About the text:
From: There will come a day… Imperialism and the Working Class. Futura 1971 31 p., p. 27-31.
HANDBILL, particularly distributed for B&W, Christianshavn (machine factory) 3rd May 1968
“Revolution is impossible without a nationwide crisis (affecting both the exploited and the exploiters). It follows that, for a revolution to take place, it is essential, first, that a majority of the workers (or at least a majority of the class-conscious, thinking, and politically active workers) should fully realize that revolution is necessary, and that they should be prepared to die for it, …”
No one who is not blindfolded by empty words and prejudices will maintain today that the majority of the Danish working class are “prepared to die” for the socialist revolution. Rather, today, the majority are prepared to let themselves be lured into disaster in order to prevent it.
No one who is not blindfolded by social-democracy or modern revisionism will maintain, today, that to any extent we have “conscious, thinking, and politically active workers” worth mentioning at all, who want or who work to achieve socialism. The sad fact is this, that practically all “politically active” workers today are active in a kind of work which is directly contributing towards consolidating the capitalist system.
IT IS LIKE THAT, IT HAS BEEN LIKE THAT FOR DECADES, AND IT WILL BE LIKE THAT FOR YET SOME TIME TO COME.
In “Communist ORIENTATION” we put the following question in the autumn of 1966:
“How will such a (bribed) working class react when, because of the struggle for emancipation of the oppressed nations and people, the capitalists of its own country will no longer be able to afford to “buy” and bribe it?”
After all the experience we have had since then, there can be no doubt as to the answer. It has also been clearly proved during discussions in connection with the dockers’ demonstrations in London a g a i n s t coloured immigrants: The situation today in the Danish working class (individuals excepted, of course) may briefly be expressed with these words spoken by a worker recently:
“What are we going to do when their struggle for freedom starts to cost us things? That is obvious. We are going to oppose them!”
In Denmark you can hardly talk of race prejudices proper. “We’ve got nothing against the coloured people as such.” It is a matter of narrow-minded selfishness, pure and simple:
“It’s obvious, isn’t it, that if the foreigners try our jobs away from us, they’ll have to leave the country.”
It is a matter of an unbelievable lack of solidarity:
“Well, of course. As long as there’s a shortage of labour power, it’s alright for them to be here. But as soon as we get unemployment, out they go!”
It is a matter of appalling, stupid ignorance and apathy, when people can say, as we have heard them say:
“Let them go back where they came from. Don’t let them think that they may come here to enjoy what we have fought to get, while they themselves were just dancing hula-hula with a feather in their arse.”
Seldom has a man hit the bull’s eye better than Lenin when he wrote:
“…there (in the West) the craft-union, narrow-minded, selfish, case-hardened, covetous and petty-bourgeois “labour aristocracy”, imperialist-minded, and imperialist-corrupted, has developed …”
V.I. Lenin(“Left”-Communism, an Infantile Disorder)
Lenin used these words about a small section of the working class. Although he foresaw the possibility, he could not know that one day they would cover the working class a s a w h o l e in its relation to the majority of mankind.
How has this come about?
We have said it again and again, and we are going to continue saying it. It has come about because, as Engels wrote, from the beginning of colonialism the workers “have gladly taken their share of the booty” from the exploitation of the colonial peoples.
AND BECAUSE NO ONE HAS TOLD THEM, THAT THAT WAS WHAT THEY WERE DOING!
This has come about because no one has told them that it would take them directly into the bourgeois, uncanny, horrible, stinking imperialist pool, if they did not stop in time to think things over.
Marx said so, Engels said so, Lenin said so – but the social-democratic parties kept silent about it. The so-called “communist” parties of Western Europe from the beginning of the 1920’s kept silent about it. To this day everybody is keeping silent about it!
Since Lenin’s death nobody has told the workers of Western Europe of the “consequences of their own mistakes beforehand and made clear to them that every movement which does not keep the destruction of the wage system constantly in view as the final goal is bound to go astray and fail..” (Engels to Sorge in 1886).
What have the social-democrats been doing?
They have been working for “reforms”, for shorter working hours, longer holidays, bigger unemployment subsidies etc.
What have the “Communists” of the CPD been doing?
They have raised demands for still higher wages, for still longer holidays, for still bigger unemployment subsidies etc.
The social-democrats have been boasting of their efforts for the “interests” of the working class and of the results achieved, and they have completely lost sight of the final goal.
The “communists” have been saying that these results were too small, and by demanding bigger results they have tried to “demask” the social-democrats’ lack of will to work for the “interests” of the workers. They have been maintaining that such a “demasking” plus greater results would make the workers carry through a revolution.
The “communists” have been saying that “unity” in the working class around these “interests” would lead to socialism.
UNFORTUNATELY THIS IS A HOLLOW LIE!
No “unity” in the Danish working class around the “interests” of this working class within the imperialist system will make it fit for carrying through the socialist revolution.
THE WORKERS OF A PARASITE STATE C A N N O T CARRY OUT THE REVOLUTION!
Stupidity, ignorance, opportunism, fear of being isolated, fear of going against the current – plus a good deal of European chauvinism and feeling of superiority in relation to the “uncivilized” peoples – all this together in an ignominious pell-mell constitute the explanation as to why the West European sections of the Third International (the “communist” parties) quite forgot about Lenin’s words from 1907:
“A propertyless but non-labouring class is incapable of overthrowing the exploiters. Only the proletarian class, which maintains the whole of society, can effect a socialist revolution. Well then, the extensive pursuit of colonial policy has resulted in the European proletarian slipping i n p a r t into a position where it is not h i s labour but that of the practically enslaved natives in the colonies, which maintains the whole of society.”
What has happened since Lenin wrote these words – in 1907! ? What has happened is that t o d a y (things were different right after World War I and World War II, we know) it is s t i l l l e s s than in 1907 able to overthrow the exploiters.
Lenin went on to say:
“That being so, a material and economic basis is created in certain countries for infecting the proletariat with colonial chauvinism. This, of course, may merely be a passing phenomenon, nonetheless the evil must be clearly realized, and its causes understood, in order to be able to unite the proletariat of all countries for the fight against such opportunism.”
The “communists” of Western Europe failed and are still failing to realize the evil and to understand its causes.
This evil even proved to be not a short-term “passing phenomenon”. Colonial chauvinism has struck deep roots.
Moreover, social-democrats and “communists” have been gleefully joining hands in making the workers believe that it is the working class itself which through what they call “class struggle” has “fought” for its present standard of living.
It is about time that “the evil be realized and its causes understood”. The proletariat in all the developed capitalist countries must be united for the fight against such opportunism!
If this is not accomplished soon, the workers of the imperialist parasite states – when capitalist economy is heading downhill – will oppose not only the coloured immigrants and not only the foreign workers regardless of the colour of their skin – they will oppose the impoverished majority of mankind in their fight for emancipation.
It depends on the revolutionary communists – on their courage and their fighting spirit, on their belief in truth and on their ability to spread it – on how deep down into the quagmire of chauvinism and imperialist ways of thinking the working class will sink before it thinks better of it and faces capitalism, t o g e t h e r w i t h the victims of imperialism, on whom it itself has also been a parasite and still is a parasite.
THERE WILL COME A DAY WHEN ONCE AGAIN IT SHALL BE THE EUROPEAN PROLETARIAN WHO IS MAINTAINING THE WHOLE CAPITALIST SOCIETY!
On that day the European proletarian will follow the lead of these revolutionary communists and overthrow the exploiters!
Om forfatteren / About the Writer
Gotfred Appel, Formand og ideologisk leder af Kommunistisk Arbejdskreds fra 1964 til splittelsen i 1978. Gotfred Appel fortsatte sammen med Ulla Houton under navnet Kommunistisk Arbejdskreds, KAK.
Gotfred Appel, Chairperson and ideological leader of the Danish Kommunistisk Arbejdskreds, KAK (Communist Working Circle, CWC) from 1964 till the splitt in 1978. Gotfred Appel continuned with Ulla Houton as Kommunistisk Arbejdskreds, KAK.