Self-organisation or a communist organisation? 
A false alternative!

Proletariat on struggle

Party? Yes, we said "Party" -and we are ready to discuss it fraternally with all of the militants for whom the word has sinister, spectre-like associations, particularly if they are young or have only recently joined the struggle. Fundamentally, the spectre is that of a bureaucratic organisation that is created from above and outside the movement in order to control and use it in a private game exclusively reserved for "institutional powers" even when these are supposedly opponents: in this case it would involve the expropriation of particularly "grass-roots militants" of any say in the way the movement is conducted. They oppose this spectre (which we know is not just a figment of their imagination but an inheritance from the sinister period of stalinism) by seeking self-organisation from below as the only means, in their opinion, of assuring the maximum freedom and spontaneous participation of the masses, and protecting themselves from the bureaucracy and institutionalism whose expressed interests actually stifle the struggle.

And so self-organisation or a communist organisation? We believe that the question implies a false alternative because the two terms are not mutually exclusive but are (or at least can be) dialectically related. This is so to the extent that the self-organisation is truly such, having been created and built up from the bottom by and for the people collectively participating in it, and to the extent that what is called the communist political organisation is truly such, having a "separate" physiognomy but still being inside the movement of which it is a part and has the task of leading. On the other, it is possible to have a "self-organisation" that exists only nominally but is in fact contrary to the very interests its espouses (like the recent, fictitious and tragic secessionist "self-decision" of Slovenia and Croatia), or a so-called communist organisation that has nothing to do with the authentic emancipation of the masses (and there is no lack of examples). It is not a question of formulas, but the content of the contrast between social classes and systems that characterises a real movement of emancipation.

The magnificent world of the G8

The debt of the poor countries

Over the last 20 years, the most marked by financial globalisation, the debt of the poor countries has doubled and, since their production has anythng but doubled, its weight has become even heavier.

The strangling of these countries by the usurer-states of the West continues with the farce of the "cancellation" of uncollectable debts, which the same usurer-states have simply used to impose on the ransomed countries their total opening to the multinationals, tha privatisation of whatever is still nationalised, the practical destruction of their health and education sysytems, and massive arms purchases. Father Zanotelli has said, for me all of this "is planned genocide. Something very different from the remission of the debts!". We agree. And the planned genocide can only be stopped by means of a frontal conflict against the powers doing the planning, and certainly not by means of tears and prayers for the conversion and self-reform of the rich.

Workers’ wages in the West

Over the last few years, workers’ wages in Europe have tended to diminish (like their purchasing power) together with the rate of the workers’ unionisation. The same thing has been happening for twenty years in the USA where, after being encouraged by reaganomics, the years of Clinton did nothing to change the situation. In his Dictatorship of Capitalism, Edward Luttwak (not exactly a Marxist) admits that "in the USA, wages have slowly begun converging with those of the Third World" [back translated from an Italian translation], that the American labour force, once the highest paid in the world, "is cheap", that poverty has deeply penetrated the body of the tertiary and industrial proletariat, that downward mobility is more extensive among workers than upward mobility, etc.

In brief, the advances of globalised capitalism are directly proportional to the extent it pushes back the working class.

If (as it is beginning to do so) this movement adopts a worldwide scale, it by definition requires the self-organisation of people from below, beginning at the most ephemeral level of community life, in order to allow it to react in a communal way against a united enemy, to defend communally its own vital interests and to give itself a liberating per-spective. This can be done beginning with a single problem or starting from a single village. But, as it grows and begins to learn how to walk on its own two legs, the movement must learn to recognise that this single problem forms part of an inextricably inter-related complex of problems and that one’s "own" village forms part of a global village. This is the point: the need for the combined, organised and planned action of all of the forces making up a real anti-capitalist movement until, as Marx said, thay learn how to act as a whole in relation to the "single" questions and not as "individual" segments participating in the movement by defending its "individuality" and resisting the drive toward the unification of the exploited. What else does the parttcipation of so many different realities and so many different issues of struggle in the "anti-globalisation" movement prove if not the objective existence of a need to develop the united action and (we would add) united direction among the "thousand different movements" that the G8 powers would like to keep separated? And what else is this need if not the need for a party?

The starting point today, when both the anti-capitalist movement and the class party are still in an embryonal stage, can even be that of many individual situations maintaining a loose federative relationship. But as the struggle becomes more intensive and extensive, it will become increasingly clear that there is just one underlying problem, albeit with a thousand different facets; just one enemy (everybody now talks naturally of global capitalism and the G8 are rightly seen as a single hostile entity); and just one final objective. This means that a real and growing movement must move in the directon of unification, and this unification can only be built in the common perspective of socialism.

We are not saying that "you have to start from here ", but limit ourselves to indicating a scientific organisational path (i.e. based on an adequate knowledge of the reality we are called upon to face together) that constitutes a possibility and necessity intrinsic to the battle in course. The path is that leading to a united movement and party for the whole world front, which is not a part of our "dogmatic" thesis but a process that is tangible even in the timid signals of the current resumption of the international class struggle.

We have already spoken about the "people of Seattle", who subsequently reappeared in Sidney, Prague, Nice, Naples, Porto Alegre, Zurich, Quebec City and Göteborg. But it is also easy to show that all of the major workers’ strikes of recent years (the Liverpool dockworkers, the Korean workers, the workers of GM and Renault Vilvorde, the employees of the American UPS, the Rumanian miners, and so on) have similarly had a strong international projection (a central dimension in the process of class unification), and all of them have consciously sought and gathered "popular" consensus and support (which is the other side of the coin of unification). The Women’s March was self-conceived as a world march and proved to be exactly that, and also raised the question -although it certainly could not be asked to solve it- of a closer and more substantial relationship between the women of the North and South of the world in the context of "globalised solidarity". However, disgracefully modest they may have been, the reactions to the attacks of the UN and NATO against Iraq and Yugslavia had the same matrix.

But the most "surprising" example of this re-emerging call for the globalisation of anti-capitalist resistance and struggle (i.e. its organisational and programming centralisation) comes from the world of the peasants: from the landless peasants of Zimbabwe, whose albeit limited action to re-appropriate their land shook the entire African continent and highlighted the need to resume the anti-colonial war of liberation; from the peasants and farmworkers of India, whose battle against agro-food and biotechnology multinationals of the calibre of Monsanto brought together the many states and "local conditions" of the sub-continent in a movement involving hundreds of thousands of demonstrators that echoed around the world; from the poverty-stricken campesinos of Chiapas, whose stubborn defence of their communities against the bulldozers of the largest US companies owes the structural factor of the internationalisation of their "local" problem more to the solidariety of the Mexican proletariat than to the theatrical scenography of Marcos or the equally theatrical overtures of our own "marcolinis"; and finally from the Sem terra of Brazil, who explicitly launched the appeal "peasants of the world unite" to the entire world of exploited agricultural workers.

The structural reason underlying this "surprising" tendency was effectively explained by Masi in the Italian news-paper Manifesto (6 May 2001), which considered the resistance of Chinese peasants: peasants (not only those in China) have lost their control of agricultural production. The process began with the separation of cultivation from the transformation, transport and marketing of products and production factors, and was completed by the use of biotechnologies and the assignation of the property of the OGMs to the large supply companies. "As a result of globalisation," she wrote, "the Chinese peasants necessarily seek communal solidarity with their kind in every other country because of their common interests and the presence of a common enemy. (...) The road towards a new International will be long, given the difference in living conditions in the different countries, but capital itself will favour a tendential levelling. This has been understood by some movements in India and Latin America …".

Here we have all of the elements that we have tried to recall so far: the world extension of the real "total" dominion of capital over all forms of work and production, and the condition and lever of its growing centralisation on the same scale; the progressive extension and "depth" of the process of expropriation of direct producers, including those who are formally independent and even those with a certain property share; the increasingly proletarian nature of a growing number of ex-peasants inside and outside the agricultural sector (so much for the disappearance of the proletariat!); and the emergence "of the possibility and need for a united movement and party" worldwide, because even "agricultural" capital is globalised (i.e. concentrated and centralised in a few enormous global companies and super-states) like capital itself, the single enemy of the peasant masses of the non-white continents and "also" of the not exactly indigent metropolitan masses who are increasingly frequently induced to protest against the Brussels-based bureaucrats of large-scale capital.

Is it all entirely new? No. We saw the first turn of this wheel at the beginning of the last century, when a peasant International joined forces (unfortunately for too short a time) with the communist proletarian International n the wake of which and under whose guidance it was born. The forces for the second round are magmatically beginning to come together, but this time at a stage of maturation that will favour the union of the self-organisation of the masses with communist organisation.