Workers' parties in the face of foreign policy (I)
It was customary - before the other war - to define the position of the workers' parties in international relations between States by the sentence: "Socialists don't do foreign policy".
Needless to say, that expression was inadequate. Its intention was to reflect the Marxist theoretical position that seeks the key to history no longer in the clashes between kings, generals and great states but in the economic relations that take their source in the field of production. It is obvious to contrast the simplistic nature of that disinterestedness with the the penetrating analyses made by Marx and Engels of the disagreements and conflicts between the various strata of the bourgeoisie, especially in the period following the acute civil war of 1848, as well as the wars of national consolidation of 1859 and 1870, and on the other hand, the obvious inadequacy of the attitude of the Second International on the problems of imperialism, in the face of colonial wars and world conflicts, accompanied by great and unexpected upheavals to which the socialist parties reacted in an awkward and defeatist manner.
If then the moderate elements of the proletarian movement satisfied themselves with that comfortable negative norm, the extreme ones fell into a different but equally naive simplistic approach preaching an anti-militarism as an end in itself and united with the mystics of Sorelian syndicalism. Hervé (who at the time of the trial became even more patriotic and chauvinistic than the right-wing socialists) in his Guerre Sociale set as his program the individual refusal to conscription - a revolutionary fact yes, but not separable from the whole of the revolutionary struggle for power - and wanted to plant le tricolor drapeau dans le fumier, the tricolor flag in manure.
The whole problem was redefined in a totally different way in the fundamental Leninist critique of the economic facts characteristic of the most recent capitalism or in that of the betrayal of the parliamentary and union leaders of the proletariat on both sides of the 1914 war front. Theoretical inadequacies lead to irreparable tactical defeats, in any case, it is better to say that no foreign policy is being pursued than to prostitute the class struggle in sacred union and in the defence of the homeland, better is the naive Hervéism of the bourgeois flag in manure than the incredible orgies of marshals' uniforms and generals of the most recent red sword trainers, from the Balkans to China.
If the old parties, abstentionists in the field of world diplomacy and foreign policy, went bankrupt in 1914 with national concord, the new ones, after having claimed a completely different power of analysis of real world historical problems, in the new war only knew how to abandon themselves in turn to the instructions of such or such military staff and speak to the masses of nation, homeland, war and popular army.
After the Second World War, ninety percent, to say the least, of their attention and of their political work is brought to the new antagonism, to the new fracture that arose in the bosom of that sacred bloc that impersonated the salvation not only of "freedom" and "democracy" but of the proletariat and socialism, so much so that millions and millions of workers were sent to sacrifice themselves in the official or irregular war against the myth of fascist barbarity.
Today, the two groups quarrel and, in the event that they do not succeed in uniting in a protracted compromise at the expense of the working class, they are preparing for an ideological campaign in which they will throw at each other the crime of "fascism", while tasting in advance with sadism the success of aligning for the third time on the fronts of an even more ferocious war the proletarian masses, which will not be less framed for this purpose on one side and on the other by their parties, communists and socialists in words only.
In Italy, the leaders of the parties that claim to be proletarian are only agitated according to foreign political influences; they only fight in the fields of journalism, elections, parliament and even street demonstrations to make propaganda in favour of this or that foreign political influence on the filthy state of the Italian bourgeoisie.
Right-wing socialists are neck deep in the work for economic pacts with overseas capitalism and apply Marxism to the demonstration that it is a matter of doing brilliant business by mortgaging Italian industry, commerce and agriculture, but not giving political and military guarantees, almost as if it were not the same thing and that the trips to take orders of ministers and chiefs of staff counted for nothing.
The pro-Russian socialists are real masters in foreign policy and the Nennis boast that, in the not always clean shadows of emigration and in the finesses of the quadruple games, they have matured their preparation to collect the heritage of the San Giuliano and the Sonnino.
The communists put in the foreground the action of rupture, ever more unfortunate, of the enslavement of our country to America, an absurd postulate at the beginning since they themselves have reached the political influence and the pieces of power that they had and have on the wake of the allied guns and dollars. They consider the replacement of the Sforzas or Marshalls to be important issues. They also engage in militant diplomacy, a very amusing fact, and one realises that like each soldier of Napoleon who carried his marshal's staff in his gibernon, the Reali, the Griechi and other Scoccimani concealed bicorne and sword in their socks.
It's indeed the case of saying "workers parties don't do domestic politics". And in fact on all the issues of economics and domestic politics not only have they done nothing but they can say nothing, besides the practice that would like to be brilliant but is only emetic, the changes of course through dramatic twists that occur not every forty years but every forty days, as they have offered us on the issues of the monarchy, the church, the administrative system and so on up to the absolute zeros of agrarian, industrial and social "reforms".
As for the central programmatic problem of power that they periodically revive by accusing De Gasperi's government of being the business committee of the capitalists (but for Marx it was the State!), their dream is only to be part of this committee, to occupy some of its places and participate in its affairs; as well as the scelbists, they will start again to make the prefects, the "questori" and the civil servants of State and Commissariat for the new Italy, as for that of Cavour, Giolitti, Mussolini, Badoglio, Bonomi, for that of always, to whom one day we naively said: whatever your diplomatic commitment and military alliance, to the west or east, our work is to overthrow you.
Battaglia Comunista, No. 2, 12-19 January 1949.
Translation by Libri Incogniti