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Contribution of the Communist Revolutionary Party of France

May 14, 2024

ECA meeting, Madrid, 11/05/2024:

Historical conclusions from the tactics of the anti-fascist fronts. The contemporary struggle of communists against fascism


Whatever its form, the capitalist state always has the same class content: the dictatorship of capital, which enables the bourgeoisie to monopolize the means of production and exchange. The dictatorship of capital under the leadership of the financial oligarchy is a democracy for the few, a dictatorship for the exploited and oppressed majority. Under imperialism, the world stage of monopoly capitalism, the dictatorship of the monopolies compresses or liquidates the main features of bourgeois democracy. Marxists believe that while the working class and workers cannot be indifferent or passive with regard to bourgeois constitutions, beyond certain concessions that may be obtained, constitutional articles are the legal cover for legitimizing private ownership of the means of production and exchange, to protect the power of the monopolies.

All forms of capitalist domination are therefore forms of the same content of class dictatorship: bourgeois democracy, Republic and fascism all imply this class violence. In the bourgeois- democratic system, not every outburst of violence and repression by the armed forces is automatically fascism. At this stage of the exercise of violence, capital actively seeks the support of reformist forces, when they are not themselves carrying out repression on behalf of the bourgeoisie. The degree of violence expressed by the fascist dictatorship of capital is aimed at the terrorist crushing of all forms of struggle by the working class, workers and even strata attached to bourgeois democracy, the crushing by assassination, the deportation of militants and the banning of all legal activities by communist and reformist parties alike. It’s not simply the substitution of one bourgeois government for another, but a new form of dictatorship for monopoly capital, a qualitative leap forward. This difference in the degree of violence has given rise to opportunist illusions in the communist and workers’ movement: a/ - denying that the bourgeois-democratic form can engender repression, b/ - gradually encouraging the rejection of Marxist state theory on the necessity of the dictatorship of the proletariat, "of a revolution breaking the apparatus of the bourgeois state, including that of bourgeois democracy". In contemporary France, bourgeois democracy is the form currently taken by the dictatorship of capital. Propaganda by social political forces hostile to capitalism is tolerated (as long as the revolutionary danger is contained), but the entire superstructure and infrastructure are in the hands of capital. Leninists have always advocated a united front at grassroots level and in action with social-democratic workers in defense of social and democratic demands. A united front at grassroots level always implies denouncing reformist and social-democratic leadership and positions. The aim of the Single Front at grassroots level is to wrest workers from the influence of their leaders, defenders of the capitalist system, and win them over to the class struggle, even in practice. In the fight against fascism, the main contradiction was between fascism and bourgeois democracy, which constituted a detour from the final strategic tasks, imposed by the circumstances of the ’30s with the demand for a united front, also temporarily "at the top" for partial and transitory tasks. In implementing this Popular Front tactic, the French Communist Party (PCF) had great merits, such as having prevented the victory of fascism in 1936, and having contributed to the class struggles that won major social conquests. The desire for unity was remarkable, but would not have been enough without the grassroots involvement of the forces of labor. However, it was in applying the tactics of the Popular Front that certain old deviations of the French workers’ movement were reactivated, such as the PCF’s tendency to present itself as a continuation of the "great French Revolution" of 1789, or a penchant for "republican nationalism", with a resurgence of the Jauressian conception of "France’s historic and universal mission". With the Popular Front, as with the anti-fascist Resistance, the PCF found it extremely difficult to link the anti-fascist tasks of the moment with revolutionary socialist perspectives. Once again, there was a tendency in the French revolutionary workers’ movement to absolutize intermediate tasks without linking them to strategic revolutionary tasks. Trotskyist and Maoist historiographers refer to the "betrayal" or reformism of these tactics by the Communist International and the PCF; this ignores Marx and Lenin's thesis on the subordination of the particular interests of a proletariat to the general and international interests of the communist movement, i.e., in this period, the defense of the USSR as the world's leading socialist state. In France, deviations in the application of the new tactic of a united front against fascism were added to the interruption in the Bolshevization of the PCF, which was too short to be "completed", and this was to weigh heavily throughout its history, subsequently favoring the victory of opportunism. What are the objective conditions today? Fascism was the response of the most reactionary monopoly circles to the October Revolution of '17, to the existence in those years of the USSR, which was building the economic foundations of socialism, and to capital's constant fear of revolutionary "contagion". Politically, the workers' movement and the Communist parties enjoyed a great deal of sympathy. Fascist parties aimed to use "white terror" to crush class struggles and the workers' and strikers' movement, in order to facilitate the implementation of the monopoly bourgeoisie's strategy. The tactical objectives of communist parties and the workers' movement were reviewed in the light of the new objective conditions of struggle: the (provisional) alternative was not between dictatorship of the proletariat or bourgeois democracy, but between fascism or defense/development of democratic rights and freedoms. This tactical "detour" was intended to apply the Leninist concept of the link between the struggle for democracy and the struggle for socialism, but it was necessary because the middle classes were attracted by fascist demagoguery, which would have isolated the proletariat, handed it over to the terror of the financial oligarchy and thus enabled fascist victory. It was not this tactical detour that was wrong, but its application that was misunderstood or inadequate. This tactic had to be strategically linked to the revolutionary struggle for socialism.

Today, the objective conditions are no longer the same: the main contradiction is capital/labor, not democracy/fascism. What's more, a new confusion has arisen as a result of our failure to assimilate the imperialist stage, placing the fight against fascism, and hence the alliances to be formed, at the forefront. Indeed, the term fascization is often misused by opportunists (as is imperialism, for that matter). Fascization, as defined by the Communist International, is neither fascism nor a road to fascism. It is the violation - inherent to the imperialist stage of capitalism - of its own bourgeois laws by the financial oligarchy, it is reactionary attitude across the board, an internal contradiction within the bourgeois state to maintain its domination. So, while we understand the reluctance of comrades to use this word, it opens up a better understanding of the dictatorship of capital at its monopoly stage, precisely by preventing the analysis from erecting a wall between bourgeois democracy and fascism, and instead reminding us of the same content. If the concept of fascization enables us to understand the state in this way, it also enables us to understand its antagonism to the democratic demands of the exploited. Indeed, the contradiction between the capitalists' formal, limited democracy and workers' aspirations to democracy for themselves, their aspiration to manage their daily lives and their future at all levels, is amplified under imperialism. This disenfranchisement of democratic rights, of which workers are the victims from the company to the state, not forgetting the municipality, means that communists have the task of ensuring that struggles for democratic rights are based on aspirations for participation and transparency in public affairs. From this point of view, communists have a dual mission: to defend, develop and consolidate all forms of direct grassroots democracy (councils, committees, etc.), and to use these same aspirations to show that bourgeois democracy is democracy for the owners of capital, the negation of democracy for workers. Marxist-Leninists, following in the footsteps of Marx and Lenin, believe that the struggle for the consolidation and acquisition of democratic rights fosters the development of the class struggle, gives workers confidence in their own strength, and removes any probable illusions about the causes of their suffering. The strategic condition being that communists link the struggle for democracy to the denunciation of the limits of bourgeois democracy, due to its class content, educate in the idea that radical democratism finds its expression in Socialist Revolution and workers' and people's democracy. The conditions of the world counter-revolution and the subjective conditions specific to each country mean that the conquest of these objectives and the fight against fascism require the construction, recognition and strengthening of our Communist Party, which is only at an embryonic stage in France, and the growing understanding that the working class is the only class capable of defeating fascism, because it is the only class capable, with its Party, of defeating capitalism.