One conviction is common to everybody demonstrating today in Amsterdam: in order to respond to the increasingly violent attack of governments and employers -united beyond their national borders- the proletariat must unify its struggle. This is the message launched by the Renault workers, the Liverpool dockers, the Korean working class, and so on. This is the drive that not only gives strength to the mobilisation of today, but also feeds the growing resistance from Germany to Spain, from France to the USA and Russia, against the cuts, redundancies, and everworsening agreements made at the expense of the working class and all of the proletariat. The struggle can and must be relaunched, but this can only be done under two conditions: today's initiative must not remain an isolated demonstrative action, but become the basis of an authentic and ongoing battle; and all of our activities must be undertaken within the framework of a single and truly alternative perspective that is counterpoised against the capitalist attack.
This attack has been going on for at least the last fifteen years, and operates at all levels and in all countries. It is a general and international attack intended to off-load the costs of the economic crisis onto the proletariat of the West and East, and even more heavily onto the super-exploited masses in the South of the world. We must acknowledge this fact, and consequently respond on a general and international scale ourselves!

Constructing the international unity of our class front

The need for the unity (and not just European unity) of our class front is becoming more evident every day, not least because the dominant bourgeois class is increasingly counting on being able to set the different elements of the proletariats against each other, in order to drain their strength and power, and thus worsen the conditions of all. The "globalisation" of the market, with its related actual or threatened shift of production facilities to countries with a lower cost of labour, and its drive for maximum productivity, is establishing a downward spiral for our class that can only be broken by counter-globalising our own front. This is a task that has now become vitally urgent, because the processes of instilling competition among workers have already reached an advanced stage: from Yugoslavia, where the proletariat has been fragmented by what can only be called a truly fratricidal war, to countries such as Italy, Belgium, Spain and Canada, in which the risk of the territorial or "ethnic" division of the working class is rapidly materialising, and finally to the gap that is being deliberately and disgracefully widened between the European proletariat and its immigrant counterpart.
This spiral must be broken by taking advantage of the fact that this globalisation of the market is itself laying the basis for the internationalisation of the struggle and organisation of the working class. The first steps in this direction -from the united front against the closure of Renault in Belgium, to the Liverpool dockers solidarity committee and the international coordination of Alcatel, UPS, etc. - must be reinforced and extended. But this requires a consistent political and organisational line that is capable of removing the obstacles that still obstruct the unity of our class army.

What is that hampers the unification of our forces?

What has led to the progressive retreat of the working classes and impeded their unity over all these years has been the acceptance of the criteria of national and company competitiveness by union leaders and the parties of the so-called "left". Adopting these criteria as their own, they have also continued to tell us that "the sacrifices being made to relaunch our companies and the country will not be in vain, because tomorrow we will also be able to restore the conditions of the proletariat". But that tomorrow has never come and never will. In this increasingly asphytic market, the relaunching of one's "own" company means putting others in a situation of crisis and, in order not to succumb, these are driven to making new salary and employment cuts, intensifying productivity, etc. And this inevitably boomerangs back on the very workers who thought they had ensured their positions by making "concessions" to their "own" masters. The same mechanism is at work in the case of the countries and their cuts in "social services": if they can get away with it in one, it will then be easier to extend the same approach to the others.
And so, if we seriously intend to defend our living and working conditions, and our power as a class, we must reject the blackmail of capitalistic compatibility and thrust the difficulties of the capitalist crisis firmly back on the shoulders of our exploiters.

It is futile to expect any help from "left-wing" governments

We can expect little good from the new governments of Prodi, Blair or Jospin because, however much their policy may be to impose more gradual and more "moderate" sacrifices than those called for by their right-wing predecessors, they do not even minimally doubt the primacy of the needs of capital over those of the workers. Furthermore (as everybody in Italy knows all too well), their policy paralyses, disorganises and disrupts our forces by its underlying blackmail of "do nothing to disturb the work of our friendly government, otherwise the right will return to power". In the meantime, despite its electoral defeats, the political and social right continues forging its weapons and radicalising its position in readiness for its next attack against the working class - and, what is worse, is already beginning to penetrate the disorganised ranks of the proletariat (just look at the National Front of Le Pen in France, or the Northern League of Bossi in Italy).
Although the satisfaction of the workers in having stemmed the tide of Berlusconi, Major, Juppé and Kohl - in the streets and their places of work!- is sacrosanct, putting this potential in the hands of labour or social democratic parties is tantamount to wasting it. It is not only futile, but highly dangerous to delude ourselves that a Europe governed by the "left" will see the return of the times of the "social contract" between capital and labour - those times have gone for ever.

Relaunching class protagonism and a class programme

We have to understand that what we are facing is not just a skirmish on the part of the "technocrats of Brussels", "incapable" managers, or "backward" governments and institutions, but a general and all-encompassing attack launched by a capitalist class whose social system is in profound crisis. And it is precisely because of this crisis that any residue of the social contract must be buried. The parameters of Maastricht are nothing other than the parameters of capitalism in crisis! Effective opposition cannot come from a simple revision that makes them more "human" or "equitable" today - only to find that the price to be paid tomorrow has doubled - but only from an acceptance of the global challenge that the bourgeoisie has made. We must set our parameters against theirs, our interests against theirs, our strength against theirs. Against their governments and states, we must oppose our own, organised and international class army united behind a programme that will - finally! - lead to our resurgence and liberation. Liberation from a social system that is now showing evident signs of its degradation not only in terms of its economic and production framework, but also in terms of the galloping spread of pedophilia, prostitution, drugs, the "mad cow" case, the explosion of juvenile discomfort, the growing oppression of women, and a whole range of other "patologies".
But to bring this about, the proletariat must put its own protagonism in the field and no longer delegate its traditional leaders, or the new populists who (if anything) can only be worse than the old. It must reject the economic and political compatibilities of capitalism; refuse to make any further unjust or even "equitable" sacrifices in the altar of companies or nation-states; abandon the illusion of being able to defend itself within the capitalist framework; scorn all localisms or nationalisms of any kind. It must oppose all of the disastrous divisions among its ranks, between the workers of the West and the East, between Europe and the other continents, between the employed and the unemployed, between men and women, between the young and the not so young. It must strengthen the impulses underlying the internationalisation of its struggle and organisation by restoring its own class programme, its own international and internationalist communist party, its own autonomous perspective of socialist power.

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