The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

To Construct a Revolutionary Communist Party

Oct 6, 2017

The following article, which appeared in issue #188, December 2017, of Lutte de Classe, the political journal of the French Trotskyist organization, Lutte Ouvrière, is a text from LO’s annual congress.

The working class can free itself from exploitation and liberate all of society from the straitjacket of capitalism only by creating revolutionary communist parties.

The revolutionary communist party can be reborn and develop only on the basis of scientific socialism, such as it was elaborated 170 years ago by Marx and Engels and formulated in The Manifesto of the Communist Party. This work lays out the fundamentals of the program and practice of this current of the workers’ movement, the objectives of which are not limited to defending the material and political interests of workers within the framework of the capitalist system, but take on the goal of destroying it.

The very development of modern capitalism and the international division of labor, accelerated by industrialization, has created and developed the modern proletariat, the only force capable of replacing the capitalist organization of society with a superior social and economic form, that of communism. The development of capitalism, by making the economy international, has created the economic bases on which the revolutionary proletariat will be able to build a society freed from exploitation, competition and crises.

Owing to its fundamental goal, the struggle of the proletariat cannot confine itself within national borders. On the contrary, it is an international struggle with the outcome of ending the economic and political domination of the bourgeoisie through the organization of the working class as the economically and politically dominant class on the global level.

In the history of the communist movement, the construction of a party merges with the construction of an International, the worldwide party of the communist revolution.

Since the time when capitalist development simplified social relations by dividing society “into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other – Bourgeoisie and Proletariat,” to use the expression of the “Communist Manifesto,” these two classes have never ceased to struggle. At times, this struggle remains under the surface and limits itself to skirmishes within a company, pitting a boss against its workers; at other times, it takes the form of massive battles between classes, strikes or insurrections. Sometimes, these struggles lead to victories, at least partial ones, on the part of the workers, but often to more or less serious defeats.

Beyond official history and its twists and turns, beyond the rivalries between bourgeois nations and their wars, this class struggle remains the motor of history.

Apart from the changing relations of force between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, the capitalist organization of society and the competition that it creates among workers has always exercised a dissolving effect on the organizations that the working class has created for itself. Bourgeois society, based fundamentally on private property and economic rivalry, continuously introduces competition between workers themselves. “This organization of the proletarians into a class, and, consequently into a political party, is continually being upset again by the competition between the workers themselves,” notes the “Communist Manifesto.”

The struggle for social emancipation is therefore, at the same time, a struggle against individualism and competition between workers and a struggle for the collective consciousness of belonging to the same social class. It is a struggle that must be constantly taken up as long as the bourgeoisie’s domination over society has not been definitively overturned. Only revolutionary periods have the possibility of rallying the large majority of the working class together around its class interests and the political perspective that it embodies. It is only in these periods that the working class can rise to the level of its historic task of destroying capitalist social relations from top to bottom and starting to build a new social order without private property in the means of production, without competition and without exploitation.

“The Communists openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions” – so affirms the “Communist Manifesto.” Contrary to the nonsense uttered by reformist “socialists” and Stalinists, the working class cannot conquer power within the framework of the laws issued by the bourgeoisie. Its political independence is the fundamental condition to achieve this: “Instead of lowering themselves to the level of an applauding chorus, the workers, and above all the League, must work for the creation of an independent organization of the workers’ party, both secret and open, and alongside the official democrats, and the League must aim to make every one of its communes a center and nucleus of workers’ associations in which the position and interests of the proletariat can be discussed free from bourgeois influence.” (Extract from The Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League – Marx and Engels, March 1850)

It is on the basis of this program that the Bolshevik Party was able to guide the Russian proletariat towards the seizure and exercise of state power, bringing the ideas of scientific socialism into the realm of events, at the scale of a huge country representing one sixth of the earth’s land surface.

Lenin, the main leader of the Bolshevik Party, thus formulated the Tasks of the Russian Social Democrats in 1897, twenty years before the seizure of power by the Soviets (councils) that the Russian proletariat had created:

“Our task is to merge our activities with the practical, everyday questions of working-class life, to help the workers understand these questions, to draw the workers’ attention to the most important abuses, to help them formulate their demands to the employers more precisely and practically, to develop among the workers consciousness of their solidarity, consciousness of the common interests and common cause of all the Russian workers as a united working class that is part of the international army of the proletariat.”

In the eyes of Lenin and Trotsky, the victory of the proletarian revolution in Russia in 1917 was the victory of the first detachment of this “international army of the proletariat” to throw itself into the decisive battle. Within this victory, it would be impossible to separate the depth and extent of the revolutionary mobilization of the Russian proletariat and the role of the Bolshevik Party during the eight months stretching from the February revolution to the seizure of power in October. It is enough to say that over the course of these months, the fusion between the working class and the party that united its political vanguard reached a level that had never before been attained. This fusion came out of eight months of combat between classes, and the revolution brought it to its highest degree.

The revolution itself would nevertheless not have been able to merge the working class with its political vanguard to such an extent if it had not been for years of preparation on the part of the Bolshevik Party and of its militants, acting in harmony with the maturation of the proletariat itself.

We will not review here the importance of the 1905 revolution as a “dress rehearsal” for what was to happen in 1917, nor the depth of the retreat in the combativeness and organization of the proletariat between 1907 and the beginning of the decade that followed.

The period of the rise of the working class in 1905 and that of the profound retreat that began in 1907 nevertheless both contributed in their own way towards forging this party that remains a model and reference for our current. In light of the revolutionary wave that followed the Russian revolution, Lenin wrote in 1920: “We now possess quite considerable international experience, which shows very definitely that certain fundamental features of our revolution have a significance that is not local, or peculiarly national, or Russian alone, but international.” (Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder)

The victory of the proletariat in Russia in October 1917 put an end in the fire of the revolution to the debate over the nature of the party that it needs to take power. In Russia itself, first of all, it drew a line between the Menshevik and Bolshevik currents in the most radical way: while the Bolsheviks guided the proletariat to victory, the Mensheviks, who had nevertheless come out of the same Russian Social Democratic Party, placed themselves definitively in the camp of the bourgeoisie.

The revolutionary wave of the 1917-1921 period, which shook a large part of Europe, demonstrated the validity of Bolshevik methods, not in theory but in the living revolutionary struggle: by victory in the Russian revolution, by defeat in other revolutions.

The proletariat succeeded in conquering and holding power only in Russia. Of course, a very large number of factors impacted the outcome of the revolutionary situations that the proletariat found itself facing in Germany, Hungary, Finland and, to a certain extent, Italy. Among these factors, there was obviously the extent and depth of the mobilization of the proletariat in each of these countries. There was also the degree of preparation of the bourgeoisie itself, the competence of its political and military personnel, not to mention conditions linked to the geopolitical situation, the size of the country, the development of its economy, its military vulnerability, etc.

However, the fact remains that the Russian proletariat not only managed to conquer power, but to preserve it, despite a civil war inflamed by military interventions of the imperialist powers and despite the economic difficulties of a vast but underdeveloped country.

This period gave a universal character to the necessity of a Bolshevik-type party.

The bourgeoisie nevertheless succeeded in carrying off a victory in this first great international battle between the two fundamental classes of capitalist society, in large part because it found allies in the Social Democracy, which is to say in the leadership and political apparatus of the parties that had come out of the workers’ movement. The reformist Social Democracy furnished the first illustration of this dialectic of history that transformed parties coming out of the workers’ movement, including their leaders and apparatuses, into instruments for the preservation of the capitalist order.

With the bureaucratization of the first workers’ state, history reproduced something similar to this, with even more durable and serious consequences.

The Stalinism that came out of the revolution became the main counter-revolutionary factor, not only in the Soviet Union, where it was the political expression of the interests of the bureaucracy, but at the international level.

The actions of the bureaucracy of the Soviet Union itself to crush the working class and massacre an entire generation of revolutionaries who remained faithful to the October revolution were extended to the international level through the role of Stalinism. Stalinism not only stifled all revolutionary development in the capitalist countries (1936 in Spain, and, to a certain extent, in France), but, with the policy of the Popular Fronts, it chained the workers’ movement itself to the political parties of the bourgeoisie.

During the great crisis of the capitalist economy in the 1930s, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat clashed yet again at an international scale. The dominant class assured the permanence of its power, at least in Europe, with fascism on the one hand, and with the Popular Fronts that Stalinism initiated on the other.

In the class conflicts of the 1930s, when the great crisis of the capitalist economy played a role similar to that played by World War One in setting off the revolutionary wave of 1917-1921, the proletariat, which had found its combativeness yet again at the international level, nevertheless did not find the leadership to carry its fights to the finish. Worse still: those who posed as leaders of the workers’ movement – the socialist and Stalinist parties – made themselves into the representatives of the fundamental political interests of the bourgeoisie for this period and helped the latter to preserve the capitalist order on the scale of the world.

As Trotsky would then sum it up in the “Transitional Program,” “the historical crisis of mankind is reduced to the crisis of the revolutionary leadership.”

With the outbreak of World War Two, it was not just the proletariat who would pay for this crisis of leadership, but all of humanity.

The only serious attempt to insure the continuity of the revolutionary workers’ movement, not only in terms of theory but also of action, was that of the Left Opposition in Russia and the Fourth International. The historic role of Trotsky and the Fourth International, which he proclaimed shortly before he was assassinated under the orders of Stalin in 1940, was to maintain the political continuity of the revolutionary movement with the October revolution, and through this even with a current that has been successively incarnated by the First International of Marx and Engels, then the Second International up until World War One, and the (Third) Communist International in the years 1919-1923.

Trotsky was a militant formed in the Second International and an influential member of the leadership of the Third International after having been one of the main leaders of the Russian revolution. In the face of triumphant Stalinism, Trotsky incarnated the political heritage of what had been the best in these two Internationals.

To this considerable political capital inherited from the past, Trotsky made vitally important contributions towards understanding the evolution of the relations between the imperialist bourgeoisie and the proletariat after the degeneration of the workers’ state.

In the first place, this included the Marxist analysis of the emergence of a bureaucracy parasitically feeding off the state that the workers’ revolution had created.

It also consisted of the analysis of two political phenomena – fascism and the Popular Front – that imperialism produced in the face of the great crisis of 1929 to deal with the threat of proletarian revolution, in the first case through terror and in the second case through trickery.

Trotsky’s writings from this period represented and still represent the application of Marxist reasoning to many other twists and turns of a period rich in events: the struggle against the rise of Nazism in Germany, the Spanish revolution of 1936, June 1936 in France, and the vast mobilization of the United States working class.

His political writings also contain the keys to understanding many other events which took place after his death, like the transformation of the young Chinese Communist Party into a nationalist party capable of taking political power by leaning on the revolt of the poor peasantry.

We stand in the tradition of the Fourth International, which Trotsky created at a time (1938) when, between the Stalinist bureaucracy presiding over the ruins of the October 1917 revolution and the fascism that had taken power in Germany and Italy, it was “midnight in the century,” to use Victor Serge’s expression. The “Transitional Program,” the manifesto of revolutionary Marxism in the epoch of imperialism, retains all of its validity in our times.

However, neither during Trotsky’s lifetime nor still less after his death could the ideas and the revolutionary program that Trotsky personified be implanted again in the working class.

The Soviet Union was the only country where the Left Opposition was a party incarnating the heritage of the Bolshevik Party: it had trained militants and was rich in experience from the Russian revolution itself, the first years of economic transformation in a socialist direction, and the struggle against rising bureaucracy, but this party was literally liquidated by the Stalinist bureaucracy. This was a struggle to the death in the full sense of the term. Through the actions of the militants of the Left Opposition, the proletariat confronted the degeneration of its own state and the privileged bureaucratic layer that this had created. This clash extended to the international level.

The parties that came out of the Communist International, transformed into Stalinist parties, waged a pitiless war across the globe against all those who denounced the Stalinist current’s usurpation of the communist name and condemned the bureaucratic dictatorship of the Stalinist Soviet Union in the name of revolutionary Marxism.

Afterward, Stalinism experienced the decline that we know, both in the Soviet Union and in the international workers’ movement. But the proletariat and, ultimately, society as a whole, have not finished paying the price for Stalinism.

How the Question of the Party is Posed Today

One century after the Russian revolution, the proletariat has not taken power in any part of the world. Nowhere was it even in a situation to take it. At the present time, no proletariat in any country in the world possesses a revolutionary proletarian party, the necessary instrument of its emancipation.

It is not the place here to analyze the reasons for this long delay. Concerning the period following World War Two, we can at least say that they have to do with objective factors that are entirely or partially exterior to the revolutionary movement, such as a certain stability in the imperialist countries during the 1950s and 1960s. The imperialist bourgeoisie could have this stability in large part due to the active collaboration of the Soviet bureaucracy and the Stalinist movement in the reestablishment of capitalist order. They smothered or diverted the revolutionary wave set off by the second round of imperialist slaughter, which had been even more murderous than the first. They smothered it in the developed imperialist countries. And they contributed towards diverting the revolutionary movements of the poor masses in the under-developed countries oppressed by imperialism onto the path of nationalism.

The powerful revolutionary tremors that shook the global imperialist order at the time, from China to Indonesia, from India to Vietnam, did not destroy it. This was not the intention of the nationalist leaders, whose ambition was limited to the rise to power of a native bourgeoisie. The seeds of what China has become today, with its unrestrained capitalism and its “red billionaires,” already existed in the perspective that Mao and his allies gave to their people during the revolution.

The oppressed peoples’ wars of liberation constrained and forced imperialism to abandon the colonial form of its domination, but not this domination itself.

As for the relations between classes, the imperialist bourgeoisie integrated the bourgeoisies of the poor countries into the global capitalist system in the process of neutralizing the threat of revolution.

In a country like France, during the decades that followed the end of World War Two, the old parties that came out of the workers’ movement shifted completely into the camp of the bourgeoisie. The Socialist Party lost any last trace of its character as a workers’ party in order to become one of the pillars of the bourgeois Fifth Republic. It formed one part of the political alternation between parties, until the system of alternation itself fell into decline, ceding its place to investment banker-turned-president Emmanuel Macron and the far-right National Front.

The Communist Party left the cast-off rags of Stalinism by the side of the road, keeping only its profound distrust of the proletariat and its initiatives. After having become a reserve force of the Socialist Party, it fell into decline even earlier. The militants of the workers’ movement took refuge in the unions. But this was a fragile refuge, since the union apparatuses themselves pursued their integration into the imperialist state.

The current situation is profoundly marked by the fact that the new serious crisis of the capitalist economy finds the working class politically disarmed. Not only does it not have a party with the goal of overthrowing the capitalist system, but without such a party, it is unable to defend itself in the political arena. It is not the working class itself that is in question, but its organizations. Not only has it retained its indispensable role in production, but it has been numerically reinforced at the international level by the integration in the poor countries of new contingents of this “army of the proletariat” that Lenin talked about.

All throughout its history, the development of the capitalist economy has diversified the proletariat just as it has increased its ranks. It has invented more or less new forms of exploitation, or, at least, a “modern” way of disguising it (one of the latest disguises being the category of “self-employed” or contract workers).

Additionally, by diversifying the composition of the wage-earning class in favor of services, banking, insurance, and healthcare, this evolution has diversified the wages and certain aspects of the living conditions of those who live only from their wages. The bourgeoisie and its ideologists know how to use these differences to try and erase the fundamental class opposition between the exploited and those who enrich themselves from their exploitation.

This is why it is important to fight against the narrow corporatism focusing on a particular trade, which in the last resort is one of the weapons that the bourgeoisie uses to maintain its dominance.

The proletariat of industry and transportation nevertheless continues to constitute the bulk of the army of the proletariat, even in the imperialist countries where the ideologists of the bourgeoisie proclaim its disappearance. Industrial workers are more numerous today than at the time of the great strikes of 1936.

Every day, capitalism in crisis destroys the social foundations of reformist ideas. The decline of the Social Democratic and Stalinist currents is an illustration of this. However, in the context of a reactionary evolution of society, ideas and consciousness have fallen behind reality.

In all of the imperialist countries, the working class remains marked by the increasingly illusory perspective of being able to change the reality of the proletarian condition within the framework of the capitalist system. The rise in the number of voting abstentions indicates only disgust with politics, but not a realization of the political interests of the exploited. Faith in elections still profoundly marks the working class. For an important part of the working class in a country like France, notably in what remains of the organized workers’ movement, perspectives of changing things through elections seem more credible than revolutionary perspectives.

Even weakened, with a number of demoralized militants, the organized workers’ movement – the union movement – nevertheless still gathers together the majority of workers who want to fight to defend their class. The conservative character of the union leaders and their integration into the system can be fought neither by tailing after them, nor by being sectarian.

It is this real state of affairs that should be the point of departure for revolutionary communists. Winning a fraction of the working class to revolutionary communist ideas can be done only while affirming at all times the existence of a revolutionary communist current and of a revolutionary policy which represent something fundamentally different.

In the international history of the revolutionary current of the revolutionary workers’ movement, there has been not only a continuity of ideas, but also a physical continuity between militants and organizations of the First, Second, and Third Internationals. The militants and leaders of each new International were formed within the previous International before it gave way to the next one. After the betrayal by the Second International and the majority of its leaders, the Third International was able to rely on militants who had refused to make this betrayal. It is this continuity that Stalinism ruptured.

Despite the physical break in historical continuity, the struggle for the rebirth of revolutionary communist parties does not start from scratch. Revolutionary Marxism continues to live in the writings of Marx, Engels, Rosa Luxemburg, Lenin, Trotsky, and many others. It is on the basis of these ideas that a revolutionary communist party can be rebuilt.

Faithfully transmitting Marxist ideas to new generations, and mainly to the new generation of the working class, remains the essential task of our time. This starts with the materialist conception of history, about which Trotsky wrote, at the time of the 90th anniversary of the “Communist Manifesto,” that, “it stood up to the trial of events and blows of hostile criticism: it constitutes today one of the most precious instruments of human thought. All the interpretations of the historic process have lost their scientific value. One could say with assurance that it is not possible in our time to be a revolutionary militant – nor even an educated political person – without assimilating the materialist interpretation of history.”

It is particularly important to understand and assimilate this idea, above all in our current period characterized by the triumph of reactionary ideas and the revival of religions and mysticism.

Cut off from the workers’ movement by Stalinist violence, the majority of the organizations that identified with the Fourth International and Trotskyism were subjected to pressures in different forms from the intellectual petty-bourgeoisie, among whom they had taken refuge. The majority of them ended by abandoning revolutionary communist politics in effect, and many of them went so far as to reject its fundamental basis.

The political current that is today incarnated by Lutte Ouvrière emerged during World War Two out of a break with the official leadership of the Fourth International such as it had become after Trotsky’s death in 1940. Deprived of Trotsky’s leadership, the Fourth International split into several organizations, and one can say today that it died organizationally without having truly lived.

Our conception of the revolutionary communist party is that of Lenin: the revolutionary communist party must of course be an instrument of propaganda, a school for workers. It must participate in the life of the working class and in all its struggles, including the most immediate. But above all, it must be the instrument of the struggle for power, the instrument that the proletariat will be able to use to take political power from the bourgeoisie.

It is precisely because it places itself in this perspective, because it does not seek to preserve any part of the bourgeoisie’s power nor of its institutions, because its militants have no plans for careers within the framework of a system which they hope to destroy, that a true communist party can guide even workers’ fights that may appear minor in the beginning all the way to their conclusions, to the furthest limit of their possibilities. It places confidence in the working class and does not fear being overtaken.

Lutte Ouvrière, such as it is today, is not yet this party, but an embryo that acts with the goal of building this party.

To reaffirm that the future revolutionary communist party must build itself by seeking to put into practice the Bolshevik model of organization and work methods, the founding document of our current, called The 1943 Report, affirmed: “The Bolshevik conception was consecrated by the victory of the October 1917 revolution. But the degeneration of the October revolution called into question the conception of the party itself. Powerless to explain Stalinism as the product of the real outcome of the class struggle (which resulted in a situation in which the proletariat, having taken power and replaced private property with a planned economy, was removed from political power by a bureaucracy which, all while maintaining itself on the basis of the relations established by the revolution, represents the negation of Bolshevism itself from a political, social, moral, etc. point of view), numerous ‘critiques’ have come to accuse Bolshevism itself of being undemocratic, etc, and therefore of being responsible for Stalinism. But none of these critiques have succeeded in inventing something new that could prevent the party, which is a means, from breaking apart while accomplishing its task, whether because of its insufficient material and ideological content (like the various parties that came out of the Third International), or, after the exhaustion of this content in the accomplishment of the revolutionary task: such was the fate of the Bolshevik Party in Russia. These ‘critiques’ have moreover ended up distancing themselves from revolutionary struggle and returned to bourgeois conceptions. THE MISDEEDS OF STALINISM CANNOT BE BLAMED ON BOLSHEVISM. STALINISM IS NOT ITS CONTINUATION BUT ITS NEGATION.”

This reaffirmation of faith in the Bolshevik conception of the party, in spite of and against Stalinism, is several decades old, but it retains all its validity. The party can be built only on the condition that its structure is formed by militants who accept the organizational structure that Lenin called democratic centralism.

The question of knowing if the revolutionary communist party to be built will be a mass party or a “party of professional revolutionaries” often results in idle discussions when it is poorly posed. The objective of the revolutionary communist party is obviously to become a mass party in the sense of encompassing an important part of the proletariat and benefiting from the support of the majority of the proletariat. Without this, it will be unable to play its role, that of conquering power by relying on the action of the whole of the working class. The Bolshevik Party would not have been able – and did not want! – to take power without having become the party enjoying widespread majority support among the working class. The progression of the Bolshevik Party, measured through the elections to the Soviets, was a determining element in the decision to launch an insurrection against the government.

But the embryo of the party cannot grow and become a true party without a nucleus of militants devoted to the cause of revolutionary communism, determined, competent, won over to Marxist ideas, understanding the past struggles of the proletariat and capable of sharing its struggles.

It will become a true mass party and be hardened through class struggle only in a revolutionary period, meaning a period when the working class as a whole is mobilized through struggle and when it pushes forth from its ranks thousands of women and men whom the struggle itself leads to the conviction that the power of the bourgeoisie must be overthrown. But, in order to be an instrument for the proletariat to conquer power, its strategy and policy from day to day must be inspired by this goal, even in periods when the state of mind of the working class has not yet reached that point.

On the other hand, it would be stupid and ridiculous to think that abandoning some whole section of revolutionary communist ideas in order to grow one’s ranks and try to become a mass party could constitute some kind of shortcut. In general, this would be hypocrisy hiding the fact that one is abandoning the revolutionary communist perspective.

For a group of revolutionary communists, it would be just as childish to think that all that is needed is to make propaganda for its program by guarding its purity and waiting for the revolutionary periods when the working class will issue forth militants searching for a program and a policy. It was not for nothing that Lenin spoke in this regard about the “infantile disorder of communism.”

An organization, even if it is not yet a party but only one in embryo, must participate in the living class struggle such as it is and spread its ideas and its policy. It must constantly seek to enlarge its action by relying on the women and men who share revolutionary communist perspectives, even if they are not ready to fully engage in revolutionary activity.

If the engagement of a nucleus of militants, whom Lenin called professional militants, is indispensable for building a party, it is precisely to enable the continuity of revolutionary communist activity and to integrate even the limited, partial, or temporary activities of the largest possible part of the women and men ready to contribute towards the construction of the party into a single revolutionary action. In his pamphlet What is to be done? Lenin often uses the word “organizers” when he refers to those “professional militants” and this describes well their role.

However, yet again, this does not entail watering down the content of revolutionary ideas. It is indispensable that not only do all the groups and committees who contribute to the construction of the party feel themselves to be on the working class side, but also that they share the same perspective and the same fundamental program. It is on this condition that they can weave the connecting political threads between the future party and the workers. It is on this condition that they can make their contribution to activities which are as indispensable for a revolutionary communist organization, even a small one, as the recruitment of young workers and young intellectuals determined to join the struggle.

Moreover, it is well-understood that an embryo of a party cannot participate in the daily struggles of workers, cannot win their confidence and the political credibility to become a party, without participating in all sorts of organizations (unions, cultural and athletic clubs, tenants’ organizations, literacy associations, groups for the defense of undocumented workers, etc.) whose reasons for existing have nothing to do with social revolution. However, what is involved in participating in them is to defend a revolutionary communist policy there. And it is important for revolutionary communist militants and sympathizers to gather people around them there to support their actions and convey their ideas.

This entire wide milieu – at our scale – should be the extension of the organization at the political level.

It would be vain to try to imagine today what will be the path by which an organization such as our own could transform itself from an embryo into a party.

Will this be done with the contribution of working class militants who today are marked by reformism and by a faith in elections, but who have not abandoned the struggle, nor lost their morale? Will a reawakening of the fighting spirit push them to no longer be content with an imitation of a revolutionary party, neither of the Communist Party type nor of the Mélenchon variety nor of the union type? Will the decisive push come from the young generation of workers here, who have been rejected and thrust into instability and had their living standards pushed back decades to the conditions that have never ended for the workers of the underdeveloped three-fourths of the planet?

It would be just as vain to speculate about the coming eruptions from the working class, just as it is difficult to imagine the construction of a party as something linear, with recruitment taking place one by one. Such eruptions could accelerate the construction of the party by creating opportunities that one must know how to seize but which are impossible to predict. In the case of France, it is enough to evoke the opportunities that May 1968 offered, which the currents who then called themselves revolutionary did not know how to seize.

Finally, it would be illusory to think that, even after the setbacks suffered by parties with links to the past of the workers’ movement (particularly the Communist Party), the struggle for revolutionary perspectives against those of reformism has reached its conclusion. The political struggles between the partisans of these two perspectives have accompanied the entire history of the workers’ movement in various forms. Even a significant upsurge of working-class combativeness in the political arena will benefit the electoralist parties or political forces just as much, and almost certainly more so in its initial phase. It is all the more important then that the communist current raises its banner and wages a fight against the merchants of false hopes.

We conclude with the fact that the construction of a revolutionary communist party is inseparable from that of a revolutionary communist International. The conditions that will permit the development of the former will permit the rebirth of the latter. This requires having a policy oriented in this direction. For the International as for the party, the common thread of this construction will be revolutionary Marxism.