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.

The protests of American university students against the war unleashed by the Israeli state in the Gaza Strip – an act of outright butchery bordering on genocide, involving the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population and, most importantlly, of the proletariat and proletarianised masses – have now spread, domino-efffect, to parts of Europe and elsewhere.There’s no point going into the ins and outs of what’s actually happening because media outlets have been providing ‘information’ on the situation for weeks now (it’s mid-May at time of writing). We would, instead, prefer to concentrate on one or two crucial matters, thereby ensuring that gut reactions to the capitalist mode of production’s most recent death throes do not pass unobserved.

We could always get away with an At last – Active Youth Politics is Back! or, as many have done, without any rhyme or reason, discuss whether this really happens to be the new ’68. But we won’t, preferring instead a more general consideration to start with.

Social conditions in the USA are far less rosy than might be believed. There’s been turbulence a-plenty over recent years in different sectors, including logistics and commerce, educational establishments and, most recently, the strikes in the automobile industry. Whatever the actual upshot of these protests, the social knock-on effect has been considerable, impacting the minds and hearts of those who live and study within the ‘ivory towers’ of the American university system – sons and daughters of middle-class and labor-aristocracy parents, threatened by the economic crisis (everyone knows university fees swallow up a large part of the income of these social strata, anxious to attain or confirm their social status by investing in ... “the future of our children.”). And, as the crisis bites, these students stay afloat as they await their turn to be cast into the visibly tumultuous sea storm of the job market. So their actual social make up has had a bearing on events, because the increasingly acute contradictions of the capitalistic mode of production feed off one another unceasingly. And what is happening in Gaza plays a dramatic part in this process, urgently requiring a stand to be taken.

That said, let’s hone in for a moment on what the limits of this protest are. Its ethical, moral and humanitarian character is self-evident: no one can remain indifferent to these massacres or the ferocious arrogance of the Israeli State (to avoid any misunderstanding or malevolent manipulation, we reiterate and empahasize: the Israeli State), yet another manifestation of the ruthless and cynical destructiveness which imperialism is capable of – and we mean all imperialist States. So far, so good – a wealthy reaction, but one which is torn by a set of contradictions.

Indeed, what we’re looking at here isn’t simply a protest which remains of an ethical, moral and humanitarian nature, instigated by yet another bloody military flare up. No, there is also something akin to all the reactions that have evolved over recent months, in Europe as well as in the States: a stubborn reluctance to see beyond a malignant national and nationalist vision of the state of things. The dominant slogans are “Free Palestine”, “Two Peoples, Two States” or “From the River to the Sea”, and national flags are flown at demonstrations everywhere. Such national revendications, amplified by megaphones up and down the land (never mind their being out of time and out of place, as we’ve reiterated on numerous occasions before), don’t get anywhere. What is more, by refusing to acknowledge the root of the problem, they cut the ground from under the feet of the protest itself.

What’s missing is the class perspective: instead of sides being taken with a proletariat that has been oppressed and massacred for well over seventy years throughout the Middle East (and throughout the world! but we’ll limit ourselves to this more restricted area since the end of the Second World War for the time being), sides are being taken with a “people” (an exquisitely inter-classist concept) out of a sense of guilt. What’s missing, in other words, is a clear-cut affirmation, combative and up for the struggle, that ‘the proletariat has no country, no nation’: anyone trying to shut the proletariat within these cages, identifying it with ‘the people’ – intentionally or otherwise, it matters not – is simply playing the counter-revolutionary card.

This narrowness of approach also manifests itself in other guises. Take, for example, the fragmentation and isolation of a protest that is unable to shake off generational constraints, to unshackle itself from the university context in which it emerged and from an activism based upon specific issues (the economic ties between university research and the interests of the Israeli State) ... There is no broader political, class-based outlook, capable of involving other social strata – the working class, young proletarians and semi-proletarians in the ghettoes – that have been increasingly affected by the worsening crisis. True, movements like Black Lives Matter have backed up the student protests. But as we pointed out at the time of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of USA cops,1 what we are looking at here is a movement whose firmly reformist petty bourgeois base is unable to frame a genuine criticism (operational, organizational, militant) of capitalism as an economic-social-cultural construct that needs to be dismantled, thus skirting around and challenging the illusory notion it can be patched up. So even in the case of the currently spreading protest, what we actually have is a pragmatic and empirical view – typical of the short-sighted approach underlying the practice of ‘doing politics’ – that conceives of protest movements as a simple summation of ‘needs’ and ‘problematics’ to be faced and, hopefully, solved one by one. In the 1960s one of the representatives of the Berkeley university student movement declared significantly: “We take a stance on a particular problem, let’s say civil rights. Then we have a position on another matter, let’s say Vietnam, and so on. I’d like to define radicalism as the sum of these positions ...”. Too little, and not good enough, because the lack of a global politcial vision – a genuine revolutionary strategy – serves only to drain the protest itself of any real effectiveness.

This short-sightedness and impotence also surface in other matters. First of all in the failure to understand the real nature of the Bourgeois State which, at the end of the day, is expected to clear up any ‘problems’ and, in particular, is called upon, even when it shows itself in its true colours, ever more dominant and forthright: the repressive armed wing of Capital. And secondly, in the failure to understand the true nature of democracy in the imperialist phase, i.e., the method of government that alternates with that of fascism, accommodating it and, little by little, substantially taking it on board, albeit not formally. It’s not enough to come up with terms like ‘democratura’, i.e. ‘democracy+dictatorship’ (as several flash in the pan philosophers have done): you have to know what you’re talking about! 2

And lastly. The approaching elections in the USA and elsewhere are a powerful tool when it comes to manipulating the protests, alternating between die-hard repression and sugar-coated offers to settle the conflict. Precisely because the protest is so fragile (in political if not numerical terms), the institutional world of politics reacts solely with a view to securing votes. Hence its on-off approach to repression and its knowing nudge-nudge-wink-winking when offering or taking away something, purely on the basis of electoral calculations. And what about the much talked about ‘democratic left’? The widely worshipped Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez? What are they doing? Overly concerned, they resort to the favoured rhetoric of general-purpose lip service, but always with a view to bringing the protest back to the well-carpeted council-chambered institutions to which they so enthusiastically belong. Hence the first got away with a “Stay peaceful and focussed. You’re on the right side of history” (ANSA, 4/5/2024), while the second limited herself to a discussion of the meaning of “genocide” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZdrZ-uiIT0). No comment!

Many young people feel really indignant and angry about the proliferation of bloody events like the ethnic cleansing in Gaza, the war in Ukraine and all the other little wars and skirmishes which take place across the world, bringing a new world war nearer and nearer. Their only course of action, as difficult as it might sound, is that of leaving aside generational issues and embracing with vigour and determination the class front, dedicating themselves, body and mind, to an internationalism that has nothing to do with ‘sums of peoples’ or ‘federations of nations’ and everything to do with the united struggle of our class within and against all countries; working for the unification of struggles as part of a programme that is not only economic and social but political against the State and its deceptive democracy. And decidedly take the road to the revolutionary party.


1 On Black Lives Matter and related issues, see our in-depth article “USA: Racism, Class Struggle and the Need for the Revolutionary Party”, The Internationalist, n.7, Winter 2020/2021.

2 On these matters, see our core texts like ‘The Democratic Principle (1922)’, Internationalist Papers, n.4, and ‘Force, violence, dictatorship in the class struggle (1946-48)”, Internationalist Papers, nos. 5-6-7-8. Both available on demand.


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