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Social-democracy at the service of the ruling classes.
The struggle of the Communist Party.

 

 

 

By Raúl Martínez, Responsible for the Ideological Area of the CC of the PCPE, and Ramón López, member of the Ideological Area of the CC of the PCPE

 

 

 

 

 

Revisionism, a historical phenomenon hostile to Marxism.

 

Since the birth of the labour movement to this day, an intense struggle between two tendencies has been waged within the movement: the revolutionary one and the opportunist one. Over the history, opportunism has adopted different and numerous expressions, diguised under forms of "left wing" and right wing. This article deals with the right wing opportunism or revisionism, initial source of the political current that is nowadays known as social-democracy, whose nature mutated along the twentieth century, from being a current of the labour movement to a political movement which is an uncompromising defender and the essential pillar of monopoly capitalism.

 


Revisionism emerged in the late nineteenth century when, after the passing away of Frederick Engels, open warfare broke out within the socialist movement led by the German Eduard Bernstein whose maxim “the movement is everything, the ultimate aim is nothing
1” became the banner of the followers of the revisionist theory and its political practice, reformism. Lenin would argue about it:

 

 

 

This catch-phrase of Bernstein’s expresses the substance of revisionism better than many long disquisitions. To determine its conduct from case to case, to adapt itself to the events of the day and to the chopping and changing of petty politics, to forget the primary interests of the proletariat and the basic features of the whole capitalist system, of all capitalist evolution, to sacrifice these primary interests for the real or assumed advantages of the moment—such is the policy of revisionism. And it patently follows from the very nature of this policy that it may assume an infinite variety of forms, and that every more or less “new” question, every more or less unexpected and unforeseen turn of events, even though it change the basic line of development only to an insignificant degree and only for the briefest period, will always inevitably give rise to one variety of revisionism or another.2

 

 

 

Revisionism, claiming that the socio-economic conditions had changed radically, expressed itself as a current openly hostile to Marxism, rejecting the basic postulates of Marxist science:

 

 

 

  • In the sphere of philosophy, it denied its partisan and class character, being in tow of the bourgeois “science” and dragging b along after the “neo-Kantian” thinkers3.

 

.

 

  • In economic terms, it denied the theory of value, the law of capitalist accumulation and the law of absolute and relative impoverishment of the proletariat in the new conditions of capitalism. It was said that concentration and the ousting of small-scale production by large-scale production does not occur in agriculture at all. They defended the idea that the process of concentration of ownership proceeded very slowyly in commerce and industry. They expressed the view that the big capitalist companies would end the anarchy of production and therefore reduce automatically the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie4.

 

 

 

  • In the sphere of politics, revisionism sought to review what actually constitutes the basis of Marxism: the theory of class struggle. Political freedom, democracy and universal suffrage remove the ground for the class struggle —we were told by the revisionists—. For, they said, since the “will of the majority” prevails in a democracy, one must neither regard the state as an organ of class rule, nor reject alliances with the progressive, social-reform bourgeoisie against the reactionaries5.

 

 

 

For Lenin, revisionism —revision of Marxism— was one of the chief manifestations, if not the chief, of bourgeois influence on the proletariat and bourgeois corruption of the workers6. In his work The Collapse of the Second International, he gave the following definition of opportunism:

 

 

 

Opportunism means sacrificing the fundamental interests of the masses to the temporary interests of an insignificant minority of the workers or, in other words, an alliance between a section of the workers and the bourgeoisie, directed against the mass of the proletariat.7

 

 

 

The fact is that ideology is the reflection, in the consciousness of human beings, of the objectively existing social conditions, and mainly a reflection of the prevailing production relations. Thus, from the Leninist view, the historical roots of the revisionist phenomenon and its class nature are highlighted:

 

 

 

In every capitalist country, side by side with the proletariat, there are always broad strata of the petty bourgeoisie, small proprietors. Capitalism arose and is constantly arising out of small production. A number of new “middle strata” are inevitably brought into existence again and again by capitalism (...) These new small producers are just as inevitably being cast again into the ranks of the proletariat. It is quite natural that the petty-bourgeois world-outlook should again and again crop up in the ranks of the broad workers’ parties. It is quite natural that this should be so and always will be so, right up to the changes of fortune that will take place in the proletarian revolution.8

 

 

 

In short, Marxism-Leninism emphasizes three essential particularities of right-wing opportunism or revisionism:

 

 

 

  • Revisionism is an international phenomenon, being a social product of a particular historical epoch.

 

 

 

  • Revisionism regularly appears in the workers' parties, given the cyclical nature of capitalist development, and it can adopt diverse forms.

 

 

 

  • Right-wing opportunism, in reviewing the basic postulates of Marxism, distorts the revolutionary character of the workers' party, deviating it from its main objective: the destruction of the economic and political power of the bourgeoisie9.

 


Faced with the reformist political practice that stems from the revisionists theoretical standpoints, Lenin argued that the bourgeoisie grant reforms with one hand, and with the other always take them back, reduce them to nought, use them to enslave the workers, to divide them into separate groups and perpetuate wage-slavery. For that reason reformism, even when quite sincere, in practice becomes a weapon by means of which the bourgeoisie corrupt and weaken the workers. The experience of all countries shows that the workers who put their trust in the reformists are always fooled.
10

 

 

 

The bankruptcy of the Second International, Social-Democracy and the imperialist war.

 


Most of the Second International parties consummated their bankruptcy by betraying the resolutions of the Congress of Basel (1912), in which social-democratic parties had established its position opposing the forthcoming imperialist war and calling the world proletariat to actively fight against its triggering. However, on August 4
th, 1914, the German and French social-democrats voted in their respective parliaments for the war credits, in favour of the imperialist war and became part of the governments of their countries, as later did the British and Belgian social-democrats, thus obtaining the trust of the bourgeoisie for the management of capitalism and thus changing from opportunist workers' parties to bourgeois parties.

 


Most parties previously grouped in the Second International suffered its first major historical mutation, transforming from socialist workers' parties, in which lived together in hard struggle the revolutionary and the opportunist trends, into national-liberal workers' parties, thus popping the International, inside wich opportunism had gained strength during the relatively peaceful development of capitalism period between 1871 and 1914, into a thousand pieces.

 

 

 

In the midst of World War, Lenin deepened in his characterization of opportunism. He defined as the economic base of chauvinism and opportunism the alliance between a few upper layers of the proletariat and the petty bourgeoisie – who took advantage of the crumbs from the privileges of "their" national capital - against the proletarian masses, against the working masses. He revealed that the old division of the socialists in the opportunist and revolutionary trends, typical of the era of the Second International (1889-1914), corresponded with the new division of chauvinists and internationalists. Advocacy of class collaboration; abandonment of the idea of socialist revolution and revolutionary methods of struggle; adaptation to bourgeois nationalism; losing sight of the fact that the borderlines of nationality and country are historically transient; making a fetish of bourgeois legality; renunciation of the class viewpoint and the class struggle, for fear of repelling the “broad masses of the population”(meaning the petty bourgeoisie)—such, doubtlessly, are the ideological foundations of opportunism. 11. Starting from the point that opportunism is not the result of chance, nor a sin, a slip or a betrayal of a group of isolated individuals, Lenin said that it was the social product of an entire historical epoch, also expressing its class character:

 

 

 

The epoch of imperialism is one in which the world is divided among the “great” privileged nations that oppress all other nations. Morsels of the loot obtained as a result of these privileges and this oppression undoubtedly fall to the share of certain sections of the petty bourgeoisie and to the working-class aristocracy and bureaucracy. These strata, which form an insignificant minority of the proletariat and of the toiling masses, gravitate towards “Struvism”, because it provides them with a justification of their alliance with their “own” national bourgeoisie, against the oppressed masses of all nations.12

 

 

 

Opportunism was engendered in the course of decades by the special features in the period of the development of capitalism, when the comparatively peaceful and cultured life of   a stratum of privileged workingmen “bourgeoisified” them, gave them crumbs from the table of their national capitalists, and isolated them from the suffering, misery and revolutionary temper of the impoverished and ruined masses.13

 

 

 

Thus, the specific role of the labour aristocracy and the labor bureaucracy in the general framework of the class struggle of the imperialist epoch became clear. This analysis currently retains full relevance today.

 


For Lenin, the first World War marked a fundamental shift in History as it became impossible to continue having the same attitude towards opportunism than in the previous period. It was impossible to deny the fact that at the time of crisis the opportunists had deserted the workers' parties and had gone to the camp of the bourgeoisie.

 

 

 

An entire social stratum, consisting of parliamentarians, journalists, labour officials, privileged office personnel, and certain strata of the proletariat, has sprung up and has become amalgamated with its own national bourgeoisie, which has proved fully capable of appreciating and “adapting” it.”14

 

 

 

Therefore, it was time to come into action:

 

 

 

The course of history cannot be turned back or checked—we can and must go fearlessly onward, from the preparatory legal working-class organisations, which are in the grip of opportunism, to revolutionary organisations that know how not to confine themselves to legality and are capable of safeguarding themselves against opportunist treachery, organisations of a proletariat that is beginning a “struggle for power”, a struggle for the overthrow of the bourgeoisie.15

 

 

 

It had been shown that, in the era of imperialism, the old theory that said that opportunism is a "legitimate nuance" in a workers' party should be discarded, because it had become the biggest obstacle for the revolutionary development of the labour movement.

 

 

 

The Second International had died, defeated by opportunism, the Third International had before it the task of organizing the forces of the proletariat for the revolutionary offensive against the capitalist governments, for civil war against the bourgeoisie of all countries, for the political power and the victory of socialism.

 

 

 

The final mutation of the social-democracy after the Second World War.

 


After the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917 the division in three wings was consolidated: the right-wing, which had become a bourgeois party and was represented by the revisionists, the left-wing, represented by the communists with the Bolsheviks at the forefront, and the centrist wing, formally Marxist and adapted in practice to opportunism, claiming to seek unity and peace in the party. The centrist sector was led by Kaustky, who devoted his theoretical efforts to attack the October Revolution, accusing the Bolsheviks of ignoring the limits of the productive forces of Russia and, ultimately, describing the revolution as an aberration.

 


In the period between the First and Second World War, the centrist sectors dominated the Second International, enacting formally “revolutionary” and “Marxist” resolutions and but yielding in practice to the demands of right wing which, thus, strengthened itself to the point of forcing the involvement of social-democracy in bourgeois governments in many cases.

 

 

 

From this ministerial involvement in various countries - Britain, France, Germany, etc. - arise some issues that raise no doubts about the leap made by the social-democracy, from a reformist position, but a working class one, into a bourgeois position, between liberals and communism. Since the murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebneckht to the anti-labour economic measures applied as a result of the capitalist crisis of 1929, all reveals the true nature of social-democracy as a bourgeois party in charge of conducting the class conciliation in order to try to prevent and contain the revolutionary outbreak, opposing the development of the communist movement..

 


The shameful role of social-democracy during the rise of fascism, its refusal to compromise with the Third International and its petty-bourgeois vacillation in key moments of the class struggle, are key elements to understand how fascism came to take the State apparatus with relative ease in different countries. Their confidence in the legal methods, their rotten liberalism, proved that social-democracy had become a defender of capitalism, making difficult the development of the policy of united front of the Communist International16.

 

 

 

The most blatant and definitive mutation of social-democracy takes place after the Second World War. The victory over Nazi-fascism, the successes in the construction of socialism in the USSR, the global extension of the socialist bloc to a number of countries, the development of the contradictions in the capitalist countries of Western Europe as a result of the destruction of productive forces operated in the war, the reduction of the material basis of capitalism and the enormous prestige of the international communist movement among the working masses of the West, were factors that were driving imperialism to a dead end. Social-democracy, hand in hand with its bourgeois masters, again finds its place in an attempt to neutralize the class struggle. Many social-democrat leaders in exile came in close contact with Anglo-American imperialists, setting up what would be the order following the defeat of Nazi-fascism in countries like Italy, Germany, France, Sweden, Norway, etc.17

 

 

 

The Frankfurt Congress, which established the Socialist International, takes place in 1951, and in 1959 the so-called Bad Godesberg Programme sets in writing the political positions of social-democracy in the largest and most influential party of this trend, the German SPD, which would determine the programs of the other parties and their reconstituted International.

 


That program formally abandons the reference to Marxism and places itself next to the “Christian ethics” and “humanism”, even without naming them. The times when the social-democracy needed to wear the Marxist label to fight the communist movement had passed. From that moment the struggle is an open one against Marxism itself. In the field of the class struggle, the workers' struggle is subsumed within the struggle for “more democracy”, as the ultimate goal of the “democratic socialism”, whose horizons were vague and refer to economic factors that do not exceed the level of liberal reformism, accepting in its main terms the bourgeois economic theories, budgetary discipline, Keynesianism as a brake on the class struggle, and so on. Using the words of the program itself: “as much plannig as necessary and as much competition as possible”.
18

 

 

 

If some doubts still remain, the program has references against “the totalitarian control of economy”, affirming the need for the existence of private property. As maximum horizon - never consistently applied - the reference to “economic democracy” in which the working class should be able to intervene in the management of private and public companies. Except in some productive sectors in Germany and other European countries, except that such participation was confined to specific management problems, as happens today with the participation of members of the company committees (the emblem of this social-democratic policy) in company boards, and exercised by the reformist trade union bureaucracy, such a thing was never applied in any country, despite having enough parliamentary majority to do so. In fact, the Godesberg Program, accepted internationally by the social-democrats, only found scope for public education and health, and always restricted to certain countries of Western Europe.

 

 

 

The economic contradictions inherent to the so-called “Welfare State” - which was nothing else than a State of exploitation of the working masses sacrificed on the altar of capitalist and imperialist development - led to the outbreak of the capitalist crisis of the seventies and a change in the perception of most of the bourgeoisie, leaving the Keynesian principles and adopting a purely liberal approach, revisiting their old conceptions of “laissez faire”, separating the State from the direct economic intervention and taking it to exert its influence only through the budget and the monetary policy, undertaking the privatization of the public sector created in the previous period.

 

 

 

Nevertheless, it is necessary to add that the Godesberg Programee already renounced to these “direct” mechanisms and privileged the indirect ones, except in those sectors where State intervention was necessary to avoid the creation of private monopolies. In fact, the liberal version says exactly the same and even speaks of “mixed economy” to include these methods of State intervention. In the eighties and nineties of the twentieth century, the theory of the “natural monopolies in hands of the State” - energy, transportation, telecommunications and other strategic sectors – was abandoned and the ideas of a Central Bank whose monetary policy has the sole goal of inflation control over other considerations, as may be allowing some level of inflation to encourage bourgeois investment, were embraced.

 

 

 

At that time and until the outbreak of the current capitalist crisis, the bourgeoisie gave priority to privatizations, commodification of productive sectors at the margins of the action of the law of value - whose scope had been modified by the intervention of state powers - and the internationalization hand in hand with large monopolistic firms that had accumulated large amounts of capital in the preceding period. At the same time, the political conditions in which the labour movement has to defend their living and working conditions worsen, the repression against the revolutionary movement and the militarization of the economy increase, and the deployment of imperialist war is enhanced.

 

 

 

Nowadays, social-democracy has a certain attachment to the labour movement through the reformist trade unions, where it maintains a discourse of “defense of the workers”, purely economic and which tends always towards the reconciliation with the bourgeoisie. Its mission is to ensure social peace and the impossibility of the development of a workers' response that can be transformed, as a result of their increased militancy and organization, in development of the class consciousness, the passing from class consciousness in itself to class consciousness for itself, a revolutionary alternative to dying capitalism.

 


In the capitalist crisis in which we are now submerged, social-democracy has a very clear mission: to implement the measures contrary to the interests of the workers keeping the class conflict within the limits set by the oligarchy. Thus, while adopting legal measures that are contrary to the most elementary rights acquired over decades of struggle of the labour movement (collective bargaining, the right to severance pay, a decent amount of the minimum wage and pension, etc.), they keep the control over a trade union bureaucracy deeply linked to social-democracy and the bourgeois State apparatus.

 


The “social covenant” positions are intended to chain the labour movement to policies that are clearly contrary to their interests, that favour the monopolies and vent the contradictions that have exploded with the capitalist crisis on the shoulders of the working class and the popular strata. This is to revive the declining trend in the rate of profit, to promote the cycle of expanded reproduction of capital and, for that, to intesify the exploitation rate. In this mission, the social-democracy plays a crucial role: the role of the firefighter that tries to fight the fire even before it occurs.

 

 

 

Petty bourgeoisie and labour aristocracy.

 

 

 

In order to preserve the support of its social base of the petty and middle classes that share the petty autonomy at work, address specific groups of workers and a shift away from machine, social-democracy, as the lead organization of petty bourgeois reformism, maintains a policy to isolate these groups from the labour movement and prevent the formation of a popular and workers front with hegemony of the proletariat through its political vanguard, which can become a revolutionary alternative to capitalism.

 

 

 

Within this field, social-democratic policies are in the spirit of supporting the petty bourgeoisie with public funds as exemptions from paying social security, trying to ease, without success, the situation of small producers against the large ones. In the trade union field favouring the middle class against most workers, promoting better working, social and economic conditions for these groups. These sectors were the old basis of the bourgeois reformist policy of the years of the “Welfare State”, when favoured over a mass of workers condemned to conditions of extreme exploitation and devoid of any union support. This has the effect of worsening conditions of life and work of the proletarian majority, the intensification of its exploitation and also its growing isolation from other classes and sectors.

 

 

 

Yet the capitalist crisis has severely beaten the middle strata and the petty bourgeoisie who see their living and working conditions worsen as a consequence of the development of capitalist contradictions, showing also for these groups the failure of reformism. At the same time, social-democracy extends the petty bourgeois ideology of the “citizenship” where we all have equal rights before the law, ignoring class differences, the position of each one in respect to the ownership of the means of production and to the work, influencing the workers to defuse the class struggle precisely among those who most suffer exploitation and are most in need of assuming their historical role as a revolutionary class.19

 


In a similar way, the role played by the labour aristocracy is essential in the maintenance of social-democracy and the strengthening and spread of revisionism within the labour movement. Comrade Eleni Comrade Mpellou
20 offers the following analysis of this phenomenon:

 

 

 

Of course what happens at the level of consciousness, in this case revisionism, is a reflection of socio-economic developments-sections of the working class in advanced capitalist countries experienced higher wages and better living conditions due to the super-profits which capital obtained in their countries, having for example the monopoly in foreign trade (Britain until the end of the 19th century), the ability to exploit raw materials and cheap labour in less developed societies. The offspring of these sections of the working class and of the labour aristocracy in the trade union and political movement, absorbed bourgeois propaganda through the education system, and they were incorporated into the widened state mechanisms-either into the “services” of the bourgeois state (education, health, welfare) or into purely administrative mechanisms ( tax office, local government bodies, maintenance of state property etc) or into state or semi-state industries (banks, public utilities, energy, water, telecommunications industry, tourism etc).

 

The buying off of sections of the working class and in dynamic sectors of capitalist industry was achieved in combination with the extensive buying off of scientists, who were of working class background; thus we can see that the widening of the social basis of opportunism and the strengthening of revisionism are interconnected phenomena. The ability of the bourgeois political forces to buy off broad sections of the working class served the political goal of corrupting the labour movement, of diverting it from its strategic aim of socialist revolution in Europe and more generally in the developed capitalist world and indeed in conditions when the international balance of forces had improved for the forces of socialism after the end of the 2nd World War.”

 

 

 

The "left social-democracy", the revisionists and the communist movement.

 


Social democracy became also an active participant in the international class struggle against the socialist camp. The role that social-democratic parties had to play was to weaken the communist parties, organize and strengthen a non-communist labour and trade-union movement. Altogether with other fiercely anticommunist parties – the trotskyists - the mission assigned by imperialism was clear: the fragmentation of the labour movement, consolidate an anticommunist reformist trend and prevent the development of class struggle in capitalist countries, as well as assist politically, economically and otherwise to counterrevolutionary movements that were developing in countries that were actively constructing socialism. The CIA had a section for those parties: “non-communist left”, which received political, logistical and economic support.

 


Together with the openly hostile and counterrevolutionary role with respect to socialist countries, social-democracy has also historically played a role of political penetration of the communist parties. Even before World War II, social-democracy sought support within the communist movement to reach agreements that would link these parties to bourgeois policies. But it was later, in the immediate postwar years, when strong reformist tendencies appear within the communist parties that crystallized in the so-called “Euro-communism”. This process was possible to the extent that the international communist movement, stuck in the fiction of the existence of an intermediate, democratic and anti-monopoly stage between monopoly capitalism and socialism, subordinated its strategy to a parliamentary alliance with social-democracy that would ultimately have serious consequences for the working class and the international communist movement itself, which found immense difficulties to define a revolutionary strategy in the new conditions after the war.

 

 

 

Such revisionist tendencies, fully triumphant in most parties of Western Europe, had the same social basis of old social-democracy and followed the same path that was previously foloowed by the social-democratic parties. As a reflection, they represented the interests of the petty bourgeoisie and the middle strata of the labour aristocracy and sections of the trade union bureaucracy. They arrived to the unabashedly reformist conclusion that socialism could be built in Europe through a parliamentary agreement with the social-democracy, using only legal means, constitutional means, reform after reform, reaching a point at which socialism would have been built. This vision, utopian in the sense of being reactionary, was a dead end that found its own limits with the change in policy of the bourgeoisie as a result of the economic crisis of the “Welfare State”.

 


The bankruptcy of Euro-communist revisionism is currently suffered by numerous workers' detachments throughout the capitalist world, especially in the European countries, where the heirs of Euro-communist organizations, keeping in some cases the communist acronyms and symbols or having abandoned it in others, aware of the mutation of a social-democracy that had become a bourgeois party several decades earlier, seek to occupy the left flank of the bourgeois parliaments. This always in an alliance subordinated n one way or another to the social-democratic parties and always under the banner of reformism that waves within the margins of the system.

 


Furthermore, they a
lso agree and coincide, not by chance, in a generally favourable view of the European Union, the imperialist project of the oligarchy of the member countries. They want to become the party of “left” passable for those institutions, accepting the fundamentals of European construction, the undemocratic and anti-labour rules for its operation and its one-way monetary and economic policies, the blackmail to which they subject the peoples of Europe in the capitalist crisis, and ultimately, the policies imposed in each moment by the bourgeoisie.

 


Today these opportunist parties are organized in the European Left Party and they constitute an obstacle to the development of class struggle, they stand as a brake to the development of class positions and class consciousness; ultimately they are natural allies of social-democracy, they are its current left-wing, fulfilling the task of introducing reformist and petty bourgeois ideology in the workers' field, to support a false social peace that will ensure a political framework for the anti-labour measures that capital has to apply to maintain its profit rate
and save the day.

 

 

 

Some final considerations.

 


A p
art of the social base of social-democracy and revisionism, is constituted by the working strata with a low class consciousness who join the struggle to defend their immediate interests in face of the increasing aggression of capital. When these sectors, with little political background and no class consciousness join the struggles that should trigger the class to defend its interests they do, necessarily, from an ideological point of view.

 


Indeed, the fact that these workers' sectors do not have class consciousness
for itself does not deny the fact that they have, like all people, an ideological worldview which allows them to insert themselves into society. Such a worldview that does not come entirely from class position, must necessarily come from its opponent, if we agree with Marx that within the class-divided societies the dominant ideology is the ideology of the ruling class.

 


Their worldview, therefore their ideology, if it is not proletarian it necessarily has to be bourgeois or petty bourgeois. It consists in some adjustments of the ideologies of the bourgeoisie or the petty bourgeoisie to the living conditions of the working class, and the most historically appropriate to these functions is precisely the “economicist” ideology, a reformist one touted by the social-democrat trade unions
and parties, and also by the opportunist parties of the EL Party and other similar to them. This ideology fits the workers' conditions, but does so from the bourgeois standpoint, defending small changes in capitalism that can improve or alleviate the current conditions which are applied to the proletariat.

 


Similarly, and seemingly in an opposite sense, we might consider the utopian-revolutionary ideology which, despite its alleged revolutionary character, is powerless to lead the revolutionary struggle and ends by advocating measures which, if possible, would mean only small changes keeping
the fundamentals of capitalist exploitation.

 

 

 

The mission of social-democracy and their trade union confederations within the labour field is to prevent that position, which is an objective stage in the development of consciousness in these sectors, to evolve into the assumption of a purely proletarian ideological position under the prism of Marxism-Leninism, and that tends to confrontation with capitalism, towards its revolutionary overcoming.

 


Therefore, besides the existence of the social sectors previously referred to - petty bourgeoisie and middle strata - the sectors that have little awareness, the stragglers, can also be a support base for revisionism in general and social-democracy in particular within the class movement.

 

 

 

The communist parties have to deal with these positions and we will have to do so in the future, under very different political, social or economic conditions, until the overcoming of the class conflict itself, until the highest and final stage of socialism-communism. In these various conditions, reformism will take different political positions but, in essence, will ry to adapt the labour movement to the positions of the class enemy, by accepting the battlefield and the fight rules that the enemy considers lawful and denying the need to overcome the capitalist system that generates the contradictions that keep the labour momvement in a subordinated position21.

 


The primary mission of the communist parties in this field, generally in trade union action, is to raise that economic awareness, which does not exceed capitalism, to revolutionary political consciousness, so that these sectors abandon the ideological theses of the petty bourgeoisie (in addition to the above mentioned we could mention the idea that the State is neutral in the class struggle, that the law is sacred and that all the provisions of the laws are met, the idea of independence of the judiciary, the separation of powers and other petty bourgeois naiveties that objectively block class struggle) and embrace the ideological theses of their own class. This is possible precisely because the proletarian ideology of Marxism-Leninism is only a reflection in the realm of the subjective field, of the economic conditions suffered by the exploited. In other words, any attempt at a social level of trying the same with non-proletarian sectors is doomed to failure, regardless of whether, individually, many members of the petty bourgeoisie and the middle layers approach the working class and even adopt its worldview in face of the development of capitalist contradictions.

 

-.
The communist movement is forced to learn from its mistakes. The conditions under which the capitalist crisis places the class struggle requires a frontal attack against the positions of integration that social-democracy and revisionism promote in the workers' ranks. Ideological, political and organizational independence of the working class must be firmly defended, without compromise:

 

 

 

Now the people, the workers and employees, the self-employed must write their own pages in the history of this country, in really large and bold letters. Their anger must be transformed into strength so that they can take their counterattack to its conclusion. There is no other way (…) Barbarity cannot be made humane22

 

 

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1“Las premisas del socialismo y las tareas de la socialdemocracia”, recopilación de artículos Revista Neue Zeit, 1897-1898

 

2V.I. Lenin, “Marxism and Revisionism”. Collected Works, Vol. 15, p. 29-39 24. Progress Publishers, 1973, Moscow

 

3Idem

 

4Idem

 

5Idem

 

6V.I. Lenin, “A Fool’s Haste Is No Speed”. Collected Works, Vol. 20, p. 322-324. Progress Publishers, 1972, Moscow

 

7V.I. Lenin. “The Collapse of the Second International”. Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 205-259. Progress Publishers, 1974, Moscow

 

8V.I. Lenin, “Marxism and Revisionism”. Collected Works, Vol. 15, p. 29-39 24. Progress Publishers, 1973, Moscow

 

9Enrique Líster López. “Leninismo y oportunismo” (Leninism and opportunism). Ediciones PCOE, 1976, p. 21 – 22. Madrid

 

10V.I. Lenin. “Marxism and Reformism”. Collected Works, Vol. 10, p. 372-375. Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow

 

11V.I. Lenin. “The Position and Tasks of the Socialist International”. Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 35-41. Progress Publishers, 1974, Moscow

 

12V.I. Lenin. “The Collapse of the Second International”. Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 205-259. Progress Publishers, 1974, Moscow

 

13Idem

 

14Idem

 

15Idem

 

16

Nowadays, having the necessary perspective and when there is no doubt about the bourgeois and imperialist character of many sections of social-democracy during World War II, the communist movement has to analyze rigorously the policy of the united front of proletariat with the social-democratic parties adopted by the 7th Congress of the Komintern, as it entailed a series of consequences which have great importance for the international communist movement.

 

17The links of prominent social-democrat cadres with the oligachy have deepened since then. As an example, we can mention the participation of the former president of the Spanish government, Felipe González – former Secretary General of PSOE – in the so-called “Father's and Son's Business Meeting”, a private initiative that brings together businessmen from all over Latin America and their heirs in order to share the “recipes of success in business” and speak about “the social issues that worry the world”. Some of the oligarchs who participated were, among others, Carlos Slim, the second richest man in the world; the Colombian tycoon Julio Mario Santo Domingo; the Venezuelan businessman Gustavo Cisneros; the Argentinians Paolo Rocca, Federico Braun and Alfredo Román; the Chileans Andrónico Lucksia and Álvaro Saieh or the Brazilians Joao Roberto Marinho, David Feffer and Antonio Moreiras. (Publico newspaper, Madrid, 08/03/2009, news from Agency EFE).

 

18Basic Programme of the SPD. Bonn, 1959, p. 5-17.

 

19About some movements which, like the known as “15M” or “movement of the indignados”, never go beyond the social-democratic approaches, we refer to the Statement of the Executive Committee of the PCPE on the mobilizations started on May 15th, issued on May 19th, 2011, which can be found inhttp://www.pcpe.es/comunicados/item/268-sobre-las-movilizaciones-iniciadas-el-15-m.html.

 

20Member of the Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of Greece. Quote from her article “Ideas on a new international. Internationalism in Marxist theory” , written after the invitation of the Turkish Communist Party to the meeting organized by the Marxist-Leninist Research Centre of Turkey. The article was published in the theoretical journal of the KKE (KOMEP, issue 6 of 2010).

 

21 The President of the Spanish Congress and leader of the PSOE, José Bono, declared in public that the “class struggle” in 21st century “is a bash” that “is not even believed in China”, that nowadays jobs have to be created “basically” by the businessmen with the “help” of the public administrations so, he noted, PSOE will not campaign “against those who create wealth and jobs”. Words reflected in the Spanish mass media on May 9th, 2010. Agency Europa Press.

 

22Speech of comrade Aleka Papariga, Secretary General of the KKE, before thousands of workers, on May 11th, 2011.

 

 

 

The Communist Party face to face with the Capitalist Crisis

 

Characterisation of the Crisis and Changes in the Model of World Domination

 

The tendency of the profit rate to fall, as Marx explained, is the weak point of capitalism, to the extent that profit is the aim, the motive and the finality of capital. Its effective fall, conditioned by the rise in the organic composition of capital, is at the end of the day the cause of the paralysis of the process of accumulation of capital, sharpening the basic contradiction of capitalism between the social character of the process of production and the private, capitalist form of appropriation of its results.

The crisis is the consequence of the huge increase in productivity of the labour force, of human labour exploited in factories and fields, which in turn produces an increase in capital, in surplus-value and in commodities, capital which cannot be re-accumulated at a suitable rate of profit.

The problem is not the abundance of unsold commodities, but the abundance of commodities unsold at a given rate of profit. The cause of the crisis is in no way a crisis of under-consumption. The working class exists for capitalism as producer of value, not as consumer.

Pursuing higher profits or the maintenance of the average profit rate, on the other hand a tendency for the profit rate to fall occurs because the real limit of capitalist production is capital itself. To overcome these inherent limits to the capitalist mode of production, the following lines of action have been adopted in the last decades.

  • Political intervention to organise the valorization cycle at world level:

A) Producing and realising surplus value on a world scale through a boundless increase in productivity.  Extending capitalist production relations to the entire world.

B) Territories and markets are annexed, the price of labour force, agricultural products and raw materials becomes cheaper, etc.

  • The increase in productivity has been accompanied by a lowering of wages – devaluing the price of labour force as a commodity. To compensate for this there has been an exaggerated increase in fictitious capital and in credit. Financial and speculative capital have soared to face up to the stagnation of the profit rate while parasitism increases as a result of capitalist development in its imperialist phase.

The crises of overproduction of capital as of commodities, exclusive to capitalism, make the irrationality of the system violently explicit. The present crisis has struck capital with a violence difficult to measure and to dominate, revealing the historic limits and the caducity of capitalism.

In this sense, in the International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties held in Athens from 18 to 20 November 2005, on the subject “Current tendencies of capitalism and their economic, social and political impact. The Communist alternative”, our party gave the following warning in its contribution:

“The risk of a world economic collapse is increasing each day. The global economy demonstrates that, in spite of the high concentration of capital, profits represent an ever decreasing percentage of the millions bandied by the big transnational companies.  The operations of financial engineering, with the aim of “doctoring” the accounts of the results of the big firms, are everyday practice to try to cover up the situation, but they can in no case slow it down. Capital is encountering ever greater difficulties in completing its cycle of increased reproduction. Extremely high levels of speculation and having recourse to financialization not only cannot solve the problem, but complicate even more the panorama.”

Other factors linked to the crisis of overproduction interact dialectically and come in conflict in their turn with the limits of capitalism and the production of surplus-value and capital. Among these:

-  The oil production peak and its consequences for models of production, transport, urbanism, life etc. The International Energy Agency declares that the developing countries could increase their demand by 47% to 121 million barrels daily in 2030 and that the oil companies and the producing countries will have to spend around

100 000 million dollars annually (76.500 million euros) to develop new sources in order to keep up this pace.

-  Climate change, perhaps already out of control for the system of production of surplus-value and which affects ecosystems and peoples’ conditions of life and work of negatively. The earth has lost in just over a quarter of a century practically a third of its biological wealth and its resources and at the present pace humanity will need two planets by 2030 to maintain its lifestyle, as the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) has warned.

-  The food catastrophe, which condemns millions of human beings to death by exhaustion due to lack of nourishment. According to the FAO, the number of undernourished people rose from 850 to 925 millions, as a result of the rise in the price of foodstuffs in the period 2.007 – 2008,. The price of foodstuffs increased by 12 % between 2005 and 2006, by 24% in 2007 and by nearly 50 % between January and July 2008.

The capitalist crisis will not be overcome by reformist means or Keynesian recipes. Only by means of increasing exploitation, plunder and drastic restriction of all democratic rights can the capitalist system overcome the crisis. Marx and Engels, in The Communist Manifesto asked themselves “How does the bourgeoisie get over these crises?” and they replied “On the one hand by enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces; on the other, by the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of the old ones. That is to say, by paving the way for more extensive and more destructive crises, and by diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented.”

Either the bourgeoisie will consolidate its exit from the crisis by toughening capitalist dictatorship and introducing growing levels of violence to guarantee the process of accumulation of capital, or the great majorities of working people will opt for a solution in terms of a popular counter-offensive which will benefit the social majority and not the plutocracy.

Modern society is built in tune with the contradiction labour/capital in the sense that all the contradictions existing in society come up against the increase in the value of capital. The food crisis, the energy crisis, the environmental crisis, the hydrologic crisis, gender discrimination through patriarchal hierarchy, the destruction of the land, urban speculation, racial and ethnic discrimination, famines and pandemics, etc. All the struggles generated in these fields must be directed against the power of monopolies, in the perspective of revolutionary overcoming of capitalism.

The consequences of the capitalist crisis are daily worsening for the working class and other popular sectors. The constant increase in unemployment, the redundancies planned by the employers to eliminate the sectors of the working class with most rights, the systematic theft of indemnities and outstanding payments, the non-payment of over-hours, the lowering of wages, etc. are all on the agenda.

In inter-annual terms, the Spanish economy has experienced a contraction of 4,2% of GDP in the last year, with a rate of -1,1% in the second semester of 2009, according to the data of the Ministry of Economy and Finance. All the productive sectors registered negative growth rates in comparison with the same period of the year before. The Aim of Stability fixed for the period of 2010 – 2012, foresees a negative growth of 3,6 % for 2009, coinciding with the figures of the Spanish government.

The Spanish working class is being harshly hit. Full-time employment has fallen by 7,1 % in one year. According to a recent document issued by the experts of the Ministry of Finance, 63 % of Spanish wage-earners receive a gross monthly income of less than 1 100 euros (16,7 million wage-earners). Between 1999 and 2006, net profits of Spanish firms increased by 73%, more than double the average of the EU-15 33,2 %) or of the euro zone (36,6 %), whereas in the same period labour costs in Spain increased by only 3,7%, five times less than in the EU-15 (18,2%). According to forecasts of the National Employment Institute, unemployment will be about 25 % at the end of 2009.

The economic data confirm that there is a direct relation between unemployment, temporary jobs and wage levels. Geographically, the data make it clear that communities with a rate of unemployment higher than the national average are also those where temporary contracts and low wage-earners (around 1.000 euros) are most prevalent.

Map of lack of job security

Unemployment rate
Below national average
Above national average
On each community is indicated the percentage of  workers earning around 1000 euros
Percentage of temporary workers

 

 

Young workers suffer particularly from this situation, with uncontrolled work-days and very low wages. More than 60% of work contracts imposed on young people are temporary, while their wages are 30 % below average, with the result that in 2008 only 21´% of young people could lead an independent economic life. In many cases, working women come to the aid of the deteriorating family economy by accepting jobs in the black sector with infinitesimal wages and no kind of labour protection.

The financial oligarchy expropriates working-class families who cannot pay their mortgages – which affects the immigrant sector of the class in particular – and is making a multi-million business of slowly re-appropriating houses that cannot be paid by their owners. In the year 2008, more than 58.686 mortgage embargos were registered, more than double the number of the previous exercise and three times as many as those counted in 2006.  This number is higher than the total of the years 2004 – 2007 and the trend was getting worse in the first semester of 2009. Many workers are incapable of paying mortgage dues which frequently represent more than 50% of their wage incomes. These roughly 60 000 homes which have passed out of the hands of working people into those of capital in one year are the equivalent of the ownership of a city of 250 000 inhabitants. It will be in the second semester of 2009 that the real estate disaster will strike popular sectors even harder, in a country with more unsold houses than the United States.

The dictatorship of capital expresses itself in its true dimension. The police state is taking shape day by day, with changes in the law and harassment and repression of the people in every struggle. Bourgeois “freedom” is being converted into a museum-piece and is giving way to repression, fascism and anticommunism.

The conditions described form a scenario where it is essential to raise the socialist alternative in face of a capitalism which is at death’s door, enlarging the consciousness and the organised struggle of the working class and of growing sectors of working people.

 

THE PARTY NECESSARY FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF SOCIALISM. ITS LEADING ROLE

 

The crisis offers a unique opportunity which affects the governability of capitalism and its state ; political power becomes more vulnerable. The capacity to decide what to produce, how and for whom is weakened. Conflicts appear between different fractions of the bourgeoisie, which will be more or less decisive depending on the capacity of the working class and its allies to intervene in the class struggle, and to try to transform the economic crisis into a political crisis which will pave the way for the revolutionary overcoming of capitalism.

A period is beginning when  we will have to try to break down the apparently invincible totalitarianism in which the dominating class plunges the working majority, questioning capitalism head-on. A moment in which the main task of the Communist Party consists in organizing and watching fractures so that the working class can take new steps in terms of counter-offensive.

The working class must play a decisive role in the social conflict, joining forces where its interests are concerned with the broad masses which, mobilised by secondary contradictions or by partial demands, must incline the relation of forces in favour of socialism.

In the present scenario where the class struggle is becoming sharper, it is urgent to rebuild the labour and trade union movement in a class sense and the impetus of popular struggles; this is the demand of a Communist Party which assumes a vanguard role and boosts and orientates the organised struggle of the working class and of all working people who are faced with increased exploitation  as well as the infinity of problems imposed by capitalism on the great majority.

The choice between socialism and barbarity is the challenge facing mankind today. As communist and worker parties we must trace the strategic lines which will allow the working class to weaken the power of monopolies, open up spaces of counter-power and weaken the imperialist blocs, in favour of the working class, of sovereignty and of oppressed peoples.

The leading role of the Communist Party must bring a strategic perspective to working class and popular struggles, build unity of the working class and give an impetus to its organised struggle by offering an alternative of popular and socialist power in the face of the power of monopolies and the dictatorship of capital.

The working class demands an alliance with the broad popular masses affected by the impositions of monopoly capitalism. So that a majority alternative to the oligarchy can be built. This is a prerequisite for the hegemony to be won in a Leninist sense; thus, the ideological struggle becomes very important.

The conquest of socialism, like every revolutionary process, is not something that occurs from one day to the other. Nor will it follow a straight path or be the result of a spontaneous struggle process. The rise of the political struggle of the working class demands, in addition to certain objective socio-economic conditions which create a revolutionary scenario, some subjective conditions which require the intervention and the politico-ideological orientation of the Communist Party.

In the conditions of the class struggle in Spain and keeping in mind the present relationship of forces that means precisely to create a social and political front which corresponds to and expresses the yearning for change of the masses, bringing together working-class and popular struggles against capitalism in crisis in the perspective of socialism.

 

THE WORKING CLASS NEEDS A PARTY OF A LENINIST TYPE

The solution to the present capitalist expresses itself in terms of socialism or barbarity. What has happened since the triumph of the counter-revolution in the Soviet Union and in the other European socialist countries, with the increase in imperialist violence in every field (wars, armaments, espionage, repression…), the increased exploitation of the working class, the continuing decline of labour and social rights and the absolute incapacity of capitalism to respond to the great problems of mankind, fully confirm the thesis that this is the era of socialist revolution.

Two decades have been sufficient to prove that those who have put Marxism-Leninism aside have in fact embraced the line of integration in the system, of complete reformism and, in some cases, of the most rabid anti-communism

The abandon of Marxism-Leninism was not only a formal question.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 It brought with it the complete destruction of certain communist parties which eliminated democratic centralism in order to become electoral machines of a social-democratic type, dismantling the Leninist structure, destroying the revolutionary character of communist militancy and renouncing the dictatorship of the proletariat and at the same time the conquest of political power, sharing essentially the imperialist criticisms of socialist countries.

The facts have confirmed that the working class needs a structure capable of organising and leading the struggle for socialism. A party structure, based on the principles of democratic centralism, which will be capable of combining in a correct way the different forms of struggle in function of the changing conditions of the class struggle. A structure capable of endowing the labour and popular movement with a power strategy based on a rigorous, scientific analysis of reality. A class structure, organised in a party, conscious that the class struggle in each country is part of the struggle of the working class world wide and that as a result raises the flag of proletarian internationalism.

The period in which in our country the right-wing ″euro-communist ″ tendency predominated resulted in a historic defeat for the working class.  Today the bad habits and the deviations generated during that period must be definitively rejected, which implies recovering the teachings and the revolutionary spirit of the Bolshevik Party and analysing in a detailed way and defending the experiences of socialist construction during the 20th century.

 

THE REVOLUTION IS NOT THE RESULT OF A GRADUAL PROCESS OF REFORMS, IT IS THE VICTORIOUS STRUGGLE FOR POWER AND THE HISTORIC VICTORY OVER CAPITALISM IN CRISIS.

The Communist Party, through democratic centralism, must give an impulse to a political intervention which unites and leads the working class, which, in turn, must bring together a whole front of class alliance with different popular social strata confronted with monopoly capitalism. The broad participation of the masses in the class struggle brings with it an extraordinary experience. The role of communists is to make sure that the process of working class and popular struggle fractures and weakens the power of the dominating classes in the perspective of the socialist revolution.

In Spain the capitalist superstructure was crowned by the Bourbon monarchy, imposed on the people by fascism as the greatest example of the power of the oligarchy and the landowners. The revisionist thesis defended in Spain by reformism according to which, in the conditions  of a parliamentary monarchy, socialism is reduced to a mere struggle for  deepening democracy through a process of reforms, depending on the struggle of the working class in a bourgeois-democratic framework, forgetting that Franco’s dictatorship as well as the present parliamentary monarchy are two concrete historical forms of dictatorship of capital, rejects the Marxist theory of the state and withdraws the working class from its revolutionary objective.

However, in the present conditions of capitalist crisis, while the working class struggle tends to grow, republican aspirations are also progressing in broad sectors of the people.  As in other moments of the history of our country, the republican demand is progressively changing into the alternative of power for the popular classes. In the last years, important advances have been achieved in this sense, from commemorating and defending the historic experience of the 2nd Republic to fighting openly for the 3rd Republic.

The necessary working class and popular counter-offensive, for the PCPE, must imply a process of intensification of the mass struggle to win a constituent process orientated towards the proclamation of this 3rd Republic and the derogation of the 1978 constitution; an alternative whose main aim, for the communists, is to make of the working class of the peoples of Spain a national class in power.  As a result, this process must be launched on the basis of the interests of the proletariat and its allies, which, in the present conditions, for the PCPE, must contain certain openly socialist elements.

The strategy towards workers’ power, towards socialism, means refusing any compromise with imperialism, as much in its military expression, with the leaving of NATO, as with the incorporation of Spain in that imperialist pole which is the European Union.

The Socialist Revolution is not an illusion, it is not the result of a gradual process of reforms. The historic debate between reform and revolution is once again in full force. The reconstruction of the international communist movement in Marxist-Leninist keystones, as at other moments throughout the history of the struggle of the working class, will be a determining factor in giving an impetus to the revolutionary process and the triumph of socialism in the 21st century, which will be the century either of the triumphant proletarian revolution or of barbarity.

FROM "EURO-COMMUNISM" TO PRESENT OPPORTUNISM

by Raúl Martínez Turrero

Member of the Executive Committee of the PCPE

 

AS AN INTRODUCTION

The theoretical and ideological restructuring of the international communist movement on a Marxist - Leninist basis demands the continue deepening in the study of socialist construction in the 20th  century and scientifically analyze the causes of the triumph of capitalist counterrevolution in the USSR and the rest European socialist countries.


The capitalist restoration had internal and external causes. However, when addressing the latter, the analyses tend to focus on the study of the different lines of attack against socialism launched by the imperialist powers in the political, military, economic, ideological and psychological fields.

 
The external factors were decisive, and confirmed that the confrontation between the imperialist and the socialist camp was the genuine expression of the class struggle at international scale[1]. However, we should deepen in the study of trends, such as Eurocommunist one, that contributed to weaken the socialist power, acting within the labor movement and the international communist movement itself, and interacted often with the opportunistic policies of communist and workers' parties who were in power.


The imperialist ideological centers assisted and widely distributed Eurocommunist positions in front of the line that they contemptuously called “orthodox” or “pro-Soviet”. Eurocommunism, represented mainly by the parties of Italy, France and Spain, is named after the capitalist news agencies, who with this name, referred to organizations that shared the defense of a number of points of view:


-Opposition to the existence of an organized international communist movement, defending the thesis of so-called “polycentrism” in face of the experience of the Communist International (Komintern) and the Information Office of the Communist and Workers' Parties (Kominform).

-The denial of the “dictatorship of proletariat”, against which they defended the “plurality of paths to socialism”, and especially the parliamentary way, in cooperation with the Social-Democrat and Christian forces, assuming the multi-party politics in a democratic-bourgeois framework.

-The replacement of the category of “proletarian internationalism”, which they identified with the unconditional defense of the Soviet Union and the political line of the CPSU, with that of “internationalist solidarity” or “new internationalism”.


-The acceptance of the framework of the then called European Economic Community, under the call to defend their social rights within and workers' participation in its design.


-The constant and open criticism to the USSR and the socialist countries from the standpoint of human rights and individual freedoms in their bourgeois concept.

 
- The revision and destruction of the  “party of a new type” coined by Lenin, as by denying in one degree or another the revolutionary tasks of the communist party at the same time were denied the revolutionary principles in what refers to organizatin and functioning.

 

 
Eurocommunism affected communist and workers' parties from different latitudes, some of them in power and, like other opportunistic currents throughout history, Eurocommunism had a clear international vocation, despite having as a thesis being a header phenomenon attending to the national particularities and conditions. In this regard, Enrico Berlinguer, Secretary General of PCI, said:


We obviously are not who forged this term, but the very fact that it circulates so widely shows how the countries of Western Europe deeply aspire to see the affirmation and progress of new type solutions in the transformation of society in a socialist sense.”


And the Secretary General of the PCE, Santiago Carrillo, added:

 
... there is no such thing as Eurocommunism, since some non-European communist parties, as the Japanese Communist Party, cannot be included under that label”[2].

 
Despite the inconsistencies and falsifications that have characterized the life of Carrillo, who months after denying the existence of “Eurocommunism” he published his book entitled "Eurocommunism and State" saw the light, he was right on one thing: the phenomenon was not limited to Western Europe.

 


THE BACKGROUNDS OF EUROCOMMUNISM AND THE XX CONGRESS OF THE CPSU.

 
The basis for the birth of this revisionist trend had been stablished long before Eurocommunism was presented to society by Carrillo, Berlinguer and Marchais.

 
After World War II, a difficult stage starts for the the world revolutionary movement. The destruction caused by the German invasion of the USSR, and the subsequent efforts devoted to its reconstruction, we amust add in the political field the the loss of hundreds of thousands of communist cadres who had fallen in battle against Nazi - fascism, what affected in a decisive way the CPSU and other communist parties in Europe.


The capitalist powers, led by the United States that did not experience the war on its soil and became the strongest power in the imperialist camp, immediately unleashed the so-called “Cold War” and the arms race, implementing a whole battery of measures designed to undermine the socialist power.

 
The internal counterrevolution never relinquished to overthrow the workers' power. With the imperialist assistance, counterrevolutionary activities were organized in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1947-48), in the German Democratic Republic (1953) and in Poland and Hungary (Fall 1956).

 
The class struggle continued and deepened under new conditions, the imperialist system showed signs of strength and demonstrated its ability to restructuring, creating international organizations to try to mitigate its contradictions and increase pressure on the socialist bloc (NATO, IMF, World Bank, etc.).

 
Within the CPSU important discussions on the building of socialism in post-war conditions were initiated, particularly on the economic laws in socialism and their character. The Party's leadership actively participated in the debates. Stalin openly fought against opportunist positions in the controversy arising about the draft of the Handbook on Political Economy[3]. After his death on  March 5, 1953, the struggle continued within the CPSU and increased in the preparation and discussions of the 20th Congress of the CPSU, held in February 1956.

 

The opportunist bloc led by N. S. Khrushchev opened the gates to the thesis of the “plurality of forms of transition to socialism”, revising Marxist theory about the class character of the state and the Leninist theory of revolution. The Report of the CPSU Central Committee at the 20th Congress, presented by Khrushchev, stated:


... the question arises on the possibility of also taking advantage of the parliamentary road to the transition to socialism.

 
... the working class, uniting around itself the working peasants, intellectuals, all patriotic forces ... can defeat the reactionary antipopular forces, win a solid majority in parliament and transform it, from being an organ of bourgeois democracy, to being the true instrument of popular will. In this case, this institution, traditional for many highly developed capitalist countries, may become the body of true democracy, the democracy for the workers[4]


In the speech delivered by M.A. Suslov on February 16, he said:

 
In the capitalist countries ... the working class and its political supporters have full ability to group around themselves, on only one democratic platform, the overwhelming majority of the nation, the peasants, the petty bourgeoisie, intellectuals and even patriotic layers of the bourgeoisie, thus undoubtedly facilitating the working class' victory[5].”

 
The peaceful transition to socialism by parliamentary means were not known in any country. However, the subjectivity of this thesis and its impact on the strategy of some communist parties came forward immediately.


In his speech to the 20th Congress, A.I. Mikołaj clearly perceived that the thesis about the gradual and peaceful transition to socialism came perilously close to the position of social-democracy, and brought about the following justification:

 
It is well known that, on some occasions, some socialist parties won the parliamentary majority and that in a number of countries there have existed and even exist socialist governments. But even in these cases, the case is limited to making small concessions to the workers without any socialist construction. The state management must be in the hands of the working class, the working class must be prepared not only from the standpoint of the organization, but politically and theoretically to fight for socialism, it does not have to comply with some crumbs capitalist table but, the majority, hast to the power and destroy the private ownership of the key means of production[6].”

 
Marxism-Leninism and its differences with social-democracy are limited, therefore, to a matter of will: the socialists do not want to march from reform to reform towards socialism, we do want. Marxism was pulverized, the Leninist theory of state was buried and its place was taken by the most vulgar reformism and the complete falsification of Marxism.

 
These positions came together with opportunist approaches in economic matters, state organization and in external matters. The opportunis turn was completed with the so-called Khrushchev's Secret Report presented to the Congress by surprise, breaking the principles of collective leadership that were said to be respected

.
After the 20th Congress, and once released the “Secret” Report, the process known as “de-Stalinization”started immediately and it was greeted with relief and without question by several parties of Western Europe


On 8-14 December 1956, ten months after the 20th Congress of the CPSU, the 8th Congress of the PCI meets in Rome and approves after a proposal by Palmiro Togliatti, the so-called “Italian path to socialism”, that had been preceded of the so-called “British path to socialism” adopted in the Congress of the Communist Party of Great Britain held in 1951, opposing the logics of “national paths” to the proven Marxits-Leninist theory of revolution.

 

This emphasizes in the deepening of the freedoms to achieve the economic and social democracy. Thus arises the concept of “advanced democracy” or “antimonopolist democracy” that the culmination of its development would then address the transition to socialism.


Togliatti, taking the lead of the European leaders so-called “renovators”, claims in his work known as “Yalta Memorial” that:


Overall, we start, and we are always convinced that it must be like this, in the development of our policy, from the positions of the 20th Congress[7]. But those positions are in need today, to be deepened and developed. For example, a deeper reflection on the issue of the possibility of a peaceful road to access to socialism leads us to clarify what we mean by democracy in a bourgeois state, how the limits of freedom and democratic institutions can be expanded and what are the most effective forms of participation of the working and toiling masses in the economic and political life. This raises the question of the possibility of winning positions of power by the working classes in the area of a state that has not changed its nature of a bourgeois state and, therefore, whether it is possible to fight for progressive transformation from the inside of that nature[8]”.

 
While different parties begin to take such positions, attacks arise against the socialist countries, especially against the Soviet Union. The first major crack made public in the European communist movement takes place after the proletarian internationalist intervention of the Warsaw Pact countries in Czechoslovakia in August 1968. The Italian Communist Party, the Communist Party of Spain and the Romanian Communist Party publicly condemned the intervention.

 
The anti-Sovietism is integrated in the political line of the parties that embrace the “Eurocommunism” and becomes one of its main features. Any excuse is good as long as it is useful for a differntiation from the USSR, as long as it is presented to the public as a separate option from the main bastion of the international working class, although the anti-Soviet criticism openly matches with imperialist propaganda and objectively contributes to weaken the socialist camp.


The Italian path has a new stadium with the concept of “historic compromise” developed by Enrico Berlinguer. The road to socialism is conceived on the basis of a broad multi-party alliance, which in practice means for the CP's to abandon its leading role, its vanguard role. The so-called “democratic socialism” or “socialism in freedom” adopts its final shape in open antagonism with the dictatorship of the proletariat. Eurocommunist parties assume the so-called bourgeois “formal freedoms” as their own position and defend the possibility of deepening the bourgeois democracy - which they stop to call like that -  to achieve socialism, abandoning the social revolution and the revolutionary power of the working class.


THE EAST BERLIN CONFERENCE AND THE EUROCOMMUNIST REVISIONISM

 
In this perspective, in 1975 the Italian Communist Party ((PCI) and the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) made a joint statement on their model of transition to socialism in “peace and freedom”. That is the first step to the Conference of Communist and Workers' Parties of Europe held in East Berlin on 29 and 30 June 1976, whose results had a wide global resonance. The parties of Italy, France and Spain, supported at a greater or lesser extent by the intervention of some parties in power - as the Jugoslav party – presented in a common front the Eurocommunist platform.

 
The Italian Communist Party openly advocated for the dismantling of the communist movement, saying to the Conference of Berlin[9]:


... in it, the principles of autonomy that now govern the collaborative relationship between the communist parties have been strongly reaffirmed ...

 

The success of that policy of peace and coexistence in Europe is a precondition for democratic and peaceful progress of the Italian people towards profound socialist type transformations.


Enrico Berlinguer declared:

 
... our Conference is not that of an international communist organization, which does not exist or can exist in any form nor internationally, nor at European level ...


The French Communist Party[10] emphasized the so-called democratic path and the national particularities:


... Our party has put before the Conference the main ideas of its 22nd Congress, and in particular the democratic road to socialism, which takes into account national peculiarities of France, inviting the workers, our people.


After the Central Committee plenum held in Rome on 28 and 29 July 1976, the Communist Party of Spain made in a press conference the most complete exposition of these allegedly new revisionist positions[11]:

 
The living conditions of the various communist parties, their characteristics, the same hisstory of each and their peoples, are different enough so that diversity is the crucial note that marks the mutual relationships ...


This diversity limits the issues on which it is possible to have a unity of opinion, as has been found during these two years of preparation.


But there's something deeper. This diversity creates a deep logical diversity of ideas especially on a set of key issues about the nature of socialism, on many contemporary problems, on many ideological issues, on political democracy ...


Also in Berlin has become clear that in Europe there is a group of communist parties whose political line, whose analysis, whose conception of socialism largely coincide ...


These parties are fighting for the democratic path to socialism, and for socialism in a democracy, with the full exercise of the rights of the individual, with multiple political parties, with respect to the alternation in power as the people express their will through universal suffrage. All of these parties are in favor of a socialism in which there is the most scrupulous respect for freedom of conscience and religious practice, freedom of expression, of assembly, scientific, literary and artistic freedom, the right to strike: a socialism in which the state has no official ideology.

 
The “Eurocommunism” openly spoke as a right revisionist current, assuming the postulates of liberalism around the most varied political aspects: democracy, freedom, religion, etc.

 
Under the defense of political freedoms and of bourgeois democracy, especially the multi-party system and electoral vote, they buried the class struggle, denying the role of class domination of the state. They practiced a constant and increasing policy of aggression against the socialist countries and tried to blow by every means available the coordination and advancement of the international communist movement, becoming functional in the name of national particularities and democratic socialism in functional to the anticommunist strategy of the imperialist powers.

 
In their struggle against Marxism-Leninism, they revived the theories of Kautsky that “the opposition of the two socialist currents” (ie, the Bolsheviks and the non-Bolshevik) is “the opposition of two radically different methods: the democratic and dictatorial[12]”, and, as Kautsky, they tried to convert Marx in an ordinary liberal. They furiously attacked the Leninist premise that Marxist is who extends the appreciation of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat and that the problem of the dictatorship of the proletariat is the problem of the attitude of the proletarian state against bourgeois state, of proletarian democracy against bourgeois democracy.

 
As a revisionist current, the “Eurocommunism” was expressed as a continuation of the ideological struggle of the bourgeoisie against the revolutionary ideas on the basis of formal recognition of Marxism, and as Kautsky did with respect to the theory of the state, they called the same Bernstein to fight in their ranks, hoisting again the flag that “the ultimate goal is nothing, the movement is everything”, or, which is the same, “the socialist revolution is nothing, the reforms are everything”. Thus, they stopped any revolutionary attempt in the interests of a broad alliance with Social- Democrats and Christians meant to win a parliamentary majority that, reform after  reform someday would reach socialism using as a weapon the bourgeois state apparatus, even in alliance with the bourgeoisie itself joined into a national antimonopoly front.

 
And, they threw themselves to destroy the Leninist character of their respective parties  and the communist militancy[13]. How could it be otherwise taking into account the organic link that, in the words of Lenin, exists between the issues of organization and programmatic revisionist views, their politics and tactics.

 
“EUROCOMMUNISM” IN SPAIN AND THE DESTRUCTION OF THE PCE.

 
After the defeat in the national revolutionary war against fascism (1936 -39), the political leadership of the PCE did not undertake a rigorous analysis of the causes of the defeat and the role of the Party in the final phase of the war. The party leadership, with Comrade Jose Díaz[14] seriously ill and being itself dispersed in different countries, failed to articulate a strategy for continuing the war against fascism until the beginning of the Second World War. There was no fallback plan, and even less, a forecast that allowed to continue the organized struggle underground.

 
From 1932 to 1954 no Congrses of the PCE was held[15], allowing a constant and progressive weakening of the Leninist principles of collective leadership and an ideal setting for all types of maneuvers made without considering the organicity and the struggling basis and militants of the party. Situation further enhanced by a Political Bureau, whose members lived thousands of miles away from each other and without the presence of an articulate and effective political leadership inside the country.

 
Parallel to the formulation of the “Italian path to socialism”, the PCE adopts in Spain the so-called “policy of national reconciliation”, while undertaking a disastrous retreat of the guerrilla struggle. With such precedents, a hard battle begins in the leadership of the PCE.

 
Led by Carrillo, appointed Secretary General at the 6th Congress, held in Prague in December of 1959 and January 1960, the leadership prepares the so-called “democratic way out”, designs the so-called “alliance of labour and culture forces” and progressively imposes a revisionist and anti-Soviet line, eliminating prominent leaders, removing the cadres who, in the party leadership remained loyal to Marxism-Leninism, and expelling thousands of honest communists who heroically fought inside the country.

 .
The Eurocommunist fraction relied all the time on the results of the 20th Congress of the CPSU, especially in the thesis that asserted the plurality of forms in the transition to socialism and the criticism of Stalin contained in the Secret Report, which served as a pretext to defame the USSR and move away from the teachings of the October Revolution in the revolutionary transition and the building of socialism. They also relied for that purpose in the counterrevolutionary events of October-November in the Popular Republic of Hungary and especially in the Warsaw Pact intervention in Czechoslovakia, used together with the above to undermine the confidence of the militants and the working class in socialism and reduce the immense prestige of the USSR.

 
The opportunism of the Eurocommunist leadership of the PCE knew no bounds. In 1970 Santiago Carrillo said to the French daily Le Monde:

 
We conceive a socialist Spain where the Prime Minister would be a Catholic and where the CP would be a minority ... Spanish socialism will march with the sickle and hammer in one hand and the cross on another[16].”

 
Since then, the wording of the so-called “covenant for freedom” comes to the forefront in the PCE. As in the PCI with the “historic compromise”, the above mentioned covenant, the maximum expression of the triumph of interclassism in the PCE, is not conceived as an alliance of classes or political organizations to overcome the dictatorship, but in its Eurocommunist application, it becomes the desperate search for recognition by the ruling classes, especially of the oligarchy that opposed their interests to Franco's autocratic tendency and struggled within the regime for the Spanish integration in the European Economic Community, which at the political level required a change in the form of domination, a protected passage from dictatorship to parliamentary monarchy.

 
And in this passage the revisionist PCE was committed. First accepting the “Moncloa Agreements” which subjected the interests of the working class and popular sectors to the economic interests of the oligarchy, in the middle of the economic crisis, playing a role of containment of workers' struggle. After that, accepting the monarchy, burying the history of anti-fascist struggle of the working class and the Spanish people, giving up the re-establishment of republican legality and supporting the Constitution of 1978, which consecrated the change from one form to another in the exercise of the dictatorship of capital.

 
In parallel, from the CC plenary held in 1976 in Rome, the Leninist conception of the Party, its place and the its role in society, its functions and essential tasks, its organizational principles, were attacked. In a party with thousands of purged members, the doors of the party were opened wide to thousands of new members without any control or revolutionary monitoring. All conditions were stablished in order to formally approve, in the 9th Congress, held in Madrid in 1978, the abandonment of Marxism-Leninism and the consecration of the revisionist policy imposed after a long process to the Spanish communists.

 
The Party of the national revolutionary war, the guerrilla warfare, whose militants formed in the resistance against Nazi-fascism in all European countries and fought without mercy together with the Soviet people in the battles of Leningrad and Stalingrad, had been liquidated.

 

The PCE had mutated beyond recognition in an organization that, even until today, is against the historical necessity of socialist revolution and the revolutionary power of the working class - the dictatorship of the proletariat - in the transition period and the construction of socialism; a party that is opposed to the Leninist principles of organization, especially to democratic centralism; a party that renounces to the experience and lessons of socialist construction in the twentieth century, which qualifies as a sort of “state capitalism”, rejecting in particular the period known as “socialist attack or assault against capitalism” in which the Soviet Union, with Stalin at the head of the CPSU, demonstrated the superiority of socialism over capitalism and achieved major successes; a party that accepts the imperialist framework of the European Union, claiming for a social and democratic version of the same under the opportunist postulates of the European Left Party; and a party that rejects all forms of recomposition of the international communist movement structured on firm ideological foundations.

 
In the Iberian Peninsula, the fraternal Portuguese Communist Party withstood all kinds of pressures that, seeing among others the Spanish example, sought to end the Marxist-Leninist line of the PCP. Comrade Alvaro Cunhal, Secretary General of the PCP responded always firmly and decisively:

 
This campaign appears frequently with a paternalistic tone. They lament what they call the  “inflexibility”, the “dogmatism”, the “sectarianism”, the “Stalinism” of the PCP and do hope that the PCP will become a “modern” and “western” party ...

 
And what are the modifications that the PCP would do to “prove its independence”?

 
The conditions are pointed provocatively. They all revolve around six major points: stop being a Marxist-Leninist party, breaking the friendly relations with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, criticizing the Soviet Union and the socialist countries, breaking with proletarian internationalism, abandoning in Portugal the structural reforms of a socialist character and adopting an internal operation that allows trends and divisions and breaking the unity of the Party
[17].”

 
In the Spanish communist movement, unlike the Portuguese, the revisionist positions promoted by the leaders of the PCE became hegemonic, and throughout this process the PCE was divided into two main forces: those who resisted the Eurocommunistoffensive and defended Marxism-Leninism grouping in 1984 in the Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain, and those who persisted and persist in wallowing in the revisionist swamp, without having made a serious and rigorous self-criticism, a simple analysis that goes beyond mere lamentations about what the “Spanish transition” could have been but was not and continue to defend in the practice the path of bourgeois parliamentarism wrapped up, nowadays, with the same Republican flag that once they betrayed.

 
Let us give an example of this. In the organ of expression of the PCE from April 2010, under the title “Political offensive towards the Republican Conference of the PCE”, the Republican Movement Secretary of the PCE says among other niceties:

 
"In the PCE we understand that the republican project should not be pigeonholed in terms of terminology referring to spaces in the political spectrum. We must give the word Republic an entity of proposal to make it more accessible and appealing; the Republic is the economic, social, political, ideological reform and the reform of new values to the real situation.”

 
Then, the Director of “Mundo Obrero”, in his article entitled “Building the Republic” gives us even more clear signs of complete confusion within the reformism:

 
"We are not against the Constitution whose deep reform we are asking for, we are clear that the goal is against an archaic monarchy, obsolete and guarantor of the values of neoliberalism. We do not want any republic, but a federal and democratic one with the values of the 1st and 2nd Republics applied to the current situation ...

 
The future republican Constitution should be focused in the contents of the solemn declaration of the UN Human Rights from December 10, 1948, and must also adopt the three covenants signed in 1966 and accepted by Spain which develop those contents...


Democracy as a permanent agreement between free and equal beings to keep agreeing permanently  has a range and depth that enables the public accessibility to making all kinds of decisions ..
.”

.
The old revisionist content, adopted in Spain and other countries as “Eurocommunist”, thus fits with the times. New language for old approaches and no trace of Marxism. The theses of the 18th  Congress of the PCE say:

 
At this 18th Congress, the PCE is reaffirmed in the defense of socialism as a coherent development and full implementation of democracy. Therefore it includes the recognition of the value of personal freedoms and their guarantee, the principles of secular state and its democratic articulation, the plurality of parties, trade union autonomy, freedom of religion and worship practiced in the private sphere and the total freedom of inquiry, and artistic and cultural activities.”

 
Exactly the same as the Eurocommunist PCE said after the Central Committee plenum held in Rome in 1976, whose quote we have reproduced above.

 
The so-called Socialism of the 21st Century is the new flag of our present republicans and yesterday Eurocommunists[18]. A proposal whose most elaborated versions depart from these revisionist theses that have crossed the central debates of the labour movement since it entered in History, from Bernstein to Eurocommunism, opposing to scientific socialism an exercise of eclecticism mixed with liberal – bourgeois positions.

 
Therefore it is not surprising that the parties heirs of Eurocommunism have warmly greeted the proposal of a 5th International[19], where their revisionist approaches can coexist naturally with forces that have fully renounced to the class struggle, with all kinds of social democrats, Trotskyists and every modern variety of opportunism, both right and left, as they already do at a regional level in the European Left Party.

 

IN CONCLUSION.

 
Eurocommunism was a right-wing revisionist current opposed to scientific socialism and an enemy of Marxism-Leninism that, as at other times throughout the history of class struggle,  served as a vehicle for the penetration of bourgeois ideology in the ranks of the working class and the communist movement.

 
Eurocommunism interacted with the opportunist policies that, especially after the 20th Congress of the CPSU, were imposed in several communist parties in power. Eurocommunism based its performance on the cracks opened up by those opportunist positions and at the same time, betrayed the proletarian internationalist principles by practising a crude anti-Sovietism, that contributed to undermine the confidence of the working class in socialism.

 
Opportunist positions in both the communist parties in power and those which were not, were not sufficiently fought from the Marxist-Leninist positions. Unlike what happened in the days of Lenin and Stalin, a rigorous ideological debate was not opened within the international communist movement, where the “diplomacy” prevailed instead of the support to the consistent revolutionary positions who faced revisionism.

 .
The facts have not confirmed any of the Eurocommunist claims. Eurocommunism led to the working class in their respective countries to the dead end of interclassism, extremely weakened the revolutionary positions and led to the liquidation of the communist parties that adopted it as revolutionary detachments.

 
The communist parties which embraced Eurocommunism, and have not been completely liquidated, have not made any rigorous of their past positions. Currently they are trying to adapt the same revisionist positions with the times, grouping in Europe around the European Left Party.

 
The development of the class struggle internationally, with the progress of the working class, the peasants and the anti-imperialist positions in different countries, particularly in Latin America, has made a new variety of opportunism enter the scene. The so-called Socialism of the 21st Century, based on the eclecticism and the denial of the categories and principles of scientific socialism, is called to occupy the same position as the so-called “Eurocommunism” held in the second half of the twentieth century in Europe and elsewhere .

 

The Marxist-Leninists should be actively involved in the ideological struggle now being waged in the world anti-imperialist revolutionary movement, contributing decisively to the urgent reorganization of the international communist movement to ensure the success of social revolutions to come.

 



[1]    Statement of the Central Committee of the PCPE on the 90th Anniversary of the Great Socialist Revolution of October. 7th Plenum of the CC, 6-7 October, 2007.

[2]    See DOCUMENTATION FRANÇAISE: <<Problèmes Politiques et Sociaux>>, núm. 293. Paris, 1976, pp. 25 and 27.

[3]    Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR. November 1951. This work from J. Stalin was published in Spain by  Ediciones Vanguardia Obrera in 1.984, Vol. 15 Works J. Stalin.

[4]    20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Published in Spanish by the French Communist Party. Pp 40 to 43

[5]    Opus Citae, p. 243.

[6]    O.C. p. 279.

[7]    He refers to the 20th Congress of the CPSU.

[8]    The “Yalta Memorial”, published after Togliatti's passing away, was written to maintain a series of conversations with the Soviet leaders. In it it is developed the idea of “poycentrism” in the international communist movement.

[9]    L ´Unitá, July 4, 1976. Organ of expression of the Italian Communist Party.

[10]  L´Humanité, July 8, 1976. Organ of expression of the French Communist Party.

[11]  Europe and the communists. Editorial Progreso 1977. Pp. 294 to 297.

[12]  Quoted by Lenin in “The proletarian revolution and the renegade Kautsky”. Collected Works in three volumes, Moscow 1961. Ediction in Spanish p. 65.

[13]  In the case of the PCE, the CC plenum held in Rome in 1976 modified the Party's structure and changed its structure in cells for territory agrupations, like the socialdemocrats, in preparing the elections to come.

[14]  Secretary General of the PCE since the 4th Congress, held in Sevilla in 1932.

[15]  The 5th Congress of the PCE takes place in Czechoslovakia in April 1954. Dolores Ibárruri, La Pasionaria, succeeds José Díaz, who died in 1942, as the Secretary General. In the 6th Congress, held in 1960, Santiago Carrillo, Secretary General of the Socialist Youth, united to the Communist Youth in the JSU (Unified Socialist Youth), displaces Dolores Ibárruri from the General Secretary, appointing her as President of the Party, a non-existing position until then. In the same Congress, the Political Bureau changes its name to Executive Committee.

[16]  Statements of Santiago Carrillo to the French newspaper Le Monde published on November 4, 1970.

[17]  Álvaro Cunhal. “A Party with glass walls”. Editorial Avante, Lisbon .985.

[18]  In the Theses approved by the 18th Congress of the PCE, held in November 2009, the positions of the so-called Socialism of 21st Century are adopted.

[19]  In the report approved unanimously by the Federal Committee of the PCE on December 18, 2009, in regards to the proposal of the 5th International it is said: “In this international framework appears the initiative launched in Venezuela to move towards a new socialist international. To begin, we must note that from the PCE it has been asked for many years the need to expand to the whole planet what is the Forum of Sao Paulo, in vwhich only Latin American parties participate with full membership, the rest fo us are guests, as the need to coordinate actions and exchange and complement views is increasingly necessary in faceof a capital that is fully organized, the key now is to see how we shape this initiative in which the PCE must show its willingness to participate today.”

THE EUROPEAN DIMENSION OF OPPORTUNISM: THE ELP AND THE ROLE OF THE PCE

 

by Ástor García and Raúl Martínez

Members of the Executive Committee of the PCPE

 

“The proletariat fights for the revolutionary overthrow of the imperialist bourgeoisie;

the petty bourgeoisie fights for the reformist “improvement” of imperialism,

for adaptation to it, while submitting to it” [1]

 

V.I. LENIN

 

 

The importance of the struggle against opportunism and its European dimension.


Capital is an international force, which requires that the working class becomes also an organized  international force. The long way that workers' and communist movement has walked since the creation of the International Workers Association until today has been crossed by a constant debate between two positions: the revolutionary one, expressing the interests of the proletariat, and the opportunistic one as an expression of the influence of the bourgeois policy and ideology ideology in the labour movement.


At European level, the constitution of the European Left Party (ELP) as an instrument for building an opportunist pole with a continental dimension and a force for class collaboration in the framework of the European Union, requires that the communist parties that base their policy in Marxism-Leninism clearly set out their views on this new coalition of opportunistic forces "recommended" by capital, as we shall see.

 

The anti-imperialist struggle we wage is directed against imperialism as a system, against capitalism in its highest stage, which involves a direct confrontation against the imperialist unions and the political organizations that support them in one degree or another. As throughout history, the triumph of the revolutionary positions in the workers and peoples' movement involves a determined struggle against opportunism in all its forms and manifestations.

 

Given the important class struggles to come, there can be no tolerance or coexistence with opportunism. One of the urgent tasks that the communist movement is facing is to strengthen the ideological front, allowing in all fields to depute the hegemony that the forces class conciliation, as opportunism and social-democracy, still hold in the workers' and trade union movement. The struggle against the ELP and its forces in each country is not an option for the Marxist-Leninists forces, but it is a need arising from the conditions under which the class struggle develops.

 

Where does the ELP project come from? Which forces are promoting it? To what interests do this force stand for? Let's see.

 

The Euro-communist origins of the ELP.

 

In the article From “Euro-communism” to present opportunism, published in No. 2 of the International Communist Review, Euro-communism was defined as a revisionist right-wing current  opposed to scientific socialism and enemy of Marxism-Leninism, which served as a vehicle to the penetration of bourgeois ideology in the ranks of the working class movement and the communist movement.[2]


This current was highly effective in its task of dividing and weakening the international communist movement, acting as a “fifth column” inside the movement, in open opposition to the forces that remained loyal to Marxism-Leninism and the socialist countries. In the capitalist conditions of the management of the crisis of overproduction and over-accumulation of capital that began in the 70s, their positions were a retaining wall of the workers' struggle, channeling popular anger towards the systemic margins of what was called “Welfare State”.

 

Euro-communism did not disappear with the counter-revolutionary triumph in the USSR and the other socialist countries of Eastern Europe. Since its inception it was designed to fragment the communist movement, generating an opportunistic European pole whit the hegemony in mind. As we will see, the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) played and still plays and important role in that task.

 

The 8th Congress of the PCE, held in 1972, agreed to support the entry of Spain into the European Community (as it was called then) considering that this was a “strategic substantive choice that  was a response to the need to act in a supranational framework in the time when a clear internationalization of economy was taking place, market penetration, development of businesses and the media, along with the need to move towards homogeneous geographical and political spaces.[3]


Four years later, in June 1976, the Conference of Communist and Workers' Parties of Europe was held in Berlin , where the Communist Parties of Spain, France and Italy presented in a common front the Euro-communist platform, in which the support to the process of conception of a European inter-imperialist union played a decisive role.

 

These positions would be ratified by the 9th Congress of the PCE -the first one held legally after 46 years-, which was held in Madrid from 19 to 23 April 1978, and where it is formally agreed to abandon Marxism-Leninism and the ideological definition that PCE retains today is elaborated. The theses of this congress picked the revisionist approaches that the Euro-communist leadership had progressively imposed since the mid 50s, as Santiago Carrillo[4] recognizes in its Report to the Congress on behalf of the outgoing Central Committee:

 

That “strong will is what has led us not to abandon Leninism -as said- but to propose, in the definition that we bring to the Congress and will be discussed at the time, a text that we think that corresponds better to what is the party's political practice and its theoretical elaborations of the revolutionary experience lived for over twenty years.

 

And in this respect I want to say that the debate on the content of these problems is not new. It  began, at least, twenty-two years ago, both on reconciliation, the alliance of the forces of labour and culture, the pact for freedom, socialism in freedom, the integration of Christians in the party and other issues, as on our conceptions of the international communist and workers' movement and our differences with large communist parties in power[5]


The 9th Congress of the PCE again adopted a position in favour of Spain's participation in the European Economic Community (EEC), with a speech that will certainly and immediately  recall the reader what is defended today by some political forces in Europe:

 

The PCE, when advocating Spain's entry into the EEC, affirms its willingness to transform, alongside other leftist forces in Europe, the current character of the Community, dominated by the big monopolies. We aspire to the Europe of the workers, the Europe of the peoples: a Europe united in the economic and political fields, that has its own policy, independent, that is not made subject to the United States or the Soviet Union, but maintaining positive relations with both powers, a Europe that is an autonomous factor in world politics, helping to overcome the military blocs and bipolarity, to democratize international life, making it easy for all people to have more freedom to be masters of their fates. Detente and coexistence will thus have a more effective and deeper content.[6]


At the same time they pointed to a very specific alliance policy:


(...) we consider essential to start a dialogue between communist, socialist and social-democratic  parties in Western Europe, with an open mind, courage and seriousness, in order to find common ground to foster joint action for concrete goals, which aim to find a progressive way out of the crisis of the capitalist system
.[7]


The theses of this Congress defined the outlines of what is to this day the position of PCE, also largely reflected in the theses of the ELP. At the risk of boring readers, we consider it appropriate to quote some passages from subsequent congressional theses of the PCE which demonstrate the important role played by Spanish revisionism at the European level.


The 12th Congress of the PCE, held in Madrid in February 1988, in which Julio Anguita was elected as Secretary General, stated:


A profound transformation of the EC is therefore necessary. For this procedure, we are committed to building broad alliances, from the labour movement and other social forces of progress, sustained in the political field by the convergence of the communist, socialist, social-democratic, labour and green parties”.
[8]

 

In the Base Document of the 5th National Conference of the PCE, held in Madrid in 1989, we can find together all the positions for the European Union which had already been broadly adopted since 1972. In summary, the opportunistic position regarding the EU is characterized by the defense of the entry and stay of Spain in the European Union, by the defense of a politically and economically united EU with an independent foreign policy, under the banner of social Europe or Europe of the people, by the organization of a leftist force with a European dimension born of the confluence of communists, social-democrats, labourists and greens, and by the support to the consolidation of the European Trade Union Confederation, prompting the incorporation to the ETUC of CCOO, the French CGT and the Portuguese Intersindical.[9]


As evidenced by the passages reproduced, the so-called Communist Party of Spain has played a relevant role in elaborating the political positions that would subsequently adopt the European Left Party, whose creation was anticipated by the Spanish opportunists more than three decades ago . It also demonstrates the continuity between the founding positions of Euro-communism regarding the European Union and the present position of the mutated Communist Parties which are part of the ELP, among them and prominently the PCE.

 

The founding myth of the ELP: the reactionary utopia of social Europe.


With the active involvement of European institutions, the broad opportunist alliance at European scale pursued by the PCE since the triumph of Euro-communism was founded in 2004. In the so-called Berlin Appeal for the establishment of the European Left Party, signed on January 11, 2004 ELP opportunistic forces agreed to defend a “democratic, social, feminist, ecological, peaceful Europe, a Europe of solidarity”.
[10]


Nice words, no doubt. But the road to hell is paved of good intentions, as they say. Lenin warned about this in his famous article entitled On the slogan for a United States of Europe, where not only he put forward the law of uneven economic and political development in capitalism, basing the possibility of the victory of the socialist revolution in a few countries, and even in one country, but he also developed the Marxist analysis of the character of an alliance of European countries under the conditions of imperialism. Let us reproduce some excerpts:

 

 From the standpoint of the economic conditions of imperialism—i.e., the export of capital arid the division of the world by the “advanced” and “civilized” colonial powers—a United States of Europe, under capitalism, is either impossible or reactionary.


War does not contradict the fundamentals of private property—on the contrary, it is a direct and inevitable outcome of those fundamentals. Under capitalism the smooth economic growth of individual enterprises or individual states is impossible. Under capitalism, there are no other means of restoring the periodically disturbed equilibrium than crises in industry and wars in politics.


Of course,
temporary agreements are possible between capitalists and between states. In this sense a United States of Europe is possible as an agreement between the European capitalists ... but to what end? Only for the purpose of jointly suppressing socialism in Europe, of jointly protecting colonial booty against Japan and America

 

On the present economic basis, i.e., under capitalism, a United States of Europe would signify an organization of reaction to retard America’s more rapid development. The times when the cause of democracy and socialism was associated only with Europe alone have gone for ever.”[11]


Leninist analysis demolishes each and every one of the ELP approaches. How is it possible to speak of a fully democratic EU in the middle of the reactionary tendency of imperialism? How can you talk with a minimum of seriousness of a peaceful EU when the imperialist war is a constant and the European monopolies unite in the dispute with other imperialist powers? How is it possible to speak of a social Europe when the EU is organized to demolish social rights and intensify the exploitation of the labour force?

 

There has not been and there will not be a social Europe in capitalism, whatever the opportunitic force of the ELP say. Engels dedicated the following words to the folly of Mr. Dühring: “If I include a shoe-brush in the unity mammals, this does not help it to get mammary glands. [12]. So, mammary glands do not appear on shoe-brushes nor the European Union can turn into an instrument of peace, equality, respect for the environment and social policies.

 

ELP forces have transferred to the European level the opportunist positions adopted decades ago in their own countries. They denied the socialist revolution, refused the dictatorship of the proletariat, resigned to the goal of building socialism-communism, denied proletarian internationalism and embraced anti-Sovietism, they practiced and practice parliamentary cretinism and extreme reformism. These positions, moved to the area of the European Union, involve the application of a line against the interests of the labour movement and the international communist movement that has a concrete expression in the defense of the following approaches:

 

-Defense of the European Union as a counterweight in the international arena, especially with regard to the U.S., by changing the balance of power in favour of a supposedly “fairer” and “more decmocratic” world, settled in what is known as multi-polarity.


-Defense of the broad fronts of the “left”, which dilute the role of the Communist Parties, deny their revolutionary functions and press for the mutation and integration of the communist forces.


-Participation in capitalist governments, as has happened in France or in different Spanish regions where United Left ruled in the past or is ruling now with the PSOE, as has happened in the Basque Country, Catalonia, Asturias and Andalusia, where IU voted for the cuts and reduction of wages of workers in the public sector.


-Defence of trade-union reformism, settled on compromise and conciliation of classes practiced by the ETUC.


-Denial of everything related to the construction of socialism-communism, flatly rejecting the revolutionary traditions, in open opposition to scientific socialism, the class struggle and socialist revolution.


The ELP, created under European directives and the EU institutions, is not a naive force. It is called to play, and actually plays in the practice, the proper role of opportunism in all times and places: the integration of the labour movement, its adaptation to capitalism, its conversion into a movement  with a bourgeois character.

 

In this respect the analysis that the opportunists make about the current capitalist crisis is of particular interest. For the forces of the ELP the causes of the crisis are not in the internal logic of the capitalist economy, but in a certain type of management, the neo-liberal one, that would have led capitalism to commit certain excesses that become the cause the crisis. Therefore, the ELP forces oppose the current policies promoted by a fraction of the oligarchy (which they identify with the neo-liberal right wing), to embrace, immediately afterwards, the expansionary policies promoted by the sector of the oligarchy that has historically been represented by social-democracy. Hence the rhetorical discourse on the need to look back to the productive sector, or real economy, which they unscientifically oppose to the financial-speculative sector, and the slogans they promote: “people before profits” or “it is not a crisis, it is a rip-off”, coinciding with the movement of “indignados”, which is functional to the system of domination and an expression of the class interests of the petty bourgeoisie.

 

Their action programme serves the resumption of the cycle of expanded reproduction of capital through typically social-democratic investing policies. In the words of the current Secretary General of the PCE, Jose Luis Centella, “going towards a model where the real economy is imposed on the speculative one[13]. In the case of PCE, their so-called Anticapitalist Social Alternative condenses the opportunist political proposal to face the systemic crisis defending the following positions: “role of the ICO (public loans to small businesses) and a public banking, tax reform contrary to the VAT increase that increases the progressivity of taxes (corporate tax and income tax of natural persons), while decreasing the indirect taxes (VAT) at the time that the inheritance tax is recovered. Similarly we must defend that the Savings Banks defer evictions for families who are unemployed[14]. What are these proposals but typically social-democratic measures? Where is the anti-capitalist character of these proposals?

 

The stance of the ELP and its member parties generates utopian illusions in the working masses, it embellishes the inter-imperialist union that is the European Union and guides the workers and people's struggles to the dead end of the reform. Ii is enough to say that the PCE defended in the  European elections of 1989 the following: “The next elections should open a constitutional process that will give the European Parliament a mandate for elaborating a democratic Constitution[15]. That was the position defended by the PCE before the Spanish working class. Years later the monopolies collected the proposal of PCE and tried to impose to the peoples of the EU a brutal Constitution on which United Left wailed by promoting the pathetic slogan “Yes to Europe, but not this way”.


The ELP against the Communist Parties: The undermining role of the PCE.


The PCPE has a first hand knowledge of the double-dealing practiced by the PCE in its international relations. In recent times, its foreign policy aims to bring the Communist Parties who once refused to be part of the ELP closer. To do this, they sweeten the role that the PCE itself is playing in Spain, exposing everywhere a non-existent strengthening based on the exercise of self-criticism. They base their speech on the need to strengthen the ELP with the presence of more communist parties, which would correct some issues which they cynically criticize.

 

The truth is that the PCE occupies the Vice-Presidency of the ELP. From that position, they bluntly support opportunistic forces like SYRIZA in Greece or the Left Bloc in Portugal, with whom they share row on the European stage and management positions in the ELP.

 

But the role of the PCE is not limited to the European environment. Spanish opportunists, using the historical relations and the linguistic coincidence with various Latin American countries, defend the same opportunist position for Latin America that the ELP defends in Europe, in this case embracing the theses of the so-called socialism of the 21st century. For this they have the enormous resources that the EU gives to the ELP, which are used to promote the mutation of the communist forces on all five continents.

 

A paradigmatic example the undermining work played by the PCE and the ELP is the organization of the seminar Crisis and Democracy in Belarus, in support of the pro-imperialist force Better World, to which the PCE and United Left sent Mr. Pedro Marset, who was expelled by the Belarusian authorities on June 8, 2012[16].


There is no middle ground: revisionism or Marxism-Leninism?


The position of the consistent Marxist-Leninist parties on the nature and character of an imperialist union as the European Union is clear. This is a principled stand based on the analysis of the process of “European construction” from scientific categories and that is diametrically opposed to the assessments of the organizations that constitute the European Left Party. Consistently, our analysis rejects and combats the tactical political positions to which they lead and which have been mentioned above.

 

In this regard, the statement of 21 Communist and Workers' Parties of Europe on the occasion of the 2009 European elections is abundantly clear: “The EU is a choice of the capital. It promotes measures in favour of the monopolies, the concentration and centralization of capital. With the “Lisbon Treaty” its characteristics as an imperialist economic, political and military bloc have been strengthened against the interests of the workers and the peoples. Armaments, authoritarianism, state repression are being strengthened.[17]

 

Nothing has changed in the position we held in the bilateral declaration signed by our Party and the Communist Party of Greece in March 2012, about the fact that the capitalist crisis is exposing bourgeois and opportunist forces and has served to clearly see that “The proposals of the ELP concerning “a pro-people capitalist development” and concerning multifaceted borrowing via the ECB, which the working class and poor popular strata will be called on to pay for, are tailored for big capital and its interests. [18].


The capitalist crisis has made evident for large sections of the working class and the working people that the EU only serves the interests of the big monopolies, and the following idea permeates the masses: intermediate positions are no longer valid, but a clear position to overthrow the power of monopolies and the political structures that serve them, in short the overthrow of bourgeois power, which necessarily involves the unilateral disengagement from these imperialist unions of each member state.

 

The PCPE bluntly states in the theses of the 9th Congress that the principled position on the nature and characteristics of the European Union defines the line between the revolutionary organizations and the reformist organizations. On that basis, it is easy to verify how reformist positions not only prevail within the ELP, but also can be found, with surprising coincidence, in organizations coming from currents such seemingly antagonistic in principle as Maoism or Trotskyism.

 

The latest political dynamics are serving to verify that left wing and right wing positions within the labour movement eventually converge with reformism, on behalf of an alleged tactical flexibility which always ends up by challenging and denying any revolutionary strategy.


Let's look at some examples. Within the ELP, as mentioned above, we can find organizations coming from Euro-communism, Trotskyism and Maoism. For example, in the Portuguese Left Bloc we could find (until the dissolution of the organizations that originally formed the Bloc) the Maoist People's Democratic Union and the Trotskyist Revolutionary Socialist Party. In Greek Syriza we can find the Maoist Communist Organization of Greece -KOE- along with some Trotskyist organizations such as the Internationalist Workers Left -DEA). In the Danish Red-Green Alliance you have the Socialist Workers' Party -SAP-, Trotskyist, and the Communist Workers' Party -KAP-Maoist. In all cases, regardless of the proposals or analysis that adorn their documents or web pages, each and every one of these parties supports the proposals of the ELP on behalf of tactics or whatever, which calls into question any other approach they can do.

 

But this confluence is not only within the ELP. It is somewhat remarkable that other organizations who also come from these ideological currents, coincide with the ELP in their perception of the EU. Let us take the example of the Dutch Socialist Party (SP) Dutch and the Spanish party Anticapitalist Left, twinned with the French NPA.

 

Dennis de Jong, MEP of the SP, recently wrote an article entitled “The social face of Europe”, published on the website of his party, which openly stated: “It would certainly help if working people knew that Brussels was looking to reinforce their rights rather than undermining them. A social project of this kind would improve Brussels’ standing, and would have the SP’s support[19]. In another text, entitled “A better Europe starts now”[20], the SP declares its proposals to meet this aim, including the strengthening of national parliaments, the strengthening of national governments, the introduction of the popular legislative initiative or to make the Council more transparent. Ultimately, measures coming from outside the ELP but could be signed by each and every one of its members.

 

Meanwhile, Anti-capitalist Left openly stated in its framework programme for the 2009 European elections that “the construction of the European Union in recent decades has been more focused on the establishment of an economic and trade bloc than in ensuring the "Europeanisation" and the widespread of social rights[21], suggesting the possibility of a construction that could “defend social rights” without calling into question the capitalist framework. Perhaps the summary of their position if the following, as proposed within their “10 urgent measures and alternatives against the crisis and capitalist Europe”:

 

Another Europe is possible: repeal of the Maastricht Treaty and the Stability and Growth Pact. No to the Lisbon Treaty, for a Europe based on the upward harmonization of rights and conquests achieved and in the solidarity with the people of the south”.

 

All of them reform proposals, which may sound nice to the working people as far as they are opposed to concrete expressions of the capitalist character of the EU, but without making any reference to how to end with he EU.

 

In short, we verify the confluence of certain organizations coming from Trotskyism and Maoism with the ELP opportunism when facing the struggle priorities of the working class of the peoples of Europe against the EU since, regardless of the analysis in which they are based on, the final practical position always means not to directly confront with the EU of the monopolies.

 

And all this is not happening at any given moment, but in a situation of structural crisis of the international capitalist system, which characterizes this era as the epoch of transition from capitalism to socialism.



[1]    LENIN. The proletarian revolution and the renegade Kautsky. Collected Works. Progress Publishers (Spanish version). Vol. 37, page 304.

[2]    INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIST REVIEW No. 2, December 2009, Spanish edition, pages 25-39.

 

[3]    SOCIALISM. A PERMANENT SEARCH (Materials of the PCE between the 12th and 13th Congress). Pages 114 -115.

 

[4]    Santiago Carrillo occupied the General Secretary of the PCE since the 6th Congress, held in Prague between December 1959 and January 1960, until 1982.

       

[5]    9th Congress of the PCE. Reports, debates, records and documents. PCE Editions. Printed in Bucharest (Romania) in 1978. Page 41.

 

[6]    Idem. Pages 410 and 411. Underline ours.

 

[7]    Idem.  Page 411.

 

[8]    SOCIALISM. A PERMANENT SEARCH (Materials of the PCE between the 12th and 13th Congress).  Page 32.

 

[9]    The documents of the 5th Conference of the PCE say: “To promote this articulation process, the PCE believes that it is necessary that the Trade Union Confederation of CC.OO is incorporated to the ETUC, together with the French CGT and the Portuguese Intersindical, and is committed to make any actions necessary to support this incorporation”.

[10]  EUROPEAN LEFT. Release in Spanish distributed by the European Left Party, with the support of the European Parliament, in 2004. Page 5.

[11]  V.I. LENIN. Collected Works. Vol. 26. Progress Publishers (Spanish version). Pages 374-378.

[12]  F. ENGELS. Anti – Dühring. The subversion of science by Mr. Eugen Dühring.

[13]  Statement from José Luis Centella in a breakfast meeting with the media held in Madrid on June 28th, 2012: www.pce.es/secretarias/seccomunicacion/pl.php?id=5080

[14]  The PCE document entitled FOR THE UNITY OF THE LEFT AROUND AN ANTICAPITALIST SOCIAL ALTERNATIVE (ASA) TO THE CRISIS, can be found in www.pce.es/docpce/pl.php?id=3725.

[15]  SOCIALISM. A PERMANENT SEARCH (Materials of the PCE between the 12th and 13th Congress).  Page 131.

[18]  Joint Statement of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain (PCPE). March 16, 2012. http://www.solidnet.org/greece-communist-party-of-greece-/2728-cp-of-greece-joint-statement-kke-pcpe-en-sp