A) In the first meeting, we noted the existence of the fundamental political preconditions for the creation of a unitary plan for the development of the debate on the line of intervention by the Front.
We have also noted the existence of the political will required to overcome the contradictions which inevitably exist in this debate; these contradictions can be attributed to the different trajectories which characterize our organizations.
B) Having reviewed your written work, we have confirmed and greatly clarified the framework which can form the unitary guidelines of the debate on the Front.
We are also aware, and the reading of your documents has highlighted this, of differences in approach in relation to the overall view of imperialism and the dynamics of class war.
These different backgrounds which make up the origin and legitimacy of each of our revolutionary trajectories cannot however be the area of reference for the debate and the development of the Front itself.
Because in the accomplishment of the objective we have jointly set for ourselves (promotion of the Front), it is neither useful nor politically constructive as it would end in the formation of a counter-productive rigidity.
This having been said, we do think it is possible to advance a discussion on these differences, which advances along with the line of orientation of the Front and is not detrimental to its formation.
Having made these necessary qualifications, we will now list all the points, which in our opinion are the unitary basis for the joint development of the debate and the line of intervention of the Front.
A)-For our Organization working to promote the Front is an indispensable programmatic point of our political line, and this view is tantamount to your assertion that the promotion of the Front marks a new stage of development (possible and necessary) for revolutionary strategy.
We have two reasons which led us to commit ourselves to the work of promoting the Front and to consider it a new stage in the development of revolutionary strategy.
The first relates to the structural and political analysis sketched out below.
The second relates to the character of proletarian internationalism today, which must locate its own combatant and revolutionary practice within a political/military/organizational proposal which unifies the revolutionary forces already acting on this terrain, who must do this anyway, within a common line of attack on imperialism. Therefore, beginning the work for the promotion of the Front, objectively marks a new stage of revolutionary strategy.
B)-The Front can only be developed on the basis of unified intent among the revolutionary forces in Western Europe; this is given by; 1) the strategic significance of Western Europe in the interests of imperialism; 2) the contradictions which arise from the heart of the system and traverse the entire imperialist chain in different forms. These factors give the policy of the Front in W.Europe a strategic weight which extends far beyond the unity now accomplished and practiced.
C)-The objective of the Front is the weakening of imperialism to trigger complete political crisis. This is intended to facilitate revolutionary rupture:
Since in this stage of imperialist development, revolutionary rupture in a single country within the imperialist center is impossible, without a more general political/military crisis and consequent generalized revolutionary situation, hence your correct statement that… “To organize the combatant revolutionary front means to organize the attack, it is not a question of ideological categories and even less of models for revolution”.
It is a question of material evidence of revolutionary politics. Namely a question of its effectiveness against imperialist power and of its political and practical strength, which is accomplished here through the deepening of the rupture in the metropole and a qualitative leap in the proletarian struggle…
D)-For us the organization of the Front is a vector of anti-imperialism implemented by the combatant revolutionary forces themselves, encouraging anti-imperialist deployment on the terrain of the revolutionary war of the proletariat and the revolutionary movement in every country in Western Europe.
E)-We are in agreement with your statement that:… “authentic revolutionary strategy in W.Europe must unfold within the attack on the central projects of imperialism, the collectivity and coherence of the combatants based in their conditions and specific possibilities…”
This latter directive has a purely political significance for us, and cannot be reduced to a simply technical fact, but refers to the specific revolutionary trajectory and complexity of the class confrontation in each individual country because this determines the magnitude of intervention.
With regards to this assertion, we propose a discussion of the following questions:
1)- The Front is situated on a political plane of alliance with other revolutionary forces whose unifying cement is anti-imperialism. It is necessary to recognize that anti-imperialist unity between the revolutionary forces of W.Europe encounters difficulties in actualization because of objective differences based in the differing trajectories of individual revolutionary forces, and not because of an absence of political will; even if these objective differences ultimately influence the political will itself, because they are reflected in ideological conceptions.
Recognizing this reality means establishing optimum conditions for the work of implementing the changes needed to actualize this unity.
Unity in this necessary work cannot start from a common worldview, but from the formulation of a discourse open to the objective of reaching agreement on a common line of attack which seeks to undermine the central policies of imperialism.
2)- The organization of the Front in W.Europe must aim to build alliances with the liberation movements fighting imperialism which are developing in this geopolitical area: this is for two main reasons
1) it encourages a wider combatant deployment against imperialism by recomposing on the terrain of revolutionary politics the objective unity between the anti-imperialist national liberation movements of the periphery and the class war in the metropolitan centers
2) anti-imperialist politics in this region relates directly to the role played by W.Europe in this region within the totality of the interests of the imperialist chain.
We consider that reaching unity of intent on the question of the Combatant Anti-Imperialist Front (CAF) has political relevance not only on account of its objective significance for the unity of the revolutionary forces fighting imperialism, but also on account of the political weight which the RAF and the BR have gained within the revolutionary confrontation in W.Europe: the two combatant communist organizations which have contributed the most to rooting the guerrilla within the imperialist centers:
A wealth of experience and political agency accumulated on the revolutionary terrain which has qualitative weight in the promotion of the Front itself.
On the basis of the evaluations and arguments brought to the debate we must aim to coalesce in substantial terms around the already existing basis of unity, and to further deepen the points of unity towards a further development of the debate until we arrive at a “joint resolution”, which synthesizes an effective understanding.
With this goal in mind, we propose a line of discussion centered on the following points in addition to those mentioned above.
1) a common definition of the line of attack of the Front in relation to the central policies of imperialism.
2) a common definition of the political perspective which opens the development of the Front
…effectiveness in the revolutionary confrontation (anti-imperialism/imperialism, revolution/counter-revolution).
…further opening to other revolutionary forces.
…the ways in which it is possible to encourage the effective anti-imperialist deployment of the proletariat and the revolutionary movement in each individual country within the activity of the Combatant Anti-imperialist Front.
The development of these points in unitary terms can define the programmatic terrain of the CAF.
THE POLITICAL FORMATION OF THE IMPERIALIST CHAIN
The stage of imperialism which begins in the post-war period is characterized by the economic and political dominance of the United States.
The enormous growth of US finance capital after the conflict and the coordination of economic and political reconstruction plans in W.Europe and Japan lays the foundations for the development of a process of internationalization of capital favorable to economic integration.
The creation of the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Bretton Woods agreement are the principle instruments regulating capital flows from the post war period onward.
This process leads to an evolution of the nation state, understood as it was formed in the inter-war period, in the direction of a political and economic integration process between the capitalist countries, a process in which the United States holds the dominant position.
The Marshall Plan was first of all a vehicle for the economic penetration of mainly US finance capital, because the American economy needed active and solvent partners, a developed capitalist environment to maintain the rhythm of growth established during the conflict;
Simultaneously the Marshall Plan was a policy for the containment of communism inspired by the “Truman Doctrine” acting to prevent and repress revolutionary influences in European countries. In this context the regeneration of Germany is emphasized, and it is established as the strong center of Western Europe in economic and political terms. In summary the necessity of strengthening and expanding economic dominance in Europe cannot be decoupled from the political stability of the allied countries;
A political stability which involved two aspects:
One in relation to the revolutionary thrust of the proletariat in various European countries, the other in relation to the formation of political and military cohesion against the Soviet Union.
Therefore, the Marshall Plan is constituted as the essential foundation of the integration process of the imperialist chain in economic and political terms. Post-war reconstruction advances in tandem with the formation of NATO, the Atlantic alliance as a bulwark of the confrontation with the Soviet bloc is also the political and military cornerstone for the construction of the Western bloc.
The Yalta agreement sanctifies the division of the world into spheres of influence, into two development models:
On the one hand the formation of the imperialist chain dominated by the US, on the other the formation of the bloc of Soviet influence, which later becomes the political, ideological and not least of all, economic reference point for the liberation wars in the third world.
This trajectory traversing various points of fracture is what defines the current bipolarity.
This general framework is the material basis which determines the structure of the international division of labor and of the market with the resultant hierarchical organization of the imperialist chain: just as in the relation North/South the countries of the Third World form a reserve of resources and low wages at the level of unequal development necessary in this phase of imperialism.
THE EAST/WEST CONTRADICTION
The bipolarity which characterizes the division of the world is for us the dominant contradiction which influences and dominates international relations.
The balance of power sanctified at Yalta is what imperialism now intends to put into question; and this is because the general economic crisis, the recession of production within the more general tendency to war drives imperialism to clash with the Soviet bloc to define a new international division of labor and of the market, a new political balance in its own advantage.
This dynamic, because of the stage of development reached by imperialism, can occur in relation to an appropriate space, sufficiently advanced in terms of infrastructure and industrial production, like the Soviet bloc;
Secondarily, clashing with the Soviet bloc, has the political purpose of discrediting the development model of the socialist countries. The conflicts in the periphery are defined within this general framework: the areas of crisis become the terrain of the confrontation with the Soviet bloc with the objective of a modification of the total political and military balance.
Therefore, the revolutionary fractures occurring in the periphery are unavoidably located within an alignment to the Soviet bloc; while those countries which are economically and politically enslaved by imperialism as well as operating within unequal development are logistical rear areas for imperialist aggression.
For these reasons the liberation wars of the countries of the periphery, although they do fight imperialism are not on the same level as the revolutionary processes which are produced in the imperialist centers. The antagonism which develops in the imperialist center is a product of the principle contradiction productive forces/relations of production, as such it is the most advanced, because it is the contradiction proletariat/bourgeoisie which produces socialism.
Between the liberation wars of the periphery and the revolutionary processes of the imperialist centers there is a unity but not an identity, because the contradiction which opposes the liberation movements to imperialism although it is produced by the principle contradiction PF/RP [productive forces/relations of production] emerges and develops with its own characteristics given by the objective position of these countries within capitalist relations.
This position is in the last instance reflected in the political opposition to imperialism which defines the relation of confrontation. Namely, that both (the liberation movements in the periphery, the revolutionary processes in the center), take their specific social and political conditions as the point of departure for their combatant practice.
THE FORMATION OF THE IB AND THE MP [metropolitan proletariat]
From our perspective the political homogenization of the imperialist center is an effect of the level of development reached by imperialism. The level of cooperation which has currently been achieved is the product of a process which is contradictory and conflictual because it occurs within the capitalist environment.
The economic/political/military integration of the imperialist chain forms a single integrated and hierarchical system which corresponds to the formation process of the imperialist bourgeoisie (IB). This imperialist bourgeoisie develops within each of the individual socio-economic formations which make up the imperialist chain. In other words it is a question of the multiple fractions of the imperialist bourgeoisie who although they compete among themselves, relate within an integrated environment first in terms of the further concentration of capital which in turn promotes the integration process. It is a formation process which unavoidably produces fractions of the imperialist bourgeoisie in relation to a single world market.
The superstructural effects of this imperialist dynamic do not translate mechanically into the pregiven political homogenization of a uniform imperialist bourgeoisie: but the current level of integration and cooperation is in conformity with the objective of securing the development and reproduction of capitalist society in its totality.
This general interest cannot be provided for by a single State, because it is obliged to stabilize different levels of economic, political and military coordination.
In summary the integration and hierarchical organization of the imperialist chain is not primarily a response to the encirclement produced by the revolutionary ruptures of this century, even if this integration has and does encourage political cohesion in cold war terms; because imperialism is in crisis primarily due to its capitalist nature which generates crisis and the tendency to war and a widening polarization between the classes in struggle. This polarization is deepened on the revolutionary terrain of the conscious action of the revolutionary vanguards and the liberation movements.
That being said, on the historical level the era of proletarian revolution begins in 1917. In this sense the Leninist definition of imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism and the epoch of the world revolution is valid.
The political and economic integration of the imperialist chain necessarily produces a progressive generalization of the forms of rule of the imperialist bourgeoisie. These forms of rule tends to become general laws to the extent that the imperialist center is homogenized and integrated in its structural development.
This dynamic has a contradictory movement induced by the individual and competitive nature of capital. The similarity in the forms of rule adapted by the states of mature capitalism are connected to the political relation between the class and the state:
-in the preventative counter-revolution which in general terms in all the states of mature capitalism has the function of preventatively impeding the formation of class antagonism on the revolutionary terrain and harmonizing conflict which cannot be eliminated.
-in the forms of management of class conflict implemented primarily through the institutions (unions, parties, etc).
-the political plan for the restructuring of production (neo-corporatism), because restructuring arising from the same general factors has very similar effects and modes of application.
These general elements are valid for all the imperialist centers, even if there are significant differences in the countries of Southern Europe (Greece, Spain, Portugal), produced by the objective conditions of imperialism and developing as a response to the general crisis of the capitalist economy.
Secondarily they respond to the need to contain the class conflict, bearing in mind that these two levels stand in close relation.
The generalization of the reproduction conditions of the working class and the proletariat in the states of mature capitalism, has led to a substantially homogeneous working class and metropolitan proletariat in all the imperialist centers (specifically in W.Europe).
But on the plane of antagonist and revolutionary politics, the class struggle makes reference to a national environment derived from the historico-political background of the class struggle itself.
For example the guerrilla emerges in W.Europe as a historic rupture of revolutionary politics in relation to the forms of rule of the States in mature capitalism. The specific form it assumes in individual nations is the product of the specific characteristics of the class confrontation which define its relative originality. In this context the national element remains significant, especially with reference to the dynamics of the class struggle in each state of mature capitalism and in every country of the imperialist chain.
The national element is a factor which must be taken into account in relation to the particularities of the revolutionary process in each individual nation, both in terms of the differing impact of counter-revolutionary policy on the proletarian camp and the development of the revolutionary forces themselves.
We have sketched a brief outline of the structural elements which form the methodological point of departure for our analysis. But this outline is not in itself sufficient for a correct approach to revolutionary politics; to be adequately equipped against imperialism on the revolutionary terrain, one must analyze the complex reality produced by the historical transformations occurring since the October Revolution.
It is necessary to be aware that for both the bourgeoisie and for revolutionaries the political and subjective factor has assumed a relative dominance.
On the imperialist side, the subjective factor means a further impetus for the ongoing integration process. This factor has found expression in more or less formal organs (NATO, WEU etc) whose political function of cohesion is clearly directed against the other bloc and the countries of the periphery which have launched processes of national liberation as well as internally.
Other supernational organizations originally with a primarily economic function have taken up a political role of expression of imperialist interests like the WB and IMF clear expressions of imperialist power mainly towards the countries of the third world.
Likewise, the EEC the organization for the division of production quotas in the European Community has taken on a very important political function in relation to the interests and function of W.Europe especially with regards to the Mediterranean-Middle Eastern region.
Within the imperialist metropoles it means a qualitative development in the harmonization of proletarian antagonism and in counter-guerrilla policy. A qualitative development which has involved and continues to involve levels of political coordination and collaboration. In this way the levels of counter-revolution mature, substantially transforming the relation of confrontation between imperialism and revolutionary forces, this means first of all awareness of the greater weight of subjectivity, as the overall context of the class confrontation, understanding that the revolutionary terrain is not a simple reflection of the objective conditions but must engage with the political facts which characterize the relation between the classes and the influence exercised by international conflicts, along the lines of both East/West and North/South.
ON THE GEOPOLITICAL AREA
We define W.Europe and the Mediterranean-Middle East region as the most crisis ridden area in the world today, because its historical/political/geographical characteristics make it the site of convergence and intersection of different contradictions:
W.Europe because it is an imperialist center concentrates the contradictions of the capitalist mode of production itself;
Insofar as it is a border line of the balance of power established after the Second World War it concentrates the contradictions between the two blocs;
Insofar as it is a point of contact between the countries of the industrialized west and the dependent countries it is directly involved in the conflicts produced in that region.
If the contradictions which intersect in this area and leave it highly unstable are of diverse origin, the dominant element which channels the different conflicts they produce in political terms is the contradiction East/West.
These contradictions joined to the fact that W.Europe concentrates the most obsolete production in the [imperialist] chain and an excess of means of production and labor power lead us to think that W.Europe can become the primary theater of war.
Making this region of even more crucial importance is the fact that W.Europe for largely geographical reasons has its “natural” sphere in the Mediterranean-Middle East area, a region which for economic and political reasons, appears as the possible point of departure or detonator for a wider conflict.
The Middle East and North Africa appear as a highly unstable frontier between the blocs, an area in which imperialism can intervene to rearrange zones of influence which were left undefined in the post-war period.
In the immediate post-war period these regions for economic reasons related to energy sources and the oil trade, were united politically in terms of their processes of decolonization and national emancipation and did not become the objects of a possible agreement to define sphere of influence.
With the UN Resolution which sanctions the imperialist/Zionist expropriation of Palestinian land through the imposition of the “State” of Israel, the Arab world becomes a theater of the imperialist strategy aiming to “pacify” even by military means the area in question with the objective of forming its own sphere of influence with the broadest possible extent and politically stable borders.
The progressive escalation of the East/West contradiction increases the degree of polarization in the regional crisis and it is obvious that the dominant fact which causes the elements of instability and crisis to converge in this region is the confrontation between the two blocs: in other words this geopolitical area is of extreme strategic interest both as a zone of undefined borders and a transit route, becoming a terrain of both political and military preliminary clashes, which serve to prepare the most favorable conditions for a necessary redefinition of spheres of influence.
From this perspective, the imperialist interest in the area is not primarily due to a desire to grab raw materials and this is not because the problem of resources is unimportant for the imperialist West, but a determination of the allotment of material resources at the current level of political crisis and economic contradictions, can be resolved through a reshaping of the North/South relationship within the more general international division of labor and the market; it is not without reason that pressure is applied against oil prices, the economic is instrumentalized with the objective of destabilizing the region. The US intervention against Libya marked a turning point for the politico-military balance in the area.
In this context the problems of the region transform: the role of Israel itself is readjusted for a different function. It becomes necessary for Israel to have a “political status” of recognition on the international level because of its centrality to the objectives of imperialist strategy in the region. This while it maintains continuity in its terrorist methods. These have been required since its origins and have made it the number one enemy of the Arab world. This project is mainly advanced by W.Europe which is entrusted with the task of promoting and constructing a political image of “diplomatic mediation” , more in consonance with the potential role of “pacification” which Israel must play in the region.
The various “peace initiatives” and the proposal for a ME “Marshall Plan” although coming out of Peres’s mouth are primarily developed and supported by WE. WE actively operating within the strategy of the bloc aims to reinforce ties of political alliance in relation to which it modifies its relations with the countries of the region.
It demands open consensus and support for imperialist maneuvers from the Arab countries. The countries which don’t submit to this alignment are subjected to every kind of pressure. The Palestinian question is emphasized now more then ever in its international connotations and it is confirmed that the expulsion of the Zionists cannot occur outside of the context of anti-imperialism and a dramatic setback for imperialism (with the US in the lead).
In summary the acceleration of the factors of crisis occurring with the direct intervention of the US in the region has significantly shifted the axis of the preexisting balance of power and has posited new conditions and new problems for the confrontation between imperialism and revolutionary forces.
Translation and notes in square brackets by Joshua Depaolis. Original text posted online at Biblioteca Marxista