Most of the time, within the communist movement itself, ready-made ideas
inherited from the dominant ideology prevent a full understanding of the
revolutionary program. On many essential questions, it is not the communist
position, confirmed by the experiences of countless working-class revolts
that is put forward but rather the social-democratic, lassallean "tradition"
(whether or not radicalized by the leninist terminology), that is, what
the bourgeoisie itself understands about the revolutionary movement. And
so, on the fundamental question of democracy, the great myths of the French
Revolution - that archetype all bourgeois revolutions, Freedom, Equality
and Fraternity, are fully upheld by pseudo-marxists: considering that the
bourgeoisie has betrayed its own ideals, they assign the task of realizing
them to the proletariat! And of course the leftists keep fighting for the
total achievement of democratic rights, for "perfect" democracy. For those
idiots, democracy is but a form of government, the very ideal, in
fact, so far as government is concerned, which when eventually applied
in full, will usher in a new Golden Age. And so these sycophants have to
democratize the education system, the police and all State apparatus -in
short, they seek to democratize democracy. Democracy is always presented
as the ideal to be attained, and all our miseries and capitalist oppression
are seen as the result of a bad or incomplete application of this sacrosanct
democracy. For the pseudo-marxists (from trotskyists to councilists), democracy
is the pure form, the ideal that capital cannot realize, but which the
proletariat eventually could, in the mythical form of "workers' democracy".
And so, they simply oppose bourgeois democracy (restricted and betraying
the ideal) to the ideal to be realized: workers' democracy (trotskyist
councilist version), people's democracy (stalinist version) or again, direct
democracy (libertarian version). Here they are again, those eternal reformers
of the world who, having first defined the ideal to be attained as the
positive pole of capital -Freedom, Equality, Fraternity- can see in today's
reality nothing but the result of wrong application of this ideal by big
bad capital, its negative pole. All those people can not understand that
there is no such thing as a "democratic ideal" or, to be more exact, that
the democratic ideal is just the ideal image of the reality of capitalist
dictatorship. And in the same way that the solution of the celestial
family lies in the terrestrial family, so the solution of celestial democracy
(the democratic ideal) lies in the terrestrial reality of its application,
that is, in the terrestrial reality of capital's worldwide dictatorship.
Contrary to all those apologists of the system (even, and above all,
in its reformed form), marxists tackles democracy not as a form of government
more or less properly applied, but as a content, as the activity
of management -politics- of the capitalist mode of production. Therefore
democracy (whatever its form: parliamentary, bonapartist,...) is nothing
but the management of capitalism. As Marx put it, the bourgeoisie has really
and definitively achieved freedom (to sell one's labour power or
else... to die), fraternity (between atomized citizen) and equality (between
purchasers and sellers of commodities). The bourgeoisie has totally democratized
the world, since in its own world (that of circulation and exchange
of commodities) pure democracy is realized. Chasing the myth of a "good"
democracy, as all democrats (even "workers'" democrats) do actually serves
to reinforce, as an idea and so in its realization, the best "possible"
management of capitalism what ever form it might take -parliamentary, "working-class",
fascist, monarchist,...- it reinforces the foundation of the system: wage
slavery. Indeed, as this text will show, democracy is not one (or the "best")
of the forms of management of capital, but is the foundation, the
of capitalist management, and this, because the content common to the substance
of the capitalist mode of production -twosided character of the commodity
labour power- and the substance of£ democracy -make the individuals,
and so their labour power appear as a commodity. The capitalist mode of
production is therefore the first and also the last mode of production
that has to present the individual as a citizen, totally isolated, atomized
and alienated in civil society -the community of atomized individuals (that
is a des-humanized, non-species community)- because the capitalist mode
of production, in order to develop, needs the proletarians (free from all
ties to the glebe) to own only their labour power, and so always be ready
to sell themselves for a wage (the value of which is determined, like any
other commodity's, by the average time socially necessary for its reproduction).
This whole process of atomization and subsumption of human beings produces
one of the most disgusting symptoms of capitalism: individualism.
The content of every bourgeois state (whatever its form) is therefore
democracy, for democracy is the capitalist organisation of atomized
proletarians so as to make them spew out more and more value. Marx
had already guessed this essential content of democracy when he criticized
Hegel's ideas about the state:
"Hegel starts from the state and makes man the subjectified
state; democracy starts from man and makes the state objectified man. Just
as it is not religion which creates man but man who creates religion, so
it is not the constitution which creates the people but the people who
creates the constitution. In a certain respect the relation of democracy
to all other forms of the state is like the relation of Christianity to
all other forms of religion. Christianity is the religion par excellence,
the essence of religion - deified man as a particular religion. Similarly,
democracy is the essence of all state constitutions - socialised
men as a particular state constitution. (...) Man doesn't exist for the
law but the law for man - it is a human manifestation; whereas in the other
forms of the state man is a legal manifestation. That is the fundamental
distinction of democracy."
Marx - Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of
Through Marx, the whole filiation and invariance of communism asserts itself
more and more clearly, breaking with bourgeois socialism, breaking with
reformism, breaking with democracy. From time to time, however, communists
under the heavy weight of bourgeois ideology, did fall back to democratic
ground. That is what the Italian Abstentionist Communist Left criticized,
when writing that:
"Though they were the destroyers of the whole democratic
bourgeois ideology, it cannot be denied that Marx and Engels still gave
too much credit to democracy and thought that universal sufferage could
bring about advantages which had not been discredited yet."
"Avanti" 1918, The Lessons from the New History.
Yet despite its mistakes the communist movement has always asserted its
character more and more strongly, be it with Babeuf, Dejacque and Coeurderoy,
be it with Blanqui (and his famous "London toast") and (at certain times)
Lenin, be it with the Communist Lefts (from Italy, of course, with Bordiga
and the Communist Left from Italy in exile; but also the KAPD - Gorter/Schröder
wing). The question is getting clearer and clearer: how to remove from
the communist program all bourgeois leftovers, all concessions to bourgeois
socialists, to democrats?
"What stumbling block is this that endangers tomorrows revolution?
The deplorable popularity of all those bourgeois disguised as tribunists...
is the stumbling block against which yesterdays revolution crashed. Curse
be on us, should the indulgence of the masses allow these men to rise to
power on the ever closer day of victory."
Blanqui - 1851
"Political freedom is a farce and the worst possible kind
of slavery (...) So is political equality: this is why democracy must be
torn to pieces as well as any other form of government."
Engels - Progress of Social Reform on the Continent.
But with the Italian Communist Left the very content of democracy (and
not only the parliamentary, elective form of government that is called
democracy) is tackled from a communist standpoint:
"The workers movement has sprung up as a negation of democracy
(...) There exists a fundamental opposition between the institutions of
the democratic state and the creation of working class organisms. Through
the first, the proletariat is tied to the democratic fiction; through the
second, the workers assert, in opposition to the bourgeois government,
the opposite historical course which leads them to their liberation."
Bilan - Organ of the Italian Fraction of the internationalist
In the same way as Bilan brilliantly analyzed fascism not as the negation
of democracy (which means "justifying" the anti-fascism, interclassist
front) but, on the contrary, "as a purifying process of the democratic
state", so October -the monthly organ of the International Bureau of the
Fractions of the Communist Left- drew the essential, fundamental lessons:
"The idea of proletarian dictatorship gets spoilt whenever
it is linked, directly or indirectly, to the democratic principle."
Octobre No 5 - 1939
It is to continue this fundamental work of destroying democracy that we
carry out with our militant activity. With this text, with the whole of
the material we have already published, we wish to give revolutionary militants
a global analysis that can facilitate the communists' continuous critique
of democracy, including, above all, so-called "workers' democracy" (1).
Genesis of Democracy
From the very origin, democracy expresses its two-sided character like
the two-sided nature of the commodity (use value and exchange value) which
develops alongside it (see below). Democracy is both the "power of the
people", of the majority, of the "plebs" and the dictatorial expression
of the dominant class over the dominated majority.
Once the natural community is dissolved through exchange, democracy
appears as the mythical expression of a "new community", thus re-creating
artificially the primitive community just destroyed: the people
('demos' in Greek) being the whole of the citizen, a whole based
upon the negation of class antagonisms for the benefit of an a-classist
mass called the people, the nation,... In this sense, democracy really
exists. Yet it also exists only ideally (in the realm of ideas)
as a myth/reality camouflaging, and so reinforcing materially, the dictatorial
power of the dominant class. Thus as soon as it emerges, democracy develops
its two-sided character: both unification of the people within a
restricted, non-human community (which we called fictitious community),
and destruction of any attempt to re-create a true community
of interests, that is, reconstitution of a class opposed the
dominant one (which is organized into a state). And, whereas all the exploited
classes in the past organized their struggle on the basis of limited, contingent,
non-universal historical interests, now with the proletariat (first class
to be both exploited and revolutionary) there appears the first and last
class that has one universal, non-contingent historical interest: the liberation
If we consider the archetype of what is usually praised as democracy
-Athenian democracy- we see a society diviided into antagonistic classes
in which the most exploited productive class -the slaves- is quite simply
excluded from civil society (the slaves not being regarded as human beings,
but only as an animal productive force), and in which only the members
of the dominant class -the citizens- can get at the famous Athenian democracy,
since managing "public affairs" (res publica) requires a lot of free time,
or, in other words, requires a lot of riches (i.e. slaves). In this sense,
the specialisation and the specialists of "public affairs" (division of
labour, hence division into classes) brings about politics: a popular sphere
devoted to the management of the city on behalf of the whole of the people,
of the nation (hence the necessity of mediation -see below). Politics
and democracy therefore go hand in hand. Politics, as a separated sphere,
as the essential activity of the dominant class, exists only because democracy
exists, even if in a rudimentary form. Politics exists only through democracy,
since it in only in class societies -societies in which people are separated
from each other, from production, and so from their lives- that there is
a need to conciliate the classes (and so to negate their antagonism)
and at the same time to impose the dictatorship of the dominant class.
This kind of society thus requires a social mediation -politics-
to "unifying" the separated (more precisely, "adding" them to each other)
to "unifying" everything that society has separated, and this, for the
sole benefit of the dominant class. Democracy implies politics; politics
is democratic in its very essence.
"Where the political state has attained its full degree
of development man leads a double life, a life in heaven and a life on
earth, not only in his mind, in his consciousness, but in reality. He lives
in the political community where he regards himself as a communal being,
and in civil society, where he is active as a private individual, regards
other men as means, debases himself to a means and becomes a plaything
of alien powers. The relationship of the political state to civil society
is just as spiritual as the relationship of heaven to earth. The state
stands in the same opposition to civil society and overcomes it in the
same way as religion overcomes the restrictions of the profane world, ie.
it has to acknowledge it again, reinstate it and allow itself to be dominated
by it. Man in his immediate reality, in civil society, is a profane being.
Here, where he regards himself and is regarded by others as a real individual,
he is an illusory phenomenon. In the state, on the other hand, where he
is considered to be a species-being, he is the imaginary member of a fictitious
sovereignty, he is divested of his real individual life and filled with
an unreal universality." (...) "The splitting of man into his public
and private self and the displacement of religion from the
state to civil society is not just one step in the process of political
emancipation but its completion. Hence political emancipation neither abolishes
nor tries to abolish mans real religiosity." (...) "The power of religion
is the religion of power." (...) "The members of the political state are
religious because of the dualism between individual life and species life,
between the life of civil society and political life. They are religious
inasmuch as man considers political life, which is far removed from his
individuality, to be his true life and inasmuch as religion is here the
spirit of civil society and the expression of the separation and distance
of man from man." (...)
"Political democracy is Christian inasmuch as it regards
man - not just one man but all men - as a sovereign and supreme being;
but man in his uncultivated, unsocial aspect, man in his contingent existence,
man just as he is, man as he has been corrupted, lost to himself, sold,
and exposed to the rule of inhuman conditions and elements by the entire
organisation of our society - in a word, man who is not yet a true species
being. The sovereignty of man - but of man as an alien being distinct from
actual man - is the fantasy, the dream, the postulate of christianity,
where as in democracy it is a present and material reality, a secular maxim."
Marx - On The Jewish Question
As we see in this long quotation from Marx, the emergence of the separated
sphere -politics- really corresponds to the antagonism, the opposition
between the "uneducated, unsocial" bourgeois individual, organized into
a non-human community -addition of individuals, of atomized citizens- and
the constitution of a real community based upon common historical interests
-the constitution of the proletariat into a class, hence into a party-
negating the free thinking individual (and individualist) in order to posit
the species-being of humanity: Gemeinwesen.
The bourgeois society, synthesis and product of all class societies
of the past, is above all the society of politics (and so of democracy)
the one in which all the citizens have, as buyers and sellers of commodities,
the same right and duty to manage the city and the society, that is, commonly
speaking, "to politick". And whereas in the Athenian democracy, politics
was a privilege for the dominant class (since democracy had not extended
yet to the whole of society) at the expense of slaves, under capitalism,
the realm of complete democracy, each proletarian must "politick", that
is, must be mediated/objectified through politics. The wage slaves
are even deprived of any communal life (even as excluded slaves), in contrast
to their Roman and Greek ancestors who where collectively excluded from
the political sphere, from democracy. The wage slaves are totally atomized
and subsumed through democracy. The ancient slaves, as well as the
serfs could at least share a common feeling of exclusion (and thus rebel
-see Spartacus and the numerous peasants' revolts), the wage slaves, as
citizens -violent negation by democracy of any attempt to reconstitute
a class force- have no feeling anymore, except of being mere commodities
in the sphere of circulation -political commodities- and as such, of being
free and equal. The ancient slaves were still -though negatively, since
they were slaves- tied to a community, the degenerated remains of primitive
communism (see Spartacus' City of Sun: the "realization" of the myth of
the return to the primitive communism), whereas the modern proletarians,
subjected to democracy, have nothing anymore.
Against this process of subjection of human beings into, and through,
democracy and its hireling called politics, the communist revolution is
no political revolution (as the bourgeois revolution was), but a social
revolution through which the proletariat accomplishes the ultimate
political deed: dissolution of the separate sphere that politics is. This
way already Marx's prospect in 1843:
"The bourgeois society is the end of politics; it derives
from this that the proletariat, if it doesn't want to operate within the
existing state, upon the enemy ground, must not "politick". More precisely,
must claim only one political act, that of destroying the bourgeois political
society, at the same time a military act."
Marx - Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of the State
Since the communist program is in its essence anti-democratic it
is therefore anti-political. It rejects the bourgeois, politicist view
of a "revolution" which would be a change in the state apparatus (lassallean,
social-democrat, leninist tradition) for the benefit of the necessary destruction
of the State that is, the destruction of politics.
In his controversy against A.Ruge Marx developed this point of view:
"... a social revolution possesses a total point of view
because - even if it is confined to only one factory district - it represents
a protest by man against a dehumanised life, because it proceeds from the
point of view of the particular, real individual, because the community
against whose separation from himself the individual is reacting, is the
community of man, human nature. In contrast, the political soul of
a revolution consists in the tendency of the classes with no political
power to put an end to their isolation from the state and from power.
Its point of view is that of the state, of an abstract totality which exists
only through its separation from real life and which is unthinkable in
the absence of an organised antithesis between the universal idea and the
individual existence of man. In accordance with the limited and contradictory
nature of the political soul a revolution inspired by it organises a dominant
group within society at the cost of society."
Marx - Critical Notes on the Article "The King of Prussia and
Social Reform. By a Prussian".
Through this refusal of a revolution "with a political soul", refusal of
a mere change in the form of the state, as the bourgeois revolution was,
the communist revolution "with a social soul" can be characterized as a
revolution which, as the ultimate political act totally destroying the
whole state apparatus and its foundation -the law of value- is the radical,
social transformation of the whole society, the dictatorship of the proletariat
for the abolition of wage labour.
"But whether the idea of a social revolution with
a political soul is a paraphrase or nonsense there is no doubt about
the rationality of a political revolution with a social soul.
All revolution -the overthrow of the existing ruling power and the
of the old order- is a political act. But without revolution socialism
cannot be made possible. It stands in need of this political act just as
it stands in need of destruction and dissolution. But as soon as its organising
functions begin and its goal, its soul emerges, socialism throws its political
Marx - Ibid
Marx had also perfectly understood the essential connection between the
commodity and democracy, even as early as the ancient societies:
"Aristotle himself was unable to extract this fact, that,
in the form of commodity-values, all labour is expressed as equal human
labour and therefore as labour of equal quality, by inspection from the
form of value, because Greek society was founded on the labour of salves,
hence had as its natural basis the inequality of men and of their labour
powers. The secret of the expression of value, namely the equality and
equivalence of all kinds of labour because and in so far as they are human
labour in general, could not be deciphered until the concept of human equality
had already acquired the permanence of a fixed popular opinion. This however
becomes possible only in a society where the commodity-form is the universal
form of the product of labour, hence the dominant social relation is between
men as possessors of commodities."
Marx - Capital Vol 1
It is therefore only the capitalist mode of production, which is above
all the mode of commodity production (where the universal commodity is
money as universal equivalent), that democracy, already present once the
class societies emerged, can develop fully as the content -the substance-
of capitalist dictatorship. Capitalism is the system that concludes and
synthesizes the cycle of value, which goes from the dissolution of natural
community to capitalism ruling the whole planet; the system that produces
and requires the proletarian/citizen, the singular individual as mere purchaser/seller
of commodities (and as such, free equal and free). It also produces and
requires proletarians as a mere commodity, among others, this occurs through
the sale of their labour power. The capitalist mode of production is therefore
the mode of production where the proletarian individual is deeply atomized
and, at the same time, "unified" within a fictitious unity: the people,
the nation,... It is, above all, the mode of production of commodities,
and so, of democracy. This mode of production, and only this one, universalizes
and fully achieves democracy. So the proletariat has no democratic task
whatsoever to realize. The whole of its movement is that of the destruction
of democracy. That is what Marx used to reply to the bourgeois socialists
of his time -today's lefties- who wanted to "depict socialism as the realization
of the ideals of bourgeois society articulated by the French Revolution":
"With that, then, the complete freedom of the individual
is posited: voluntary transaction; no force on either side; positing itself
as means or as serving, only as means, in order to posit the self as end
in itself, as dominant and primary; finally, the self-seeking interest
which brings nothing of a higher order to realization; the other is also
recognised and acknowledged as one who likewise realizes his self-seeking
interest, so that both know that the common interest exists only in the
duality, many sidedness, and autonomous development of the exchanges between
self-seeking interests. The general interest is precisely the generality
of self-seeking interests. Therefore, when the economic form, exchange,
posits the all-sided equality of its subjects, then the content, the individual
as well as the objective material which drives towards the exchange, is
freedom: Equality and Freedom are thus not only respected in exchange based
on exchange values but, also, the exchange of exchange values is the productive,
real, basis of all equality and freedom."
"... exchange value or, more precisely, the money system
is in fact the system of equality and freedom, and that the disturbances
which they encounter in the further development of the system are disturbances
inherent in it, are merely the realization of equality and freedom, which
prove to be inequality and unfreedom."
Marx's - Grundrisse
"In the sphere of circulation of commodities, there are no classes,
everybody is a citizen, everybody appears as a buyer and seller of goods,
free and owner. Even when we buy or sell our labour power, we are in
the paradise of human rights and liberties. Each one is aiming at his own
private interests in the reign of equality, liberty and private property.
Liberty: because the buyer and the seller of commodities
(inc. labour power) do not obey any other rule than their own free will.
Equality: because in the world of commodities everybody
is a buyer and a seller, and everybody gets a value equal to the value
contained in the goods they are selling, exchanging equivalent for equivalent.
Property: because each one appears, in the world
of exchange, as an owner of their commodity and they can only dispose
of what belongs to them."
Communism No 1
That is exactly what Marx explains in Capital:
"The sphere of circulation or commodity exchange, within
whose boundaries the sale and purchase of labour power goes on, is in fact
a very Eden of the innate rights of man. It is the exclusive realm of Freedom,
Marx - Capital 1, The Transformation of Money into Capital
Circulation is therefore the paradise of bourgeois rights, the sphere where
democracy rules most perfectly through money. In circulation, money is
the community of capital; money is the mediation which unites all individuals
as buyers and sellers, and dissolves any other community. Money,
like politics, is an essential mediation of democracy. No money, no democracy;
no democracy, no money.
Money as the Community of Capital
It was Marx who defined the most clearly the bases to understand the radical
opposition between the human community (which primitive communism was already
pregnant with, though limited by and subjected to the dictatorship of nature
and scarcity) and the expression, getting stronger and stronger alongside
the cycle of value, of the constitution of another community involving
all human kind for the benefit of value, and not of human beings.
After he has developed the several attributes of money -money as measure
of values, money as medium of circulation, money as material of wealth
(see Capital, chap.III)- Marx goes on to the third attribute which "presupposes
the first two and constitutes their unity", how is "the God among commodities"
how "from its servile role, in which it appears as mere medium of circulation,
it suddenly changes into the lord and god of the world of commodities.
It represents the divine existence of commodities, while they represent
its earthly form." (...) "Money is therefore not only the object but also
the fountainhead of greed." Once it reaches this stage of autonomy, money
-"not only the object, but also the fountaainhead of wealth"- posits itself
bath as the most dissolving element of the ancient communities (it
is the new God winning over those preceding it) and as the one and 45 only
community. Money is therefore the dissolving element which makes everything
democratic, which enables democracy to grow freely.
"Money is itself the community, and can tolerate none other
standing above it. But this presupposes the full development of exchange
values, hence a corresponding organisation of society."
Marx - Grundrisse
Under capital, money is the new community, it is the mediation which unites
things and people. Marx speaks of "nexus rerum": what unites things:
"As material representative of general wealth, as individualised
exchange value, money must be the direct object, aim and product of general
labour, the labour of all individuals. Labour must directly produce exchange
value, ie. money. It must therefore be wage labour."
Marx - Grundrisse
Money as community of capital is therefore the unity of those singular
individuals, those citizens, negation of classes, as wage slaves.
Where the wage system exists, the non-human community of money exists;
where the wage system did not exist, money dissolved the ancient community
in order to impose itself and impose wage labour.
"Where money itself is not the community it must dissolve
Marx - Grundrisse
Under capitalism, each individual exists only as a producer of exchange
value, of money, and money itself is both the social mediation -addition
of singular individuals monetarily worthy of being part of civil society-
and the very substance of alienated human beings, since they only exist
as money as exploited human.
"It is the elementary precondition of bourgeois society
that labour should directly produce exchange value, ie. money; and similarly
that money should directly purchase labour, and therefore the labourer,
but only in so far as he alienates (veraussert) his activity in the exchange.
Wage labour on one side, capital on the other, are therefore only other
forms of developed exchange value and of money (as the incarnation of exchange
value). Money thereby directly and simultaneously becomes the real community,
since it is the general substance of survival for all, and at the same
time the social product of all."
"But as we have seen in money the community (gemeinwesen)
is at the same time a mere abstraction, a mere external, accidental thing
for the individual, and at the same time merely a means for his satisfaction
as an isolated individual. The community of antiquity presupposes a quite
different relation to, and on the part of the individual. The development
of money in its third role therefore smashes this community. All production
is an objectification (Vergegenstandlich-ung) of the individual. In money
(exchange value), however, the individual is not objectified in his natural
quality, but in a social quality (relation) which is, at the same time,
external to him."
Marx - Grundrisse
Thus money is both the universal commodity (as material representative
of wealth) and the "non-commodity" (as mere medium of circulation). In
the capitalist mode of production -which is the mode of production for
exchange value, and so for money (M-C-M'), the latter being community of
capital, the inhuman community of alienated individuals- people are subsumed
by money (and the same is true of politics), and in so far as they are
members of this fictitious community, that is, as circulating commodities,
they are free and equal, they are citizens, they are among the atoms of
a realized democracy. The capitalist mode of production is the mode of
production of democracy of politics, of politics, of money. Complete democracy
requires the development of money (and so of value). And the communist
movement, since it destroys the mode of production of, and for, money (M-C-M',
M'= M + delta M), also destroys democracy as the community of capital,
as the community of money. Democracy is therefore the community of capital,
the very foundation/ substance of capitalist dictatorship -the dictatorship
of money, of the law of value. And this fictitious community (fictitious
in opposition to the truly human community to be create: the proletariat
organized and directed into communist party) is materialized through a
serie of a-classist groupings (which negate the classes and their antagonism)
having all democracy as their substance. Be it the people, the nation religion,
politics or money... all these "communities of capital" through which,
and in which, the citizens are organized and the proletariat disorganized,
are in the last instance, nothing but forms of the fictitious community,
of democracy, of dictatorship of the law of value, of money and of capital.
Dictatorship of the Proletariat against Workers
In the preceding chapters of this study, we have seen that democracy is
fundamentally linked to all the essential categories of capitalism: commodity
production, money, capital, etc. Continuing on from this it only remains
to deal with the all too famous "workers"' democracy which essentially
comes down to considering the proletariat, its movement and thus its dictatorship,
as having the same content and criteria as those of capital... or more
precisely, as having the characteristics of capitalism purged of its most
"unacceptable" features. And pretending that "workers"' democracy is the
only true democracy, democracy realized at last. For all these democretins
the bourgeoisie (because it is the incarnation of evil) is incapable of
fully realizing ideal democracy (which is false because as we have seen
this pure democracy is achieved in its "garden of Eden" -the circulation
of commodities). For these democrats, it thus falls on the proletariat
to fully realize this sacrosanct democracy and its cortege of rights...
its majoritarian and humanitarian fetishes. These "fine talkers" inject
the democratic poison into workers' struggles in the following ways: the
need to vote before struggling, the need to bend before the will of the
majority, to submit to democratic discipline... that is to say, bourgeois
The entire history of the workers' movement testifies to precisely the
opposite of these policies of sabotage. If one takes the example of the
Russian Revolution, it is clear that all the class positions, the real
break (to be sure insufficient) with the bourgeois Social Democratic tradition
were always the work of minorities and each time needed to be asserted
by force against the majorities, against the dominant ideas (2).
For example: the taking up of internationalist positions by Lenin and Zinoviev
in 1915 ('Against the stream'), by breaking with the numerous majority
of Social Democracy in Russia and worldwide, since it had once again shown
its counter-revolutionary character.
For example: The April Thesis imposed dictatorially on the Bolshevik parti,
the majority of which followed a reformist and defensist viewpoint.
For example: The fundamental question of necessary military preparation
(the 'plot') organised secretly and against the great majority of the Bolshevik
party which was already widely gangrenated by social pacifists and partisans
of the constituent democracy (old Bolsheviks: Stalin, Kamenev, Zinoviev,
Kalinin,...) and it was Trotsky who explained that at the heart of the
Bolshevik party existed two principle tendencies:
"One of them was proletarian and led to the path of world
revolution; the other was democratic, which is to say petit bourgeois,
and led in the final analysis to the subordination of proletarian politics
to the needs of the reforming of bourgeois society."
Trotsky - The Lessons of October
For example: The dissolution imposed by force of bayonets, of the first
and last sitting of the famous Constituent Assembly, democratically elected
and bailed out once again by the majority of the Bolsheviks:
"The theoretical critique of democracy and bourgeois liberalism
reaches the height of intensity, by the expulsion of this pack of democratically
elected scoundrels who make up the Constituent Assembly as carried out
by armed workers."
Bordiga - Lenin on the Path to Revolution
All these acts, which materialized more and more as the revolution -the
defense of the historic interests of the proletariat- went on. They had
to be imposed by force (as much military as exemplary), they had to be
practically taken on by minorities which to all intents and purposes, never
corresponded to existing formal parties. On the contrary, it is always
very democratically and by very large majorities that counter-revolutionary
positions and the rapid slide into the bourgeois swamp are imposed. To
become convinced of this, it is enough to see that it is always more democratically
that the bourgeois positions took precedence, throughout the congresses
of the Communist International, so as to arrive at the very democratic
and systematic unanimous vote inaugurated during the Stalin period itself,
and especially when it was a matter of condemning with the right hand what
the left hand had done.
"Stalin was able (...) to carry out his triumph by making
democracy at the heart of the party function in full at the time of the
struggles against the opposition in 1926/28."
Verceci - "October"
And if the example is also taken of the "lost revolutions" in Germany during
the period 1917-1923, on the essential role played by the antiquated democratic
notions at the heart of the proletariat, the acts multiply. Those things
which were presented as revolutionary positions as vanguard communist positions,
principally born by R. Luxembourg and the Spartacus League, were nothing
but a "bowing down" before the fetishism of the masses (and therefore of
democracy), nothing but a pale substitute for social democratism, lightly
radicalised to suit the circumstances.
It was to follow the masses and their ideas that the Spartacus League
refuse to break with social-democracy. They entered and stood surety for
the foundation of the USPD on the same positions as those of the SPD and
with men such as Kautsky, Bernstein and Hilferding (3).
Meanwhile, the real communist force organised in the heart of the ISD (Radical
Internationalists of Germany) refused this entryism and accused even Luxembourg
and Liebknecht of reiterating the "betrayal of 1914". To the necessary
class split, the demarcation between the forces of revolution and those
of counter-revolution, the centrist swamp replied: "The slogan isn't scission
or unity, new party or old party, but reconquest of the party from below,
by the revolt of the masses who must take into their hands the organisations
and their instruments." (Quoted by Broué in "Revolution in Germany").
Faced to this return to social-democracy (had it ever been left!) by the
Luxembourg group, the communists proclaimed: "The 'International' group
is dead" (Arbeiterpolitik), and founded the IKD (International Communists
of Germany) as the kernel of the future communist party.
In the same way, in each revolutionary phase, under the pretext of the
"immaturity of the masses", Luxembourg and her successors Levi and Zetkin
etc. were to oppose insurrection (the basis of the marxist conception of
the destruction of the state) by the progressive conquest of the masses
and of the state, dear to all social-democrats.
"It is from below that we must undermine the bourgeois state,
in acting so that the public, legislative and administrative powers are
no longer separated, but merged, and by placing then into the hands of
the workers and soldiers councils."
Luxemburg - Speech to the founding Convention of the KPD
All the gradualism, administrationism, educationism,... "workers" derivations
of reformist democracy, are contained in what was to become the Luxembourgist
ideology: the conception of the conquest of the consciousness of the majority
of the workers, of the workers' councils conceived as "the parliamentary
of the proletarians of the towns and country" (Luxembourg, -Die Rote Fahne-
1918), of the "boss-less" factories,... basically of a new bourgeois soup
dragging the proletariat towards massacres reiterated many times, refusing
organisation for fear of the riposte that they would be cutting themselves
off from the mythical masses.
From the occupation of the "Berliner Lokalanzeiger" by armed militants,
condemned by Luxembourg, to the denunciation of the "March Action" by Levi,
there is one same conciliatory line, that of the refusal of confrontation
(always under the pretext that it would be tantamount to putshism), of
the refusal of armed insurrection, of the refusal of communist revolution.
In the same way, in the most famous polemic between "mass and leaders",
Luxembourg made herself one of the most ardent defenders of the masses
against the leaders of the freedom of critique (cf. "Marxism against dictatorship"!!!).
This pseudo contradiction between masses and leaders betraying the masses
is a pure product of democracy and of its pathogenic functioning. It is,
in effect, in democratic organisms (elective or not, federalist or centralist,...)
that this type of problem can arise, for it presupposes both a mass of
untutored, amorphous and atomized individuals ready to be betrayed, and
the exceptional individual, the leader who, at the end of a certain time,
may betray or may not (for libertarians they betray by definition).
For we authoritarian marxists, the masses have only the leaders they
deserve. It wasn't the Noskes, the Scheidemanns, the Kautskys,... who
betrayed the "good" social-democratic masses. It was precisely because
these masses were social-democratic, impregned by more than 20 years of
class collaboration, pacifism, nationalism, democratism,... that Noske,
Scheidemann and Kautsky were able to express clearly the original content,
the substance of social democracy... i.e. bourgeois socialism. The
'betrayal' of the revolutionary program doesn't suddenly date from 1914,
but goes back to the years around 1875 when there came together the Lassalians
and the already barely revolutionary marxists (Bebel, Liebknecht,...) at
Gotha to round the social democratic party of sinister reputation. At this
stage the Lassalians were already well integrated into the Bismarckian
state. The autonomisation of leaders (and therefore of bureaucracy) can
only exist at the heart of organisations, parties, etc. where the only
things which link individuals are some general humanist and well meaning
ideas. This allows the democratically elected leaders (with all the cult
of personality, careerism and the struggles between different sects or
cliques which this implies) to carry on with bourgeois politics in the
name of immediate or mythical good of 'their' poor masses. Whether this
means of functioning is called federalism or democratic centralism, it
is a matter each time of conferring powers of attorney on leaders who worshipped
as much today as they will be denounced as traitors tomorrow (for example
Kautsky, who defended essentially the same positions both before and after
1914!). These leaders are thereby empowered to say loudly what the masses
are thinking at that immediate moment. Now the 'immediacy' of the masses,
of the majority, can only be the immediate reality of their submission
to capital, which is why the dominant ideas at the heart of the masses
are the ideas of the dominant class, ideas which the "leaders" can only
repeat. Bernstein didn't betray social democracy when he said that "the
movement is all and the goal is nothing" he was only theorising the real
practise of the German social democrats. Luxembourg in opposing Bernstein
didn't struggle against the counter-revolutionary practice of social-democracy,
she only struggled to maintain this practice in liaison with revolutionary
with the "goal". This was in order to maintain a completely formal coherence
between "reform and revolution", that is to say, in order to liquidate
revolutionary preparation to the profit of immediate reforms.
For Luxembourg, the only preparation, the only domain where one could
speak of revolution is that of pure ideas, of consciousness, of the "education
of the masses":
"I think, on the contrary, that the only violence that will
lead us to victory is the socialist education of the working class in the
Luxemburg - Discourse on Tactics, 1898
"Educationalism", the act of wanting to win over each proletarian individual
intellectually to socialism, led Luxembourg into never understanding the
revolutionary situation and the tasks it throws up, into always trying
to procrastinate, to put a brake on the movement under the pretext that
it wasn't yet massive enough, not "conscious" enough. And Luxembourg "educationalism"
only served to disarmed the real proletarian fighters, in order to make
of them parliamentary puppets and pacifists:
"Socialism, instead of making indomitable rebels from out
of present conditions, would end up making docile sheep; domesticated and
"cultivated" to be ready to be sheared, (...) We cannot therefore link
the revolution to the education of the proletariat, because then the revolution
would never come."
Avanti - The Problem of Culture. (Polemic at the heart of the
PSI where the abstentionist left regrouped around Bordiga clearly defended
anti-cultural and anti-educationalist positions.)
Contrary to the legend upheld as much by trostyists as by councilists R.Luxembourg
does not represent communism but on the contrary the multiple and despairing
attempts to push back its preparation and its realization. It particularly
cruelly represents the disintegration of the workers' movement by democratic
poison, all the more so when the latter is classified as "workers'". There
is a class divide between the German communist left (whose real direct
line is IKD-KAPD) and luxembourgism, the base on which the Levis, Radeks,
Zetkins, Brandlers,... constructed the KPD, single issue fronts, and other
politics of fatal remembrance (4).
"It is not a question today of a choice between democracy
and dictatorship. The question placed by history on us today is: bourgeois
democracy or socialist democracy. For the dictatorship of the proletariat
is democracy in the socialist sense of the term. The dictatorship of the
proletariat doesn't mean bombs, putsches, riot, "anarchy", as the agents
of capitalism dare to pretend, but for the edification of socialism, for
the expropriation of the capitalist class conforming to the feelings and
by the will of the revolutionary majority of the proletariat, and therefore
in the spirit of socialist democracy. Without conscious will and without
the conscious action of the proletariat, there is no socialism."
Rosa Luxemburg - Die Rote Fahne
For the revolutionary communists, there is a class divide between "worker'"
democracy and the dictatorship of the proletariat and:
"We could reply that provided that the revolution sweeps
away the heap of infamies accumulated by the bourgeois regime and provided
that the formidable circle of institutions which oppress and mutilate the
life of the productive masses is broken, it would not trouble us at all
that blows would be struck home by men not yet conscious of the outcome
of the struggle."
Bordiga - Force, Violence and Dictatorship in the Class Struggle
Luxembourgism is just the liberal version of leninism (and later of stalinism)
and it is not for nothing that it served as a caution to all humanist "anti-stalinist"
democretins, from M.Pivert to Cohn-Bendit, from R.Lefevre to D.Guerin,
from Sabatier to Mandel, without forgetting the "new" apologists, the ICC.
More still than its leninist cousin, luxembourgism ideology inscribes itself
in perfect continuation with the social democratic tradition which, under
cover of the name of Marx, is nothing but a vulgar mixture of Proudhon
and Lassalle. Lenin and above all Trotsky, despite a similar assimilation
of the dictatorship of the proletariat to "workers'" democracy, had at
least tried to break with democratic conceptions on trusting solely in
the "saving virtue" of violence, terrorism and terror (5).
Luxembourgism is thus one of the most representative ideologies of the
myth of "workers'" democracy, and of its fatal practice of complete abasement,
of pacifist defeatism before the forces of the bourgeoisie. But it is not
the only one. Let us cite too the austro-marxists who, with Max Adler and
his theorisation of the system of workers' councils as the realization
of "workers'" democracy, find themselves very close to Luxembourg and Gramsci,
but equally the whole of the currents demanding "workers' control", "self-management"
which is in fact only the application of "workers'" democracy to the economic
sphere, that is to say the perpetuation of capitalist exploitation in the
name of the proletariat (cf. Socialisme ou Barbarie, the IS,...). And here
we are touching on a fundamental point: the liaison between "workers'"
democracy signifying "politically" the application of democratic parliamentarian
rules at the heart of the proletarian "mass" organs (assemblies, unions,
councils,...) that is to say the submission of the proletarian tasks to
the application of a majority, and therefore, most often, to bourgeois
ideology; and "workers'" democracy signifying "economically", the management
by (atomized) proletarians of their own exploitation. In effect, "workers'"
(or "direct", for libertarians) democracy signifies in the first place
the application of democratic rules (submission of the minority to the
majority; one individual, one voice) at the heart of the proletarian organisms
(as much those regrouping workers' masses as those distinctly revolutionary
in membership). These organisms (especially the more passive one) are not,
for the demo-cretins, based on a political content, on a program and a
will to struggle, but, on the contrary, on vulgar sociological criteria,
on the "economic" adherence of the individuals. ("A worker is someone who
does such and such jobs or still more vulgarly, someone who earns...").
It is therefore a matter of an addition of "atomized worker" individuals,
that is to say, of atoms of capital. At the heart of these assemblies thus
constituted the democratic vote sanctions the addition of individual opinions
and therefore sanctions the fact that ideology and dominant opinions, at
the heart of these assemblies remain those of the ruling class i.e. of
the bourgeoisie. To start from the isolated individual, sociologically
a worker, from the addition of his particular opinions, is necessarily
to arrive, not at a position of our class (denying the individual for the
benefit of the collectivity in struggle) but to a sum of bourgeois positions.
"To start from individual unity (?) in order to draw social
deductions and to construct the plans of society, or even in order to deny
society, is to start from an unreal presupposition which, even in its most
modern formulations, is basically only a modified reproduction of concepts
of religious revelation, of creation, and of the spiritual life independent
of the facts of natural and organic life."
Bordiga - The Democratic Principle, 1921
Workers' experience shows us that it is at the heart of these organisms
(councils in Germany, Soviets in Russia, "unions" in the USA and Latin-America,...)
that existing positions, confused or openly bourgeois, impose themselves
most easily and often even maintain themselves after the victorious workers'
insurrection. Let us rapidly give the example that it was the "bloody dog",
but nevertheless "worker", Noske who was democratically elected to the
head of the councils in Germany and that, in almost all proletarian centres,
his SPD colleagues controlled the majority of the councils. In the same
way, in Russia, it was necessary to organize the insurrection on the eve
of the congress of the Soviets so as to put the latter before the fait
accompli! (cf. the polemic between Lenin and Trotsky).
The democratic principle opposes itself to (and never takes account
of) workers' needs, to the necessities of the struggle, i.e. to the proletarian
content which these assemblies could have if their constitution did not
depend on the sociological and individual adherence of the proletarians
but, on the contrary, on their will to struggle... The delimitation occurs
through the struggle and the very reality of the classes' antagonisms demonstrates
that it is most often minorities (an eminently relative term since these
minorities become, in revolutionary period, millions of proletarians in
struggle) who practically assume the revolutionary tasks and "make the
"Revolution is not a problem of organisational forms. Revolution
is on the contrary a problem of content, a problem of movement and action
of revolutionary forces in an unceasing process, which cannot be theorised
by fixing it in various tentatives of unchangeable 'constitutional doctrine'."
Bordiga - The Democratic Principle, 1921
"Workers" democracy thus affirms itself as the last rampart of capital,
the ultimate bourgeois solution to the crisis of capital, for it tends
at each moment to make counter-revolutionary ideas at the heart of the
proletariat come to the fore, and not the communist aspects; it takes on
the task of making the vanguard sectors wait and therefore draw back under
the pretext that other, more massive sectors are lagging behind. At each
moment, "workers'" democracy thus brings to the fore the heterogeneity
of the proletariat produced by capital, to the detriment of the aspects
of communist unification and homogenisation. Democracy thus directly opposes
itself to the worldwide centralization of the proletariat, to its organic
unity, to its constitution into a world party.
Complementarily to "workers'" democracy applied in the political sphere,
the workers having to decide what are their tasks, when they are historically
determined, there is the "workers'" democracy applied to the economical
sphere in the shape of "workers' control", or more fashionably, of "self-management".
And if the communists have always struggled against self-management, against
apprenticeship by workers of capitalist management (dear to Proudhon, Sorel,
Adler, Gramsci,...) at the heart of capitalism, remains for us to destroy
their myth even after the victorious insurrection.
"We don't want the conviction to spread among the mass of
workers that in developing the institution of councils it is possible to
take possession of the enterprises and to eliminate the capitalists. That
would be the most dangerous of illusions. The enterprise will be conquered
by the working class - and not merely by its personnel, which would be
a very small matter, and not very communist - only after the whole of the
working class seizes political power. Without this conquest, illusions
will be dispelled by royal guards, carabinaries (ltalian Secret Police)
etc..., i.e. by the mechanisms of oppression and force which the bourgeoisie
has at its disposal, through its state apparatus."
Bordiga - The Lessons of Recent History
And as Bordiga perceived it, if before the insurrection the conquest of
the factories by the workers can only be used to turn the latter from their
destructive tasks to the profit of the "worker's" reform of the system,
even after the victorious insurrection, the conquest of the factories by
the workers, "workers' control", self-management are not "very communist"
measures which only reinforce ever-present bourgeois tendencies.
This politics comes in a direct line from two fundamental and complementary
social democratic deviations: politicism and economism -managementism-
which are in fact only the application of democracy in the revolutionary
process. It would be a question of seeing the insurrection, the revolution
as being primarily and uniquely a political act (Marx spoke of a revolution
"with a political soul"): the taking by even a violent conquest of the
political power, of the state apparatus, in fact "occupation" of the bourgeois
state, then, as a function of the circumstances (else where always unfavourable!),
the taking of such or such economical measures in the interest or not of
the proletariat, with or without its consent (cf. the introduction of the
Taylor system and of the 8 hour day since the beginning of the Bolshevik
dictatorship). According to this conception, which is as much that of political
mediation as is "workers'" democracy, the communist revolution is no longer
a social revolution having to completely destroy the bourgeois state and
capitalist relations of production, having in the same process to destroy
wage labour and transform production into the reproduction of human life;
the "communist" revolution is nothing more than a change of political staff
(same as in the bourgeois revolution), who get together to make some economic
measures reforming the mode of production. Such is the real basis of the
conception of "socialism in one country" which allows people to believe
that "workers political power" can maintain itself thus (and for the USSR
today we are talking of more than 60 years) on the basis of the capitalist
system itself, and especially when reformed. From this, of course, the
period of transition from capitalism to communism is no longer anything
more than "the transitory mode of production", "workers democracy" in politics
and "workers' management" in economy, the socialist mode of production
(the soviets plus electrification) which would be a wise mixture of capitalism
and... "workers'" democracy whilst waiting for the final redemption. And
of finding here all the "marxologist theoreticians" of the "socialist stage",
of "state capitalism necessarily serving as a prelude to communism",...
in fact, of vulgar apologists of the capitalist system in its soviet form,
Russian or Chinese...
For us as for Marx, on the contrary, the period of transition is, and
cannot be other than, the dictatorship of the proletariat for the abolition
of wage labour, i.e. a whole process destroying the fundamental bases of
the capitalist system (value, money, capital, wage labour) to immediately,
in and by this same process, affirm more and more massively and consciously,
human community, the human collective being. The period of transition can
only be understood as a unitary process, a totalitarian movement of positive
destruction/affirmation, destruction -negation- in so far as it dictatorially
undermines the foundations of capitalism (extraction of surplus value based
on the difference between necessary labour and surplus labour), affirmation
-negation of the negation- for the more thhe process of destruction is generalised
and therefore ceases to exist, the more fully will appear a new communal
way of life, a communist way of life. Each endeavour which aims at separating
in time or space the two terms -destruction and affirmation- of the process,
of the transitory movement, inevitably ends up breaking it, returning in
one way or another to wage slavery. That is evidently where politicism
and economism end up, like all conception of a "transitory means of production",
i.e. a phase of "workers'" democracy intermediate between capitalism and
To replace or identify dictatorship of the proletariat with "workers"
democracy, beyond the alteration of the terrorist character of the workers'
dictatorship, signifies the perpetuation of political mediation, the perpetuation
of capitalist social relationships -wage labour- self managed, democratically
controlled by proletarians themselves. This is through denying the "semi-state"
(Marx) character of the proletarian state, that is to say the process of
extinction of the political sphere and the extension of human community.
Such a self managed society is the realized utopia of capitalism, a world
whose motor remains that of value valorizing itself -capitalism- but having
evacuated from it the revolutionary, destroying side -the proletariat-
in order to only maintain the reproductive pole of capital. "Workers'"
democracy thus expresses most fully the dream of all reformers of the world:
capital without its contradictions, "present society purged of the element
which revolutionize and dissolve it" (Marx - Bourgeois Socialism - The
Communist Manifesto). As Barrot rightly said:
"Democracy served to harmonise the divergent interests in
the framework of the bourgeois state. Now, communism knows no state, it
destroys it; and nor does it know opposing social groups. It thus automatically
dispenses with every mechanism of mediation which would decide what it
would be fitting to do. To want communism and democracy is a contradiction.
Since it is the end of politics and the unification of humanity it installs
no power above society in order to make it stable and harmonious."
Barrot - Le Mouvement Communiste (Editions Champ Libre)
The paradox between communism and democracy is only the expression of that
between the revolutionary proletariat and the bourgeoisie. The immense
weight that social democratic and libertarian tradition weighs on the communist
movement has for a long time induced the proletariat to conquer the bourgeois
state, pacifically or not, to occupy it, to reform it; that to the rot
of the bourgeois democracy, it was necessary to oppose the purity of "workers'"
democracy, briefly, that to all the bad capitalists, it was necessary to
oppose and realize its benefits, the benefits of democracy -democracy as
the positive pole of capital.
Against all these returns to bourgeois socialism, revolutionary marxism
is always demarcated by the need to destroy capital social relations, the
totality of the system.
- It is not a question of defending the labour pole against that of capital.
It is not a question of liquidating the "wicked" capitalists in order to
use the "good" productive forces.
It is not a question of criticizing the barbaric bourgeois democracy to
the benefit of civilizing "workers'" democracy.
What interests us is the destruction of the entire system whose positive
poles -democracy, progress, civilisation, sciences,...- only exist as function
of and thanks to the negative poles -white terror, war, famine, pollution,...
"We marxists have our theoretical papers perfectly in order
on this point: To the devil with freedom! To the devil with the State!"
Bordiga - Communism and Human Knowledge, 1952
1. We refer the reader interested by this question to Marx's classics (above
all: "On the Jewish Question") as well as to Bordiga's work (especially:
"The democratic Principle") -of which we can send you an english copy-
continued by the Communist Left from Italy in exile, i.e. Bilan, Octobre,
Prometheo and more recently by Camatte and the review Invariance (first
series). As for ourselves, we have written and republished a serie of texts
on this question:
"Fasciste ou anti-fasciste, la dictature du capital c'est la démocratie"
- in Le Communiste No.9.
"Against the myth of democratic rights and liberties"
- in Communism No.8.
- "L'Etat démocratique" (Bilan No.12) - Le Communiste No.12.
"La dictature du prolétariat et la question de la violence" (Octobre
No.5) - in Le Communiste No.17.
2. The reader is referred to the text "Quelques leçons d'octobre"
in Le Communiste No.10/11 (in french).
3. The USPD or "Independent Social Democratic Party" so called "majoritary",
which on the basis of the same program -the old Gotha Program- wanted to
give back to social-democracy a virginity, which the 3 and 1/2 years of
imperialist war relentlessly defended by the SPD, had disintegrated, to
say the least. The entry of the spartacists into the heart of the USPD
entailed the impossibility of the constitution of a force on communist
base. A good many spartacists were rejoining the positions of the ISD (which
materialised later, in 1918) and by the time of the founding of the KPD
(S) it was anti-democratic, anti-union and anti-parliamentary tendencies
which dominated the formal centrist leadership (Luxembourg, Levi, Jogishes,
On this question we refer the reader to Authier and Barrot's book: "The
Communist Left in Germany", as well as to our text "The KAPD in revolutionary
action", in Le Communiste No.7.
4. as the text said, the IKD's were founded to oppose the Spartacus
Leagues' social democratism, indicating by the name "communist" the class
split with the social democrats of every shade. The VKPD -Unified Communist
Party of Germany- was constituted in 1920, after the exclusion of the majority
of the KPD(S) -a merger against the nature of the IKD's and Spartacus League-
thanks to the manoeuvrings of Levi and Zetkin, thus excluding the "leftists",
that is to say all truely revolutionary tendencies. It was in the wake
of this exclusion that the KAPD -German Communist Workers Party- was to
constitute itself in 1920 which was to prolong the inheritance of the ISD's
and IKD's. The remnants of the KPD(S), in fact essentially the staff and
the leadership, were to fuse with the "masses" of the USPD so as to form
the VKPD, a mass centrist party, if not squarely bourgeois.
5. We have already on different occasions, indicated that if for us
the use of violence, terrorism and terror are class methods, and as such,
part of the communist program, violence and terror never in themselves
constitute a class demarcation. Terror and terrorism are indispensable
but insufficient. Contrary to Lenin and Trotsky who, in believing that
terror was the essential delimitation, ended up massacring and putting
down the revolutionary proletariat (strikes of 1921-23, Krondstat,...)
we defend these methods of workers' struggle when they are put into action
in the historic interests of the proletariat. In this sense, they are "subsidiary",
that is to say determined by the class that uses them. On this question
we refer the reader to our text "Critique du réformisme armé"
in Le Communiste No.17 and No.19.
"(The communists) propose to unmask
in advance the insidious game of democracy, and to begin their attack against
social democracy without waiting for its counter-revolutionary function
to be revealed with a flash in actual fact."