We are reproducing here an article that was first published 10 years ago, in November 1983, in the first issue of Communism, our central review in English. Two reasons have led us to republish this article on the "Myth of Democratic Rights and Liberties":
* the contents of the article that remains very crucial in all struggles today insofar as it denounces the democratic rights and liberties as they are systematically being used against the strength, the unity and the autonomous organisation of the proletariat;
* the fact that this article, published in the first issue of Communism, was a rather bad translation of the original Spanish text, while today we can publish a much better version of it. As we explained in the introduction of Communism No.7 in April 1992, we depend nearly entirely on our contacts and sympathizers to help us with the translations of our texts into English. We are satisfied that today we can republish this article and we call upon our sympathizers to continue to contribute to the task of improving the quality of our reviews and of spreading important text of the communist movement.
The bourgeoisie's policy toward the proletariat consists in showing these needs as identical to all democratic institutions and liberties (free press, free association, amnesty,...). It is not only the classical liberal bourgeois who try to convince us that democracy is the best, but also all the pseudo-working-class parties (socialist, Stalinist, Trotskyist,...) which base their counter-revolutionary policy on the statement that the working- class will reach socialism through the conquest and the defence of all those rights and liberties.
In fact, there is a basic opposition between the mass of bourgeois democratic liberties and the needs of the proletariat to get organized on its own class field. The positions the proletariat conquers in this field can never be confused with so-called "working-class liberties".
In the same way as two opposite classes exist, there are two fundamental conceptions of workers' struggle. One is bourgeois, where one criticizes the lack of equality, of democracy, where one should fight for more rights and liberties. The other is proletarian, based on an understanding of the fact that the roots of all those liberties, rights and equalities are essentially of anti-worker type. This leads to the total practical destruction of the democratic State with its equality, rights and liberties. These two opposite conceptions show the contradiction between, on one hand, passive criticism - to improve, reform, and in this way, reiinforce the exploitation system - and, on the other hand, active criticismm, our criticism - the destruction of that exploitation system.
When the "right" tells us that the "left" is dictatorial and anti-democratic, that when the "left" reaches the government it does not respect the human rights and that our interest is therefore to wave the flag of democracy, to fight under its protection for pure democracy, is it a myth or do they have an objective interest in democracy? When the "left" tells us in the name of "Marxism" that the "bourgeoisie" and "capitalism" do not respect democratic liberties, that we have to defend them against fascist attacks, that we have to crave them wherever they do not exist, that this is the way to socialism, is it only a mass of opportunistic slogans or are they really fighting for democracy?
The bourgeoisie always tried to use the proletariat (taken as atomized workers, as "citizen") as a social basis, as slaves to serve its own dominant class interests. In this way, we already understand how the bourgeoisie always tries to make the workers fight for a different interest than their own (this partly answers the question). But do the bourgeoisie of left and right want democracy or not? The tale of liberties and human rights, is it only a mystification without any material basis or is there an objective reality that produces this democratic mystification? Do we have to infer that no bourgeois faction has any interest in having these rights and liberties of the citizens applied? (The corollary of this would be that the proletariat could avoid the bourgeoisie's domination if it really fought for the defence of democracy). Or do we have to conclude to the contrary that the fight of capitalists for the paradise of democratic rights is really the supreme will of the bourgeoisie.
Of course, the revolutionary marxist criticism we develop here is based on this last thesis: the mass of human rights and liberties correspond exactly to the ideal form of the reproduction of capitalist oppression. Let's see what this ideal form of democracy is and where it comes from.
But the reign of democracy as both "left" and "right" promise in the name of socialism and/or liberty, where there would be no classes but just citizens and free people, like any ideological form of the bourgeoisie does not come from nowhere and does not remain just as a pure idea outside the real world. On one hand, this world, "earthly paradise" of human rights, obeys a very precise material reality: the reign of the circulation of commodities from which all the defenders of Capital draw their principles and conclusions; on the other hand, all the mental forms, ideologies, which derives from this reign are accepted by society and are therefore objective. The dissolution of the working-class in the dead world of citizenship is nothing immaterial, even if it is based on the mystical world of commodities. One could think that the millions of pages written by marxologists and other capitalist lawyers,... the capitalist State constitutions, the charts, the speeches,... only passively serve the bourgeoisie, that it takes them into account or not according to circumstances. But this vision forgets that these very papers reflect and strengthen reality, that they belong to dominant ideology, which becomes a material force that reinforces and reproduces the whole social system. The laws and other official papers are just ideological products of capitalist dictatorship which have the task of defending it.
In the sphere of circulating commodities there are no classes; everybody is a citizen, everybody appears as a buyer and seller of commodities, equal, free, and owner. Even when we sell our labour-power, we are in the paradise of human rights and liberties. Each one is aiming at his own private interests in the reign of equality, liberty, and private property.
Liberty: because the buyer and the seller of commodities (including labour-power) does not obey any rule than their own free will.
Equality: because in the world of commodities, everybody is a buyer and a seller, and everybody gets a value equal to the value contained in the commodities he is selling, exchanging equivalent against equivalent.
Property: because each one appears, in the world of exchange as an owner of his commodity and he can only dispose of what belongs to him.
As free and equal owners, all citizens contract relationships giving rise to a natural brotherhood, which is the lawful reflection that guarantees liberties, equality and the identical possibility for each man to own commodities. Any buying or selling of commodity is the result of free will, a contract between men who, because of commodity, are owners, free, equal and like brothers.
It is this fetishised world of commodities, where there is no place for classes but only for men and citizens, that brings about the rights and liberties that enable them to decide on the regulation and improvement of this world. It is not only authorized to vote and to choose as a citizen, but it is also possible to have one's delegates in democratic organs for which the liberty of gathering, press, association, expression, etc. are guaranteed. The citizens can associate as electors and elected (in the bourgeois parties) or as buyers and sellers of commodity (in the trade-unions). Nothing is more natural for the citizens than to found political parties, to try to work in the government, in the ministries, the parliaments, or the "soviets". No need for any nobility certificate as a citizen, anyone, whatever his social position (of which the laws never speak) can become a deputy, a minister or a president. In the same way, as buyers or sellers of commodities, they can associate, form unions, refuse to buy or sell if the deal is not good enough. To this corresponds another mass of rights and liberties as the ones which rule private societies and the pseudo-workers' trade-unions. The buyers and sellers of labour-power, associated as such (never as workers or as capitalists, since nobody owns anybody else's work in the world of circulation of commodities) can even interrupt the delivery of the use-value: it is the liberty of strike. In the same way, the citizen who buys this commodity can decide to buy another one, it is the liberty of work. Or the citizen can decide to stop buying this commodity: it is the liberty of industry (under this reign, there is no lock-out). Let us not forget the rights of prisoners, nor general amnesty, which can only exist on condition that everybody behaves himself as a good citizen, a good buyer and a good seller, as "Amnesty International" and other humanists say.
Some people will point out that nowhere such rights and liberties can be found, that everywhere there are prisoners, everywhere the right to strike is limited, that in this country the right of property is limited and that in that country only one party is allowed, etc. All this is obvious. Nevertheless, in all these countries, there is a faction of the bourgeoisie that will criticize the lack of democracy of different governments, and to do so, it must have a democratic ideal as reference. This is exactly what we want to explain and denounce.
It is the only way to break with the bourgeois criticism of democracy and to recognize the enemy in all the defenders of a pure and perfect democracy. Indeed, as well as democracy being the product and the reflection of the mercantile basis of capitalist society, it is also the reference of all bourgeois criticisms which only aim at correcting the imperfections of democracy and where all the forces of counter-revolution concentrate in periods of revolutionary crisis.
But is it possible that the bourgeois ideology could really imagine such a society, where there would be no prisoners because no-one would steal because no worker's group would organize itself, where any strike would be strictly legal, where any association would group buyers and sellers to make sure the commodities would be exchanged at the right price? Of course, yes. More than two hundred years ago the democrats had no problem in recognizing that the democratic republic should correspond to the "people of gods" as Rousseau said. Today the bourgeoisie, in its decomposition, is still unable to understand the limits of its historical perspective and holds on to its mystical ideas. If it found the need and the capacity to integrate all the religion it used to fight yesterday in the name of science, how can we doubt that it does not "honestly" long for the democratic paradise it has always fought for?
Man imagines god as a perfect image of himself, purified from all his contradictions. Capital imagines a perfect and everlasting reign because it is convinced that it is the positive pole of society, also purified from its contradictions (wealth/misery, growth/obstacles to the development of productive forces, "development"/"under-development", equality/oppression). It sees itself as identical to its positive pole (wealth, growth, equality, liberty, democracy,...) For example, it has a completely a-historical and mystical conception of the valorization of Capital, as if it could exist without periodical massive destructions of social productive forces. Even if it calls itself socialism or communism, Capital always builds its own categories, its own analysis, its own vision of the world, ignoring the unity and the deadly contradiction between wage-labour and Capital. One can therefore not be surprised that in this democratic world, no one is exploited, no one is imprisoned, that one can find only capital, wealth, equality, justice, growth and liberty.
But to penetrate the real meaning of the mass of bourgeois rights and liberties, one must not only shift from the circulation sphere to the production sphere (in their contradictory unity) but also reach the essence of the class contradictions in the society. In this way we understand that the first liberty of the proletariat is to be free from all property. In fact, the ancestors of the proletariat have been liberated by physical violence of any other property than that of their children and of their own labour-power. This liberty of all properties is the most important one. It determines all the other ones. Thanks to this liberty the proletariat is only free to sell his labour-power, but also free to die of hunger (he and his children), if he does not find a buyer. The equality under the reign of circulation of commodities gives the worker the right to receive a value equal to the one of his labour-power and it is precisely this equality that takes away from him the product of his own work and warrants capitalist exploitation. Brotherhood is not a meaningless bourgeois slogan. It means, practically, the brotherhood of the bourgeois against the proletariat; under the form of national and democratic fraternity, it helps in tying the hands and feet of workers to their exploiters and bringing them to the massacre of their class-brothers on imperialist battle-fields.
True liberty, property and fraternity of democracy implies therefore a permanent situation of anti-proletarian violence. Repression is one of the indispensable elements of imposition, reproduction and extension of democracy. A long time ago, Marx used to denounce the sacred trinity "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" as equivalent to "Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery". Even more, the tendency to reach the paradise of pure democracy -where no one would complain of this liberty, equality, fraternity, property - implies a higher level of realization of democracy, which also implies the full use of the terror machine of the democratic State in its various forms. Therefore, for example, there is no organic change between the liberal and the fascist form of State, but only a process of purification of the State in its tendency to reach an inaccessible democracy.
Let us examine some other democratic rights and liberties. The right of election means that every 4, 5, 6, 7,... years, the worker can dress as a citizen to go and choose his oppressors freely. That supposes of course, on one hand a free electoral campaign, that means the liberty for each bourgeois faction to invest in it following its means and, on the other hand, the liberty for others to imagine that society might change with the coming of such or such party at the head of the bourgeois government. The so-called rights and liberties even give the workers the "privilege" to choose between the self-named "worker parties": to choose the one that will be the most capable of directing the State of Capital and to organize the massacre of the proletarians who would tend to ignore the directives of the big "worker" parties and who would refuse what the majority has decided.
The liberty of press and propaganda simply insures the free market in such a way that only the economic potential and the financial capacity of the different parties would assume the control and domination of public opinion and would guarantee the free application of the majority principle. In front of this economico-political apparatus of the dominant class, the workers have as alternative: either the liberty, right and duty to resign themselves, or the force and the will to organize themselves as a class, for which no right or liberty will ever be conceded.
Evidently, all these capitalist parties generally hide that "theory" - until last Judgement Day when they will all brandish it again - but let us examine the practice of the rights and liberties contained in the program these so-called parties call "minimum" or "transitional" (of all these rights we will only examine those that are supposed to be "workers' rights").
"The rights of reunion, of association, of unionism, the liberty of press are rights granted to the workers, they are conquests of the working-class". So speaks the bourgeoisie (of left and right). After having produced value everyday for Capital, wearing out their force, their arms, their brains, their sweat, their blood,... their lives, the workers do not only have the right to go and watch football or get drunk at the bar to divert themselves, to be in a good shape and be good at work the next day, but also, the bourgeoisie gives them the right to discuss, to unionize and to send "delegates" to negotiate the price at which they will sell themselves. It is very logical that a seller tries to sell his commodity at high price and Capital admits that the trade-unions change unreasonable claims of the workers into "righteous salary claims". These "righteous claims" are those that permit an increase in the exploitation rate, big enough to compensate the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. And it is even considered "legitimate" by all the bourgeoisie as long as it does not touch the national economy. There is no doubt that the trade-unions are the best specialists to formulate these "rights" and "legitimate" claims that do not hit the profit of Capital.
What else can we find in these rights granted by the bourgeoisie? NOTHING, absolutely nothing more.
In front of a real workers' association defending the workers' interests, fighting for a real reduction of work time, for a real increase in relative wages, Capital has no interest in accepting the right of association, of reunion, of press, of unionization, because these rights would necessary attack the profit rate and the national economy. And then, democracy would not have any other alternative than to use its cops, union troops,... The parties never hesitate in using white terror against the workers' class movement, and always in the name of democracy and liberty, of the right to work, of the respect of the trade-union's decisions... Without any doubt, the same thing will happen every time the workers' association will become a school for communism, every time the question of socialism will stop being a question of words and a struggle will be carried on, not only for the increase in wages, but for the abolition of wage-labour.
It must be very clear that workers' associations, their press, their reunions and actions,... that are based solely on the immediate and historical interests of the proletariat, must fight openly against Capital and its national economy. And in the name of the respect of legal unions, of the struggle against subversion, of unity against provocateurs, of the defence of national security, these so-called liberties are precisely what will be used as a repressive force against the class organizations.
And this practice is very coherent with democracy. Repression is democratic because it strikes when the workers leave their uniform of citizenship to act as a class, when they stop accepting being a well disciplined army for the valorization of Capital, for which the bourgeoisie had given them these rights and liberties.
This proves that contrary to what the bourgeoisie says, no right is granted to the working-class when it acts as a class. These rights are only granted to citizens, sellers of commodities. Repression of all those who do not accept to behave as good citizens is the logical answer to the bourgeois desire for a democratic paradise. There is no democratic paradise for those who do not respect democracy. As soon as the proletariat organises as a class, tries to attack the Capital dictatorship, democracy shows its terrorist face; as long as its dictatorship holds on firmly, democracy can show its liberal face to the stupid mass. The nice face of rights and liberties is therefore reserved only for the citizen, the one who bows down peacefully in front of the daily violence of the capitalist production system: wage-labour.
The same thing happens with the right to strike. The left wing of the bourgeoisie tells us that it is antagonistic to the capitalist juridical superstructure. No right is ever given to the class, to the workers in their struggle, they are only given to the sellers of commodities. As long as workers continue to accept simply being a force for Capital's valorization they have all the rights to act as any seller of commodities: to claim the right value for their commodity, to refuse to sell, to stop delivering use-value, etc. And of course, on the other hand, we find the rights of the buyer: the liberty of work (which means unemployment, strikebreaking, lock out, etc.)... With this liberty, workers are the ones who remain everyday more exploited, and more enslaved.
And when they make a true strike without caring for any right or liberty, when they really attack the bourgeois interests, no right or liberty exists any more; they are accused of being provocateurs, or agents coming from abroad,..., the true class strike is declared illegal, wildcat, anti-union,...which in fact it is. Consciously or not, any class struggle fights against the legality of the reign of commodity and fights for its destruction.
And to do so, it cannot accept workers behaving like sheep, nor scabs, nor unions, nor the right to work, nor the right to strike. On the battlefield, when the workers use direct action against the trade-unions at the service of Capital, they have no right at all. One must be blind or naive to believe that the legalization of strikes, which does not come from us but from our enemies, gives us any guarantee of winning or protects us against State repression. On the contrary, the legalization of strikes is a way for the bourgeoisie to reduce the class strength of strikes.
Another example is the "amnesty for political prisoners" requested by Amnesty as well as by all the social-democrats, pacifists, Trotskyists, humanists, priests of any imperialist side, but only at the condition they are made prisoners by a State of the other imperialist side. Each State keeps its own prisoners and, at the same time, asks for the liberation of its neighbour's in the name, of course, of human rights.. Besides, the humanists only claim to care for political prisoners at a time when international conventions such as the "European Juridical Space" relegate all actions of proletarian violence to the rank of "common law delinquency".
The height of their campaign, is that they all - committees for Chilean, Argentinean, Salvadorian exiles, support groups for RAF, the IRA, etc. - aim at getting the signatures of humanisst social-democracies such as the German one, which does not retain many political prisoners since it has already eliminated most of them one by one. And just as in any imperialist war, each State is ready to negotiate some human flesh against investments or commodities. And they keep talking about "amnesty" and "human rights". In this obvious trade of human flesh, the bourgeoisie cleverly puts together all prisoners, concealing the class character of the imprisonment of our comrades who were caught while fighting the bourgeois State. When a junta gets evicted, when a new president takes office, when such or such a party wins the elections, then they allow a "wide popular amnesty". And they pretend that the best way to show solidarity with our imprisoned comrades would be to collect signatures from democrats, to participate -by sending donations and telegrams- in the campaigns organised by "Amnesty", the parties, the parliamentary governments,... We know that all this confusion is the exact opposite to the solidarity needed by all our imprisoned comrades. The only solidarity is class solidarity, which does not exist through humanist speeches, nor through the game of human rights on the side of the USA, the USSR or Cuba and which cannot be obtained by protest letters addressed to capitalist butchers asking them to torture a little bit less. But it exists through the struggle against the bourgeoisie in each country. Only the direct action of the working-class with its own means (strikes, sabotage of the national production,...) will allow to impose its strength, to liberate the present workers who are imprisoned, but also to lay down the basis to organize class power, the proletarian dictatorship that will blow away the history of all States and all prisoners.
As with all other rights and liberties, the legal amnesty has nothing to do with workers' struggle to free comrades from jails, because as long as the capitalist exploitation system lasts, there will be prisoners and particularly, proletarian prisoners. One must not only know that there is no legal guarantee against prison and torture, but also that prison and torture will always be used in the name of the defence of these rights and liberties. In the same way that, under capitalism, every worker is potentially unemployed, any worker who does not accept the rules of the citizenship game is, potentially, a prisoner. Repression, torture, murder are only applications of democracy.
Moreover, the meaning of an amnesty is that the prisoners are "forgiven" for what they did. That means of course that they would deny the actions for which they have been condemned, or at least, that they would express that the actions that were valid yesterday are no longer valid today. In this way, the amnesty allows, in the name of "christian forgiveness", the recuperation of actions that, originally, attacked the bourgeois State, and became, with the coming of another bourgeois faction to the government, "actions that are exaggerated but understandable within the struggle against dictatorship..."
A good example of this is the amnesty conceded by the "Young Spanish Democracy". It forgave some "antifascist militants" above all in order to hide the fact that many imprisoned workers were fighting at the same time against Franco and against his antifascist cousins: in one word, against the whole bourgeois State. Some of the "anarchists", of the "incontrolados", are still in the prisons that became "democratic" again.
For us, the liberation of our imprisoned class comrades can only be made by reclaiming their heroic actions. We do not hope for any grace or pity from a class that shows us daily that it never hesitates in accumulating millions of dead bodies to develop its civilization. We know that only our organized and armed force can pull our comrades out of the fascist and antifascist prisons. And this is true, precisely because our force is the continuation of these actions for which our comrades fell. This is why, not only do we not ask for an amnesty, but to the contrary, we claim the reasons for which they have been imprisoned. K Marx held this position when he answered to his judges: "We do not ask for any excuse nor any pity; do not expect any from us tomorrow."
In front of Capital, all proletarians are subversive. The fact of refusing to submit to its law means, consciously or unconsciously, fighting for its destruction. This is why, with all the victims of Capital ("political" or "of common law"), we say: "We are all subversive. We are all guilty of wanting to destroy this inhuman world."
For all these reasons, the communist position on press, strikes, association, amnesty, liberties, about legality, is to assert without doubt that the organization of the proletariat is based on no right, no law, no liberty conceded by its enemy but on the contrary, is based on illegal action: the revolutionary organization for the destruction of wage-slavery. As Marx said: "We never kept this secret: the field on which we fight is not the legal one, but the revolutionary one."
That does not mean that we abandon a strike when it becomes legal, or that we do not publish and distribute revolutionary press when it can circulate legally or that we refuse to get out of prison when a judge sets us free. That would simply be reacting antithetically on the same legal field.
One must not identify illegality and clandestinity. Any real strike is illegal but not clandestine, even if there are secret preparations for it. The organization of workers in class movements - revolutionary councils, soviets,...- stands on a completely illegal basis but develops public activities. The best example of this is the destruction of the bourgeois army by the proletariat. When the soldiers unify with the rest of the working-class, after a long work of communist secret propaganda, when they start using their weapons against the officers and destroy the capitalist army, they do not do it in a secret way, but openly, though it is the most illegal action one can imagine. To fight on the illegal field means assuming all tasks independently of all democratic rights and liberties, which are only decisions of our enemy and therefore a strategy of the bourgeoisie to fight us.
Have we ever seen a class that could stay autonomous, that could fight for its own class interests, while fighting at the same time for the purification of democracy, in other words for the interests of its class enemies? This question finds no answer from the Trotskyists and the Stalinists. In their democratic vision of history the proletariat would not be the first class of history to be at the same time exploited and revolutionary, but rather the least autonomous and most servile class of all history. While in their past revolts the slaves used to attack the slavery system and their masters, the serfs used to attack all medieval institutions, the church and the lords; these "Marxists" say that the proletariat should struggle for bourgeois purposes, with bourgeois means to prepare its own revolution!
But what is the relation between a proletarian advance and the concession of such or such a right or liberty by the bourgeoisie?
Let us take an example: the situation in Argentina in 1973. For years, glorious workers' struggles took the prisoners out of their jails. At the same moment, the "bureaucratic" and "anti-bureaucratic" Peronists, the Trotsko-Morenists of the PST asked the workers to wait for the amnesty order, without knowing if it included the grave delinquency (crimes, offenses,...) cases. The workers' struggle emptied Villa Devoto and permitted many comrades to re-enter the struggle. How should we interpret these facts? For the classical bourgeois parties, the coming out of prisoners is always a consequence of what they legally concede; for those bourgeois parties that call themselves "workers' parties", it is the opposite: the amnesty orders are the great workers' victory. Both kind of bourgeois parties agree to characterize the juridical formalization as fundamental. There is a difference between these two tendencies, but they are both tendencies of the same class: the bourgeoisie. They only disagree on the way to kill the workers' movement, to integrate it democratically and to justify juridically the situation.
But for all communist revolutionaries, on the contrary, the victory is not to obtain decrees but expresses itself in the organisative fortification of our class, in the practical affirmation of its autonomy and in the fact that the prisoners could join their class brothers in the street. What about the amnesty? It is only a juridical manoeuvre of the bourgeoisie to try to integrate in its democratic legality what is happening in the streets and that it can not avoid any longer. Its aim is obvious: to turn a situation that is favourable to its historical enemy to its own advantage. The coming out of prisoners is disguised in amnesty by means of its juridical formalization.
There is the same opposition between the right of press and the existence of an autonomous workers' press. In general the liberty of press guarantees the liberty of undertaking and the financial aspect is predominant. But in certain circumstances, the liberty of press can be extended to the workers' press as long as the latter does not have much influence and that, through its free circulation, it can be controlled by the bourgeoisie. But in a world where everything is commodity, where everything tends to dissolve in the world of exchange, of money or consumption, let us not have any illusion: the workers' press will never develop on that ground.
The same thing happens with the right to strike. Let us leave aside the well-known case of strikes that do not attack the profit rate of the bourgeoisie. A strike is only recognized legally when the bourgeoisie is in a weak position and has no other solution to try to break a strike than to legalize it. Both cases are bound but any way, legalization never brings anything new to the proletariat in its struggle. Its force is only its organized and conscious force, before and after legalization.
Another question for those so-called "Marxists" to think about: for what other reason would the bourgeoisie give any right to its historical enemy (the proletariat)?
If it were true that these rights and liberties would help the revolution, why hasn't there been any revolution in the countries that have a long democratic tradition, in the U.S.A. for example? Why did it develop in Russia, which had known centuries of Tsarism and only a few months of "democracy"? And why did it burst out in the most "democratic" regime of the whole Russian history, the one of the social-democrat Kerensky? On what rights and liberties could the workers in Iran rely to defend their strikes and their struggle of 1978/79? In what way did the acknowledgment of the "Solidarity" union in Poland help the workers' movement to develop and extend? Didn't it happen precisely to recuperate the movement by taking it away from its anti-capitalist and therefore internationalist and autonomous aims to deviate it on the reform and democratisation of the exploitation system, with the blessing of both the Pope and Brezhnev?
Why shouldn't we ask the right of insurrection? There is an answer to all these questions, and it concerns the material class' interests that are antagonistic to the interests of the proletariat. In fact it is quite normal that the democratic right or left bourgeoisie would try to impose its own "human rights" and would make no distinction between amnesty and liberation of prisoners, the right of strike and the strike, the right of press and the existence of a workers' press. The heart of all this mystification is to consider the juridical formalization as a workers' victory while it is nothing but a weapon of the bourgeoisie.
These servants of Capital refuse to see the class antagonisms and the specific interests of the working-class. They use the slogans of the masses which are still submitted to the dominant ideology to prove that workers have always fought for pure democracy and in this way, they kill a second time the millions of workers "democratically" slaughtered throughout the history of struggles. In doing so, they try to justify their functions as deputies in the bourgeois State apparatus. But one must replace the facts on their real basis (i.e. the immediate and historical interests of the proletariat which are strictly opposite to the ones of the bourgeoisie), all these struggles aim at destroying class society, whatever the momentary consciousness of the workers who live these struggles could be.
"It does not matter much what a worker, or even the whole proletariat, imagines he is aiming at. What matters is what he is really and historically obliged to do." (Marx) We do not care about the flags that float over the struggles, we care only about the enormous efforts of the proletariat to organize itself and fight the bourgeoisie. Therefore it is very logical that while so-called "Marxists" consider that universal suffrage is a conquest of the proletariat, we consider that any reform of the State is a way to perfect the domination methods of the bourgeoisie. The only true conquests of the working class are its experience (in struggle) and its growing autonomy and power of organization. What remains of its struggles is the political conclusions that worker (proletarian) minorities can draw from their history. It is only through this "workers' memory" carried by minorities that the movement can avoid continually making the same mistakes.
On the other hand, the interpretation of history based on the "democratic conquests" of workers have led the defenders of this vision to parliament and its ministries. This is not surprising. One must not forget that the capitalist class is the first dominant class in history for which blood privileges are not determinant. Any citizen, even a "worker", can reach the bourgeoisie if he has good capacities to defend the bourgeois point of view: this is called social climbing. In this way, democracy can choose the best elements of a worker's origin to control more efficiently the workers' movement. Let us remember the example of the "worker" Noske, who became the leader of the Berlin insurrection of 1919, and who killed R.Luxembourg and K.Liebknecht, Leo Jogiches and thousands of revolutionary workers.
This system not only allows some "workers" to reach a position of oppressors of their ex-class brothers, but also entire "workers' parties" to be chosen by Capital to reinforce its domination (for example: the parties of the 2nd International). So it is not surprising that these parties interpret history as a succession of steps leading to democracy.
As a conclusion, we should say that the two ways of interpreting history correspond to the interests of the two antagonistic classes of our society: either the struggle of the proletariat for the communist revolution, or the bourgeois defence of the democratic dictatorship of Capital.
To accept their orders means striking for the defence of rights, associating in the name of liberty of unions (with them and under their direction), talking in the name of the right of expression, electing "workers" deputies in the name of democracy; and why wouldn't we also go to jail in the name of the right of amnesty and of the right of the prisoners, why wouldn't we risk our lives in the sacred name of citizenship?
We are not exaggerating: how many workers, who believed them, have ended up being prisoners or being killed for having written on a wall the order of their own submission: "Long live democracy, death to dictatorship!"?
If the bourgeoisie reaches this aim, it can control in all respects its system of domination, and that is what has happened historically. When a faction of the bourgeoisie is "worn out" by the use of power, it wishes to take a rest and leaves the "opposite" faction to continue its work. The right wing would take care of the killing and imprisonment of the proletarians while the left wing would direct all the workers' claims towards human rights and democratic liberties. We could even imagine that a time would come when the workers would not even think of striking for their "shabby interests", when no "mad" group would have the evil thought of fighting against democracy or of making a revolution.
The left wing would have then helped in building the earthly paradise of pure democracy by "convincing" the workers that their aim is to obtain democratic rights. But, of course, to "convince" proletarians, words are not enough. So we will see our left humanists assassinate the "provocateurs". No faction of the bourgeoisie has the privilege of counter-revolutionary cannibalism.
Nevertheless, the earthly paradise cannot last even with the help of the bourgeoisie's left wing. Lenin was accused of being a German agent, Rosa Luxembourg and Karl Liebknecht were killed by the Socialists in the name of democracy, torture was organized under Allende's regime as much as under Pinochet's.
But all the capitalists will never be able to stop the struggles, which come back, always more violently, to destroy all democratic illusions. And we, proletarians, will not strike for any right, we will strike for our own material interests, we will fight to take our imprisoned comrades out of the jails of the capitalist State, without making any concession to parliamentarism or amnesty campaigns.
The so-called "Marxists", in their fight for the purification of democracy, only long for the total submission of the working-class, that means, its disappearance as an autonomous class and its atomization as good citizens.
A/ Pure democracy, a capitalist ideology where there is no class organization but only citizens.
B/ Practically, the tendency to purify democracy, which leads historically to the changing of workers into citizens while left and right make them fight for democratic rights and liberties imposed by democratic State terrorism. Any class organization is an attack on democracy.
C/ The juridical formalization of unavoidable situations.
D/ The formalization tends to overturn the situation to the advantage of the bourgeoisie
Of course, none of those points are on the side of the proletariat. They are all bound: as reference frame (A) can only lead to a situation of relative democratico-terrorist stability (B) and as the strikes become too numerous, the pamphlets and subversive papers become uncontrollable, the bourgeoisie will need to legalize the situation (C). So it authorizes some publications, it legalizes some strikes... it is evident that it aims to break (D) the unity of the "agents of anarchy who do not respect democracy" and that it will find no other solution than to kill them: "now that the strikes are legal, we must be very strict with those who do not respect right of work and who do not care for the interests of our country."
And they will try to calm the others with crumbs such as the "right to strike", "of expression", "of work",... How many times have we seen that situation?
Each time the bourgeoisie faces a difficult situation, far away from its democratic paradise (A), it formalizes juridically the situation (C), which is a decisive weapon (D) to obtain a normalized situation of democracy (B).
In this remodelled democracy (even if it has been rotten for a long time) the liberal democrats, the syndicalists, the Stalinists, the Trotskyists, the Maoists, the socialists will have the opportunity to meet and congratulate each other on the parliament lobbies: "The rights of citizenship have been saved... The workers can return to their work and they will soon enjoy their civil rights."
One need not reach a situation of total political crisis of bourgeois society to understand all this. Nevertheless, it is in such extreme situation that the proletariat will dramatically face the alternative: either accept democracy and counterrevolutionary disaster, or throw away democracy as it has been done in only one historical but limited example: the insurrection of October 1917 in Russia.
Direct action and
It was on the 7th of March 1991 when, largely in Iraqi Kurdistan, the long insurrectionary process that had shaken the whole of Iraq reached one of it's highest points. During this process, the proletariat had expressed itself against the war and against all bourgeois forces in the region: the Ba'ath secret police, Republican Guards, nationalists, local and religious authorities,... This struggle showed proletarians all over the world the only path to follow if wars are to be eliminated forever.
Since then, the international bourgeoisie has done all it can to repress the movement. The nationalists, democrats from all tendencies, humanitarian organisations, the UN and ba'athists, pacifists, all different kinds of religious followers,... shared the job of crushing us. By concentrating on disarming and recruiting proletarians into nationalist militias, they also sabotaged our internationalism and contributed to the local reorganisation of the State by arranging elections. Without doubt, another aspect of the action aiming to crush us was the complete black-out by the worldwide media as regards the social situation in Iraq.
This insurrectionary process has been recounted at length in various issues of our central review. A detailed analysis can be found in our French-language review Communisme (formerly Le Communiste), issues No. 33 ("War or Revolution"), 34 ("Revolutionary defeatism in Iraq") and No. 36 ("Proletariat against nationalism") and in our English central review Communism, issue No. 7 ("War or Revolution" and "A comrades' testimony: a journey to Iraq"). There is also other information on this question in the framed texts below.
The insurrectionary process in Iraq started to materialize between the 26th and the 28th of February 1991, first due to the existence of thousands of armed deserters wandering around the city of Basra and a number of neighbouring villages and second, as the central State apparatus started to lose control of the situation. On the 4th of March, in Basra, this process reached another qualitative step as columns of tanks, retreating from Kuwait, shot at symbols of the regime. Clashes took place in different working areas of Baghdad. It was precisely these areas that were bombed by allied forces at that time. On the 4th, 5th and 6th of March, the insurrection spread to the following cities: Nasiryah, Amara, Najaf, Karbala, Hila, Kut,... The insurrection in Raniyah, on the 5th of March, marked a generalisation of the insurrection to other regions of Iraq. On the 7th of March, the armed proletariat destroyed one of the most important strongholds of the regime in Sulaimania. On the 8th of March it was Kalar's turn , on the 9th the insurrection spread to Koya, on the 10th to Shatlana. On the 11th of March the proletariat rose up in Arbil and the next day the whole area was in the hands of proletarians. On the 13th of March the last of the Ba'athist resistance was defeated in Aqra, on the 14th in Duhok and on the 15th in Zakho. On the 16th and 17th of March, whole columns of insurgents, setting off from all the cities where they had triumphed, planned to liberate the city of Kirkuk; but the Ba'athist airforce made this task very difficult and the insurrectionary movement paid a toll of thousands of deaths. In spite of these massacres, important battles were still fought and entire barracks were commandeered by the insurrection, e.g.the command of the military region for the whole of Kurdistan, near Sulaimania. Finally, between the 19th and the 21st of March, the insurrection triumphed in Kirkuk, but this city fell back into Ba'athist hands a few days later.
This poster, signed "Internationalist proletarians", (reproduced at the end of this text), recalls that nationalism, patriotism, pacifism, parliamentarism and, even more specifically today, international "humanitarianism", directed by the UN amongst others, are nothing else but universal weapons for repression of the proletariat.
This poster was published in several languages (English, Spanish, French, Kurdish, Arabic, German,...) by comrades of the ICG, other close contacts and groups from different countries. It was fly-posted, with the help of different contacts and groups of proletarians, on the walls of cities in England, France, Germany, Spain, Iraq,... "On the fringe of this initiative", to use the same terminology as another poster ("This poster has been produced on the fringe of an international initiative by several groups gathered under one specific signature: INTERNATIONALIST PROLETARIANS."), a similar action took place in Quebec. However, comrades over there chose to put their own signature to the poster and to develop their own slogans, thus unfortunately expressing their own particularism, rather than affirming the common contents of internationalist communist action stemming from our homogeneous class interests. We explain below how vital it is today to counteract all the particularisms that Capital constantly imposes on us in order to divide the proletariat, by asserting ourselves as a community of struggle with identical interests and objectives, rather than as a mere collection of different groups.
We would like to take this opportunity to stress the profound significance of the presence and activities of the international bourgeois coalition today in Iraq: despite differing interests, they are capable of exemplary unity of action when it comes to defending the heavily shaken bourgeois order. We also want to stress that in the face of this, in the face of Capital, the assertion of our own terrain of struggle, ie internationalism, is neither a matter of choice for us, nor merely an adjective that we add to certain local activities, but is a matter of life or death for the proletariat.
It is in this framework that we often stress the universal being that is the proletariat: we are a single international class and the same enemy faces us everywhere. The whole strength of the bourgeoisie consists precisely of denying (through the combined action of the world media) the universal character of the conditions of struggle of the proletariat, so as to confine each revolt within its specific characteristics.
Denial of the worldwide character of the proletariat is not just "theoretical", but materialises and is structured forcefully by permitting the bourgeoisie to impose the terrain which suits it best in order to defeat the proletariat. In other words, by making the proletariat "forget" that it constitutes a single universal class and imposing the terrain of confrontation that suits it best, the bourgeoisie manages to dictate the framework of war it sends us to : the international unified force of the bourgeoisie against the isolated activity of our class, confined to such or such an area.
The bourgeoisie uses different methods in order to impose this terrain, its own terrain, and to succeed in isolating proletarians country by country: the repression of all direct links between proletarians of different countries, campaigns to falsify, minimise and rubbish the struggles so as to cut them off from their fellow proletarians more easily, blockades, white terror,... Bourgeois politics for the proletariat, typical social-democratic politics, materialise more particularly by keeping the proletariat of each country within its confines, transforming its "international" activity into activities by proxy, mediation, petitions, of "solidarity" by way of cheques and telegrams. Social-democracy always has its proposals for "internationalism" at the ready, as a means of preventing the struggle of the proletariat in that area against its "own" State.
Let us explain ourselves in the light of history.
The wave of struggle between 1917 and 1923 was characterised by an unrivalled generalisation of revolutionary development: from Europe to the Middle East, Latin America to India, the revolutionary movement overrode national borders, allowing the call for international organisation of the proletariat to reverberate throughout the world. The Communist International was, without doubt, an attempt to respond to the bourgeois desire to isolate the proletariat in Russia. This partial response took the form of, amongst other things, various sorts of sabotage and internationalist action against the armies sent to wage war on insurgent proletarians in Russia. Setting up the Communist International and its Manifesto in 1919 contributed to an intensification of the international insurrectional movement (Germany, Hungary, Bavaria, Austria, Portugal, Brazil) in which the proletariat waged a revolutionary war against its "own State", its "own bourgeoisie". In spite of this, the Communist International (leaving aside the historical responsibility of the Bosheviks) was not, unfortunately, a true break from the social-democratic conception of a federation of national parties. Each national communist party (with a few exceptions, such as some practical splits made by the K.A.P.D.) continued to be determined by contingencies of opinion based on struggles that were occurring "nationally", a weakness that opened the door for the bourgeoisie to first slow down, then destroy the revolution. Struggle by struggle, nation by nation, international bourgeois forces were able to impose war with their allies. The strength of the bourgeoisie thus resided in its capacity to impose the terrain upon which it is historically strongest: that of struggle launched within the framework of a nation, in which the balance of forces develops between local proletarians on one hand, and international bourgeois forces on the other. It is precisely when the proletariat showed its internationalism, when our class could structure a common and international response to social war, that the bourgeoisie felt at its weakest. Thus the international proletariat acted to support the insurrection of October 1917 in Russia, breaking the bourgeois information blockade, prolonging revolutionary defeatism in all camps and stopping the war, subsequently taking on different levels of action.
However, in this context one must take into account the immense difficulties that confronted the insurgent proletariat in Mexico or Russia, for example, in trying to communicate news across borders about what was going on. Throughout the rest of the world, the proletarian insurrections in Mexico (1910-1914) and Russia (1917-1919) were portrayed as simple anti-dictatorial popular uprisings. With this aim, Social Democracy had a ready-made theory - that of backward countries, their need for bourgeois revolution and/or "proletarian" revolution to develop bourgeois democratic tasks. This ideology not only led pseudo-anarchists and other social democrats to deny the proletarian character of the Mexican and Russian insurrections, but also led organisations such as the KAI, who had broken away from the 2nd and 3rd Internationals, to sink into the deepest confusion on the issue.
If we apply what we have just described to what is at stake today in Iraq, we can see that it is in the bourgeoisie's interest to confront each one of our class's actions by limiting it to a single region and opposing it with an amalgamation of international forces (Kurdish nationalists, allied forces, UN, humanitarian and religious organisations...) This is rudimentary for the politico-military force reproducing Capital, which aims to destructurise every assertion of our class homogeneity, by attacking all forms of our expression. On our side, we find it very difficult to act as a single unified force, but our enemies are capable of uniting all their forces, in an instant, to crush us whenever it proves necessary.
All our activity -asserting ourselves as the worldwide proletariat- must aim to break with the isolation with which the bourgeoisie tries to confine our struggle in Iraq. All of our energy must be directed at extending the direct action we are carrying out in this region by direct action in the rest of the world. We must shatter the isolation, smash the bourgeois ability to isolate some of us and repress us, whilst our class brothers remain indifferent elsewhere.
To this end we must, more than ever, assert our struggle in Iraq as a moment of the worldwide proletariat's struggle. We must declare ourselves to be a single body, a single class, united in the living conditions imposed on us internationally and, moreover, in the worldwide struggle we are waging to abolish our condition as wage-labourers.
Unfortunately, we have come across huge misunderstandings on this issue, even with comrades who are close to us and who claim to agree with our positions.
We have been confronted with a lot of difficulties around the issue of producing a common poster. There was organisational resistance, in keeping with the present sectarian period, which manifested itself in a reluctance to take part in the production and flyposting of the poster or in considering us to be wrong in taking on our own responsibility as a group in signing the poster.
There was also some doubt concerning the information given by our comrades. Some contacts demanded proof (!?) of our assertions, others purely and simply denied the insurrectional character of the proletarian explosions which took place in Iraq and only accepted the information... when the bourgeois press published it in part. Over and above great declarations of principle, we see an expression of submission to the State in all of this: information broadcast by the bourgeois media are more readily accepted than those transmitted, with all the imaginable attendant difficulties, via our militant network.
There were also misunderstandings about the task itself which was considered to be an isolated activity. However, it is impossible to grasp the significance of this international initiative without placing it in the context of its being a further action in our assertion of internationalist activity, community of struggle and organisation of international communist action.
There were other misunderstandings about the task itself, too often brought down to the level of "solidarity from us here to them over there" (according to the point of view of those in regions other than the Middle East); conversely, it was seen as a call from "here- Iraq- for those elsewhere to have solidarity with us". In reality it was an activity by the international proletariat "here" and "there" against our enemies "here" and "there".
Finally, stemming from the previous misunderstandings, this activity was considered to be a mediation, a simple advertising campaign for such and such a group of proletarians, rather than a counter-attack on the concerted activity of the worldwide bourgeoisie to isolate a regional faction of our class in order to be better able to crush it.
In general, we are faced with a parliamentary and federalist conception of proletarian unity, in which contacts, instead of pushing for united international action, keep stressing their own particular characteristics, stating that each individual group should be consulted on each of the various slogans or signatures..., without realising that this is a congressional and confederational conception belonging to Social Democracy, practically opposed to the community of struggle and that to accept such criteria by way of thousands of paralysing communications, would transform our community of struggle into a parliament (1).
The elections for a national Kurdish parliament were a decisive moment for the action of the worldwide bourgeoisie against our class. At the time, our enemies did not let an opportunity for provocation and falsification slip them by. The media in Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq did all it could to develop the confusion between the positions of internationalist communists and the nationalists. The climax of these campaigns was, without doubt, the announcement by various nationalist radio stations- up to several times a day- that our organisation, the ICG, had called for participation in the Kurdish elections. This was despite the fact that, right from the beginning, our activities in the region had been against all nationalists and all parliaments. Once again, we stress that the very basis upon which our group arose is invariably against democracy and the nation and that any person or group placing our group in the framework of any sort of process of electoral and/or national reform, is acting directly against our programmatical basis. At best, it could be a mistake or falsification of our positions; but in most cases it must be the result of provocation incited by the Home Office or National Defence Ministry.
On the one hand, our comrades in Iraq claim that their strength is our strength and that it is precisely our international force that is preventing the allied counter-revolutionary forces from transforming the local reorganisation of the State into an open offensive. They have told us that the action taken by ICG and other internationalist groups in Europe and elsewhere is preventing our direct enemies (nationalists of all tendencies in Kurdistan) from carrying out systematic attacks on our comrades, because it makes the nationalists more vulnerable.
On the other hand and simultaneously, we try to lead this type of direct action in Europe and in America, yet some close comrades tell us that they don't see the point in such activities; they distrust the information we give them; they say that they would agree if they could add a different signature; they agree with one slogan but not with the other; they state that this kind of activity is pure propaganda, useless in the present situation because nowadays the proletariat "here" is not interested in what's going on "over there", etc...
In short, just at the time when our comrades insist that we maintain the pressure against nationalists, we are faced with thousands of sectarian, anti-organisative and individualistic pretexts that, in spite of their intentions, contribute to the isolation of vanguard sectors of the worldwide proletariat and to the repression of our comrades.
With our very meagre resources we have struggled to ensure an improved centralisation of various structures in the region. In the face of a total lack of means of communication with Iraq (no international post or telephone) we have undertaken serious efforts to find other ways of international internal contact.
Taking the enormous international importance of the events experienced in the region into account, as well as the exceptional interest that the proletariat there brings to our positions, we have decided to publish a new central review in Kurdish, in addition to the development of the Arabic central review and publishing the Theses of our programmatical direction in Arabic. If possible, we intend to publish, along with other groups of proletarians, a local review with the title "The Internationalist Proletarian" , with the aim of providing a wider framework for direct action and propaganda in the region of Iraq.
The flyposting and production of the poster undertaken by militants in various countries should be understood along the same lines. It was not a question of having "solidarity with" proletarians in Iraq, but rather one of acting together to assert the same struggle, interests, community, force, in a way that the bourgeoisie would find it impossible to wipe us out "bit by bit".
It is important to us that the distinction is made between false solidarity, which is seen to be a spectacular communication fictitiously linking workers of different countries and effective solidarity, resulting from common struggle.
Posters or leaflets calling for solidarity "here" with those "over there", appealing for compassion, for petitions, fundraising, for letter-writing to our torturers or asking for the help of parliamentarians...are not only harmless for the bourgeoisie, but also constitute Social Democratic politics par excellence, aiming to compartmentalise proletarian needs, such as the liberation of imprisoned comrades, the denunciation of repression in one area and the need to spread information about our comrades' struggles. They constitute bourgeois politique for the proletariat par excellence, because they transform the need for direct action against Capital into collaboration with the bourgeoisie. The extreme opposite of this is proletarian direct action, communism against Capital. Distributing leaflets or posters, depending on their form and content, is part of this activity if it takes place in a worldwide perspective, in line with the fact that the proletariat has only one kind of solidarity with its class brothers: direct action against its own bourgeoisie. Instead of calling for compassion or admiration for activity elsewhere, communist propaganda and agitation aims to facilitate generalisation of the struggle, aims to show that, here and now, the contradictions are fundamentally the same. If proletarians are active elsewhere, it is not a result of specific local characteristics, but is because of general reasons which concern "us" directly... which imply that "we" can and must act as well. Our poster is evidence that the activities of the Iraqi proletariat has illustrated the only possible way to eliminate wars for ever.
The flyposting that was carried out is much more than just flyposting to us, communists in Iraq, Iran, England, Spain, Germany, France, North and South America and elsewhere. It was a specific and modest manifestation of the worldwide force that the proletariat aims to structure. In its attempt- albeit very weak- to put the poster up at the same time in different parts of the globe, the proletariat forced its social enemy to fight on less secure grounds than it is used to. There is nothing better for nationalist, humanitarian and religious organisations than to concern themselves with "each proletariat" according to "its" national flag (this is how the bourgeoisie sees it!).
By forcing the bourgeoisie to fight on its sinking sand of directly international proletarian activity, we will prevent the crushing of our struggle in Iraq and can prepare tomorrow's struggles.
It is not a question of making platonic appeals for international support, but, with the help of all sections of the proletarian vanguard and militants from the world over, of counter-attacking politically the international bourgeoisie and its attempts to liquidate, by way of humanism and nationalism, some of our best comrades.
Let us repeat once again, today dominant defeatism combines with Social-Democracy's historical programme to deny the importance of such an initiative. The key to social-democratic policy on this precise issue is the reality of a weak level of consciousness regarding the existence of our class as a worldwide class, which it uses to wipe out any possibilities of direct action and to divide the proletariat by arguing that there are "objectively different situations in each country" as a way of justifying the impossibility of carrying out action "here and now". The bourgeoisie intervenes to impose silence on the proletariat, forcing it to resort to bourgeois intermediaries (inactivity, in reality), explaining that what goes on "here" has nothing in common with what happens "there" and that the only thing to do is to go via the common channels offered by society to show "solidarity": "make a poster here about the situation over-there", "make a poster here for the people here", send a protest letter, a delegation, or some money...
The historical opposition between parliamentarism and direct action is at play at this level.
Parliamentarism and democracy aim to broadcast their activity to the hilt, to separate decisions from action and theory from practice, advising proletarians of all countries to organise activities of "solidarity" by proxy...
The direct action and communist camp aims to carry out violent direct action against its enemy, not in this sense of immediate violence (as far as the international poster we are discussing is concerned), but in the sense of asserting our struggle on our own terrain: that of directly international confrontation, that of the assertion- unbearable for the bourgeoisie- of our community of struggle, of our common being.
When proletarians from a dozen countries act together (despite all the present constraints) and plan an activity to carry out together (if possible, simultaneously) against the same enemy, in the face of the same indifference, fighting for the same interests and objectives... they are carrying out a violent counter-attack on the bourgeoisie.
We are aware of the tragic discrepancy that exists today between the aggression that our class undergoes more or less throughout the world and the difficulties we have in reacting to these attacks. In this sense, we know that this common activity, like all the other activities that have been taken to centralise our struggle in Iraq, is really only a drop in the ocean compared to the enormity of the tasks we need to accomplish. It is obvious that we will need to undertake, against the tide, far more than these initiatives to undo this system of death that suffocates us.
In spite of this and in the context of a tragic absence of structures for international proletarian centralisation, it is important to us to stress the fact that several comrades from different backgrounds, living in different parts of the world have taken the initiative to centralise themselves against the tide of anti-organisationalism and dominant sectarianism and have thus been able to experience, by acting as one, a necessary moment of the "Growing Union" of the proletariat with a view to the definitive abolition of this world of death.
Today, we need this community of practical direct action more than ever. Its links are forged in common activity and it is from these links, against current sectarianism and individualism, that the seeds of an internationalist communist organisation of the proletariat will grow and will destroy the inhuman barbarity to which we are subjected.
|Yesterday the 7th march 1991, revolutionary
insurrection in Iraq against war and all capitalist forces showed proletarians
all over the world that there is only one path leading to permanent
elimination of all wars.
As always, on the other side of the barricade, Capital's forces worldwide act as one to decimate our class autonomy.
Today the 7th march 1993, Nationalists, Democrats, pacifists, humanitarian organisations,... continue to mobilise to crush us in Iraq, Yugoslavia, Somalia, El Salvador,...
International aid = disarmament and repression of the proletariat !
Kurdish nationalists = Baathist = U.N.
To be a patriot is to be an assassin !
Against the kurdish parliament and all States !
For worldwide social revolution !
Our comrade started to share militant activity with us, on the basis of a radical break from drug addiction. His integration into the group coincided with total abstention from drugs. This is what he said:
"(...) Drug addiction is one of many possible expressions of a social response and position in the face of the frustrations of Capital, along with madness, delinquency and TV addiction. It is an unconscious revolt which stigmatises the refusal of the system in the flesh of its victims. Above all, it is the triumph of Capital's harnessing power: the society of drug addicts is practically the epitome of the capitalist model. Drug addiction is the triumph of individualism and anti-solidarity (each man for himself, dope for himself), the triumph of alienation (the concrete alienation of dependence on a product), the triumph of reification (suicide of a body/object, sold for drugs), the triumph of a palliative (choice between drugs or suffering), the triumph of the commodity (exchange value and use value, having the same denominator: drugs for survival), the triumph of value (a few banknotes for a few milligrams of powder and pleasure), etc... Drug addiction is a system of immediate institutionalised survival, otherwise known as the capitalist system..."Shortly before writing this, he had learnt that he had AIDS.
It is impossible to describe the struggles of everyday life that this news gave rise to: permanent confrontation with the doctors, violent take over of the medical file compiled on him, radical critique of food (our comrade defined capitalist food as an attempt at generalised poisoning), vicious attempts, in vain, to obtain information on the possibilities publicised by the "alternative" medical vultures, as corrupted by financial interests as their "official" colleagues, struggle against the ideology of anti-pleasure, refusal to die in hospital, permanent battle not to accept -despite every conceivable pressure to do so (1) - the poison AZT, conceived by medical commerce, refusal to take part in experiments aiming to turn him into a guinea-pig,...
We lived every one of these moments together, like brothers in arms, with all the determination and passion for this one "true life" that the militant critique of the State constitutes for us. We discussed and chose, fully aware, the orientation and direction to give each of these moments of permanent struggle, with the result that our comrade did not die ill. He died fighting. He died living, as opposed to the majority of half dead-half living "beings" who populate the realm of capitalist social peace today and whose only reality is dictated by the monster Money, which dominates them.
The text we are publishing here follows the rhythm of all these moments. Most of the thoughts within it, as well as the communist point of view which animates it, are inextricably linked with the innumerable activities and discussions that we had together.
This is why this text is not dedicated to our comrade. This text IS our comrade. Our common break from the present world of death makes perfect sense. Here is how he formulated it:
"(...) The context of our struggle is paradox, is contradiction. 'We take up arms to abolish arms. We survive to abolish survival,... and at last to live. We must assume this contradiction, cross it, if we want, one day in the distant future, to live...In order to escape my 'madness' I arrived at an impasse, with two solutions: to chose to fight or to chose not to fight. I chose."
"We continue the struggle for you, comrade, who would have put a recording of the Sex Pistols screaming 'No Future' in your own coffin. For you, comrade, whose veins were infested with a deadly substance created by torturers known as 'doctors'.
For you, who died fighting, slowly assassinated by Progress. With our common hatred of Science and the State we continue to fight with you, comrade!..."
AIDS made its brilliant debut amongst the products of Science and the brainchildren of Progress - nuclear and chemical weapons, high security prisons, steroids, adulterated oil, bank safes, bloodletting, antibiotics,the electric chair, plastic surgery, television, parking metres, ECT, A-10 aeroplanes and Apache helicopters...
As materialists, we are going to expose some elements of the social and economic context in which Science and Medicine were struggling, in order to understand that the HIV retrovirus had every "reason" (commercial and/or "accidental") to appear... at a time when conditions were ripe to create it. This is not a question of sensationalism, but of breaking away from the predominating scientific and democratic folklore.
It is no more possible to envisage the mysterious apparition of AIDS, than it is to appreciate the reasons for the scientists' desperate efforts to obscure its origin, without a grasp of the way in which value intimately determines knowledge, the strict dictatorship of Money over Science, the total collusion between Science and Money (2), the profound unity between pharmaceutical research and commercial need, the inextricable link uniting the military domain, the politicians and the economic world.
We have set out to clarify our fundamental starting points for this text by way of the following comments:
We do not intend to contrast "good" science with "decadent, bad or corrupt" science. Science, as knowledge subsumed by capitalist valorisation, is rotten to the core. Like all of Capital's productive forces, Science is fundamentally inhuman: not only in its applications, but in its foundations.
It is impossible to put Science to good use, just as it is impossible to do so with the Police, for example. We have no more to reproach the Police than we do Science. Our critique is neither a response to "cock-ups" (be they scientific or police) nor a criticism of, for example, the scientific development and police usage of truncheons capable of firing electric shocks. Our practical and theoretical critique relates to the very existence of a force organized and armed in the defence of bourgeois Property. It relates to the essence of a consciousness whose narrow horizons consist of the need to accumulate capital. Science, like the Police, must not be reformed, but destroyed (3).
We apologize for repeating ourselves in this introduction on the subject of how, from a communist point of view, from the point of view of truly human needs, Science is beyond rehabilitation. We reiterate - to ensure that we are really well understood - that in handling this critique of the crap put forward concerning the origin of AIDS, we wish to dissociate ourselves completely from a critique limiting itself to a denunciation of the "excesses" of Science (like the bourgeois left denounce the "excesses" of the Police). The historical dictatorship of Value over Humanity has been enforced on human beings as they strive to develop knowledge, so that even Science's paradigms are rotten to the core. Such fundamental and sacred (so called neutral) concepts such as "matter", "atom"... are strictly determined by money, the narrow minded horizons of the Scientist, that slave to research (money!) and development (capitalist!), who is himself affected in every way by the dictatorship of the rate of profit.
We are not intending to write a scientific anti-thesis. We have taken up specific scientific arguments from time to time, because from our point of view - intent on the destruction of the science of capitalist death - they can sometimes reveal the reality off the commercial and warmongering iceberg hidden beneath the "tip", made up of tons of papers justifying scientific activity (4). Our analysis is therefore neither "scientific" nor "objective" in the bourgeois sense, stemming rather from the reality of existing social relationships. It is on this basis that we state that AIDS is objectively an invaluable commodity for Capital. We want to fight against being used as "medicine fodder", as salaried guinea-pigs.
Let's dive into scientific hell! The old mole is digging underground... let's follow!
By using another language they are aiming to discourage any attempts to question their power. They wear long white coats (5) for the same reasons. Armed with their jargon and impressive accessories the Scientist is above all a witch, a master!
Medical stupidity is still incapable of pointing out the true origins of the illnesses we suffer (for example, the junk food our wages permit us, the torture known as Work!) and these learned assassins continue to surround themselves with prestigious diplomas and other props, to convince the idiot citizens to let themselves be prodded by them.
But along with the "passive" lies of their vocabulary and ceremonies go the active lies - to protect Science you have to lie, to impose the lie as a truth, dogma and repress those who will not accept it.
Science is a power: that of the State! It is knowledge put to the service of Value. Science is under the orders of the bourgeoisie, serving its Knowledge helping the dominant class in its attempts to impose trade order. The applications of Science are above all commercial and military. Science is a monstrous trade and to impose it, one has to lie!
Galileo was considered to be an heretic by the majority of his colleagues because, by making a mockery of Copernicus's explanation that the earth revolves around the sun, he was exposing, even at that time, the institutionalized ignorance and stupidity that Science represents, thus invalidating years of University and Academic research (6). The lie was imposed on him by making him recant in front of the Inquisition in 1633. But he suffered less than millions of proletarian heretics, who for centuries have tried to flee work, denouncing it as torture but being forced to sing "Work is health", "Hey ho, hey ho! It's off to work we go!" by idiotic popular tradition and Science... or even "Arbeit macht frei".
Nothing has change since the time when those charlatans imposed their lies. Nothing has changed since official medicine advocated blood letting to cure fevers (7).
Today the picture is no brighter.
We are offered "anti-life" atomic bombs (antibiotics) in order to enable us to return to work quickly.
The author of this article, too naive at the time, suffered daily injections of the horrendous poison steroid... to treat a minor depression. To "cure" children's coughs they advocate tranquillizers in the form of syrup (good night and have a good day at work tomorrow, parents!)
The contraceptive pill, that booming commercial enterprise, is a real concentration of poisons leading to a risk of not only breast and uterine cancers, but also malformations of the genital tract in their female descendants... etc... etc.
Here we are not talking about medical "mistakes", such as surgical instruments left inside a stomach, confusion over the amputation of a limb or a mix-up of case-notes, but rather the official version of medicine, what every apprentice-torturer receives as orders by his superiors to calm down - sorry, treat- his patients (8) (they hypocritically call their victims "patients").
No, nothing has changed in the world of lies and Science. The most famous doctors who bled their patients to treat them, were protected and paid by the highest State institutions. No one was allowed to question their knowledge and power. Today, the democratic State finances the ideologies and lies of these thousands of scientific assassins in their redeeming white plumage, who bombard us, year after year, with hypnotics to numb the time we spend recuperating for work, stimulants to keep us awake at work, hormones to fatten up the low cost junk which sustains us and anabolic steroids to beat our "competitors",... Science is the Barbarism of Capital... in all its splendour!
A few examples.
In 1981, when a strange and hitherto unknown epidemic came to light, it was attributed to those who appeared to be particularly vulnerable to it: homosexuals. From this stemmed a surge of delirium masked by new diagnoses, emanating from the same idiots who are "reassuring" us today. One of the hypotheses argued that "sperm administered rectally had an immunosuppressant effect". More clearly put, these scientists attributed the loss of man's natural defence to the sweet pleasure of buggery! Thanks, Morality!
In 1985, scientocops fabricated an impressive web of events, beginning with a virus attributed to the African Green monkey. This was supposed to have mysteriously (?!) contaminated West Africans, thus causing a slight mutation of the virus which, after two further steps, brought about the HIV virus, responsible for the epidemic. We are not going to recount the idiotic logic of the laboratory experiments leading them to this conclusion, because in 1988, exposed, they were forced to admit that there had been some contamination in the lab and that the initial virus that they had taken as their starting point... was in fact a product of their own criminal manipulations. Hooray for biology (9)!
Again in 1985, in an attempt to distance the birth date of HIV from the years when material conditions made laboratory fabrication of the virus possible (since 1971!), American scientists "proved" that there were HIV antibodies in more than 50% of blood samples taken and deep frozen in Kenya and Uganda between 1959 and 1970. Loudly proclaimed in all world newspapers, these advances in research were refuted without publicity a few months later: the tests were found to be unreliable and new tests had proved the total absence of HIV antibodies in the same samples! Long live Science!
To distance still further the spectre of the scientific origin of AIDS, it was necessary not only to disconnect the dates at which the illness appeared from the time at which it became possible to engineer the virus, but also to conceal its geographical origin (10).
It is reasonable to think that such a scientific monstrosity originated from the historical world centres of accumulation of scientific knowledge (USA, Europe, Latin America...) and that therefore these same centres are attempting (as if by chance!) to distance the origin from themselves : "the sin must have stemmed from Africa or Haiti!"
Thus, in 1982, the Atlanta Centre for Disease control, an organization collecting medical epidemiological information for the US and influencing doctors throughout the world with its reports and recommendations, defined Haitians as a high risk group. In order to strengthen their case, the CDC argued that Haitians with AIDS do not present any of the "classical" identifying risk factors (IV drug abuse, homosexuality, haemophilia). How did they come to such a conclusion? Simply because the Haitian patients questioned in the US "declared" to the doctors that they were neither homosexuals nor IV drug abusers. One only has to appreciate the taboo of homosexual prostitution in the US as well as in Haiti, the severity of repression by the US Immigration Office, what it is actually like to reply to medical questionnaires (real state interrogation), the widespread condemnation of those admitting to drug addiction... in short, if one can grasp the precariousness of a life clinging to a string pulled by Medicine, Justice and the Immigration Office, one can understand why, out of 34 proletarian immigrants from Haiti who were HIV positive, only 4 would admit the origin of their "crime"!
On this basis, the CDC denounced Haitians and left them to the malice of public opinion. It then took 3 years for the CDC to retract and remove Haitians from the category of a high risk population, although to this day they are banned from giving blood!
This last example is interesting as it illustrates how the cover-ups that the bourgeoisie resort to are never the simple and machiavellian result of a few evil manipulators. All these lies start from a network of half-truths, which meet the needs of the dominant class and obscure the full story (the tree that hides the wood!), distortions of the truth, imposing themselves as ideology.
In defining the Haitians as a high risk group, the scientists started from a material basis (the fear of these immigrant proletarians, a fear consolidated by their refusal to admit to their homosexuality or drug addiction) and conclude statistically ("it's Scientific," they shout as soon as they have collected some numbers) that there are proportionally more Haitians than Americans with HIV!
The condemnation of Haitians has a function - exorcising the fear of millions of Americans - and responds to a need: allowing the continuity of the development of Science (and hence value!) without hindrance. Thus, to protect Medicine and Progress (indispensable to the disorganized movement of Capital), the State has to impose "truths" (ideologies), screening human worries from the horrors of reality.
But these "screens", ideologies, constitute a material force permitting Capital to prolong its inevitable agony: this crap is put forward in scientific terms, littered with absolute declarations, slowly uttered by those responsible for the medical "world", which imposes itself in the face of profanity and makes the idiot people hold Science in awe, in the same way that they kneel in front of the Pope or Yeltsin!
Paradise - be it Christian or "socialist"- uses the Pope's holy water or Castro's cigars as its props and as soon as it is faced with millions of homeless, unemployed, the 40,000 children dying of hunger daily, in short, when its absurd logic is opposed by prosaic reality, there is nothing left!
Nevertheless, it is all these lies that cement public opinion and turns every human being into a schizophrenic, someone separate from himself, sublimating his suffering to the point of defending it as his own happiness (11).
To return to the subject, when one sees the weakness of arguments concerning the origin of AIDS, one would think that this time there is little chance that anyone would fall for them! Wrong! The stupidity of these explanations does not prevent the media from expounding them!
Thus, to distance the date of the appearance of HIV from the period in which material conditions meant that it could be produced in laboratories, the researchers (of lies!) simply "discovered" a few cases of AIDS plump in the middle of the 50's and 60's in Africa. Rapidly it became apparent that tests supposedly demonstrating antibodies to the deadly virus in those old test tubes were invalid (see above). In the end it was decided to diagnose it retrospectively on the basis of vague resemblance to symptoms described in the files of the patients whose blood had been taken!!! To prove the truth of a premise, what better way than to invent it?
In the same way, in the mid 80's, justifications made to lead research of cases of AIDS dating back to the early 70's towards Africa rather than the U.S. (12) were based purely on the fact that it was unthinkable that such a disease could have passed unnoticed in that centre of Progress and Science that is the USA!
Whatever part stupidity, ignorance, lies, machiavellism, defense of interest, competition.... have to play, what drives doctors and other scientists to prolong their monstrous laboratory creation by equally monstrous lies regarding the origin of the virus, what they have in common is the twisted class point of view that makes them submit to the laws of the State, to the dictatorship of commercial expansion and capitalist progress!
The racism underlying ideologies which place the original appearance of AIDS in Africa or Haiti is merely an extension of the dominant power of this giant of Economy (and thus Science and Progress) that is the US.
But racism is not the prerogative of bourgeois Americans: all nations are racist and participate in one way or another in campaigns which denounce a "neighbour" by using AIDS to reinforce National Union. This is not a new concept: throughout history the bourgeoisie has used illness to feed the racist character of the state.
Around 1550, as an epidemic of syphilis spread throughout Europe, every nation tried to pass the buck to "foreigners". The Russians accused the Poles, the English and the Turks called it "the French disease", the French knew it as the Italian illness and the Italians blamed the Spanish...
"The technology required to make new retroviruses capable of infecting man out of those already known to be carcinogenic or liable to cause immunodeficiencies or brain diseases in other mammals was already well developed and widely published by the beginning of the 70's. Many of the scientists now researching into AIDS previously worked in the oncology laboratories where the techniques were first developed : Gallo, Essex, Heseltine (U.S); Weiss, Jarret (U.K); Montagnier (France); Zhdanov, Lapin (USSR); Ddinhardt (Germany); etc."The point of this quotation is not only to give the names of some of the assassins who doubtless managed to produce the monstrosities that we are talking about here. This statement by John Seale, member of the British Royal College of Physicians, published in the "New Scientist" of January 1987, illustrates, along with thousands of other examples, the fact that by the early 70's molecular biology had the means to invent and produce retroviruses capable of attacking the human immune system.
In 1969, in parallel with the resurgence of research into oncology, American scientists identified "reverse transcriptase". Don't panic! This Latin word is no more than the mysterious name given by modern wizards to describe an enzyme (enzyme = a protein involved in controlling the initiation, inhibition and rate of many different chemical reactions in the body; it's a biological catalyst) particular to retroviruses, allowing them to translate their RNA into DNA. Up until this time, Science had claimed with rigid conviction that only the converse was possible, ie the translation of DNA into RNA. The identification of reverse transcriptase has permitted the development of techniques for molecular cloning, ie the production of genetic monsters. This is what we are going to try and explain.
The principal dogma of molecular biology up until then was that it was impossible (and thus heresy!) to think of translating RNA genes into DNA (14). With this "discovery" (15) a whole new revolutionary method was opened up for medicine and "humanity" to, for example, adapt retroviruses specific to animal tumours to the human cell.
Retroviruses are RNA viruses whose specificity lies in their capacity to transcribe their RNA into DNA and then to transmit the DNA into a host cell. The identification of the retroviral enzyme, reverse transcriptase, made it technically possible to insert the virus at the heart of the genetic material of the cell (human or animal), permitting incredible new methods for genetic manipulation and cloning in molecular biology, as well as lucrative commercial enterprise.
Making no apology for repeating ourselves, we want to make sure that the full scale and horror of these weapons that have thus been put in the hands of licensed madmen is understood. We must emphasise that research into retroviruses is not the result of a "brainwave" by a particular scientist, but that the widespread fascination with the "reverse transcriptase" technique is directly linked to the fact that it has made it so easy to create all sorts of hybrids, retroviruses among them, something that was impossible a few years earlier. When it was realised that retroviruses could translate their RNA into DNA a whole new world of possibilities for cloning was opened up.
"In 1971, an amazing confirmation of the unique role of reverse transcriptase came with the demonstration of "infective DNA" (ie capable of infecting) within cells infected by retroviruses. When inserted into uninfected cells this DNA reproduces the virus, ie it carries the virus's genetic code."Since then it has been possible, however clumsily, to produce genetic monsters by way of retroviruses. A few years later, between 1979 and 1981 (the incubation period of HIV!), the first cases of a rare type of pneumonia began to appear in California: it didn't take long for the white coated terrorists to announce that it was related to a new and original retrovirus. AIDS had started to grow in the horrendous garden of Science...and its emergence coincided exactly (we can never repeat this enough!) with the discovery of the existence of retroviruses and the possibility of cloning them. In order to clarify things a bit further, to make sure that the full extent of the catastrophe brought about by hideous experiments in molecular biology is understood, we want to try and explain how commercial stakes in laboratory research changed when reverse transcriptase came on the scene. Commercial interests were without doubt the driving force behind research into retroviruses and this provided a favourable climate for the "hatching" of HIV (whether accidental or deliberate is of little interest to us).
The pharmaceutical industry - real dictators, commanders and suppliers of capital for everything related to scientific research - has been actively researching ways to produce low-cost (to the manufacturer, of course!) human and animal substances. Like all capitalists, the management of a pharmaceutical company produces "medicines" (16), not to "treat", but to increase capital.
For a drug to be profitable, as with all commodities, a certain degree of human labour must be inherent in its production: the pharmaceutical industry would hardly be interested in egg white alone, presented as medicine (17)! On the other hand, production costs cannot be allowed to reach a level that would make the drug prohibitively expensive. Capitalists are not interested in products that cannot be commercialised.
Another determining factor in the race for profit between capitalists is the unbridled research into ways of producing the same commodity at a lower cost. To this end, industrialists are permanently researching different technology (a new machine, a new technique,...) which will permit them to turn the foundations of productive forces in the production of a particular commodity upside down. In effect, if a capitalist possesses a machine that allows him to produce a given article with a smaller amount of human labour than his competitors, he will not only be able to "corner the market" by selling it at a slightly reduced rate, but he will also - and above all - realise an extraordinnary surplus value, because the world market will continue to estimate the social labour time required for production of the commodity from a worldwide point of view. This means that his particular laboratory will produce, during each hour of labour, commodities which are equivalent to much more than one hour of labour elsewhere on the world market. In other words, an hour of labour in this laboratory will produce far more value (and thus a far greater appropriation of surplus-value) than other labs...for as long as it takes their competitors to get hold of the same technological advances!
There is a product (sorry, a poison!), interferon, whose present production costs are at least as high as its toxicity, which is marketed as a treatment for cancer. The purchaser pays $150 per day and only stops the treatment when the side effects become worse than the cancer! The whole business is extremely profitable for the pharmaceutical industry (18).
As long as capitalists producing this commodity have recourse to the same science and are faced with the same production problems, the situation remains static. In certain periods, it is not in their interest for things to develop, because it would be too blatant a contradiction within the global development of whichever branch of the economy (19). However now, doubtless because it is no longer possible to silence the multiple contradictions arising out of the DNA dogma and also because competition demands it, capitalists producing interferon are seeing their productive forces turned completely upside down by the discovery of reverse transcriptase and its ability to translate RNA into DNA. It is now possible to produce interferon in large quantities and the pharmaceutical capitalists are jostling one another to put the multiple applications of this "discovery" into practice (interferon is not the only one, of course!) and to put themselves in a position to benefit from this extraordinary, though short-lived surplus value!
We are briefly and as simply as possible, going to describe the difficulties that the pharmaceutical capitalists previously came up against in synthesising biological molecules.
In order to make bacteria (unicellular organisms) produce substances (proteins, that will become the active substance in a medicine) it is necessary to graft onto the bacteria a part of the genome (genetic material) of a cell normally producing the protein, although in small quantities.
The researcher is confronted with many sizeable problems, the biggest of which is the difficulty in isolating the DNA sequence enabling production of the protein. DNA is translated into messenger RNA and this mRNA is then read to produce the protein. However here, the researcher is faced with an astronomical number of different sequences (each one coding for a specific protein) amongst which ONLY ONE sequence will give the finished product, the desired protein. The mind boggles when contemplating the search for a few dozen sequences amongst millions.
It is in this field that reverse transcriptase brought to the pharmaceutical capitalist what the steam engine brought to the industrialist. In effect, reverse transcriptase is an enzyme of viral origin (coming from a retrovirus) permitting the synthesis of DNA from RNA. mRNA can be isolated much more easily than the DNA sequence in the genome first, because it is produced in far greater quantities than the DNA which only carries the desired sequence once and second, because, in the majority of cases, a single protein corresponds to one mRNA.
Therefore, our pharmaceutical capitalist who had to find the DNA sequence corresponding to the protein, with all the difficulties that that entailed, now only needs to isolate mRNA, let reverse transcriptase act on it to translate it into DNA which can then be used directly to graft onto bacteria.
It can thus be seen that reverse transcriptase, in addition to permitting the manipulations that we have mentioned above, is an enormous financial, commercial and economic (euphemistically known as "scientific" in specialist journals) asset to capitalism, permitting the emergence of innumerable poisons that will soon be sold to us as medicines.
We will now go on to demonstrate the fervour with which scientists worked to master this enzyme, the source of such profit.
From 1971 onwards, when reverse transcriptase's specific activity was identified, American oncologists threw themselves into fevered research and hunted down the famous enzyme in patients that they had under their thumbs. In 1970, Robert Gallo, of the National Cancer Institute in Bethseda, USA, identified and isolated reverse transcriptase in the white blood cells of leukaemia sufferers. In 1971, Stuart Aronson modified a specific mouse tumour retrovirus, extended its infective gene sequence and adapted it to human cells.
The same year, scientists managed to cleave a macaque virus, aiming to stick half of it onto a cleaved "bacteria digester" known as Lambda. This molecule was to be inserted into E.Coli, one of the bacteria present in normal human intestines. Imagine the damage if this genetically engineered molecule were, "by accident", to escape from the lab and find its way back to man! The official version of history is that certain scientists, enemies of Progress, prevented the project from reaching completion. In fact, they just wanted to move on! Other projects came to light and, what is certain is that, by 1971 it was possible to produce genetic jigsaws. A new kind of craftsman, armed with his scalpel (restriction enzymes), his transfer enzymes ("transcriptase" to translate DNA into RNA and reverse transcriptase to do the opposite) and his electron microscope, the molecular biologist is able to launch his attack on viruses, retroviruses and bacteria, cleaving them, assembling and reassembling them and testing them on human embryos (the most expensive) or on monkeys.
In 1972, the World Health Organisation (an agency directly dependent on the UN, and hence mainly on the USA) published an issue of their journal demanding that work be started to study the effects of certain viruses on the immune system, in particular the effects of infection on T lymphocytes (20). This is a further example to illustrate that the manipulations of viruses and retroviruses, whether hybrid or not, have not been carried out by alchemists who have strayed from the common path, but are the direct result of work by the most highly trained (to poison us better!) scientists under the leadership of the world's most prestigious medical men and women.
Does this give us a good enough idea as to the origins of this biological Chernobyl that scientists have subjected us to? No!
In the same year, experimentation upon human beings was announced at the 7th conference of the National Cancer Institute:
"The biology of cancer makes it necessary to study human beings using observational methods of the same degree of sophistication characterising animal experiments", explained Dr John Higginson, director of the National Agency for Cancer Research in Lyon. "Let it be clear that these techniques "characterising animal experiments" included the inoculation of the disease!" (21)That year, 1972, in the "Jewish Chronic Disease Hospital" in Brooklyn, cancerous tissues were transplanted into men without their knowledge (22).
In 1974, they "successfully" grafted a gene onto a recently fertilized mouse egg: the foreign gene was transmitted hereditarily. They also managed to "successfully" grow sheep visna virus and bovine leukaemia virus in a human cell.
Our description of the infinite horrors of recombinant genetics, gene grafting, monstrous couplings of animal viruses with human cells and criminal and hazardous tests... stops here. To avoid getting indigestion we are now going to consider how ethical problems, moral anxieties and debates between the 'hawks' and 'doves' of Science and Progress raised by these experiments only represent a further step towards unrestrained experimentation. In the same way that the establishment of peace is necessary for the outbreak of war, conferences organised by scientists to decide whether all of this carries a danger of introducing genetic crap into the human system of heredity actually constitute the most efficient trampoline from which to launch research, unleashed!
It was along these lines that a conference was held in Asilomar and these hypocrites questioned the risks posed by genetic recombinations. A year long moratorium was imposed, but during a second Asilomar conference they made a ruling: it was necessary to protect the learned, the technicians as well as the human race! What a joke! Boots, gloves and helmets became regulation and varying levels of security were defined according to the degree of danger of the experiments...and everybody threw themselves back into fevered molecular biology research. Morality and ethics were redefined to serve better serve commercial and military. The learned fools of the human race, are financially dependent upon laboratories and the main laboratories are all placing their bets upon molecular biology. So, here we go!
The demand for human cells has become enormous. "Flow", "Microbiological of Walkerville" and "C of Maryland" are the three giant companies supplying labs, fighting tooth and nail to corner the market. In 7 years, "Flow" alone imported 12,000 pairs of kidneys from South Korea, vivisected from children removed prematurely by caesarian section in the third trimester of pregnancy. "Flow" is a subsidiary of the "General Research Corp.", which is involved in strategic research for the Pentagon and whose president admits that "organs have been bought to carry out organic cultures for medical research". "In Singapore and Switzerland", explains George Wald, Nobel prize winner in Medicine, hardly likely to be suspected of sympathizing with us anti-progressivists, "we have estimated the number of 'products of abortion' imported by the US between 1969 and 1978 at around 80,000" (23).
Commercially, with this 'boom' in molecular biology, the human cell has become an excellent commodity. Companies are being set up, competition is going all out, stimulating Science. Firms are springing up (Cetus, Genentech, Biogene...) and are centring their activities around products of recombinant genetics.
They are always lead by those who are known as the brains of the world, the most famous geneticists, the popes of molecular biology, the avant-garde of cancer research.
The market for molecular biology is ripe. Ever since the synthesis of the first gene in 1972, the molecular electronics sector has attracted computer firms and constitutes a major industrial and strategic stake. To mention only one of these giants, IBM is interested in attempts to replace silicon, an essential substance for information storage, with organic materials such as protein chains or enzymes, manipulated bacteria or viruses, etc,...
The arms market has been interested in molecular electronics right from the beginning. The research is financed by enormous amounts of capital and projects are approved one after the other. They obviously remain secret, but all sorts of applications are tried and tested. The applications that are most dangerous to us clearly remain the property of the Army and a law was passed in 1969 to ensure that this monopoly is maintained without exception.
As with all laws, amendments are presented as a defence of the common good, although they actually sanction assassins draped in patriotic colours to produce and test the effectiveness of the genetic monsters they have created:
"... none of the funding granted should be used for open air trials of deadly chemical agents, neither of microorganisms causing disease, nor biological toxins (...), unless the Ministry of Defence, authorized by the US President, confirms that the test is necessary for national security."The retrovirus tops the bill in all this research because, as we have seen earlier, it is - by way of reverse transcriptase - the essential and ideal vector for incorporation into other genomes.
Delegates from the Pentagon were already announcing the future direction of their research into viral "collages" by 1969:
"During the coming 5 to 10 years it will probably be possible to produce a new infective organism which may be considerably different from all known pathogenic micro-organisms."They went on, in front of the Congress's credit commission:
"The importance of these germs is that they may be resistant to the immunological and therapeutic measures upon which we depend to keep ourselves relatively protected from infectious diseases."Must we look any further to find the origin of the viral bomb-blast of HIV? And let us make it quite clear that it was not the result of a momentary aberration by a more machiavellian tendency (24) at the heart of the US State. Biological weapons had been envisaged for decades and the recruitment of the retrovirus dates back to 1952, when the techniques for its "rearrangement" and reproduction had not yet been developed. At this time, in Ottowa, it was envisaged as an agent for foot-and-mouth disease to destroy enemy herds.
Between 1976 and 1977, parliamentary enquiries took place in the US and revealed that a biological research programme had started in 1963 in the Fort Detrick military laboratory, using deadly infectious agents and neurotoxins. During this period, one molecular biologist, one electrician and an employee in the monkey section of Fort Detrick mysteriously died.
As we can see, the joyful achievements that we are lead to by medical research are the result of lengthy research, directly financed and directed by the State. The example of the USA is particularly telling, when one understands the avant-garde function of the local organisation of the bourgeois state in this part of the world. Progress in molecular biology directly and permanently interests American scientists and militarists.
It should be clear, at this stage of the text, that the separation between scientist, industrialist and militarist is an artificial one; research into molecular biology, more specifically centred on military applications, are inextricably linked with medical research. Fort Detrick, the military laboratory of the US army, near Washington in Maryland, is directly attached to and linked to the National Cancer Institute in Bethseda, a suburb of the American capital. To strengthen our argument we have put a short extract of a list of high-powered American scientists in this text, supported by the positions they occupy on the Administrative Councils of major pharmaceutical trusts and the links uniting them with the military domain.
As for the security standards decreed during the shameful conferences in Asilomar, these were set up by the National Institute for Health itself, defining four different types of laboratory of which the most highly protected, known as "P4", is also the best equipped...and the most "militarized": the first of these labs opened in 1977, in the same building as Fort Detrick, conceived and built by "Vickers" weapons factory.
Here is a short illustration of the inextricable links between the industrial and military sectors. It is a list of the administrative and academic staff of the M.I.T. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), a North American scientific College:Jerry Mc Afee,
-Chemical Engineering Visiting Committee Chair
-Director, McDonnell Douglas Corp.
-Director, Chevron USA.
-Director, American Petroleum Institute...
Eugene Edzards Covert
-Director, United Technology.
-Consultant to BBN, Israël, Pratt Whitney.
-Member of NATO Aerospace Policy Committee.
-Consultant, US Army Research Office...
-Chairman, Defense Science Board Task Force on Small International Ballistic Missiles.
-Member of Defense Science Board.
-Member of Army Scientific Advisory Panel...
-Consultant, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)...
-Member of Corp Marine Biology Lab WHOI.
-Member of US-URSS Joint Committee on Science and Technology ('77-'81)...
All of the non-academic staff linked to the Lincoln Laboratory of the M.I.T. come from the military industrial or defence sectors (more often than not, from both at the same time). All the C.V.s look like this one:
Brent Scowcroft, USAF
-Lieutenant General USAF, 1974.
-Military assistant to President (1972-73)
-Director, Atlantic Council US.
-Director, National Bank of Washington.
-Vice-Chairman, Kissinger Associates, Inc...
Whilst oncologists were studying the immune system, in particular between 1970 and 1975, research was being lead in parallel towards the discovery of a weapon of mass destruction:
"We know that American researchers concentrated on the question of whether or not it is possible to produce a kind of chemical or biological weapon that could kill people of one race and leave others more or less unscathed. These are what are known as "ethnic weapons". Certainly, techniques in genetics and molecular biology permit the development of these type of weapons."This statement is no more from 'Paris-Match' than it is from the pages of a leftist rag. It is a statement made in 1983 by a renowned biologist, Seven Rose, of the British Open University's department for research into the brain.
It doubtless doesn't take many "brains" to spend one's life torturing monkeys and sheep to extract molecular hybrids. It requires even less "humanity", when crazed (but commercial) research by the pharmaceutical industry and other state agents leads to "ethnic weapons"! Scientific progress can no longer take us by surprise, in the face of the ever deepening chaos of this moribund society, only just able to regenerate itself through war.
Research into methods of destruction, orchestrated by the State, is permanent and goes back to the origins of class societies. However society has never before attained the current degree of barbarity. Where human reasoning remains, they would have us believe that a limit has been reached in the destruction of the human race and the planet that supports it: however Capital's infernal progress always proves them wrong. Just when you think that the maximum of what is organically and materially possible for man to bear has been reached, that Capital can go no further in its savage destruction of human minds and bodies, a new development comes and shatters this illusion.
Value devours everything! The State puts proletarians in the position where the sale of their labour alone is not enough to survive and forces them to sell their own organs.
The requirements of Science and Commerce push human limits ever further, profiting from the proletarians' worsening living conditions. Freedom to buy and sell is the basis of democracy: why not then trade in human organs that others freely choose to sell (26)?
Chemical and biological weapons, ethnic weapons, buying (by Science) and selling human organs (to survive)... We could go on and discuss "Zyklon" pesticides, gases which were used as weapons, the scientists, who created them with such care and attention, always able to claim after the massacre that they never intended them to be used like that. We could talk about all the poisons put in storage for many years, which the laboratories, always on the look-out for new ways of making profit, are bringing back out today, thanks to AIDS (27). We could describe the horror of the scientific executions of those on death row in the USA, etc.,but no further lists of the barbarity created by the insatiable appetite for buying and selling could be enough to open anyone's eyes. What's the point of relating additional horrors, when the very existence of worldwide capitalist Democracy produces the monstrous contradiction of starving more than 120 thousand people to death every day, whilst at the same time, the law of Value forces capitalists to destroy tonnes and tonnes of food?
This fact alone reveals the true horror of the mass-grave on which we live and no amount of "consciousness raising" can change the reality: only worldwide organisation and growing links between revolts springing from the permanent degradation of the proletariat's living conditions can put an end to the capitalist apocalypse.
The State covers it up quite badly, and maximum embarrassment is caused by the "taboo" question of whether it's technically possible to produce HIV. In order to deny its scientific origins, Science's disciples only have one answer: "what possible interest could there be in developing a virus against which we cannot protect ourselves?!" For these medical priests, HIV does not meet the criteria for effectiveness with malicious intent,... and could not, therefore, have been produced by society!
Science continually sings the praises of the ideology of "objectivity" and luckily this has had an effect on some of them. When, in 1987, a journalist bluntly asked whether "if HIV did not exist, would it be possible to create it?", Dr.Brun-Vezinet replied "Yes, we can!". Professor Montagnier answered "Yes, we could". Dr.Chermann sat on the fence and Dr.Alizon denied the possibility... although in explaining why not, actually admitted that, if one thought hard about it, "it would be possible to produce an even more infectious agent, by preserving the viral envelope capable of recognising lymphocytes and using it to produce a much more pathogenic virus such as the 'flu virus; this could cause epidemics spreading like wildfire" (29).
It is thus impossible to deny that Science is capable of producing similar viruses, but even those who admit this to us put their white coats back on and ask us solemnly to disregard the poisons they create, to forget their commercial and military function, to ignore the innumerable cock-ups made in their labs, to clear our minds of the collusion between Cancer Research and National Defence Institutes, to stop thinking about the microbiological demons they continue to conceive...and to believe in the Holy Crusade of Science!
It's like listening to the worshippers of whichever god explaining that if you don't believe, it's because you have no faith, and if you want the faith...you have to believe. Religion promises us Paradise if we keep our mouths shut on earth; and Science assures us of a cure if we submit ourselves and close our eyes to it! Science and Religion are part of the same family: Value. The State. They have both always played a part in maintaining the status quo, either by way of preservation or adjustment of the worldwide system. One of the ways in which they try to do this is by lying outright, concealing reality because it is too powerful in decredibilising the State.
In February 1991 it was revealed that children between 6 and 15 years old were regularly raped by about 20 priests at a Catholic Convent near Montreal between 1950 and 1970. The police had known about it from the beginning, but the State had denied and covered up the facts in order to impose christian order, necessary for the coherence of the local State at the time. The same thing is happening as regards AIDS today, but the consequences of "confessing" are far heavier as there is much more at stake. Science is already accused of impotence, faced with the impossibility of curing; where would it be if the connection between society's military projects and the appearance of this worldwide epidemic were made public? The hideous Health representatives prefer to recite their moral litany, encouraging "prevention" as regards sexual excesses "which, for the most part, do not increase satisfaction, but on the contrary, lead to serious risks such as AIDS," as put by Professor Montagnier of the Pasteur Institute in Paris (30).
Today, discussions concerning the origin of AIDS have been more or less stifled by medical ideological enterprise. The most recent argument used to stave off any attempts to revive this issue consists of giving prime importance to finding practical solutions to AIDS: "Discussing the origin of AIDS is philosophizing, what we need are concrete solutions". Thus the race for research and profit is justified. The medical stampede can continue, determined more than ever by commercial competition, exacerbated as the capitalist crisis deepens day by day.
In the face of this, we had to break down the wall of silence built by the scientific State and resite the AIDS epidemic in the real context in which it appeared: the worldwide capitalist race for ever increasingly concentrated accumulation of Value.
The AIDS virus is not an accident!
Whether it is the result of an error during laboratory manipulations, a hybrid produced by a brain driven mad by Science or the direct result of crazed search for yet another weapon to add to the teeming armamentarium of those paranoid in the Defence of the Nation, matters little. Whatever the case, the AIDS retrovirus is the product of a society made ill by money, competition and commerce! AIDS is not a God-sent plague to remind us of morality. AIDS is the result of the infernal logic that human beings have suffered since Value became autonomous by way of a law submitting every human relationship, all new knowledge, all creative activity...to the strict dictatorship of the world market.
The laws of the market impose a permanent war between us all. Capitalists tear each other apart to corner the market and they mercilessly submit the very people they exploit -the proletarians- to the same war: "If you want a wage you must fight your competitors on the Labour Market!" In this war of all against all, Capital's self-limiting mechanism (the production of more surplus value than it is capable of realising) tends to be overruled by the infernal competition between market competitors; this race for profit leads them to conceive and develop "revolutionary" productive forces in all fields, permitting them to dominate one or other sector of the market by selling at lower cost.
Progress and Science thus rub shoulders with Commerce by submitting human consciousness to the same market dictatorship. Science only functions and develops thanks to massive funding of research along the lines intended by capitalists - research into developing the most effective weapon, to satisfy the cravings of whichever capitalist association, baptized "Nation". Research into machines, knowledge or techniques to yield the best production. Research to be the first to launch a drug able to relieve headaches completely or to bring about hair regrowth onto the market!
The AIDS virus is not an accident!
It is the result of unbridled research by Science, under the orders of Commerce, responding to the market needs of the pharmaceutical industry, bionics, molecular electronics, computing, etc,...
Science is not an accident either. Science is the product, and agent, of Capital. Science is the negation of human knowledge, in that its development is based on the need for capitalist development. It exists as the negation of Humankind, seeking to submit every discovery, every experience, all knowledge to the democratic dictatorship of Commodity and the State defending it.
It doesn't matter to them that the medicines they create are tested with fatal consequences on human beings who accept the tests because they have no other means to live or because they no longer have the strength to protest: the aim of Science is Commerce! The function of Science... is Ignorance: by elevating itself to the level of a divine sect next to the State that finances it, Science takes on, maintains and directs the separation between human beings and the knowledge that is vital to them. In this way the proletariat remains ignorant of the enemy, the total antagonism: Capital. It is impossible to describe the inhumanity to which the proletariat is subjected: if we have a headache, it is not because we have worked eight hours a day,... but because we need aspirin!
However, this time, we had to fight to prevent one of those dark hyenas known as "priests" from leaning over you; we had to fight to impose your "real family" - those of us who had forged bonds of struggle together - as your funeral procession; we had to fight because, even at the time of the cremation, some 'bigwig' wanted to take up more time and place to send-off his trussed-up dead; we had to struggle against the farce of those poor idiots, dressed in grey and paid to cry, all the while hurrying the ceremonies along; we had to struggle against the ridicule of the morbid spectacle that surrounds such circumstances, where, in this anti-pleasure society, the done thing is to make the widow cry and to screw-up the living! Don't worry, comrade, your death has not frightened us. It has given us a lot more determination in our struggle to get rid of the monstrous inhumanity of Capital once and for all!
Science will not have the last word. Already some of the proletarians affected by the same poison that condemned you, have started to avenge their future deaths - by biting police and other agents of the State who have sought to control them, until they have drawn blood. Proletarian resistance will always find a suitable response to the most twisted forms of capitalist aggression!
"Is there life after death?"
With you, comrade, we answer yes. We continue to maintain that "true life" resides within the continuity of our relentless struggle to organise ourselves as a force, determined to bring down, once and for all, the pathetic leeches who exploit us, to impose a society without classes and without money."
Since the mid 80's, nearly 10 years now, the same media broadcast reassuring "medical" information that AZT was the only way to combat the fatal progression of AIDS. In retrospect, it may be easier to imagine how the "pressures" we talk about in the introduction materialized. The doctors absolved themselves of responsibility as soon as they heard that our comrade refused, against their advice, to take AZT. Those close to him were practically treated like assassins because of their refusal to support "specialist medical advice", the doctors continuing to terrorize them to the point of specifying the time scale by which his death would be brought forward if their advice was not taken... This constitutes the dictatorship of Value for the imposition of its commodities on human beings.
2. If a further example is needed to illustrate this collusion, it is enough to recall the recent publicity surrounding the contaminated batches of blood which the French Blood Transfusion Centre continued to distribute to haemophiliacs, because it was in their financial interest to do so. But let's not be fooled: the media latches onto a particular story in order to increase the credibility of the whole of Science and the State. When the press reveals cock-ups made by the Police or Scientists, denouncing one or the other as being "irresponsible", it does so with the aim of justifying the very existence of the Police and murderous Medicine.
3. It is clear that future society, communist society, will require knowledge, as a structured explanation of phenomena and will find it necessary to transmit this knowledge both geographically and down through generations... But we very much doubt that the term "Science" will be retained. It is so loaded with historical bourgeois significance that even if it is brought down to its neutral etymological origin, "exact knowledge of things", it still could not be used, just as the term "Religion" originally refers to the "natural link of human beings with nature and with each other", but which is far too loaded with bourgeois significance to ever be used otherwise.
4. The same thing goes for Scientific as it does for other information. Generally, when discussing class struggle we only have a few paragraphs at our disposal, robbed of their originality, describing the content of the struggle in terms of numbers of dead. In the same way, to write this text on AIDS we had to read between the lines, absorb opposing points of view in order to destroy them, collect true personal accounts, so much richer than any stories told in the magazines, read pages and pages of disgusting crap, steeped in Knowledge, to reveal contradictions and expose what has been obscured...A task made even more arduous by its being a poorly accessible domain, not only from the point of view of the taboo of scientific Knowledge, but also because of the mindless logic that inevitably clouds the issue around such matters.
5. This scientific disguise is used today to permit any old clown to make propaganda for whichever suncream or toothpaste. There is no doubt that science sells; above all, there is also no doubt that the common man is convinced by this circus to exchange his life for shiny, coloured mirrors.
6. Copernicus and Galileo went much further than this, without realizing it. In making the Earth turn around the Sun, they theoretically prolonged the influence that the nascent bourgeoisie had upon the lords. The Earth ceased to be the centre of the world and God, the centre of creation. The feudal lords thus lost their divine status. They began to favour the emergence of the new god of the new dominant class: Science.
7. The very conservative "Ordre des Médecins" in France, well specialised in all sorts of witch-hunts, can no longer conceal that "there is no doubt that the medicine of the 18th century killed more people than it cured". This statement appeared a few years ago in France in the "Quotidien du Médecin", a French medical journal.
8. As often happens, etymology reveals the deep meaning of a word that modern society has tried to alter. "Patient", from the Latin "patiens", means "he who is made to suffer", a derivation from the Latin "pati" (to suffer). One of the French definitions of "patient" includes the unchanged origin from the Latin: "a person who is subjected to or will be subjected to torture" (Petit Robert 1990).
9. Messing about with cells from monkeys is very common in biology. Green monkeys are used for, amongst other things, the production of vaccines, something which points to the fact that if there ever has been a link between HIV and Green monkeys, it would have stemmed directly from the manipulations of the laboratory technocrats' snowy-white and "clean" hands, rather than from the "perverted lust" of Africans, as implied by judeo-christian racist morality.
10. Some scientists even go so far as claiming that HIV originated in Space! An astrophysicist from the University of Wales, Chandra Wickramasinghe, has been working for years on the cosmic origins of certain illnesses, such as 'flu, and claims that HIV could have come from Space. However spectacular his thesis, it at least shows that he has ruled out the possibility of any other earthly origin apart from laboratory production: "The AIDS virus either escaped form a laboratory or it comes from Space." (El Pais, 24/12/1992)
11. Recently, in a Swiss magazine, we saw a brilliant example of this kind of contradiction within the proletariat. Under the threat of the deportation of all her family, an immigrant mother, terrorised by the Immigration Office, stated: "I know that there is freedom here in Switzerland, but when the doorbell rings, I tremble."
12. Out of 288,377 cases of AIDS recorded by the WHO from the start of the epidemic until the end of 1990, 50% have been in the US and 25% in 45 African countries. Even though statistics often conceal the essential from us, these ones nevertheless go some way to correct the currently accepted viewpoint that Africa is the most infected continent, an opinion which corroborates western racist theories.
13. A hybrid is a genetic monster made up of several cell varieties with different genetic origins.
14. A few months before reverse transcriptase proved its existence in Science's sceptical eyes, Jacques Monod, considered to be one of the great masters of modern science, defended the prevailing dogma of DNA in his book "Coincidence and Necessity", stating that "it has never been observed, nor is it conceivable, that the information could ever be transferred in the opposite direction". The ridicule killed him!
15. We have put "discovery" in brackets because it is necessary to realise that many researchers had been opposed to this scientific dogma for a long time (for example, Beljanski, in France, was banned from the Pasteur Institute), but they were denied research funding because they refused to submit themselves to the medical and scientific Inquisition's dogma! Today, the same people who previously defended the "holy dogma", describe the "discovery" of enzymes capable of using viral DNA, as a mould for synthesising DNA, as revolutionary.
16. The use value of pharmaceutical products is subsumed at this point by exchange value, which could more objectively be referred to as "poison" than "medicine"!
17. The example of egg white is not deliberately provocative! There is an antiviral agent (AL 721) which is very accessible and can be isolated in egg white, but which is not profitable enough for the pharmaceutical industry. They would only show interest if the amount of labour force crystallised within the product allowed its commercialisation as a commodity with a significant enough degree of surplus value!
18. Discovered in 1957 and marketed as an anti-cancer agent, interferon enabled the capitalists who patented it to make intermittent business out of it, each time justified by research. For 15 years, the labs that were experimenting on it received heavy funding. Always tested on cancer sufferers, the economic performance of interferon was inversely proportional to the state of health of the guinea-pigs: in the early 70's it had to be shelved.
But then genetic manipulations came into play and rekindled interest and funding for the product. Speculation began, shares were soaring! A publicity campaign began to establish research into it, but soon interest (financial!) dropped off again because it became public knowledge that when treatment is stopped cancer cells proliferate! Happily for the product's shareholders, HIV came on the scene and gave another justification for bringing the poison out of the cupboard!
19. This is how a good doctor, full of illusions about the purity of the world he thought he was entering into, has ended up living under-cover somewhere in Columbia, with killers hired by pharmaceutical trusts hot on his heels. This doctor developed an effective vaccine against hepatitis B, but refused to give his patent up to one of the powerful multinationals. Naive, he intended to give his vaccine to a non-governmental and third-worldist organisation so that, as he believed, the vaccine could be produced at low cost and therefore be available to the poorest populations of Asia and Africa.
20. T lymphocytes are one of the main types of lymphocytes; these are a category of white cells with a so-called "specific" immune function, because they selectively recognise the substance threatening the organism. They print antigens into their memory and can therefore respond immediately the next time they are exposed to a given antigen. Amongst these T lymphocytes ("T" because they are produced via the thymus gland), "T4" lymphocytes coordinate and direct the overall defence. Their outer membrane carries the OKT4 molecule, upon which the AIDS retrovirus attaches a corresponding part of its envelope, thus entering, as if sucked in from the inside.
21. "Tristes chimères", Rolande Girard (1987).
22. Today this practice of ruthless experimentation is under control, subjected to international legislation... and is thus generalised! In order to put someone who is terminally ill into a trial, the laboratory has to obtain permission from an "Ethics Committee" (yes, yes, "ethics"!), which is in fact a committee of the hospital establishment in which the trial will take place. In order to reassure their relatives, the labs extort "consent" in the form of a signature from the patient...unless this unofficial trial is already part of a "protocol" accepted by international legislation.
"In this way all trials will either be massive yet controlled; or ruthless yet legal. The State legislates the tautology between a citizen made ill by one world and a world which sees the illness it produces as a guaranteed endless industrial challenge. The methods used by those who are given the right to carry out research can be seen, in the long term, to be as damaging as the illness itself. Thus, radiation produces tumours, which are destroyed by radiation, which will give rise to other tumours, etc..."
Extract from "N'Dréa", published by "Os Cangaceiros", February '92.23. A vile trade in human organs is developing throughout the world, kidneys being most in demand: nearly 10,000 people are awaiting kidney transplants. Tradesmen are therefore hunting for kidneys. An Anatolian peasant, living in Istanbul, recently had his kidney removed, having thought he had just signed a contract for a job in London. He received $4000 damages, although the cost of the operation for the recipient came to $100,000, the difference ending up in the pockets of the surgeons and middle-men. The scandal was such that the white butchers were "sentenced"... to working in the National Health Service alone, with a temporary ban on working in the private sector!
The kidney is not the only possible source of profit. In Bogota, Columbia, children have their eyes enucleated in the slums and the hospitals: Porto Rico, Guadeloupe and Miami are subsidiaries in the commercialisation of organs -the worldwide capitalist market sees gold even in the gaze of children!
24. It is wrong to label as "machiavellian" those who are only stating loud and clear what Capital demands of them. Thus, Robert McNamara, president of the World Bank and ex US Secretary of State (he ordered massive bomb attacks on Vietnam) spoke openly about the methods of struggle against what he calls "galloping demography":
"Epidemic illnesses are a natural way of reducing the population (...). We must take draconian measures for demographic reduction against the will of the population. It has proved impossible or insufficient to reduce birth rates. It is therefore necessary to increase death rates. How? By natural methods: Famine and sickness."25. As the graffiti on the walls of the Villejuifjunior doctors' on-call room goes: "more people live off cancer than die from it!"
26. What could be more normal than the American democratic model being, once again, the sword defending private property, right down to its bodily and organic manifestations? A recent judgment by the Californian Supreme Court recognised that everyone has property rights over their body and thus accepts that parts of it can be freely commercialised. The freedom to have one's body at one's disposal can not be denied by the State. Proletarian in hardship, democracy protects you: you have the right to sell your kidney! Who could still claim that the present day salaried slave is superior to the slave of Antiquity?
27. We want to talk about AZT - zidovudine - which is extremely toxic. Peter Duesberg, a professor of Molecular Biology, not one to criticize science much normally, stated the following:
"I think that AZT is AIDS on prescription. This substance prevents the process of replication of DNA within cells, thus blocking not only the multiplication of the HIV virus, but at the same time destroying all reproducing cells, particularly those of the immune system. AZT is not only useless but fatal."28. The AIDS virus, according to one of these theories, is a hybrid resulting from assembling the VISNA virus (a "lentivirus" responsible for a brain disease in sheep, largely in Island, and which, like HIV, is characterised by its extremely long incubation period) with part of HTLV-1 attached to it (HTLV-1 is a widespread virus in Northern Japan and causes lymphoproliferative cancers in humans). In order to defend their theory, the scientists (who are now treated as heretics and have been banned) describe a 23 point assembly that occurs when one "couples" the AIDS virus with VISNA. This would appear to confirm the close genetic origins of these two viruses; they conclude their argument by illustrating that the part of the human virus (HTLV-1) grafted onto VISNA (previously non-virulent for humans), is precisely the part of the genetic code (DNA) which programmes the production of a protein permitting the attachment of HTLV-1 onto human T-4 lymphocytes. According to this theory, as soon as the protein was attached, VISNA became virulent to the cells and thus to humans!
This theory has since been denounced as propaganda orchestrated by counter-espionage from what was the USSR. Gorbatchov even made an official apology. Is this a manoeuvre to cloud the issue or are these real capitalist contradictions? Today, Professor Gallo himself, the number 1 of AIDS research, has been denounced by the American police for having concealed details of his discovery of the AIDS virus. Will Clinton also apologize?
29. "Tristes chimères", Rolande Girard (1987).
30. In this text we have not attempted to comment on the way in which the State has used AIDS to reinforce its anti-pleasure drive. AIDS is presented as a penitence and Morality has never been so powerful in imposing Family, Tradition, Abstinence, Sacrifice, Marriage and Chastity as guardians of Order in this world.
In Germany the strength of the Social Democratic Party was immense, but many militants tried to organize against it. "Die Jungen" ('The Young') are one of the most interesting oppositions, because, from 1889 to 1891, the date of their expulsion from the SDP, this group, in its fight against reformism and parliamentarism, claimed Marx's revolutionary program and rejected what Social Democracy had made of it. Other oppositions fought against the counterrevolutionary nature of an organization that spoke out in the name of the revolution but defended reformism, parliamentarism, gradualism and pacifism; but very few of them were able to reappropriate the bases of the revolutionary program elaborated by Marx, very few militants recognized the difference between Marx and "marxism" (in the sense of the ideologization of Marx's criticism), and many negated the programmatical importance of the former in their struggle against the latter. This weakness led the militants breaking with the SDP to the anarchist ideology... Indeed, to briefly sum up this quite complex process, let's say that the leadership of the opposition to Social Democracy was, in most cases, confiscated by the anarchist ideology. The story of "Die Jungen" is a good example of this process. After their exclusion from the SDP, "Die Jungen" created the "Gathering of the Inde pendent Socialists" that united two divergent tendencies: the first one opposing the counterrevolutionary and parliamentarist character of the SDP, the second one opposing the exclusions and the dictatorship of the SDP as well as the "compulsory centralisation that comes with it". Up until 1893, "Der Sozialist", the journal of the newborn organization, will be the centre of polemics between the two tendencies. From 1893, and in spite of the so-called Oppositional tendency, Gustav Landauer takes the leadership of the journal. The Oppositional tendency quits. Some of its militants will go back to the SDP, the others will stop all activities. What is left of "Die Jungen" and "Der Sozialist", under Landauer's influence will turn to the social democratic version of anarchism: educationism (to educate each proletarian before taking mass actions), self-management (to form little communities producing in accordance with their needs) and pacifism (against violence and direct action). Landauer stands for "a real democracy" and rejects the dictatorship of the proletariat ("Would it be a threat... I would hate it and fight against it as if it was the plague" he said). In January 1919 (!!) Landauer goes back to the parliament (to propagate his ideas and "fight without concession" the parliamentary system). He will be assassinated in May 1919, his work done: the breaking of "Die Jungen" has come back to the bosom of the German Social Democratic Party.
In this short paragraph we wanted to recall the role of Social Democracy and the necessity to break the myth created about it. It is in this sense that we consider "The Beast of Property" as being interesting and important. This text belongs to the whole of the attempts made to break with Social Democracy, that is the first reason why we publish it.
The text we present here was written in the United States in 1883 by an ex-MP of the SDP: Johann Most. The trajectory of this militant is interesting inasmuch as it is representative of the trajectory of many of his comrades and, in general, of many militants all over the world in their fight against Social Democracy.
Born in 1846 in Germany, Johann Most joined in 1867 the Zurich section of the International Working-Men's Association (First International). From 1869 until 1870, he lived in Austria, in Vienna (where he was three times sent to jail because of his militant activities). In 1871, he was expelled from that country and he went back to Germany where he edited social democratic newspapers. In 1874, he was elected to the Reichstag. This experience led him to break with the SDP. Indeed, instead of finding a place where he could defend Socialism and the interest of the working class, he discovered what he called later "a theatre of marionettes", being silenced each time when the defence of the working class was at stake. Most had thought that the parliament could be used as a tribune for the revolution. He quickly experienced that it was only a show. Many other militants underwent the same experience, from Karl Liebknecht to Domela Nieuwenhuis and Otto Rühle, who broke with parliamentarism at different periods but on the same basis. In 1878, Most was re- elected to the Reichstag, but the same year, he broke with the party and, at the same time, with parliamentarism.
1878 is the year when socialist activities were banned by the Bismarck government. In fact, these anti-socialist laws (they were called 'Exceptional Laws') did not prevent the SDP from taking part in the Reichstag, far from it. These were laws against militant activities, that is to say against the militant press, against propaganda, meetings, demonstrations... Therefore all these activities had to be done illegally, and the SDP refused to organize them, arguing that the party was safe and should organize legally. Social Democracy used the anti-socialist laws to clean its own organization, to get rid of the "trouble- makers" and to impose, even more strongly, reformism and pacifism as the program on the workers. These anti-socialist laws were introduced against the last revolutionary militants of the SDP. The party justified its refusal to organize illegally by arguing that it was a necessity to defend the acquisitions of the organization (schools, seats in parliament, trade-unions,...), arguing that it was a necessity to defend the achievements of the workers saying that there was a danger of losing them in confron tations with the State. The same arguments were used by the same party later, to justify the vote for the war credits in 1914.
For a lot of militants this was the last straw. Johann Most is one of them. Expelled from Berlin, he went to London where he published the first issue of "Freiheit" ("Freedom"), a journal he will publish until he dies in 1906. The SDP of Germany officially expelled him in 1880 at the Congress of Wyden, arguing that Most had anti-organisational attitudes and a bad character.
In 1881, the International Social Revolutionary Congress of London took place thanks to Most's and other European militants' initiative. These militants' aim was to re-establish a true revolutionary International. Johann Most could not attend the Congress for he was in jail because of an article applauding the assassination of Alexander II.
The Congress took the name of the "First International" but it refused any central committee or executive bureau, since no central authority was accepted except for a bureau of information. We can see the weakness of this refusal to organize around a direction, around leaders, whatever name they take, central committee, executive organ,... Because, for sure, a direction will exist anyway and if it is not the revolutionary one, it will be the one of the bourgeoisie, of democracy. The militants will learn it through their own experience and will draw the lessons. On the other hand, while this weakness is pres ent in many attempts to gather militant forces, while this refusal of any kind of leadership is clearly written in the programs of these organizations, it is visible that the practice of the same militants is quite different, as we will see later. The threat that this so called Black International posed, in the eyes of the bourgeoisie, never became a reality. In Europe, it died soon, but in the United States it had sequel as we will see later.
As we have said, while staying in London, Most published the first issues of "Freiheit". By 1880, the journal pushed revol utionary con spiracy in the Blanquist sense of the term (that is to say the organ ization of clandestine struc tures prepared to attack the State at its strategical points in order to seize power) and propaganda by the deed. If it is clear to us that the need for direct action, for proletarian violent actions against the bourgeoisie and its State, as well as the need to organize illegally are essential features of the revolutionary process; nevertheless, we must make it clear that the proletarian insurrection, the communist revolution is something completely different from an isolated conspiracy. If it is very important for the revolutionary militants to be aware of the necessity of direct action and conspiracy in order to seize power, it is at the same time as important to be able to evaluate the period and the balance of forces between the classes to avoid the trap of the Blanquist ideology (3) claiming that the revolution could be achieved by an isolated coup.
"Freiheit" called for the violent destruction of capitalism, denouncing all partial reforms as mere betrayals; the lesson Johann Most drew of his experience as deputy will lead the struggle of all his life. Most said one day:
"that the end is to be made to the mockery of the ballot, and that the best thing one can do with such fellows as Jay Gould and Vanderbilt [american railway magnates] is to hang them on the nearest lamp-post."Most urged the working class: if it did not crush their oppressors, the oppressors would crush them, they would
"drown the revolution in the blood of the best and rivet the chains of slavery more firmly than ever. Kill or be killed is the alternative."And he added,
"We are revolutionists not from the love of gore, but because there is no other way to free and redeem man kind. History has taught that. No use of trying reform. The Gordian knot can be cut only by the sword, and within a ew years the masses will write the history of the world."It was indeed very clear to Johann Most that the only alternative to the barbarity of this society was the social revolution and he was convinced of the necessity to organize and arm in order to overthrow and defeat Capital.
In 1882, facing very strong repression in England, Most answers positively to J.H. Schwab's invitation and left London for Chica go.
When he arrives in the USA, it is the time of a deep and hard crisis: unemployment, misery, homelessness and starvation. In Chicago alone almost 34,000 workers were thrown out of work. Unemployment, added to the awful living conditions, housing, ... led to social unrest, spontaneous upsurge, demonstrations, boycotts. Strike after strike, the proletarians had to face the local police and vigilantes, the National Guard units, the state militias, the Pinkerton agents,... Bosses made blacklists and lockouts whenever they needed them and the federal troops were always there to protect them.
As to political organizations, Social Democracy represented by the Socialist Labor Party of the USA endured, around the end of the '70s, lots of divisions and disagreements especially concerning two questions: the question of self-defence and the question of political compromise. Some militants of the SLP, as early as 1875, founded the "Lehr-und-Wehr Verein" ('Education and Defense Society') in order to never again be beaten by the police or the militia without fighting back (4). Under various names, these groups of self-defence drilled with rifles and bayonets. Their purpose was to protect mass meetings, demonstrations or any kind of proletarian gathering from the brutality of the State guards. In 1878, the year of the anti-socialist laws in Germany (that is to say the year the SDP purged its ranks), the National Executive Committee of the SLP banned any armed organization and ordered its members to withdraw. One more confirmation of the aim of Social Democracy: to disarm the proletariat and to clean its own ranks from any practice of direct action against the State. The National Executive Committee dissociated itself from any armed organization "that tries to accomplish by force what could be obtained through ballot". In 1879, the State of Illinois proclaimed a new law forbidding all "groups of men wearing weapons without licence" that "associate as military company or instruct or file past, wearing arms, in whatever city, without the government's permission". The "Lehr-und-Wehr Verein" and other similar structures it engendered (such as the "Bohemian Sharpshooters", the "Jaeger Verein", the "Irish Guards",...) went underground. Moreover, the SLP proposed to unify with the Greenback-Labor Party (a liberal party) to be stronger for the presidential elections of 1880. But an "anti-compromise" opposition was born that was very virulent in favouring self- defence organizations and refusing any kind of alliance with what they called a reformist party. A little later, during the elec tions, electoral officials falsified the election results in Chicago to prevent the victory of a SLP member and even though he eventually got his mandate, it was the last straw convincing many militants to break with the SLP and turn to direct action. Amongst these militants two currents could be seen: one preaching trade union work and fighting for direct economic gains, the other willing to abandon political and economic reforms in favour of revolutionary action. Nevertheless, together they created in November 1880 a new organization in New York: the "Socialist Revolutionary Club", whose most famous members were Parsons, Spies, Schwab, Grottkau and Neebe (5), led by Wilhelm Hasselmann, an ex-member of the SDP of Germany, which had expelled him together with Johann Most in 1880.
The militants claiming that revolutionary action was urgent and should begin right now no longer believed that ballots could change the system. They urged direct action and armed struggle against the State, the Parliament and reforms. And that's what they called on proletarians to do: the direct and final confrontation with Capital. One of Parsons' phrases expresses at the same time the force and the limit of the militants in that period as far as the necessity to overthrow the State is con cerned. Parsons said:
"The State in every form is nothing else than an organized conspiracy of the propertied class to deprive the working-class of their natural rights."We do agree with this quotation. But we would like to add that by "natural rights" we mean, just like Parsons does, the natural needs that human beings feel as soon as they are born: the need of human community, love, food, shelter and the need of reproduction of his species. These are the "natural rights" of human beings. Of course, there is an easy confusion that can be made, and that is being made and maintained by Democracy. Indeed, Democracy is the reign of the citizen, that is to say, the total negation of the existing classes (and therefore of the antagonism between these two classes). The citizen has many rights as long as he behaves as a good citizen, i.e. as long as he defends Democracy. But those rights we are talking about now (constitutional rights, right of vote, liberty, equality, fraternity,... in short the rights and duties of any good citizen who loves his country and is ready to die for it) are only the recuperation and the deviation of so called "natural rights". Let us mention that as soon as the citizen behaves like a proletarian, as soon as he defends his interest against exploitation, rights cease to exist. No right is granted to the working-class when it acts as a class. Rights are only granted to citizens. Repressive terror for all those who do not behave as good citizens is a logical response to the bourgeois ideal of democratic paradise (6).
As we have said, the International Social Revolutionary Congress of London died very soon after it was founded, but it had consequences in the USA: on 21st, 22nd and 23rd October, 1881, on the initiative of the New York Social Revolutionary Club, the first attempt to centralize the revolutionary socialists on a national scale took place. The Congress took the name of "Congress of Socialists of the United States". Schwab, Parsons and Spies played the leading role. The Congress condemned the British government for the repression in Ireland, expressed its support to the "populists" in Russia for their "unrelenting warfare" against the tsar, it denounced private property and "wage slavery", endorsed the decisions of London, and declared it was in favour of "armed organizations of workingmen who stand still to resist, gun in hand". Nevertheless, a compromise had to be made between those saying that parliament could be a useful means of agitation and those claiming that nothing could ever be obtained through the ballot. The compromise which was adopted let each group decide for itself whether to engage in parliamentary activity or not. Once more, we can discern, in the formal program of the Congress, the many confusions and weaknesses that reflected the more general lack of a breaking with Social Democracy. Indeed the support for the "populists in Russia", the endorsement of the decision of London on the question of organisation,...
The Congress founded the "Revolutionary Socialist Party", a very contradictory organization to which Most tried later to give a clearer direction, and which defined itself as a branch of the IWMA recently revived in London. Like the former, it was a network of groups all over the country, linked together through the Information Bureau centred in Chicago. This organization remained inactive and virtually dormant until the arrival of Johann Most, who managed to close ranks (7).
Most's life is a permanent attempt to organize revolutionaries, to give a direction to the movement, to centralize activities outside and against Social Democracy. He made tour all over America and held meetings, demos, picnics, etc., in which he defended the need to organize or invited SLP members to argue with them in front of the crowd. In each city where he held meetings and speeches calling the proletarians to organize, new groups sprang up. His aim was to gather the different socialist currents, to gather under the same flag all those who fought for the revolution. It was in the same perspective that Johann Most called for a unification congress of all the new-born groups and the already existing associations. This congress was to take place in Pittsburgh in 1883.
J. Most, Spies, Drury, Parsons, etc. drafted the charter of this Congress, this charter remained in history as "The Pittsburgh Manifesto", also known as the "Pittsburgh Proclamation", and became the charter of revolutionary militants in that period. The Manifesto opened as follow:
"Fellow Workmen: - The Declaration of Independence says:Was the government anything but an oppressor, "a conspiracy of the ruling classes" against the people? demanded the Proclamation. It went on denouncing the capitalist system as "unjust, insane and murderous", condemning the State, the church and the educational system as instruments of "class domination". Time had come "to totally destroy it with and by all means", it declared. Rejecting political reforms because the ruling class would never surrender without fighting, it defended the position that "the struggle of the proletariat with the bourgeoisie must have a violent revolutionary character". "So", the Manifesto continued, "we must agitate for the purpose of organization; organization for the purpose of rebellion".'But when a long train of abuses and usurpa tions, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them [the people] under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security'.This thought of Thomas Jefferson was the justification for armed resistance by our forefathers, which gave birth to our Republic, and do not necessities of the present time compel us to re-assert their declaration?"
The Manifesto ended as follows:
"The day has come for solidarity. Join ranks! Let the drum beat defiantly the roll of battle: 'Workmen of all countries unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains; you have a world to win!' Tremble, oppressors of the world! Not far beyond your purblind sight there dawns the scarlet and sable lights of the JUDGEMENT DAY!"Besides this real attempt to centralize the militant forces of the country and even the world, the program of the Manifesto carries some reformist demands. First of all when it reproduces part of the Declaration of Independence of the United States, moreover, then when it claims for the improvement of the capitalist system through a better respect of the rights and duties, etc. These weaknesses are in fact the weaknesses of that period. Indeed, almost throughout the whole world, militants believe it is still possible to change the system thanks to the strict application of the Constitution. They think its strict application would wipe-out forever the injustices of this world. They demand equal rights for all and call for the overthrowing of a government that wouldn't respect the Constitution,... Doing so, they are in contradiction with their previous affirmations that defined any government as a conspiracy of the ruling class. The "Manifesto" also contained important theoretical weaknesses as far as the way of organizing was concerned. It proposed a federation of organizations of producers linked by free contracts, without commerce or profit-mongery, etc.
To better understand the internal contradiction and the lack of a break of the revolutionary organisations of that period with Social Democracy, it is important to keep in mind the fact that very few militants were acquainted with the polemics between Marx and Lassalle, knew about Marx's programmatical developments and analysis. Their terrain was the terrain of agitation, speeches, meetings, etc.; they did not deal with the programmatical analysis of the capitalist system, its way of functioning. This lack of comprehension had repercussions on the propositions they made for the future society, and even limited their own struggle. Nevertheless, the federative way of organization declared in the platform of the Pittsburgh Manifesto was denied later by the centralized way in which the different groups that composed the new organization centralized their activities. For the militants who attended the congress, the federative way of organization was considered as an alternative to social democratic centralism; it represented a guarantee against everything they had to confront in the social democratic parties, that is to say bureaucratism, authoritarism, blind submission, parliamentarism... Federalism is seen as a guarantee against and a response to democratic centralism of social democracy and not (which it really is) as the other side of the same coin that is the democratic way of organization. In the federative way of organization bureaucrats are replaced by elected and revocable delegates (who become soon bureaucrats as well); authoritarism is replaced by anti- authoritarism, which, claiming the refusal of any leadership, allows the society to give its own direction; parliamentarism is replaced by assembleism, which has the same basis: the law of the majority and/or the delegation that deprives the proletariat of the possibilities to decide and act giving that the latter are delegated to the so-called "higher" spheres.
The Pittsburgh Congress gathered the delegates of 26 cities, nearly twice as many as the Chicago Congress. And the Pittsburgh Manifesto was issued at the same time in English, German, French, Czech, Spanish and Yiddish.
The Congress proclaimed the death of the Revolutionary Socialist and called itself the "International Working People's Association" because it considered itself as the true successor of the First International contrary to the Second International and in opposition to the latter. And the IWPA really was the heir of the First International, even if this attempt was not, con trary to its predecessor, the expression of an international movement of centralization of class struggle. Indeed, the IWPA was created in a period that we cannot consider as a period of world revolutionary struggles and in this sense it may be considered as a voluntarist attempt. But, one cannot forget that the United States were shaken by a real revolutionary movement to which it tried to give centralization and direction. Therefore, it responded to a real need: the need to centralize struggles and militants and to give them a revolutionary direction.
From 1883 to 1886 the groups of the IWPA multiplied. From 2,000 in 1883 it climbed to 5,000 by the end of 1885 with perhaps three times as many supporters and sympathizers. Chicago remained the centre of the IWPA, which is not by chance. Indeed, Chicago was not only a pole of highly concentrated capital (mines, railways, car factories,...) due to its geographical situation (lake Michigan), but also the place where the class antagonisms were the most obvious, where the police brutality was the most notorious and the economic crisis the most cruel. Chicago had a long tradition of class struggle, but, dramatically, there was a lack of the experience of previous militants' nucleus, a lack of lessons drawn from the previous waves of struggle.
Besides the economic crisis, the acceleration of the mechanization of labour and the intensification of the division of labour changed the management of society. The machinery and the division of labour provoked more sackings and the situation worsened. In 1884, the average cuts amounted to 15 percent and the year after even more, arousing waves of discontent.
In this climate, the IWPA issued pamphlets, leaflets, journals, held meetings, demonstrations, lectures, discussions,... denouncing the capitalist system, the condition of wage-slavery, appealing the workers to wake up and fight against the misery they were living in, to fight for another society. Agitating "the Red Flag of the Commune", their placards said "No Quarter", "Down with governments, god and gold", "Exploitation is legalized theft", "Workingmen of the world, unite!". The content of the slogans of the IWPA shows the clear will to destroy the system, contrarily to the slogans of Social Democratic parties that claim the pacific conquest of the State, ballots and elections,... The IWPA (contrarily to the other organisations of the period such as the Knights of Labor, the Unions, the SLP or later the ALF) proposed to organize not only the proletarians working in the mines or in the factories, but also the unemployed, the "unwanted" , the tramps, and others rejected with disdain by reformist organizations. To all the discontented, the IWPA proposed to organize and fight against the misery of this world and those responsible for it.
During those years of crisis, many strikes broke out, nearly all for better wages and (unfortunately often with reformist slogans claiming "the right" to organize) against the repression of proletarian organization. Each time, the State militia opened fire on the strikers and the bosses answered by lockouts, blacklists, strikebreakers, etc. Apart from its work to organize and unite the working-class, the IWPA organized armed sections in many cities. These armed sections, following the model given by the "Lehr-und-Wehr Verein", drilled and instructed their members in procuring arms (guns, knives,...), in using them, in making bombs and grenades, etc. Their purpose was the "arming of the proletariat and the application of the latest discoveries of science, especially chemistry", that is to say, they were deter mined to take an eye for an eye (8). These calls of the IWPA are not to be understood as all the pacifists (intentionally or unintentionally) misinterpret them (as being calls to light class struggle thanks to throwing bombs), but as they are: a real comprehension of the terrorist nature of Capital and of the framework in which struggle against Capital is imposed on us. As Parsons said in a speech about dynamite:
"...It is the peace-maker; it is man's best friend; it emancipates the world from the domineering of the few over the many, because all government, in the last resort, is violence; all law, in the last resort, is force." (our emphasis)If it is clear for us that dynamite in itself does not emancipate the world, that is has no emancipating virtue in itself, and that it all depends on the hand that throws it, we nevertheless want to stress the fact that at that period all around the world revolutionaries considered dynamite as the weapon par excellence. If we look back at the historical context we can see that dynamite was almost only used by the proletariat, the bourgeoisie preferred using guns and riffles... With this quotation we wanted to insist on the one hand on the militant comprehension of the nature of all governments and laws, and on the other hand, on the militant comprehension of the necessity to use violent means against bourgeois terror.
The revolutionary militants were convinced that the revolution was around the corner and did whatever they could to be sure this time would be the right time. In the USA, class struggle was so sharp and the climate was so tense that it aroused a deep fear within the bourgeoisie. Its press began to talk of "a new Paris Commune". A huge propaganda effort was launched against the IWPA and its members, who were accused of being assassins, arsonists, bombthrowers, devils,... The fear of the bourgeoisie gives an idea of the strength of the proletarian movement. Revolutionary militants in the USA tried to organize the proletarians struggling against the misery of their living conditions.
In this sense, it seems important to mention that a lot of proletarians arrived in the USA attracted by a myth created in Europe: the myth of "the land of promises", the country of political freedom and work for all, etc. Parsons said in February 1884, when someone told him that America was superior to other countries:
"America is not a free country. The economic condi tions of the workers are the same as they are in Europe. A wage slave is a slave everywhere, without any regard to the country he may happen to have been born in or may be living in."He added that the workers had no other choice but organize and rebel or remain slaves. We can find exactly the same idea in "The Beast of Property" when Most says:
"Indeed it seems as though this young American republic had for the present but one historical mission, of demonstrating beyond controversy to the people on this side of the Atlantic as to those of the other by the presentation of bare, tangible facts what an outrageous monster the 'beast of property' really is, and that neither the condition of the soil nor the vastness of domain, nor the political forms of society can ever alter the viciousness of this beast of prey..." (our emphasis)In "The Beast of Property", written in the year of the Pittsburgh Congress, the strongest part lies in its denunciation of reformism. First of all the denunciation of "parliamentary windbags", as well as petitions, elections and laws; the denunciation of those who mystify the Economy, all the teachers of political economy, "lackeys of the bourgeoisie", "those charlatans" who try to hide the revolutionary character of the proletariat behind a fairer distribution of richness. Most also denounces, against the current, those Socialists who claim the pacifist and gradual conquest of the power by intellectuals and scientists who will plan everything and more specifically the economy. In other words, the text spits on what Social Democracy praises, on what Social Democracy claims to belong to. "The Beast of Property" claims that the present system is worse than the previous ones: "But the climax of infamy has been reached by our present 'law and order' system...". Against these same specialists, these teachers of economy who claim this society as being the society of the welfare of humanity, Most affirms that this system is worse than the previous ones. It engenders progress indeed, into more barbarity, more capitalism, that is to say that the capitalist progress is reactionary as far as communism is concerned. Educationism and the enlightenment of the masses, cornerstones of the Social Democratic programme, are also denounced and criticised when the text says:
"Some say, general education will bring about a change; but this advise is as a rule and idle phrase. Education of the people will only then be possible when the obstructions there to have been removed. And that will not take place until the entire present system has been destroyed."The only solution, says Most, is revolution, the communist destruction of this world, and a "society (...) organised on a communistic basis", "everything is ripe for Communism", the text says, and Johann Most does not avoid the most central point; the point that shows his permanent attempts to organize the proletarian struggles outside and against Social Democracy (and this confirms his practical struggle for the centralization of revolutionary forces, negating his own claim for federative based structures): the necessity of a "well trained revolutionary nucleus". That is to say the necessity of a revolutionary leadership! On this point, Johann Most joins all the revolutionary militants who insisted on the necessity to organize around the highest level of rupture, around a revolutionary vanguard.
The first part of the text, focusing on economy, is in fact quite confused and even sometimes wrong. This is due to the fact that Social Democracy used "marxism" as a bible to justify its defense of the system, therefore revolutionary militants (unable to differentiate between Marx and "marxism") refused to reappropriate Marx's criticisms of society. This led to the situation that the number of militants who had notions of the way the capitalist system functions were very few. This part of the text is an attempt to vulgarize "Capital". A previous attempt of this kind had already been strongly criticised by Marx when Most tried to rewrite "Capital" so as to be understood by everyone. First of all, Marx's Capital was written to be read by proletarians in an organized framework; secondly, Marx also treated the question at another level of abstraction in "Wage labour and Capital" and "Wage, price and profit". These books are excellent examples of the possibility of saying the same thing at different levels of abstraction without betraying the common content. When J. Most tried to write a new version of "Capital", accessible to everyone, he changed the content of the book, its essence, which led him to falsify Marx's positions.
Some will say other weak points exist in this text, and we will not deny it. We are well aware of the weaknesses and the limits of this text, we clearly see that they are due not only to the period but also to the weakness of the rupture with Social Democracy in the historical sense of the term. Nevertheless, the interest of the text exists and lays less in what it says than in what it reveals as an attempt to fight practically against the monopoly Social Democracy claims to hold as far as the organization (we would rather say disorganization) of the proletariat is concerned. Moreover, this text is also a witness of the class struggle movement in the USA. We intend to carry on studying the history of our class struggle in that part of the world and call on our readers to help us by sending criticisms, information, texts,...
2. Here we talk about the necrological content of the analysis made by revolutionaries. By "necrological content" we mean the intrinsically catastrophical essence of Capitalism. Indeed, Capitalism, as everything else, carries in itself its own contradictions, its own gravediggers, its own death; in this case the proletariat. It is what Marx develops in "Capital", and it is what Social democracy (and more particularly, the "marxist" current, very fond of political economy) tried hard to transform and recuperate. And it is very logical: the aim of Social Democracy being the preservation, the maintenance of this system, it cannot see in "Capital" anything else but a biology of capitalist social relationships, an analysis of their function ing. Of course this is totally coherent, since the Social Democrat point of view is the improvement and the reform of this mode of production. On the contrary, we, revolutionaries, have a totally antagonistic view point and a totally antagonistic aim: we only care and fight for the destruction of this system; and it is also in this sense and from this point of view that Marx wrote "Capital": a necrology of capitalist social relationships.
For more details cf. the article published in French in Communisme No. 30 "Contributions à la Critique de l'Economie" - chapitre 3 "Délimitation de notre critique de l'Economie: Le marxisme en tant qu'économie politique en opposition avec l'oeuvre de Marx"
3. By "Blanquist ideology" we mean the ideology based on the weaknesses of Blanqui's practice.
4. The german name of this structure reveals the numerical importance, in that period, of the immigration of militants coming from Germany.
5. Parsons and Spies, are two of the militants that will be accused of murder after the events of May 1886 at Haymarket. They will be hanged on the 11 november 1887 as well as Engel and Fisher; Lingg will commit suicide in jail, and Schwab and Fielden will be condemned to life imprisonment.
"The day will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you are throttling today"Spies' last words still echoes and it is to prevent them from fading away that we publish this text. The day will come when our comrades' prophecy will quell for ever the terror of the proletariat's torturers... we are working in this perspective.
6. For more details on this subject, see in this review "Against the Myth of Democratic Rights and Liberties".
7. All the proletarian attempts to centralize and constitute themselves as a force will take the structure of groups organised according to geographical repartition and also according to the language of the participating militants. Maybe the division of the United States into federated states is not alien to this fact. Anyway, the bourgeoisie will use and abuse this weakness, invoking american (sic) nationalism to divide the proletarians and design the strangers (and more particularly the militants of German origin, the more numerous at that moment) as being responsible for all evils.
8. Militants of the IWPA call for the using of the progress of science. J.Most in his book "Revolutionary War Science" writes:
"To be sure of success, revolutionaries should always have on hand adequate quantity of nitroglycerine, dynamite, hand grenade, and blasting charges..."
"Proletarians of all country, arm yourselves! Arm yourselves by whatever means you can. The hour of battle is near.""The Alarm" and the "Die Arbeiter Zeitung" (two of the fourteen journals of the IWPA) often publish articles such as "The Manufacture of the Dynamite Made Easy" and "Explosive: a Practical Lesson in Popular Chemistry". At that time, all throughout the world, the proletarians use dynamite against their class enemy. Just remember Ravachol in France, at the end of the 19s century, or a few years later, the Bande à Bonnot, etc.
"Our American rulers differ not one whit from the despots of all other lands. They all fatten upon the miseries of the people, they all live by despoiling the laborers. The boundary lines, flags, customs and languages of the people of the earth may differ, but the poverty, misery and degradation of the useful class, the producers of the world's wealth, is everywhere the same."
Look about you! In every so-called "civilized" country there are among every 100 men about 95 more or less destitute and about 5 money-bags.
It is unnecessary to trace all the sneaking ways by which the latter have gained their possessions. The fact that they own all, while the others exist, or rather vegetate merely, admits of no doubt, that these few have grown rich at the expense of the many.
Either by direct brute force, by cunning, or by fraud, this horde has from time to time seized the soil with all its wealth. The laws of inheritance and entail, and the changing of hands, have lent a "venerable" color to this robbery, and consequently mystified and erased the true character of such actions. For this reason, the "beast of property" is not yet fully recognized, but is, on the contrary, worshipped with a holy awe.
And yet, all who do not belong to this class are its victims. Every off-spring of a non-possessor (poor man) finds every nook and corner of the earth occupied at his entrance into this world. There is nothing which is "lordless". Without labor nothing is produced; and in order to labor, there are required not only ability and will, but also room to work, tools, raw materials and means of sustenance. The poor man must, therefore, by force of necessity, apply to those who possess these things in plenty. And, behold! the rich give him permission to continue his existence. But in return for this he must divest himself of his skill and power. These qualities henceforth his pretended "saviors" use for themselves. They place him under the yoke of labor - they force him to the utmost of his mental and physical abilities to produce new treasures, which however he is not entitled to own. Should he desire to deliberate long before making so unequal contract, his growling stomach will soon convince him that the poor man has no time for that, for there are millions in the same position as himself and he will risk that, while deliberating, hundreds of others will apply - his chance is gone and he again will be at the mercy of the winds.
It is the lash of hunger which compels the poor man to submit. In order to live he must sell -"voluntarily" sell- himself every day and hour to the "beast of property".
The bygone times, when the "ruling" classes, on their slave-hunting raids, threw their victims in chains and forced them to work, of which the rulers had all the benefit - the times when christian-germanic robbers stole entire countries, deprived the inhabitants of the soil, and pressed them to feudal service, were indeed terrible enough. But the climax of infamy has been reached by our present "law and order" system, for it has defrauded more than nine-tenths of mankind of their means of existence, reduced them to dependence upon an insignificant minority, and condemned them to self-sacrifice. At the same time it has disguised this relation with all sorts of jugglery that the thralls of today - the wage slaves - but partially recognize their serfdom and outlawed position, they rather incline to ascribe it to the caprices of fortune.
To perpetuate this state of affairs is the only aim of the "prominent" classes. Though not always united among themselves - one seeking to gain advantage over the oother by tricks of trade, cunning in speculation and diverse machinations of competition - yet in opposition to the proletariat they stand in one united hostile phalanx. Their political ideal is, therefore - in spite of all phrases - a most powerful, centralized and brutal beadle government.
If the poor man, who is momentarily unable to sell himself to an exploiter of labor, or is already flayed to complete helplessness by the "beast of property", has recourse to begging -then the glutted bourgeois terms it vagrancy, and calls for police; he demands pillory and prison for the poor devil who refuses to starve between mountains of food.
Should the unemployed apply a little of the much vaunted self-help, that is, should he do in a small way, what the rich do daily with impunity on a grand scale, should he, in fact, steal, in order to live - the bourgeoisie will heap burning coals of "moral indignation" upon his head, and, with austere visage, hand him over relentlessly in charge of the State, that in its prisons he may be fleeced the more effectively, i.e., cheaper.
When the workers combine in order to obtain better wages, shorter hours of labor, or similar advantages, the money-bags immediately decry it as "conspiracy", which must be prevented.
When the workers organize politically, it is denounced as resistance to the "divine" order of things, which must be nullified by laws or exception or discrimination.
Should the people finally contemplate rebellion, an unceasing howl of rage raised by the "gold tigers" will be heard throughout the world - their pant for massacres and their thirst for blood is insatiable.
The life of the poor man is valued as nothing by the rich. As the owner of vessels he places the lives of entire crews in jeopardy, when his object is to fraudulently obtain high insurance for half decayed hulks. Bad ventilation, deep excavation, defective supports, etc., etc., annually bring death to thousands of miners, but this system of operation saves expenses, therefore augments the gains, and gives the mine owners no occasion to be sorry. Neither does the factory-pasha care how many of "his" laborers are tom and rent apart by machinery, poisoned by chemicals, or slowly suffocated by dirt and dust. Profit is the main thing.
Women are cheaper than men: for this reason the capitalistic vampires with insatiate rapacity seek their blood. Besides, female labor procures them cheap mistresses.
Child flesh is the cheapest: what wonder then that the cannibals of modern society continually feast upon juvenile victims? What care they that the poor little ones are thereby bodily crippled and mentally ruined for life - that thousands of them, miserable and worn out at a tender age, sink into their graves? Stocks rise; that suffices.
As the bourgeoisie, by means of its capital, completely monopolizes all new inventions, every new machine, instead of shortening the hours of labor and enhancing the prosperity and happiness of all, causes, on the contrary, dismissal from employment for some, reduction of wages for others and an increased and intensified state of misery for the entire proletariat.
When increase of production is accompanied by an augmented pauperization of the masses, consumption must simultaneously decrease, stagnation and crises must ensue. A superabundance of actual wealth in the hands of the few must create hunger, typhus, and other epidemics among the many. The injustice - yea the idiocy - of this state of affairs is evident. The money-bags of course merely shrug their shoulders. This they will continue to do until a rope well tied over their shoulders will end all further shrugging.
The worker is not only fleeced in manifold ways as producer, but also as consumer. Numberless parasites seek to despoil him of his paltry income.
After products have passed through various exchanges and storage and their prices have been raised by jobbers and brokers' profits, by taxes and custom house duties, they finally reach the retailers, whose customers are almost exclusively the proletarians. The wholesalers "make" (that is, fraudulently obtain) perhaps 10 to 20 per cent profit by their transactions; the retailer is dissatisfied with less than 100 percent. . He makes use of all sorts of tricks for securing this result, especially the most shameless adulteration of food. In close relationship to these swindlers are the numberless poisoners and adulterators of beer, liquors, wine, etc., who render the streets in all our great cities and industrial centers unsafe with their nefarious traffic. Then there are the tenement-lords, who ceaselessly seek means to embitter the existence of the poor. The condition of the rooms becomes steadily worse, the rents higher, and the contracts more galling. The workers are crowded together more and more into rear houses, attics and cellar-holes full of vermin, damp and musty. Prison cells are frequently far healthier than these pest-holes.
When the worker is out of employment, he is again at the mercy of a horde of speculators in hunger, who are ready to pounce on him in order to complete his ruin. Pawnbrokers and others of similar ilk advance small sums at high interest on the last possessions of the poor. Their contracts are usually so arranged that they can hardly be kept: the pawned objects are forfeited and the poor wretch takes another downward step. The cut-throats, however, amass fortunes in a short time. The beggar is looked upon as quite a well-paying figure by certain sharks. Every copper which he has gathered in his unenviable way arouses the covetousness of the keeper of dirty holes and vile dens. Even thieves are subject to this capitalistic spoliation. They are the slaves of crafty concealers and "fences", who receive their stolen goods for a song. Yes! even those unfortunate women, whom the present accursed system has driven to prostitution, are shamelessly plundered by keepers of brothels and "houses of ill-fame."
This is the lot of the poor from the cradle to the grave. Whether he produces or consumes, whether he exists or merely vegetates, he is always surrounded by ravenous vampires who thirst for his last drop of blood. On the other hand, the rich man never stops his work of exploiting, though he may be utterly unable to assign a reason for his greed. He that has $1,000,000 would have $10,000,000; he that has $100,000,000 would have $1,000,000,000.
The greed for wealth is closely associated with the greed for power. Wealth is not only a generator of more wealth, it is also a political power. Under the present capitalistic system venality is an all-pervading vice. It is as a rule a mere matter of price which will buy over those who may be of service either by speech or silence, by pen or by press, by acts of violence or any other means, to the "beast of property" which by its golden dictates is the absolute, almighty divinity.
In Europe and America there are several hundred thousand priests and ministers, specially provided for to poison the common sense of the masses. Numberless missionaries wander from house to house spreading senseless tracts, or commit other "spiritual" mischief. In the schools strenuous attempts are made to nullify what little good the training in reading, writing, and ciphering may bring with it. Idiotic maltreatment of "history" excites that blatant prejudice which divides people, and prevents them from recognizing the fact, that their oppressors have long ago leagued together against them, and that all politics, past and present, has the only object in view of firmly establishing the power of the rulers, and thereby ensuring exploitation of the poor by the rich.
The hawking trade in "loyalty and order intoxicants" is attended to by the inkslingers of the daily press, numerous literary perverters of history, by political heelers of the various predominating cliques, rings, combinations and organizations, by parliamentary windbags with seductive smiles, pledges on their lips and treason in their hearts, and hundreds of other politicians of all degrees and shades of villainy.
Whole squads of bushwackers are specially employed in mystifying the social question. The professors of political economy for instance, play the part of lackeys to the bourgeoisie, extolling the golden calf as the true sun of life, and using falsehood and knavery so "scientifically", that they make the tanning of workingmen's hides appear as a benefaction to mankind. Some of those charlatans recommend social reform, or in other words, processes, based on the maxim of washing without wetting; not to mention their celebrated recipes for economizing and educating.
While thus bamboozling the masses the capitalistic knights of plunder continue to perfect their mechanism of power. New offices are created. High positions in these are filled in Europe by the progeny of the former highwaymen (now a "nobleman") in America by the most crafty office hunters and the most wily thieves, who combine with their original purpose of authoritatively gagging the proletariat, the very pleasant business of till-tapping and forgery on a grand scale. They command armies of soldiers, gendarmes, policemen, spies, judges, prison-keepers, toll-keepers, tax collectors, executors, etc., etc. The lower class of the beadledom are almost wholly recruited from the ranks of the non-possessors, and are only rarely better paid. For all that they display great zeal as spies, eaves-droppers, and pokenoses, as claws, teeth and suckers of the State, which institution is evidently nothing more nor less than the political organization of a horde of swindlers and spoliators, who without the tyrannizing machinery could not exist for one day before the just wrath and condemnation of the oppressed and plundered people.
In most of the old countries this system has naturally reached its points of culmination in the outer form. The entire disciplinary apparatus of the State concentrates in a monarchic power. Its representatives "by the grace of God" are, in accordance, the very quintessence of villainy. In them all vice and crime common to the ruling classes is developed to a monstrous degree. Their most agreeable occupation is a wholesale murder (war); when they rob, and they do it often, they always rob entire countries and hundreds, even thousands of millions. Incendiarism on a colossal scale serves to illuminate their atrocities. They adhere to the notion that mankind exists for them to kick, cuff, and spit upon....
By direct blackmail these crowned murderers of Europe annually pocket $50,000,000. Militarism, their pet progeny, annually costs $1,000,000,000, not taking in consideration the loss of life and labor. An equal sum is paid as interest on $20,000,000,000 of state-debts, which these scoundrels have incurred in a comparatively short time. Monarchism in Europe then cost annually $2,050,000,000 that is to say, more than 10,000,000 of workers, the supporters of 50,000,000 of people, earn as wages in the same time.
In America the place of the monarchs is filled by the monopolists. Should monopolism in the alleged "free" United States of America develop at the rate it has in the last quarter of century, there will remain free from monopolization only daylight and air. Five hundred million acres of land in the United States, about six times the area of Great Britain and Ireland, have been divided within a generation among the railroad companies and the great landlords of Europeo-aristocratic origin. Within a few decades Vanderbilt alone amassed $200,000,000; several dozen of his competitors in robbery bid fair to outdo him. San Francisco was settled hardly thirty years ago, today it harbors eighty-five millionaires! All the wealth of this great republic, although established but a century, its mines, its coalfields, its oilwells, etc., etc., has been "taken" from the people and is the property of a handful of daring adventurers and cunning schemers.
The "sovereignty of the people" falls prostrate into the dust before the influence of these money kings, railroad magnates, coal barons and factory lords. These fellows carry the whole Unites States in their pockets, and that which is vaunted as untrammeled legislation and free ballot is a farce, a delusion and a snare.
If this be the condition of the green wood, what may we not expect of the decayed timber? If this young American republic, with its nearly boundless territory and its almost inexhaustible natural resources has been so fatally corrupted and ruined in such a short time by the capitalistic system - why be surprised at the results of long continued abuses of similar nature in servile, rotten Europe?
Indeed it seems as though this young American republic had for the present but one historical mission, of demonstrating beyond controversy to the people on this side of the Atlantic as to those on the other by the presentation of bare, tangible facts what an outrageous monster the "beast of property" really is, and that neither the condition of the soil nor the vastness of domain, nor the political forms of society can ever alter the viciousness of this beast of prey; but to the contrary, it proves that the less a necessity naturally exists for individual greed and rapacity, the more dangerous to, and obtrusive upon society it becomes. It is not voracious to satisfy its wants - it devours for the sake of devouring only!
Let those who labor to live understand that this monster cannot be tamed, nor be made harmless or useful to man; let them learn to know that there is but one means of safety: unrelenting, pitiless, thorough war of extermination! Gentle overtures are for naught; scorn and derision will be the result, if by petitions, elections, and like silly attempts the proletariat hopes to command the respect of its sworn enemies.
Some say, general education will bring about a change; but this advice is as a rule an idle phrase. Education of the people will only then be possible, when the obstructions there to have been removed. And that will not take place until the entire present system has been destroyed.
But let it not be understood that nothing could or should be done by education. Far from it. Whoever has recognized the villainy of the present conditions, is in duty bound to raise his voice, in order to expose them, and thereby open the eyes of the people. Only avoid to reach this result by super-scientific reflections. Let us leave this to those well meaning scientists, who in this manner tear the mask of humanity from the "better class" and disclose the hideous countenance of the beast of prey. The language of and to the proletariat must be clear and forcible.
Whoever thus uses speech will be accused of inciting disturbance by the governing rabble; he will be bitterly hated and persecuted. This shows that the only possible and practical enlightenment must be of an inciting nature. Then let us incite!
Let us show the people how it is swindled out of its labor force by country and city capitalists; how it is euchered out of its meagre wages by the house, store, and other lords; how priests of pulpit, press, and party seek to destroy its intellect; how a brutal police is ever ready to maltreat and tyrannize it, and with a soldiery to spill its blood. Patience, at last must forsake it! The people will rebel and crush its foes.
The revolution of the proletariat - the war of the poor against the rich, is the only way from oppression to deliverance.
But, some interpose, revolutions can not be made! Certainly not, but they can be prepared for by directing the people's attention to the fact that such events are imminent, and calling upon them to be ready for all emergencies.
Capitalistic development, of which many theorists assert that it must proceed to the total extinction of the middle class (small bourgeoisie), before the conditions favorable to a social revolution are at hand, has reached such a point of perfection that its farther progress is almost impossible. Universal production (in civilized countries) can only be carried on, industrially as well as agriculturally, on a grand scale, when society is organized on a Communistic basis, and when (which will then be a truism) the reduction of the hours of labor keeps pace with the development of technical facilities, and augmented consumption with production.
This is easily comprehended. By wholesale production from 10 to 100 times more may be produced than the producers need in goods of equivalent value, and there lies the rub. Until lately, this entire surplus value has been but little noticed, because by far the greater portion of this so-called profit has been in turn capitalized, that is, used for new capitalistic enterprises, and because the industrially most advanced countries (the "beast of property" in those countries) export enormous quantities of merchandise. Now, however, the thing is beginning to weaken mightily. Industrialism has made great progress the world over, balancing exports and imports more and more, and for that reason new investments of capital become less profitable, and must, under such circumstances, soon prove entirely unremunerative. Universal crises must ensue and will expose these glaring incongruities.
Everything therefore is ripe for Communism; it is only necessary to remove its interested inveterate enemies, the capitalists and their abettors. During these crises the people will become sufficiently prepared for the struggle. Everything will then depend on the presence of a well trained revolutionary nucleus at all points, which is fit and able to crystallize around itself the masses of the people, driven to rebellion by misery and want of work, and which can then apply the mighty forces so formed to the destruction of all existing hostile institutions...
"The working people thirst for the truths of Socialism and welcome their utterance with shouts of delight. It only lacks organisation and preparation, and the time for the social revolt is at hand. Their miseries have become unendurable, and their necessities will soon compel them to act, whether they are prepared or not. Let us redouble our efforts and make ready for the inevitable. Let us strain every nerve to awaken the people to the dangers of the coming storm between the propertied and the propertyless classes of America. To this work let our lives be devoted. Vive la révolution sociale !"