* Drafts & Translations *

Power and revolution

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The successive revolts in different places of the planet, and especially in America, put again the proletariat and its revolutionary practice forward: Ecuador, Algeria, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, etc.

However, the international ideological action of the counterrevolution succeeds again and again to socially deny this reality throughout the world. The proletariat is not recognized in these struggles and their revolutionary character is even less assumed.

As ever for the revolutionary struggles in history (e.g. the revolutionary struggles in Mexico and Russia in the early XXth century were considered as peasants' struggles against feudalism), the facts are ascribed to different social strata, or even to "ethnic groups", that obviously cannot have a revolutionary perspective as such: lumpenproletariat, peasants, indigenous population, students, inhabitants of suburbs and shanty towns, miners, workers, petit-bourgeois, etc. As we already emphasized in our previous publications, this contributes to maintaining the quarantine lines that divide the world in regions and countries so that proletarians from other regions don't support these struggles. This issue is fundamental in the current reproduction of the bourgeois domination. It's obvious that these mechanisms of domination are working because the proletariat itself, at the level international, is neither aware being one and the same class, nor having a revolutionary social project, what is determining (and is also deepened through) the greatest weakness and the isolation of the revolutionary small circles at the level international.

We want to stress here on a central main line: the analysis of this negation of the revolutionary character of the proletariat struggle. A negation that, as an invariant way in history, doesn't start from what the struggle contains as antagonistic to the whole current society, but from what the protagonists are expressing and supporting as watchwords or are writing upon their flags. A negation that also takes as a basis the propaganda of a whole of bourgeois solutions, reformist, managementist and autonomist ones, that is tried to be imposed to the movement in order to restrict it to the capitalistic prospects and to remove it from its revolutionary perspective.

We analyse the first aspect of this negation, while emphasizing, as revolutionary militants always did, that the struggle of the proletariat is revolutionary with its content and not with what the flags of the movement are expressing; if not, it would be impossible to find a single revolutionary struggle in history. With regard to class struggle in Argentina, we stress on the practical and general antagonism between bourgeois society and proletarian interests, between the whole of ideological expressions of the movement and the objective practice of the proletariat, antagonistic to private property and the State as well. It is on this basis that we assert the invariant alternative: either the catastrophe, involved by this system for human race, will carry on with getting worse, or the proletariat is destroying State and capitalism in a revolutionary way.

The second aspect of this negation is composed by fashionable theories (or better said, by ideologies) that are denying this antagonism and trying to show some compromise solutions. The common denominator of these ideologies is to show the possibility to "change the world" without the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat, that is to say without the social revolution that will destroy capital and the bourgeois State.


We are going now to try to explain here, into some lines, the global antagonism existing between the conception of social revolution and the ideology that is nowadays especially fashionable, which would like to change the world without destroying the power of capital.

The enemy is always trying to distort the revolutionary conception. This is the reason why the supporters of the theses about the non struggle for power are persisting to assert that the difference between reform and revolution is out of date. This is false; nothing has been out of date! The antagonism between revolution and salvation of capitalism with the help of reforms will remain until social revolution doesn't take place! What happens in reality is that these reformists don't dare to simply assume what they are. They know that in order to efficiently spread confusion ideologically speaking, they have to look like a soft mixture of reformism and revolution. But even on this issue, they don't show any original aspect! Kautsky spent his life being a tightrope walker between what was at that time called reform and revolution and, in practice, his conception acted like one of the most powerful ideological brakes, that is to say like one of the best weapons of the counterrevolution.

It's not only the struggle for power that these people are rejecting; what they reject first and foremost is the struggle for the destruction of bourgeois power and therefore the struggle for the constitution of a proletarian power, the revolutionary struggle as a whole.

And indeed revolutionary struggle is inevitably a struggle for power. Either power is in the hands of capital, or it is in the hands of revolution. There is no half-measure! Even though, regionally, there can be a short period corresponding to what has been defined during history as powers duality (e.g. in Russia 1917) -and while leaving here to one side the fact that this concept has never been useful for revolution but has always been a source of confusion-, we have to assert that such a situation cannot last, it has necessarily to be resolved, either in favour of the conservation of order, or for social revolution: if the power of capital is not destroyed, this one necessarily destroys the power that emerged from the revolt. Any illusion about a counter-power without a destructive action of the power of capital can only encourage the reorganization of this last. This is what is voluntarily not mentioned by the current supporters of the theory of counter-power. They also fail to say that there is no comparison between none of the current situations and a situation defined as a powers duality. In order to render the contrast still more obvious, let's recall that in Russia in 1917, it was about a proletarian insurrection against the bourgeois State and that, if there is a meaning to speak about "double power", it referred to the revolutionary decomposition of the repressive forces that more and more overtly refused orders of the State and that rose up with entire regiments and began to serve the proletarian organs that the revolution created in the process of its development.

This being said, in this period where the proletariat and its vanguards are asserting themselves in the streets but while the lack of knowledge of the program is quite tragic, it seems for us essential to claim some central elements of the revolutionary struggle that are systematically hidden or distorted by whole the current theories, which want "to change the world without taking the power" or advocating "socialization or communisation of the world” without destruction of capital's power.

Social revolution implies two inseparable sides:
• the destruction of armed apparatus of the bourgeoisie and more globally the destruction of capitalistic State as a whole, which obviously means all the institutions that secure the reproduction of class domination and exploitation (e.g. parties, unions, churches, jails, armies, schools, etc.);
• the destruction of capital's economical dictatorship, which lives on the autonomy of the productive structures, on the autonomous decisions taken by the productive units based on the private property of the means of production.

If the first point is well known by internationalist vanguards, the second point is unfortunately less known and had been very little clarified by the different revolutionary groups during history. All along his work, Marx emphasized that the key of merchant society (and capitalism is the generalized merchant society!) lies in the fact that production is private and that it becomes social only through exchange. The necessary destruction of production for exchange implies the destruction of the private nature of production, and therefore the destruction of the autonomous decisions of companies and companies as well, as subject of free and independent decision, i.e. the basis of democratic rights. It can be achieved only if the production is directly social, what implies the organic centralization of all the decisions concerning the production, which means the revolutionary dictatorship of the associate producers. Revolution must not only destroy the mode of distribution (as any bourgeois socialism would like to do), it must also destroy the mode and the content of production and must decide upon completely different bases what is to be produced and how to produce.

In other words, the barbarism of the capitalistic society doesn't only lie in the fact that the rich are more and more rich and the poor more and more poor, as vulgar socialism wears itself out repeating. The barbarism of the capitalistic society lies in the fact that the objective of the production is not the human being but profit. Since centuries, the produced commodities are only the caricature of what the human being needs (use values are nothing else but a medium for the value!). Things and services produced as commodities contain the indelible mark of private production of commodities, a production whose goal is to reduce mankind into slavery. Not only objects of consumption are contaminated by the historic dictatorship of the profit rate -they are created, not for human life, but to be sold-, but the means of production themselves have been conceived not to spare labour but to increase the rate of profit. This is why social revolution implies the fact that the whole of the material production is being called into question; it implies the liquidation of any autonomous decision (in enterprises, municipalities, assemblies, etc.), which are necessarily took according to the possibilities of exchange. The basis for social revolution can only be the complete change of the whole production relations and the production objective; otherwise any speech about a “new society” is nothing but idealistic masturbation. The depth of the social revolution will precisely be assessed at its capacity to transform radically (at the root!) the whole of the production, at its capacity to abolish the autonomous decisions of private property and therefore the exploitation relations, at its capacity to organically and generally impose the human needs, which turn any production into a human production. For the first time, being human won't be determined anymore by the production relations, but while deciding all the aspects of material production, he will annihilate the domination exercised over him by the objective world (the economy) and will be able to begin to live his real history as conscious humanity.

Reformists, with their theories of non struggle for the power, deny the whole aspects of the revolutionary struggle: they not only deny the necessity to destroy capital as political, repressive and ideological force, what is obviously very serious at all, but they also refute the necessity to destroy the private production, of which the principle of autonomy in the decision yet constitutes the key of the production for exchange, the essence of capitalism as generalized merchant mode of production. They reject the destruction of capitalism, but also the consequent and indispensable construction of a centralized revolutionary political force. The big theoretical vacuum of these reformists about the transition period State obviously ensues from their ideology of non destruction of the bourgeois State and their rejection (implicit or explicit according to the cases) of the dictatorship of the proletariat, which is the negation in act of any State.

There is an apology towards autonomous units, enterprises occupation and autonomous management, districts self-management in a local, productive and distributive way. The very concept of defence of any particularism into a superior entity (the multitude!) (1), the apology of exchange networks, of diffuse networks, is only pushing to the development of these autonomous (and in fact necessarily private) bases, which constitutes the key of merchant society, of bourgeois society. Multitudes, diffuse networks, self-management, exchange networks cannot make anything else but to produce as autonomous private units, they can only replicate the private character of the production. The maximum to which this very “libertarian” multiple exchange society can long for is a small distributive reform (and we even see this as quite limited because the present reformism, in a full social disaster, is incapable of real changes). And even, this is possible only if this small reform doesn't disturb too much one or the other force of the armed capital. But multiple and varied units, Councils of good or bad governments, cooperatives, big or small enterprises, ecological and/or self-managed farms, occupied ones or under workers’ control, all of them will irreparably try to become profitable and will therefore prove to be absolutely impotent facing the absurd (inhuman) present production, fruit of centuries of dictatorship of the value having reduced the human being in slavery. The dictatorship of the profit rate will continue to direct what is produced and how to produce.

The revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat, on the contrary, will liquidate the very roots of this society, it will impose the dictatorship of the human needs against all autonomous production and against mercantilism that ensues from it, it will liquidate the production for exchange (and therefore for profit) and will call into question the whole of the produced “things” (that indeed have been conceived on basis of inhuman criteria), in order to build a material production (2) finally settled by the human being, finally conceived to release mankind from labour, a production according to its real needs and human desires. Until now, mankind never determined its own history; it is the material contradictions, and especially the social relations of production, which imposed upon it. Without destruction of capital, mankind’s freedom and autonomy in decision are nothing else but dictatorship of the value upon the human species. The condition so that the human being undertakes his own history is precisely that he imposes his real needs of human being and that he destroys violently and without any complaisance the economic law, which hides itself behind the words freedom, autonomy, democracy, self-management, etc.: i.e. the law of value.


1. For the advocates of the multitude, unity is a unity of categories separated by capital. They insist to maintain workers’ peculiar specificity, on the one of unemployed, housewives, students, natives, minors, etc. In brief, they insist to maintain all the categories produced by wage labour, by capitalism. The unity always claimed by the Communists is on the contrary the unity of the class, which is opposes to private property and capital on all the aspects of its life. The unity of the proletariat is not based on the immediate time and the separation into categories, but on the community of struggle against capitalism and therefore on Communism as a struggle and as a social perspective.

2. Absolutely everything must be call into question because absolutely everything is determined by the rate of profit: all the objects of human consumption have been historically determined by the maximisation of profit, all the means of production have been conceived to spare capital and not the human effort, all the shapes of extraction of nature products take exclusively into account the rate of profit.



Dictatorship of the Proletariat for the Abolition of Wage Labour

Central review in English of the Internationalist Communist Group (ICG)