For a class opposition to center-left, today and forever
For a socialist perspective as the only alternative of society
Toward a deep reformation of our Party
Ferrando, Franco Grisolia, Francesco Ricci
Premise: the meaning of the Fourth Congress
The Fourth Congress of the Communist Refoundation Party (Prc) has a particular importance. After supporting the Prodi Administration for two years and considering our current opposition role, this Congress has the duty to sum-up past experiences, and draw a new and yet coherent political project for the Communist Refoundation. Our Party indeed is going through a difficult time but has potential.
Significant and positive events have helped our Party to recover its natural role as the independent representative of the working class and of the oppressed masses. We are referring particularly to the breakup with the Prodi Administration, decided by a 70% majority of the Central Political Committee, and to the decision to oppose the D’Alema Administration, which is supported by the capitalists.
The aftermath of these events has been an aggressive attack against our legitimacy to have autonomous representatives in the Parliament. This then led to the bureaucratic and opportunistic separation of a significant faction within our Party, which was attracted by the Center left and by the dominating classes supporting it.
Therefore this Congress invites the whole Party, beyond all the internal political differences, to react unanimously against these attacks and to reaffirm the presence and the struggle of the communists.
Nevertheless, the revitalization of the Party and its initiative must begin with a thorough examination of the past several years and with a look to our future.
We have to admit that the decision to support the Prodi Administration for two years was a serious mistake. The hypothesis that the Center-left would be sensitive to the needs of the working class and to the communists has proven wrong.
The strategy of a social and reforming compromise with the dominating class and its political representatives (according to the definition of the previous Congress) has failed.
It is a matter of facts: Communist Refoundation in two years has accomplished not even one of its goals for the first 100 days of the mandate. On the other hand the government, thanks to our crucially supportive vote, has been able to complete the plans of bankers and Italian capitalists.
And as the ending result of these last two years, the Italian bourgeoisie is undoubtedly stronger, whilst the working class movement and the lower classes are much weaker, fragmented and demoralized. In the long run our Party had to pay the consequences of the support to the government: first with an internal weariness and finally with the division. An unacceptable division that a part of our leading group chose and wanted. After years of support to bloody financial laws, some of us preferred to choose the government against their own Party.
On the basis of these general considerations, not just from the analysis of the last financial law, we can understand the righteousness of the relocation of our Party at the opposition, and the positive and revitalizing effects that this decision has had on Prc.
Nevertheless going back to the opposition is necessary but not enough.
Indeed the true analysis of the past political course must help us in finding a new political and strategic path so that, learning from experience, we would avoid repeating mistakes.
The experience we have been going through has revealed the true nature of the Center left. The Center left represents the interests of the capitalists. It is the means through which the capitalists are “peacefully” imposing to the masses their policy of austerity and sacrifices in the form of social pact.
The new Administration of D’Alema and Cossiga, while modifying the dynamics of the Center left, is continuing and reinforcing the class basis of Prodi Administration.
Therefore our opposition to the Center left and its new Administration cannot be a “constructive” opposition that would be favorable to a new negotiation with the government for a more left centered political axis.
Prc cannot be at the opposition and at the same time be supportive of local Center left Administrations, either in the Regions or in the big cities, since they manage the national financial corporations.
Our objection to the Center left government must be real, radical, and coherent, as class struggle against the ruling class, which supports it. We have to oppose D’Alema as well as Rutelli, Castellani, Cacciari and others.
It must be an opposition capable of mobilizing a mass movement of the working class against the government and the ruling class. It has to be a mass movement of male and female workers, of oppressed and exploited masses, with the arduous goal to create a unitary and alternative social block for the change of the existing dynamics among the classes. It has to propose a radical antithesis to the bureaucratic system of the unions as well, which appear to be agents of the Italian bourgeoisie.
We have to liberate the masses from every illusion and from any hope that the political axis of the Center left might move more to the left. Therefore the relationship between the Communists and the Democrats for the Left (Ds) can only change if the Italian working class rediscover the motivations of its independence.
The experiences we have been going through show the necessity of a new strategic and programmatic path for our Party, and of an analysis of the epochal changes of the present times.
The undeniable failure of the compromise with Prodi and the Center left that we accepted in order to carry out social reforms is not a mere accident but has a fundamental meaning.
Our dramatic common experience has let us understand the undeniable utopian and illusory character of an hypothetical reform in the context of crisis of the world capitalism, the new competition among imperialistic blocks and the implications of the imperialistic globalization of Europe.
It is not mere chance that Lafontaine and Jospin, inspired by Keynes, are working towards a moderate application of the policy of rigor, flexibility and privatization established at Maastricht. European Socialist democracies are supporting those policies as a means to sustain their bourgeoisie, but they are also finally facing important mass reactions, especially in France.
Our Party therefore cannot look at European Socialist democracies as a model either as proof of the effectiveness of reformism or of the existence of a left centered political axis.
Communist Refoundation cannot propose the illusion of an “alternative society” as a simple option to liberalism separated from an anti-capitalistic perspective. Communist Refoundation has the duty to find a strategic, programmatic and alternative answer to the crisis of capitalism and of a reformism that does not reform. And the specific every day objectives of the struggle have to be connected to the project of an alternative system. This answer has to be anti-capitalist and communist.
The radical anti-capitalist alternative does not spring from an abstract ideology, but from the fundamental social crisis that the whole capitalistic civilization is facing throughout the world. More than 3 billion people in the world live with less than 3000 lira a day, while the 3 richest persons have in their hands the whole net national product of the 48 poorest countries. These data clearly show the complete ineffectiveness of a deceptive reformism.
Modern communism was not born for patching up the cracks of the existing order with illusions; it was born for building a new order for human society.
We have to keep in mind this ultimate goal when we revive the revolutionary spirit of Marxism. At the same time a reconsideration of the history of communism in this past century and the detailed analysis of the present needs will give us the chance to renovate that revolutionary spirit especially in its practical applications.
This is today the significance of the Communist Refoundation Party.
The Fourth Congress has to start this process, and not procrastinate it any longer on behalf of the “supremacy of politics”.
For real communists their political action cannot be separated from their ultimate goals and the endless delay in defining these goals has already produced bad results.
Nevertheless the new political path must go together with a deep reform in the life and modus operandi of our Party.
We have to avoid the dramatic division between the Party and its representatives. Already twice in the last few years this division has cut down communist presence in the institutions and has exposed Prc to many risks. Therefore we have to overcome bureaucratization and the disadvantages resulting from political exigencies present in the relationship between minority and majority.
Key points will be the deep respect of the internal democratic system for the creation of a real and not merely unanimous unity and for a thorough activation of the existing resources. We want to arouse a communal effort to build a Party that will be better organized, better founded and prepared. This way our Party will be able to assume the responsibility of its fundamental role of reference for the struggle for the revolutionary transformation of the status quo.
1. A true estimate
The evaluation of the decision to give support to the Prodi Administration is a necessary step for our Party. If we didn’t take responsibility for our mistakes we would indeed be condemned to repeat them. This analysis does not only include our past, but most importantly our future and our project of an alternative system. For these reasons, the time has come for an investigation of the truth, free from propagandistic temptations and capable of calling things by their name.
1.1. A disproved political course
The Third Congress of Communist Refoundation established a new political course, which accepted a share in the Prodi Administration on the basis of the following motivations:
a) the possibility to affect the direction of the government and the Center left from this new position towards a truly reforming political action;
b) the positive role of our presence in the government as point of reference for a possible resurgence of the mass movement and the social struggle.
c) The necessity of a share in the government in order to strengthen the “democratic victory of April 21 st 1996”.
Two years later we have to admit honestly that this political path has basically failed on all the three levels above mentioned.
a) Prodi Administration has proven incapable of any “reforming turn”, and also has demonstrated itself as a Counter-reformation force in any political and programmatic decision. The main concern of the Olive Movement was the completion of the passage of Italy to post-Maastricht Europe and to the so-called II Republic. In pursuing this end, Prodi made the ultimate plans of the moneyed elites and the governing classes his own.
Prodi government has taken upon its shoulders the responsibility to perform an historical function on behalf of the Italian bourgeoisie. For this reason the Italian bourgeoisie has represented for two years the first supporting force of that government and its actions.
Prodi’s main achievement has been a huge process of capitalistic recovery of the State budget, the most impressive in the Western world.
He has successfully imposed the privatization process in Europe, with particular attention to the strategic realms of the productive system and the bank network.
He has encouraged the privatization and the liberalization of entire areas of public life, such as the Health system, the School, the ex-State Railways, the Post and telecommunications, Trade; and he has started the liberalization of the rental market, which bears serious consequences especially for the working class.
He has pushed the policies for the flexibility of the work force (Treu bill) to the point where our legislation is now the most flexible of the whole Europe.
He has realized a reactionary legislation on immigration, which pays a tribute to Shengen’s methods since it is based on, lager-like gathering centers, expulsions and an active campaign against “clandestines”.
He has also initiated a new foreign policy with the overt goal of expanding the interests and the strategic positions of Italian imperialism in the Balkans, in the Middle East and in Latin America.
This general program has had devastating social consequences.
On the one hand the proprietors’ profits have increased as never before (as shown by the decennial record in 1997), on the other hand the buying power of salaries has steadily decreased and massive unemployment, poor working conditions and poverty have reached dramatic peaks.
Southern Italy in particular is going through a new process of impoverishment and as a consequence it is progressively more dependent on Italian and European monopolies and neo-colonialist policies.
b) This Counter-reformist policy used as best ally a general situation of extraordinary social peace. In fact during the Prodi Administration a new phenomenon emerged: the energies to fight of the working class reached the lowest level in the whole post-war era and the power of the strikes was also at its minimum since the fall of Fascism.
The conjoint action of the Left Democrats with the Unions, has inhibited the power of reaction of the working class.
The passive behavior of the working class, despite the fact that their material situation was getting worse, has deprived the masses of a unifying and leading reference.
Therefore after two years, the dynamics of the power struggle between the classes have known an ulterior regression to the advantage of the governing groups. This has been the most successful achievement of this Administration, even more so than the impressive measures in favor of the propertied class.
c) The social policy of the government in the context of general social peace has allowed the consolidation of the Right and their reference group, which is today a potential majority. The Center right has benefited for two years from the opportunity to monopolize the opposition, hiding at the same time communal views with the Olive-movement. The Center right has also benefited from the revival of reactionary moods from the government (we refer to the issues of immigration, institutional reforms and defense of the Army on the Somalia case); and also from the passive and apolitical attitude of the masses.
Finally the dangerous symmetry between the policy of the Right and the “common sense” shared by large sections of the masses has inflated the electoral basis of the Right. The result of that conjuncture has been a progressively larger militant base for the Right and its developed action.
The Fourth Congress therefore recognizes the fact that the support to Prodi Administration has failed to achieve its goals.
1.2. Our vote on Maastricht
The most serious aspect of this experience has not been simply the failure in the achievement of our goals, but mostly the active support we have offered for two years to projects that were completely opposite to our own.
Our vote in favor to the financial laws of the government in ’96 and ’97, the Treu bill, the privatization process, the automobile wreckage trade-in law, the reform of the Irpef quotes, the racial immigration laws, have not been just simple mistakes. They represented an active support to the core of the strategic program of the Italian bourgeoisie, so that we contributed to the decisive strengthening of its power.
Our Party went to the 1996 elections with a “100 days program” whose core statement was: “We will oppose with all means laws and decisions taken into consideration of Maastricht treaty”. For two years we have done completely the opposite. It is true that Communist Refoundation has made negotiations and seriously challenged the government. We have made agreements with the program of the government, its forms, ways and times of realization, but we never did it for our own program.
That was however impossible within the political and social boundaries of a majority representing mainly the interests of the Italian bourgeoisie.
And yet in front of ourselves and in front of the masses we have mistakenly applauded the decisions made with this government. For example the financial law of 1996 (a “turning point law”), the Treu bill (“the policy for employment is moving”), or the 1997 financial law (“the political and programmatic axis of the Administration has moved left”).
And it is even worse to keep talking about the “positive contribution” of Communist Refoundation to the creation of the Euro as a token to be entitled to ask a “new reforming turn”.
Imperialistic Europe has indeed used the creation of the unitary currency for pursuing liberal policies and relative sacrifices.
And experience has taught us once more that the two-steps logic, first the sacrifices and then the reforms, must be rejected by the communists.
1.3 Our contribution to social peace
Our support to the Center left and its policy has involved Communist Refoundation in the project of consolidation of social peace.
It is true though that within the majority we engaged ourselves into the causes of the working class and in doing that we obtained attention from a large part of the population. The masses indeed, being discouraged about their own strength looked at us as a guarantee force.
And they passively entrusted themselves to us while we did not initiate a dynamic movement and common action. has engender favored a passive entrust of the people to us, not a dynamic movement.
We have created illusions on the government and on our role in this majority, while we did not warn the masses that the Administration had a specific class basis. Therefore we suffered later of the effect of a general disillusion.
For these reasons we contributed for two years, despite our best intentions, to social peace in Italy and to the regression of the power balance among the classes.
2. In search of a new political course
On the basis of an honest analysis of the failure of the previous political course we want to find inspiration for a new and real political perspective. We don’t want that what happened, would ever repeat.
The breakup with Prodi is not just an occasional event but has deep roots. Just the last financial law cannot have caused it, since that law was very similar to previous ones. A deep and thorough examination of the Center left wing and the majority of April 21 determined the breakup.
It has been a real departure from the policy of compromise for the present and the future, it cannot just be considered as a failed compromise. This detachment is not a step back today in order to take two steps forward tomorrow on the same path: it must be the start for a new political path.
2.1 Italian imperialism and the II Republic
It has been a long time that Italian capitalism has reached its imperialistic maturity. It is no longer a “derelict capitalism”, it actively participates to the council of the world governing countries and therefore it has a share in the allotment of raw materials and areas of influence or control and oppression on the dependent countries.
In this picture the pressure of the international crisis of capitalism, the downfall of the URSS, the development of an imperialistic European pole have had a crucial effect on the crisis of the I Italian Republic and its historical twist since 1992.
The international crisis of capitalism and the strong revival of its internal contradictions have pushed Italian capitalism to face the issues concerning its “delays” and “twists”.
At the same time the fall of URSS has disintegrated the historical prejudice of the bourgeoisie against a participation of the Communist Party to the government. At that point the moneyed elites had the opportunity to detach themselves from the leading powers of the I Republic. In fact the old block of Christian Democrats and Socialists precipitated into a vortex of scandals and were abandoned to their destine while new arrangements between the capitalistic leading class and its institutional representatives were organized.
This is the transitional phase that dominated Italy in the ‘90s in the context of the failures of the working class movement. This process has been complex and did not follow a linear plan, and yet it is possible to see its roots and their social class basis.
1) On the economic point of view the bourgeoisie has extended and consolidated its material basis. The process of privatization of strategic sectors of the economy such as the energy, telecommunications, the pension system and the renovation and concentration of the credit system have contributed to increase the capital. There has been a progressive strengthening of monopoly groups such as Fiat, which have primarily benefited from the privatized system (see Telecom).
Therefore Italian imperialism is facing the birth of the European unitary currency with more power and an aggrandized attitude for foreign policy. Diplomatic activity is directly dependent on monopolies and also on a more pervasive and aggressive middle-range industry. Both of them are not simply interested in the enlargement of the exports but in a massive imperialistic investment helped by the privatization process commissioned by the International Monetary Fund in the dependent countries.
2) Italian bourgeoisie has to manage the social impact of progressing imperialistic policy and “European integration”.
The bourgeoisie is also aware that the criticism of the masses has potential for social explosion. The factors being material impoverishment, fragmentation of large sections of the social classes, swelling of structural unemployment and precarious work, fall of the inferior strata of the bourgeoisie into the proletariat condition, aggravation of the social conditions for the masses in the South. At the same time the small and medium bourgeoisie are being separated by the emergence of a superior enriched stratum that tends to autonomy and to corporation-like behavior and produces new motives of contradiction even within the same dominant social group.
2.2. The Center-left as the privileged tool of the Bourgeoisie
The social needs of the bourgeoisie are leading to a strategic action based on different and yet interrelated levels.
a) The reorganization of the State for a more stable anti-working class and anti-lower class institutional arrangement;
b) The bipolar political system as a means to stability and eradication of the autonomous representatives of the lower classes;
c) The Center left wing as the best option of government.
Within a polar system, the Center left wing is the main point of reference of capitalists and moneyed elites. The representatives of the Center left, although with a different outlook, had already become the referential points of the Italian bourgeoisie in ’92 and ’93, when the Amato and the Ciampi Administration had initiated this transitional phase. The failure of the progressive movement and the victory of the Right in ’94 created contradiction and led the bourgeoisie to try for a while the option Berlusconi. Even in that short period the moneyed elite exploited the Right without making it its strategic key-point. (In that occasion Agnelli said: “If Berlusconi wins, wins for everybody; if he loses, he loses alone”). Since Berlsconi has revealed inapt to manage either a stable plan or a successful struggle, the bourgeoisie became interested again in the Center left: at first with the Olive Movement of Prodi, now with D’Alema.
The political favor of the bourgeoisie for the Center left is certainly not an ideological or a final choice. Neither it is a contingency. It has a strategic value.
a) The political formation and the social basis of the Center left wing are creating a solid institutional cooperation with the leading bureaucracy. This cooperation is useful to a specific strategy of subordination of the working class movement to the new critical situation of capitalism, the European integration, the transition to the II Republic.
b) The coalition of the Center right wing, after the fall of Berlusconi Administration, has shown deeper contradictions. Forza Italia is going through an unresolved crisis determined by the deadlock of its leadership, the conjoint interests of the Fininvest group, and by the impasse of its alliances (especially after the breakup with the Northern League). The open struggle for the leadership in the Pole has also multiplied tensions in the coalition and has favored run-away and transformist tendencies without suggesting an alternative leadership. These difficulties have also favored a further consolidation of the privileged relationship between the Center left wing and the dominating social block.
2.3. The structure of the Democrats of the Left is the instrument of the dominant classes of the working movement.
The Democrats of the left are the backbone of the Center left group; they are a strategic piece of its project. The structure of the Center left is now embracing part of the working class in order to integrate it with the bourgeoisie in a subordinate position.
The cultural basis of the large majority of the leading group of the Democrats of the Left has turned towards liberalism, while detaching from the reforming tradition of the socialist democracy. This is the Italian fringe of the general evolution of a large part of the European Socialist democracies towards liberalism.
The Democrats of the Left are not only an assemblage of cultures, programs and policy. The bureaucratic system of the Democrats for the Left and its political expression is the main way how to control the working class and its potentials for struggle.
The social presence of the Democrats for the Left within politically active masses serves this end. And the control over the working class is the main and constant difference between the Democrats for the Left and a traditional liberal Party. Accordingly, the whole structure of the Democrats for the Left is useful to the bourgeoisie and to the Center left wing because it is considered the only possible guarantee for a communal policy of sacrifice and restrictions.
Correspondingly this is the bridal gift of the Democrats for the Left to the classes in power and to the State in order to have political recognition and increase the importance of their own bureaucratic system within the bourgeoisie.
2.4 The D’Alema Administration is the government of capitalism
The D’Alema Administration represents the most successful confederacy of the ‘90s between the conjoint strategies of the finance and the leading bureaucracy of the Democrats for the Left. The D’Alema Administration is not the expression of a “Grosse Koalition”, it is not a coalition between the Center left wing and the Center right wing, and therefore it is not different and alternative to the Center left. On the contrary it is the most adamant manifestation of the Center left and its strategy, and welcomed as such by the capitalists.
It would be a mistake to attribute the new trust of the bourgeoisie towards the government to the presence of Cossiga.
The presence of the Udr in the government has a deep meaning in the arrangements of the Center left. Udr strengthens the Center side of the coalition and also makes the policy of the Center left lean to the right on certain issues. Finally Udr contributes to a more homogenous programmatic action of the government. And yet Udr is not the main point of reference of the Italian bourgeoisie, or the main reason for its support to the government. The moneyed elite actively supports this Administration for other reasons of social rank.
a) The D’Alema Administration draws a continuous and reassuring line with the policy and the programs of his precedent Prodi. Such continuity is exemplified by the financial law, and in general by pursuing a policy of restoration, flexibility and privatization, together with a new outpouring of wealth in the hands of the capitalists.
Governmental choices such as the liberalization-privatization of the Energy Department (Enel ), the legislation on overtime work, school, the suppression of the fair tenet law (unfortunately voted by Communist Refoundation as well) are the sign of the fortification of the middle class policy of the Center left. The Center left is also free now from any responsibility to look for an agreement with our Party, and therefore it can proceed more straightforwardly on its path.
b) The body of ministers of this government gives also much credibility to the Administration. In fact the appreciation of the middle class for this government is connected to the confirmation of the ministries of Prodi for the economic area. Then there is credit for the new Minister of Work (Bassolino), who made his Administration in Naples the trial trench of the policy of coalition; finally the return of Giuliano Amato as Minister, after he played a lion’s role in the issue of the pension system. Nevertheless D’Alema, the man and his role, is the embodiment of the middle-class expectations channeled into the framework of the Center left. The leader of the Italian socialist democracy, being the main representative of the working class, is also the most apt Prime Minister to guarantee the continuity of the social peace.
c) The new delineation and revival of the social contract is the promising foreword of the new Administration. The coalition is extended to the Majors because they are political forces and they are representatives of increasing local interests. Coalition is opened to the so-called “third zone” (the non-profit), that is the body of large interests which grew from the demolition of the welfare state and is seeking more room in the economic and political world. Finally coalition looks at the colorful world of the small and medium class corporations, who generously and unexpectedly applauded the Center left. The goal of the socialist democracy is therefore to ensure a solid social basis to Italian imperialism by means of the involvement of a progressively larger body of people. This way the government is achieving the full participation of the Cisl (Italian Left Union of the Workmen) and the total subordination of Cgil (Italian Left Union of the Young Workmen).
All this does not mean a total lack of contradictions. Quite the contrary there are seeds of instability such as the coexistence of two projects with a different view on bipolarity (namely Ds and Udr), or the regression of the Olive Movement, and the new difficulties that the Popular Party (Ppi) is facing in between Prodi and the Udr. Instability will likely arise in concern with the reform of the electoral system and the institutions, and also by the time of the election of the next President of the Republic.
However the D’Alema Administration is one of the most authoritative of the last twenty years to the eyes of the Italian middle class. His Administration has the support of all the most important forces among the leading class. Those same forces had supported Prodi and today they think that it will be possible to continue on the same path. Namely the path of a Center left renovated with a stronger executive, more homogeneous to the political situation of the whole continent and strengthened by the social and political dynamics of Prodi and the vote of April 21 st.
2.5 Prc as the autonomous and alternative pole to the Center left.
For the above reasons it is necessary a new political and strategic foundation for Prc. Our relationship with the Center left cannot exclusively consist of a defense of our autonomy, as if our position inside or outside the government would not count. We have to pursue a clear and coherent alternative to the Center left and its Administrations on the basis of a radically different class legacy. In front of the oscillation of the II Republic between two poles represented by the reactionary Center right based upon the small middle class and the liberal Center left, Communist Refoundation has to propose itself as the autonomous nucleus of the working class and of a new social block.
Therefore Prc is not simply separate from the Center left, it is also alternative and opposed to it. Prc in fact is against the dominating class that supports the Center Left and against the common understanding which inspires it. Indeed the communists want that their political and institutional choices will express in a coherent way the interests of their own social rank.
This does not exclude certain flexibility in the strategy and does not mean a disengagement of the communists in the struggle against the Right. Nevertheless the fight against the Right cannot be separated by the anti-capitalistic class struggle which is necessary to demolish that social block. This struggle thereupon must exclude a political alliance of Communist Refoundation with the middle class liberalism.
The Fourth Congress accordingly reconsiders radically the so-called “desisting policy”. Specific accords in fact, can sometimes become useful to win over reactionary candidates and to enlarge the range of the dialogue with the popular basis of the Center left particularly with Ds, but they will be purely technical, and they will exclude the middle class forces of the center.
At any rate any political or electoral agreement with the Center left that, directly or indirectly, might bind Commmunist Refoundation to give political support to the Center left and its Administration will be avoided.
2.6- For a class opposition against D’Alema today and tomorrow
The class alternative of Prc to the Center left has its most natural expression in the opposition to the D’Alema Administration.
This contention must be clear in its inspiration and finality. A “constructive” opposition, seeking a new agreement with the Center left government for a more leftist political axis, would create a basic misunderstanding. The Center left is the organic expression of the interests and the strategy of the moneyed elite. Therefore the communists cannot delude themselves hoping to “push the Center-left more to the left”; neither can they substitute Udr in a newly arranged majority. If we imagined the D’Alema Administration as a “large coalition” in which we might participate again for a reawakening of a reforming Center left, we would deceit the goals of our Party and the working class.
This approach must be radically modified. The communists’ main goal will be a reacquisition of independence of the working class from the middle class Center left. We will not have any illusion of affecting the Center left, on the contrary we consider our duty to liberate the masses from its influence. However the communist opposition will be able to sneak in the contradictions of the adversary side. We are not interested in the dispute between Ds and Cossiga as a means to find our way back to power. On the contrary we want to work on the discrepancy between the bourgeois policy of the government and the proletarian basis of Ds in order to expand the ascendancy of our alternative among the masses.
2.7- Beyond the concept of the “2 Lefts” in order to open the struggle for
The opposition to D’Alema represents the opportunity to overcome the political concept of the “2 Lefts”. Ds and Prc are not simply two separate groups: they represent two opposite strategic projects serving opposite social ranks. Indeed one of the goals of the Democrats for the left is the eradication of an autonomous and more radical communist force. That’s why they tried to make us co-responsible for the government policy or, in other occasions, they tried to find a solution by way of elections.
Our historical goal on the contrary must be to dissolve the impact of the majority of Ds on the working classes and thereafter win the active political masses to a different political project. The D’Alema Administration is based on the massive exposure of the Ds representatives to the policy of the Confindustria, therefore there is margin for a new social and political presence to the Left of Ds. The potential opportunities for a struggle for the leadership on the Left are more than before. Throughout tactical struggles and class strives, our policy first of all must reveal to the masses the true nature of Ds and its rigidity and we will make clear that any hypothesis of recruiting is mere illusion. The challenges with Ds, despite the fact that they can be useful under certain circumstances, are to be subordinate to our first strategic goal. This implies awareness that the creation of an alternative leadership of the working ranks is the necessary step for the assemblage of an alternative social block and for the assertion of a lasting anti-capitalistic project.
This policy for the leadership needs the clarity and the coherence of the communist opposition, both in the institutions and in the social actions.
2.8. The opposition of Prc in the local Administration: Regions and the big cities.
The first implication of this new policy is a different approach of our Party towards the local Center left Administrations. Indeed the middle class policy of the Center left does not develop only on national scale but also on a local scale where often it finds grounds for advanced experimentation. Today the extension of the national policy to the government representatives of the main local Administrations strengthens the political and class bond between national and local areas.
The communist opposition to the national Center left cannot at the same time entail support for it on a local level. In particular our participation or support to Center left governments in the Regions or in the big cities must be revised. Prc cannot oppose the national financial laws and at the same time accept the local implications of those laws (such as reduced budgets, privatization, and land closeouts). We cannot fight the national assent and then give support to majors such as Rutelli, Castellani, Pericu, Cacciari, Bassolino who are, now more than ever, the protagonists of that covenant.
Recent experiences in the large cities (Rome, Naples, Genoa) have shown that supporting Center left Administrations has worn out the bond of our Party with the masses and produced an open conflict with important branches of the alternative social block.
It is necessary a change towards a coherent class allegation and the political-institutional choices of Prc. The resurgence of class opposition to D’Alema and the proposition of a unitary mass movement against government and proprietors demand communists to be at the opposition on a local level starting with the regions and big cities.
It would be different of course if the communists were a prominent part of local Administrations and could apply a truly alternative policy and fight against the national government without faking institutional neutrality.
The decisions of our Party concerning local elections are therefore subordinate to this new direction. We do not exclude tactical behaviors that might enhance the impact of the independent policy of the communists on Ds. But we reject any compromise that might affect the politically independent action of the communist forces against the Center left and its Administration.
2.9. The reawakening of a mass movement within a new hegemonic project
The main implication of the new political course concerns the recreation of the social mass opposition to the government. Prc cannot transform the opposition in a mere defense of the cause of the working class, unless it accepts to have just an image role for electoral and institutional reasons. The class opposition to the Center left needs a huge jump in terms of plans and initiatives. It is necessary to elaborate a new proposal for the reawakening of a mass movement based on a new logic, a struggle for hegemony and the articulation of an alternative block.
It is fundamental the conception and the practice of the fight for power. This does not imply the
imposition or an auto-imposition of Communist Refoundation on masses and movements, since we
certainly respect the autonomy of any organization. But our Party will intervene among masses and
movements not just evoking ideals of solidarity and support, but proposing real goals, ways of
struggling, organizations and political paths to an anti-capitalistic alternative. This is our chance to
be the point of reference of struggles that do not have to be under the control of Ds leaders, who in
fact work for the failure of those struggles. The struggle for power is not just a need for
recognition yet separated from the best interests of the working class and the masses. Quite the
contrary it answers a crucial quest of the large masses for a new political and unionist leadership,
especially after losses and regression. The invariable destiny of even the greatest mass movement,
see the events of the fall ’94, is to be restrained, deviated, dissolved and even exploited for reasons
that are external to the inspiration of their social class. Without a new direction, a new point of
reference or a new proposal, all the difficulties inherent to the possibility of resurgence of a mass
movement are deepened.
2.10. Creating the conditions for a real movement instead of simply invoke it
The development and aggregation of a mass movement against the ruling policy is a complex task, especially after the further regression of the social situation in the last two years.
The difficult social situation together with our own worry calls for a decisive change, of political and analytical character.
Theories about the nightfall of the centrality of the social class appear periodically in phases of regression, but they must be categorically discarded. The potential for struggle of the working class and the masses is immense, despite deprivation and regression. The crisis of capitalism certainly moulds the social blocks, but at the same time offers real opportunities for a class struggle and a world wide and European conflict.
The enlargement of the proletariat in the imperialistic countries offers new material on the social ground. Not by chance Europe has seen in the ‘90s dynamics of sudden transformation or recurrent social upheavals such as in Italy in ’94, in France in December ’95, and in Denmark and Greece in the last months, often supported by a basis progressively larger than before.
The physical circumstances for a social explosion in Italy exist in the present situation of the country. The dominant class is well aware of it; that’s why it aims at political balance (Center left) and at an embracing strategy (social contract) that can help in casting off this potential. The first duty of the communist opposition is to work on the reconstruction of the awareness and trust of the labor movement into their capability of obstruction and insurgence against the dominating politics. The widely spread tendencies to discouragement and passivity are to be rejected.
At the same time experience shows that a mass movement cannot arise out of the decision of one Party. It has to spring in the unpredictable reality of the social and political class struggle. The role of Communist Refoundation is not to evoke the movement or hope to replace it with our own initiatives. Our Party has to work with patience and endurance among the masses in order to induce the conjunctures for the onset of a radical social process for the creation of an anti-capitalistic block.
To this end we have to develop an active infiltration of our Party in any mass group, movement, or expression of conflict even if it is limited. And we will take responsibility for any proposal we make concerning the real needs of the proletariat or any other oppressed group of people. We also need a unifying logic that can consolidate the unity of struggle of the various alternative social groups against any danger of regression or disgregation.
2.11. For a general statement of the working ranks and the jobless people
Our Party has to make a phase proposal for the formation of the social block. This proposal cannot be the abstract assemblage of the programmatic goals of the Party, or the vindication of the 35 work hours. It must answer the complex articulation of the alternative block and the need for a reunification of the workman who is doing extra hours, the workman with a precarious or flexible job, the unemployed or the young with no job.
The need for unity cannot have simple unionist logic, or go by category. And cannot be realized within the framework of a capitalism in crisis or with a “treaty for stability”. Unity can come only from the development of a general assessment of the working world, the young and the unemployed people on the common basis of the needs of the lower classes. In the present situation only a general statement on a common plan can unify the existing forces, subtract them from the process of fragmentation and loss and initiate a movement for the creation of an alternative group.
Communist Refoundation can and must put forward this proposal together with the following goals:
· Immediate and general reduction of the work hours down to 35 hours per week with the same salary, without flexible or annual contract, without financing the proprietors at the expenses of the profits, and reducing dramatically overtime work
· Transformation of all the atypical and particular contracts to full time contracts with no termination contracts;
· Real salary recovery by means of a significant equal increase for everybody;
· A dignified social salary for unemployed people;
· Recognition and extension of the unionist rights to all the dependent workers, independently from the kind of contract and the dimension of the industry.
This platform can and must be developed in different forms in the different social areas. At any rate it can represent a unifying point of reference for the general work of our Party in the struggle movements, the mass organizations, on the territory, overcoming the frequent local or faction tendencies. Independently from the immediate results or the realization of this general statement, it can be a precious preparatory work for the development and the orientation of the future movement.
2.12. For a national unity of the unemployed workers for the social salary
An intervention of our Party focused on the movement of the unemployed people now fragmented and divided, is important. At this regard we have to overcome the logic of support and solidarity or of mediation between movement and institutions. Prc must have specific proposals for the creation of a common movement of the unemployed people with the perspective of a democratic and representative “National Coalition”. A national conference of the groups of the unemployed in Naples can be, if well prepared, a first step in this direction.
It is also necessary a vindication proposal. Therefore the demand of a social salary for those who are unemployed and looking for a job, becomes an important unifying point for a struggle starting in the South. Prc therefore should overcome its prejudices and promote the social salary.
It is a mistake to oppose the struggle for jobs and for reduced work hours to the petition for the “social salary” as if it represented a quest for an advantageous state. And if we look at the so-called “guaranty of minimal job” as a solution we will become inevitably bound to the tendencies towards precarious employment. Therefore we need a new path. While fighting for an equal distribution of the existing jobs and for the creation of finalized jobs according to the social needs, the communists must be able to claim the right to life of those who are looking for a job.
While we continue the general fight for more jobs, we will oppose poor working conditions, poor salaries and the exploitation of the employed and the young unemployed by means of the so-called flexible working conditions and the denial of the rights of those who are out of employment. This is one of the historical struggles of the communists in periods of crisis. The communists therefore aim to union with the working class and their struggle; they aim to organize a movement of the unemployed people that might liberate them from the masters’ oppression, from the social regress and from violence. This struggle also reaffirms the incompatibility of the working class with a capitalism that has entered a final crisis and does not even offer employment.
The current Italian employment situation, in particular in the South, can create cracks among the reactionary social groups to the advantage of the working class movement and its leadership.
2.13. In search of a coherent refoundation of the Unions
Prc decision to be at the opposition has to go together with a new political course in the Unions.
It is fundamental a deep and honest analysis on the nature of the Union bureaucracy, since it reveals to be an ally of the dominating class within the working movement. The policy of Cgil is not simply a “wrong policy” or a “bureaucratic mistake”. It shows the true nature of the bureaucrats of the Unions, who are a real “political class” serving the capitalists and helping them to perpetuate their power.
The first step for our Party will be to stop the attempts of moving the political axis of Cgil to the left. After reaffirming the impossibility to amend Cgil structures, Prc will engage in an open struggle to exclude bureaucrats from the Unions. The communists will not stop participating in the traditional organizations and in particular in Cgil. They will not put any pressure on the leading bureaucrats, but they will oppose and challenge the “rules” of the Unions structures and they will present themselves as the unitary and autonomous point of reference for male and female workers.
In this context it is also necessary the honest criticism of two other failed attempts within Cgil Union: namely the Programmatic Area of the Communists, and Unionist Alternative. Programmatic Area was an attempt of some leaders to create a direct line of communication between Prc and Cgil that would favor their negotiation with the government. The first result being the active support of the Programmatic Area to the financial laws of the Prodi Administration.
Even the leading group of Unionist Alternative did not really have an alternative proposal to the policy of the bureaucracy. Union Alternative has assumed the role of the “congress minority” and has proposed a reforming approach to social problems. This approach is expressed by the program of the so-called “Anti-liberalism Forum” and it is based on a “neo-keynesian view” that unfortunately is accepted nowadays by large sections of the Unions. The serious political choices of the leaders of Union Alternative cannot be considered as simple circumstances; they come from a whole political and unionist course resulting from the pressure of the bureaucracy and bearing the seeds of a further degeneration.
From this analysis comes the compelling necessity of changing our policy in the Unions.
In Cgil is necessary to work for the creation of a coherent class basis with active communists and other independent groups as well. This basis will try to attain the leadership of the left side of Cgil and will act on an anti-bureaucratic and anti-capitalistic program openly opposite to the dominating leaders. Until now the reorganization of such a class basis was paralyzed by the waiting tendency of the Fiom (Cremaschi), that is the left wing of the union bureaucracy. This situation is producing serious damages.
Therefore Prc must work towards the creation of a continuous and active bond between the newly founded left wing of the Cgil and the communist male and female comrades who participate in those Unions nonmember of the existing confederations. These nonmember Unions have a wider horizon of political and unionionist targets and yet their action has real limitations such as a constant tendency toward fragmentation.
Prc cannot imagine to overcoming the dispersion of communist members in various Unions with a simple decision. This situation in fact finds its legitimacy in the actual complexity and history of the Italian Unions and only the class struggle and the battle against bureaucracy will overcome it.
In the meantime, Prc must suggest its general proposal and program to the communist representatives in the Unions, to those in the confederated Unions and those who are outside.
The general proposal of the Fourth Congress is the “Creation of a Union on a class basis, unitary, confederated, democratic and masses oriented”.
Within this path the communists invite all male and female workers to coalesce into a unitary Union based upon the democratic course of action of the working class and upon the defense of their autonomous interests opposite to the extant leading bureaucracy. This perspective implies a unity of the basis that can be accomplished at work by common assemblies of the people enrolled and un-enrolled. We intend this way to counteract the hypothesis of a bureaucratic reorganization of the Unions from above, with the unity of the basis.
The specific forms of this general proposal might vary in relationship to the extant situation. Nevertheless the core of the communist action is to achieve the leadership on the active political and unionist groups, being free from a ghetto-like Union program and from a subordinate role in the relationship to the extant Union structure.
An accord among communist representatives in the Unions, beyond any label, is necessary. This accord must be the unifying ground of our action in the Unions of various territories and divisions.
While we implement our main proposition, we want to enlarge our base not just including actively involved communists. On the contrary we’ll solicit the creation of “committees for the refoundation of the Unions” in every working place involving unionist representatives of various groups in an anti-proprietors and anti-bureaucratic plan of action.
Prc must also reawaken the movement of the Rsu delegates, especially after the enlargement of their structure. It is therefore necessary to overcome our detached attitude towards them and the consequent incomprehension. We do not need to deny the real political and organizational limitations of the Rsu; however we do want to overcome them and push the movement forward. A permanent commission of the left wing representatives in the Rsu, working on a class based program, might be a useful way to fight bureaucracy and create a mass movement.
Finally, although the communists will consider the struggle in the Unions as crucial, they have to avoid formalism. In particular it is fundamental to create auto-organizations of the masses, such as struggle committees and regularly elected democratic structures (strike committees, council). It is in fact within these organizations, more than in the Unions, that the communists will fight to attain the majority.
2.14 A clear proposal for the student movement
Prc must have an active role in the outbreaks of movements in Schools and Universities. A stronger presence of organized communists among young students is necessary. But it is not enough. First we need to be able to offer them a real proposal. Since ’93 students have carried on recurring actions of seizure and forms of autonomous government. However even the largest movements ended up dispersed, fragmented and apolitical, to the advantage of the government and the institutional authorities.
It is important to organize committees for the defense and the transformation of the Public School in preparation of an immediate struggle on some fundamental issues. First of all we are against the privatization of public education and we’ll oppose any proposal of financing private schools, both directly and indirectly. We claim the necessity of free textbooks and the abolition of school fees; we request the percentage of Pil (total internal product) destined to schools be doubled by means of taxation of the moneyed elite, the properties and the profits.
The committees for the defense of the Public School must be open to all the students who agree with our program of action in conformity with antifascist principles. Students will solicit unity of action with professors and staff, free from reciprocal mistrust and without closing each other off. Students can contribute to the rise of a common relationship with the working world, with the unemployed and with any attempt of opposition to the policy of the government. In this context the committees of defense of Public School can represent the seeds of radical action of the students opposing the leaders of Uds and the governmental policy. They can also be the place for confrontation about the general plan of a radical reform of the School system within an anti-capitalistic project.
The communists should also have a proposal for a democratic and organized unification of the movement of the students. If the movement and its action broke in fragments for lack of a common path and of a democratic platform for confrontation of the various opinions and proposals, it would not succeed. Quite the contrary we know from experience that such a loss would benefit Uds’ leaders and would imply a regression of the movement.
However we can learn from the experience of the French students and propose that any seized school designate democratically its own delegates, who can be dismissed any time and who will meet on a national level to define the path of the movement. This way the power of the various organizations will be interrelated with that of their democratic representatives.
Only this way a real challenge between the movement and the government will develop and will force the government to give clear answers. This way every struggle and its continuation will aim at clear, significant, verifiable targets.
2.15. In search of a renewal of a coherent democratic battle: for the return to the proportional electoral system, anti-militarism and the abrogation of the Concordat
The communist opposition must have a coherent proposal for a democratic intervention on social problems. Our opposition to the referenda as means for changing the electoral system must be associated to a strong campaign against the majority system and in favor of the restoration of the proportional system. However we don’t want to preclude to ourselves some flexibility in our role in the Parliament for the future, especially in cases in which our votes might be necessary to avoid worse solutions. And yet we cannot generally accept to compromise with the government (see for example the German model of blockages) in order to guarantee an executive stability which follows the interests of the bourgeoisie but goes against democracy and our views.
The campaign for a restoration of the true proportional system is crucial to avoid complete surrender to the II Republic. This campaign will need a large common movement involving various intellectual, cultural, forensic groups but cannot be disconnected from the paths and the reasons of Prc opposition. The restoration of the proportional system in fact simply represents the return to full, autonomous, free representatives of the working class, of the unemployed, of the oppressed masses against a bourgeoisie which only aims at discharging them.
Prc is also starting a political campaign for the abrogation of the Concordat between State and Church. This will modify the contradictory and confused views toward the Catholic Church that our Party displayed in the past. The understanding with the Catholic Church on the assumption that the Papacy is “anti-capitalistic”, the effort for a dialogue with the Catholic hierarchy (for example cardinal Tonini), even at the national festivals of our Party, in search of a common “research” and recognition, has been a serious mistake.
The Vatican still represents the historical champion of the status quo. Its conservative function is based upon the relationships between ecclesiastical hierarchy and the capitalists operating in the realm of finance and real estate.
The formal interest of the Church toward social issues and the Catholic criticism toward the profit-rush do not represent a real anti-capitalistic position. On the contrary they represent a generic ideological and reactionary anti-materialism or they openly compete with Marxist views among the oppressed masses. In addition to this, the absolutistic and autocratic nature of the Church is asserted by the reactionary positions of the Papacy concerning the education, the civil rights, the auto-determination of women and the rights of gay and lesbian minorities. In particular the women struggle for the defense of the law 194 (legal abortion) finds the Church as its main enemy.
For the reasons mentioned above the communists have to fight against the ecclesiastic hierarchy, their social role and their ideology. Prc is not and must not be the Party of an “ideology”; indeed Marxism has to be considered as a project of transformation, not as a doctrine. In this context it will be important to appeal to the masses of Catholics with our socialist project. Therefore, starting with the class struggle and the democratic claims, it will be necessary to reveal the huge contradictions between the need for progress of some Catholics and the reactionary nature of the Church.
Today with the open debate about the private school and the freedom of the women, and with the revival of a laic feeling among the masses, the quest for an abrogation of the Concordat and the end of the material and symbolic privileges for the Church, becomes important.
Prc also develops a strong anti-imperialistic and anti-militaristic policy.
The Curdish issue and the Ocalan case have demonstrated the importance of a political proposition supporting the oppressed people and their democratic rights.
However we have to avoid the risk of reducing our international initiatives to occasional or image events in which only limited groups of our Party are involved.
The whole Party has to take some issues as fundamental for action. First of all the strong condemnation of the imperialistic operations of the “international police”, such as the recent Anglo-American attack against Iraq, either with or without the approval and/or the covering of the Onu. Then comes the defense of Cuba from imperialistic pressure, the fight against the recurrent threat of an imperialistic intervention in the Balkans and finally the support to the national struggles for liberation around the world.
Therefore it is crucial the opposition against the Italian imperialism and its foreign policy.
Prc must promote an anti-militaristic campaign against the powers of the military industry and against the plans for a professional army. At the same time Prc has to change its current position and strongly reject the project of “common European defense” of the Jospin and Blair Administration supported by the Italian Center left. This is a project for an European militaristic development to the service of the new imperialistic groups of the Continent in order to balance the American imperialism and to oppress the dependent countries.
If we support the project of an autonomous European defense, it would be in serious contradiction with the current position of our Party and also with the most elementary anti-imperialistic principles of the communists.
3. In search of a coherent communist refoundation
The estimation of the last two years and the revival of a coherent class opposition to the Center left, call for a clear strategic horizon.
Prc cannot act only in contingent situations, running after political and institutional deadlines without the certainty and clarity of a general project.
Only a project can be the basis of autonomy for the communists, and can give meaning, culture, roots, and strength to resist the political and institutional pressure on a daily basis.
The delay on this point is serious.
The Fourth Congress can be a turning point, and start defining the basic program of the Party. Only afterwards will follow a longer process of elaboration and confrontation inside Prc. However it is necessary to trace immediately the general direction of our search and our program. It is fundamental to remove all the strategic inadequacies and, despite all the difficulties and complexities choose to revive a coherent and revolutionary Communist Refoundation.
The path is not defined by abstract ideological presuppositions, but by the dramatic turn we are facing at the end of this century.
3.1 The epochal change
The worldwide general crisis has nullified the neo-liberal myths of ’89.
The downfall of Urss has not guaranteed a new order for the world. Quite the contrary it has contributed to destabilization, since it revitalized the contention among the imperialistic powers for the partition of the spheres of influence, a classic of imperialistic behavior. Meanwhile the severe recession in Japan and the rise of the European imperialistic block, even if with internal contradictions, have magnified the instability.
The new worldwide “disorder” is born within a process of recession which started long ago and had devastating effects.
The social conditions have been declining for the past 20 years and regression continues in the whole Western World and in Japan, while the gap between the wealth of the imperialistic countries and the Third World is increasing.
The devastating Asian crisis condemns large masses of population to desperation.
The crisis in Center-America symbolizes the general decline of most of Latin America, while African income per person is precipitating and determining the most impressive migrations of this century.
In the ex-Urss and all Eastern Europe, the capitalistic restoration is producing a dramatic deterioration of the life conditions for workers, young people, elders and it brings back all the abominations of capitalism such as indigence, racism, crime and war. The war in the Balkans, which was a creation of the restoration of the market, is the most eloquent and horrifying example.
Another issue is also the world environmental crisis, which emphasizes the double incapability of the current social order to operate in non-destructive ways toward the environment and to propose practical solutions for two kinds of issues. On the one hand there are mainly local “old problems” such as pollution, traffic, urban deterioration, hydro-geological imbalance, impoverishment of the natural environment. On the other hand there are new worldwide ecological problems brought about by the irrational capitalistic behavior such as global greenhouse effect, climatic alterations, ozone circle, aridity, forest destruction, biological diversification, land and sea richness, impoverishment of the drinkable water etc.
Furthermore the social consequences of this crisis adjoin those of the economic situation and the general social and political crisis of the Third World countries. In this context real “humanity catastrophes” occur, such as the streams of migrations of men and women desperately looking for survival.
For the first time in the post war era, all over the world the future of the new generations does not promise progress but more regression. However this situation is not exceptional. On the contrary, in a long-term perspective, we see the historically due decline of capitalism. What is definitely over is the exceptional character of the post-war period that appeared as the rule to several generations.
3.2 Financial parasitism and stagnation
The dramatic economic crisis in South East Asia which confuted the presupposed “omnipotence” of “globalization” has revealed the current stagnation of capitalism beyond contingent situations.
World capitalism has been stagnating for the past 25 years, which express a long-term crisis.
a) the equilibrium of the economic cycle has been altered so much as there is a decrease in the intensity and duration of the productive periods versus the expansion of recessive periods, together with a dramatic fall of the birth rate and a return to protectionism.
b) Periods of improvement or mini-boom do not have productive reasons but financial ones. The finance and stock market economy has reached a new historical level, which affects strongly the international capitalistic anarchy and reduces the power of control of the national States that still maintains a class basis. This financial parasitism is at once expression and reason of the stagnation of production.
c) The Eastern markets, despite their current expansionism, did not represent a new start for capitalism. On the contrary today the crisis of Russian economy, by-product of the huge contradictions of the capitalistic restoration and of its fragile material basis represents one of the major factors of instability for the international capitalistic economy.
d) The downfall of Urss has reduced the margins of action of the national bourgeoisie of the dependent countries even in the economy. Therefore dependent countries are now more directly and more subordinately integrated in the world market dynamics.
And today the decrease or fall of prices of the raw materials determines a situation of
under consumption, therefore again stagnation, of the Third World
In this general context the impossibility to counteract the fall of profits with a real expansion of the production and the productive force generates the experimentation of new forms of labor organization in several imperialistic countries (see decentralized national and international production, labor flexibility, “toyota-like” productivity). Their objective is to operate a drastic reduction of the cost of salary, in contrast with the old Fordist policy, or to extend the relative and absolute plus-work in continuity with fordism.
However the answer to the crisis does not mean its solution. On the contrary on some level the world recession and in some cases the social obstruction of the working class resists the massive diffusion of new technologies of production and provokes its crisis. This is the case of Toyota in Japan, prostrated by the recession.
The capitalistic stagnation on the one hand produced a frontal social aggression to the disgregation of the working class and its power of resistance. On the other hand it amplifies the class contradictions in the imperialistic capitals, that experience a vast process of recomposition and proletarization of dependent work. In the dependent countries and in Asia we see a gigantic concentration of the new working class which was subdued to the most classic “taylorist and fordist” exploitation.
3.3 The crisis of the “keynesian social compromise”
In the context of this epochal change we see the end of the old “keynesian social compromise” in capitalistic Europe. In fact during a specific and limited period of history a large section of the European capitalism agreed on the common ground of Keynesian theory and social compromise. Two general factors were external to work organization but embedded in the international and national class relationships: the existence of Urss and economic prosperity of the post war period together with the rise of the working class.
a) The October Revolution and the existence of Urss for more than half a century represented a propulsive and determining factor not only for the national liberation movements but also for the social reforms in the Western World. The fear of a social upheaval and the prolonged competition among the blocks have stimulated the reforming trends of the European bourgeoisie, which was open to significant concessions in order to save its power system.
b) On the other hand the economic prosperity of the post war capitalism was stimulated by the reconstruction and then fed with the progressive enlargement of the public expenses and the possible increase of the fiscal pressure and the State debt.
The crisis of the “keynesian social compromise” originated from the crisis of its historical basis which was not just the simple master-laborer relationship for the organization of the work. This crisis started in the context of all the international class both in the political and social realm. Today the new European imperialistic block, favored by the downfall of the Urss and by the international economic crisis, and engaged in competition with Usa and Japan is promoting heavier and extended counter-reformist policies in order to arise a new aggressive world competition.
3.4 The material basis of liberalism
Liberal policies find their roots in this context. Liberalism is not a “choice” but a necessity for capitalism in crisis. Cutting off public expenses, privatization and flexibility represent all together the capitalistic response to the crisis of the new worldwide competition. These policies of course can be applied at different levels according to the infinite particular or contingent national situations. Nevertheless those policies are still consistently present among State politics.
Despite the fact that liberalism is forced to face this crisis, is incapable of solving it: and in certain cases it contributes to make it worse.
However this situation simply reveals the contradictory and anarchic character of capitalism, while on the contrary it does not guarantee the success of alternative solutions of reform.
In fact unavoidable decisions to carry on a public policy of economic expansion as the only answer against recession (see for example in Japan), have already proven a failure from the anti-cyclic point of view. Indeed because of stagnation the margins for re-distributions are too limited. Therefore any significant expansion of public investments brings with it a contraction of the social expenses (such as pensions) and a strong development of the policy of flexibility. Thus the Delors’ solution is emblematic of the material limitations of Keynesian theory today and of its distance from any real reforming solution.
3.5 The temperate liberalism of the European Socialist democracies
The historical crisis of reformism is best documented by the serious regression of the old “reformist” left wing. The current experience of the Social Democratic administrations in Europe is accordingly remarkable. Analyzing it, Prc must be free from ideological or image interpretations.
Every national situation has its own particular issues and they are reflected in the various Social democracies and administrations.
However it has been a serious mistake not to recognize the common and fundamental class basis of the Social Democracies in Europe beyond their differences. Their common basis is the moderate liberalism and the social pact on behalf of the bourgeoisie.
The polemic tension among some Social democratic administrations or leaders and the central Banks should not deceive us. Partially it reflects the search of a new power balance between the Social democratic administrations and the moneyed authorities. However it certainly does not represent a Social democratic opposition to liberalism or even less so to the moneyed elites.
On the contrary the European Social democracies today in power contribute to the creation of the European imperialistic pole within the boundaries established at Maastricht and the pact for stability. While they perform anti-immigration actions, which take inspiration from Schengen, they claim to defend the “internal safety”. While developing an autonomous militarism, they claim to operate for the common European safety. Furthermore they take upon themselves to prevent and break down the possibility of social revolts, which are the real threat for the European bourgeoisie.
In this context the experience of the French and German Social democracies becomes emblematic.
The Schroeder-Lafontaine Administration, born as the “new Center”, has taken the common management as its main strategy. This system offers flexibility to the German bourgeoisie, a 40% cutback on the taxation of profits and furthermore social peace. It sets at the age of 60 the eligibility of laborers to a pension that is paid for by the working class itself throughout a renouncement to the salary augments. It forces jobless people to accept any kind of job otherwise they will loose immediately any subsidy (Danish model). The German Confindustria resists these measures because of the nature of work contracts, but is happy to deal with a Prime Minister who comes from the Board of Directors of Volkswagen.
The Jospin Administration, which has been working for one year, offers even a better point of observation. Although it started with a “reforming inspiration”, it quickly revealed to follow a liberal, though moderate, political course. In one year Jospin carried on the process of privatization to an extent never experienced before during the two previous Center-right administrations. He developed a legislation of the work hours open to flexibility. He operated the expulsion of 60.000 clandestine immigrants in open contrast with the sans papiers movement. He maintains the legislation carried out by the Right wing on job termination. He is planning a pension reform that is prompting the protest of the Unions of the retirees. Thus significant social reactions and protests against Jospin’ policy are emerging among jobless people, students, entire Unions such as the Confederation of Transportation. The disillusion about the government resulted in a loss of votes for the Social democracy and increasing contradictions within the Pcf. Furthermore a revolutionary left pole has emerged. It operates a clear opposition to the government and has seen an improvement of its electoral response and increased its political representatives (it has over 5%).
Therefore Prc cannot consider the Social democracy as a political and programmatic valid model or try to enhance the current Social democratic policy in Europe. On the contrary Prc has the duty to develop an alternative project of the Communist Refoundation that can offer a new direction to the national and international working class movement. The goal is the resurgence of a communist project.
3.6 Toward a restoration and a revival of the communist project
The conjoint crisis of capitalism and reformism put the socialist project in the position of being the only real alternative to the crisis of mankind and to the bourgeois policies.
As well as in the Twenties and the Thirties, mankind is now facing a turning point. Either the labor movement will be able to answer clearly and thoroughly to the crisis of the bourgeois society with the creation of a “new order”, or the capitalistic crisis will seize the whole humanity in a historical regression whose first victim will be the labor movement. The old alternative between socialism and barbarism is dramatically at the forefront.
Therefore the communists, today more than ever, must break up completely with the old reformist logic. This does not mean that they will abandon the present and reasonable struggle for “minimal” social and democratic objectives. Furthermore it is necessary to be at the forefront of every struggle, social and political, environmental or anti-militaristic even though they are limited, as long as they express the opposition of the subordinate classes. In the meantime every limited and partial struggle shall be connected to the general project and every living experience of the working class shall help its anti-capitalistic self-awareness.
Especially in the present situation, any serious social, democratic and environmental struggle or
any fight for peace will inevitably conflict with the economic powers of the monopolies
4 Toward a deep reform of our Party
The new political and strategic course of Prc and the common experience of these past years, lead us to a reform of our Party, its democratic system and its actions.
In these past years our Party unfortunately has developed pathological behaviors that we need to face and call by their name. Among them the recurrent administrative imposition of majority decisions on assemblies and confederations and the cyclical separation of groups of representatives. Then the inadequate participation of the members of the Party to decision making activities, the lack of clarity of the internal political confrontation between our Party and its branches and the serious and constant crisis of social and class identity.
Once we have detected these problems, we cannot solve them simply with abstract claims or with appeals or changes in the statute even if they are necessary and useful. These problems must be analyzed as general and fundamental political issues.
It is still alive in Prc the political and cultural heritage (typically reformist) that conceives the Party as a goal in itself and not as a tool of transformation. Too often the measure for the Party and its policy is not the completion of a certain project but the vote figures or the number of appointees, or institutional honors and image of the Party. Too often the Party considers itself as its only point of reference.
This auto-referential culture has steadily increased within our Party at various levels and with serious consequences for its internal life. This culture not only dismisses the issue of the class identity of our Party, that is the foundation of the project of transformation. This culture constrains the internal democratic life of Prc considering it an impediment, while identifies the whole Party with the majority leaders. Finally the auto-referential culture is the main cause of the gap between the Party, its members and its institutional representatives (as it is demonstrated by the silent departure of many capable comrades in the last years).
Certainly Prc has endured the repeated division from part of its representatives, which is a sign of vitality we should value. Nevertheless we should avoid a self-consolatory propaganda among us. In as much as we should avoid to simply attributing the causes of what happened to the seductive power of the institutions. On the contrary a serious political analysis from which we can get important conclusions is necessary:
1) A political path that chooses to privilege institutions and administration on various levels, favors the recurrent divisions among its representatives;
2) If a majority identifies with the Party on the basis of its guidance and representatives, any important political disagreement within it and any change in its internal balance, will be a destructive force.
4.1. Building Prc as an intellectual forum
On the basis of the previous analysis, the political and strategic turn that the Fourth Congress brought about needs a new conception of the Party and its structure.
The new answer to the problems of Prc is not in the solution of the “community Party”, that is a Party that proposes itself as the counterpart to disgregation and to the “outside desert” and becomes a social center for mutual organizations, school, culture.
This kind of solution, which does not seem much sensible, does not put the Party in the reality of work, but risks to reinforce its self-absorption. Not only it does not break the auto-referential circle, but it worsen it in the new form of sectarianism, social eradication, detachment from the movements to the advantage of the Democrats of the Left and the Unions.
Instead it is necessary to regain and renovate a Gramscian concept of Party as an intellectual convention engaged in the class struggle for the leadership among the masses; a Party that orients its political culture, its organizational structure and its functions to the achievement of an anti-capitalistic project.
Politically the Party has to be conceived as capable of institutional presence without being institutionalist. Votes are not the final goal, votes are asked not for the Party but for a certain policy. The action of the masses will not be limited to the institutional representatives, on the contrary institutional representatives will be subordinate to the action of the masses, to the development of the social opposition and the recomposition of an anti-capitalistic block. The popularity of the party among the masses is based primarily on its leadership on the lower classes. Therefore it is necessary a social presence at work, on the territory and a creation and formation of members and delegates which is fundamental condition for the leadership and the constant control on institutional representatives of the Party in the institutions (not of the institutions in the Party.
In this context it is necessary to abrogate any privilege for the communist delegate, who will have to give to Prc the reimbursement for his activity, while the Prc will take care to cover the expenses and provide him with a stipend equal to that of an appointee.
Finally we have to face the issue of the organizational structure of the Party. It is necessary to educate the Party and its leading structures to formulate specific, sensible and reliable projects that can use the human and financial resources for vital and efficient initiatives, not running after a mere image or the electoral deadlines.
4.2 In search of a democratic change toward a Party of free and equal people
The deep political reform of our conception of the Party calls for another deep reform: that of its democracy, which is the basis of the idea of a communist refoundation. A Party, which is an intellectual assembly, engaged in the daily struggle of the bourgeois society for an alternative, cannot consider its internal democratic system as a limitation or as a formal, statute obligation. Internal democracy must be the primary condition of Prc policy and its effectiveness among the masses. We therefore want all the comrades to be “proprietors” in their common Party. We want to encourage not exclude the young comrades, we want to take advantage of spirit of initiative, political creativity and independent judgement and not constrain them, because they are the necessary leaven of a vital and alive Party. Furthermore we want all the members of the Party to participate to the elaboration of the decisions at every level. In fact the most effective and rewarding actions are those born out of democratic choices. On the contrary decisions that are passively accepted, even if there is agreement, do not arise energy and initiative.
At the same time we assert the right of every member to know the debate, the conclusions, the opposing positions emerging in the Party so that he can make his conscious contribution without being influenced by the adversary media. Therefore it is necessary an internal and national organized debate, with reports and acts promulgated by the national Executive officers and the possibility of large contributions from federations, assemblies, groups or single members.
The formation of the members has also to becomes a central theme for the real development of the internal democracy of Prc. Indeed only a growth of knowledge, competence and preparation can reinforce the autonomy of judgement and thereafter the real freedom of evaluation.
We need a Party of free and equal people, who engage in the constant struggle against internal bureaucracy, discrimination and conformist behaviors. Therefore it is necessary to give back to the circles their autonomy against any form of bureaucratic control from the federation. Also the role and nature of the current regional Executive offices needs to be revised. The right of the federations to designate democratically their candidates for the elections, despite any imposition from above in the Party, needs to be reaffirmed.
Finally our Party has to combine the necessary unity in the outside action, which is fundamental in a power struggle, to the largest possible liberty of internal discussion, which implies the respect of minorities (they might always become majority).
Only such a state of full internal democracy and of real, not formal, equal dignity of all the different opinions can lead to a Party of free and equal people. In the context of a real acceptance from inside the whole Party, the principle of the unity in the external action can finally be legitimate.
However the past experience has demonstrated that the real risks for the unity of our Party do not lay in the free and honest confrontation among various opinions. On the contrary they lay in the silent bureaucratic strategy, in the logic of the clan, fragmentation and power groups, even if they have always claimed the need for unanimous votes and Party discipline.
4.3 Prc investment in the young generations of Communist
After all this discussion we also have to look at the current relationship of Prc with the young Communists.
An important step forward has been done at the Meeting of the Young Communists in December 1997, which constituted an organization elected democratically and promoting initiatives among the young. However this organization has been hesitant in expressing its potential: partially because of the political course of Prc over the last two years, and because of political and organizational reasons that need modification.
The Party’s expense for the Young Communists (Gc) has been for years less than that of any other department. The poor financial resources reduce dramatically the possibility of activity outside or even represent an obstacle for the regular functions of the national Coordination of Gc. For these reasons, and despite their will, often Gc is reduced to a “light” label used only for image more than a real organization proposing autonomous initiatives.
This situation needs a radical change.
Our Party must invest in the construction of the youth organization, both politically and financially. The youths need their own news report; their regular space on “Liberazione” will allow them to verify the possibility of their own magazine, which is an important tool for action.
Therefore we need to create a structure that can answer the fundamental need for new political leaders who will be able to build communist hegemony among large strata of the young workers, students, jobless people.
We have to build an organization of young revolutionary communists who will fight to conquer large young masses to the project of the communist refoundation for a socialist transformation of society.