WHAT DISTINGUISHES OUR PARTY: The political continuity which goes from Marx to Lenin, to the foundation of the Communist Party of Italy (Livorno, 1921); the struggle of the Communist Left against the degeneration of the Communist International, against the theory of „socialism in one country“, against the Stalinist counter-revolution; the rejection of the Popular Fronts and the Resistance Blocs; the difficult task of restoring the revolutionary doctrine and organization in close interrelationship with the working class, against all personal and electoral politics.


We have considered it more than opportune to republish here the evaluations and comments from early 2009 devoted by our Party to the battle that had broken out then in those very months (Operation Cast Lead) as a new chapter in the interminable war that the State of Israel is waging with the complicity and direct responsibility of all the “Arab” states in the region - a complicity which, up until the “Yom Kippur war” and then the Lebanese attack, took place with an apparent military confrontation and then through diplomatic dialogue, ending up with political and economic agreements.  From “Operation Cast Lead” to the one now going on, called “Operation Iron Swords”, nothing has basically changed, if not the exponential increase in the military power unleashed in the Gaza Strip onto a defenceless population, in a bloodbath that now verges on genocide.

  The State of Israel, repeatedly celebrated as “the best consolidated democracy in the region”, confirms its true nature and its role as a counter-revolutionary gendarme.  On the other hand, the Palestinian bourgeoisie hasn’t even managed to come up with a State structure but, with the territory divided into two Bantustans, is prospering from the exploitation of an economy whose only source of income is “international aid”, cultivating the illusion of permanent guerilla warfare. Even from an exquisitely bourgeois point of view, any diplomatic solution (“two peoples, two States”) proves tragically impracticable.  Once more it is clear that, since the revolutionary potential of anti-colonial movements turned off in the mid-1970s, the unresolved “national issues” have mutated into counter-revolutionary cancers that suck the blood of a proletariat imprisoned in religious, patriotic and national illusions.  It is for this reason that our 2009 analysis remains tragically topical.

***

What has happened in the Gaza Strip has been the most widespread military exercise in manhunting, target shooting and decimation carried out against the Palestinian proletariat for forty years now. At least one thousand, three hundred deaths, thousands of wounded and homeless, Israeli tanks running around from north to south, planes and ships bombarding the new “ghetto” of Gaza, immense devastation. As the economic crisis rages throughout the world, the deadly terrorism of the State of Israel - a State which, by reason of its history, is the avant-garde of bourgeois ferociousness, as well as the USA’s imperialist outpost - is the very same terrorism that sooner or later will rain down viciously onto the international proletariat.

Only a few months ago, we wrote: “Palestinian proletarians in Gaza, besieged from outside by an army armed to the back teeth, and controlled from the inside by Hamas militia, plunged into a state of constant alarm by ‘back-garden missiles’ and by the deadly and continuing Israeli air raids that indiscriminately decimate the population, continue to retrace their footsteps constantly in the infernal circle of their tragedy. Unfortunately no revolutionary defeatism against military interventions and the police State is forthcoming from the Israeli proletariat, indifferent and silent for so many long years, shuttered into the defence of their privileges and still prevented from escaping the meshes of an iron cage of exponential corporative unionism and the powerful machinery of national-religious consensus.  And no acts of defeatism either, from the Arab-Israeli proletariat, still incapable of getting to its feet, isolated and despised by the powerful Israeli middle classes, also controlled by the opportunism in its rank and file, in religious rather than labourist or patriotic forms.  And even less defeatism from the immigrant proletariat (Chinese, Philippine, Thai etc.), driven by need and still too young to refuse the competitive function assigned to it against Palestinian proletarians […].  Unfortunately, no revolutionary defeatism against the ‘Palestinian business committee’ in the Strip and on the West Bank is advanced, not even by the Palestinian proletariat, which is still incapable of conceiving of itself as such, so that the scenario of a fatherland to be conquered (a ‘fatherland gaol’) will continue to be staged and renewed, although the stage never changes.  All the players are nailed to this tragic present: and it can only be broken by re-opening the class struggle internationally and in the imperialist strongholds of which Israel is the essential pillar in the Middle East.” (“Gaza, or the fatherland gaols” il programma comunista, n.2/2008).

We therefore appealed, and appeal now, to a resurgence of the class war worldwide, upheld by our irrepressible confidence that the proletariat will be able to break out of the dead end to which it has been confined by 80 years of counter-revolution.  The present world crisis will inevitably lead us into the eye of the storm and prepare the objective conditions for the proletarian revolution.  What is happening today and will happen in the coming few years will be dictated by this historical necessity.  The paths are not infinite and not casual: they are as certain as the bourgeoisie’s need to conserve itself eternally as the main dominant class is certain, even at the cost of social cannibalism or global warfare. “Either the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie or the dictatorship of the proletariat,” is written in the tables of historical materialism. 

The Palestinian situation – which was presented as capable of becoming the detonator of social transformation in the Middle East, an explosive mixture grafted onto a so-called unresolved national issue (as we have repeated so many times and as has been confirmed by the many historical events that have taken place in the Middle East since the mid ‘70s) – has changed dramatically.  The proletarian stamp assumed by the social contradictions present in the area has been emerging for decades in an increasingly explosive form, proving conclusively that patriotic ideology has merely fuelled social oppression not only by the Israeli bourgeoisie but also by the Arab-Palestinian bourgeoisie.  Just one proof of this are the 4.6 million refugees, distributed as follows: in Jordan (1.93 million), in Lebanon (416 thousand), in Syria (456 thousand), in the West Bank (754 thousand) and in the Gaza Strip (1.09 million) – all subject to restrictions, checkpoints, police action by the official “friendly governments”.  The proletariat of the Middle East has now become an integral part of the international proletariat, as is confirmed by the enormous migratory flows of the past few decades - and against it, the Arab-Israeli bourgeois alliance wages its class war. This is why at this tragic time the Middle-Eastern proletariat cannot be asked to give what it cannot in terms of a prospective recovery of the revolutionary outlook, unless the class war first manifests itself to its full potential where the heart and brain of Imperialism lie, where the levers of power are situated, i.e. in the imperialist cities.  The Palestinian proletarian struggle cannot be closed into a national container: survivors of a Stalinist stamp and petit-bourgeois anti-imperialists in the West who continue to demand that it should fight for a people’s, or democratic, nation by opposing patriotic resistance, are rascals who are attempting once again to destroy the potential for battle intrinsic in the condition of a class that has nothing to lose but its chains.    

Though apparently so powerful, the Israeli bourgeoisie is blinded by its own political intellect, the idea that by dint of willpower, by killing and massacring,  it can overthrow all obstacles.  Though seeing clearly the social misery it is immersing it in, it cannot grasp the fact that the proletariat cannot be eliminated, that the “beggarly scoundrels” it is terrorizing today will end up by destroying it tomorrow.  It is not Hamas and the so-called national cause that resist the bombing and the ground attacks, not the guns and the missiles, as the so-called militiamen boast:  what does so is the solid wall of proletarian reality, despite the high price it pays for this.  All Israel will be able to do is extend its front line or drive the massacre to its bitter end, if it wishes to reach the objective of eliminating Hamas in the present situation: otherwise, it will be driven to another, umpteenth ceasefire), worsening its own living conditions and “security”.  With a ceasefire, at the expense of the proletarians, Hamas would give proof of its bourgeois, dictatorial vocation.  If its organization were eliminated, the overall scenario of the class war would not change, because it is the proletariat that is the true, albeit unaware, protagonist of present reality and nothing can change this fact. And in any case, it is exclusively the encounter of the class party with the proletariat that will be decisive:  not only in the Middle East but, first and foremost, in the imperialist strongholds.

At this tremendous moment of watershed, we do not despair of the Middle-Eastern proletariat finding the strength to escape the network of opportunism in which it is imprisoned.  As in the great battles of the past, we hope that it will be able to bring onto the field the best of fighters for its cause:  that it will be able to make the unfortunately inevitable, present defeat into a point of departure towards a future richer in victories.  As in revolutionary Paris in 1871, as in Saint Petersburg in 1905, we will show it not the path of surrender and disarmament, but that of the independent revolutionary political and organizational struggle: the transformation of this hopeless battle that it is obliged by Hamas to fight, into the great revolutionary class battle, in full awareness that the defeat of such a powerful enemy also strikes at the whole of the enemy front.   

In suggesting once again the need for economic, political, military defeatism by the Israeli, Arab-Israeli, immigrant and Palestinian proletariat, united throughout the area and above all in the State of Israel, we certainly do not dream of transforming the present imperialist attack into civil war simply with a slogan; nor of automatically transforming the fight for economic defence into a revolutionary battle. We are addressing our class brothers, a militant avant-garde which today is in an isolated and obscure condition, so that they may shake off the infernal trap of the reactionary present, and finally acknowledge the proletariat as the only revolutionary class, considering every national hypothesis closed, while reaffirming the absolute need for the dictatorship of the proletariat guided by the international communist party. 

Nonetheless, this programmatic, theoretical and tactical indication would be a toothless weapon if it did not find expression (in the form of struggle and organization) in the living flesh of the gangrene from which the reactionary infection spreading through the body of the world proletariat stems. It is here in the West that economic and political defeatism must release its full potential.  It is here that it must be explained to the proletariat (with patience, clarity and confidence) how urgent and relentless the fight for the defence of our living and working conditions is, the only path for moving forward to a class offensive.  There is no alternative for saving the Palestinian proletariat under attack, for relieving its suffering, for leaving a stable mark in the class memory and healing the national split in the body of the proletariat as a whole.  

All those forms of struggle that promote unified and compact class organization are necessary and urgent; all forms of unionism, larger or smaller, that defend corporative interests in any economic sector, must be refused; defeatist proposals must be brought forward in all places, to force the bourgeois class enemy, wherever it may be, to loosen its hold on even the tiniest proletarian faction fighting; pacifism and disarmament, anarchist, moralist and individualist immediatism must be refused; the urgency of the return of the revolutionary class party onto the scene must be proclaimed and affirmed. Though not actively taking part in the ongoing bloodbath, the bourgeoisie in any nation is jointly responsible in the first instance; class war must be directed against it. At the moment, may class solidarity and the battle cries of brothers in all parts of the world reach the Palestinian proletariat; in the words of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg as the German and international proletariat were sent off to be slaughtered in the first World War:  “The enemy to be fought is here in our own country!”

Historical materialism teaches us that as the Israeli bourgeoisie creates a wasteland around itself, it also weakens the conditions for its own existence, founded as it is on the exploitation of the Arab working class.  Proletarianization both inside and outside the State of Israel has long been mature and with it the increasing poverty and siege of the strongholds of its wealth.  When capitalist production shows its profound fragility, no social pact (either between classes or at the battlefront) can last, no territory is safe from incursions and attack. The time of mobilization, the recall of army reservists, the concentration of troops or targeted attacks belong to the field of the illusory solutions to contradictions that have become irreparable.  It is no longer a matter of defining a path for ceasefire or “peace agreements”, as the pious souls covered by Israeli tanks continue to imagine, nor of finally coming to a division of the territory between two (or three?) States:  all pacific intervention becomes precarious and inconsistent - mere palliatives.  With the arrival of the economic crisis, the need to face the political problem of the State of Israel on an overall, Middle-Eastern, economic scale is becoming urgent, because Israel is not a foreign body within the Middle East, but has for some time been an essential part of the overall, imperialist scenario.  When the time comes, the State of Israel will be called upon to be one of the main players in the partition of the Middle East: without this, it is nothing and remains nothing (it is still dealing with the issue of defining its own borders!).  Because of the economic crisis, the risk of the political and economic failure of the State of Israel, completely lacking in natural resources and dependent upon the Arab bourgeoisies greedy for income and profit,  may reach a point of no return. Whilst it is true that the economic tremors have not yet reached a catastrophic level, this is nonetheless the baseline against which the present action of policing the Palestinian proletariat can realistically be measured.

From the point of view of this long-term analysis, Hamas is not the real objective of this umpteenth attack, as is instead repeated in many quarters.  Hamas is a contingent justification of little value, what remains of the political-religious nationalism of a parasitic bourgeoisie, supported by the “lords of ceasefire and peace” (with payment for social assistance) and by the “summit meetings” of the great Arab financiers and political, economic and strategic interests far greater than Hamas - all those who are now tired of granting credit and aid, now that in the economic crisis credit has melted away like snow under the sun. The economic blockade the Gaza Strip was subjected to since Hamas assumed its political and organizational direction increasingly risked suffocating its very existence; the opening of the border with Egypt at the beginning of the year led to the need for an escape; the economic crisis has reduced and is closing down all “living space”; the aid from Arab countries – the Palestinian proletariat’s foreign reserves – is dwindling. It was necessary to escape this trap and get rid of this fake truce. Abu Mazen, the creature of the Israeli-Egyptian alliance (Mubarak knew beforehand of the attack and supports the annihilation of Hamas by closing the frontiers with Egypt, reporting the tunnels and preventing hundreds of refugees gathering on the border to flee the country), is not the solution:  he merely represents a corrupt Palestinian bourgeoisie, tired of continuing to play for a loss and tugged to and from by the real protagonists in the Middle-East. For their own part, Hamas’s “religious opium” brothers in Lebanon (Hezbollah) can only play their own game if their objectives are limited, transiting from one truce to another.  Opening up the Lebanese front against Israel would, in any case, signal an extension of the conflict, the development of which would not be decided by Israel alone.  The clash between the “Palestinian brothers”, the accusations launched by Al Fatah against Hamas (accused of holding the civilian population hostage) and the expectation that Israel would do the dirty work in Gaza City, entering aboard Israeli tanks, are the cruellest aspect of this sequence of events that has now reached its objective.

The recent, vigorous, working-class and union struggles (in the textile and building industries, particularly in Dubai and Cairo), the fierce fights for bread that broke out more or less all over the Arab world, are typical of capitalist development.  The immense mass of credit capital capable of upholding gasping American and European capitalism, and the soaring price of oil reserves that then dropped to their historical limits - all this accompanies the fragility of this parasitic, financial capitalism. The political-strategic panorama speaks clearly to those who wish to see:  the Iraqi swamp into which the great US “freedom” army has sunk, the revival of Indo-Pakistani claims, the increasing boldness of the bourgeois Afghani gangs and the dispatch of more American troops to the area, added to the latent political crisis in Iran all bear witness to historical developments whose scenario is destined to grow worse, day by day.  It is the path of these historical developments that events in Gaza are following and will follow, quite apart from the awareness that those involved have of them.  

Whether UN or Arab troops intervene on the Egyptian borders or in Gaza City, this does not solve the problem: indeed, it demonstrates the absence of any way out.  Whether Hamas is a valid interlocutor, in the sense that it recognizes Israel’s right to exist, or whether it remains a terrorist group with a high level of democratic consensus amongst Palestinians, this makes no difference to the State of Israel (didn’t the terrorist Arafat become Abu Mazen’s foster father?).  From Sharon’s walk across the Temple Mount to the return of the Gaza Strip to Egypt and from there to the Palestinians, from the Sabra and Chatila massacre in Lebanon to the decolonization of the Strip by the same Sharon, there is no break, but simple continuation.

What will cause governments most alarm, if the bloodbath continues, will be the massive declarations of solidarity from the Arab capitals (where the harsh clash between the two nationalist wings will spread) and from the many capitalist strongholds (where the Arab and in particular Palestinian proletariat has lived for decades). The conditions of exclusion that proletarians of different nationalities  have been subjected to, the brandishing of racism and religious differences (weapons widely used by the bourgeoisie) give and will continue to give demonstrations a mark of impotence and weakness that the various religious and nationalist leaders will exploit in alliance with the local bourgeoisie, to avoid class contagion.  Bourgeois governments will do all they can to break the instinctive bond with far-off proletarians massacred by such powerful forces: this bond, too, has its material role in the struggle, while the storm of “cast lead” strikes at homes and bodies. And so we trust that this instinctive bond with the immigrant proletarian masses in the imperialist cities will manage to find the path towards unrelenting class warfare and not the one of nostalgia for an impossible fatherland and the dream of a divine presence that will redeem them forever from the yoke of oppression. The marches that take place under the symbols of prayer do not confuse us (don’t let us forget that the first Russian revolution began under religious symbols but soon mutated into revolutionary class war), just as we are not confused by “secular positions”, more lethal than bullets: pacifism, disarmament, reformism with or without guns, children of the same enlightened or romantic, bourgeois culture.   

If the profound economic crisis will drive the proletariat beyond the wall of silence raised by the counter-revolutions led by all varieties of right- and left-wing bourgeoisies, both secular and religious, if it is driven to take a stand to defend its historical class objectives, then the first part of the revolutionary task will be achieved.  The rest will come from the presence of the class party, the necessary guide of the revolutionary process moving towards the seizing of power and establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

[NOTE As we conclude this article, it has become clear that Hamas’s hope of being acknowledged as an interlocutor has been extinguished; the truce, it is being said, will be unilateral (Israel can halt or re-open the massacre when and how it wishes) and at the hub of the latest talks are the US-Israeli agreements (first on launching the attack and then on ending it) against the provision of weapons through the tunnels.  It also seems that the US does not intend taking part in the forces of intervention and control:  who will be left with the hot potato?  the Egyptians?  Abu Mazen?  the diligent French? the UN or the Arab States? Israel proposes an open-ended truce (as against the annual truce of Hamas!); and the Arab League? simply a family chat. Business as before then - apart from the thousand or so deaths and the many thousands of wounded: children, women, the civilian population in general.  We are ready to bet that the money for reconstruction will be found, that the Palestinian bourgeoisie (the patriotic builders and businessmen) will readily answer the call: profit is well worth a thousand or so deaths.  And there is no doubt that Israeli banks will loosen their purse strings:  good deals ahead!  there will be employment in the building industry, there will be new social buffers and above all political management  (blackmail) of aid, there will be many religious blessings, both on the one side and on the other…Amen]

                                                                                                                 November 2023

(originally published, with other texts on the same issue, in no. 1/2009 of “il programma comunista”)

International Communist Party Press
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