Proletariat and Alliances (XXX)
In order to examine the harmful elements of the opportunistic and defeatist "theory of the offensive" it is necessary to reorganise the ideas, old and simple ideas and - better said - notions of Marxism on the history of the alliances between the working class and its political forces and other social forces or parties.
For if we were to state as an absolute and timeless thesis that since the method of class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie has been established, always and everywhere the dogma "no alliance, no coalition, no compromise" should apply, we would have the air to derive our conclusions not by the way of scientific determinism, but by that metaphysics that allows the study and observation of the reality of ideal, moral and aesthetic axioms. This is the exact opposite of the positions defended tirelessly and continuously by left-wing Marxists in Italy and elsewhere, and falls precisely under Lenin's decisive critical arguments in "Extremism and Communism" where extremism based on aesthetic attitudes, big words, useless boasting and empty voluntarism is severely castigated.
The problem of possible alliances of the proletariat in social struggles arises in very different ways in the succession of time; in the historical succession we see fundamentally the alternation of classes in power, and this happens at different rates in the various countries of the world; It cannot therefore be ruled out that the problem may have to be resolved differently in different countries, despite the fact that our school has been internationalist since its inception and for some time has cancelled the motto "all men are brothers", idealist and metaphysical, for the historical motto "proletarians of the whole world unite".
The proletariat was born with large-scale industry, and this is present before the class of the factory owners, the bourgeoisie, took power from the feudal and land classes. The political and revolutionary ideological dualism between feudalism and capitalism has crossed since the beginning with the modern dualism between industrialists and workers.
The first experiences of both the social environment of the countries where the bourgeoisie has triumphed, and the spontaneous workers' struggles, already enable the appearance of socialist demands and prepare the passage of socialism from utopia to science. The neatness of the wage system and its criticism after having initially generated vague demands for justice and social equality, in the midst of the greater clamour of the legal and political claims of the bourgeois programmes, give rise to a more exact and well-founded historical perspective, at the end of which is a new struggle for power, the taking over of the productive organisation by the working classes and the release of the forces that prelude to a new non-capitalist economy. Since then, the movement has had a final goal, a point of future arrival, stripped of any mystical value and any fantastical character of inspiration, or of gospel sect, and seeks solutions to its problems in function of this outlet that crowns all the long battle in progress and is common to the revolutionaries of all countries.
For Marxism, the dawn of this long course, which corresponds to the most advanced world at the time of the Communist Manifesto, sees in the same historical phase those processes that we have been defining for a century: "development of the capitalist productive forces" - "political character of the struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie" - "constitution of the proletariat into a class". From this same point one has a modern communist movement, "they [sociologists] no longer need to seek science in their minds... [to] make systems... From this moment, science, which is a product of the historical movement, has associated itself consciously with it, has ceased to be doctrinaire and has become revolutionary" (Poverty of Philosophy).
Since then, like any other problem, also the problem of alliances cannot be posed except in relation to the characters of the passing stage in which one finds oneself, one would otherwise engage in pure doctrinarism; but since then it can only be placed in relation to the ultimate goal of the general movement, otherwise the passage to the revolutionary character of the method would be betrayed.
A first historical aspect of the problem is in those countries where the working class is already present in the struggle between the revolutionary bourgeoisie and the ancient feudal regime. A first false solution to the problem already presents itself, to be precise, the proposal for an alliance between workers and the anti-Bourgeois counter-revolution. The brief part of the Manifesto dedicated to Socialist and Communist Literature of which already in the preface of '72 the authors wished for an extensive reworking, and that today should be reorganized with great utility in a real criticism and condemnation of deviated schools (a Marxist Syllabus, if the expression doesn't please some imbecile, because the bridges to the future on which the Revolution rests most securely are not the constructive "systems", merry-go-round of swindlers, but critical demolitions), that part of the Manifesto contains the decisive destruction of this false position. Infamous that it is the new system of production, is a necessary step on our road to communism, no mystical ambitions, no strong-willed athleticism can jump it by virtue of the fact that - against the liberal bourgeois apologetics - it is a ferocious, hateful and filthy villain for worse stigmata than those of the old feudal oppression. The Marxist revolutionary doctrine is therefore able to yield a first consignment: no support for the feudalist forces against the bourgeoisie.
The motivation for this real "thesis on tactics", is not however that the canons, ideals and principles of the bourgeoisie contain positions common to it and to the nascent proletariat, cornerstones of a democratic "civilisation" and of free thought common to both classes or to all non-aristocratic strata. The reason is entirely materialistic and is because there can be no communism without the capitalist economic phase, and the process of this accelerates decisively with the transfer of power to the bourgeoisie.
In the bourgeois revolutions the workers of the already existing industry struggle on the opposite side, which is in favour of the bourgeoisie. But already by the time of the Manifesto this fact was analysed and the first classist movements were directed with absolute clarity of vision of the relations between the classes and of the subsequent developments of the working class revolution.
There is no doubt that the same analysis applies, for the era of early capitalism, or in the case of the bourgeois revolutionary offensive to gain power, both in the defensive and the bourgeoisie's opposition to return, "offensive" and absolutist restoration attempts. In these storms the proletariat is never absent, it begins with large tributes of blood forming as a class, in a determined motion towards its autonomy and independence and towards the decisive struggle alone for its ends, running and suffering continuous risks of falling into military and ideological mobilisation in the service of cause that don’t belong to it. Take the Poverty, the Manifesto, the Struggles in France, any other text, the discrimination against this point is always consistent and definitive.
The first workers' struggles are completely unconscious and succeed in "historical inconsistency", like the destruction of machines and similar. The first disinherited proletarians were led to claim the dismounted "medieval guilds of craftsmen". "At this stage, the labourers still form an incoherent mass scattered over the whole country, and broken up by their mutual competition. If anywhere they unite to form more compact bodies, this is not yet the consequence of their own active union, but of the union of the bourgeoisie, which class, in order to attain its own political ends, is compelled to set the whole proletariat in motion, and is moreover yet, for a time, able to do so. At this stage, therefore, the proletarians do not fight their enemies, but the enemies of their enemies, the remnants of absolute monarchy, the landowners, the non-industrial bourgeois, the petty bourgeois". (The present journalist would say: the remunerated classes. For such people with inverted polarisation, a historical phase that does not have remuneration on the agenda will never come. De gustibus...).
"Thus, the whole historical movement is concentrated in the hands of the bourgeoisie; every victory so obtained is a victory for the bourgeoisie".
Yet in the first decades of its history the proletariat had to produce victories for the bourgeoisie. It had no other way to serve its future victory. Marxism followed that process step by step. The last paragraph of the Manifesto contains an outline of tactical norms and cites the principal countries of Europe. It should be noted that then in only two of them was there the stable power of the bourgeoisie, England, of which the Manifesto is silent, France, in which, however, the revolutionary and republican pressure against the Orleanist monarchy was rumbling. The text focuses on Germany, clearly reaffirming the strategy of supporting the bourgeoisie "whenever it acts in a revolutionary way, against the absolute monarchy, the feudal squirearchy, and the petty bourgeoisie".
The clear class position emerges, nevertheless, from each line of the text of which a wider analysis must be made for the other countries as well, never forgetting that we are at the beginning of the transition from scientific investigation to the direction of political action. Marx and Engels have just been able to free themselves from the influence of humanitarian democrats and philanthropists who are struggling to adapt to the new concept. Still in 1845 they refused to join the League of the Just because of the "tendency to convert communism into Christianity" - so well swallowed a century later by the "Marxist" parties (!!!) of Italy.
This historical position does not conflict, therefore, with the cornerstones firmly reiterated even when one speaks of the relations of the "communists" with the other proletarian parties. First of all they are defined as such those they support: "formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat". From Lenin onwards it is not disputed that this conquest is an armed one, not a legal one. Moreover, the communists are those who "in the various stages of development which the struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, the Socialists always represent the interests of the movement as a whole" and who "fight for the attainment of the immediate aims, for the enforcement of the momentary interests of the working class, but in the movement of the present they also represent and take care of the future of that movement". Returning to this fundamental criterion, it is necessary to resume, in long leaps, the chronological "thread".
The type of allies of World War I and the type of World War II, not at all shaken by the long course of capitalist development that relegated the possibilities of feudal restoration and the collapse of the bourgeois political social system to the darkness of the past, have placed their proletarian forces at the disposal of parties of bourgeois government regimes with no regard for the class aims of the general movement. They did not even try to prove that the alliance was a means to the future revolutionary end, or have done so at the first steps of the race to recoil, timidly and in a narrow party circle, and when they touch this point they do so to deceive the radical groups of proletarians who unfortunately surround them.
In all their agitation and propaganda aptitude they unreservedly embraced the aims and words of the alliance to whom they had whored themselves to, totally replacing their specific party directives. This is despite the fact that, in both cases, there were now consolidated parties, with real possibilities for action and tactical manoeuvre, with a wide range of printing and public dissemination of its directives.
The Communist League was still a child in 1850, with a few adherents, clandestine and persecuted everywhere, and already issued circulars in which the alliance tactics, still referring to Germany, were established in a very different way. The democratic party of bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie invites workers to unite in order to draw their forces into a movement "in which general social-democratic phrases prevail". "This unity must therefore be resisted in the most decisive manner... In the event of a struggle against a common enemy a special alliance is unnecessary...". The communist workers will be the first in the fight but they will remain on the alert and ready for a change in fronts. "They must check in every way and as far as is possible the victory euphoria and enthusiasm for the new situation… with a cool and cold-blooded analysis of the situation and with undisguised mistrust of the new government... In a word, from the very moment of victory the workers’ suspicion must be directed no longer against the defeated reactionary party but against their former ally, against the party which intends to exploit the common victory for itself". The communist workers will push the fight forward. This is the text that gave Trotsky, for Russia, the evocative word of the "Permanent Revolution". Date March 1850.
There are too many chapters in the alliance balance sheet, in the beginning really useful infantile disorder of socialism, today, as we of the left have claimed for several decades, cursed plague of it.
But that inspired mention of repressed enthusiasm, which may seem of secondary importance, throws a real beam of light on the matter.
The interventionists of 1915 said that they were "revolutionaries". They moved on to democracy and the war on the homeland, pretending to take a path that would lead them back to the proletarian revolution; to clear an obstacle to this. Mussolini's Popolo d'Italia continued to call itself a socialist. But once the common enemy had fallen, the deprecated "Teutonic militarism", the orgy of enthusiasm was unstoppable. It could not be otherwise, since there had been no tactical diversion with eyes fixed on the end "of the general movement", they had simply switched to the service of bourgeois ends. And the enthusiasts of victorious November, which is still being celebrated, how to celebrate the entry of the Audace with Vittorio on board into Trieste, although there is no longer a pursuit for Trieste, Vittorio or Vittoria, were hitched forever to the homeland to democracy and then to the bourgeoisie and capital.
We like to define that process not of "permanent revolution" but of "retroflexed revolution" historically as "Mussolinism".
The deeds of the anti-fascist allies of the Second World War have renewed the same process. By dialectical exchange, Mussolini himself was in the classic place of the common enemy. The Allies, the Coalitionists, the Blocists of 1943-45 were so scarcely Marxists that they enthusiastically consummated a real and indecent binge, among the hymns to the renewed bourgeois and liberal revolution, to the glorious reconquered Italian homeland, to the definitive piazzaloretic national unity of all classes, hovering over it is the spirit of the Duce despite the body hanging by its feet.
If in the field of alliance some people were still vaguely smelling of Marxism - not to us for sure - the abjuration was made definitive by the phase of enthusiastic euphoria, which irritated so much in 1850 the editor of the modest communist "circular".
A few bickering runs today among the triumphant gold dancers of recent days. But it takes more to lighten the black tenacious pitch of betrayal.
When they want to cast a mortal strike they perform the supreme outrage of calling something "fascist". Their dispute stinks, because none of the parties has the guts to "turn the mistrust against the allies of yesterday and not the defeated party". The historical position is quite different; it was not a feudal or reactionary party, but a bourgeois party; these two groups are the scoundrels of today.
 The Audace was a destroyer of the Italian Navy - its first ship to arrive in Trieste on 3 November 1918, at the end of the First World War.
 Vittorio is Victor-Emmanuel III.
 "Piazzaloretesca" is an adjective forged from the famous Piazzale Loreto, where the bodies of Mussolini and other fascist dignitaries were exposed.
Battaglia Comunista, No. 42, 9-16 November 1949
Translation by Libri Incogniti