On an appeal by Belarusian trade unionists to «communists and leftists (sic) from all over the world».
Following the article by “Battaglia comunista”, whose translation in French we gave [see English version: Belarus: Between Imperialist Feuds and Class Movements]*, and which rightly underlined the danger of basic trade unionism of the Solidarność type or otherwise, we are publishing the translation from Russian of this appeal by Belarusian trade unionists dated 17 August 2020 [see English version: To the communists and leftists of the world!].
This appeal from so-called «groups of Belarusian Marxists» addressed to «communists and leftists (sic) all over the world» is misleading. It is aimed at building winning trade unions, presumably based on the Polish model in 1981. There is nothing revolutionary about it. It mixes in a classical way all the demands that can be expressed today by the reformist unions: to maintain level of the pensions, to preserve and enlarge the public sector; to maintain employment everywhere, to ban fines, etc. It is not revolutionary.
That these demands can be taken up by a base that defends its interests against those of capital on a foot to foot basis is more than probable. But such demands will only take on the most elementary form of struggle, in its trade-unionist form.
The call of these self-proclaimed «groups of Belarusian Marxists» is a pure deception: it aims – as is clearly stated – at «democratizing the political life» of the system, a mixture of state and private capitalism. The call for «freedom» is in fact a call for «free elections», in which the opposition trade unions would be recognized as «privileged interlocutors»: in short, «normal, permanent and independent organizations of employees, independent of the authorities or the bosses». A true illusion, as it can be observed everywhere in the capitalist world!
These free elections would, moreover, be the way to a reinforced hold of Western capital, Lukashenko having in the past called on the good offices of Brussels to receive much-needed financial aid.
These «groups of Marxists» are, like the «leftists» trade unionists for the maintenance of nationalizations, the state sector («forbid privatizations»). But never in their supposedly «Marxist» discourse is there any question of abolishing the capitalist system and the wage-labour force, thus building a classless and stateless society. This means the destruction of all forms of capitalism, private and state, in the West as well as in the East.
A new society, free from capitalist chains, engendered by a proletarian revolution not in a single country but in all countries, can only be born from the organized force of the workers themselves.
The ICT affirms that it is not ONE but THE «class party» that is needed.*) A language little different from that of the ‘bordigist’ activists.
In fact, it will take a long series of generalized strikes in several countries, a true class fire, to see the birth of nuclei that will give rise to NOT ONE BUT SEVERAL CLASS PARTIES. The appearance of such parties can only be part of a revolutionary process that brings about the emergence of GENERAL PROLETARIAN ORGANIZATIONS, REVOLUTIONARY MASS ORGANIZATIONS: THE WORKING COUNCILS, which are the only ones organs of proletarian power.
The call of these «Belarusian Marxists» emanates from true reformists who wish to take their place within the Belarusian capitalist system, especially in its state form. A proletarian revolution that would destroy all the capitalist shit seems to them a real «utopia», in the best of cases.
The emergence of an authentic proletarian revolution would be a large scope attack on the hopes (as disproportionate as they are vain) of aspiring bureaucrats ready to do anything to «share surplus value and power», as all self-respecting capitalists do – as usual.
August 26, 2020
*) EDITORS’ NOTE
The article by Battaglia Comunista, part of the International Communist Tendency (ICT) contains the following fragments about The Party:
The only possible way to develop a valid alternative society to capitalism is through a very close, dialectical, link between the proletariat – especially when it struggles – and its revolutionary party. Any organisation that is unable to go beyond the logic of spontaneity and trades unionism, even in “revolutionary” forms, won’t have the tools to put forward a correct class approach to a critical analysis of existing social relations. This opens the way to reformism and petty bourgeois ideology, whose only aim is some minor social or economic improvements within the capitalist mode of production, regardless of the economic course that it takes.… While having its roots in the material conditions of the class itself, political class consciousness is something that comes later and only if the class party is operative.
Quotes from: Belarus: Between Imperialist Feuds and Class Movements.