Permanent Revolution Collective’s Manifesto
The Spanish Social-Democratic President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero declared after his election: "Europe must have confidence in its belief it can become the most important power in the world in twenty years" (Der Spiegel, 9 November of 2004). This perspective names Europe the European Union of 25 countries, which should be able of competing with the United States: $10.5 billion GNP as opposed to $11 Billion, 455 million inhabitants against 295 million. On the basis of this perspective, social democracy, European Stalinism and most of their so-called far left allies talk of a United States of Europe, that the workers would merely have to make "social" and "democratic".
All the latter mean that the capitalist class can unify Europe when only the working class can do this by overthrowing the capitalists. Europe is not like America. The USA was a state created by the bourgeoisies of the British colonies of North America at a time when capitalism was still juvenile, when the bourgeoisie was still able to play a revolutionary role, to lead the popular masses, and mobilize and to arm them against the colonial power (War of Independence) and, later, against the slave-owning landowners (War of Secession).
The European Union appeared much too late when capitalism was in its epoch of old age and decay. It has been a patch up job of the old national bourgeoisies, today all reactionaries because they none are capable of leading any progressive struggle to abolish their bourgeois states.
The budget of the European Union shows that the EU is not a real state. First, the EU taxes only 1% of its member states’ income (116 miliards euros), whereas the US taxes more than 20% of the national income.
Moreover, the largest part of this tiny budget, 45%, goes to agriculture. The largest spending in the USA is on the military 350 billion. The total spending of all 25 armies of the UE is no more than 150 billion euros.
The European Union so is divided that it does not have its own troops, aside from the "Rapid Reaction Force". This was formed after the European Council of Helsinki of 1999. It is not a supranational force or an embryo of a European Union Army. It is limited to cooperation between the armies of only four states (Germany, Belgium, France and Luxembourg). Not only that, but most European states are still members of the military alliance controlled by the United States, NATO.
The Balkan wars of the 1990s and the second imperialistic war against Iraq, proves that the EU is no more than a heterogeneous federation around an unstable agreement between German and French imperialism.
The 1957 agreement that founded the UE, aimed: "To strengthen. . . and safeguard peace and freedom" (Introduction to the Treaty of Rome). The new EU Constitution of 2004, affirms: "The Union’s objectives are to promote peace, the values and well-being of its peoples" (art. I.3).
These pious platitudes were contradicted by the devastation of ex-Yugoslavia from 1990 to 1999, as a result of the persistent rivalry of the European powers. To preserve and to extend their zones of influence, French and German imperialisms actively contributed to the break-up of the Yugoslav Confederation, supporting one or another national sector of the old Titoist bureaucracy. All the fractions of the bureaucracy wished to restore Capitalism, to convert themselves into bourgeois, and to prevent a united working class staging a political revolution to kick them out of power and create a real workers’ state.
Germany backed the independence of Croatia and Slovenia providing arms and military advisors. France backed a "Greater Serbia" and armed Serbia against Croatia and Bosnia. The United States made use of their diplomatic and military superiority to end the conflict and to advance their influence in Europe at the expense of their European imperialist rivals.
The UE pretends to liberate the peoples and to assure their well-being. But since it guarantees the borders of the existing states, it also guarantees the oppression of many different peoples of Europe, for example Basques, Albanians of Kosovo, Irish. Still worse, it entraps the overseas territories of the old British, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, French, Danish colonial empires as "countries and overseas territories of the European Union" (PTUM) and as "ultraperipheral regions" (RUP). These PTUM are associated with the UE: Greenland, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, the Dutch Antilles, Aruba, Anguila, Falklands Islands, Bermuda, etc. The RUP, often further removed from the European continent than Turkey, are also parts of the territory of the UE: French Guyana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, La Reunion, Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands.
The goal of "European Peace" overlooks the participation of the armies of almost all the capitalist countries of Europe in the war against Iraq in 1991, the scandalous UN embargo that strangled the Iraqi population for the next ten years. Its "peace" is blind to the bombing of Serbia in 1999, Afghanistan in 2002, by NATO and the US military; ignores the many armed interventions where the "democracies" of "old Europe" invade the Ivory Coast, Haiti, etc. Its "peace" forgets the support from all these states to the oppressor state of Israel in Palestine, or Turkish oppression of the Kurds, and the new capitalist Russia’s oppression of Chechnya.
As for "European Unity". The reality is a cruel contradiction. Against their main rival, US imperialism, the European states are clearly divided. Great Britain, Spain, Italy and the countries of Central Europe, supported the US when it unleashed its war of terror and looting against Iraq, when the policy of French and German imperialisms was to use the UN to bleed Iraq’s oil wealth.
This rivalry also appears in the increasing antagonism between European imperialisms over their foreign trade and investments, in order to increase their shares of the resources of Eastern Europe or Africa, Latin America, Oceania and Asia.
Therefore, it is evident that the European imperialistic powers cannot deliver ‘peace’ and ‘unity’. They joined in the brutal restoration of capitalism in the former workers states; the recolonisation of the dominated countries, such as the imperialistic invasion of Iraq led by the US (Great Britain, Spain State, Italy, Poland...); the invasion and occupation of the ex-Yugoslavia by NATO, the occupation of Afghanistan by NATO (with France, Spanish sState, Germany), and the invasion and occupation of Haiti (France, Spain State, along with the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Turkey, etc.).
Inside and outside, the minority of exploiters must mask and legitimize its rule by means of patriotism, the mass media, religion and the education system. Where that fails it needs to repress, and if they are able to, destroy, the resistance of the exploited and oppressed majority. Without counting the expenditures on police and prisons, which constantly rise, the 25 countries of the UE spend on average more than 2% of their GNP on their armies.
The attacks on the rural and urban workers today, have nothing to do with a ‘neoliberal’ ideology of the European institutions. The struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat is inherent in capitalism. Increasingly since the onset of the world economic crisis in 1973, every capitalist class in the world is forced to fight to increase the rate of exploitation and to devalue the value of the work force. The result is that from 1975 to 1999, the share of wages in the UE15 has been cut by an average of 9%. The rate of unemployment of the UE25 today averages 9.1% of the active population. The right to a decent pension, unemployment insurance, access to health and education, public services, which are all past conquests of the European labour movement, are cut back because they are a drain on the profits of the capitalist system that destroys the basis of all economic and social life.
There can be no other unified Europe than a socialist Europe. To make the UE a social Europe is a reformist myth.
Far from being a victim from the building of UE, as the reactionaries claim, the nation state is reinforced as a repressive apparatus. All the European bourgeoisies are strengthening their state apparatus, especially the mercenaries that keep capitalist order: police of all sorts, secret services and the army. At the same time, they all attack democratic liberties.
The ascendant capitalism of 19th century justified colonialism by racism. Now, at the beginning of 21st century, all the reactionary demagogues attribute the evils generated by capitalism (unemployment, poverty, delinquency...) to foreign competition (always "disloyal"), to the offshore relocations, the "technocrats of Brussels", etc. Fascists and, sometimes even respectable bourgeois politicians try to divert the popular anger towards the Jews and, above all, towards Pakistani, Arab, Turkish immigrants, etc. or to their descendants. Actually, capitalism in decline continuously secretes the xenophobia by means of its "immigration policies", its "fight against the terrorism", its national and racial division of the working class, its social segregation into urban ghettos.
All the governments of Europe restrict the right of asylum. They reject Arabs and Kabyles whose lives are threatened by Islamic fanatics and military dictatorships; they persecute the Kurdish or Turkish immigrants in all the countries of the UE; the Basque militants are pursued in France and tortured by the Spanish state; the Italian militants who look for refuge in France where they are extradited to the mafioso Berlusconi.
Every state restricts the freedom of movement and the rights of the immigrant workers, treating them brutally and locking them up in infamous detention centres, to make easier the superexploitation of the other ones and thus dividing the working class.
The two great imperialistic wars were, first of all, the expression of the rebellion of the productive forces against the limits of the national borders, particularly archaic in Europe. On two occasions, German imperialism tried to unify Europe under its military hegemony. In the second, it did it under the rule of Hitler and Nazism, the despicable incarnation of the bourgeois counterrevolution and capitalist reaction. On two occasions, the European ruling classes, with the aid of the North American bourgeoisie, made war to each other to re-divide Europe and the world, sacrificing millions of young working people, devastating the continent, massacring the civilians, and using their colonial subjects like cannon fodder.
Against the endless horror of imperialistic slaughter, the proletariat rebelled and opened up another road for humanity. The socialist revolution began in October of 1917, taking power in Russia and overthrowing in 1918 the monarchy in Germany. Thus, the working class ended the war between the bourgeoisies, a war in which it was a victim.
During World War II, the defeat of Nazism began, thanks to the Russian workers, in Stalingrad in February of 1943. The same year, the Italian proletariat rose up against Mussolini. But the big revolutionary fires that were sparked off by World War II were damped down by the counter-revolutionary alliance between the imperialistic bourgeoisies of the United States (and Great Britain) and the Stalinist bureaucracy of the USSR. The agreements of Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam were an alliance by common fear that the potential proletarian revolution in Western and Central Europe that would have extended to the USSR. Stalin dissolved the 3rd International in 1943, as a pledge to the imperialists that he would suppress the international revolution. The so-called democratic coalition of the White House and the Kremlin feared the revolution more than Nazism. So, their armies let the Nazis troops massacre the insurgents of Warsaw and deliberately attacked the German civil population to terrorise it and to destroy any will to revolt.
Their political agents in the working class, the "socialist" parties, "communist" parties and reformist union apparatuses, have fought against the struggle of the working class since 1943, the date of the Italian uprising. They were able to contain the revolution, disarming the workers of France, Greece..., participating directly to the reconstruction of the bourgeois states broken by the military defeats and the armed uprisings, denouncing and suppressing strikes, and slandering the revolutionaries.
Victorious US imperialism reconstructed the bourgeois nation states in Europe, restoring the discredited bourgeois regimes, risking the modification of some borders. With the complicity of Stalin, the Democrat Party’s presidents Roosevelt and Truman divided up the European working classes more than ever, particularly that of the largest one, the German proletariat. At the same time, the counter-revolutionary alliance of Yalta ensured that the colonial peoples of Africa, Asia and the Middle East continued to live under the boot of their European masters.
Only when threatened with revolution did the European bourgeoisies make large concessions to their respective proletariats: restoring democratic freedoms and the right of strike, extending Social Security and nationalisations. In Albania and Yugoslavia, armies of partisans controlled by the Stalinist parties took power in spite of the orders from Stalin.
The British, North American and Australian bourgeoisies had sent young working people to all the fronts and across all seas on the pretext of fighting fascism. But as soon as their Japanese and German rivals were overcome, the US bourgeoisie turned against the USSR and allied with the fascist regimes of Portugal and Spain. The US provided aid to the weakened European ruling classes with the Marshall Plan in 1947. At the surrender of Germany, the US mounted an offensive against the USSR with the objective of restoring capitalism. This "Cold War" received the support of social democracy and most of the union leaderships.
With its own caste privileges safeguarded, defending at the same time in its own way the USSR against North American imperialistic aggression, the bureaucracy of the Kremlin in 1948 expropriated the capitalists of Central Europe. It established workers’ states bureaucratized from their birth, as copies of the USSR, states in which the workers did not really hold power, nor have basic democratic rights, such as the right to strike, but in which they had access to free health and education.
Everywhere around the world, US imperialism supported or created dictatorships against any revolutionary threat. In Europe, it participated directly in the constitution of an authoritarian regime in Greece in 1967. But the dictatorial bourgeois regimes of Greece, Spain and Portugal could not resist the revolutionary flames which broke through the post-war order of Yalta in 1968, as much in the West as in the East of Europe.
In 1960, the Portuguese state faced a crisis with the uprising of the peoples of its African colonies (Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola). In 1974, the Portuguese revolution overthrew the dictatorship of Caetano, the heir of Salazar. The fraternization of soldiers and workers on the May 1st brought the occupation of factories, the winning of democratic liberties and the end of the former secret police. Only class collaboration and the ferocious split in the ranks of workers between the PSP and the PCP, with the support of centrists of all types, allowed the bourgeois state to remain in power and to save the weakened Portuguese capitalism. So, the road to the European Economic Community was opened to Portugal at the same time as in Spain.
In Spain, still greater contradictions faced the Francoist regime. The working class reconstructed its forces, angry youth entered the struggle and the oppressed peoples reactivated their struggles. To stop a possible revolution, King Juan Carlos de Bourbon-Parma, designated by Franco as his heir, introduced preventive reforms in 1976. Both the PSOE and the PCE supported the king and its "transition" plan. They supported the constitution of December 6, 1978 which restored some democratic freedoms, while maintaining the privileges of the Catholic Church, denying the right of secession of the national Basque, Catalan and Galician minorities and restoring a monarchy with strong Bonapartist traits.
Although the reformist leaders Hollande, Buffet, Zapatero, Schröder and company, falsely claim that the workers’ conquests are the progeny of the "republic" or "parliamentary democracy", the truth is very different: both in the East and in the West of the continent, the great conquests of the European proletariat in the 20th century were the by-product of the world-wide revolutionary uprisings that were unleashed in 1917, 1943 and 1968.
The European Union is the base on which the European imperialists defend their positions in the world economy and try to conquer new ones in the former bureaucratic workers’ states of Central Europe, China, Vietnam and Cuba, in the traditional semi-colonial countries, and in the imperialistic countries themselves. The bourgeois governments hide this reality behind speeches on the "unity of the continent" and on "peace".
The European Council, that is to say the meeting of the governments of the EU 25 states members, adopted on the 18 of June of 2004, a project for an obviously capitalist constitutional treaty: The Union acts in favour of the sustainable development of Europe founded on a social economy of a highly competitive market... (I-3 article of the project). The word "social" only has a decorative function. The expression "market economy" refers, in hypocritical terms, to capitalism. The capitalist mode of production, born in Europe, is not only a market for products but the exploitation of wage-earning workers. In capitalism, the labour-power of the proletarians is, itself, sold to the minority class of society that owns the means of production. The social product escapes to the control of its producers, to benefit these capitalists who can, thus, monopolize the surplus value in the form of profits.
The concentration of capital, that has continued on a world scale at the cost of economic crises and wars, takes the form of large capitalist multinational firms. Nevertheless, it does not lead to the disappearance of nation states and borders. On the contrary, it leads to the increase in the competition between companies and the between national territories in which these move and on which they depend. On the one hand, the overwhelming majority of the "multinationals" have a clearly identifiable national base; on the other hand, the most powerful states not only guarantee the profits of all capitals by the maintenance of the conditions of extraction of surplus value against the resistance of the wage-earners, but in addition, defend the interests of their national fraction of the capital against their competitors.
EU itself was built by national states, especially the old imperialist powers. What politicians, university professors and journalists call the "European construction" arose from secret deals between the politicians of France and Germany mainly, although these negotiations have also included Great Britain, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.
From the 1950s, to overcome the narrow limits of their territories, and to counter the loss of markets in Eastern Europe and their former colonies, some states agreed to form a free trade zone. First the three countries of "Benelux" of 1948, then the six countries of the "European Economic Community" of 1957 (Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg). This agreement between some national bourgeoisies to overcome the barriers to the accumulation of capital posed by their own borders was baptised the European Union in 1992. In 1973, Britain, Eire, Denmark joined this regional agreement; in 1981, Greece did; in 1986, Spain and Portugal; in 1995, Sweden, Finland and Austria, in 2004, Poland, Hungary, Check Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Malta and Cyprus. Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania are waiting.
Germany and France have controlled all the stages in the evolution of the UE, from the creation of the European Community of Coal and Steel in 1951 to the proclamation of the UE in 1992. No significant decision (as the adoption of euro in 1999 or the extension to ten countries in the 2004) has been taken in the UE without the agreement of the governments of the Germany and France. Moreover, these two states can break the UE rules if their interests require it, as was the case in 2003 and 2004 when their budgetary deficits widely exceeded the criteria of the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 and of Amsterdam Treaty of 1997. Thus, through their Prime ministers and their governments, the European Union is under the control of the corporate of these two countries. The European Commission of Brussels, far from having power, is in charge only of the application of these policies.
The new constitution will not question these foundations of UE.
Referendums on Turkey’s admission and the Constitutional Treaty are underway in some countries.
The new Constitution project, drafted by Giscard d'Estaing, a former president of the 5th French Republic, guarantees the hold of the great powers on the European Union and their control over the other members. On the one hand, national governments will continue to make the essential decisions, although the European Parliament will have to give its approval in some domains (budget estimates, internal market, immigration...). On the other hand, the decisions will be by consensus of all 25 (fiscal policy, social policy...) or by a "qualified majority" so that agreement must be by, at least, 15 states representing 65% of the population (I-23 article, I-25...). In this way, France and Germany can paralyze any decision.
Consequently, the new Constitution maintains the economic domination of the continent by the imperialist states, but also the survival of the monarchies, the existence of state religions (Christian), and the maintenance of the oppressed peoples of Europe within the existing capitalist states. Thus religion is enshrined as a founding value (Introduction of the Constitutional Treaty) and it forces the European Union to consult the Churches (art 1-52). Under the pretext of the "fight against terrorism", the new Constitution allows for the collaboration of the states, police and secret services, against the oppressed countries and radical organizations (articles I-42, III-271, III-276, III-309).
No conscious worker can support this constitution. But equally s/he cannot be associated with the chauvinists that oppose the constitution for a bloc with their capitalists which divide the working classes along national lines.
The reformist leaders of the main workers organizations and their centrist allies are all partisans of capitalism. So they agree, whatever their attitude in front of the UE, that the bourgeoisies are able to unify the continent. But most of bourgeois worker parties and union leaderships think that the UE is the only way to resist US competition; while a minority reject European integration altogether and bloc with the weaker fractions of their bosses who remain tied to "their" nation against the "dictators of Brussels".
In some countries, the Parliament has to ratify the Constitutional Treaty; in other ones, there will be a referendum. When there is a popular consultation, workers cannot choose the new 2004 constitutional treaty, nor the continuation of the former constitutional one, the 2001 Nice Treaty.
The peaceful unification of the continent would be historically progressive. But the bourgeoisie, in the epoch of imperialism, is totally incapable of doing this. The economy suffocates in the iron shackle of private property and the inherited borders of the previous historical period. The bourgeoisies of Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany... cannot abandon their national state, indispensable against their proletariat and against the bourgeoisies with which they compete.
The unification of Europe is the historical task of the only progressive class of our time, the proletariat. The ever increasing contradiction between the development of the productive forces, which include their tendency to internationalization and socialisation, and the capitalist relations of production, can only be overcome by a social revolution, carried out by the class that is simultaneously the product of capitalism, its condition of existence and its potential negation: the working class. This class has the capacity to overthrow the exploiting class, due to its numbers, concentration and the strategic place that it occupies in production.
In order to rise to this historical task, the proletariat must begin to affirm its independence of the bourgeoisie and all its political fractions.
Of course, the workers of a certain country may see in a referendum the occasion to declare themselves against the bourgeois government in power, whatever its composition (reformist party alone, coalition between reformist party and bourgeois party, bourgeois parties only in power). Nevertheless, the referenda will be used for the division of the workers ranks. It will not be with a ‘no’ vote that workers will show their force. The campaigns for a ‘no’ vote will be, overall, an occasion of chauvinism and xenophobia, especially against the Turks.
Where workers are consulted on the modification of the European constitution they have to boycott it: Neither Treaty of Nice, nor the Constitution of Giscard! Neither national move back nor parody of European unity!
Like the present Russian state, the Turkish state has part of its territory in what is called "Europe" but more in "Asia". From 1963 Turkey has been associated to the EEC. From 1995, this agreement included a customs union. Since 1987, successive Turkish governments have requested entry into the European Union.
Some bourgeois parties argue against the entrance of Turkey because they exploit a xenophobic fear of Turkish migrants. Others don’t want to pay big agricultural subsidies to Turkey. Many fear that the admission of a Muslim population will weaken the ideology of UE built up by Christian Democrats, when Islamic terrorism is used to justify attacks on democratic rights in the whole EU.
On the other hand, the possibility of extending the European market to include Turkey and win it away from the US appeals to some sectors of the European bourgeoisie. At the moment, the European Council (the executive of the UE constituted by the prime ministers of the member states) continuously defers the question of Turkey’s entry.
The proletariats and revolutionary communists in Turkey must fight against the US bases, the NATO, the alliance with Israel as well as domination by German and French imperialism. They have to reject all illusions of the Turkish and Kurd workers towards the UE, but also all political illusions in the national bourgeoisie, either Kemalist or Islamic.
The Kurdish people must be able to freely decide their future inside from Turkey or separated from any of the existing bourgeois states in the Near East. Following the march of history, the Turkish proletariat will freely decide to contribute to the Socialist United States of Europe or the Socialist United States of the Near East.
In the countries already members of the UE, the workers vanguard cannot endorse the reasons the bourgeois give for exclusion or entry of Turkey. The workers of the UE countries must resist all chauvinism and all imperialistic domination on Turkey. They must pronounce for the unity of all workers of the continent including all those of Turkish nationality or of Turkish or Kurd origin, for the free movement of Turkish workers into Europe and for the same political and social rights for their Turkish sisters and brothers.
Bourgeoisies’ attempts to make workers vote on the fate of Turkey in the EU is a trap. Neither the workers of Turkey, nor the workers of the UE, can win any political victory in a vote that make them side with one of two bourgeois options: the annexationists or the chauvinists. Therefore, in case of referendum on this question, the slogan of the proletariat must be the boycott.
The future that capitalism offers the European peoples is that of decline, reaction, massive unemployment, increasing competition between imperialistic powers, and world economic crisis and war.
But the working class, first victim of the constant degradation of the conditions of existence of the vast majority of the population, also has the power to put and end to capitalist rule and truly unify Europe. To do this, the proletariat must take over the leadership of all the exploited and oppressed parts of the population.
Against the open or veiled political alliances with the bourgeoisie, practiced by traditional social democracy and former Stalinism trying to convert itself, the Bolsheviks oppose the united front of all workers against the bourgeoisie, the building of a political coalition of all the workers’ organizations against the bourgeois governments, their states and their European Union, in order to achieve its complete overthrow.
We demand of all the organisations who base themselves in the workers to break politically with the bourgeoisie and commit themselves to fight for a workers’ program. Bolsheviks should support any step in this way:
· No to unemployment! No to dismissals without equal job! Defend all the proletarian conquests! Free quality Education, health and housing for all!
· No to labour flexibility and anti-union laws! 35 hours per week! Fight unemployment with shorter working week! Wage, pension and benefit increase! Sliding scale of wages!
· Abolition of the VAT! Not subsidies to the capitalist corporations! Workers control of the industry and services! Expropriation of the capitalist banks and big companies! Plan production and distribution under workers’ control!
· For unified industrial unions! Total democracy in the unions! No to co-management or partnership! Workers assemblies and elected workers’ committees to lead the struggles!
· Real equality between men and women! Right to free contraception and abortion! Equal rights for all forms of sexual orientation!
· For a secular Europe! Separation of Church and State! No state finance for religious institutions! No state recording of religious affiliation! Emancipation of youth from all clerical control!
· Independence for remaining European colonies! Self-determination for Kosovars, Basques, Irish, Kurds, etc.!
· Abolition of the agreements of Schengen! Open the borders for all workers! Recognition of all rights and of citizenship to worker immigrants!
· Freedom for all revolutionary and union militants, for all the activists of the oppressed nations! Working self-defence! Dissolve the professional armies and repressive police forces!
· Abolition of all the monarchies! For the abolition of all ‘Upper Houses’ (Senates, Lord House, etc.)! For the right to recall the representatives and wages of representatives limited to that of a technician!
· End of any threat against China, North Korea, Iran and Syria! Close all the US military bases! Dissolve NATO! Disarm the "European Rapid Force"!
· Cancel the debt of the poor countries! Defence of the collectivized economies of Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam! Hands off the Ivory Coast, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq! Workers United Front to block the military transport and transmissions! Victory for the people of Iraq! Defeat imperialism!
· Against the UE, against all treaties and capitalist agreements of the EEC, and the UE, from 1957 to 2005! Workers’ governments in every country of Europe! For a Socialist United States of Europe!
Every serious demand of the masses reaches beyond the limits of the private property. So, the workers have to unite to overthrow the bourgeois state that allows the minority of capitalists to exploit them and rule over the masses. Only a workers government shall preserve the future. The workers government will have the task of expropriating the expropriators, to put the giant corporations under workers’ control, so that workers can begin to reorganize society on a national, international, and finally, world-wide basis.
All previous social conquests of the working class in East Europe were lost because the bureaucracy was not overthrown and capitalism was restored. All the political and social conquests of the working class of Europe of the West are being eroded and threatened because the bourgeoisie is still able to control the working class through the reformist unions and parties. The proletariat faces an inevitable struggle to fight for socialism or else collapse into the barbarism of economic crisis, fascism and war.
In the course of the last world-wide revolutionary wave, the European proletariat once again demonstrated its capacity for the struggle: Belgium in 1961, France and Czechoslovakia in 1968, Italy in 1969, Poland and Great Britain in 1970, Turkey in 1971, Ireland and Portugal in 1974, Spain in 1976, Poland in 1980… Recently, facing the counter-offensive of the global bourgeoisie, resisting the local offensives against their political and social rights, against the imperialist wars, strike movements and massive demonstrations have taken place in Spain, Italy, Greece, Great Britain, Germany, France, Austria…
Nevertheless, the spontaneous protest of the workers and youth is not sufficient. The union bureaucracies and the traditional parties of the working class are the paid agents of the bosses and are used to contain and divert workers’ struggles. The petty-bourgeois nationalists (SSP, Batasuna, Sinn Fein...), the Islamist currents and the Christian youth organizations, the anti-globalization movements (ATTAC...) and "the ecological" parties..., they also contribute to the confusion of proletariat and youth. These fakers feed the masses with the myth of "another Europe" that would be less "neo-liberal" (but equally capitalist), or divide the masses along the lines of gender, nationality, race or religion.
Across Europe, the union bureaucracies and the bourgeois-worker parties practice class collaboration daily, because they are corrupted by the powerful ruling class. Most of the Social-Democratic and ex-Stalinist parties in the European countries have abandoned talk of socialism. They were accomplices in the restoration of capitalism in the USSR and in Central Europe. They try to make workers believe in a "social Europe", as if the capitalist European Union could satisfy even the social needs of the masses.
Actually, the reformist parties are accomplices in the bosses anti-worker attacks. The prevent general strikes and the self-defence of the workers, they preach confidence in the police and the army, they agree with the bourgeois parties or they support the representatives of the bourgeoisie, accept the boot of Israel on Palestine, are accomplices of the oppression of the nationalities of Europe, support the UN and the intervention of its troops. When they are in the power, they further the privatisations and the anti-worker plans, and deport or jail migrant workers.
Their allies on the “far left" also call for "another Europe". The most audacious ones promote a "Europe of the workers", without socialism, nor revolution, and, definitely without any dictatorship of the proletariat! For instance, in France, LO and the LCR claim to transform the UE, which is a coalition of bourgeois states, into a Workers Europe. Meanwhile, the PT accuses the UE of the deterioration of the life of the workers, like the most reactionary parties. The liquidators of the 4th International behave as the left wing of reformism, because of their growing adaptation to capitalism and accommodation to bourgeois state.
For a long time, some of them have even been praising the parliamentary road (ex-Militant, today CWI and Socialist Appeal – El Militant tendency), all nowadays renounce more and more openly the revolution. In France, the centrists call for a vote Chirac (LCR), defend the "bourgeois Republic" (PT), support the protests of police officers or the Chirac law prohibiting wearing the Islamic headscarf by Arab and Turkish young people (LCR, PT). In Britain, they give up the struggle for one secular and democratic Palestine, for the right to abort and for scrapping of all immigration controls (SWP). Across Europe, they become increasingly part of the corrupt union apparatuses. Such "Trotskyites" along with petty bourgeois anarchists are typically enthusiastic supporters of the "World Social Forum", led by the Christian churches and their recycled Stalinist friends, the NGOs financed by the bourgeois states and the ecological parties.
Libertarians and centrists oppose to the building of a revolutionary party. In this way, anarchists give room to the lieutenants of the bourgeoisie. The ones who claimed to be Marxists, prefer a “large” party, no firmly separated from reformists, whose goal would be to drive capitalism better. In France, the former PCI disappeared in a reformist and chauvinist party, the PT. En England, Militant majority, when expelled from the Labour Party, built up a SP with a reformist program; following the collapse of the reformist project of a Socialist Alliance, SWP and ISG are launching (with Islamists) Respect, led by George Galloway who is against abortion and for the control of migrants. Pseudo-Trotskyites have helped for a decade former Stalinist parties: PRC in Italy, IU in Spain, PDS in Germany, PCF in France, etc.
Sometimes, they entered political parties with no relation with the working class: German ecologists, Catalan nationalists, Scottish nationalists… All these organizations have nothing more to do with socialist revolution.
In order to defend themselves and to prepare its future, the proletariat needs a new leadership, a party of the Bolshevik type, internationalist and revolutionary, that use all proletarian tactics for evacuation of the armies of European imperialisms in Iraq, Afghanistan, Serbia, Bosnia, the Ivory Coast, Haiti; for the defeat of imperialism. The party must stand shoulder to shoulder with the proletariats of all other countries on the side of the countries oppressed by the European, Japanese and US imperialists. It must defend the national rights of all oppressed peoples, like the Iraqis, Palestinians, Chechens or Kurds.
But the most important task of the internationalists, in particular those who live in the imperialist countries, is to work to overthrow the bourgeoisie in their own countries. In every country, they have to fight for the united front of all workers organisations in front of the capital bourgeois state attacks.
The European workers vanguard must regroup in revolutionary internationalist Marxist parties in each country, parties which the Trotskyite-Leninist groups have to build. This is the International that will fight to the end against its own bourgeoisie, that will create workers’ militias, fight for the overthrow of the bourgeois state and impose a workers government to expropriate the capitalists and open the road to a Socialist United States of Europe. This union will be open to all the workers’ republics that wish to join it, from Turkey to Norway, from Switzerland to Russia, because it will be only a step towards a Socialist United States of the World.
The unification of the continent only can be made by a social revolution. Such a revolution only can be made by the exploited and oppressed class that has nothing to lose and that “has no country”. The victory of the revolution in Europe will be an inspiration for revolutions elsewhere in the USA and everywhere, to create the material conditions of the end of classes and the withering of the state.
Europe was the cradle of capitalism. Consequently, the modern proletariat first appeared in Europe, and the latter was also the theatre for the first workers’ revolutions and the first seizure of power by the workers: Paris in 1871, Petrograd and Moscow in 1917. Although capitalism has been restored in Russia and the Centre of Europe; although the social conquests have been eroded little by little in the West of Europe, the proletariat of Europe has not said its last word. Tomorrow it will once more take up the cause of the Paris Commune and the program of October 1917: it will take the power.
Let us construct the International whose red flags will proclaim: Long live the union of the workers of the city and the country of the entire world! Long live the workers and working farmers of the entire world! Let us overthrow to the bourgeoisie in each country! Long live the world republic of workers counsels!
9 April 2005
Permanent Revolution Collective
Groupe Bolchevik (France), Grupo Germinal (Spanish state), Lucha Marxista (Peru)