… giving a voice to political prisoners and prisoners of war was part of the ‘mandate’ of Arm The Spirit. ATS grew out of the ashes of the Toronto Anarchist Black Cross and the founders of Arm The Spirit had all done solidarity work around political prisoners in the U.S (Ohio 7, RCC 6, etc). When we started Arm The Spirit, we made a point of reaching out to those prisoners as well as European political prisoners. During our run, we published statements from, interviews with, and analysis by political prisoners from organizations such as Action Directe, Black Liberation Army (BLA), Cellules Communistes, Combattante (CCC), Devrimci Sol / DHKP-C, Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN), Grupos de Resistencia Antifascista Primero de Octubre (GRAPO), Red Brigades, Red Army Faction, Red Guerilla Resistance, United Freedom Front and more …
… here’s just a bit of material from the Italian political prisoner’s collective Wotta Sitta (there is lots more!) . We corresponded with a few members of the collective and regularly sent them material about the struggles here in North America. In turn, they sent us regular updates on their ongoing trials as well as position papers / analysis / written contributions to developments within the international revolutionary movement …
A Brief Introduction To The Communist Prisoners Collective “Wotta
The Collectivo Communisti Prigionieri Wotta Sitta (Wotta Sitta Imprisoned Communists Collective) consists of comrades imprisoned in various special prisons coming from the different Italian guerrilla experiences (Red Brigades, NAP – Armed Proletarian Units, Red Brigades-Guerrilla Party, COLP – Communists Organized for Proletarian Liberation, Resistance).
As prisoners (we are all in jail for about 10 years, and some of us for 15) we have a wide knowledge of struggle inside the maximum security prisons, in unity with the struggles of the social prisoners.
It is important – instead of speaking about our specific experiences – to talk about our common heritage, that is, the similar characteristics typical of the whole revolutionary movement in Western Europe at the end of the 60’s, which are the background for the birth of the guerrilla in Europe as well as in Italy.
In the early 70’s the guerrilla developed in order to re-build a revolutionary perspective – a class perspective – of the proletariat, in order to re-open a power confrontation in the heart of the imperialist system. Particularly in Italy, the guerrilla has built a fighting experience deeply rooted in the class and social structure and in the struggles of all the proletarian sectors; a fighting praxis which has developed in direct opposition and attack
against the state.
At the beginning of the 80’s everybody (therefore us as well) understood the coming into being of a change affecting the entire international reality and the rise of a new movement re-designing the revolutionary perspective. In Europe this meant the beginning of the building up of a revolutionary anti-imperialist Front, through the initiative of the RAF and AD, and BR-PCC, and involving most of the European resistance.
So during the summer of 1985, when we worked out our first collective paper as prisoners – entitled “Wotta Sitta” – that is in African “the time is right” – we started from the deep conscience that it was time to start building a wider communication process
among the revolutionary experiences and the anti-imperialist movements existing all over the world, in particular in Western Europe. It was time to really overcome the ideological attitudes towards internationalism in order to focus on the common class interests that bind together the proletarians of the world in the common struggle against the “new imperialist order”. But our objective, since the beginning, has also been to give a political answer to the counter-revolutionary strategy which gained ground after the defeats and arrests suffered by the guerrilla organizations in 1982, particularly in Italy.
The capitalist governments tried to put an end to the struggle and resistance of the revolutionary prisoners in Europe in order to transform their struggle into a weapon to point at the communist perspective and the anti-imperialist fight, and to play against the
Our intention is to confront the integrated counter-revolution with the political and fighting unity of the revolutionary prisoners inside the wider unity of the revolutionary movement. The counter-revolutionary strategy against the prisoners is a common reality of all the European states, therefore also the struggle of the revolutionary prisoners and the solidarity movements must move forward and develop a common and unified reality. They are not a different thing apart from the internationalist solidarity.
In this sense, the experience of struggle carried out by the imprisoned comrades of the RAF and resistance in the FRG has been very important, as well as the struggle of the imprisoned comrades of PCE(r) and GRAPO in Spain.
We would like to say also that inside the Italian prisons there are some Arab and Palestinian prisoners and in the last few years we have made many solidarity initiatives with them against their segregation.
Regarding our jail’s conditions we have to say that, together with all the other Italian political prisoners (about 150), we are spread out in different special jails: Novara, Cuneo, Marino del Tronto, Carinola, Rome-Rebibbia for men and Opera-Milano for women.
They are all maximum security prisons with control units for political prisoners, established with decree by the Italian government in 1977 in the framework of the “struggle against terrorism” for a number of prisoners reaching 800 persons in the early 80’s. Some comrades (a few in fact) as well as some Arab/Palestinian prisoners are in general population jails.
The State’s policy is based on continuous pressure through the adaptable use of segregation and dispersion, through the strict control of visits and mail directly by the intelligence forces by means of the prison department, through the investigations into the political debate inside prisons, the periodic criminalization campaign against the revolutionary prisoners, and the prosecutions against the solidarity movement and people supporting the prisoners and sometimes also against the relatives (with charges similar to 129a in the FRG).
In Italy every activity of the revolutionary prisoners not controlled by the state’s pacification policy is considered “a threat against state security”, because for quite a while the bourgeoisie has tried to enforce a political solution to armed struggle with the active collaboration of many ex-revolutionary people, once militants in the various fighting organizations, in order to recompose the break between the state and the class movement of the last ten years and to depoliticize the whole experience of armed struggle.
In this state counter-revolutionary strategy, the reformist and revisionist parties are very active, above all the PCI, which with its recent transformation into the PDS (Democratic Party of then Left) has fulfilled it move towards the bourgeois area which it began in the post World War Two era, and has reinforced its role as enemy of any revolutionary initiative in this country.
In conclusion the State policy on the revolutionary prisoners – in Italy as well as in any west European country – aims at redefining the contradiction represented by the existence of guerrilla prisoners in view of the European process of economic- political-military integration, of which the “1992 united market” is a very significant step. We see in every European country many direct attacks against the prisoners and the attempt to use them against the guerrilla, as is now happening with the arrests of the ex-RAF militants in the DDR.
As imprisoned revolutionaries we have to confront the same counter-revolutionary strategy of imperialism in every European country and aware of being an integral part of the revolutionary process here, we see in the unity of the prisoners in western Europe a possible and necessary step in our fighting experience.
Collectivo Communisit Prigionieri Wotta Sitta
(Written in 1992.)
Statement From Comrades From Wotta Sitta At Novara Prison
“And if we were all capable of uniting to make our blows more solid and infalliable so that the effectiveness of every kind of support given to the struggling people were increased, how great the future would be, and how near. (Ernesto Che Guevera)
Five years ago, Peruvian Army and Navy troops carried out attacks on the prisons around Lima (El Fronton, Lurigancho, El Callao), under the order of that scoundrel Garcia, and massacred 300 communist and revolutionary prisoners, both men and women; militants of the opposition movements and guerrillas of Sendero Luminoso.
We are remembering this infamous massacre not only as further proof of imperialist barbarity, but also, and above all, in order to strengthen the consciousness of the deadly attacks that bring the international proletariat and oppressed peoples into opposition
against the ruling system and capitalist exploitation in Latin America as well as all over the world.
The revolutionary’s struggle in imperialist jails has always been an important factor in the revolutionary process as a whole. In this current phase, the revolutionary struggle’s course in the main areas of struggle against imperialism is both reaffirming and advancing this political factor.
1. At the end of the 80’s the imperialist bourgeoisie backed by world-wide reformism, announced the start of a “peace epoch”, in which the end of the “cold war” between the two superpowers and “the defeat of communism” would eliminate “the threat of war in the world”, and which would lead to the settlement of regional conflicts by political settlement and high-level mediation.
However, imperialist advancement in the main crisis areas over the past few years has made everyone aware of the reality: the fall of the Sandinista junta in Nicaragua through the blackmail of the contras and the US, the American invasion of Panama accomplished
with the bloodshed of 5000 people, the annexation of the DDR in the so-called “Great Germany”, the Gulf War and the destruction of Iraq and the death of hundreds of thousands due to the most massive bombing since World War Two carried out by the massive U.S. and West European military apparatus.
These are only some of the most important events of the “new peace epoch” which show the real intentions of western capitalism in this stage: to give a lasting blow to the revolutionary and liberation movements, to restore their hierarchies in the face of those nationalist bourgeoisie carrying out a discordant policy, and to reaffirm a new balance of power to its own advantage after the collapse of the East Bloc, within the context of the growing “new world order”.
However, this illusion of power is quickly disappearing before the eyes of the imperialist strategists, due to the growth of the very contradictions and conflicts that they would eliminate. Every stone that imperialism raises up, falls back down onto their own
The lords of the imperialist war have not been able to silence the revolutionary and liberation movements, rather these movements have spoken through their struggle, advancing the revolutionary process in the world, from Palestine and Turkey, to Peru and Central America, as well as in West Europe.
With this growing balance in the confrontation, every revolutionary movement and force, and every militant , must strengthen their own position about consciousness and class roots, and the connections between each others’ struggles. It is just this political factor that describes the circumstances and struggles of the revolutionary prisoners in imperialist jails.
2. In the context of the imperialist offensive marking the early 90’s, the governments, parties, “cultural associations”, capitalists and mass-media in Europe and other western countries are preparing for the 5th century celebrations of the discovery of the America, for 1992. It is necessary to pay attention to this date, for several reasons.
First and foremost, because it is a great political, economic, and ideological operation with the aim of intensifying the exploitation and oppression of the people in the Tricontinent (the south of the world) and Latin America, and not only a celebration of the “victory of capitalism” or “western civilization”. Speaking concretely, Spain, in this context, wants to create its own area of political and economic influence in its ex-colonies, on the basis of the Commonwealth model. This project is in reality the bridge-
head in an attempt by the EEC to carry out a penetration process in the Center and South America, in which also Italy, USA, Japan and …’Israel’ are involved!
Another important factor is the growth of a large movement in Latin America, USA, and Europe around this “deadline”, that includes the different paths of the historical struggle against capitalist oppression, and which intends to turn this “commemoration” of the imperialist bourgeoisie into a time of internationalist struggle and radical opposition to the imperialist system.
In the Latin American revolutionary movement there is a more and more a deep-rooted consciousness that imperialism can only be overthrown by a process as a whole in which every struggle is linked to the other revolutionary realities in the world. It’s a schedule of initiatives and mobilizations directly concerning the revolutionary and anti-imperialist European movement, on the international level.
For us as prisoners, this dimension is also the basis for connection and interaction between the different realities of struggle in the imperialist jails, in order to face this special confrontation in the context of the international revolutionary movement.
3. In this framework we want to focus on the situation of the revolutionary prisoners in the U.S.; it’s a reality having important links – at the objective level as well as at the subjective level – with the anti-imperialist mobilizations against the 5th Century Celebrations, and with the nature of the struggle that we are outlining.
In U.S. prisons there are over 150 revolutionary prisoners. The majority are New Afrikan; former members of the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army. There are 20 white anti-imperialist prisoners, several Native American prisoners, and over 30 belonging to the Puerto Rican independence movement. Most of them have heavy sentences such as Native American Leonard Peltier, New Afrikan Geronimo Pratt, in jail for about 20 years, and Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was sentenced to death in 1982 and is locked down in Huntington, Pennsylvania, on death row. Bush – as well as his predecessors – have always denied the existence of political prisoners in the US, but this is a discredited myth.
In the last few years, in spite of the ever-present counterrevolution against any opposition to the state, there has been built up meaningful mobilization through initiatives on several levels, ranging from demonstrations against maximum- security units and militant information campaigns, all the way to legal actions on the grounds of human rights. All these things have broken the blackout about the struggle of the prisoners, giving rise to great support, on the international level, from the anti-
The PP’s and POW’s are an expression of a movement that has shaken American society in the past 20 years; this movement was the result of the contradictions in the establishment of the framework of this society.
“U.S. history is a product of the conflict between European invaders and Native Americans, white masters and Black slaves, the colonizing army and the colonized, bosses and workers, male supremacists and women, anti-imperialists and imperialists”, so wrote the Weather Underground in ‘Prairie Fire.’
The U.S. imperialist metropole contains in its heritage all the stages of the exploitation and destruction of entire peoples, and this has resulted in the growth of this social structure, within the historical context of world-wide capitalist development.
This then is the close linkage connecting the anti-imperialist and liberation struggle in the U.S. with the revolutionary movements in Latin America and the Third World, as well as with the class confrontation in Western Europe; and this then is the significance of the PP’s and POW’s struggle in the North American prisons.
4. In Western Europe we are faced with the quick development of the economic and political unification project, pursued by several governments, capitalistic multi-national groups, and the bourgeoisie, in order to counterattack the crises and confront the
competition among the capitalist economical groupings in the world.
The effects of this economic and political concentration are going to be more and more obvious, by the penetration of European wealth into the East and by military re-structuring.
Recently, NATO governments have announced the construction of a “Rapid Deployment Force, of 100,000 British, German, Belgian, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Greek, and Turkish soldiers, under American command, having the job of intervening “outside of the conventional area of intervention”, in order to “defend the interests of Western Europe”. The Gulf War has given rise to an model of intervention which has been adopted by the European states, and this has escalated noticeably their importance and responsibility in the global strategy of western imperialism.
Due to this imperialist move, the forced pacification of the social conflict which has been going on throughout the continent for 20 years is the goal of the European governments. It’s not just the case that the counter-revolutionary strategy is at the forefront of the national policies of the various states as well as the EEC.
The tested TREVI group (a body leading and centralizing the repression in the EEC) and the “Schengen Agreement” (in order to control the flow of immigrants from the south of the world), are the pillars on which they are building up a whole ‘security’ policy
Right now, the revolutionary movement, the vanguard organizations, the antagonist collectives, proletarian struggles, and prisoners also, must build their own ways and means to struggle against a counter-revolutionary strategy and apparatus that is strongly linked on the continental level.
European unification, with the “Great Germany” at its center, cannot tolerate the activity of the antagonist movement, of the guerrilla organizations; it cannot even tolerate the existence of the prisoners carrying out the struggle in prisons as a vital part of the revolutionary movement.
This is the sum of the West-European policy that has underlined the struggle between the imprisoned comrades of GRAPO-PCE(r) and the Gonzales administration concerning their regroupment.
After about 15 months on hungerstrike and force-feeding torture, after the death of comrade Jose Manuel Sevillano Martin, the struggle was interrupted in order to avoid a stalemate, on the heels of a deeply changed situation due to international events. Nevertheless,in this very heavy struggle, the Spanish comrades have shown their own political steadfastness and revolutionary firmness in the faces of the Gonzales administration and the strategists of the preventive counter-revolution.
They were conscious that the attempt by the PSOE to disrupt their identity and collective militancy by means of solitary confinement and dispersion to a number of prisons was part and parcel of a more general attack against the class and the revolutionary movement. This consciousness led them to confront this strategy. They rejected the state of powerlessness in which the State would have forced them, and they took up the initiative for regroupment, clearly setting themselves inside the interests and goals of the revolutionary struggle in Spain and Europe. Therefore, there is no defeat, this struggle is only interrupted, and the consciousness, the solidarity and the communication network which resulted from it will provide the conditions necessary to begin anew, with greater strength, so that an end may be put to the isolation of the comrades.
In Germany, after the annexation of the DDR, the German government is madly busy, by means of its security apparatus, trying to prevent the revolutionary and anti-imperialist movements form embodying and politicizing the contradiction resulting from the process of the so-called “Great Germany”.
In the former DDR a huge political and economic operation is occurring which is liquidating all the factories in order to be able to re-build, from the ground up, the framework and the people, in order to make them more useful to the exploitation and oppression project of the new capitalistic German power. But the aspirations of Kohl concerning the development of this process are being frustrated by the mass struggles in the East, which are obviously not going to disappear, as well as because of the revolutionary initiative of the movement, especially the RAF guerrilla.
The “running dogs” of the “Chancellor” are not able to stop the actions of the revolutionary forces. As well as leading a general attack against the movement (the squatters, the info-shops, the antagonist collectives), they are leading a repressive campaign against the RAF and resistance prisoners with their usual fury. As well as the pressure on the relatives and solidarity groups. there is occurring a manoeuvre to misrepresent the RAF experience (such as the rumours about the Stasi), trying to link the attack against the guerrilla and the destruction of the former East Germany. It’s such mistaken interpretation that even the words put into the mouths of some traitors (former RAF members) are not able to give any credibility to it.
There is an increase in the provocations and the media- campaigns against the prisoners. Lately, all this is culminating in an explicit threat to restore total isolation also for those militants who have gained by the ’89 hungerstrike, the right of minimal collectivity (4 in a jail!).
The comrades of Action Directe are in a similar situation. They have lost step-by-step the rights gained by their hungerstrike of ’89. They are faced with physical and communicative isolation, along with the other usual provocations.
The “socialist” Mitterand administration, along with its staff of democrats and former ‘sessantottini’ [refers to those people who were involved in the French student uprising of 1968 who have now become reformists in the ruling parties – ed.] is much appreciating
– and applying! – the TREVI counter-revolutionary science.
Against this situation, the four AD comrades have been struggling since January 1st, by means of hungerstrike. This confrontation is faced in a different manner also by the comrades of the CCC (Communist Combatting Cells), in solitary confinement in the Belgian jails for over 5 years; by ETA prisoners who are in the same conditions as the GRAPO prisoners; and by prisoners of the IRA and other organizations who have been carrying out a very heavy struggle against the British prison policy for over 20 years. Actually, over 200 of these comrades are sentenced to life and imprisoned in the H-Blocks.
Finally, there are several Arab, Palestinian, Kurdish fighters detained in many prisons on the continent, showing clearly the role of European imperialism against the revolution and liberation struggles in the Middle East.
All movements have prisoners. On account of this they cut across the lines of the confrontation between revolution and counter-revolution, between international proletariat and imperialist bourgeoisie.
It is this factor that makes it necessary to face the “issue” of revolutionary prisoners in an international perspective. Moreover, the design of the U.S. penitentiaries, as well as the West European ones, is reproduced in every imperialist state and their satellites.
There is not much difference between the U.S. and Canadian special jails and those of West Europe or Latin America. As well, the “repentance-reinstatement” ploy, well known in Italy, is catching on elsewhere, by and large.
The logic that led the German government to murder the RAF comrades in Stammheim in ’77 is the same logic that led to the bloodshed of the Peruvian prisoners in ’86; it is the same logic that leads De Klerk to imprison thousands of the fighters of Azania, who are carrying out an hungerstrike in order to get their freedom, and it’s the same logic that leads the Zionist government to build concentration camps for the Palestinian fighters in the Negev.
In Turkey, the ‘special’ prisons full of Kurdish revolutionaries, Dev Sol militants, and other revolutionary organizations, with many comrades sentenced to death, have been
planned by American engineers. The Ozal governmnt wants to make acceptable to the EEC the current massacre of Kurdish and Turkish revolutionaries and proletarians, by means of ‘amnesty-traps’ and ridiculous settlement operations.
Wherever the anti-imperialist and revolutionary movements are growing, imperialism focuses on the prisoners as grounds on which to pursue its counter-revolutionary strategy.
6. In Italy, the imperialist bourgeoisie, via the state, is speeding up the re-structuring of the political system, in order to take the lead in the integration of the Italian economic, political, and social structure in Western Europe. This move, coupled with the re-structuring of the production- structures, is leading to strong pressure against the proletariat in the metropoles.
In fact, the struggle is growing is every class reality. In the face of an increasing of the social unrest that has always characterized the Italian reality, and in the face of the
possibility of a new politicization of the struggle, the bourgeoisie rearranges its counterrevolutionary policy. The so-called “social-security”, along with institutional
reform and intervention in the huge economic-financial deficit in the budget, is foundation point in the current schedule of the state.
The repressive and counterrevolutionary policy here is now even more comprehensive than before as ‘old’ contradictions are added to the new ones (i.e. the struggle of the immigrants and the growth of the difference between North and South), and is aimed at preventing a social confrontation. For this reason, the entire apparatus of social control network, the prison conditions, built up by the State for over 20 years of confrontation, are put forward by the State in a more directed manner.
But, in actuality, it’s really about the whole counter- revolutionary policy of the Italian state, from post-World War Two, until the present.
The leadership of the Democrazia Cristiana (the ruling party in Italy) is arrogantly
defending and claiming the legitimacy of “Gladio”, which has been the hallmark of the imperialist strategy to push back, by mass slaughters, the class and revolutionary movements in Italy from the early ’60s, and into the ’70s and ’80s, within the European framework of the anti-communist strategy of NATO and the CIA.
This then is the context within which the new proletarian’s struggles and the revolutionary path should resist, and within which they should develop their perspective. This is also the case for the those in prison, of course!
According to the government, the political parties, and the bourgeois media, the only “political prisoners” in Italy would be those who have ‘renounced’ and who aim at being reinstated socially into this society.
For those who are continuing the revolutionary struggle in Italy, there are only life-sentences, trials, and the hardness of the treatment in the maximum-security units, in small group isolation, undergoing continual pressure and physical and political isolation. It is a strategy that, now as before, aims at enhancing a political contradiction that the State cannot recognize.
It does not make sense to approach the political struggle around prisons as an issue “apart”, or only in a “local” context. The struggle of the revolutionary prisoners should be understood as part and parcel of the struggle for the growth of the Italian revolutionary movement.
On this basis it should take its lead from the most advanced points of the struggle of the revolutionary prisoners in West Europe.
The struggle for regroupment and against isolation, undertaken for many years by the RAF prisoners, and also by the AD prisoners in France is the outline around which a united discussion on the subject of the struggle against the imperialist prisons is growing. There has grown around this struggle a large initiative and network within the revolutionary movement and among other prisoners in many European countries within the process begun by the Revolutionary Front. In this sense it constitutes a starting point for all who understand this struggle as part of the road for the revolutionary movement and the anti-imperialist struggle.
Obviously, the framework of the experiences on which we rely is growing larger and larger, ranging from the important struggle of the Spanish comrades, from the struggle of the IRA and ETA militants all the way to the Palestinian, Arab, and Kurdish fighters imprisoned in Europe.
There is one issue that is highlighted in the struggle of all these prisoners: isolation and the imperialist policy against the guerrilla can be defeated for good only by working to further the discussion around the struggle against the imperialist prisons in Europe, within the development of the revolutionary process as a whole.
The struggle by the prisoners in the FRG, France, Spain, and Belgium, against isolation and for regroupment, serves as a foundation for a comprehensive initiative. This struggle is a concrete dimension by which the movement’s issues can establish the proper relationship between proletarian struggle and this special struggle, turning it into a successful force for the entire revolutionary struggle.
The revolutionary prisoners are linked to the other class issues not only by the unconditional solidarity that should always exist among revolutionaries and proletarians in struggle, but, above all, by the relationships and unified feelings between those working in order “to send imperialism to hell”!
Strengthening the struggle of the revolutionary prisoners here in Europe, and building up all the possible contacts with the struggle of the comrades imprisoned in Latin America, the U.S., the Middle East, and everywhere in the world, means to contribute to the developing of the revolutionary movement in those areas, and it means also to advance, by and large, the revolutionary process world-wide.
The comrades of Wotta Sitta Collective from the maximum security
unit of Novara.
Crisis and War – Excerpt From Wotta Sitta
Document “Imperialist Peace Is War!” / 1992
Crisis And War
“Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinctive feature: It has simplified the class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more and more splitting into two great camps, into two great classes directly facing each other – bourgeoisie and proletariat.” (Marx, Engels)
1. Last year saw an intensification of the imperialist bourgeoisie’s class rule around the world, under the pressure of monopoly capital, which is trying to overcome the unresolved crisis of the 70’s by speeding up the process of the concentration, centralization, and internalization of capital. This process is leading (by itself) to a profound alteration in the shape of class rule. On the one hand, it is leading to a number of growing and explosive contradictions, which are multi-productive and multinational among states and economic areas, thus making clear the inherent limits of the era of globalization and economic interdependence. On the other hand, this same process results in a direct attack against the living conditions of billions of proletarians and people around the world, through the ruthless policies that the G7, World Bank, NATO and the ONU, as supranational bodies of capitalism, are controlling and defining.
The Gulf War has been the clearest and most visible demonstration of this intensified class rule, and of imperialism’s determination to accept no questions about its interests and international settlements of power. The 90s are beginning with the most logical and realistic scenario for imperialism in this epoch: war and the reports of war that characterize the today’s struggle, and the consequent tragic results of this barbaric domination over human life. The might and power of the West hasn’t translated into a “new world order”, rather it has translated into a period of great confusion and upset, of rising conflict and instability.
The ending of the world order established at Yalta is proving to be more complicated and traumatic than expected. The costs of the Yalta settlement were the dead of WW II; and what the U.S.-led imperialist powers are trying to impose will not cost any less. Let us leave to the reformists and revisionists their dangerous illusions and lies; we prefer to remember the lessons of history: history has shown that when a balance of power collapses, a new war is inevitable and necessary in order to build up another balance of power. From Versailles to Yalta, to…
Imperialism is war. War has always been the way by which the bourgeoisie tries to resolve its crisis, by unloading the cost of its propagation and reproduction on the proletarian class in a destructive manner.
Also, today the war cannot be considered to have been finished with the victory of the western alliance in the Gulf War, because we have already seen, in this last decade of the
century, a lot of wars breaking out in the various geo-political areas of the world. War is coming back again even in Europe, with broad and rising armed conflicts and civil wars occurring, particularly in the former Yugoslavia and the former USSR.
This scenario, which, tragically, we are seeing daily, assumes specific characteristics and develops precisely in this area that is the true nerve center of the entire planet, because
it is crossed by all of the contradictions of this epoch. The principal and predominant one is between proletariat and bourgeoisie; the explosion between the North and South of the world that generates the inter-imperialist economic and political conflict that already exists and which tends to develop among the world powers in their dividing up and domination of the world.
The European imperialist bourgeoisie is speeding up the necessary steps that cannot be given up (even though these steps are contradictory) to put forward the economic, political and military integration process of the european states in order to be a bloc, i.e. a political subject being able to establish homogenous policies that are binding internally and significantly to advance on the rest of the world.
“1992” is not to be merely a formal celebration of the birth of the “European Union”, but the moment for the practical realization of its basic passage as a whole and a turning point in its fulfilment. Therefore the “European Union” is an advancement of class rule in the entire continental area and of its imperialist projection in the other areas of the world, beginning with the Mediterranean-Middle East, as shown already with its active involvement in the Gulf war.
Europe wants to take part and does take part as a protagonist in the “new world order”. In Italy it is enough to remember the actions against the Iraqi people by the “heroes” Bellini and Cocciolone and their other stooges a year ago; the air-lifts to get rid of the Albanian refugees and control them in their own country, from now on little more than a new Italian protectorate; and the increasing political and military missions in Yugoslavia, a true backyard of De Michelis and his stooges, or in far off El Salvador.
Obviously, the aims of “Great Germany”, England and France and the resurrected Spain are not any less, and they can rely on a considerable legacy of world colonization. “1992” sees the European states aiming at the conquest and exploitation of resources and peoples, just like 500 years ago.
The proletarian in Europe and around the world have felt for a longtime the new quality of the struggle and they have never stopped their resistance against the capitalist strategies that are more and more destructive and directed only towards profit. The proletarian struggles, the liberation and freedom processes, have to deal with a huge advancement in the repressive counter- revolution that heavily marked many revolutionary experiences and which are trying to prevent the coming together of new
experiences. Nevertheless, one can already see many features of a passage to a new revolutionary age marked by a deeper struggle, wherein the proletarian struggle throughout the world is more and more connected and linked against the common enemy.
The mass mobilizations and the initiatives of the revolutionary forces within the areas of the imperialist ‘centres’, as well as those of the Third World, during the Gulf War, have undoubtedly contributed to strengthening the ground of anti-imperialism and proletarian internationalism. The varied examples of proletarian resistance and the many revolutionary initiatives that are starting to strike and sabotage all of the processes characterizing “1992” are moving in this same direction. Such processes are seen by the proletariat as a capitalist turning point under the guise of “deregulation” and reaction.
This is a tendency that sees the intensification of exploitation, the widening of unemployment and marginalization, the worsening of living standards, along with a more and more alienated life, and more and more the imposition of repressive, fascist, and racist policies against those people that are pressing against the borders of “Fortress Europe”. 500 years ago the “conquest of the Americas” was the beginning of a new age and of a european policy of oppression against the countries and peoples possessing resources and wealth that enabled the establishment of world colonization and domination, and rule for rising capitalism and its emerging class.
But that was not all; the increasing impoverishment of these peoples – the basis for the progress of the “developed and civilized Europe” – was often accompanied by extermination. As Marx wrote in “Capital”: “The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signalled the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic processes are the chief momenta of primitive accumulation.”
Historical research measures the quality of these “idyllic processes”: in 1500 the population of the world was 400 million, 80 million of which were in America. After 50 years, there remained only 10 million of these 80 million. In Mexico, at the time of the conquest there were about 25 million, in 1600 there were only 1 million.
This is the historical meaning of the proceedings that capitalism wants to celebrate with its endless productions around the “Fifth Centennial of the Discovery of the Americas”. If European countries are once again taking the lead in these initiatives, it isn’t simply out of a spirit of celebration, but rather it is a highlighting of the present rights of capitalist accumulation which are most advantageous to the world’s big monopolies. It is a neo-colonialism in which the EEC, as the main character and protagonist, attempts to win the growing resources and spaces for exploitation in the Three Continents, in competition with U.S. and Japanese capital. Penetration by European capital is the form that the “conquest” takes today: a new dividing up of the world.
The threads of the proletarian struggles that are linking up in the various geographical areas of the world against U.S., European and Japanese imperialism are making concrete a new proletarian internationalism. This new proletarian internationalism is radically questioning and fighting against the basic premises of the rise and development of the capitalistic social formations.
The political and economic strategies that are guiding capitalist reorganization have for many years produced rising social and class contradictions that define the features of, and extent of, the class war at this stage. There is a huge scale process of proletarianization, due to the changes in the international division of labour that is characterizing the present half of this century. The advance of capitalism had forced most of the world’s population in a proletarian condition, and this increasingly prevents almost any possibility of a non-capitalist existence, both in the center and periphery’s areas, in the North as well as in the South and East of the world. More and more, every human being is directly confronted with the “bare profit law”; the inhuman effect of an oppressive and destructive process on humanity, nature and the environment. It is a process of unprecedented dimension because this time capitalism intervenes directly against them for its exploitive, reproductive, and expansionist needs.
Having reached complete maturity at this stage of metropolitan capitalism’s advanced development, this combination of factors results more and more in an increase and expansion of social unrest and conflict, throwing a growing number of men and women into a dimension of class struggle. At the same time, it establishes a terrain of objective connections between the struggles of the proletariat and the people of the world against
the economic, political and military system that has historically imposed itself, and which revolves around the U.S. at the present, and against its new deployment over the last few years.
In Europe, to struggle against all of the policies that are pushing forward the dynamics of European integration and that extend imperialism’s advancement in the world, means to have an awareness that in Europe, now more than before, many of the confrontation lines between imperialism and revolution, as well as between neo-colonialism and liberation struggles, are converging.
It also means to concretely stand by the campesinos, natives and revolutionary forces against the “500 Year” celebration, so that they can raise their voices “against theignominy of the colonial, neo-colonial and imperialist oppression, with the aim to consolidate our identity and to fortify our liberation struggle throughout all the continent”. (Quito Statement, by Campesinos-Indigenous Organization)