Looking at the world today, we see an urgent need for revolution, contrasting with a profound weakness and division of pro-revolutionaries. Some of their disagreements are serious. And yet, pro-revolutionaries also have something essential in common, internationalist, revolutionary, positions that separate them from those, whose pseudo-revolutionary discourse, in the end, is nothing more than an excuse for the perpetuation of the value-form. We use the term “pro-revolutionary” deliberately, because only history will be able to judge whether what we do, discussing, writing, publishing, intervening etc…has a revolutionary impact or not. We certainly want that. But do we act accordingly?
1. The present-day crisis is not just a conjunctural downturn, not just a result of unbridled greed. It is not a crisis of neo-liberalism but a crisis of capitalism. It demonstrates capitalism’s historical obsolescence, the urgent need to kill it at its core and replace it with a world in which the satisfaction of human needs, not profit, is the driving force, a world no longer ruled by the law of value, no longer divided by nations, races and religions, in which the collective self-emancipation of the exploited will, for the first time, make individual freedom real.
2. The consequences of this crisis are and will be increasingly devastating. In its desperate attempts to cut costs to restore its profit-rate, the capitalist class inflicts mass unemployment, wage and benefit cuts on the working class, hunger, disease and homelessness on all the dispossessed. For the same reason, it continues its onslaught on the natural environment. Furthermore, the crisis widens the door to war. When the normal economic ways to obtain profit are blocked, the use of violence becomes increasingly attractive, while the need of the accumulation process for devalorization invites ever-greater destruction.
3. The only force capable of preventing capitalism from dragging humanity into the abyss is international working class revolution. The only way this revolution can succeed is through the development of collective self-organization of the working class in struggle; breaking through all the divisions capitalism imposes on it. From this self-organization of the struggle will arise the self-organization of the post-capitalist world.
4. The crisis inevitably provokes social convulsions. In each of them, contradictory forces are at work. In every struggle, there will be voices pleading for giving in, for ending the fight. There will be those who defend the particularity of each struggle, to keep it isolated. There will be those who will try to redirect the anger away from capitalism towards workers of other countries or towards immigrants or other scapegoats. But in every struggle, there also will be the urge to push ahead, to take the movement as far as it can go; there will be voices that plead for the extension of the struggle, for the unity of the exploited, for collective self-organization, against respect for capitalist laws and institutions. And increasingly, there will be voices that will clearly state that the real enemy is capitalism itself.
5. What the outcome of the confrontation of these contradictory forces will be is not predetermined. Pro-revolutionaries recognize that they are part of the equation. The social force that works towards the overthrowing of capitalism takes many forms and they are one of them. So they participate in the struggle of the exploited whenever they can on the side of those pushing to widen the envelope.
6. Their theoretical clarity can be an important catalyst in the development of the understanding, throughout the working class and even beyond, of what’s at stake. But to play its role, the pro-revolutionary milieu must transcend its fragmentation by coming together to defend basic revolutionary positions with a clear and loud voice.
7. It is time that the pro-revolutionary milieu openly recognizes that the acceleration of capital’s crisis, of both its depth and its breadth, has raised the stakes considerably. It needs to weigh its differences and disagreements against its obligations at this hour of urgency. Of course the groups and circles in the milieu are deeply divided, but if each has an aspiration to defend revolutionary positions then that is the basis for us to put them forward together. Seeing our way through the challenges ahead demands that we disseminate our ideas in as public a way and as often as possible through common discussions, common meetings, common statements and interventions. If the pro-revolutionary milieu does not put forward the revolutionary perspective, then who will? Who will discuss openly inside the working class both the historical meaning of its struggles in the face of this crisis and the consequences of letting the ruling class have its way?
8. Theoretical disagreements aren’t the obstacle to working together, they are part of the stuff of the revolutionary life of the proletariat; the obstacle is sectarianism. The milieu has a stark choice to make. Agreeing with the above would only be a first step; we have to actually do it. And we don’t have forever to think about it. Capitalism will not die by itself. We are determined to do our part.