Platform of Internationalist Communist Union Groups

From no. 11 of Battaglia Comunista 1963

How many Internationalist Communists are there? Too few for an insurrection but enough for the life of true revolutionary Marxism. Even the best revolutionary currents are forced, in their every action, to restrict themselves to a riverbed empty of water. It is no accident that the revolutionary party appears desiccated to the opportunists, while in reality it takes the long way on its path to a secure goal.

We ourselves are few and the obstacles are numerous but our source is scientific socialism, Marxism, the indestructible inheritance of the Paris Commune and the October Revolution, that the Social-Democrats rejected and the Khrushchev-Stalinists betray, a theory and a movement that made a revolution and can do it again. A working class that has been known to rise up and is not able to remain subdued forever. However, in order to become a soldier for the working class, the worker should grasp Marxist theory and is aided in doing this by reading Battaglia Comunista, Prometeo and Lotta di Classe or our pamphlets, of which this is an example.

February 1963

General Considerations

The position of the Party in relation to the union problem and the relationship between party and class has not substantially changed, the accuracy and validity of this is concretely shown in the development of workers' struggles. Recalling this once more, such positions do not necessarily mean being part of our theoretical tendency but carrying out this platform in practice, given the extent and violence of the revindicative struggle aggravated underneath the weight of the structural transformation of the monopolistic economy. The nature of the union has not wholly changed, likewise when the workers' front is moving and the struggle to reclaim itself grows and deepens. The experience of the "war of liberation" today gives evidence that workers still are and have always been generously disposed to struggle. Not having been able to see through or break out of the camp of opportunism before by which an unsustainable bureaucratic apparatus exercises an undisputed power in the union organisations and factories and thus placing workers in a state of political impotence. In diverting all class action, it demobilizes and humiliates them with tactics that systematically betray, in the tendency to reconcile the interests of workers as they attempt to reclaim their own struggle with those of the bosses. It follows that as Internationalist Communists we are in all cases and without exception with the workers in all their struggles. We are staunch opponents of the parties which make right out of wrong and take the grave responsibility of carrying out the workers' struggle to the finish and puts it off on the interests of monopolistic capitalism. We maintain that unions, as indispensable organs in the strategies of the two opposing imperialist powers, are always destined to be subject to the economic vagaries, socially and politically, of capitalism and will perish with the dissolution of the capitalist state under the force of a revolutionary proletariat. In the actual state of the unions what interests the revolutionary party is not the belief that they are workers’ organizations within the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, as the bordigists believe, for example. Rather that the masses of workers inside and in whose breadth are incapable of moving them as a force on their own terrain of revolutionary struggle, they are daily and constantly subject to the interests of the bosses and to inter-imperialist competition. For those whose revolutionary strategy is that "without intermediaries between party and class, there is revolutionary possibility; the party must not abandon such organizations to become an isolated minority", it is precisely the true nature and objective of the unions in the most acute phase of imperialist competition that all politics of boycotting the unions and agitation among workers are just as condemnable as any political attempt that presumes to conquer the direction of the union on a majoritarian basis. However, the openly syndicalist politics whose workerist basis lies in the intellectually libertarian Italian tradition is no less condemnable, to see the unions as the instrument of direct action and the revolutionary conquest of power without the need for a party conceived and realized in the Leninist tradition. The enormous power concentrated today in unions is a reflection of the vast proletarianization originating in the profound transformation of the industrial apparatus under the pressure of the technological transformations of the nuclear age that began with the Second World War. The aggression of monopolistic capitalism is carried to the economically backwards areas, thus deepening the disequilibrium of their internal institutions. With the consequent flight of young and unskilled workers to the large industrial centers enlarging the army of labor that the unions lure through agitation and regiment every minute category of the workforce, a path which for the workers ends every time in exhaustion and disillusionment. It is in this fertile terrain that we should insert our union initiative for a network of groups by way of factories, shipyards and dairies designated to promote the enlargement of our influence among the masses. We should not ignore or undervalue the action of unorganized workers and the spontaneity of their struggles in view of barely being able to continue with any ease in more recent struggles in the most advanced of capitalist countries, where the union has finished developing into a necessary force for the conservation of the capitalist state.

The Limits of Unionist Politics

The Rome Thesis (1922) precisely stated the task of communist union groups:

This attempt to the conquer the "following of the majority" within the unions and the leadership of the unions and cultivating them as the natural vehicle for the transmission of the directives of the party.

Today this same problem should be formulated in terms more adherent to reality, reaffirming the task of the Internationalist Communist union groups to always function as the vehicle for the transmission of the directives of the party. However, that this task should be subordinated to the tactic of the conquest of the following of the majority of the masses of workers organized within the unions and the conquest of the leadership, a tactic which was inevitably carried out by the communist union groups. Hence the general policy of the party was compromised by the trajectory of the unions and their capitulation to the dominant politics of imperialism. Today the objective of conquest of the unions from within, with the methods of democracy, is historically absurd, no less a mystification because it attempts to fool the masses as to the real nature of the unions. Today it is more a sign of servitude of the parties of parliamentary democracy to their respective blocs that are struggling for world domination. It is to the contrary this political reality that calls for a revolutionary opposition within the union, in order to tear the masses away from parliamentarism and war. It would be unpardonably shortsighted to believe or make believe that capitalism could realize the economic objective of monopolistic transformation without the collaboration of the unions in the politics of wage increases. This demands the submission of workers in the great industries so that they can eliminate the competition from other complex monopolies on an international scale. Were the unions not to implement a policy of social peace and containment of workers "claims", in short to victoriously assist in the war for imperialist supremacy, it would not be the role of the unions themselves to guarantee concrete solidarity, being coerced by the workers is not important.

This is the imperative of our time, not to place it within an analysis of the perspective of class struggle would be to submit to the unspoken drive to treat as a historically inevitable fact that workers will again be bound to imperialist war, since it is on the ruins of American capitalism and Russian state-capitalism that a victorious working class would be able to draw thoroughly from their experience that which is indispensable for the victory of socialism.

That which we affirm is confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt by the vicissitudes of struggle of our left opposition in the unions by category in the very same General Confederation of Labor (CGIL).

At the congress of Livorno of the confederation which occurred shortly after that of the party (1921), we communists were already disposed of a vast organizative base in the factories, rather than in the unions by sector, also having control and leadership of numerous internal commissions in the regions of greatest industrial development. Nevertheless, it was impossible in our union organization to break through the cordon sanitaire of corporative and reformist "legality" that assures by every means the most absolute security for the politics of western democracy allowed by the Italian Communist Party, to pass over to the ideology and practice of the democratic war, to rule despotically in the unions and in the reconstituted Confederation of Labor, hanging onto the positions that were those of the social-democratic.

All the experience of the Second World War, that saw a split at the same moment as the rupture between the imperialist powers into their respective zones of influence. Even the unitary organization of workers split into a plurality of unions in obedience to each of these powers. It did not mean at all that such a rupture had conferred to the CGIL a role more clearly of class in contrast with other minor union confederations, in the interest of the workers. The wind blows in favor of the CGIL today, but is it a bulwark? Only of the politics of begging only of strikes domesticated before the boss. Even if it had made a militant bulwark of struggle without hesitation, when it did attempt to favor "true social-communist" policy, they conducted it in parliament and in the whole county in accordance with the strategy of Russian imperialism.

Beneath this relationship and against the union policy that needs to work from within for the conquest of the majority and so from the same vertex of the union, the cordon sanitaire of corporatist legality today in the hands of the party of Togliatti is not merely more solid but has been strengthened against struggle from the times of D’Aragona and of Buozzi, so in order to avoid self-examination by surrendering even partially - it is divided by sector on behalf of the bosses for whom the apparatus has managed to go so far as to denounce "subversives", used blackmail and violence. The Internationalist Communists of the Milanese federation of FIOM (Federation of Metal Workers?) have for direct experience in such an opportune resurgence as in 1947, the danger of reprisals from that union in order to prevent them from being assigned positions won through the mechanism of representation at the base - democratically. Finally the experience of our union activity, however brief, that our group conducted [poligrafico], whose work of criticism [e di sprone] and initiative, added to the experience on the National Council of Trade, itself merited the honor of particular attention on the part of leadership that was charged with this challenging task and is worthy of being attempted again, with even more drastic methods.

Organizational guidelines

  1. Internationalist Communists in the workplace and in the union, irregardless of their number, are the ranks of the party to whom are delegated the task of propaganda and defense of the positions of the party. In the interests of the workers all problems that arise from the life of the factory are theirs.
  2. Internationalist Communists are therefore the fundamental nucleus of the unions groups that radiate their activity through a network of sympathizing workers that are in solidarity with the goals of the party and create around themselves a zone of influence among the workers which is indispensable for the exercise of constant activity of persuasion, of criticism, and to provide stimulus in the preparatory phase of the revindicative struggle. In participating actively in this struggle they demonstrate energetically that this self-same struggle will be effective for the proletariat conducting it themselves with class objectives and methods.
  3. If Internationalist Communists having gained influence among the mass of workers, in order to operate with them and for them in the union, the defense of their interests should not exhaust them in economic revindication and in sustaining a parliamentary policy to the sole advantage of the parties that have made them spectators in the struggle for supremacy. They should not drain themselves in systematic compromise under protection of the prefecture and the ministry.
  4. In the case that Internationalist Communists are called to assume the burden of responsibility in the unions, they are to accept all that originates from the decisions of the worker base that they repay the trust of the mass, outside of any union bureaucracy. To proceed as such that a presentation for the candidacy in the elections of the internal commissions as the active participation of the elected leadership of the mass, they should be accompanied by an open and clear grasp of the programmatic instructions in the principals and tactics of the party.
  5. The Revolutionary Party does not place itself and their tasks within the reformist and corporatist line of the union. Neither does it seek conquest from within the majoritarian system for the obvious reason (obvious for revolutionary Marxists) that the organisms are directly and indirectly stabilized in the interests of the imperialist line should be conquered by the force of class, not with elections, but with the instruments of revolutionary assault that will themselves destroy the incrustation of interests openly antagonistic to those of socialist revolution. The trade unionist nature of the union and its servitude to the imperialism of the United States on the one hand and that of the Soviet Union on the other, prevent any legalitarian solution of conquest of the vertices of the organization.
  6. The duty of the Internationalist Communist Union Groups is to extract the most conscious and most active section of the workers from the influence of corporative reformism and from the tactics of compromise through whom the great mass parties avail themselves to win votes and gain seats in parliament, but above all to subtract the mass from the hypnotizing effect of the propaganda that exalts the role of the power of the state whether of the democratic line or that of the authoritarian regimes, that otherwise would conduct themselves in solidarity with the politics of imperialism and of a Third World War.
  7. Internationalist Communists regard as union work: elevating the unique and contingent historic interests of the struggle to reclaim for the mass of workers as a class and project in advance the historical solution of the Socialist Revolution.
  8. The participation of Internationalist Communists in strikes and their conduct in practice should be to the fullest. That is not to say that they should abandon their positions on parliamentary political maneuvers or for supporting at any time the politics of power in favor of any whoever works for any objective of imperialist rule. Such participation will be accompanied by a clear circumspect grasp of the positions of the party through its leaflets, directives, and direct interventions that distinguish the methods and objectives of Internationalist Communists from the corporative reformist pack of other political unionist formations which retain the monopoly of the confederative organisms.
  9. Internationalist Communists, our union groups, the direct expression of which, already existent in the factories, in the shipyards [work sites/construction sites?], in the dairies and in the action of these groups within the unions, is laid down these criteria and who themselves formed this present union platform of the party.
The Central Committee of Internationalist Communist Union Groups