this situation is pleasant for some, whereas it is about a suffering and the daily alienation of life, for others. Capital is precisely characterized by its democracy, by its capacity to co-opt those who, among its subjects, will be unscrupulous to satisfy its appetite for profit, those who will be the best capable to impose its despotism without mercy, whether they are leaders, governors, international civil servants, local administrators, trade union chiefs, or torturers, One only has to recall the workers' leaders who, at all time, were co-opted by the government of capital, from Noske and Walesa to Lula! The other face of this democracy thanks to which one co-opts the workers' leaders to serve capital is the daily despotism, which imposes the value in process, against human life. Moreover this all-powerful dictatorship of the rate of profit develops competition between proletarians and pushes to the struggle
of all against all, always at the service of this imposition of the biggest possible rate of accumulation.
But beyond the mystification existing around the importance of the formal centralism with which capital can endow itself, it is clear that capitalism has centres of decisions (meetings, institutions, places, organisms, people...) at its disposal which, at the moment required, centralize some global decisions, obeying this omnipresent dictatorship of the rate of profit. It is generally within these centres that the measures are announced which attack the standard of living of proletarians; at the same time, agreements between the more decisive fractions of the bourgeoisie are also signed there. When these summit meetings of the capitalistic power are publicly announced in the media, it is because they try to win a certain support of the population towards the leaders of capital and the measures which emerge from there. And naturally, these meetings also obey the hazards of negotiations between the different fractions of capital, as well as the necessity to constitute constellations and alliances which try to improve their balance of forces facing the others, as it is the case for the regional common markets. These summits and anti-summits have moreover for function to make a show about the importance of these bourgeois polarizations, which capital needs to channel any proletarian protest.
Therefore, although the decision-making importance of these summits is mystified, and even though their spectacularization and their pseudo protest constitutes a necessity of the reproduction of the bourgeois domination, it is normal that the proletariat has considered them since ever as an attack against its own life, and this, whether these meetings take place in only one country or whether they gather the bourgeoisie of various countries, whether they are governmental, organized by political parties, trade unions, or whether they come from the structuring of these forces at an international scale. Whatever the period these summits ever caused great movements of protest, violent demonstrations, street fighting, bombing, and intense confrontations, often armed. Against the myth that tries to present as a novelty the confrontations that break out nowadays almost everywhere in the world at the time of these summits (the manipulation of the public opinion always requires to make new things out of old), we could mention many examples, on the five continents, that would demonstrate the opposite. One only has to think about the great street battles of the years '60 and '70, triggered off by the proletariat in America against the various international summits organized on this continent, against the meetings of the OAS, of the Alliance for Progress, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the GATT, or still against Conferences of Presidents,... One has only to remember the concerns set on fire, factories and campuses occupied, the violent demonstrations, bomb attacks against state sites, the strikes, the confrontations with the police, with special corps of repression, and in high number of countries, with the army,...
In regard to current events, the class confrontations get more and more obvious: Davos, Seattle, Nice, Prague, Gothenburg, Naples, Genoa... are an expression of this. Once more, the proletariat re-emerges exactly where the different fractions of international capital meet to know how they will increasingly exploit the proletarians from all over the world. On one hand, one finds the official summits and the social-democrat counter-summits, the conferences in the official lounges and the carnivalesque processions dominated by social democracy, in other words: the official pseudo protest. On the other hand, the proletariat emerges, outflanking the processions, trying to impose its direct action smashing shop windows and expropriating everything that can be, attacking official buildings and bourgeois property in general, firing everything that can represent the state, criticizing and denouncing aloud, through leaflets, pamphlets and reviews the NGO, Attac, parties and trade unions.
As one can see, including in these bourgeois' dens and despite the presence of a lot of recuperation forces, once more the both classes of society confront each other, bourgeoisie against proletariat, conservation of the bourgeois social order against its global calling into question. Right- and left-wing can stage all the shows of struggle they want, the media can well take charge of validate the options “globalisation” and “anti-globalisation”, but inevitably, the critique of capitalism carried by the proletarians who are present there, pushes them to break the containment; and then inevitably the two antagonistic social projects re-emerge: perpetuation of the capitalistic catastrophe or social revolution.
Apart from the discussion that we will approach farther and which develops nowadays within our class about how the proletariat has to stand, about its involvement or not to these processions, about the significance of the watchword “to stand outside and against conferences and anti-conferences” (which is our position!), about the assessment of this direct action (does it correctly express the unification and the development of the international force against capital or on the contrary, does it presuppose a submission to a show that takes away from the real direct action?); apart then from this discussion, there is no doubt on the fact that these explosions express the rage of our class facing the bourgeois gathered there in order to “decide the fate of the planet” . In this way the process of proletarian autonomy outlined by our class at the time of the summits and counter-summits proves to be extremely encouraging. It materializes through a rupture with the trade unionist containment, through important expressions of violence against this latter, against private property, against the different state-controlled structures in presence; and all this more and more underlines the fact that the real opposition does not stand between Davos and Porto Alegre, between the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and Attac... but well, as ever, between capital (right- as well as left-wing) and the proletariat.
Although the autonomy of the proletariat still remains very relative at the time of these struggles, these nevertheless express the class war and therefore the ever growing antagonism between humankind and capitalism, and allow to put back on the agenda, within the community of struggle that develops - particularly within the vanguard minorities - some central questions of which the proletarian internationalism, the international necessity to get constituted in force, the question of the international struggle against the power of capital and the world state. Of course, from the social viewpoint, solutions are still far to be found. But the fact that thousands of militants through the world start again to think and to discuss the central questions of social revolution constitutes a decidedly encouraging fact. If one adds to this the continuity of repeating explosions in different places of the world, one can say that it is about an important step for the revolutionary movement.
It is obvious that the media will never portray things on the basis of the true bourgeoisie/proletariat polarisation. To the contrary, their function is to conceal these class antagonisms and channel them into inter-bourgeois contradictions, and make these spectacular enough to mask the real antagonisms, to turn the world proletariat into a mass of spectators passively witnessing the succession of conferences and counter-conferences, and, for the most active sectors, allow the possibility to applaud or boo the show. Also allowed, (so that it improves the show's credibility) are yelling, watchwords, slogans and even, to a certain extent, certain violent actions as long as they don't cast doubt on the show or its outlet function. In order to achieve proper falsification of the information, only official conferences and Attac and their acolytes are to be taken into consideration, including of course, the more violent expressions of the same discourse generated by most hot-headed supporters of the Tobin tax. For the media, the only opposition that matters is the one opposing summits and anti-summits, as for example Seattle and Porto Alegre, even if, from time to time, they can't avoid showing some images of rioters and anti-conformists.
However, let us remember that those summits and anti-summits are absolutely not new. During the premise of the so-called First and Second World Wars, the negotiations between superpowers (that, of course, ended up with war), were handled by staging more or less parallel congresses, organized by pacifists and social-democrats, and, as today, with the purpose of showing off and duping the proletarians to have them forfeit any inclination towards direct action. For about 15 years now, the rhythm of these summit and anti-summit meetings has increased frantically: the Rio meeting on the future of the planet and its parallel anti-meeting, the festivities and counter-festivities commemorating the 500th anniversary of the America's “discovery”, conferences on the destruction of the planet resources followed by ecologic anti-conferences…
The social forum of Porto Alegre of January 2001 is an excellent example of a mediatized show staged by capital in order to portray the past, present and future oppositions as a mere inter-bourgeois question. According to the fabricants of authorized opinion, the Porto Alegre forum is the true retort to the Davos meeting, and, to provide it with all the “reality” that can come out of such exhibitions (like those “apple” soaps that smell of apple more than an apple itself, the show always seems more real than reality!), they go as far as staging what they'll call a “set symbolic of passion”, based on a live debate “via teleconference between the cold Davos and the warm Porto Alegre...”
“The Davos team, led by the financier and speculator Georges Soros, is clad in black suits, wears tie and hair grease, and is serious and silent. On Porto Alegre's side, a broad spectrum of races, colourful clothes, languages, voices… and public. The discussion lasted for forty minutes. Forty minutes, during which hundreds of persons, crammed in front of the television screens, applauded enthusiastically, booed, laughed or yelled slogans. Soros and his team (formed by Mark Malloch, UN consultant, John Ruggie, also UN consultant, and Bjorn Edlud, president of a Swiss multinational corporation), advised by image specialists, endeavoured to maintain an Olympian calm, while claim to be concerned by poverty and pointing out that well before the current globalisation and external debt, children already died of starvation in Africa. From Porto Alegre, Bernard Cassen (Attac) replied with much precision, demanding the enforcement of the Tobin Tax on financial and speculative operations and the cancellation of the external debt. Rafael Alegria (Via Campesina) enumerated the globalisation's effects on the disarticulation of the state's services, on the rise of job losses and the inaccessibility of land ownership for peasants. But passion was unleashed for two magical minutes: Hebe Bonafini from the "Mothers of the May Square" declared with a faltering but firm voice: "Sir, you stand against us, your responses are hypocritical. Answer! How many children do you kill a day?" From Davos, Georges Soros gave the ghost of a smile and remained silent. So Bonafini yelled at him: "Mister Soros, you laugh at the deaths of thousands of children?" In front of the television screens, people in Porto Alegre applauded fervently at the Mother of May. Soros kept his stance, offering his image for a sattelitable publicity”.
Such is the work of medias: hide the proletariat and its struggle against the capitalist society behind this show between Soros and the leftists, between the IMF and Attac, between “globalisation” and “anti-globalisation”. Hence another example, during the Nice summit, as accurately stated in an internationally distributed pamphlet: “The bourgeois press lied. Lied shamelessly. According to it, the demonstrators against capitalist globalisation joined the citizen parade, summoned by the European Trade Union Confederation (CES). What more could these capitalists and rulers, these spokesmen and lackeys long for, than seeing the proletarian youth at war with capitalism, joining those misleading processions organized by the legal opposition to the bourgeois system? In reality, in the streets of Nice, two different, opposing, movements were discernible… Two movements that so played their part: the first one, bourgeois (even though it still drags along a high number of proletarians led astray), arrives as reinforcement to the capitalist state, led by reformist leaders in the service of the latter. The second, proletarian, denouncing capitalism ardently and attacking its interests.”
It appears extremely important to point out, like many comrades and groups standing against the current, the true opposition between the proletarian movement and all this anti-summits and citizen celebrations, organized by Attac and the like. However, to claim, as below in the pamphlet, that these two distinct demonstrations coincide with two different social movements, is to envisage things in an absolute and insufficiently dialectic way. Indeed, despite the obvious differences that distinguish those demonstrations, they both contain the class contradiction. The social democrat guides the proletarians like docile sheep. The other one (that began 3 hours later), via its radical watchwords, tended towards proletarian rupture, but contained a whole range of centrist positions and ideologies put forward by the social democracy, as we shall see further. All this takes shape, for example, in the belief of the vast majority of demonstrators, that they can confront capitalism without confronting social democracy (constituent of capitalism) at the same time and in the same way, or, despite their capacity to organize themselves outside the social-democrat frame, in their difficulties to organize against it.
Official or parallel summits fever and falsehood of the alternative bourgeois projects
Dessin P15 (en fr)Phylactère =
Why the hell are we going without even knowing where we are going to, as if we were sheep
These two last years have seen the trend of summits and anti-summits rise and make a qualitative step forward in simultaneity with the radicalisation of the proletarian protests against them. Nowadays, organizing a summit no longer consists solely of sorting out the general meetings, the commissions, lodgement for those attending the congress or anti-congress, the official masses and the democrat citizen ones organized by the “anti-globalisation militants”. It is also necessary to anticipate the proletarian ruptures and outflanking, and, consequently, to provide for specialised repressive forces, prepare the reinforcement of border inspection, concentration of shock troops, filming and broadcasting teams, specific services like bodyguards for the congress or anti-congress personalities, troop transport vehicles, tanks, anti-demonstration fences, and settling of the secret services from all around the world. It also requires planning access or evacuation procedures for the congress protagonists, in case the attacks would reach the official centres, and the extraordinary mobilisation of medical services for the wounded, as well as gathering weapons and gasses, and getting the confinement cells and detention centres ready to welcome a large number of prisoners. As an example, on the occasion of the IMF and World Bank congress of Prague, no less than 170 policemen and 123 demonstrators were wounded, around 900 persons were arrested, while damage inflicted on private property amounted a million dollars, which is after all fairly insignificant compared to the real cost of these little meetings, which is said to include even potential airborne evacuation of the main personalities as well as air and anti-missile coverage of the zone. Of course, all this information (along with the inevitable distortions and falsifications) echoed all over the world, giving the impression that we were indeed witnessing an historic conflict of exceptional intensity, which for some is a battle between the supporters of globalisation and the anti-globalisation ones, while some others see it as a sort of capitalism versus anti-capitalism, international capital versus international revolution conflict.
Despite these clashes actually being a part of the all-time confrontation between the preservation of the private property's world and the proletarian struggle for social revolution:
- to imagine that a relation of forces is presently being enforced that would impede the development of capital's current international policy, is to be deeply unaware of capitalism own functioning.
- to imagine that it truly is a confrontation between two different projects (neo-liberalism versus anti-neo-liberalism, globalisation versus anti-globalisation) and that the bourgeois left-wing really has a distinct capitalist project, also proves a total ignorance of the very essence of the bourgeois social formation and a total misunderstanding of these capitalist fractions conglomerate's function.
- and finally, to believe that, thanks to “direct action”, the proletariat has at last found the path of proletarian internationalism, or as alleged by some groups, that through these actions we are entering a phase of direct confrontation between capitalist internationalism and proletarian internationalism, not only evidences unawareness of capitalism's functioning, but comes to forget, deform, falsify the revolution's program, the revolutionary strategy, and inevitably leads to favouring confusion, by assuming a centrist role (attempting to prevent the necessary rupture) among the proletarian movement.
Let us now provide some explanations about the two first points. The last one is a matter of the proletariat's own development and revolutionary affirmation, and we shall bring it up in the following chapters.
The international policy, nowadays called neo-liberal or “globalisation”, does not have a long-term viable bourgeois alternative. This policy obeys to the intrinsic rules of the system that has been global ever since it has existed and that bases its functioning on the famous market's “invisible hand”, namely the law of value. Contrarily to what is sometimes heard, this is not “one” of capital's policies, this is capitalism's “natural” implementation, this is the rule that will ultimately impose itself. The different so-called “alternative” economic policies can only, very partially and in a limited way in time and/or space, correct or reduce its enforcement. Populists (from Getulio Vargas to Peron, from Cardenas to Nasser), the so-called socialist countries, but also fascism, Nazism, Franquism… were its most durable expressions. These historic attempts to affirm a different capitalist project on the long term (by restricting the law of value's application on account of protectionism) could only have had limited duration, beyond which failure was inevitable.
For those same reasons it is not possible to render “more human” a system that is not. In the same way, there can be no environment-friendly capitalism, or capitalism without wars. Whatever happened to the bourgeois “ecologic” surge of awareness, for example, it did little to protect nature from the mischief of capitalist's production; to the contrary, it turned the “ecologic” and “natural” into commodity. The constant search for maximum profitability and the corporations’ impressive adaptation abilities, ready to sell basically anything under the ecologic label, make the capitalist dictatorship on nature even harsher, and pose a threat for all species, and the human one in particular. In the same way, it is absolutely impossible to pacify the capitalist world, as the whole of the pacifist capitalist policies only use peace as a war implement.
Hiding this reality is more and more difficult. Capital's catastrophe has reached such proportions that the scope of manoeuvre, that not so long ago allowed implementing somewhat dissimilar economic policies, has shrunk: capitalism nowadays tends irreversibly and globally to unify its policies, both left-wing and right-wing make it clearer everyday, that there is only one possible capitalist policy (and that's what all leftists who accessed power now persistently avow!) Thus, insofar as they have been co-opted to take part in the decisions, the “anti-neo-liberals” and “anti-globalists” from the opposition inevitably turn into “neo-liberals” and “pro-globalisation” and are compelled to enforce the very opposite of that which they had been defending until then. Still, we cannot consider this an expression of their free will, or simply that they are just a bunch of cynical liars, because it is indeed true that capitalism forces them to implement its own policy in a much stronger way than these leftists had imagined.
Along with capital's development, the ability to moderate, at a regional level, the international law of value has dwindled in time and space. An ultra-protectionist capitalism, like the one that reigned during numerous years in Russia, China, Albania… is inconceivable nowadays. The days of the Cuban capitalist regime and Castroist reactionary leaders are now numbered. Stalinism, the ultra-reactionary model of capitalist development (it seals its borders as an attempt to oppose the progress of the productive forces' development, international capital's natural tendency, the law of value), was not eradicated by democratic ideas or because of its ruthless use of concentration camps (capitalism always made use of them), but merely because the strict implementation of the law of value cannot be indefinitely withheld. Indeed, the wider the gap between, on one side, productive force's worldwide development and the ensuing international devalorisation, and on the other, the protectionist restriction of that devalorisation in a given productive area, the faster the catastrophe and socio-economic implosion of that area will occur (cf. what happened in eastern Europe).
This process has been accelerating with the development of capital's contradictions, and it is more and more difficult to maintain, through subsidization, the viability of certain productive areas and economic activity sectors. From the local governments' point of view, whose mission is to offer the best profit rates in order to attract capital (a policy always in accordance with the international credit organisms and particularly the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank), it means not only raise the exploitation rate as much as possible, but also to avoid taxing lucrative sectors to finance non-lucrative sectors (redistribution of profit). This process explains the tendency towards homogeneousness of the wide-scale bourgeois policy. So, if bourgeois politicians still deliver somewhat distinct speeches (and even then, less and less!), when it comes to governing, they all implement, with a few variations, the International Monetary Fund's policy. This is one of the reasons for the so-called “betrayal” of leftists who accessed government and in conclusion enforce a right-wing policy, or ecologists who finally end up supporting the national and international war effort (NATO's included), and, more globally, the destruction of the planet and human life. If they implement a “right-wing” policy, it's because, from capital's point of view, it's the only valid one : it is necessary to generate profit and attract capitals on the basis of that profitability. If some differences in the speeches still remain, it is not as a reflection of true differences between economic policies, but rather because on certain occasions, facing the proletariat, only in the name of left-wing or ecology can austerity measures be enforced. That's why, even from the capitalist's point of view, nothing else is to expected from this conglomerate of fractions, which, in their speeches, blame the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. These bourgeois fractions only differ in the manner they intend to channel the proletarians who, under unceasing attack by the progresses of capitalism, grow a sort of nostalgia for a “less aggressive and less destructive” world, forever gone. This idiotic nostalgia induce the naïve desire to protect local production, relieved from the domination of these gigantic international corporations, which, without scruples, destroy everything in the name of capital. It is no other project than the typical helpless lamentation of local and “more ecologic” management. A pamphlet, emitted by the Spanish CNT of Barcelona, dated from the 23rd of September 2000, was concluded precisely on this motto, perfect expression of the ideological, utopian and reactionary claims of this bundle of “anti-globalist” bourgeois fractions: “Support to local, ecologic and self-ruled economy”.
Furthermore, it is obvious that the development of these pseudo-projects constitutes the ideological expression of various bourgeois fractions' protectionist's interests, particular and localist ones which, as such, promote the imperialistic struggle (and wars). Therefore, it is not a matter, despite the content of their speeches, of achieving a “more human capitalism” – capitalism is and has always been inhuman and the antagonism between capitalism and humanity can only grow worse-, it is all about containing the proletariat with these reactionary utopias and exhort it to the defence of their local, regional, national interests… No wonder then, that in many countries, the extreme right wing declares itself in favour of the “anti-globalisation”. It's real intent is, of course, to regain credibility in the eyes of the exploited and channel the growing proletarian rage towards the way things are going on around the planet into the grounds of the inter-bourgeois struggle, of the imperialistic war.
Role of the proletariat in the circus of summits and its drifts:
Question of the proletarian autonomy
All this production of summits and anti-summits aims to present the protests of Davos, Seattle, Prague, and Genoa... as the real alternative to the present world. Even outside the overtly social-democrat fractions, it is in good taste to consider the days when summits, street battles... are held, as the very essence of the struggle that would oppose the present development of capitalism, as the quintessence of proletarian internationalism, finally found. In this chapter we will therefore focus on the role currently assigned to the action of the proletariat within these summits, with the aim to specify our interests and to define the proletarian policy to adopt facing this big circus.
In order to deepen this question, it is essential to wonder about the difference existing between the way the struggle of our class expresses itself against the summits and anti-summits, and the proletarian struggles that, as we said, are currently characterized by lightning qualitative jumps (although sporadic and without continuity), by extremely violent struggles that attack the whole political spectrum and that develop out of any mediation, as it happened these last years in Romania, Venezuela, Albania, Algeria,... or more recently, in Indonesia, Ecuador,... It is necessary to wonder about the existing interaction between each of these struggles or proletarian ways of expression.
As an example, and to make the global understanding easier, let's compare the struggles that took place in Seattle, with those that occurred, in the early year 2000, in Ecuador. In both cases entire fractions of the proletariat confront capital, thousands of proletarians oppose the different national and international structures of the world capitalistic state. In both cases they confront the repressive corps that protect private property, as well as the centres of decisions of capital. In both cases they fight the local leaders as well as the international leaders of capital.
Let's now pursue while lingering over the differences. Although we make this comparison in order to fight some subtler conceptions, we start by underlining the most stupid and limited prejudices being derived from the social- democrat ideology. According to the vision of Attac and Co, the struggles in each country cannot go farther since the centres of decision of capital, or better said of financial capital, are the World Bank and the IMF and that it is at the time of summit meetings that these institutions decide the fate of the planet. Attac and Co don't therefore recognize that the proletarian movement is the same in Seattle and in Ecuador; but even if they would accept this idea they would pretend that in Seattle the movement is international and decisive, whereas in Ecuador it is local, indigenous, economicist and without great impact. Concretely, they would affirm that it is thanks to the protests in Seattle, Davos, Washington,… which attack the centre of the system, that capitalism encounters difficulties to impose the measures recommended by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
We will answer to this that in Ecuador proletarians confronted not only the local bourgeoisie, but also the international bourgeoisie. Through its action the proletariat opposed the plans of austerity sponsored by these famous institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The generalization of this movement would have allowed to impose an international balance of forces calling into question any increase of the rate of exploitation; its qualitative development would have called into question the exploitation itself. On the other hand, the only thing that one can expect from the proletarian movement that fights against the summits and counter-summits, against the plans of the IMF, etc., it is that these meetings don't take place, that the delegates to these congresses, or more generally the representatives of world capitalism, are terrorized in their decision makings. But it won't prevent that decisions are taken. This will be done discreetly, without fanfare, into secret alcoves or through “confidential” inter-bourgeois contacts... but one way or another, the decisions will be taken!
Although the actions such like the ones that took place in Ecuador are geographically limited, they are capable (a large number of historic examples testifies this) to impose an international balance of forces against capital, to freeze the measures attacking the proletariat (as in Bolivia where the measures about the running water that national and international capital wanted to impose have been withdrawn).
On the other hand, the action in Seattle, although more general and certainly more spectacular, is nevertheless incapable to impose a balance of forces allowing, for example, to prevent an increase of the rate of exploitation.
The suspension of the meeting of the World Bank in Barcelona, planned for June 2001, incited our enemies to talk about a triumph. As far as we are concerned, we consider that even though one succeeds in eliminating all the conferences on the surface of the earth, even though one destroys the whole of the buildings housing the meetings of these international organisms, one would not succeed in preventing the application of the measures, country by country. It is necessary to clearly affirm it in order to challenge the opposite myth. This does not at all depreciate the struggle of the proletarians against the summits and anti-summits, struggle that inspires the delegates to these congresses, the cops, the governments and the social democrats with a real panic. As we will see later, these sectors of the proletariat could play a decisive role in the generalization of the struggle, in the consciousness and the international direction of the movement.
Let's therefore pursue our comparison. In Ecuador this movement results from a set of partial struggles, led by different sectors of the proletariat in order to defend their interests, against “their own bourgeoisie”, “their own” trade unionists, “their own” social-democrat parties... In the beginning, the requirements were different, and then the discontent grew and spread. The proletarian struggle occupied the street and the particular claiming became widespread. Decision-making centres of the state (parliament, judicial power, presidency, places of meetings for political parties...) have been attacked.
In Seattle the movement is composed of those who want to attack what they consider as the centres of decisions of capital and the world state. And this is real valid for the proletarians who walk like good little sheep in social- democrat processions as well as for those who outflank them and who are going to confront social democracy, getting organized outside this latter, and even often against it. The starting point of the proletarians who goes in Seattle is apparently more global, more politicised and more determined by the political will than by the immediate interest, the social interest. They start from their positions, from their revolutionary ideas, even though these latter are, in their turn, the result of the consciousness of the generalized immediate interests of the proletariat.
Through its opposition towards the expressions of capital and the state it confronts, the movement in Ecuador, social product of the proletarian interests becoming widespread, directly contains, represents and assumes the interests of the international proletariat against capital and the world state. The consequent struggle for their interests leads the proletarians to practically oppose the tentative of social-democrat containment, and this, independently of what the protagonists are thinking about. In Ecuador, the proletarian movement, whose interests emerged and developed during this movement, is urged to the rupture with all type of social-democrat containment. In Seattle, on the contrary, only the political positions and the programmatic clarity allow to develop and to deepen the rupture with social democracy.
In Ecuador the proletariat can defend the interests for which the movement started only while breaking with the social-democrat containment and while assuming its class autonomy. When it decides to go to Quito that it considers to be a decision-making centre of capital, this is because it's utterly exhausted, because it wants to get rid of those who starve it. It is about an attack! Because at this moment everybody recommends to be quiet and “to go back home” Nobody invited these proletarians to Quito, and there is neither a summit, nor an anti-summit to “welcome” them. Only the police will be there and will first do its best to prevent them from reaching capital city. And in spite of this the proletariat will impose its determination. The trade union containment and the bourgeois left will try to take the moving train well, but they only just will succeed in following it.
On the other hand, in Seattle, the summits are the initial reason of the movement. It is according to the summits that the places and dates of gathering are determined. This is not a proletarian force, which decides to go to Seattle; proletarians are invited to participate like a submissive herd in processions according to the diary of the meetings. Beside these processions, and to a certain extent outside and against them, one finds groups of proletarians ready to fight against this containment. Of course, those are not invited... one rather fears them. It is against them that the repressive forces get organized. It is against them that the checking at the borders is reinforced. These proletarian factions in rupture go to Seattle because of their programmatic positions; they are going there to mark and to develop their rupture with capital in its whole. Only the perception of the interests of the international proletariat, transformed into class-consciousness and into positions (filtered through the bourgeois ideology, in spite of a struggle against this), will allow them to oppose social democracy and to develop the proletarian autonomy. Moreover, the majority of the proletarians who go to Seattle in order to develop the proletarian struggle belongs to an organization, a network (very fashionable expression nowadays), a movement, a group, or are considered as being part of their organized periphery.
This makes a considerable distinction between the both examples that we compared. The rupture in Ecuador is determined by the unavoidable development of antagonistic interests. In Seattle it depends almost exclusively on the programs and flags of the groups in presence. This determines that, at the time of performances like in Seattle, the political discussion with groups and the participating organizations acquire a great importance. In the same way, the programmatic critique of the organizations which pretend to develop and to impulse a proletarian rupture becomes decisive as well as the denunciation of all centrist ideologies that prevent the rupture and/or that want, in the name of the limits of the proletarian consciousness, to push forward the proletariat while giving a more violent character to the protest of the bourgeois left. As we will see farther, the fact to make more violent the protest of the bourgeois left cannot constitute on no account the action program of the proletariat.
The comradely critique we have for these expressions is part and parcel of the rupture movement that currently develops, whether it is in Seattle, in Ecuador or in any place in the world. In spite of the differences that we underlined in one or the other case, it is yet a question here of one only and same movement, of which we assume the practice. This is our movement, the one of our world fight against capital. But when from inside we try to make a critical assessment of the forces and weaknesses of a movement like the one that started in Ecuador, we feel that the most important aspect lies in its practical dynamics and not in the analysis of flags, groups and positions, what we consider in this case as secondary. On the other hand, in Seattle, as the political positions are the starting point of the regrouping of forces, their analysis and their critique must be firstly taken into consideration, without forgetting however that, also there, what is going to be decided, it is the autonomous struggle of the international proletariat against the bourgeois society and all the retraining proposed by the left. In the following chapters we will analyse how, at the time of these summits, the struggle for the autonomy of the proletariat tries to take shape and we will give priority to the political positions of the protagonists towards their autonomy in any street demonstration.
However, before starting this analysis, it seems for us imperative to specify that the autonomy in the street is extremely important, and this is why the watchword “outside and against the summits and anti-summits” as well as the critique of proletarians kidding themselves like good little sheep is fundamental. The Internationalist Communist Group, through several leaflets and propaganda actions, clearly expressed this position during these struggles.
It is just as fundamental (and we assume this to the extent of our forces) to criticize the practice of the radical columns of these demonstrations, in order to urge them to not participate anymore in these social-democrat processions, even to “outflank the demonstration” or to “radicalise it”. Seeing that in such circumstances the proletarian rupture can takes place only through the programmatic rupture, through the programmatic and organisative advance of the most radical factions, we are going now to focus on the programmatic positions expressed at the time of these demonstrations.
Class violence: revolutionaries or activists and opportunists?
Let's now deepen the ground of the classist rupture. Let's leave the bleating sheep and let's concentrate ourselves on the radical proletarian fringes that interest us, on the militants or groups of militants that are the closest to us, those who go to these demonstrations to confront capital and the state, those who consider that it is decisive to attack social democracy, those who claim themselves as revolutionaries and are present to develop the revolutionary struggle.
It is clear that to consider oneself as a revolutionary expresses a real qualitative step: this means to assume in a voluntary, organized and conscious way an activity aimed to the destruction of capitalism and the state. About this we have to point out, in order to come back to the previous comparison, that when the movement in Ecuador decreases, there only remains, in the best case, a few small cores of revolutionary militants who try to draw the lessons and to get in touch with other revolutionaries through the world. In Seattle on the contrary, minorities already exist that get organized in a permanent way and that will give a continuity to their organization apart from the summits, which constitutes an extremely important affirmation of the tendency of the proletariat to organize itself into force and into historic affirmation of the revolutionary militancy. We are part of this process and within this one it seems for us essential to practice the comrade critique.
One doesn't become revolutionary by a single act of will, but according to the social practice, to the practical role one plays, to what one defends in the practice. This is valid for the militants as well as for the political organizations. It is the social practice, the real social project that places a group, a militant, on one side or the other of the barricade.
History is full of examples of organizations that on behalf of revolution defended counterrevolution, of national and international political structures that on behalf of socialism, communism and/or anarchism defended precisely the opposite: capitalism and its state. At the root of all opportunisms, of all renouncement to the program of revolution, one always finds, as decisive factor of the treason, the ideology of the lesser evil, the “realistic” politics, “don't frighten the proletariat with radical propositions”, “the masses would not understand”, it is necessary to proceed “stage by stage”, to dissolve the revolutionary program “to go where the masses are”, and finally, to replace the communist program by a set of partial reforms or bridge-programs that always lead to the defence of capital. In order to impose itself, the counterrevolution always uses the same artifices, and these are not very numerous. This is the reason why it is important to analyse the struggles of the past and to draw lessons from them.
Within the organizations and groups present in Davos, Seattle, Prague... in the pamphlets, leaflets and publications as well as in the discussions, what we firstly see is that, for those who pretend to be revolutionaries, the main unifying and demarcating element is to assume and claim class violence, and naturally, organized violence of the class minorities. Against the ideology of “non-violence”, so widespread in the official processions and that makes the work of the cops easier since it allows the police to put on files, to gas, to humiliate and to give thousands of human beings a beating without provoking any reaction from their own, it is logical and very important that groups claiming the revolution assume and exhort to the revolutionary violence. It is about an invariant necessity, a basic element of the rupture with the social-democrat ideology and, at an international level, it is about an objective affirmation of the proletarian tendency to break with theoricism and armchair ideologists.
The fact to socially assume violence, as elementary phenomenon, as indispensable human necessity against the society of capital, reappears on the agenda in all movements of the proletariat. It is obvious that one internationally becomes aware of the necessity of class minority violence against the social-democrat pacifist ideology. This awareness is and will be decisive for the structuring of the proletariat in world strength. This present tendency is determined by the exacerbation of all the contradictions of capital, but also by the action and the denunciation that we put forward since decades as for so many other revolutionary minorities. We insist to underline this because it is about a strong point of the movement and its vanguard expressions that we find in Seattle, in Ecuador, in Paris, in Moscow...
Today as yesterday, any group or organization that is opposed to the proletarian minorities' violence while putting forward antisubstitutionism, antiterrorism, the mythical “class violence in its whole”, belongs in fact to social democracy and to the bourgeois state.
Nevertheless, the violence alone cannot be considered as the sufficient element of a rupture. Considered separately, in itself, it doesn't allow drawing a demarcating line between reform and revolution, as bourgeois leftism tries to make us believe. Between reform (that also uses violence to defend the system) and revolution, there is a class abyss about social project and program. The proletariat has to practically organize itself outside and against social democracy, to delimit the more clearly possible the opposing camps. The practical affirmation of the proletariat as independent class simultaneously implies the theoretical definition of demarcating methods and objectives towards the bourgeois strengths. To believe that this demarcation can exclusively occur on the basis of the opposition between violence and non-violence, is absolutely insufficient and develops confusion.
However, within the movement against the summits, one notes a great disregard for the revolutionary theory, for the program of the destruction of capitalism, for the struggle in favour of precise programmatic agreements, for the question of the party, for the question of the power. Thus, in the shade of social democracy and as violent expression of its being, an ideology has grown that denies or minimizes the importance of these questions on behalf of liberty or the “libertarian”, of “direct action” and the “revolutionary practice”. This conception is based on “activity”, “the practical”, and unity coming through “the struggles in the street”. We mercilessly criticize this conception because, since ever, it leads to opportunism.
Firstly, denying the importance of revolutionary theory and programmatic discussion obviously constitutes a very precise “revolutionary” theory, even if its partisans deny this. The refusal to define the revolutionary program of the proletariat, combined with the apology of “direct action” in the immediate activity and the “libertarian” in the political sphere, is a very concrete program that has nothing new. Opportunists of 19th and early 20th century, starting with Bernstein himself, already based their conception on this maxim: “The goal is nothing, the movement is all”
Still more serious, this movementism, this empiricism feels strong because it is capable to bring masses to the action, without frightening them with positions such as the necessary dictatorship of the proletariat for the abolition of wage labour. But, from the point of view of the proletariat, this lack of direction, of program and perspective, of permanent organization and taking over of the necessity to get centralized, constitutes a great historic weakness allowing, once more, one to carry on with manipulating us. From the point of view of the groups that develop and give a boost to this empiric and antiprogrammatic practice, it means leaving the door wide open to opportunism, frontism, to the ideology of the lesser evil, and in general, to the transition into the camp of social democracy, of counterrevolution.
Considering the characteristics of the proletarian struggles today in the world, what precisely the movement lacks is perspective, continuity, revolutionary direction, insurrectionary preparation, that is to say the affirmation of a strength that knows where to go, that fights to endow itself with a centralization and a direction. The proletariat affirms itself as a class only when it violently and in a lightning way reappears in the struggle, what is geographically today very limited. At the present time, this is the great weakness of our class: it is incapable to recognize itself in the struggles that take place at the other end of the planet. It is as if, at any time, the movement starts from scratch again, without having accumulated any historic experience. To not discern itself as a world class, to not recognize its own past, generate the inability to affirm (and, still worse, to know) the program of destruction of capitalism. It is therefore that the whole libertarian, practicist, movementist... ideologies, which opposes “direct action” to the revolutionary program, are today more harmful than ever. They act again the role of the lifelong opportunists: to prevent the revolutionary rupture with social democracy.
The fact that these groups and organizations consider themselves as revolutionaries is not enough to rank them in the camp of revolution. Indeed, their real practice precisely consists in defending this empirical ideology, this revolutionary anti-theory that always goes hand in hand with the activist practice.
Most of these militants who pretend to be revolutionaries consider that the central activity of the revolution consists in agitating, activating, giving rise to the struggle of the proletariat, leading some permanent campaigns against such or such multinational or institution of capital and of course against the bourgeois summits. We don't criticize the fact that these activists consider themselves as professionals of revolution, that they organize and try with all their heart to develop it; we criticize the fact that, according to them, revolution would result, not from the historic struggles of a social class, but from the generalization of their actions, from this activism. This ideology based on the specificity of the agitation action, of the recruitment in its favour and on the illusion to be able to destroy capitalism thanks to the generalization of activism (some are even going until linking victory with the number of busses that will go to the next summit), underscores an ignorance and an objective contempt not only about the historic movement to which these groups belong, but especially about the existing relationship between the struggles they lead and present or past proletarian struggles, that is to say about the revolutionary program. Activism thus closes its eyes to the historic arch of the communist struggle against capital; it defends “activity” against revolutionary theory, “direct action” against the necessity to get organized into political force, into a revolutionary party, into a centralized force for the abolition of the capitalistic social order. Even when it speaks about organization, activism never considers constituting itself as a worldwide force, developing permanency and centralization, the worldwide party. It refers on the contrary to informal networks, to unity through action, to agreements on such or such campaigns. While repeating the old social democrat separation between practice and theory, while depreciating theory and pretending to act on behalf
of the masses, of the will of those who struggle, of workers' democracy... activism always leads to the degeneration of political groups. These worshippers of immediatism end up running behind the masses and sacrificing the bulk of the revolutionary program.
As Amadeo Bordiga said: “A banal deviation that one finds at the origin of the worse episodes of the degeneration of the movement, is the fact to underestimate the clarity and the continuity of principle and to incite "the political being" to plunge into the activity of the movement that will show the way. It is not stopping to decide, while referring to the texts, going through them with a fine-tooth comb of the previous experience, but continuing without stopping in the heart of the action... Never a traitor or a Judas to the ruling class had deserted the movement, without having argued, firstly that he was the best and the most active "practical" defender of the workers' interests, and secondly that he acted thus because of the obvious will of the mass of his disciples...”.
Revolutionary International? Activist lie!
Activism starts from the conception according to which the revolutionary International forms itself on the basis of immediate action. Nowadays, different groups calling into question the classic social-democrat positions, participate in the circus of summits and anti-summits, in their propaganda; they support that it is about a confrontation between the capitalist international and the revolutionary international. As an example the international secretary of the FSA-IWA doesn't hesitate to title his document concerning Prague: “The capitalist International against the anarcho-syndicalist International”.
In spite of the power of certain confrontations of our class against the summits and anti-summits, in spite of the violence of outflanking, confrontations against the police, in spite of the broken shop windows, etc. it is totally inadequate for us to speak about a revolutionary international. A revolutionary international, it is much more than all this, not only in quantitative terms, relative to expressions of violence, but also in qualitative terms. To glorify these proletarian actions and to identify them with a revolutionary international constitutes a gross distortion of facts and proposes a completely false picture of what a revolutionary international must be; and this, for different reasons.
The first one is that the degree of autonomy of the proletariat remains very relative. Above all because the places, dates and methods... of the confrontations are not determined by the proletariat; they are imposed to it by the class enemy and settled at the time of the summits and/or the parallel summits. And even though trying to prevent their realization or demonstrating against them is a part of our protest, we cannot speak about autonomy of action if we entirely depend on these summits to appear and demonstrate.
And indeed, several groups and militants draw the following lessons from Seattle: “it is not necessary to throw oneself into the lion's jaws", "it is our turn to decide where, when and how we will demonstrate” . The consciousness of this reality constitutes one of the strongest aspects, developed by the minorities, which impulse the violent action, and several organizations and groups show the necessity to get organized apart from the circus of the summits and anti-summits. Different associations, networks and assemblies begin to claim this objective, shaping thus the embryo of a community of struggle that could be decisive in the future and prefigure, through its practice, the direction the proletariat needs.
However, and it is necessary to affirm this very clearly, at the time of these summits, even though class violence develops, the degree of autonomy of the proletariat remains weak, extremely weak. This greatly relieves the cops in their work of preparation and knowledge of the ground in case of “fight” as well as in order to arrange cameras, to film, to put on file and to identify “the most dangerous elements”.
The bourgeoisie already achieved important successes at the time of such operations. We have to state the fact that an excellent division of work has been realized, in order to channel, to scatter and to repress the proletariat: a maximum of people are invited, one puts the great majority among them to sleep through “sheep like” walks and ballads behind the inevitable pacifist groups; and one makes sure that those who want to fight form processions aside or with different colours, with the declared objective to violently express themselves and to smash shop windows, what obviously makes the police's action easier. Sleep therapy for the great majority, truncheons and filings for those who look for confrontation, this is how our enemies work in order to divide the proletariat. This is as if they filtered the movement, selecting and identifying perfectly those it is necessary to put on file, those it is necessary to arrest.
The predominant ideology in any number of these activist groups makes this division of work easier. The fact that they don't define themselves outside and against the official processions of protests and that any number agrees to form other columns within these processions contributes to the work of the state. Moreover, in some cases, those who take the lead of the outflanking are nothing but the “youth sections” of leftist groups or fractions of social democracy (Maoist, Trotskyites, guerrillerists...) which obviously do not stand against social democracy, against the propositions aiming to humanize capitalism, but which through their so-called “radical” actions (spectacular, in fact) give a greater credibility to social democracy.
It would be different if the most determined sectors of the proletariat acted to prevent this division of work, if they rejected the separation between those who gently parade and the demonstrators who smash windows, if they organized violence in order to fight processions and official protests and to bring thus the whole of the proletarians to violently protest and confront not only the official police, but also the trade union and left cops who, in collaboration with the first, guarantee the division of work and state terrorism.
One may retort us that we don't have the relation of forces in our favour to face the left bourgeoisie, that shock troops of the left and the trade union cops always assure the pacific order of their demonstrations, but these affirmations do nothing but confirm the lack of autonomy we spoke about above.
This shows that the ideology which is dominant in this milieu is the one of the lesser evil; that, because of this ideology, the organization of the proletarian violence never overtly expresses itself against social democracy and the anti-summits but always against the right wing and the official summits; that, because of this ideology, the organization of the proletarian violence forms itself on the ground of social democracy (as if the proletariat could conquer this way its autonomy!) and that it breaks out not against social democracy (that on the whole gets out of trouble rather well, in spite of the verbal critique blaming it for “pacifism and other deviations”), but against the rampart which protects the bourgeoisie: the official police.
All this is a matter for the bourgeois leftism and clearly aims to divert the proletariat from its critique of the society. A revolutionary direction must fight for the opposite, to prevent that the division of work carried out by the bourgeoisie between anaesthetizing speeches and processions, between sticks and putting on file, were to be crowned with success. Rather than confronting super-trained policemen who are only waiting this, it would be more judicious to attack social-democrats by surprise, clearly lesser prepared, or to fight policemen when they are not waiting for and when we decide it. To walk besides social democracy or into different colours columns, but always in its wake, as if this would radicalise these demonstrations, all this means a catastrophic result for the proletariat. It is necessary to get organized outside and against these social-democrat processions, to constitute oneself in force to stand in their way, and to prevent them to achieve their forums like in Porto Alegre. To structure the proletarian force, to decide our own objectives, to stop considering, like Attac, the forum of Porto Alegre etc., that the enemy is the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, this is what will be decisive for the future.
To confront the same objectives with social democracy, even in a violent and radical way, this is falling in the ideology of the lesser evil and accepting the principle of frontism, principle that, in the name of antifascism, led the Marxists-Leninists as well as the trade unionist anarchists and the Trotskyites, to side with the bourgeois state against the revolution (firstly in 1936/37 in Spain, and then everywhere in the world).
Until now, it is a matter of only one thing: to prevent, through violence, the meetings of the International Monetary Fund, of the World Bank... One never speaks about those of Attac, neither the Socialist International or the Social Forums..., what brings to light the weakness of our class and, especially, the predominance of centrism, even in the most radical demonstrations of the proletariat.
In these demonstrations, and in spite of the presence of columns and different colours, the proletariat associates to social democracy and marches alone against the enemies of this latter, revealing then that we are always at the very beginning of the class autonomy. In order to autonomize itself, the proletariat must also break with the so-called “autonomists” who lead it in these processions and citizen Masses, organized by the social-democrats (even though it is to radicalise them), and doing so prevent our class to achieve to a real autonomy.
Urban guerrilla warfare? Insurrection?
Some people also pretend that this type of confrontation would correspond to a certain extent to an “urban guerrilla warfare, a kind of insurrection or insurrectionary practice”. This conception could be interesting if really it gets organized on its own bases, what is currently not the case. The real insurrectionary revolutionary struggle cannot depend neither on the fact to go where we are long awaited to be given a beating, nor on the confrontation with an over-prepared enemy who is just waiting for this. It's always the same old ritual: the bourgeoisie and the chiefs of the repression send a troop of over trained mercenaries against which we come a cropper while they stay hided and are under cover. What can they want besides than to see our strength banging against shields, which protect them while they come out unscathed?
Moreover, the laws of insurrection are precisely the opposite of this ritual: concentration of proletarian forces against an enemy who doesn't expect it; choice of the place and the moment according to the objectives, and attack where and when we are the less long-awaited; refusal to fight in a military way when the enemy is superior to us; spreading of a date for the attack, and taking action before, when the enemy doesn't expect it, or after, when he is tired to wait; to avoid to become fixed into a resistance based upon permanent points; to disperse facing an enemy who is advancing and to gather only for a surprise attack; to make barracks unusable as well as places where the troops are confined, where they are concentrated in order to get them obey; to hit at home the capitalists, those in power and the head of the repression, to prevent them from directing the repressive terrorist operations either while capturing them, either while isolating them, or still while removing them from any possibility to direct their troops...
Let's go still farther: from the point of view of the insurrection we don't have any interest to confront and destroy policemen generally (even though we need to be pitiless with all the agents of law and order who practice terror!), what is necessary is to destroy the coherence of repression corps (call for not shooting against one's own people but against the officers); to confront as a whole the forces that the bourgeoisie uses as a defence does nothing but encouraging this famous esprit de corps.
This is why the “guerrillerist conception” that is nowadays so much fashionable requires all our critique. This conception makes a caricature of the guerrilla warfare while inciting to the struggle apparatus against apparatus, that always favours the state. It would seem that the “leadership of the insurrectionary operations” - may be through lack of revolutionary perspectives - is proud of the quantity of wounded policemen as well as the number of people injured and put on file in our ranks. Reports from leftist bourgeois that are handed round on internet and under form of videos, count and glorify the number of injured and the spectacular pictures of confrontations, letting believe that this would further the social revolution. One only has to consult sites like Indymedia to have an idea about the craze for the trading of “action” and “revolt” pictures that seized activists, and about the way of which they undertake this work that, finally, can only be useful for the spectacle and the police.
The revolutionary struggle will make injured, prisoners and deaths among proletarians, but our interest is that they are the least numerous possible. We already have too many victims! All historic examples demonstrate that when a proletarian insurrection develops, there are very few victims, and that when one attacks the chiefs of the repression and the bourgeois state, the number of comrades who falls is limited. Inversely, the number of victims rises as soon as one calls to resist or to demonstrate against the repressive power of the state.
Lack of revolutionary program, the violence exhibition.
What we just described is another expression of the lack of program and revolutionary perspectives in these confrontations. It is indicative of the absence of a true and deep criticism of the bourgeois society and the non-existence of a strategy aimed at destroying the capitalist society. Hence, to speak of a revolutionary International standing against a capital International amounts to falsify the very nature of a revolutionary International. What revolutionary International do they refer to? To these bright red or azure blue columns, these colourful groups that all join in the same social-democrat parade? What makes these columns different from the ones that openly claim their social-democrat allegiance? The mere fact that they confront the IMF or WB monsters through the use of violence?
Mrs Wohlmuth, secretary of the FSA-AIT, feels no shame in declaring that his group, the blue block, must show to the poor people all around the world –via television- that in Europe, there are people that fight against the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank: “It was a class war rampant tornado, we knew that was not the usual way we operate, but we all knew that we had to show the poor and moribund proletarians from all over the world that here, in Europe, there are courageous people who not only criticize and condemn, but also do not fear to confront physically to the IMF and the WB, who are determined to impede their congresses, who risk their lives and health to put an end to the macabre deeds of the hunger and ecological destruction's engineers.”
We see to what point this violence is framed, in a trade union manner, to make sure transgressions aren't directed against the bourgeois left wing. However, when the proletarian protest is not contained by trade unionists (whether they call themselves libertarian or anarcho-syndicalists), things transpire very differently, and, as it happened in Kabylia or in Algeria, the press is forced to admit that the rioters display aggression to both official parties and opposition ones. Quite remarkable as well is the complacency with which these pretentious individuals distinguish the specialists of social change, the anarcho-syndicalists, from the proletarians of the whole world. We shall also note the euro-racist distinction applied to the decisive character of whatever happens in Europe, and the rest of the world where there is nothing more than misery and submission. As if the proletarians of the rest of the world were nothing but living-deads, whose sole hope relies on these European trade unionist gentlemen to show them the way! It is one of the most colossal falsifications of our times!
And Wohlmuth continues: “But the streets at war have proven very surprising compared to what happens normally. Little by little, those that, with great courage, charged into the police ranks have gained recognition, and it was noticed that, in those instances, capital and state forces were not attacked by punks, hooligans, or disillusioned adolescents, in short by turbulent passers-by without any political sense; right in the middle of these groups of assailant, red and black flags were everywhere to be seen, as well as shields and gas masks bearing the AIT-IWA acronym.” And to make it perfectly clear that we're not dealing here with real transgressive action, with private property destruction, as it occurs when the proletariat assails the bourgeoisie forces as a whole, to insist on the fact that is it merely an attack directed against the right wing, Wohlmuth proceeds, as if providing an excuse: “It is not our way of doing (…) but confronted to the fact that 10.000 politicians and economists were congregating in the centre of Prague, negotiating and planning misery and death for millions of people, that was perhaps the only thing we could do. It should be the politicians and the capitalists who feel ashamed for the material and personal damage that occurred, not the valorous revolutionaries of the "Red and Black" block, who have demonstrate, in the Lumir street, that Seattle is no more a valid symbol. The new symbol is right here, it's Prague!”
This has nothing to do, then, with a revolutionary International against capital. Nothing to do with a proletarian organization whose elementary task should be, to the contrary, to bring to light the role of both the left wing and the right wing of capitalism, to prove that attacking the International Monetary Fund without also targeting its indispensable complements such as Attac & Co. ends up contributing to the strengthening of the proletariat's enemies. The revolutionary International will organize its practise outside and against social-democrat manifestations and will not solely confront a specific fraction of capital, since it only fortifies it, but will oppose capital as a whole.
It is of course necessary to define objectives as clearly as possible. We need to affirm the proletariat's struggle against capital, without excluding social democracy that is capital’s branch devoted to taming the proletarians. In Seattle, Prague, Buenos Aires… we met groups of proletarians that brandish such watchwords, but the proletariat's lack of political and organizational autonomy leads to the re-appearance, even among the most advanced sectors, of trade unionists slogans which, despite blaming capital, play nonetheless by its rules. The most “intense” slogan, quoted from the blue block in Prague was, according to Wohlmuth, “Against capital, anarcho-syndicalist labour!”
Today, what we proletarians need most is to build up a class associationism, which has nothing to do with trade unions (whether self-proclaimed anarchist or not!). We need to affirm the core of the revolutionary program, the struggle for the international proletarian revolution, the central question of the struggle against state's power, the struggle for its destruction, the proletarian insurrection, the dictatorship against the Market and the profit rate. To speak of a revolutionary International without including these fundamental elements seems to us counter-productive and deceitful and we assert it serves no other than the reactionary forces. That some do so deliberately and others sincerely think they serve the revolution's cause, is actually of little concern!
Before proceeding with our critique on the essential question of false ruptures, let's replace it in the present context of the relation of forces between classes. In all this circus of summits and colourful demonstrations, the guest of honour, invited to applaud and to walk in the official processions, is the proletariat.
As the imposture is too gross, as those who pretend to stand at the head of the demonstrations remain the same faces, the same structures, the same social-democrat programs, and although they still succeed in subjugating a large number of proletarians (sheep will always exists), the proletariat outflanks them and tends, as it gets autonomized, to stand apart and against these citizens masses.
But this splitting is not done overnight. Its affirmations still remain partial, and the weakness of our class in its rupture allows different social-democrat fractions to interpret, to channel the splitting and especially to prevent it from being total. Obviously, these fractions that take over decisive points of the communist critique and pretend to defend the revolution, try by all means to enchain the proletariat, to make it dependent and to maintain it under the social-democrat yoke. This is the classic role of fractions that revolutionaries point out as being centrists because, although they take over some fundamental points of the revolutionary program, they hinder the indispensable qualitative leap that consists precisely in standing apart and against any capitalistic organization.
Nowadays like yesterday, centrism stands against the old opportunism and revisionism of social democracy that claim that a development of capital would be favourable to proletarians and therefore revolution should be abandoned for the benefit of evolution. Taking over the proletarian critique against social democracy, a critique that opposes the revolutionary struggle against capital and the state to the open reformism of social democracy, centrism seems to carry out its action under the banner of the struggle against capital and the state, but it objects to the appeal for the constitution of a party apart and against social democracy: a party opposed to elections, to parliamentarianism, to trade unionism, to frontism,... and that leads the social war to its ultimate consequences. In this sense, even though it takes over some central aspects of the proletarian critique, inasmuch as it doesn't take its critiques to the point of their ultimate consequences and inasmuch as it doesn't oppose social democracy with all its strength, centrism is in fact a full part of it and constitutes indeed the last rampart of capital.
By nature, centrism oscillates between the revolutionary flags that it waves and a policy preventing the rupture with the historic social democracy, hence the fact that many consider it as suspended between classes. But in reality, this fluctuating policy, led in the name of the proletariat, is not and cannot be suspended above the void. It puts a brake on the constitution of the proletariat into a force and performs an objectively counterrevolutionary function, forming in fact an extreme fraction of social democracy.
Many groups and organizations present in the circus against the summits convey a set of ideologies that hinder the necessary proletarian rupture, and this, in spite of the fact that these groups and organizations profess the struggle against capital and the state. It is precisely these centrist barriers that we want to denounce.
Anti-capitalism? Against the state?
Facing the proletarian rage against summits and anti-summits, facing the ridiculous and timorous character of Attac and other social-democrat structures - which are in every respect accomplices of the other fractions - thousands of proletarians opposed the fundamentals of our class' critique against these bourgeois critiques. Dozens of groups coming from the five continents, hundreds of leaflets, thrown stones, Molotov cocktails, pamphlets and articles denounce social-democrats' critique towards the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and put forward the struggle against capital and the state. But merely declaring to be against capital is not enough to fight against capitalism, pretending to be an anarchist or a communist is not enough to fight against the state. When we approach the very heart of the content of this critique, we note several confusions concerning the meaning and the ideologization of an amount of pseudo ruptures, which in fact constitute a centrist position preventing the real proletarian rupture and its insurrectionalist practice.
There is, so, an “anti-capitalist” fashion. A lot of groups and organizations claim to be “anti-capitalists”. Nevertheless, in their practice, we very often notice that they confine themselves to the denunciation of multinational companies, monopolies, financial capital, “imperialism”, certain countries as well as the International Monetary Fund and the similar institutions, what comes in fact to support in a thinly veiled way the social-democrat ideology of capitalism humanization. This kind of “anti-capitalism” is nothing new; it is an old social-democrat story. Already in Marx' time, this kind of anti-capitalist, socialist ideologies were in fashion, and he denounced them as bourgeois and petty bourgeois socialism. Thereafter, social democracy has theorized that “capitalism is henceforth monopolistic and imperialistic”, then justifying opportunism and reformism, and contributing to imperialistic war in the name of a more a democratic capitalism.
Nowadays, bourgeois anti-capitalists who invariably defend a bourgeois state against another are a common thing. Better still, entire fractions of the international bourgeoisie, that since ever, in the name of socialism, supported the capitalistic and imperialistic policy of the Russian block (and sometimes belonged to it) now attempt to recycle themselves. Let us only mention the many leftist sectors that spoke about anti-capitalism in order to defend a fraction against another in the imperialistic confrontation, as at the time of the Gulf War where, in their opposition to “the Yankees”, these leftists didn't support the proletariat but rather he Baathist party, the republican guard and Saddam Hussein.
For us, it is indispensable to denounce these positions, and that’s what does a leaflet signed “some libertarians” distributed in Canada in April 2001:
“But more insidious because closer to us, marching in our footsteps, is this new extreme tendency of respectable citizenism: of course, we’re talking about this movement self-proclaimed "anti-capitalist", "anti-authoritarian", "self-managementist", and so on. Under the new anti-capitalism lays capital!!!
To this radical wing skilled in anti-capitalist rhetoric that deftly handles declarations of principles, we’d be tempted to reply: “keep talking, baby!” In fact, they have a grudge against financial capital and corporations; this is the old anti-imperialism that reappears through the back door. Childish socialism of yesterday turned into a commendable anti-capitalism paired with a requirement for total democracy. All the capitalistic separations are magnified into real identities that should be safeguarded and promoted (sex, age, race, nationality, social or economic roles, minerals, plants and cosmos, the list is endless...). This turbulent wing discreetly recovers the business of its more respectable elders, but it in front of the media gallery they accuse them of treason. Besides, it mostly acts as a shock troop for parties and trade unions, which in turn use of them as scarecrows.”
The critique of the currently trendy affinitarian ideology, made by our “libertarian” comrades, appears to be especially relevant. Instead of pushing the proletariat towards unification on basis of the homogeneity of interests, perspectives and social project, this affinitarian ideology strengthens all the divisions and separations of capital while magnifying into like real identities to be protected: culture, sex, race, age, region,... and even sometimes beliefs, sects, opinions, religions,... Fashionable music could be a criteria of affinity, but regrouping upon this single basis can only separate proletarians and sort them into categories developed by bourgeois society whereas what we need is to shatter all these little “boxes” and to develop a homogeneous force against capital.
Contradictory expressions of the proletarian rupture
But this typical bourgeois and leftist “anticapitalism” still coexists (although we battle against this coexistence) with a deep critique of social democracy that somehow expresses the difficult rising proletariat's rupture against social democracy at international level. This rupture is of course jammed, curbed by this leftist ideology of social democracy that is also undergoing a full recycling process (like garbage) and is painting itself with “anticapitalism” and “anti-state” colours.
In some cases proletarian ruptures are clear and demarcating; in some others we can still find the whole leftist ideology of the sixties and seventies, that drags along Marxism-Leninism as well as Trotskyism, Castrism, Guevarism, bourgeois anti-imperialism, and reconciliation of all this whole cocktail under the libertarian banner, always in fashion.
To express this contradiction we chose the example of the young anticapitalists' Manifesto against the World Social Forum (see the frame).
------- ENCADRE p 33 (en fr)
From Seattle to Washington, London, Minau, Melbourne, Seoul, Prague, and Nice, tens of thousands of young anti-capitalists have repeatedly denounced, through direct action, the large monopoles and international organisms such as the IMF, the World Bank and the European Union. These institutions are responsible for the exploitation of millions of workers, for the destruction of the environment, and for the submission of millions of people to the worst conditions of poverty. The denunciation of these young capitalists is unambiguous when they shout in the streets around the world: “Capitalism kills, let us kill capitalism” and “Down with the IMF”.
Now, here in Porto Alegre, in the World Social Forum, the NGO’s, the trade unionist bureaucracies and the headship of the institutionalised parties alter the content of the young anticapitalists’ struggle and substitute it with the reactionary policy of “humanization of capital”. To humanize capital with the French ministers that persecuted immigrants and take part in the government, which, with the NATO, bombed Yugoslavia, assassinating thousands of people et and repressing the anti-capitalists in Nice; to humanize capitalism with bankers and multinational corporations, to humanize capitalism side by side with the governments which, like the PT, keep on paying the debt, repress the teachers’ strike in Rio Grande do Sul and the occupation of a federal public domain in Porto Alegre by the MST (movement of the Landless), repress ambulant merchants and the homeless during the urban occupations in Porto Alegre, and continue to give money to multinational corporations.
Truly, the star [reference to the star symbol of the PT-Workers’ Party- of Lula] guiding this prefecture and government, so-called popular and democratic in view of the 2002 elections, has decided to act as an experimental base for a new form of capitalism management based on a social democracy allowing bourgeois exploitation and pleasing the middle-class with illusions of democracy, such as the Participative Budget which circumvents social protests by co-opting the popular movements. And to complete the picture, there are all the other “left-wing” parties, which, even when they criticize that policy, capitulate rather than put it into question more consistently.
To humanize capitalism is utopian and reactionary. This is why we, young anti-capitalists of the Youth Camp, we stick with the anti-capitalist movement and express our solidarity towards the young people who, in Davos, denounced the World Economic Forum. And we say that the World Social Forum is an imposture created by those who wish to divert the anti-capitalist class struggle into a class collaboration policy and elections, hence maintaining the implementation of capitalism’s misery.
This is why we form our own workshops centred on the creation of a anti-capitalist national network, whose motto is “Down with the World Economic Forum, the IMF, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization”, to which the World Social Forum is no alternative, “Down with the Colombia Plan”, “Hail the Palestinian Intifada”, “No to the payment of the external debt”, “No to privatisations”.
Capitalism kills, let us kill capitalism. It is the duty of youth and workers, faithful to the spirit of Seattle, Nice, Prague and Davos, to prevent the anti-capitalist intervention to be distorted and used by its own enemies.
This document expresses a proletarian critique of the World Social Forum organized by social democracy in Porto Alegre, and clearly affirms that “another world is possible” - main slogan of the Porto Alegre counter-summit – “only by destroying capitalism”. It seems to us very important that this decisive point also materializes into the denunciation of social democracy's parties and trade unions, into the denunciation of their repressive and antiproletarian daily social practice, especially as regards the Brazilian social-democrat parties such as the Workers' Party of Lula, this Brazilian Walesa. We also want to emphasize the frontal denunciation of the ideology of capitalism humanization, omnipresent in summits and anti-summits, as well as the affirmation of the fact that capitalism is murder and we therefore need to murder it.
However, although it represents a contribution towards the critique of this world (and this is why we publish it), this manifesto is confused and denotes a lack of rupture concerning some aspects, probably because it is a production of several groups with different political programs. With the following examples, we shall try to affirm the critique made by the proletariat and further the deepening of the rupture with social democracy and its centrist expressions. We will try to send these critiques to the different groups that signed the manifesto.
* The manifesto does not refer to proletariat against capitalism but to “young anticapitalists” (and even to “poor people”), which is a concession to fashionable terminology (and as for the word “people”, a concession to popular-frontist social democracy).
* The manifesto puts the blame for “the exploitation of millions of workers” on IMF, World Bank, WTO and European Union, which is a typical concession to social-democrat anti-imperialism and anti-monopolism, which ruled in Porto Alegre WSF. These institutions are not “responsible” for exploitation, as social democracy tries to make us believe; it’s capitalism itself, every (big-, medium- or small-sized) capitalistic enterprise, the bourgeois of every (big-, medium- or small-sized) country that hold the responsibility.
* The manifesto says “ hail the Palestinian Intifada” and not the struggle of the proletariat in Palestine against capital and the state. It’s as if there weren’t, in Palestine, the same class contradictions that exist everywhere else; which is problematic if you refer to the previous point. In Palestine this watchword is not a class watchword; even worse, it is the watchword of the PLO bourgeoisie and the Arabian national states, like Libya. In Brazil, and elsewhere in the world, and for the same reasons, this watchword cannot either be a proletarian one. On the contrary, it is in favour of the bourgeoisie, of its imperialistic allies, and even of the police that tortures in that region and also supports the “Palestinian Intifada”.
* The manifesto contains some typical slogans from the struggles between bourgeois fractions such as: “No to the payment of external debt”, and that are no more than a matter of negotiation between fractions of international capital. Indeed, the non-payment of the debt would not alter in any way the level of exploitation and would therefore not improve in the slightest the fate of the proletariat. Only the national bourgeoisie would benefit from it. Once again, it is the governments (left- as well as right-wing ones) that pretend that our misery is caused by the debts of “our state” and “our bourgeoisie”; they are the ones, which try to convince us that the debt is not a bourgeois' debt but the debt “of the people of such or such country”. Another example: “No to privatisation”. As if the fact that capital changes hands could increase or decrease the misery of our class! It is social democracy that always pretended that the nationalization of capital improves the situation of the working class! As if in the countries where capital is juridically more state-controlled there was less misery, as Leninist, Trotskyite and Stalinist fractions of social democracy allege.
It is clear that there is a common denominator to the issues we have criticized above: the fact that the revolutionary critique of capital remains impregnated with an “anti-imperialistic”, third-worldist critique, that is to say, a bourgeois critique. Indeed and in spite of a pseudo radicalisation, we meet back the claims of social democracy:
* Social democracy refers to “the people”; the manifesto refers to “the poor people”;
* Social democracy focuses the responsibility on free trade and the policies of the IMF and the World Bank...; the manifesto affirms that capitalism is murder but considers these institutions responsible for exploitation;
* Social democracy always supported national liberation and therefore imperialistic wars as well; the manifesto supports the “Palestinian Intifada” and not the proletariat fighting against capitalism in Palestine (against the state of Israel, against the PLO's one, against capital and against the state);
* Social democracy - like the right wing - always presented the bourgeois' debt as a national problem in order to rouse solidarity from the proletarians with the bourgeois of every country; the manifesto considers the question of the debt as everybody’s problem and not exclusively the bourgeois' problem. The manifesto demands the “Non-payment of the debt”, which only leads to the mobilization of the proletariat for the support of some national and international fractions that will benefit from the debt cancellation, whereas our class has nothing to gain in this matter;
*Finally, the manifesto opposes privatisations to nationalizations and defends the latter. It therefore defends the capitalistic state as owner against private capital. This is the classic position of social democracy (dear to Marxists-Leninists) that defends the juridical nationalization of the means of production.
Wide sectors of social democracy have, by pure opportunism, renounced some of these issues, like the two last ones for example, but this in no way confers on them a proletarian character; defending them does not push the battle against capital one single step further.
It is logical that revolutionaries brandish the critique of commodity that the proletariat has always put forward; it is logical that nowadays, the struggles of the proletariat try, in an increasingly clearer way, to reach their aim: the destruction of commodity society
But most of the time, this tendency is understood and has repercussions in a completely immediatist way, and many claim to be achieving the destruction of the world of commodity and the empire of the merchandise through actions such as those led in Seattle.
In this way, the “Appeal of a Black Block at the Summit of Americas in April, 20th-22nd, 2001” said: “A spectre haunts America, it is the spectre of the anarchist rioter. His well-known black mask, made necessary by the vertiginous rise of electronic surveillance, is henceforth recognized as the symbol of a social terrorism, which nowadays and more than ever appears to us as a human imperative and a moral duty.
Rioters in Seattle have, we hope, opened up the way to the destruction of the merchant empire. By attacking the very heart of the American fortress, that no one suspected to be so fragile, and the object of the capitalistic modern cult, in short, by smashing shop windows that reflected our status of loyal consumers, rioters gave to the struggle against globalisation of the markets the only possible liberating content.
Suddenly, a struggle that seemed to be getting definitively stuck in the precipice of servile compromise brought to us for 60 years by the same unionist-collaborationists and the same bureaucrats of the community under state subcontract, suddenly, this struggle became a danger... By directly attacking the windowed goods, rioters in Seattle didn't only satisfy their desire to possess these too often inaccessible products that advertisement concocts for us as the climax of happiness. They essentially attacked the main goal the whole of the present oppressive system aim at, they attacked the main realization of our society: The commodity.”
In all these actions, the proletariat expresses in an elementary way its critique of the bourgeois society and programs that propose a more human capitalism. And it is correct to affirm that this critique expresses the re-emergence of the proletarian antagonism towards the world of private property and commodity. But believing that the commodity is in such way being destroyed or that this is the way that leads to its destruction is closing the eyes on all revolutionary perspectives; it means confusing a quite limited action, an elementary protest, with revolution itself.
Appropriation and/or destruction of any particular commodity are an elementary act of all proletarian revolts. As an act of protest, as an attack against private property, it was always part of the riots, but this is not an act of destruction of commodity The commodity cannot be destroyed by the physical attack on the thing, it is necessary to destroy its other pole: value. Attacking its immediacy, the object, cannot abolish the commodity. To abolish it, it is necessary to destroy the social form of which it is the essence. Between this elementary form of demonstration of hate towards capitalism and its actual destruction, the main thing is simply missing: social revolution, proletarian insurrection, revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat, despotic destruction of the market as well as the “equality, liberty, fraternity” inherent to it, eradication of private property, democracy, the law of value, and with them, the indispensable organization of social production according to the human needs.
One may say that the text expresses itself in a symbolic way, that it is a parable, that it obviously appeals for a real direction, that that’s what is meant by destruction of the commodity. Nothing of the kind! Blind optimism and immediatism are obvious and counterproductive in the following affirmation of the text: “We anarchists (nevertheless not the whole of us are rioters!), revolted, or simply responsible citizens, we shall leave total devastation in our wake. And when in the morning we shall sweep out glass splinters and goods that we have converted into projectiles, making them useful for once, what will then be swept are the ruins of oppression.”
Whatever kilograms of stones have been thrown, whatever amount of “goods” and shop windows have been destroyed,... imagining that the ruins of oppression can be swept without a social revolution, that capitalism can be destroyed without revolution, without revolutionary dictatorship is as utopian as to dream of a more human capitalism like “Attac” and the bourgeois of the Porto Alegre forum do. It is the same kind of stupid illusion than imagining destroying the police by merely confronting a few dozens or hundreds of cops. Impossible! Capitalism under its normal functioning mode permanently and since ever destroys commodities (usually in order to prevent the devalorisation of such or such kind of commodity in particular): liquidation and arson of stocks, destruction during wars,... and this doesn't undermine commodity in the slightest. On the contrary, the particular destruction of commodities always reinforces the world of commodity and valorisation.
Finally, alleging that during these summits and counter-summits, on basis of the so-called “direct action”, the proletariat might have at last discovered the way of proletarian internationalism or, as some groups already assert, that through these actions we might have entered a phase of direct confrontation between the capitalist International and the revolutionary International, is clearly a failure to understand the functioning of capitalism and the revolution program, the revolutionary strategy. This inevitably leads to stir up confusion, by playing a centrist role in the proletarian movement (by preventing the necessary rupture).
In order to show how this kind of activist ideology leads to “forget” the fundamental aspects of the revolutionary program, we shall once more quote the above-mentioned appeal, which claims to fight against capital, the state and patriarchy, but, however, in a text headed “Down with reformists”, claims: “Social order should be achieved through solidarity of interests and free association, and not through oppression of ideas and people. The state, even though it’s composed with "elected" people; is also formed with civil servants. We need to understand that these civil servants don't exist because of necessity, but rather as a result of the lack of democracy in our system.”
The text doesn't criticize democracy; it imputes the state's harm to the lack of democracy, as any reformist does. One may retort many militants organized within the Black Block scene don't share this social-democrat position, and we’re sure this is true. However, the sad thing is, that concerning such important and central questions of the social-democrat program, such as this fishy denunciation of the lack of democracy, such antagonistic positions can coexist. This is one of the unavoidable consequences of libertarian ideology and freedom of thought. For us on the contrary the critique of democracy is the key of the critique of the bourgeois state. It is not by asking for more democracy that we shall destroy the state, but on the contrary by abolishing practically and authoritatively this famous democracy, as pure as it may be.
Another so called “new” centrist ideology is the one called nowadays “communisation”. For example, the leaflet signed “some libertarians”, quoted above for its interesting critique of pseudo-anticapitalism, affirms: “In order to lead to the production of new social relations, the attacks against capitalism must already contain a communisation of the struggle and the relations which emerge from it. There is no positive project anymore, no possible proletarian affirmation within capital.”
Of course, we agree with the fact that in the struggle against capital we must produce new relations and that there is no any possible proletarian affirmation within the capital. The problem is this “little word”, very trendy nowadays in some pseudo-revolutionary circles: “communisation”. As if communism could develop little by little without before destroying capitalism, as if it could emerge without first completely wiping out capitalism, as if the capitalistic market could disappear without a human despotism exerted against it. In fact this theory is not new either. Since the early 20th century some sectors of social democracy developed what they then designated as “socialization”: society had to “socialize” itself little by little.
It is clear that the advocates of the theory of “communisation” will consider this parallel like an offence and will protest by saying that we’re dealing with a totally different matter. In practice however, in both cases a gradualist conception is introduced, and the qualitative leap that insurrection, the dictatorship against the rate of profit and value constitute, is overtly denied; without this leap talking about communisation or socialization can only confuse and serve the Reaction.
On the other hand, the present ideology of “communisation” emerges from a group, which never break from social democracy, with Leninism and euro centrism. “Théorie Communiste” is a typically euro centrist group according to which all what happens in Europe is the feat of the proletariat, and all what happens far from Europe is the feat of the popular masses (they went as far as describing the proletarian revolt in Iraq in 1991 as a “popular uprising”!). In the same way, “Théorie Communiste” overtly defends that in Russia, at the time of Lenin, the dictatorship of the proletariat ruled! For the internationalist revolutionaries, it is clear that this dictatorship was exerted against the proletariat and that it was no more than the same old capitalistic dictatorship, as we have demonstrated in several analyses. On these bases (that assimilate the program of the proletariat with the development of capitalism defended by Lenin) and on the basis of the theorization according to which the question of the revolutionary transition would be historically out of date because the program of the proletariat has been achieved by the capital, it is considered that the proletariat could negate itself and achieve communism without reinforcing as a class and imposing its dictatorship (which is overtly revisionist).
This theory could seem modern and attractive, but it is absolutely unclear on the essential question of the revolution, the insurrection and the revolutionary and dictatorial action of destruction of the bourgeois society. How would the proletariat be able to negate itself without constituting itself as a force? Certainly not within capitalism, as claimed by social democracy. By getting organized outside and against capitalism. By getting organized outside of its parliamentarian and trade unionist structures and against its processions and its sheep demonstrations, by constituting itself as an antagonistic force against all this circus. Only by constituting itself as international force, as the revolutionary party of destruction of the bourgeois world can the proletariat, in the same process, negate itself and destroy capital and the state. To try and make us believe that the world could be “communised” apart of the organized power of the proletariat as party, means collaborating with all the bourgeois leftist political spectrum that strives to deny precisely the most important aspect: the violent and total shattering of the capitalistic order by the revolution; the quality leap, the revolutionary conspiracy and the insurrection, the international organization of the proletariat as communist party, its destructive action of the whole bourgeois society. Talking about communism without referring to all this is utopian and reactionary.
If the classic terminology of the revolutionaries struggling for the revolutionary party, for the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat or for a proletarian semi-state,... bothers the “libertarian” comrades who write this leaflet, let them choose another, as long as they don’t give up the main thing: the insurrectionary struggle, the destruction of capitalism through violence. Many revolutionaries, from Bakunin to Flores Magon used words like dictatorship of the international brothers, dictatorship of anarchy, dictatorship of workers' councils and even “liberal party”, without however (and that’s why they were revolutionaries) giving up the essential: the necessity of the concentration of the revolutionary violence, of the revolutionary armed struggle, the necessity to get rid of capitalism through class violence.
In the environment where our “libertarian” comrades operate, it is not a matter of words. When they consider communisation without revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat, these comrades are actually giving up social revolution.
Historically, the proletariat always opposed direct action against social democracy, this fundamental force of containment and channelling of the proletarian struggle whose strategy relies on the representation and the mediation in trade unions, parliaments, elections, support to delegates and political leaders... Direct action means an action without mediator nor delegate, assumed by all, strike and demonstration, occupation of the street, revolutionary violence, insurrection, revolutionary dictatorship, action that does not require mediation nor delegation and, in this way, historically constitutes the contrary of democratic action, of citizen life.
Nowadays, in Davos, Seattle, Prague, Gothenburg, Naples, Genoa,... some militant groups revel in words like direct action they merely assimilate with violent action in the street. However, if violence is indeed one component of direct action, it is not enough to define it.
Direct action of the proletariat against the parliamentarianism, trade unionism, electoralism... of social democracy does need neither mediation, nor delegation, nor representative elections, it is generalizable, reproducible everywhere and by all.
It means that to be direct, in the historic meaning of the word, violent action cannot rest on delegations and must be executable by proletarians wherever they may be. The key of direct action, which we oppose to social democracy, lies precisely in the fact that any proletarian group can assume it where it is, and, through this practice, oppose delegation, mediation which are determining elements of democracy and therefore of any bourgeois political domination.
Direct action claimed in Seattle, Prague, Davos, Gothenburg, Naples, and Genoa... is not of this kind. Indeed, violence is mystified there because it is used as a synonym for direct action, whereas in practice, action is undertaken by sending delegates to a centre that should be a pre-eminent target for direct action.
This doesn't mean that action led against the circus of summits and anti-summits is not a part of the proletariat's direct action. What we criticize is that the present organizations don't urge the militants to struggle on a daily basis, where they live (capital is everywhere), but magnify their own activism and present their “direct action” as the most valid.
The mystification that consists in considering Davos, Seattle, Prague, Gothenburg, Naples, Genoa... as decisional centres of the capital, and the fact that these confrontations are given a semi-insurrectional status they don't actually deserve, makes those groups consider that “direct action” consists, par excellence, in battling against capitalism according to the timetable of bourgeois congresses, as if any other struggle had only a local significance and was therefore of lesser importance. They forget that apart from proletarians who actually live in the cities where summits and counter-summits are held and descend on the street, only a handful of militants, of delegates of the proletariat of different countries can go to these conferences in order to perform “direct action”, and therefore the principle of delegation is maintained. That these delegates throw more stones and Molotov cocktails changes nothing to the fact that it is still a mediation through which the majority of the proletariat should feel represented. As the previously quoted trade unionist said: “so that the poor of the world can see...” that in Europe there is trade unionists... who represents them!
It is obviously encouraging to see that in any country where summits are held, the proletariat aggressively denounces these capitalistic celebrations and descends on the street, it is stimulating to see that groups of proletarians coming from other countries collaborate to the organization of these actions, and moreover, that they also organize them (and/or coordinate and centralize the organization) in other countries too. This is not what we criticize; the coordination and the organization beyond borders are fundamental for the affirmation and the strengthening of the community of struggle that will destroy the capital.
What we affirm is that the majority of proletarians from other countries are not able to go where these events take place, and besides that have no interest in doing so. Contrarily to what centrists of all kind publish, whose appraisal of the next “triumphs” is based on the thousands of activists or hundreds of busses that will go to the next summit, this cannot be our perspective.
All the more so since those who go to such events are only a minority under very particular conditions, notably exceptional work conditions as regards to free time and remuneration, which enable them to afford the trip. In some cases, hundreds of proletarians and revolutionary militants make a huge effort to send some dozens of militants to these capitalistic masses, but it is obvious that in general only trade union apparatuses and political parties, conceived for functioning through delegation, can afford this type of trip on regular basis. No wonder then if, in addition to the cops and the secret services agents of several countries, political and trade union delegates swarm in the streets of the cities that shelter the summits and anti-summits.
Definitely, from the point of view of the proletariat the real direct action is first and foremost the action led every day against the boss, against the bourgeoisie facing us, against parties and trade unions that want to contain us. We need to generalize it, to make it world-wide; we need to coordinate it, to encourage the militant exchanges between countries; we need to fight together everywhere against world capital, but it is absurd to imagine that the more numerously we gather in one single spot the better it will be. At the time of the insurrection, the world proletariat won't be concentrated in one place, because it won't be a matter of destroying merchandise in such city or such country, but on the whole planet and we won’t achieve this by confronting neither a local police force nor a national one, but by destroying the bourgeois power as a whole and all over the world.
To believe that proletarians will gather and express themselves more and more massively against conferences until capitalism ends up blowing up is not only harmful and counterproductive for the movement, but it originates in a stupid illusion and distorts the very concept of direct action. Even if it is invited to do so, the combative proletariat won't take part in these bourgeois demonstrations. At the very most, some groups that represent it, as well as trade union delegates who would like to speak in their name. Anyway, the interest of the revolutionary groups which would decide to go there wouldn’t be to make the apology of “direct action” these representatives promote, but rather to centralize the direct action of the proletariat that we have to impulse everywhere.
Let us summarize some aspects of the contradiction between proletarian interest and centrist ideology. The proletariat's interest lies in programmatic unification and operational decentralization, unity in leadership and revolutionary perspective and, contradictorily, scattering and dispersion of action, while targeting the same enemy.
But the dominant ideology, even among groups that have split with social democracy, seems to impulse the opposite: let's concentrate all our forces in one particular spot of the planet, at this day and hour (in line with the summits and anti-summits' dictates!), but, politically, let everyone do whatever he wants, let groups constitute according to their affinities, rally around their own ideas (and this, of course, without any kind of centralization whatsoever).
The proletariat's interest is unique and worldwide, and can only be imposed trough unification against all the divisions resulting from the capital's society, whose credo, whose rule, is the struggle of all against all. Women, elderly, children, unemployed, Arabs, coloured people, miners, farmers, students, Asians, Latino-Americans, Europeans, Africans, “landless” peasants, shanty-town dwellers… all have, independently from what they think or believe, or have been persuaded to think or believe, the same interest in abolishing the bourgeois society.
But the dominant ideology uses any pretext to impose its divisions, based on race, sex, culture, ethnic group… and even among breakaway groups, the freedom and affinity ideology continues to prevail. Instead of building up proletarian unity, the bourgeois society's partitions are reproduced, in name of local specificity and the freedom of all. It is advocated to constitute several regroupings around the divisions enforced by capital, founded on culture, race, religion, tastes and habits, like these groups that bring together the aficionados of a certain type of music, homosexuals, animal protectors, Coca-cola cans collectors, etc…
The communist revolution's interest is to re-instate the criticism of capital up to its very foundations, the destruction of wage labour, commodity, state…and therefore focus on the question of power, the necessity of the proletarian insurrection and destruction of the state.
But the predominant ideology in this milieu encourages everyone to criticize capitalism and imagine changes in their own way, and to elaborate plans and gather around affinities. As if the destruction of capitalism were dissociable from the destruction of the bourgeoisie's armed power, as if there were plenty of different ways to achieve destruction of the bourgeois society, as if centuries of class struggle hadn't established by now what is revolutionary and what isn't…
The interest of the communist revolution is, wherever it occurs, proletarian action against worldwide capital, direct action against the bourgeoisie and the state that stand against us, and the generalisation of theses confrontations.
Another predominant ideology in several proletarian groups that have broken away with social democracy consists in aiming at sending activists to support demonstrations.
The interest of the proletariat lies in a total and irreversible rupture with social democracy and its whole program, therefore implying a rupture with democracy, anti-imperialism and third-worldism. The dominant ideology, in the name of freedom, exhorts proletarians into a unity without principles, without program, without clear rupture, and often they fall into the trap of “critical support” to social democracy.
The interest of the proletariat is to get organized as force, as international power coordinating and programmatically centralizing actions that arise everywhere around the globe. The more decentralized the action and more centralized the leadership, the fiercer the proletarian struggle. Activist ideology impulses to the contrary a political decentralization and an operational centralization, that is to say an absence of unity in leadership and the concentration of all militants on the same spot.
However, the movement of the worldwide proletariat, our movement, is one, and is so whether its protagonists are aware of it or no: those who battled to enter Quito, fight the same war, whether they realize it or not, than those who break shop windows in Seattle and those who, at this very moment, confront the bourgeois state in Algeria. We could add to the list the landless peasants of Brazil, the deserters and revolutionary defeatists of whole world, as well as the “anti-capitalists” or “anti-statists” who form small groups to challenge capitalism on the barricades.
And yet, none of these movements perceives to which extent they all actually belong to a one and only movement aiming at abolishing the present conditions. The proletariat as class hasn't re-appropriated its experience, or its strength, yet. In other articles we explain the reasons of this generalized class unawareness and we provide its historic reasons, that sum up to the triumph of the counter-revolution in the 20th century and the concealment of the revolutionary struggle's whole history.
Here, we have decided to focus on the obstacles that today prevent the proletariat, in its different international expressions, from perceiving it belongs to one and the same revolutionary class. We shall not further develop the “what to do” and “here and now” topics. We can return to our examples of Seattle and Ecuador, to illustrate the present separation between two movements in appearance so different.
Despite the actual separation and the unawareness that it is one and the same movement, in both cases the proletariat confronts the same enemy and faces, to a certain extent, the same ideological limitations: In both cases, the confrontation against capitalism, the rupture reached in the field, the attempt to organize oneself outside and against the local social-democrat fraction, is neither theorized nor practically assumed on a permanent basis. This is why, when the movement leaves the streets, social democracy always manages, although by different ways, to catch it back and re-introduce all separations in it.
Yet, the question of the rupture with social democracy and assuming the worldwide proletariat’s movement as a unique movement is one and the same problem. Only a permanent and organized rupture, leading to its ultimate consequences the criticism we develop here, will allow the worldwide proletariat to acknowledge itself as such. And in a reciprocal way, only the acknowledgment of constituting one and the same movement, through a correspondent organization at international level, will lead the proletariat to assume once and for all its rupture with social democracy. There is no other way so that every direct proletarian action in one place is understood everywhere else as the affirmation of the same organic being and there is no other way so that the proletariat constitutes a real international leadership. To speak of historic confrontation between the capital’s international and the revolutionary international will then take its full meaning.
The analysis of the objective relation of forces is not aimed at contemplating the world “as it is”. For the revolutionaries, it constitutes, on the contrary, the basis for subjective action. It is not a matter of portraying the world, the point is to change it.
From Ecuador to Seattle, we are all on same boat, all in this same capitalist society which we fight as we can. It is a struggle community that affirms itself and stands out.
We are deeply implicated in both types of movement around the world; we fight so that every expression of the proletariat assumes this opposition to the whole of capital and therefore becomes aware that it is part of one and the same worldwide movement, aiming to abolish capital and state. When we say “we”, we refer not only to our small formal group, butalso to the organized revolutionary minorities that struggle, against the current, for the constitution of the proletariat into a class, and thus into a party at world level, and are not afraid to claim it, against the trends of opinion and eternal inventors of “neo” who pretend it is “has been”.
What is developed here is at the same time a centralization of the debate growing among these revolutionary minorities, which, through their action, and whether poorly or well coordinated, from Albania to Bolivia, from Russia to Iran, fight to affirm the unique strength of the worldwide proletariat. To denounce social democracy, as we do in this text, in any assembly or on the barricades, belongs to this same struggle community. So does the criticism without concessions of activism and centrism provided by our comrades from all over the planet.
This doesn’t prevent us to put forward positive watchwords to participate in the gestation process of the leadership the proletariat needs. What to do, then, to impulse the reunification of the proletariat and its rupture with social democracy? Where will the qualitative step forward come from?
In principle, it can appear anywhere. The geographic generalization of a movement, as it happened in Iraq some years ago, or more recently in Albania or Ecuador, can be decisive. If those movements didn’t spread out more, it is because of the incapacity of the proletariat in other parts of the world to identify to them and take the same route. Yet, in times characterized by the non-existence of permanent proletarian associations at world level, only centralization and coordination between the communist minorities in the insurgent regions and the ones in the outside world can provide a continuity to the movement and tend to unify its leadership.
This means that, even in the present situation, the conscious and voluntary action of the revolutionary minorities will be decisive. Let’s focus on what they have to do.
In concrete terms, do we have to impulse these massive displacements to the summits and counter-summits in order to “confront capital and the state” or, to the contrary do we have to organize ourselves in some other way and impulse another perspective?
We recognize our own movement in this movement of rupture against the summits and counter-summits, and within it, considering all that has been previously said, we defend the necessity to organize against and outside them, and to build our strength in another way, on some other dates, with a total organizational and political autonomy with regards to the left-wing and the right-wing of the system. But, one would ask, how to internationalise the movement, then? How to unify the struggle if it isn’t by concentrating all our forces in one determined spot and time?
Despite the criticism expressed up to here, we consider these attempts to organize the minorities for direct action as fundamental, even if they are now only associated to the summits and counter-summits. In this movement, we defend perspectives of a much stronger demarcation in regards to the program and the action. We defend the perspective of deciding the time and place of the proletarian confrontation against capital, affirming that we belong to one and the same class with the same enemy wherever we stand, as originally on the occasion of the 1st of May! And we shall battle until we achieve that again! By the way, we note that several groups and organizations in rupture against the sterile and counter-productive activism already object to “all going to such and such city, on such and such day” and propose a different pattern of organization, without depending on the summits schedule.
The thing is, all this needs to be associated with a total rupture against the activist show staged during the summits and counter-summits. We have to refuse to “show to the poor and moribund proletarians”, via television, that “here in Europe, there are courageous people”, as the trade unionists claim. We cannot endorse this separation, with “the moribund” on one side and “those who know” on the other. We cannot endorse this dualism between “those who are helpless” and “the activists” who fight on the occasion of some spectacular gathering the way they are expected to.
To the contrary, in every action, we defend the necessity to organize everywhere in the world, we assert that action can take place, and develop, in places where no summit will ever be held, and no counter-summit summoned by social democracy.
Direct action is in total opposition with the show logic. The show features actors and paralyses spectators, who mostly applaud. It stages a spectacular confrontation between repression specialists and social change specialists. As for the direct action of the proletarian vanguard, it aims at its reproduction everywhere.
In this sense, the qualitative step forward resides mainly in the rupture with the solidarity concept, which in reality and fundamentally, expresses charity and originates in the Judaeo-Christian ideology: we act in favour of the poor and moribund who live on the other side of the planet. Facing that, we have to claim clearly, that what we do is not aimed at the “poor people of the world”, we do it because we are all and everywhere exploited and oppressed by the same social system, because we have all and everywhere the same interests and the same enemy, because we are all the same flesh, the same historic struggle of the exploited against all systems of exploitation and oppression. The social revolution is a necessity of the world proletariat and not of such and such activist group.
We have nothing to show off, certainly not on TV or on Internet (even if we use both as communication means). On the contrary, we must act in a way that can be perfectly reproduced by the proletariat wherever it stands.
If we, together with the militants and revolutionaries who today define themselves through their struggle against capital and the state and are aware of the historic importance of the rupture with social democracy, concentrate our forces in time and not in space, rather than cramming into the summit and counter-summit circus, it could constitute a decisive advance for the movement. Because, indeed, we consider it more relevant stronger and more effective than sending “everybody” in such or such city.
Because it is coherent with direct action and impulses its development everywhere, we put forward the need to coordinate the times of actions in all countries, against the same objectives. In several places, there is already an embryonic revolutionary tendency to do so. In Spain, for instance, in the so-called “days of social struggle” or “anti-capitalist days”, a minority tendency finds an expression, that seeks to define other objectives, establish a different schedule, and develop other forms of struggle beyond the opposition to the summits or the activist show.
But the necessary qualitative step forward will be done when the intensity of the struggle that nowadays occurs exclusively on the occasion of the summits and counter-summits demonstrations, will assume itself as part of one and the same movement, wherever it rises, Ecuador, Albania, Indonesia or anywhere else. This qualitative step forward will consist in being able, when in the future other expressions of this movement break out, to concentrate our forces to affirm our solidarity. Not a fake solidarity, for the show, not a demonstration that we here do things for the “moribund” proletarians over there. To the contrary, by gaining strength everywhere, by generalizing the proletarian movement that unfolds in one country, by descending onto the streets and confront the bourgeoisie and the state that stands against us. Through that, we shall state in practice that we are one and the same movement of abolition of the bourgeois society, that we have the same objectives as those for which the proletarians are fighting against the social bourgeois system in such or such country.
Indeed, as we often repeated, the dramatic aspect of the proletarian explosions that occur in different parts of the world, in different countries and different languages, is precisely their isolation. This isolation allows the worldwide bourgeoisie to continue to attack the proletariat bit-by-bit, country-by-country. When proletarian responses strike violently, this isolation prevents proletarians from other countries to be aware of the struggle of their class brothers. We insist on the fact that it is the worldwide bourgeoisie, which attacks the proletariat in every country. It is the weakness of the proletarian action in, for instance, the European countries and the USA that allowed the NATO to intervene unhindered, without triggering any consistent revolutionary defeatism, to disarm and repress the insurgent proletariat in Albania. The worst thing is that, because of the dominant ideology, all this proletarian force that finds an expression during the summits and counter-summits, is unaware that our strength is also there, in things like what happened in Albania, and that it could be possible to prevent here and now the isolation of the proletariat while under the assault of all the combined forces of the bourgeoisie.
The fundamental aspect of the struggle against the summits and counter-summits’ circus, is that numerous proletarians organize themselves to confront worldwide capitalism, that they manage to gather their forces and strike the same enemy at the same time. It is that there are minorities that in the name of the revolution descend onto the streets to claim proletarian internationalism and that again the how and what to do start to be discussed. The important, is that the central questions of the proletarian struggle, the destruction of capitalism and the state, the revolutionary strategy are again a matter for polemic.
But we are still unable to direct this force that we managed to concentrate, we are still unable to prevent the carrot and the stick to liquidate the movement in such and such country, by submitting it to a cruel and pathetic isolation.
Let us use this force that has the power to demonstrate, to smash, to strike at the bourgeoisie and the state in every country, let us make it coincide with the movements that rise in different places and therefore prevent its isolation, let us in those battle brandish the revolutionary banner of the unification of the struggle against capital, let us globalise reality and the consciousness of our movement, let us develop the unique force of the international proletariat.
Let us assume this historic tendancy of the proletariat to reconstitute and to recognize itself as a class, to affirm its revolutionary program, to constitute as force, as worldwide party for the destruction of capitalism.
All through this article, we use the terms “summit” and “congress”, referring to these large meetings of international capitalist organisms that arouse proletarian hostility. And when we mention “anti-” or “counter-summits”, we refer more precisely to the official protests of the bourgeois left-wing, of its official parties and official trade unions; protests characterized by street demonstrations, parallel congress, or alternative forums or meetings.
Cf. “General characteristics of the struggles of the present time” in Communism nº9.
On that subject, read: “The capitalist catastrophe” in Communisme nº9.
 On that subject, read: “Amérique Latine: contre le mythe de l’invincibilité des forces répressives”in Communisme nº51 or
“Contra el mito de la invencibilidad de las fuerzas repressivas » in Comunismo n°45
Cf. “General characteristics of the struggles of the present time” in Communism nº9.
To claim old stories as “new” is not a new phenomenon. On this matter, the bourgeois pretension to produce ideas as it produces commodities is present throughout the whole 20th century: cf. modern ideas, neo-classicist economists, neo-classicism, new wave, new age, etc…
It is hard to imagine what ideological U-turns and pirouettes these Marxist-Leninists had to do to explain that the shift from “capitalism to socialism” requires a violent revolution, but that the reverse is not true!
The “left-winger” qualification has in reality no objective basis and is founded on pure ideology, varying according to the regions. In Latin America or in Europe, the apology of Stalinism is still considered left-wing politics, while in the countries from the ex-Eastern Bloc it is assimilated to fascism and generally to the extreme right-wing.
Fundamental postulation of the world-state terrorism that will become universal from then on.
For a more detailed explanation of the general contradictions between capitalist fractions, read « Le Kosovo et les bombardements de la Yougoslavie par l’OTAN. Enième épisode de la guerre des Balkans» in Comunisme nº51 or «Kosovo y el bombardamento de Yougoslavia por la OTAN. El enésimo capítulo de la guerra en los Balcanes » in Comunismo n°46
Which is not an easy task since, as we shall see, these attempts of social-democrat containment are frequently outflanked by the proletariat developing its own ruptures, cf. Seattle, Washington, Prague, Gotteborg, Naples, Genoa…
We don’t pretend to formulate here any critiques towards the revolutionary comrades self-proclaimed anarchists. We have already thoroughly explained our position on that matter, which is independent from any denomination or ideology, and, in future publications, we shall analyse with more depth the existing relationship between communism and anarchism. What we want here is to stand against the dominant ideology based on the famous bourgeois freethinking and its famous motto “everyone does what he wishes”, valid for individuals as well as groups, and the no less famous “freedom of criticism”. This ideology has had an enormous influence on the backstage of Davos, Porto Alegre, etc… It is nearly always accompanied by the immediatist and activist ideology, which, in all cases, constitutes an obstacle to the necessary constitution of the proletariat into a unified political force, capable of endorsing a unique leadership for insurrectional preparation and action.
The social forum of Porto Alegre, which we shall refer to later, was elaborated on by all of these organizations, most of them international, with the support of the Workers’ Party of Brazil, the Unique Central of Workers and the official delegations of the « Movement of the Landless », also Brazilian.
Imperialism is a much earlier phenomenon than the time social democracy made it famous. Capitalism has always been imperialist. And the imperialist battle between the dominant classes to get hold of the productive forces even precedes capitalism as mode of production. If social democracy, and Marxism-Leninism in particular (under all its forms, from Stalinism, Trotskyism, to Maoism and Castrism), has turned imperialism into a new phenomenon, it’s only to justify the opportunistic changes in their policy, arguing that, precisely, things had changed. In that way, renouncement of the anti-capitalist struggle substituting it with anti-imperialist struggle (often mistaken with struggle against such and such nation) became the norm. On this matter, read “Théories de la décadence, décadence de la théorie: le pire produit de l’impérialisme: l’anti-impérialisme” in Le Commmuniste nº25 or in « Teorias de la decadencia, decadencia de la teoria » in Comunismo n°25
Cf. the special issue on the social forum of Porto Alegre of the magazine Hika, entitled “Another world is possible”, (P.K: 871, 48080 Bilbao Espana or firstname.lastname@example.org)
The original version of this text has been published in our central publication in Spanish, previous to the G8 meeting and the anti-summit demonstrations it generated in Genoa. This translation is, however, subsequent.
Further in the text, the reader will understand why we specify “trying to enforce its direct action” and not “assuming its direct action”.
We have made clear that believing that the future of capital may be decided in those kinds of meetings is no more than a myth. However, the bourgeois do need to centralize formally in order to sign treaties, draw perspectives and enforce more standardized economic policies, such as those that characterize the World Bank and the IMF. Actually, the bourgeoisie in every country makes an increasing use of the negotiations and claims of these institutions to justify its own austerity policy. Hence this “natural” proletarian rage against all that, and the fact that in every country, there are confrontations against the delegations of these organisms and the additional measures they wish to enforce.
What is written between quotation marks is not a product of our delirious thoughts, but of those generated by the virtual passions of the Porto Alegre protagonists. We have quoted it textually from their press, in particular from the issue the magazine Hika dedicated the World Social Forum, already mentioned in note 14.
Before printing this text, some comrades have expressed their disagreement relative to our critique of Hebe Bonafini, whom they consider as a proletarian, struggling for many years in a particularly difficult struggle, in the opposite direction of the democratic recuperation of a fraction of the “Mothers of the May Square”. We shall simply respond that our aim is elsewhere. We want to denounce a counter-revolutionary show and we bitterly lament to see someone as Hebe Bonafini play a part in it. As we mention all through this text, our interest is to appeal to the militants not to make themselves accomplices of social democracy and the contestation show, and to stand outside and against it all. The presence of revolutionary militants such as H. Bonafini is a blessing for these social democrat pseudo-contestations; it brings a scent of radicalism to the Forum of Porto Alegre and to the anti-globalization led by Attac and acolytes. The whole history of popular-frontism is marked with such use of revolutionary militants: in 1936, in Spain, the Popular Front, which later would liquidate the revolution, affirmed itself thanks to the presence of militants such as Durrutti, who, against the historic position of revolutionaries, called for voting in favour of the popular Front.
Quotation from a pamphlet signed by the Anti-capitalist Revolutionary Movement (Ap. de correos 265, 08080 Barcelona, Spain) that clearly expresses the real opposition between bourgeoisie and proletariat. We note, however, that the term “proletarian youth” instead of proletariat is, according to us, a concession to fashion. In this same document, the reading of issue nº144, third year, of the Counter-information Barcelona Bulletin is also recommended (http.//www.sindominio.net/zitzania) “for a true information about what happened in Nice”.
According to an estimation published during the Washington summit, expenses related to security amounted to 32 million dollars. We have no idea of what is included in such sum and even less so of what it conceals, for security reasons.
The regime of Saddam Hussein, in Iraq, or Chavez, in Venezuela may represent different nuances in this general policy, but it is in no way comparable to a generalized, anchored in time phenomenon, such as Stalinism has been.
The capitalist catastrophe is going deeper. To invert the wheel of history is a reactionary utopia. Only the destruction of capital will open the way for humanity to build another world, which will have nothing to do with capitalism, as we knew it a few dozen years ago.
With regards to the proletarian movement in Ecuador, we propose the reading of “Nous soulignons: Amérique Latine: contre le mythe de l’invincibilité des forces répressives”in Communisme nº51. The comparison we put forward here could apply to any large proletarian riot, as in Venezuela, Albania, Iraq….
We have no interest in separating these movements. What we want is to insist on the unique content of the proletarian movement and on the necessity of its revolutionary centralization. However, it is a fact that this distinction and separation currently does exist, and that, in both our examples, the protagonists themselves are not aware that it is one and the same movement. This has led us to emphasize the differences, to bring the present tendencies to their most extreme expressions (to the point of depicting the differences as much more clearly distinct than they are in reality), in order to analyse them. Indeed, analysing the most extreme differences allows a development of a precise comradly criticism for everyone of these expressions, and at the same time, put forward that we are dealing with one and the same movement. The following caricature allows an understanding of our methodology: let’s consider that the movement in Ecuador originates in economic misery, and the one in Seattle in political awareness, it appears obviously that this distinction is a caricature, nevertheless it may help us to clarify the actions specific to each movement, and to understand, or better, to assume, as we state at the end of the text, that we’re dealing with the one and the same social movement aiming at the abolition of capital. If we were to solely insist on the fact that the struggle is part of the same movement, and that within it everything is equal, which is terminally true, it would be impossible to formulate any explanation based on a comparison, as we do here.
Social democracy, Marxism-Leninism, anarcho-trade unionism mention the shift from the economic field to the political field, or the transformation of immediate struggles into historic struggles, as if they had a different nature. They link this change to the contribution of political awareness, or to the political action of the party. As far as we are concerned, we refuse this distinction (see our Thesis of programmatic orientation, GCI, nº15,31,32 and 33); we rather refer to a generalization of the immediate claims. The class contradictions contain in themselves their own generalization, which means that any struggle against the concrete exploitation conditions, against the bourgeois austerity measures, even if it is geographically limited, contains in itself the struggle against this exploitation society as a whole. What determines the shift towards generalization is not the political action of the vanguard elements, but, to the contrary, the development of the proletariat’s interests that no particular struggle can bring to victory, no particular claim can fulfil. They tend, inclusively against the intervention of political activists, to generalize themselves into a struggle against capital and the state. Generally, as we mentioned in thesis nº15, the qualitative leap takes shape by overriding the organizations that express partial claims (workers organizations, classist associations, factory committees…) and by shifting to territorial organizations in which all proletarians gather –men and women, workers and unemployed, young and old-, such as workers’ councils, supply committees, assemblies from one or more cities…
In the middle of the 19th century, Marx already criticized the consideration that a movement is more global if it is more political, hence emphasizing the revolutionary political will. Marx demonstrated on the contrary that the proletarian rebellion, even if only unfolding within one region, contains in itself the totality. With regard to this discussion with Ruge, read: Critical notes on the article “The king of Prussia and the social reform. By a Prussian”, Karl Marx.
Whether they are aware of it or not, proletarians who assume and profess the minority violent action break away from democracy, even if it is a so-called “workers’ democracy”. They assume the fact that the revolutionary action has nothing in common with democratic referendums and congresses. They assume that the proletariat can only constitute itself by coordinating and centralizing the different expressions that implement, without previous consultation, the different revolutionary tasks. It’s through this process, this affirmation of the community of struggle and interest, that the proletariat reconstitutes itself as a class, and, consequently, organizes itself as a party opposed to all existing parties.
There is a critique of this ideology and the form it takes today in the text “Give up activism” published in English, in “Reflections on June 18. Contribution on the politics behind the events that occurred in the city of London on June 18, 1999” Edit. Collective, October 1999. This text gathers several interesting contributions, yet we point out two things. First, the ideological and intellectual conception of the authors. They do not analyse activism either as part of the social practice of the international proletariat, of its strengths or weaknesses (and thus of the balance of forces against capital), nor as an objective product of the movement. They consider it as the exclusive subjective product of the “activists”. We also point out the absence of any revolutionary counter-proposition, of any claim of the specific revolutionary activity that since ever characterized the most decided factions of the proletariat, that is to say the revolutionary internationalist activity.
We never use the word “principle” to define our historic movement because it has no principles. Let us remember that the first formulation of what would become later the “Manifesto of the Communist Party” of 1847, by Engels, was entitled “Principles of Communism”, and that Marx and Engels, considering that formulation as inadequate, decided to change it.
On that matter, read “Faux recours à l’activisme”, in Invariance, nº3.
One could retort that the exploited class always acts according to the dominant class determinations, that capital is the subject of this society and that the proletariat can only arise as a negation. It is true, but in this precise case, it is not a matter of a spontaneous and generalized reaction of the proletariat facing a bourgeois attack. Even if it determines the proletariat action by its aggression, the bourgeoisie cannot predict how it will react, at what moment it will choose to react, nor what kind of action will it put into practice. In the case of the summits and anti-summits, it's the opposite; the action of the proletariat is completely determined and publicly known in advance.
Quotations from pamphlets, conversations and letters from comrades.
 For the majority of these groups (in reality merely pseudo-radicals) that use the term in an immediate and erroneous sense, “radical” means giving a violent character to the social-democrat procession, override the Attac celebrations through “direct action” (see farther the critic of the use of the term “direct action”), which in fact contradicts the only policy the proletariat is interested in, that is to say stand against and outside of these counter-revolutionary demonstrations. For us, toradicalise means fighting to destroy the very roots of the bourgeois society, its foundations value, wage labour… all these “little programmatic details” that are never mentioned by any of these groups.
And this is one of the major problems of the proletariat. Social democracy should not be criticized for its deviations, but because it is part of capital; its pacifism should not be denounced, but confronted through revolutionary violence, because that pacifism is merely an ideological element that makes it easier to inflict upon us its counter-revolutionary violence (let us remember that social democracy always resorts to violence against the revolution!)
We remind that this article has been written before the G8 meeting in Genoa. The demonstrations that occurred on that occasion provide enough evidence of what we denounce here: one death, hundreds of wounded among our ranks and impunity for the repressive forces.
Through this mediation, “direct action” is also turned into a caricature!
That is one of the great preoccupations of the bourgeoisie, particularly the partisans of national liberation, expressed here by a French journalist: “(….) Young people in Kabylia no longer believe in anything, they only believe in violence, they are absolutely not interested in independence, and the independentist organizations, albeit doing their best, do not succeed in controlling them”.
Already in his time, Bernstein wanted to get rid of the “Hegelianism” in Marx because the question of the transformation of quantity into quality, of the evolution of contradiction into revolution, bothered him greatly. He intended to remove the “Blanquism” too, because he hated even more the fact that this proletarian revolution necessarily implied revolutionary conspiring and insurrection. Nowadays, the movement features this same tendency to elude the rupture, the qualitative leap, the revolution, the insurrection…
“Anti-imperialism” is in reality nothing but the defence of imperialist capitalism. To be anti-imperialist without being anti-capitalist is absurd not only because any capitalism is necessarily imperialist, because any state (capital organized into imperialist force), while ensuring exploitation and oppression of its “own” proletariat, represents on the inter-imperialist battlefield one bourgeois faction against another, but also because, being capital, it is by nature pro-imperialist. This “anti-imperialism” translates into exclusive opposition towards such and such faction, such and such institution (IMF, NATO…), such and such country, which in practice is capitalistic and totally imperialistic.
The essence of capitalism is invariant . All oppositions between competitive phases and monopolistic phases, between free-trade and imperialist periods have never been anything else but the ideological cover of opportunism in the defence of the “good side” of capitalism: “democracy”, industrialization, and, in reality, support to one of the blocks within the imperialist war.
The organization of the proletariat into historic force requires a structuring that is totally antagonist to these bourgeois divisions. As the proletarian organization will grow, it will manage to mix within its cells proletarians from different races, cultures, sex, age and to overstep the limits and divisions enforced by capital, to reform at last the human world community.
What is new about it?
The organizations that have signed this pamphlet are: Juventude Em Luta Revolutionária, Jornal Espacio Socialista, Comité Marxista Revolucionario, Anarko-Punks, Movimiento Che Vive (RJ), Coletivo Pela Universidade Popular (Porto Alegre), Secretaria Estadual de Casas de Estudantes de Goiás, Grupo Cultural Semente de Esperança. Açao Global pela Justicia Local, Resistencia Popular –RJ/PA, Núcleo Zumbi Zapatista –Abc Paulista, Estrategia Revolucionária, Socialismo Libertario-Brasília, Federación Anarquista Uruguaya, Açao Revolucionaria Marxista (RJ), Frente de Luta Popular, Juventude Avançar na Luta, Liga Bolchevique internacionalista, Agrupación En Clave ROJA, Espaço Popular. Contact: email@example.com
To consider that these institutions are the source of exploitation constitutes obviously a revision, a falsification of the very concept of exploitation, as we shall explain further in this article.
On this matter, read our article “La question de la dette:assez de prose” in Le Commnuniste nº25, or « Deuda externa : las fantasmas sin salida » in Comunismo n°21
Which is erroneously named as state capitalism, as if capitalism changed nature due to its juridical statehood, which does not necessarily coincide with the real concentration, centralization and economic nationalization of capital.
During several proletarian insurrections such as those that occurred in Germany in 1919, or in Spain in the 30’s, revolutionaries at war with money and capital and imposing class violence in a city burnt money. But that situation was totally different: it was a symbolic act taking place during the insurrectional full development of the revolution
Without insisting here on the numerous confusions that those “anarchists” accept and that derive from the dominant ideology, we shall mention only one: to stand against “the globalization of markets” is significant of huge concessions to the novelty ideology, developed by social democracy.
It is impossible to quote here the different works of criticizing democracy in which we substantiate its key role in the capitalist domination. We shall mention only the one translated into English: “ Against the myth of democratic rights and liberties” in Communism n°8.
On this matter, read our series of articles on the 1917-1923 period in Le Communiste: “ Russie, contre-révolution et développement du capitalism”, nº28, December 1988, and more particularly the articles entitled “La conception social-démocrate de la transition au socialism” and “Contre le mythe de la transformation socialiste. La politique économique et sociale des bolchevique”.
Here is a quotation that needs no comment: “Anyway, the proletariat’s program was already fulfilled by capital. The democratic universal republic, we had it: it was the UNO (United Nations Organization) plus the IMF (International Monetary Fund). Also the development of the productive forces: infernal cadences plus the automation”.
To us, it does not seem important, nor even relevant, to analyse any further the fantasies of Théorie Communiste, because this small groups of initiates took fun in redefining all the concepts, and to get into the details would require excessively long terminological explanations. Let us simply say that the most ludicrous aspects of their program, such as the theory of surpassing programmatism , the historic surpassing of transition, the theory of self-negation of the proletariat without its affirmation as a class, derived from the fact that “program”, for Théorie Communiste, means the program of social democracy, “transition” means Leninist transition, “affirmation of the proletariat” means affirmation of the Bolshevik power in Russia…. All this construction is based on social-democrat concepts, and loses all interest as soon as those terms are defined according to the communist critique of bolshevism, as it was the case, within the Third International, for what was then called the German, Italian… and generally the international Communist Left.
It’s the same struggle as ever, that during the war, takes shape into revolutionary defeatism. Read “The invariance of the revolutionary position on war. The meaning of revolutionary defeatism” in Communism nº12
Leadership’s centralisation, centralized leadership does not mean (whatever may say the anti-authoritarian ideology that prevails nowadays) petty bosses, bureaucracy, hierarchy… as with capitalism and even in the Marxist-Leninist or libertarian groups. To the contrary, the more decentralized the action, the more accurately the proletariat will know where to direct the movement. Let every part of the movement know where to concentrate its forces and how to strike the enemy, and let them do it together, Let every local faction of the world proletariat be part of one and the same body, that’s what the revolutionaries mean by “organic centralism”, opposed to the democratic centralism of capitalism.