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Four main issues
An Interview with Umberto Corti of the Central Committee of the (new) Italian Communist Party (available at https://kites-journal.org/2022/01/19/banish-pessimism-and-defeatism/)
Part 2 of On Granite Conviction: Revolutionary Communism in Italy Today
Editorial Introduction from kites
In April 2021, the kites Editorial Committee conducted this interview with comrade Umberto Corti of the (new) Italian Communist Party ((n)PCI). The (n)PCI was established in 2004 after five years of clandestine preparatory work that stood upon two decades of political and theoretical activity that critically evaluated the errors, summed up the experience, and built upon the contributions of the Marxist-Leninist currents and armed communist organizations of the 1960s and ‘70s. Though tagged as new “Red Brigades” by its enemies in the ruling class, the (n)PCI upholds a strategy of “protracted revolutionary people’s war” which is entirely distinct not only from the communist parties in Italy that precede it, but also from those of other imperialist countries. As far as the kites Editorial Committee is concerned, any communist party in an imperialist country making serious claims to have broken new ground in theorizing proletarian revolution for the imperialist countries merits close scrutiny and consideration. And so, in the interest and urgency of bringing deeper insight and sharper clarity to the tasks of communist revolutionaries in the imperialist countries, the kites Editorial Committee is pleased to bring forward the second and final part of our series On Granite Conviction: Revolutionary Communism in Italy Today (the first of which was an interview with the (n)PCI’s fraternal CARC Party and appeared in kites #4 and is available at kites-journal.org).
The pictures and captions in this interview have been selected and prepared by the kites Editorial Committee, but reviewed and approved by the (n)PCI.
1. Comrade, thank you for taking the time to conduct this interview. What is your party name? What can you tell us about your position in the (n)PCI and how long you’ve been in the organization?
Umberto Corti of the (n)PCI: First of all, I thank the Editorial Committee of kites for this interview. My name in the (new) Italian Communist Party is Umberto Corti. I have been a member of the organization since its foundation in 2004 and I am a member of its Central Committee.
We the Italian communists are happy to develop the debate about issues of principle with communists from North America (US and Canada). We are interested in the development of the class struggle in the US, which is the center of the International Community of the European Union (EU), US and Zionist imperialist groups.
The main enemy of the US imperialist bourgeoisie is within the US borders. All our solidarity goes to those who are rebelling against the conditions that the military-industrial-financial complex (which even Eisenhower denounced in his farewell speech in January 1961) imposes, although with increasing difficulty, on the large part of the US population: not only whites, but African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, etc.
The Trump presidency has shown the weakness of the political system of the US imperialist bourgeoisie headed by the military-industrial-financial complex and contributed to help Italian communists to understand the weakness of the Papal Republic—the name we give to the system of power in force in Italy since 1948. The Vatican is the center of the Papal Republic, its hidden and last resort government, which decides every important issue in our country, backed by NATO, the European Union and criminal organizations (Mafia, Camorra, ‘Ndrangheta).
2. Can you tell when and under what circumstances your organization was founded? What initiative gave rise to the (n)PCI?
The founding of the (new) Italian Communist Party ((n)PCI) was the fruit of work done by communists over the previous 25 years. First, work done by organizations in solidarity with the political prisoners of the Red Brigades (BR) and the other Fighting Communist Organizations (Organizzazioni Comuniste Combattenti – OCC). Those solidarity organisations published Bollettino del Coordinamento Nazionale dei Comitati contro la Repressione (Bulletin of National Coordination of Committees against Repression). Then, the work done by the CARC, which stands for Comitati di Appoggio alla Resistenza per il Comunismo (Committees to Support Resistance—for Communism). The CARC had organs in the review Rapporti Sociali (Social Relations) and in the monthly Resistenza (Resistance). The name of the CARC reflects our basic conception: that the popular masses spontaneously wage, even without the intervention of communists, a certain resistance to the oppression of the bourgeoisie and the clergy and that communists must use this resistance to transform the popular masses through their work into an organized force that seize power and establishes socialism.
Preceding the founding of the (n)PCI in 2004 was the establishment in 1999 of the clandestine Preparatory Commission. The Preparatory Commission had the task of preparing for the founding Congress of the Party. This task had two distinct implications: 1) the elaboration of the Party’s program; 2) the formation of clandestine Party organizations. Through its review La Voce (The Voice), the Preparatory Commission called upon other organizations that defined themselves as communist (we labelled them “subjective forces of the socialist revolution” – FSRS) and who were actually intent on rebuilding the communist party. We asked them to establish and strengthen their relations between them and with the Preparatory Commission so that they contribute to the elaboration of the Party program and the formation of clandestine Party organizations.
The name of the Party reflects our intention to reclaim the work of the first Italian Communist Party (PCI) founded in 1921. The PCI was the party of Antonio Gramsci and of the Resistance of 1943-1945, and we intend to complete the enterprise (to transform Italy, an imperialist country, into a socialist one) in which the PCI failed because of its limits and errors. Despite its failure, the PCI had a great role in the recent history of our country and its memory lives in the heart of Italian communists and the advanced elements of the Italian popular masses.
Photo taken during the Founding Congress of Communist Party of Italy, showing the Comintern section of the Party. Livorno, January 21 1921.
3. Italy has such a rich history of communism. This past January 21 marked one hundred years since the founding of the original Italian communist party, a communist party that by the end of WWII was Europe’s largest, and one of the world’s largest non-governing communist parties (second to Indonesia). What lessons does the (n)PCI draw from the original Italian Communist Party (PCI) in its revolutionary period? When and how did the original PCI take a revisionist turn? How did proletarian revolutionaries in Italy come to break from the PCI once it became fully revisionist? And what were the strengths and limits of these new formations? In particular, we are curious about the relationship to the Red Brigades and the 1960s and ’70s anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist currents. Where does your organization trace its lineage within this overall history of communism in Italy?
The PCI, like the parties of the other imperialist countries, did not follow the direction given in the early 1920s by Lenin within the Communist International (Comintern): to study the conditions and forms of the struggle to establish socialism in imperialist countries overcoming the infantile limits that the communist movement inherited from social democracy, along with its rooting among the popular masses (those who need to work to live and cannot live on profits or rents), particularly among the proletariat (those who sell their labor power to have what living with) and even more particularly among the working class (the employees of capitalist commodity-producing companies).
Two of the main limits, economism and electoralism, are summed up in Bernstein’s slogan: “the movement (union and political demands and participation in the institutions and relations of bourgeois democracy) is everything and the aim (the establishment of socialism) is nothing.” The third of the main limits was militarism, the conception that armed struggle is always the main form of struggle with which the workers, the proletariat, the popular masses must confront the bourgeoisie.
In Italy Lenin’s direction was resumed only in 1923, when the Executive Committee of the Comintern charged Gramsci with directing its Italian section, the PCd’I (Communist Party of Italy – Comintern’s section). However, Gramsci was imprisoned by fascists on November 1926, as a result of his own limits in understanding the particular form taken by the class struggle in Italy. After his imprisonment the PCI, operating clandestinely, vigorously defended the continuity of its existence as an independent organization from the bourgeoisie and as a promoter of the workers’ demanding struggles. The PCd’I maintained organizational and political link with the Comintern, it participated in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and other Comintern initiatives. But it did not make progress in the development of a strategy for the establishment of socialism in Italy.
During the Second World War, since July 1943, several power centers worked in Italy: US-British armed forces, German Reich armed forces, the government of Kingdom of Italy, the puppet-government of the fascist Italian Social Republic (the town of Salò was its capital), the partisan movement, which only gradually unified under the general command of the Corpo Volontari della Libertà (Volunteers of Freedom Corp), and the Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale per l’Alta Italia (Committee of National Liberation for Northern Italy).
Under the direction of the Comintern, from September 1943 the PCI promoted the partisan war against Nazi-Fascism (the Resistance), acquiring great prestige and appeal among the popular masses all over Italy. Still under the direction of the Comintern, since May 1944, the PCI took part in the government of Kingdom of Italy which, although being a British and American protectorate, opposed the Nazi occupation from the Southern regions of the country. Since April 25, 1945 (Liberation day), this became the government of the whole country. Just two years later, however, on May 1947, PCI and PSI (Italian Socialist Party) were expelled from the government of the country by the initiative of US imperialists, the Italian bourgeoisie and the Vatican.
In this situation, the PCI showed that it had not overcome the revolutionary incapability of social democratic parties. Palmiro Togliatti was the new advocate of the “way to socialism through structural reforms (development of public services and of the public sector of the commodities’ production) realized as a result of mass demands and of PCI’s participation in the institutions of bourgeois democracy.” Basically, after having successfully led the Resistance, the PCI agreed to the constitution of the Papal Republic under the protectorate of the US and NATO.
In this new context, the PCI became the Party that promoted the demands and achievements of civilization and welfare of the popular masses in the context of the “capitalism with a human face” (1945-1975). The imperialist bourgeoisie had to grant these claims in Italy (1) under the threat of the communist movement advancing all over the world and (2) in the context of the economic recovery.1
The main lesson we learn from the historical process that took place in Italy and other imperialist countries is that the communist movement and the parties that were at its head during the first wave of the world proletarian revolution (1917-1976) never had an understanding of the course of things up to their task. That’s the reason why they did not lead the popular masses, the proletariat and the workers, to take advantage of the first general crisis of the capitalist system (from about 1875 to 1945 – which they by the way interpreted as a succession of cyclical crises) up to the establishment of socialism.
Antonio Gramsci, when the Executive Committee of the Comintern in 1923 entrusted him with the direction of its Italian section, was very clear about the reasons of the defeat suffered in the Red Biennium (1919-1920): the PCI’s direction was not based on the science of the activities with which people make their history, which back then was Marxism-Leninism. They never translated M-L into the particular conditions of Italy.2
The (n)PCI has assimilated this lesson and puts forward what we call Intellectual and Moral Reform3 and the understanding and the assimilation of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (namely its translation into the particular conditions of Italy today) as indispensable conditions for those who apply for membership to the Party.
Tobring ourselves forward as both subjects and objects of the socialist revolution means to apply dialectical materialism (to know reality in order to transform it) not only to the reality around us but also to ourselves.
The reasons why the first PCI failed in its role—to mobilize and organize the Italian popular masses to make Italy a socialist country—are a precious legacy that we receive from the first PCI: it is up to us to discover, assimilate and apply these teachings with initiative, creativity and dedication to the cause.
The defeat suffered by the imprisonment in 1926 of its top leader, Antonio Gramsci, after which the leadership of the PCI passed into the hands of the future modern revisionists (Togliatti and his followers), was not an accident: it resulted from the limits of the first PCI in understanding the conditions, forms, and results of the class struggle, limits that failed to prevent the attack of Mussolini’s Fascism and the Savoy monarchy.
Electoralism (reducing party’s activity to the electoral competition and the use of the popular masses as a mass of voters) and economism (concentrating its own action exclusively in the day-to-day struggles and protests without turning them into a school of communism4 in the struggle for power) and their various combination were the two great limits of the first PCI, which distracted the “largest communist party in the West” (more than two million members after the triumph of the Resistance) from seizing power. The experience of the first PCI teaches us that a communist party without a correct conception resulting from two-line struggle (Lenin’s and Stalin’s Communist Party (Bolshevik) of the Soviet Union and Mao Zedong’s Communist Party of China (CPC) being two exemplars of parties really applying two-line struggle) is doomed to failure, even if it wins, in certain situations, elections and demanding battles.
The first PCI had already taken the road of modern revisionism at the end of the Resistance, in the years 1945-1948, when the party leadership applied and imposed the line of subordination to the bourgeoisie and the Vatican, disguised as “the way to socialism through structural reforms.” This led to the official abandonment of Marxism-Leninism as the ideological guide of the party, ratified by the 8th Congress of December 1956, a few months after the 20th Congress of the CPSU (February 1956) which marked the triumph of modern revisionism in the Soviet Union via Khrushchev. The “peaceful and parliamentary way to socialism” replaced the dictatorship of the proletariat, opening the ranks of the party to the ideological and moral corruption that lead to the dissolution of the PCI in 1991.
After 1962, the wave of the international ideological struggle against modern revisionism launched by the CPC led by Mao Zedong and to a lesser extent and by different means by the Party of Labor of Albania led by Enver Hoxha, found expression in Italy. Grassroots militants, workers, and leaders of the left-wing of the first PCI who had left or were expelled from the party in disagreement with the revisionist “new course” of Togliatti, launched the battle for the reaffirmation of Marxist-Leninist principles such as the revolutionary seize of power, leadership of the working class, and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Among these new organizations, the Partito comunista d’Italia – Nuova Unità (Communist Party of Italy – New Unity) was the best known.
The strength of such organizations laid in their fidelity to the principles of revolutionary science against its abandonment by modern revisionists. Their main limitation was dogmatism on the ideological level which was reflected in sectarianism on the organizational one. In fact, they never elaborated a revolutionary strategy for the objective conditions of Italy, nor did they understand the limits of the PCI’s left wing, which had not been able to prevent the revisionists from taking over the leadership of the Party.
Another movement in the struggle against ideological capitulation to the bourgeoisie and all the other reactionaries (first of all, the Vatican) were the Fighting Communist Organizations (OCC) that arose within the Italian revolutionary movement of the ‘70s. This movement gave rise to the “Autunno Caldo” (“Hot Autumn”) of 1969 and to the formation of the Factory Councils, which made great achievements (the Workers’ Statute, the National Health System, Fair Rent Regulation, and others) which the bourgeoisie opposed with the “strategy of tension.”5 Among the OCC, the Red Brigades (BR) took on a leading role, launching the line of “reconstruction of the Communist Party through armed struggle.”
The OCC arose on the basis of the spontaneous mass movement in the years (1945-1975) of “capitalism with a human face” (also known as post-WW2 welfare state). It was a period marked by the resumption of capitalist accumulation, by the achievements of civilization and welfare wrested by the popular masses to the imperialist bourgeoisie by struggle: the international communist movement was still strong and, despite the ideological corrosion of modern revisionists, terrorized the bourgeoisie in every corner of the imperialist and oppressed countries.
The (n)PCI has an overall positive evaluation of the BR: in the context of the late 1960s and early ’70s they posed the question (then still unresolved and not even discussed) of the form of the socialist revolution in the imperialist countries.
Our Party has studied and evaluated the failure of the activity of the BR, which bordered on militarism and was thus defeated by the bourgeoisie and the clergy with the help of the PCI of Berlinguer, Napolitano, Lama, etc., instead of evolving towards the constitution of the Party and the protracted revolutionary people’s war. In this regard, we refer to the writing Cristoforo Colombo by Pippo Assan exposing this summation in detail.6
The strength of this organization (and to a different extent, the other OCC as well) was its close link with the working class, the proletariat, and the rest of the popular masses. The main limitation of the OCC, including the BR, was militarism, a conception in which military activity is in every context the main and leading component of the struggle for the seizure of power, that should proceed, feed and win through the armed struggle.
This approach of the BR to the revolutionary struggle had more in common with the Blanquist conception of the revolution (armed insurrection through a coup of a handful of individuals who configure themselves as “vanguard”) than to Marxism-Leninism. It was not by chance that the BR ended up in the “theory of the substitution”: the idea that the vanguard had to replace the masses in the seizure of power, since the masses didn’t have a revolutionary consciousness yet, such as to allow their active involvement in the class struggle.
This theory reduced political strategy to a set of military operations aimed at striking at the “heart of the state” to make the economic, political and cultural activity of the bourgeoisie less unfavorable for the proletariat (“strike one to educate hundreds”).
The (n)PCI was built on the summation of experience from the opposition of the Marxist-Leninist groups and the OCC to the revisionism of the first PCI’s leadership.
The general lesson we draw from the activity of the first PCI is similar to the one that the communist parties of all imperialist countries must draw. It coincides with the conception that Engels (in the Introduction of 1895’s reprint to Marx’s articles The Class Struggles in France, 1848 to 1850) already illustrated in the 1890s, drawing lessons from the Paris Commune, whose 150th anniversary we celebrate this year.
The socialist revolution doesn’t take the form of a spontaneous (that is, not led by the communist party) general revolt of the popular masses in which the communists, who are the most advanced part of the popular masses, seize power. It is a war that the communist party promotes by leveraging in each country the spontaneous resistance of workers, the rest of the proletariat, and the popular masses against the measures that the imperialist bourgeoisie takes to face the general crisis of its system resulting from the absolute overproduction of capital (GCxAOC).7
The spontaneous resistance of the popular masses alone does not lead to the seizure of power and the establishment of socialism. The communist party must participate in spontaneous resistance8 by making each outpouring of resistance into a school of communism: strengthening it, raising its level in terms of coordination, objectives and consciousness, until the popular masses become an organized force capable of forming their own government, that the imperialist bourgeoisie must swallow as an event which it is temporarily unable to prevent. By leading the organized popular masses to face the attempts of the national and international imperialist bourgeoisie to take back the situation, the communist party will lead the organized popular masses to establish socialism: the dictatorship of the proletariat, the scientifically-planned management of the economic activity of the whole society, and the mobilization of all the resources of society to promote access of the popular masses to those specifically human activities9 from which the ruling classes have always excluded them to the maximum extent compatible with their particular form of domination.
Demonstration from Italy’s Hot Autumn of 1969. The poster in the foreground reads: “Ho Chi Minh Will Live On In Our Struggle Against Imperialism and For Socialism.”
4. We understand that your class enemies (through the courts and the bourgeois press) have tagged the (n)PCI “the new Red Brigades.” While the readers of kites may take that as a stamp of revolutionary character, such a characterization by one’s enemies is clearly motivated by a drive to paint the (n)PCI as “terrorist” in order to criminalize it and justify its repression. Is this why the (n)PCI is a clandestine organization? What sort of repression has your organization and its supporters had to contend with? What reflections can you share on the merits and the challenges of building a clandestine communist party? And how do the masses come to know your ideas if you’re invisible?
The imperialist bourgeoisie has tried in every way to hinder our work, in particular through repressive waves launched by the Italian and French judiciary against the Caravan of the (n)PCI10 with no less than eight judicial proceedings. All with a recurring charge: subversive association for the purpose of terrorism. All these proceedings have ended with acquittals because “the fact doesn’t exist.”11
A clandestine party doesn’t mean a party detached from the masses or kept secret from them: on the contrary, it means a party that is in a condition to bind itself closely to the popular masses precisely because it is free from the constraints and blackmail that the imperialist bourgeoisie imposes on the activity of a legal communist party; it means a party capable of effectively representing the deepest and most general aspirations and needs of the working class, the proletariat, and the rest of the popular masses. It is a party capable of infiltrating every sphere and institution of the ruling class. Clandestinity is an organizational choice favorable and fit for the ideological and political independence from the enemy whatever the line adopted by the bourgeoisie to stifle the socialist revolution. The clandestinity of the (n)PCI doesn’t have a defensive nature (related to the repressive enemy attacks) but rather an offensive one: it makes us free to follow at any time and in any field the line that best suits the socialist revolution.
The party holds in its hands the initiative in promoting the war against the bourgeoisie, with its own plan, its own times, its own methods, and its own weapons. This choice allows for the construction of a community of professional revolutionaries who, at every level, experiment, refine, and verify in practice what they have elaborated theoretically, and then in turn from practice advance towards new theoretical discoveries and successes.
Clandestinity doesn’t prevent the development of the broadest public action to the extent that conditions ask. The communist parties that the bourgeoisie has outlawed or otherwise forced into hiding have always done public activity. Lenin’s Party, in its activity conducted until the victory of 1917, provides a shining demonstration of this principle. The Communist Party of China did the same on an even larger scale for more than twenty years. Other communist parties have done the same. Actually, the clandestine nature of the party makes possible any kind of legal action, even the less “revolutionary” activities, which become a tool to bind to the field of revolution even the most backward parts of the popular masses and influence them. However, clandestinity cannot be improvised and when a party built only or mainly for legal activity suffers the initiative of the bourgeoisie, is hardly able to react effectively to the action of the bourgeoisie that outlaws and persecutes it.
Moreover, a legal party is not able to effectively resist the persecution, infiltration, corruption, intimidation, terrorist actions of the preventive counter-revolution, the “dirty war” and all the other practices with which the imperialist bourgeoisie has equipped itself to stop the advance of the proletarian revolution.
A legal party is not able to gather and build the revolutionary forces that the movement of society generates gradually and in a dispersed order, and to engage them gradually in the struggle to open the road further to the revolutionary process, thus educating and training them.
The (n)PCI makes public its conception of the world, its summation of experience, its analysis of the course of things, and its general line (tactics and strategy) through several instruments: wall propaganda, leaflets posted outside capitalist and public companies, the website www.nuovopci.it, the review La Voce and its statements, the organization of study groups of its Manifesto Program, the diffusion of its writings through mailing list and with the participation of its members in the activity of public organizations (workers’ and popular organizations, self-managed social centers, regime and alternative trade unions, the Police and Armed Forces, and others).
The more the masses get close to the party the more it is able to gather their feelings and aspirations (whether they are aware of the approach or not).
We carefully hide the identity of our members and the activities of each of our bodies and members and we practice compartmentalization within the Party’s bodies. Whoever professes to be a revolutionary and does not take into account the fact that the bourgeoisie uses every means to restrain and inflict blows on the communist movement is either naive, a chatterer, or a cheater. The members and bodies of the party, thanks to its clandestinity, reach everywhere, among the popular masses and even into the ruling classes (in the institutions of the clergy and the bourgeoisie).12
(n)PCI sticker propaganda, which reads “Build in every company, school, neighborhood, clandestine committees of the (new) Communist Party of Italy. Communism is our future!”
The construction of the (n)PCI as a clandestine party will proceed successfully and faster the more it (that is, the organized whole of its members and bodies) is able to follow a correct line—a dialectical materialist conception and method of analysis and activity—the more it will be able to link itself to the working class and to the rest of the proletariat and popular masses.
5. January 2021 marked yet another great anniversary for communism in Italy: the 130th birthday of the great Italian communist leader, Antonio Gramsci. The liberal appropriations of Gramsci are ubiquitous among bourgeois scholars and petty-bourgeois activists, but your organization is among the few in the world that have recuperated his revolutionary perspectives for proletarian revolution (which some comrades associated with kites have also done in past years). What is the significance of Antonio Gramsci within a long history of communist revolutionary leaders and thinkers? What are Gramsci’s lasting contributions to communist theory and strategy?
In the last century Gramsci was the only one among the communist leaders of the imperialist countries who took up the exhortation made on several occasions by Lenin to study the strategy of the socialist revolution in their respective countries.13 Gramsci, who was imprisoned in November 1926, set out in the Prison Notebooks (written during his imprisonment between 1929, when he got a license to write, and 1935 when he had to stop his activity due to the worsening of the illness that fascist authorities prevented him from treating) precious reflections on the conditions, forms and results of the class struggle in Italy and more generally in the imperialist countries. In particular, Gramsci
showed that, given the nature of socialist revolution, the strategy of the communist party had to be the protracted revolutionary people’s war, which to escape Fascist censorship (which systematically controlled his writings) he called war of position;14
illustrated the nature of the communist party in the imperialist countries (which for the same reasons he calls the modern prince) and the role it must fulfill.
While Gramsci systematically supported the work directed by Stalin that, between 1929 and 1941, led to a rapid development of the productive forces of the Soviet Union and prevented the welding together of several imperialist groups and states against the Soviet Union, he did not understand the economic basis of the general crisis that shook the bourgeois society of his time.
Antonio Gramsci’s writings are valuable for those who want to learn from the experience of the first world wave of the proletarian revolution to make the socialist revolution in the imperialist countries: but in fact, to understand what Gramsci wants to say in each one of the paragraphs, the reader has to take into account historical and personal conditions in which he wrote them.
6. In 2010, the (n)PCI published across multiple languages the document “Four main issues to be debated in the International Communist Movement.” Here in North America, Revolutionary Initiative studied and publicly circulated this publication, and its lasting influence can be detected from the references to it or related (n)PCI concepts throughout the pages of kites. We’re not sure if we’re the first international comrades to take up these issues with you, but as far as we know it, this will be the first major presentation of these issues to a North American audience. Let’s turn to discussing these four issues now.
The first issue you raise concerns how we evaluate the first wave of world proletarian revolution from 1917 to 1976. What clarity or lines of demarcation are you trying to bring forward with your views on the first wave of world proletarian revolution?
The first world wave of the proletarian revolution was exhausted mainly for two reasons:
1. The failure to establish socialism in the imperialist countries. This is due to the fact that individual parties didn’t reach a correct understanding (1) of the role they had to play and (2) of the conditions, forms and results of class struggle in their own countries, specifically regarding the nature and origin of the capitalist crisis (no longer just cyclical crises, but general crisis due to absolute overproduction of capital), the strategy of socialist revolution (protracted revolutionary people’s war – PRPW), the political regime of the imperialist countries (regime of preventive counter-revolution – RPC) and other particular issues of single countries.
2. The abandonment by the first socialist countries of their role as the world red base of the proletarian revolution. The reasons, times and forms of this abandonment differed from country to country starting from the Soviet Union with the 20th Congress of the CPSU led by Khrushchev and in different ways concerned ideological and political leadership and organizational and logistic support. The socialist countries declined until most of them collapsed or changed color (especially the USSR and people’s democracies of Eastern Europe). It must be taken into account that the main countries (Russia, China and Vietnam) where socialism was established were economically and culturally backward. Therefore, in the development of the productive forces as well as in the resistance to the aggression of the International Community of the imperialist countries, a new bourgeoisie was able to assert itself. The struggle against capitalist restoration was something new for the communist movement.
Stalin, in the leadership of the CPSU that he held for about thirty years (1923-1953), kept a mainly correct line, but in the last years he realized that new contradictions arose in the Soviet Union, and his sudden death on March 5, 1953 cut short his work on the matter.15
We have not made, nor do we intend to make, a detailed analysis of the history of the individual socialist countries, which only communists in the respective countries are able to do.
Two things are needed and interesting for us:
1. To make it clear that it is not the power of the imperialist bourgeoisie and its clergy (the Catholic Church has been a systematic ally of the bourgeoisie against the communist movement since the Paris Commune, 1871), but the incorrect understanding by the communist parties of the conditions, forms and results of the class struggle that is at the origin of the exhaustion of the first world wave of the proletarian revolution. Therefore, let’s banish pessimism and defeatism.
2. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution of the Chinese People, the struggle led by the CPC and Mao Zedong against the exhaustion of the first wave (even though this struggle was crushed after his death), highlighted the contributions of Maoism to the revolutionary science that communists of the imperialist countries were not able to assimilate despite the struggle led by the CPC internationally after 1962 until 1976.
The summation of the experience of the first wave of the proletarian revolution led us to argue that today the conscious and organized communist movement only can be reborn internationally on the basis of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the third superior stage of the revolutionary science.16
In summary, we understand six main contributions of Mao Zedong to the communist movement:
1. The protracted revolutionary people’s war is the universal strategy of the proletarian revolution to be applied in the particular conditions of each country;
2. The new democratic revolution is the particular strategy of the colonial and semicolonial countries which are oppressed in the imperialist world system;
3. Class struggle goes on in a socialist society between the workers, proletariat, and popular masses led by the communist party and the new bourgeoisie that is formed in the socialist countries themselves;
4. The mass line is the main method of work and leadership of the communist party;
5. The two-line struggle in the communist party is a principle for the development of the party and its defense against the influence of the bourgeoisie; and
6. The Intellectual and Moral Reform of communist party members is indispensable for the party to fulfill its leading role.
7. The second issue raised in “Four main issues…” concerns how to understand what you call “the first and second general crises of capitalism.” What is the (n)PCI’s understanding of capitalist crisis? What are contending ideas about capitalist crisis, coming from the Left or the Right, that your views rebuke?
Since the mid-1970s, capitalism has been immersed in its second general crisis due to absolute overproduction of capital (GCxAOC): it affects every aspect and sphere of associated life (economic, political, social, moral, ecological). The GCxAOC derives from the fact that the accumulated capital grows so much that if capitalists invested all of it in companies that produce commodities (goods and services), they would get a mass of profit (surplus value) equal to or less than that would get by employing only a part of that capital.
The GCxAOC causes a series of devastating consequences for the popular masses and the survival of the human species on Earth, including: overpopulation, overproduction of goods and/or under consumption, production of useless and harmful goods, reduction of wages, a brake on the development of the productive forces and a reduced application of technological innovations, the elimination of the achievements of civilization and welfare wrested from the working class and the rest of the popular masses (preventive health care system, universal public education, public pension system and others), commercial and financial wars that open up new fields of growth (you can see the increase of economic and political subjugation of oppressed, colonial and semi-colonial countries and former socialist countries to imperialist countries), increasing public debt, environmental destruction, etc.
The understanding of the economic and general movement of the imperialist society in the present stage, the definition of the revolutionary political line that the communist party must follow, and the revolutionary political struggle to which it must lead the popular masses are essential features to advance in the construction of the socialist revolution.
The general crisis, in addition to the new revolutionary situation in development, also produces spontaneous resistance that the popular masses, in dispersed order, oppose to the most serious and immediate effects of the survival of capitalism and its extension in the world (globalization).
To lead this resistance and develop it into the revolutionary force which puts an end to the leadership of the imperialist bourgeoisie: this is the task of the conscious and organized communist movement and of the communist parties which are its most advanced part.
In our opinion, the main and most widespread misconceptions about the present crisis, coming mainly from the bourgeois left (in Italy, the degeneration of the modern revisionists within the first PCI) and from the left wing of the imperialist bourgeoisie itself, are three:
1. That the present economic system is something completely different from the capitalist mode of production studied by Marx. We have shown that Marx’s own analysis of the capitalist mode of production (in particular, see Capital, vol. 3, chapters 13-15) pointed out that capitalists would inevitably come to a state of the absolute overproduction of capital.17
The supporters of the first thesis (that is, the present economic system is something completely different from the capitalist mode of production studied by Marx) are wrong such as who claim to interpret the present course of things with the Marxist categories of the past (i.e. exchange with the same value, that is socially necessary work time to produce a good; surplus value intended as the difference between work time of the worker and his wage in value, etc.).
2. That the current crisis is a financial crisis: it is finance and its disorders that disrupt the real economy, that is, the production and circulation of commodities (goods and services). This prevarication of finance over the economy would be caused by the freedom that states have granted to banks, hedge funds and monopolies through the elimination or relaxation of rules. This reformist conception promotes the “more state, less market” notion, where the first element of the pair, by intervening in the regulation of the second through controls, greater taxation and other similar measures, would be able to contain the damage caused by the second.
3. That the current crisis follows a succession of cyclical crises: according to the proponents of this concept, economic crises follow one another and are linked to the overproduction of commodities (capitalists produce more commodities than they can sell). Sooner or later, the recessionary cycle ends because the upheaval of the system of production, by reducing productive capacity, creates the necessary conditions for recovery. The proponents of this concept quote in their favor the situation that was created after Second World War in the midst of reconstruction (that is, they see the Marshall Plan as a large-scale application of Keynesian measures), drawing a veil over the real course of things in which the first world wave of the proletarian revolution has played an essential and decisive role.
8. The third of the “Four Issues” you bring to our attention concerns the transformations that the state has undergone in the imperialist countries in reaction to the first wave of world proletarian revolution. You argue that the imperialist state in all places has transformed into what you call the regime of preventive counter-revolution. The Editorial Committee of kites and other comrades writing for our journal have drawn on this concept a number of times as we work to understand the essential features of the repressive apparatus and the overall imperialist state in the US and Canada. This conceptualization of the state—an adaption of Lenin’s conception of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie to the changing conditions of bourgeois society—seems to us an especially unique contribution of your organization to contemporary communist theory. But we have also discovered that this concept has a longer history in Italy: in 1922 the Italian anarchist Luigi Fabbri published Preventive Counter-Revolution, an account of the rise of fascism in Italy. Can you elaborate for us on this concept of the regime of preventive counter-revolution? What is the history of this concept in Italy? And what leads you to conclude that this is the universal form of the state in the imperialist countries today?
First of all, in our opinion the regime of preventive counter-revolution (RPC) was not born in reaction to the first world wave of proletarian revolution (1917-1976) marked in the world by the victory of the October Revolution. It arose with the imperialist stage of capitalism, after the Paris Commune. In the meaning that the (n)PCI gives to the RPC, this is an articulation of the bourgeois state in the imperialist stage (the epoch of the decadence of capitalism and of proletarian revolution).18 In order to rule, the imperialist bourgeoisie needs a certain degree of consent or at least acquiescence of the popular masses who are now forced to live in a highly social condition. It is an obstacle placed by the imperialist bourgeoisie in the way of the growth of the consciousness and organization of the popular masses, proletarians, and workers through the combination of operations and institutions of five types:
The diversion, intoxication, confusion of the minds and hearts of the popular masses;
The satisfaction of the demands for improvement that the popular masses strongly pose;
The development of channels of participation for the popular masses (in a subordinate position) in the political struggles of the bourgeoisie, following the bourgeoisie’s parties and representatives;
The maintenance of the masses in a state of political backwardness by organizing them in trade unions, associations and movements led by those trusted by the bourgeoisie;
The selective repression of communists and all those who rebel against the disastrous course of things.
As far as we know, the US is the first country where the bourgeoisie developed the RPC.
The experience of the first world wave of the proletarian revolution has shown that such a system is all the more effective the less the communist parties are aware of it. In the imperialist countries where it was not already sufficiently developed, the bourgeoisie resorted to the reactionary mobilization of the popular masses and to terrorist regimes (Fascism, Nazism, Francoism, Salazarism). It was generalized to all imperialist countries after the Second World War through the period 1945-1975. The RPC is seriously affected by the elimination of past achievements of the masses and by the other measures the imperialist bourgeoisie resorts to in order to face the new general crisis due to absolute overproduction of capital.
The anarchist Fabbri, in his book Preventive Counter-revolution of 1922, uses the same expression we use, but he refers to Fascism which, to avoid misunderstandings, is not an extension of RPC in the sense that we understand it, but rather a terrorist dictatorship of the imperialist bourgeoisie that makes up for the lack of an effective RPC.
In Italy, after the exhaustion of the first world wave of the proletarian revolution, the system of preventive counter-revolution (in which the revisionist PCI and the regime’s trade unions were essential components) began to work less and less effectively. The birth of grass-root combative trade unions as an alternative to the regime’s trade unions, the decline of the activism of the popular masses in the regime’s parties (which more and more collaborate one with each other by alternating in government, we call them “partiti delle Larghe Intese”–the parties of Broad Alliances), their more and more open collaboration to save the ritual of periodic elections without changing government policies, the growing abstention of the popular masses from the elections (and the vote for organizations like Five Star Movement, Matteo Salvini’s Lega, Giorgia Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia that for various and specific reasons manage to make people believe they are anti-system) are manifestations of the RPC’s weakening.
Since it cannot absolutely prevent it, the bourgeoisie must divert, crush and drive back the organization and consciousness of the workers, proletarians, and popular masses. It must periodically break its “democratic” legality with operations of “strategy of tension.”
In the Italian case, the participation of the broad masses in the electoral rounds, whose outcome is systematically trampled by the decisions of the leadership of the Papal Republic (that is, by Vatican, NATO, European Union or criminal organizations), is very meaningful.
They make bourgeois elections a ritual without results to which millions of proletarians, young people, pensioners, and unemployed oppose through abstention or by voting for parties that in various ways temporarily manage to make the masses believe they are “anti-system.” The imperialist bourgeoisie must avoid the creation of a civil war situation. When the bourgeoisie puts weapons against the workers, sooner or later the workers will arm themselves as well. With preventive counter-revolution, the bourgeoisie tries to avoid going to civil war, which would also endanger its business and power. An effective regime of preventive counter-revolution prevents the oppression of the bourgeoisie over the proletariat and the rest of the popular masses and their opposition from leading to a war.
9. Finally, the fourth and final issue, which is a most lively topic for people calling themselves Maoists: the question of the universality of protracted people’s war (PPW). The (n)PCI upholds a strategy of “protracted revolutionary people’s war.” What’s the meaning behind this slight variation in terminology? And what distinguishes your conception from what Kenny Lake has called the “church of PPW universalism,” which you’ve also given criticism to? What do you make of these PPW universalists?
In our publications, the adjective “revolutionary” indicates that the war of the popular masses against the imperialist bourgeoisie promoted by the communists is the form of the socialist revolution, a process aimed at the overthrow of the bourgeois regime and the establishment of socialism, whose first pillar is the dictatorship of the proletariat.
It is right to speak of the PRPW as a universal strategy of socialist revolution, but beware: it is one thing to derive universal laws, applicable in every context in which a communist party works,19 though it is quite another thing to dogmatically apply the particular laws of the PRPW of the oppressed countries (Nepal, Philippines, Peru, Turkey, India) to the imperialist countries, as some comrades in Italy, France and other countries propose. In doing so, they make a dialectical mistake. Following this conception actually leads those forces to get bogged down in wait-and-see (waiting for things to happen sooner or later without the intervention of communists, by chance or by the will of a god) and defeatism (since the encirclement of the cities by the countryside in our contexts is not possible, then we resign ourselves to the outbreak of some popular insurrection which the communist party would take advantage of to lead it).
This is contrary to dialectical materialism, to the understanding and transformation of the objective conditions of the concrete and particular context in which we act.
Organizations adhering to such a conception, wanting to remain faithful to revolutionary principles, do nothing but reproduce an approach to the PRPW similar to the one carried out by believers, acting with faith in God. They see the armed struggle, which Maoist dogmatists identify with the people’s war, not as one of its stages: if it cannot be practiced immediately, then it means that the people’s war is not being carried out.
So, what are the universal laws of the protracted revolutionary people’s war that the experience of the first world wave of the proletarian revolution brings out? In our opinion, the main ones are as follows:
1. In each country the PRPW goes through three stages: strategic defensive (accumulation of revolutionary forces), strategic equilibrium (two armed forces fighting for ground), and strategic offensive (the annihilation of bourgeois forces).
2. The PRPW progresses thanks to the revolutionary situation in development: in the case of Italy it will be the overthrow of the undeclared war of extermination against the popular masses that the imperialist bourgeoisie carries out in order to confront the second general crisis of capitalism.
3. The PRPW develops according to a combination of universal and particular laws.
4. International and national factors affect the development of the PRPW in each individual country.
5. The PRPW develops from one stage to the next, but after defeats it can also go back to the previous stage (as the experience of the people’s war promoted by the Communist Party of Peru led by Chairman Gonzalo teaches us).
6. The establishment of socialism doesn’t happen in one fell swoop, but it’s the result and victorious conclusion of a civil war.20
In order to conduct the PRPW victoriously, a Party must study Maoism and the experience of their own countries to derive the universal laws of the PRPW, applying them to each country through the investigation of the concrete economic, political and cultural conditions, the practice, the summation of experience and the elaboration of specific laws. As for Italy, the PRPW follows the path of the accumulation of revolutionary forces through the constitution and resistance of the clandestine party and its direction of the popular masses to aggregate in mass organizations of all kinds necessary to satisfy their material and spiritual needs, to take part in bourgeois political struggle, disrupting its course because they force the bourgeois authorities to do what they don’t want to do and to carry out struggles for demands, up to the constitution of a system of power alternative to that of the bourgeoisie with their emergency government21 that the leaders of the Papal Republic will swallow because they can’t do otherwise. In fact, it will be the beginning of a civil war that will end with the establishment of socialism. This is, in our country, the correspondent to the “encirclement of cities by the countryside” in colonial and semi-colonial countries. It is impossible in the imperialist countries to encircle the cities by the countryside, but it is quite possible to define the specific quantitative development which constitutes the first stage of the PRPW and through which we go towards its second stage. With the civil war generated by quantitative development, that is by the accumulation of forces, the second stage of the PRPW will begin. The beginning of the civil war will be marked by the establishment of the People’s Armed Forces, which from that moment on will contest the ground to the reactionary armed forces.
10. The “Four Issues” document is one of the only serious attempts at summation and ideological guidance to come out the ICM in the decade following the collapse of the RIM. To what do you attribute the present level of ideological consolidation and theoretical sophistication of the (n)PCI? What does it take to create a compact organization of revolutionaries who have the necessary theoretical clarity and political unity to bring about successful revolutionary advances?
We think that the ideological consolidation of the (n)PCI since its founding in 2004 is due to its advancement in:
1. the field of revolutionary theory, the study of the communist conception of the world, the teachings and contributions that we have drawn from the summation of past experience; and
2. the field of verification in the practice of the class struggle of our line.
The (n)PCI has placed itself at the head of the PRPW in Italy – aspiring to be the real Staff of the working class – and with this it wants to contribute to the rebirth of the communist movement not only in our country but in the rest of the world. The level we are at today, certainly still primitive, is the result of the scientific analysis of the course of things, starting from the formulation of the theory of the first and second general crisis due to absolute overproduction of capital and of the regime of preventive counter-revolution, two issues on which the old communist movement was not able to give exhaustive answers and, in this way, progress in the struggle for socialism.
The most complete product of our ideological work so far is our Manifesto Program, the basis of the Party’s ideological unity. It has been further enriched by articles on specific issues that have appeared in the review La Voce (www.nuovopci.it) and which we have referenced through this interview.
Ideological unity is the fundamental aspect to build a party up to its tasks; it must be added professionalism (each member devotes himself exclusively, full-time and with the greatest strength of which he is capable to carry out the tasks assigned to him by the Party: being a communist is not only adherence to a worldview and an ideal, it is a way of life), the will and the effective realization of the intellectual and moral transformation to become new men and women through paths of Intellectual and Moral Reform and criticism-self-criticism-transformation, to be the builders of a society that for the first time in human history is first thought and then realized: socialism and communism.
Finally, we believe that the determination and confidence in the victory of the organized popular masses (workers’ and popular organizations – our soviets – coordinated in an ever-widening network that become new public authorities ousting the bourgeois ones) are two other decisive factors in the conduct of our enterprise.
11. With the Covid-19 pandemic, the capitalist-imperialist system seems to have entered an entirely new stage of economic and political crisis, with record levels of unemployment, economic depression, new rounds of bailouts to monopoly and finance capital, and escalating inter-imperialist rivalry. How do you understand the convergence of crises playing out in the world at this time? How is this moment of history unfolding in Italy? And what is the position and orientation of the Italian state to the US-China inter-imperialist rivalry that is polarizing the world? Is the Italian state’s position distinct from other EU powers?
We don’t share the thesis that the imperialist system entered a totally new stage of its general crisis.
The Covid-19 pandemic blew up (accelerating and worsening) the general crisis in all countries, including Italy.
The ground becomes more favorable for the activity of communists, the more we assimilate Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and we become able to analyze the course of things and to intervene in events using dialectical materialism. In Italy we do the best we can to create the conditions for the establishment of an emergency government, mobilizing the popular masses and enhancing the work of all the subjective forces of the socialist revolution.
The Papal Republic is subject to US and Zionist imperialist groups through NATO; it is involved in the attempt of European imperialist groups to open a space in the world; it is enslaved to the attempt of the Vatican, taken directly into the hands of the Jesuits, to take advantage of the influence that it has in the world; it is a target of the expansionist aims of the People’s Republic of China where the clash between the way to socialism and the way to become an imperialist power as far as we understand it is still open.22
The contradiction between these groups makes the Papal Republic more exposed to our activity aimed at bringing forward the popular masses to create a new system of power and make the leaders of the Papal Republic swallow the emergency government that will result. The experience of the two Five Star Movement governments has been a great lesson for us.23
12. What is the standing and legitimacy of bourgeois democracy in the hearts and minds of the masses in Italy today? How does the crisis of bourgeois democracy relate to the proliferation of fascist sentiment and thinking? In what direction have people’s sentiments and thoughts shifted through the Covid-19 pandemic? Has communism gained any considerable ground through the movements propagating your party program?
In Italy, and to a different extent in the rest of the world, the first world wave of the proletarian revolution forced the ruling classes to introduce universal male and female suffrage into bourgeois democracy, and this has become a stumbling block for the imperialist bourgeoisie. It cannot even keep its promises of wage increases, investment in the public sector of the economy, and in so many other fields of associated life.
The handling of the Covid-19 pandemic is exemplary and a great lesson. Imperialist groups and adventurers make use of bourgeois democracy to develop their interests: cases like Berlusconi in Italy and Trump in the US are exemplary.
The contempt for the rituals of bourgeois democracy—for the periodic elections of assemblies without powers and systematic manipulation of mass of population’s ideas and feelings within the regime of preventive counter-revolution—has grown exponentially over the last decade and has been exacerbated since 2018, when with the March 4 elections the Papal Republic leadership swallowed the M5S-Lega government, a government that wanted to hold together the interests of the capitalists and those of the popular masses and that fell after a year. In any case, bourgeois democracy offers footholds to establish socialism, the proletarian democracy that humanity needs. The communist party must take advantage of it without reserve, maneuvering wherever it can.
That said, the political crisis of the system of the imperialist bourgeoisie does not in itself give rise to the clash between revolutionary mass mobilization and reactionary mobilization. It is true that where there are no communists, there are reactionaries and among them the 20th century Fascism’s apes (in Italy: Casapound, Forza Nuova and other minor formations). These reactionaries take advantage of the conditions of the general degradation of the lives of workers, unemployed people, students, and pensioners to gain consensus on issues such as national sovereignty, the “welfare state,” the security of the territories, and so on. But without the development of the revolutionary mobilization of the popular masses even reactionary mobilization is held back. Its real main reason for development, raison d’être and material basis, is to stifle revolutionary mobilization. The would-be promoters of reactionary mobilization cannot keep the promises with which they attract some followers among the popular masses; so it is only as revolutionary mobilization develops that the most reactionary groups of the imperialist bourgeoisie will invest in reactionary mobilization and, then, this will have a chance to develop if we give it ground.
The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that at every level the popular masses, one step at a time, are taking the initiative against the authorities to secure their neighborhoods, to promote popular solidarity in their defense, and to organize in capitalist and public companies. In this way, less and less space is being left to fascists and provocateurs who take advantage of the war between the poor fueled by the bourgeoisie.
The popular masses have experienced first-hand over the past year that the bourgeoisie’s management of society is bankrupt and catastrophic: companies that produce non-essential goods were kept open, elders left home to die, basic health care was dismantled, hospitals closed instead of built, personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, gel, etc.) was lacking, the vaccination is managed by imperialist groups masters of scientific research and drug production, and I could go on.
The masses are self-organizing through grass-root organizations in neighborhoods, schools, companies, and hospitals to confront the most devastating effects of the health crisis, as an alternative to the measures of the bourgeois authorities and institutions. Communists must unite closely with masses and lead their multifaceted resistance (discontent, intolerance, indignation), channeling it towards the creation of the new system of power and their emergency government.
Communists gain influence and hegemony (political leadership) among the popular masses the more they assimilate and apply their science in the particular and concrete contexts in which they work, learning from the masses and returning to them with a higher level of practice and theory. With the limits of the case, in the last year many people approached the Caravan of the (n)PCI to organize, collaborate or even just looking for answers that the bourgeoisie and its clergy objectively can’t give.
It is a clear symptom that the masses are not stupid or inactive as many qualify them with disparaging intent: they are subject to a system of social, economic, political and cultural relations that has no future, with all the devastating consequences coming from this (exclusion from the cultural heritage of the nation is one of them).
13. Many would-be revolutionaries in the imperialist countries are convinced that the military and ideological strength of the bourgeoisie makes proletarian revolution in the imperialist countries, and especially the ‘imperialist core’, an impossibility, and all that we can do is wait for and cheer on revolutions in the oppressed countries. In contrast to that generalized pessimism, the (n)PCI seems to firmly believe that proletarian revolution is possible in the imperialist countries. What gives you confidence in the future of the proletarian revolution in Italy? Is this confidence specific to Italy, or is it generalizable to the situation in other imperialist countries as well?
It’s no coincidence that all those who cheer for revolutions thousands of miles away (usually, in oppressed countries) are the same ones who whine that nothing can be done in their own countries because “there aren’t immediately revolutionary prospects,” because “the subjective conditions don’t exist,” because “capital is reorganizing and we don’t have the necessary strength to counter it,” etc. We rightly call this the “wait-and-see” trend.
At the current stage, the progress in the construction of the socialist revolution in the imperialist countries decides whether the future of the people on the planet changes course.
Whoever is equipped with dialectical materialism realizes that capitalist society generates within itself the objective presuppositions for its transformation into a communist society. Communism is that practical movement of humanity’s development already underway today, under the cloak of capitalist social relations of production which, only thanks to the leadership of the process by the working class aggregated around and in its communist party, can overcome the capitalist system, adapting the relations of production to the social character of the productive forces.
However, this process won’t take place through an “inevitable collapse” of capitalism based on the weight of its own internal contradictions: it would be mechanistic and deterministic to conceive in this way the overthrow of the bourgeois order and its replacement first with socialism (the transitional stage from capitalism to communism) and then with communism.
To overthrow the bourgeois order and replace it, it’s decisive that the revolutionary mobilization of the popular masses—starting with the working class, which gives a fundamental push to the transformation of the bourgeois order, its structure (economic basis), and its superstructure (law, culture, religion, ideas, feelings, etc.)—gains hegemony among the popular masses through the leadership of its communist party.
Only this can lead the working class—an objectively revolutionary class within the capitalist mode of production due to the conditions of capital enhancement—on the basis of the science of activities with which men and women make their history, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. This advance will be all the more fast and less painful the more rapidly the conscious and organized communist movement will assert its strength: it will expand and threatens the ruling classes within the PRPW, which in Italy the (n)PCI has assumed responsibility to promote and direct.
The confidence in the socialist future of Italy and the rest of the planet – starting from the imperialist countries – comes to us from:
1. The analysis of the objective conditions favorable to the socialist revolution up to the establishment of socialism, first of all in our country and
2. The fact that an increasing number of men and women are looking for a way out of the present chaos, widespread misery, intellectual and moral brutalization, environmental destruction and so on.
The tendency to organize, despite the pessimism sown by the representatives of the imperialist bourgeoisie and the bourgeois left, is a real fact in Italy, in the US, and the rest of the imperialist countries. It is up to us to take advantage of the excellent situation we are in today to progress in the mobilization and organization of millions of individuals who will build their future without exploitation.
The first socialist countries, formed during the first world wave of the proletarian revolution, were a brilliant example of this tendency, although they were largely established in countries where capitalism was not yet the locally-dominant mode of production (Russia and China above all, to which it must added Vietnam, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Cuba, Laos).
Ultimately, only the victory of our work, establishing socialism in the imperialist countries, will be the irrefutable practical verification of the truth of our science.
14. Since the collapse of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement in the early-to-mid 2000s, communist revolutionaries across the world have coordinated and related in only fleeting ways and mostly to no meaningful ends. The most salient expressions of proletarian internationalism today are probably those concrete efforts that have been made to aid and learn from the people’s wars in India, the Philippines, or Turkey. What do you make of the present level of coordination among communist revolutionaries across the world? Is it time to build the next Communist International? Can we afford to divert any of our cadre from local work and national struggles toward international discussion and coordination when the communist movements in our countries still have so far to go?
Nowadays, there are various groupings of communist parties and organizations, each with its own history and activity. We are convinced that the prospects of the international organization of the communist movement are closely linked to the progress of the communist movement in single countries. This will certainly come about as we overcome in our ranks dogmatism, economism, parliamentarism, legalism and militarism, which in single countries hinder the communist movement in playing its role in the storm of the acute and terminal stage of the second general crisis.
The struggle to overcome these defects is also a struggle for the reorganization of the communist movement internationally. Efforts to reorganize the international communist movement through mainly organizational measures and initiatives are sterile. The honest and open debate we want to carry out – based on the dialectical relationship between unity and struggle – is a component of the struggle to reorganize the international communist movement and found the Second Communist International.
We are convinced that answering to the Four Main Issues to be debated in the International Communist Movement would lead the communist parties of the imperialist and oppressed countries to make a step forward and, thus, also advance in their unity.
Today, we the Caravan of the (n)PCI do not have the necessary forces to deal with international relations investing full-time means and comrades in this activity. As our forces allow, we can on a case-by-case basis assign to some of our comrades tasks related to discussions with other organizations at the international level (without meddling in the internal affairs of individual communist parties, imposing our line on them, etc.). Each communist party has a national character related to the purposes it sets for itself under particular conditions (establishing socialism at home) and at the same time an international one to the extent that (1) the conscious and organized communist movement exists in every corner of the planet and (2) the upheavals in class struggle taking place in single countries affect the socialist revolution on a global level. The contributions that Lenin and Stalin made to the first world wave of proletarian revolution since the October Revolution clearly demonstrate this.
Reality has shown that the socialist revolution and the establishment of socialism are in each country the result of the class struggle carried out by exploiting in a concrete way aspects and resources of the particular reality of each country.
As Italian communists, the best contribution we can make to the rebirth of the conscious and organized communist movement in the US and Canada is to advance the socialist revolution in Italy, break with NATO, and kick out the US bases and troops that occupy our country and use it as a base for aggression and pressure on the “rogue states”.
It is a task that also fully coincides with the interests of the Italian popular masses and linked to the PRPW which we must advance towards the constitution of the emergency government and the establishment of socialism. This is in our opinion the essence of proletarian internationalism.
15. As far as generalizations can be instructive comrade, are there any other lessons you can share with proletarian revolutionaries in the imperialist countries on any other matters pertaining to party-building and preparing the proletarian revolution? Are there any major errors, pitfalls, or deviations in your own party-building experience that you’ve experienced, assessed, or rectified that you are able to share with comrades who may be at risk of making similar mistakes?
In order to overcome their respective enemies, the various “national departments” of the vanguard of the working class, the proletariat, and the popular masses must learn from each other, collaborate with each other and support each other. This is what we have seen happen in the course of the 150 years of the communist movement, in more or less developed forms according to the various stages: in an organized form in the League of Communists (1847-1852), in the First International (1864-1876), in the Second International (1889-1914), in the Communist International (1919-1943), and informally in the other periods.
The communists of each country learn from and teach to those of other countries, and the development of their struggles depends on the course of the world economy, the system of international relations, etc. The ruling class of one country cooperates with that of others or clashes with them. These are all so many aspects of the international character of the communist movement in each country.
The international character of communist movement is objective: it exists independently of the level of its understanding by each individual national communist movement and independently from the conscious activity that each individual national communist party exercises in this field directly and through its mass organizations. The communist party must have consciousness of this international link, develop it and enforce it.
16. This is our final question comrade. You wouldn’t be fighting and you wouldn’t be leading if you didn’t have a deep faith that your efforts could shape the next historical wave of world proletarian revolution. As a professional revolutionary, what sustains your morale when our tasks are so great and the fruits of effort seem so distant?
What drives me to devote myself, body and soul, to the construction of the socialist revolution in my country is the need to give a future to the young generations devastated by the nefarious work of the bourgeoisie and its clergy, but also the granite conviction that only socialism – a superior system of social relations based on (1) power in the hands of organized workers, (2) a scientifically-planned public management of economic activity under the control of workers’ and popular organizations, and (3) the increasing participation of the popular masses in specifically human activities (science, art, sports, other creative and recreational activities) aimed at creating new feelings, ideas, relations – can ensure potentially unlimited progress in accordance with the aspirations of the human species.
In his text More on differences between comrade Togliatti and us, Mao Zedong said:
When there is a need for transformation, it becomes irresistible and whether we want it or not, sooner or later it will take place. Marx said: ‘It is not the conscience of men that determines their existence, but, on the contrary, it is their social existence that determines the conscience.’ The need for social transformation awakens man’s revolutionary consciousness. Before the historical conditions generate the need for transformations, no one can necessarily set the task of revolution or necessarily make the revolution. However, when the historical conditions have generated the necessity of transformations, then those revolutionaries and vanguard fighters of the people can appear, who dare to denounce the reactionary dominant classes and consider them as paper tigers. In every activity, these revolutionaries always elevate the fighting spirit of the people and repress the arrogance of the enemy.24
With the determination indicated by Mao, we communists will carry our work to its fulfillment. Let us advance with science and conscience, with foresight, tenacity and creativity. We will win!
I greet the readers of kites and I wish you fruitful results in your work for the rebirth of the conscious and organized communist movement in North America: your work is very helpful to the popular masses all over the world.
In other words, Togliatti’s line laid on (a) the economic recovery following the reconstruction after the destruction of the two world wars and (b) the struggle of the imperialist states against the communist movement and the proletarian revolution (socialist and new democratic) that it was waging in the world, starting from the Soviet Union and the colonies and semi-colonies, in particular China, Korea, and Vietnam.
Gramsci basically continued to apply this lesson delving into this fundamental topic during his years in prison while writing the Prison Notebooks.
Gramsci basically continued to apply this lesson delving into this fundamental topic during his years in prison while writing the Prison Notebooks.
The violence of the police and the uncontrollable amplitude of the workers’ mobilization had shaken government and bourgeoisie and forced the trade unions and the PCI to try to ride the worker dissent by proposing, among other things, police disarmament in public order service and the devolution of the task of ensuring public order to the mayors. This had created strong restlessness in the power system of the leaders of the Papal Republic and in its security apparatuses, who went on to execute the operations that will come be known as the “strategy of tension.”
The bourgeoisie had refined its system of preventive counter-revolution to deal with the widespread mobilization of the workers who “want to take everything.” The massacre of December 12, 1969 in Milan (Piazza Fontana), preceded by actions such as the unexploded bomb found on August 30, 1968 at the sixth floor of the Rinascente warehouses in Milan, became the symbol of the “strategy of tension” that will follow through the ‘70s. See also “Autunno caldo e il ruolo dei comunisti,” in La Voce 63: http://www.nuovopci.it/voce/voce63/autcaldo.html
The (n)PCI labels the Caravan as the aggregate of individuals, groups and organizations, among them the CARC Party, which to some extent are inspired by the conception that the (n)PCI puts forward and embodies and that to some extent collaborate with it.
For more on this issue, see the Intervista a Giuseppe Maj (Interview with Giuseppe Maj) republished by the CARC Party in 2020 and An important victory for the communist movement: comrades Giuseppe Maj and Giuseppe Czeppel are free!
For more details on this first fundamental principle of the clandestine existence of the (n)PCI, we refer to the article Which Party do we need in La Voce 1 (1999), http://www.nuovopci.it/eile/en/indewpar.html
For example in the report to the 4th Congress of the Communist International (November 13, 1922 – Five Years of Russian Revolution and the Prospects of World Revolution).
See Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR, 1952.
See Manifesto Program chapter 1.3.3
See Manifesto Program chapter 3.3.
For more on the GBP, http://www.nuovopci.it/dfa/avvnav07.html
The (n)PCI thinks that still today in 2021 in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) the struggle between the path to socialism and the path to become an imperialist country is in progress; this is illustrated in Manifesto Program, chapter 1.7.3 where we state that the first socialist countries have gone through three different phases: 1) progress towards socialism (in the USSR from 1917 to 1956; in the PRC from 1949 to 1976); 2) attempt to restore capitalism gradually (in USSR from 1956 to 1991; in PRC from 1976 ongoing); 3) attempt to restore capitalism at all costs (in USSR from 1991 ongoing). In each of these phases, class struggle has never ended, so the process is not linear and the outcome is never given. For these reasons, in several articles from La Voce, for example in La Voce 67, we refuted both theses from those who consider the PRC a socialist country and who consider it an imperialist one.
See http://www.nuovopci.it/voce/voce67/bilgovM5S.html. For some English-language analysis of the Five Star Government, see the interview with the CARC in kites #4.