We Are Against All Institutional Parties

The ICT considers itself to be one core of the future international party of the working class. But the word “party” often triggers an allergic reaction, even amongst elements otherwise sympathetic to our politics – after all, there is already no shortage of parties both of the left and the right which attempt to rule the capitalist state, be it through electoral or military means. As we often repeat, our vision has nothing in common with these rackets. The party we seek to build is not a government in waiting but a guide in the struggle for a new world. This brief translation from our comrades in Battaglia Comunista straightforwardly reiterates that very message, and should be read in conjunction with other articles already on our website, such as The Working Class needs its own Political Organisation and On the Future International.

The state, the government, the parliament, the local authorities... all these institutions are nothing but instruments created and managed by the bourgeois class. They represent the repressive political machine of the bosses. They are nothing more than a political-bureaucratic superstructure that protects the capitalist economic structure. The State represents the organised political-economic-military domain of the bourgeois class and this is as true in Italy as in any other part of the world.

The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.

Marx and Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party

Depending on the phase that capitalism is going through, and depending on the level of proletarian response, the state can take on a "democratic" or openly dictatorial form.

The forms of domination of the state may vary ... but essentially the power is in the hands of capital, whether there are voting qualifications or some other rights or not, or whether the republic is a democratic one or not.

Lenin, The State: A Lecture Delivered at the Sverdlov University

"Democracy" is really nothing but the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. The vast majority of the population is proletarian, therefore if – as they want us to believe – in this "democracy" the majority expresses their will through the institutions... how come all the laws that are passed go against the interests of the proletariat?

A democratic republic is the best possible political shell for capitalism ... capital ... establishes its power so securely, so firmly, that no change of persons, institutions or parties in the bourgeois-democratic republic can shake it.

Lenin, The State and Revolution

The "democratic" elections are the theatre of politics, a deception, to legitimise power in the hands of the bourgeoisie. Indeed, the bourgeoisie controls the tools with which it can shape so-called "public opinion", from the mass media to schools and religious institutions. The proletarian class in this "democracy" counts for nothing, every institutional decision must be compatible with the economic needs of the bosses. State administrators are therefore representatives of the dominant class.

It is a pure illusion to consider these institutions an instrument which the proletarian class can use to free itself from exploitation by the bosses, when in fact these institutions are the best political means that the bourgeoisie has to administer its economic power. After the Paris Commune (1871) Marx wrote in the preface to the German edition of the Manifesto:

One thing especially was proved by the Commune, viz., that “the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery, and wield it for its own purposes.

Marx and Engels, 1872 Preface

The various institutional parties carry out a deceptive game, between those who govern and those who are in opposition. Behind the confrontation between the parties, there is often only the power struggle between different factions of the bourgeoisie, or more simply a rat race between different politicians to sit in the comfortable institutional seats.

In essence, no institutional party questions the economic and social foundations of this system, in the best of cases a party proposes an illusory difference in management: a capitalism with a more human, fairer, more “democratic” face, etc. The same self-styled communist parties – who sit or want to sit in parliament – are not bearers of a real revolutionary programme, they only spread the illusion of an institutional path for the struggle of workers and almost always (like the parties of the so-called "radical left") work hand in hand with other bourgeois parties in local institutions.

Our commitment, therefore, does not go towards building a party that aims to amass votes in the elections, to win positions within the institutions. What we want to build is the class party, international and internationalist, capable of acting as a political reference point for the proletarian class struggle.

13 May 2020

Monday, May 18, 2020