WHAT DISTINGUISHES OUR PARTY: The political continuity which goes from Marx and Engels to Lenin, to the foundation of the Communist International and the Communist Party of Italy; the class struggle of the Communist Left against the degeneration of the International, the struggle against the theory of socialism in one country and the Stalinist counter-revolution; the rejection of all popular fronts and national resistance blocs; the struggle against the principles and practice of bourgeois democracy, against interclassism and political and trade-union class collaboration, against any form of opportunism and nationalism; the difficult task of restoring the Marxist doctrine and the revolutionary organ par excellence - the class party, closely linked with the working class and its daily struggle in opposition to capitalism and bourgeois oppression; the struggle against personal and electoral politics, against any form of indifferentism, of tailism, of movementism or the adventurist practice of armed struggle ; the support of any proletarian struggle which breaks with social peace and rejects the discipline of interclassist collaborationism; the support of all efforts towards proletarian class reorganisation on the basis of economic associationism, with the perspective of a large scale resumption of the class struggle, proletarian internationalism and the revolutionary anticapitalist struggle.
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What distinguishes our party
We have modified the little text present on all publications of the party which briefly indicates what distinguishes us; here is the new version:
What distinguishes our Party : The political continuity which goes from Marx and Engels to Lenin, to the foundation of the Communist International and the Communist Party of Italy; the class struggle of the Communist Left against the degeneration of the International, the struggle against the theory of “socialism in one country” and the Stalinist counter-revolution; the rejection of all popular fronts and national resistance blocs; the struggle against the principles and practice of bourgeois democracy, against interclassism and political and trade-union class collaboration, against any form of opportunism and nationalism; the difficult task of restoring the Marxist doctrine and the revolutionary organ par excellence– the class party–closely linked with the working class and its daily struggle in opposition to capitalism and bourgeois oppression; the struggle against personal and electoral politics, against any form of indifferentism, of tailism, of movementism or the adventurist practice of “armed struggle”; the support of any proletarian struggle which breaks with social peace and rejects the discipline of interclassist collaborationism; the support of all efforts towards classist reorganization of the proletariat on the basis of economic associationism, with the perspective of a large scale resumption of the class struggle, proletarian internationalism and the revolutionary anticapitalist struggle.
TO BETTER INDICATE WHAT DISTINGUISHES US
The goal of this modification is not to rectify positions which we would judge to be distorted, but to better specify what really distinguishes us, in particular today where, on an international scale, there are a number of groups which appear to have positions "close" to ours if they are not identical, or who claim the same origins in any case.
Our current, the Communist Left (known as the Communist Left of Italy, because it is in this country that it appeared and that it developed in the midst of a bitter class struggle), was disavowed, ignored, calumniated, and falsified throughout decade after decade not only by the bourgeoisie but by all those who claimed to speak in the name of the working class–including by those who continued to claim to be revolutionary and anti-Stalinist. However they could not completely succeed in this work aimed at stripping history of the only current which was in place right from the beginning and which has resisted on an integrally Marxist basis through all vicissitudes by rejecting all revisionisms, all compromisings and all repudiations. The theses, the program, the political struggles and practice of the Communist Left document the intransigent continuity and the theoretical coherence which explain the political force of which it shows proof among difficulties of any nature and which are the basis of its efforts to maintain alive–even during periods like today, when it is reduced to only a handful of militants–the organizational continuity necessary to transmit to the future reprise of the proletarian class struggle "the revolutionary organ" founded on solid theoretical and programmatic bases.
The first "what distinguishes our party" was written and published following the crisis of 1951-52 of the Partito Comunista Internazionalista which ended in the scission between the current of "Battaglia Comunista" and that, which we ourselves assert, of "Il Programma Comunista".
It was a question of indicating in a synthetic way the continuous and invariant political line, on which the new organization wanted to situate itself, apart from all innovative, activist and contingentist tendencies; very briefly, the text retraces from Marx, to Lenin, to the foundation of the Third International and to Leghorn (Livorno) ‘21, to the struggle against the degeneration of Moscow, to the refusal of the Popular Fronts and the Resistance blocs, to define, in implicit opposition to the "Battagliste" current the tasks of the present and future period: “the difficult task of the restoration of the doctrine and the revolutionary organ, against personal and electoral politics”.
Consequently this text was to be found on all the press organs of the party, in various languages. However with the passage of time, with the appearance of new political generations, the need arose to make the formulations more explicit, not to change the substance, but quite simply in order to make them more comprehensible: "Livorno ‘21" for example did not mean anything for the young people who were unaware that it was the place and the date of the foundation of the Communist Party of Italy! A new draft was thus introduced in 1976, and it was used up until now.
We do not have anything with which to take issue with this draft; but in the years which followed the discussions and the crises in the party were centered on questions of great importance, of tactics as well as organization, during a time marked by the closing of the cycle of the bourgeois revolutions, by the attack against previous trade-union and social conquests, by the appearance and the evolution of extreme left and extraparliamentary political groups, the birth of armed struggle groups (of the Red Brigade type), legal repression (what we called armoured democracy) or extralegal (neofascist attacks), at a time when the ideology and the praxis of democracy continued to rule. The discussion on transitory demands coincided with the question of the antifascist mobilizations, the analysis of the extraparliamentary groups touched on the question of the loss of influence of the trade-union organizations, the question of terrorism became mixed with the question of proletarian self-defence and on the organizational level with the need for protecting itself from eventual police repressions.
It is always necessary to make an analytical balance sheet of party crises, whatever their nature, as the Left showed at the time of its struggle within the Communist International and thereafter. This was essential to reconstitute an organization on solid bases after the war, as it was after the explosive crisis at the beginning of the Eighties.
On this need for drawing the assessment of the crises of the party, we ran up not only against the liquidators who obviously had a different orientation since they openly called into question our general orientations; but also with a group of comrades claiming to defend continuity by means of formal and personalist expedients, up to the point of demanding that bourgeois justice defend their "property title" to the newspaper (Il Programma Comunista)! As liquidators of the party themselves, they theorized two facts of great gravity for those who claim to be a continuator of the Communist Left:
1) Uselessness in taking stock of the crisis of the party, due according to them only to the intrusion of a foreign "clique": it was sufficient to be disencumbered of it and "to take up the road again".
2) Reconstitution of the organization in only Italy by giving up to their fate the militants of the other countries, while waiting to be strong enough to renew international contacts. The crisis was thus reduced to a banal question of people, not politics; and the internationalism asserted in words was disavowed in deeds to the profit of the construction of the party in a single country...
Fundamentally, the party is never faced with “new”, “unknown” questions, except perhaps in historical situations with great social and political upheavals. The social and political conditions can change, the relationship of forces between classes can change, but the central points of the communist program do not change: this is why the program should not continuously be modified, discussed and adapted to the topicality of the day. After the crisis of the Eighties which saw militants calling the whole program into question, in fact attacking not marginal and secondary points, but its central points, it was to all evidence obviously necessary and urgent to do a work of assessment, by facing up in particular to the tactical and organizational problems which had served as a detonator of the crisis. Party crises are always related to its activity, i.e. to its tactics and its organization.
The two decades which have passed since then have not decreased the importance and the value of this assessment. The situation of the proletariat today, in particular in the most developed capitalist countries, still remains a situation of paralysis of its great masses, still under the influence of reformism and interclassist collaborationism.
This situation does not give us the possibility of showing in practice to proletarians that we are on the right path, to show on the basis of important facts that we have carried out and that we carry out a correct political struggle against the various denials or the various capitulations of the groups which in one way or another claim continuity with the communist Left. The actualities on which we can base ourselves are so rare or of such a limited range in the absence of the resumption of class struggle, that we are forced to refer to the struggles of the past: but for the proletarian masses those past struggles looked like something which does not concern them. There can be a prolonged period during which the proletarians do not perceive the accuracy of the analyses, the instructions, and the activity of the party.
This is obviously not a reason to take refuge in an ivory tower, to give up activity in contact with the working class, because there will come the moment when this activity will reveal itself to be vital for the proletariat. The “gray” and “obscure” "work" that we carry out today, by making all our efforts to remain tied to the Marxist thread of time is essential for tomorrow.
History teaches us that "objectively revolutionary" situations can arise in an abrupt and accelerated way, as if they arrived unexpectedly, insofar as the proletariat can be precipitated in a very fast way into a confrontation to the death with the dominant class.
But history also teaches us that the victory of the revolution is impossible in the absence of the party, the firmly organized and politically assured party, able to direct the revolutionary proletarian movement. This party is not improvised; it must be prepared over a long time especially in the field of program and theory, and therefore during counter-revolutionary periods like today.
To work for the formation of the party as leading body of the future communist revolution requires theoretical, programmatic and political continuity with the international communist movement; but this continuity is not possible other than on the basis of lessons drawn from the counter-revolutions and the history of the workers parties: to lead the proletariat tomorrow, the party must have comprehended what occurred yesterday. The effort to manage to assimilate Marxism, to act in accordance with it in various situations, cannot automatically give results, it is inevitably difficult and laborious, especially during counter-revolutionary periods where the revolutionists are in the counter-current, without the sustenance of a powerful proletarian struggle. It cannot but take the aspect of a fight against erroneous positions, attitudes or theorizations, against deviations or degenerations; and the result of these struggles themselves constitute a lesson and an asset to be defended.
How can the party prepare as well as possible to fight against possible deviations and degenerations, or to resist those which emerge?
It would be a banal error to believe that there could exist formal, constitutional, or organizational type guarantees.
According to our movement:
"The Communist Parties must achieve an organic centralism which, through the maximum possible consultation of its members, ensures the spontaneous elimination of any grouping tending to differentiate itself. One cannot obtain this under the blows of formal and mechanical hierarchical decrees, but, as Lenin said, by correct revolutionary politics. It is not the repression, but the prevention of factionalism which is a fundamental aspect of the evolution of the party. It is absurd, sterile and extremely dangerous to claim that the party and the International are mysteriously insured against any relapse into opportunism or any tendency to fall there. Because these effects can, on the contrary, arise from changes in the general situation or from the action of residual social-democratic traditions, in order to solve our problems, we must admit that any difference of opinion not reducible to cases of individual consciousness or defeatism may turn out to be useful in preserving the party (and the proletariat in general) from serious dangers.
If these dangers were to crystallize, the differentiation would inevitably, but positively, assume the form of factionalism. This could lead to scissions, not for the infantile reason that the leaders were not energetic enough at repression, but because the fear of possibility of a collapse of the party or its submission to counter-revolutionary influences was confirmed "(1).
The "guarantees" against internal crises, against errors and deviations, thus can only be political; they can only be in the constant recollection of the program and the principles, in the lessons that Marxism drew from past experiments, successes as well as failures, and on correct politics, based on the greatest possible coherence between the program, organizational principles and tactics. This is what we have tried to explain, within the limited framework which is provided here, in the text "what distinguishes us".
(1) cf «Thèses de Lyon», point V in «Défense de la continuité du programme communiste», Textes du PCInt n°7, p. 122
International Communist Party