Proletarians of all countries, unite!
There is one goal, the conquest of power!
IDENTIFY, RETAKE AND DEVELOP THE GUIDING THOUGHT OF THE PARTY
Provisional Central Committee
Communist Party of Switzerland (Red Faction)
Reproduced by The Red Flag
DECLARATION OF THE 1ST PLENUM
„If there is to be revolution, there must be a revolutionary party. Without a revolutionary party, without a party built on the marxist-leninist revolutionary theory and in the marxist-leninist revolutionary style, it is impossible to lead the working class and the broad masses of the people to defeat imperialism and its running dogs. In the more than 100 years since the birth of marxism, it was only through the example of the Russian bolsheviks in leading the October revolution, in leading socialist construction and in defeating fascist aggression that revolutionary parties of a new type were formed and developed in the world. With the birth of revolutionary parties of this type, the face of the world revolution has changed. The change has been so great that transformations utterly inconceivable to people of the older generation have come into being amid fire and thunder. The Communist Party of China is a party built and developed on the model of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. With the birth of the Communist Party of China, the face of the Chinese revolution took on an altogether new aspect. Is this fact not clear enough?“REVOLUTIONARY FORCES OF THE WORLD, UNITE!
FIGHT AGAINST IMPERIALIST AGGRESSION!
Chairman Mao Tse-tung
„All revolutions, in their process of development, through the struggle of the proletariat as the leading class and, above all, the struggle of the communist party that raises their unrenounceable class interests, give rise to a group of great leaders and mainly one who represents and leads it, a Great Leader with acknowledged authority and influence. In our reality this has taken shape, on account of historical necessity and coincidence, in Chairman Gonzalo, Great Leader of the party and the revolution.“FUNDAMENTAL DOCUMENTS
Communist Party of Peru
This document is a step toward further identifying, retaking and developing the base of party unity of the Communist Party of Switzerland (CPS), that is to say, its three elements: 1) Marxism-Lenin thought and the guiding thought of the CPS. 2) The programme. 3) The general political line, mainly the military line. Thus, this document is a contribution to the refounding of the CPS for the people‘s war.
The document deals heavily with the question of guiding thought. The document „Fragments Concerning Guiding Thought“ should be understood as a complement, an appendix to this document.
BEGIN BY FURTHER RETAKING THE GUIDING THOUGHT OF THE PARTY
This document serves the refounding of the Communist Party of Switzerland (CPS) as a party distinct from and opposed to all the old parties created by the exploiting classes.
At the 1st World Congress of the Communist International (CI), held in March 1919, Comrade Leonie Kascher stated:
„Comrades! Besides the socialist party and the socialist youth Organization, there still exists in Switzerland a small but purposeful communist movement.
The root and the school of this communist movement lies in the Zimmerwald Left, whose spirit was also widespread in our country.
What we have learned from the Zimmerwald Left is to demand mass action, not in the far future, but already in the present moment. […]
What the communists achieved was that the Swiss working class, under the pressure of circumstances, inflation, discontent, and under the influence of the contagious, enthusiastic movement in Russia, expressed its full solidarity with the Russian revolution. However, it lacked a purposeful, positive program. On the basis of this experience, a new direction was also emerging in the communist movement. We already knew that there was one goal — the conquest of power […]
[…] further cooperation with [the social-democrats] was no longer possible. A large public meeting was held; it was decided to found a communist party. Soon after that came mass arrests, the organizations were blown up. One had to work secretly from then on. Out of this mood came the general strike.“ (Our emphasis.)1
From this, we can draw the following key conclusions:
A. THE IMPORTANCE OF A „PURPOSEFUL COMMUNIST MOVEMENT“ AND „CONSCIOUS COMRADES“
It does not matter how large the communist party is; what matters is that it is „purposeful“. Chairman Gonzalo similarly expresses that too much emphasis is put on gathering a certain amount of people, and that the question really is „to do it or not to do it“. At the 3rd Work Session of the 4th Countrywide Conference, during the discussion about the position of the CPS in regards to the Social-Democratic Party of Switzerland (SPS) and parliamentarism, Comrade Herzog establishes: „Don‘t initiate politics of compromise, better to have a small number of conscious comrades than a big party which vacillates and wants to fight the revolution with battles of speeches in the National Council.“ (Our emphasis)2 Better to be few but red and expert, to — like the party puts forward — have a small number of comrades that break completely with the old society in whatever way the faction (and in perspective, the party) demands it — because what is there to win in this outdated social order, this moloch3 that sucks us dry for their profits and oppresses and represses us when we fight and resist; comrades that dedicate their life to the Swiss revolution, its immediate (refounding), strategic (conquest of power) and final objective (communism), as a part of and serving the proletarian world revolution — because the point is not to interpret the world but to change it; conscious comrades that carry their lives on their very finger tips, being ready to give their lives today, tomorrow and always for the red faction, for the revolution, if the necessity arises. Like the red factions of Chairman Gonzalo and of Comrade Leonie Kascher, we, the CPS(RF), are full of revolutionary conviction: we will refound the CPS. Nothing and nobody can stand in our way: not imperialism, nor reaction or revisionism — not even nature itself can hold us back, can hold our class, masses and people back! We will persist on the only honorful path that the proletariat can take – everything else means cowardly death on our knees, may that be because of preventable disease, workplace accidents, police violence, femicide, hate crimes or imperialism’s ruthless destruction of our planet — that is path of fighting and resisting everything that is old, everything that is outdated, capitalism, imperialism, patriarchy, this old State, because like Lenin sternly teaches us: there is still so much to be swept away from the face of the earth, to cleanse with blood, with steel, with lead. „Tomorrow your ballot paper is taken from you and you are given a rifle or a splendid and most up-to-date quick-firing gun — take this weapon of death and destruction, pay no heed to the mawkish snivellers who are afraid of war; too much still remains in the world that must be destroyed with fire and sword for the emancipation of the working class; if anger and desperation grow among the masses, if a revolutionary situation arises, prepare to create new organisations and use these useful weapons of death and destruction against your own government and your own bourgeoisie“ (Our emphasis.)4, that is what he says. Pay no attention to mawkish snivvelers, real and radical transformation for the people, that means power, and power comes from the barrel of a gun. Power for the people, the democratic dictatorship as Chairman Mao teaches us, is in its essence the dictatorship of the proletariat, being that it will be based on the deepest and broadest masses in this country, the workers, peasants and soldiers, mainly the workers. Nobody can stop the march forward of history, nobody can stand in the way of 15.000.000.000 years of eternal matter in motion towards communism, because the revolution is the main tendency and it will be until all of humanity reaches communism. We will not regret the price we have to pay. It does not matter how many we are today, what matter is that our movement is „purposeful“ and that our comrades, even if few, are „conscious“. If we are correct, then we will get more and better people, if we are not correct, then we will either lose them or we will lose sight of our objectives, and become a „big party which vacillates“ and fights (or rather: pretends to fight) the revolution with „battles of speeches“ — this is how matters stand.
B. THE IMPORTANCE OF PROLETARIAN INTERNATIONALISM
„The root and school of this communist movement lies in the Zimmerwald Left […] the Swiss working class […] expressed its full solidarity with the Russian revolution.“ This raises proletarian internationalism as an extraordinarily important factor in the founding of the CPS. Here, we should also quote the great Lenin, under whose great leadership the CPS was forged: „There is one, and only one, kind of real internationalism, and that is — working whole-heartedly for the development of the revolutionary movement and the revolutionary struggle in one’s own country, and supporting (by propaganda, sympathy, and material aid) this struggle, this, and only this, line, in every country without exception. Everything else is deception and manilovism [that is: daydreaming].“5 And Lenin had precisely instructed us Swiss communists to carry out our work on this internationalist basis:
„In order that acceptance of internationalism by the Swiss social-democrats shall not remain an empty and non-committal phrase — to which the adherents of the ‚center‘, and social-democrats of the epoch of the 2nd International generally, always confine themselves — it is necessary, first, consistently and unswervingly to fight for organizational rapprochement between foreign and Swiss workers bringing them together in the same unions, and for their complete equality (civic and political). The specific feature of imperialism in Switzerland is precisely the increasing exploitation of disfranchised foreign workers by the Swiss bourgeoisie, which bases its hopes on estrangement between these two categories of workers.
Second, every effort must be made to create a united internationalist trend among the German, French and Italian workers of Switzerland, a trend that will make for genuine unity in all practical activity in the labor movement and will combat, with equal determination and on principle, French (in Latin Switzerland), German and Italian social-patriotism. The present platform should be made the basis of a common and united platform of the workers of all three main nationalities or languages in Switzerland. Unless worker supporters of revolutionary social-democracy belonging to all the nationalities of Switzerland are united in this way, internationalism will remain an idle word.
To facilitate this amalgamation, the publication should be started of supplements (even if weekly and only two pages at first) to all social-democratic newspapers (and to all periodicals put out by workers’, office employees’, etc., trade unions). The supplements should be published in three languages and should explain the present platform in the light of current political developments.
[…] The Swiss social-democrats must support in all other socialist parties only the revolutionary-internationalist forces, the forces that accept the Zimmerwald Left. This support must not remain platonic. It is particularly important to reprint in Switzerland the anti-government manifestos secretly issued in Germany, France and Italy, translate them into all three languages and distribute them among the workers in Switzerland and all the neighboring countries.
[…] The [party] is in a particularly favourable position to keep in touch with developments in the labor movement in the advanced European countries and unite its revolutionary elements. The party must not, therefore, wait passively for an internal struggle to develop within that movement, but must keep in advance of that struggle. In other words, it must follow the road of the Zimmerwald Left, the correctness of which is being proved more clearly every day by the course of events in the socialist movements of Germany, France, England, the United States and all civilized countries in general.“6
These directives by Lenin are crucial. Keep in mind: „Directive given is directive fulfilled“ if it is marxist, and who can deny that Lenin was a marxist, that this is a marxist document! If we don‘t take this upon ourselves: How will we be able to orient ourselves in any satisfactory manner within the class struggle in Switzerland and on a world level? How would we be able to navigate it? We won‘t! We would be left like an anchorless ship that is floating aimlessly without direction. In that way, these directives are like a compass for us comrades, like a shining north star that allow us to navigate the difficult tides of the class struggle that unfolds itself in waves, without losing sight of our destination.
Understanding what Lenin puts forward here is key to understanding the internationalist character of the Swiss revolution:
Unifying foreign and Swiss workers (Lenin’s 1st demand) is the fundamental aspect, creating a united internationalist trend, meaning unity of action of the proletarian movement in Switzerland itself (Lenin’s 2nd demand) is the main aspect, these are what will allow us to unfold our international work in the way Lenin demands it — and we have to be very clear about this — not as idle bystanders or platonic supporters, but by realizing that what he called on us to do almost a 105 years ago: Taking up our responsibility of being the red faction in the imperialist countries and Europe, his unforgettable 3rd demand.
Given the importance of what was demanded and of what is being demanded of us, we think that it is necessary to make some remarks and clarify and contextualize some of these questions, specifically how they unfold themselves today, in this 4th phase of the 2nd period of the 2nd moment of contemporary Swiss (that is to say: imperialist) society:
FIRSTLY. Lenin lays out thethe„increasing exploitation of disfranchised foreign workers“. What is the basis for this, for the „specific feature of imperialism in Switzerland“, as Lenin correctly puts it? It is the „estrangement between [foreign and Swiss workers]“,that the Swiss bourgeoisie „bases its hopes“ on. This analysis has not lost its importance in the more than 100 years, to the opposite. Keep in mind: the proletariat in Switzerland, while still being made up of „these two categories of workers“, is today mainly made up of foreign workers. The Swiss bourgeoisie wants — today even more — to turn the Swiss worker into a fifth column within the ranks of the class, into a scab. It makes use of its wide network of agents, labor lieutenants, spokespeople (from the most „radical“ UNIA secretaries to the most fascist „Swiss People‘s Party“ national councilors) for this very purpose, and bases itself heavily on „local customs, habits, prejudices, narrow-mindedness and seclusion“7 and chiefly on PATRIARCHALISM(„that the master is good, and that his wages are bad“8) and URSCHWEIZERTUM(the freedom to be backwards, specifically: „[…] immobility, […] loyalty unto death to the highest bidder“9). What „increasing exploitation of disfranchised foreign workers“ meantin 1916 was: increasing exploitation of a certain section of the proletariat in Switzerland, while it today means increasing exploitation of the large majority of the proletariat in Switzerland.
SECONDLY. The problem of what Lenin calls the „amalgamation“, that is the amalgamation of the proletariat of the three nations10 „that will make for genuine unity in all practical activity in the labor movement“. What Lenin puts forward is a detrimental problem of the Swiss revolution which we need to keep close to our heart: Without the creation of this „united internationalist trend“ between the proletarians of the three nations (both foreign and Swiss!) within the borders of this rotten, old, imperialist State, of old, capitalist Switzerland, „INTERNATIONALISM WILL REMAIN AN IDLE WORD“! Without the mobilization, politicization, organization and ultimately the arming of the proletariat in the whole country, how will we be able to conquer power in the whole country (including Liechtenstein11).
THIRDLY. Lenin talks about combating „with equal determination and on principle“ Italian-, French- and German-speaking social-patriotism. This is of course the correct attitude, but we always have to keep in mind that a. we cannot and shouldn’t punch in all directions at once, choose the main enemy; b. generally we think that one should concentrate on the social-patriotism of the nation they find themselves in; and c. that that German-speaking nation dominates.
FOURTHLY. „To facilitate this amalgamation, the publication should be started of supplements (even if weekly and only two pages at first) […] [they] should be published in three languages and should explain the present platform in the light of current political developments.“ Here Lenin shows us the importance of translations into Italian, French and German, and that these have to be constructed from small to big (and from top to bottom). Many comrades and especially colleagues underestimate the importance of translations — they are a necessity for the basis (unification of foreign and Swiss workers), the main („amalgamation“ of the proletariat in the three nations) but also to the international work of the communists in Switzerland, as Lenin puts forward: „It is particularly important to reprint in Switzerland the anti-government manifestos secretly issued in Germany, France and Italy, translate them into all three languages and distribute them among the workers in Switzerland and all the neighboring countries.“ Without red and expert translations, specifically specialized comrades/colleagues and apparatuses for this purpose that are built from small to big and from top to bottom (this is a process) we will not be able to take up our responsibility towards the international proletariat.
Finally, we would add that English today has importance corresponding to Italian, French and German countrywide and internationally. This is because, even though we are supposedly taught „a second national language“ in the broken, bourgeois school system in this country, does anyone actually learn them, are they taught in a way to learn them? No matter from which part of the country our comrades or colleagues come from however, generally they have atleast some basic English skills, atleast higher than the „second national language“ they apparently were „taught“ in bourgeois school. Besides from that, English is a common language that everybody learns in school, while nobody learns the „four national languages“ in their entirety, most „are taught“ a second „national language“, few may „learn“ a third one. Because of this, English as a language gives us the possibility of easier communication currently, from which documents can also then be translated into all languages. In the end, what this necessitates is language reform of course, a language reform to increase real literacy, that will create standardized Swiss-Italian, Swiss-French and Swiss-German languages, based on the local dialects and having a common phonetic alphabet between all three and Romansh, which will actually facilitate learning of languages. This connected of course with the cultivation of the local dialects, here especially Romansh and Romand.
FIFTHLY. Lenin lays out the tasks of the communists of Switzerland on the world level quite clearly. We Swiss communists are called upon to constitute ourselves as„a group of like-minded persons formed for the purpose primarily of influencing [the ICM] in a definite direction, for the purpose of securing acceptance for their principles […] in the purest possible form. For this, real unanimity of opinion is necessary.“12We are called upon to make the Swiss revolution, and in the process, contribute to making the revolution in every single imperialist country of the entire world.
He states that we are in a „particularly favourable position to keep in touch with developments in the [ICM] in the advanced European countries“, and to „unite [the ICM’s] revolutionary elements“. But our task is not just to unite the Left or to „wait passively for an internal struggle to develop within [the ICM]“ so as to demarcate, we „must keep in advance of that struggle“! Lenin makes this clear, we have to lead!
He also gives us the responsibility to be the heart of the revolutionary movements when he puts forward that we must not just „reprint“ and „translate“ the clandestinely produced manifestos by the Left in Europe, but that we have to „distribute them among the workers“ not just in Switzerland, but „all the neighboring countries.“
Some further remarks on „unite [the ICM’s] revolutionary elements“ — Lenin says that to do this we „must follow the road of the Zimmerwald Left“. What is the road of the Zimmerwald Left if not the road of class war, of conquering power with rifle in one hand and red flag in the other? And what other way is there to unite the revolutionary elements in the „advanced European countries“ if not by blazing the path for them to follow, by „working whole-heartedly for the development of the revolutionary movement and the revolutionary struggle in [this county], and supporting (by propaganda, sympathy, and material aid) this struggle, this, and only this, line, in every country without exception“?13
He cautions us that we „must support in all other socialist parties only the revolutionary-internationalist forces, the forces that accept the Zimmerwald Left“. This is important. Marxism and revisionism are enemies to the death, it has always been this way, and especially today, where we find ourselves in a situation where revisionism is structuring itself at the heart of the ICM, it is our duty to rise above this miasma of conciliation that negates the Twin Campaigns14 and by doing this the campaigns for the refounding of the CI on a world level and the founding / refounding of the communist parties in every country. We should keep in mind what Lenin teaches us regarding unity: „Unity is a great thing and a great slogan. But what the workers’ cause needs is the unity of marxists, not unity between marxists, and opponents and distorters of marxism.“15. And: „The relatively ‚peaceful‘ character of the period between 1871 and 1914 served to foster opportunism first as a mood, then as a trend, until finally it formed a group or stratum among the labour bureaucracy and petty-bourgeois fellow-travellers. These elements were able to gain control of the labour movement only by paying lip-service to revolutionary aims and revolutionary tactics. They were able to win the confidence of the masses only by their protestations that all this ‚peaceful‘ work served to prepare the proletarian revolution. This contradiction was a boil which just had to burst, and burst it has. Here is the question: is it worth trying, as Kautsky and Co. are doing, to force the pus back into the body for the sake of ‚unity‘ (with the pus), or should the pus be removed as quickly and as thoroughly as possible, regardless of the pang of pain caused by the process, to help bring about the complete recovery of the body of the labour movement?“ (Our emphasis.)16
Has this masterful analysis lost its validity since its publication? Hasn’t its importance increased tenfold today, as old Switzerland is both the heart of imperialist diplomacy and the heart of the revolutionist movement in Western Europe?
These are not some abstract formulation or observation on Lenin’s side, but calls to action, they are directives to the comrades who were then struggling for the founding of the CPS, just as they are directives to the comrades today, struggling for its refounding. 100 years ago, giants like Comrade Kascher, Comrade Herzog, they answered the call of the great leadership of that time. Today it is up to us to answer the call as well, and while we stand on the shoulders of giants today — will we not produce giants ourselves? Is this not what we are developing towards, to develop heroes like these comrades? Studying, more so upholding, defending and applying this document is a concrete necessity and to not take up our responsibilities in regards to it would be a political crime. If we dont’t, then all our talk of „Proletarians of all countries, unite!“ would be empty words.
This task is heavy, to be sure, but to have this task, to have this responsibility to the exploited and oppressed, to the international proletariat: this is a great, a glorious condemnation!
For us, it is not enough to say: Give us a communist party and we will shake Switzerland to its foundations! For us, clearly, the responsibility on our shoulders weighs upon us much more heavily: Give us a communist party and we will shake the old world to its foundations!
Finally. Lenin tells us that our support to the Left „must not remain platonic“.We believe it to be appropriate to also quote what the party established regarding this, which reaffirms itself in marxism-Lenin thought when it establishes:
„The 4th Countrywide Conference of the CPS sends the heroic and struggling Russian proletariat, which is the first to break apart the chains of capitalist wage slavery, the most brotherly salutes. We communists of Switzerland know that platonic sympathy addresses are worthless and are therefore convinced that we can only aid Soviet Russia, if the proletarians of the still capitalist countries sharpen the class struggle and make the greatest possible efforts to overthrow the bourgeoisie.
Only the revolutionary uprising of the Central and West European proletariat can free Soviet Russia from imperialist encirclement. That is the aim of our organization, that is the goal of our activity. Honor to all victims who have fallen for the proletariat in the class struggle, and special honor to the murdered and bleeding heroes of Russia, Hungary and Germany.“ (Our emphasis.)17
C. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE MASS LINE
Comrade Kascher demanded „[…] mass action, not in the far future, but already in the present moment […]“. Further, in her important speech, she proposed:
„However, [the working class] lacked a purposeful, positive program. On the basis of this experience, a new direction was also emerging in the communist movement. We already knew that there was one goal — the conquest of power, but the Swiss workers were not content with these general goals, they were looking for a clearly defined slogan, they were practical, they wanted to know what they were fighting for. The questions occupying the masses were, first, the eight-hour day, second, inflation and dissatisfaction with economic conditions. We formulated a slogan: Confiscation of food and its distribution, not according to possession but according to need, under the control of the workers. These two slogans seemed to us to be appropriately intervening for the Swiss workers; it was something different from what was usually put forward. They bore, especially the second, a socialist stamp, and their realization meant a struggle with the capitalist social order.“18
Years later, in the 1930s, the party would put forward the transcendental slogan: „Struggle for Work, Bread and Power!“, still valid today and increasingly so. The mass line of the CPS was highly developed and corresponded to the contradiction between the struggle for daily demands and the struggle for political power:
„Therefore the struggle for power is main but it cannot be separated from the struggle for economic and political demands, they are two sides of the same coin, and the latter struggle is necessary. […] In sum, the struggle for daily demands must be developed serving the conquest of power. This is a political principle of doing mass work.“19
D. WHAT IS FUNDAMENTAL IS POLITICAL POWER
With great clarity, Chairman Gonzalo synthesized maoism as the new, third and higher stage of marxism, putting forward what is fundamental:
„Political power is fundamental in maoism. Political power for the proletariat, power for the dictatorship of the proletariat, power based on an armed force led by the communist party. More explicitly:
1) Political power under the leadership of the proletariat in the democratic revolution;
2) Political power for the dictatorship of the proletariat in the socialist and cultural revolutions;
3) Political power based on an armed force led by the communist party, conquered and defended through people’s war.“20
This Gonzalo thought definition of what is fundamental in maoism applies to leninism and marxism as well, which both Stalin and Engels respectively put forward in their syntheses. In the guiding thought of the CPS, too, this is expressed strongly, and the military line is at the center of the general political line. Above, Comrade Kascher already stated: „We already knew that there was one goal — the conquest of power.“ Further, in the same document, Comrade Kascher developed this thesis:
„The main thing, as before, was to put the emphasis on the formation of workers’ councils. […] At that time we declared that the time of parliamentarism was over, that we had nothing more to expect from this bourgeois institution.“21
And concerning the councils in Zürich and the struggle of old and new, restoration and counter-restoration, white and red terror there:
„[…] soon a Zürich workers’ council was formed. It had to work in secret for the time being, since it was sharply observed by the police. A terrible reaction took place after the strike. In order to justify the enormous military deployment, the government declared that it was a measure against an expected armed uprising of the communists. In a word, they wanted to blame everything on the communist party and therefore it is no wonder that the most terrible reaction turned against the communists.“22
She put forward the soldiers‘ councils: „[…] the soldiers’ council movement developed, and much was accomplished in arming soldiers and workers.“23 All of these key theses are from her first speech at the world congress, but in her second, and just as important speech, Comrade Kascher further establishes:
„I would like to have a more detailed specification of the tasks of the international proletariat. The first of the two points is the question of the council system. The council system is dealt with here in these guidelines, but in a broader sense, as a council system that already includes political power. I am talking about the council system, which is not yet the last stage of the revolution, which is already possible in the countries where the proletariat has not yet taken political power, about the workers’ councils. It must seem strange that in these guidelines there is no mention at all of these workers’ councils that are forming everywhere. Perhaps the authors have taken this for granted, because they arise spontaneously in all countries. But, comrades, those who have had to work in countries where the revolution has not yet taken place know that we have an uphill struggle to fight for these councils, not only against the social-patriots but also against the radicals who, for reasons of principle, do not want to decide to stand up for workers’ councils right now. If we want to support these revolutionary efforts, to give the proletariat a foothold against these social-patriots, then we must say in these guidelines from the International that the most correct, the best way to victory is to prepare now, that workers’ councils are to be founded already now. […] I would like to emphasize […] the preparation to take over economic power. I know how difficult it was to find people, at least 1-2 comrades, who were able to explain to the workers what actually is the takeover of production and economic power, how to fight against sabotage, how to govern and manage in the countryside and in the factory.“ (Our emphasis.)24
And in the „Manifesto of the Communist Party of Switzerland“, written in prison as she awaited deportation to the Soviet Union for communist activities, she wrote:
„Workers, comrades, let us learn from our surrounding countries. New times also demand new forms of struggle and these forms of struggle, which alone offer the guaranteethat we will emerge victoriously from the coming struggles, are the workers‘ and soldiers‘ councils. […] All power to the workers‘ councils.“ (Kascher‘s emphasis.)25
Comrade Kacher‘s theses on the new power as the heart of the revolutionary process are reminiscent of Gonzalo thought and fully compatible with it. The military line of the CPS was highly developed. This, too, is seen in the armed actions carried out during the period of clandestinity. Here, there were different expressions, but for example sabotage actions conducted by the party against Nazi-German imperialist trains which were attacked. Unfortunately, many things are not known, since documentation is scarce and the Left operated under intense repression at the time. From police reports, it can be seen that the party robbed ammunitions and explosives, conducted explosives trainings and built up networks in the reactionary armed forces. Those of the Left, being proletarian, did not live long enough for comrades today to interview them and gather the necessary information — a task which should have been taken up by those who acted in this country decades ago, such as the CPS/ML, the „CPT/ML“, the Communist Party of Peru and even „Aufbau“. Only those of the 2nd ROL lived long enough to be in nursing homes until recently.
We know from police spies at meetings of the various clandestine communist youth apparatuses that there were discussions about selective annihilations. Furthermore, Swiss comrades participated in the selective annihilation of a capitulant and defector from the NKVD to the imperialists, which took place in Lausanne.
From the police reports, it can be seen how the party prepared itself, how the times of peace were over and those of war were beginning. The militarization of the CPS through actions was a fact, already since before the illegalization. The Federal Council received a police report stating that one year before illegalization, the party was basically already clandestine. Secret work was becoming the main thing. The illegalization itself did not hit the party so hard (especially not its left) — except, of course, for those parliamentary cretinists of the 2nd ROL who were paid by the reaction in the only currency it has, more repression.
We know that the sabotage struggle was waged. It was discussed how to develop the insurrection. In the Winterthur Sub-Zonal Committee, the left was strong, and put a lot of emphasis on the point that they considered themselves part of the Red Army, which is like what Lenin expressed, that the proletarian army exists in all countries. The comrades there said that they would conduct the insurrection from within as the Red Army advanced on Switzerland from without. They expressed:
„Victory belongs to the revolutionary Red Army and the international working class, led by the illegal communist parties.“26
„The Red Army has soldiers in all countries; for years the bolsheviks have been have been reproached for expropriating the capitalists by force, with guns and cannons to expropriate the capitalists. Today the question of the use of violence no longer concerns us. The problem of the bloody or the bloodless, the violent or the free road is no longer under discussion, because already now, violence has the word every day and every hour.“27
In the previously cited police report, one can find much useful information and indications about the armed struggle conducted by the CPS during the period of clandestinity. For example:
„In November 1941, the leaflet ‚Alone, We Are Nothing, Together, We Are Everything‘ was distributed. Through its slogan, the writing propagated the unity of the working people with revolutionary struggle through the application of violence for a victorious 1918 [General Strike], for the socialist transformation of Switzerland, promising the immediate beginning of the illegal, final struggle.“28
It is also reported about how the communists controlled the Socialist Youth Organization during this period:
„The Socialist Youth Bienne connected itself to the Socialist Youth Bern. The Socialist Youth Bienne and Bern held a gathering in the form of a tent camp in Sugiez (Fribourg) on the 19th and 20th of July 1941. On the occasion of this meeting, communist propaganda speeches were given, and the question of possible acts of sabotage and explosive assassinations was also discussed. After this meeting, […] and […], who were present at the meeting in Sugiez, undertook experiments with explosive devices in the mountain house ‚Le Roc‘ above Biel. There is a well-founded suspicion that this action is connected with the act of sabotage discussed at the meeting.“29
In the editorial of The Spark No. 4, the organ of the Winterthur Sub-Zonal Committee, we can read:
„Workers! Do not wait for the Red Army. The overthrow of the Swiss capitalists has to be the work of the Swiss workers. Only if you rise up yourselves, can and will the Red Army help you. Join the communist party!“30
The united front was addressed in the document of the Central Committee titled „Self-Education, Course for Strategy and Tactics“, in which it says:
Does labor possess allies and reserves for the revolutionary struggle?
Labor does not struggle alone. It possesses allies in the struggle. These are the reserves:
aa. The peasantry and generally the middle classes who are in need in this, their own country.
bb. The proletariat of the neighboring countries.
cc. The revolutionary movement in the colonial and dependent countries.
dd. The Soviet Union and the achievements of the dictatorship of the proletariat.“31
Moreover, the revolutionary situation of 1917-1918 needs to be studied, especially the powerful struggles in Zürich from the 15th to the 18th of November — the November Uprising of 1917 — and the revolutionary crisis in which it culminated, the General Strike of 1918 itself. Keep in mind what Comrade Kascher puts forward:
„One strike took place after the other and there was clashes with the gendarmes on the barricades. The situation led to the grandiose General Strike of 1918.“32
Regarding the November Uprising: The struggle for daily demands and power fused on the battlefield in three glorious days of struggle. Comrades and colleagues sweated, bled, they lost their freedom and even their lives. Understand it in the context of the cyclical crisis of capitalism unfolding itself as part of the general crisis of imperialism, and also in the context of the main contradiction in the world shifting away from the one between the imperialist superpowers and powers. The masses wanted power, they were inspired tremendously by the news of the success of the Great October Socialist Revolution, the war cry that exclaimed the era of the bourgeois world revolution to be over. As Kascher states:
„What the communists achieved, was that the Swiss workers, under the pressure of the circumstances, price hikes, the dissatisfaction and under the influence of the contagious, enthusiastic movement in Russia expressed their full solidarity with the Russian revolution.“33
On the 15th of November, the first day of these street struggles, the masses went and stopped the production at a munition factory. The struggles continued the next day, and the red faction started leading more, taking over this role more and more from the pacifists like Max Dätwyler. 27 people were arrested on that day, including many comrades. The day after, the participating masses multiplied many times over, and „these masses demanded the liberation of the workers arrested the previous evening.“34 Leonie Kascher states:
„One comrade replaced the next, and the great Lenin was talked about, who was the inspirer of the October revolution and the founder of the first State of workers and peasants in the world, who brought the world peace.“35
Further, when the reaction started shooting at the masses on the 17th:
„We broke stones out of the pavement and threw them at the police, ‚to the barricades!‘ — that was the cry. We built barricades out of the turned over wagons and stones, the women brought bags filled with sand and barrels from somewhere. In this way the unarmed people resisted the reaction.“36
On the 18th the military initiated a large scale occupation of the proletarian neighborhoods and strategic parts of Zürich. In response, the red faction distributed leaflets calling on the soldiers to turn the gun around, a thing for which Leonie Kascher (and other comrades) were imprisoned for for several months.
Keeping in mind its ideological and political limitations, we will quote a section of the document by the Editorial Board of Conquest of Power titled: „Refound the Communist Party of Switzerland! Struggle Implacably Against Imperialism, Revisionism and Reaction of All Types!“, November 2019, in order to give a brief overview of the historic events:
„One strike followed another, and the masses fought and resisted. What should especially be emphasized is the great Zürich November Uprising of 1917, in which the masses, inspired by the October revolution, led combative street clashes. About one year after the November Uprising, the struggle was sharpened even more due to the expulsion of the Soviet ambassador, the outbreak of the November revolution in Germany, the military occupation of Zürich and the dissolution of a celebration of the 1st anniversary of the October revolution in Zürich by the military of the old State. First came the protest strike, then a cantonal general strike in Zürich, and on the 12th of October, 1918, the General Strike was reluctantly proclaimed by the Olten Action Committee (OAC). The OAC was founded in February 1918 by the Social-Democratic Party of Switzerland, the trade union league and the railway organization and was led by Robert Grimm. It was full of nothing but cowards, no revolutionary was among them. From 250.000 to 400.000 combative and militant workers took part in the grandiose General Strike with great revolutionary optimism. The military of the old State went strongly against the proletariat and shed the red blood of our class. The OAC vacillated in front of the pressure of the bourgeois State and its military, and betrayed the strike two days after its beginning.“
Additionally, these quotes of Comrade Kascher are important:
„We foresaw the pathetic collapse of the Olten Committee and combated it from day one. A significant part of the workers went with us. We declared during this time, that the time of parliamentarism is over, that we have nothing more to expect from this bourgeois institution.“37
„The workers struggled heroically. In the end they forced their leadership to stand at the head of the movement. The union bureaucrats, centrists and different opportunists conquered the direction, to in this way act in the interest of the bourgeoisie, that dictated the conditions to them. The famous Olten Committee was formed […]. The November days of this year were marked with even harder struggles. There was even more victims. The risen masses, thrilled with the encompassment and extent, persistently put forward their economic demands: raise of the work wage, reducement of prices, shortening of the workday, annihilation of military speculation and war against war.
During the general strike, the Olten Committee began to give up the positions. Grimm and his lackeys, the centrists, were unmasked. […]
In the works, on the squares, at the manifestations the workers councils were elected. The soldiers councils joined them, which had been elected previously in the troops. On the street slogans of fully political character appeared. Deeply shaken by the betrayal of the opportunists, the masses cursed the system of capitalism, its false democracy and its parliament, that people now called blabber crib. The outcries sounded: ‚Do we want to elect the workers, peasant and soldiers councils, like in Russia? Let‘s take power into our own hand!“38
Another important point: The guiding thought was forged in the flames of the revolutionary situation, of the sharpest class and two-line struggles. Our great leaders were not academics. Comrade Herzog, for example, was a proletarian with a poor peasant background and Comrade Kascher studied at the university, she was a psychology and philosophy student, yes, but to be able to study she had to get a factory job, and she did. And it was there where she truly became a marxist. And they were forged in revolutionary violence, in the implacable struggle against all revisionism and opportunism. Not just in the barracks, the factories or on the streets, but in the dungeons of the old State as well. They regarded their imprisonment, as every revolutionary does, as nothing but work accidents, and turned the dark dungeons into trenches of combat for the revolution. We see this especially after the second arrest of Kascher in November 1918, after which the old State deported her. Did she not participate in the struggle as well, from the dungeons of the old State, by writing the manifesto of the party, distributed to thousands? Everybody spoke of the communists, except for the most miserable revisionists and opportunists, even the bourgeois media was puking about them all day.
There are some important lessons to be drawn for us today here:
FIRSTLY. If you don‘t wage armed struggle at every step of the process of the founding / refounding, how will you construct a combat machine, more so a war machine? This is how the red faction conceived of it at the time, they unfolded themselves in the first rows of the class struggle of the masses, class struggle that already expressed itself as armed struggle and they led it, pushed it forwards, mobilizing, politicizing, organizing and arming. Keep in mind what the Communist Party of Brazil (Red Faction) establishes:
„The construction of the three instruments obeys the laws of class struggle and that, before initiating the people’s war, it is done through the application of revolutionary violence (forms of armed struggle), and once the people’s war is initiated it is done through it, and this can not grow rapidly, but obeys the law of incorporation of the masses in the war.
Today, some maoist parties and organizations — which publicly assume that they prepare the initiation of the people’s war, especially in the imperialist countries, but not only in them — erect a „Chinese wall“ between one phase and another, between the mainly unarmed phase of the struggle to the phase of the mainly armed struggle, with the construction of the new power, the people’s war, thus they end up applying the revisionist thesis of the peaceful accumulation of forces, diverting from the path, and even degenerating into revisionist parties.
These rightist positions claim to defend the necessity of militarization, but just like known revisionists, they maintain that before the initiation of the armed struggle, the activity of the revolutionary party of the proletariat must be mainly legal and that only after the so-called „initiation of the armed struggle“ must this party go underground, „militarizing itself“.
Chairman Mao said: „[…] revolutionary war is an antitoxin which not only eliminates the enemy’s poison but also purges us of our own filth“.39
How could a „party“ that is not structured and act as a clandestine party educate the masses in „revolutionary violence“, keeping all its action in the „light of day“, „at the sight of the enemy and at the reach of its hands“? Could such a party forge leaders, cadres and militants to unleash the revolutionary armed struggle as a people’s war and to lead it, while its activity is mainly in full legality? Where and when, in the historical experience of the struggle of the oppressed and especially of the proletarian revolution, can we find an example for this? The history of the class struggle does not offer us such examples; on the contrary, this has been the recurrent path of capitulation and revisionism.
Chairman Gonzalo had already warned that parties that spent years preparing for the armed struggle, at the time of initiating it, were divided and capitulated. In this question lies the touchstone of every process of refounding of the communist parties at world level, which is the object of a sharp two-line struggle in the ICM.
All depends then on the communist parties to found or refound themselves (as the case may be) around the gun, assuming from the first days the task of arming and striving to lead the armed struggles of the masses in the struggle against the power of armed reaction, being it as a secondary form of struggle at every stage of founding/refounding, for soon after the culmination of the founding/refounding of the communist party the armed struggle becomes the main form of struggle and the detachments and platoons the main form of organization. In short, the communist party learns to make war by doing it.
From this understanding, the key issue for the founding/refounding of communist parties and the initiation of new people’s wars is resolved: the need for prior application of the military line, that is, the development of the revolutionary armed struggle, even though it does not assume the main form of struggle, simultaneously to the founding/refounding of the communist party, as a concentric construction of the instruments of the revolution and preparation to initiate the people’s war.“ (Our emphasis.)40
Armed struggle needs to intensify the more the process advances, until the leap is taken, the party is refounded and with the people‘s war initiated, armed struggle will become the main form of struggle. The conception of Kascher and Herzog needs to be developed up until today, to the context of the strategic offensive of the world revolution that we find ourselves in. The Peruvian revolution should make us appreciate these lessons so much more. Because, what was the problem? The reason so many leaders became capitulants and revisionists (like the rats who used to be comrades Miriam, Nicolas etc.) the second the flames of the war started burning their feet, started having consequences for them, is that they were not forged in times of war, or in the modalities of armed struggle, because of this never learning how to carry their life on their very fingertips, because they weren‘t forged with consequences of this caliber. In great leaders of the Peruvian revolution, like comrades Norah and Feliciano however, who participated in the first action of the people‘s war on the 17th of May 1980, we see the oppossite.
SECONDLY. We cannot educate the masses under the peace of bayonets. As Chairman Gonzalo teaches us:
„Thus, educating [the masses] in the peace of bayonets is to allow them to be slaughtered. The masses should no longer shed their blood with impunity only to be betrayed by their false leaders, for capitulation — rather this precious blood should serve the conquest of power for the class and the people.“41
Additionally, the bayonets of the drafted soldiers cannot be left to the enemy. As the red faction put forward on the 18th of November 1917:
„We do not hate you, the soldiers. You too are propertiless, poor devils, proletarians in uniform. Our cause is your cause too. […] If soldiers and workers stick together, then the reign of the capitalist blood money bag will come to an end. Soldiers help us, and not the capitalists!“42
They fulfilled their duty, the marxist duty to go deeper and broader, they educated the masses in revolutionary violence, to sweep away the colossal heap of garbage that accumulated in the proletarian movement — revisionism and opportunism — as Engels teaches, more so demands of us. It became necessary to go „over the heads of the old leaders, through the destruction of the old party“. By expelling the communists from the party, the social-democrats had in fact expelled themselves. By taking the class position of the bourgeoisie, one expels oneself from the party of the proletariat. The red faction thus had to „[…] [found] the party by itself“, as Chairman Gonzalo has taught us.
THIRDLY. The objective conditions are excellent, the problem was with the subjective conditions,. The social-democrats held back the proletariat for decades. What did Marx call for and impose through class and two-line struggle? The necessity of a proletarian political party, „distinct from and opposed to all the old parties created by the exploiting classes“43 — the communist party. Marx and Engels viewed the formation of social-democratic parties in Europe at the end of the 19th Century as a step forward, but not as communist parties (see „Critique of the Gotha Programme“, 1875, and Engels‘ critique of the Erfurt Programme, 1894). The SPS did not proceed on this path, instead developing as a social-patriotic, social-imperialist, social-fascist party.
The General Strike, this was the crisis, the revolutionary crisis and the problem precisely was that the party was still in its process of foundation, so the moment slipped through the fingers of the proletariat. We reemphasize: the problem laid in the subjective conditions, that is the struggle for the founding of the CPS hadn‘t yet culminated. Kascher:
„In Switzerland, the small, but industrially developed country, the toilers were enthralled by the ideas of Lenin and embraced by the spirit of the first revolution in Russia. They burned for the revolution, naturally in a spontaneous, unorganized manner, because the revolutionary party was still being birthed in this time.“44
FOURTHLY. You have to produce the revolutionary crisis. You create the crisis, bring it about. The communists, the subjective factor, can bring about objective conditions — through the people‘s war, specified as class war. This is not idealism, but dialectical materialism. This was precisely what the red faction did at the time in the the face of the crisis slipping though the proletariat‘s fingers. When trade union consciousness showed its limits, the comrades started leading the class more, started constructing the red power, giving great impulse to the founding of the CPS. Developing struggle committees, towards people‘s struggle committees, with the perspective of the general armed strike, organizing the main force, the proletariat (worker‘s councils) first, then incorporating the soldiers (soldier‘s councils) that the comrades generated through persistent work more and more, with the perspectives of peasants („worker‘s, peasant‘s and soldier‘s councils“). Here we have it then, the deepest and broadest masses in this country! We must grasp what they taught, and we will produce the revolutionary crisis, with the strategic offensive of the people‘s war.
FIFTHLY. See it in this context: There is no peaceful accumulation of forces for us communists, we do not unfold within the so-called „democratic spaces“ of the bourgeoisie. Keep in mind:
„[Chairman Gonzalo] teaches us that the problem is not with the masses because they are ready to rebel, but rather it is with the communist parties who must assume their obligation to lead them and rise up in arms. He differentiates from those positions that today are based on ‚the accumulation of forces‘, which propose parsimoniously accumulating the masses by way of the so-called ‚democratic spaces‘ or the use of legality. Such an accumulation of forces doesn’t correspond to the current moment of the international and national class struggle, it doesn’t fit in the type of […] revolution we are unfolding […], since we are living in a revolutionary situation […]. He is opposed to and condemns the opportunist positions of making the masses tail after the big bourgeoisie, […] on an electoral path […].“45
This is how the red faction for the foundation conceived of it and how the red faction for the refoundation conceives of it too. The revolutionary situation is a fact — the oppressed and exploited cry out for a radical and real transformation; in short, as Lenin taught us, those on the bottom refuse to go on living in the old way and those on the top can no longer rule in the old way. The masses want to struggle, and they do, but what is needed is the party to lead them, a clandestine party that moves the (armed class) struggles of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie forward. That what corresponds is to raise the boycott, that times of parliamentarism are over. That revolution is a long and protracted process, the class war that produces and culminates the revolutionary crisis.
Besides, remember what Lenin masterfully puts forward regarding Swiss bourgeois democracy:
„[…] you say your State is free, whereas in reality, as long as there is private property, your State, even if it is a democratic republic, is nothing but a machine used by the capitalists to suppress the workers, and the freer the State, the more clearly is this expressed. Examples of this are Switzerland in Europe […]. Nowhere does capital rule so cynically and ruthlessly, and nowhere is it so clearly apparent, as in these countries, although they are democratic republics, no matter how prettily they are painted and notwithstanding all the talk about labour democracy and the equality of all citizens. The fact is that in Switzerland […] capital dominates, and every attempt of the workers to achieve the slightest real improvement in their condition is immediately met by civil war. There are fewer soldiers, a smaller standing army, in these countries — Switzerland has a militia and every Swiss has a gun at home, […] so when there is a strike the bourgeoisie arms […] soldiery and suppresses the strike; and nowhere is this suppression of the working-class movement accompanied by such ruthless severity as in Switzerland […], and nowhere does the influence of capital in parliament manifest itself as powerfully as in these countries. The power of capital is everything, the stock exchange is everything, while parliament and elections are marionettes, puppets…. But the eyes of the workers are being opened more and more, and the idea of Soviet government is spreading farther and farther afield, especially after the bloody carnage we have just experienced. The necessity for a relentless war on the capitalists is becoming clearer and clearer to the working class.“46
This is what those who want to degenerate and vegetate in these „democratic spaces“ propose to unfold within in this country, within the most open, terrorist dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, this hell that is the „iron ring“ of exploitation, struggle, more exploitation and more struggle. We are not friends of abstractions, or of big words with no content behind them, so let us get concrete: the iron ring, that is having to choose between paying rent or going to the doctor for the problem that‘s been plaguing you for months; the iron ring, that is the vast majority of people in this country not being able to save up money; the iron ring, that is having to work multiple jobs to pay your bills; having to take a driving license for a job that doesn‘t pay enough to take one; wasting your money on overly expensive rotten food; the actual reality that the 40 hour week is nothing but a sham for us etc. etc. The bourgeois State is reactionarizing more and more, advancing steadily towards fascism, increasingly shedding its snake skin of „democracy“ (bourgeois democracy, that is „[…] democracy of pompous phrases, solemn words, exuberant promises and the high-sounding slogans of freedom and equality. But, in fact, it screens the non-freedom and inferiority of women, the non-freedom and inferiority of the toilers and exploited.“47). What is left but to reiterate: The objective situation for revolution is excellent, but the problem lies in the subjective factor. The problem is to break this individualization that old Switzerland — this confederation of alienation — imposes on our class, to stop the splitting up, to make the proletariat not just be a class-in-itself, but also a class-for-itself and to create its party once more, the general staff of the revolution. The point is precisely to organize the unorganized power of the masses against the organized power of reaction. In regards to the iron ring: for us, the problem is to break it, and to do so with organized revolutionary violence, with war. Who can reproach us for this, when already now violence, organized reactionary violence, has the say every day and every hour?
Lastly, keep in mind the lessons of the armed struggle in Jura of the 20th century. Here, what was the problem? The revolutionary violence of the masses was led into the parliamentary paths, into reconciliation with the old Swiss State. „Republic and Canton of Jura“ is proof and insult to injury enough to illustrate this point. The struggle for self-determination was aborted. Why? Because it was not lead by the party of the proletariat, by the communist party, the heroic warrior of the Swiss revolution. The proletariat did not lead, the middle bourgeoisie in pact with the big bourgeoisie (especially the German-speaking one) generally monopolized the struggle, pacified it through parliamentary cretinism, and the petty-bourgeoisie vacillated and because it didn‘t rely on the masses, deepest and broadest, it couldn‘t carry the armed struggle to its conclusion and incorporate the masses, and even in some cases found itself openly denouncing armed actions and revolutionary violence, while secretly stashing explosives. What is the problem presented to us here concretely then? If the proletariat does not lead, more so, constitute itself as a special political party, i.e. found or refound the communist party, becoming precisely this class-for-itself, the class struggle can not be carried to its conclusion — this is even more so the case with the revolution — and as a result, it is aborted.
We should learn from these lessons.
E. THE NECESSITY OF THE STRUGGLE AGAINST REVISIONISM
Comrade Kascher stated:
„At that time we lost any possibility of participation in the party press. Even meeting advertisements were no longer taken up by the People’s Right, we had to distribute handbills in the factories personally. Soldiers’ organizations were also persecuted. We had to work in secret, we were spied upon.
Among the communist groups, too, there was a growing demand for separation. There came a moment when separation really became necessary. It was in October 1918, after the bank employees’ strike in Zürich. The unanimous sympathy strike of the Zürich workers certainly had not only the purpose of collecting the few missing, or rather delayed, signatures of the bank lords, but it was an elementary discharge of the tension which had been prevailing in Zürich for months and which was based on the striving to carry out a cantonal strike for the eight-hour day. For the Zürich Workers’ Union and the strike leaders against it, colleagues Platten and Küng, the movement was a means of bringing the bank employees into the organization (which they did not succeed in doing at all: the bank employees did not participate during the general strike). The indignant, agitated masses unanimously agreed to Comrade Herzog’s proposal to continue striking for the eight-hour day, but as a result of the sharp opposition of the delegates’ assembly and the workers’ union, they did not show up the following day. This special action by the Demand people was publicly frowned upon, and Comrade Herzog and others expelled from the party, the groups sharply rebuked.
This statement by the party authorities showed that further cooperation with them was no longer possible. A large public meeting was held; it was decided to found a communist party. […] After the masses learned about the outwardly unexpected betrayal of the strike leadership, everything shouted: Workers’ councils here, the communists are right!“48
From this it is clear that the struggle against revisionism is what forged the guiding thought of the CPS, at the same time developing through class struggle. Comrades like Kascher and Herzog openly went against the current, even participating in the 1st World Congress without being invited, something which Comrade Lenin supported. After all, to rebell is justified. In sharp struggle against Platten, Kascher put forward the positions of the Swiss communists, just as one year later, in sharp struggle against the revisionist Bukharin, Comrade Herzog defended the position of the party on bourgeois parliamentarism, the necessity of boycotting the elections and of cleansing the party and the CI of opportunist, social-democratic elements.49
F. THE NECESSITY OF MILITARIZATION
We need a militarized party. Chairman Gonzalo has established that the communist parties of the world must militarize themselves, defining this process: „the set of transformations, changes and readjustments it needs to lead the people’s war as the main form of struggle that will generate the new State“.50 This is something which was understood, at the time, by the great leaders of the CPS. Kascher already put forward in the above: „Soon after that came mass arrests, the organizations were blown up. One had to work secretly from then on.“ Still, it was possible to lead the masses, even in clandestinity: „Out of this mood came the general strike.“ She goes on to describe the conditions under which the Swiss communists had to work: „Soldiers’ organizations were also persecuted. We had to work in secret, we were spied upon.“51 The need for clandestinity, for secret work, even among the masses, points to a profound understanding of the basis of militarization, 60 years before this thesis was established by Chairman Gonzalo. This, alongside the later campaign for bolshevization and the period of clandestinity, shows us the level of development of the line of construction of the CPS.
In this brief quote from Comrade Kascher, then, we see how the content of the guiding thought of the CPS expressed itself in a great leader like Kascher; the guiding thought is a fact, and not a rhetorical device or an invention by „dogmatists“ who want to copy the importance of Mariátegui52. We must base ourselves on marxism-leninism-maoism-Gonzalo thought, mainly Gonzalo thought, and the guiding thought of the CPS in all of our work as the CPS(RF).
Chairman Mao put forward an important demand which we must adhere to:
„There are some who are proud, instead of ashamed, of knowing nothing or very little of our own history. What is particularly significant is that very few really know the history of the Communist Party of China and the history of China in the hundred years since the Opium War. Hardly anyone has seriously taken up the study of the economic, political, military and cultural history of the last hundred years. Ignorant of their own country, some people can only relate tales of ancient Greece and other foreign lands, and even this knowledge is quite pathetic, consisting of odds and ends from old foreign books.
For several decades, many of the returned students from abroad have suffered from this malady. Coming home from Europe, America or Japan, they can only parrot things foreign. They become gramophones and forget their duty to understand and create new things. This malady has also infected the communist party.“53
To study and understand history, drawing positive and negative lessons from it in order to guide our practice in the present and future — these are important tasks for communists. We must draw lessons from the history of the international proletariat, of the CPS and of the red faction as well. Because of this, what corresponds is that we reaffirm ourselves in our ideology, understanding always that ideology is key; reaffirming ourselves in our guide to action, marxism-leninism-maoism-Gonzalo thought, mainly Gonzalo thought, the universal ideology of the proletariat today, that is is omnipotent — all-powerful — because it is true, because truth is always on the side of the class, as Lenin teaches us; reaffirming ourselves in the red banner that is the guiding thought of the CPS, the specific that we are identifying, retaking and developing in the light of the universal — the guiding thought that even though it only reached the first stage of its development is steel forged in the flames of class struggle by great leaders of our great, glorious and correct party; and finally reaffirming ourselves in the contributions in identifying and retaking the red line, but mainly the contributions to developing the guiding thought of the CPS — because the main thing is not to uphold or defend but to apply — in this way contributing to the absolute necessity that generating a guiding thought of the Great Leadership is for the proletariat in this country. It’s more than a necessity, it is a task that is inextricably linked to the refounding of the CPS for the people’s war. Otherwise, how could we proceed to enter a new phase of our communist work?
WE ARE UNFOLDING WITHIN THE 2ND MOMENT OF CONTEMPORARY SWISS (IMPERIALIST) SOCIETY
„Imperialism’s economic relations constitute the core of the entire international situation as it now exists. Throughout the 20th Century, this new, highest and final stage of capitalism has fully taken shape. Of course, you all know that the enormous dimensions that capital has reached are the most characteristic and essential feature of imperialism. […] This domination by a handful of capitalists achieved full development when the whole world had been partitioned, not only in the sense that the various sources of raw materials and means of production had been seized by the biggest capitalists, but also in the sense that the preliminary partition of the colonies had been completed.
The groundwork has been laid for the Soviet movement all over the East, all over Asia, among all the colonial peoples. […] Today the advanced proletariat is everywhere with us. A proletarian army exists everywhere, although sometimes it is poorly organised and needs reorganising. If our comrades in all lands help us now to organise a united army, no shortcomings will prevent us from accomplishing our task. That task is the proletarian world revolution, the creation of a World Soviet Republic.“54
Further, he developed this thesis with regards to Switzerland:
„The local socialists call Switzerland a ‚republic of lackeys‘. This petty-bourgeois country, in which inn-keeping has long been a major industry, has depended too much on wealthy parasites squandering millions on summer travel in the mountains. A small proprietor toadying to rich tourists — such, until recently, was the most widespread type of Swiss bourgeois.
Things are changing now. A large-scale industry is developing in Switzerland. The use of waterfalls and mountain rivers as direct sources of electric power is playing a big part in this. The power of falling water, which replaces coal in industry, is often called ‚white coal‘.
The industrialisation of Switzerland, i.e., the development there of a large-scale industry, has put an end to the former stagnation in the working-class movement. The struggle between capital and labour is assuming a more acute character. The drowsy, philistine spirit which often in the past pervaded some of the Swiss workers’ associations is disappearing to give way to the fighting mood of a class-conscious and organised proletariat that is aware of its strength.“55
Chairman Gonzalo has characterized contemporary Peruvian society — that is, Peruvian society since the emergence of bureaucratic capitalism in the country — as beginning in 1895. It is no miracle, therefore, that we should apply the same reasoning to analyzing contemporary Swiss society, understanding „contemporary“ as referring to imperialism, to monopoly capitalism, establishing that Switzerland entered the stage of imperialism between the end of the 19th Century and the 1st World War. In the process of contemporary (imperialist) Swiss society, two moments stand out.
The 1st Moment: Development of Swiss Imperialism and Founding of the CPS
1900 — 1945
This moment was characterized by the appearance and decomposition of Swiss imperialism as it faced two imperialist world wars and the largest cyclical crisis of capitalist overproduction in the 20th Century. It was a moment in which the proletariat matured more and more as a class-for-itself, constituting itself as a political party: the CPS, guided by marxism-Lenin thought. Comrade Kascher expressed:
„Under the permanent leadership of Vladimir Ilyich [Lenin] and with his tireless and patient aid to the members of the Swiss party, especially the youth, we waged a permanent, principled struggle against the opportunist tendencies in the party, and we worked in the midst of the masses.“56
Later, this was consecrated as marxism-leninism-Stalin thought at the 5th Congress in 1930, which approved the bolshevization of the CPS and destroyed the 1st Right-Opportunist Line (ROL) of the rats and scabs led by Welti and others. It is a moment in which two periods express themselves:
1) The 1st period, that of the emergence of Swiss imperialism and the struggle against revisionism inside of the social-democratic party, under the great leadership of Lenin and concretized in great leaders like Kascher, Herzog, etc. Here, events such as the November Uprising, the General Strike of 1918 and its street struggles, the establishment of worker‘s and soldier‘s councils in Zürich and, finally, the founding of the CPS on 25.05.1919, stand out.
2) The 2nd period, that of the leadership by the CPS of the struggle for the Swiss revolution, first in mainly unarmed struggle during 1919-40, and then in clandestinity and armed struggle during 1940-45, all in sharp two-line struggle against the 1st ROL (expelled in 1930) and the 2nd ROL (expelled in 1945 after it managed to liquidate a number of party apparatuses). However, the 2nd ROL managed to weaken the party sufficiently that the armed struggle was not carried on, and the CPS was thus liquidated.
It is important to understand that it was the 2nd ROL which liquidated the armed struggle. Once a party apparatus tries to liquidate, it is no longer part of the party, it leaves it voluntarily. The problem was that the 2nd ROL, in liquidating so many apparatuses, weakened the party to such a point that the armed struggle could not be continued. The party is those who wage the class war, the people‘s war — everyone who enlists themselves in the ranks of the enemy expels themselves. The left of the CPS should have adhered to this very principle and continued the armed struggle.
The 2nd Moment: Further Decomposition of Swiss Imperialism and Refounding of the CPS
This moment is characterized by the further decomposition of Swiss imperialism as it faces the onslaught of the international proletariat and the national liberation movement in the entire world, marked by an intensification of violence against Swiss monopoly capitalism and the Swiss State. It is a moment in which the refounding of the CPS has been put on the agenda, characterizing this moment by two periods:
1) The 1st period, that of the decline of Swiss imperialism following the 2nd World War, as the balance of forces in the world has changed, whilst the proletariat struggles to refound its Communist Party on the basis of first marxism-leninism-Stalin thought, then marxism-leninism-Mao Tse-tung thought. This period is mainly characterized by the International Communist Party of Switzerland (ICPS)57 and the Communist Party of Switzerland/Marxist-Leninist (CPS/ML), although the first failed to continue the armed struggle and thereby retain the status of communist party, and the latter failed to initiate the people‘s war in Switzerland and degenerated into social-imperialism.58 This period ends a slow and miserable death with the redirection of proletarian revolutionary energy by „Revolutionary Construction“ („Aufbau“) into petty-bourgeois channels, leading genuine proletarian revolutionaries into either the arms of the ROLs or to seek communism abroad (as in the case of Colleague Kinem, Barbara Kistler).59
2) The 2nd Period, that of the complete bankruptcy of Swiss imperialism in the face of the new great wave of the proletarian world revolution, whilst the banner of the refounding of the CPS has been taken up by the proletariat of Switzerland once more, together with the great banners of Marx, Lenin, Chairman Mao and Chairman Gonzalo. This period is characterized by the CPS(RF). It is a period in which the communists and proletarian revolutionaries are once more taking up their task, guided by a clearly defined ideological-political line: marxism-leninism-maoism-Gonzalo thought, mainly Gonzalo thought, and the guiding thought of the CPS, and people‘s war until communism.
UPHOLD, DEFEND AND APPLY, MAINLY APPLY, MARXISM-LENINISM-MAOISM-GONZALO THOUGHT, MAINLY GONZALO THOUGHT!
IDENTIFY, RETAKE AND DEVELOP THE GUIDING THOUGHT OF THE PARTY TO A GUIDING THOUGHT OF THE GREAT LEADERSHIP!
LONG LIVE THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF SWITZERLAND (RED FACTION)!
FOR THE REFOUNDING OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF SWITZERLAND!
WE SALUTE FROM HERE THE COMING REFOUNDING OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF SWITZERLAND FOR THE CLASS WAR!
WE SALUTE FROM HERE THE FUTURE BIRTH OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF SWITZERLAND!
WE SALUTE FROM HERE THE DAY WHEN ALL OF HUMANITY WILL ENTER COMMUNISM!
PEOPLE‘S WAR UNTIL COMMUNISM!
PROVISIONAL CENTRAL COMMITTEE
COMMUNIST PARTY OF SWITZERLAND (RED FACTION)
1Leonie Kascher: „Speeches at the 1st World Congress of the Communist International“, March 1919.
2Communist Party of Switzerland: „Exposition by Comrade Wiesendanger and Discussion Regarding the Position of the Communist Party of Switzerland on the Social-Democratic Party and on Parliamentarism“, 3rd Work Session of the 4th Countrywide Conference, 11.04.1920.
3The world moloch stems from the name of the god of the Canaanites and Phoenicians in the bible, to whom children were sacrificed. Moloch is defined in the Duden dictionaryas: „cruel power that always claims new victims and threatens to devour everything“,just as imperialism, the final stage of capitalism.
4V. I. Lenin: „The Collapse of the 2nd International“, May-June 1915.
5V. I. Lenin: „The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution“, September 1917.
6V. I. Lenin: „The Tasks of the Left-Zimmerwaldists in the Social-Democratic Party of Switzerland“, October-November 1916.
7Phrase used by Friedrich Engels to describe Urschweizertum in „The Civil War in Switzerland“ from 1847, but which should here be understood in the wider context of contemporary Swiss society.
8Karl Marx: “Report of the General Council to the 4th Annual Congress”, September 1869.
9Friedrich Engels: „The Civil War in Switzerland“, 1847.
10Lenin calls the three nations Italian, French and German here. We think a more precise formulation would be Italian-speaking, French-speaking and German-speaking, because they are neither Italian, nor French, nor German.
11Concerning Liechtenstein. Despite what is proclaimed by the peasant despot of this „microstate“, what is actually the case is that Liechtenstein is nothing but the politically bloated 27th canton of Switzerland. This „State“ serves the economic function of a tax shelter mainly, and secondary political functions. Liechtenstein does not meet the marxist definition of a State, the spinal column of which is the armed forces. Liechteinstein has no standing army or police force to speak of — Switzerland is responsible for its defense. A „State“ which cannot defend itself militarily is either not a State, a colony, or about to become a colony. Switzerland has many times „invaded“ Liechtenstein by accident. We present some other examples: The ID cards of Liechteinstein are made in Bern; most Liechtensteiner workers live in Switzerland; the BAG has practically been in charge of Liechtenstein‘s covid-19 policies; all travel laws are valid for „Switzerland and Liechteinstein“; all embassies in Switzerland declare themselves as representing their respective States in both the „Swiss confederation and the principality of Liechteinstein“ there are no customs inbetween the two countries; and Liechtenstein uses Swiss Francs as currency. In synthesis, Liechtenstein is nothing but the most reactionary and isolated urschweizer canton.
12V. I. Lenin: „Conference of the Extended Editorial Board of ‚The Proletarian‘“, June 1909.
13V. I. Lenin: „The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution“, September 1917.
14The twin campaigns for maoism (for the people‘s wars, in the Philippines but mainly in India) and Gonzalo thought (for the defense of the life / vengeance for Chairman Gonzalo as base but mainly by applying it to our concrete and contemporary conditions and reality).
15V.I. Lenin: „Unity“, 12.04.1914.
16V. I. Lenin: „Opportunism and the Collapse of the 2nd International“, January 1916.
17Communist Party of Switzerland: „Resolution of Class Solidarity with the Russian Proletariat, Soviet Russia and the Heroes of the International Proletariat“, 4th Countrywide Conference, 11.04.1920.
18Leonie Kascher: „Speeches at the 1st World Congress of the Communist International“, March 1919.
19Central Committee of the Communist Party of Peru: „General Political Line“, 1988.
20Central Committee of the Communist Party of Peru: „Fundamental Documents“, 1988.
21Leonie Kascher: „Speeches at the 1st World Congress of the Communist International“, March 1919.
25Manifesto of the Communist Party of Switzerland, November 1918.
26Winterthur Subzonal Committee, Communist Party of Switzerland: „They Have Lied To You“, 1941.
27Winterthur Subzonal Committee, Communist Party of Switzerland, 1942.
28 Bericht des Bundesrates an die Bundesversammlung über die antidemokratische Tätigkeit von Schweizern und Ausländern im Zusammenhang mit dem Kriegsgeschehen 1939-45 (Motion Boerlin). Dritter Teil. 21.05.1946.
30Winterthur Subzonal Committee, Communist Party of Switzerland: „Editorial of The Spark No. 4“, 1941.
31Central Committee, Communist Party of Switzerland: „Self-Education, Course for Strategy and Tactics“, 1941-1942.
32Autobiography of Comrade Leonie Kascher.
39Mao Tse-tung: „On Protracted War“, May 1938. Selected Works, Vol. 2.
40Communist Party of Brazil (Red Faction): „Lenin and the Militarized Communist Party“, October 2018. „The Maoist“ No. 2.
41Central Committee, Communist Party of Peru: „General Political Line“, 1988.
42Red Faction: „Leaflet directed to the Swiss Soldiers“, 18th of November 1917.
43Karl Marx: „General Rules of the International Working Men‘s Association“, 1864/72.
44Autobiography of Comrade Leonie Kascher.
45Central Committee of the Communist Party of Peru: „General Political Line“, 1988.
46V. I. Lenin: The State: A Lecture Delivered at the Sverdlov University, 11.07.1919.
47V. I. Lenin: Soviet Power and the Status of Women, 06.11.1919
48Leonie Kascher: „Speeches at the 1st World Congress of the Communist International“, March 1919.
49See Jakob Herzog: „Speeches at the 2nd World Congress of the Communist International“, 02.08.1920.
50Central Committee of the Communist Party of Peru: „General Political Line“, 1988.
51Leonie Kascher: „Speeches at the 1st World Congress of the Communist International“, March 1919.
52Consider especially: Mariátegui was the 1st great leadership of the Peruvian revolution, meaning that the thought of Mariátegui arrived at a qualitative leap of decisive importance for the Peruvian revolutionary process, reaching the 2nd stage of development of a guiding thought. Meanwhile, the guiding thought of the CPS was the result of a group of great leaders, and did not reach this second stage which produces „one who represents and leads“ from among them.
53Mao Tse-tung: „Reform Our Study“, May 1941.
54V. I. Lenin: „Report on the International Situation and the Fundamental Tasks of the Communist International“, 19.07.1920.
55V. I. Lenin: „In Switzerland“, 12.07.1912.
56Autobiography of Comrade Leonie Kascher.
57We know little and must learn more about the ICPS. From what is known, we can establish that in 1944, after the 2nd ROL had established the „Party of Labor“ as an apparatus for amnesty and enlistment into the ranks of the bourgeoisie, there were still regular rallies and speeches calling for the legalization of the CPS. The party still existed, but the revisionists try to make us believe that it liquidated itself, which is nothing but a lie. From the above quoted police report, we can read:
„On the 10th of March 1945, a gathering [plenum] of the Central Committee of the CPS took place, in which the ICPS was founded. […], Zürich, was elected Chairman and […], Zürich, was elected Secretary.
What this is is only the attempt to refound a left-extremist structure.
This ICPS stands in opposition to the Party of Labor and attack their leaders constantly. The peak was reached by this communist party in the Summer of 1945, at which time they counted more than 700 members. As an offshoot of this communist party, the Christian Communist Society was founded in July 1945. The ICPS led by […] openly adhered to revolutionary communism after the teachings of Marx, Engels and Lenin.“
In connection with the support for psople‘s front revisionism which came from certain revisionist centers in the Soviet Union, we can also read:
„The Russian newspaper ‚Pravda‘ [‚Truth‘], in an article from 13.04.1946, described this organization as one of provocateurs, who had nothing to do with the earlier CPS. They were capitalists in disguise, who mainly have unleashed a press campaign against the Party of Labor. The former leading communists of Switzerland were now in the Party of Labor.“
Of course, this Soviet support for the liquidation of our party can only be condemned. If the ICPS did not continue the armed struggle and thus failed to fulfill its task, we have to study if this is a question of nuances within the left or due to revisionism — but „Truth“ had no right to call the ICPS „capitalists in disguise“ while supporting the 2nd ROL labor lieutenants of the Swiss bourgeoisie themselves.
58The degeneration of the CPS/ML is obvious. When these miserables were red, they ran a mass newspaper for work among the soldiers. When they discarded Mao Tse-tung thought in favor of the most rotten Teng Hsiao-ping revisionism, what did they do with this newspaper? They used it to advise Swiss imperialism on its military affairs! Strengthen the border defense, professionalize the army, prepare against the Soviet invasion… this is how they applied Teng‘s abortion, the „three worlds theory“. They also claimed that „Switzerland has a tradition of 800 years of bourgeois democracy“. This degeneration should be a clear lesson to those who are struggling to initiate the armed struggle, especially the People‘s War. We mark these miserables, the 3rd ROL in the history of the Communist Party of Switzerland, with fire.
59„Aufbau“ was always an expression of degenerated Urschweizertum. They always had „loyalty until death to the highest bidder“, as Engels expressed it. Have they not always supported whatever armed movement is the most „popular“ in the world, no matter what its politics are? They „supported“ the people‘s war in Peru, then the armed struggles in Spain and Italy, then the people‘s war in India, and today the Yankee outpost in Syria, so-called „Rojava“. (And when they claimed to support the people‘s war in Peru, their so-called „translations“ of party documents were nothing but wishful forgeries.) They reject the necessity of refounding the CPS completely, even stating that the CPS was no longer revolutionary after 1921, despite the fact that the 1st ROL was crushed in 1930. „Aufbau“ calls itself „a mass organization“ calling attention to the fact that „we need a communist party“, but even for those of its members who still believe this fairytale, it is nothing but a cop-out in order to not have to shoulder the task of refounding themselves. In this way, those who truly seek the communist party often do not go to these petty-bourgeois „activists“. These are facts for us to consider deeply.