Manifesto of the 1st Congress of the ICC, 1975
The spectre of communist revolution has returned to haunt the world. For more than fifty years the ruling class has believed that the demons which disturbed the proletariat last century and at the beginning of this century had been exorcised forever. In fact, the workers' movement has never known a defeat as terrible and as long lasting as that of the last fifty years. The counter-revolution which overwhelmed the working class after its struggles in 1948, after its desperately heroic effort to create the Paris Commune in 1871, and following the demoralisation which finished off the defeat of the 1905 struggles in Russia, were nothing compared to the lead blanket which has smothered every manifestation of class struggle over the last half century. The scope of the counter-revolution reflected the terror the bourgeoisie felt in the face of the great revolutionary upsurge which followed the First World War. That was the only revolutionary wave, so far, which has really succeeded in shaking the foundations of the capitalist system. After having risen to such heights, never has the proletariat known such disaster, such despair, such discredit. And never has the bourgeoisie manifested such arrogance towards the proletariat, to the point of presenting its greatest defeats of the class as its 'victories' and even making the revolution seem to be an out-dated idea, a myth coming from a bygone age.
But today, the proletarian flame is again alight throughout the world. In an often confused and hesitant way, but with jolts which sometimes even astonish revolutionaries, the proletarian giant has raised its head and returned to make the aged capitalist structure shake. From Paris to Cordoba, from Turin to Gdansk, from Lisbon to Shanghai, from Cairo to Barcelona; workers' struggles have again become a nightmare for the capitalists. Simultaneously, as part of the general resurgence of the class, revolutionary groups and currents have reappeared burdened with the enormous task of remaking, both theoretically and practically, one of the most important tools of the proletariat: its class party.
Therefore, the time has come for revolutionaries to announce to their class the perspectives for the struggles that they are even now engaged in. To remind them of the lessons of the past so that the class can forge its future. The time has also come for revolutionaries to understand the tasks which await them as products of and active factors in the renewed struggles of the proletariat.
This is why this manifesto has been written.
THE WORKING CLASS: SUBJECT OF THE REVOLUTION
In our epoch the proletariat is the only revolutionary class. It alone has the capacity, by seizing political power on a world scale and radically transforming the conditions and goals of production, to raise humanity out of the barbarism into which it has sunk.
The idea that the working class is the class which can establish communism, that its place in capitalism makes it the only class able to overthrow the capitalist system, was already understood more than a century ago. It was forcefully stated in the first rigorous programme of the proletarian movement: the Communist Manifesto of 1848. It was brilliantly expressed in the following way by the First International: "The emancipation of the workers will be the task of the workers themselves". Since that time generations of proletarians have kept this as their standard in their successive battles against capital. But the terrible silence in which the class was enveloped for half a century permitted the blossoming of all sorts of theories about the 'final integration of the working class', or of the proletariat as a 'class-for-capital', about the 'universal class' or marginal social groups as the subjects of revolution, and other outworn ideas dressed up as 'novelties'. These ideas were combined with all the other lies of the bourgeoisie in order to continue to demoralise the workers and make them unthinkingly submit to capital.
What the International Communist Current forcefully reaffirms today, therefore, is the revolutionary nature of the working class - and no other class - in the present period.
But the fact is that this class, unlike the revolutionary classes of the past, does not have any economic power within the society that it must transform. This fact imposes on the working class the task of conquering political power as a precondition for its transformation of capitalism. So, unlike the revolutions of the bourgeoisie which went from success to success, the proletarian revolution necessarily must be the crowning point of a whole series of partial but tragic defeats. And the more powerful the struggles of the class, the more terrible are its defeats.
The great revolutionary wave which not only put an end to World War I but continued on for a decade, is a striking confirmation that the working class is the only subject of the communist revolution and that defeat is an aspect of its struggle up until its definitive victory. The immense revolutionary movement which overthrew the bourgeois state in Russia, and made the other states in Europe tremble, even caused a muffled echo in China. It announced that the proletariat was getting ready to give the coup de grace to a system in its death throes. The proletariat was prepared to execute the death sentence pronounced by history against capitalism. Because the working class was incapable of extending its first successes of 1917 across the world, it was finally defeated and crushed. Since then, the proletariat's revolutionary nature has been confirmed in the negative: because the working class failed in its revolution and because no other social class can make the revolution in its place, society has continued to sink inexorably into greater and greater barbarism.
THE DECADENCE OF CAPITALISM
The decadence of capitalism has continued since World War I, and ? in the absence of the proletarian revolution ? society cannot escape it. Capitalist decadence already appears as the worst period in the history of humanity.
In the past, humanity has known periods of decadence in which there were many calamities and unspeakable suffering. But these were nothing compared to what humanity has suffered these last sixty years. The decadence of other societies saw the development of shortages and famines but in a totally different context to today, when so much human misery exists alongside such enormous squandering of wealth. At a time when man has made himself the master of marvellous technologies that make it possible for him to subdue nature, he remains subject to its whims. In today's conditions 'natural', climatic or agricultural catastrophes are even more tragic than they were in the past. Worse still, capitalist society is the first society in history whose very survival in the period of decline depends upon a massive, cyclical destruction of an ever-growing part of itself. To be sure, other periods of decadence saw confrontations between factions of the dominant class, but the period of decadence in which we are living today is locked in an un-abating and diabolical cycle of crisis - world war - reconstruction - crisis; making the human race pay a terrible tribute in death and suffering. Today, technologies of undreamed scientific refinement contribute to increasing the power of death and destruction in the hands of the capitalist states. The victims of imperialist wars must be counted in the tens of millions. In addition, systematic and planned genocide like that carried out by fascism and Stalinism in the past continues to threaten us. In a way, it seems that humanity must pay for its future freedom, a freedom made possible by technology, by paying the price now - a price measured in terms of terrible atrocities which are caused by this self-same technological domination.
In the midst of this world of ruin and upheaval there has developed, like a cancer, the organ to guarantee stability and preserve society: the state. The state has enmeshed itself in the whole social fabric, particularly in the economic base of society. Like the Moloch god of antiquity, this monstrous, cold and impersonal machine has devoured the substance of civil society and man. And far from calling forth any sort of progress, state capitalism no matter what ideology or legal system it assumes, uses the most barbarous instruments of government. Holding the whole planet under its sway, state capitalism is one of the most brutal expressions of the rottenness of capitalist society.
But the most effective weapon decadent capitalism has developed to ensure its own survival has been its systematic co-option of all forms of struggle and organisation that the working class inherited from the past, and which the change in historical period has rendered useless and dangerous. All the trade union, parliamentary, coalitions which were both useful and meaningful for the working class last century have now become ways to paralyse its struggle. They make up the main weaponry of the counter-revolution. With all its defeats made to look like its 'victories', as a result, the working class was plunged into the most terrible counter-revolution it has ever known. The essential weapon for both the mobilisation and the demoralisation of the proletariat has been, without a doubt, the fraudulent myth that the revolution in Russia produced a 'socialist state' that is now the bastion of the proletariat (when in fact it is nothing other than the defender of Russian nationalised capital). The October revolution of 1917 set alight an immense hope in the working class of the whole world. Later on, workers were asked unconditionally to submit their struggles to the defence of what had become the 'socialist fatherland'. Bourgeois ideology set itself the task of instilling in those people who began to understand the anti-working class nature of this 'socialist fatherland', the idea that revolution could only end up with what happened in Russia: the appearance of a new exploiting, oppressive society. Demoralised by its defeats in the 1920s, but still more so by its divisions, the working class could not take advantage of the general crisis of the system in the 1930s to go back on the offensive. It was torn between two camps: on the one side there were those who remained dazzled by October, who could not distinguish the process of degeneration and betrayal from the original events which they had supported. On the other side were all those who had lost hope completely in the revolution. Unable to launch its own offensive the working class was led, bound hand and foot, into the second imperialist war. Unlike World War I, the Second World War did not provide the working class with the means to rise up in a revolutionary way. Instead it was mobilised behind the great 'victories' of the 'Resistance', 'anti-fascism', and colonial and national 'liberation' movements.
The principal steps marking the defeat and the mobilisation of the proletariat by capital, as well as the integration of all the parties of the Third International into bourgeois society, were wounds inflicted on the working class movement.
1920-21: the struggle of the Communist International against its own left wing on the parliamentary and trade union questions.
1922-23: the adoption by the Communist International of the tactics of the 'United Front' and the 'workers' government' which led in Saxony and Thuringia to coalition governments between the Communists and the Social Democratic executioners of the German proletariat even while the proletariat was still fighting in the streets.
1924-26: the beginning of the theory of "building socialism in one country". This abandonment of internationalism signified the death of the Communist International and the passage of its parties into the camp of the bourgeoisie.
1927: the political and military support of the Communist International for Chiang Kai-shek, which brought about the massacre of the Chinese proletariat and communists by Chiang's troops.
1933: the triumph of Hitler.
1934: Russia's entry into the League of Nations which meant the recognition by the thieves who made up the League of Nations of one of their own. This great 'victory' in fact symbolised a great defeat for the proletariat.
1936: the creation of the 'popular fronts' plus the policy of 'national defence' which with Stalin's support led the 'Communist' parties to vote for military credits.
1936-39: the anti-fascist swindle ? in Spain the workers were massacred in the service of democracy and the Republic.
1939-45: World War II and the mobilisation of the proletariat into the 'Resistance'. In this war the bourgeoisie, having learned from its past experiences, nipped in the bud every bit of fight in the proletariat by militarily occupying every last inch of the defeated countries. Incapable of bringing the war to an end by its own struggles as it had done in 1917-18, the working class came out of the war even more defeated than it went into it.
1945-65: reconstruction and 'national liberation'. The proletariat was asked to re-build a war-shattered world lying in ruins. In exchange it received some crumbs that the development of production permitted the bourgeoisie to hand out. In the backward countries, the proletariat was recruited by the national bourgeoisie to fight in the name of 'independence' and 'anti-imperialism'.
THE LEFT COMMUNIST FRACTIONS
In the midst of the rout of the class and the absolute triumph of the counter-revolution, the left communist fractions - which withdrew from the Communist parties as they degenerated - undertook the difficult task of preserving revolutionary principles. These fractions had to fight against the combined force of all the different sectors of the bourgeoisie, avoid the thousand traps that the bourgeoisie had laid for them, confront the terrible weight of the prevailing ideology in their own class, face isolation, physical persecution, demoralisation, and the exhaustion, loss and dispersion of their members.
By attempting to establish a bridge between what had once been good in the old parties of the proletariat (that had subsequently passed over to the enemy camp) and those parties that the proletariat would create at the moment of its next revolutionary upsurge, the left communist fractions made a super-human and heroic effort. They tried on the one hand to keep alive the proletarian principles that the International and its parties had sold to the highest bidder, and on the other by basing themselves on those principles make a balance sheet of the past defeats. They did this in order to understand the new lessons which the class would have to make its own in the course of its future struggles. For many years the different fractions, most particularly the German, Dutch, and especially the Italian Left, maintained a remarkable level of activity both in terms of theoretical clarification and denunciation of the betrayals of those parties that continued to call themselves proletarian.
The bourgeoisie had momentarily achieved its goals of silencing any political expression of the class; of making the revolution appear a dusty anachronism, a vestige of a by-gone era, an exotic speciality reserved for backward countries; and of falsifying totally the real meaning of revolution in the eyes of the workers.
THE CAPITALIST CRISIS
Over the last decade this perspective has changed in a fundamental way. The economic 'prosperity' which accompanied the post-war reconstruction of capitalism came to an end once this reconstruction was finished. Not only the worshippers of capitalism, but even those who pretended to be its enemies, had presented such prosperity as eternal. Beginning in the mid-sixties, after two decades of euphoric growth, the capitalist system again found itself faced by a nightmare it thought it had banished to the pre-war world of a Groz drawing: the crisis. Since then the crisis has deepened unrelentingly. This is a striking confirmation of marxist theory: the very theory that all sorts of liars associated with the bourgeoisie (university teachers in quest of 'newness', pseudo-revolutionary professors, Nobel prize winners and academics, 'experts' and 'luminaries' as well as all kinds of 'sceptics' and malcontents) had unceasingly claimed to be 'outdated', 'useless' and 'bankrupt'.
THE RESURGENCE OF THE PROLETARIAT
With the deepening of economic disorder, society once again finds itself face to face with the inevitable alternative opened up by each acute crisis of decadent capitalism: world war or proletarian revolution. But, today the perspective is radically different from the perspective which the great economic catastrophe of the thirties brought into being. At that time the defeated proletariat hadn't the strength to take advantage of the new failure of the system to unleash its assaults. On the contrary, the effect of that crisis was to further aggravate the proletariat's defeat. But the situation of the proletariat is different from how it was during the thirties. On the one hand, like all the other pillars of bourgeois ideology, mystifications which in the past weighed down the consciousness of the proletariat, have in part, gradually been exhausted. Nationalism, democratic illusions, anti-fascism, were all intensively utilised over the past half century, but they no longer have the impact they once had. On the other hand, the new generation of workers has not suffered the defeats of its predecessors. The proletarians who today confront the crisis, if they do not have the experience past generations of workers had, are no longer ground down by the same demoralisation.
The formidable opposition with which the working class since 1968/69 has reacted against the first signs of the crisis, means that the bourgeoisie is not able today to impose the only outcome that, for its part, it could find for this crisis: a new imperialist holocaust. Before that can happen it must be able to defeat the working class. The perspective now is not imperialist war but generalised class war. Even if the bourgeoisie continues its preparations for imperialist war it is class war which more and more tends to be its primary concern: the astonishing increase in the sale of armaments (the only sector of capitalism not in crisis) hides for the moment the general and not less general intensification of preparations for repression and the struggle against 'subversion' on the part of the capitalist states. But it is not so much in this latter way that capital prepares for class confrontations, but by readying a whole series of contrivances for the containment of the proletariat and for the diversion of its struggles. Thus, against the unblunted upswing of combativity on the part of the workers, the bourgeoisie is less and less able to adopt measures of simple and open repression. This risks unifying the workers' struggles rather than extinguishing them.
THE WEAPONS OF THE BOURGEOISIE
Before being able to devote itself to methodically repressing the workers' struggles, the bourgeoisie will begin, as in the past, to attempt to demoralise the class by derailing its struggles in order to lead them up a blind alley. To do so, the bourgeoisie will use above all, three essential types of mystification. Each has the function of tying the class to 'its' national capital and to 'its' state. They are anti-fascism, self-management and national independence.
Historical circumstances today differ from the thirties. Since today there doesn't exist a particular, on the spot, example of fascism like that of Hitler of Mussolini, and since the anti-fascist bourgeoisie does not have the task of immediately paving the way for imperialist war as it had in the thirties, anti-fascism will have a broader meaning than it did in the past. In the East as in the West, it will be in the name of the defence of democratic 'gains', of freedoms against the 'reactionary', 'authoritarian'. 'repressive', 'fascist' or even 'Stalinist' threat that the 'left', 'progressive', 'democratic', or 'liberal' factions of capital will make an attack on proletarian struggles. More and more, each time that they begin to struggle for the defence of their interests, the workers will experience the confusing situation of being told that they are the worst agents of 'reaction' and of the 'counter-revolution'.
The myth of self-management will also be a choice weapon put forward by the left of capitalism against the workers. It will gain ground with the spate of bankruptcies that the crisis has brought in its wake, as well as being an understandable reaction to the bureaucratic stranglehold the state has over the whole of society. The workers must spurn the siren song all the capitalists will sing in the name of 'democratisation' of the economy, of the 'expropriation' of the bosses, or the establishment of 'communist' or 'more human' relations of production. In fact these are attempts to make the workers participate in their own exploitation, to prevent their unification by dividing them according to the firms they work in, or the neighbourhoods they live in.
Finally, national independence, the modern version of the bitter memory called national defence, will be widely used by the bourgeoisie, particularly in the weakest countries where it make the least sense. This mystification will be used to call for a union between classes against this or that imperialism in order to throw the responsibility for the crisis and with it increased exploitation on to the 'expansionist aims' of some other country, the multi-nationals, or other 'stateless' capitalisms. In the name of one or the other of these mystifications or all of them at one, capital everywhere will call on the workers to renounce their demands and make sacrifices while waiting for the crisis to be overcome. As in the past, the left and 'workers' parties will distinguish themselves in this disgusting task. On their side they can count on the ''critical support'' of the leftist groups of every sort who put forward the same lies and mystifications in more radical language and who favour more radical methods. Fifty-seven years ago the Manifesto of the Communist International already warned the working class against these dangers:
"The opportunists who before the World War summoned the workers to practice moderation for the sake of a gradual transition to socialism, and who during the war demanded class docility in the name of civil peace and national defence, are again demanding self-renunciation of the proletariat ? this time for the purpose of overcoming the terrible consequences of the war. If these preachments were to find acceptance among the working masses, capitalist development in new, much more concentrated and monstrous forms would be restored on the bones of several generations ? with the perspective of a new and inevitable world war."
History has shown in an unheard-of tragedy how clear sighted was the denunciation of bourgeois lies by the revolutionaries of 1919.
Today, when the bourgeoisie is refurbishing its formidable political arsenal which in the past permitted it to contain and defeat the proletariat, the International Communist Current whole-heartedly lays claim to the words of the Communist International and once again addresses them to its class: "Workers remember the imperialist war!", said the Communist International. Workers of today, remember the barbarism of the past half century and think about what awaits humanity if once again you do not reject vigorously enough the seductive words of the bourgeoisie and its henchmen.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE STRUGGLE AND OF THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE PROLETARIAT
But if the capitalist class is methodically readying its weapons, the proletariat for its part is not the helpless victim capital would like to have facing it. Even if there are some unfavourable aspects, the conditions under which the proletariat has resumed its struggle are fundamentally to its advantage. For the first time in history, a revolutionary movement of the working class is not about to occur at the end of a war, but is accompanying an economic crisis of the whole system. To be sure, war had the merit of making the proletariat rapidly understand the necessity for struggle on the political level and brought in the wake of the proletariat a good part of the non-proletarian strata (other than the bourgeoisie). But it only constituted a powerful factor in the development of consciousness of workers of those countries which had been turned into a battlefield and most particularly for the workers of the defeated countries. The crisis developing today spares non of the countries of the world. The more the bourgeoisie tries to slow down its course, the more it enlarges its effects. As a result, the growth of the class struggle has never had such scope as it has today. Its rhythm is indeed slow and irregular but its extent has confounded the prophets of defeat who unceasingly hold forth about the so-called 'utopian' character of a revolutionary movement of the proletariat on a world scale.
Since the proletariat today confronts immense tasks which only it can carry out and since the irregular character of its movement results from having lost most of its traditions of struggle and all of its class organisations, the proletariat must take advantage of the slow development of the crisis assailing it (a crisis which affects the rhythm of its class response), to systematically develop its traditions of struggle and its organisations. Through its successive economic struggles the proletariat will once again become conscious of the political character of its struggle; by multiplying its partial struggles it will forge the tools for a generalised confrontation. In the face of these struggles, the desperation of capital will increase and it will use the very real fact that it can concede nothing, in order to call upon the workers for 'moderation' and 'sacrifices'. But the workers must understand that if these struggles are unsuccessful and strictly speaking defeats on the economic plane, nonetheless, they are the condition for the decisive victory since each of them represents a step forward in the proletariat's understanding of the total bankruptcy of the system and the necessity to destroy it. Against all the preachers of 'realism' and 'prudence', the workers will learn that the real success of a struggle is not in its immediate results (which even if positive are threatened by the deepening of the crisis), but that the true victory is in the struggle itself, and the organisation, solidarity and consciousness that this struggle develops.
Unlike the struggles which took place between the great crisis between the two world wars and whose inevitable defeat only produced a still greater demoralisation and prostration, the present struggles are so many beacons on the way to final victory. The momentary discouragement provoked partial defeats will be transformed into a spark of anger, of determination and consciousness, which will impregnate the struggles to come.
As it worsens the crisis will wrest from the workers the few derisory 'advantages' that the reconstruction period distributed to them in exchange for an exploitation that was each day more systematic and scientific. As the crisis develops, through unemployment, or through the massive fall in real wages, it plunges an ever greater number of workers into growing impoverishment. By the suffering that it provokes the crisis highlights the barbarous character of the relations of production in which society is imprisoned. Unlike the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois classes who can only see in the crisis a calamity and greet it with cries of desperation, the workers must welcome the crisis with enthusiasm and see in it a regenerating breath which will clear away the bonds which tie them to the old world, thus creating the conditions for their emancipation.
THE REVOLUTIONARY ORGANISATION
However intense the struggles carried on by the class, its emancipation can only come about if the proletariat is capable of providing itself with one of its most valuable weapons (a weapon whose absence has cost it so dearly in the past): its revolutionary party.
It is its place in the system that makes the proletariat the revolutionary class. As such, the indispensable conditions for its activity are created by the decadence and acute crisis of the system. All of historical experience teaches that this is not sufficient by itself. If the proletariat does not raise itself to an adequate level of consciousness at the same time and create the instrument, (its communist vanguard) which is at once the product of and an active factor in this struggle, it will not be able to free itself from capitalism. But this vanguard is not the mechanical product of the class struggle. Even if the present and future struggles of the class provide the indispensable basis for the development of this vanguard, it can only be formed and carry out its tasks if revolutionaries themselves become fully aware of their responsibilities and arm themselves with the will to be equal to those responsibilities. In particular, the indispensable tasks of theoretical clarification, systematic denunciation of the lies of the bourgeoisie and active intervention in the struggles of their class, can only be carried out by today's revolutionaries if they re-establish the political bond that links them together both historically and geographically. That is the basic condition for their activity. In other words, in order to accomplish the tasks for which the class has produced them, revolutionaries must appropriate the struggles both of the class and the communist currents of the past, just as they must regroups their forces on the scale of the class itself ? the world scale.
But their efforts in both these directions are still greatly handicapped by the total break of organic continuity with the communist fractions of the past. The re-establishment of that politically indispensable continuity with these fractions, which collected and explained the main lessons of the entire past experience of the class, has been retarded and obstructed by the revolutionary currents that the class has again produced. These currents have particular difficulty in understanding two things: their specific function in the class and above all the question of organisation which they have practically no experience themselves. Moreover, the decomposition and subsequent proletarianisation of the petty-bourgeoisie which decadence and the crisis have accelerated and accentuated, have increased the difficulties even more. (From the beginning the petty-bourgeoisie was a shackle on the workers' movement.) In particular, the dross from the student movement, that typical expression of the crisis of the intellectual petty-bourgeoisie, which was at its highpoint at the very moment at which the working class rediscovered the path of struggle, has obstructed the consciousness of revolutionary organisations. The cult of newness, of being different, of the telling phrases, of the individual, of de-alienation, and of the spectacle, peculiar to this variety of the petty-bourgeoisie, have often succeeded in transforming many groups that the class since its resurgence have given rise to, into exotic sects whose activity centres around patty questions and personal ambitions. From positive factors, these groups have then become obstacles to the process whereby consciousness is developed in the proletariat. If they persist, in the name of invented or secondary differences, in standing in the way of the task of regroupment of revolutionary forces, the proletariat will ruthlessly destroy them.
With its still modest means, the International Communist Current has committed itself to the long and difficult task of regrouping revolutionaries internationally around a clear and coherent programme. Turning its back on the monolithism of the sects, it calls upon the communists of all countries to be aware of the immense responsibilities which they have, to abandon the false quarrels which separate them, to surmount the deceptive divisions which the old world has imposed on them. The ICC calls on them to join in this effort to constitute (before the class engages in its decisive struggles) the international and unified organisation of its vanguard.
The communists as the most conscious fraction of the class, must show it the way by taking as their slogan: "Revolutionaries of all countries, unite!"
WORKERS OF ALL COUNTRIES!
The struggles in which you are now engaged are the most important in the history of humanity. In their absence, humanity is destined to undergo a third imperialist holocaust ? the horrible consequences of which we can only anticipate. Such a war could mean a retrogression of several centuries or even several millennia for mankind, a deterioration which excludes any hope of socialism and might even mean humanity's pure and simple destruction. Never has a class been the bearer of such responsibilities and such hope. The terrible sacrifices that you have already made in your past struggles and those perhaps still more terrible sacrifices that the bourgeoisie with its back to the wall will impose on you in the future, will not have been in vain.
For the human race your victory will mean the definitive liberation from the chains which have bound it to the blind laws of nature and the economy. It will mark the end of the pre-history of humanity and the beginning of its true history and will establish the reign of freedom on the ruins of the reign of necessity.
Workers, for the titanic battles that await you, to prepare for the final assault against the capitalist world, for the abolition of exploitation, for communism, make the old war-cry of your class your war-cry again:
WORKERS OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!
 This passage obviously refers to the reawakening of the world proletariat at the end of the 60s, after a half-century of counter-revolution. The description of the workers' struggles of the time clearly seems to be very distant from the present situation of the class struggle. The collapse of the so-called 'socialist' countries at the end of the 80s led to a profound reflux in the consciousness and militancy of the working class. The weight of this reflux can still be felt today in the difficulties the proletariat has in developing its class combats, in rediscovering the path towards its revolutionary perspective, which has been obliterated by the enormous campaigns of the bourgeoisie about the 'death of communism'. Nevertheless, this retreat by the world proletariat has in no way put into the question the historic course towards class confrontations opened by the first wave of struggles at the end of the 1960s. Despite the slow rhythm of the revival of class struggle today, the future is still in the hands of the proletariat. And it is precisely because the class struggle is a permanent nightmare for the bourgeoisie that it is obliged to unleash extremely sophisticated ideological campaigns and manoeuvres to prevent the proletarian giant from asserting itself on the social scene.
 With the disappearance of the two imperialist blocs which emerged out of the Yalta accords, the spectre of a third world war has faded for the moment. Thus, even if militarism and war still characterise decadent capitalism's way of life, the imperialist policies of all states, large and small, are being pursued in a world historic situation dominated by chaos and 'every man for himself'. Since the mobilisation of the proletariat of the central countries in a third world war is not on the agenda, the historic alternative has become: proletarian revolution or humanity plunging into generalised barbarism and chaos.
 Even if in certain central countries, like France, Austria or Belgium, we have seen the rise of extreme right wing factions, this phenomenon is not at all comparable to the situation which, in the 1920s and 30s, made it possible for fascism and Nazism to come to power. The revival of extreme right wing parties today is essentially an expression of the decomposition of capitalism, of the tendency towards 'every man for himself' which is eating away at the political apparatus of the bourgeoisie, and not the consequence of a historic defeat of the proletariat as was the case in the years which followed the crushing of the 1917-23 revolutionary wave. Furthermore, the current antifascist campaigns are not of the same stature as those which mobilised the proletariat en masse behind the banners of democracy and made it possible to dragoon the working class into the Second World War.