Frequently Asked Questions

01. You’re communists. So, do you want a society like the one which existed in Russia?

In USSR and in all other countries of “real socialism”, in reality the mode of production was not different from capitalism. Formally, private property did not exist; but, concretely, workers had no voice in regard to the management of the means of production and distribution, and of the whole society. On the other hand, the bureaucratic elite played the role of a real state bourgeoisie, controlling the production and living as a parasite body, in luxuries and privileges, on the exploitation of the proletariat. Instead, communism means that production is not organized for the profit of a small minority, but to satisfy the needs of the whole humanity. The communist society is a free association of producers who enjoy the fruits of their work and share them also with those who - for various reasons: children, elders, invalids - are not able to participate in the production of the common wealth: from each one according to his ability, to each one according to his needs.

The Russian proletarian revolution, the first and unique episode in which the proletariat conquered power, though creating all political conditions to build a socialist society, had not the possibility to grow on the higher level of social and economical realizations, because it was penalized by its economical backwardness and by its isolation from other revolutionary experiences in the area of advanced capitalism. The conquests obtained by the Bolshevik October, till that point, represented only the necessary conditions for the successive socialist development, though not being sufficient at all. Socialization is not just expropriation; it is collective property, i.e. not property; it simply means communitarian management of goods and resources, with no one individually - nor the state - being able to claim their possession. In order to let the potentiality of its premises unroll in actuality, an international revolution was needed, to came and help “poor” and backward Russia. Otherwise, farewell to socialism, but also farewell to all those premises so hardly achieved in the first victorious revolutionary episode.

Only the historical falsification of Stalinism about the possibility of socialism in a single country, accompanied by the physical elimination of the Bolshevik old guard and any form of internationalist opposition, could distort the precariousness of a very fragile phase of wait and programmatic recoil, to represent it, instead, as the triumphal take off toward the edification of socialism. That mystification was the more devious and ominous, the wider the proletarian international masses were. Given the emotional wave of the memory of the revolutionary Bolshevik October, those masses were easy prey, absorbed by the myth of Russia. Stalinism didn’t gave life to any socialist realization, on the contrary it was the tragic, oppressive and police-based form taken by the counter-revolution in Russia.

  • 1921: Beginning of the Counter-revolution?
  • Crisi del comunismo o del capitalismo di stato?
02. Why don’t you participate in elections?

In the bourgeoise social formation, the bourgeoisie owns the production means and so virtually it detains all the power (economic, political e military). For this reason, we say that the current political system, the so-called bourgeise democracy, at its roots is a “dictatorship of the bourgeoisie”. Elections are simply the puppet theatre of politics to legitimate the power in the hands of the bourgeoisie. They deck the system with a people mandate and, at the same time, they let it appear as “democratic”. Elections are the moment in which the bourgeoise parliamentary democracy concedes, to those exploited, the freedom to elect their own owners - to be chosen among those who have demonstrated to know how to defend the interests of the bourgeoise class at best. To participate in elections means to back this democratic mystification and to help the bourgeoisie in its dictatorship: exactly the one they call “democracy”.

Against the fraud of the bourgeoise parliament, the abstentionism on class positions has to be relaunched; not certainly to legitimate apathy and apolitical individualism, but to engage in restarting class struggle, in workplaces and in streets, and in rebuilding the revolutionary party. Parliamentary roads will never led to abolishing the exploitation of wage work, neither to acquiring any long lasting “right” (as they are incorrectly called today). Only the mounting class struggle can oblige the capital to momentarily concede some space. Only the proletarian revolution can create the conditions to realize a society without exploitation.

  • Discorso di Bordiga sul parlamentarismo
  • Tesi della frazione comunista astensionista sul parlamentarismo
  • Abbasso la repubblica borghese, abbasso la sua costituzione* Stato borghese, democrazia borghese, semi-stato proletario
03. Do you want a revolution for establishing the dictatorship of the communist party?

No. Only the proletariat has the duty of realizing the revolution and acquiring all power in its own hands; it’s up to the whole working class. “All power to the soviets”, to workers’ assemblies: this is our program and this is true democracy, proletarian democracy.

There will have to be the maximum level of democracy inside the class power organisms (which will express the will of the majority, if not of all workers) and maximum hardness (“dictatorship of the proletariat”) against those who stand outside and against (and in arms, in all probability) workers and their semi-state, i.e. the organization in councils. The semi-state which the proletariat will have to realize will be based on soviets or councils, and it will be destined to extinguish itself when the division in classes of the society will disappear. In fact, it is defined semi-state exactly because, differently from other states which succeeded in various historical epochs, it has not to perpetuate the domination of a class on another, instead it has to lead to the extinction of all classes and of itself with them.

Thus the “dictatorship of the proletariat” will consist in the exercise of strength by the whole working class, to remove the causes of the division in classes of the society. It will be the power of the large exploited majority on the exploiting minority, to deprive it of its privileges. Not the dictatorship of the party.

  • Organismi di fabbrica e compiti del partito rivoluzionario
04. Is not the working class spontaneously revolutionary?

The proletariat - the class of those exploited - is the only potentially revolutionary subject, inside the capitalist system. Proletarians, being excluded from the possession of the means of production and alienated from the product of their own work, have historical and immediate interests opposed to those of capital. But, the proletariat can be effectively revolutionary, only if it acquire the necessary class unity and the consciousness of its own intimate antagonism in respect to capital. For this purpose, it is necessary that in the sphere of the proletarian class there is an organized vanguard, able to analyze the dynamics of the relations of production, to draw lessons from the experiences of class struggle, to elaborate and advance a program to overcome the capitalist society and to guide, politically, the class on this road.

In fact, a profound difference exists between “class instinct” and “class consciousness”. The first one springs up and develops inside workers’ struggles as a patrimony of workers themselves; it is placed into existence by the antagonism of material interests and it feeds with growing economical and political contradictions, originated by the same antagonism; finally, to exist, it requires that relations between proletarians and capitalists are sufficiently tense to imply a certain generalization of workers’ struggles and a certain hardness of confrontations. The second one, consciousness, springs up from the scientific examination of class contradictions, it grows together with those contradictions; it lives and feeds with the examination and elaboration of data generated by the historical experiences of the class.

With the revolution, the power is up to the whole proletarian class, to its assembly organisms. But the party doesn’t play only a generic role of agitation and propaganda. The party sustains the revolutionary and socialist program in soviets and its militants are ready to assume responsibilities, assignments revocable in every moment, when workers’ assemblies acknowledge the slogans of the party. In conclusion, the “political direction” of the party, the relevance of the communist program, indispensible for the success of a proletarian revolution, is something which cannot be imposed on soviets, but it is to be acquired and defended through political battles.

  • Gramsci tra marxismo e idealismo - Premessa
  • Classe e coscienza, dalla teoria all’intervento politico
05. Are nationalizations a measure of the socialist kind?

The equation “socialism = statism” is a falsification due to the aberrations of Stalinism and to the inadequate critic moved by Trotskyism against the Russian society and its productive structure, as well as to the mystifications of bourgeoise reformism. On the contrary, according to Marxism, the state machine is a tool of power of the dominant class, i.e. of the bourgeoisie on the proletariat, and for this reason it has to be broken.

The state property, instead of the private property, of the industry does not change the nature of the social relations of production. The state intervention and control in economy doesn’t represent a fracture in the fundamental laws of capitalist economy. Instead, in a certain sense, it is the natural and unavoidable result of its whole historical development. This intervention can be pushed to the point of eliminating the juridical form of the individual private property of the means of production; but this happens without eliminating the fundamental data of the capitalist system of production - i.e. the exploitation of human work through the appropriation of the plusvalue it produces - but, on the contrary, strengthening it.

  • Le nazionalizzazioni arma del capitalismo
06. Do you support national liberation struggles?

The internationalist slogan is “proletarians of all countries, unite”. The creation of new national borders is not a step forward in the direction of the international unity of all proletarians. National struggles involve the proletariat in wars among bourgeoise factions at international level, which in no case imply the defence of proletarian interests. Those struggles, instead, divide proletarians of different nationalities and push them to line up under national flags, to pour their blood for a bourgeoise homeland, instead of struggling to free themselves from the wage labour exploitation, from the one imposed by stranger owners as well as from the one which new local owners would want to impose.

  • Le guerre di liberazione nazionale nell’epoca dell’imperialismo
07. Do you participate in united antifascist fronts?

We, as communists, fight fascism without reserves, and at the same time we fight any form of bourgeoise power. Historically, fascism has been a response to class struggles and to the communist movement. Its roots are to be individuated in the capitalist mode of production and in the bourgeoise power which, in case of need or opportunity, does not hesitate to dismiss its democratic mask to show its real reactionary face.

This is the reason why we believe that alliances with bourgeoise forces in antifascist function are wrong, leading to bitter defeats, if antifascism is meant as just a struggle against this particular form of bourgeoise power and for the defence of bourgeoise democracy; in fact, it is the bourgeoisie itself which constitutes the supporting substrate of all fascist regimes. Instead, we’ve ever been favourable and promoters of initiatives of “united fronts from below”, i.e. the union of all proletarians to defend themselves and contrast the bourgeoise power, the more when it presents itself with unbearable ferocity, but without giving in to compromises with bourgeoise leaderships and their reformist programs.

08. Do trade unions defend workers’ interests?

Our vision of trade unions is that they’ve never been revolutionary. Trade unions are, by their nature, organisms of mediations, to contract the sale conditions of the work force. But it was not until the beginning of the last century that they actually threw in their lot with the capitalist state, sustaining its necessity to keep the social peace and plan the production in a society which is more and more dominated by monopolies. Our opposition is not just theoretical but based on our actual experience in every country where we are present. Whenever the workers begin to move so do the unions - to ensure the movement is defeated.

Over the years we have had a quite a few contacts who have argued we could do more in the unions (and we don’t avoid the unions - we work in the rank and file to win people to real action) but eventually these comrades have concluded from their own practical experience (which has included being expelled from the union by Trotskyist-dominated local committees) that we were, after all, right. Our aim is to build nuclei of workers in the workplace who are ready to fight capitalism (even if they do not accept all our politics) and in Italy we have a couple of these factory groups which are tiny but which are seen as a threat by the unions. As the class struggle develops globally we will be trying to establish more in order to keep a continued political presence in workplaces.

The problem, however, is not whether to intervene or not in union meetings and in actions called by unions. As internationalists, we intervene in meeting and actions called by unions, both federated and base unions, because, when we intervene in situations of struggle, we naturally refer to rank and file union activists, as well as to all workers. Fact is, in all those cases, we radically criticize unions and indicate to self-organize the struggles, to break out of capitalistic limitations as the only way to concretely defend our own class interests.

Instead, other self-styled communist and revolutionary political forces are inside unions and, moreover, they occupy leading roles. But occupying leading roles, in a union which by this time is, in all regards, the chain of transmission of owners’ and state interests in the bosom of the working class, means to line up on the other side of the barricade.

  • E’ finito il sindacato ma non la lotta economica
09. If not through trade unions, how can communists intervene in struggles?

Acknowledging the anti-workers functions of unions does not mean at all to despise or to look with sufficiency to “economic” struggles. At the contrary, with Marx, we believe that a class unable to defend its own immediate living and working conditions, is not able nor deserving to fight for revolution. For us, it is the union-form which is (since long time) no more useful, also for true struggles directed to achieve partial “smaller” objectives; it is not the economical struggle in itself. This needs other tools - i.e. struggle committees, strike committees etc. - arising from below, outside and if necessary also against union praxis. In those organisms, the party carries on its political battles, to guide them in the direction of the communist and revolutionary program.

The party itself, to intervene in proletarian struggles, organizes so called “internationalist groups of factory and territory”. These political organisms of the party strive to promote economical struggle - continuously trying to address the working class toward higher level of political consciousness and determined conflictuality - and to attract to itself the most active and conscious elements in the unavoidable phases of reflux of the struggle, to give continuity to the communist program and organization, enriching them with the experiences from the living events of the class struggle. Not necessarily all workers adhering to the groups are members of the party, but they share its fundamental guidelines, including anticapitalism and the denunciation of the union-form.

10. Is armed struggle a valid way to fight capitalism? Are you terrorists?

No. We’re completely and rigidly against the terrorist methods of struggle. This practice, based on the action of few persons, has no sense, as it is totally extraneous to the proletarian masses and their living conditions, made of privations and daily fatigues. The gun shootings of terrorism - often moved or manipulated in an occult way by the very same bourgeoise state apparatus - fatally lead to a retaliation of the bourgeoisie against the world of labour; i.e. they provide, on a silver plate, the opportunity for repressive actions against all those who line up on the terrain of true anticapitalist struggle; they accelerate, precisely, the reforms directed to worsen proletarian life and work, with the pretext of the terrorist emergence. All of this happens while workers are totally passive and disoriented.

Proletarian masses are the real protagonists of history. They have to take the action - the defence of their immediate and historical interests - back in their hands. When the class struggle is missing, no self-styled elite can artificially substitute them. Because of all these reasons, the true communist movement is lined up unconditionally against terrorism.

  • Perché siamo contro il terrorismo
  • Perché noi siamo contro il terrorismo - Introduzione
11. God, country, family. Aren’t they values to be defended?

“God, country, family” is the motto of the anti-communist reaction since the dawning of the workers’ movement, but today it seems to have found its full satisfaction.

Notwithstanding all the scientific discoveries of this world, the religious control over the society continues to be very strong, and not only in integralist countries or in extremely poor ones where seeding hate is particularly easy for priests, but also in the West. But to trust in god means, most of times, to trust in those who present themselves as its legitimate representatives, i.e. the hierarchies of the various religious institutions which, being part of the dominant class and embodying its ideology, are interested in defending the bourgeoise society which feeds and sustains them. Moreover, trusting in supernatural forces automatically leads to debase praxis, practical materialistic actions, the only way through which it is possible to intervene on reality to change it.

In regard to country, the link and the love that we all feel for the places where we’ve grown up and where we live in, as well as the instinctive affinity which unite persons with the same cultural habits, has not to be confused with patriotism. Patriotism is a bourgeoise political position, both in its historical and current meaning. Patriotism spread in the 18th Century, when young revolutionary bourgeoisies in Europe had to sweep aside the old form of feudal power in order to pave the way for their own states. Either country is a state or a quasi-state entity like Chiapas or Palestine, or even a macro-regional entity like Europe or the Arab world, the juice does not change: to put class struggle aside, which weakens the nation, and to line up all together, the stock exchange shark arm in arm with the worker, the poor besides the sheik, against the common enemy who speaks a language different from ours. Like real patriots.

Also in respect to family, bourgeoise ideology played dirty: in fact it’s evident that family affection has an indisputable predictable weight, which springs spontaneously from cohabitation and filial love. But when family becomes an alternative to extra-family aggregation, then it assumes the form of a narrow gage, a more or less comfortable and reassuring trap, in which single couples of proletarians, each one atomized and secluded into their own drawing room, are pushed toward individualism and so made even more impotent and inert from the political and social point of view.

12. Do social classes still exist?

The capitalist society is divided into social classes. The bourgeoise minority, by controlling all the means of production, effectively holds all the power (economic, political and military). The proletarian majority, to live, can only sell its work force, at the conditions imposed by the bourgeoisie. Proletarians (factory, office, field workers etc.) are the slaves of modern times, wage slaves.

  • La classe operaia nella fase attuale e le sue prospettive
  • Considerazioni sulla composizione e ricomposizione di classe nella mondializzazione
  • Dopo la ristrutturazione la nuova composizione di classe
  • Tendenze generali della composizione di classe - 1a parte
  • Tendenze generali della composizione di classe - 2a parte
13. What is the exploitation of the work force?

Essentially, the capital pays to a worker the value of its work force, i.e. how much it is necessary to reproduce it. But what the same worker produces, which the capitalist appropriates of, has a greater value, and the difference is called plusvalue. This mechanism, at the basis of capitalists’ profits, is what we define exploitation.

According to the particular conditions of production, exploitation can be associated with very low salaries and very bad working conditions, or with relatively higher salaries and better conditions. But exploitation remains a characteristic of capitalism, which cannot set it aside, as well as of the preceeding societies founded on the division in social classes, where workers are expropriated of the products of their own work for the benefit of those possessing the means of production. The exploitation becomes the more unbearable and hard, the more the capitalist system sinks in its periodical crisis of over-accumulation.

14. Why does capitalism generate periodical crisis? How does it try to overcome them?

The condition of existence of capitalism is the realization of profits, to increase the capital invested into the production process, and those profits are possible only at the condition of a progressive extortion of plusvalue. This is what pushes for the continuous renewal of the techniques and factors of production. The innovation of production can put a single capitalist in a position of competitive advantage in respect to competitors, guaranteeing growing over-provits and marketshares.

However, the introduction of new techniques is tendentially characterized by a greater incidence of the constant capital, i.e. machines and raw materials, in respect to the variable capital, i.e. wage work. Their generalized adoption, in the complex, pushes for using less human work, which is the only source of value and profit. Hence, tendentially, while the whole capital increases, the share destined to wage work decreases, thus also the rate of profit decreases, i.e. the ratio between plusvalue and entire invested capital.

Capital can deploy a series of countertendencies, first of all the increase of productivity, meant as the increase of exploitation, which allows to obtain grater profits by using a given quantity of work force. But on the other side, if the increase of productivity requires more constant capital, then its effect is contradictory. Often, the more effective countertendencies are the prolongation of the work day (which in general does not imply an increase in the proportion of constant capital), the increase of work rhythms, the decrease of salaries, above all when proletariat does not give an adequate class response to the attacks to its working conditions. However, those countertendencies can only slow down the tendency of the profit rate to fall, without being ever able to solve the contradictions which generate them.

When the fall, from being tendential, becomes actual, capitalism falls into a phase of crisis which we can define as one of over-accumulation, which definitely it cannot escape, but through the destruction of capital. In the imperialist epoch, crisis have been marked by more and more destructive and bloody conflicts.

Crisis show up in markets as crisis of overproduction or underconsumption (or production over-capacity, with the just-in-time methods of production). But at their roots, they are bound to the relations of production and to the conditions of exploitation, and not simply to the sphere of distribution and to the limits of market.

The issue would need to be dealt with and studied with attention. The tendency of the rate of profit to fall is one of the more precious (and less understood) result of Marxism, to which various chapters of Marx’s Capital are devoted.

  • Sulla teoria della crisi in generale
  • Legge della caduta tendenziale del saggio del profitto - La legge in quanto tale
  • Legge della caduta tendenziale del saggio del profitto - Cause antagonistiche
  • Legge della caduta tendenziale del saggio del profitto - Sviluppo delle contraddizioni
  • Capitale, produttività e caduta del saggio di profitto
  • Crisi del comunismo o del capitalismo di stato
15. What is the financialization of economy?

Marx had already individuated the role of finance in the production, distinguishing industrial profit from interest and rent. However, what we specifically define as the “financialization of economy” is one of the distinguishing tracts of the imperialist phase of capitalism. Between the end of the 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th Century, finance ceased to be primarily a support for the sphere of production, to acquire greater and greater autonomy and finally to subdue, in some sense, industry itself.

The globalization of economy, the availability of faster and faster communication and contracting tools, have enormously widened the financial sphere of economy, to the point of making it dominant, in a certain sense, over the sphere of production. In reality, there’s no separation between the two spheres, and the source of any value, also the one that feeds financial rents, at the end of the day resides only in live work (in its exploitation).

16. Which is the role of currencies and mineral resources at the international level?

Being able to impose its own currency as the instrument of international exchange implies a great advantage for a country or for an imperialist block in respect to competitors. In fact, competitor countries, to show up in international markets, first of all have to acquire a certain quantity of the reference currency. After the denunciation of the Bretton Woods deals, in 1971 (a moment which we, for convenience, indicate as the starting point of the current phase of crisis) the value of currencies - of the dollar in particular - is no more bound to the availability of goods of corresponding value. Thus, simplifying, we can say that a county which dominates international markets - not lastly, it’s evident, with military strength - is in the condition, obviously only till a certain point, to give paper without value in change of real goods.

One of the main international markets is that of mineral and energy resources, oil and gas in primis. The control of energy flows allows not only to keep in hands one of the main factors of production (oil, other than an energy source, is at the basis of all the chemical industry, plastic, many textile products etc.) but also to decide in which currency the mineral products will be contracted and which economy will enjoy the advantages of this “seignorage”.

  • Le radici della guerra contro l’Iraq e quelle future
17. Why do you say that capitalism today is decadent? Isn’t it able to develop productive forces anymore?

The imperialist and decadent phase of capitalism, which began in the first years of the last century, approximately, in the initial period was characterized essentially by: the concentration of production and capital; the fusion/symbiosis of bank capital and industrial capital and the consequent formation of a financial oligarchy; the exportation of capital; the allocation of the world among the international monopolistic groups; the allocation of the whole surface of Earth among the greatest imperialist powers. Today there’s no more colonialism, but imperialism remained and it accentuated some of its original characteristics: above all, parasitism.

But the phase of capitalist decadence is not to be intended as the end of its cycles of development, crisis and war, which instead continue to manifest themselves with growing destructivity. From crisis to crisis, a war and a reconstruction after another, the domination of bourgeoisie could remain for some time, together with the “continuous revolution of the instruments of production”. The problem is how much this system costs to humanity and to the whole planet in social and environmental terms. Above all, since it has arrived to its imperialist and decadent phase, capitalism is able to resolve its own contradictions only at the price of more and more unbearable catastrophes. The solution is up to proletarians, the only ones who can demolish this decadent system.

  • Puntualizzazione sul concetto di decadenza
18. If the current system is decadent, then will communism realize surely?

Marxism has described the capitalist economy, its particular laws and its overall structure, as a transient mode of production, destined to suffer continuous and violent explosions of internal crisis, under the weight of its own contradictions and of the class antagonisms which develop inside of it.

But - contrarily to a widespread, and wrong, interpretation - Marxist theory of the crisis excludes the perspective of a possible automatic and vertical breakdown of the capitalist mode of production. The crisis, which is originated by the fall of profits, can only have its bourgeoise solution, i.e. war and generalized destruction of capital and work-force in excess (human beings), if the working class will not be able to realize its own proletarian solution, i.e. the communist revolution. Capitalism leads the whole humanity into worse and worse wars and catastrophes. But this arriving point, which is reproduced in each cycle of the accumulation of capital, as the only way out of the economic crisis into which the bourgeoise society precipitates, does not mean and cannot by itself lead to the end of capitalism, nor to its overcome in the sense of revolution and in the direction of communism.

Capitalism is moribund; imperialism represents its last historical phase of parasitic decadence: it makes the domination of capital more powerful and absolute, but at the same time it makes its survival more precarious and vulnerable. The alternative, i.e. its revolutionary negation, communism, is however conditioned by the active presence of a direction and an organization, a consciousness and a will of action: class struggle and revolutionary party are the diggers of this system.