Dictatorship of the proletariat for the abolition of wage labour

Central review in English of the Internationalist Communist Group (ICG)

COMMUNISM No.6 (September 1989)

From man's alienation to human community

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Alienation and primitive communism

Contrary to the petty Puritanism of those bourgeois scientists who, for centuries, have been describing the primitive societies as unspeakable monstrosities, as beastly societies, not human yet, evoking pictures of barbarian dragging their women by the hair and unchristian love, "Quest of fire"-style,... revolutionary Marxism analyses these primitive societies as being natural communities, as being primitive communism. Where those narrow-minded pen pushers see nothing but barbarism, we see the expression of "what is human in man" (Marx), that is, societies which ignore the separations between labour and leisure, education and pleasure, man and nature, life and death,... real communities where there is no class, no state, no private property, no family,... where the communal being of man is nothing else but man himself, where the atomised individual, so cherished nowadays, does not exist, where the community corresponds to the interests of the species.

"In natural and primitive communism, even if humanity is kept within the bounds of the horde, the individual does not seek to steal from his brother's welfare, and he is ready to sacrifice himself fearlessly for the survival of the great phratry." - Bordiga, "In Janitizio we do not fear death" -

And despite all the trash spread around by our "professors", it is getting clearer and clearer that these primitive societies, this natural communism, were societies of abundance in which, moreover, there existed rites for the redistribution of riches, for the destruction of surplus (e.g. the "potlatch" amongst the Iroquois...) (2).

Yet, if we regard primitive communism as an embryonic prefiguration of the future human community, it is nevertheless true that this community was still imperfect and limited (we do not intend to revive the myth of "paradise lost") because it was strictly subordinated to the external natural conditions, inclement weather, melting ice, earthquakes,... which at times, caused scarcity and therefore the necessity to produce stores, to accumulate. The dissolution of natural community through exchange - brought about, on one side, by the accumulation of surplus for exchange, and on the other side by scarcity (the first and essential scarcity being historically that of women) - first takes place on the outskirts of the community, and then causes more and more strongly the gathering and hunting societies to become agricultural/stock-breeding societies, which means: production for exchange, emergence of value and then of money as a medium of exchange, expropriation of men, division of labour, division into classes etc., in short, the destruction of primitive communism and the emergence of class societies and the State as the organ defending the interests of the ruling class - a process summed up here in a few lines, but which actually lasted thousands of years.

Alienation, in the Marxism sense of dispossession, or more precisely extraneousness (3) appears along with the dissolution of the primitive society, but, in these societies, prior to this extraneousness there existed an alienation: natural alienation. This natural alienation is of course qualitatively different from the alienation/extraneousness such as it is developed in class societies and culminates - absolute domination - in the capitalist mode of production. Indeed, natural alienation derives from the necessity to explain, to understand natural phenomenon which seem unconceivable and unearthly, and which determine the whole life of the community. That is why all the cults, myths, divinities,... in these communities refer to the essential elements of human life, of reproduction of the species: fecundity, sun, life, moon, fire,...

"Religion, as the word tells it, is a relation between the beings. It appears only when the activity of men has been fragmented, just as their community has been fragmented. It makes use of the rituals, the magic, the myths of previous societies. Before that, there was no religion." - Camatte, "On alienation" in "Capital and Gemeiwesen -

That is also why these myths, these rituals,... expressions of the primitive communal life, represent much more an outline of human consciousness than of a false, mystified consciousness: religion.

"The myth, in its innumerable forms, was no delirium from minds which had their physical eyes closed to reality - natural and human reality in an inseparable way as in Marx - but it is an irreplaceable step on the only way towards the real conquest of consciousness which, in class forms, is built through large and distant revolutionary rending, and which will develop freely in the classless society only (...). Well, these myths and these mystiques were a revolution; the respect and admiration that we show for them, as struggles constituting rare and remote movements forward through which human society progressed, are in no way lessened, for us, by the fact that their formulations are awkward and those of our doctrine have another texture." - Bordiga, "Comments on the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts" B

Though these phenomenon are by no means understood consciously, the primitive man finds a solution for them, a mystical reason; but this mystification is not external to life, is not inhuman - reality is merely distorted, mystified by the very limits of the primitive man. The alienation has still a human character. The representations of primitive life - which have become, in value societies what they call "art" - even when distorted by the mystique, are not yet totally separated from life itself, "art" is not yet the lifeless representation of survival, because there still exists an art of living.

The dissolution of the community, just as it means separation among men, brings about all the separations; alienation becomes purely inhuman. The stronger the development of the several kinds of class societies, the stronger the dispossession of man, his material dispossession, hence that of his consciousness.

"In the form of exchange, of money and of classes, all sense of the perenniality of the species disappears, while the sordid sense of the perenniality of saving arises, embodied in the immortality of the soul which acquires its felicity outside nature, with an usurious god managing this odious bank. In these societies that pretend that they have raised themselves from barbarism to civilization, one fears personal death and one prostrates oneself before infamous mummies, even like the mausoleums in Moscow." - Bordiga, "In Janitzio we do not fear death" -

Reification and capitalism

The worldwide domination of capitalism is radically different from all the previous modes of production, with its universal essence as a precondition to the unification of the history of humanity. Capitalism is not just the product of the simple linear succession of the modes of production, which preceded it in such or such geographical area; its presupposition is the world market. Thus the capitalist mode of production is the first worldwide mode of production - the only one that destroys and unifies all the other modes of production which co-existed before (feudalism, slavery-system, Asiatic mode of production,...) and at the same time makes of communism a possibility and a necessity. Capitalism thus synthesizes and simplifies the class antagonisms, which have made the entire human prehistory; the fundamental contradiction now lies between capitalism and communism, between bourgeoisie and proletariat.

In this contradiction the proletariat is the negating pole, the art of destruction. And whereas capitalism sums up the history of the ruling classes, the proletariat sums up and makes possible the everlasting struggle of the exploited classes (cf. Spartacus, T.Munzer, the Anabaptists, the Enrages, the Levellers, etc.) (4). Therefore, as Marx says, if "the propertied class and the class of the proletariat present the same human self-estrangement", it is the proletariat only that embodies, that personifies, in destitution, the revolt against this destitution, "a revolt to which it is necessarily driven by the contradiction between its human nature and its condition of life, which is the outsight, resolute and comprehensive negation of that nature." - Marx, "The holy family" -

Capitalism, which concludes the cycle of value (in generalizing to the whole world the commodity production - formula M-C-M'), sets the serf free from his last fetter - the tie to the glebe -; but, just as it frees him from this tie to the ground, it breaks the last link that still bound man to nature, and which, moreover, enabled him to subsist, since, in the feudal social relations, one part of the serf's labour-power was owed to himself, the other part being owed to the lord. The free serf - that is, the modern proletarian - is thus left with his labour-power and his children as his only property (5).

"Light, air and the simplest animal cleanliness cease to be human needs. Filth, this corruption and putrefaction which runs in the servers of civilization (this is to be taken literally) becomes the element in which he lives." - Marx, "Economic and Philosophical Manusscripts" -

It is in, and through, this total destitution that the proletariat finds out its destructive power; having nothing to lose, it has everything to win. As Lenin said: "What we want: everything". Here we find again, in the utmost atomisation of the "proletarian citizen", in his "liberation", the base of the community of capital, the negation of classes: democracy (6).

"Feudal society was dissolved into its basic element, man; but into egoistic man who was its real foundation. Man in this aspect, the member of civil society, is now the foundation and presupposition of the political state. He is recognized as such in the rights of man. But the liberty of egoistic man and the recognition of this liberty is rather the recognition of the frenzied movement of the cultural and material elements, which form the content of this life. Thus man was not liberated from religion; he received religious liberty. He was not liberated from property; he received the liberty to own property. He was not liberated from egoism of business, he received the liberty to engage in business." - Marx, "On the Jewish Question" 1843 -

The emancipation, the liberation achieved by the bourgeois society is thus the liberty to be fully exploited, the complete dispossession of the proletarian is his liberty to be forced to sell his labour-power, in order not to starve. This constrained act of sale/purchase of human labour marks the completion of the historical process of dehumanisation. Alienation/extraneousness is total; man is nothing but a mere commodity, a dead thing. Man's alienation is wage-labour, alienated labour, alienation of labour. It is this act of sale - commodity exchange - that totally separates the workers, the producer from the means of production. He is compelled to sell himself, in order to be able to value himself with means of production which are alien and external to him though they actually are nothing but crystallized human labour.

"The worker puts his life into the object and this life then belongs no longer to himself but to the object. The greater his activity, therefore, the less he possesses. What is embodied in the product of his labour is no longer his own. The greater this product is, therefore, the more he is diminished. The extraneousness of the worker in his product means not only that his labour becomes an object, assumes an external, but that it exists independently, outside himself, and alien to him, and that it stands opposed to him as an autonomous power. The life which he has given to the object sets itself against him as an alien and hostile force." - Marx, "Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts" -

The product of labour is, therefore, an object alien to the worker, which dominates him. The worker does not dominate the machine; it is capital, the social relations, the wage slavery that dominate the worker's life in a totalitarian way. Thus the capital social relations appear too as an external, alien, somehow "natural" power that dominates the proletarians and which, furthermore, seems eternal. What is more, alienation of labour also means that work is not a natural need to which worker submits willingly, quite the contrary, since it is the only way for him to satisfy his vital needs. Thus the historical struggle of the proletarians against alienation is their struggle against work (7).

"The external character of work for the worker is shown by the fact that it is not his own work but the work for someone else, that in work he does not belong to himself but to another person. It is the loss of himself." - Marx, Id. -

Yet, at the same time, this "loss of himself" makes it materially possible for the worker to become aware of this loss, to struggle, to destroy this wage slavery system.

"That is to say, it is true that the worker is objectively transformed into a mere object of the process of production by the methods of capitalist production (in contrast to those of slavery and servitude) i.e. by the fact that the worker is forced to objectify his labour-power over against his total personality and to sell it as a commodity. But because of the split between subjectivity and objectivity induced in man by the compulsion to objectify himself as a commodity, the situation becomes one that can be made conscious. In earlier, more organic forms of society, work is defined 'as the direct function of a member of the social organism' (Marx, "A contribution to the critique of Political Economy"): in slavery and servitude the ruling powers appear as the 'immediate mainsprings of the production process' and this prevents labourers enmeshed in such a situation with their personalities undivided from achieving clarity about their social position. By contrast, 'work which is represented as exchange value has for its premise the work of the isolated individual. It becomes social by assuming the form of its immediate antithesis, the form of abstract universality.' (...). Above all the worker can only become conscious of his existence in society when he becomes aware of himself as a commodity. As we have seen, his immediate existence integrates him as a pure, naked object into the production process. Once this immediacy turns out to be the consequence of a multiplicity of mediations, once it becomes evident how much it presupposes, then the fetishistic forms of the commodity system begin to dissolve: in the commodity the worker recognizes himself and his own relations with capital. Inasmuch as he is incapable in practice of raising himself above the role of object his consciousness is the self-consciousness of the commodity, or in other words, it is the self knowledge, the self-revelation of the capitalist society founded upon the production and exchange of commodities." - Lukacs, "Reification and the consciousness of the proletariat", Merlin Press -

This long quotation explains the permanent and tendency-like process that goes from "the self-consciousness of the commodity" among the atomised proletarians, from "non-class", up to the constitution of the class into "class for itself", the conscious class organized into a party (8).

Thus we have seen that the essential characteristic of the capitalist mode of production lies in the fact that:

"In the first place, it produces commodities. But that does not distinguish it from other modes of production; it is rather that the prevailing and decisive feature of this production is to be a production of commodities. That implies first that the worker himself appears only as seller of commodities, hence as a free wage labourer and therefore that labour appear essentially as wage labour... The main agents of this mode of production, the capitalist and the wage-labourer, are as such mere embodiments, mere personifications of Capital and Wage Labour." - Marx, "Capital", Book One -

It is therefore the commodity that determines life; in order to exist under capitalism, everything must posses the characteristic of a commodity, that is, the quality of exchangeability: to possess an exchange value (9), in addition to its support, use value. The human labour power thus becomes something alien to man, a commodity, a mere dead, inhuman thing: this is objectification. From this, it ensues that for the proletarians:

"The relations connecting the labour of one individual with that of the rest appear, not as direct social relations between individuals at work, but as what they really are, material relations between persons and social relations between things." - Marx, "Capital", Book One -

Under capitalism, man is but what he brings, what he possesses as value to exchange. Money totally replaces the community, for the only thing that men have in common is their possession of a more or less great sum of money. It is money that connects the separated, extraneous beings; their relation is totally inhuman, is monetary. It is under the form of money that capital appeared historically. Money is the universal mediation; everything must become money (see Marx - Grundrisse, The Chapter on Money -). An example of this community of money is marriage which - beyond the discourses upon crazy love and love at first sight - is nothing but the sharing, with a monetary contract, of... misery. "Money is itself the community and can tolerate none other standing above it" (Marx).

Thus the worker appears as the owner of the commodity-labour power, and he sells himself, as a thing, with it. The process of extraneousness is therefore twofold: it appears first through the separation between the human forces and the products of their creators' labour, and then with their autonomization; the consequence of this is: the man is dominated by the material objective form of his own labour (10). Thus the fetishist character of the commodity is unveiled: every social, human relation under capitalism must assume the characteristic of a commodity (11), and therefore appears as a relation among dead, non-human things.

"Because the relation of the producers to the sum total of their own labour is presented to them as a social relation, existing not between themselves, but between the products of their labour. (...) There it is a definite social relation between men that assumes, in their eyes, the fantastic form of a relation between things. (...) This I call fetishism which attaches itself to the products of labour, so soon as they are produced as commodities, and which is therefore inseparable from the production of commodities." - Marx, "Capital" Book One -

The general characteristic of the capitalist mode of production lies in the fact that the production of relations among men settles not only for things, but, above all, by means of things. The commodity (and its fetishist character) being the obligatory mediation of all production, all the relations among men, and especially those between proletarians and bourgeois, are being veiled, mystified extraneous. The general form of this phenomenon is reification. And this relation among reified men is itself represented by a personified relation - personification of the capitalist production relations - with, on the one hand, the capitalist, and on the other hand, the proletarian - both being expressions of the bourgeois social relation.

"Economy does not deal with things, but with relations among persons and, in the last instance, between classes; now these relations are always connected with things and appear as things." - Engels, "About Marx's Critique of Political Economy" -

We shall have to decompose artificially, into two parts, the whole process of reification, in order to grasp its distinct yet inseparable elements:

A) Reification is the process through which the capitalist production relations (which determine the relations among men, essentially between capitalists and proletarians) bestow a definite social form, or definite social characteristics, upon the things by means of which men enter into mutual relations. This is objectification.

B) What enables the owner of things having a definite social form to appear in the personified form of capitalists, and to enter into concrete production relations with other men. This is personification.

In other words, under the capitalist mode of production, the relations among men assume the general character of a commodity - exchange value, exchangeability - and therefore become reified relations, relations among things - sale of labour power for a wage. But these reified relations which have become external, dominating things (simply because they seem to have proprieties "of their own") are themselves personified by the capitalists, "living" representatives of a relation among dead things. "The capitalist is merely capital personified" (Marx, Capital). And of course, the fetishist character of the commodity reaches its highest point with value, which begets itself, with money begetting money. Money possesses the inhuman gift of begetting "in itself" still more money, just as an apple-tree begets apples. The entire process is obturated; reification is absolute; nothing is left of man. This is the realm of things: money, machines, labour, leisure,... capital. This is the realm of death.

The reification of the production relations is thus reinstated in the central position that Marx already attributed to it in his theory of value, in his "necrology of the capitalist mode of production": Capital.

"Already implicit in the commodity (...) is the reification of the social features of production and the personification of the material foundations of production, which characterize the entire capitalist mode of production" -Marx, Capital, Book Three-

And of course, the entire "work" of "Marxist" economists consists in separating "the objective and scientific analysis of capital" from the remnants of "Hegelian philosophy" - the central question of reification - which, according to them, still obscuree the analysis. This falsification has only one purpose: trying to prove that Marx's gigantic work is but a mere analysis - biology - of capital, and not the implacable demonstration ("the terrible missile") of the unavoidable catastrophic collapse of capitalism, of its violent destruction by the personification of the entire human poverty: the proletariat which, by this very act, liberates humanity from the realm of necessity and man from alienation.

"Vulgar economists who do not understand that the process of 'personification of things' can be comprehended only as the result of the process of 'reification of production relations' among men, regard the social characteristics of things (value, money, capital,...) as natural characteristics inherent in things themselves. Value, money,... are not considered as expressions of human relations "connected" with things, but as the direct characteristics of things themselves, characteristics which are 'directly intermingled' with their natural, technological characteristics. There lies the fetishism of the commodity that characterizes vulgar economy and the common views of the agents of production, entrapped in capitalist economy. Here lies 'the reification of social relations, the immediate interconnection of the material production relations with their historico-social determinations'." - "Capital", Book Three, quoted by L. Rubbin -

We therefore had to restore the theory of reification at the very centre of the totality that Marxism - "the theory of the conditions of liberation of the proletariat" (Engels) - is. This essential conception, according to which the very motive power of human liberation lies in the fact that the proletariat is itself totally made extraneous, totally dominated by a monstrous heap of lifeless objects - expressing that life is objectless -makes it possible for us to understand aand describe what integral communism will be.

Integral communism: the world human community

The vulgar comprehension always shows contempt for communism, on behalf of immediacy, that is, on behalf of domination by capital. Revisions are always justified by "new conditions", by "special cases", by "changes in the evolution of capital", failing to understand that our movement, the workers' struggle, is not subordinated to such or such incidental change in the domination of capital, but to communism in a direct and invariant way. It is only from the standpoint of communism that revolutionaries can transform reality. It is the totality of the historic cycle - from natural communities to integral communism - that determines the revolutionary program, which the working class will carry on. This movement is taking place under our eyes; it is the negation of capitalism by the proletariat, which, in negating itself - negation of the negation - realizes the human community. That is why the whole of Marx's work, as well as that of all revolutionaries, is also the description of communism. That description of communism is the description of what the humanity will be historically compelled to achieve - the human community - and at the same time, the description of the concrete action of the proletariat, of the communist movement, which will impose communism. Thus it is also the description of the new community in its prefiguration: the party. Marx's classical description of communism was as follows:

"Since human nature is the true community of men, by manifesting their nature men create, produce the human community, the social entity, which is no abstract universal power opposed to the particular individual, but is the essential nature of each individual, his own activity, his own life, his own spirit, his own wealth". - Marx, Comments on J. Mill -

Once the human community, the "true community" is defined, it is easier for us to comprehend the fictive character (12) of the commodity of capital, of a pseudo-community, of a real community of extraneous, self-estranged men.

"To say that man is estranged from itself, therefore, is the same thing as saying that the society of this estranged man is a caricature of the real community, of his true species-life, that his activity therefore appears to him as a torment, his own creation as an alien power, his wealth as poverty, the essential bond linking him with other men as an unessential bond, and separation from his fellow men, on the other hand, as his true mode of existence, his life as a sacrifice life, the realization of his nature as making his life unreal, his production as the production of his nullity, his power over an object as the power over him, and he himself, the lord of his creation, as the servant of this creation". - Marx, Comments on J. Mill -

And, as we have seen, from the negation of capitalism by the proletariat negating itself, Marx draws the positive description of communism:

"Communism is the positive abolition of private property, of human extraneousness, and thus the real appropriation of human essence through and for man. It is therefore the complete return of man himself as a social, i.e. really human being, a complete and conscious return which assimilates all the wealth of previous development."

"Communism as a fully developed naturalism is humanism and as a fully developed humanism is naturalism. It is the definitive resolution of the antagonism between man and nature, and between man and man. It is the true solution of the conflict between existence and essence, between objectification and self-affirmation, between freedom and necessity, between individual and species. It is the solution of the riddle of history and knows itself to be this solution."

Communism means the realization of the human species, means the destruction of the petty, infamous bourgeois individual: "Communism suppresses the individual to realize the human being." (Le Communiste No.9) (13)

The suppression of the particular individual on behalf of the species also means the disappearance of egoism:

"Need and enjoyment have thus lost their egoistic character and nature has lost its mere utility by the fact that its utilization has become human utilization." - Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts -

All the separations disappear along with the abolition of private property, classes, money, labour, the State (and all its apparatus: justice, schools, armies, churches,...) but also of the basic structure of the bourgeois society: the family (with its hypocritical panoply: cuckolds, prostitutes, lovers,...), to be replaced by a human community which assumes, in a communal way, the entire life and reproduction of the species.

"We have the right to follow the century - old thesis - no wage, no money, no exchange, no value - with thesis quite as century - old and original: no god, no state, no family." - Bordiga, The Immuable Tables of the Communist Theory -

In this sense, love is no longer what we "know" today - the fusion of two atomised beings (a fusion which means their non-existence) sharing their misery and their anguish but the assuagement and development of all the desires, impulses, longings, needs,... of the social man.

"In a non-monetary communism, love will have, as a need, the same importance and meaning for both sexes, and the act which consecrates it will achieve the social formula according to which the other's need is my need as a man insofar as the need of one sex is being fulfilled as one need of the other sex." - Bordiga, Comments on the Economic and Philisophical Manuscripts B

"I would have been for you the mediator between you and the species and therefore would become recognised and felt by you yourself as a completion of your own essential being and as a necessary part of yourself, and consequently would know myself to be confirmed both in your thought and your love. In the individual expression of my life, I would have directly created your expression of your life, and therefore in my individual activity I would have directly confirmed and realised my true being, my human being, my communal being." - Marx, Comments on J.Mill, 1844 -

Likewise, time under capitalism is one of the monsters, which consumes us every day, for the reason that time is the measure of value; it is time that quantifies value. Under capital, time is the only social measure; it is the standard according to which our non-life is calculated. Everything is determined by labour-time; and as the famous saying goes: "Time is money". Marx already conveyed this idea when he wrote: "Time is everything, man is nothing; he is, at most, time's carcass".

"The pendulum of the clock has become as accurate a measure of the relative activity of two workers as it is of the speed of two locomotives." - Marx, The poverty of Philosophy, 1846 -

Under capitalism, time is the measure of our loss; we are losing our time to win our survival. On the contrary, communism will abolish all measure by time, for it will abolish what time measures: the value production. All the decisions leading to communism counteract the law of value; hence destroy the foundation of the capitalist production relation (14).

"In a future society, in which class antagonism will have ceased, in which there will no longer be any classes, use will no longer be determined by the minimum time of production, but the time of production devoted to an article will be determined by the degree of its social utility." - Marx, The poverty of Philosophy -

Communism will not take, as a basis, labour-time (=capital), but the available time, the free disposal of one's life, hence of time. It will no longer be necessary to fight in order to 'take one's time for living', since our lives will take place all the time.

It remains to be known whether, for us communists, communism means "the end of the history", means the realization on earth of the celestial paradise which all priests promise us. Here as elsewhere, let the classics answer:

"Communism posits the positive as negation of the negation and is, consequently, for the next stage of historical development, a real and necessary factor in the emancipation and rehabilitation of man. Communism is the necessary form and the dynamic principle of the immediate future, but communism is not itself the goal of human development, the form of human society." - Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts -

Causing once more idealists as well as vulgar materialists to fidget, Marx here asserts that communism is but a transitory society, is not the end of history, but, on the contrary, the beginning of the human history, of the conscious history; it is just the end of the prehistory. Communism is the suppression of class antagonism and its consequences. It is not the suppression of all contradiction, that is, of all movement. The social humanity will still be in movement, a movement no longer determined by class contradictions but for the very first time by new contradictions, human contradictions at last. Communism is the dawning of a new era, is the reappropriation by the humanity of its history, its consciousness, as well as all of its riches.

From the primitive man's natural alienation to the citizen's extraneousness under capitalism: that is how the cycle of class societies is completed, the cycle of the still more alienated quest for abundance. Whereas communism, being "the supremacy of man over his conditions of living" (Marx, The German Ideology), abolishes alienation...

"The suppression of alienation can only be accomplished by the establishment of communism." - Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts -


(1) The general framework of study, the central question of the Marxist method, that is, how Marxism abolishes philosophy (and economy, science, art as well) by realizing it, is to be found in our text "Notes critiques sur le matérialisme dialectique" in Le Communiste No.13.

(2) For readers interested in these questions, we refer to Engel's classic "The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State" as well as to the text "Abundance and Destitution in Primitive Societies" (published in the review "La Guerre Sociale" No.1) which, though sometimes verges on the apology of the natural community, is nonetheless a very good illustration of the essential human character of primitive societies - and that from the communist standpoint.

(3) This essential concept in Marx, restored by Camatte, enables us to express more accurately the worker's complete dispossession, man's total externality to his production.

"We therefore translated 'Entfremdung' with extraneousness, thus modifying the word coined, with good reason, by Hippolyte. In effect: it cannot be translated with alienation, for this would mask reality, or more precisely, veil the moment which alienation has reached. Now the term implies that man has become a stranger to himself, to his Gemeinwezen, and that his activity estranges him more and more, and removes him farther and farther from his human reality. This is a very important stage in the development of the capitalist society. The ultimate one is reached when atomised social relations, made independent by capital, dominate the human being whose activity was their original generator. There it is reification, which inevitably produces the complete in mystification of reality." (Invariance)

(4) It is obvious that the proletariat only can carry out this old project of the humanity, the communists from the past had their eyes turned to the past, and intended to revive the ancient community (cf. Spartacus' City of the Sun) because they had not the material possibility yet to impose the new human community, integral communism.

(5) Hence the word 'proletarian': from prole = child - that is, he who only possesses his children.

(6) On this subject, we refer our readers to our text "Fasciste ou anti-fasciste, la dictature du capital c'est la démocratie" in Le Communiste No.9, and "Against the Myths of Democratic Rights and Liberties" in Communism No.1.

(7) See our text "A bas le travail" in Action Communiste No.4.

(8) The extreme position of the proletariat as a "non-class" reveals its existence "for capital" only, its complete atomisation, its dissolution into the people. The utter domination of the counter-revolution through purified democracy - fascist or anti-fascist - has almost completely achieved this negation of the classes during the period before WW II (see Bilan). As for us, we prefer to use the concept of "non-class", instead of the "classical" term "class-in-itself", because it shows more precisely that the distinction between "class-in-itself and "class-for-itself" expresses, on the one hand, the inexistence of the proletariat as a revolutionary class - a class in the full sense of the term, that is, organized into a party - and, on the other hand, its affirmation as such.

(9) Here, of course, we distinguish the form that value takes under capitalism (exchange value) from the substance of value: abstract labour.

(10) On all these questions, we refer the reader to the book by F. Jakubowski "The ideological superstructures in the materialist conception of history", which is not devoid of critics.

(11) The first sentence of "Capital" already synthesizes this reality: "The capitalist mode of production presents itself as 'an immense accumulation of commodities'".

(12) When we define the community of capital as a fictive community, we mean that it is fictive as a community, as "the essence of man" but is completely real as a community of atomised citizens, as a non-human community. The fictive community of capital exists; we must therefore destroy it.

(13) When we assert this central position of revolutionary communism, in direct relationship with Marx's and Bordiga's works - The human being is the true Gemeinwezen of man - we consider, like Bordiga, that "in this grand construction, economical individualism is abolished, and the social man emerges, whose limits are those of the human society, or better, of the human species." Yet this essential, impersonal, anti-individualistic conception -man exists only as social man, as human species - also means the realization of the "particular" man, of what is human in each man. The suppression of the individual - the narrow-minded, stupid and egoistic individual - means the realization of the social man, hence the complete realization of each "particular" man. "The danger with Bordiga lies in that he maintains his thesis on the negation of the individual up to communism included; in negating man as a unity, communism eventually appears as the triumph of the species only." - Camatte, Bordiga and The Passion for Communism -

(14) We are not dealing, within the framework of this article, with the question of the "labour coupons" in the period of transition - a highly incidental proposal made by Marx in his critique of the Gotha program. Nevertheless, we can briefly assert that the very problem of labour coupons must be set aside, since they still are a form of measure of labour made extraneous by time. On the contrary, integral communism means the suppression of labour, hence its measure. The immediate measures decided by the worldwide dictatorship of the proletariat should be directed towards communism, should run counter the law of value, hence directed towards the abolition of labour - for example, the drastic shortening of labour time. These measures, instead of being the implementation of a new mode of calculation of labour by time, such as the labour coupons, shall counteract capital's logic and shall therefore correspond to the reappropriation by the proletariat of the whole of the social production - for instance, measures such as: free transports, free lodgings, free health cares,... Marx's proposal - the labour coupons -though quite anachronic in view of the ppresent technological development, had at least the great advantage of being put forth from a communist standpoint, in contradistinction to capitalist development; that is not the case, far from it, of all his "successors" and "interpreters" for whom communism is but capitalism seasoned with some democratic reforms...

On this subject, we refer our reader to the debate between Bilan and the Group of Internationalist Communists from Holland (G.I.K.) in Bilan No.19 and 20, and to the text "Communism and the Measure by Labour Time" in La Guerre Sociale No.1.

(15) Contrary to Hegel who, being a perfect idealist, puts an end to his dialectic, hence to history (a finality of the human history which has been attained with the ideal embodied by the German State), Marx maintains the dialectic and history up until the end as the motive power, and therefore do not consider communism as the end of the movement, the end of all human development.

Large-scale massacre of prisoners in Peru

Social-democratic peace is nothing else but the peace of tombs.

The tombs of all the proletarians who struggle against the State.

International Solidarity with the Proletariat and its prisoners in Peru!

* * *

We are publishing here a translation of an article that was first published in our Spanish review "Comunismo" (No.22 - June 86).

Although the events that the article talks about are not of recent date, the article remains very "up to date" as this was shown, cynically, a few months ago when the very commander of the massacres of June 86 at the El Fronton prison, M. Agustin Mantilla, took office as the Home Secretary of the new Peru government. This is how the bourgeoisie celebrates the massacres of the proletariat and how it honours and promotes its bloodthirsty butchers! M. Agustin Mantilla, "homme de main" of Alan Noske Garcia (the Peruvian President belongs to the social-democratic APRA party) is also known to be one of the organisers of the different para-military death-squads!

The article remains up to date still today, because internationalist solidarity with proletarians locked up in the State prisons all over the world has always been and always will be at the very heart of our struggle. There can be no communist militants who remain indifferent towards the repression of our class, towards the tortures, the imprisonments and the killings of our class comrades.

We still want to inform our readers and sympathisers that this article has been used by different groups from the "revolutionary milieu" (1) to slander our group and its militants by qualifying us as "a leftist group supporting terrorism and the Stalinist guerrilla of Shining Path in Peru". While these groups of the "revolutionary milieu" remain locked up in their democratism and their social-pacifism,... remain locked up in their overall social-democratic vision of the class struggle... they actively reinforce (consciously or not, it hardly matters) the bourgeois campaign on "anti-terrorism", designating our group and other internationalists for prosecution by the international police-gangs.

We ask our contacts not to accept such lies and slanders and to denounce such campaigns from these groups.


"Patria mia dame un presidente como Alan Garcia" ("Motherland give me a president like Alan Garcia"), the posters implored, in several Latin-American countries.

Alan Garcia, the first president from the APRA - a party that had for decades represented Latin-American bourgeois anti-imperialism - had edged his way through international conferences with progressists and trotskyists from all sides - (let us not forget the flirt between Haya de la Torre and Trotsky himself), and thus appeared as the trump card of Great Motherland nationalism and social-democrat anti-imperialism in Latin-America.

But international social-democracy (as numerous facts of the workers' struggle have shown) can offer nothing to the proletarians but State terrorism, repression, torture, shootings, massacres,... And the same can be told of any anti-imperialist, nationalist project, of any variety of Great Motherland nationalism, which is always essentially bourgeois.

Mister Garcia could not be, and has never been any exception. Cheered up by international social democracy and all the progressist bourgeois, Mister Garcia, once he had taken over the presidency, could play the cynical part of deceitful, politicking duelling, typical of any anti-imperialist bourgeois and populist nationalist. He built his fame among his international partners upon one or two purges in the repressive apparatus (so as to perfect repression, of course), upon anti-imperialist boastings, like when he announced that he would not devote more than 10% of the country's foreign currency to the payment of the external debt. Some even talk of "Garcia doctrine" about the payment of the debt! It is obvious that all that idle talk never stopped his regime from being on very good terms with the main international financial circles or international institutions like the IMF, the World Bank or the Interamerican Bank for Development. In all these institutions, there existed a kind of unanimous obligingness towards that man who was doing his best to deceive Peru's and Latin America's proletarians with the myth of debt repayment; and when the tension grew between the creditors and those in debt, they all agreed that Alan Garcia should pay a much larger sum in bribes. At bottom, they were aware that the 10% story suited them very well, but first and foremost, the myth had to live on.

Since there was nothing else for them to do in front of a proletariat that was marching on, they did the same about repression. They went chattering, they sacrificed a few scapegoats among the civil servants, and of course, they went on repressing. The number of people tortured, imprisoned, murdered in prison (an impressive massacre took place on the 4th October 1985 in Lurigancho, where dozens of prisoners were shot and burnt alive), disappearing,... not only did not decrease, but actually increased.

And of course, people like Willy Brandt, Mitterand, Guillermo Ungo, Felipe Gonzalez, Olof Palme,... participated and were accomplice in this. As a matter of fact, they were still welcoming and paying tribute to their fellowman Alan Garcia as being a true progressist and true anti-imperialist. Actually, Alan Garcia does embody international progressism, nationalist anti-imperialism and social-democratism: bloodthirsty against the fighting proletariat, one thousand times murderer of all the social struggles. The international press - that loathsome dissembler of all crimes committed by the State - was doing the rest: Alan was America's "Felipe Gonzales", the fairest and youngest of all the presidents of Latin-American democracy; he even was photogenic and his image could be sold as that of a "good family man". Welcome to the show! Meanwhile, repression was more sanguinary than ever; but, internationally, they mentioned it the least often possible, and when they did, the right or the left of the world bourgeoisie justified repression like this: "the point, actually, is to repress a tiny group of fanatics, of polpotians,...".

The impressive and sanguinary massacre of subversive prisoners that took place on the 18th of June 1986 in "El Fronton", "Lurigancho" and "Santa Barbara" in Peru, is a logical consequence of all this international preparation. It is the golden prize of anti-imperialist progressism. The fact that at the same time in Lima, the congress of the Socialist International was taking place, with peace as the major theme of it (as Willy Brandt even declared when he got to Lima: "We are ready to lend a helping hand for peace and for a solution to the economical problems that affect the world") might be interpreted by some as a mere coincidence, or as the result of Shining Path's revolt (Shining Path's appreciation that in those conditions the terrorist State repression against them, would be more difficult!). For us, beyond all these interpretations, there is an obvious link of unity between the social-democrat scheme of peace and the massacres of imprisoned proletarians. Since Reagan had several times emphasized that the Peruvian guerrilla was the most threatening of the world, the social democrats had to show once more that when the system is in danger, they can be more sanguinary than all the sanguinary ones in the world. The competition between the right and the left, beyond the different economic interests that they represent, reveals itself in the mechanism of control and of repression of the proletariat. What does it matter, that later they establish one or one thousand commissions of inquiry to charge those responsible for the "excesses" (!)... such cynical play is part of the natural mechanisms of bourgeois domination and oppression. Even though they plan and decide of the military operations, they always find alibis, and to preserve the credibility of the State, they sacrifice such and such of their colleagues whom they find "guilty" of these "excesses", of these "violations of the human rights". About Vietnam, for instance, the Yankee State, which considered napalm and chemical warfare as parts of the murdering game, nevertheless preferred to condemn a few scapegoats for these "excesses". And Mitterrand - about whom they forget cleverly that he was among the leaders of the massacres in Algeria - who affords himself the luxury of an inquiry to "seek out those who commanded bomb-layers for the "Rainbow Warrior" whereas he himself was the commander! And all the inquiries made by Alan Garcia from the Socialist International about the imposing massacre of prisoners in Peru have the same purpose: to yell over a few "excesses" in order to render daily terror commonplace.

The position of the international proletariat can be none other than one of international solidarity with the proletarians from Peru because, through this attack, these are its own interests that are being attacked, because the women, men, children, old people,... who belong to its own class and share the same interests are killed and terrorised - and this, whatever flag they were struggling beneath. Its attitude can be none other than that of increasing its action against all the fractions of capital that confront it, whatever they be - imperialist or anti-imperialist, conservative or progressist, populist or elitist, open accomplices or hiding (that is, all those who will mourn the dead in the name of the democratic rights of "man"); against all the bourgeoisie that we have in front of us in every part of the world. Yet this international solidarity must be organised and directed: it is the task of revolutionary militants, and it cannot on any account depend upon agreement with the ideology of a group like Sendero Luminoso ("Shining Path"). In other words, those who, disagreeing with, or being opposed to the ideology of this group, remain unconcerned and do not admit this reality of a brutal attack against the struggle of the proletariat and act consequently... are neither internationalists nor revolutionaries. At bottom, they become more and more the accomplices of what is happening in Peru, of the police vision of history or of the more common version which likens everything that stands in opposition to the State in Peru to that group which is internationally renowned as "marxist-leninist-maoist". Against this position, we affirm that the proletarian resistance (urban and rural) against extreme poverty is very strong, that for dozens of years the proletariat of this country has been struggling fiercely against all the fractions of capital, especially during the Velasco era (who used to call in Fidel Castro to break the strikes that neither the left not the right of Peruvian bourgeoisie could break). We also affirm that, like in other identical situations on the continent, the sanguinary repression (there are more than 6000 disappeared) is organized accordingly, and accuses every proletarian of belonging to such or such military group designated as the Public Enemy No1. In this complex process, thousands of proletarians do not heed the Sendero Luminoso organisation. And even within this one political organisation that is a confused mosaic of several tendencies and positions, expressions of complete rejection of its official ideology are not lacking!

We make all these assertions without ignoring that the Sendero Luminoso organisation enjoys a high reputation among the fighting proletarians, and that all the lies spread around about it (accomplices in the drug traffic, cutting of the hands of poor peasants,...) are believed in Peru only by those who are interested in maintaining the status quo. Contrary to other groups which took up with armed struggle in Peru or in other Latin American countries, like the Monteneros, the Tupamaros, the Chilian MIR, the Bolivian ELN, the Sandinists, etc... and which always had an ideology openly nationalist and, accordingly, a legalist and reformist practice (the Tupamaros uncovered swindles and brought the evidence to the judges!) of defence of the national institutions, etc., which have always been the armed wing of the big democratic, electoral carnivals and, what is more, stuck on all the popular myths like allendeism, peronism, sandinism, the Torres government in Bolivia, etc. the Sendero Luminoso has always had an uncompromising position, especially towards velasquism which was considered as something to support by nearly all the guerilleros of the continent, whereas the Sendero Luminoso defined it as the worst enemy, as a grand bourgeois, reactionary, fascist government. Whereas the other groups were the armed wing of the classical bourgeois left - which besides they never clashed with but always flattered and flirted with... so enabling them to become an even more consistent expression of old national populism - the Sendero Luminoso appeared as something completely different, confronting both the left and the right. All the populist (and more generally the left-wing) fractions, once they had taken over the government, or shared it, they still starved and repressed the proletariat - and the guerilleros had no alternative whatsoever to propose (though they be so militarist, their program is the same) and what happened is that the real proletarian struggles (that have lost their organical, organisational and theoretical unity with the classist expressions they had during the first decades of this century) didn't have their own direction, but were canalised by no matter what bourgeois fraction, even by the right-wing. In Peru, even when the great nationalist, populist myths prevailed, the Sendero Luminoso was never the accomplice of the government, even though this is obviously not a sufficient reason for us to consider this group as a proletarian vanguard organisation (which is, for us, impossible in the case of a "marxist-leninist-maoist" organisation), or, more humbly, as a mere proletarian organisation. The Sendero Luminoso just happened to be in tune with the main proletarian struggles in uncompromising opposition to the State.

There were two decisive moments in this story. The first under Velasco, when Sendero Luminoso had just appeared (2). The second after the fall of Morales Berinudez: that is when the process of democratisation began, culminating with the return of Belaunde Terry and then of Alan Garcia - and at that moment, the Sendero Luminoso, its nucleus consolidated, took to armed struggle.

The Velasco era is decisive because it expresses most strongly the attempt of the last decades to establish a radical bourgeois reformism (the real reforms of this progressive military government go much deeper than those of Allende), an attempt to which, in several ways, Stalinism, social-democracy and Trotskyism (Hugo Blanco himself) have submitted. Sendero Luminoso is at that time one of the only groups that denounce and struggle against the regime. After Velasco's death, the regime "turns to the right"; left-wing bonapartism turns into right-wing bonapartism, according to the well-known categorization Trotsky made himself. This is the beginning of an era during which the whole left passes into the opposition, so that it can regain a credibility and prepare the conditions required for another era of "democratisation". This era also marks the beginning of a general process of national unification. The electoral carnival is prepared and results in the constituent assembly in 1978 and the presidential elections in 1980. This was another attack, in a different form, against the proletariat - the same old lies in a different wrapper: the trotskyist and some other left-wing reformists form a coalition that wins a majority in the ballot. The orders of the left become a reality, the Constituent Assembly becomes effective, and the trotskyists present "red proposals" and other unheard-of clowneries (as if a change in the relation of forces could be realized through elections!). The electoral carnival was getting to its apogee while the situation of the proletariat was still worsening.

We could have thought that the ideology so obviously Stalinist of Sendero Luminoso would have led them to take part into that carnival. And yet they did not, for there are other reasons that must be taken into account (the material interests of the men and women belonging to Sendero Luminoso) - and neither in this case did Sendero Luuminoso become the accomplice of the government; on the contrary, it declared war to the elections: on the 17th May, Sendero Luminoso burns down the ballot-boxes in several places of the district of Avacucho. All these facts led the Sendero Luminoso not to agree with "the people" that opposes such or such repressive regime, as it was the case for the other guerrilla-groups, but to side with the proletariat at the important moments of national unity. That is perhaps why Reagan considers the guerrilla in Peru as the most threatening of the world.

In the process which leaves no choice to the proletariat but that of a still more violent struggle against the bourgeoisie and its State, when all the other left-wing groups are objectively united against the working-class' interests under the pretext of condemning terrorism in general and in defence of democracy, Sendero Luminoso is still in tune with important workers' struggles, and still incorporates the militants who break up with all the other organisations. And moreover, Sendero Luminoso appears more and more as the only structure capable of giving consistence to the ever-growing number of direct actions of the proletariat in the towns and on the countryside.

What we tell about Sendero Luminoso is not a subjective opinion, we do not think that we are mistaking objective reality for what we wish reality should be. We are not making an apology of Sendero Luminoso; on the contrary, we think that the emergence of a group like that endangers the classist autonomy, threatens the development of proletarian positions and the organisation of a true communist vanguard (to be sure, some comrades and groups have internationalist positions, but their social practice is not very consistent at the moment) and yet we must admit to it as an objective social reality.

We have no elements to consider Sendero Luminoso (or the CPP, as it defines itself) as a bourgeois organisation serving counter-revolution. From what we know of its practice within class struggles (and contrary to all the marxist-leninist-maoist groups in the whole world) we cannot tell whether it was ever directly on the other side of the barricades.

We nevertheless maintain that their conceptions are a danger to the struggle of the proletariat ant that, far from preparing the proletariat for the insurrection, it carries it away into a blind alley of "prolonged popular war", with no proletarian, revolutionary perspective. Everything that Sendero Luminoso has written is based upon the strictest stalino-maoism. We totally reject its "Mariateguist" ideology, its programmatic non-breaking with the old Communist Party of Peru, issuing directly from Mariategui (despite the numerous organisational splits) which speaks for itself, its description of the Peruvian society as "semi-feudal and semi-colonial",... We think that its ideology is absurd and only serves counter-revolutionary confusion. Its conception of social war as being popular and going from the countryside to the towns contradicts the interests of the proletarian revolution; its vision of the peasantry as a class distinct from the proletariat is openly counter-revolutionary and divides the proletariat. We also reject as counter-revolutionary the position that considers the struggle as a moment of a revolution which is "at the present stage anti-imperialist and anti-feudal", as well as its vision considering that the main contradiction lies within the "people", between "democracy" and "reaction"; also, the concept of "bureaucracy": all these positions are a falsification, a total negation of the actual opposition between capital and communism. We also reject its reformist project of a Republic of New Democracies... and we will stop this list here.

For those who think that this is not enough: on an international level, the CPP-Sendero Luminoso is part of the "Internationalist Revolutionary Movement", a mixture of several Stalinist and Maoist organisations from all continents, with a document which, from the first line to the last, is a gross falsification of the international communist movement, of what is happening and has happened in the whole world. Nonetheless, we must say that some militants in Peru, linked to the Sendero Luminoso, assert that this organisation does not acknowledge as militants those who live abroad, nor those who may have participated in international conferences with this bunch of counter-revolutionaries from the International Revolutionary Movement. But even about this, information are contradictory. By the way, this may be reflecting real differences existing within the Sendero Luminoso organisation. This seems to us the most plausible hypothesis, given the information that we have and that come from different sources, not so much about the internal differences pertaining to this group (3), but, rather, about the real heterogeneity of a social movement which does at all correspond neither to what Sendero Luminoso is telling about it, not to the frontiers that this organisation is trying to impose on it. In fact, we are sure that there are internationalist comrades who have never been Stalinist, or have broken away from Trotskyism and all other ideologies of the bourgeois left, and who continue to reject, like us, the ideology of Sendero Luminoso, but who find it awfully difficult to appear as a different alternative within the real social movement of struggle against capital and the State in Peru. The main reason for this is that the right, the left, the media, the means of repression, and also many proletarians amalgamate any violent action against the regime with Sendero Luminoso. In all these cases, and above all in actions like the struggle in the prisons (where there are many who do not belong to Sendero Luminoso - even the official press admits that (4)), there is always a risk that the coincidence between the action and the repression makes the revolutionary nucleus lose their organisational and programmatical autonomy. We have not enough information to assert clearly that in this process, a whole of struggles and actions are (or are not) directed by the central nucleus of Sendero Luminoso or preserve an organisative and programmatic autonomy towards this group (or towards others which have a similar ideology) or again, whether they are indirectly directed by Sendero Luminoso.

Anyway, we think it means to be accomplice of the State and of the international press to identify with Sendero Luminoso and its ideology the proletariat that today is being bloodthirstily repressed in Peru. It means to be accomplice of the State not to show solidarity with and to dissociate oneself from the repressed proletarians in Peru under the pretext that they are Stalinists, Maoists or whatsoever.

Let's increase our social struggle against worldwide capital wherever we can; this is the expression of our solidarity with the proletariat in Peru.

Let's not forget that this effective solidarity also means the merciless critique of all blind alleys, of all bourgeois alternatives like popular war or peasants' war.

Once again, the facts tragically call for the constitution of a true revolutionary international, one and only organic force on a worldwide scale, against all the democratic, Marxist Leninist populist alternatives, for the communist revolution everywhere, for the destruction of the capitalist system in the whole world!


(1) The "solidarity" of a group like the ICC becomes clear when they can only analyse such State repression as "an expression of the decadence of capitalism", as "part of the barbaric nature of capitalism"... when they analyse State terrorism against our class, the torturing and disappearing of our class militants, as "a struggle between the left and right fractions of the bourgeoisie". Most other groups of the "revolutionary milieu", having a very similar analysis of class struggle anyway, just stupidly repeated what the ICC told and wrote everywhere on our account!

(2) This is not a text upon this group, nor a complete description of its contradictions; this would require a specific, serious study. Yet it seems important to us to explain in a few words the origins of this group. The classical Stalinist party of Peru splits in 1964 over the agrarian question. From then on, the pro-Russian faction will be known through its review Unidad and they'll be called CPP "Unidad", while the pro-Chinese faction will be known as the CPP "Bandera Roja". The latter will split into several currents. In 1965, two groups emerge: the Marxist Leninist CPP and the FALM. In 1968, there occurs a very important split, which will give birth to an important reformist mass organisation: the CPP "Red Motherland" (CPP "Patria Roja"). Meanwhile, the struggle within the CPP "Bandera Roja" continues, and leads, from the sector of Aji Prop Abimal Guzman (the present president of Sendero Luminoso, "Gonzalo") to the struggle against the direction of Paredes up until 1970, when the split formally occurred. The two fractions still publish a review called "Bandero Roja". If the sector of Guzman has begun to make itself known as Sendero Luminoso it is due to the fact that one of its important rank-and-file organisations was called the "Students' Revolutionary Front for the Shining Path of Mariategui". After nearly one decade of quasi-uniquely theoretical work - even if there were always references to a phase of reconstruction of the party" - the pro-"armed struggle" line was created in 1980. Let's add that this group has been joined by several groups or individuals that come from "Political-Military Vanguard", from "Red Motherland" and from the majority group "Communist Proletarian Vanguard".

(3) The non-formally Stalinist Maoism is the most official line, but there also exist more openly Stalinist positions, like for instance some pro-Enver Hoxha trends.

(4) For instance, the director of "Equis X" Juleo Cabrera Moreno, an infamous democratic journalist, states this in his own way: "It has been proved that, from the beginning, a large number happened to be there though they had nothing to do with the Communist Party of Peru (Sendero Luminoso). But in prison, driven by the tortures and the continuous abuses, they started upholding the dogmas of Sendero Luminoso".

"The proletariat claims only one war: the civil war against all bourgeoisies." - Communism - 1937 -

Massacre in


The chemical bombing of Halabja, which resulted in 5000 official deaths, but in a much more terrifying reality (between 10000 and 15000 deaths in the medium term) raised a general outcry of indignation from "good citizens". They all exclaimed in horror at the "excesses of excess" that is war. This, with its 8 years of uninterrupted massacres and horrors had become banal, "natural". Its length is the result of capital's need to destroy excess proletarians (the successive waves of adolescents sent off, guns in their backs and facing the machine guns and canons prove this clearly enough). But the war also had the aim of crushing the proletarian struggles, which were developing in this area. Those that took place in Iran are generally better known because they led to the fall of the Shah, but Iraq has obviously not been spared workers' revolts. In Iraq, as in Iran, workers' struggles have been going on since 1980, in different forms from strikes to riots, from deserting on a massive scale to localized short-lived attempts at insurrection. War with its retinues of reinforces national union, its open repression (mass executions, dispatches to the front-lines,...) has kept these struggles at "bearable" level for the world bourgeoisie. All the world bourgeois, from the left as from the right, have always allowed and encouraged this interminable war in the name of Islam, Socialism, Democracy (or all of these combined).

The need for the war also means that the bourgeoisie only "reacts" to "excesses" such as the bombing of "civilian populations" (sic!) and then only because such bombings show up the goal of all imperialist wars too clearly: the systematic massacre of all those who have committed the double crime of being part of a surplus work force and of refusing to accept the logic of bourgeois society. We spit on those kind gentlemen who demand a clean war, in which we don't see the terrible spectacle of proletarians, men, women, children and the confused elderly pinned and mounted in death for the valorisation of capital.

Evidently, the massacre of Halabja, like the war, is no more an excess than it is a mistake. It is the cold application of bourgeois needs. They knew very well that they would carry out such a massacre. And for the Iraqi bourgeoisie it was not a question of bombing Pasdarans, the shock troops of the Iranian bourgeoisie, not the Kurdish nationalists, but proletarians! The target was not chosen by chance, but is a direct product of the failure of the policy for national unity lead by the different fractions of the local bourgeoisie, by the Iraqi Ba'athists, by the "revolutionary" Muslims, or by the "liberators of the Kurdish people". This failure materialised by the general lack of compliance with such policy and by repeated confrontations with the police and army.

Struggles in Haljabja

(extracts from letters we received from this area)

"(...) Over the whole area riots, demonstrations and other popular activities against the government and its supporters had been going on for over a year. Halabja was not like it used to be. It was full of refugees from the villages that had been wiped out, as well as of people who had left military service. There was at least one deserter in every house, and sometimes as many as four or five. People weren't just hiding in their friends' houses, but were also being taken in by strangers...

Even the curfew at night didn't stop many young people, most of the deserters and even children from gathering in the streets of some parts of town.

The government hadn't only destroyed the villages, which had been places of refuge for deserters and centres of activity for certain groups, Kurds, the CP,... but also the area of Kani Ashken. Previously, people had organised attacks against supporters of the State, using this area as a base. Members of student, youth, union, peasant organisations no longer slept at home, using police stations or Sarah (the police headquarters) instead.

As for the soldiers, no one was afraid of them anymore. They just politely requested people to go back home and even had tea at their houses, even where there were deserters in hiding. They came to our house several times and just pretended to search the place. They knew full well that we were hiding people, but they didn't say anything. The Jordanians, the officers and, of course, the militia, the secret police (Amn) and the Ishkbarats (Intelligence) were the worst. There were collaborators amongst the townspeople as well.

Almost every night we heard shooting between the police and the CP and other organisations. Sometimes there were confrontations between the militia and armed townspeople, many of the deserters having kept the weapons that they had got from the army and the various clans. Almost everybody was armed as anyone could join up with one of the clan armies and be given a weapon. Joining up with an army enabled them to get legitimate identity cards.

The place was in total chaos. It was all very difficult to understand - the government was trying to eliminate the subversive elements, the "traitors" and the "troublemakers" who were actually all going around completely legitimately, within the structure of the pro-governmental organisations. (...)"

The proletariat has fought against all mobilisation and recruitment campaigns, destined to lengthen the war. The bourgeoisie knew very well that for this reason in particular, the region was packed with deserters, mainly in Halabja. Three days before the bombing, Saddam Hussein himself announced, only a few kilometres from Halabja, that "all those who do not defend their nation, their land, are considered to be traitors and we will not hesitate to annihilate them by any means available to us. In this way we are only acting in our duty to punish all those who betray their nation."

Also, when the Iraqi army began to leave the town, the workers got wind of the plans for the bombing and began to leave the town to find refuge in the neighbouring villages and mountains. But the nationalist Kurds of the Patriotic Union of Kurds (PUK), a large majority of which are members of the Marxist Leninist Komala (DPIK) prevented them from leaving - with the help of the Iranian Pasdarans. The pretext given was that Halabja was a "liberated town" and that this liberty should be celebrated and defended. Put the Iranian pasdaran were aware enough of the fate awaiting the workers to have supplied themselves with gas masks and evacuated their partisans. After the bombing, the survivors of Halabja were packed into camps in the border region, a tactic that assured their continuing exposure, on the frontline, to further bombings. They are enduring extremely hard living conditions, subjected to repression, disease, famine,... So after the Iraqi State has been forces to bomb "Iraqi populations" (which it had already been forced to do in bombing some of its own regiments), after the Kurdish nationalists, helped by Iranian pasdaran, have objectively participated in this massacre and after they have all pretended mourning the "innocent victims", they are now torturing and starving the survivors.

Chemical weapons against the proletariat

(extracts from letters we received from this area)

"(...) The Iranians began to bomb the town and people ran for shelter in basements around the area. Some of the basements were packed with 10 to 15 families, that is 300 people per 100m2.

We stayed in G.'s basement for 3 to 4 days. There were 3 rooms in it. Every now and then we went out in small groups to find something to eat, so that we wouldn't pass out from hunger. People had to sleep standing up and the children were terrified, really traumatised... We carried back the dead from beneath the ruins; missiles and bombs fell on the mosques nearby and every time we went out we came across other people retrieving their dead. Once we saw a man who was crying for the dead and we heard someone tell him to stop crying for them, that he should cry for himself instead because no one will even know where to put his body by the time he gets killed! We were in this situation until about noon on Tuesday 15th March, when the Iranians entered the town. When we came out of the basement we saw Pasdarans and Peshmergas. It was just like a film. People spent the rest of the day looking after their dead and wounded. It was a relatively calm day, an intermission.

At mid-day on the 16th March we were having our lunch and obviously feeling completely numbed - body and soul - by the whole situation, when the first missile ripped apart a part of our bathroom. There was loads of smoke and debris. H. screamed at me that the others had been killed, but fortunately they had just been knocked out by the blast and only had a few minor injuries. Thank God the bomb fell on the water tank, otherwise we would've all been blown to bits. We ran over to the basement on the opposite side of the street to take cover. Half an hour later the planes came back from all directions - there must have been at least twenty of them, believe me - and in a few minutes Halabja was in ruins. Shortly afterwards we smelled gas. It was just like the smell of garlic. Some of us ran to get some water and we gave the others wet towels, cloths and clothes to put over their faces. After having run out a few times I began to cough and to itch all over. (...) Only a short while after, the gas began to permeate the rooms - and then the basement. Some people collapsed immediately, dead. So there was no other choice left to us but to leave Halabja and walk in the direction of the Goullen Valley. When we got there, there was a huge crowd of people, thousands of them, all lying on the ground. (...)"

Since the Iraqi forces have devastated all the neighbouring villages (Said Sadeq, Karadakh and the Shar a Zour region) in pursuit of surviving deserters and forcing the inhabitants to take arms against the "Iranian invasion". The refusal to obey these orders has resulted in massive executions. The Iraqi army shot 400 insubordinates, among them many deserters who had been granted amnesty during the proletarian struggle, including the 1984 riots in Suleimania that had forced the State to back down. This example illustrates how the two sides share the job (whilst still in confrontation) of forcing the proletarians to participate in their imperialist war and of repressing the recalcitrant by massacres whenever possible.

Facts have shown thousands of times that when workers refuse to sacrifice themselves for their enemies and when they refuse to defend their interests by becoming canon fodder, bourgeois terror is only limited by THE FORCE OF OUR CLASS. This resistance is the reality of our class' betrayal of the nation and is an essential factor in the defeat of the bourgeoisie. The practice of systematic massacre is not limited to Halabja and was no more the first, than it will be the last massacre organised by the bourgeoisie against our class.

In both camps, the proletariat has violently expressed its refusal of bourgeois order. And each time that it could, the bourgeoisie responded to these struggles by naked violence. The rest of the time they put policies of reform into practice in order to anaesthetize the proletariat while carrying on with assassinations.

Struggles in Iraq

There were at least 3000 executions in Iraq between 1977 and 1979. The State refused to return the bodies of those shot, fearing the potential martyrs that they represented and above all riots as a result of these massacres. A special cemetery was built to bury the thousands of dead. Some of the bodies could be recovered by their families return for a payment, and then only months later when the bodies were decomposed and the marks of torture could no longer be seen.

It is estimated that in 1983 there were 50 000 deserters in the region of Sulaimania alone, many of them armed. Numerous struggles took place against mobilisation and the war economy. The State then decreed an amnesty, on the condition that there would be a return to "normal life" into which the deserters would be integrated, promising that they would not be sent back to the front. On the basis of this, some of the deserters came forward and were promptly arrested by the local authorities and sent back to war despite the promises. This set off a very radical wave off struggle, which threatened social peace. Saddam Hussein himself had to intervene and tell people that the local authorities had misinterpreted the agreement and that everyone should go home. He went as far as arresting those "responsible" and even hanged one of his closest colleagues in Sulaimania in order to calm the workers' discontent. But now that the struggles are less strong in this area, the deserters who were amnestied are subjected to the implacable law of the society against which they rebelled: death! When the deserters met up in massive numbers in the southern marsh region, the Iraqi State destroyed dozens of villages, bombing and drowning the inhabitants and the deserters, killing about 2000. The several hundred survivors, a majority of them armed deserters, were forced to flee towards the central region of Nassria and Amara near Bagdad, where they continued to carry out acts of sabotage, attacking convoys of weapons and arms depots. The Iraqi army could not control them and had to bomb hundreds, thousands of their own soldiers (at this stage they already carried out chemical bomb attacks, particularly in the region of Sulaimania and Arbil).

The disobedience has got to such a scale that the Iraqi regime now has to threaten all officers who fail to bring their troops to the front line with the death penalty, as traitors, their families are used as hostages to prevent the officers from deserting, and their own wives are forced to execute them if they fail in their mission, and this also on pain of execution as traitors to the homeland.

Struggles in Iraq

(extracts from letters we received from this area)

"(...) Things came to a head towards the month of March 1987 and in May the governmental forces were toppled. The people had taken over and the police and army had to go into hiding, only being able to move around in tanks and in armoured divisions. Helicopters circled overhead, calling for calm and care in the face of the enemies of the nation. Battles were raging in the areas around the town and the Iranians were getting closer. The town was bombed by Iranian artillery and there were many casualties. Everybody was aware of the danger they were faced with, but were in favour of neither the Iranians nor the Iraqis. They all knew that plans for defence and counter-attack were being set up all over the place, not in support of the Iraqis, but autonomously. Preparations were taking place area by area. For several nights and days everything was overrun and on the 13th and 14th everyone was in the streets. In the beginning, the soldiers called for calm but after a while they joined the crowds. We could never have imagined it, joy and sadness, pleasure and hatred... Even the people that we had not trusted in the past were with us, side by side, sometimes more energetic and more violent than we were. Disorder and harmony!

Helicopters bombed the town and everyone panicked, people running to hide in the nearest houses by the dozens. Everybody was discussing what should be done.

The State crushed each riot with brutality, executing the leaders and arresting those who had taken part - in short, everyone who failed to escape the State's onslaught.

For a few days things were quiet, but on the inside people were steeling themselves, their hatred growing. Troubles arose during many of the martyrs funerals, in fact, at any, even the smallest, gatherings. The clans and other different factions were fighting amongst themselves and the rest of the population was fighting against them all. The nationalists were calling for support to free the town, whilst the State called for calm and watchfulness against the invading Iranian enemy and against traitors...

Several times Saddam sent envoys, army commanders, who promised change and safety for all, but no one believed them. They made their intentions very clear by refuting their speeches and actively contradicting their demands. They killed the governor of Sulaimania who had come to make more promises and who had refused to answer the people's demands to be told what had happened to those who had been wounded and taken prisoner during the last riots.

Sirwan was a town that had been occupied by armed deserters during this time and the State completely destroyed it, killing everyone. They left no trace of it - the rubble and the bodies mixed together! Many other similar attacks on towns and populations convinced people that there was no way that the State would leave Halabja unpunished. (...)"

Struggles in Iran

But the most violent repression is not the exclusive preserve or the Iraqi State and occurs daily in Iran, in perfect continuity with the practices of the Shah's government and his sadly famous Savak. Khomeiny, the new head of State, clearly demanded this continuation and even the development of policies of terror in saying: "Today it is the duty of every believer to do the work of the Savak in denouncing opponents and suspects (...). In this way, we shall have a Savak of 36 million Iranians."

And this policy is not new. Since the fall of the Shah, the different fractions of the bourgeoisie have shared out the job of crushing the workers' force, which had been developed in the struggles. The wave of struggles that had swept Iran, severely disrupted all the State structures, shattering the army, police and forcing known members into hiding. The State was incapable of confronting the workers' movement militarily, even with the help of he few structures still standing principally the Shiite clergy and the leftists. First, it was necessary to dissolve the armed proletariat into the "revolutionary people of Iran" and to rebuild solid State structures. All fractions shared in this job. Initially the "liberal-islamic" governments of Bazargan and Beni-Sadr were formed and measures aimed at calming the workers were put into practice, such as increasing wages and benefits, executing some of the torturers from the old regime, developing Shoras (councils), etc. The State was supported in this by all fractions, even the most radical. In this way, the Mujahideen participated in the government that they strove to give credibility to... in a critical manner. This is particularly noticeable in the fact that they actually formed Bani-Sadr's protection service.

Since then they have created their own army (the Iranian National Liberation Army) in order to be able to participate fully in cornering the proletariat in the systematic massacring through imperialist war. The Mujahideen organised in Iraq is made up of between 20000 and 50000 soldiers and carried out its biggest offensive in April 1988. They are attempting to make the Iranian proletarians return to war, but this time against Khomeiny, in the name of the defence of the Iranian homeland.

The Fedayen, more "radical", also accepted the Bazargan regime in order to "strife at the heart of the system" also... in a "critical manner", of course. The fact that they were "radical" meant that they were the first to be repressed, going underground agian in July 1979 in an attempt to give themselves some credibility. The Fedayen then fought for "liberated national zones", participating in nationalist struggles in Kurdestan and for the Turkmenes in the province of Mazardan. In this way they were also working for the State, by dividing the proletariat into "nationalities" and, via the support of bourgeois fractions, influencing workers subjected to the imperialist war in defence of the State, by accepting national liberation struggles. Once the leftists had performed their function of dividing the proletarians and the military force had been reconstituted thanks to the stabilisation of the official army and to the development and militarisation of the Islamic "revolutionary" committees, repression was set in full swing. The Shoras were "islamicized" (the ideological name for statifying them, for making them defend the interests of the bourgeois State) and since 1980, those who resisted this were repressed.

The leaders of the petroleum workers who took an extremely active and central part in the struggles leading to the fall of the Shah were arrested. Some of them were executed secretly and the Shoras were destroyed, as were those of the railways, the centre of independent Shoras and the "revolutionary" Islamic Shoras alike.

The pasdarans, the shock troops of the bourgeoisie, with a strength of approximately 25000 men (enjoying all privileges and ready to go to any lengths against the working class to preserve their privileges), as well as the Islamic associations, ideological services and mosque committees undertook all aspects of the running of society themselves. Bani Sadr's liberal government tottered and made a final attempt to restore credibility by going underground on the 13.6.81 while calling upon "the people to resist despotism". On the 2lth June 1981 Bani Sadr is deposed. The policy of taking over the whole of society began to accelerate from then on. The purges in education, which had started with books, spread rapidly to teachers, branded as communists and counterrevolutionaries. Tens of thousands of them were fired and replaced by Islamic councillors acting as ideological guides, directors of information and agents of propaganda. They organised the denunciations, arrests an executions of pupils and students with "negative opinions". Thus 114 pupils were executed in secret in September or October 1981. This execution lead to armed demonstrations in Tehran, which the Mujahideen Khalq tried to take over. Those who were supporting the regime in a critical manner the day before, were calling for struggle against the same regime a day after. But their basic policy - the defence of order, work and the State against the working class - has certainly never changed.

Through its unions, its schools and its forces, the "Islamic revolution" has reconstituted state structures and is developing its armed offensive against our class.

Since 1980 repression has become massive. Proletarians have been executed by the dozen for crimes of "war against God and his prophet" and for "insubordination to governments of the Islamic Republic". After two years of "revolution", "International Amnesia" talks of 4000 people executed. But the reality is without doubt 10 times that, because the only executions that the State in Iran admits to are those which give it a "revolutionary Islamic" image. The others, like the above-mentioned school kids, are more often kept quiet because they risk sparking off anger and struggles from our class.

Increasingly, wages are falling very rapidly, redundancies rain down and bankruptcies are developing apace. The workers, who strike, if they are not executed, are sent to the front line. When a strike breaks out, like that of the steel workers in Esphahan on 12th May 1982, the Pasdaran intervene, attack the pickets, threaten their families, abduct and execute the strikers if they can. This explains why striking workers arm themselves so quickly to defend themselves against the State.

Obviously, this situation was made possible by the start of the war in Sept. 1980. This date appeared extremely favourable for the Iraqi bourgeoisie, because the State in Iran was so destabilised and in terms of competitive imperialism, it was "normal" to take advantage of this. But it is this reasoning and the fact of wanting to profit from the class struggle to beat an enemy in imperialist war, which allows, whatever the consciousness of the bourgeois protagonists, the waging of imperialist wars against the proletariat, against the class struggle.

Imperialist war, determined by the contradictions between classes (as they are also expressed in the sphere of the economy) attempts to momentarily resolve these contradictions by crushing the proletariat. They do this notably by subsuming it under interbourgeois polarisations in order to cause it to leave its class terrain and participate in social peace - the peace of the graveyards - in imperialist war. Thus, the Iraqi invasion has allowed the Iranian State to draw the workers into the nationalist hysteria.

All the bourgeois organisations, left and right, have closed ranks, supposedly against the invader, but actually against the class in struggle. The conditions of life engendered by this war have, little by little, transformed this weapon against the struggle of our class into a contributing factor in those struggles. But the sight of daily executions of "devils" and "Kharjit" (heathens) has shown up the weakness of the national unity, which allowed so many struggles to be crushed in the past. Many victims of this repression are members of small groups who have ruptured with leftist organisations (Fedaye, Mujahideen and Paykar) and are attempting to organise themselves, especially in towns such as Tabrez, Sanadesh and Tehran.

The peace of the graveyard in Iran and Iraq

There is a blockade operated by the world bourgeoisie. It evidently does not apply to arms sales; both countries continue to receive unbelievable amounts. It applies more, for example, to information. This is particularly noticeable because the systematic deformation of events doesn't just take place in the countries at war but across the whole world. This is normal, the bourgeoisie lives with class blinkers on all the time, blinkers which stop them from conceiving of the reality of social confrontation between two classes, such as can lead to the dictatorship of the proletariat for the abolition of wage labour.

It is for this reason that Iran is spoken of as a fanatical nation, where everybody goes to war with a flower on their rifle and the cry of "Allah Akbar" on their lips. But the reality is completely different and the bourgeoisie, even the ayatollahs, are compelled to recognise that things are not so rosy! Despite a greater and greater number of workers being pushed, with a rifle in the back, to put on uniforms, there are many who refused to participate in this butchery. There are a greater and greater number who refused all sacrifices for the war economy.

The regime in Iran has been forced to recognise that some combat zones have to be depleted of troops so they can be brought back to urban centres to repress social troubles. In the same way, a high-up dignitary of the regime has been forced to recognise that, despite the disastrous state, it seems difficult to impose more austerity measures. These measures would fall directly on a fringe of the population who are already disadvantaged and are preparing to dissociate themselves from the "revolution".

Many things suggest that if the Iraqi Army was able to take the Fao peninsular easily it was thanks in part to the fact that some shock troops had to be sent back and, more directly, because the remaining troops showed little enthusiasm for being shot full of holes for the good of the nation.

The social unrest in the towns where the Pasdaran have to be sent is a direct cause of defeat at the front. Each strike is an act of defeatism. The breaking of national unity obliges this nation's cops to leave the front, stopping them from exercising the same repression against the proletarians in uniform. These strikes show the unity which forms the different moments of the struggle of the proletariat which is revolutionary defeatism in practice, which in practice aims for the defeat of the State, "their own" State, which in practice aims to wreck the State structures of control and repression. Contrary to what the Iraqi high command would have us believe, the Iraqi Army has not "taken the Fao peninsula, step by step, after unbelievably violent combat". The Iranian troops ran away, leaving behind arms, equipment and shoes. In addition, the Iraqi army also arranged for this flight to be possible by leaving a bridge intact which connected the peninsula to Iran. The Iranian soldiers, smaller in number, demoralised and above all, badly integrated militarily, fled during the bombardments, which preceded the attack. It is this, which explains all the remarks by foreign observers that, unusually, corpses were few in number. A more massive presence of Pasdarans would have allowed them to compel the proles to put up with these intensive bombardments without budging, and this "in the name of the revolution", by threatening to shoot anyone who tries to flee. This is anyway the practice of the entire bourgeoisie in wars: those who refuse to fight are assured of death by the bullets of the cops who surround the proles in uniform. Those who come forward and fight against their class brothers have a small chance of survival, but only as long as there is no collective force confronting the State!

It is exactly the same in the factories. The proletarians who are fighting in the factories, as well as struggling directly for better living conditions, are creating the basis of the unity needed for a definitive proletarian victory. These proles have directly improved the lot of their brothers at the front, enabling them to flee; at the same time each struggle by workers at the front, by immobilising the cops, gives greater possibility for action to the workers remaining in the enterprises. By their common actions, proles at the front and in the factories destabilise the State, showing their unity and giving a basis for organisation. They are working in this way for the defeat of their own bourgeoisie, a defeat heavy with consequences: it discredits the State and national unity, it undermines the morale of the troops (whether they fight on the production front or on the other front), it directly shows the unity of proletarian interests, the need to unite against all fractions of the bourgeoisie across all frontiers.

"National" defeats, therefore, directly improve the conditions of struggle of the proletariat in the defeated country and these, by virtue of this simple fact, serve as an example, which allows the defeatism in the opposite camp, not just by its passive example, but by the reality of its propaganda and its actions. These are not directed against its "foreign" class brothers but against the world bourgeoisie.

The development of struggles in Iran, the decredibilisation of the State, the fact that it is always very clear that the bourgeoisie, by means of its interposed ayatollahs, has taken, since the day after the fall of the Shah, anti-working class measures demanded by the world crisis... all these things explain the power struggles within the bourgeoisie. The "hard" faction lead by Khomenei, think that only the development of the war is going to allow it to hang on to the degree of control of the proletariat, which it has now. This faction advocates the return to large-scale human wave tactics for fighting Iraq. But it seems that this tactic has been abandoned because it was pushing the workers into revolt too rapidly. The other faction thinks that the social situation forces the State to look for a credible alternative to the war. This means without doubt putting forward a bourgeois fraction which is at the same time credible and able to impose social peace, imperialist peace, the peace of the graveyard, in return for stopping or suspending the war.

In Iraq, the situation is relatively different. It is true that the deterioration of living conditions has brought about very important struggles in the army and the region of Kurdistan principally, according to the information, which has filtered out. We can see that the Iraqi State, faced with the waves of desertions, has been forced to threaten its officers into organising bombardments of its own army, and to create battles between their own troops. But the power of the State has managed, more or less, to contain the struggles within certain regions, which then, shaped practically by this control, and isolated from the rest of the movement, are crushed section by section. Deserters are obviously forced to choose for their refuges, regions poorly controlled by the State. These are zones where it is possible to impose a balance of forces with the State, like when it was forced to retreat from Sulaimania. This constraint is already in itself a factor in the unification of the movement. The chronic difficulty of unifying, in time and space, the different moments of working class struggle never stops appearing. It is the chronic difficulty of the movement giving itself a real direction, not just of leaving bourgeois organisations but more and more of centralising itself, of organising outside and against them.

More than this, it seems that through the war, the State in Iraq has succeeded in reorganising its shaky economy. This goes some way to explaining its advances in the imperialist war. Once again, if the State is succeeding in this reorganisation, it is directly against the working class and imposes a powerful development of exploitation. This same development is a double weakening of the proletariat. On the one hand, it recredibilises and directly reinforces the State, on the other, it permits victories in the imperialist war. These victories are further factors in national unity and permit the isolation of the most determined proles, leading to the defeat of the whole of our class.

The prolongation of the war is a stabilising element, but equally, it can push the proletariat into struggle, as it has done already.

That which has been a factor squeezing out social contradictions - the war - may yet express itself more and more strongly as a factor in the class struggle. An illustration of this contradiction for the bourgeoisie is the bombing of towns. This is supposed to lead to the development of national unity against "the enemy, which massacres innocent populations", but it became a contributing factor in the class struggle. In Iran, whenever the Pasdaran arrive in a recently bombed part of a city, they are forced to cordon it off so as to isolate the victims, since the sight of them makes proles wild with rage against the State, which pursues and develops this war. The cordons of "guardians of the revolution" are rapidly insulted, then attacked, the cries of hate of the workers are expressed less against Saddam Hussein than against "their" direct oppressor: "Down with Khomeini" cry the bombed proles of Tehran!

It is this reality, which has caused a slowing down in the bombing of towns and certainly not the crocodile tears of the bourgeoisie of the whole world. They receive a first direct dividend from the explosion of each bomb, a second from each surplus prole killed and a third in the form of repression of the class struggle. The terrible events of this region remind us, with the utmost brutality, of the lessons for all time that the proletariat draws from its struggle.

Nationalism and peace mongering are always against the proletariat. The proletariat opposes to the first of these its internationalism, to the second, its revolutionary defeatism, like it is doing in Iran and Iraq, despite its enormous weaknesses and difficulties, produced notably by its isolation.

Nation and national interest always mean the exploitation and massacre of proletarians

Proletarians do not have a country. The nation always constitutes the force of disorganisation of the internationalist unity of the proletarian movement. The nation is the prison of the proles. The struggle of the proletariat is always antagonistic to the national interest.

In exactly the same way that inside each country capital wants to tie the proles to the interest of such and such a factory or such and such a sector of production, in the same manner, on the world level, the bourgeoisie try to tie proles to the national interest to, in this way, prevent the realisation of proletarian internationalist unity.

But when the bourgeoisie in a country sees the need to annihilate the strength of the proles, it never hesitates to use the forces of another region for this task. In the same manner, on a world level, when a movement surges in one country, the bourgeoisie uses the forces of another country to crush it. For capital, therefore, frontiers do not exist when it is a question of crushing struggles. All States hold the international passport of capital when it comes to the repression and crushing of the world proletarian movement. Nations have no meaning except as a hindrance to the proletarian movement; they constitute a shock troop for breaking our struggles and organising capitalist domination. Each time the proles surge in a revolutionary manner, the nation opposes it as a force of crushing brutality. What kind of repression, what kind of massacre has not been organised in the name of wars of national liberation? When and where has the victory of the nation ever meant victory for the proletariat? In reality, the bourgeois of all countries love their nation and never hesitate for one second to chop off the heads of "traitors" who call into question the interest of the nation.

The history of the world proletarian movement suffices to show that proles have no interest in common with their nation and have nothing to gain and everything to lose in supporting such and such bourgeois fraction, or such and such country in a war. The war between bourgeois fractions, between countries, is the war of profit production, the war of exploitation and massacre of proles, it is an anti-communist war by its very nature.

Those who struggle under the banner of the defence of the national economy, those who support such or such "progressive" regime or still such or such "socialist" country... only affirm themselves as the enemies of the proletariat. Their only aim is to weaken every attempt by the proletariat to attack capital.

All nations of the world actively participated in the massacres in Iran and Iraq, as they always have in all past wars.

The exploitation of the proletariat, the attack against its movement in England, in France, in Cuba, in Russia, in Nicaragua, in the USA and in all countries of the world, the massacre in the city of Halabja, the massacre of proletarians in Tel-el-Zatar (1976), in Sabra and Shatila (1982), in Sanandadj (in the summer 1979, when the Fedaye, the Komala,... and all other leftist groups handed over the population, after having disarmed it, to the attacks by the Iranian Pasdarans)... all these massacres are part of the same movement of extermination of our class.

The different fractions of the Kurdish, Iranian and Iraqi nationalist movements, and each one of them according to its own point of view and its political interests, shed tears for "the martyrs" of Halabja. Each of these political formations, according to the particular place it is holding in the capitalist social relationship and in the process of attack against the proletariat, defends such or such belligerent. Others still, behind some hypocritical pretext, demand the creation of a progressive and democratic State in both countries, on each side. The CP of Iraq for example, that only ten years ago was still very busy reinforcing national unity, this national unity that proved to be so vital for cracking down on every revolutionary upsurge! Wasn't it the same CP of Iraq that appealed upon proletarians to support Saddam and the Iraqi State because "Iraq was on the road to socialism"? Wasn't it the same CP of Iraq that participated in the massacre of thousands of proletarians under the pretext of struggle against American imperialism and against the Shah of Iran.

The bombing by the Iraqi air force of the city of Halabja, already bombed in April 1974, as well as of the city of Kaladiza, will always remain alive in the memory of our class. These facts, and too many others as well, are the indelible mark of blood of the anti-proletarian politics that the different parties in Iraq are carrying out.

Everywhere in the world, those bastards, who have participated a thousand times in the massacres of proletarians, have shed their tears about the Halabja bombings. The Kurdistan Patriotic Union (of Talabani) doesn't hesitate to denounce this "most atrocious crime" in which it objectively participated!

It's chief Talabani came to Europe to try to frame the proletariat while using the death of our class' brothers in Iraq as a commodity... turning the massacres into another useful spectacle for the sake of the bourgeoisie. He has been trying to take profit from this event in order to develop a Kurdish nationalist campaign against "Sadam Hussein, the fascist" and making the workers from Kurdistan participate, alongside the Iranian Army, in the war against the proletariat.

Those bastards have turned their coat in this imperialist war tens of times... so as to confront the proletariat in the most efficient manner. Talabani had been secretly negotiating with Bagdad for a long time already. The result of these talks was that the members of Talabani's Party could keep possession of their arms and enter freely into Iraqi cities... to repress the proletariat. This is how, in 1984 in particular, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan participated directly in the repression of insurgents in Soulemania, firing at the demonstrators from the top of the roofs. The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan systematically participates in the repression of all workers struggles, denouncing deserters in exchange for the liberation of some of their own imprisoned leaders, opposing strikes, shooting at demos, participating with the army and the police in the hunt for deserters and for all individuals and groups who were opposing war and hiding in the mountains.

Now that these organisations, like the Communist Party of Iraq, or the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan... have spent all their credit and illusions with the proletarians, certain Marxist-Leninist fractions have started to present themselves as the real and true nationalists and how they want to save the movement of national liberation from the hands of these "traitors". In reality, their programme is nothing else but the historical programme and policies of the national liberation movements and of anti-imperialism. The only difference between them and their predecessors is that at the end of their declarations, they add some words like "proletariat" or "communism". According to those Marxist Leninist organisations, it is only the proletariat and the exploited masses who are capable of really solving the problem of the national minorities through the establishment and the victory of socialism in Iran and Iraq: this shows the real face of their would-be internationalism. The upholders of this political line are called Komala (Communist Party of Iran) in Iran, and the "Road to Revolution" party (a fraction that split from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) as well as other elements that have recently left the CP, in Iraq.

The aim of these fractions and the reason why they are massacring our class' brothers are the same as those of the Vietnamese nationalists when they were fighting against imperialism and for the creation of a Vietnamese socialist State. The only results for the proletarians in Vietnam, was to be sent back to the production-process, exactly in the same way as before independence, or probably even worse, because the new young nation, exhausted by many years of war, needs even more manufactured products, more labour, more sacrifices... so as to be competitive regarding other nations in modern society. Yes, this is how the "free socialist nation" has become another new prison to make workers sweat blood. And no one doubts that in such a nation, that has been liberated by the blood of millions of martyrs, the proletarians wouldn't even dare to go on struggle again, because after all... these struggles only reinforce the imperialist enemies of the beloved fatherland, don't they!!!

The socialist government of Vietnam - the supreme reference of all Marxist Leninists that respect themselves - is keeping thousands and thousands of proletarians locked up in its gaols so as to "protect the interests of the revolution". This situation is not particular to Vietnam. Everyday, our class can witness that in Castro's Cuba, in Mao's China, in Ortega's Nicaragua, or in any other "socialist" country with some revolutionary and popular government... workers produce as an exploited class for their class-enemy, the bourgeoisie, its nation, its national economy.

For those Marxist Leninists, each reference to the internationalist character of the proletariat and its revolution, can only be an infantile dream, because, as they express it so clearly "each particular situation asks for a different and realistic political solution." According to their views, the proletariat would have to follow, step by step, the programme they've conceived in their heads, to be able to achieve its aim. We state very clearly, in front of these people, that the position and the real politics of the proletariat are always, and always will be, the same, everywhere, i.e. the intransigent struggle for its class interests, and never for the sake of its historical enemies: the nation, wage-labour, the democratic rights and liberties, democracy! The interests of the proletariat are antagonistic to all the political programmes that give life to this system of exploitation. The aim of the proletariat is the realization of the worldwide communist revolution, and such realization does not proceed by stages. The communist revolution will take place in spite of and against all stages: as a matter of fact, it will have to destroy these stages if it is not to perish.

Through the different stages, the bourgeoisie is trying to link the proletariat to the defence of its own bourgeois interests. What those nationalists call another stage on the road to victory is nothing else but another force of retardement of the communist revolution, and such a burden weighs very heavily upon the shoulders of the proletariat. All, those famous "workers' achievements" are nothing else but additional chains that imprison the proletariat.

The only achievement that the proletariat recognizes as its own, is its class' reinforcement, the reinforcement of its internationalist organisation and of its revolutionary army. Proletarians must know that the "achievements" that nationalists are preparing them, are nothing else but the different prison camps for the production of plus-value, it is their massacre on the altar of value.

Revolutionary defeatism

Proletarian internationalism takes upon itself the only possible answer to the worldwide bourgeoisie, to the capitalist State: this answer expresses itself, today like yesterday, by the rupture with social peace, by the reinforcement of all struggles wherever they may rise... this is the only way to impose the revolutionary and final solution to capitalist crisis and war. Communist revolution, class war against bourgeois war.

The proletarian answer to imperialist war, is:

* the organisation of sabotage actions against the economy, against production, against arms convoys... the sabotage of all social peace

* the organisation of all actions that aim at undermining the sending of troops to the war-front, undermining the morale of the troops

* the organisation of desertions from the front and from the army

* the encouragement to fraternisation, to rebellion and mutiny, to the pointing of guns at ones' own officers

* the organisation of the most decisive and offensive actions so as to transform the imperialist war into civil war for communism.

But of course, revolutionary defeatism cannot be conceived of in only one country. The communist calls for sabotage actions are related to the international nature of the working class and therefore they're directed towards the worldwide proletariat. Proletarian defeatism means the uncompromising struggle against one's "own" bourgeoisie, and so on each side, in all countries.

These activities have been assumed - in different manners and on different levels... ranging from the mere flight from the battlefields, individual desertions... to the organisation of sabotage activities, of fraternisation with those in front... - by proletarians from both sides. But most of the time, these actions have remained isolated: this is why and how the bourgeoisie has been able to defeat these revolts!

For those struggles to get out of their local limits and to become more general, the task of the proletarian vanguard-fractions is to fight for the organisation of these defeatist movements so as to materialize the internationalist unity that stands at the basis for the transformation of this war into an open war between the organised proletariat and the bourgeoisie.

This once more substantiates our claim that revolutionary defeatism cannot reinforce itself in a lasting way in only one country or one region, but must necessarily extend itself - a question of life and death - beyond all frontiers.

Internationalist solidarity

If in Iran and Iraq numerous proletarians have been trying to break with the whole of the nationalist and bourgeois parties, in Europe also these breakings have materialised f.i. with the circulation of many leaflets denouncing these organisations and their nationalist campaigns. In Europe also, there are militants who are trying to organise these breakings! Undoubtedly these breakings remain still locked up in daily reality and do not manage, because of this, to centralise into a unified direction.

The whole of ripostes and breakings that have been taking place spontaneously, do not yet transform themselves into a more important force and do not yet materialise in the setting up of an international center for the coordination and direction of the struggle. These weaknesses are still worsened by the fact that for years and years many militants from our class have been submitted to extremely rude forms of repression that have decimated or simply wiped out the different communist nucleus. This simply corresponds to the situation of our class that is being decimated in this war in exactly the same way. The inter-bourgeois polarisations, as well as the terrible conditions of survival that militants have to endure, make it extremely difficult for communist militants to assume the continuity of subversive activities as well as the theoretical reappropriation of the invariant determinations of the communist movement. Nevertheless, we think it is more than likely, although we do not have enough information about this, that these kind of activities are being assumed, on different levels, in different areas.

In Europe, this has expressed itself (once more, with many weaknesses, because of the balance of forces on the world-level that is very un-favourable to our class) through the circulation of leaflets against the war, and sometimes through the beginning of clashes between nationalist militants and internationalists.

In Vienna, a leaflet was distributed, on March 27th 1988, that said:

"All the nationalist organisations support the Islamic State and against all those who really participate in the Iran-Iraq war, who are killing proletarians, we call for internationalist solidarity. Down with both sides! The proletariat has no interests in this war! We must fight the sending of arms!" - A group of Kurds from Vienna -

Here is the content of another leaflet that was distributed:

"The war of destruction between Iran and Iraq only serves the interests of the worldwide capitalist system; it has been lasting for over 8 years with the aim of reinforcing the capitalist State on each side so as to perpetuate and develop the repression against the workers' movement of that region, while using workers as cannon-fodder. Down with both capitalist States in Iran and Iraq. Let's unmask those organisations that support this war. Long live the internationalist solidarity of the proletariat!"

Still another leaflet states:

"Workers and exploited! The only way to get rid of this bloody war is to reinforce the unity of our struggles, against both sides, while transforming this war in a civil war for bringing down both States. Down with Iran. Down with Iraq. Down with all organisations in this region! Long live the unity of proletarian struggles on both sides!" - Some revolutionaries in exile -

Of course, these are only quotes. In spite of the fact that some "revolutionaries", with their ideological vision on how the revolution "should-be", will only see the weaknesses of those leaflets (and we do not deny that such weaknesses exist) we want to stress the importance of such actions, and we want to encourage those militants who manage - in spite of many difficulties (repression, isolation,...) to affirm the internationalist interests of our class beyond all national boundaries!

Today's situation

From the very outset of the war, the situations in Iran and Iraq showed quite some important dissimilarities. In Iran, the war started at a moment when the Islamic State was still trying to defeat and liquidate the important struggles that had been going on for several years already. At that stage, the Islamic regime had not yet discredited itself too openly: the very radical speeches against "capitalist decadence" and for "international revolution" still prevailed. On top of that, Iran could easily present itself as a "victim", as an "aggressed" country, "aggressed" by Iraq, as well as by the whole international community of Nations. All this favoured the initial campaigns for national union and mobilisation in Iran. This explains the first "victories" gained by Iran over Iraq. In Iraq, the situation was quite different: fierce repression had been keeping the workers' struggles at an all-low level for years, but at the same time, the regime of Saddam Hussein had lost all of its credit. This explains why it will be more difficult for Saddam Hussein to create a real national consensus around his war and why there has been no mass mobilisation in Iraq in favour of the war. Quite to the contrary, from the very outset of the war, the Iraqi army command had to face sabotage-activities, desertions and all other kind of proletarian resistance against the war. This is also why an important part of the battle-troops is composed of professional army personnel. It will only be the important support that Iraq is getting from most other nations (USA, France, UK, URSS,...) and the fact that after years and years of massacres, struggles in Iran also will start to redevelop themselves... that will allow for Saddam Hussein not to be submerged by Iranian attacks on several occasions.

So throughout these long years of unslaughter, important struggles have been developing on both sides, making up for a certain homogenisation of the situation of proletarians on both sides.

So the possible development of defeatist struggles across the borders and spreading to the whole region had become a real and potential danger for the bourgeoisie of the whole world. It is mainly this situation that has determined the worldwide bourgeoisie to impose a cease-fire and to prepare the peace-negotiations between Iran and Iraq.

The process of peace

Peace must serve the purpose of pacifying once more the explosive social situation that 8 years of uninterrupted massacres have created. This pacification must be obtained through the celebration of "victory" (in Iraq mainly), through the need for the reconstruction of the national economy,... and this will unavoidably mean the repression of all proletarians who refuse the dissolution of their class' interests into the interests of the "people". With the end of the war against the external enemy, both countries can once again assign all their energy and all their forces of repression directly against the subversive elements of society who do not recognise the benefits of such a costly peace!

The bourgeoisie is using this peace to crush the workers' struggles. The bombings of several cities and of whole areas in Iraqi Kurdistan have shown this in a most atrocious way. Of course, while the bourgeoisie is bombing our class brothers in one area, at the same time it is talking about amnesty in some other area... all this poison just to defeat our class!

In both countries, the cease-fire has allowed the bourgeoisie to go ahead with mass executions. If more especially we can hear talking so much about the Kurdistan area, this is mainly due to the fact that this is one of the regions where all throughout the war, in spite of the bombings, in spite of repression from all governmental and nationalist forces (Komala, Pasdaran, PDKI,...) proletarians have continued to refuse to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the nation, be it Iranian, Iraqi... or Kurdish!

Peace and war are seen to be two distinct instants of the same human submission to capital's dictatorship. The proletarians - rebellious victims and revolutionary subjects of social reality - are the organised men and women who attack the bourgeois peace to as great an extend as war because it sees only a false alternative in the different instants... "work and die" or "march and die"! Through this understanding of the reality of what they are submitted to by capital, proletarians can fight against war, against work or, better still, in their fight against work they also fight dialectically against war and peace.

Against capitalist war and peace: revolutionary defeatism