Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Notes on In Defence of Marxism

Trotsky mural

Trotsky's writings collected in In Defence of Marxism showed that the degeneration of the Fourth International [FI] was already well under way in the late 30s before his assassination in 1940. Trotsky had to fight against the petty bourgeois opposition which refused to regard a state ruled by Stalin as a degenerated workers state. Underlying this fight was the capitulation of the opposition to US social chauvinism in the labour aristocracy. But even more telling, this capitulation resulted from the abandonment of dialectics or what Trotsky called the ‘Crisis of Marxism’. The FI did not have the social base in the working class nor the leadership cadre capable of sustaining a true internationalism in the face of imperialist war. Thus, already at the time of Trotsky’s death, the leading section, the Socialist Workers' Party [SWP] in the heart of the leading imperialist country, the USA, was set on a course of self-destruction. 

Social chauvinism however, was not confined to the US section. Vietnam showed already during the 30s that the FI French section in Vietnam was opportunist towards the Stalinists after the popular front period began in 1936. Conversely the ICL group in Vietnam was sectarian. Thus even before the war and Trotsky’s death the roots of the FI were already degenerating.

During the war the tiny FI split into opportunist and sectarian wings under the pressure of Stalinism. The US section buckled in the face of fascism and defended US ‘democratic’ imperialism. Trotskyism in Europe and in the colonies split along the same lines. This in itself was hardly surprising as the Stalinist parties had to impose ruthless discipline, including assassinations to keep its own ranks from rebelling against its popular fronts propping up the imperialist regimes in pressing revolutionary uprisings.

During the war the imperialist powers used the Stalinist popular front to good effect to behead and destroy working class revolutions in Europe and the colonies. Trotsky’s prognosis that the war would see workers rally behind the FI so that either the imperialists would be defeated along with Stalinism by the socialist revolution, or, that imperialism would win and create a new situation of global barbarism not yet foreseen, was proven wrong. Imperialism survived thanks to the Stalinists. This disoriented the FI. Some like Cannon of the US SWP believed that the war was continuing, while others like Pablo believed that Stalinism was a historically progressive force in the defeat of fascism. Of course had Trotsky survived the war he would certainly have recognised reality and rallied the FI to fight its degeneration and liquidation into reformism.

Weakened by the wartime struggles, the FI failed to recognise or correct the material causes of these weaknesses. Trotsky had made the exposure of the causes of these flaws his main task before his death. At their roots, so Trotsky said, was the failure of the FI to embed itself in the working class (including the colonial and semi-colonial working class) so that it could not function as a truly revolutionary Marxist international party.

A world party of revolution would have to draw on the experience of the struggles in every part of the world; imperialist, semi-colonial and in the degenerated workers states. This would allow the experience of objective reality of these struggles to interact with the subjective experience of the party so that it could correct any errors in its program. For Trotsky, unless the objective and subjective realities were united in the democratic centralist party there could be no application of dialectics. There was no unity of theory and practice.

Without this global grounding in the proletarian and peasant struggles the party would be sucked into the petty bourgeois milieu of the big cities in the imperialist countries. This would result in the over-representation of the petty-bourgeois in the composition of the party in the imperialist sections and huge pressures to capitulate to social chauvinism and Stalinism.

This was the twin crisis of leadership and of Marxism that Trotsky warned of before his death. The crisis of leadership was the failure to build a healthy world party of revolution. The crisis of Marxism naturally flowed from that as Marxism would cease to be a living Marxism and become bogged down in dogma.

Thus the key to understanding the significance of the twin crisis is that any failure of a leadership (and party) to be able to apply the dialectical method in relation to objective and subjective reality must lead to failure and defeat. No wonder Trotsky called Schachtman’s rejection of dialectics a “betrayal of Marxism”.

But without Trotsky the FI leadership succumbed to national chauvinism. The majority ultraleft line taken by the US SWP put the US working class, the most privileged labor aristocracy in the world, at the head of the fight in the ongoing world class war. Trotsky had called the US working class the most backward in the world because its class consciousness was held back by the labour aristocracy living off colonial super-profits. Yet Cannon thought it the most advanced proletariat and the leader of the world revolution.

The majority opportunist line in post-war Europe adapted to not only the survival but victory of Stalinism and liquidated the FI into Stalinism. It called Tito an “unconscious Trotskyist” and saw the expansion of the Soviet Union into Eastern Europe where it smashed workers uprisings as creating ‘deformed’ workers states that could be ‘reformed’ by bourgeois parliaments.

Neither the US or European sections based in the biggest imperialist powers took any notice of the mass Trotskyist sections in the colonies of Asia and semi-colonies of Latin America. In Ceylon, India and Indo-China where were mass Trotskyist sections which had fought bloody wars against the colonial powers aided by the Stalinists who eliminated the Trotskyist leaderships. The lessons of this physical ‘liquidation’ at the hands of the Stalinists would have corrected the ‘ideological’ liquidation of imperial-centric Trotskyism.

Nor after the war was there was there any attempt to draw on the experience of the colonial and semi-colonial Trotskyists to produce an honest balance sheet of the wartime defeats and capitulations. We won’t call these ‘betrayals’ since it was clear that the FI lacked the capacity to prevent defeats and capitulations. But we can conclude that the history of Trotskyism since 1946 was one of almost universal liquidation making the crisis of leadership and of Marxism extreme.


So Trotsky was absolutely correct to spell out in In Defence of Marxism the real problem underlying the ‘Russian Question’. It was the rejection of dialectics which had its material roots in the petty bourgeois composition of the FI leadership in Europe and the US. Dialectics in relation to the defence of the USSR meant understanding that workers property must be defended from capitalist restoration despite the Stalinists. Dialectics explained that the workers states had degenerated so that a parasitic bureaucracy took control of workers property in much the same way as the labour bureaucracy controls the unions in the capitalist countries. Therefore the bureaucracy was a caste inside the working class and not a class antagonistic to workers property unless it was able to defeat workers and restore capitalist social relations. Therefore the working class had to make a political revolution to remove the bureaucracy and restore workers control over it's class property.

Trotsky warned that the petty bourgeois leadership was exposed to the pressure of the social chauvinist labour aristocracy in the lead up to war and during wars. The FI had to confront and counter this. When Trotsky suggested that the SWP call for a vote for the CPUSA in 1939 the SWP leadership refused. Yet when the war began and the SWP leaders were arrested Cannon publicly said that fascism and not the US ruling class was the main enemy of US workers. So the SWP capitulated to the social chauvinism of the labour aristocracy during the war, and after the war refused to recognise it as a backward element in the world working class. In the American Theses Cannon said that the US labour aristocracy was the most advanced in the world and has not prevented the more oppressed layers of the working class from moving upward into the labour aristocracy.

The split in the FI before and during the war was to become congealed as a split between those who revised the bureaucracy from caste to class exploiting the workers in the SU and the other ‘Stalinist states’, and those who revised the character of the bureaucracy as parasitic on workers property, to defenders of workers property. But in both cases these one-sided apparently opposite positions, had a common unity. The subjectivity of the working class (the revolutionary party) was replaced by an objective process of revolution. This subordination of the subjective agency of the proletariat to the objective process of history has a name. It’s called Menshevism.

All currents in the post-war FI liquidated the party of the proletariat into the petty bourgeoisie in the form of one, the social democratic parties of the US and European labour aristocracies; two, the ‘anti-imperialist’ leaders of the colonies and semi-colonies; and third, the Stalinist leaders in the degenerate workers states.

Petty bourgeois parties while masquerading as the champions of the working people, all serve the interests of the ruling class since they are bought and paid for by the imperialist bourgeoisies.

In a future issue of Class Struggle we will look at each in turn.

Housing NZ: Not for sale!

Housing protest, Glen Innes, Auckland

Housing NZ’s own press release admits cutting state housing: “The northern Glen Innes redevelopment project proposes the redevelopment of 156 properties to create at least 260 new homes, including: 78 that Housing New Zealand will own; at least 39 other affordable homes (possibly owned or managed through other social or community housing providers); the remainder for private sale”.‘Redevelopment’ in Glen Innes means selling off most of the land and halving the number of existing state houses!

Government attacks

The NACT Govt has announced its knives are out for more attacks on the social wage of the working class. Housing NZ has cut the accommodation supplement to income-related rents for beneficiaries and low-paid workers. The government’s propaganda line is to bring state rents into a “level playing field” with community trusts.  Yet the Housing Minister has also said “the state can no longer afford to meet the need for social and affordable housing by itself, and wants to encourage "third-sector" non-profit trusts”. We expect more cuts given the presence of welfare working group members on the latest government committee.

After the “Tamaki transformation” development, Housing NZ will only own and manage 30% (78/260) of the housing. Of course the prime land values will be go into private pockets as Housing NZ properties not sold off will be on the cheaper land (bottom of the hill – less sun, no views). HNZ is already in bed with private capitalists –Fletchers and McConnell Dowell have directors on the Housing NZ board.
Now Housing NZ and Auckland city council have sub-contracted the whole “transformation” to the “Tamaki Redevelopment Company”. Government has put $5 million in (and is 59% owner) the council has put in $3.5 million (for 49% ownership). The company wants the “private sector” to invest funds and make a profit. Instead of providing social housing the state will be collaborating in the profiteering of property developers. This is proof that Mayor Len Brown’s election promise: “I won’t privatise” was a lie.
Charity dumping

The NACT Govt is dumping housing responsibilities and cutting the contribution to the social wage made by state housing. They have contracted out more “social” housing through a ‘social housing unit’. An allocation of $8.81 million has also gone to Accessible Properties NZ, a wholly owned subsidiary of IHC, to provide accommodation for people with intellectual disabilities. A grant of $1.3m, went to the Comcare Charitable Trust for building 20 single person units around Christchurch – This is peanuts when you look at shortage of housing and the failure to replace and repair state housing that is red stickered.  But is enough to buy out Comcare so Annette Sutherland (their housing manager) is now working for the government on how to get out of “social” housing by part-privatising to more charities.

Local churches and charities may also be bought off by a government lolly scramble for $104 million available for “social housing funds”. Social housing was what State housing (Housing NZ) was all about, now the government is contracting this out to the private sector and trusts. The Ponsonby Rd Baptist Church has it's hand out. Their ‘Community of Refuge Trust’, “will receive $3.89m to build clusters of 31 one- and two-bedroom units”. This is a payout to the trust to echo the NACTs  own bullshit. Trust chief executive Peter Jeffries thinks, ‘government is prioritising social housing’. The 30% public/ 70% private sell-off in Glen Innes/Tamaki exposes that as an outright lie.

Charity is no long-term solution for meeting working class needs. Charities are under control of the state as they are dependent on state funding to expand – and charities that criticise or challenge the government are frozen out of existence by a freeze in state funding – while those that cosy up and spout the governments lies receive funding. The government can pick winners who repeat their lies, and try to meet the needs of the “deserving poor”. The losers will be charities that dare to question the government version of reality and the government’s continuing attack on the “undeserving poor” and “benefit bludgers”. Charities shift the debate from income based rents with plans to charge 70%-80% of market rents: cold charity.

Rents attacked

The Auckland housing need is growing at approx. 250+ new houses per month according to the City Council estimate. Yet only 50 per month are being built currently. The “market” will push up rents. Housing NZ rents are fixed at 25% of the tenants' incomes. But the Government is gearing up to attack income based rents. NACT complains about “giving” Housing NZ just over $600 million a year as the difference between market rents and rents limited to 25% of income. Through WINZ NACT pays $1.2 billion a year in accommodation supplements for 312,000 people, more that 50% of total private rentals; charity for private landlords and their capitalist bankers. 

How about meeting needs?

Capitalist developers are proven failures – building shoddy or leaky homes for a quick profit; going bust, leaving unfinished buildings and developments, and leaving people in sub-standard housing. Capitalism has failed to provide affordable housing!

It was a National government in the 1990’s that destroyed housing standards and set the scene for the leaky building problems. Allowing free-market cowboys to run the whole building and property development ‘industry’ – for profit, and not even able to meet basic housing needs. This government will not fix the housing shortage. Housing NZ has no plan to contribute to meet this need – instead they are privatising. Elderly applicants are told that they will die before they get into a HNZ house! We know that there are three families packed into 3-bedroom houses in Auckland, while others live in one bedroom boarding houses. The health system is burdened with diseases of poverty, including illnesses created by overcrowded and substandard housing.

No parliamentary solutions

Anyone who has any faith in a so-called Labour Party or the Mana Party needs to demand that their Party calls the asset sales “theft” and demand that they take the assets back without compensation – on winning the next election!

We have no confidence that those “left” parties will fight these assets sales. They are in the job of using Parliament to manage capitalism. Capitalism is facing a global depression and is desperate to restore profits. The only way out for them is to make the working class pay for their crisis: stealing our assets; attacking the social wage (health, education and housing) and driving down wages and conditions.  

The government is failing to meet people’s needs. They do not listen to the needs for housing – instead all they listen to is the capitalists desire to take profits and so they will sell, sell and sell. The asset sales are theft of state property paid for by the working class over the generations.  Housing represents part of the social wage defined as state provision of services paid for by taxation. While the capitalist claim the right to buy up public assets that are part of our social wage, we claim the right to expropriate their private wealth made on the backs of the working class! When the government doesn’t listen and doesn’t meet our needs we have to fight back – and we have to fight back in ways that they cannot ignore.

Take back all stolen assets/ no compensation!

For strikes and occupations – block the ruling class from their profit taking – then the State will know the power of the organised working class. Build strikes that shutdown production – that do not let scab labour in. Occupy factories and assets to show workers can control production.

For workers control of housing developments

Construction workers and HNZ tenants unite to plan and build new housing! The working class built those houses and will build the new houses to meet our needs only workers control! State housing began under a Labour Government when the working class was well organised and strong enough to win a good living standard. The Karl Marx Hof in Vienna (Austria) is another example of a state housing project provided by a ‘labour’ – social democratic government in the early 1930s.

While a fightback is on in Glen Innes, Mangere, Mt Roskill, New Lynn and Royal Oak are also in for a Housing NZ selloff. The outer suburbs will also be under the hammer. This is an attack on the social wage of the whole working class.

  • For a workers council of Glen Innes! And when we say ‘workers’ we mean the whole working class, including beneficiaries and state house tenants.
  • Smash market rents – for workers councils to set affordable rents in the area, and maximum of 25% of income.
  • Occupations and pickets to stop house removals! No house removals unless they are under tenants and workers control to meet the needs of the community!
  • For community self-defense squads! Prepare, be ready to defend pickets and occupations against police brutality.
  • Smash the monopoly of Fletchers building and/or nationalise building companies under workers control with no compensation to the capitalist-share holders. Stop the finance capitalist profiteering from housing, for workers control of the banks!
  • Socialise the building industry under workers control to build enough high standard affordable housing for all those that need housing!

Stopping Asset Sales

Rally against Asset Sales, Auckland, April 2012

The mass marches against asset sales may be getting smaller, but the militant opposition is on the rise. The NACTs are speeding up their rip, shit, bust plan to re-colonise NZ. The TPPA signals this logic as it signs away almost all sovereign control over NZ assets. This means that the opposition to that barbaric future will only grow stronger and draw more and more into activity. The NACTs have no choice but to go for broke and they are breaking down everywhere.

For example, Operation 8 was a total failure to divide the nation against Maori ‘terror’. The big plans to ‘reform’ education have been temporarily shelved. Welfare ‘reform’ is kept in the headlines, with numerous incendiary statements from Paula Benefit, such as drug testing beneficiaries, as a diversion from the real fight over asset sales where the NACTs face a growing popular resistance.

The Waitangi Tribunal and Iwi corporate challenges to water sales have put the Power Co sales on hold. Yes, the iwi leaderships will be bought off by shares or compensation to grab a share in the privatised profits of public assets. They are openly admitting that to get anything from the deals they will have to capitalise their ‘spiritual’ values and their traditional view of ‘ownership’ into money-value. Te Whiti would be calling them 21st century kupapa.

Then, another sort of capitalist corporate, Rio Tinto, has seized the time to cut its power costs. It takes 20% of the total NZ electricity output so can effectively force the working class to subsidize its power costs.

These are challenges arising from disagreements among the bosses who are squabbling over the size of their cut from privatization at our expense. They all stand to profit from privatisation. They are not the allies of the masses whose only experience of ‘trickle down’ from asset sales is price rises to pay for the privatised profits.

The growing popular opposition to asset sales has already forced the NACTs to repackage its sales pitch several times and it’s now coming up against a worsening global depression, falling prices and devaluation of capital assets and living standards – a classic crisis of overproduction!

What makes the current resistance bound to increase and strengthen is the courage and political inventiveness of a growing youth movement who understand that their generation must lead the austerity the fightback against the attacks of the international banksters. When the capitalist system begins to eat its young, its days are numbered.

The Labour Party has a contradictory position on asset sales. It will not come out and state that it will re-nationalise all asset sales, let alone not pay compensation. It doesn’t want to be identified as part of a movement lead by anti-capitalists. The Green and Labour MPs who speak at asset sales rallies are careful not to steer the fightback outside parliament. They are on a losing streak. Because to stop the asset sales the movement has to go way beyond referenda and legal challenges to militant direct action which must come into conflict with parliament.

Mana is shaping up to lead that resistance and can do if and when it overcomes its historic tension between Maori Nationalism and the Pakeha left and unites the majority of the NZ working class. At the moment Mana is subordinating itself to the Waitangi Tribunal – that is the capitalist parliamentary system. It will only break from this when Maori workers realise that there is no parliamentary solution and that the iwi corporate leaders are Maori capitalists who want to exploit Maori workers to make a profit.

We look forward to the demos and direct actions when we see Mana banners and flags declaiming “Renationalisation without Compensation” and calling for “occupations of lands and dams” to unite the various left currents and campaigns.

The reason that NZ politics is being realigned is that Aotearoa/NZs economic sovereignty in the Pacific is being permanently sold-off under the NACTs to US imperialism. This political realignment will see a huge polarisation between the NACT rightwing and a growing left around Mana, a left Labour Party split, and a Green split along class lines that unites the left fragments like the ‘new left’ Syriza in Greece. Its agenda will be contested but open to those who want to defeat the right drift towards NZ as a locked down US neo-colony and fight for Aotearoa/NZ as a sovereign, socialist republic. That would be a good start.

Occupy the Dams!
Take back the power! Dump Rio Tinto!
Socialise all strategic assets under workers’ control!
For a Workers’ Government!
For a Socialist Republic of Aotearoa in a Socialist Federation of the Pacific!

Afghanistan: Troops out now!

NZ  SAS trained to kill

The Labour Government sent NZ SAS troops to Afghanistan in 2001 on the basis that a UN resolution justified the ‘war on terror’ in that country. This was never anything more than a pretext to invade and occupy a strategic pivot in the ‘big game’ –Al Qaeda was always a label attached to any militant opposition to US interests in the struggle for control of central Asia to plunder its oil and gas. NZ became the US deputies dog snapping at the heels of the Taliban for the price of some trade concessions. Back then we said “Defend Afghanistan” in what was an imperialist war against a poor semi-colony. There could be no defence of Afghanistan without the defeat of the invading army; the NZ troops included.

The outrage that met Sumner-Burstyn’s comments on the recent deaths of 5 NZ soldiers, shows how mindlessly jingoistic the NZ authoritarian populist rump has become in a global crisis where many retreat into racial national chauvinism. As we have said before, crisis and recession brings out the underlying racism, sexism and reactionary attitudes towards ‘liberal’ values. Classic is Matthew Hooten on Radio NZ rubbishing opposition to the war in Afghanistan by “Grey Lynn liberals”. In a period of social crisis those with a need for authority feel threatened by breakdown of social order and lash out at any scapegoat group they can blame for their fear. The NACTs and their attack dogs like Michael Laws exploit that fear in their baiting of easy targets including paedophiles and welfare frauds. Women who speak out like Sumner-Burstyn are easy targets for rape or death threats.

The logic of this reactionary scapegoating is to exploit fear and build public hysteria to justify a drive to war and for NZ’s involvement in more invasions and wars so that the NZ ruling class gets its share of the imperialist spoils. And as this causes resistance, it justifies more ‘anti-terror’ legislation and against free speech and assembly, and for more spying and restrictions on legal rights as we have seen in the aftermath of Operation 8. This is a slide towards fascism where all those who are perceived as a threat to the ‘social order’ of capitalism became the targets of reactionary groups in society ith the complicity of the state.

In the decade since the last Afghan war began, the invaders have met with the same fate of as all previous imperialist invasions, a long retreat before defeat. The US has no major strategic gains and apart from heavily fortified garrisons like Bagram, has shifted the moving front on the ‘war on terror’ to hit and run Drone warfare. Iran is next and China is not far behind with NZ now roped back as a junior partner in RIMPAC and the US plan to isolate its new global rival China politically and militarily.

Workers have to stand up against the revival of militaristic nationalism (jingoism) and wars of conquest wherever they are; get the troops out of Afghanistan; withdraw from all NATO and UN military forces in the Middle East, and from all RIMPAC and ANZAC agreements in the Asia Pacific. These are all designed to suck NZ into new intelligence sharing, surveillance, wars and invasions in the interests of the US and its allies, against its newly emerging imperialist rivals, China and Russia.

Class Struggle #101 July-August 2012

Class Struggle #101

Monday, August 27, 2012

Syria & ‘anti-imperialism’

Victims of the massacre at Daraya, Syria August 25/26, 2012

The  situation in Syria is escalating every day as the regime has been given the "green light" by Obomber that no US intervention will happen unless the regime crosses the "red line" of using a "whole bunch of chemical weapons" . The latest massacre of 630 at Daraya during the weekend of 25/26 August is one of the results. This highlights the question of imperialist intervention in Syria. Can revolutionaries support the intervention of imperialism on the side of the resistance to the Assad regime?

In the last issue of Class Struggle we reprinted an article from the RWG (Zimbabwe) paper Revolutionary Worker. In it we stated that much of the ‘anti-imperialist’ left refused to take the side of the insurrection because they argue it is controlled by the US or by Islamic radicals (usually Al Qaeda). A big debate on the online Trotskyist left has blown up over this question. Against the ‘knee jerk’ anti imperialists, there are those who want US imperialist intervention on ‘humanitarian’ grounds. What was Trotsky’s position on this question?

It comes down to the difference between ‘strategy’ and ‘tactics’. It is necessary to be ‘anti-imperialist’ in strategy but able to modify this in concrete circumstances to the ‘tactic’ of a limited united front with imperialism. Both ‘knee jerk’ anti-imperialists and ‘humanitarian’ anti-imperialists have a problem because they cannot differentiate between ‘strategy’ and ‘tactics’.

This has come up most clearly in the article by Pham Binh posted to The North Star site titled “Assad’s Bloodhounds”. Binh insists that those who use the slogan “Hands Off” are doing it indiscriminately which means in Syria they wind up on Assad’s side because whether or not the regime is armed by Russian imperialism, the rebels are denied US and EU imperialist aid. Binh on the other hand calls for the US to provide weapons and other assistance to the insurrection on the grounds that given the concrete conditions this is the most important fight, not anti-imperialism abstractly conceived.

While Binh is correct to attack the hypocrisy of the anti-imperialists who in effect are backing Assad, (as they backed Gaddafi before him), he is wrong to say that all those who call for imperialist “Hands Off” are backing Assad. There are those that use the ‘Hands Off’ slogan to refer to imperialisms overall reactionary character and to signify that no support can be given to imperialism in any circumstances. In particular we cannot defend ‘humanitarian’ imperialism without sowing illusions in imperialism which is reactionary in character.

Yet, this does not stop them from saying that under particular conditions, workers can enter into specific military bloc, where despite imperialists reactionary character, it may be of tactical assistance to a working class or otherwise progressive struggle.

It is important to distinguish here between the reactionary motives of imperialism in any military bloc, and the progressive use of any imperialist aid. What makes this aid progressive has nothing to do with imperialism and everything to do with its use by the revolutionary movement.

Binh is wrong to demand that we cannot continue to use the slogan “Hands off” because that will mean no tactical bloc with imperialism is possible. Trotsky writes clearly about this problem in his article “Learn to Think”. Here he argues that the overall “Hands off” strategy does not prevent tactical alliances over practical struggles.

“Let us assume that rebellion breaks out tomorrow in the French colony of Algeria under the banner of national independence and that the Italian government, motivated by its own imperialist interests, prepares to send weapons to the rebels. What should the attitude of the Italian workers be in this case? I have purposely taken an example of rebellion against a democratic imperialism with intervention on the side of the rebels from a fascist imperialism. Should the Italian workers prevent the shipping of arms to the Algerians? Let any ultra-leftists dare answer this question in the affirmative. Every revolutionist, together with the Italian workers and the rebellious Algerians, would spurn such an answer with indignation. Even if a general maritime strike broke out in fascist Italy at the same time, even in this case the strikers should make an exception in favor of those ships carrying aid to the colonial slaves in revolt; otherwise they would be no more than wretched trade unionists – not proletarian revolutionists.

At the same time, the French maritime workers, even though not faced with any strike whatsoever, would be compelled to exert every effort to block the shipment of ammunition intended for use against the rebels. Only such a policy on the part of the Italian and French workers constitutes the policy of revolutionary internationalism.

Does this not signify, however, that the Italian workers moderate their struggle in this case against the fascist regime? Not in the slightest. Fascism renders “aid” to the Algerians only in order to weaken its enemy, France, and to lay its rapacious hand on her colonies. The revolutionary Italian workers do not forget this for a single moment. They call upon the Algerians not to trust their treacherous “ally” and at the same time continue their own irreconcilable struggle against fascism, “the main enemy in their own country”. Only in this way can they gain the confidence of the rebels, help the rebellion and strengthen their own revolutionary position.”