In the times of fascism: The onslaught of capital and the challenges before working class

Paper distributed by Indian Federation of Trade Unions (Sarwahara) at the All-India Workers Convention organised by Mazdoor Adhikar Sangharsh Abhiyan, to together build up national campaigns on Contract labour, Minimum Wages and Changes in Labour Laws, held in Ambedkar Bhawan, Delhi on 28th August 2016.

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**Note: The paper distributed was in Hindi. The below is summary of the paper, we would be uploading the entire paper when it is translated. For those who want to get the paper electronically can send us their email Id either in comment section or via email to Otheraspect[2]gmail.com


In the times of fascism

The onslaught of capital and the challenges before working class

The working class of India whether they are proletariat or semi-proletariat, whether they are in urban or rural area, working in farms, stone crusher, in the brick kilns, or working several foot underground, or working in the small or big industries, organised or unorganised, their interest has been overlooked nee ignored by all the government in Delhi. Which every party or front has formed the government their sole intention had been to treat them as fodder for extracting more and more profits for the capitalists. For past few decades Delhi, Gurgoan, Noida, Faridabad and several more such towns have emerged as the new industrial centres where in the big and small industries millions of local and migrant workers slough day in and day out, their status not being any better than that of slaves.

Forget about legal recourse and justice, from industrial owners their bouncers to the police, landlords to the grocery shop keepers everyone is in search for their own pound of flesh from these workers. The condition is pitiable that cannot even be termed fit for basic living condition for human existence. Their work is uncertain and life pitiable. They are bound to wallow in poverty and have forgotten the meaning and essence of self-respect. As a citizen of this ‘democracy’ even though aware that they have been guaranteed some rights, but are hapless. Justice, rights such words have lost the meaning for them. After being exploited by the capitalists and oppressed by the landlords, local grocers, and their clique, they are barely in a state to sell their labour for keeping their and their kith and kin’s body and soul together, this is the sum total of their existence and life. This existence is also on incongruous and lasts till the day there is some hindrance that is the end of their entire existence. Even a simple sickness signifies death knell to them. For their existence they have to work even in most tiring circumstance and illness. To take sick leave means leave from job, which makes life span shorter. And what is the family, but new fodder for the capitalists to excrete more profits. The family is akin to a factory for the capitalist where the future commodity of labour power is prepared.

We are witnessing this sordid state of the workers since the implementation of the new economic policy was implemented by the Congress government that is from 1991. In name of economic development the policy formulated to maximise the interest of the capital, was brazenly initiated. Since then governments changed, ministers and prime minister changed the capitalist wealth increased. There was a call for social justice followed by communal violence and massacre, creating a new ‘nationalist’ record leading to formation of a new model. World over Indian growth story’s was glorified and in top capitalist of the world Indian capitalists found their coveted place. The social property transformed into private property tucked in the hands of capitalists. Democratic governments metamorphosed into nationalist government. Cities changed so did the villages, new slogans replace the old, from inside the democratic nation emerged Hindu nation, and suddenly country got catapulted to a ‘super power’. In all these paradigm shift something that remained constant was the condition of the working class. They continued to be robbed and devastated by capital. In name of development and economic progress, the worker’s rights that was won after long struggles were first practically and then legally were liquidated. This ‘reform’ in labour laws is still on going. The change is so profound that it has divided the national and worker’s interest into two antagonistic camps.

For the development of the country, sacrifice of workers has become a necessity. In the current scenario development of country is the development of capitalist. Development means the development of their treasury and to achieve this destruction of working class and toilers is the natural outcome. We can say that this country as worker’s own country is nowhere being seen as providing solace to the working class. Living within the four walls of the country nowhere protects them from being pushed to starvation and destitution. The extraction of profit and generation of capital seems to have transcended the boundaries of state. Wherever the worker sees he sees the barbarianism of capital. Entire world is dominated by the big capital. It is natural for a worker to conclude that our beloved country and the beautiful planet of ours is of no use to them till it is made bereft of the regime of capital that is from the exploiters of labour the capitalists. Capital is not only bleeding the humanity but is rescinding all the gains hitherto made by them. We would like to tell to all our comrades in this convention, that the cross road at which the working class of this country is standing and the massive onslaught of exploitation and oppression it is facing, in light of this the initiative at national level to have a united program of the workers organisation is a commendable and welcome step.

Today in all earnest we have to understand that what is the main component of the working class struggle? which is the kernel using which we would be able to successfully struggle and would be able to understand the real core of the movement.

This is truth that like the common man the workers and toilers also got mesmerised with the promise of acche din (good days) in 2014. And they voted overwhelmingly as well. But as soon as this acche din government came to power it like hurricane started hurling bure din (bad days), was this realised by the working class? If we leave the conscious class then the majority had not hoped for such eventuality. But as the situation today is, it has transgressed way beyond this bure din. We have entered in a crisis ridden dangerous days. With all its innocence and mistakes at least the working class has started realising that on name of acche din, these tiring days have been initiated from the same place where they are squeezed for profit and increase of capital. The workers were and are the first target. They are aware of the nationalist government seated in Delhi who while taking the bread out of mouth is also forcing them to be quite and not raise any voice. They are being successful also. But should we who are in the vanguard of the workers movement and who have responsibility to lead the movement forward not question ourselves that whether we were aware of this situation? The way things are turning what does it indicates? Are we ready and equipped to face the situation?

Comrades, the way the national and international capital who were struggling because of long term financial crisis, took the captain of RSS brand of fascism in Gujarat in their stride itself indicated the sordid days to come. This also indicated the intensification of workers exploitation in days to come. Those who could understand had been aware of how the acche din would be like. But what is unravelling today is not the recurrence of the ‘Gujarat brand’. The vine is new today, though the seeds might be old. It has new characteristics and is supported by the big capital both nation and international, who are inclined towards dictatorship and fascism. They do not want democracy but a despotic dictatorship so that they can take steps to come out of the crisis with impunity. They want no resistance even if they devastate the whole world. This was the Gujarat model that was show cased in 2014 as the development paradigm on basis of a sustained propaganda, this model is now being implemented at pan India level, the capitalists have been leaving no stone unturned to repeat it across the country. In reality the real name of the brand is Gujarat 2002 brand, that is an amalgamation of the state sponsored terrorism against the Muslims and the crass pro capitalist model. This brand got fillip due to the communal polarisation and the en-mass Hindu votes that it got in 2014.but there has been a quantitative change in this, from the days of sporadic communal rioters group it has evolved into a fascist clique, to call them a fascist clique would be no exaggeration. The military training and camp is no longer shrouded into secrecy but is being proudly been shown in media and social media.

The merger of interest with the big capitalists is the base with which this emergence and consolidation became successful. The working class is being exploited to the hilt and the government is helping them to do so. The government is seen as servicing the interest of the corporate and capital. This is how this vicious cycle is going. On the basis of this extraction from the working class a severe reactionary movement is ongoing, and this is being taken to its logical conclusion. This is one of the biggest challenges being faced by the working class.

This challenge has made all the other challenges immediate and distant even more difficult. The challenges have been such as the liberation of working class in itself has become almost impossible. The working class has become a quagmire. Can we who are the militant fighters for working class, can ignore this biggest challenge of our time? Can we discuss on other challenges by ignoring this phenomenon? The vicious attack being hurled on democratic rights on and on rights of expression can the working class would be able to get its economic and immediate demands fulfilled by this despotic regime? Can a united action of working class be formed without having a common minimum programme to counter fascism? All these have become so evident that if we do not think of having a united action and adopt a dilly dallying approach against fascism, which is a working class united programme in totality. We should not forget that we are talking about an initiative at national level and not a factory level initiative.

What is the current era we have described above, we would request it to be included in today’s convention. The big bourgeoisie who have become the master of the entire world particularly in past decade to overcome from their crisis would like to be owners of the entire universe to come out of the grappling crisis of fall in profit and investment. They want control over everything and they aim for an undisputed monopoly. Why did they chose BJP, and there are concrete reason for it also. But before we discuss this it is necessary to understand that not congress but any mainstream bourgeois party of the country including the Aam Admi Party is not averse to this situation. It was after all the congress which had laid the foundation of neo-liberalism in 1991, that paved way for new economic policy where the capitalists were given unbridled freedom to loot and exploit labour power and the natural resources.

This led to the reactionary and anti-people polity. The increased profit hunger of the bourgeoisie is continuation of it. It looks like that a period has successfully completed of the loot by big capital and it is ready to march on its next sojourn whose aim is to crush all the resistance and establish a despotic regime. The unfolding crisis of capital at international level is pushing the Indian big capitalists on the path with even greater vigour. A shift is discernable towards an extreme anti-democratic governance. The vehicle for this shift could only be BJP and not congress or any other party. And that is the reason why this shift needs to be deliberated upon as the working class is the most impacted class by this shift.

Comrades,

If we do not defeat this resurgent fascist force then we would have to be ready for a massive onslaught of reactionary destruction and devastation. The danger that is looming needs to be countered by a clarion call to the working class this is the call of the hour. The establishment of an exploitation free society goes from the graves of the reactionary forces. So let us confront the reality and come ahead to formulate a united revolutionary working class strategy and tactics. Then only we would be able to save the working class from this impeding danger and shall be able to struggle at the economic front as well. We hope that all the comrades would take a judicious revolutionary approach so that the ongoing onslaught on working class can be countered.

 

 

Modi and Balochistan

 

Narendra Modi has a unique penchant to turn every act of governance into propaganda. He has still to come out of his election phase and metamorphose into serious governance, one that is not only based on phrases and self-delusion but one that actually delivers those promises.

It has been two years since he stormed into power riding on huge unpopularity of the Congress led UPA that had become synonym with corruption and indifference to the people’s aspiration. Modi promised to alter everything from history to contemporary events.

But his two years of governance has been one of hollow phrasea and empty promises. His actions have been pari-materia to those of the Indian National Congress. The right wing Hindutva government under Narendra Modi, has been the frontrunner in carrying out attacks upon the workers and toilers and has been brazenly favouring the capitalists both national and multi-national in name of development. Though the southern turn of the economy has not halted. Under Modi Government, the communalism and anti-worker policies have been institutionalised, and the right wing militias have got open patronage from the ruling party.

India today is being reduced to a vassal state of the United States and Modi has accentuated the process initiated by the Congress. Today the Indian military installations have been opened to the US military and the day is not far off when they would pass under the virtual military command of US imperialism. Yet, Modi and the corporate controlled media has been eulogising the foreign policy as if it is a manna for the country. Diplomacy is a fine art and it cannot be governed from the streets and with sloganeering. But, Modi who has spend more time out of the country has turned it into a road show. His numerous foreign visit has borne nothing but has only costed the exchequer. A recent RTI revealed that the 2014 US visit costed Rs. 9 crore (one crore is ten million ) while bearing no tangible returns as not even single MoU was signed.

Now coming to Kashmir. The state which has been in perpetual trouble owing to Pakistan’s interference and the callous attitude of the Indian government has been ruled by a coalition of PDP and BJP. Since coming to power the alliance government has only exacerbated the trouble for the common people, leading to even more animosity for India in the minds of common man. Modi while electioneering and during his stint as the Chief Minister of Gujarat had always roared that he will teach Pakistan a lesson if given chance. When the chance came the ‘Iron’ man only squeaked. While the bête noire Pakistan continued its policy or shall we say did not get frightened as was expected. Something that is unpalatable for the right wing supporters and the bhakats – the sole certifying authority and custodian of nationalism.

So it was not very surprising to hear Modi talking about Baluchistan and Azad Kashmir in his Independent speech. While Modi in a way deviated from the earlier Prime Ministers who only cautioned Pakistan but never detailed what was to be done. Modi by referring to Baluchistan took an entirely new turn. But what was the substance? As always he made himself centre of the debate, not policy not human rights violation. Has any statesman ever said:

 “Today I want to specially honour and thank to some people from the ramparts of Red Fort. For the past few days the people of Baluchistan, the people of Gilgit, the people of Pakistan occupied Kashmir, the way their citizens have heartily thanked me, the way they have acknowledged me, the goodwill they have shown towards me, the people settled far across, the land which I have not seen, the people I have not met ever, but people settled at far across acknowledge the Prime Minister of India, they honour him…”

Why these people are congratulating Modi and praising him? What has been the contribution of India that too in past three years that has brought such tremendous goodwill for Modi? India has not liberated these areas neither has it intervened in any tangible or intangible way in supporting the Baluch people’s struggle or those in Gilgit Baltistan whose legal existence is still in question. ‘Azad Kashmir’ still remains a non legal entity that is neither azad (free) nor part of Pakistan and in effect remains a colony of Islamabad, run by the Pak military and the dreaded Islamabad. The Indian Kashmir issue is anywhere near a solution. The contribution of BJP in both centre and state has even further polarised the state polity, with pallet gun doing the rest.

So whom was Modi trying to placate, definitely not the international community nor would Pakistan establishment who has left no stone unturned in humiliating and defying India at every given moment. Pakistan does not seem to be panicked by Modi’s reference on the other side it has now got an arsenal  to open a new front against New Delhi in international fora stating India’s direct intervention in its internal affairs. Something that the Pakistani establishment seems to cash on.

The reference has not made any new headway into the genuine democratic struggle being waged by the groups in Baluchistan, nor has it made new friends for India in Pak Occupied Kashmir (PoK or Azad Kashmir) and Gilgit Baltistan. Yes, what such statements would do is to embolden the ruthless Pakistani Army to further crack and crush the nascent movements and throttle those whom it considers the genuine voice of people. For those not aware of the situation in PoK or Gilgit there is a widespread discontent against the Pakistani control. The Pak military and the ISI controls the area as if it were a colony. A report by Human Rights Watch after the earthquake of 2005 stated:

 “Pakistani military installations have often been placed in close proximity to highly populated civilian areas, ostensibly because of a lack of space. However, many Kashmiris told Human Rights Watch that the Pakistani military used the bases to keep a close watch on the population to ensure political compliance and control. Instead of helping to protect the population, the military uses its close proximity to the civilian population to commit abuses.”

 So this is the situation and unfortunately the Prime Minister with his statement has not done anything to change it. What he has done is to divert the attention of the media from Kashmir, something that this government has been adept in doing. But with a docile media why the rich and powerful should be worried.

Modi’s sole concern was his uncomfort with the thought of disenchantment that might be creeping into the minds of his disciples (as they are not supporters) and he wanted to show case how powerful he is, something it seems he succeeded in.

Diplomacy and to some extent, the democratic movement being waged in these areas was the casualty but then who cares till the throne is safe and secured!

 

Denigrating in name of sympathy: An Observation on view from Muslim intelligentsia

On website named Rising Kashmir, in section Islam, society and women an article titled– Exploitation of women in the name of emancipation; by Abdul Hamid Mir was published. The article can be accessed at http://www.risingkashmir.com/news/exploitation-of-women-in-the-name-of-emancipation/
In name of women safety and sympathy, the piece is nothing but medieval thinking in new grab. The entire discussion revolves around why women should be kept within the four walls, while performing domestic chores and child bearing.
Let’s look into some of the points raised in the article more closely.
Hamid says: “A woman is safe at home and is susceptible to vulgarity once she steps outside unprotected. Despite her empowerment she continues to be exploited.”
That means, in view of the author, all males are pervert, promotes vulgarity and engages in adultery?Questions can also be raised, on what Mr. Abdul Mir, meant, when he mentions “unprotected”. So women needs bodyguards not partners, and what about male who physically cannot be termed as Rambos or have power of tiger or bull to counter such bullies?So they should not marry or will have to forego their right to marry in Islamic society? Is Mr. Mir stating that there is nothing called RULE OF LAW, in society that he is espousing for, and there the onus would be on individual to give protection to their family?
Further, it says: “Formal employment of women is adding to their miseries instead of solving them. Though it might render them financially independent but that is at the cost of her dignity. Because women employment/earning can be deemed to be forbidden in the current setup where one’s employed wife/sister/daughter has to share their prime time with their male counterparts (strangers) all around. Women are meant for looking after domestic affairs ranging from child care to home management.”
One is unable to understand, the constant sexual fetishism that arises in the great minds of philosophers and intellectuals from the Right, particularly those from theocratic state of mind. Why for them women is a commodity, or even if they are part of human society weak and amenable to not resist any sexual advance? In West where the feminist movement has gained grounds we have not witnessed the re-emergence of Lesvos (Lesbos) culture, rather it is the west that has been the harbinger of modern day development, (in bourgeois sense).
What has been the contribution of Islamic Theocratic states, let’s say Taliban who had even ministry to prevent vices?
The article is repleated with such feudal and barbaric mindset, that befits the fascist right. It is sincerely wished, that one is not made part of such society whether in name of Allah, Bhagwan or Jesus website named Rising Kashmir,
Crime against women also stems from late (sometimes never!) marriages of youth (both boys and girls). Setting up of unnecessary, unethical, irreligious and unaffordable criteria from both sides is a major hurdle in establishing a healthy matrimonial relationship these days.

मई दिवस 2016 पर जारी पर्चा

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साथियों,

मई दिवस के उपलक्ष में हमारे संगठन लोकपक्ष और उसारी मज़दूर एकता मंच (निर्माण मज़दूर एकता मंच) द्वारा जारी पर्चा।

पी. डी. एफ. फॉर्मेट में नीचे दिये लिंक से आप इसे डाउनलोड कर सकते हैं।

Parcha

 

GRAMSCI, A BOLSHEVIK

The Trotskyites, true to their campaign of distorting history, have been portraying the theory and practice of Gramsci, as something that was in opposition to what they term as “Stalinism”. To counter their vilification drive and the lies we are posting an article from Communist Platform, which was published in the journal Unity & Struggle, the organ of ICMLPO.

In this article it is clear that Gramsci was never against the Soviet Union nor comrade Stalin.

 Other Aspect


GRAMSCI, A BOLSHEVIK

One of the coursest vulgarities propagated about Antonio Gramsci by the opportunist politicians and the bourgeois intellectuals is the alleged distance, or even the contrast, between his positions and those defended by Lenin and Stalin, consequently his proximity with Trotsky’s ideas.

The origins of this legend are remote and well orchestrated, beginning from the fascist “Il Messaggero“, which, in announcing the Gramsci’s death, spoke in ignorant and cowardly fashion of “his fidelity to Trotsky“.

In the sixties and seventies of last century, Gramsci’s “trotskism” was the daily bread of revisionist swindlers, which in this manner constructed the unworthy mythology of the extraneousness or even the aversion between the “good” Gramsci and the “wicked” Stalin.

In reality, from the cheking of the texts is coming out exactly the opposite, namely the coincidence with the Bolshevik positions and a clean-cut criticism of the positions of Trotsky and other Stalin’s opposers. So let’s leave now Gramsci to speak.

In his activity of leader and secretary of the Communist Party of Italy

In 1924 Gramsci, in his address to the “Conference of Como”, sketched a parallel between Trotsky and Bordiga (who had moreover some differences of view), criticizing the one and the other:

“Trotsky’s attitude, initially, can be compared to comrade Bordiga’s at present. Trotsky, although taking part “in a disciplined manner” in the work of the party, had through his attitude of passive opposition – similar to Bordiga’s – created a state of unease throughout the party, which could not fail to get a whiff of this situation. […] This shows that opposition – even kept within the limits of a formal discipline – on the part of exceptional personalities in the workers’ movement can not merely hamper the development of the revolutionary situation, but can put in danger the very conquests of the revolution.” (A. GRAMSCI, La costruzione del Partito comunista. 1923-1926, Einaudi, Torino, 1971).

In the following year Gramsci, pursuing his struggle for the Party’s bolshevization, asserted that Trotsky’s positions about the “American supercapitalsm” were dangerous and had to be rejected because, “deferring tha revolution to an indetermined time, they would displace all tactics of Communist International […[ and would displace the Russian State’s tactics too, because, if the European revolution is postponed for a whole historical period, namely if the Russian working class can not, for a long period of time, relay on the support of the proletariat of other countries, it’s evident that the Russian revolution has to modify itself”

(Record of the Gramsci’s report to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Italy of 6 February 1925).

Always Gramsci was aware of the importance of the struggle against the deviations from leninism and against fractionism. So, in the same report he stated: “Besides, the motion ought to say that Trotsky’s conceptions, and first of all his attitude, represent a danger, as, in a country where a party alone exists, the lack of unity in the party split the State. This produces a counter-revolutionary movement: […] At last, from the Trotsky question we ought to draw some lessons for our party. Trotsky, before the last measures, was in the same position where now is Bordiga in our party. He had in the Central Committee a part merely figurative. His position represented a tendential state of fraction, likewise the Bordiga’s attitude maintains in our party an objective fractionistic situation .[…] Bordiga’s attitude has disastrous repercussions, likewise had that of Trotsky ” (Ibid.).

Again in 1925, in occasion of the V Plenum of the enlarged Executive of International, the italian delegation, led by Gramsci, sided without reservations in favour of the Stalin’s positions concerning the criticism towards Trotsky.

For Gramsci the choice of socialism’s edification in URSS, in the conditions of capitalistic encirclement, was consistent with the necessities of a period characterized by the relative stabilization of capitalism and the ebbing of revolutionary wave.

Therefore his intransigent criticism to Trotsky, to the strategy of “permanent revolution” which he considered incorrect, simplistic, insufficient, and his agreement with the strategy and policy of Bolshevik leading group: an agreement that, as we’ll see, he will confirm in his Prison Notebooks.

Presentation1

Always Gramsci worried for the cohesion of Russian party, needed by proletariat both at national and international level.

In those years, in which the divergent positions between the Soviet party and the trotskyist and zinovievist block were become programmatic, Gramsci several times warned about the disgregation risks upon which the international bourgeosie would certainly lever in order to knock down the proletarian power in Russia.

With regard to the struggle engaged by the CC of PCR (b) against the opposition block of Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev, Gramsci wrote:

“In fact, a question is prominent in the measures jointly adopted by the Central Committee and the Central Commission of Control of the Communist Party of U.R.S.S.: the defence of the organizational unity of the Party itself. It’s evident that, on this ground, no concession or compromise is possible, whoever is the beginner of the work of Party’s disgregation, whatever is the nature and the width of his past merits, whatever is the position that he holds at the head of communist organisation. […] So we think as well that all the International must steadily gather close around the Central Committee of the Communist Party of URSS in order to approve its energy, rigour and resolution in striking whoever is attempting the Party’s unity” (Measures of the C. C. of C. P. of URSS in defence of Party’s unity, in “L’Unità, 27 July 1926).

By the same worry for the organisational and ideological unity of the Soviet party, and for its national and international repercussions (particularly for the struggle that was conducted in Italy in aid of Party’s development), is inspired the famous “Letter to the Committee of Soviet Communist Party” of October 1926, published in GRAMSCI, Scritti politici, III, Editori Riuniti, 1973).

In this letter Gramsci, in the name of Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Italy, did intervene in the harsh political clash that was developing in URSS between the Bolshevik leading group and the trotskyist-zinovievist opposition, declaring “basically correct the political line of the majority of the Central Committee of the CPSU”, headed by Stalin.

Although Gramsci was only partially informed about the Russian situation, his siding with the Leninist majority about the contents of the struggle was downright and unequivocal. The essential charge to the splinter-block of oppositions is very hard and motivated by a reason of principle, explained by Gramsci in very clear terms:

“We repeat that we are struck by the fact that the attitude of the opposition [Zinoviev, Kamenev e Trotzky] concerns the entire political line of the Central Committee, and touches the very heart of the Leninist doctrine and the political action of our Soviet party. It is the principle and practice of the proletariat’s hegemony that are brought into question; the fundamental relations of alliance between workers and peasants that are disturbed and placed in danger: i.e. the pillars of the workers’ state and the revolution.”

Being a fierce supporter of Leninism, Gramsci in the same letter harshly criticized “the root of the errors of the Joint Opposition, and the origin of the latent dangers contained in its activities. In the ideology and practice of the Joint Opposition are born again, to the full, the whole tradition of social democracy and syndicalism which has hitherto prevented the Western proletariat from organizing itself as a leading class.”

It’s a stance that Gramsci further reinforced in the following “Letter to Togliatti” (26th october 1926), in which, thinking about the slowness of the bolshevization process inside the

occidental parties, wrote: “The Russian discussion and the ideology of the Oppositions play a greater role in this slowing down and halting insofar as the Oppositions represent in Russia all the old prejudices of class corporatism and syndicalism that weigh on the traditions of the Western proletariat and slow down their ideological and political development.”

And he concluded pointing out:“Our letter was a whole indictment of the opposition, not made in demagogic terms, but precisely for that reason more effective and more serious”(Ibid.).

Therefore is completely without foundation an interpretation of these letters that aims to strenghten the idea about a “Gramsci trotskyist” or oscillating. It’s very clear on which side Gramsci stood in the struggle that developed within the Russian party: on the side of the Bolshevik majority of the Party members.

In the Prison Notebooks

As it’s well-known, the revisionists assert that Gramsci in his Prison Notebooks does not writes about Stalin, or only indirectly, and when he hints at Stalin’s URSS, he mentions it in a critical way (cfr., for instance, the thesis of G. Vacca in L’URSS staliniana nell’analisi dei Quaderni del carcere, in Gorbacev e la sinistra europea, Roma 1989, p. 75).

It is a matter of lies and mistifications, as the passages in Prison Notebooks relating to Soviet socialism are all in favour of Lenin and Stalin and against Trotsky. Four are the questions that Gramsci tackles in his Notebooks in order to defend Bolshevism and criticize Trotsky: 1) the theory of permanent revolution; 2) the revolution’s phases, and the consequent strategy and tactics; 3) the industrialization in URSS; 4) the relation between internationalism and national policy.

Let’s survey now the notes of Prison Notebooks, on the basis of the edition of International Gramsci Society (IGS). The text corresponds to that one of the Critical edition edited by V. Gerratana and published by Einaudi in 1975. In square brackets we insert the necessary explications of pseudonyms (for instance, in the Notebooks Lenin is named Ilich or Ilici, Stalin is named Bessarion, Trotsky sometimes is named Bronstein, sometimes Leone Davidovici or Davidovich) and of periphrases used by Gramsci in order to elude the Fascist censorship.

  1. Gramsci wrote about Trotsky already in Notebook 1, at the end of an important note entitled “Class political leadership before and after the coming to the government”. Taking as a starting point the events of Italian “Risorgimento”, he was referring to the enormous and quite new problems that Soviet government had to face. In this note Gramsci was directly concerned with the Trotskyist password of “permanent revolution”:

“With respect to the ‘Jacobin’ slogan launched by Marx to Germany in 1846-49 [the idea of uninterrupted revolution], its complex fortunes are worth studying. Taken up again, systematized, developed, intellectualized by the Parvus-Bronstein [Helphand-Trotzky] group, it proved inert and ineffective in 1905, and subsequently. It had become an abstract thing, belonging in the scientist’s cabinet. The tendency which opposed it [Bolshevism] in this literary form, and indeed did not use it ‘on purpose’, applied it in fact in a form which adhered to actual, concrete, living history, adapted to the time and particular society which had to be transformed; as the alliance of two social groups [working class and peasants] with the hegemony of the urban group [working class]”.

According to Gramsci, modern Jacobinism expressed itself first of all in a policy of alliance with peasants, under the working class egemony. So Gramsci esteemed the value of the correct Bolshevik policy conducted by Stalin against the Trotskyist thesis of “permanent revolution”. This thesis dismissed the importance of poor peasants as a revolutionary force and expressed an entire mistrust in proletariat’s capacity of leading all exploited and

oppressed people in the revolution, so much it denied the possibility of socialism edification in a country alone.

The note ends with a very hard charge against Trotsky, who is compared with the reactionary bourgeois Crispi: “In one case [Trotsky], you had the Jacobin temperament without an adequate political content; in the second [Bolshevism], a Jacobin temperament and content derived from the new historical relations, and not from a literary and intellectualistic label.”

It’s interesting to observe that this same note was taken again almost integrally in Notebook 19, written in 1934-35, namely after the definitive breaking off with Troskyism.

Gramsci went back to the question of “permanent revolution” in a famous note intitled “Position war and manoeuvred or frontal war”:

“It should be seen whether Bronstein’s [Trotsky] famous theory about the permanent character of the movement is not the political reflection of the theory of war of manoeuvre (recall the observation of the cossack general Krasnov) -i.e. in the last analysis, a reflection of the general-economic-cuItural-social conditions in a country in which the structures of national life are embryonic and loose, and incapable of becoming ‘trench or fortress’. In this case one might say that Bronstein, apparently ‘Western’, was in fact a cosmopolitan -i.e. superficially national and superficially Western or European.

Ilich [Lenin] on the other hand was profoundly national and profoundly European. Bronstein in his memoirs recalls being told that his theory had been proved true … fifteen years later, and replying to the epigram with another epigram. In reality his theory, as such, was good neither fifteen years earlier nor fifteen years later.”

After having opposed Lenin to Trotsky, Gramsci added: “Bronstein’s theory can be compared to that of certain French syndicalists on the general strike, and to Rosa’s [Luxemburg] theory in the work translated by Alessandri. Rosa’s pamphlet and theories anyway influenced the French syndicalists”.

  1. In his reflections, Gramsci linked the question of “permanent revolution” to the question of the transition from the “war of manouvre” to the “war of position”. In particular, after the defeat of the revolution in Germany in 1923, and the transition of the worker movement to defensive positions, Gramsci was convinced that the problem of the development of the revolutionary process in Europe had to be re-elaborated, understanding the reasons of the the temporary failure and establishing the revolutionary tasks appropriate for the new phase.

The observation contained in Notebook 6, § 138 is dedicated to this relevant strategic and tactical question:

“Transition from the War of Manoeuvre (and from Frontal Attack) to the War of Position in the Political Field as Well. This seems to me to be the most important question of political theory that the post-war period has posed, and the most difficult to solve correctly. It is related to the problems raised by Bronstein [Trotsky], who in one way or another can be considered the political theorist of frontal attack in a period in which it only leads to defeats.”

Facing the complex problem of the alternative, or rather of the combination, between “assault tactic” and “siege tactic”, that had place in the debate of the Communist International, Gramsci started from a consideration of extraordinary importance, systematically ignored by the revisionists and reformists: “All this indicates that we have entered a culminating phase in the political-historical situation, since in politics the ‘war of position’, once won, is decisive definitively.”

On the base of this consideration, that Gramsci realized analyzing the profound crisis of leadership and government skill of the bourgeoisie, but also the greater resistance of the State apparatus in the West and the existence of large intermediate social groups, he added in

Notebook 7 § 16:

“It seems to me that Ilich [Lenin] understood that a change was necessary from the war of manoeuvre applied victoriously in the East in 1917, to a war of position which was the only form possible in the West […] This is what the formula of the “united front” seems to me to mean […] Ilich, however, did not have time to expand his formula – though it should be borne in mind that he could only have expanded it theoretically, whereas the fundamental task was a national one; that is to say, it required a reconaissance of the terrain and identification of the elements of trench and fortress represented by the elements of civil society”.

We are here in the heart of the research that Gramsci developed in the Notebooks. But there was another key aspect of strategic and tactical methods determined by relations of power historically created: that of the Soviet Union. Regarding this question, Gramsci wrote:

“The war of position demands enormous sacrifices by infinite masses of people. So an unprecedented concentration of hegemony is necessary, and hence a more ‘interventionist’ government, which will take the offensive more openly against the oppositionists and organize permanently the ‘impossibility’ of internal disintegration with controls of every kind, political, administrative, etc., reinforcement of the hegemonic ‘positions’ of the dominant group, etc.”

It’s an open adhesion to Stalin politics, to the reinforcement of proletarian dictatorship. A political line that “requires exceptional qualities of patience and inventiveness”, but was the only one successuful in that concrete historic situation. A political line diametrically opposed to Trotsky’s line.

  1. As we have seen, a fundamental aspect of the “war of position” was the defence of Soviet power and of socialism edification. In this last case too, acute problems did arise. To the utmost interesting is the criticism expressed by Gramscy at the beginning of a famous note (Notebook 4, § 52):

“Americanism and fordism. The tendency represented by Lev Davidovitch [Trotsky] was closely connected to this series of problems, a fact which does not seem to me to have been fully brought out. Its essential content, from this point of view, consisted in an “over”-resolute (and therefore not rationalised) will to give supremacy in national life to industry and industrial methods, to accelerate, through coercion imposed from the outside, the growth of discipline and order in production, and to adapt customs to the necessities of work. Given the general way in which all the problems connected with this tendency were conceived, it was destined necessarily to end up in a form of Bonapartism. Hence the inexorable necessity of crushing it.”

Gramsci here takes into account one of the crucial questions of the debate that involved the RCP (b) and the Communist International in the Twenties of last century: the question of the forms and rhythms of industrialization and NEP.

According to Gramsci, Trotsky is the highest representative of a harmful tendency, a kind of “americanism”, founded on the coercion, the command and the military systems, namely the upholder of the forced and accelerated introduction of forms of production, modes of living and culture tied to the requirements of private capital (not carelessly Gramsci reminded the “interest of Lev Davidovic [Trotsky] in Americanism. He wrote articles, researched into the “byt” [life, mode of living] and in literature”).

In the same note Gramsci affirmed that “the principle of coercion, direct or indirect, in the ordering of production and work, is correct: but the form which it assumed was mistaken. The military model had become a pernicious prejudice and the militarization of labour was a failure”.

Therefore it was a position irreconcilable with Leninism, a position which contradicted the “temporary retreat” of the NEP and would bring about the break of the alliance with paysans and the ruine of Soviet power. So it was a tendency that had to be smashed without delay, as it aimed to capitalism’s restauration.

Gramsci never evinced doubts on this matter. In fact, in two other occasions he explained and approved the Trotsky’s liquidation: in Notebook 14 § 76, seeing it in perspective as “an episode of the liquidation of the «black» parliament too that existed after the abolition of the «legal» parliament”; and in Notebook 22 (dateable at 1934), when, referring to Trotsky’s tendency, he confirmed “the inexorable necessity of smashing it”.

  1. Last but not least, we present another note of great importance: the one contained in Notebook 14, § 68, in which Gramsci, taking as the starting point the talk of Stalin at Sverdlov University of Moscow (9 June 1925 – see the note below), put directly in antithesis Stalin (Bessarion) and Trotsky (Davidovici).

Gramsci writes, examining deeply the question of the relation between internationalism and the national policy:

“A work (in the form of questions and answers) by Joseph Bessarion [Stalin] dating from September 1927: it deals with certain key problems of the science and art of politics. The problem which seems to me to need further elaboration is the following: how, according to the philosophy of praxis (as it manifests itself politically) whether as formulated by its founder [Marx] or particularly as restated by its most recent great theoretician [Lenin] the international situation should be considered in its national aspect. In reality, the internal relations of any nation are the result of a combination which is ‘original’ and (in a certain sense) unique: these relations must be understood and conceived in their originality and uniqueness if one wishes to dominate them and direct them. To be sure, the line of development is towards internationalism, but the point of departure is ‘national’ -and it is from this point of departure that one must begin. Yet the perspective is international and cannot be otherwise. Consequently, it is necessary to study accurately the combination of national forces which the international class [the proletariat] will have to lead and develop, in accordance with the international perspective and directives [those of the Comintern]. […] It is on this point, in my opinion, that the fundamental disagreement between Leo Davidovici [Trotsky] and Bessarion [Stalin] as interpreter of the majority movement [Bolshevism] really hinges. The accusations of nationalism are inept if they refer to the nucleus of the question. If one studies the majoritarians’ struggle from 1902 up to 1917, one can see that its originality consisted in purging internationalism of every vague and purely ideological (in a pejorative sense) element, to give it a realistic political content.”

It’s clear as daylight that Gramsci, drafting “the fundamental disagreement“ that divided Trotsky/Davidovici and Stalin/Bessarion, stood up firmly by the side of Stalin, the interpreter of Bolshevism who, in estimation of Gramsci, correctly drew up and solved the problem of the combination of the national forces that the international class must direct and develop in the perspective of world communism.

One of the best Bolsheviks

In the light of the texts, an interpretation of Gramsci’s thought in a Trotskyist sense results without any ground. On the contrary, from the Gramsci’s work, the reflections contained in the Prison Notebooks included, emerges inequivocally a ruthless criticism of Trotsky.

In all passages where Gramsci writes about Trotsky the content is always of harsh polemic. At the same time, he appraised positively the Lenin’s and Stalin’s choices, approved the Bolshevik policy, those features too that bourgeosie and revisionists embrace in the misleading concept of “totalitarism”.

There is no handwriting or discourse in which Gramsci, in freedom or in prison, has negatively appraised or even has denigrated the leadership of Bolshevik party and comrade Stalin.

So, the forgers of modern revisionism, the magicians of “socialism of the 21th century” and the bourgeois and reactionary intellectuals are completetely disconfermed.

Antonio Gramsci was a great revolutionary leader of proletariat, a giant of the communist thought and action who always fought the anti-leninist deviations, who always defended the proletarian dictature, the system of working-class democracy embodied in the Counsels (Soviet) against the false bourgeois democracy and its socialdemocratic variants (as the today’s “participative democracy”). He always insisted on the necessity of a revolutionary transformation of whole society through the demolition of the bourgeois State, and always remained devoted to marxism-leninism and to proletarian socialism, until the last day of his life.

As wrote the Comintern on the occasioni of his death: “Strictly binded to the masses, capable of instruct itself at the school of the masses, able to know all aspects of the social ide, inflexible revolutionary faithfult until his last breath to the Communist International and to his own party, Gramsci leaves to us the memory of one of the best representative of the generation of Bolshevik that, in the ranks of Communist International, was builded in the spirit of the doctrine of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, in the spirit of Bolshevism“.

To snatch Antonio Gramsci, the great communist leader, from the bourgeoisie, revisionist and opportunist jaws is an important task for revolutionary proletariat.

June 2014 Communist Platform (Italy)

Note: This Stalin’s speech, titled Questions and answers (Works, vol. 7) was translated in italian language and published in serial form by “L’Unità” in 1926. Gramsci, quoting by heart in jail, confused the date of that speech with the date (September 1927) of the Stalin’s Interview with the first American workers delegation, that was in questions and replies too (Works, vol. 10), whose Gramsci in jail had read an account in a magazine.

The exchange of dates was not noticed by the editor of the critical edition of Prison Notebooks, Valentino Gerratana, who has perpetuated the mistake with a misleading explanatory note. Instead it’s clear that Gramsci was referring to the Questions and answers of 1925 (cfr., particularly, the Stalin’s reply to the question n. 2) and 9).