A Better World

Part One

Social and Intellectual Basis of Worker-communism

To change the world and to create a better one has always been a profound aspiration of people throughout human history. It is true that even the present-day so-called modern world is dominated by fatalistic ideas, religious as well as non- religious, which portray the present plight of humanity as somehow given and inevitable. Nevertheless the actual lives and actions of people themselves reveal a deep-seated belief in the possibility and even the certainty of a better future. The hope that tomorrow's world can be free of today's inequalities, hardships and deprivations, the belief that people can, individually and collectively, influence the shape of the world to come, is a deep-rooted and powerful outlook in society that guides the lives and actions of vast masses of people.

Worker-communism, first and foremost, belongs here, to the unshakable belief of countless people and successive generations that building a better world and a better future by their own hands is both necessary and possible.

Freedom, equality, prosperity

Clearly, everyone's image of an ideal world is not one and the same. However, throughout human history certain ideas have always come to the fore as the measures of human happiness and social progress, so much so that they are today part and parcel of the political vocabulary worldwide as sacred principles. Freedom, equality, justice and prosperity are the first among them.

Precisely these ideals form the intellectual foundations of worker-communism. Worker-communism is a movement for changing the world and setting up a free, equal, human and prosperous society.

Class struggle: proletariat and bourgeoisie

However, worker-communists are not a bunch of utopian reformers and heroic saviours of humanity. Communist society is not a fantastic design or recipe conceived by well-wishing know-alls. Worker-communism is a social movement arising from within modern capitalist society itself, a movement that reflects the vision, ideals and protest of a vast section of this same society.

The history of all societies to date has been a history of class struggle. An uninterrupted, now open and now hidden, struggle has been going on between exploiting and exploited, oppressor and oppressed classes in different epochs and societies. This class struggle is the chief source of social change and transformation.

Earlier societies were built on a complex hierarchy of classes and strata. Modern capitalist society, however, has greatly simplified class divisions. For all the variety of occupations and the extensive division of labour in it, the present society as a whole is organised around two main opposing class camps: workers and capitalists, proletariat and bourgeoisie.

The opposition of these two camps is, at the most fundamental level, the source of all the multiplicity of economic, political, intellectual and cultural conflicts going on in the existing society. Not only society's political and economic life, but also the cultural, intellectual and scientific life of humanity today — areas which appear to be independent domains standing above and independent of classes — bear the imprint of this central alignment in the modern capitalist society. The camp of the proletariat, of workers, for all the variety of thoughts, ideals, tendencies and parties in it, represents the will to change the system in favour of the oppressed and the poor. The camp of the bourgeoisie, again for all its various strands of thought, political parties, thinkers and leaders, stands for the preservation of the status quo and the protection of the capitalist system and the economic and political power and privileges of the bourgeoisie, in the face of workers' drive for freedom and equality.

Worker-communism emerges out of this class struggle. It belongs to the camp of the proletariat. Worker-communism is the revolutionary movement of the working class for overthrowing the capitalist system and creating a new society without classes and exploitation.


However, not only freedom and equality, but even the ideal of abolishing classes and exploitation are not unique to worker- communism. These goals have been the watchword of other movements and other oppressed classes in earlier societies too. What distinguishes worker-communism as a movement is the fact that it emerges in opposition to capitalism, i.e. the latest and most modern class system.

Worker-communism is the social movement of the proletariat, a class that is itself a product of capitalism and modern industrial production, and the main exploited class in this system. It is a class that lives by the sale of its labour power and has no other means of making a living but its labour power. The proletariat is not a slave, not a serf, not an artisan; it is neither owned by anyone, nor does it own its means of production. It is both free and forced to sell its labour power in the market to capital.

The principles and social ideals of worker-communism derive from a criticism of the economic, social and intellectual foundations of capitalism. This is a criticism from the standpoint of the wage-earning working class in this society, and thereby thorough and revolutionary. The working people's conception of freedom, equality and human happiness is, and has always been in previous societies, inevitably a reflection of the existing social relations and of their own position vis- a-vis production and property. The slave's conception of freedom did not go much beyond abolition of slavery, and the serf's and urban artisan's conception of equality could not be anything more than equality in property rights. But with the rise of the proletariat, as the great mass of producers free from any form of ownership of means of production, a class whose economic bondage and exploitation is precisely based on its legal freedom, the concept of freedom and equality changed fundamentally. The proletariat cannot set itself free, without society as such being set free from class divisions and private ownership of means of production. Equality is not just a juridical notion, but also, and fundamentally, an economic and social one.

With Marxism the proletarian criticism of capitalism and the worker-communist movement and social outlook which had emerged with the Industrial Revolution, attained immense coherence clarity and theoretical vigour. The worker-communist movement has since been inseparably linked with Marxism and the Marxist critique of political economy of the capitalist society

Worker-communism is a social movement that came into existence with the rise of capitalism and the wage-earning working class, and represents the deepest and most universal working- class criticism of capitalism and its ills. The objectives and practical programme of this movement are based on the Marxist critique of the foundations of contemporary capitalism, i.e. the last, most modern and most advanced form of class society.

Worker-communism is not a movement separate from the working class. It has no interests apart from those of the working class as a whole. What distinguishes this movement from the other workers' movements and parties is that, firstly, in the class struggles in various countries it champions the unity and common interests of the workers of the entire world, and, secondly, in the various stages and fronts of workers' struggles it represents the interests of the working class as a whole. Thus, worker-communism is the movement of the most advanced section of the working class which understands the ultimate goal and the conditions and pre-requisites of victory and tries to rally the various sections of the working class.

Capitalism: A balance-sheet

The capitalist system is behind all the ills that burden humanity today. Poverty, deprivation, discrimination, inequality, political repression, ignorance, bigotry, cultural backwardness, unemployment, homelessness, economic and political insecurity, corruption and crime are all inevitable products of this system. No doubt bourgeois apologists would rush to tell us that these have not been invented by capitalism, but have all existed before capitalism, that exploitation, repression, discrimination, women's oppression, ignorance and prejudice, religion and prostitution are more or less as old as human society itself.

What is being covered up here is the fact that, firstly, all these problems have found a new meaning in this society, corresponding to the needs of capitalism. These are being constantly reproduced as integral parts of the modern capitalist system. The source of poverty, starvation, unemployment, homelessness and economic insecurity at the end of the 20th century is the economic system in place at the end of the 20th century. The brutal dictatorships, wars, genocides and repressions that define the life of hundreds of millions of people today draw their rationale from the needs of the system that rules the world today and serve specific interests in this world. Women's oppression today is not the result of medieval economy and morality, but a product of the present society's economic and social system and moral values.

Secondly, it is the bourgeoisie and the capitalist system itself that continually and relentlessly resists people's effort to eradicate and overcome these ills. The obstacle to workers' struggle to improve living conditions and civil rights is none other than the bourgeoisie and its governments, parties and apologists. Wherever people rise in the poorer regions to take charge of their lives, the first barrier they face is the armed force of the local and international bourgeoisie. It is the bourgeoisie's state, its enormous media and propaganda machinery, institution of religion, traditions, moralities and educational system which shape the backward and prejudiced mentalities among successive generations. There is no doubt that it is capitalism and the bourgeoisie who stand in the way of the attempt by millions of people, driven to the edges and more or less clear about the outlines of a society worthy of human beings, to change the system.

Today at the end of the 20th century, at the height of capitalism's globalization and in the midst of the greatest technological revolutions, humanity finds itself in one of the most critical periods of its history. Bare physical survival has become the main challenge for millions of people, from the impoverished countries of Africa and Asia to capital cities of the West. For the more backward countries, the hope of economic development has now been totally shattered. The dream of economic growth has given way to the permanent nightmare of famine, starvation and disease. In the advanced Europe and the USA, following years of recession, the miserable promise of 'growth without employment' holds the same nightmarish prospect for tens of millions of working-class families. Around the world, war and genocide are wreaking havoc. Massive intellectual and cultural U-turns are in progress: from the resurgence of religious fanaticism, male-chauvinism, racism, tribalism and fascism to the collapse of the individual's rights and status in society, to the abandoning of the life and livelihood of millions, old and young, at the mercy of the free market. In most countries, organised crime has become a permanent fact of life and an integral part of society's economic and political functioning. Drug addiction and the growing power of criminal networks engaged in the production and trafficking of drugs is now a major unsolvable international problem. The capitalist system and the primacy of profit have exposed the environment to serious dangers and irreparable damages. Bourgeois thinkers and analysts do not even claim to have an answer to these problems. This is the reality of capitalism today, boding a horrifying future for the entire people of the world.

Foundations of capitalism

The present society is no doubt complex and sophisticated. Billions of people are in continuous interaction in elaborate arrays of economic, social and political relations. Technology and production have acquired gigantic dimensions. Humanity's intellectual and cultural life, just as its problems and difficulties, are broad and diverse. But these complexities only keep out of sight simple and comprehendible realities that make up the economic and social fabric of the capitalist world.

Like any other class system, capitalism is based on the exploitation of direct producers — the appropriation of a part of the product of their labour by the ruling classes. The specific character of every social system in different historical epochs lies in the particular way in which this exploitation in each system takes place. Under slavery not only the slave's product but he himself belonged to the slave- owner. He worked for the slave-owner, and in return was kept alive by him. In the feudal system the peasants either handed over part of their produce to the feudal lord, or performed certain hours of forced and unpaid labour. Under capitalism, however, exploitation has quite different bases.

Here the main producers, i.e. the workers, are free; they don't belong to anyone, are not appendages of any estate, they are in bondage of any lord. They own and control their own body and labour power. But workers are also 'free' in yet another sense: they are `free` from the ownership of means of production, and so in order to live, they have to sell their labour power for a certain length of time, in exchange for wages, to the capitalist class — i.e. a small minority that own and monopolise the means of production. The workers have to then buy their means of subsistence — the goods they themselves have produced — in the market from the capitalists. The essence of capitalism and the basis of exploitation in this system is the fact that, on the one hand labour power is a commodity, and, on the other hand the means of production are the private property of the capitalist class.

Without living human labour power that sets instruments of labour to work and creates new products, the existence of human society, the very survival of human beings and satisfaction of their needs, is inconceivable. This is true of any system. But in capitalism labour power and means of production are shut off from each other by the wall of private property; they are commodities and their owners must meet in a market. On the face of it, the owners of these commodities enter into a free and equal transaction: the worker sells his/her labour power for certain periods, in exchange for wages, to the capitalist, i.e. the owner of the means of production; the capitalist employs this labour power, uses it up and makes new products. These commodities are then sold in the market and the revenue begins the production cycle anew, as capital.

However, behind the apparently equal exchange between labour and capital lies a fundamental inequality; an inequality which defines the lot of humanity today and without whose elimination society will never be free. With wages, workers only get back what they have sold, i.e. the ability to work and to show up in the market once again. By its daily work the working class only ensures its continued existence as worker, its survival as the daily seller of labour power. But capital in this process grows and accumulates. Labour power is a creative power; it generates new values for its buyer. The value of the commodities and services produced by the worker at any cycle of the production process is greater than the worker's total share and that portion of the products which goes into restoring the used up materials and wear and tear. This surplus value, taking the form of an immense stock of commodities, belongs automatically to the capitalist class, and increases the mass of its capital, by virtue of the capitalist class's ownership of the means of production. Labour power in its exchange with capital only reproduces itself, while capital in its exchange with labour power grows. The creative capacity of labour power and the working class's productive activity reflects itself as the birth of new capital for the capitalist class. The more and the better the working class works, the more power capital acquires. The gigantic power of capital in the world today and its ever-expanding domination of the economic, political and intellectual life of the billions of inhabitants of the earth is nothing but the inverted image of the creative power of work and of working humanity.

Thus, exploitation in capitalist society takes place without yokes and shackles on the shoulders and feet of the producers- through the medium of the market and free and equal exchange of commodities. This is the fundamental feature of capitalism which distinguishes it in essence from all earlier systems.

The surplus value obtained from the exploitation of the working class is divided out among the various sections of the capitalist class essentially through the market mechanism and also through state fiscal and monetary policies. Profit, interest and rent are the major forms in which the different capitals share in the fruits of this class exploitation. The competition of capitals in the market determines the share of each capitalist branch, unit and enterprise.

But this is not all. This surplus pays whole cost of the bourgeoisie's state machinery, army and administration, of its ideological and cultural institutions, and the upkeep of all those who, through these institutions, uphold the power of the bourgeoisie. By its work, the working class pays the cost of the ruling class, the ever-increasing accumulation of capital and the bourgeoisie's political, cultural and intellectual domination over the working class and the entire society.

With the accumulation of capital, the mass of commodities which make up the wealth of bourgeois society grows. An inevitable result of the accumulation process is the continual and accelerating technological progress and rise in the mass and capacity of the means of production which the working class sets in motion in every new cycle of the production process. But compared to the growth in society's wealth and productive powers, the working class continually gets relatively poorer. Despite the gradual and limited increase, in absolute terms, in the workers' standard of living, the share of the working class from the social wealth declines rapidly, and the gap between the living conditions of the working class and the higher living standards that is already made possible by its own work widens. The richer the society becomes, the more impoverished a section the worker forms in it.

Technological progress and rise in labour productivity mean that living human labour power is increasingly replaced by machines and automatic systems. In a free and human society this should mean more free time and leisure for all. But in capitalist society, where labour power and means of production are merely so many commodities which capital employs to make profits, the substitution of humans by machines manifests itself as a permanent unemployment of a section of the working class which is now denied the possibility of making a living. The appearance of a reserve army of workers who do not even have the possibility of selling their labour power is an inevitable result of the process of accumulation of capital, and at the same time a condition of capitalist production. The existence of this reserve army of unemployed, supported essentially by the employed section of the working class itself, heightens the competition in the ranks of the working class and keeps wages at their lowest socially possible level. This reserve army also allows capital to more easily modify the size of its employed work force in proportion to the needs of the market. Massive unemployment is not a side-effect of the market, or a result of the bad policies of some government. It is an inherent part of the workings of capitalism and the process of accumulation of capital.

Periodic economic crises with catastrophic economic and social consequences are an inevitable feature of the capitalist system. These crises spring essentially from a fundamental contradiction within the accumulation process itself: while labour is the source of surplus value and profit, the accumulation process and the inevitable technological progress constantly diminish the ratio of labour power to means of production. The surplus value that is produced, even if it grows in absolute terms, cannot normally keep pace with the growth in the capital advanced. By the material laws of the accumulation process itself, therefore, the rate of profit has an inevitable tendency to fall. The ceaseless activity to offset this tendency and maintain the rate of profit, especially through intensifying exploitation and reducing the share of the working class from the social wealth — paid in the form of wages, public services, etc. — is the daily business of the capitalist class, its various governments, and the large corps of bourgeois economists, managers and experts worldwide.

Nevertheless, the inner contradictions of capital and the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, assert themselves periodically and throw the whole economic system into a deep crisis. Periods of stagnation and crisis are not only signs and symptoms of the intensification of capital's internal contradictions, but also the practical mechanism for their alleviation and the reconstruction of capital. Competition among different sections of capital grows and many are driven to bankruptcy. The weaker capitals are knocked out, improving the conditions of profitability for those who remain. On the other hand, the capitalist class and its states embark on a wide-scale offensive on workers' living standards. The ranks of the unemployed swell and the exploitation of the whole working class intensifies.

Capital emerges from every crisis more centralised. Thus the next crisis takes on wider and deeper dimensions and gives rise to a more severe competition and conflict in the capitalist class. Each new crisis makes an ever more comprehensive reconstruction of capital necessary. Equally, the prospects for society each time grow darker and more terrifying.

The consequences of the capitalist system's contradictions and crises are not confined to the economic sphere. Devastating global and regional wars, militarism and military aggressions, autocratic and police states, stripping people, and especially workers, of their civil and political rights, rise of state terrorism, resurgence of the extreme Right and of religious, nationalist, racist and anti-woman groups and trends — these are the realities of contemporary capitalism especially in periods of crisis.

State and political superstructure

Bourgeois analysts portray the state as a necessary institution for the administration of society in the common interest of all; an institution supposedly embodying the collective will of the people and enforcing their combined power. We are told that the existing laws are a collection of self-evident natural principles, accepted by all, which the state guarantees and puts into force. Representing the state as an autonomous body standing above antagonistic class interests is a cornerstone of bourgeois ideology. This idea is more entrenched among people in advanced Western countries which have had more stable parliamentary systems. But even in the less developed countries, despite the existence of autocratic and police states and the public's distrust of the existing states, the idea of the necessity of the state is not questioned, and viewing the state as an institution responsible for the management of society is just as deeply rooted. The expansion of the economic role of states, and, particularly, state intervention in the domain of public services and economic management and control, over the past few decades, has greatly strengthened these illusions.

The truth is that the state is the most important instrument of the ruling class to hold the exploited masses in subjugation. Historically, the emergence of the state has been the result of the appearance of exploitation and division of society into exploiting and exploited classes. For all the complexity in the structure of present-day states, the state, as before, is an apparatus of coercion, with the army, courts, and prisons making up its foundations. The state is the organised coercive power of the ruling class. It is an instrument of class rule. Any state, whatever its form and outward appearance — a monarchy or a republic, parliamentary or despotic — is the instrument of dictatorship of the ruling class or classes.

In all systems, even in the most brutal slaveries of ancient times where the class character of the state was unconcealed, the ruling class has always needed to give some form of legitimacy to its state. Monarchy and dynastic rule, reign of aristocracy, divine rule and theocracy, are all forms in which such legitimacy has been sought. In capitalist society, a society based on market, and where worker and capitalist are portrayed as 'free' agents entering into a voluntary and equal contract, the right to vote, the parliament and the electoral system are the chief forms of gaining legitimacy for the class rule of the bourgeoisie. On the surface, the state is an instrument of political rule by all the people formed by their own direct vote. Certainly, from a historical viewpoint, the right to vote and parliament are important gains in the struggle of the working people to promote their civil rights. It is also clear that life in a liberal bourgeois system is far more tolerable than life under a military or autocratic regime. But these forms cannot conceal the class nature of the modern state. Even in the most advanced, stable and free parliamentary systems the working people have very little chance of influencing state policies and actions. Parliamentary system employs relatively less open and brutal violence and lets government positions alternate among different sections of the ruling class through periodic general elections. It has thus managed to ensure the unquestionable rule of the whole bourgeoisie over society's political and economic life. Parliamentary democracy is not a mechanism for people's participation in political power. It is a means of legitimizing the rule and dictatorship of the bourgeois class.

Culture, ideology, morality

Flagrant exploitation, discrimination and disenfranchisement of people on such monstrous scales, could obviously not last without the victims themselves submitting to it and rationalizing it in their minds. To paint this state of affairs as legitimate, natural and eternal, and to intimidate people into submission is the task of the intellectual, cultural and moral superstructure in this society. The cultural and intellectual arsenal of the bourgeoisie against freedom and liberation is enormous. In part this is a legacy of antiquity, now polished up and adapted to the needs of bourgeois society. All shades of religions, prejudices, tribalism, racism and male-chauvinism have throughout history served as so many intellectual and cultural weapons in the hands of ruling classes to hold down and silence the working people. And in our day all of these, in new forms and capacities, are summoned to protect bourgeois property and bourgeois rule from the menace of working peoples' awareness and consciousness.

But bourgeois society's own additions to this collection of intellectual and cultural artillery are much more extensive and efficient. In this society, self-interest and competition, i.e. the rationale behind the capitalist's behaviour in the market, are portrayed as human nature as such and sanctified as exalted human values. Here the relations among people are a reflection and an extension of the relations among commodities. People's worth and status are measured by their relation to ownership. The bourgeoisie broke up the local and narrow arrangement of the old society and organised nation- states. Tribalism and parochialism gave way to modern bourgeois nationalism and patriotism as the heaviest ideological yoke ever put on the shoulders of the working people.

The ruling ideas in every society are the ideas of ruling class. But the extent of intellectual, cultural and moral domination and control of the bourgeoisie over the life of society today is unprecedented in history. The scientific, technical and industrial revolutions of the past couple of centuries and the powerful mechanism of the market, which transcends all national, tribal, political and cultural barriers, have provided the bourgeoisie with enormous possibilities for safeguarding its ideological rule and spreading it on a world scale.

Just as in the sphere of production of goods, so in the sphere of production of ideas humanity's creative power has turned into a weapon against itself. The many innovations and advances of the twentieth century, which have revolutionised literary and artistic forms and means of mass communication and opened up new fields of cultural activity, have above all paved the way for a constant bombardment of millions of people with bourgeois ideas in more elaborate, subtle and effective forms. The information technology and satellite TV networks introduced over the past two decades, which have greatly facilitated the task of information gathering and transfer across the globe, have in the hands of the bourgeoisie turned into a monstrous machinery of misinformation, indoctrination and provocation. The mass media and show business, in themselves among the most profitable sectors for capital, have taken over a large part of the traditional role of family, religion and even the repressive organs of the state, and play an increasing role in preserving the existing ideological balance in society, spreading the ideas and values of the ruling class, indoctrinating and controlling minds, intimidating and atomizing people and countering critical ideas and tendencies in society. These institutions and the modern forms of thought- control are pillars of political stability in bourgeois society, particularly in times of crisis, uncertainty and popular unrest.

Struggle against the dominant reactionary ideas has always been a permanent component of the class struggle of workers and a crucial task of the worker-communist movement.

Social Revolution and Communism

The free communist society

It is easy to see how the capitalist world is a world that is upside down. The relations among commodities form the basis of the relations among people. The daily work of billions of people to build the world manifests itself as the growing domination of capital over their lives. The motivating aim of economic activity is not satisfaction of people's needs, but profitability of capital. Scientific and technological progress, which are the key to human welfare and well-being, translate in this system into even more unemployment and impoverishment for hundreds of millions of workers. In a world that has been built through cooperation and collective action, it is competition that reigns. The economic freedom of the individual is merely a guise hiding his inescapable compulsion to appear in the labour market each and every day. The political freedom of the individual is a cover for his actual rightlessness and lack of political influence, and a means of legitimizing the political rule and the state of the capitalist class. Law is the will and interest of the ruling class made into rules binding for all. From love and compassion to right and justice, from art and creativity to science and truth, there is no concept in this capitalist world that does not bear the imprint of this invertedness.

This inverted world must be put right side up. This is the task of-worker-communism. It is the aim of workers' communist revolution.

The essence of communist revolution is abolition of private ownership of the means of production and their conversion into common ownership of the whole society. Communist revolution puts an end to the class division of society and abolishes the wage-labour system. Thus, market, exchange of commodities, and money disappear. Production for profit is replaced by production to meet people's needs and to bring about greater prosperity for all. Work, which in capitalist society for the overwhelming majority is an involuntary, mechanical and strenuous activity to earn a living, gives way to voluntary, creative and conscious activity to enrich human life. Everyone, by virtue of being a human being and being born into human society will be equally entitled to all of life's resources and the products of collective effort. From everyone according to their ability, to everyone according to their need — this is a basic principle of communist society.

Not only class divisions but also the division of people according to occupation will disappear. All fields of creative activity will be opened up to all. The development of each person will be the condition of development of the society. Communist society is a global society. National boundaries and divisions will disappear and give way to a universal human identity. Communist society is a society free of religion, superstitious beliefs, ideology and archaic traditions and moralities that strangle free thought.

The disappearance of classes and class antagonisms makes the state superfluous. In communist society the state withers away. Communist society is a society without a state. The administrative affairs of the society will be managed by the cooperation, consensus and collective decision-making of all of its members.

Thus it is in the communist society that the ideals of human freedom and equality are truly realised for the first time. Freedom not only from political oppression but from economic compulsion and subjugation and intellectual enslavement. Freedom to enjoy and experience life in its diverse dimensions. Equality not only before the law but in the enjoyment of society's material and intellectual wealth. Equality in worth and dignity for everyone in society.

Communist society is not a dream or utopia. All the conditions for the formation of such a society have already created within the capitalist world itself. The scientific, technological and productive powers of humanity have already grown so enormously that founding a society committed to the well-being of all is perfectly feasible. The spectacular advances in communication and information technology during the last two decades have meant that the organization of a world community with collective participation in the design, planning and execution of society's diverse functions is possible more than ever before. A large part of these resources is now either wasted in different ways or is even deliberately used to hinder efforts to improve society and satisfy human needs. But for all the immensity of society's material resources, the backbone of communist society is the creative and living power of billions of men and women beings freed from class bondage, wage-slavery, intellectual slavery, alienation and degradation. The free human being is the guarantee for the realization of communist society.

Communist society is not a utopia. It is the goal and result of the struggle of an immense social class against capitalism; a living, real and ongoing struggle that is as old as bourgeois society itself. Capitalism itself has created the great social force that can materialise this liberating prospect. The staggering power of capital on a global scale is a reflection of the power of a world working class. Unlike other oppressed classes in the history of human society, the working class cannot set itself free without freeing the whole of humanity. Communist society is the product of workers' revolution to put an end to the system of wage-slavery; a social revolution which inevitably transforms the entire foundation of the production relations.

Proletarian revolution and workers' state

The exponents and ideologues of the bourgeoisie accuse Marxism and worker-communism of advocating force and violence to achieve their social objectives. The truth, however, is that it is the bourgeois system itself that is founded on organised violence; violence against people, against their bodies and minds, against their thoughts and emotions, against their hopes and aspirations and against their struggle to improve their lives and the world they live in.

The wage-labour system, that is the daily compulsion of the great majority of people to sell their physical and intellectual abilities to others in order to make a living, is the source and essence of the violence which is inherent of this system. This naked violence has many direct victims: Women, workers, children, the aged, people of the poorer regions of the world, anyone who asks for their rights and stands up to any oppression, and anyone who has been branded as belonging to this or that 'minority'. In this system, thanks essentially to the rivalry of capitals and economic blocs, war and genocide have assumed staggering proportions. The technology of war and mass destruction is far more advanced than the technology used in production of goods. The bourgeoisie's global arsenal can annihilate the world several times over. This is the system that has actually used horrendous nuclear and chemical weapons against people. Bourgeois society can also take pride in its remarkable advances in turning crime, murder, abuse and rape into a routine fact of life in this system.

Can such a system be swept out of the way of human liberation and a permanent end to violence without the working people resorting to force? Nowhere in communist theory is use of force viewed as a necessary component of workers' revolution. But anyone with even the slightest grasp of the realities of this society would admit that the ruling class will never peacefully stand aside and bow to the will of the overwhelming majority to change the system. If protection of the day to day business and interest of the bourgeoisie is the job of the state, defending the existence of capitalism and bourgeois property is its very essence. If demands for higher wages and free speech incur the wrath of the state, police and the military, one can imagine the kind of resistance that will be put up to the attempt to expropriate the bourgeoisie politically and economically. Violence by the bourgeoisie and its state against workers' revolution, against the will of the overwhelming majority of people who, with the working class in their lead, rise to set up a new society is practically inevitable.

Workers' revolution must bring down the bourgeois state. Bourgeois resistance against the revolution, and particularly against the attempt to turn the means of production into common ownership, will continue even after bourgeois state power has been dismantled. Therefore it is crucial to establish a workers' state that could breaks this resistance and enforce the will of the revolution. Like any other state, workers' state does not stand above society and classes. It is a class rule. But this state, which accordingly in Marxist theory has been called a dictatorship of the proletariat, is the rule of the exploited majority to dictate to the exploiting classes the decree of human freedom and equality and defeat their attempts and intrigues. In its form, workers' state is a free state which organises the direct decisions and will of the masses of the working people themselves. By its nature, workers' state is a transient state withers away as soon as the aims of the revolution have been realised.

The communist party and the communist International of the working class

A critical requirement for the progress and victory of workers' social revolution is the formation of worker- communist parties that put such a perspective before the working class and mobilise and lead the forces of the class in this struggle. These parties should be formed in different countries, as organizations uniting above all the most conscious and active leaders of workers' struggles. Capitalism is a world system, the working class is a world class, workers' conflict with the bourgeoisie is a daily struggle on a global scale, and socialism is an alternative that the working class presents to the whole of humanity. The worker- socialist movement must also be organised on a global scale. The building of a worker-communist International, as the body uniting and leading the workers' global struggle for socialism, is an urgent task of the various sections of the worker-communist movement and worker-communist parties around the world.

Worker Communism and Bourgeois Communism

For much of the twentieth century, Marxism and communism have enjoyed an enormous prestige within different protest and reform movements worldwide. The universality and depth of Marx's critical thinking, Marxism's profound humanity and egalitarianism, and the worker-communist movement's practical influence — particularly as a result of the workers' revolution in Russia in 1917 which turned communism into the hope of hundreds of millions of workers throughout the world — had the result that many non-worker and even non-socialist movements during the twentieth century began labelling themselves as communist and Marxist. Most of these movements had very little in common with the basic principles of communism and Marxism, and, in reality, only desired certain reforms and moderations within the framework of the capitalist system.

Communism was the name adopted by the worker socialist movement in the nineteenth century to distinguish itself from the non-revolutionary, and even reactionary, socialism of the other classes. But in the twentieth century even this name was abused by other movements and classes, to the extent that it lost its distinctive meaning. Under the general name of communism, there emerged all shades of social tendencies which neither in their outlook, nor in their programme, nor in their social and class origins, were related to workers' communism and Marxism. Offshoots of this non-worker communism, and foremost among them the bourgeois communism of the Soviet bloc, practically turned into the official mainstream of communism throughout much of the twentieth century. Worker- communism was driven to the margins.

The most important bourgeois-communist tendency in the twentieth century emerged in the Soviet Union following the derailment and final defeat of the workers' revolution. With the October 1917 revolution, the worker-communist movement, led by the Bolsheviks, succeeded to smash the state power of the ruling classes, set up a workers' rule and even defeat the outright military efforts of the defeated reaction to restore its lost power. But despite this political victory, the Russian working class ultimately failed to transform the production relations, i.e. abolish the wage-labour system and turn the means of production into common ownership. In the mid- 1920s, against a backdrop of severe economic strains following the war and revolution, and in the absence of a clear perspective for the socialist transformation of the economic relations, nationalism came to dominate the politics and economic programme of the Russian workers' party and movement. What took place in the Stalin era was not the construction of socialism but the reconstruction of the capitalist national economy according to a state-ist and managed model. Instead of the ideal of common and collective ownership, state ownership of the means of production was established. Wages, money and the wage-labour system all remained. The failure of the Russian working class to revolutionise the economic relations led to the defeat of the workers' revolution as a whole. Workers' state was replaced by a new bourgeois state with a massive bureaucracy and military apparatus based on a state- capitalist economy.

This state model became the economic blueprint of a so-called communist pole, entering the world stage following the derailment of the October workers' revolution. The whole 'socialism' of bourgeois communism in the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc consisted of economic state-ism, replacement of the market mechanism by planning and administrative decisions, redistribution of wealth and a minimum level of public welfare and social services.

But the Soviet Union was not the only source of bourgeois communism in this century. In Western Europe, offshoots of non- worker communism sprang into existence which, while sharing fundamental elements with the economic outlook of the communism of the Eastern bloc, namely substitution of economic state-ism for socialism, and preservation of the wage-labour system, criticised the Soviet experience and held their distance from it from democratic, nationalist, humanist and modernist standpoints. Western Marxism, Eurocommunism, the New Left and the different branches of Trotskyism were among the prominent tendencies of non-worker communism in Western Europe. In the less developed countries and former colonies, nationalism and anti-colonial leanings of the bourgeoisie and petty-bourgeoisie, and in some cases peasant movements, formed the stuff of a new kind of 'Third Worldist' communism. The content of this communism was economic independence, industrialization, rapid development of the national economy according to a state-driven and planned model, an end to the open political domination of imperialist powers, and at times even the revival of archaic local traditions and cultural legacies in opposition to modernism and Western culture. The archetype of Third Worldist communism was Maoism and Chinese Communism which deeply influenced the views and politics of so- called communist groups in the less developed countries.

A consequence of the rise of the different strands of non- worker communism in the twentieth century was the serious isolation and setback of worker-communism and Marxism. In the first place, the basic ideas of worker-socialism and different aspects of Marxist theory were seriously revised and misinterpreted to fit the non-socialist and non-worker nature of these movements themselves, and this distorted picture was presented and perceived on a global scale as Marxism and communism. Secondly, the social and class base of twentieth century communism was shifted from the working class into a wide spectrum of non-worker social layers. In Western Europe and industrialised countries, intellectuals, students, academics and the reformist sections of the bourgeoisie itself made up the main social milieus for the growth and political action of the communist forces. In the so-called Third World countries, besides these groups, poor peasants, disgruntled petty-bourgeois, and most of all a nationalist bourgeoisie yearning for national economic development and industrialization made up the social basis of non-worker communism.

In the absence of an influential worker-communist tradition, the working class for decades lacked a strong independent political presence internationally. In Western Europe and the USA and some countries of Latin America, workers wound up in the hands of unionism and parties of the left wing of the ruling class itself, particularly Social-Democracy, to such an extent that these came to be perceived by the general public and a large section of the workers themselves as the natural and self-evident organizations of the labour movement. In the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc, for small concessions at the workplace, the working class was atomised and stripped off political rights. In the majority of the more backward countries, even the mere idea of building workers' parties and associations remained a suppressed hope.

The main strands of bourgeois communism reached a dead-end, one after the other, in the last few decades. The last episode was the spectacular disintegration of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc at the end of the '80s and in the early '90s — something the bourgeoisie euphorically called the 'end of communism'.

But despite the anti-communist climate of the initial years of the '90s and the bourgeoisie's deafening cries of 'the fall of communism', and despite the enormous hardship that descended on hundreds of millions of people throughout the world following the collapse of the Eastern bloc, current trends point to an opening for worker-communism to retake the political centre-stage, particularly in the industrially advanced countries. A basic requirement for such a development is a vigorous political and theoretical confrontation with the various trends of bourgeois communism which will re-emerge in different forms with the progress of the workers' movement and growing influence of Marxism and worker-communism.

Revolution and Reform

The immediate aim of the worker-communist party is to organise the social revolution of the working class. A revolution that overthrows the entire exploitative capitalist relations and puts an end to all exploitations and hardships. Our programme is for the immediate establishment of a communist society; a society without classes, without private ownership of the means of production, without wage labour and without a state; a free human society in which all share in the social wealth and collectively decide the society's direction and future. Communist society is possible this very day.

But the great workers' revolution that must bring about this free society does not happen just upon the will of the worker- communist party. This is a vast social and class movement that has to be organised in different aspects and forms. All kinds of barriers must be swept out of its way. This work is the raison d'etre and the very substance of the daily activity of the-worker-communist party. But while the struggle for the organization of workers' revolution is going on, everyday billions of people are struggling to eke out a living under capitalism. The revolutionary struggle to build a new world is inseparable from the daily effort to improve the living conditions of the working humanity in this same world.

Worker-communism does not find organizing a revolution against this system incompatible with the struggle to impose on capitalism the most far-reaching reforms. On the contrary, it sees its presence in both fronts as the vital condition of final victory. Workers' revolution is not a revolution out of desperation or poverty. It is a revolution relying on the consciousness and material and moral readiness of the working class. The wider the extent of political freedoms, economic security and social dignity of the working class and people in general and the more progressive the political, welfare and civil standards that have been imposed on bourgeois society by workers' and progressive struggles, the more prepared will be the conditions for workers' revolution, and the more decisive and sweeping the victory of this revolution. The worker- communist movement stands in the forefront of every struggle to improve the social conditions and standards in favour of people.

What distinguishes worker-communism in the struggle for reforms from reformist movements and organizations — both working-class and non-working class — is above all that, firstly, worker-communists always stress the fact that complete freedom and equality cannot be achieved through reforms. Even the most profound economic and political reforms, by definition, leave the hateful foundations of the existing system, namely private property, class divisions and the wage-labour system, untouched. Besides, as the whole history of capitalism and actual experience in different countries show, the bourgeoisie in most cases violently resists any attempt to push through even the slightest reforms. Also, what is won is always temporary, vulnerable and capable of being rolled back. While fighting for reforms, worker-communism insists on the necessity of social revolution as the only really viable and liberating working-class alternative.

Secondly, while defending even the smallest improvements in working people's economic, political and cultural life, worker- communism calls for the widest and most progressive political, civil and welfare rights. In the struggle for reforms, our movement does not restrict itself to demanding what the capitalist class regards as affordable. The profit and loss accounts of businesses or the so-called interests of the 'national economy' and so on do not condition or restrict our demands. Our starting point is the indisputable rights of people in our times. If such rights as the right to health care, education, economic security, the right to strike, direct and constant participation of people in political life, equal rights for women, freedom from religious encroachments, etc., are inconsistent with business profitability and the interests of capitalism, then this only goes to prove the need to overthrow this whole system. This is the fundamental truth that our movement brings home to the working class and society as a whole in the fight for reforms. Our purpose in this struggle is not the creation of a reformed capitalism, a capitalism 'with a human face', or a 'caring' capitalism. Our aim is to force the existing system to recognise and abide by the unquestionable rights of the working people. The rights and demands which the bourgeoisie finds incompatible with its survival, the working class is prepared to enforce this very day and in the most comprehensive way.

Part Two