We are communists.
Militants of a communist organisation which, although mainly consisting of Italians, is not limited to the borders of the "motherland" but projected towards working and organising its activities internationally because, like it or not, communism is nothing if not internationalist and international.
As such, we are today participating in the mobilisation against G8 and everything related to it. As such, we have joined all of the mobilisations that have taken place ever since Seattle – not only in Prague and Davos, but all of the demonstrations connected with "anti-globalismo", beginning with the World March of Women, from Brussels to New York.
Why are we here? And why do we appeal to you all as communists even though we know that most of you do not recognise yourself in the word and, as we have had occasion to discover in the field, some of you are actually hostile towards it? Is it only to make our own "propaganda" in some way outside the movement?
It is obvious that, as communists, we make propaganda on behalf of communism. But we claim our right to be here, with our organisation and our distinct "ideas", as part of this movement and not as people extraneous to it. It concerns us directly as communists just as communism directly concerns the movement, regardless of every personal or group idea or intention, because it is this movement that has reproposed the fight against capitalism – which has been and remains the historical antagonist of communism.
The multiform and highly variegated "anti-globalisation" protest does not come from any "idea" in particular; on the contrary, it incorporates many and very disparate "ideas". It comes from the realisation of a material fact: there is a certain order of things that regulatesthe social life of the the world and which is increasingly tightening the noose around the necks of the masses of the world’s thousand populations and suffocating the the environment in which they live. An order that places man in a situation of ever greater disorder, ever greater alienation and ever greater slavery.
What is this (not so) mysterious object we are against? Both communists and non-communists call it by the same name: capitalism.
This definition is certainly not enough in itself because there are many people (beginning with the Pope) who talk about the evils or "certain" evils attributable to capitalism or rather "a certain type" of ultra-liberalist capitalism, only to propose some corrections and leave the "re-formed thing" in place. But it is in any case a good thing that there are so many of us (whatever our differences) who recognise that we are experiencing the effects of a cancer penetrating our flesh and that these effects are due to a global economic system that is globally structured in its means of political and military dominion and compression.
"About 1.2 billion poor people (who have only one dollar a day for their survival); about 2.8 billion who have to live on less than two dollars a day; 850 million illiterates, 800 million with malnutrition (26 million in the USA), 100 million exploited children …, the world balance at the beginning of the year 2000 is terrifying. Despite technical progress and economic growth, a large part of humanity still suffers in misery…", (*) and this in the gae of maximum abundance and the maximum productivity of human labour.
Eleven million children under the age of five years’ old died in 1999. Fundamentally, they died of misery since "most of these deaths could have been avoided given adequate preventive measures: 20% died because of a lack of perinatal care; 18% of respiratory diseases; 17% of intestinal diseases; 15% of diseases that can be avoided by the use of vaccines; 7% of malaria" (**)
* Alternatives économiques, January 2000, No. 177, pp. 25-28
**from the UNICEF Report 2001 on childhood conditions in the world
"On the basis of the 1993 data of Prof. N. Shinfiku, WHO representative for the Western Pacific area, by 2005, the world will have 34.1 million cases of dementia among people aged more than 60 years, and 535 million mentally ill people (413 of whom in developed societies)."
In the period between the two wars, 2-3% of the population suffered from depression; now, "one person in ten will be affected during the course of their lives". In 1996, it was estimated that five and half million people with depression in Italy had frequent recourse to drugs. The Ministry of Health in the USA offers a much more explosive estimate: "566 Americans out of every thousand habitually use psychotropic drugs", which are by now also regularly used by a fair number of pre-school children (thier number doubled between 1991 and 2000).
Things are decidedly better in those parts of Europe "liberated from socialism": in Bosnia, for example, after the end of the "communist dictatorship" and the related "inter-ethnic" war, nine out of ten children have thoughts of suicide…
The above data come from: l’Unità, la Repubblica, l’Indipendente and il Giornale.
The Manifesto of the People’s Global Action for Seattle clearly pronounced the name of the enemy to defeat and indicated its systemic characteristics. We do not need to do anything more than reproduce its beginning:
"We are living in an age in which capital, with the help of international agencies such as the WTO, the IMF, the World Bank and others, is remodelling national policies in order to reinforce its global control over the political, economic and social life of the entire world. Capital has always been global. Its unlimited drive for expansion and profit does not recognise borders. From the slave trade of the first centuries of colonial imperialism over the world’s peoples, lands and cultures, capitalist accumulation has always nourished itself on the blood and tears of the people … to our times in which capital is developing a new strategy aimed at affirming its power and neutralising the resistance of the people: economic globalisation, which consists of the dismantling of national trade barriers and the free circulation of financial flows. The consequences of globalisation are spreading throughout all of the structures of the society and communities of the world, thus integrating peoples in a single gigantic system with the aim of making profits and controlling mankind and nature [back translated from an Italian translation]".
We have only "small" correction to make: economic globalisation, which acts at all levels of social life and makes use of all of the means available to it (first of all its military power) in order to defend the rights of the profits clenched in the fists of a handful of private property owners above and against worls society as a whole, is not a "new strategy" but the ultimate and exasperated consequence of a tendency of capita-lism itself. This has been global since its beginnings, as can be read in the splendid and still contemporary pages of the first book of Das Kapital in which Marx describes the birth of capitalist accumulation, and as is highlighted in the first few lines of the Manifesto above. Capital made its first moves by "integrating" the previous economies in its system, destroying the old forms of autarchic production for self-consumption, and "with the help of various agencies" expropriating (initially within national borders) its "own" peasants and free artisans by denying them their independent means of production through the use of laws and ad hoc armed force. Today’s capital is simply developing the same process on a worldwide scale. Within this framework, which by now embraces the entire planet, it is no longer possible to find any independent island unless it is marginal and in any case under the ruthless control of capital for its own ends.
The Manifesto for Seattle also precisely lists the devastations related to capitalist globalisation (which we briefly recall here in our series of insights into "the magnificent world of G8"):
"This process of worldwide accumulation and exclusion represents a global attack against human rights whose consequences are all too visible: misery, famine, an increase in the number of homeless, unemployment, deteriorating health conditions, land expropriation, illiteracy, marked inequalities between the sexes, the explosive growth of the informal sector and submerged economy (in particular, the production and sale of drugs), the destruction of community life, declining social services and fewer workers’ rights, increasing violence at all levels of society, the destruction of our envirnmental heritage, increasing racial ethnic and religious intolerance, mass emigration (for economic, political and environmental reasons), the reinforcement of military control and repression, etc.[back translated from an Italian translation]".
In brief, world society is now polarised between a handful of profiteers and the vast majority of the exploited and brutalised masses subject to their crushing global dominion. Historically, these masses are in a condition to fight back for their communal emancipation, but everything possible is done to keep them divided at every level: race against race, nation against nation, sex against sex, faith against faith … and all in favour of the only race, nation, "sex" and faith that counts – global trans-national capital. And capitalist pole and a pole consisting of proletarians deprived of any resource other than "freely" selling their labour on the dictatorial global market.
It is here that the discussion between us begins, which obviously takes for granted the need to fight against globalised capitalism (we would not be here otherwise), and concentrates on the future of our struggle. It is a discussion that must necessarily begin with the need to pass from opposition to the devastating "single" effects of the united system of domination to the united collective against capitalism as such. A struggle for the emancipation of each and all of us: each of us as individual peoples, cultures and sexes, and all of us as members of the world community, must join the fight against capital and its profit-serving laws.