[the following is a preliminary draft translation from the French text in Ligne Rouge Number Four. The original Italian can be found in Le parole scritte of Maria Rita Prette’s Progetto Memoria]
Red Brigades-Walter Alasia Column: One More Step 1983
“In fields the oranges are scattered,
In groups the stars are arranged,
In crowds the proletarians are waiting,
Behind the corner the red flag passes.”
The new conjuncture, characterized by the transition to total war, sets qualitatively new tasks for us. It is not a matter in effect of a linear transition, but of a rupture, and above all a rupture with our past: It is a matter of in a single word, the leap from the combatant communist organization to the Party.
If one does not build for the leap to the Party, there is no concrete possibility of confronting the tasks of the conjuncture. Furthermore, there is no possibility of victory for the Metropolitan Proletariat in the total social war but only defeat. Taking up the tasks given as primary by the conjuncture, and thus working with all of our strength for the construction of the Party, entails however that our entire experience as a combatant communist organization be open to discussion.
In other words, it is a question of seizing, activating and developing all the aspects of our social practice, which since the beginning, have tended to action as a Party, even though still partial, and to bury without pity all the aspects of our theory-practice which have held us (and still hold us) rigidly rooted in the mode of action of a combatant communist Organization. In this way we must work for a rupture with the past, we must “see the past with the eyes of the future”.
1: The construction of the Party, means first of all the comprehension of the general characteristics which determine the current conjuncture. The transition from combatant communist Organization to the Party is never the result of a simple quantitative development (the conception upheld by the subjectivist-militarists). The Organization becomes the Party by negating itself as a combatant communist Organization, in the negation of the practices of the combatant communist Organization, and the development of the practices of the Party: carrying out in this way a political leap. This political leap is characterized by rupture. In this respect the construction of the Party is a continuous and contradictory process, a leap, it is not a linear transition. The Party is built it is not founded.
With what should we break?
Mainly with all the aspects of the practice of the combatant communist Organization which tend to reproduce the formula adapted in the proceeding phase, that of armed propaganda. In the phase of armed propaganda, a party/mass relation which results in a completely unbalanced view of the Party is imposed, inevitably and independent of the will of comrades. We say inevitable because that is the same principle as that of armed propaganda and its objectives (ingraining the primary idea of the justice and necessity of Armed Struggle within the Metropolitan Proletariat), assumes a emphasis which is placed more upon the conscious activity of the Organization then upon that of the Mass Movements.
In the armed propaganda carried out by the Organization and the Mass Movements, it is almost always the first term which prevails.
The Organization fills both a pedagogical function and one of support/stimulation in relation to the mass movements. In the context of the organization-mass relation which characterizes the phase of armed propaganda, the principle aspect is the pedagogical function.
The requirements of the current conjuncture, impose on the contrary a complete break with that configuration: today it is no longer a question of raising the awareness of the masses and organizing the vanguards of the Organization on the terrain of Armed Struggle; today it is a question of the organization of the masses on the terrain of Armed Struggle.
2: The other part, the element which characterizes the activity of the combatant communist Organization, is that of “political” action. It is within the political sphere that the combatant communist Organization recruits its militants, and addresses itself to the most conscious strata of the class and their vanguards in struggle. This results in a de facto separation between the political (even accurately extended as the politico-military) and the economic which on the contrary becomes the privileged terrain of mass struggles. The armed struggle for communism becomes in this way a practice of the vanguard, but not yet a social practice of the masses.
Today it is more then ever necessary to transcend this conception: the organization of the masses on the terrain of total social war means an effort of organization throughout the socioeconomic sphere traversed by the contradiction between the imperialist bourgeois and the metropolitan proletariat (in the economic, the political, the cultural, etc..in a single word the “social”) and the construction of a mass line which can operate within every interstice of society.
The total character of the war is not derived as an effect of its destructiveness or its more or less intense military level. In the Moro trial statements comrades have correctly observed that inter-imperialist wars even when they do not leave a single blade of grass standing in the defeated nation are not for all that total wars. The total character of this war is on the contrary derived from the fact that it involves the totality of capitalist social relations. The tendency towards war lives in every aspect of capitalist social relations, until it arrives in a contradictory form even within the consciousness of the proletariat.
When the American theoreticians of global counter-revolution affirm that “the war against communism is first of all a war for the conquest of consciousness” they demonstrate a perfect understanding of this qualitatively new aspect of the relation revolution/counter-revolution. New in that one could not begin to understand its current importance prior to the transition from formal to real domination of the Capitalist Mode of Production (CMP) over all social relations (see on this issue Forcing the Horizon).
This aspect could perhaps appear “secondary” or “superstructural” to comrades who have still not succeeded in liberating themselves from the past, but it is a question of the fundamental thesis for the leap to the Party. Furthermore, it is a material fact that without taking up this level of analysis it is impossible to explain phenomena such as treason.
Just as the guerrilla in a break with the past of the worker’s and communist movement affirmed the unity of the political and the military against the third-internationalist theories which have always made that scission (the armed wing and the distinction between the party and the army) and in so doing reproduced within themselves the division between thought and action and between mental and manual labor, so today it is necessary it to break with the positions that perceive the economic separately as the base which more or less mechanically determines all the rest (the political, the cultural and consciousness). These positions never take into account the fact that there is a dialectical relation between the structure (the economic base) and the superstructure ( political, judicial and social organization etc.), which is to say that one influences the other and vice versa.
It is precisely this vice-versa which is not understood, leading to the emergence of revisionist tendencies which negate the necessity of cultural revolution in the metropolis, or want to make it after the seizure of power, postponing it to a future phase.
Secondly these positions cannot successfully observe our development in the historical phase of the real domination of capitalism: which is to say a capitalism that even though it coexists on a world scale with not yet capitalist means of production, has in reality subjugated the entire globe, including those zones in which non-capitalist means of production survive. However, and this is even more serious, they are not able to understand that the real domination of the capitalist mode of production in the metropoles results in domination of all aspects of the social, and its crisis leads to an exultation of precisely those aspects which are considered to be “secondary” or “superstructural” in a mechanistic analysis.
On that account it is of fundamental importance today for the leap to the Party, to recognize that there is no separation between cultural revolution and civil war in either temporal (That is to say as separate phases) or spatial terms. Civil war and cultural revolution are simply two aspects of the same process: the total social war. Placing this consideration at the center of the activity of the Party sets the correct base for the construction of the system of red power, and at the same time puts the war for transition to communism on the agenda.
Working for the leap to the Party, means for us a critical balance sheet of our entire experience as a combatant communist organization. Naturally this does not entail either the negation of the entire heritage of experience of the Walter Alasia Column or the conservation of the remainder as it stands.
The leap to the Party entails the necessity of a continual discussion of the work carried out, and the constant submission of this work to verification, which is to say constant self-criticism. Self criticism is the point of departure for the relaunching of intervention on a higher level: it works to move forward every-time for the elimination of all the errors inevitably committed by the Party.
Here we want to note three aspects of this problem:
a) Communists must not be afraid of making mistakes. The Party is born and develops correctly by learning from its mistakes which allows them to be overcome and in this way we carry out a leap in the quality of our entire social practice.
This also means breaking with the revisionist and third internationalist ideology which always presents the history of the Party as a linear process of growth, in which the correct line triumphs over the erroneous line, as a kind of metaphysical historical law, thus negating the actuality of the two line struggle within the Party. A good example of this conception is given by the book History of the CPSU (B)-Short Course as well as all the writings of Stalin in general. We must break even more with the Togliatist conception later repeated by Berlinguer, which forms the basis of the revisionist “continuity” according to which the Party is never wrong but adapts in each moment to the situation and the objective conditions.
In accordance with this theory, the PCI justifies all the numerous strategic retreats of its history in the disguise of clever tactical choices (the years of the 30s to the retreat at Salerno, and currently the historic compromise). On the other hand, the PCI in order to establish the politico-historical mystification of the continuity of the Party’s line, makes it appear that the party of the historic compromise and the corporative pact is the natural heritage in the current situation of the revolutionary party founded at Livorno in 1921.
In order to advance today, we must on the contrary state clearly, where, when and how we make errors, and above we must never understand self criticism as an exception (a point of political retreat), but from now on as an integral part of all of our work and our social practice.
b) Nevertheless the admission of having committed errors, is not sufficient to overcome them in practice. If it is limited to that, one falls into the tomb of opportunism: which is to say self criticism is transformed into a completely formalistic practice, one takes away all life from it and in the end negates it. In other words, it is not a matter of making a space for mea culpas limited to a recognition that criticisms addressed to us are correct, for example those of the comrades of the Brigades in the Palmi camp.
On the contrary it is a matter of going to the roots of the errors and eliminating, criticizing and destroying the political positions and incorrect lines which have negatively influenced our analysis and our social practice. In order to do this, it is necessary to submit the whole of our analysis and our social practice to a scrupulously critical reexamination, given that the two line struggle traverses the totality of our history, with no exceptions!
The problem does not so much consist in a mechanical separation between our correct and our incorrect actions. It must be a global reexamination of our total practice, grasping that which prefigured the revolutionary line, and at the same time disposing of that which reinforced the revisionist line. Only be carrying this self criticism through to the end that it is possible to recover the true revolutionary heritage of the Walter Alasia Column of the Red Brigades.
C) The Party continually and inevitably commits errors. Making mistakes is unavoidable! There are however two types of error in every phase: those which are inevitable and those which can be avoided. Avoidable errors are those which the Party commits subjectively. Inevitable errors are those determined objectively by the characteristics of the phase.
The inevitable errors of one phase are transformed into avoidable errors in the following phase. In that way the process of criticism-self criticism recovers its strategic (and permanent) meaning in the leap to the Party.
The Walter Alasia Column in the proceeding phase, had numerous limitations in its theory-practice and committed many errors, some avoidable, other inevitable. Today these errors are preventable and therefore must be avoided!
The current development of theory and of social practice provides a great deal of clarity on the central themes of the leap to the Party. The fact that many errors were inevitable must not in anyway serve as an alibi for apologetic positions which culminate in a repurposing of “continuist” and “neo-revisionist” schemas in which the errors of the Party are a consequence of the objective conditions in which it must work.
Today we must remorselessly refuse such errors, because there currently exist the conditions to overcome them.
A major part of Stalin’s errors were inevitable at the time, regardless, today we must remorselessly criticize these errors in order to get to their roots. We may criticize the personal faults of Stalin (and of the CPSU) with the hindsight of today, but that is nevertheless indispensable (and possible) currently in order to step forward towards the transition to communism. It is with the same spirit that we must carry out a serious self criticism in reference to the theory-practice of our column, in order to create the basis for the leap to the Party.
Crisis of the capitalist mode of production: worker centrality
One can, directly or indirectly trace all of our limitations and all of our errors in the centering of our political intervention to the partiality of our analysis of the crisis of the capitalist mode of production.
This partiality is founded in a serious error: the mechanical separation between the structure and the superstructure, which is to say between the economic on one side and all the other spheres of the socioeconomic formation on the other.
In the context of this separation we absolutized the dominant character of production in relation to all other social sectors. Whereas actually, though the production of commodities is indeed always the dominant aspect, the one in which the extortion of surplus value and the valorization of capital takes place, it is nevertheless true that it is a single part of a more complex totality: the metropole.
In contrast to a correct understanding of the centrality of production, we schematically reduced the totality of social relations to a single aspect alone. The complex dialectical relationship which exists between the parts and the whole was in this way flattened into a automatic relation of cause and effect.
This simplification prevented us from seeing the new quality of the relation production/consumption in the phase of total real domination of the capitalist mode of production.
Forcing the Horizon observes:
“The production of relative surplus value (real domination), demands the production of new consumption: it demands that the circuit of consumption within circulation be enlarged in the same manner as the circuit of production was previously (…). In the phase of total real domination, capital having already occupied all geographic space (formation of the world market), in order to continue to expand, and therefore further enlarge the market, ceaselessly revolutionizes the sphere of consumption.
Consumption now is like production, subject to a continual process of restructuring, by becoming a dynamic, active element, strictly and rigidly integrated in the production/reproduction process.”
“Today, under total real domination, all the qualities of the social human are subordinated to the production of the human of capital, functionalized for the realization of relative surplus value (…)
Thus a new branch of production emerges the “factory of consciousness” with its functionaries:
the factory of “modes of consumption”, of “ideological systems”, aiming towards the production/reproduction of relative surplus value within the dominant social relation.
Production is not only the indirect production of consumption (in the sense that all production presupposes consumption), but also today, is “direct production of consumption”: a aspect of the production of commodity-objects, the production of relative surplus value, the specifically capitalist production of its realization conditions.”
Because of this new and more intimate relation between production and consumption, between the production of commodities and the production of ideology, there emerges the metropole, understood as a total factory. It is the metropole in its totality which constitutes the minimum appropriate unit for analysis with a comprehensive view. The production of commodities and consequently the factory, forms only a single part, albeit a central one, of this totality.
To be limited to only this aspect, to which the other aspects are mechanically subordinated, leads inevitably to partiality.
The comrades observe:
“The composition of the class, the proletariat, must be characterized not only in relation to the “partial factory”, but also to the “total factory”, the metropolis in its totality. It must be seen not only as labor power, labor capacity, but also as consumer, thinker and ideologue. Any mechanistic distinction between labor power and its forms of consciousness, collapses of itself. The metropolitan proletariat is at the same time capital’s labor power and the conscious consumer of its own programmed, finished product.”
As opposed to this, the analysis developed by the Walter Alasia Column in the past two years, was not able to move beyond the gates of the factory: it struck the particular, but missed the general.
Furthermore, because of its failure to link the part to the whole, it was incapable of a strategic view of how the general lives within the particular. In rendering the production of commodities as absolute and failing to grasp it as one aspect of the total factory which today appears as the metropolis, we limited the center of the class confrontation to the partial factory. In that framework, even in the important aspect of crisis-restructuring which covers the current crisis, we gave a partial interpretation of the process of productive restructuring (intensification of exploitation, toxicity [?], reduction of the productive base through an attack on employment), failing to carry out a total evaluation of its consequences for the class composition of the metropolitan proletariat outside of the factory as well.
We grasped the particular significance of the reduction of the productive base of the working class (intensification of exploitation and reduction of employment) but not its general strategic significance: the decomposition of the working class and its interchangeability with the other social figures of the metropolitan proletariat.
Therefore, we were not able to clearly observe the metropolitan proletariat as a class, in particular we could not understand that the metropolitan proletariat is the result of the decomposition of the working class.
It is not a matter of different social classes, sometimes uniting around immediate common interests, but of a single class, stratified and decomposed into different social figures, uniting around a single strategic interest: transition to communism.
The strategic aspect of the project of the imperialist bourgeois, is based in the annihilation, stratification and differentiation of the metropolitan proletariat: the general objective of the imperialist project in the conjuncture is the perpetuation of the current relations of production by force, which are objectively decomposing from the historical point of view of the general crisis of the capitalist mode of production, however they cannot be completely destroyed, in the absence of the subjective construction in the metropolitan proletariat, of the system of red power.
This annihilation does not manifest as the direct and material annihilation of entire strata of the metropolitan proletariat (one cannot put it on the same plane as X thousand layoffs, and the material elimination of X thousand of those laid off, or simply the entire working class).
Annihilation, means on the contrary, the destruction of the links between the diverse determinations of the system of red power, and the destruction in the consciousness of all proletarian strata of the possibility of the construction of a collective alternative to the crisis of the capitalist mode of production. It is a project of differentiation and decomposition at its foundation, operating on different levels, which seeks to set the diverse strata of the metropolitan proletariat against one another, by dividing proletarians among themselves, and pitting the one against the other. The fundamental condition for its success is the destruction of the collective alternative, in a material sense (destruction and physical annihilation of the revolutionary mass organizations in construction, and the revolutionary mass movements), and on the level of the consciousness of the proletariat (the annihilation of the “memory” of the necessity/possibility of collective organizing for the transition to communism).
In the limitation of the fact of contradiction to the sphere of production and in concentration on the factory, the political objective of our intervention was the recomposition of the working class and not the recomposition of the metropolitan proletariat. On the contrary we previewed the latter as a system of alliances under the hegemony of the working class and its party.
In this context, the polemic on the “people” (a category utilized in all our written work, and especially in the self-interview) does not emerge due to a mere terminological ambiguity, but conceals a major error on our part.
The Brigade comrades in the Palmi camp correctly observe:
“The center which is lacking in this contribution [our self-interview] is the recognition of the general historic character of the crisis of the capitalist mode of production, as an irreversible process which generates the reduction-restructuration of the productive base, and the social crisis of the modification of class composition.”
It is correct that it is the irreversible character of the crisis which determines the decomposition of the working class: the social figure of the “worker” is reduced, while at the same time the figure of the “marginal” and the “illegal” is augmented. It is naturally not a automatic process, a laid off worker does not immediately and necessarily become an illegal proletarian. Nevertheless a general tendency to the proportional augmentation of marginal and illegal types in relation to the working class, in strict correlation to the decomposition of the same (restructuring of production and reduction of the productive base) is indisputable.
It is not a question of a transitory process, but of an irreversible one: which to say that with the greater deepening of the crisis, the mobility and interchangeability of the diverse social figures of the metropolitan proletariat intensifies more and more. Therefore, the old categories of “working class”, “sub-proletarian”, “semi-proletarian”, can no longer be applied.
The Palmi comrades continue:
“it is the general and irreversible character of the crisis which forms the base of the irreversible and proletarian interest of all the figures of the metropolitan proletariat: the overthrow of the current capitalist mode of production. This does not subtract from the fact that productive labor retains its objectively central position within the metropolitan proletariat, and it is the productive workers who are endowed with political centrality and revolutionary leadership of the process of class recomposition.
It follows from this that the other proletarian figures (the marginal, the non-productive etc), as fragments of the decomposition of the class brought into being by the crisis, are not external allies, but strata within a single class: the metropolitan proletariat.”
“This is exactly what we deny today (that the working class and the other strata of the class have different class interests), when we affirm that the metropolitan proletariat is a plural unity within which workers predominate, when we affirm that it includes all proletarianized workers and all workers in the process of proletarianization, and that therefore it constitutes the immense majority of the population of our country. In conclusion, the recomposition of the metropolitan proletariat around the figure of the metropolitan mass worker cannot take place without the diverse strata which comprise it, negating and overcoming their particularities. Likewise the working class, can’t take leadership of this recomposition if it is negated as the labor power which valorizes capital.”
Recognizing today that these critiques are well founded, does not mean the accomplishment of a formal act, but establishing a basis for overcoming the limits of our analysis. It is a matter of a leap which is not only essential to our strategic plan, but urgent. The limitations of our analysis led, in the past, to our uncritical return to erroneous positions (such as for example, the revisionist theory of the productive forces which we will discuss in more detail below) and to a negative influence on our entire social practice (for example, the immediate political program).
Today it is necessary to make a definitive break with our past limitations, and first of all with particularism. It is only by placing the political recomposition of the metropolitan proletariat as a class at the center of our activity, that it is possible to understand the correct dialectic between the general political program of the conjuncture and the immediate political program, between the Party and the masses, and between the Party, the revolutionary mass movements, and the revolutionary mass organizations.
There exists a dialectic between theory and practice: the one influences the other and vice-versa, in the enclosure within particularism which left room for neo-revisionist productions. In their turn, these are consolidated as erroneous political lines, preventing our social practice from making the political leap demanded by the conjuncture.
Therefore, it is a question of the redefinition of our theory-practice on all levels, to go into the core of the problems, and from there, to observe our experience in every detail, in its links to the main […?],
. This is the only possible way to relaunch our social practice at a higher level.
Party and Programs
The limits of our analysis and in particular, our schematic interpretation of worker centrality and our incomprehension of the nature of the metropolitan proletariat led us to a reductive view of the leap to the Party. Which is to say that we did not comprehend that the construction of the Party and the recomposition of the metropolitan proletariat live in a strict dialectical relation: the one cannot exist without the other and vice versa. Only this fundamental thesis can ensure the construction of the mass line of the Party, and thus a correct framework for the general political program of the conjuncture and the immediate political programs.
In actuality, action as a Party, is based precisely in the capacity to relate the general to the particular, in the context of the dialectic of destruction/construction which characterizes the contradiction between the imperialist bourgeois and the metropolitan proletariat.
Action as a Party, means making the attack on the heart of the state, which is to say the attack on the heart of the project of the imperialist bourgeois in the conjuncture, live within all the determinations of the red power in construction; propelling the concentrated force of the Party, the revolutionary mass organizations and the revolutionary mass movements against the central nodes of the project of the imperialist bourgeoisie.
Over the course of this process, destruction and construction, exist in a relation which does not permit separation; the destruction and disarticulation of the project of the imperialist bourgeoisie is the indispensable condition for the construction of the system of red power; the construction of the system of red power is the indispensable condition of the disarticulation of the projects of the enemy.
Two systems of power confront one another, in the context of the tendency towards total social war; on the one hand the imperialist system of the multinationals, whose objective is to maintain by force capitalist production relations and social relations, on the other red power whose objective is the overthrow of these social relations and total social revolution in the metropole.
The epochal historical crisis of the capitalist mode of production, serves as the base for this confrontation, and sanctions the absolute enmity of the metropolitan proletariat and the imperialist bourgeois with economic data. The survival of the imperialist bourgeois as a ruling class requires the annihilation, stratification and differentiation of the metropolitan proletariat and in particular, requires the annihilation of its system of power: the system of red power.
From the other side, the affirmation of the system of red power requires the annihilation of the project of the imperialist bourgeois and the political recomposition of the metropolitan proletariat. Between the two systems of power and between the class interests they express, there can currently be no relation other then war.
Centralization, and executivization, are the central example of the project of refoundation of the imperialist system of the multinationals on the terrain of intensified civil war.
At the same time, the project of the imperialist bourgeoisie, proposes the decomposition and differentiation of the metropolitan proletariat.
One aspect is the recomposition and centralization of the bourgeois front, the other aspect is the decomposition and differentiation of the metropolitan proletariat: this is the dynamic aspect of the imperialist project in the conjuncture. And this is the level of confrontation which the project of the enemy imposes on the metropolitan proletariat and its revolutionary vanguard.
The leap to the Party and the construction of the system of red power is the possible and necessary response of the metropolitan proletariat to this project. The project of the imperialist bourgeois in its generality is articulated in the particular: the general lives in the particular. Which is to say, that the generality of the enemy project lives in each and everyone of its particular and peripheral articulations.
Likewise, the project of the metropolitan proletariat, the construction of the system of red power, in starting from the particular, arrives at the general, in triggering a global offensive against the enemy project, constructing at the same time a global alternative in all areas.
Thus, the leap to the Party, does justice to all particularism and localism, and imposes the general, even when one operates in the particular. If the project of the imperialist bourgeois in the conjuncture is based in the decomposition and differentiation of the metropolitan proletariat, the program of the Party is based in the political recomposition of the metropolitan proletariat against the enemy project.
The strategic aspect which is at the center of the leap to the Party, is thus the recomposition of the metropolitan proletariat: it is precisely this aspect that must also live in the particular, that must traverse all the determinations of the system of red power, from the Party to the revolutionary mass organizations, to the revolutionary mass movements.
All of this needs to find its moment of synthesis at the highest possible level, in the general political program of the conjuncture: thus in the general political program of the conjuncture, there coexists the highest level of disarticulation/destruction of the enemy project with the highest level of recomposition of the metropolitan proletariat, and thus the construction of the system of red power which is feasible in the conjuncture.
In that sense, the general political program of the conjuncture must recompose the different strata of the metropolitan proletariat in a joint attack on the heart of the state.
The immediate political programs on the contrary represent the articulation of the general political program of the conjuncture within the different strata of the metropolitan proletariat: they must recompose each of the particular strata of the class around needs which relate to the strategic aspect of recomposition of the metropolitan proletariat and the attack on the heart of the state.
That is exactly what is meant by the general living in the particular: Basing the immediate political programs on the needs of the masses which contain the domination of the conjuncture in their strategic aspect. Only on this basis is it possible to comprehend the dialectic which binds together the framework upon which the leap to the Party is constructed, and at the same time concretizes the system of red power: the organization of the combatant communist vanguards in the Party, the activation of the revolutionary mass movements, the organization of the vanguards of struggle in the revolutionary mass organizations.
In our campaigns in the factories and in the service sector, even in analyzing the restructuration of the means of production, down to the smallest details, and even in seizing upon the most urgent and keenly felt interests of the masses, we did not successfully determine the strategic aspect of these needs. Likewise we did not succeed at framing in a strategic dimension, either the revolutionary mass movements which we mobilized or the revolutionary mass organizations in construction, thus we returned to the particular.
Both at Sesto and at Alfa we have put forward an immediate political program widely shared and practiced by the working class, because its slogans synthesized clearly the needs of that strata of the class: “No dismissals, even if hidden.”, “All harmful working conditions must be eliminated.”, “No increase in exploitation.” The problem was not so much the slogans launched as in the content which makes them live and the way in which the immediate political programs are connected to the general.
In effect when one says: “no dismissals” one does not advance beyond a simple demand: it is not simply a question of keeping jobs, or of work for all and less work immediately, but of understanding the decomposition of the working class as a strategic aspect of all facets of the restructuring of production.
One element of this is the narrowing of the base of production (expulsion of the labor force from the factory) and the reduction of the figure of the worker in the context of the more general decomposition of the entire metropolitan proletariat.
The other element is the decomposition and differentiation internal to the working class, which occurs through the expulsion of the vanguards of struggle, mobility, the professionalized figures etc.
It is only in placing this strategic aspect at the center of the immediate political programs of the working class, that one can make connections to the immediate political programs of the other strata of the metropolitan proletariat and thus to the general political program of the conjuncture.
The withdrawal of income assistance at Alfa as a practical articulation of the slogan “no more layoffs” contains this strategic aspect. Our intervention in the factories had to direct everything that had been expressed in the Factory Campaign into this strategic point of the immediate political program: the revolutionary mass organizations under construction and the revolutionary mass movements which it had activated. In grasping this strategic aspect, the immediate political program effectuates at the same moment, the disarticulation of the enemy project and the recomposition of the working class.
It is within the relation destruction/construction that it is possible to concretize the recomposition of the working class both within itself and in relation to the metropolitan proletariat
The recomposition of the working class does not simply mean preventing layoffs or opposing the material effects of restructuring, but entails above all, unification in a offensive struggle, to the end,
against all the aspects of restructuration which contain in themselves, decomposition and differentiation. Decomposition and differentiation do not operate simply on a material level, but on the contrary have a much more ambitious objective: transforming the worker into “capitalist man”, a pure appendage, without life, and without history, a machine. And this is not possible without the annihilation of the collective historical memory of the working class
Flexibility, the intensification of exploitation and of dangerous working conditions, can only be imposed, if the bourgeois “I” succeeds in prevailing over the proletarian “we”. Acceptance of money for damages, layoffs with bonuses when they are the very basis of differentiation is the poisoned arrow of the imperialist bourgeois, aimed at the consciousness of each individual worker in seeking to separate and oppose them to their comrades in struggle and labor.
As a result, the struggle against flexibility, against the intensification of the speed and responsibilities of work, the struggle for breaks contain in themselves the strategic aspect of the reconquest of sociality in the factory, the reconquest of class collectivity.
The intervention of the Party, must take up these particular moments of the working class struggle, in order to place them at the center of the immediate political program. For example in the income assistance struggles at Alfa, we must take on the character of an offensive struggle against one of the articulations of the project of decomposition, differentiation and annihilation of the imperialist bourgeois.
In understanding these strategic aspects of its daily struggle, the working class finds itself, starting from the particular practices of its sector, confronting the totality of the complex of relations which exist between the metropolitan proletariat and the imperialist bourgeois in this conjuncture: A relation of annihilation, a relation of war.
It is on that terrain, that it is possible to organize the masses in the armed struggle for transition to communism, that it is possible to link the particular struggle in the factories and the immediate political program of the working class, to those of the other strata of the metropolitan proletariat. It is through this understanding that the working class negates itself as a separate class, merging into the metropolitan proletariat. For example by centering the aspect of differentiation/decomposition/annihilation, the immediate political program of the working class, makes comprehensible to the workers, the same strategic aspects which animate the immediate political programs of the other strata of the metropolitan proletariat (for example: the struggles and the immediate political programs of the proletarian political prisoners against disassociation/isolation..to practice liberation as a strategy of recomposition of the proletarian prisoners within the metropolitan proletariat).
Furthermore, it is by placing this aspect at the center of the immediate political program of the working class, that we are tied directly to the totality of the contradiction between the imperialist bourgeois and the metropolitan proletariat, not only that between the working class and the capitalists (employers), and the the general political program of the conjuncture lives in the particular, in the recomposition of the working class into the metropolitan proletariat for transition to communism.
“This transitional conjuncture depends upon both the structural evolution of the capitalist/imperialist crisis, and the subjective capacity of the metropolitan proletariat to constitute itself as a combatant Party, and to condense its antagonism into a system of red power, autonomous, articulated and diffused within all sectors of the class and all of its concentrations. The central problem in the current situation is the conquest of the masses for the armed struggle and this poses above all the question of revolutionary mass organizations.”
Here in The Bee and the Communist the comrades of the Red Brigades point out the missing link in the construction of the system of red power: the revolutionary mass organizations.
The system of red power, is defined only by the dialectical life and growth of all its articulations, Party/Revolutionary mass movements/Revolutionary mass organizations. The revolutionary mass organizations as articulations of the system of red power, are constructed among the most advanced and combative elements of the proletariat, in all the sectors of the class in which the party has given life to the general political program of the conjuncture in the immediate political programs of struggle, where its intervention seized and struck the strategic aspect of the enemy project in a particular sector, addressing itself to the struggles and guiding them, leading the metropolitan proletariat to consciously organize itself on the terrain of armed struggle.
Revolutionary mass organizations are not and cannot be the project of Party cadres who are themselves organized within the Party, in the brigades, fronts and leadership. The revolutionary mass organizations are organizations of the metropolitan proletariat to which the Party gives guidelines of struggle, and in which it verifies and determines its mass line.
“Even the Party and the class are a contradiction, a unity of opposites, two aspects of the same process. They cannot be separated, nor can they be resolved into one another.” (The Bee and the Communist)
Therefore to reinforce the brigades on one side and to build the revolutionary mass organizations on the other are the current and urgent tasks!
These are tasks we have not been able to carry out so far, and this failure has resulted in serious setbacks and major defeats for the guerrilla.
In response to the Palmi comrades who wrote the document. It was only in the beginning that our politico-military defeats were not due to the politico-military arrangements that we ourselves established, that we tend to give in perspective, namely the Party, but due to an erroneous mass line which developed this year, and which prevented the construction of revolutionary mass organizations.
Here can be found the fundamental problem, which all the revolutionary forces who have worked dialectically together for the leap to the Party must settle accounts with, and above all:
- The fact that we precisely grasped the the total project of the imperialist bourgeois in this phase of the total real domination of Capital, the objective phase of total social war, but did not grasp the polyhedral and multiform aspect of that project in the diverse sectors of the class, and were not able to actualize the general political program of the conjuncture in all strata of the class, making the general live in the particular and vice-versa, in order to recompose the variegated social figures of the metropolitan proletariat, the task which characterizes the current conjuncture.
- The fact that we understood the objective state of war which exists in this phase (“how is it possible to suppose that an objective state of war does not exist in the metropoles, where the workers are put into income assistance, there are expulsions, the confrontations with the union, the thousands of drug addicts, the armed robberies with the gun battles worthy of the Old West, the ecological disasters etc.” Communitarian Fraction Trani), has lead certain revolutionary forces (especially the guerrilla-Party), to believe that the proletariat is conscious and organized to support now, immediately, intensified civil war.
“We strongly assert that if various sectors of the metropolitan proletariat are involved in this war and resort to violence and sometimes to arms, the triumphalist analyses and extremist theses which affirm that the class is on the offensive and the attack, are not for all that justifiable. In reality, in order to support such a thesis, one must demonstrate the existence in this war, of a rich and forceful proletarian self-determination, in both its activities, its content, its objectives, in its system of relations, and in its forms of organization. We restrict ourselves to noting the presence of considerable potentialities in some struggles, however we do not permit ourselves to define the degree of autonomy which can be encountered as rich and strong throughout the entire breath of antagonism.” ( Communitarian Fraction Trani).
The passage from a objective state of war to a state of intensified civil war, a subjective state of revolutionary war for transition to communism, is not given automatically, but can only be accomplished through a mastery of the strategic points of the current conjuncture, in the dialectic of destruction/construction which involves on the one hand, the broadening of antagonistic social practices which strike and disarticulate the vital centers of the imperialist system of the multinationals, and, on the other hand, the leap to the Party, the development of the system of red power in its articulations, Party/revolutionary mass movements/revolutionary mass organizations.
And therefore, a social practice which knows how to integrate these two fundamental moments, which traces in its activity the threads which recompose the figures of the metropolitan proletariat.
The rapid rises and falls…
For a critique which definitively buries subjectivism and militarism.
Brief references to the debate on what has happened, why it happened, and how we can avoid it happening again.
1:The Turin action. Its presuppositions
As we emphasized above, the objective state of war which is spreading in our territory, in its metropolitan nerve centers, cannot up until now be characterized as an offensive attack of the autonomous and organized class. This means that we are not entering the phase of intensified civil war, even if the acceleration of the crisis of the capitalist mode of production, brings us ever closer to that moment.
In the construction of the Party and the development of the system of red power, our task is the determination of the rhythm of the war.
But to determine the rhythms of the war, means to move past this phase, which is to say, the accomplishment of the following objectives: the construction of the Party, the construction of the revolutionary mass organizations in all sectors of the class, the recomposition of the metropolitan proletariat.
Therefore, our social practice must develop in accordance with these objectives. The Turin action on the contrary, was not only itself a leap past the guidelines of combat appropriate for this phase, but displays in every way its subjectivist and militarist origins.
However in order to understand the Turin action, it is our position that we must go back, to the Salerno action. With the Salerno action, the guerrilla-Party launched the slogan “carry the attack to the armed forces”, which can be understood in relation to the analysis of the phase of civil war theorized by the comrades of the guerrilla-Party.
If we are in complete agreement with the strategic dimension of this action as an expropriation of weapons, we are in complete disagreement with the analysis and slogan which underpinned it because:
-Today in a phase of transition to war, which is not yet civil war, it is adventurism to strike indiscriminately all personal of the armed forces (you must make a distinction between career officers and conscript solders!).
-Our superficial analysis of this sector, already sketches the contradictions which exist, between the leadership and the military in general, between the different units which make it up, between the career and conscript solders.
Our position, on the contrary, is that our task in this phase is to launch the slogan of construction of revolutionary mass organizations in the armed forces, in the units, in the urban barracks, where the proletarian youth experience intense extremes of ghettoization, exploitation, and social, cultural and political slavery to Power.
However, with the Salerno action, the contradictions within the guerrilla-Party became open, which far from being recomposed through the criticism-self criticism of an erroneous social practice, were discharged in the Turin action and the provocation against comrade Natalia Ligas.
In Turin, the headquarters of the multinational Fiat, center of the employer’s anti-worker strategy, where the working class is the most representative sector of the class, and leads a open battle against imperialist restructuring, the guerrilla-Party launched the autumn campaign with a proletarian expropriation which culminated in the death of two security personnel.
All the political elements qualify this action as a provocation internal to the revolutionary movement.
A: The guerrilla-Party pretends that this action is addressed to the extra-legal proletariat. However all antagonistic social practice in the metropole today should be addressed to all strata of the class, even if it is determined by the immediate political program of a single strata. For example, the practice of liberation as the immediate political program of proletarian prisoners, is tied to all strata of the class, because it is based in liberation from the capitalist mode of production which involves and binds together all strata of the metropolitan proletariat.
B: Proletarian expropriation is a politico-military action with the same dignity as any other. Better still it is their precondition. It is the correct program of financing which the guerrilla must implement in order to resume the offensive. Capital defends its wealth in a thousand ways (alarms, guards) and proletarian intelligence knows how to defuse alarms and disarm guards, defenders of capital, but they are not specifically enrolled in a anti-proletarian and anti-guerrilla function. In this phase it is necessary to remain selective, to identify and discriminate, in order to always grasp the political objective which one intends to accomplish. The execution of two guards who surrendered and had been disarmed is not a current strategic objective!
This action, instead of clarifying the tasks of this phase to the revolutionary movement, the meaning of expropriation and the role of the banking system, has caused only confusion, disorientation and disassociation. It is objectively a counter revolutionary provocation!
2: From February until now. The Walter Alasia Column, if your there, strike a blow!
In February 1982, the W.A Column suffered a hard blow from the counter-guerrilla, which resulted in the arrest of dozens of militants, especially in the Mass Front, and which “cracked” the assault operation against the imperialist prison in San Vittore which.
“would have deployed force and social power, exercised within the correct relation Party/revolutionary mass movements, in order to accomplish a fundamental objective of the revolutionary program: the liberation of proletarian prisoners”
(Claim of responsibility document, Lissone, July 1982)
The main architect of this attack by the imperialist bourgeois is a leader of our organization: the infamous Galli: we have returned elsewhere to a profound analysis of the phenomena of infamy, emphasizing however that the repentants, are not the only or the principle cause of the defeats suffered by the guerrilla in recent years. Which is also noted by the Palmi comrades in This is only the Beginning.
Anyway, this was a political setback for the W.A. Column, perhaps also because he was the first repentant in our history (however “let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.” wrote the imprisoned comrades of the Brigade in June 1982). Immediately following February, the Column expelled from the organization some “comrades” guilty not of political differences, but of serious political internal improprieties which had involved the San Vittore operation, even before the treason of Galli. We recall that the infamous Marocco was among these individuals, who caused so many catastrophes within the guerrilla-Party (and unfortunately for us as well!).
From February onwards, a sterile and static debate develops within the Column which, far from being a constructive confrontation examining the work in the Brigades, and in the fronts, and examining social practice in the metropolitan territory, and in all sectors of the metropolitan proletariat, in a dialectic with other revolutionary forces, became fossilized around issues related to methods of work, and on the demand made by certain comrades that we enter “right here and now” into the guerrilla-Party, completely abandoning the historico-political patrimony produced in the Walter Alasia Column and the divergences of our political analysis with those of the guerrila-Party, divergences which did not in anyway negate a constant dialectical relation with it.
Unfortunately, this stagnant situation was not resolved until the formation of a new leadership for the Column in June.
The Lissone action in July 1982, initiates the financing campaign of the Column and,
“even if the objective of financing was not accomplished, the guerrilla was able to successfully confront the situation, through its capacity for collective organization on the terrain of the social war, applying the entire heritage of revolutionary experience gained in recent years.”
(Lissone claim of responsibility)
After the fall of three of our comrades during a shootout with the cops, and the death of one of them, comrade Rico. The return to the debate and the work of the Brigades, under the new leadership of the Column, provoked an important political maturation throughout the entirety of the organization, under the pressure of the transcendence of neo-revisionism, and the tendency towards a social practice in a dialectic with the leap to the Party, within the the recomposition of the metropolitan proletariat.
It was this tendency which prevailed throughout the Column at the beginning of the Autumn Campaign, when the counter-guerrilla, once again with the aid of an informer (Marocco), carries out a very devastating attack on the revolutionary forces, for us this attack manifested in the loss of the Cinisello base and of the comrades in the leadership of the Column as well as the death of comrade Bruno.
Faced with this serious situation, our criticism-self criticism could not be merely “technical”, nor could it be a summing up of our continued use of a base well known to the expelled and current informer Marocco. It is on the contrary, necessary to make a political critique, severe and serious, of the politico-organizational praxis of the Column: the tendency acquired in the leap to the Party and the social practice corresponding to that, has not settled its accounts with the logistico-organizational situation of the Column, which is rather weak and precarious, resulting in a incredible non-correspondence between comrade’s “will to act” and the “real possibilities” of action in this situation.
We have also privileged the political over the logistico-military, whereas a combatant communist organization must know how to balance all the politico-military-organizational aspects of its life, not in order to survive, but to grow and strengthen itself in order to effectively contribute to the leap to the Party.
The ingenuity and the “youth” of the Column has given the counter-guerrilla, using its main force the Carabinieri the chance to arrest three of our comrades in the middle of the street.
But our military defeats have not entirely wiped us out. They make us reflect very seriously on the necessity of clandestine patterns of behavior adapted to the growing militarization of the metropole: it is communist intelligence which must shake off the the enemy and encircle the encirclers.
The metropole is the center of the social war which the proletarians led by the Party, develop daily, through a thousand antagonistic practices, along a thousand lines of combat, in a thousand guerrilla fires. It is in the metropole that the antagonist social war is unleashed: it is where we are, present, taking the offensive, in the factory, in the prison, and in the territory where millions of proletarians fight for LIBERATION.
BUILD THE COMBATANT COMMUNIST PARTY!
BUILD THE REVOLUTIONARY MASS ORGANIZATIONS!
ACTIVATE THE REVOLUTIONARY MASS MOVEMENTS!
DEVELOP THE SYSTEM OF RED POWER!
HONOR TO THE COMRADES FALLEN IN COMBAT FOR COMMUNISM!
Walter Alasia Column “Luca”
Milan, January 1983