A part of the social base of social-democracy and revisionism, is constituted by the working strata with a low class consciousness who join the struggle to defend their immediate interests in face of the increasing aggression of capital. When these sectors, with little political background and no class consciousness join the struggles that should trigger the class to defend its interests they do, necessarily, from an ideological point of view.
Indeed, the fact that these workers' sectors do not have class consciousness for itself does not deny the fact that they have, like all people, an ideological worldview which allows them to insert themselves into society. Such a worldview that does not come entirely from class position, must necessarily come from its opponent, if we agree with Marx that within the class-divided societies the dominant ideology is the ideology of the ruling class.
Their worldview, therefore their ideology, if it is not proletarian it necessarily has to be bourgeois or petty bourgeois. It consists in some adjustments of the ideologies of the bourgeoisie or the petty bourgeoisie to the living conditions of the working class, and the most historically appropriate to these functions is precisely the “economicist” ideology, a reformist one touted by the social-democrat trade unions and parties, and also by the opportunist parties of the EL Party and other similar to them. This ideology fits the workers' conditions, but does so from the bourgeois standpoint, defending small changes in capitalism that can improve or alleviate the current conditions which are applied to the proletariat.
Similarly, and seemingly in an opposite sense, we might consider the utopian-revolutionary ideology which, despite its alleged revolutionary character, is powerless to lead the revolutionary struggle and ends by advocating measures which, if possible, would mean only small changes keeping the fundamentals of capitalist exploitation.
The mission of social-democracy and their trade union confederations within the labour field is to prevent that position, which is an objective stage in the development of consciousness in these sectors, to evolve into the assumption of a purely proletarian ideological position under the prism of Marxism-Leninism, and that tends to confrontation with capitalism, towards its revolutionary overcoming.
Therefore, besides the existence of the social sectors previously referred to - petty bourgeoisie and middle strata - the sectors that have little awareness, the stragglers, can also be a support base for revisionism in general and social-democracy in particular within the class movement.
The communist parties have to deal with these positions and we will have to do so in the future, under very different political, social or economic conditions, until the overcoming of the class conflict itself, until the highest and final stage of socialism-communism. In these various conditions, reformism will take different political positions but, in essence, will ry to adapt the labour movement to the positions of the class enemy, by accepting the battlefield and the fight rules that the enemy considers lawful and denying the need to overcome the capitalist system that generates the contradictions that keep the labour momvement in a subordinated position21.
The primary mission of the communist parties in this field, generally in trade union action, is to raise that economic awareness, which does not exceed capitalism, to revolutionary political consciousness, so that these sectors abandon the ideological theses of the petty bourgeoisie (in addition to the above mentioned we could mention the idea that the State is neutral in the class struggle, that the law is sacred and that all the provisions of the laws are met, the idea of independence of the judiciary, the separation of powers and other petty bourgeois naiveties that objectively block class struggle) and embrace the ideological theses of their own class. This is possible precisely because the proletarian ideology of Marxism-Leninism is only a reflection in the realm of the subjective field, of the economic conditions suffered by the exploited. In other words, any attempt at a social level of trying the same with non-proletarian sectors is doomed to failure, regardless of whether, individually, many members of the petty bourgeoisie and the middle layers approach the working class and even adopt its worldview in face of the development of capitalist contradictions.
“Now the people, the workers and employees, the self-employed must write their own pages in the history of this country, in really large and bold letters. Their anger must be transformed into strength so that they can take their counterattack to its conclusion. There is no other way (…) Barbarity cannot be made humane ”22
*Raúl Martínez is Responsible for the Ideological Area of the CC of the PCPE, and Ramón López is member of the Ideological Area of the CC of the PCPE
1“Las premisas del socialismo y las tareas de la socialdemocracia”, recopilación de artículos Revista Neue Zeit, 1897-1898
2V.I. Lenin, “Marxism and Revisionism”. Collected Works, Vol. 15, p. 29-39 24. Progress Publishers, 1973, Moscow
6V.I. Lenin, “A Fool’s Haste Is No Speed”. Collected Works, Vol. 20, p. 322-324. Progress Publishers, 1972, Moscow
7V.I. Lenin. “The Collapse of the Second International”. Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 205-259. Progress Publishers, 1974, Moscow
8V.I. Lenin, “Marxism and Revisionism”. Collected Works, Vol. 15, p. 29-39 24. Progress Publishers, 1973, Moscow
9Enrique Líster López. “Leninismo y oportunismo” (Leninism and opportunism). Ediciones PCOE, 1976, p. 21 – 22. Madrid
10V.I. Lenin. “Marxism and Reformism”. Collected Works, Vol. 10, p. 372-375. Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow
11V.I. Lenin. “The Position and Tasks of the Socialist International”. Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 35-41. Progress Publishers, 1974, Moscow
12V.I. Lenin. “The Collapse of the Second International”. Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 205-259. Progress Publishers, 1974, Moscow
Nowadays, having the necessary perspective and when there is no doubt about the bourgeois and imperialist character of many sections of social-democracy during World War II, the communist movement has to analyze rigorously the policy of the united front of proletariat with the social-democratic parties adopted by the 7th Congress of the Komintern, as it entailed a series of consequences which have great importance for the international communist movement.
17The links of prominent social-democrat cadres with the oligachy have deepened since then. As an example, we can mention the participation of the former president of the Spanish government, Felipe González – former Secretary General of PSOE – in the so-called “Father's and Son's Business Meeting”, a private initiative that brings together businessmen from all over Latin America and their heirs in order to share the “recipes of success in business” and speak about “the social issues that worry the world”. Some of the oligarchs who participated were, among others, Carlos Slim, the second richest man in the world; the Colombian tycoon Julio Mario Santo Domingo; the Venezuelan businessman Gustavo Cisneros; the Argentinians Paolo Rocca, Federico Braun and Alfredo Román; the Chileans Andrónico Lucksia and Álvaro Saieh or the Brazilians Joao Roberto Marinho, David Feffer and Antonio Moreiras. (Publico newspaper, Madrid, 08/03/2009, news from Agency EFE).
18Basic Programme of the SPD. Bonn, 1959, p. 5-17.
19About some movements which, like the known as “15M” or “movement of the indignados”, never go beyond the social-democratic approaches, we refer to the Statement of the Executive Committee of the PCPE on the mobilizations started on May 15th, issued on May 19th, 2011, which can be found in http://www.pcpe.es/comunicados/item/268-sobre-las-movilizaciones-iniciadas-el-15-m.html.
20Member of the Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of Greece. Quote from her article “Ideas on a new international. Internationalism in Marxist theory” , written after the invitation of the Turkish Communist Party to the meeting organized by the Marxist-Leninist Research Centre of Turkey. The article was published in the theoretical journal of the KKE (KOMEP, issue 6 of 2010).
21 The President of the Spanish Congress and leader of the PSOE, José Bono, declared in public that the “class struggle” in 21st century “is a bash” that “is not even believed in China”, that nowadays jobs have to be created “basically” by the businessmen with the “help” of the public administrations so, he noted, PSOE will not campaign “against those who create wealth and jobs”. Words reflected in the Spanish mass media on May 9th, 2010. Agency Europa Press.
22Speech of comrade Aleka Papariga, Secretary General of the KKE, before thousands of workers, on May 11th, 2011.