Prises de position - Prese di posizione - Toma de posición - Statements                        


Spain: Parliamentary elections

Whoever wins, the bourgeoisie will win



In the parliamentary elections to be held on Sunday July 23 there is no alternative for the proletarian class.

 On the one hand, the left bloc intends to reaffirm the coalition government between the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and some “alternative” forces alongside it, while tilting its pivotal position a little more towards the centre. Just think (and it doesn’t take much work) of the murders of migrants in the fenced-off Spanish enclave of Melilla on Moroccan territory, of the shooting of demonstrators in Linares, of the routine deployment of police tanks in Cadiz, of the repression of the metalworkers’ strike in Vigo… and, as far as legislation is concerned, of the double state of emergency that harshly repressed the population by locking it up in its homes and caused the deaths of thousands of old people in retirement homes, brought about interventions in the labour market at the time of the pandemic that allowed the bosses to pass on the cost of labour to the state, and then the labour law reforms that consolidated this system of state subsidies for wage costs, or of the maintenance in force of the repressive laws of the previous government… Considering that all these measures were adopted by a left-wing and “progressive” government, and that now a government more in the political centre is being sought… it is not difficult to see what awaits the proletarians if these forces should win the elections.

On the other hand, the classical right of the People’s Party (PP) associated with its ridiculous and arrogant splinters (Vox). For these, their programme is clear and they do not try to hide it: apart from the propagandist assaults against the government of Pedro Sánchez (PSOE) and Yolanda Díaz (Communist Party of Spain, PCE), they will maintain all its legislation, “progressive” even in aspects that have been lacking so far, such as the reform of labour law; and they will intensify the systematic war waged against the living conditions of the proletariat. In fact, it is more than likely that the coalition of PP and Vox, in whatever form it eventually takes, will not even bother to go beyond the mere denigration of the present government, because it is aware that all the work of the government of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and Podemos (the far left) has been completely in line with the demands of the bourgeois class and must be sustained at all costs.

Will PP and Vox revoke labour law reform? Yet this is one of the great achievements of employers: limiting wages and the cost of maintaining a workforce through ERTE (Expediente de Regulación Temporal de Empleo – a labour procedure that allows a company to suspend or reduce, for a specific time, the contractual relationship with its workers). Will they lower the minimum wage? After all, we have seen a 5% fall in real wages in recent years. Will they strengthen border controls? The cooperation in the killing of immigrants that the national police and the Civil Guard have consistently maintained with the Moroccan gendarmerie can hardly be overcome.

It might be supposed that the PP–Vox alternative goes beyond these aspects on which all the bourgeois parties agree, i.e.  the establishment of important pacts at state level with the Basque and Catalan nationalists. It is certain that the result of the coalition government has been to draw political forces such as EH Bildu (a Basque nationalist, leftist and separatist party) and the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) onto the ground of solidarity with the central state. In everyone's memory, the EH Bildu voted in favour of declaring a state of emergency and therefore for the militarisation of the Basque Country, whereas the situation in Catalonia has completely calmed down after years of clashes between the Catalan regional administration, the Generalitat, then in the hands of the nationalist electoral alliance of Convergence and Unity (CiU) and its heirs, the PP, and the central government. This easing of nationalist tensions was achieved by the Sánchez government, which, witnessing the wear and tear of traditional bourgeois forces in Catalonia and the Basque Country, gave the historic opposition in these communities the opportunity to play a more significant role. Will the PP and Vox undo this result? They may soften its harsher aspects, but ultimately they will not be able or willing to change the balance of forces that can guarantee territorial stability for the next few years.

The tension with which these elections arrive is not the consequence of two opposing programmes or two opposing electoral blocs, but of the need to support at all times and in all circumstances a democratic mobilisation which allows the proletariat to be bombarded with watchwords of participation in the bourgeois order by any means put forward by the bourgeoisie. This tension is directly proportional to the need to give the electoral circus an appearance of credibility. The left-populist currents, such as Podemos and those running in the municipal elections, which emerged from the crisis of 2008–2014 as a democratic alternative, have completely exhausted themselves and are ready to be sent to the scrap heap; it is therefore necessary to redouble the screeching, to resort to any method, however bizarre, to give a semblance of authenticity to elections that do not go beyond a choice between two classical political opinion currents. In reality, the insults, the clamour and the assaults that all parties come up with are a reflection of the profound stability of a system that no longer even needs to seek refuge in third parties, even in the rush and haste to justify itself. In 2014, Podemos answered the call for help from the bourgeoisie, which did not want even remotely the democratic system to be challenged in the slightest: its emergence, along with that of all the candidates for high national or municipal office, brought that rejuvenating cure that the entire institutional apparatus needed. Such an action is clearly not necessary today. A pact between the PSOE and the direct heirs of Stalinism to consolidate the Left  and, in the Right, the inclusion of the nationalist bloc (which has always been in the PP) in some autonomous communities, were enough to form two fundamentally identical options.

The historical position of the Communist Left of Italy, which we have always represented and defended, has been revolutionary abstentionism, which means refusing to participate in the electoral circus (even if this could only be understood as a tactical option, as in the days of Lenin and the Bolshevik Party) and denouncing this circus as mere bourgeois propaganda thrown at the proletariat to delude it into thinking that it could abandon its class struggle and direct its efforts solely towards winning more seats in parliament.

This abstentionism has always and exclusively concerned electoral participation, not political activity. The defence of the necessity of the political struggle of the proletarian class, the aim of which, after seizing power, is the destruction of the bourgeois state and the establishment of the proletarian dictatorship in its place, has always been the central point of Marxist doctrine, and therefore of the Communist Left. This political struggle can only be waged by the class party, the vital organ of the proletariat, in which the continuity in time and space across the boundaries of nation, race, professional categories, etc. and its struggles is concentrated. Only when it is led by the communist party does the watchword of abstentionism make sense: abstentionism is not some personal – or sectoral – position that one chooses in the face of the unpalatable options posed by the bourgeois parties, but a watchword with which the class party seeks to intervene in the most combative sections of the proletariat, both to denounce democracy as an absolutely essential part of the bourgeois order and to position them in a more general political struggle. This distinguishes us both from the libertarian currents which regard abstentionism as a principled position corresponding to their anti-authoritarianism, and from those pseudo-Marxist currents which constantly pose the dilemma – whether participation in elections or revolution. The watchword of electoral abstentionism is part of the political struggle of the communist party and is rooted in the need to intervene in every chasm that opens in the for the time being solid bulwarks of bourgeois society. And for the same reason it has limited significance with respect to the party's ability to intervene within the proletariat and its readiness to fight. The class struggle is completely absent from the historical scene today. This does not mean that the proletariat does not fight, that it does not try to organize, but rather that it does so at most on the economic terrain, without passing from it to the terrain of political struggle, of real class struggle in the full sense of the term. Decades of permanent counter-revolution have succeeded in knocking the working class down so far that it is almost completely passive in the face of even the most severe attacks to which it is subjected, and not even situations such as the pandemic or the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war have succeeded in rousing it beyond a few spontaneous and time-limited outbursts.

In this situation, with our abstentionist instruction, which is at once both anti-electoral and anti-democratic, we do not pretend that revolutionary abstention could have even the slightest impact in any electoral process. We do not hereby turn to the proletariat with the intention to guide it on some burning issue. Nor, of course, do we seek to adopt the passive electoral abstentionism that is common in the workers’ milieu.

We defend abstentionism because with it we defend the revolutionary tradition of the proletarian class. Because the refusal to participate in the democratic order of bourgeois society was an achievement  of the most advanced sectors of the proletariat at the beginning of the 20th century. And because this continuity, which may seem somewhat extravagant if one considers the full scale of the course of events, fully dominated by the anti-proletarian opportunism of all the currents of the left, must be vindicated and made visible among those proletarians who are able to confront the bourgeois class on the terrain of the defence of their conditions of existence, among those sections of the proletariat which, without going beyond the partial struggles in defence of wages or against police violence, for example, constitute with their strength the germ of much broader struggles that are going to take place in the future. For our current, the defence of the tradition of revolutionary Marxism consists not in repeating the watchwords of the past, as if nothing had changed today, but in defending the invariance of our doctrine, of all its manifestations, both in the times of revolutionary upsurge and in the times of the greatest decline of the struggle. And it is precisely in this latter situation that it is necessary to prepare for the future revolutionary outburst by showing the link that connects the weak – but vital – struggles of the present with the revolutionary future, which today may seem very far away.


Against the bourgeois electoral farce!

Against democracy, which protects all enemies of the proletariat!

For the resumption of the class struggle!


July, 19th 2023



International Communist Party

Il comunista - le prolétaire - el proletario - proletarian - programme communiste - el programa comunista - Communist Program


Top  -  Back to Statements  -  Back to Archives