The attack against the proletariat is continuing all over the world and can only intensify, since the economic crisis is not going to let up: indeed, it is destined to become deeper and more serious, day by day. Only the blind could fail to see this. On the other hand, the ruling class knows it only too well: they try to hide it behind words, set phrases, exhortations not to lose confidence, the rhetorical appeal to democratic cooperation. But we know very well that this is a general and historic disaster and no hastily invented formula will be able to halt it.
Faced with such a violent and devastating crisis, capital (in its national expressions and with its puppets of government and parliament under all their various names and colours) will not be able to do anything except increase the exploitation of the proletariat, trying to boost its productivity and chaining it so that it will be obedient to the needs of capital, getting rid of dead branches and draining the so-called “well-being” that for so many decades has guaranteed “their” social pact (paid for dearly by proletarians themselves in the years of the economic boom): a wave of layoffs, increasingly precarious work relations, the repression and isolation of any voices of dissent, an alarming series of “deaths in the workplace”, the destruction of pensions (an authentic case of armed robbery, in view of the fact that this is none other than a delayed salary) – this is the machine-gun fire that destroys whole lives, denies the younger generation any sort of prospect, breaks down all illusions of stability and well-being and spreads self-destructive desperation.
The insistence with which the ruling class in all countries evokes the “dangers for social cohesion” demonstrates that on the one hand that it is well aware of the infinite tragedies that are raining down on the proletariat and threatening to drive it to self-defence or even rebellion, and on the other hand that it finds itself in a cul de sac, aware that all its well announced measures will lead it nowhere. The bourgeoisie has centuries of experience both in methods of government and in the dynamics of crisis: and this crisis looms up like a nightmare and irrevocable condemnation , because it speaks the language of all those that have preceded it. And so it equips itself: governments of experts (like in Italy) that need not answer particularly to the already empty rite of democracy, and, everywhere, the progressive militarization of society on any pretext, a police régime in workplaces, ideological mobilization using all the existing means of communication, repeated and never-ending election campaigns, unceasing appeals to cooperation, the exaltation of national virtues, state terrorism, deafening campaigns to sell worn banners (soaked in the blood of the proletariat) at bargain prices under the names “Nation”, “Democracy”, “Justice”, “Legality” and so on.
For the proletariat this is a massacre, that happens today at the workplace (or, increasingly, at the non-workplace) but that tomorrow will take place on the battlefields. There is no partial solution to be had, there are no measures capable of avoiding the disaster that is happening under our very eyes. We communists are not those who have theorized either a progressive climb over the hilltop and out of the crisis by capitalist society, or its gradual descent into barbarism. We communists have demonstrated, for a hundred and fifty years now, that capitalism will continue to exalt its own productive forces to the most, until it comes to a point in which the peak is no longer reached and a split occurs. And this split is a political fact: it means either a new world massacre to destroy the superfluous, the resource of labour-force included (the bourgeois solution experimented in two world wars and hundreds of local ones in the past hundred years), or a proletarian revolution, which finally opens up the prospect of a classless society for humanity (the communist solution, which sees further, extraordinary confirmation in the present crisis). There is no alternative!
In the meantime, faced with an anti-proletarian attack of such intensity, what responses do we see around us? Groggy with over half a century of democratic promises and deluded by the crumbs that have fallen from the banqueting table (nevertheless secured by struggle and in any case destined to be swept away at the first opportunity), betrayed by all the political and trade-union forces whose interests it is to keep this decaying system on its feet, the world’s proletarians are alone, isolated, divided. Over almost a century the tremendous calamities that go under the name of democracy and social-democracy, nazi-fascism and stalinism have rained down on them, weakening them and dispersing them. They find it hard to react: they imagine that, as a class, salvation can and must come from the outside – from the parliament, the government, the president, the state, and do not grasp (because it has been torn from their historical memory) the real role of all these organs of repression, these tribes of figures all in the pay of Capital. They fall prey to desperation and self-destruction, they place their trust in one or the other of the moment’s demagogues (better if they come from the worlds of television or journalism), continuing to believe in the democratic, party and trade-union apparatus that have used them for decades for their own electoral and institutional ends. They are disorientated by unspeakable “mock strikes”, specially designed to divide forces, disperse them and discharge them; by empty calls to a “general strike” which not only fails to be prepared but is always postponed until later; by the minimal activism of little trade-union consortia jealous of their own independent names; by the uproar of a petit-bourgeoisie that fails to understand what is going on and blathers empty words; by the nihilistic and decadent propaganda of the clamorous and symbolic gesture…
A widespread response to the crisis is missing. Yet in Italy as elsewhere, timid and isolated signs of reaction are to be seen, particularly in the worst affected sectors. Workers in the logistics (mostly immigrants) and building sectors, dockworkers, miners, workers in the multinationals scattered throughout the world where labour is at its cheapest, migrants flung from one coast to the other and subject to the most repulsive displays of racism, have taken up the fight several times, endeavouring to make their voices heard, with vigorous and repeated demonstrations. The young proletarians of the desperate suburbs in France and England have been the protagonists of sudden uprisings, which we have acknowledged as the expression of instinctive detachment from the castrating myths of democracy and legality. Massive workers’ protests have shaken the whole of the southern Mediterranean coast, before being suffocated and confined by the political strategies of bourgeois and petit-bourgeois sectors whose only interest lay in the changes of régime. Large sectors of half classes in the process of (or living with the spectre of) being proletarianized, have flowed into movements such as the “indignados” or “Occupy”, which have nothing class-conscious about them and indeed suffer from all the “defects” of the half classes, but which express this sense of ill-being and social disgregation.
This is, obviously, not enough. The situation is not yet historically favourable (whatever the “theorists” of attack at all costs may say) and a general recovery of the class war has yet to come. Proletarians who are undergoing this ferocious attack have yet to recover their sense of antagonism (total and everyday) to capitalist society, its State, its organs of repression and stupification. They have yet to take possession of their own historical memory, once again becoming a “class for themselves” and not “for capital”. They have to start gaining a new awareness, in daily practice: that the chains that bind them can be broken, as has happened so many times in the past. They have to take up again their commitment to creating stable and independent organisms of economic and social defence rooted in the territory, open to all, workers in and out of employment, precarious and non-precarious workers, immigrants and indigenous, men and women, pensioners and those seeking work – organisms which take all the necessities of the struggle and its organization upon themselves, far from the police control of the State trade-unions and the short-sighted jealousy of small labels and sub-labels, from the suffocating closure of the company, the sector, the “local”.
There is still a rugged path to follow. Along which, above all, the proletariat must be able to re-encounter its own revolutionary party, the organization that has held out for decade upon decade against the worst waves of counter-revolution, basing itself solidly on the principles, theory, programme, tactics and organization of communism. It is our task to work in order to consolidate this party, to strengthen its international roots and make it into a practical, visible and trustworthy reference point in today’s fragile struggles, which are the prelude – of this we are certain, not out of blind faith but because this is the course of history – to far vaster and more decisive conflicts tomorrow. Right up until the supreme clash and the attack on the heavens: the revolutionary and violent seizing of power, to finally set up the dictatorship of the proletariat as a bridge for passing over to a classless society.