B) THE TRADITIONAL PRACTICAL MILITANT
After Lenin’s death, the bureaucracy that settled in the USSR and other worker’s States that stemmed from the subsequent revolutions after November of 1917, systematically broke, without any exception, with all these recently listed political principles of Marxism.
The debate in the USSR during the six subsequent years to the death of Lenin, was settled with the victory of the Stalinist line consistent in freezing the revolutionary process, attempting to stop it indefinitely in the so called " transition economy", Through a kind of eclectic combination between pro communist planning and pro capitalist market. For it, they had to begin by breaking within the PCUS not only with Marxism, but with the most elemental democratic procedures, inaugurating the methodology of appealing to violence, up to the extreme of the political crime, as a means of solving the ideological differences within the party.
At international level, this change of strategy of freezing the class struggle at national level, this breaking with the concept of permanent revolution - introduced by Marx, Engels and the League of the Communists during the European revolution of 1848- was corresponded with a foreign policy of statu quo with capitalism. Consisting in using the IIIª International in order to put social and political limits to the revolutionary dynamic opened in situations such as the Spanish civil war, trying to avoid that such experiences transcend the limits of the bourgeois system. In order to achieve it they put themselves to the service of the reformist strategy that caught on in the IIª International from 1914, subordinating the policy of the communist parties to the interests of the petty bourgeoisie.
It was the defeat strategy called "revolution by stages", ", that removed all revolutionary initiative from the proletariat. Seeing themselves reflected before such a mirror, as a class unable to self-determination. Being useful only to be told what to do, in this case by the petty bourgeoisie, by the small and medium owners. Such has been the ominous political philosophy that inspired the " popular fronts"all over the world .
Naturally in order to be able to lift all this racket, the Soviet bureaucrats, as before them the reformists of the second international, begun by throwing historical materialism overboard, and elaborating an "ad hoc" theory that they spread through the Sciences Academy of the USSR passing it as Marxism. The same was done by Maoism in China, Titoism in Yugoslavia, etc.
Similar political operations were implemented by the so called "revolutionary nationalisms" in numerous countries of the third world, as Nasserism in the Middle East and Africa, as well as the peronist style of populism in Latin America.
In this way, historical materialism was scandalously mutilated and the reading and studying of the fundamental works of Marx and Engels for the theoretical preparation of the militants was marginalized from partisan life and from the obligations of their members. Ending being replaced in name of Marxism for the party literature, that is to say, of the Central Committee if not by the Political Buro or even the "unquestionable leader", "great helmsman", etc., etc.
With no exception, in the countries of the so called Socialist Block, this separation between the head and the body of the party militants, combined with the encrusting in Soviet society of the material stimuli as substitute for the revolutionary conscience for a greater work productivity, ended in the fusion of the party with the State.
At this point, the party militancy ended up being corrupted to the extreme of abandoning the revolutionary path to turn militancy into an additional means of earning disputing posts and privileges to the interior of the "Worker’s State".
Concerning the worker’s parties of the capitalist west, once fulfilled the procedure of subtracting from the militancy base the necessary (theoretical) means to participate with conscience and knowledge of cause in the elaboration of the party’s political line (only guarantee of keeping the revolutionary tradition of Marxism alive in the worker’s movement), the bureaucratic leaderships turned the parties into the most similar thing to a capitalist company, where the militants are assimilated to simple factory workers.
Driven away from the revolutionary theory and unable of any capacity to think with their own head, it can be said without exaggerating that the worker’s parties in no way serve for their militants to recover their proletarian soul alienated in their work places. On the contrary, by depriving them of the revolutionary reason, that is to say, of the access to the knowledge of the fundamental principles of Marxism, they lose their class conscience in a double way and with it all initiative and political personality. Ending up converted into real motor instruments (to stick posters, to distribute propaganda, etc., etc.) obedient to the thinking of the leaderships. Such as the relationship between owners and slaves in times of Aristotle:
<<In fact, the person who is capable of forecasting with the mind is a chief by nature and a natural mister, while the one who is limited to use his body to accomplish these things is a subject and slave by nature>>Aristotle: "Political" I Book chapt.. 2)
<<The living being is constituted, in the first place, of soul (redoubt of the intelligence and free will) and body, of these one orders by nature and the other is ordered. (...) The same occurs with all the beings that are differentiated from the others as the soul from the body. It is the case of the relationship between the man and the animal (unable of reasoning) and the owner with regards to the slave (capable of acting according to the reason that it is given to him, but not of possessing it, of having one). Being that the work of the animals as that of the slaves, consists in the use of the body, it is better for them to be submitted to this class of command.>>(Ibíd.: I Book chapt.. 5. What’s between brackets is ours)
With the aggravating fact that the leaderships of the worker’s parties have for years been giving the base militants a more humiliating treatment than the owners gave to the slaves, because the "literature for workers" invented by them, supposes that they do not even attribute them the capacity of reasoning, that was, apparently, given by the owners to their slaves.
At the same time, all the recruitment methodology is presided by the idea of the political instrumentation that also finds its basis in the Aristotelian justification of slavery:
<<The science of the owner is the one which teaches to use the slaves. Since one is not an owner by acquiring slaves, but by knowing to use them (...) the owner must only know to order what the slave must know to do>> (Ibíd: I Book, 7)
This class prejudice has been adopted by the bourgeois and is, in essence, the same one adopted by the bureaucrats in charge of the leaderships in the worker’s parties worldwide up to the present times.
The burgesses base their superiority over their workers through two ideological traps:
The first is that the workers are dependent because they naturally lack entrepreneurial initiative and will to work; the second is that they postulate to compute the extracted profit from the unpaid work to their workers, as remuneration for the supervision work. Marx cites to that respect a speech pronounced by the lawyer O'CONOR during a meeting celebrated in New York the 19 of December of 1859, where he asserted that:
<<"[...] The black is strong and possesses the necessary vigour to work; but nature, that gave him that force, denied him the reason to govern as well as the will to work (Applauses).
Both things have been denied to him. And the same nature that denied him the will to work, gave him an owner to impose him that will, and to turn him [within the climate for which he has been created], in a useful servant for himself as well as for the owner that governs him [...] I Assert that it is no injustice to let the black remain in the situation where nature has put him; to give him an owner that governs him [...]; and he is not stripped of any of his rights when he is compelled to work in exchange of that and to provide his master of a just compensation for the work and the talent that he employs in governing him and to turn him useful to himself and to society.>> (K. Marx: "The Capital" Book III chapt.. XXIII)
Obviously, for Marx and the Marxists, there are no capitalistic uteri or sperm and the direction and supervision work has nothing to do with the presumed difference of human nature between the burgess and the worker, but with specific social relations of production determined by the degree of development reached by the productive forces from the XVII century.
It is a common and necessary consequence of every organization of society based on the dominance of a social class over another. Therefore the logic employed by the capitalists to justify their dominance is, in essence, the same employed in its time by the ideologists of the slaveholding society. From this common perspective:
<<...The same as the slave, the salaried worker must also have an owner that makes him work and governs him>>. (K. Marx: ibíd.)
Why must the wage-earner have an owner that governs him? Because he is stripped off his means of production.
Well now, exactly the same thing that occurs in the capitalist company with the wage-earners, has been taking place and still does with the base militants in the party’s political life of an immense majority of self –proclaimed revolutionary organizations.
They are governed by bureaucratic leaderships that remove from their knowledge and handling the means to produce politics, that is, the revolutionary theory.
They say that Marxist theory is very difficult, impossible of being assimilated by an average worker. The curious thing is that this is not said by the burgesses, but it is a prejudice coined by the owners of the politically organized workers’ movement to use their slaves, to turn them into manoeuvre bulk, into free labour to the service of their party’s interests. Often alien to the political interest of the class they declare to represent, as it has been the case with Stalinism.
For us, everything that means reducing the level of exposition of the revolutionary theory, apart from being an insult to the intelligence and the political comprehension capacity of the proletariat, is a concession made to the bourgeoisie within its conscience.
According to the “Communist Manifesto", the communists are…
<<...…the most advanced (English version 1888) and resolute section of the working-class parties of every country, that section which pushes forward all others; on the other hand, theoretically, they have over the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly understanding the lines of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement.>>
quedoChapter 2 (What’s between brackets and underlined is ours)
This paragraph articulates two ideas.
The first, that the communists are the most resolute sector for the struggle.
The second, that they have a clear vision of the conditions and of the course of that struggle.
Well now, the practicists, the traditional militants educated in the scorn towards theory, spontaneous and automatically untie both parts of this paragraph; they make a prejudiced and certainly self-complaisant and schizophrenic reading of the text. They remain with what proves them in what they are disregarding what contradicts or criticizes them.
The firmness and even the audacity of any political decision, can be established in three alternative active principles, the feeling, the material interest or the conviction.
Marx hated as profoundly the political motive of the feeling as that of the material interest, so what for him distinguishes the communists with respect to the rest of the proletarians is their theoretical revolutionary tradition.
It is obvious that the majority of the proletariat is characterized by their intellectual laziness and its tendency to delegate decisions to the leaders. This passiveness, because it doesn’t derive from the personal nature of the workers but from their own social practice of being lead, can only be overcome by emulation when seeing the decision and initiative in those who are of their same social condition, but of different political condition: the communist militants.
To reduce the theoretical level of the supporters to quickly turn them into militants in order to swell the party membership, means to erase the necessary qualitative distinction that the Manifesto makes between proletarians and communists, between militants and supporters. Converting the last ones in political clientele of the leadership with the clear propensity of imposing their arguments and decisions to the whole of the party and, through this, to the workers’ masses. Something that has nothing to do with a revolutionary policy, with the slogan coined by Marx that"nobody will do for the workers what the workers are not able to do for hemselves".
For us then, it is clear that the distinction between a revolutionary organization and a reformist one lies, among other things, in the different degree of revolutionary conviction of its respective militants and in the consequent level of relative bureaucratization reached by its leadership, taking into account that without real democracy there is no communism.
In these two and a half years that we have been in this task, certainly without doing all that we could to advance in the study of "The capital", we have been advised, many times, active and passively, on the convenience of reducing the theoretical level and the consequent intellectual effort that the fundamental work of Marx demands; all of it for the sake of achieving a greater participation.
To this we answer with Marx that we can or want to do nothing. Why? We have just explained it and we say it again, because it is never insisted enough on this: We are fully conscious of the fact that, giving in to those advices of the traditional practical militancy, we would be confirming the counterrevolutionary idea that the workers will never be able to become communists because they are not even capable of knowing precisely which is their place and the destination that the capitalist society affords them.
For us, the distinctive quality of the communists as the most determined and advanced sector among the proletarians - such as it is outlined by the "Communist Manifesto"- supposes to begin with the firm resolution of defeating the resistance to travel through the craggy paths of scientific knowledge.
The first step of every correct communist tactic does not consist, therefore, in each vanguard group struggling to gather around it the greater number of workers, but in unifying that vanguard around the revolutionary theory.
At first, when one must start from scratch, as nowadays, when an ideological confusion prevails in the worker’s movement from which the usual despicable unscrupulous take advantage - the same as in Russia at the beginning of this century - more than the spirit of theoretical identity it must prevail the spirit of the difference, more than the organizational unity the division.
Lenin wrote “Where to begin" and "What to do" inspired in this principle. Because in times of ideological confusion, the conscience of the exploited is inclined towards the unity of the diverse, towards the coexistence of the contraries, towards the "plurality in tolerance" that is so cited nowadays.
In such circumstances, a policy which immediate and high-priority objective consists in adding wills, cannot fructify other than being submitted to that prevailing objective spirit in the behaviour of the exploited.
It is true, the revolutionary militancy is a synthesis between theory and practice, between ideology and politics.
But it is not less certain that the intelligence and the revolutionary art consist in dosing correctly the two components of this synthesis according to what the objective and subjective conditions demand from each historical moment.
We said at the beginning that in favourable economic and political conditions for the bourgeoisie, the wage-earners, in so far a class objectively subordinated to the capital, tend to think with the head of the bourgeoisie and to behave according to that false conscience.
We also said that the world proletariat is experiencing a deep ideological setback and a great political dispersion that has enabled the not less deep offensive of capital over their life and working conditions.
We now say that in such almost total favourable circumstances to the class enemy,, the political tasks of agitation are of secondary importance.
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de propaganda marxista