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May Day 2021: what struggle for the proletariat?
The pandemic of the coronavirus has aggravated the feeling of resignation - nourished by decades of reformist and democratic illusions, of collaborationist policies on the part of the tricolored trade unions and the false workers' parties - which for too long has weakened the proletarian energies of struggle.
Like all crises under capitalism, the health crisis, which is still raging, adding to an already present economic crisis, has hit the proletarian masses hardest.
Women, young people and older workers are the proletarian categories most affected, and they will increase the army of the unemployed, which was already particularly numerous before Covid-19.
To the economic catastrophe which has resulted in hundreds of millions of layoffs, hundreds of millions of young people who cannot find work, if not very precarious, hundreds of millions of workers and pensioners plunged into a poverty of which they see no end, has been added the bankruptcy of public health: total lack of means of prevention, hospital deficiencies, lack of insufficient hospital personnel, cruelly insufficient intensive care, patients abandoned at home, elderly people left to die in retirement institutions, unfunded territorial medicine, etc. For more than a year, governments have been preoccupied with limiting the damage that this crisis could cause to the capitalist economy. Workers were sent to work in unhealthy environments, without personal protections and under the blackmail of losing their jobs and having their wages reduced. Although frightened by a pandemic that was killing people like flies, in many countries proletarians revolted, fighting for at least the individual protections promised by the authorities. But the lack of confidence in their own forces and the unions was and still is too great to give the proletarians the capacity to face an enemy as powerful as the ruling bourgeois class.
The policy of class collaboration, permanently carried out by the collaborationist trade union and political forces who claim to be the "defenders" of the workers' interests, while in reality they are saboteurs of these interests, is based precisely on the weakness of the working class; once bent to the needs of capital, the working class is caught in the net of alleged "common" interests with the bourgeois; it is convinced that it can only obtain a few extra crumbs if it sacrifices even more energy than it regularly gives to the capitalists. The collaborationists, real agents of the bourgeoisie in the ranks of the proletariat, have the task of making the proletarians work according to the needs of the companies in relation to their markets; insofar as they accomplish this dirty work successfully, they receive privileges, guarantees, better paid and less painful jobs. Even in countries like Italy, where the workers have been able to get rid of the institutions of class collaboration in the companies through direct struggle and have organized base committees by electing more trustworthy delegates, the general democratic social climate has prevented the break with class collaboration, not only at the general political level, but at all levels, down to the most elementary; proletarian interests have been handed over to the professionals of negotiation with the bosses and the state, always to the benefit of the ruling class. The class collaboration does not attenuate, and even less eliminates the competition between proletarians, but it increases it, organizes it, institutionalizes it!
On the shoulders of the proletarians weighs not only the daily action of the capitalists, of their state and all its political, administrative, social, cultural and military institutions, but also the daily action of the professionals of class collaboration. And this burden is so heavy that in order to free ourselves from it, we need a powerful social force which is lacking today: the social force given by class unity, by class solidarity, by the struggle carried out on the ground of the exclusive defense of fundamental class interests.
After the defeats of the 1920s and, above all, since the victory of imperialist democracy in the wake of the Second World War, the proletarians are in a situation where they have to reconstitute class-based trade union organizations as in the 19th and 20th centuries. This situation may seem impossible to overcome; a century later, how is it possible to defeat the bourgeoisie, which in the meantime has become much stronger? The imperialist bourgeoisie seems to be invincible today - this is the main argument of the supporters of class collaboration.
There is no doubt that in the last century capitalism has developed all over the world, and that the bourgeoisies have become much stronger and more powerful. But this power is based on the exploitation of wage labor, without which the capitalists cannot extract the surplus value indispensable to the life and growth of capital. The workers are indispensable to the capitalists; and they are so indispensable that all the capitalist development that has embraced the world has been possible only by constituting more and more armies of proletarians, of wage-labourers, wherever there were formerly only peasants or primitive populations.
Today even more than yesterday, the communist slogan: Proletarians of all countries unite! frightens the governments of the whole world because the nightmare of the bourgeoisie is that this immense army of wage slaves becomes aware of its strength under the leadership of its class party.
The economic and war crises that affect all continents will inevitably increase the anger and struggle of the proletarians and oppressed masses. Millions of migrants driven out by these crises are crowding the borders of the advanced capitalist countries, trying to survive in an abundant society which, on the one hand, rejects and marginalizes them and, on the other hand, uses them as a cheaper labor force and as a means to divide the working class through competition with the native proletarians. They are proletarians who bear the physical and psychological scars of the most appalling violence generated by imperialism and from which they try to escape, braving all dangers to go to countries where at least this violence does not exist. The borders of the U.S. and Europe are still being crossed, despite all the barriers and armed guards that defend them. Just as the capitalist means of production cannot be stopped by any border, no border can stop the human production force that capitalism creates throughout the world.
The proletarian unity is therefore not obliged to be constituted by links between continents and between countries: it can be created within the same country between proletarians of different nationalities and races. The basis of this unity, however, is the same: it is the common interest of all proletarians to defend their conditions as wage earners against bourgeois exploitation, no matter if they are from this or that company, this or that sector, this or that category, this or that country. But this common interest can only constitute a force if the competition between proletarians is fought; it is only by overcoming this competition that it is possible to unify the forces, and it is only by fighting for the same objectives, for the same interests, that this class solidarity is created, which is the real force of the proletariat.
In reality, it is capitalist development itself, with the inevitable class struggle in bourgeois society, which lays the foundation for the rebirth of the proletarian class movement. If the proletarians do not want to remain crushed by bourgeois exploitation, they have only one way to go: the class struggle against the main enemy, the capitalist bourgeoisie - without forgetting the most insidious enemies, the professionals of class collaboration.
Breaking the pact of collaboration with the capitalists and their leaders is therefore the first great objective of the proletarian class struggle. And this break is realized by the reorganization of the class organizations for the struggle of exclusive defense of the immediate interests of the proletariat. From there, and from the development of this struggle, the proletariat can realize that its struggle cannot be limited to these immediate objectives, but that it must go beyond them by rising to the general political level, that is to say revolutionary, including because the dominant class uses and will use its political power and its State to maintain the proletariat in its situation of wage-slave.
In this long and tormented path towards its emancipation, the proletariat will have to rely not only on its social strength, but also on its class party, because the latter constitutes and represents the class consciousness, the consciousness of the supreme objectives of the revolutionary struggle.
For the classist reorganization of the proletarian struggle!
For demands that unify proletarians across categories, sectors, nationalities, gender or age!
For the renewal of the class struggle!
For the international reconstitution of the class party!
International Communist Party
April, 30th 2021
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